Saturday, June 10, 2006

Bill Withers

One of my favourite artists is Bill Withers

Few of his songs that I particularly enjoy ...
- Use me
- Lean on me
- Lovely day
- Just the two of us
- Aint no sunshine when she's gone

Jersey Boys

It comes as no surprise that the biggest hit on Broadway this season is ...
Jersey Boys … “ The story of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons”.

The name of Frankie Vallie, one of the biggest musical acts of the 60’s … is back with a huge bang … and his hits are again into circulation ...
- Sherry
- Big girls don’t cry
- Walk like a man

And his biggest hit was his solo …
Cant take my eyes off you ... Which is my favourite too!

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Signature Songs - III

Soul / R&B ...

[1] Ray Charles - What’d I say, I got a woman, Georgia on my mind
[2] James Brown - Get on up [Sex machine ], I feel good;
Say it loud [I’m black n proud]
[3] Marvin Gaye - Sexual healing, You sexy thang, Aint no mountain high enough
[4] Otis Redding - Sitting on the dock of the bay
[5] Smokey Robinson & Miracles - You really got a hold on me
[6] Barry White - You’re my first, my Last, my everything
[7] Temptations - My Girl, Aint too prod to beg
[8] Commodores - Easy, Lady
[9] Sam Cooke - Summertime
[10] Stevie Wonder – Part time lover; Signed sealed delivered, Superstition ...

One hit wonders

One hit wonders:

1. I’m too sexy – Right said Fred
2. Who let the dogs out – Baha Men
3. Achy Breaky Heart – Billy Ray Cyrus
4. Macarena – Los Del Rio
5. Seasons in the sun – Terry Jacks
6. A whiter shade of pale – Pocol Harum
7. Lady in red – Chris Deburg
8. Pina Colada – Ruper Holmes
9. Barbie Girl - Aqua
10. I will survive – Gloria Gaynor

Songs in movies

Romantic Comedies ...

[1] Notting Hill - Ain't No Sunshine [Bill Withers]
When You Say Nothing At All - Ronan Keating
[2] My Best Friends Wedding - Wishin' N Hopin' [Dusty Springfield]
[3] Parent Trap - LOVE [Nat King Cole]
[4] Sleepless in Seattle - When I fall in love [Celine Dion]
[5] What Woman Wants - What a girl wants - Christina Aguilera
The Best Is Yet To Come [Nancy Wilson], Bitch [Meredith Brooks]
[6] Dirty Dancing - Will you still love me tomorro [Shirelles]
[7]Four weddings and a funeral - Love is all around [Wet Wet Wet]
[8] You’ve got mail - Signed Sealed Delivered I'm Yours [Stevie Wonder]
[9] French Kiss - Someone Like You [Van Morrison]
[10] Love Actually - The Trouble With Love Is [Kelly Clarkson];
Both Sides Now [Joni Mitchell]
[11] Bridget Jones Diary - It's Raining Men [Geri Halliwell]
[12] Alfie - Old habits die hard [ Mick Jagger]

Some more ...
1. Top Gun - You take my breath away [Berlin]
2. Pulp Fiction - Girl, You'll Be A Woman Soon [Neil Diamond ]
3. Catch me if you can - Embraceable You [Billie Holiday]
4. Casablanca - As Time goes by [Nat King Cole]
5. As good as it gets - I love you for sentimental reasons [Nat King Cole]

Signature Songs - II


[1] Black Sabbath - Iron Man
[2] Guns N' Roses - Welcome to the Jungle
[3] Metallica - Master of Puppets
[4] AC/DC - TNT, Back in Black
[5] Judas Priest - You've Got Another Thing Coming
[6] KISS - Detroit Rock City
[7] Aerosmith – Walk this way
[8] Van Halen – Running with the devil
[9] Deep Purple - Smoke on water
[10] Def Leppard - Pour some sugar on me
[11] Van Halen - Running with the devil
[12] Motley Crew - Girls Girls Girls

Signature Songs - I


[1] Elvis Presley – Heartbreak Hotel, Blue Suede Shoes
[2] Bob Dylan - The Times They Are A-Changin', Blowin in the wind.
[3] Eric Clapton – Wonderful Tonite, Layla, Tears in heaven
[4] Cream – Sunshine of your love
[5] Rolling Stones – [I cant get no]Satisfaction, Start me up
[6] Steppenwolf - Born to be wild, Magic carpet ride
[7] Jimi Hendrix - Purple haze, Foxy lady
[8] Simon & Garfunkel - I am a Rock, Homeward Bound, Bridge over troubled water
[9] The Kinks - Lola, You really got me going, Taking care of business
[10] The Who - My Generation
[11] Animals - House of Rising Sun
[12] The Doors - Roadhouse Blues, Light my fire, Riders on the storm
[13] Duran Duran - Ordinary World, A view to kill
[14] Bruce Springsteen - Born on the USA

My fav - "We will rock you" - Queen!

Friday, April 21, 2006

Cheers ...

Here's few songs celebrating drinks ...

• Days of wine and roses – Andy Williams / Perry Como/ Frank Sinatra
• Tequila Sunrise - Eagles
• Red Red Wine - Bob Marley /UB-40
• Pina Colada – Rupert Holmes
• Captain Morgan song / Two Pina Coladas – Garth Brooks
• Beer Run – Garth brooks
• There’sa tear in my beer – Hank Williams
• Whiskey on the rocks – AC/DC
• Whiskey in the jar – Metallica
• Whiskey Rock & Roll – Lynard Skynard


Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Here Comes The Sun ....

Roll out those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer
Those days of soda and pretzels and beer
Roll out those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer
Dust off the sun and moon and sing a song of cheer
- Nat King Cole

1. Here Comes The Sun - The Beatles
2. Summer in the city – Tom Waits
3. Summertime – Sarah Vaughan / Sam Cooke / Billie Holiday
4. Summertime Calling Me - Catalinas
5. Sun is Shining - Bob Marley
6. Sunshine Girl – Herman’s Hermits
7. In the Summertime- Shaggy
8. Summer of 68 – Pink Floyd
9. Summer of 69 – Bryan Adams
10. Boys of Summer – Ataris
11. Girls of Summer – Aerosmith
12. School out for Summer – Alice Cooper
13. Summer Wind – Frank Sinatra
14. Summer Breeze – Isley Brother
15. Sunshine of your love – Cream
16. Summer in Paradise – Beach Boys
17. Summer Sunshine – The Corrs
18. Summertime Blues – Eddie Cochran
19. Aint no sunshine - Bill Withers
20. Lying in the sun – Stereophonics
21. Hot Summer Night – Meat Loaf
22. House of rising Sun – Animals
23. Summer Lovin’ – Grease
24. Summer – Smashing Pumpkins
25. Seasons in the sun – Jerry Jacks
26. A Place in the Sun – Stevei Wonder
27. You are the sunshine of my life – Stevie Wonder
28. You are my sunshine – Doris day
29. Summer Love – Neil Diamond
30. That Summer – Garth Brooks
31. Hot Summer Night – Chris Normal
32. Good Day Sunshine - Beatles
33. Lazy hazy Crazy days of summer – Nat King Cole

Little darling, it's been a long cold lonely winter
Little darling, it feels like years since it's been here
Here comes the sun, here comes the sun
and I say it's all right
Sun, sun, sun, here it comes...
Sun, sun, sun, here it comes...
Sun, sun, sun, here it comes...
Sun, sun, sun, here it comes...
Sun, sun, sun, here it comes...
The Beatles

Friday, March 24, 2006

Dazzling Divas .....

