The singer arguably considered Brazil’s greatest, Elis Regina, died of an Continue reading
Robert Allen Zimmerman is 70 years old today. One of the most celebrated artists of our era, the Duluth, Minnesota-born songwriter known as Bob Dylan has reached that coveted spot in American culture: the idol who, despite being past his prime, is still capable of surprising his admirers with the twists and turns of his creativity, while turning many a non-believer into Continue reading
He was still young, at 36, but had already become one of the greatest artist to ever have come from Africa. In his native Jamaica, only one of his mentors (and competitors), the older and still very much alive Jimmy Cliff, Continue reading
What a difference 40 years make. In the 1970s, they were fond of Steve Wonder music. Now only the Royal Philharmonic will do.
When “The Secret Life of Plants” was published in 1973 by Peter Tompkins and Christopher Bird, it became a instantaneous hit and a pop culture phenomenon.
In it, with the use of sophisticated audio technology, the Continue reading
Math Teacher Explains
Another Fab Four Song
Science is finally catching up with The Beatles music. Who knew? It’s true that it took a number of calculations and a lot of brain work (besides a considerable delay), but a mathematician finally figured that “Strawberry Fields Forever” is actually a compression of two versions of the song.
We know, we know. No disrespect to Professor Jason Brown, of Dalhousie’s Department Continue reading
A war has broken up over the estate of Chicago’s Museum of Peace. And as it goes, John Lennon has a starring role. A lawsuit over the estate of the no longer active museum is causing a ruckus for it involves the fate of a series of unique memorabilia items, including an acoustic guitar that once belonged to the former Beatle.
The museum was founded in 1981 and Lennon and wife Yoko Ono were featured in exhibits there, such as a 1983 show called “Give Peace a Chance.” But it Continue reading
To label as “Latin” the music made by Latin American artists is nothing short than an empty generalization. But as the U.S. Postal Service stamp collection of five such legends shows, it’s clear that the endurance of their work went way beyond the limitations of the label and turned irrelevant even the Spanish and Portuguese languages through which they mostly Continue reading
Earthquake, Oil Spill &
Dangerous War Secrets
A Short List of What Have Kept Us Awake in 2010,
and What We May Need to Awake From in the New Year.
1) July 26, December 19. The biggest story of the year, the two-punch WikiLeaks revelations about our efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan, along with the startlingly dispirited diplomacy used to achieve them, had all the limitations of an attack led by drones: all fire, no eyesight.
What was far more revealing was the swift counter punch by the U.S. and its allies in reaction to them. Within days, a case of free speech was turned into a terrorist witch-hunt of the organization’s founder, Julian Assange, the Interpol was brought in and a personal misdeed in Sweden was quickly rolled in for good measure.
The effort to punish the messenger was enough to temporarily derail the essence of the allegations, force Assange to fight expatriation and jail term threats, and land Pvt Bradley Manning, his supposedly source, into an insalubrious location Continue reading
Scientists have just completed the genome sequencing of former Black Sabbath frontman Ozzy Osbourne and the assumption is that it’ll finally explain, once and for all, how come he’s still around – no offense -, even though all he plays these days is a gargantuan ass of himself. This reminds us of that old account that, according to science, bumblebees should not be able to fly.
Exactly like that old, probably apocryphal account, the only conclusive resolution the experiment most likely proves is that something is amiss. And, since we’re talking about the self-appointed Prince of Darkness himself, something has indeed, been terribly missing for far too long.
To be fair, the 61 permanently addled Osbourne is, in fact, a survivor, who walked Continue reading
Rock’s arguably greatest guitar player would’ve been 68 today. But most of what was relevant about his life and legacy has already been regurgitated this past September, 40 years of his death.
Which clears our schedule today to only enjoy his music, never mind what it’d all be were he still around.
In rock’s recent history, 1970 was as a chockfull of landmarks year as few others. That’s why, 40 years later, we found ourselves once more talking and reading about Jimi Hendrix.
And about Janis, who also died the same year, and Jim and John, who both share a fateful date next month – you’ll hear more about that soon enough – and there surely be many others.
The day belongs to the paratrooper from Seattle, though. So if you’re heading to the the corner coffee shop, have a load to soak at the laundromat, or simply are planning to take it easy, he’s your guy.
