Archive for Tongue and Groove

Beatniks and politics

If you’d told me in 1967 that the Strawberry Alarm Clock would still be a functioning band in 2017, I’d have whupped you with the yardstick for lunatics I used to keep handy for just such emergencies. The SAC had several problems, among them frequent personnel changes, and the fact that the lead singer on “Incense and Peppermints,” their biggest hit, wasn’t even a member of the band. Bassist George Bunnell explains:

One of those things where nobody thinks that at the moment, what you’re doing is going to be successful. The song wasn’t fitting anybody. Greg Munford happened to just be sitting there in the session, and Greg also had the same manager and producer. He was doing his own project simultaneously. They asked him to try it, and it was right in his wheelhouse. So he did it and it was exactly how you hear it. He was not in the band, and then the song started to have success. Then they asked Greg Munford if he wanted to be in the band and he didn’t. He had his own thing. The band went off and never had the lead singer of that song in the band. Completely stupid.

SAC was signed to Uni Records, a West Coast outpost which was expected to be hipper than mother Decca. (Which it was; their labelmates included Desmond Dekker, Neil Diamond, Olivia Newton-John, and, um, Elton John.) They never again hit the Top 40, but they did produce some interesting singles. One of them was a B-side: “Pretty Song from Psych-Out,” which is exactly what it was: a pretty song (by group members Lee Freeman and Ed King) from Psych-Out, a 1968 American International drugsploitation film in which the band appeared and played three songs, none of which was the “Pretty Song.” (The version on the Psych-Out soundtrack album was performed by The Storybook.) I played this 45 to death:

“Pretty Song” was the flip of “Sit With the Guru” (!), which struggled to #65.

To start out the Seventies, the Clock toured the South; for one concert series, their opening act was, um, Lynyrd Skynyrd. (As SAC fragmented, Skynyrd asked Ed King to join them, which he did.)

We close with “Sit With the Guru,” live in 2012, because of course we do.

(Provoked, like so many of these, by Roger Green.)

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Don’t shake this off

The night Grace VanderWaal got the Golden Whatzit on America’s Got Talent, Simon Cowell told her she might be the next Taylor Swift. And this is as Swiftian a song as I’ve heard since Tay’s 1989. Can’t embed the video, but what matters here is the audio:

And I swear, Grace is going for that Swiftian silhouette: she’s grown several inches in the last year, all of them vertical.

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Maybe it’s over there

“This Isn’t the Place” is the middle track of the new Nine Inch Nails EP Add Violence, which drops with great force tomorrow:

That sudden ending suggests to me that this goes right into the next track, “Not Anymore.”

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A real snootful

Americans love that new-car smell; they’ll even buy synthetic new-car smell in a spray bottle, just to prolong the ecstasy.

The Chinese, however, aren’t having any of that:

Chinese would rather their cars didn’t smell of anything — a cultural divide that’s testing car makers seeking an edge to revive sales in the world’s biggest auto market.

At Ford Motor Company, for example, 18 smell assessors — dubbed “golden noses” — at its research plant outside the eastern city of Nanjing test the smell of each material that goes inside a Ford car to be sold in China and around Asia.

The China smell test isn’t unique, but illustrates the lengths automakers go to to attract buyers in markets where consumer attitudes vary widely.

Very few Chinese-built cars are sold in the States — yet. I have to figure that eventually the importers will start spritzing the interiors with that aftermarket stuff.

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More laurels yet

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the Musical America Artist of the Year for 2017:

Yuja Wang before a concert in Munich 16 July 2017

She represents a new breed — the complete, thoroughly modern package. Wearing stunning gowns chosen specifically to match the repertoire she is playing, she has cultivated a persona of visual beauty as well as musical brilliance. And then there are those dynamite encores — wow!

In a recent video for Giorgio Armani, Musical America’s Artist of the Year, Yuja Wang, performs Liszt’s arrangement of Schubert’s Gretchen at the Spinning Wheel, the work’s dark, dulcet tones swirling against a dimly lit backdrop of piano and pianist as the music gently weaves a spell of soulful mystery. The performance, technically impeccable and full of subdued passion, is intercut with images of Yuja in a variety of tasteful fashion poses. There was a time when this would have raised eyebrows, along with protestations about classical music’s chaste role in a world full of commercial taint. Welcome to the 21st century, when women play the piano as well as men and feel free to flaunt their other gifts as well.

