Monday, May 13, 2013
Baldwin, better known to most of us as John Paul Jones, was the keyboard/bass player in Led Zeppelin. And things were falling apart all around him.
The band had been around for the better part of a decade, and some thought that its time had passed. The band had enough talent to stage a comeback, but it wasn't going to be easy. Lead guitarist Jimmy Page, for example, was mentally dazed and confused due to some pharmacological vices.
(source: Rob Michael)
But Page wasn't the only band member who was distracted. Robert Plant was still grieving over the death of his son. And John Bonham had his own substance abuse problems - problems that would eventually kill him.
So what is a de facto music director of Led Zeppelin to do? Easy, according to this album reviewer.
And after Karac Plant's tragic death in 1977 he basically took charge of Zeppelin, and wrote the music for 7 of the 10 songs recorded in Sweden in 1978. (Three other songs, "Ozone Baby", "Darlene", and "Wearing and Tearing" appeared on 1982's album "Coda".) He and Robert Plant took control of the band and wrote and recorded their parts during the day, while Jimmy Page and John Bonham both started to succumb to their addictions and would show up at night to record their parts. The division of the mighty Led Zeppelin was beginning to fail.
And the two-shift recording process resulted in a variety of songs of different genres. But in one of the songs, Jones got behind the keyboard, played a ditty straight from Walton's Mountain...and then let the blues come out.
And that, my friends, is "I'm Gonna Crawl."
Many people regret a band's so-called decline after hitting the toppermost of the poppermost. But some of my favorite albums are from bands whose day as supposedly passed - Devo's "Total Devo," Duran Duran's "Notorious," and Led Zeppelin's "In Through the Out Door" - the album that turned out to be the last one released while all four band members were still alive. And the ending song, "I'm Gonna Crawl," has been discussed repeatedly. Here's a review from someone who was probably in elementary school when the song was originally released:
While I truly do like the vast majority of Led Zeppelin’s recordings, even the posthumously, and not their best, released “Coda,” my favorites are when they cover old blues songs....[I]t is one of their original blues songs that I can almost listen to repeatedly, called “I’m Gonna Crawl,” off the “In Through the Out Door” album which I think is masterful in the conveyance of the emotion that a great blues song should have, through the tone and tenor, the sound of the guitar, meshed with the vocals.
Oh, and one more review can be found in the comments here:
I used to work as an exotic dancer for many years, and I'll tell you what...when I walked on that stage with that song for my opening set I never felt more powerful or sexy than anything I've ever experienced in my life. A true masterpiece of emotion.
I don't know what Karac Plant would have thought, but I'm sure his dad is proud.
Saturday, May 4, 2013
Breathtakingly beautiful...lottery? John and Michelle Phillips' lyrics used to sway 2/3 of Californians who hate lotteries
Start with a 1960s pop song, performed by a quartet, about someone who is missing the state of California. Excellent lyrics, nice instrumentation (especially the instrumental break).
Now, a few decades later, re-record it in dramatic form, with an understated piano and choir. An absolutely beautiful rendition.
Then add a saying to deepen the drama - "Believe in Something Bigger." The whole mood is beautiful - and moving.
Oh, and one more thing - it's for a lottery.
In my case, when I first heard a Powerball commercial on TV, I thought, "All this for a lottery?" But my negative reaction was rather mild. R.J. Moeller, in a post entitled "California Schemin'," expressed profound displeasure at the commercial:
The state of California is currently more than $20 billion in debt for making promises it could not keep and spending money it did not have. It has an unemployment rate of over 9 percent. It taxes its citizens at higher rates than any place outside of Western Europe....
After much more of the same (see the post), Moeller then says:
But who needs balanced budgets, small business growth, innovative entrepreneurial activity, or the rule of law when you have . . . the lottery! Huzzah!
And when Moeller saw the "Believe in something bigger" slogan, he hit the roof.
If you need something to believe in, what’s bigger than the size and scope of California’s debt and deficits? I mean, besides the amount of cultural and moral decay encouraged by something like a state-funded gambling Ponzi scheme that specifically markets its “games” to low-income citizens (who are the same folks receiving the lion’s share of the entitlements causing the aforementioned debt and deficits)?
I think it's fair to say that Moeller wouldn't have reacted so strongly if the state had just run a huckster-ish "Buy Powerball tickets!" commercial. But the suggestion - vividly made via the music - that Powerball was a religious, self-affirming experience caused Moeller's extremely negative reaction. And he was just getting started:
I thought it was regrettably appropriate that the good folks at the Lotto offices chose a song –”California Dreamin’”– that was written by a man (the late John Phillips) who, apart from being a drug addict, engaged in an incestuous relationship with his daughter (Mackenzie Phillips) for decades.
