Monday, December 22, 2014

Joe Cocker's part in the evolution of a song

The Beatles were at a critical point in their careers in late 1966. Musically, they were creating much more complex songs that could not be played on the stages of the day. Politically, there were people in the Philippines and the southern United States who wanted to kill them. Personally, they were all settling in to domestic life (three were married, and Paul was in a relationship with Jane Asher).

So they shook up things a little bit.

Some of the changes in their lives wouldn't happen for several years yet, but in late 1966/early 1967 they decided that they didn't want to issue another Beatles album. Instead, they wanted to issue an album by an entirely new group, Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club band.

The album started with a declaration that the performers were Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club band. Crowd noises could be heard - not real crowd noises (the band ceased performing live in 1966), but fake ones. After a couple of minutes, the band introduced Billy Shears, whose voice sounded incredibly similar to Ringo Starr. Billy sang a song called "With a Little Help From My Friends." A nice song, but in later years no one would refer to this song as the highlight of the album.

A little while later, someone else sang that same song. And it sounded a little different.

The singer was a man named Joe Cocker, whose voice and physical gyrations would grace several other hits over the next decade and a half. But at the moment, he had transformed this incidental song into something that cowriter Paul McCartney later called a "soul anthem."

This would lead to another transformation, when a off-Broadway singer named John Belushi began to gain fame for his Joe Cocker impression. I couldn't find a video of Belushi singing "With a Little Help," but I did find this gem (which does include a little excerpt of the song).

The video above is an excerpt from the show "Lemmings," a show about death that was clearly not ready for prime time.

A few years later, Cocker and Belushi would perform together on a late-night television show. After that, people started dying. Lennon. Belushi. Harrison. And now Cocker.

But both surviving Beatles, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, paid tribute to Joe Cocker and his amazing, transforming voice.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

What is the state song for Tennessee? I'll give you my opinion.

State legislatures, who have nothing better to do, come up with all sorts of state symbols, including mottos, insects...and songs. A list of the official state songs can be found here.

As you look over the list, you'll discover that some states have problems making up their minds. New Hampshire, which gets along fine with a single motto - "live free or die" - has a whopping ten official state songs.

Tennessee has several songs, but like many other states, the multiple songs are meant to address multiple musical genres. You have your waltz ("Tennessee Waltz"), your bluegrass song ("Rocky Top"), your biometric song ("When it's iris time in Tennessee")...and your rap song.

Well, I should clarify. It's your BICENTENNIAL rap song. (Tennessee's bicentennial, not the nation's.) Written in 1996 "to provide a fun and easy way for citizens and students to learn and retain some Tennessee's history," this rap song exposes the gritty underbelly of Tennessee's major cities.

Well, actually it doesn't. Here's the first verse.

Oh, how proud we are of thee!
Volunteer State since 1812 -
Glad our fathers picked here to dwell!

Now correct me if I'm wrong, but the word "thee" usually doesn't appear in a rap song.

I have not yet found a recording of this piece, but I suspect that its relation to rap is similar to Taylor Swift's relation to country.

I hope that someday Tennessee decides to establish an official loopy hip-hop song. This is my candidate.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

The Jimi Hendrix estate wasn't pleased with a Devo video. But what does the Bob Marley estate like?

I'm surprised that I've never told this story in the Empoprise-MU blog before, since it's certainly been top of mind for years.

Several years ago, Devo released a video compilation entitled "The Complete Truth About De-Evolution," covering the period from the band's origins to the Smooth Noodle Maps album. In addition to historical material, the collection includes official Devo videos that were released during the period. Obviously "Whip It" (the band's one massive hit) is included, along with other Devo-authored originals, but the collection also includes Devo covers of songs by others. Some of these covers offer notable differences from the originally recorded versions; Devo's cover of the Rolling Stones song "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction," for example, brought the band a lot of attention. The collection also includes two other Devo covers: "Worried Man," and "Are You Experienced?"

Well, if you have the original Laserdisc version of the collection, you have all three cover songs.

If you, like I, have the DVD version, one of those songs is missing.

The Rhino Records DVD ... received much criticism from fans of the band ... because of the ... omission of the video for "Are U Experienced?." A comment on the back cover of the DVD addresses this: "DEVO regrets that 'Are U Experienced?' is not included in the program. The current executors of the Jimi Hendrix estate were determined to prove to us the old adage - 'To seek permission is to seek denial'."

However, if you want to see the excluded video, you can go to YouTube.

If you watch the video, you will see some black 80s hip-hop kids who run into a mysterious artifact from the past - a peace sign. The scene transitions to a lab, where four of the members of Devo look respectably scientific. Mark Mothersbaugh, however, wearing the peace sign with a Sonny Bono haircut, goes through strange bodily transformations. The Jimi Hendrix estate presumably took notice when a black hippie, looking like you-know-who, emerged from a coffin and played a guitar solo for some really groovy chicks and dudes.

Or perhaps the estate noticed the line that Mothersbaugh added to the song - something that clearly wasn't in the original:

Not necessarily beautiful, but mutated!

In summary, a perfect Devo-esque sendup of the generation of peace and love - and if you know Devo's creative origins, you'll understand why Devo has this attitude. Gerald Casale was at his school, Kent State University, one day:

As I ran from them I wheeled around in the direction of hideous, mass screaming to see Allison Krause laying on the ground, a huge pool of blood spreading out around her, coagulating in the bright heat of the sun. My mind snaps.

Devo wasn't the only one to turn on peace and love - the National Lampoon crowd did with "Lemmings" also. But Kent State ensured that the 1960s peace and love message wouldn't resonate with Devo's inner consciousness.

Unfortunately, Devo's video take on the Hendrix song apparently didn't resonate with the inner consciousness of Hendrix estate.

Because of this, some Devo fans - well, at least one of them - have been watching the Hendrix estate like a hawk. If the executors object to jokes about the man, exactly what DO they endorse?

While we're waiting on that, another 1960s cultural icon who died early has his own estate managing his family's affairs, and they have come up with an interesting endorsement.