On the off-chance that you might have wanted to hear the entirety of Gretchen am Spinnrade:

She is, after all, only thirty, so I can believe this:

She has a keen interest in popular culture as well. Hence her attention to fashion, as well as her usual reported practice of listening to rock music before stepping out on stage. She uses Spotify to keep on top of new things, and goes to live concerts as often as possible. Though she values working with older masters, she loved performing with Gustavo Dudamel’s Orquesta Sinfónica Simón Bolivar (“What a crazy bunch of outrageous musicians!”) partly because they are mostly her age, and their youthful outlook matched her own. After the concert, she reports, they could all agree, “Let’s go to a bar and listen to electronic music.”

A party girl? Who knew?

Yuja Wang after a concert in Munich 16 July 2017

Here, she plays some fiendishly difficult Bartók, with Dudamel at the helm of the Los Angeles Philarmonic:

You’ve had a rough night, mademoiselle. Is there somewhere we can take you?

Yuja Wang gets a ride to somewhere 2017

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Looking up from a groove

Cover art for Under the Mountain by DaJakalWikipedia will tell you that house music is “a genre of electronic music created by club DJs and music producers in Chicago in the early 1980s.” Which is true as far as it goes; but if that were all there was to it, it wouldn’t still be here in the late 2010s.

So much has been incorporated into house in recent years that sometimes you wonder if you’ve happened upon some whacked-out sub-sub-subgenre. I wasn’t sure what to make of this EP by DaJakal, and hell, I actually know the guy; I’ve heard a lot of stuff he’s done in this decade, and this sounds like none of it. The iTunes store lists Under the Mountain under “House,” but keep in mind that they list Taylor Swift’s 1989 as “Country & Folk,” so take that with several grains of salt. The five tracks here are, as required by the genre, compulsively rhythmic; but DaJakal does textures with the greatest of ease, and there isn’t a single gratuitous or unnecessary instrument to be heard.

Note: “King of the Mountain” is listed here as an instrumental, and that’s indeed what it is, but since no vocal version is provided, I’ll have to assume that it’s coming in the next release. (Which wouldn’t be a bad idea, since I think it’s the weakest track of the set.)

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But never, ever pitiful

Linda Ronstadt hasn’t sung so much as a note in public for most of a decade; Parkinson’s disease has taken what can only be described as a terrible toll. But during her four decades as a musical legend, she gave us some of our favorite records and a few thoughts which we will not dwell on here.

Linda Ronstadt holds serve

Linda Ronstadt stands there demurely

Waiting for the Double E

Warren Zevon wasn’t exactly a star when Linda recorded “Poor Poor Pitiful Me,” and her cover version, released early in 1978, fell just short of the Top 30 in Billboard. She says she learned it from Jackson Browne, who’d produced Zevon’s own version. The video here is the standard album track, from Simple Dreams, with rather a lot of more or less vintage photos pasted over the audio.

Its chart position notwithstanding, it’s one of her best-remembered songs. At the opposite end of the familiarity spectrum, there’s this seriously weird commercial for the Remington electric razor:

And yes, that was Frank Zappa. This was a radio spot, over which a fan dubbed some startlingly appropriate visuals.

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Before Iggy’s time

There were in fact six Stooges, but you only got to see them three at a time. A re-recording was issued in 1959, but this is the original, as seen in a 1938 Columbia two-reeler:

I have no idea if this inspired Shirley Shirley Bo Birley in 1964:

And if you wondered why Shirley invoked a relatively uncommon name like Lincoln, it’s a shout-out to her co-writer, producer and manager Lincoln Chase.

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Their eyes are up there

Not that you’re supposed to look at their eyes:

Be Ambitious by Dal ShabetThis spiffy Dal Shabet number from the summer of 2013 isn’t particularly weird as K-pop goes, until you find out that there are two titles: “Be Ambitious,” which is duly rendered on the sleeve in English, and “Look At My Legs,” which clearly doesn’t have to be.

Three days before the scheduled release of “Be Ambitious,” word came down from The Authorities that the lyrics were scurrilous and could not be broadcast on Korean television. New vocal tracks were duly patched in, but there was apprarently no time to reshoot the video. And shortly after the release, a men’s-rights group sought an injunction against Dal Shabet and their management, complaining about the portrayal of the males in this video. A couple weeks later, a joint press conference was held to announce that all charges were being dropped. But the damage was done: “Be Ambitious” was the lowest-selling Dal Shabet single up to that point, moving a mere 500,000 copies to Korea’s ambitious downloaders.