But meanwhile, in the ad agency world where suicide is "edgy," the ad is being lauded.
This is the new California Lottery campaign from ad agency David & Goliath. Powerball is coming to California with the tagline “Believe in Something Bigger.” The white lottery balls fall like snow. with The Mamas and the Papas’ California Dreaming playing in the background.
It’s all very inspirational!
According to MediaPost, Powerball and David & Goliath had to pull out all the stops for this campaign.
With only about a third of consumers saying they had a positive feeling when it came to the California Lottery, the brand and its agency, David&Goliath, felt they needed to move beyond the typical lottery advertising of wealth and riches.
“We wanted a different, honest and optimistic approach to launching Powerball -- one that inspires people to believe in possibilities,” David Angelo, the agency’s founder and chief creative officer, tells Marketing Daily. “[Optimism] is what the Powerball brand stands for, and California is a brand that’s about optimism as well.”
OK, I'll admit that the ad is different. And the ad is definitely optimistic; the chance of winning the grand prize is 1 in 175 million. But is it honest - or is it manipulative?
Some of you may be wondering why I'm posting this in my music blog, rather than in my business blog. I'm writing this in the music blog because the music behind the ad is an essential part of the campaign. Music is an important part of many advertising campaigns. If you don't believe me, watch the video above with the sound off. When all you see are a bunch of crazed people in slow-motion with plastic balls all over the place, it's not that compelling, is it?
The song was co-authored by John and Michelle Phillips during a time when they were living in New York, far from California. To my knowledge, Michelle Phillips has made no public statement about the California Lottery campaign.
Papa John Phillips, for all his faults, had no idea that THIS was going to happen.
Friday, April 19, 2013
This morning, it occurred to me that there are some parallels - some - between the song and some of the discussions that Loren Feldman and Larry Rosenthal have been having of late. (See Loren's April 15 post for one such example.)
Of course, the fact that this song was brought to my attention via a music-sharing service in which I was influenced by people that I have never met - well, that's the way it goes.
Kind of the musical version of the map approximations that Nate Wessel has discussed in the past. (See my thoughts.)
And as long as we're talking about the differences between virtual reality and reality, here's what Phil Baumann wrote.
Not that Baumann's statements explicitly have much to do with music, but they do.
Monday, April 15, 2013
I still have friends in Portland, Oregon, and one of them alerted me to an interesting pricing strategy for this event at the Alberta Rose Theatre in Portland. The event features Tony Furtado, Kenny White, and DEAN!
My friend, his wife, and their son (who happens to be a musician himself) were planning on going - until they found out the pricing policy for this event.
$15 General Admission | $17 for Minors (under 21)
Most venues charge 18, 19, and 20 year olds the same price that 21 year olds are charged. Minors under 18 will often pay the same price, or perhaps even get a discounted price.
It's rare to see minors charged a HIGHER price than adults, but the definition of minors ("under 21") gives a hint about why this is happening. [CORRECTION 12:30] Via email, the Alberta Rose stated
But apparently the Alberta Rose has settled on a different policy - one that angered my Portland friend and made him decide NOT to take his family to the venue.
I couldn't find any other Alberta Rose events that had this two-tier pricing strategy, so perhaps this is an experiment. If so, it may have already gone awry.
[APRIL 25 UPDATE]
My friend has just posted the following:
"I am pleased to report that this situation has been resolved. There was apparently some miscommunication between the agent and the venue. The price is now the same for minors and adults alike. We are looking forward to going to the show!"
Friday, April 12, 2013
I was performing a vanity search on people that have the name "John Bredehoft," and I ran across a record in Zoominfo that included the following information:
Now some of you have already figured out where this is going. Initially, I didn't. There have been instances in which people with the name "John Bredehoft" have been confused with me, so I initially figured that some poor guy in Kansas had his information scrambled with my own.
Initially I missed the fact that this guy in Kansas had the same middle initial that I do.
And initially I missed the fact that the Zoominfo page included a number of references to this very Empoprise-MU music blog, dating back to 2009.
Eventually I put two and two together...and nearly burst out laughing.
No, there is no person in Kansas with the name John E. Bredehoft.
If you haven't figured it out yet - and as I said, it took me a while to figure out - take a look at this Empoprise-MU post from 2009. Zoominfo somehow took that post and performed a gross misinterpretation of it. I do admit that I know Glen Campbell, but not the one who made that song famous. (Although the Glen Campbell that I know does play a mean ukelele.)
