Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Speaking of "chilling," how about the Twitter account for the dead guy?

I believe that it is possible to separate the consideration of Michael Jackson's music, Michael Jackson's personal life, and Michael Jackson's business affairs.

This post concentrates on the latter.

During Jackson's life, it was essential that Jackson be portrayed as dominant - "the King of Pop." Albums, singles, concerts, humanitarian efforts - all were portrayed as hugely successful with strings of superlatives.

Well, luckily all of that ended with his death, right?

Yes, The Gloved One has a Twitter account.

A verified Twitter account.

And if you look closely at the account, you will see that it was established in July 2009.

Jackson died on June 25, 2009 (I remember; I was flying back from a conference in Atlantic City, and all of the TVs in Hartsfield Atlanta airport were talking about his death.)

So this verified account was not created until JUST AFTER HE DIED.

But if you scan the tweets from the account, you'd think he never left us. One example:

“It makes me so happy to be able to brighten those kids’ days by just showing up and talking with them...” –MJ

That particular tweet received over 1,300 retweets over 3,800 likes, and numerous replies regarding how much people love Michael, and how much people miss Michael.

If Jackson's former father-in-law is truly still alive like the tabloids claim, then he must be really jealous. Sure, Elvis had his devoted fans, but nothing like this. Plus, Michael earned twice as much in 2015 as Elvis did. (Sorry, Bob Marley.)

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

A chilling remix of "Rock Me Amadeus"

I am surprised that I haven't posted this before, but here goes.

In the early and mid 1980s, an Austrian rock singer named Falco achieved trans-Atlantic fame with a song called "Rock Me Amadeus." However, because Falco sang in German and stuff, and Americans are afraid of foreign languages, a special remix was released here that minimized the German verses, retained the English "Rock me Amadeus" chorus, and added a spoken word intro with important dates in Mozart's life.

From my perspective, Falco pretty much disappeared after the mid-1980s, although I remember viewing a weird video for a song named "Jeanny."

A decade later, Falco was involved in a fatal automobile crash after ingesting various substances.

Roughly a decade after that, a new remix of "Rock Me Amadeus" was released. It had a few differences from the original.

First, the song included a series of biographical dates, but the dates corresponded to the life of Falco, not Mozart.

Second, the song included references to other Falco songs - more on that in a minute.

Third, the biographical dates continue long beyond the shouted "Rock Me Amadeus" - until we reach the mid-1990s where "fame is now a distant memory."

Then we arrive at February 6, 1998, and the events of that day are narrated, along with automobile/truck sounds.

The song then includes a "News Flash," but not the news flash from "Jeanny."

Perhaps it's best if you listen. Those familiar with Falco's career will appreciate the way this was put together.

Philip Hubbard's video is good too.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

The lyrics for the Shadows instrumental "F.B.I."

Yes, there are lyrics to the Shadows (as in Cliff Richard and the Shadows without Cliff Richard) instrumental song "F.B.I." Allow me to explain.

In the early 1980s, my dorm neighbor was a Greek named Alexandros. Because it was the early 1980s, Alexandros brought a vinyl record with him from Greece; the soundtrack for the film "Lemon Popsicle." (Years later, I discovered that "Lemon Popsicle" was not a Greek film, but an Israeli film.) Because the film was set in the 1950s, the soundtrack consisted of a number of pre-Beatlemania hits, including the aforementioned Shadows song "F.B.I."

Obviously the Shadows had legs and knew how to use them.

But more important than their choreography was their sound. Lead guitarist Hank Marvin in particular is noted as an influential figure in British music - he reputedly introduced the Fender Stratocaster to England - and other English musicians recognized their importance, if we Americans didn't. When Paul McCartney released his video for "Coming Up," I had no idea that the guy in the glasses was NOT supposed to be Buddy Holly.

Anyway, let's go back to the college dorm environment, when you're thrown together with a bunch of people and your Greek neighbor was playing his album ALL THE TIME. Eventually I wrote lyrics to the instrumental:

I am in the F.B.I.
Five o'clock, I'm gonna die.
Gonna get shot down by a Greek from out of town
And the flag of Thessaloniki will fly over the flag of F.B.I.
(Gonna die)

So that's how an instrumental got lyrics. But I'm not gonna try to write lyrics for "Hocus Pocus."

POSTSCRIPT: Some versions of the "Lemon Popsicle" soundtrack are mislabeled. I know that Alexandros' version had an inaccuracy, which can also be found in the Japanese version of the soundtrack.

Check track A10. Yes, the Big Bopper (who died with the guy who looked like Hank Marvin) did sing "Chantilly Lace" - after all, he wrote it. But the version on the soundtrack album includes the singer saying "you know what Jerry Lee likes." I don't know if Jerry Lee Lewis is on all versions of the soundtrack and the soundtrack people goofed, or if he is on some versions and the Big Bopper is on others.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

(from Empoprise-BI) You are not a customer, August 2016 edition (Pandora, Peter Deacon, and Michigan's Video Rental Privacy Act)


I have made a certain point ad nauseum. If you are a user of a service that provides wonderful things to you, then you are probably not a "customer" of the service provider.

Back before Google became Alphabet, its investor website contained the following question:

Who are our customers?

Think of all the services that pre-Alphabet Google provided - search capability, video watching, blogging, et al.

Now forget about all of them.

Our customers are over one million of advertisers, from small businesses targeting local customers to many of the world's largest global enterprises, who use Google AdWords to reach millions of users around the world.

Perhaps things have changed a bit with the creation of Alphabet, but for the most part, Alphabet exists to serve advertisers. The people using Alphabet services are merely providing data and eyeballs.

Which brings us to Michigan's Video Rental Privacy Act. Going back a decade or two to the time when videotapes were popular, people would go to a video store, choose a video tape to rent, pay some money, take it home, watch it, BE KIND REWIND, and return the tape. This worried privacy advocates, who were afraid that someone's recorded rentals of hot sex action and/or Pauly Shore movies would be revealed to the public. Hence, the Video Rental Privacy Act was born.

Peter Deacon, Pandora user, was subsequently disturbed at what Pandora was doing:

Plaintiff Peter Deacon brought a class action in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California against Pandora, claiming that the music-streaming company violated Michigan’s video privacy law by posting his music preferences on Facebook and making his preferences available via an internet search.

As far as Deacon was concerned, Pandora's sharing of this information with Facebook was a privacy violation. I don't know whether Facebook revealed that Deacon loved Morris Albert's "Feelings," the collected works of Britney Spears, or what. But Deacon felt that the Michigan Video Rental Privacy Act would protect him.

It wouldn't.

In a unanimous decision, the seven members of the Michigan court held that Deacon was not a “customer” under the VRPA because he neither rented nor borrowed anything from Pandora. The act is “intended to preserve personal privacy with respect to the purchase, rental, or borrowing of certain materials,” and prohibits the release of any information that indicates the identity of a customer. Accordingly, only customers can sue under the act. A customer is “a person who purchases, rents, or borrows a book or other written material, or a sound recording, or a video recording.”

Now perhaps this is a case in which the law has not caught up with technology. Or perhaps not. But regardless of how we may feel today, current law assumes that the sound recording was purchased, rented, or borrowed.

Would the legalities have changed if Deacon was paying for his Pandora service? That I do not know.

P.S. My music listening habits are revealed for all to see. And yes, you can find Wham! in the list.