Blur’s Clear View of Real Life ~ Sunday Song Series

Our Sunday Song Series, Week #44 selection (aptly titled Sunday Sunday), features alternative rock band Blur’s 1993 musical interpretation of traditional, Sunday activities. While some might deem drawing upon a slice of real life yawn-worthy, who, among us, would not also find such a thematic “hook” relatable?

Of course, some of us will be able to free associate Blur / Beatles comparisons considering how this track features [1] a musical arrangement reminiscent of the genius and sensibilities of the late Sir George Martin and [2] a storylined, frenzied videography evocative of the late Alun Owen… the gifted, imaginative screenwriter renown for A Hard Day’s Night.

Or, are my drawn parallels broad-brushed and/or overly charitable? If so, I guess we could chalk that up to my [1] now eyeballing far more days in my rearview mirror than on the road ahead, [2] wishful thinking that time travel could take us back to those magical, mystical Beatles yesterdays and [3] belief in Quantum Theory that suggests possible crossovers into alternative timelines… i.e., to points, somewhere in the vast Multiverse, where John Lennon had never been assassinated and George Harrison had not smoked himself into an early grave… where Owen and Martin, too, now enjoy a substantially enhanced longevity.

Don’t let me be misunderstood, either. Broaching such Beatles similarities is not to, in any way, detract from Blur’s own considerable body of work, created by singer/keyboardist Damon Albarn, guitarist/singer Graham Coxon, bassist Alex James and drummer Dave Rowntree. One must never blur Blur’s own, stand on their own eight feet, noteworthy talents.

If Blur blurring Beatles boundary lines occurs unintentionally, they could hardly be faulted for being under the Fab Four’s influence. I mean… one needn’t even be a musician to experience something so unavoidable.

Even if Blur’s blending occurs by design, it would be still be Albarn, Coxon, James and Rowntree clearly paying homage to Lennon, McCartney, Harrison and Starr. And who, among us, could not wholeheartedly offer up our “Yeah! Yeah! Yeah!” to such a sentiment?

And while we’re on the subject, why not say, “Yeah! Yeah! Yeah!” to our next Sunday Song, too? You are cordially invited back here… seven days from now…

 

 

 

 

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The Beatles’ 1964 Stateside Tour involving their February 7th arrival in NYC (at the newly christened JFK International Airport) and appearance on Ed Sullivan’s nationally televised variety show (on the 9th) could not have been better timed.

Americans, still in deep mourning following the 11/22/1963 assassination of our youngest, ever, 35th President… John F. Kennedy… desperately needed a reminder that life could go on.

To all horrified by that grotesque gun violence… especially this (then) 9-year-young boy and my contemporaries… John, Paul, George and Ringo were the embodiment of youthful exuberance. While their prime-time TV debut showcased their unique interpretation of rock ’n’ roll… one eventually becoming the soundtrack of life for an entire generation… something even more significant was in play… namely… how their raucous energy / high decibel music was the perfect Rx for blowing away that lingering, pervasive, suffocating, Dealey Plaza stench.

So… why the need to rehash this nearly 56-year-old tragedy?

Because of the swamp monster, who has been masquerading as the 45th president. Even though he is alive and (physically) well… well…

Ever since the orderly transition of power to that disorderly doofus, We… America’s critical thinkers… have been mourning the 01/20/2017 death of the presidency… the death of democracy, decency, intellectualism, logic, liberty, peace and genuine patriotism… the death of joy, itself.

From that day forward… uh… better make that backward… We have been in deep mourning… in desperate need of a lifeline. But, where to go to find that?

My reader(s)… just when I had begun to suspect those DC Washington Woes had indelibly stained my mood… my entire outlook on life… a deep shade of blue… somehow… someway… on some entirely different plane of consciousness… I wound up free associating the power of music… its stain remover / curative capabilities. Lo and behold, the Fab Four came to mind.

True, I could not step into a time machine to re-witness the birth of the Beatles. But, the next best, equivalent was well within reach… my access to CDs representing JPGR’s entire, recording studio produced discography.