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Beating the spread

K-Chuck Radio has an interesting treatise on the way stereo used to be, complete with samples:

[E]ven producer Phil Spector completely eschewed stereo output, believing that his records sounded much better in mono.

Mind you, that doesn’t mean that record companies DIDN’T produce stereo versions of their big 1950’s and 1960’s hits … and when they did create stereo pressings of their big hits, the stereo versions were a simplified stereo — usually artist is centered in the two speakers, while percussion is shoved into one channel and other instruments reside in the remaining channel. It’s not true binaural stereophonic wonder … but it is a wonder in and of itself.

Often this was due to the limitations of the recording equipment available: sometimes there were only two tracks to be had, which generally explains those recordings with the lead vocal on one side and everything else on the other. Having a third track made things easier: almost all pop records issued in stereo by British Decca in the early to middle Sixties put the singer in the middle, the basic rhythm track to the left, and other instruments and singers on the right. An example: “Black Is Black” by Los Bravos.

EMI was willing to spend bazillions on the Beatles, but the best they had to offer was four-track, all the way through Sgt. Pepper’s. What they could do, however, was bounce tracks between two recorders and combine the various bounces into a final stereo master. Phil Spector had taken this one step further: combine the various bounces into a final mono master. But what few stereo tracks have emerged from Spector’s vault roughly followed the Decca pattern: lead vocal in the center, most of the instruments to the left, and whatever was added last was hung out to the right.

New York’s Bell Sound Studios hadn’t gotten as far as four-track in 1961, which explains, sort of, why Del Shannon’s “Runaway” seems to be mixed a bit weirdly for stereo. In fact, the 45 and the stereo version are two different takes altogether; I’ve often wondered if the stereo take was an afterthought. Be assured that Del’s next single, “Hats Off to Larry,” had no such anomalies.

(Via Roger Green.)

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Consider her still here

You have to dial back quite a number of years before you get to a point where Reba McEntire wasn’t a presence in country music or in American culture generally: her first album came out 40 years ago, her most recent this past February, and in between (early 1991) came a tragedy, in which one of her band’s two chartered planes crashed into Otay Mountain east of San Diego. She’d always sung, of course, though she expected to come out of Southeastern Oklahoma State University as a schoolteacher.

Reba McEntire in motion

Reba McEntire on the red carpet

Reba McEntire in portrait mode

Since 1976, Reba has released ninety-five singles; her six-year sitcom run notwithstanding, only three of them made it to the Top 40 on the pop chart. The most recent of these is 2009’s “Consider Me Gone”:

This was the second single from the album Keep On Loving You, which has nothing to do with REO Speedwagon.

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Imperfect angel

Apparently nobody knows for certain how old Mariah Carey is: we know her birthday, which is the 27th of March, but we’re not quite sure how many birthdays she’s had, and it’s not like she’s front-page news these days. Still, she sells a fair number of records, and she’s always had the looks to go with the voice.

Mariah Carey on the steps

Mariah Carey draws a crowd

Mariah Carey is backlit

During her 1990s heyday, I paid little attention to Mariah, but then I paid little attention to most musical performers in the 1990s, mostly because I had to put my own life in order, but at least partly because she seemed just a hair gimmicky to me: just because you can sing over a five-octave range doesn’t mean you should. The newer, darker Carey did put out some good records, though, including this Foreigner cover:

The second single from her 2009 album Memoirs of an Imperfect Angel, “I Want to Know What Love Is” died at #60 in Billboard— but spent half a year at Number One in Brazil.

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When she was hot

The important thing is to preheat:

Cover for the week: “Uh Huh” by Julia Michaels:

She finds some remarkable stuff, I have to admit.

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Bucking buck privates

Buck Privates was an early-1941 Abbott and Costello film, which introduced the Don Raye/Hughie Prince jump blues called “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy,” sung by the Andrews Sisters. As technology improved, it was no longer required to have three singers to do three vocal parts, as Bette Midler will readily testify.

And there things stood, until further technology permitted a single singer to triplicate herself on camera:

Michelle Creber is seventeen; among other things, she’s the voice of Apple Bloom on My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. Here she looks kind of Carol Burnett-y, which fits: like Burnett, she has a gift for physical comedy, and also like Burnett, she has killer gams.

