Archive for Tongue and Groove

Shaken, even stirred

Some of Taylor Swift’s detractors have pointed out that she tends to fall back on the same four chords. Then again, she’s hardly alone in so doing:

Sir Elton, I’d like to think, is properly amused.

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A tragic hit record

A day or two ago, Roger observed:

I know at least two people born in 1966 who know WAY more about the music of the year they were born than I do about 1953. I suppose it’s because I was born in the “pre-rock era.”

And all that “pre-rock” stuff was banished to the so-called “middle of the road” radio stations; any station claiming “We play the hits” conducted itself as though time began in 1955.

While scanning the charts for that forgotten year of 1953, I came across one item that I knew, but that I never knew was a chart single. Background:

[William] Kapell played the final concert of his Australian tour in Geelong, Victoria, on October 22, 1953, a recital which included a performance of Chopin’s “Funeral March” Sonata. Days after the concert, he set off on his return flight to the United States, telling reporters at Mascot Airport he would never return to Australia because of the harsh comments from some Australian critics. He was aboard BCPA Flight 304 when on the morning of October 29, 1953, the plane, descending to land in fog, struck the treetops and crashed on Kings Mountain, south of the San Francisco airport. Everyone on board died.

On October 31, RCA Victor put out an actual William Kapell single: an excerpt from Kapell’s recent recording of Rachmaninoff’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, the eighteenth variation (of twenty-four), arguably the best-known section of the piece.

The actual single (49-4210) seems to have vanished, but the entire Rhapsody is accessible: the 18th variation runs from about 14:02 to 16:40.

Unexpectedly, RCA found itself with a pop hit, reaching #19. And much later — in 1998 — RCA saw fit to release a nine-CD set of the complete Kapell.

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Tension, pressure, pain

All you need is this simple Pink medication:

I have become comfortably numb

The flip side of the literal video, perhaps.

(Via American Digest.)

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None taken

Singer Madilyn Bailey is one of the more successful musical artists on YouTube, but as anyone with a YouTube channel can tell you, some of the bozos out there work overtime to be hateful and condescending. And so she decided to splice some of her detractors’ comments into a song, with hilarious results:

And spelling, perhaps unsurprisingly, is not the haters’ strong suit.

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If we don’t, nobody will

Tangentially: One day in 1983 I was at Sound Warehouse picking up a copy of the Rhythm of Youth LP by Men Without Hats, whence cometh the Safety Dance, and the clerk duly handed me a plastic fedora.

I objected: “These are Men Without Hats. Shouldn’t you be taking a hat away from me?”

The clerk gave me a “Go away, boy, you bother me” look, and so I did, hat in hand.

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Old-age wasteland

Roger Daltrey figures his singing days are numbered:

Roger Daltrey thinks he will lose his voice “in the next five years.”

The 75-year-old Who frontman — who has taken to lip-reading nowadays due to his deafness — has admitted he fears “age” will start to affect the quality of his singing in the next few years.

He admitted: “Obviously within the next five years I think my voice will go. Age will get it in the end. It’s still there at the moment.”

Daltrey previously said that if he doesn’t keep singing, he could risk losing his voice, and he doesn’t want to retire just yet.

He said: “People don’t realise that as a singer, if I stop singing at my age now for a year, I won’t have a voice to go back to.”

There will be, we are told, at least one more Who album, with Daltrey, Pete Townshend and whoever else they can lure into the studio.

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In the vinyl analysis

There was a time when I had a marked aversion to Greatest Hits sets, which explains why I have fewer than half of these:


  • I don’t know anyone over the age of 25 who hasn’t gone through at least one copy of Thriller;
  • I went out of my way to avoid Hotel California, and still do.

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Somehow I missed this

But it’s time to catch up:

How did I miss this, anyway?

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A small but telling gesture

Twenty-two years after the fact, “Criminal,” from the Tidal album, is still Fiona Apple’s biggest hit, and she’s decided to put it to work:

Singer Fiona Apple has pledged to donate two years’ worth of royalties she earns from her song “Criminal” to an organization helping detained migrants in the United States cover their legal fees in a bid “to help the WRONGLY criminalized get justice.”