Last week… I decided to PB that massive, Beatles soundtrack in chronological order. No sooner had Sir Paul’s 1 – 2 – 3 – 4 counted in I Saw Her Standing There than I felt my much needed grin begin… followed, a scant nanosecond later, by my buoyant mood… those lofty spirits persisting while tracking (at a clip of one or more CDs per day) until I polished off all 13 Beatles albums plus the two Past Masters volumes. And there were a couple of bonus tracks, too… namely… Free as a Bird and Real Love (McCartney, Harrison and Starr’s 1995 collaboration / overdub of their tracks with the late Lennon’s two previously recorded vocal tracks).

Even upon completion of my musical adventure last Friday, I could still revel in the fact that this was far from over. Hence, my spending the better portion of this week listening to these bonus Beatles albums… [1] Star-Club Live! in Hamburg, Germany 1962, [2] Live at the BBC, [3] Yellow Submarine Songtrack, [4] 1! [5] Let It Be Naked / Fly on the Wall and [6] LOVE.

My parting recommendation… should you ever find yourself feeling down about anything, try taking your fave recording artist / band out for a spin. Once that smile returns to your face, I’m sure you’ll concur that the healing power of music can never be downplayed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Lennon-esque Sunday Rain (Sunday Song Series)

Week #29 of our Sunday Song Series features Paul McCartney sitting in with Foo Fighters… performing as their guest drummer on Sunday Rain… a track from FF’s 9th album, Concrete and Gold (released on 9/15/17).

Methinks Sir Paul may’ve contributed a wee bit more… perhaps “wee” being an understatement? But…. more about that in a sec or two…

Naturally… my still being a mere mortal… I’m not entirely sure how any of this would all “work out”… or even if it would “work out” at all… BUT

Had John Lennon been peering Earthward during Sunday Rain’s recording session(s), would he be resting in peace or feeling PO’d? This song certainly does resemble his own, Imagine album era composition, How Do You Sleep.

Originally, that very song title had done double duty as [1] the opening lyrical salvo for Lennon’s ongoing feud with McCartney and [2] as a wake up call / critique re songwriter Paul’s pop hits (which oft featured subject matter lacking substance / hard hitting social commentary). HOWEVER, if Paul had wound up borrowing from How Do You Sleep to influence Sunday Rain, How Do You Sleep could also refer to [3] How Do You Sleep having ripped off How Do You Sleep? Having just exhausted myself typing How Do You Sleep so excessively, my own sleep should be instantaneous the very next time my head hits the pillow.

Just to be clear, here… who really knows whether McCartney OR the Foo Fighters are responsible? OR both? OR… had this been totally unintentional… neither?

But, whatever the case may be… one does wonder how John’s widow, Yoko Ono, who still relentlessly guards over her former husband’s intellectual property, is feeling? How Does she Sleep knowing that either inadvertent or intentional copyright infringement has occurred? Or does she know at all?

My cursory web searches, which assign songwriting credits of Sunday Rain to David Grohl, Nathan Mendel, Pat Smear, Rami Jaffee, Oliver Hawkins, Christopher Shiflett… with nary a mention of John Lennon… do suggest that answer is NOPE.

So… will our Sunday Song Series continue? My answer is YEP!

Let’s all meet back here in seven days…

 

 

Could this be the Perfect Song for Imperfect Times?

As a virtual DJ on the www, I’m here to plug the perfect song for our imperfect times… Frédéric Chopin’s Piano Sonata No. 2! This catchy little ditty (a.k.a. the Funeral March) does have crossover appeal, too! It could be a Billboard EZ Listening chart topper! A night-clubber’s let’s fall in love, dance floor fave! The ultimate sports arena, pregame tune that’ll get fans off their asses and standing to salute the flag… AND MORE!

By now, some of you may be asking…

“Hey, hold your horses Mr. DJ, don’t they already play that ‘oh-say-can-you-see’ thingie?”

So true! So true! BUT… if all goes wrong… we’ll soon be needing to replace the Star Spangled Banner. Hey, don’t blame me, it’s not my fault. I voted for Hillary! So, just who should we point the (middle) finger at?