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Classic country with a twist

During those long-ago days when I was a lad, if you lived in a town large enough, there were local TV shows showing both kinds of music — country and western — and if you didn’t, there were lots of syndicated shows with the same fare, often airing Saturday afternoon so Dad could watch while you sat there missing whatever sportsball was on. Production values were slightly better than this:

Live in Nashville, this past spring. Who are these guys? Let us turn to SavingCountryMusic.com, which happily endorses such cultural throwbacks:

Country Side of Harmonica Sam is Peter Andersson (pedal steel), Ulrik Jansson (upright bass), Patrik Malmros (drums), Johan Bandling Melin (lead guitar/harmony vocals) and Harmonica Sam (lead vocals/rhythm guitar).

Um, yeah. Swedish guys. This is what you’d have heard if ABBA had grown up listening to Hank, or maybe Ernest Tubb. First person who whines about Cultural Appropriation is invited to step outside.

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The joys of a little list

Once upon a time, Professor Tom Lehrer set the names of the chemical elements to a possibly recognizable tune:

This may or may not have prompted Allan Sherman to rework a David Rose number into “Holiday for States”:

And there things stood for quite a while, until Yakko Warner took it upon himself to sing about the whole doggone world. It came out something like this:

Wakko, of course, would get his own list.

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A Saturday sort of song

Let’s start with the song itself:

Maddie Shy was thirteen when she wrote this song with producer Patrice Wilson, best known for a song which you may already know, called “Friday.” “Stronger Now,” she says, deals with the way she deals with dyslexia.

Next up: “Replay and Rewind.”

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It is how

First, to remind you:

Bibi H’s Allegedly Terrible Single is closing in on 2.4 million downthumbs on YouTube. (Still way short of 400,000 upthumbs.) The first time I mentioned it — this is the third — I complained thusly:

Irritatingly, “How It Is (Wap Bap)” is not yet for sale on this side of the Atlantic.

And I have a feeling it never will be. On a hunch, I dialed over to eBay and found a German entrepreneur with impeccable feedback who had three copies of the CD single on hand. The disc arrived today, and you may be certain that his feedback remained impeccable. And he has two copies left.

Oh, the price? I paid $12.88. This may be one reason why he has two copies left.

Equal Time: Music Video Sins really, really doesn’t like it.

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Bently is driven

About the first of the month, one Bently McKenna wandered into my tweetstream, advising that her new single would be out on the first. Now this phenomenon isn’t exactly new: I can think of a dozen musical acts who think I’m somehow capable of getting their records out to the general public. (I think I’m better than average at it, but that doesn’t make me good at it.) McKenna didn’t seem all that distinguishable from the usual run of folks: wears a lot of black, is careful not to smile too much, and gives no indication of where I might have encountered her before.

Then I happened on this from GroovyTracks:

Though her life has been marred by lies and betrayal, Bently McKenna’s debut single, “I’m Growing Up” portrays the positives that come with overcoming difficult times.

The self-professed rookie artist makes up for a lack of natural talent with pure drive and dedication. She sees the trials she has faced as further motivation to pursue her dreams, and this mentality shows in the vast improvements she has made. While her first vocal coach lied to her, saying that he could make her an instantaneous star, she has since found a legitimate coach who has helped her drastically improve her vocal range. At this point in time, her progress seems limitless.

“Lies and betrayal”? Apparently it’s worse than that. That first “vocal coach” sold himself so hard that McKenna sold her house to help things along. (This is not, you’ll note, the usual post-adolescent with big dreams: McKenna is in her thirties.)

Still, she’s straightforward about where she is and how far she has to go:

I don’t know why, or exactly when it happened, but at some point in my life I completely stopped singing. I didn’t sing at all, not even when I was alone. I was a horrible singer and completely forgot the little instruction I received when I was young. The desire to be a professional singer was something I hid deep inside and never talked about. I was going through a difficult time in my life and was doing a lot of self-reflecting when I realized that singing was what was missing.

And there’s this:

I still have a lot of improving to do before I’d ever consider myself a professional, but I plan on training until I reach that caliber.

Finally, the single itself. It’s not really well suited to the vocal range she has — this is one of those few cases where you want to turn the Auto-Tune up toward 11 — but the words do have some serious resonance, and she’s confident enough to ask the top-line $1.29 price at the iTunes Store. I can see frustrated sixteen-year-olds singing along, and that ought to be enough to justify the effort right there.

The Watch List gets one more entry.

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Under the metal clouds

Solange Knowles, you know as Beyoncé’s kid sister, and occasionally as a fill-in in Destiny’s Child. But she’s had a recording career of her own, starting with Solo Star in 2002. (Now what could she mean by that?) She’s thirty-one, and distinctively different from Queen Bey.

