Posts Tagged ‘birthday’

white albumI distinctly remember the first time I heard the “white album” by The Beatles. In November 1968, a bunch of our merry band, dubbed Holiday Unlimited – “a splendid time is guaranteed for all” – were in the basement of the Unitarian Universalist Church in Binghamton, NY.

Our friend Steve, the only UU among us, “sponsored” our gathering as an LRY (Liberal Religious Youth) event. we listened to each of the four sides, with only a brief bathroom breaks.

We were gobsmacked. The sounds were all over the place. But I must have liked it, because I got it for Christmas (or maybe my next birthday), but I had to replace one of the discs because the intro to Birthday skipped.

The album The Beatles, generally referred to as the “white album,” is being reissued in several formats, including a limited 6 CD + 1 Blu-ray audio Super Deluxe box set.

It includes the much-sought-after Esher Demos, recorded at “George Harrison’s bungalow in Esher, London, fresh from the band’s fabled Rishikesh trip,” plus three sessions discs and a slip-sleeved 164-page hardbound book. “The book also includes new introductions by Paul McCartney and Giles Martin and in-depth track-by-track details and session notes.”

The Deluxe 3 CD set which includes the Esher demos, has a 24-page booklet abridged from the Super Deluxe book. There are also a couple different LP versions. I may purchase the 3 CDs at about $30, because the super deluxe set, at $150 may be too rich for my blood.

Paul McCartney goes through The White album track by track.

I’m now convinced that people will still be talking about Beatles’ music fifty years from now. Part of the reason is the sheer volume of their music being released decades after their breakup. I have approximately three dozen albums that are strictly Beatles covers. The band remains a regular topic on the Quora website.

YouTube automatically rolled to Ticket to Ride by the Beatles. the music is as seminal as ever and the video is a hoot. Minimal attempts to feign playing their instruments, the wry look at 1:40 from John.

Here’s The Story Behind John Lennon’s Walrus. It reminded me of a little joke my junior high school friend Ray made, musing on whether Lennon meant “standing in the English rain” or perhaps the “English reign,” meaning the Queen.

Today is Sean Lennon’s 43rd birthday, which is really hard to fathom; I saw him in concert about a decade ago. It would also have been John Lennon’s 78th birthday.
***
Geoff Emerick, recorded the Beatles in their prime, dies at 72

Jackson BrowneI’ve been following the career of Clyde Jackson Browne – Clyde? – for so long that it seems he’s always been around. Yet I’ve written about him relatively infrequently. And usually in relation to others, though I did a meme about him way back on 10 October 2005.

10/10? That’s one of the problems for me, that he has the same birthday, eight years later, as John Lennon, about whom I’ve written a LOT. His first claim to fame was that he wrote the bulk of Take It Easy, along with Glenn Frey, which became the Eagles’ first big hit.

The page noting his 2004 induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: “He emerged in the early Seventies as a soul-baring young folksinger whose songs dealt with riddles of romance and existence. In his middle period, he became a more extroverted rock and roller.

“Later work grew more topical in nature as Browne sang of political and social realities within and beyond our borders. ‘In a way, I don’t choose what I write about—my subjects kind of choose me,’ this vanguard singer/songwriter explained in 1993. “It’s a healing thing, a way of confronting what’s important in my life at the time.'”

Here are interviews: The Nation (2014) and Forbes (2017).

In 2015, Rolling Stone listed him as the 37th greatest songwriter of all time in its list of “100 Greatest Songwriters of All Time”. I’ve never seen him live, save for a massive concert in June 1982. I do have a half dozen of his albums on vinyl, including the first one, whatever it’s called, and four on CD.

Listen to:

Very Best of Jackson Browne

Opening Farewell – Bonnie Raitt & Jackson Browne live

Kisses Sweeter Than Wine – Bonnie Raitt & Jackson Browne, from a Pete Seeger tribute album

Take It Easy – live with James Taylor

First Girl I Loved, from an Elektra Records tribute album, this track covering Judy Collins

I Love L.A. – Randy Newman’s 2013 induction into the Rock Hall, with Newman, Jackson Browne, Tom Petty, John Fogerty

Coverville 1236: Cover Stories for Steve Miller, Randy Bachman and Jackson Browne

NSFW section

A Piece of the Pie -JB’s live attempt of a Randy Newman song that namechecks him, which Newman explains here

You @$$#013 You

There was an August 2018 article with Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta dancing together, celebrating the 40th anniversary of the movie Grease. The stars have been great friends in the intervening four decades.

It’s weird that, for some reason, I never saw Grease in the movie theater, and it was a massive success. In fact, I’m not sure to this day that I’ve ever seen it in its entirety, though my daughter has watched the film on video

And it wasn’t just the movie that might have drawn me in, it was the music, with three Top 5 singles by Travolta and Newton-John in 1978. I have seen a high school production of the musical i the past couple years.

I’d forgotten that she was born in Cambridge, England. I did recall she was raised in Melbourne, Australia. She was a country artist early on, had some massive “middle of the road” hits before Grease.

But in 1980/1981, she transformed her career. Just as Sandy in Grease changed from goody-goody to being clad in spandex, Newton-John was inspired to do the same metaphorically. As a result, she had her largest hits in the US, Magic, and Physical.

