Archive for the ‘music’ Category

This article is cross-posted at Firedoglake under the MyFDL reader diaries section.

Although Paul McCartney wrote Hey Jude, the song is credited to Lennon-McCartney. It was recorded and released in 1968. That recorded version, performed by The Beatles and showing the lyrics, is here.

The ballad evolved from “Hey Jules”, a song widely accepted as being written to comfort John Lennon’s son, Julian, during his parents’ divorce. “Hey Jude” begins with a verse-bridge structure based around McCartney’s vocal performance and piano accompaniment; further instrumentation is added as the song progresses to distinguish sections. After the fourth verse, the song shifts to a fade-out coda that lasts for more than four minutes.

The song took on additional and varied meaning. Hey Jude was released at a time when racial tension was raging in the US. Earlier that year, American clergyman, activist, and prominent leader in the African-American Civil Rights Movement, Martin Luther King Jr., was assassinated in Memphis, and there was much turmoil in American music among black and white musicians in the immediate aftermath of the tragic loss. There were efforts to bridge the gaps in the new genre of music at that time known as Southern Rock.

There is a BBC Documentary on the development of Southern Rock, called Sweet Home Alabama – The Southern Rock Saga. While watching this, I learned about the history and recording of another version of Hey Jude, performed by Wilson Pickett and Duane Allman in 1969, just months after its release. It is an example of musicians as activists, in a peaceful demonstration that music, as well as tragedy, are colorblind. Please give it a listen, because it is difficult to find a song that is so deeply moving:

In addition to Wilson Pickett singing with beauty and passion, and Duane on electric slide guitar, this song also has ” “arguably the greatest soul horn section ever,” the Memphis Horns. Wilson Pickett balked when Duane suggested they attempt this version of Hey Jude. Pickett finally agreed, and other musicians were stunned when they listened.

Wilson Pickett (March 18, 1941 – January 19, 2006), who sings this version of Hey Jude, grew up in Alabama singing in Baptist choirs. From Wiki:

A major figure in the development of American soul music, Pickett recorded over 50 songs which made the US R&B charts, and frequently crossed over to the US Billboard Hot 100. Among his best known hits are “In the Midnight Hour” (which he co-wrote), “Land of 1,000 Dances”, “Mustang Sally”, and “Funky Broadway”.[1]
The impact of Pickett’s songwriting and recording led to his 1991 induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.[2]

This recording was a turning point for Duane Allman, who is immortalized as one of the greatest rock guitarists in American history. As you know, Duane passed away following a motorcycle accident in Georgia, in 1971. The loss was particularly difficult for younger brother Gregg. Gregg was scholastically studious and had plans to go to medical school. Duane was artistically motivated, and dropped out of high school to spend all of his time studying music. Gregg agreed to give the music a couple of years and then return to his studies. When Duane died, everyone looked to Gregg. He reports saying (interview linked above), “Don’t look at me, I just happen to have the same last name.”

I cannot imagine a world without music and the arts, and sometimes taking a second look at a classic makes it possible to return home in a world where one can generally never go home again. The song Hey Jude, with its iconic lyric, “Take a sad song and make it better,” is a source of great comfort during and time of loss or discomfort.

In 1997, as a benefit to the victims of a volcano on the Caribbean Island of Montserrat, notable musicians Paul McCartney, Elton John, Sting, Mark Knoffler, Eric Clapton, Phil Collins and others gathered and performed Hey Jude live during the concert. That performance is here:

The wiki for CPDRC Dancing Inmates is here.

By Eva Rinaldi Celebrity and Live Music Photographer on flickr

About a month ago, my son emailed me the video Psy – Gangnam Style. He did this because he knows my history with high-energy hip-hop/electronica, an essential music genre for anyone who takes roller blading seriously. I used to purchase bootleg tapes in West Hollywood and then roller blade to the tapes all around Santa Monica.

Today, reports from MTV Europe are that “One of the night’s most popular performers was dance sensation Psy with his record-breaking hit “Gangnam Style”, which won Best Video.

With 710,294,710 YouTube hits at the moment, here is that video:

Last night, Fred (aka Mason/Masoninblue) came across this thing and started listening. We both just circled the drain; the thing started growing on us both and just would not stop. Now, just to confess here, I am 52 and he is 65, and we both ordinarily listen to areas of music that are pretty unrelated to this. Psy is a Korean artist, his genre is K-Pop (Korean Popular) and the words are in Korean with just a bit of English. However, Psy has managed to overcome cultural and language barriers, and his in-your-face infectious and sweet nature appeals to everyone, including us.

His flash mobs are epic, spanning from the largest flash mob ever in Paris, to an illegal flash mob in Jakarta, Indonesia with so many people it simply left the authorities helpless, to others in New York, Rome, Los Angeles, and other places.

Our night went like this: Step – Step – Step – Repeat step….Oppan Gangnam Style! I had to stop briefly when I nearly broke my leg, carrying a cup of soda and doing this dance down the steps. It’s probably safer if you’re old to begin with coming up the stairs. As Fred rubbed the sore muscles of his shoulder, he and I both fantasized about some solid plans to take over this staid town we live in, and instigate a memorable flash mob that would be well worth the jail time. While technically not illegal here, you don’t have to do anything illegal here to get arrested nonetheless.

Psy’s live summer stand concert in Korea is my favorite:

I guess it just feels really good to set aside worry or fear or concern about the sadness in the world today and see something that the entire globe can agree on: a cheesy, really fun dance with a catchy tune and words (yes, we’ve got some of the words memorized). The English translation and ‘Romanized’ lyrics are here.

In this interview, Psy explains that he is a father of twins who are six in Korea and four in the US. Psy took some of his musical training at Boston University. When he was discovered by his current US manager, who wanted to sign Psy, Psy wondered why, and suggested that he take the manager to Koreatown and drink instead.

In yet another video that is hilarious, Psy, in a Spider Man outfit, and his dancers, essentially accost people in the streets, winning over their hearts and getting them to dance. The elevator pelvic thrust is fabulous:

Whop, whop, whop, whop, Oppan Gangnam Style!!

The wiki for Psy.

Addendum: On Psy’s sunglasses:

Psy’s sunglasses are from French eyewear brand Thierry Lasry. I did find some discrepancy as to whether these were from Garrett Leight (probably because the two brands recently collaborated on a limited edition of sunglasses) but upon some closer inspection they’re definitely from Thierry Lasry. Psy really only goes through two different styles of sunglasses and one pair of swimming goggles, but I still had to do some digging through their collections and Look Books to hunt them down.

The first is Variety 1015 from the opening scene in Psy’s video, as well as in the final scenes with HyunA and the flash mob. This was found in Thierry Lasry’s 2011 collection.


Posted: November 11, 2012 in music

Hit this up:

Come to think of it, hit this too:

The direct link to this spectacular film by Tom Lowe is here. Please take a moment to visit the link and view Tom Lowe’s comments and description.

Realtime sound visualisation made with custom software “Partitura”
Sound by Telefon Tel Aviv
an ongoing collaboration between Abstract Birds and Quayola
Partitura is a custom software built in vvvv to generate realtime graphics aimed at visualising sound. . The term “Partitura” (score) implies a connection with music, and this metaphor is the main focus of the project.

More here.