Arthur’s Law, Pre-Fab 4, smooth jazz

We get the funniest looks

More of the MonkeesIn response to my Phil Collins post, Arthur, who I’ve never mentioned, wrote: “As well you know, ‘Arthur’s Law’ keeps me from getting too worked up about what other people like or don’t like…

“This post reminds me of all the fashionable pile-ons over the years—Kenny G, Michael Bublé, Justin Bieber, etc., etc., etc. That’s a topic you could work on for the future?” Nah.

Arthur’s Law, as you all know, is: “Everything you love, someone else hates; everything you hate, someone else loves. So, relax and like what you like and forget about everyone else.”

Two things come to mind, one a group, and one more a subgenre. I know there are others, but usually, I had so absorbed Arthur’s Law so completely that it became a non-issue.

Or I have no real idea about their oeuvre. I’ve heard the music of Bieber, for instance, and it just doesn’t stick to my brain. You could play My World, and I’d say, “Who is that?”

Here We Come

The group is The Monkees. They were the Pre-Fab Four, a created group who didn’t even play their own instruments! And I suppose I bought into that disdain for a time.

Eventually, they did play some of their instruments and write some of their own songs. More to the point, lots of singers and groups couldn’t, or weren’t allowed to play on their albums in the day.

As I recall, most of the Byrds were piqued when only Roger McGuinn was allowed to perform with the Wrecking Crew on a particular album. The next time out, with the Byrds playing, the process was considerably longer.

Or Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass, studio musicians besides Herb in the studio, and pickup bands on the road. The Beach Boys was a working band, but the music they created in the studio was often augmented from Pet Sounds and forward.

Walkin’ Down the Street

The Beatles’ legendary Sgt. Pepper album came out in 1967. It was #1 for 15 weeks on the Billboard charts. Do you know the number one album in 1967 in the US? More of The Monkees, on top for 18 weeks, following the eponymous first album, #1 for 8 weeks in 1966, and 5 more in ’67.

Plus 1 week for Headquarters and the last 5 weeks with Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn, and Jones, Ltd. That’s 29 weeks for The Monkees at #1 in the Summer of Love.

Now, success is a weak reason to laud a band. But I learned to actually LIKE many of their songs. Pleasant Valley Sunday, with Mr. Green, “he’s so serene.” WordsGoing DownListen to the Band.

And Mary, Mary, which was originally performed by the Butterfield Blues Band. When The Monkees covered it, the rock intelligentsia was appalled. But the song was written by Michael Nesmith of the Monkees. So there, music snobs!

Music lite

The genre is light jazz or smooth jazz. REAL jazz was Ella or Satchmo or the Count or the Duke or Miles. That commercially successful stuff of Kenny G or Chuck Mangione – is that REALLY jazz?

Here’s a definition: “The fundamental difference… lies in the chief instrumentalist’s approach to improvisation. Typically, at least on record, smooth jazz musicians just don’t improvise. …

“As the artists found on smooth jazz playlists make clear, the ‘smooth’ is usually more important than the ‘jazz.'” Here’s the thing, though. If jazz is limited to mostly dead people, or people emulating dead people, the genre will die.

Moreover, a lot of those smooth folk are extremely talented. I caught the Christmas 2020 program of Dave Koz. He and his contingent (including one Rebecca Jade!) could really cook! And I don’t mean in a culinary way.

As one sage person once wrote, “Music is music if the feeling’s right.”