I believe that, for the time, it was constitutionally illegal not to play Physical on the hour, unless you were on one of the two Utah radio stations that banned the single from their playlists. It was ranked by Billboard as the biggest song of the decade.

Her breast cancer had been in remission from 1992 until its metastasis was discovered in 2017. She’s become an advocate for better eating, animal rights, and the environment.

Yes, I have my one Olivia Newton-John greatest hits album, which I play every September. She shares a birthday with my late father.

Listen to:

If Not for You, #25 pop in 1971

Honestly Love You, #1 pop for two weeks, #6 country in 1974

Have You Never Been Mellow, #1 pop, #3 country in 1975

You’re The One That I Want, with John Travolta, #1 pop in 1978
Summer Nights, with Travolta and cast of Grease, #5 pop in 1978

Magic, #1 pop for four weeks in 1980

Physical, #1 pop for ten weeks, #28 R&B in 1981

John_RitterThere was a popular sitcom in the US on ABC-TV called Three’s Company, which aired from 1977 to 1984. From the IMBD description: “Janet [Joyce DeWitt] and Chrissy [Suzanne Somers] get Jack [John Ritter] as a roommate for their Santa Monica apartment. Jack can cook (he’s studying to be a chef) and, when called to do so, pretends he’s gay to legitimize the arrangement.”

I found the premise more than annoying, and I seldom watched the program, certainly not intentionally. But when I came across it, I agreed with what the late Don Knotts, a co-star on the show, said in 2002, that John Ritter was the “greatest physical comedian on the planet.”

I’d seen him guest star on a variety of shows, most notably The Waltons, MASH, and Dan August before his breakthrough role.

I did watch, on purpose, 8 Simple Rules… for Dating My Teenage Daughter, starting in 2002, with John Ritter as Paul, Katey Sagal as his wife Cate, and Kaley Cuoco, later of The Big Bang Theory, as teenager Bridget. It was a pleasant enough diversion.

Then John Ritter, born September 17, 1948, died from an aortic dissection on September 11, 2003. It was/is a shock when a seemingly healthy guy not quite 55 dies suddenly. They wrote “Paul’s” death into the series, and it was one of the most painful things I’d ever watched on TV. The show continued for another year and a half, bringing in other characters played by James Garner and David Spade, and the producers created a decent, but very different show.

John Ritter’s parents were legendary country singer/actor Tex Ritter and actress Dorothy Fay. As a child, I used to listen to Tex on the radio late at night on WWVA, Wheeling, WV.

He had three children with his first wife, actress Nancy Morgan: Jason (b 1980), Carly (b 1982), and Tyler (b 1985) Jason I recognize from playing a teacher named Mark on the TV show Parenthood, but mostly from being the voice of Dipper on the animated series Gravity Falls.

He had one child with his second wife, actress Amy Yasbeck: Stella (b 1998). John Ritter died on Stella’s fifth birthday, and one day before the death of country music legend Johnny Cash. Coincidentally, Tex Ritter had written several songs for Johnny during the 1950s and 1960s.

For ABC Wednesday

Leonard BernsteinThis is true: I have a stuffed lion named Lenny, named after Leonard Bernstein. He has a wild and magnificent mane, just like the composer/educator often had when he was conducting a symphony.

If he only did those Young People’s Concerts on CBS-TV during my growing-up period (1958-1972) , that would have been enough to make him an important figure in my life.

But, of course, he also composed the music to West Side Story, a movie I saw when I was about 10, and which I’ve seen in various iterations of plays and ballets at least a half dozen times. The Quintet version of Tonight was revelatory.

Leonard Bernstein had such a vast and varied career, I can hardly do it justice.

Here’s a bunch of links:

Leonard Bernstein: Young People’s Concerts | What Does Music Mean (Part 1 of 4) (1958)

Bernstein and Glenn Gould: Bach’s Keyboard Concerto No. 1 in D minor (BWV 1052) (1960)

West Side Story -Tonight Quintet and Chorus (1961)

Bernstein explains beautifully and eloquently exactly what a conductor does

Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No. 1 in D Major, “The Titan” with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra , conducted by Leonard Bernstein

His Overture to Candide, conducted by Bernstein himself

Leonard Bernstein, conductor AND pianist, George Gershwin – Rhapsody in Blue – New York Philharmonic, the Royal Albert Hall (1976)

Leonard Bernstein – Kennedy Center Honors, 1980

Jaquandor writing about John Williams: “There’s a wonderful essay by Leonard Bernstein called ‘The Infinite Variety of Music,’ which appears in the book of the same title. The essay is actually the script of one of the wonderful episodes he used to do for the educational teevee program Omnibus.

“In this particular episode, Bernstein described how composers are able to create an astonishing variety of musical works from just thirteen notes of the Western tuning system, by reducing things even further and showing how a number of great composers wrote amazing pieces, many of which are very familiar, by using as their main motif the exact same four-note melody.”

Bernstein at 100

Religion & Spirituality In The Music Of Leonard Bernstein

10 Must-See Artifacts in This Powerful Centennial Exhibition

Amy Biancolli interview with Jamie Bernstein, Lenny’s daughter

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