It could have been worse. I've referenced many other songs in this blog, including White Punks on Dope and Anarchy in the UK.
Tuesday, April 2, 2013
But while reviewing the article, I ran across something that was forward and visionary. It appears that Weberman, from his extensive study of Dylan, discerned a great truth that would affect 21st century music:
Ann," Alan howled on a sweltering Sunday morning last August. "Ann . . . Ann. Today is Sunday!"
Ann Duncan, standing in the middle of the Archives, was working at a painting of Bob Dylan. Ann is an artist and is working on a series called "Great Moments in Rock." Her first subject is a portrait of Bob, shooting himself into his Current Bag. "Mmnn," she answered. ". . . I know . . . yeah . . . yesterday was Saturday!"
Wednesday, March 27, 2013
But what if you are stuck on an attraction for more than the usual few minutes?
And what if that attraction is "It's a Small World"?
A lawsuit could result from this, and the music could be part of the lawsuit:
Disneyland has paid disabled man Jose Martinez $8,000. Their crime? Not evacuating him from It’s A Small World after the ride broke down in 2009, leaving him listening to that song for half an hour....
Geffen [Jose Martinez's lawyer] said that half of the award was for pain and suffering, while the other half is for violating disability laws.
There have been a number of legal cases in which the major media companies, including Disney, have tried to get money from people who listen to their music (or watch their movies). This is the first case that I know of in which Disney had to pay someone else to listen to Disney music.
It's a world of suffering, a world of pain,
But the Mouse has promised not to do it again...
Monday, March 25, 2013
Glen Campbell has had a varied career.
When you've been involved in acts ranging from the Champs to the Beach Boys, and when you've covered Green Day as a small part of your successful recording career, it's difficult to pigeonhole you into those categories that some in the music industry like. But Campbell is no pigeon.
Part of the difficulty in pigeonholing Campbell is that he emerged in an era before the pigeons were caged. It's hard to separate between country and rock when the stars of the time were equally comfortable in either genre. When the Beatles issued their most famous single ("Yesterday"), a Buck Owens song was on the other side ("Act Naturally").
A couple of years before "Yesterday," Glen Campbell appeared as a backing guitarist and singer on a TV show called "Star Route," accompanying George Morgan on the song "My Window Faces the South."
During the instrumental break, the band members take turns on various solos. Campbell's guitar solo comes last, and he treats the audience to a rockabilly-country lick festival.
But a musician has to eat, so one year later, Campbell adopted a Beatles haircut and appeared on Shindig.
Ignore the screaming girls and the haircut for a moment. Campbell's music doesn't sound all that different from his appearance with George Morgan.
I was unable to find a video of Campbell's touring days with the Beach Boys, but when you think about it, that music was similar in sound also - except perhaps for the vocal arrangements, which of course were not unique to surf and car music.
As to why Campbell's hit records from later in the decade were more countrypolitan than rockabilly...as I said, a musician has to eat. Do you think a rockabilly song would go over in 1969?
Sunday, February 17, 2013
As I've previously noted, in the 1990s I joined a Yahoo! group that talked about country singer Mindy McCready. During the 1990s, McCready news focused on music. During the next decade, it seemed to focus on everything EXCEPT music.
But by the time I started to write the Ontario Empoblog, the story began to unravel. By August 10, 2004, I was blogging about her arrest for OxyContin prescription fraud. I followed up on August 16 and August 29, and subsequently (February 4, 2005) reported on McCready's plea and community service.
By May 6, 2005, McCready had been arrested again, and charged with drunken driving.
Then the story started to get weird.
You may recall that April 2008 was the time that McCready's relationship with Roger Clemens hit the news. Clemens denied it. (Of course, Clemens has denied a bunch of stuff.)
After October 2008, I hadn't blogged about McCready any more. I hadn't heard about her late 2008 suicide attempt, although I recall reading about the whole custody issue with her son in 2011. But I hadn't been paying attention to the McCready news over the last month.
That's when the story started to get weird. Taste of Country:
[I]n January...her boyfriend and the father to her youngest son was found dead at a home the couple shared in Arkansas. Initially reported as a suicide, officials later suggested they weren’t sure about the cause of his death and would wait until autopsy reports were returned.
McCready tearfully denied any involvement in David Wilson’s death during a ‘Today’ show appearance on Jan. 29. Ex-husband Billy McKnight soon filed several motions with regards to his son with McCready, 6-year-old Zander. The singer entered a treatment facility and had her two children taken from her, but was released a short time later.