Well, in case you haven’t kept up with the front page news, Bad Vlad Putin and You-Know-Who’s Helsinki Summit is now one week off! You’ve just gotta know… or at least suspect… that this is the venue where they’ll be colluding to finalize their wretched plot to overthrow America… to bump off and bury Lady Liberty.

Hence, the all too real need for Chopin’s Funeral March. What better tune to play once that Russian puppeteer and his puppet… once that Russian ventriloquist and his dummy deep-six America.

Now, don’t look so glum… maybe we can even persuade pianist Sir Elton John to play at Lady Libby’s memorial service? Of course, from that point forward… no… strike that… from that point backward… long sigh… it’ll all be downhill.

But hey… let’s turn our frowns upside down! This is where the crossover appeal aspects to Piano Sonata No. 2 really start to kick in… full force! Considering this dirge’s Putinesque, dreary, Dark Ages, dystopian “feel”, it could easily catch on as the new national anthem for The-Nation-Formerly-Known-As-America!

Of course, wherever / whenever this dirge winds up getting played… be it on your home or workplace device… be it spun by some nightclub disk-jockey… be it blasting over a sports arena’s loudspeakers… be it tracking out on the late Lady Libby’s graveside boombox… this tune is practically screaming out for some lyrics.

I mean… doncha think it’d be kinda-sorta lazy and lame… at times even insensitive… to just hum or whistle along? Even orchestrating this with a kazoo and/or harmonica section could never do it full justice! And let’s not forget that Sir Elton is the consummate vocalist, too!

Perhaps some of you WordPress wordsmiths, poets and songwriters… who are able channel the spirit of Francis Scott Key… could step up to home plate? Yes? No? Maybe?

I can almost hear you objecting…

“Hey man… this is YOUR premise! Why should you make US do all the heavy lifting? Compose your own damned lyrics!”

Uh… so sorry. I’ve become so geeked about this track, I momentarily failed to realize how unfair of me it would be to put you on the spot like that… and on such short notice, too! Hell I cannot even offer you any monetary compensation!

I can almost hear you asking…

“Why are you making such a fuss over an 1840 Chopin composition?”

Well, here’s why. Now, while I’d never blame the messenger, NPR’s All Things Considered… it’s the Trumpian messages / stories, which they have little choice but to report, which have been rendering me disgusted, disconsolate and disillusioned. So much so, that one afternoon, this past week, I just had to sit down. My piano bench being handy, I parked my butt there. Slumping over in woe-is-me mode, I cradled my head in my crossed over forearms… just in time to hear the fake prez’s soundbite featuring his gleeful outburst / announcement of his intent to “rob the judicial cradle”… i.e., just to ensure his handpicked wretched SCOTUS judge’s decisions could lay waste to my homeland for the next 40 to 50 years!

Now, be your “political party hat” hued blue, red or purple, to smell such extreme partisanship stench anywhere near the Supreme Court bench should disgust you! The mere notion of that sure as hell disgusts me!

Shortly thereafter, once my nauseous feelings subsided a bit, something totally unexpected happened. My limp body shot upright into a sitting position. The heat from the brightly glowing, metaphorical lightbulb hovering over my noggin was almost palpable. The voice in my head was now offering up what I believed to be a brilliant suggestion.

“Hey Tom, what this endless barrage of bad news is sorely lacking is you coming up with a clever way to marginalize it.”

Free association (and the fact that I was already seated at my piano) did the rest. I then brainstormed along the following lines. “Hmmm… how about an editorial comment / musical statement… to reflect your mood? Naturally, it’d have to be loaded with minor chords! But, what oh what should I play? As I positioned my ten fingers on my piano keyboard… EUREKA… in a flash, Chopin came to mind. I’d transform Piano Sonata No. 2‘s first eleven notes into a riff. By the time NPR aired (out) the next DC disaster, I played that dirge and actually found myself chuckling! But laughter? Why laughter I wondered?