Reggae legend Bob Marley’s name is being used to market an international cannabis brand after a tie-up between the singer’s family and US private equity group Privateer Holdings.

The product will be sold as “Marley Natural” in a deal which Privateer claims will “honour the life and legacy” of the Jamaican behind hits including I Shot the Sheriff and No Woman, No Cry. It will also tap into the Jamaican's “belief in the benefits of cannabis”.

The products are due to come on to the market in 2015 in areas where cannabis use has been legalised.

The messages that I have read from the private equity group concentrate on the healing powers of the herb, but don't delve into the religious significance that the herb held for Marley.

No, Marley didn't just smoke weed because it felt good. Marley was a practicing Rastafarian:

Ganja is considered the "wisdom weed" by Rastafarians, as its use helps one to gain wisdom. Rastafarians use it as a part of a religious rite and as a means of getting closer to their inner spiritual self, Jah (God) and Creation.

Ganja is also seen by Rastafarians as the herb of life mentioned in the Bible. Rastafarians use of ganja is justified by the following Psalms 104:14 that says, "He causeth the grass to grow for the cattle and herb for the service of man, that he may bring forth food out of the earth." Rastafarians also say it was found growing at the grave of King Solomon in the Bible.

Recent political initiatives in the United States have provided an environment in which a private equity firm can actually sell marijuana - something unthinkable a mere few years ago. And the Rastafarian religion is connected to this particular marketing effort.

However, there have been other political initiatives in the United States that have gained even more traction - namely, gay marriage. And the Marley estate would be hard-pressed to cash in on that.

If you are Rasta you would not be homosexual, yet if you were homosexual you might 'claim' to be a Rasta

But what of the Hendrix estate? While Jimi was known to partake of a substance or two, the official Hendrix estate merchandising arm isn't selling Purple Haze potions yet. It has stuck to album reissues, calendars, books, and the like.

At least for now.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

So this came up (Taking Tiger Mountain)

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Bozell's headquarters location is mentioned in a hit song

Louis F. Davis, Jr. was an Ohio native who attended a conference at the University of Nebraska, and ended up getting a job there. The job? To conduct and arrange a version of "Hair" that could be performed in a dinner theater setting. Originally slated to last for eight weeks, the show ended up playing for six months. At its conclusion, Davis made a promise to himself:

[Davis] made himself another promise at the time – that he would try anything except writing country music.

Protecting himself from such a cruel fate, he ended up accepting a job at an Omaha, Nebraska advertising agency, Bozell & Jacobs (known today as simply Bozell). There he made the acquaintance of the firm's senior vice president and creative director, a man named William Fries. Fries and Davis collaborated on a series of commercials that would change both of their lives. You see, the commercials starred a character named C.W. McCall. Fries described what happened after the commercials began to air:

“As soon as the spots started to air, people began writing letters to the Metz Baking Company wanting to know more about C.W. McCall and Mavis and this little soap opera that was going on,” Fries reminisced. “It was just amazing. Fan clubs were springing up and people were calling into TV and radio stations wanting to know when the spots were going to air.”

The popularity resulted in the release of a limited edition record by the Metz Baking Company that sold 30,000 copies. The record? "The Old Home Fill-er-Up an’ Keep-on-a-Truckin’ Café."

However, most of us are familiar with C.W. McCall from a record that came out a couple of years later called "Convoy." The record includes a hidden tribute to the town that Fries and Davis then called home. You see, the convoy kept on getting longer and longer, until at the end of the song, the following conversation took place over the radio:

Ah, 10-4, Pig Pen, what's your twenty? OMAHA? Well, they oughta know what to do with them hogs out there fer shure.

Fries ended up in Colorado, and Chip Davis ended up creating Mannheim Steamroller (yeah, them) - while remaining in Nebraska.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Is Amanda Bynes mentally ill...or are we?

Over the last several weeks - no, the last several years - much virtual ink has been spilled over the plight of Amanda Bynes. She's exhibited erratic behavior. She's used Twitter as a worldwide therapy session, ranging from making accusations about various people, to declaring whether she, or other people, are pretty or ugly.

One morning the reality of Bynes was so disturbing that I shut off Twitter and listened to the radio. Perhaps it would be nice to get away from all of the negative reality.

So this song popped up that declared that it's "all about that bass," in an effort to declare that negative body image messages are demeaning. Or, to put it another way, if you're not skinny, that doesn't mean that you're ugly.

This was followed by another song in which the protagonist spent a lot of time hiding in her apartment, binge eating, and throwing up in her bathtub. But then we get to the joyous chorus:

You're gone and I gotta stay
High all the time
To keep you off my mind
Ooh-ooh, ooh-ooh

So I went back to the less depressing reality of Twitter - at least Bynes talked about English legal affairs on occasion. (I won't bother to link to the tweet; she'll delete it soon anyway.)

P.S. Since this is a music blog, it's worthwhile to at least touch upon Bynes' musical talents. (No, this doesn't count.) Apparently, some of her younger years were spent on stage in productions of "Annie" and "The Music Man," among others, but I couldn't find a record of the parts that she played in those musicals.

Monday, November 3, 2014

More on Taylor Swift - and Disney - from Daniel Messer

In addition to the points that I made in my recent post - namely, that some artists can make more money from continuous streaming than they can from a single non-repeatable purchase - I ran across some other points from Daniel Messer. The subtitle on his post about Swift's removal of her songs from Spotify? "That'll Stop That Piracy."

Swift herself has been an outspoken critic of music piracy and streaming services, which is funny because my paying for Spotify means I’d never had to pirate a Taylor Swift song. (Not that I’d want to, but if the need was there….)

But it doesn't just end with music services. Messer used to work in a library, where customers could check out popular DVDs - such as Disney's "The Lion King." In fact, customers checked out the DVDs so much that they got worn out. When the library wanted to replace the DVDs, it ran into a little problem.