April rambling #2: Knowledge, Freedom, Democracy

The Public Library: A Photographic Love Letter

Do Not Lose Heart; We Were Made for These Times

On earth as it is in heaven: Why Jesus didn’t call his followers to be safe

The Gaslight Zone, Part 1 and Part 2

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Gerrymandering and Marijuana

Can We Get Real About Opioids? and Opioids, My Mom’s Death, and Why People Trust Science Less

How my daughter died from a simple case of flu

The Perception of Liberal Bias in the Newsroom Has Nothing Whatsoever to Do With Reality

Facebook use is a predictor of depression

The Internet Isn’t the Wild Wild West Anymore, It’s Westworld

Killing the Church with Sunday School

Girl, 2, defends her choice of doll to cashier

Carolyn Kelly, R.I.P.
Mark Evanier’s getting by, with the help of Henry Fonda

Sheryl Sandberg: ‘Everyone looked at me like I was a ghost’

Letterman’s mom was everyone’s mom: Dorothy Mengering dead at 95

A Tribute to Carrie Fisher

The Public Library: A Photographic Love Letter to Humanity’s Greatest Sanctuary of Knowledge, Freedom, and Democracy

Dianne Bentley saved receipts, helped take down her cheating governor husband

Arts in the Parks

Not me: Two longtime artists offer stunning works in ‘Traces’ exhibition

“Let me help” (Thoughts on “The City on the Edge of Forever”)

Bette Davis and Joan Crawford in the 1960s

Ken Levine interview: Voiceover artist Randy Thomas

I wrote about helicopter parenting four and a half years ago, and someone wanted to know if I wanted to read Abandon Helicopter Parenting, Embrace Negotiation Parenting; xooloo has developed an app for that.

7 Tips for Donating Old Books Without Being A Jerk

Now I Know: The Slave Who Spied on the Traitor and The Campaign for the Other Gary and Taking “One Person, One Vote” Literally — and Accidentally

Queen Elizabeth has someone break in her shoes before she wears them

Dawn Wells: Forever Mary Ann

I keep seeing references to crushed Doritos in recipes, e.g. replacing bread crumbs on fried chicken, or as the crust for mac and cheese. Have YOU used them?

Chopped liver


Just a clown singing Pinball Wizard to the tune of Folsom Prison Blues

The Beatles – Home Recordings, May 1968 (white album)

Coverville: Elton John cover story

Back in June 1980, the legendary Chuck Berry performed in the little village of Ladner, British Columbia, Canada

K-Chuck Radio: Music to help pretty plants grow

5 truly explosive performances of Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture

Appreciating an Unusual Beach Boys Album

Who has opened for the J. Geils Band?

Linda Hopkins; blues singer won Tony for best actress

The Neuroscience of Singing

There is a reason to have a B# and an E#

John Coltrane Draws a Picture Illustrating the Mathematics of Music

Monkees Star Mike Nesmith Reveals All on Drugs, a Near-Crippling Illness, and Jack Nicholson ‘Bromance’ in New Memoir

Where Have All The Bob Seger Albums Gone?

Genesis Tour Manager Recalls His Role in One of Rock’s Most Embarrassing Moments

Rock’n’roll shrimp named after Pink Floyd because of its deafening vocal ability

May rambling #2: Blind In Your Mind

Since when did Christianity become more about preaching the rules than preaching the Gospel of mercy?


A sad case of Facebook blackmail.

“Dude, enough with the entitlement.” She doesn’t owe you @#$!”.

Women are getting harassed in bathrooms because of anti-transgender hysteria. Plus Utah man attacked for taking his 5-year-old daughter into Walmart men’s bathroom. I have taken my then-5 y.o. daughter to a Wal-Mart men’s bathroom, in North Carolina, without incident.

Obituary of a Homophobic Racist, or, My Grandfather.

Killing Dylann Roof. “A year after Obama saluted the families for their spirit of forgiveness, his administration seeks the death penalty for the Charleston shooter.”

Why should schools move away from suspensions?

Poor People Deserve To Taste Something Other Than Shame.

The Election Is About the Country, Not the Candidates

Cartoon: Cut from commencement speeches.

The End Of Hillary Clinton’s 2008 Campaign.

What third parties CAN do.

John Oliver: Primaries and Caucuses.

R.I.P. Pinius Bergmann (1925-2016).