I then realized that, subconsciously, I’d been channeling the schtick of my newest keyboard hero… Jon Batiste. For the benefit of my international readers, I’ll briefly mention that Batiste is frontman for Stay Human… Stephan Colbert’s Late Show house band. During many a show opening Colbert monologue, Batiste’s keyboard comedic timing is just as flawless and funny as the wisecracking Colbert’s routine. Both the scripted and improvisational performances… indeed the genius… of both of these super-talents truly compliments one another. True, I’ve yet to hear Batiste play this Chopin riff… but it would not surprise me were he to… someday… do so. Additionally, I do plan to continue my own musical accompaniment of the bad news stories which are sure to follow… as the days drag on and On and ON!

Suffice to say, I’ve only partially explained away my chuckling. But, the following two quotations might help complete this layperson’s introspective, psychoanalysis… as well as complete this post…

Said Erma Bombeck

“There is a thin line that separates laughter and pain, comedy and tragedy, humor and hurt.”

Said John Lennon and Paul McCartney in a lyrical couplet…

“And though the news was rather sad. Well I just had to laugh.”

Folks… I’m only human. There’s no telling how a steady diet of head-on pain, tragedy, hurt and sad news will impact this caring soul… impact any caring soul. Now… more than ever before…maintaining my / our sense of humor is a literal life or death matter. Forgive me for permitting my sarcasm and gallows humor to kick in. In venting both in this post I can only hope I’ve prevented my body and/or sanity from kicking off.

 

 

Julia Westlin More Than Covers Imagine ~ Vid of the Day

Torches can be both bad and good.

In the wrong hands… they can burn down the bridges which society (from time immemorial) has been struggling to build and bolster up… bridges intended to span cultures, races, religions, ideologies and whatever else needlessly divides us.

In the right hands… torches can light our path… hopefully help guide humanity to our mutual destination… better days… a better society… a better world.

At present, both within my homeland and throughout much of our world, misguided leaders’, ideological tsunamis have been threatening to wash out every bridge and extinguish each torch’s guiding light.

Alas, their paths forward have gone dark… they’ve all lost their way… they can only go backward to revisit backward eras. And since, in their small minds, “misery loves company”, they all try their damnedest to demoralize us… to drag us all down with them.

It’s no accident that they usually share a common, wicked goal… to stifle what should be inalienable human rights… especially freedom of press and speech. They would never want us to gain knowledge and strength from inspirational books and songs. For, when we wise up, it is we who become empowered… they who (eventually) get dethroned.

A musical composition such as John Lennon’s Imagine conveys his timeless, energizing, galvanizing message to promote peace AND this exemplifies how songs can serve in a dual capacity… both bridge and torch… to guide us to better days… a better society… a better world.

Folks, it’s hard to imagine there ever being any way to improve upon any of that… but… there actually is. That occurs during the playback of my featured Vid of the Day. This event is far, Far, FAR more than a cover of Imagine. We become eye and ear witnesses to Lennon’s intergenerational handing off of the torch to a younger recording artist… such as Julia Westlin.

And Julia’s cover rendition does provide just as sturdy a bridge… just as brilliant a guiding torch as John had supplied us… nearly one half century ago.

We can rest assured that there’s still hope, after all, for better days… a better society… a better world.

 

 

 

BlogCast ~ Our Pleas For Peace, Love & Understanding

 

So glad you’ve been able to safely and sanely survive the holiday rush and, yet, find some time to spend here for our holiday get-together.

Giving credit where credit is due, my thanks to Elvis Costello because a portion of one of his song titles inspired my blog title. My undying thanks and mega-kudos to all the YouTube recording artists, videograhphers and contributors who have cast their creative, brilliance upon my Holiday BlogCast. Obviously, my show could not glow without YOU!

Since this DJ’s philosophy is to let the music speak for itself, we’ll get to the music shortly. However, I could not resist briefly sharing with you the backstory of this program’s grand finale track.

While performing my musical reconnaissance over @ YouTube, I thought to myself…

 

Gee… I sure wish someone would do a mash up of Joy To The World with Ludwig van Beethoven’s Ode To Joy

 

Well… what did I have to lose? I typed in those search parameters and… Lo and Behold… a passing thought of mine materialized right before my very ears and eyes. The Magic of the Season! My Christmas wish came true!

May the Magic of the Season and your Christmas / Holiday wishes come true, too! And may my song selections be music to your ears.