We couldn’t buy a new copy of The Lion King if we wanted to because it was “in Disney’s vaults” and not for sale at that time. Disney used to pull this in order to create false scarcity and keep the demand, and prices, high for their content.

Messer then posted three sentences. One will bring tears to your eyes. The other two will bring tears to Disney's eyes.

I watched disappointed kids walk away from the desk, being consoled by their parents. “Don’t worry, honey. We’ll just go home and download it or something.”

If you can't get something one way, and you really really really want it, you'll get it another way.

Taylor, somewhere some young girl is crying - and learning what "ripping" is.

So are you listening to Taylor Swift now? (Swift vs. Spotify)

In a post last week, I noted how listening habits had changed over the years, and that people who used to buy records or 8-track tapes now stream their music, paying for the privilege one way or another (either via a monthly fee, or by listening to ads). I also noted that if someone really likes a particular song, then the artist can make more from a streaming model than could be made by buying the song.

Taylor Swift is not convinced.

(Source: Wikipedia)

The Shake It Off singer hasn’t been too keen on sharing her music with Spotify. Swift’s most recent album, 1989, wasn’t on the service, and she initially held off on allowing Spotify to stream her 2012 album, Red. But the 24-year-old, whose music seems to have its own copyright patrol service, had been showing signs that she wouldn’t work with Spotify since July....

Needless to say, Spotify is arguing that Swift made a mistake when she pulled most of her songs off of Spotify.

We love Taylor Swift, and our more than 40 million users love her even more – nearly 16 million of them have played her songs in the last 30 days, and she’s on over 19 million playlists.

TIME estimates that a leading artist such as Swift could make hundreds of thousands of dollars a month in song streams for a new album. That revenue, of course, is now denied to Swift, at least for now. This may be a stunt to get a higher royalty, or perhaps Swift is never ever ever ever coming back to Spotify.

Is Swift's VEVO page next?

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

I don't know why I had such trouble finding this song

It was early Monday evening, and I was dining at the Chipotle in Upland. Retail establishments has assembled scientific evidence that you have to play music to get people to buy buy buy. Therefore, this Chipotle was playing music to encourage us to eat more or whatever.

But while receiving the subliminal motivation to buy more chips, I heard a song that sounded interesting. It was a reggae style song, with a smooth singer, and with the chorus "I love you in every way."

Since my dinner date is not impressed with reggae, I restrained myself from searching for the song right then and there. But later that evening, armed only with the chorus and the style of music, I began my search.

Early evidence indicated that the song that I heard was a Buju Banton/Wayne Wonder song called "Bonafide Love."

But then I listened to the track and, while it was the correct tune, I realized that this was not the version that I heard at Chipotle.

Then the Who Sampled Who website provided another hint, referencing a Delroy Wilson song called "I Don't Know Why."

So I went to Spotify...and found no such song.

I did, however, find a song called "Movie Star" that matched the tune...but this was not the version that I heard at Chipotle.

Eventually, I did find a YouTube video.

Finally, I had found the exact version of the song that I heard at Chipotle. The video labeled this version as an "extended" version, which seemed to map to what I heard while eating. ("Movie Star" is less than three minutes long.)

After some further investigation, I discovered that this extended version was only released on one album:

In 2006, Heartbeat re-released the Best of Delroy Wilson...Original 12 and added six bonus cuts, including the soul nugget "I Love You Madly," the Wilson- Dodd originals "Rain from the Skies," a previously unissued extended mix of "I Don't Know Why," a killer cover of Theo Beckford's "Easy Snappin'" that has never appeared digitally before, and the stunner "One Last Kiss," originally released on 45 by the Wilson Brothers in 1965, to close the set out. How do you make a classic like this one better? Add more vintage, top-notch material, which is just what Heartbeat has done. This is an essential collection for fans of rocksteady music.

Unfortunately, this particular album wasn't on Spotify. And I couldn't find a digital version of the album on Amazon.

But I still had the YouTube video, which I could listen to via This Is My Jam.

Which could then get scrobbled on

And you know what can happen when I do that.

Monday, October 27, 2014

That's $1.846 (and counting) that Sarah McLachlan got, no thanks to Sony

For better or worse, most of the music that I've listened to over the last several years has been electronically logged. I may not publicize my location or my credit card purchases, but I certainly publicize my tunes.

For example, if you look at this page, you can see all of the times that I've listened to the Sarah McLachlan song "Fumbling Towards Ecstasy (Junior Boys Mix)," from the "Bloom (Remix Album)."

Yes, I listened to that song 30 times over a two-year period. On March 27, 2008 at 9:13 (time zone unknown), I first heard - excuse me a moment...

Doo doo doo
Doo doo doo
Doo doo doo - dooooooo

What was I saying? Oh, I first the song in March 2008, and I listened to it pretty regularly after that, but stopped listening to it on June 26, 2009 at 14:23.

Why would I start listening to the song, and then stop?

Well, as I previously stated in these two posts from 2008 and 2009, I first heard the song after Steven Hodson played it and shared it on In fact, I was so inspired by hearing the song that I bought the entire CD at a Barnes & Noble in Montclair, California in August 2008. However, my listening habits changed, and rather than putting a CD into a CD player and listening to it, I would take the songs from the CD, convert them to electronic format, and listen to them on a computer or phone.

Except for the Bloom (Remix Album). As I noted in my second post:

If you look at the first page of my library, you'll see a lot of scrobbles from the Röyksopp and Midnight Juggernauts albums that I recently purchased, but you won't see a lot of scrobbles from the Sarah McLachlan album that I recently purchased. Why not? Because the CD had a copy-protection scheme that I never bothered to master, so I never downloaded the songs to my computer.

Which, in present-day terms (even for me) means that I hardly ever listen to Sarah McLachlan.

It's important to remember that back in 2009, wouldn't let you just choose to stream a particular song, even if you had an electronic copy stashed away somewhere. You could listen to your electronic copy, but of course I didn't have one of "Fumbling" because of the DRM junk. So I couldn't regularly enjoy

Doo doo doo
Doo doo doo
Doo doo doo - dooooooo

So as I streamed other music on, and eventually on Spotify after changed its streaming model, "Fumbling Toward Ecstasy (Junior Boys Mix)" remained out of sight, out of mind. As you can see, I never listened to that song from the Bloom (Remix Album) ever again.