Long time back I had listed a few names ...
with the intention of elaborating on them in future ... but that never happened.
So I'm posting the draft .....

• Aretha Franklin
• Diana Ross
• Etta James
• Martha Reeves

• Janis Joplin
• Joni Mitchell
• Joan Baez

• Rosemary Clooney
• Nancy Sinatra
• Natalie Cole

• Patsy Cline
• Dolly Parton
• Sheryl Crowe

• Britney Spears
• Christina Aguilera
• Celine Dion
• Jennifer Lopez
• Donna Summer
• Gwen Stefani

• Whitney Houston
• Janet Jackson
• Tina Turner

• Beyonce
• Ashley Simpson
• Spice girls

My fav: Aretha Franklin - The Queen of soul !!!!
- Think
- R-E-S-P-E-C-T
- Chain of Fools
- It's in his kiss
- A natural Woman
- Son of a Preacherman
- I say a little prayer
- I will survive
- You make me feel like a natural woman
- Killing me softly with his song

I heard he sang a good song
I heard he had a style
and so i came to see
and listen for a while

and there he was this younge boy
a stranger to my eyes
Struming my pain with his fingers
Singing my life with his words
killing me softy with his song
killing me softly with his song
telling my whole life
with his words
killing me softly with his song

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Grammy ... 2006 .....

Right from the Green carpet walks [Note: NOT red-carpet ... but GREEN-carpet ... Thanks to sponsors Heineken Beer] till the end ... With Sly Stone [of “Sly & The Family Stone”] walking in with Mohawk-hairstyle ... and an ensemble of singers accompanying him ...

Green Carpet Walk: It’s all about cloths and my fav three:
• Alicia Keys looked absolutely Gorgeous! Stunning! Ravishing!
• Joss Stone looked pretty in a very colorful gown …
• Kanye West in classic red-white-black
• hmmmm … one more … Keith Urban looked super cool!!!

MY favorite Moments in the ceremony:
1. The opening song… in which Madonna looked sexy as ever
2. Mariah Carey looked angelic & I loved her performance, “We belong together”
3. There has to be one tear-full speech. Well this time it was Kelly Clarkson, ex-American Idol’s acceptance speech
4. No surprise date for Keith Urban, YES there she was - Nicole Kidman
5. Paul McCartney was a treat to behold, songs “Helter-Skelter” & “Yesterday”
6. "Maroon 5" members also looked super-cool in most de-grunged, de-punked civil-looks
7. Stevie Wonder … [ his remarkable sense of humor!!!] … and wonderful song, “Higher Ground”
8. Bruce Springsteen …. “bring them back” addendum after the song, “Devils & Dust”
9. Sly Stone [Of "Sly & The Family Stone"; “ I want to take you higher” song with a motley of singers ... including ... Steven Tyler, Joe Perry, Joss Stone, Maroon 5, John Legend ...
10. THE BEST was for the last ... U2 rocked!!!
Taking 5 awards including:
- Best Album: “ How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb”
- Best Rock Album : "How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb"
- Best Song: “Sometimes you cant make it on your own”
- Best Rock song: “City of Blinding Lights
- Rock Performance by a Duo or Group With Vocal: "Sometimes You Can't Make It on Your Own"

- Best New Artist: John Legend
- Record of the Year: Boulevard Of Broken Dreams [Green Day]
- Best female pop-vocal - Since U Been Gone [Kelly Clarkson]
- Best Male pop-vocal : From The Bottom Of My Heart [Stevie Wonder]
- Best R&B Album: get Lifted”- John legend
- Best Rap Album: “Late Registration” – Kanye West
- Best Blues Album: “Cost of Living” Delbert McClinton

More on Grammy Awards ...

Monday, January 23, 2006

2005 ... The Ultimate Top 10 ...

The Ultimate Top 10 for the year 2005 ...
Extracted from the Chicago Tribune which features an article from the Los Angeles Times ...
The Rolling Stones makes the Biggest Bang ...

Combining: sales of concert tickets and from album
- Concert grosses [tabulated by Pollstar magazine]
- Album sales [monitored by Nielson ScoundSacn]...

[1] The Rolling Stone: $168 millions
Concert - $162 m & CD sale - $6 m
“A Bigger Bang” tour, with tickets about $450 and average ticket sale price of about $134.They shattered their own record of $121.2 m in 1994

[2] U2: 149.7 millions
Concert Ticket sales = $138.9 m & CD- 11 m
U2 sold more tickets in North America than any other act last year – 1.4 million; with Dave Matthews band in second place at 1.21 m tickets.
Album name is “How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb”.
Average ticket price was $96.92

[3] Kenny Chesney: $109.3 m
The singer-songwriter had tough year on marital front with annulment of his marriage to actress Renee Zellweger. But his popular concerts and two albums topped the pop-charts and he vaulted over classic rockers as Paul McCartney & the eagles; even though both toured heavily last year.

[4] Green Day: $84.7m
Tour: $34.8m & CD sale: 50m
Album: “The I” & “Bullet in A Bible”
Average ticket price = $38.07

[5] The Eagles: $84.4 m
Concert = $78.4 m & CD - $6 m
“The Very Best of The Eagles” sold 460,000 copies to make 6 m worth
Average ticket price: $108

[6] Paul McCartney: $83.2 m
Concerts- $77.3 m & CD sales – 5.85 m
Album:” Chaos and Creation in the Backyard” generated some enthusiastic reviews.
Average ticket price: $135.46.

[7] Celine Dion: $81.3 m
All her income was from ticket sales from her 155 shows.
Average ticket price: $136.04

[8] 50 Cents: $78.6 m
Concert: $ 4.7 m & album sales:$63.1 m
Album: “The Massacre”
Average ticket price: $64.03.

[9] Dave Matthews Band: $74.3 m
Tours: $57 m & album: $17.3m
Album: “Stand Up”
Average ticket price = 47.09

[10] Elton John: $65.8
Like Celine Dion he didn’t release any album last year, so all his income came from concert tickets.
Average ticket price: $102.46.

Mariah Carey, was the queen of record stroes with 5 m sold copies of her album “The emancipation of Mimi” , and generating about $65 m; assuming average $13 per unit price of CD. However this did not help her figure in the Top 10 List!

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

New Orleans ... Chocolate Again?

"It's time for us to come together. It's time for us to rebuild New Orleans — the one that should be a CHOCOLATE New Orleans. This city will be a majority African American city. It's the way God wants it to be. You can't have New Orleans no other way. It wouldn't be New Orleans..."
- Mayor Ray Nagin, in his speech on Martin Luther King Day Rally[16th Jan, 2006]

"Surely God is mad at America. He sent us hurricane after hurricane after hurricane, and it's destroyed and put stress on this country. Surely he doesn't approve of us being in Iraq under false pretenses. But surely he is upset at black America also. We're not taking care of ourselves ......... It's time for us to come together. It's time for us to rebuild New Orleans — the one that should be a chocolate New Orleans ...."

There's a whole lot of controvery surrounding his speech; calling for New Orleans to be "chocolate again".

Mayor Nagin apologized later!
"If I offended anyone, I sincerely apologize"
"I need to be more sensitive and more aware of what I'm saying .....
I want everybody to be welcome in New Orleans -- black, white, Hispanic, Asian -- because that's the kind of city that we deserve going forward. I was trying to, and didn't do it very well, to deal with this whole notion, the undercurrent what's being talked about, and what's being talked about is who is going to come back to New Orleans at the end of the day."

