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Entries in "Music"

January 01, 2012

Best wishes for the new year …

… to all the readers of this blog.

new-year-2012-14.jpg

I hope that the strangest dream that Simon and Garfunkel sang about in 1964 can come true in the near future.

December 24, 2011

Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy by Pyotr Tchaikovsky

If you are sick of cheesy holiday music, here is some relief, played on a glass harp.

November 25, 2011

Brooklyn Roads by Neil Diamond

This is my favorite Neil Diamond song, an evocative embrace of childhood memories.

November 22, 2011

God's Away on Business

The similarities in the voices of Cookie Monster and Tom Waits is uncanny.

Since it is hard to make out the words sometimes, here are the lyrics.

I'd sell your heart to the junk-man baby for a buck, for a buck
If you're looking for someone to pull you out of that ditch, you're out of luck, you're out of luck

The ship is sinking, the ship is sinking, the ship is sinking

There's a leak, there's a leak in the boiler room

The poor, the lame, the blind

Who are the ones that we kept in charge?

Killers, thieves and Lawyers

God's away, God's away, God's away on business. Business.
God's away, God's away, God's away on business. Business.



Digging up the dead with a shovel and a pick, it's a job, it's a job

Bloody moon rising with a plague and a flood, join the mob, join the mob

It's all over, it's all over, it's all over

There's a leak, there's a leak, in the boiler room

The poor, the lame, the blind

Who are the ones that we kept in charge?
Killers, thieves, and lawyers

God's away, God's away, God's away on business. Business.
God's away, God's away, on business. Business.

[Instrumental Break]



Goddamn there's always such a big temptation to be good, to be good

There's always free cheddar in a mousetrap, baby, it's a deal, it's a deal

The ship is sinking, the ship is sinking, the ship is sinking

There's a leak, there's a leak in the boiler room

The poor, the lame, the blind

Who are the ones that we kept in charge?
Killers, thieves and Lawyers

God's away, God's away, God's away on business. Business.
God's away, God's away, God's away on business. Business.

I narrow my eyes like a coin slot baby, let her ring, let her ring

It's all over, it's all over, it's all over

There's a leak, there's a leak, in the boiler room

The poor, the lame, the blind

Who are the ones that we kept in charge?
Killers, thieves, and lawyers

God's away, God's away, God's away on business.
God's away, God's away, God's away on business. Business.

November 19, 2011

Time for some oldies

Lee Pockriss, the composer of the 1960 hit song Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini by Brian Hyland, has died at the age of 81.

This was one of the many silly songs that became hits in that 'beach party' period before rock-and-roll really took off. Pockriss also wrote the much better song Catch a Falling Star which became a hit for Perry Como in 1957.

October 24, 2011

Tom Lehrer sings The Vatican Rag

August 29, 2011

Jerry Lieber (1933-2011)

I tend to not know the names of songwriters. So I did not know until he died recently that Jerry Lieber was behind the lyrics to so many of the greatest songs of my youth. An old interview on Fresh Air of Lieber with Mike Stoller, who wrote the music, played excerpts of one great hit after another. Here's a sample showing their range.

The silly Yakety Yak by The Coasters:

The poignant On Broadway by The Drifters:

And the ultimate ennui song, Is that all there is? by Peggy Lee:

June 20, 2011

Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen

I had always viewed it as a silly song that is simply fun to listen to. I never tried to make any sense of it. This article looks a little closer into what the song might be about.

May 15, 2011

Muswell Hillbilly by The Kinks

Another favorite song from my past.


May 02, 2011

In My Life by the Beatles

One of my favorite Beatles songs.

April 26, 2011

White Knuckles by OK Go

The music group OK Go is known for producing intricately choreographed music videos that are done in just one take. That is hard enough even without, as in this case, a large number of rescue dogs getting in on the action.

April 22, 2011

Simon and Garfunkel perform Mrs. Robinson

Live in Central Park.

April 19, 2011

Donovan and Sunshine Superman

I like this song. Why it is accompanied by photos of actress Sue Lyon I have no idea.

March 27, 2011

Across the Universe

I usually don't like covers of Beatles songs but this version of John Lennon's song performed by Rufus Wainwright, Moby, and Sean Lennon is really well done.

(Via Nicole Belle at Crooks and Liars.)

February 06, 2011

John Barry (1933-2011)

Five-time Oscar-winning composer John Barry died recently. He was the man who orchestrated (though did not compose) the famous James Bond theme and also composed the soundtrack for eleven of the Bond films and numerous other acclaimed films.

My own favorite is the great Shirley Bassey singing the title song from Goldfinger.

In this amusing interview on Fresh Air in 1999, Barry reminiscences about how the Bond film producers would give him film titles and ask him and the lyricists to create songs around them at short notice. The songs often made no sense (about Thunderball he said, "I don't think anybody really analyzed what the hell [Tom Jones] was singing about. And I still don't know what the song is about to this day") but the sheer force of the music and the singers' power carried them along.

When Shirley Bassey was approached to sing the Goldfinger song, she asked "Well, what in the hell is this about?" and he replied "It's about a villain… Don't think too much about it." He told Tom Jones who also was baffled as to what the song Thunderball was about, "Tom, don't ask. Just take a leaf out of Shirley's book, get in the studio, sing the hell out of it and leave."

Here is the opening sequence from Thunderball.

February 03, 2011

Atheism rocks!

(Thanks to Randy)

January 12, 2011

Killing the dream

As a follow up to the previous post, the great film O Lucky Man (1975) is the story of Mick Travis, a Candide-like character played by Malcolm McDowell, poor but ambitious, who wants to get ahead and is willing to do anything that he thinks capitalism requires of him but is manipulated by rich people who take advantage of his naivete to serve their own ends.

The film has a wonderfully cynical sound track by Alan Price, especially this song Look Over Your Shoulder.

If you didn't follow it, the last verse goes:

Hope springs eternal in a young man’s breast
And he dreams of a better life ahead
Without that dream you are nothing, nothing, nothing
You’ve got to find out for yourself that dream is dead.

January 05, 2011

Gerry Rafferty (1947-2011)

I was not familiar with his name until his death yesterday but some of his songs are very familiar to my generation, especially the unforgettable saxophone riff on Baker Street.

Also a hit was Stuck in the Middle with You.

And finally Right Down the Line.

December 30, 2010

Bobby Farrell

Bobby Farrell has died at the age of 61. He was the sole male in the group of flamboyant West Indian singers called Boney M that was not well known in the US but had a string of disco hits in Europe in the 70s and 80s and were hugely popular in Sri Lanka.

Here they sing one of their biggest hits By the Rivers of Babylon.

Here is another of their big hits Brown Girl in the Ring