But if you look at my records, you'll see this series of scrobbles for "Fumbling Towards Ecstasy - Junior Boys Mix." (See the difference?) These are my Spotify scrobbles, which began on October 23, 2014 at 1:06, as I was assembling the Emu201410f Spotify playlist that I tried to mention here.

Here is a better link to that playlist, which not only includes Sarah McLachlan, but also some NEW Midnight Juggernauts, and the Osmonds.



So what does this mean financially for Ms. McLachlan? First, it means that she got some cut of the $18.46 that I paid for the CD back in 2008. Second, depending upon how pays the record labels, she got some cut of some or all of the 30 plays of the song from 2008-2009. Third, she's getting some cut (perhaps a penny per play - more here) of my current Spotify plays of the song. If my penny per play estimate is accurate, it will take hundreds of Spotify plays before she makes as much money as she did from the percentage that Sony gave her in 2008.

But that is entirely possible.

Doo doo doo
Doo doo doo
Doo doo doo - dooooooo

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Test post of Spotify playlist Emu201410f

A rather eclectic playlist, but I like it.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Leader of the pack - forming the super supergroup

(Yes, this is an instance in which you will find a story here that is not being reported by any other reputable publication. Hint, hint.)

The four gentlemen were sitting in a conference room at a hotel near O'Hare Airport, staring at a conference phone. A voice was speaking from the phone.

"Good evening, gentlemen," said the voice. "I'd like to thank you for coming here, although I'm certain that the $100 million paid to each of you had something to do with it."

("They got $100 million too?" mumbled one of the four.)

"As you have probably guessed, you have been asked to join together in a joint musical endeavor. Because of your high standings in the music industry, my supervisor believes that your joint endeavor will provide immense riches - I mean immense musical creativity - ah, who am I kidding? Immense riches." The voice laughed. "I need the four of you to decide upon a spokesman for the group, and then we can proceed."

There was the briefest of silences, and then the mumbler spoke up.

"The choice of a spokesman for the group is obviously a no-brainer," he stated. "With all deference to you old guys, I am the 21st century genius in this bunch. I have revolutionized all forms of entertainment, and my wife Kim isn't too shabby either. So, Charlie or whoever you are on the phone, Kanye will be the group spokesman."

An even briefer silence took place before the next person spoke. "Kanye, your work is so derivative," he said. "It's one thing to get a random video together, but you need to create a philosophy behind the video - one that is informed by current events. Now you may have spent your days watching your wife's sex tape, but I was there at Kent State, and my experience resulted in a philosophy that not only informed my band's successful audio output, but also its successful video output. Our video for 'Beautiful World' was the most revolutionary-"

Gerald Casale was interrupted in mid-sentence by the third man. "Revolutionary?" he exclaimed. "I invented video! Without my pioneering work in video, all of your flowerpot stuff would be nothing! And as for success, you guys were one hit wonders. I've had success on my own, I've had success with a band, I've had success with Linda Ronstadt, and I have more Liquid Paper than the rest of you combined!"

"Shut up, hat boy!" said the fourth man.

"You're a fine one to talk, surfer boy," replied the third man.

"Now you shut up, Nesmith. And you too, Casale. And especially you, West. All of you are wonderful in the studio with Auto Tune and everything else, but you haven't been performing live for fifty years like I have. Why? Because you're too scared. This supergroup is going to have to go out on tour at some point, and you won't be able to hack it. And as for the inventiveness that you all brag about, you haven't invented anything! I, Mike Love, invented surf music. I, Mike Love, invented car music. I, Mike Love, invented introspective music. I, Mike Love, invented Brian Wilson. And I, Mike Love, have continued to revolutionize music to this very day. In fact, Charlie, you don't need these other three! I, Mike Love, can be your supergroup! Who needs that Wilson dude? Who needs Al Jardine? Who needs what's-his-name who writes songs for Manilow?"

"Shut up, Mike!" yelled the voice on the speakerphone. "My boss says that all four of you will be in this group, and all four of you will be in this group! And if you know what's good for you, you won't quit. Just saying." He paused. "We'll table this discussion of group leader for a later time. Right now, I'd like to introduce you to your new manager and producer." There was a pause. "Gentlemen, meet Malcolm McLaren."

The room was quiet.

"I thought he was dead," said Gerald Casale.

A new voice emerged on the speaker. "But there are buffalo gals in HELL! And as for innovation, you pretenders..."

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Music-related phrases that you never saw, and will never see

When reading the music press, there are certain phrases that do not shock you; "Heavy Metal Star Arrested for Drugs" is one example. But there are certain statements that you will NEVER see in the music press. Here are a few examples:

"Madness spent the last three months in Hollywood recording their new album."
(If there is any band that represents the word "English," it's the band Madness. Perhaps they'd spent two nights on the Sunset Strip, but after that it would be "time for tea" and they'd scurry back across the pond.)

"Kanye West is refraining from promoting his recent acoustic album."
(Unlikely on at least two levels. Even if Kanye were to grab an acoustic guitar and sing without Auto-Tune, it is very unlikely that he could keep his mouth shut about the endeavor.)

"Oasis has reunited with both Gallagher brothers, but will not release a new record and will perform all concerts at free venues."
(I'm not ruling out a future reunion of Oasis, but if they do reunite, they will reunite for the same reason that the Sex Pistols reunited - money.)

"Pat Boone is promoting his album of heavy metal covers."
(Oh wait - Boone DID do that.)

Friday, May 30, 2014

Rodger Manning, you probably think this post is about you #apmp

At the recent Bid & Proposal Con for the Association of Proposal Management Professionals, Dr. Rodger Manning of Bid Write gave a presentation on bid losses. Specifically, he told us of an analysis that he had conducted on the reasons for various bid losses at a particular company, Desire. Because we were benefiting from the knowledge gained from these losses (Manning's opening quote: "When you lose, don't lose the lesson"), Dr. Manning entitled his presentation "Reasons to Be Cheerful."