Solange in yellow

Solange in Complex

Solange in a chair

The first single off her 2016 album A Place at the Table was called “Cranes in the Sky,” and it won her a Grammy for Best R&B Performance. It’s dreamy and reflective and, yes, sorrowful.

And props to Solange for beating the snot out of Jay Z, something that didn’t occur to Beyoncé until several months later.

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The Friday newsreel

Let it be noted that Rebecca Black’s 20th birthday was Wednesday, I didn’t mention it here on Wednesday, and Thursday I was quizzed by readers: what the heck happened?

How I should have responded: “Waiting for Friday,” to the tune of Lisa Loeb’s “Waiting for Wednesday.” Alas, I wasn’t quite up to that level of smartassery.

Said I last week, after mentioning that 20th birthday:

The Cover-A-Week scheme goes on, though this is the first time she’s done a song older than she is. (The original “Straight Up” was waxed by Paula Abdul in 1988.)

I can just about imagine her reading that and chortling: “You ain’t seen nothing yet, Chuckie.” And so, from 1967 (!):

If I catch her singing any Tony Bennett stuff, I’ll let you know.

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Hey, 19.98

Rebecca Black turns 20 on Wednesday, which means I’ve been following her for nearly six and a half years. A lot of things have happened, and a lot of things are happening: this weekend, she’s moving to a new apartment. And before too awfully long:

The Cover-A-Week scheme goes on, though this is the first time she’s done a song older than she is. (The original “Straight Up” was waxed by Paula Abdul in 1988.)

And the obligatory quasi-semi-glam picture:

Rebecca Black day before yesterday

EP still due Real Soon Now.

Addendum: For some vaguely solstice-related reason, I was looking at Wikipedia’s June 21 page, and I glanced at the list of Births. RB wasn’t there.

She is now.

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Imagine a co-writer

Credit where credit is demonstrably due:

Yoko Ono will, legalities willing, be added as a songwriter to one of the most famous pop songs in the world — and John Lennon’s biggest solo hit — “Imagine.”

“Tonight, it is my distinct honor to correct the record some 48 years later,” David Israelite, president and CEO of the National Music Publishers’ Association, said Wednesday night in New York at his organization’s annual event.

Just before announcing Ono’s addition, a clip from a BBC interview with John Lennon was played in which he admits her centrality to its creation and his “macho” omission of her from its credits:

“Actually that should be credited as a Lennon-Ono song because a lot of it — the lyric and the concept — came from Yoko. But those days I was a bit more selfish, a bit more macho, and I sort of omitted to mention her contribution. But it was right out of Grapefruit, her book.”

I can’t help but wonder if Yoko pointed this out to John when “Imagine” was released in 1971; she’s never exactly been known for her reticence.

The first question that came to me, though, was “Will this extend the copyright on the song?” It will not: under the law in force in 1971, the song enters the public domain 70 years after the death of the last author, and at the time, John Lennon was the one and only author of record. Not that I’m going to put out a PD version of “Imagine” in 2050 or anything.

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You could almost call it “Thursday”

I saw it in a YouTube comment: “This was Rebecca Black before Rebecca Black.” No way could I not follow up on an assertion like that.

And actually, Jenna Rose’s 2010 recording of “My Jeans,” while it’s objectively pretty terrible, has some of the same irritatingly catchy quality that made “Friday” a viral hit, albeit with orders of magnitude more Auto-Tune. And she was paid back in much the same currency: online cruelty at a high level and all matter of real-life bullying by peers.

Jenna eventually disowned her early work, but continued to record and did some acting, including community theatre and a couple of TV pilots. And amusingly, she’s covered a couple of songs RB has covered, including “Scared to Be Lonely”. Her most recent single is “Do Or Die”:

She has survived, and of course we wish her well. Last we heard, she was working on a music degree.

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You have the right to remain

In memory of the late Adam West, the only goddamn Batman that matters:

How I missed this in 1966, I’ll never know.

And apparently the wild, wild West lived in wild, wild Ketchum, Idaho:

Wow.

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Stan tall

Actually, Romanian singer/songwriter Alexandra Stan is a middling five foot six, but it’s her birthday — she’s twenty-eight — and she has, shall we say, a certain visual appeal.

Alexandra Stan on the cover of FHM

Alexandra Stan looking sort of rural

Alexandra Stan looking not even slightly rural

Her signature song, “Mr. Saxobeat,” was #1 in Romania for eight weeks in 2011, and just missed the US Billboard Top 20.

