Thursday, December 22, 2005

SONGFACTS ....

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 : http://www.songfacts.com/

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.

And
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



References:
http://www.songfacts.com/detail.php?id=1928
http://www.songfacts.com/detail.php?id=664