Now reports are coming out that McCready is dead of a gunshot wound. The current assumption is that it was self-inflicted.
When I first heard about this on Google+, there was a discussion about whether Dr. Drew's Celebrity Rehab show was inflicting pressure on the people who appeared on it. The thread mentioned a number of Celebrity Rehab people who are dead today.
Mark Smith (who started the thread) offered the following comment:
I don't blame the show for their deaths by any means, but I do blame the show for exploiting their addictions for ratinigs. It's sad but people love to tune in to see a train wreck, and MTV finds people close to the edge to pay for them to attend their "Celebrity Rehab" shows.
Sadly, I suspect that McCready would be dead today even if Dr. Drew had never ventured beyond KROQ radio. The death of a loved one via presumed suicide can put all sorts of pressures on you, especially if you're fragile to begin with.
It's hard to recall, but at one time it was all about the music.
Thursday, February 7, 2013
If you say the word "Budokan" to an American of a particular age, a particular image is conveyed.
To many middle-aged Americans, "Budokan" conveys images and sounds of Cheap Trick, or perhaps of Bob Dylan, or perhaps (for older folk) of the Beatles, the first rock artists to perform at this particular Japanese venue.
But Budokan (actually, "Nippon Budokan") was not originally designed as a place for real guitar heroes to hang out. It was initially built for the 1964 Summer Olympics to function as a martial arts hall. But when you have a venue that holds over 14,000 people, you end up finding other uses for it, ranging from martial arts to professional wrestling to all sorts of musical acts (the stage at Budokan has not only held the Beatles, Cheap Trick, and Bob Dylan, but also Taylor Swift and Justin Bieber).
More information here.
Wednesday, January 23, 2013
I was listening to the Police's "Walking on the Moon" on Spotify, and it reminded me about something I had read a few days previously. Someone had published a rant about Sting, and the rant continued to complain about Sting's former band, the Police.
I couldn't find that particular rant, but there are enough rants about the Police if you look around. Check this one:
"Packed like lemmings"? A very close second in badness, from the same song, is the line "Every single meeting with his so-called superior is a humiliating kick in the crotch." Bad, bad, bad. But oh, so earnest. And then to couple these first-draft images of suburban misery with scenes from a mysterious "dark Scottish lake" just makes it worse.
The author (not of the lyrics), rain_rain, said more in the comments to the post:
The closest thing to punk about the Police was their hair, and even that was clearly (you should excuse the expression) a put-on. They were a classic pop band, only occasionally raging vaguely and reflexively against some machine or other because it was the thing to do, and hey, man, isn't that long commute soul-killing? Da doo doo doo was really more their strength.
But Grant Miller Media adds other complaints:
The Police jumped on the late 1970s punk bandwagon even though each member was an accomplished musician and came from a decidedly non-punk background. Sting was a bassist in a jazz band. Andy Summers and Stewart Copeland were in various prog-rock outfits....
People who write songs about teachers that have affairs with teenage girls are creepy....
When the Police were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame, they performed "Every Breath You Take" with Steven Tyler, Gwen Stefani and John Mayer.
If you like those, go here. There are 101 listed reasons to hate Sting.
Tuesday, January 15, 2013
The thread is a VERY long thread - I've only read through a small portion of it - but as I looked at the suggestions, it became very apparent that the definition of "worst song" is in the eye of the beholder. For example, I love "Taco Taco Taco," the third song mentioned in the thread.
Here are some other "worst songs" that were mentioned that I actually like - or at least do not dislike:
- "Muskrat Love" by the Captain & Tennille - I think the synth effects are cute, not atrocious.
- "Fly" by Sugar Ray - I think it's a fun song.
- "We Are Family" by Sister Sledge - although even I will admit it was overplayed at sporting events for a while.
- "Disco Duck" by Rick Dees - if you subtract everything you know about Dees, and if you listen to the song in the context of the times in which it was recorded, it's not bad. But then again, I liked "Peanut Prance" (Dees' impersonation of Jimmy Carter).
- "Sugar Sugar" by the Archies - my favorite song at the age of 7, and the soul stylings at the end stand up today. Soul stylings?
- "Blue" by Eiffel 65 - but then again (again), I like "Europop."
- Staying on the European continent, "Waterloo" by Abba - some songs were better than others, but their Eurovision hit was one of their better ones.