Some of you can already see where this is going, and why I'd write about this presentation in my music blog.

After briefly discussing some general reasons why proposals win, Dr. Manning began discussing eight of Desire's bid losses, and the specific reasons (according to the customers) why Desire lost each bid. The eight bid losses were identified by the following titles:

"Don't Stand So Close To Me"
"When Will I See You Again?"
"Return to Sender"
"We Used to Be Friends"
"Things Are Seldom What They Seem"
"Totally Wired"
"Another Brick in the Wall"
"Someday (I Will Understand)"

Frankly, the whole idea of basing a technical presentation on song titles is pretty silly. Who would do something like that?

P.S. Sadly, because has changed its rules, I can no longer play my own biometric/public safety-related playlist that I created for the Oracle OpenWorld Unconference in 2008. But maybe I can re-create some of this in Spotify.

1 The Police – Wrapped Around Your Finger 5:14
2 Billy Idol – Eyes Without a Face 4:09
3 Junior Murvin – Police and Thieves 3:58
4 Bob Marley & The Wailers – I Shot The Sheriff 7:14
5 Eminem – My Name Is 4:29
6 Neil Young & Crazy Horse – Welfare Mothers 3:49
7 spamtron – voter registration phone call 3:57
8 The Who – Who Are You 5:07
9 ABBA – Knowing Me, Knowing You 4:03
10 Arcadia – Election Day Loved track 4:29
11 Harry Chapin – Taxi 6:41
12 Michael Jackson – Smooth Criminal 5:35
13 Randy Newman – Little Criminals 3:02
14 Bruce Springsteen – State Trooper 3:11
15 Stevie Wonder – Living For The City 3:39
16 The Human League – I Am the Law 4:08
17 Goo Goo Dolls – Iris 4:50
18 blink-182 – What's My Age Again? 2:29
19 Audioslave – Be Yourself 4:39
20 Bad Religion – I Love My Computer 3:03
21 Eminem – Lose Yourself Loved track 4:24
22 Finger Eleven – Paralyzer 3:27
23 Journey – Be Good to Yourself 3:51
24 Metallica – Am I Evil? 5:41
25 Nickelback – Savin' Me 3:38
26 Optimus Rhyme – Obey the Moderator 2:57
27 Evanescence – Bring Me to Life 3:58
28 Phil Collins – Don't Lose My Number 4:47
29 Survivor – Eye of the Tiger 6:12
30 Hall & Oates – Private Eyes 3:26
31 Kim Carnes – Bette Davis Eyes 3:39
32 Royal Trux – Lunch Money 2:41
33 Patsy Cline – Fingerprints 2:46
34 Leonard Cohen – Fingerprints 2:55
35 The Beatles – I Want to Hold Your Hand 2:37
36 Talking Heads – Puzzlin' Evidence 5:24
37 Supertramp – Crime Of The Century 5:34
38 Alien Ant Farm – Smooth Criminal 3:29
39 Ricky Nelson – Travelin' Man 2:20
40 Madonna – Borderline 5:21
41 Elton John – Border Song 3:22
42 Al Stewart – On the Border 3:23
43 Devo – Secret Agent Man 3:36
44 Owls – For Nate's Brother Whose Name I Never Knew Or Can't Remember 2:57
45 TRUSTcompany – Retina 3:13
46 Janis Joplin – Trust Me 3:15
47 The Shadows – F.B.I. 2:21
48 The Police – Every Breath You Take 4:14
49 The Doors – Touch Me 3:12
50 The Who – See Me, Feel Me 3:23
51 Øystein Sevåg – The Old Man 6:01
52 Frankie Valli – You're Just Too Good To Be True
53 They Might Be Giants – Fingertips 5:26
54 Filter – Take a Picture 6:02
55 Soundgarden – Face Pollution 2:23
56 Fiona Apple – Criminal 5:44
57 Ministry – Thieves 5:32
58 Thompson Twins – Lay Your Hands On Me 4:21
59 Peter Gabriel – In Your Eyes 5:28
60 The Guess Who – These Eyes 4:11
61 Daft Punk – Face to Face 3:18
62 Jane's Addiction – Been Caught Stealing 6:06
63 Seal – Touch 5:19
64 Elvis Costello & The Imposters – No Hiding Place 4:00
65 Alan Jackson – Listen To Your Senses 3:09
66 UB40 – Tell Me Is It True 3:25
67 Sly & The Family Stone – Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Again) 4:36
68 Failure – Stuck On You

P.P.S. In addition to obviously having a love of music, Manning is a former rocket scientist - so if he says something isn't rocket science, believe him.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

The Carly Simon school of Röyksopp song interpretation

One of Röyksopp's more recent songs is a collaboration with Susanne Sundfør entitled "Running to the Sea." A powerful sounding song (check the video), but when you examine the lyrics, it's almost as if it were written by someone who speaks English as a second language.

Obviously, I'm being hypercritical - music lyrics normally don't make sense even if they're written in the artist's native tongue - but the lyrics for this song bounce around between oceans and rivers in a maddening sort of way.

So I wondered what others thought of the song lyrics, and I ran across this analysis:

Song Meaning:
This song is about oil and the industry which runs inside our vains even though we know it might be one of the main reasons of the destructions of the earth and the human race.

snowreon January 25, 2013

snowre, you probably think this song is about you.

(And again, I'm probably being hypercritical. snowre may be Norwegian.)

Monday, April 7, 2014

If everyone sang their songs

Everyone who was anybody, including all of the Kardashians, were present at Wembley Stadium (not Wembley Arena, but Wembley Stadium) when the concert began.

Morris Albert appeared first, singing "Feelings."

Local heroes The Buggles then sang "Video Killed the Radio Star."

The Americans were represented by Lee Greenwood, who sang "God Bless The U.S.A."