Monday, January 09, 2006

Rebirth of New Orleans ...

If wishes were horses; I wish to be in New Orleans this February end ...
To experience the carnival and the Mardi Gras [pronounced Mar-dee Grah]

The birthplace of Jazz "New Orleans", is springing back to life; after a near complete devastation in the wake of Hurricane Katrina [August 29, 2005] and the breakdown of levee-system as its aftermath. Tens of thousands of houses were destroyed; there was death, diseases and destruction everywhere.

There are at least two cities I know of which have literally risen from the ashes:
- London: The Great London Fire – 1666 [Also the Great Plague-1665]
- Chicago: The Great Chicago Fire – 1871

I somehow want to witness how New Orleans is getting back from the brink. As much as I want to be there, I don’t see it happening; so I’m closely following the developments. Businesses are coming back; schools and colleges are reopening and the city is all set to celebrate:
- The Carnival [23rd – 28th February, 2006]
- Ponderosa Stomp [Third week of April , ie; 16th - 22nd April, 2006]

Since I have very little idea of what these are; I did some Google Search:

THE CARNIVAL originated in the middle of the 2nd century in Rome; when the fast of 40 days of lent was preceded by a feast of several days. From Rome it spread to European countries and finally to America. Carnival is observed in many American cities but not with the glamour and grandeur of New Orleans. It started in 1927; when a group of students who had returned from school in Paris; donned strange costumes and danced their way through the streets. Slowly the town caught with the enthusiasm of these youths and each year more and more joined the revelries.

THE MARDI GRAS is the last day of the carnival season.
It falls on a different day each year; but is always 46 days before Easter.
It is marked with parades, costumes, floats, throws and balls ...

• Mardi Gras is on “Fat Tuesday” – the day before Ash Wednesday [Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of lent]
• Rex – the King of the Carnival; receives the keys to the city and rules it for the day
• PARADES are characterized with people in COSTUMES and often accompanied by FLOATS. A float is a decorated platform, either built on a vehicle or towed behind it From the float they THROW –trinklets / beads / coconuts to the crowd lining the streets. These throws may have krewes insignia on them. Many of these items become collectibles each year.
• Krewes – is an organization that puts on a parade and /or a ball for the carnival season
• King Cake: It comes in carnival colors and hidden in cake is a bean or plastic baby. Custom dictates that whoever finds it must give the next King cake party.
• Carnival colors – purple [justice], green [faith] & gold [power]

It’s the annual “Roots” music festival and draws music fans from around the world.
It is a festival dedicated to recognizing the architects of Rock-N-Roll, Blues, Jazz, Reggae and Soul. It is founded & produced by a non-profit organization: “Mystic Knight of the Mau Mau” which is dedicated to preserving and presenting the rich history of roots music.

Two sites worth mentioning:
* Tipitina Foundation :
It is a non profit organization to help victims recover from the Hurricane Katrina.
Tipitina Foundation

** The official site of Louis Armstrong and his archives ...


Thursday, December 22, 2005


I have always found that songs become much more interesting ...
when I know the small little facts/anecdotes behind them.

[1] One of my most surprising discoveries was the issue of “backmasking” or “ backtracking” in some songs.
It means inserting hidden messages into tracks which can be consciously heard only when played backwards. Like
“Stairways to heaven” – Led Zeppelin ...

If there's a bustle in your hedgerow … Don't be alarmed now,
It's just a spring clean for the May queen.
Yes, there are two paths you can go by
But in the long run …There's still time to change the road you're on.

when played backward; Is said to have “satanic messages” …
”oh here’s to my sweet satan …”

“Hit me Baby one more time” – Britney Spears
The lines: “I lose my mind … give me a sign”
When heard backward is said to be … “Sleep with me, I’m not too young”

[2] I’ve always marveled at people who can compose lyrics IMPROMPTU ...
“When a man loves a woman” – Percy Sledge

When a man loves a woman … Can't keep his mind on nothing else
He'll trade the world … For the good thing he's found
If she's bad he can't see it … She can do no wrong
Turn his back on his best friend … If he put her down

As the story goes; Sledge was to perform in a concert, but was extremely upset as his girlfriend for 3 years had left him. He could not concentrate on the songs he was supposed to be singing. So he asked his fellow band-men to play “any” Blues based tune of their choice; to which he could sing. Sledge gave an impromptu rendition for almost 6 minutes ...

“What’d I say”: Ray Charles
Ray is said to have improvised this song in a concert; when he had finished playing every song he knew; but still had 12 minutes left. This became smash hit and said to be the greatest soul song ever!

[3] The most interesting are the heartfelt songs on PERSONAL LIFE:
Wonderful Tonight – Eric Clapton

It’s late in the evening
She’s wondering what clothes to wear
She puts on her make up
And brushes her long blonde hair
And then she asks me
Do I look alright
And I say yes, you look wonderful tonight

Clapton wrote this song while waiting for his girlfriend Patti [his future wife and ex-wife of George Harrison] She was married to George Harrison when Clapton expressed his love for her in the song “Layla”.
"Tears in heaven" – Clapton wrote this about his 4-year-old son Conor, who died when he fell out of a 53rd floor window in his mother's apartment in New York City.

Would you know my name ... If I saw you in heaven
Will it be the same ... If I saw you in heaven
I must be strong, and carry on ... Cause I know I don't belong ... Here in heaven

In my earlier post on John Lennon; I’ve already listed some songs he wrote for his near-n-dear ones:
Good Night – for son Julian
Beautiful Boy – for son Sean
Oh Yoko – wife Yoko
Julia - mother

[4] There are some interesting songs with political messages:

Let me tell you now … Ev'rybody's talking about
Revolution, evolution, masturbation … flagellation, regulation, integrations,
meditations, United Nations … Congratulations.
All we are saying is give peace a chance
All we are saying is give peace a chance

This was recorded May,1969 at a "Bed-In" Lennon staged in Queen Elizabeth's Hotel in Montreal. This was John and Yoko’s effort to promote world peace. They got a great deal of media attention, which is exactly what they wanted to promote their cause…

London calling to the faraway towns
Now that war is declared and battle come down
London calling to the underworld
Come out of the cupboard all you boys and girs
London calling now don't look to us
Phony Beatlemania has bitten the dust
London calling see we ain't got no swing
Except for the ring of that truncheon

“The Clash" were known for lashing out against injustice and rebelling against the establishment. The title came from the BBC World Service's radio station identification: "This is London calling..." The BBC used it during World War II.

[5] One of Led Zeppelin’s most famous songs is : “Black Dog”. The song gets its name from a huge black dog that entered in the studio at the time of its recording.
When the drummer Rick Allen of Def Leppard lost one of his arms in a car accident in 1984; he decided to keep on playing with only one hand and also learned to use his feet. The band continued as normal and their next album was “Hysteria”…

I felt like updating this spot ...
and with very less time in hand ... This is what I could write ...
REFERENCED heavily from :

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Imagine : John Lennon

Culture grows on you …
When I’d come to the US, 4 years back, my knowledge of Western music was extremely limited. I knew just a handful of songs and believed Rock-culture was all about “Sex Drugs n Rock N’ Roll”. But over the years, as I learned more, I’ve developed awe for this musical phenomenon! It represents a culture that stood for peace, rebellion against injustices, challenging the long standing taboos, protesting against mechanization, racial integration and women’s liberation!

