kent_allard_jr: (profile)
One memory of my childhood: I was reading about Pompeii in the Foxboro Public Library, gazing in horror at photos of ancient Romans, shielding themselves from the falling ash. A strangely dirge-like song was playing in the background.

Thirty five years later and I still remembered the tune, and could hum it, but for the life of me I had no idea who sang the song. Every once and a while I would go to Amazon and preview "Hits of the 70s." I always get the warm fuzzies from 70s music, which I associate with my hazy childhood (while I remember the 80s far too well, and still think of it as the Decade of Douche), but I never found that song.

Until today. The Pompeii Song was "Miracles" by Jefferson Starship. I never would have suspected that the band behind "White Rabbit" and (barf!) "We Built This City" was responsible for the "dirge" of my memories, but there you go. I must have been 7 years old.
kent_allard_jr: (Default)
Largely unknown to most of you, I'm sure, but he's one of my all-time favorite jazz pianists. His renditions of "It's Me, Oh Lord" and "Oh! What a Beautiful Morning" were among the most beautiful pieces of music I've ever heard. He was most famous, though, for accompanying Marilyn Monroe when she sang "Happy Birthday" to JFK. Via Wonkette, of all places, celebrating the 48th anniversary of the performance; they linked to this little clip:

Unlike too many jazz greats, he lived to a ripe old age, and was playing almost to the end. Rest in peace.
kent_allard_jr: (Default)
I've expressed appreciation for progressive rock before, always with a touch of embarrassment. I think the problem was that I listened to rock critics, who have been largely hostile to the genre. I can see why. Rock critics, being writers, naturally focus on lyrics more than music, and let's face it, progressive rock lyrics can be pretty awful. (It took me a long time to realize that Yes lyrics make no sense whatsoever. They are, literally, just random phrases spliced together.) Critics also put a lot of emphasis on rock's "rebel" image and its authenticity, and the middle-class English guys who pioneered prog rock never fit in very well.

On the other hand, actual musicians seemed to like the prog rock stuff, which again is understandable, because it's both original and (no doubt refreshingly) challenging. I was reminded of this when I looked for videos of 21st Century Schizoid Man the other day, and saw how many different folks had covered the song. Two examples, on opposite sides of the lowbrow/highbrow spectrum, reminded me of [livejournal.com profile] negativeq: Ozzy Osborne apparently covered the King Crimson classic, as did this quintet of attractive Japanese violinists:



Personally I prefer the original to both versions, but your mileage may vary of course.
kent_allard_jr: (profile)
I doesn't matter how drunk you are, you should know that "21st Century Schizoid Man" is a lousy karaoke song.

Also, it is possible to tell too many ass jokes.
kent_allard_jr: (Default)
The similarities, sadly, are uncanny:

In my defense, I'm more likely to go to Jon Hassel (kind of a jazz-electronica combo) for inspiration than any long-haired 70s guys.
kent_allard_jr: (Default)
I discovered this stuff when I was 14 or 15, then tried to get into other types of music (post WW2 jazz, mostly). Then a few years ago I tried listening again, and found to my chagrin that I still liked a lot of it.

Even though I'm a mythology fan, I wish the band sung songs about real women, not water nymphs. I wished they'd left the black robes at home, too. On the other hand David Bowie seemed to get some rock and roll street cred, despite all the Ziggy Stardust and Major Tom stuff, so maybe there's some other element of dorkitude to these guys that I've missed.

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August 2012

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