“Something I love about being a songwriter is that I get paid for usage of a song I wrote years ago whenever a TV show or movie asks to use it,” Apple said in a post on Tumblr on Sunday. According to the “Paper Bag” singer, “Criminal” is her “most requested” track.

“In the past I have used my ‘Criminal’ money to help friends or family,” she wrote. “However, after months and months of reading the news about how my country is treating refugees, I’ve become gutted with frustration trying to figure out the best way to help.”

“Criminal” is not actually about migrants, of course, but it still sells.

#21 on the Billboard Hot 100, if you’re keeping score.

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Free me

I generally don’t think of Iran as being an inhospitable place, but this doesn’t help:

British singer Joss Stone says she was denied entry to Iran – the last country she had to visit as part of a five-year, 200-stop “total world tour”.

The 32-year-old posted a video from Kish Island in which she said: “We got detained and then we got deported.”

She said that she knew Iran did not allow women to perform solo concerts.

“However, it seems the authorities don’t believe we wouldn’t be playing a public show, so they have popped us on what they call the ‘blacklist’.”

“After long discussions with the most friendly, charming and welcoming immigration people, the decision was made to detain us for the night and to deport us in the morning,” she added. “Of course I was gutted. So close yet so far.”

Of course, this song immediately bounced into my brain:

(With thanks to Fillyjonk.)

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Just the two of us

This qualifies as a heartbreaker for us Secret Garden fans:

A few months ago Fionnuala was diagnosed with breast cancer. After surgery, she has now started radiation treatment as well as infusion therapy. Her medical team has advised her to concentrate on her health situation, so subsequently, we have decided to cancel all concert plans for the rest of this year. This involves concerts in China, Korea and Norway.

We hope to be rescheduling all touring plans in 2020. We’ve been looking forward to performing the music from our new album Storyteller which was released in April. The response to the album has been great. We’re thankful for all the support we’ve received and we regret that we have to postpone the upcoming touring plans. Fionnuala’s health is the most important issue now. Meanwhile, we hope you will enjoy the new album Storyteller.

Secret Garden — Fionnuala Sherry and Rolf Løvland — won the Eurovision Song Contest in 1995 with the perennially lovely “Nocturne”:

Storyteller is their tenth album, from which comes “The Pilot”:

And of course, we wish them well.

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Don’t you just know it?

Just out from Grace VanderWaal, the not-particularly-grammatical “Ur So Beautiful,” which, apart from that clumsy title, is a really lovely song, and since it’s the title track from her next album, I’d be well advised to get used to it.

And I have to admit, that’s the most inspired deployment of “Damn” since Sophie B. Hawkins. Maybe it’s a little offputting coming from a fifteen-year-old, but it’s not like there are any fifteen-year-olds who never, ever use words like that. (And judging by the writing credits, Hawkins got paid for VanderWaal’s expropriation of “Damn.”)

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And we still do

Last Friday, we were introduced to the lyric video for the new Rebecca Black single “Do You?” It must be stated up front that the words to the song are riddled with symptoms of depression, but if you heard it, you already know that.

Knowing that, however, doesn’t prepare you for the visuals:

Still, the fanbase comes prepared, and while the words-only version got 30,000 views in its first week, the full video rolled up 15,000 views in only six hours.

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A wild Christopher appears

Once again, we tap the archives of the Wikipedant:

Prince wrote “Manic Monday” in 1984, and recorded it as a duet for the band Apollonia 6’s self-titled album; however, he eventually pulled the song. Two years later, he offered the single to The Bangles under the pseudonym “Christopher,” a character he played in the 1986 film Under the Cherry Moon. It was rumored by various writers that after Prince listened to the band’s 1984 debut album All Over the Place, he gave the song to Bangles rhythm guitarist Susanna Hoffs, so that in return she would sleep with him. Prince’s original demo recording of the song would not be released until it appeared on the 2019 demo compilation Originals.

Imagine wanting to get Susanna — oh, right. Never mind. Forget I said anything.

This is that original Prince demo:

And now we know: it was the bus that was already there.