One giant icon of this counterculture revolution was John Lennon …
He was a protest singer who desired “Revolution”;
urged people to “Give peace a chance”
and had a utopian vision when he sang: “Imagine no possession…”

Imagine no possesions,
I wonder if you can,
No need for greed or hunger,
A brotherhood of man,
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world

He stood for peace, but was violently assassinated in front of his New York apartment; on Dec 8th 1980! Since then his memories has frozen in the minds of people. This week his name is everywhere;
- “Sunday Chicago Tribune devoted 5 pages of “Arts & Entertainment “section to him,
- TV had this movie “Imagine: John Lennon”
- His name is covered on all the new channels
As today marks his 25th death anniversary; this post is on him.

People still remember the time, when this UK group “The Beatles” made their first TV appearance in America on the “Ed Sullivan” show in 1964; and forever changed the popular culture here. Initially they became famous for their fresh faces, “Mop-top” hair style, and peppy numbers like
- I want to hold your hand
- Love me do
- From me to you
- Twist and shout

Soon, like most of their contemporaries they were experimenting with drugs; heroin, cocaine, LSD. … During this psychedelic phase, they produced some of the most amazing songs:
- Strawberry Fields forever
- Tomorrow never knows
- Lucy in the sky with diamonds
- I am a Walrus

Turn off your mind, relax, and float downstream,
It is not dying, it is not dying,
Lay down all thoughts, surrender to the void,
It is shining, it is shining,
[Tomorrow never knows]

After that; began the process of getting out of the addiction.
“Cold Turkey” is about Lennon’s struggles with drug withdrawal symptoms:

My body is aching … Goose-pimple bone
Can't see no body … Leave me alone
My eyes are wide open … Can't get to sleep
One thing I'm sure of … I'm in at the deep freeze
Cold turkey has got me on the run
[Cold Turkey]

He said “Songwriting is about getting the demon out of me; it’s like being possessed” ; and his life was full of pain. His parents got divorced when he was just 4 years old, and his aunt reared him. He kept close contact with his mother, but she was killed in a car-accident, when he was mere 17. His first marriage with Cynthia failed and his relation with Yoko Ono had its rough patches.
He wrote songs close to his heart:
- Mother/ Julia – for his mother
- Woman / Dear Yoko / Oh Yoko – for Yoko Ono
- Good Night – for son Julian from wife Cynthia
- Beautiful Boy – for son Sean from wife Yoko

He said “My role in society, or any artist's or poet's role, is to try and express what we all feel. Not to tell people how to feel. Not as a preacher, not as a leader, but as a reflection of us all”….

Some of his other songs that I really like:
- Help!
- I feel fine
- In my life
- Don’t let me down
- God
- Yesterday
- Ballad of John and Yoko
- A day in the life
- I’m losing you
- I'm a loser
- Nowhere Man
- Come together
- Working man’s hero
- Instant Karma

Well we all shine on
Like the moon and the stars and the sun
Yeah we all shine on
On and on and on on and on
[Instant Krama ]

Friday, December 02, 2005

Just a few songs ...

Enough of Rock ... time for a change...

Late last night I was watching "Leaving Las Vegas"
and it had this beautiful song in the background:
"My One and Only Love": Sting & Police

The very thought of you makes
My heart sing
Like an April breeze
On the wings of spring
And you appear in all your splendour
My one and only love

The shadows fall
And spread their mystic charms
In the hush of night
While you're in my arms
I feel your lips so warm and tender
My one and only love

The touch of your hand is like heaven
A heaven that I've never known
The blush on your cheek
Whenever I speak
Tells me that you are my own

Some more beautiful songs:
Unchained Melody : The Rightous Brothers

Oh, my love
my darling
I've hungered for your touch
a long lonely time
and time goes by so slowly
and time can do so much
are you still mine?
I need your love
I need your love
Godspeed your love to me

* The song was written for a movie "Unchained";
to reflect the mood of prisoners as they wait for time to pass ...

Another beautiful song;
recorded for film "Nottinghill" by Lighthouse Family ...
but the original,by Bill Withers is much better and won Grammy for best R&B in 1972.
All instruments are acoustic!!!

Ain't no sunshine when she's gone.
It's not warm when she's away.
Ain't no sunshine when she's gone
and she's always gone too long
anytime she goes away.

Wonder this time where she's gone,
wonder if she's gone to stay
Ain't no sunshine when she's gone
and this house just ain't no home
anytime she goes away.

I know, I know, I know, I know, I know, I know,
I know, I know, I know, I know, I know, I know,
I know, I know, I know, I know, I know, I know,
I know, I know, I know, I know, I know, I know,
I know, I know ...

Few others:
Unforgettable: Nat King Cole
Moondance : Van Morrison
You were always on my mind - Willie Nelson

Maybe I didn't love you
Quite as often as I could have
Maybe I didn't treat you
Quite as good as I should have
If I made you feel second best
Girl I'm sorry I was blind
You were always on my mind
You were always on my mind


Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Nineties to the present ...

Ninties was the period of Grunge and Indie-rock ...
However rock has been fading since the 90's, and its hip-hop that dominates the music scene now ...

By late 1980’s rock-music was dominated by aging rock artists, commercial pop-rock and hair metal. Any trace of Rock as rebel-music or with punk-ethics was lost in corporate sponsored and mass-marketed musical products. But some young musicians rejected this glamour-oriented posturing and created a crude and sometimes angry music. This new trend emerged mostly in Seattle and the style was dubbed as GRUNGE.
- It is mostly associated with Generation X in the US. GenX [1965-75] is the generation following the baby boomer generation …
- It is closely associated with the DIY culture …
- The lyrics were typically angst filled: anger, frustration, sadness, fear and depression …
- As a style of music it is often associated with “dirty” guitar, strong riffs and heavy drumming …

In many ways grunge was to the 90’s what punk was to 70’s. It provided a welcome return to the garage band sound of the 60’s. Early grunge bands are Alice in Chains and Soundgarden. Grunge remained mostly a local Northwest American phenomenon, until the breakthrough of Nirvana in 1991. Nirvana was an instant sensation worldwide and with its emergence, hair-metal almost completely faded from mainstream. Other bands that emerged on grunge scene are: Pearl Jam, Mudhoney, Skin Yard ….However it remained short-lives. Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain committed suicide in 1994, Soundgarden broke in 1999 and others were not strong enough to carry the torch…
Some hits:
Smells like teen spirit – Nirvana
Come as you are – Nirvana
Daughter - Pearl Jam
Rooster – Alice in chains

Indie Rock stands for “Independent Rock”. Most of its artists sign to independent record labels, rather than major ones. Indie Rock evolved from “Alternative Rock” of the 80’s. The term coined to describe punk-rock inspired music geners of its times; which did not fit into mainstream genres of its time; so alternative rock. But in the 1990’s they broke into mainstream and achieved commercial success; and as alternative generes became commercialized, the term “indie Rock” began to be used. Notable Indie Rock bands are REM, Sonis Youth, Red Hot Chillie Peppers…

However, by 1990’s hip-hop started dominating the charts. Bands like 50cents, Snoop Dog, Puff Daddy, Nelly, Eminem, JayZ , Kanya West … now rule the music scene. There’s also presence of “Nu-meta” l with bands like Linkin Park, Slipknot and Mushroomhead. Some notable new rock-artists are … Green Day, Avril Lavigne … But the classic rockers still rule; and "Top Tours" of year 2005 is dominated by names of old rock-bands/artists like ... U2, the Rolling Stones, Paul McCartney, Eagles, Motley Crew and Bruce Springsteen!!!