- "Knockin' on Heaven's Door" by Guns 'n' Roses - no, it's definitely not Dylan, but I think it's a great reworking.
- "Emotional Rescue" by the Rolling Stones - I can see why some would hate it, but just think of it as a comedy track and you'll be fine. That's what I do with anything recorded by Pet Shop Boys.
- "Sex" by Berlin - but I do likes me some synthetica, especially when live guitar is mixed in.
I'm sure that at least one of those songs completely offended and horrified you. You're welcome.
I do, however, agree with the commenters on one thing - Whitney Houston's version of "I Will Always Love You" is far inferior to the original. I like much of Houston's work, but her cover version has none of the subtlety of Parton's version. Houston's take is as subtle as Spinal Tap's famous amplifier that goes to 11.
I cannot judge one particular entry, because I have never heard it - and, most likely, you've never heard it either.
A few months back [in 2005], I heard a singer perform one of her own compositions at an open mic event in Camden in north London. A composition she'd written on the bus to the pub. About writing a song on the bus to the pub where she would sing it. Opinion was strongly divided amongst the listeners as to whether she was merely a spoof act or whether she was blithely unaware of how bad she was. I've since heard that the management took the latter view and has banned her from ever appearing again, even on similar occasions, on the grounds that she was so terrible.
Wednesday, January 2, 2013
Take a listen to the song in this video:
Now some of my real young readers are saying, "So?"
Some of my slightly older readers are wondering why I'd post an instrumental version of a Verve song with a weird part in the middle.
Then I have some readers - those who know who Andrew "Loog" Oldham is - who realize that this is the former Rolling Stones producer's instrumental version of the Stones song "The Last Time." A song that the Verve appropriated for "Bittersweet Symphony," resulting in a lot of bittersweet court actions.
So the wonderfully pure Oldham was thwarted by the evil copycat Verve, right?
Well, when you think about it, Oldham's version itself obviously isn't original, since it is a rearrangement of the original Rolling Stones song "The Last Time." Yes, presumably Mick and Keith got the proper songwriting credit, but Oldham wouldn't have been able to take his orchestra flights of fancy if the Stones hadn't written the original song in the first place.
So now we get to the Stones themselves. And perhaps you'd better sit down while I tell you this.
SOME BRITISH ROCK BANDS HAVE BEEN KNOWN TO RIP OFF OTHER BANDS.
Now I know that this is a complete shock to some of you, but you had to learn the truth sooner or later. And in this particular case, Who Sampled cites a Staple Singers song "This Will Be The Last Time" and claims that it is a source for the subsequent Stones track.
There's certainly a similarity between the chorus of this song and the chorus of the Stones track. But as the YouTube poster notes:
The Rolling Stones have been accused of ripping this off, and of course they did, but if they owe anyone it is really the arranger Shirley Joiner. The song itself is traditional.
And a commenter noted the following:
The Stones took from this to make the Last Time, after which Andrew Oldham made a symphonic version of it. Then in 1997, the Verve decided to sample the symphonic version of the Last Time in order to make Bittersweet Symphony. And in turn, Jason Derulo sample Bittersweet Symphony in order to make Ridin' Solo. Good music, what happened to you?
At least Derulo isn't a dangerous pedestrian.
Thursday, December 27, 2012
In my previous post, I noted that the absence of any mention of music in the woman's 2005 interview was unusual. Over the next few years, the woman's love for music would manifest itself in a very big way.
[W]ay back in 2008 I first encountered [her] sound checking in a Soho venue playing a track entitled ‘Ghost’, it totally mesmerised me.
And Stevo wasn't the only person who was mesmerized. In the course of his interview with the woman, he noted this:
You’ve been very lucky in having not one track but two used for commercials ‘Piano B’ for Expedia and more recently ‘The Kiss’, used by both Marks & Spencer and Apple’s new I-pad? How did they come about? Has the income helped your bigger picture?
The woman - whose name is Phildel (a combination of her natural father's name and her mother's name) - responded:
Four of my tracks have been used in commercials around the world, two of them in the UK. They all came about in different ways, through different individuals, agencies or publishers. But my publisher Warner Chappell have been very proactive in the realm of pitching my music for advertising. I re-invest whatever I income I make into top-of-the-range studio equipment and cameras for documenting everything and creating visuals. So, it all goes back into my music.
In addition to signing with publisher Warner Chappell, Phildel has also signed with Decca, and in the process has recorded an album that fleshes out some of her songs with dramatic instrumentation and production. As an example, compare this solo ukelele performance of "Storm Song."