 

The two sides to a long distance relationship…

 

The Carpenters ~ Merry Christmas Darling

Al Martino ~ I’ll Be Home For Christmas

 

Our heartfelt pleas for harmony, tolerance and peace…

 

Bryan Adams ~ Christmas Time

Josh Groban ~ Happy Xmas (War Is Over)

 

Our Ode To Joy / Joy To The World best wishes…

 

The Florin Street Band ~ My Favourite Time of Year

The Piano Guys ~ Ode To Joy To The World (With Choir & Bell Ringers)

I thank you for your listenership and cordially invite you to check out the remainder of my Top 20 Countdown “2” Christmas… where I’ll be presenting select holiday classics… one-a-day… from now until we reach #1 on the 25th. I’ll be posting later today and, of course, tomorrow.

You’re also cordially invited to click back here for my regular monthly BlogCast… one that typically features anywhere from 3 to 5 songs that, when segued, transform everything into an appealing theme… this program slated to hit the www “airwaves” on Monday, January 1, 2018.

Till next time…

 

I wish you all the best life has to offer throughout the holidays…

and in all the years to come!

 

FYI, my past musical presentations are archived within my BlogCast and music categories.

If you’ve enjoyed this post, don’t forget to like, follow, share and comment.

 

 

BlogCast: Tom’s Top 20 Countdown “2” Christmas: Song 18

 

My timing is no accident. I cannot think of a more appropriate moment for a playback of Maroon 5’s fine cover of the John Lennon composition: Happy Xmas (War is Over). After all… it was on this very day, back in 1980, that a stalker / assassin opened fire to slaughter the totally unsuspecting Lennon.

One thing was certain… that year, there’d be no Happy Xmas for Lennon’s family, friends and fans. And when we consider how such a freethinker… a mega talented vocalist, lyricist, musician had been so abruptly, tragically silenced, well…

It’s safe to say that there are still millions of us, who loved all the good he stood for… who have yet to fully recover from our decades-old communal mourning.

I know I haven’t… my eyes did well up, briefly, a couple of times this day… first while playing “Imagine” on my piano at dawn and, later on, in the typing of this blog. Folks, it’s just that my memories of learning of John’s death still play out so vividly in my mind. Long sigh… moving on…

Lennon’s key Happy Xmas lyric, here, does remind us that “War is over if you want it”… yet… even though so many of us do want all war to end… the powers-that-be who are supposed to represent our wishes refuse to do so. The no-win war on terror rages on and on… and… ever since Inauguration Day ’17… the entire world has become threatened… more than ever before… by the prospects of nuclear war… i.e., because two bellicose, crybaby so-called leaders cannot manage to scrape up two sane braincells (between them) to rub together.

I could go on, but will reserve any further commentary for another blog… another day. Hopefully we’ll all survive long enough to witness its arrival.

For the moment, let’s focus more upon some fun, feel good stuff re the above vid. Particularly noteworthy is spotting America’s last, truly legitimate President of the United States, Barack Obama, seated in the audience along with his lovely family.

No Christmas would be complete without giving a listen to John Lennon’s original version of Happy Xmas (War is Over). And for any of you who’ll be attending parties and would like to try singing along, check out this Karaoke arrangement.

I invite you to stay with me throughout this entire holiday season. My plan is to get as many of us into the holiday spirit as is possible. Towards that future, I’ll continue presenting faves from my Christmas music library… classics all… counting ‘em down one-a-day… from now until the 25th. You can expect some of my future tracks to contain spiritual content and social commentary… others will be secular. And yes… a few will even be downright silly.

 

Till the next time we meet… let me echo Mr. Lennon’s lyrical sentiments as I… as we… wish you all…

 

A very Merry Christmas
And a happy new year
Let’s hope it’s a good one
Without any fear!

Hope you’ll be stopping by, daily, to hear out my entire

Top 20 Countdown “2” Christmas,

as well as give a listen to my regular monthly BlogCast,

slated for Sunday, December 24, 2017.

 

FYI, my past musical presentations are archived within my BlogCast and music categories.

If you enjoyed this post don’t forget to like, follow, share and comment.