MTV and the Digital Revolution ...

This "relatively" new trend had to be mentioned ...
in my attempt to chronicle the evolution and metamorphosis of the phenomenon called Rock N Roll ...

MTV [Music television] founded in New York in 1981 and by mid-80’s had nation wide expansion. Since its inception, it's been a driving force in the popular culture. A large number of Rock-stars in the 80’s and 90’s have been popularized by MTV; including Duran Duran, Bon Jovi, Michael Jackson and Madonna. In 1985, MTV launched Video Hits [VH1]; which now is more popular than MTV!

Digital revolution: Though internet has been around for a long time, music downloads became popular only around 1996, with the advent of MP3 players as Winamp. The appearance of Napster in 1999 revolutionized music downloads and file-sharing became hugely popular. Though Napster was eventually shut-down by the music industry, but music downloads did not die. New technology called Peer-to-Peer (P2P) developed and many file-sharing networks emerged like Kazaa, Morpheus, Gnutella and Grokster. Now many “legal” downloads sites have opened-up …. and a vast majority of songs are brought on paid download sites as singles /song-by-song basis; rather than full album basis ....

Monday, November 28, 2005

Eighties Metal

ROCK N ROLL / Rock - Music emerged in mid-1950's ...
50’s: Rockabilly
60’s: Surf-rock, Garage-rock, Psychedelic-rock, Progressive-rock, Glam-rock
70’s: Heavy-metal, Soft-rock, Folk-rock, Disco, Punk-rock
80’s: Thrash-metal, Death-metal, Black-metal, Gothic-metal, Hair-metal
90's: Grunge-rock, Indie-rock


Some 80's hits:
• Smoke on water: Deep Purple
• Back in black - AC/DC
• Sunday bloody sunday - U2
• I still havent found what I'm looking for- U2
• Another one bites the dust - Queen
• Walk this way - Aerosmith with run DMC
• Dude looks like a lady - Aerosmith
• Legs - Z Z Top

I got to have a shot of what you got is oh so sweet,
You got to make it hot, like a boomerang I need a repeat,
Gimme all your lovin', all your hugs and kisses too,
Gimme all your lovin', don't let up until we're through....
[Gimme all your love - Z Z Top]

In late-60's and early-70's; Heavy metal emegered with the "Second Wave of British Invasion"; under the influence of Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple and Cream... But Black Sabbath is considered as the first true Heavy Metal band. Throughout the 80's several heavy metal bands ruled the music scene: Alice Cooper, Queen, Aerosmith, Uriah Heep, AC/DC, ZZ Top and Ted Nugent. However the late-70's saw a " New Wave of British Heavy Metal" [ NWOBHM] with the coming of of Judas Priest, Iron Maiden and Motorhead! Some American bands to join this new trend include the names of Van Halen and Metallica among others ....
By early 1980's heavy metal spawned several sub-generes:
- Speed metal/ Thrash metal,
- Death metal
- Black metal
- Gothic metal
Though I've loves a few songs; but these sub-genres dont particularly interest me; so I'll just cover a few names associated ... Metallica, Megadeth, Venom, Death, Possessed, Slayer, Anthrax, Massacre, Napalm Death, Incantation, Celtic Fest...
Some hits:
• Killer of giants - Ozzy osbourne
• And justice for all - Metallica
• Master of puppets- Metallica
• Angel of death - Slayer
• Ace of spades - Motorhead
• Black Metal - Venom
• Welcome to hell - Venom
• Feel the fire - Overkill
• Blood of heros - Megadeth

Generals gathered in their masses
Just like witches at black masses
Evil minds that plot destruction
Sorcerers of death’s construction
In the fields the bodies burning
As the war machine keeps turning
Death and hatred to mankind
Poisoning their brainwashed minds,
oh lord yeah!
[War Pigs - Black Sabbath - AWESOME song!!!]

Another sub-genre of metal-rock that was popular throughout the 80's was "Hair-Metal". It reminds of the Glam Rock of the early 70's. Bands associated with hair-metal: Van Halen, Motley Crew, W.A.S.P, Ratt, Bon Jovi, Def leppard, Poison, Cinderella, Dokken, Scorpions, Guns N 'Roses ..Hair metal was aggressive, with lyrics often on drinking, drug-use n occult. Musically songs often featured distorted guitar, frenzied drumming and complimentary bass.. By mid-80's a discernible formula developed; in which hair-band had two hits: one power ballad and one hard-rocking anthem.

Some hits:
• Rock you like a hurricane - Scorpions
• Eruption - Van Halen
• Running with the devil - Van Halen
• Girls girls girls - Motley Crew
• Welcome to the jungle - Guns N' Roses
• Sweet child o mine - Guns N' Roses
• Pour some sugar on me - Def leppard
• Bad medicine - Bon Jovi
• Wanted dead or alive - Bon Jovi
• Every rose has its thorn - Poison

Every rose has it’s thorn
Just like every night has it’s dawn
Just like every cowboy sings his sad, sad song
Every rose has it’s thorn
Yeah it does
[Every rose has its thorn - Poison ]

But by 1990, the popularity of hair metal declined, with the emergence of GRUNGE - ROCK with the emrgence of Alice in Chains, Nirvana and Pearl Jam in the musical scene....

• 1980: John Lennon murdered in front of this New York apartment
• 1985: "We are the world", is recorded by 46 US artists in support of suffering people in Africa
• 1991: Freddie Mercury dies of AIDS
• 1992: Seattle becomes core of Grunge Rock with Nirvana and Pearl Jam
• 1994: Kurt Cobain commits suicide
• 1995: Rock and Roll Hall of fame and museum opens in Cleveland

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Super Seventies ...

Here’s another post; in an attempt to understand the musical phenomenon:
ROCK N' ROLL !!! It evolved in the mid-50’s …
50’s: Rockabilly
60’s: Surf-rock, Garage-rock, Psychedelic-rock, Progressive-rock, Glam-rock
70’s: Heavy-metal, Soft-rock, Folk-rock, Disco, Punk-rock
Next: 80’s rock
*** 80's Rock would be the last in this series ... HOPEFULLY !!!!

By seventies, the term Rock-N-Roll had become obsolete and substituted by just “Rock-music”. The chaotic events of the sixties [Vietnam war, social changes, womens movements] continued in the seventies. In fact the decade is full of tragic events:
• Jimi Hendrix died - 1970
• Janis Joplin died - 1970
• The Beatles break-down - 1970
• Jim Morrison died - 1971
• Elvis Presley died - 1977

However, Rock was ever popular in the 70's and a multitude of styles emerged:
• hard rock / heavy metal
• soft rock
• folk rock
• punk rock
• disco
Many forms of rock that emerged in the late sixties carried to early seventies, like folk rock, progressive rock and heavy metal ...

HEAVY METAL: It is characterized by heavy instrumentation- especially guitar, dark themes and aggressive up-tempo rhythms. The names Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath and Deep Purple are associated with early heavy metals The coming of these groups to the US is termed as the "Second Wave of British Invasion". Soon many bands joined this form of music: Blue Oyster, Uriah heep, UFO, Cult, Kiss, Queen, AC/DC, Aerosmith, Z Z Top ...