Aphantasia: How It Feels To Be Blind In Your Mind.


Book review: Stardancer by Kelly Sedinger.

Alicia: As I’m leaving the library today, I walked by a pile of new books and literally said out loud to myself, “No, I already have enough at home to read right now.”
Roger: The question: What did the books say in response?
Alicia: It was more of a quiet weeping.

On the heartbreaking difficulty of getting rid of books.

Neither Rand nor McNally. Death by GPS.

This month in 1856: Violence on the U.S. Senate floor.

Three-minute video about the Underground Railroad History Project of the Capital Region, produced by the NYS Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966.

The Trouble with Comics: the epic Question Time survey of the best current comics titles.

Now I Know: Combat Juggling and The Land Down Under in the Land Down Under and And Together They’ll Make Music.

True Facts About The Owl.



60 Minutes, the Sunday night news staple, honored Morley Safer, one of television’s most celebrated journalists. Then, days later, Safer died at 84. From the New York Times: “Mr. Safer had broadcast 919 “60 Minutes” reports, profiling international heroes and villains, exposing scams and corruption, giving voice to whistle-blowers and chronicling the trends of an ever-changing America.”

Alan Young, RIP, star of Duck Tales, and, of course, Mr. Ed. But, of course, of course, some are unhip to the lingo.

Beth Howland, Accident-Prone Waitress Vera From the Sitcom ‘Alice,’ Dies at 74, on New Years’ Eve 2015. Her husband was the actor Charles Kimbrough, who played the anchorman Jim Dial on the television series ‘Murphy Brown.’

Muppets TV show, RIP.

David Letterman – Behind The Scenes Of Late Night’s Longest Running Broadcaster and Leaving Letterman, Part I.

The closing of Johnny Carson’s last Tonight Show.

I disagree broadly, but as for these three: Celebrities Should Not Play Jeopardy. Plus Buzzy Cohen Might Be The Most Polarizing ‘Jeopardy!’ Contestant Yet.


What Kind of Fool Am I? – Kermit the Frog. And Grover.

CREAM – The Last Goodbye (1968).

Coverville 1126: Bob Dylan Cover Story VII.

Debunking Every Excuse For Keeping The Monkees Out Of The Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame, plus a positive review of their NEW album. Here’s Me & Magdalena, which was written for the band by Death Cab For Cutie’s Ben Gibbard.

First Listen: Paul Simon, ‘Stranger To Stranger’, due out June 3.

The fight over Prince’s estate will dig deep into copyright law for a very long time.

Lady Gaga and the Online Eucharist Police. Since when did Christianity become more about preaching the rules than preaching the Gospel of mercy?

Clones and other technology; and music

I didn’t think much of the Monkees, the original Prefab Four.

More of those Ask Roger Anything answers.

clonesMy colleague Ed asked:

So, if the technology existed (it will sooner or later) that would do the following 2 things:
1) As soon as you are born a clone would be created with your DNA. This clone would grow in a chamber inanimate until it is needed when you die.
2) From the moment of birth everything that ever happens in your life will be uploaded in real time to storage.

Premise one: You step off of the curb to cross the street and are struck and killed by a bus. At the exact moment of impact you real-time data is downloaded to your growing clones brain and the clone is activated. The clone sits up exacerbated and screams “Oh My God” in regard and reaction to the last memory recorded just a millisecond ago and then relaxes and realizes what happened and that he has just been killed but also been reanimated. Every single memory and experience from life in his previous body intact. Two main questions (this is from a scientific and logic perspective)

Q:1 – Is that clone really you? Has your life been extended?

Q:2 (slightly different scenario) What if you stepped off and jumped back on the sidewalk just in time and didn’t get hit and killed, BUT the process still ran at that exact moment to activate your clone as detailed above) Now, is that you? Or are you you?
I ask this because it seems to me that all of our thoughts and ideas on how to really extend life to the point of negligible immortality believe it to be your mind and memories alone that make you, you. I believe my Q:2 with scenario 2 disproves that idea. There has to be more to it.