Crowd pleasers Hey Joe, Foxy Lady, Purple Haze or All Along the Watchtower usually get the first pick. But since his recorded ouvre is limited, you’ll be through with it all before the dryer’s done. But you’ll, cue the smoky voice, gonna like the way you’ll feel; we guarantee it.
After 30 years, Sony just announced that it’s discontinuing the production of its fable portable players, which served as the power engine behind countless soundtracks for the 80s, whatever that may have been to you.
The previous assassination of the vinyl format had already invoked the full gamut of adjectives for mourning and loss and grief any electronic artifact could possibly muster. Somewhat though such demise was attenuated by the Continue reading
The self-taught guitar hero of Baltimore, who left his indelible watermark on rock, jazz and contemporary classical music, is also celebrated today in the U.S., Europe, Asia and the world for his stance on artistic freedom.
An accomplished musician, who recorded over 60 albums in a variety of styles, Zappa was also that rare bread of artist, the truly thinker, with highly articulated ideas about the popular culture’s role in society.
Way before being fully understood in the U.S., Zappa had already become an inspiration for generations of Eastern Europeans, and the Czech Republic’s first president, the poet Václav Havel, was a personal fan.
Zappa’s defense of freedom of speech took him to testify to the Senate, in 1985, against efforts to censure mainly rap lyrics deemed too violent or sexually explicit by a group of wives of politicians, including Al Gore’s former wife, Tipper Gore.
He outlived his famed group, the Mothers of Invention, and went on to produce and direct experimental movies, while still touring regularly. He died in 1993 of inoperable prostate cancer. Great part of his work is still to be remastered and released on the latest digital technology.
Now we know why Don Van Vliet, the Captain Beefheart, was in such a hurry to depart this world, which he did less than a week ago: he certainly didn’t want to miss the jam session up in heavens celebrating his high school buddy’s 70th birthday.
Beatles Hit Their
Half Century Mark
It was 50 years ago yesterday. The Beatles played their first concert at the Indra Club, Hamburg, West Germany. The scruffy lineup included John, Paul, George, soon-to-be-replaced-by-Ringo Pete Best, and the late Stuart Sutcliffe.
Paraphrasing Lennon, the Beatles were born in Liverpool but grew up in Hamburg. For that first paid gig, and the almost 300 that followed in the city over two years, prostitutes and sailors were their primary audience, and concerts could last up to 12 hours, Continue reading
The world is remembering Jimi Hendrix, who died in London 40 years ago yesterday. To mark the date, there’s a new anthology out and a documentary of his life and music. Bob Smeaton’s “Voodoo Child” uses his own words as a narrative thread and never before seen film footage, recordings, private letters and family pictures to tell his story.
The four-CD “West Coast Seattle Boy” covers his brief but incendiary career through previously unreleased tracks and alternate versions of his classics. It traces his transformation from a sideman to the Isley Brothers, Little Richard and other Continue reading
Polaroids of Lennon &
Friends Surface in L.A.
A trove of never-before published Polaroids of John Lennon, his three Beatle mates, Harry Nilsson, Pete Moon and members of the Rolling Stones has just been uncovered. Patti Daley, a close friend of late guitarist Jesse Ed Davis, took them in the 1970s and now has decided to share them with the world.
When Lennon left Yoko Ono in 73 and spent 15 months in California in what he later called his “lost weekend,” his rented Santa Monica house quickly became a Continue reading
– Where were you when you heard about it?
His family and close ones will always prefer to remember his birthday in October, specially this year, his 70th. But the world will always think about his brutal death, outside the Dakota in New York City, and the crushing end of so many dreams, however unrealistic they may’ve been.
John Lennon’s death, with its profound resonance for millions of fans around the globe, was almost as unexpected as it was deeply unjust. His songs, his music, his art and awareness of Continue reading
Roberta Joan Anderson is 67 today. Millions of friends and admirers around the world are celebrating
her music, poetry and paintings. Her constantly evolving art and highly distinctive style have been an integral part of their growing up. To many, she’s a muse. To others, a personal friend. But all love and know her by her stage name. So, Happy Birthday, Joni Mitchell.