There's a lady who's sure
All that glitters is gold
And she's buying a stairway to heaven
When she gets there she knows
If the stores are all closed
With a word she can get what she came for
And she's buying a stairway to heaven
[Stairways to heven: Led Zeppelin]

By mid-70's heavy metal was languishing into obscurity by mid-70's. [However few bands maintained large following - Led Zep, Queen, AC/DC, Aerosmith]

Backstroke lover always hidin' 'neath the covers
"Gonna talk to you" my daddy say
Said "You ain't seen nothin' till you're down on a muffin
Then you're sure to be a changin' your ways"
[Walk this Way : Aerosmith]

But by 1978, a "New Wave of British Heavy Metal" NWOBHM emerged with the coming of Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Van Halen and Metallica ...
By 80's hair metal evolved with ... Def leppard, Poison, Van Halen, Motley Crew, Bon Jovi, Ratt ...
[*I will cover Metal Rock in details later]

SOFT ROCK / Lite-rock / Easy-rock / Mellow-rock
With the demise of Beatles as a group, other bands and groups took to soft-rock format, with focus on lyrics and ear-pleasing music. Major Acts: Phil Collins, Bread, Elton John, Rod Stewart, Carole King, Barry Manilow, Billy Joel, Carpenters, Gloria Estefan ...

FOLK ROCK: It was a rage in the seventies, popularised by Bob Dylan . Other bands include: The Byrds, Donovan, The Everly Brothers, Jim Corce, Joni Mitchell, The Eagles ....

DISCO: By 1973 many hits featured danceable disco beats. During this period, for the first time electronic instruments where used for commercial music on a mass-scale . This genre includes names like KC and the Sunshine Band, The O'Jays, Barry White, ABBA, Sister Sledge, The Jacksons, Donna Summer,Gloria Gaynor, Boney M . Disco reached its pinnacle with BeeGees music in 1977 film , "Saturday Night Fever". By the end of 70's there was huge anti-disco backlash. …

Whether you're a brother or whether you're a mother
you're stayin' alive, stayin' alive
Feel the city breakin' and everybody shakin'
and we're stayin' alive, stayin' alive
Ah, ha, ha, ha, stayin' alive, stayin' alive
Ah, ha, ha, ha, stayin' alive
[Staying Alive : The BeeGees ]

PUNK ROCK: Emerged as reaction against disco and progressive rock. Early punk borrowed heavily from garage bands. Punk was triipped down three chord music that could be played easily!. Major acts : Ramones, The Sex Pistols, Clash, New York Dolls, The stooges …
[ Already discussed …]

... Hopefully that ends this series ...

Friday, November 18, 2005


All the power's in the hands
Of people rich enough to buy it
While we walk the street
Too chicken to even try it

Everybody's doing
Just what they're told to
Nobody wants
To go to jail!

Are you taking over
or are you taking orders?
Are you going backwards
Or are you going forwards?
[White Riot - The Clash]

Punk rock is kind of an anti-establishment movement started by about mid-seventies.
- Interestingly British punk coincided with the rise of Thatcherism and nearly all Brit-punks reflect attitude of anger and social alienation

- Part of reaction was against certain tendencies that had overtaken popular music of the seventies like the grandiose progressive rock and also the superficial “disco” music.

- The punks also rejected the hippie counterculture of the sixties.

London calling, now don't look to us
Phoney Beatlemania has bitten the dust
London calling, see we ain't got no swing
'Cept for the ring of that truncheon thing
[London Calling : The Clash]

- The punks embraced a new fashion; characterized by highly theatrical use of cosmetics with bold eye-make-up and spiked hair-style [Mohawk]. The clothing was usually torn pants and shirts, put together with tapes or safety-pins. Leather or vinyl clothing was also common. Punk band like “minor threat” began with slogans like “no drink, no smoke, no f@#$” and created a counter-culture to the counter-culture!

- It is also associated with the DIY [do it yourself] attitude. Form your own band, write own lyrics and even become music journalist and critic.

- It is said to have origins in:
- The Garage Rock of the mid-sixties ; with bands such as The Sonics, The Seeds ...
- The Glam /Glitter rock of late sixties ...
- Some politically confrontational bands like the Stooges, MC5 ...

Punk Rock originated in about mid 70's, by bands like The Ramones in US and Sex pistols and The Clash in the UK. Some other acts: New York Dolls, Sonic Youth, the Pretenders, Blondie, Dead Kennedys ...

It emphasized simple musical structure with short songs; usually less than three minutes; confrontational lyrics and use of simple three-cords. Extolling DIY ethic they insisted that anyone can start a punk band. [This is a chord, this is another, and this is the third. Now form a band]

Hey ho, let’s go hey ho, let’s go hey ho, let’s go hey ho, let’s go
They’re forming in straight line they’re going through a tight wind
The kids are losing their minds the blitzkrieg bop
[Blitzkreig Bop: Ramones]

RAMONES: Blitzkreig Bop, I wanna be sedated, Sheena is a punk rocker, Pin head, I wanna be your boyfriend
SEX PISTOLS: Anachy in the UK, God save the Queen
THE CLASH: Complete control, London calling, Rock the casbah, White Riot, Should I stay or should I go, Death or Glory,
STOOGES: Search n Destroy
NEW-YORK DOLLS: Personality Crisis

Stuck in the sixties ...

Though I've talked about "Psychedelic Rock" earlier; here's some other rock-forms that evoled in the sixties:

In the early sixties, one of the most popular form of rock was “Surf Rock”. It evolved in the West coast; and is characterized by heavy instrumentation; especially electric guitar and innovative percussion.
Major Acts: The Surfaris, Beach Boys, Jan & Dean, The Ventures

In mid-sixties a new trend, when many performers rehearsed in the family “garage”. The music usually had simple chord progression, pounding drums and short repetitive lyrics. It is said to have influenced several punk rock groups, that emerged in the seventies; especially Ramones.
Major Acts: The Seeds, Shadows of Knight, Question Mark …

It emerged in the mid-sixties and was an attempt to capture the hallucinating effects of drugs…
[Discussed earlier]
Major Acts: Velvet Underground, Grateful Dead, Jimi Hendrix, The Doors, Pink Floyd

It’s a grandiose style of rock that emerged in the late sixties and peaked in its popularity in early seventies. It is a mostly fusion of classical music and jazz. It began in England and is largely a European movement, as against American rock, which is more influenced by R&B and country music. Progressive rock is said to be closest to Classical music form.
Main characteristics:
- Long compositions: many times over 20 minutes.
- The theme was mostly sci-fi, fantasy, war, history, religion
Major Acts: King Crimson, Yes, Jethro Tull, Genesis, Pink Floyd

It emerged in the late sixties and declined by mid seventies. It is more distinguished by its costume and stage acts of performers, rather than any particular aspect of music. The performers put glittery make-up and wore outrageous costumes. “Take a stylish stroll through the early seventies, when boys would be girls and girls would be boys.”
Major Acts: David Bowie, Alice Cooper, Mott the Hoople, New York Dolls, T.Rex, Kiss, Queen.



Origin of the * term* Rock n Roll:
The word rocking was used by gospel singers of American South, to mean something akin to “spiritual rapture”. By 1940’s it was used as double entendre with hidden sexual references. During the fifties when a new wave of music evolved; which was fast paced and drew heavily on R&B; a Cleveland disc jockey, used the term “Rock-n-Roll” to describe the rollicking music on the airwaves … and the name Rock-n-roll stuck …
However later it was referred only as Rock-music.