Hey Rog, you said to ask a question – I did 🙂

I say no, and certainly no. Because the YOU, in scenario #1, never recovers from that bus accident. You are always You. The other you might be You 2.0.

Incidentally, in Things Movies and TV Always Get Wrong About Human Cloning, item #5, Exact Duplicates notes- “If you look at twins in the real world, even identical twins who share the exact same DNA, they are never exactly the same. That’s because genetics are only part of what makes someone unique. Things like nutrition, environment, parenting, physical injury (or lack thereof), and personal choice can change someone’s appearance drastically.”

So I reject the premise of the question. But I am fascinated by the notion of clones.

It seems that I evoke the notion of wishing I had a clone under two very divergent scenarios. 1) I’d like the clone to do the boring, tedious task, such as mowing the lawn, so that the Real Me can ride the bike with the daughter. 2) I want to do two pleasurable things simultaneously, such as, at 9:30 Sunday morning, both attend choir rehearsal AND the adult education class; in this case, I obviously want to experience BOTH events.
The distinguished SamuraiFrog wonders:

What obsolete technology do you still like to use and will never get rid of?

Never say never, I suppose, but, in all likelihood:

Books, including quite a few reference books on music, movies, and TV, because I can find the info nearly as fast as online, assuming I can get it on a webpage at all.

A watch. The argument I have actually been given: “Why have a device that does only one thing?” Because I don’t need to DO but one thing in that moment, and that’s to get the time, literally with the flick of my wrist.

A record player. I still have over 1500 LPs, and some of the music is NOT available in other forms.

A landline phone (probably). This is more a function of not knowing where my cellphone is or forgetting to charge it, for days at a time, and not particularly caring that much about the loss.
Amy, the Sharp Little Pencil:

OK, you asked, so now I am asking… er…

Who is your absolute, alltime, stuck-on-a-desert-island-with-one-CD favorite singer?

You are a cruel woman.

I was thinking about Ray Charles, but I ended up picking Nat King Cole. I have this album of early Ray Charles, titled “the Early Ray Charles,” and he sounded amazingly like Nat; BTW, that album got me in a bit of trouble.

My late mother had a bunch of Nat 78s; I’m sure she had a crush. In his own way, he was a television pioneer. That he died young because of cigarettes broke my heart.

LISTEN to The very best of Nat King Cole.
Jaquandor ponders:

If John and George were still alive, would the Beatles reunion have already taken place? If so, where and when?

Almost certainly. After John’s five-year self-imposed musical exile to help raise his second son, Sean, he’d want to see how his music was received. And it would have done fine, not as well as Double Fantasy did as a result of his death, unless, of course, he went on the road, which he seemed to be planning to do.

Then Milk and Honey would have been released (ditto), and he’d figure that he didn’t need to prove anything. He might show up on a Ringo album, or have George guest on one of his. Eventually, they’d all get together. It might be a small gig in Liverpool, or a larger one in London, but probably something in New York City, the location that propelled Beatlemania.

LISTEN to some Beatles songs.
Arthur@AmeriNZ wants to know:

Pop Culture: Have there been any recording artists who you loved, then later in their career you though, “Hm, no, that’s just not any good.”

I’m hard-pressed to think of one. I think whoever they were met my needs at the time. Take the Chipmunks, who I thought were terribly funny, but find much less so now. Still, David Seville (Ross Bagdasarian, Sr.) gets mondo props for controlling speeds to create an effect.

Or, the opposite: Artists you formerly loathed and grew to appreciate or even like?

Would not go as far as loathe, but I didn’t think much of the Monkees, the original Prefab Four, who eventually DID play their own instruments and write their own songs.