A powerful voice singing a quiet song.
But Phildel has now released another video of the song, with the track that will be released on her forthcoming 2013 album.
The result is a much more dramatic piece. Phildel spoke about this with Stevo:
I would tell Ross Cullum, the producer, all of my ideas – from the large-scale concepts of how the choirs represented ethereal water spirits in the sonic landscape, down to the smallest details of how I thought a cymbal should be EQ’d, when I thought specific sounds were too metallic. He listened carefully and we worked together to create the best album we could. He had the experience, intuition and technical ability, to enhance all of my creative thinking. Out of my music career so far, working with Ross was undoubtedly my greatest highlight.
We should all be able to judge for ourselves.
Her debut album "The Disappearance of the Girl" is set for UK release in January 2013.
She continues to have her champions, including Stevo. I first heard "Storm Song" when he shared it on This is My Jam. As I write this post, it's my jam also.
A final note - I intentionally separated this blog post into two separate parts (the first is here if you didn't see it). While those who have read both parts understand the connection between the two, and why Phildel writes about storms and girls who disappear, it's also quite possible to enjoy "Storm Song" on its own merits.
John Bredehoft of Total Plumbing Services is not the only Bredehoft with an Alabama connection. Several of my relatives hail from Guin in Marion County, northwest Alabama, which is where you will find Liberty Christian Academy, a ministry of the First Free Will Baptist Church in Guin. Students at Liberty Christian Academy must meet conduct standards that are foreign to many of us:
A sense of the need for spiritual growth in the light of these principles has led Liberty Christian Academy to adopt the following standards which are conducive to the environment that will best promote the spiritual welfare of the student. The school, therefore, requires each student...whether at home, school, or elsewhere...
1.to refrain from swearing, attendance at movie theaters, indecent language, smoking, drinking, alcoholic beverages, the abuse of drugs, gambling, dancing, involvement in rock music, touching or over familiarity with the opposite sex.
For those who thought that the movie Footloose was a complete work of fiction, read that last paragraph again. But these sentiments are not unique to Guin, or to the 20th and 21st centuries. If you go back several centuries, you can find similar views in certain Christian circles.
The Puritan minister Cotton Mather wrote in the 17th century that dancing was a creation of the devil, and warned that a “CHRISTIAN OUGHT NOT TO BE AT A BALL” [capitalization from original].
But before you completely condemn Liberty Christian Academy and Cotton Mather, note that they did not ban ALL music.
Ali Khamenei, the supreme religious leader of Iran, has made several pronouncements regarding music.
Q: What type of music is forbidden?
A: Music performed exclusively in debaucherous (lahw) circles is forbidden.
Q: What is the ruling on teaching various musical instruments to children at or near the age of puberty?
A: The matter of teaching music relates the basic ruling on music. In a general sense, the teaching of music is not compatible with the goals of an Islamic order. To teach music during the most suitable ages for learning is not devoid of corruption and sedition (mofsedeh).
Q: With regard to the teaching of music, I note respectfully that, replying to the above question, you stated in writing that the teaching and propagation of music is inconsistent with the goals of the blessed order of the Islamic Republic. Is the above ruling one of guidance, or an official governmental ruling? It is worth noting that some responsible parties recommend the teaching of music, especially for the youth. My humble question is: What is the concensus opinion between yourself and those who favor the teaching of music to the youth?
A: The teaching and playing of music to and by the youth causes them to deviate and results in corruption, and thus, is not permissible. In general, the propagation of music in not compatible with the goals of the Islamic order. It is not permissible for people to use their own preferences and inclinations in the name of culture and the art of teaching and training the youth.
These restrictions on teaching music to youth are not restricted to Iran. They can also be found in England. There you can find the story of an eight year old girl whose mother remarried. Her new stepfather "banned music from their household, claiming it to be an unholy waste of time." Since the girl loved music, this became too much to bear, and she left home at age 17. Several years later, in 2005, the girl (now a grown woman) spoke about this decision.
Despite the times when my step-father did help with my homework and attempt to lift my spirit, which I am grateful for, the values of my mother and stepfather in general were very different to my own and this certainly led to tensions. I continued to live at home for almost 10 years but during my A-levels I knew it would be best to leave. So I began living at my father’s house.
I felt very unhappy about leaving my sister because I knew my decision would be hardest for her to accept. I had to rely on the hope that, remembering how diffi cult it had been for me, she might understand. Luckily for me, she does and I know we will always have the bond that first made me feel less alone all those years ago. As for my mother and stepfather, our relationship actually improved dramatically once I had moved out. I feel closer to both of them now than I ever did before. I think this is partly because there is less stress on the family as a whole.