After that, C.W. McCall sang "Convoy."

Right Said Fred followed this up with "I'm Too Sexy."

Meanwhile, the Beatles, reunited via a Google-funded bodily resurrection project, were having an argument over which song they were going to perform.

"Yesterday," Paul McCartney was stating.

"Nonsense," replied John. "It has to be 'Revolution.' The time is right."

"If I may remind you," asserted George, "'Something' was a number one hit."

Ringo sat in a corner, dourly playing cards with a resurrected Mal Evans and Neil Aspinall, saying nothing - but whistling "Act Naturally" as he dealt.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Is he funny, John Cleese?

So anyways, I spent part of my Sunday afternoon listening to Human League songs on Spotify, and took the opportunity to listen to portions of Octopus for the first time. As I scanned the song titles, I immediately saw the song that Spotify labeled "John Cleese; Is He Funny?" (I have also seen it labeled as "John Cleese: Is He Funny?" and "John Cleese - Is He Funny?" I notice these things.) Seeing that this song was solely written by Philip Oakey, I was intrigued to see what Oakey would say on the subject of Cleese's funniness.

But, as more dedicated Human League fans already knew, Oakey had NOTHING to say about Cleese's funniness, because the song "John Cleese [insert punctuation here] Is He Funny?" is an instrumental. With no words whatsoever.

Or are there? Squidy:

Anyway, in 1997 League lead Phil Oakey had his hair cut as part of the rebranding of his band for the Nineties. As the long left-sided lashes of Phil hit the barbershop floor a previously thought lost notebook was discovered perched on Oakey's left ear. "Coo, I wondered where that got to! I spent ages looking for that," said Phil Oakey, acknowledging his left ear. "Now what's this notebook all about then?". It turns out the notebook contained rough lyrics and notes for the album that was to become Octopus, written between 1990 and 1994. Then titled 'Squidy' (whooo, spooky, eh listeners!), the most interesting pages included original lyrics for 'One Man In My Heart' which was originally called 'One Man In My Hat' and was about top Belgian apple-faced sky-faller Rene Magritte, and a proposed remix of 'Love Action' with additional mewing noises.

The previously unreleased lyrics for the John Cleese Funny song can be found here. And the released (instrumental) version of the song is at the end of this playlist of Human League songs.

Friday, March 7, 2014

The opening act wasn't KISSed off

Opening act. Not a good place to be..usually. The focus is on the headliner, and the opening act sometimes doesn't get soundchecks, or even an acknowledgement that they exist.

But it was slightly different for Black Sheep when they opened for Kiss. Lou Gramm, who later became famous with Foreigner, recounted Black Sheep's experience:

We ... had two albums out on Capitol and were opening for Kiss on a huge world tour. At one show we played in Boston, we received a standing ovation. Kiss’ management and crew were very good to us. Even though we were the opening act and knew we shouldn’t go back out, their tour manager told us to go answer our encore!

And of course, Gene Simmons' part in Van Halen's career is the stuff of legend.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Was Chris Farley present at the birth of ambient music?

If I had to take one Brian Eno album to a desert island, I would probably choose Before and After Science. This album, released in the days when records and cassettes had two sides, is clearly divided into two distinct parts. Side one clearly echoes some of Eno's previous solo releases; "King's Lead Hat" could easily fit on Here Comes the Warm Jets. Side two echoes other solo releases by Eno, such as Discreet Music and the quieter parts of Another Green World. Take, for example, the meditative song "By This River."

If I had to take a Chris Farley comedy routine to a desert island, I'd take his starry-eyed fan interview of Paul McCartney. But if I didn't choose that, I'd probably choose his first appearance as Matt Foley, Motivational Speaker. Foley, as portrayed by Farley, is anything but meditative. Loud, angry, yelling at the people he is supposed to be motivating, and portraying anything but a positive attitude (unlike the real Matt Foley, who has dealt with adversity in a positive way), the Matt Foley character is probably most famous for telling his subjects/victims that he himself lives in a van down by the river.

I think you know where this is going.

Yes, dailybeating created a brilliant mashup.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Devo's Bob Casale is dead

A friend of mine alerted me to this news. For the moment, I won't discuss the undercurrent of the dueling announcements that follow in this post.

Oddly enough, I had been reading about the late Alan Myers recently. Now comes word that another member of Devo, Bob Casale, has passed away. Publicly identified as the engineer for the band, this Bob (or, for that matter, the other Bob) wasn't as well known as the other members of Devo, but he was clearly an integral part of the band.

Mark Mothersbaugh offered these comments:

We are shocked and saddened by Bob Casale’s passing. He not only was integral in DEVO’s sound, he worked over twenty years at Mutato, collaborating with me on sixty or seventy films and television shows, not to mention countless commercials and many video games. Bob was instrumental in creating the sound of projects as varied as Rugrats and Wes Anderson’s films. He was a great friend. I will miss him greatly. “

-Mark Mothersbaugh

Bob's brother, Gerald Casale, obviously had some thoughts of his own:

Very sad news to report today.

Bob Casale of Devo. Born: July 14th, 1952 . Deceased: February 17th, 2014

As an original member of Devo, Bob Casale was there in the trenches with me from the beginning. He was my level-headed brother, a solid performer and talented audio engineer, always giving more than he got. He was excited about the possibility of Mark Mothersbaugh allowing Devo to play shows again. His sudden death from conditions that lead to heart failure came as a total shock to us all.

Gerald Casale, Devo founder.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

She had to leave...Los Angeles!

Exene Cervenka, formerly of the band X, is forever connected with Los Angeles. But she's leaving California and moving to Austin, Texas. From Rolling Stone (h/t Trevor Carpenter):

Cervenka, who just turned 58, is having an estate sale this weekend. She's in good health, but she wants to move to Austin, Texas, and doesn't want to lug along all her stuff. So she's putting thousands of items up for sale....

Trevor and I took particular note of one of the reasons that she's leaving. Yes, she likes Austin, and she likes Jerry Brown, but she says that the California that she's leaving is not the one that originally attracted her.