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A heavy light show

From the next Lindsey Stirling album, due out in September:

It’s like playing old Curved Air records at 78 rpm.

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You bet we do

There is no circumstance under which I would not celebrate Rebecca Black’s birthday, and today, her twenty-second, the fans get the present:

Cover art for Do You by Rebecca Black

A lyric video is already out, with what appears to be footage from the upcoming “real” video, due next week.

And 22 is old enough for the full Rule 5 treatment, right?

Rebecca Black just sits there

Rebecca Black hits the deck

Rebecca Black on RuPaul's DragCon

And purely by accident (yeah, right), I took a peek at her IMDb page, and was startled out of what wits I have:

Rebecca Black on the Internet Movie Database

From “Anyway” on down, this list contains a lot of music videos, some Web stuff, and that animation from China in which she did a voice character. I was not expecting to see two feature films. They’re both in post-production, which can mean any number of things; the most likely, I’m guessing, is “looking for a distributor.” Still, assuming IMDb hasn’t messed up the names, which seems unlikely: (1) it’s IMDb and they just don’t do that and (2) if she’s paying dues to the Screen Actors Guild, there’s nobody else billed with that name. I have yet to find a trailer, though, for either American Reject or Bad Impulse.

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The sand which is there

It wasn’t so long ago that composer John Luther Adams swept us all off our feet with Become Ocean, and by “us all” I mean everyone from me to Taylor Swift. Become Ocean was symmetrical in its design, and I wouldn’t have thought the framework lent itself to a follow-on composition. I would, of course, be wrong:

When Become Desert was announced, I turned in a pre-order at the iTunes Store. Friday Apple notified me that it was ready to pick up:

iTunes Store Notification

Through Sunday the most I could coax out of the iTunes Store was this:

iTunes Store Notification failure

Eternities do seem to take a long time these days.

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Still iconic after all these years

Eight years after becoming part of the national discourse, “Friday” got the full Captain Cuts — despite the name, three guys — remix treatment, on Emo Nite in Los Angeles, and of course She Who Made It Possible was on hand:

For those who might be interested, “Friday” enters the public domain some time around 2105.

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Not all that monstrous

After all these years, an actual Freezepop video:

This, I figure, is the lead single from Fantasizer, which the band crowdfunded a while back and which is presumably ready to drop.

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And don’t forget those accessories

Or Cousin Hank down in Arlen will never forgive you:

(Suggested by Gail Hapke.)

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In a happier place

Dr. John, the Night Tripper, live in 1981 with his second-biggest hit ever:

As a studio pro, the man born Malcolm John Rebennack played behind everyone from Cher to Frank Zappa; for two decades he was a songwriting partner to Doc Pomus.

And now he belongs to the heavens, where I’d like to think he’s jamming with Professor Longhair.

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Strictly noncommercial

Frank Zappa’s last public appearance, back in 1992:

If your first thought is “Damn, I wish I could hear that live,” you’ll be pleased to know that this very piece will open the Oklahoma City Philharmonic program on the 11th of January, along with the First Violin Concerto by Philip Glass, featuring violinist Jennifer Loh, and Dvořák’s Symphony No. 8 in G major.

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Not his little tale of woe

Still, I’m thinking that Leon Redbone pretty much owned this song long before this live show in Nashville:

Redbone first recorded it in 1977, for his second album (Double Time). Really, nobody else need bother.

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This year or that

Happy 38th to singer/songwriter Brandi Carlile, a woman of many musical styles anchored to a single point: “I’ve gone through all sorts of vocal phases, from pop to blues to R&B,” she has said, “but no matter what I do, I just can’t get the country and western out of my voice.” And indeed, some of her most compelling work is the sort of girl-with-guitar stuff that many do, but that few do consistently well.

Brandi Carlile and her guitar

Brandi Carlile heads down the breezeway

Brandi Carlile and her lovely bride

That last picture: Catherine Shepherd was a charity coordinator for Paul McCartney when she and Brandi met; they were married in 2012. They have two daughters.