She sold well in Japan, which may well explain “Cherry Pop,” a J-pop pastiche she recorded in 2014:

And her most recent single, “9 Lives,” got little chart action but lots of airplay. The chap who looks like a Bulgarian reggae jammer is Jahmmi, a Bulgarian reggae jammer.

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Gimme a Vee

Roger Green (remember him? I do) dropped a Bobby Vee reference into a recent post, including three of Bobby’s biggest hits.

Speaking of which, the late Tony Peluso, who played that amazing guitar solo on the Carpenters’ “Goodbye to Love,” also played narrator on “Yesterday Once More,” and suddenly I hear his perfect Top 40 voice over the last notes of “The Night Has a Thousand Eyes”: “One of Bobby Vee’s biggest hits!” True; Vee had one Number One, one Number Two and two Number Threes, and “Eyes” was a Number Three.

The other Number Three was “Come Back When You Grow Up,” listed as by “Bobby Vee and the Strangers.” “Come Back” was written by Nashville songwriter (and later label executive) Martha Sharp, who had written Sandy Posey’s first two charters, “Born a Woman” and “Single Girl.” (For a while, rumors persisted that Sharp really was Sandy Posey. She wasn’t.) “Come Back” was first recorded earlier a few months earlier by Shadden and the King Lears, and, yes, “Shadden” was Shadden’s real first name.

Over the years, Vee proved to be an astute selector of material, whether or not it would be a big hit for him. “Yesterday and You” made it to #55 in late 1963; the song, he got from labelmate Ross Bagdasarian, who had recorded it in his pre-David Seville days. (Yes, that David Seville.) As “Armen’s Theme” — Armen was Mrs Bagdasarian — Seville’s instrumental made #42 in 1956.

In the summer of 1966, Vee and the Strangers covered an indie-label song by Texas band The Playboys of Edinburg. “Look at Me Girl” wasn’t a big hit for Vee or for the Playboys, who immediately got picked up by a major label — Columbia, arguably the major-est — but the Strangers rather easily picked up on the Playboys’ modified norteño beat.

One more? In 1961, Vee put out a semi-successful cover of the Crickets’ “More Than I Can Say”:

It would have charted higher than #61, I think, had it not been relegated to a B-side. Nearly two decades later, British producer Alan Tarney remembered it, and suggested it to client Leo Sayer, who took it to #2 in both the UK and the States:

I think Tarney’s instructions included “Sound as much as you can like Bobby Vee.”

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I sing all kinds

The story goes that Sam Phillips, upon first meeting the young truck driver, asked him just what sort of songs he sang.

“I sing all kinds,” said Elvis Presley, and over the next twenty-odd years proved it.

Rebecca Black is no Elvis. She’s not even twenty yet. (Less than two weeks away, though.) But while she doles out her rare originals slowly and deliberately, nearly every week she’s covering something new, adding thirty thousand fresh YouTube views to the 150 million or so she already has. This time around it’s “Scared to Be Lonely,” a future-bass number by Dutch DJ Martin Garrix and British vocalist Dua Lipa, though RB’s arrangement is clearly based on a later acoustic remix:

(Then again, if the instrumental break on the Garrix/Lipa original reminds you of Crash Cove’s remix of RB’s “The Great Divide,” you are not alone.)

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Johnny can only play one note

And the note he plays is B:

Domingos-Antonio Gomes, a professional musician who has been playing since he was 7 years old, set the Guinness World Record for “Most piano key hits in one minute” by playing the B7 key 824 times in 60 seconds.

Gomes’ technique, which involved alternating between two fingers to press the key on the unmodified Yamaha CFX concert grand piano, allowed him to beat the previous record of 765 hits.

He practiced the feat for four months and used a metronome to keep the rhythm as he frantically tapped each finger on the key in rapid succession.

I do hope your teeth don’t hurt after that.

I mean, 13.7 notes, and the same note at that, per second. It’s not a root canal, but it’s got to be close.

(Via Fark.)

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A piano set aside for me

In February of 2016, Sir Elton John had a piano shipped into St Pancras International rail station in London. (He didn’t have to; there are several pianos scattered around already.) Sir Elton played a few bits, then officially donated the piano to the station.

I get the impression that not everyone would touch it because it’s Elton John’s Piano, fergoshsakes, and surely our little keyboard noodlings are unworthy of this black-lacquered Yamaha.

Vika Yermolyeva’s keyboard noodlings are extremely worthy, as we see here:

What’ll you bet that at least one of the spectators missed his train?

I commend to you her entire YouTube channel.

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