[W]hen I moved to California in 1976...[i]t was barefoot hippie girls, Hell's Angels on the Sunset Strip, East L.A. lowriders, the ocean and nature. It was this fabulous incredible place about freedom. Now when I think about California, I think of a liberal oppressive police state and regulations and taxes and fees. I'd rather go someplace and have my own little place out on the edge of town. I'm a country girl at heart. It makes me happy when I see people in Texas open-carrying. It makes me feel safe. I'm not even a gun owner, but I'd like to see a gun rack in every pickup truck, like my boyfriend had when I was fifteen years old in Florida. An armed society is a polite society.

Be sure to read the rest of the article. Her thoughts on material possessions are refreshing. For example, she is selling a picture of John Doe, her former bandmate. She could have kept it..."[b]ut I know this guy, so I don't need a picture of him."

P.S. Here's a song, since this is like a music blog and all.

Friday, February 14, 2014

In England, it's not just rap music that's being played too loudly

As I write this, a Florida jury is deliberating to determine whether Michael Dunn is guilty of murder in the death of Jordan Davis, who was apparently playing really loud rap music.

But there's a case in West Yorkshire in which a verdict has already been reached.

Thankfully, murder is not the issue here. However, 18 year old Thomas Alcock has had his entire record collection seized by a court after his neighbors complained that the noise from Alcock's home was so loud that "it was vibrating the handrails to the stairwell."

So whose music was Alcock blasting? A rapper? A metal maniac?

No, Alcock was blasting...Adele.

I guess she'll be banned now.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Your all-American sports often feature British songs

It's funny when you think about it.

You can find basketball and ice hockey in Britain, but they're nowhere near the major sports that they are in the United States.

So why do we Americans listen to so many British songs at our basketball and ice hockey games?

Think about it. Queen's "We Will Rock You." Gary Glitter's "Rock and Roll Part Two." Blur's "Song 2." Ozzy Osbourne's "Crazy Train."

You can hear these and other songs here.

This just demonstrates the huge musical shift that occurred in the early 1960s. In 1959, no one could predict that American sports fans would start listening to British songs during games.

Of course, this changed a few short years later...and not because of Acker Bilk.

Monday, February 10, 2014

#wwfd - online wisdom from Kevin Federline

It appears that Kevin Federline's official site is no longer available, but a fan site still exists that includes this game - What Would Federline Do?

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Farewell ceremony?

From a phishing expedition:

Because it's from spammers, the wording is awkward. I especially loved their use of the phrase "farewell ceremony" to describe a funeral. However, I'm sure that for some of my secular friends, the term may be appropriate.

Perhaps the Devo Corporate Anthem could be played at such a farewell ceremony.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Sinister fingerings - left-handed musical instruments

Activist terrorist left-handers sometimes blow up bombs (and not always the right way) because of a world that demeans them and relegates them to second-class status. But if the left-handers happen to be musicians, there is hope for them, even in this right-handed world in which we live.

Now when you think of left-handed musical instruments, the first one that comes to mind is the left-handed sewer flute. And when you think of the left-handed sewer flute, two names come to mind - Bob Block and Peter Nothnagle.

Bob and his friend Peter Nothnagle had been unimpressed with the quality, and especially the tuning, of the imitation renaissance flutes on the market at that time, and decided to try making their own, using plastic plumber's tubing in different widths, and corks donated by their wine-drinking friends. Bob and Peter spent a lot of time experimenting with width and length, sizes and shapes of the holes, and the feathering of the edges of the holes in order to make each and every flute play reliably on pitch. The sold entire consorts of soprano, alto, tenor and bass flutes for several years under the name "Aardvark Fluteworks." (He once received a catalog in the mail addressed to "Mr. and Mrs. Aardvark Flutewo.")

OK, perhaps you think of two other names when discussing the left-handed sewer flute - some Schickele and some Bach - but did either of those people have a frog collection?

A very popular instrument for left-handers is the guitar, since it is relatively easy to convert a right-handed guitar to a left handed one. Among the people who are known for playing left-handed guitar are Jimi Hendrix, Paul McCartney, and Kurt Cobain.

After all, it's much easier to convert a guitar for left-handed use than, say, a piano. If you look at the very shape of a grand piano, it's obvious that the longer bass strings can only go on the left side. In addition, the arrangement of the white and black keys on the keyboard can't really work in a left-handed fashion. (If you switched the order, then C#, which is a black key on the keyboard, would have to be played on a white key, the one that was formerly assigned to B.)

So if you want a left-handed piano, you'd have to build the entire thing from scratch - and who is going to do that?


The instrument was built by Poletti and Tuinman Fortepiano Makers of Holland, one of the finest firms in the world. It is a mirror-image piano based on an instrument built by Conrad Graf in Vienna around 1826.

This piano was built for the benefit of Christopher Seed, who to my knowledge has never played a left-handed sewer flute.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Your property will be branded to sell

A few years ago, I shared a post about real estate agent Marilyn Wilson Rutherford, a Southern Californian who is the mother of two thirds of Wilson Phillips, the former wife of one of the Beach Boys, and a former performer herself (with the girl group The Honeys).

But Rutherford is not the only musician turned real estate agent. If you need an agent in the Chattanooga, Tennessee area, perhaps you may want to use this guy:

Sim A. Wilson III is First Vice President for CBRE in Chattanooga, Tennessee. In 2009, Sim transitioned from Miami office to Eastern Tennessee assuming responsibility as principal broker for CBRE’s newly formed Tennessee office serving Chattanooga, Cleveland and Knoxville. Sim provides property acquisition, disposition and leasing services for CBRE Corporate Services and Institutional Clients both locally and regionally. Sim has been providing sophisticated real estate solutions for more than 22 years and has been with CBRE since 1994.

For more of Mr. Wilson's accomplishments in Tennessee and Florida, see the page.