They were also EXTREMELY successful. Their first album, in 1966, was #1 for 13 weeks, More of the Monkees for 18 weeks, Headquarters for one week – probably because the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper then came out and dominated for 15 weeks. But then Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn, and Jones, Ltd. ended 1967 on top for five weeks.

In 1966, the Beatles had the #1 album in the US for 18 weeks, the Monkees for 7; in 1967, the Beatles – 15 weeks, the Monkees – 30.

LISTEN to The Monkees The Singles Collection

M is for the Monkees: 1967

In 1967, the Monkees had the #1 album far longer than any other group, and More of the Monkees was #1 longer than any album, including Sgt. Pepper.


1967 was a stellar year in popular music. According to Robert Christgau and David Fricke, the former billed as the “dean of American rock critics”, the “40 Essential Albums” of that year included albums by the Doors, the Rolling Stones, Jefferson Airplane, Jimi Hendrix, the Beach Boys, Bob Dylan, the Who, the Velvet Underground, and, of course, the Beatles. As it turns out, none of the albums released by the Monkees made the list.

The Monkees was a band formed by television executives to have a loony TV program in the tradition of the Beatles’ first movie, A Hard Day’s Night. The program which ran from 1966 to 1968 was quite popular, and even more so in eventual MTV reruns. I watched it occasionally, I will admit. But the group was derided as the “pre-Fab Four,” as opposed to the “real” Beatles.

Interestingly, the listening public did not seem to care about the controversy. On this weekly list of number #1 albums of 1967, the 1966 album The Monkees continued as #1 for five weeks (plus 8 weeks at the end of the previous year). It was replaced by More of the Monkees, which was #1 for 18 straight weeks. After a week of the Tijuana Brass, and a week by the Monkees’ Headquarters album, the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper ruled for 15 weeks. Then two weeks of Ode to Billie Jo by Bobby Gentry, and five weeks of Supremes Greatest Hits. The last five weeks of the year, the top-selling album was the Monkees’ Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones Ltd.

In other words, in 1967, the Monkees had the #1 album far longer than any other group, and More of the Monkees was #1 longer than any album, including Sgt. Pepper.

Fast forward to the early 1980s. One of my co-workers gave me some Monkees’ greatest hits album. I must admit that I liked it enormously. I wrote it off as a “guilty pleasure,” but now I proclaim that there are lot of songs by the Monkees that I enjoy a lot.

And even gave the group a modicum of respect, with Headquarters considered the 38th best album of 1967, Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones Ltd. at 39, and More Of The Monkees at 85.

From More of the Monkees
Mary, Mary (Michael Nesmith). The song was first recorded by The Butterfield Blues Band for their 1966 album, East-West. The Monkees were derided for doing a Butterfield song until it was shown that a Monkee had actually written it.
(I’m Not Your) Steppin’ Stone (Tommy Boyce, Bobby Hart). Boyce & Hart wrote a number of Monkees songs. This went to #20 in the US, making it the first Monkees B-side to chart.
I’m a Believer (Neil Diamond). #1 in the U.S. for the week ending December 31, 1966, and remained there for seven weeks, becoming the biggest-selling single record for all of 1967.

From Headquarters
Randy Scouse Git (Micky Dolenz). The songwriter says it was written about a party that The Beatles threw for the Monkees, with references to the Beatles (“the four kings of EMI”) and to others such as Cass Elliot of the Mamas and Papas.

From Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones Ltd.
Words (Tommy Boyce, Bobby Hart). One of my favorite songs by the group.
Pleasant Valley Sunday (Gerry Goffin, Carole King). The single got to #3 in the US. Even though it’s about a street in New Jersey, I always pretend that it’s from upstate New York, where I have visited often. And how can I not love the lyrics: “And Mr. Green, he’s so serene. He’s got a TV in every room.”
And for no reason except that it would have been John Lennon’s 72nd birthday: Strawberry Fields Forever – the Beatles (1967).

ABC Wednesday – Round 11

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