“First Ever” Rock Song:
There is some controversy as to which song can be termed “first-ever” R-n-R song; contenders being:
• “Rock Round the Clock” (Bill Haley n his Comets - 1954)
• “That’s All Right, Mama” (Elvis Presley -1954)
• “Maybellene” (Chuck Berry - 1955) …
However, the magazine “Rolling Stones” declared "Rock Round the Clock" as the first ever Rock song.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

The British Invasion

As much as Rock-N-Roll has its roots in the African American music; it also drew heavily from European immigrants; especially the British!!! The term "British Invasion" is used to describe the phase when scores of British groups made their way to America and with their influence changed the musical scenario here:
First Wave : 1964-69
Second wave: 1970's

The “FIRST WAVE” British invasion is said to have begun with coming of the Beatles to America. They made their television debut on the Ed Sullivan shows, in Feb 1964, with 5 songs; and later each one of them became a super hit. These are: All My Loving, Till there was you, She loves you, I saw her standing there, I want to hold your hand …
Soon they produced a string of hits and earned the name “The Fabulous Four” .
Some Hits: And I love her so, If I fell, Cant buy me love, I feel fine, Yesterday, I’m a loser, Strawberry fields forever, Help!, Hey Jude, Revolution, Come together…

Well, she was just 17,
You know what I mean,
And the way she looked was way beyond compare.
So how could I dance with another (ooh)
And I saw her standin’ there

Soon after Beatles landed in America; a rush of other British musicians
• THE ROLLING STONES: Time is on my side; No satisfaction, Start me up
• THE ANIMALS: House of Rising Sun
• THE KINKS: Lola, You really got me going, Taking care of business
• THE WHO: My Generation, Anyway, anyhow, anywhere
• THE YARDBIRDS: For Your Love , White Summer

To thrill you with delight,
I'll give you diamonds bright.
There'll be things that will excite,
To make you dream of me at night…
[For your love – Yardbirds

The sixties was also the time-period of some of the best AMERICAN ROCK-STARS:
• JIMI HENDRIX: Purple haze, Foxy lady, Little Wing, Angel, Stone free
• JANIS JOPLIN: Me and Bobby McGee, Kozmic Blues, Try
• THE DOORS: Riders on the storm, Light my fire, Roadhouse blues, Crystal ship
• STEPPENWOLF: Born to be wild, Magic carpet ride, Rock n Roll rebels
• SIMON & GARFUNKEL: I am a Rock, Homeward Bound, Bridge over troubled water
• BOB DYLAN: considered to be one of the most influential names in the American popular music. Singer n lyricists, he changed the complexion of rock music and proved that conventional good voice is not a precondition for success. Bringing in elements of folk music, he popularized "Folk Rock". Interestingly, in the initial phase, he had kept his distance from this new wave of rock music and said to have called the Beatles as “bubblegum” group.
Hits: Like a rolling stone, Times they are a-changing, Blowin in the wind.

SECOND WAVE of British Invasion – 70’s
The 70’s marks the second wave of British invasion:
• CREAM: Sunshine of your love, Crossroads, Spoonful
• LED ZEPPELIN: Stairways to heaven, Black dog, Dyer maker, Kashmir
• BLACK SABBATH: Paranoid, Iron man, War pigs, Bloody Sabbath
• DEEP PURPLE: Smoke on the water, Perfect strangers, Woman from Tokyo
With this emerged the phase of “Heavy Metal” Rock...

Can't get enough of sixties ...

There are many groups of the 60’s; though not as successful as the Beatles, Rolling Stones or Bob Dylan ; have produced some amazing songs.
Here’s a list of a few songs, that I really enjoy and most of them have a 50’s feel!


HOLLIES: Bus Stop, On a carousel, Carrie Ann, Stop-stop-stop, Long cool woman in black dress

ZOMBIES: Time of the season, Tell her no, She’s not there

SEARCHERS: Love portion No 9, Sweets for my sweet, Sugar n spice, Wishin n hopin’

THE MONKEES: I’m a believer, Last train to Clarksville,

DONOVAN: Sunshine superman, Mellow Yellow, Jennifer juniper

HERMAN’s HERMITS: I’m into something good, No milk today, Mrs. Brown , I’m Henry VII, Years may come years may go, Leaning on a lamp post


SHIRELLES: The first major female group of the era.
Will you still love me tomorrow, Mama said, Soldier boy

THE TURTLES: Happy together, Let me be, Your baby

THE BYRDS: Mr. Tamborine man, Turn turn turn, Eight miles high

THE EVERLY BROTHERS: Bye bye love, Cathy’s clown, All I have to do is dream, Wake up little Susie

THE RASCALS : Beautiful morning, Grooving, Good lovin’, Its wonderful

Saturday, November 05, 2005


If you can just get your mind together
Uh-then come on cross to me
We’ll hold hands and we will watch the sunrise
From the bottom of the sea
But first, Are you experienced?
Uh-have you ever been experience –uh? Well I have

“Are you experienced”; the ageless classic by Jimi Hendrix …
I used to think the song is about sex. Later, reading more I learned it is about the use of drugs. Some even claim that the song is about being at peace with oneself. Wotever !!! One thing is crystal clear; it is definitely a song that belongs to the “Psychedelic Rock” genre.

The word “psychedelic” is coined from Greek words: Psyche (mind) and delein (manifest)
“Psychedelic Rock “; as a musical form; evolved in about the year 1966-67. Those were the halcyon days of counterculture revolution; when young adults were increasingly using drugs as marijuana, heroin, cocaine, and hallucinogenic as LSD, psilocin n mescaline. These drugs affect a person both physically and psychologically. “Physical effects “include: dilated pupils, blurred vision, elevated heart rate, palpitation … whereas “Psychological effects” include alterations in the way brain interprets time space and the reality around oneself ... There are illusions, loss of control, confusion, anxiety, mood-swing of happiness, sadness...

Psychedelic Rock; evolved as an attempt to capture these mind-altering qualities of drugs. The ‘lyrics’ often described visions of dreams, illusions n hallucination and the ‘instrumentation’ became long as they tried to replicate the drug-induced experience with distortions, delayed, prolonged and amplified guitar riffs …
Psychedelic Rock also came to be known as Flower Power, Acid Rock or Hard Rock.

The sixties is characterized with increased use of hallucinogenic drugs; especially LSD.
Three names are prominently linked with this phenomenon.
• Dr. Albert Hoffman; who in 1943; created a new drug “LSD” (acid) in Switzerland.
• Timothy Leary, a Harvard professor; known as “guru of LSD”; who popularized this drug, in America.
• Aldous Huxley; who authored of the famous book “The Doors of Perception” [from which the group “The Doors” takes its name]

Leary’s advise “turn in, turn on and drop out”- became an anthem of the counterculture generation. LSD alters a person’s perception of space and time, with an “out of the body” experience. People took drugs, partially to get high and escape reality and also to expand their minds and consciousness. Taking drugs and getting stoned, became a symbol of solidarity.

Psychedelic Music: The early groups to experiment with capturing the drug-induced state-of-mind in a musical form are said to be The Grateful Dead and Velvet Underground. But soon many more groups joined and by 1966 almost every group was producing psychedelic songs.. Some early hits are:
White Rabbits - Jefferson Airplane;
Eight Miles High – Byrds
Sunshine Superman – Donovan

The name of group “Pink Floyd” needs a special mention here. They brought out songs with wild instrumentation, eerie sounds, electronic screeches, loud amplification... music that people had never heard before. Their popularity can be gauged from the fact that just after the “ Live 8” show, where the group reunited after 24-years; their record sale saw a phenomenal surge. Sales of “The Wall” increased by 3600%, “Wish You were here” – 2000%;
Echoes by 1343% ….