The 2005 interview does not mention music...in retrospect, a curious omission.
To be continued.
(Postscript: if you were a member of the Empoprises Public Community on Google+, you would already know what I'm going to be saying in the next post, and what the "storm" is that I'm talking about in the title.)
Saturday, December 22, 2012
For ignorant Americans like myself, I should clarify that this headline didn't really refer to the Compton-based rap group, but to North Waziristan. The article ran in the Pakistani newspaper The Nation.
But if the violence from the 1990s had continued unabated, who knows what could have happened?
Thursday, December 20, 2012
Monday, December 10, 2012
Despite my recent comment at the end of this post, I actually like Rebecca Black. In my view, she got herself into a bad situation by putting her trust in the wrong people. However, there are a lot of young people (and a lot of old people) that have made similar mistakes.
Therefore, I was pleased to hear that Black will be performing at the House of Blues in Anaheim on December 23. (And yes, it's on a...Sunday.)
For those who haven't been following the Rebecca Black story, she has been working on rebounding from the negative reaction to the "Friday" video. Her first step was proving that she could actually sing (hint: the U.S. national anthem is not the easiest song to sing). Her second step was to get better management. Her third step was to start getting better material (which isn't a hard thing to do). For example, here is a video that she posted last month for the new song "In Your Words."
The new song, which received advance coverage on noted online music publication Mashable, is somewhat more mature-sounding than her previous releases. Purists will argue that it's not blues, but there are purists that will argue that Eric Clapton isn't blues, either. It's a good song.
I do have a quibble with House of Blues, however. "In Your Words" hadn't been released when the show page was posted, but House of Blues did post three other song samples - "My Moment," "Person of Interest," and one other. Part of me understands why they listed that other song sample first - after all, that's the song that she's known for - but I don't think I would have made that choice. If you want people to come to your venue to hear Rebecca Black, you want to give them a reason for coming, and therefore you'd want to promote her newer, better material.
And yes, this is an all ages show. Otherwise, the performing artist herself wouldn't be able to get in.
Thursday, November 29, 2012
I attended a training seminar last month in which B.J. Lownie presented to fellow proposal professionals. His presentation title? "This is How We Do It."
This week, the blog MyBrownBaby published a post about detangling, washing, and conditioning black girl hair. The post subtitle? "This is How We Do It."
Friday, November 23, 2012
I set myself a task that seemed nearly impossible.
I was trying to find a song in the key of D minor with a female singer that was probably released in the 1980s.
Oftentimes I can find a song just by searching for a particular lyric.
Unfortunately, for this particular song I could only remember one snatch of the chorus: "Cross my heart, hope to die." Inasmuch as there are tons of songs that happen to include that particular lyric, it appeared to be a hopeless task.
But I kept on plugging away at it, and finally discovered that the song that I was looking for was called "Blowing Kisses in the Wind," by Paula Abdul.
I remember "Straight Up" and "Rush Rush" from Abdul's pop heyday, but for some reason I didn't discover "Crazy Cool" until years later. And I never associated "Blowing Kisses in the Wind" with her.
Part of the explanation is that "Blowing Kisses in the Wind" was released in 1991, as a later single from Spellbound (which also included "Rush Rush"), while "Crazy Cool" came out several years after that, in 1995. This was some time after Abdul hit it big in 1989 with "Straight Up."
Peter Lord worked with Abdul on her 1991 and 1995 albums, and gave an interview about his work with Abdul (and others). Excerpts:
"Rush, Rush" actually began as a dare or a joke with my Family Stand bandmate, Sandra St. Victor. Babyface was one of the top songwriters/producers at that time, and I told her I could write one of his type of hit ballads in my sleep (no disrespect). I ran to the piano and playfully played the first chords that would begin "Rush, Rush" and sang "You're the whisper of a summer breeze... You're the the kiss that puts my soul at ease..." I then looked at her and said, "Wait a minute, that's not bad!"...
"Blowing Kisses In The Wind" is actually one of my favorite songs I've ever written. It really should be covered again I think. The right country artist could give it a wonderful vibe. Are you listening Allison Cross, Taylor Swift?
Of course, for Taylor Swift the song would require a rewrite to become "No Longer Blowing Kisses In The Wind"....
It's kind of odd, because Paula Abdul doesn't necessarily have the most stellar reputation as a musician. But she was responsible for some pretty good songs.