Unfortunately, the page (unlike Rutherford's) does not discuss Mr. Wilson's previous musical accomplishments in California. Presumably this is because of the real estate market in Tennessee. While it's fine for Rutherford to speak of her musical background for her Southern California clientele, it's uncertain if Mr. Wilson's clients would necessarily be interested in his career as lead singer for a noted punk band - even if said band was a Christian punk band.

And Wilson is not the only Undercover Californian to head east. If you go to James Madison University in Virginia, you can take classes from Joseph Taylor. Incidentally, if you have not checked in with Taylor since the 1980s, his spiritual journey (documented in his blog) has been varied.

Monday, January 27, 2014

I went to Nashville to make my mark, but the mall cop shut me down

You know that someone is going to write a song about this.

Members of a glee club who have performed at Carnegie Hall and toured Europe were shut down when they broke into a spontaneous song for a lunchtime crowd at Opry Mills Mall in Nashville.

About 60 members of the men's glee club from Miami University in Ohio had just finished lunch at the mall during a break between performances Friday in Nashville when a security guard rolled up on a Segway.

It turns out that if you want to sing at Opry Mills, it has to be pre-arranged. None of this spontaneous stuff.

More here.

What rhymes with "Segway"?

Friday, January 24, 2014

Squatting and its effect on English music

Until recently, I had never heard of Fiona Russell Powell. I had, however, heard of Eden, briefly a member of the band ABC.

ABC was a band from Sheffield, England, that enjoyed success in both England and the United States during the 1980s. ABC was just one of many bands that emerged from Sheffield during that period; I mentioned some of them here in a post about the original singer of "The Crying Game" - a song made popular by one Boy George.

Back to Eden (if you can ever go back). Eden's real name is Fiona Russell Powell, and as a young teenager she had joined a band called Vice Versa. She quit the band before a gig, and was replaced by one Martin Fry. The band changed its name to ABC, and the rest is history.

In subsequent years Fiona would become a noted music journalist, rejoin the band ABC for one album, adopt the stage name "Eden," be dismissed from the band, and eventually go through rehab.

However, after quitting Vice Versa and before launching her journalism career, Fiona left Sheffield and moved to London. It wasn't an easy move.

By the time I arrived in London in 1980, I was already a seasoned teen runaway having left home in Sheffield and been removed from public school at the age of 15 and a half as a punishment for "refusing to conform". I was 17 and had no job, no money and knew only one person who also had no money, lived in a hostel and knew no-one. Through luck and serendipity, I ended up sleeping on the lounge floor at Glenn Gregory's basement flat in Ladbroke Grove.

If you don't recognize the name, Glenn Gregory would eventually become the lead singer of Heaven 17. However, after Glenn's girlfriend threw Fiona out, Fiona moved to a new place on Carburton Street. Since people were squatting at the Carburton Street place, things were somewhat precarious, but it was better than living on the street.

Initially Fiona shared a room with someone else, but eventually a new room opened up.

George had literally just moved out of his room into (poet and playwright) Jonathan and Pam Gem's flat, which was nearby in Goodge Street, so I moved out of Brian's room and took over George's. I also stopped going out with Brian. The walls in George's room were covered in pictures of Kirk Brandon and he had tons of a Theatre of Hate EP that he practically used as wallpaper! Also, he had the photo of Einstein sticking out his tongue, along with a large glass sweet jar that George had used to keep his cotton wool make-up remover balls in and so did I. There was a cute little doll made out of fruit that I also kept. I've still got it somewhere.

George was George O'Dowd, later known worldwide as Boy George. One of George's friends, a man named Marilyn who initially was as famous as George was, remained in the house, and Fiona experienced something with Marilyn that would change her life for many years to come.

Anyway, one evening, Marilyn was doing my make-up, using products from Charles Fox, the theatrical costumiers, which was what all the drag queens used in those days. In fact, Marilyn really taught me how to put on make-up and he was an absolute artist. Anyway, he wanted to pluck my eyebrows and I said no, it would hurt too much. He kept insisting and I kept refusing. Then suddenly he said, "'Ere, 'ave some of this", and shoved some brown powder under my nose. I knew what it was but asked "Is that what I think it is?". "'Course it is, now take it before I change my mind. I don't usually give it away."

For more about Carburton Street and other squatting locations, see Time Out, Fitzrovia News, and The Blitz Kids.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Cliff Richard's part in the British Invasion?

Considering its relative size, the hold of the British music industry on the American market is remarkable. For example, I spent much of New Year's Eve listening to White Town.

When considering why a guy in California would be listening to a band like White Town, you have to go back to the Beatles, who dominated the U.S. music charts beginning in early 1964. Their arrival in New York has become a historical moment.

But it was not the first time that a Beatle visited the United States.

In September 1963, the Beatles were the talk of the United Kingdom, and had miraculously become even more popular than Cliff Richard, seemingly within a few short months. After intense activity, the band took a break, and guitarist George Harrison and his brother Peter went to visit their sister Louise - who happened to be living in the United States.

The long-haired guy with the funny accent was very busy during his time in the United States - he bought a guitar, he visited a radio station, and he appeared at a Veterans of Foreign Wars hall, backed by the Four Vests and billed as the Elvis of England. Among the songs they performed was "Roll Over Beethoven." (Apparently "Don't Bother Me" was not performed.)

But at some point during his stay in the States, George Harrison went to a drive-in movie - and was in for a shock.

George went back to England with horror stories of how CLIFF RICHARD, the biggest star in the U.K., was reduced to the second half of a double-feature here in the States at the local drive-in with his U.K. smash film SUMMER HOLIDAY....

George's conclusion? Despite the warm reception at the VFW hall, it was clearly apparent that the Beatles' music would never break in the United States. After all, if Cliff Richard had failed, what hope did the Beatles have for making a dent in this huge country?

As it turns out, George was wrong - within a few months, Beatlemania would strike the U.S.

But all was not lost for Cliff Richard in America either. Although he has never had a #1 U.S. hit like the Beatles, his song "Devil Woman" did reach #6 on the charts - in 1976.