My own introduction to Brandi Carlile was the song “That Year,” from her third album, Give Up the Ghost (2009). It’s pitched so subtly that it takes a couple of listens to take in the whole story:

Give Up the Ghost made it to #26 on the Billboard Hot 200; each new album — she’s done six — has climbed just a little higher.

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Bongo, bongo, bongo

“Bongo Rock” is where it started:

Preston Epps was a percussionist, and a good one. Born in Mangum, Oklahoma in 1930, he attended grade school in Tulsa before the family relocated to Oakland, California, and spent the duration of the Korean War in Okinawa. He was rather muted on his first big recording gig, behind the Penguins on “Earth Angel,” but he found his way to the spotlight, with “Bongo Rock” hitting #14 in Billboard.

Our title comes from Epps’ second charter, which wasn’t quite so boisterous:

Preston Epps kept playing until 2014; he died on the 9th of May.

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In their area, so to speak

The BBC had a nice little chat with Blackpink, just prior to their appearance at Wembley, and a few things stood out:

  • Apparently they spent eight years as “trainees” before they were turned loose on stage. I knew K-pop stars go through extensive, um, training, but I didn’t realize how much.
  • Their English is quite good, but they just adore audiences that try to sing along in Korean.
  • They still have that giddy-teenager air about them, though Lisa, the youngest, is already 22.

And now, they’ll hit us with that ddu-du-ddu-du:

That song came out last summer, which is an eternity in K-pop terms.

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They can change, they can change

The fourth album by the ad hoc “Andrew Oldham Orchestra” was called The Rolling Stones Songbook, which Oldham had no problem getting the rights to, inasmuch as he was, at the time, the Stones’ manager. It did not sell on the level of, say, a Hollyridge Strings Beatles compilation, and it mostly disappeared for the next two decades, when Richard Ashcroft, then of the Verve, requested permission to sample Oldham’s version of “The Last Time” for a song to be called “Bitter Sweet Symphony.”

Permission was granted, but quickly withdrawn, once Abkco Music, owner of the Stones’ catalog (and Oldham’s) in those days, heard just how much of the song the Verve actually used. Long story short: Mick Jagger and Keith Richards wound up with their names on the publishing rights.

And that’s the way things stood for the next couple of decades, until I imagine Keith and Mick said to each other “Hasn’t this gone on for long enough?” Abkco boss Jody Klein, generally regarded as less of a hardass than his father Allen, apparently assented, and while the parties in question retain nominal ownership of the song, neither Jagger nor Richards will collect any songwriter royalties: they’ve assigned their statutory songwriter-royalty rights to Richard Ashcroft and taken their names off the pertinent papers.

Roebuck “Pops” Staples, who died in 2000, was not available for comment.

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Quantities are limited

Carly Rae Jepsen’s new album Dedicated dropped Friday; remarkably, this is the fourth single to be released, and so far it’s the best, possibly because it’s so skeletal you can feel it in your, um, bones.

I still don’t get why it took nineteen producers to record a thirteen-track album, but Jepsen reported that she’d come up with over 100 songs for it, so maybe it takes that many to clean house.

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Someone got paid for this

Perhaps the dumbest aspect of Quora is the fact that they actually pay people to ask questions. The inevitable result of this, as could have been predicted by anyone who doesn’t drink the social-media Kool-Aid, is that lazy bastards will write the same question dozens of times, changing a single variable in each one, and then uploading the lot.

That lot will almost always contain something at this level of stupid:

Which artist sang the song Tequila

As regular readers of this space know, the One Whole Word in that record by the Champs was uttered by composer/saxophone player Danny Flores.

And yes, they offered to enroll me in the program. I threw the offer away.

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He could have danced all night

In 1964, Anthony Hopkins — yes, that Anthony Hopkins — composed a waltz; like many geniuses, he had little faith in his ability to create something so far out of his usual métier. And he might have gone on composing for the cedar chest, except that his wife sent a copy of the score to Dutch violinist André Rieu. Rieu thought it was wonderful:

That was in 2011. By the next year, Sir Anthony had dusted off a whole CD’s worth of music. And there isn’t a fava bean to be seen anywhere.

(Via Kim du Toit.)

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