Tuesday, November 20, 2012
I was listening to a song on Spotify, and I was curious how much the particular artist would make from my streaming.
As it turns out, this very topic was discussed by The Next Web and other publications a few months ago. The answer? For Spotify, less than a cent per stream.
The Next Web and others characterized this as a terrible state of affairs.
But is it? Not always.
The song that I was listening to on Spotify was the Wolfsheim song "I Don't Love You Anymore." I do not own this particular song, but I purchased the Wolfsheim song "Once in a Lifetime" from Amazon a few months ago, paying about a dollar for it. A portion of that dollar went to Wolfsheim (and presumably they had to split it in half). I have listened to "Once in a Lifetime" numerous times since on my phone and on my computer, and Wolfsheim will never get another penny from me for that song.
But for "I Don't Love You Anymore," I am not paying anything - but Spotify is. Of course, I have to listen to Flo from Progressive every once in a while, but after I hear some more Wolfsheim I feel better.
I happen to like the song "I Don't Love You Anymore," so I'm listening to it a lot. Here are my last.fm statistics for the song; most if not all of the 2012 plays which are from plays on Spotify.
As you can see, if Wolfsheim gets around a penny per play, they've made a lot more from my streams of the song than they would have made if I had bought it in the first place.
Food for thought.
[9:30 - MORE IN A POST IN MY EMPOPRISE-BI BUSINESS BLOG.]
Monday, November 5, 2012
I find that I often associate particular songs with particular places.
On July 25, 2000, I was visiting family friends in Switzerland. Although the family friends spoke English, the television usually did not. My command of the German language was mediocre, and my command of the French language at the time was non-existent. (Today, despite working for a French-owned company for over three years, it's not much better.) In fact, I recall that I was paying attention to the Italian language items because they were at least somewhat similar to Spanish, a language frequently heard in southern California. (And no, I didn't try to decipher Romansh - or Klingon.)
Despite the language barrier, I was able to deduce that something had gone horribly wrong in the airplane world. A Concorde, which until then had been one of the safest airplanes ever, had crashed:
The Air France jet, bound for New York, crashed into a Relais Bleu hotel in the town of Gonesse, 10 miles north of Paris just before 1700 local time (1500 GMT).
It is understood the aircraft, which had taken off from Roissy Charles de Gaulle airport just two minutes earlier, plummeted to the ground after one of the left-hand engines caught fire on take-off.
Some time later, after I had returned to the United States, I was listening to U2's new song. (Ironically, I had been listening to the Passengers album a lot while I was in Switzerland.) U2's new album took a turn away from the experimentation of the past decade, and returned somewhat to the band's earlier sound, with ringing guitars and earnestly sung choruses.
Actually, I wasn't listening to U2's new song - I was watching it. For, you see, U2 had released a video.
The most eye-catching part of that video was when U2 was performing on an airport runway, with planes flying overhead. And guess where that was filmed?
Scenes from CDG airport have been seen on album covers and in movies. The band U2 filmed the video for their song "Beautiful Day" at the airport just after the Concorde crash occurred. The Concorde was Air France Flight 4590 that was headed for New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport. The flight crashed in Gonesse, France on July 25, 2000. All passengers and crew as well as four people on the ground were killed.
Because the verses of the song were so melancholy, the staging of the video at that very airport seemed in some way appropriate.
But while I associate that song with the airport at which the video was filmed, David Churchill has a different association. Initially he also associated the song with Charles de Gaulle Airport:
In June 2001, my wife and I were lucky enough to have a four-day weekend in Paris, France. It was a magical trip that was great on almost every level....Upon my return, I managed to maintain those good feelings, at least once a day, by listening to U2's "Beautiful Day" off their All That You Can't Leave Behind album.
Churchill would play the song at work every day. As he put it, "I must have driven my work colleagues nuts." Apparently he didn't have headphones.
He continued this routine for a few months, until one day he arrived at work a little late after a subway ride. He got to his desk and started playing his favorite song when one of his co-workers approached him.
"Did you hear about the airplane that crashed into the World Trade Centre?"
Churchill, who had been on the subway, hadn't heard about that plane, or about the second one. After that, the song took on a new meaning for Churchill.
On that morning, the meaning of U2's "Beautiful Day" was changed for me. From that day forward, it was no longer just a romantic song used to bring back happy memories of a wonderful trip, but now it was a sad, mournful, grief-filled song that became the soundtrack of that awful day...
Incidentally, ten years after U2 had filmed their video, I myself landed at Charles de Gaulle airport. Without incident.