Here is a list of few psychedelic hits (25)
I am the Walrus; LSD; Tomorrow Never Knows - The Beatles
Magic Carpet Ride – Steppenwolf
Light my fire - The Doors
Are you experienced, Purple Haze, If 6 were 9 - Jimi Hendrix
Dazed and Confused – Led Zeppelin
Eight Miles High - The Byrds
Good Vibrations- The Beach Boys
Sunshine Superman, Season of the Witch - Donovan
White Rabbits - Jefferson Airplane
Venus in Furs, Heroin, Femme Fatale, Run Run Run - Velvet Underground
Echoes; Ummagumma; Interstellar overdrive, The Great Gig In the sky,
Wish you were here, Comfortable Numb, Us and Them
– Pink Floyd

*It took me long to write this; cause …
I made a point to re-hear each of the songs that I’ve mentioned here…
and each one of them is awesome!!!

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Old Time Rock N Roll

Visual imagery can be so powerful!
My early childhood was almost devoid of any influence of Western Music. Once, when I was quite grown up, I saw this movie, “Risky Business” in which the then sane Tom Cruise, who looked fresh and cherubic, danced wildly with an imaginary guitar, to the famous upbeat tunes by Bob Seger’s “Old Time Rock-n-Roll”:

I Just take those old records off the shelf
I’ll sit and listen to ’em by myself
Today’s music aln ’t got the same soul
I like that old time rock ’n’ roll

I reacted with a WOW and I wanted to learn more about *Old Time* R-n-R!!!
This always evoked in me vivid images of “hippies”; who sported a very amusing fashion-taste of long hair, short-skirts, and bell-bottom or rather preferred being partially nude; who adhered to and advocated free expression of love-n-sex and were totally cool with the liberal use of psychedelic drugs. These images were so interesting and so overpowering, that it ushered in me, an interest to dig into the origins of this musical form, in the socio-political-economic set-up in which it evolved...
My impression is still sex-drugs-Rock-n-Roll ... BUT much more...

R-n-R evolved in the US, in around mid-50. So what was the mainstream culture at that time? After 15 years of depression and world war, there was relative stability, soldiers were returning home, there was economic surge and all this created conditions for birth of baby-boom generation (1946-64). Alongside, the "civil rights movement" - for equality in races - was gaining momentum. It was the time of Martin Luther King and of increased protests against segregation of Blacks n Whites in buses, schools and public-places.! The atmosphere of integration was beset with a lot of resistance and violence. This was the milieu, at the cusp of the most historic musical revolution: The emergence of Rock n-Roll. Not surprisingly, this new genre combined elements of music that was hitherto enjoyed separately by Blacks and Whites; and fused them together; to be enjoyed by both!!! So R-n-R has origins in gospel, R&B, boogie-woogie and country music of the time...

By the mid 50's the first batch of Rock-n-Roll songs was out. There is some controversy as to which song can be termed “first-ever” R-n-R song; contenders being:
“Rock Round the Clock” (Bill Haley n his Comets - 1954);
“That’s All Right, Mama” (Elvis Presley -1954)
“Maybellene” (Chuck Berry - 1955) …
Some other landmark songs of this era are; Peggy Sue (Buddy Holly);
Shake, Rattle n Roll (Big Joe Turner), Tutti-Frutti (Little Richards) …
This new music style was flashier, more upbeat, fast-paced, and people could swing n dance to the beats. It was termed as ROCKABILLY and is said to be the earliest form of Rock-n-Roll music, but almost died by end of 50’s!!!

The entry of Elvis Presley, in the mid-50’s; later to be crowned “The King”; is said to be the most significant development in music-world. Not only did he bring R-n-R into mainstream culture but also opened the doors of Black music in White population His versatile range, pulsating beats, hip-swiveling, pelvic thrusts, bizarre dress-sense, hair-style was like nothing that people had ever seen before. His early hits are rock-classics: Heartbreak Hotel, Hound Dog, Don’t be Cruel, Love Me Tender, Jailhouse Rock, All Shook Up …

Well, since my baby left me,
I found a new place to dwell.
It’s down at the end of lonely street, At heartbreak hotel.
You make me so lonely baby, I get so lonely, I get so lonely I could die.

The 60's brought in new developments and so evolved R-n-R! Main events can be summed as The British invasion (Beatles, Rolling Stones, The Who, Kinks....); Vietnam War (1965-73); advancements in medicines resulting in birth-control pills ( ushering sexual-revolution); increased use of drugs and coming of age of the oldest of baby-boomer generation !!! This mix of factors was the breeding ground of a new culture of “hippies”. They stood for everything that adult culture loathed. They rebelled against taboos: adopted a lifestyle of free sex n drugs; were anti-Christ; but most of all … they embraced Black music (although even played by White acts)!!! Adults hated it, teenagers loved it. These teenagers formed a distinctive culture and by their sheer number (baby-boomers) exerted tremendous social impact. They were politically active taking anti-war stance – with demonstrations against the Vietnam War. They stood against ostentatious life-style and favored simple bohemian living. This Hippie-Generation rightly earned the name as “Counterculture Generation”!

Along with hippie culture Rock- music entered the next stage and now the lyrics were more diverse on love, peace, anti-war, anti-racism, anti-Christ, serious messages, satires, humor, drugs … almost everything ..
Some hits of this era, reflect these developments:
- Protest songs (Give Peace a Chance - John Lennon; Unknown Soldiers - The Doors)

Ev'rybody's talking about ministers, Sinister, Banisters
And canisters, Bishops, Fishops,
Rabbis,and Pop eyes, Bye, bye, bye byes
All we are saying is give peace a chance.

- Satiric social commentary on the life-style of show and ostentation.
(I Can Get No Satisfaction – Rolling Stones, Dedicated Follower of Fashion – Kinks)

He flits from shop to shop just like a butterfly.
In matters of the cloth he is as fickle as can be,’
cause he’s a dedicated follower of fashion

- Songs that reflected the ideology and values of this new generation
(My Generation - The Who; Times They Are A-Changing - Bob Dylan)

Come mothers and fathers all over this land
And don't criticize what you can't understand
Your sons and your daughter are beyond your command
Your old role is rapidly aging
Please get out of the new one if you can't lend a hand
For the times they are a changing

With the increased use of drugs evolved a new style of Rock-music: PSYCHEDELIC /Acid-Rock/ Hard-Rock. It was an attempt to replicate the mind-altering experience of drugs. It reached its peak popularity by about 67-68; with almost all rockers producing music which depicted this psychedelic experience. Some names stand out; Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison, Grateful Dead, Pink Floyd …. Some famous songs; (Strawberry Fields Forever - Beatles; Sunshine Superman – Donovan; Purple Haze – Hendrix; Psychedelic Shack – Temptations; Eight Miles High – Byrds……)

The high-point, or the ultimate climax of the hippie culture n Rock-n-Roll was Woodstock, 1969!!! It is said that over 500,000 attended the concert. Rains, drugs, nudity But remarkably no violence are highlights of this event.

(This write-up has been my attempt to understand the environment in which R-n-R evolved development from about mid-50 … to …70’s….)