Fifteen years and three weeks ago, four lads from Dublin wandered into a K-Mart in NYC and attracted a crowd as they played a song they've never played live since. They then took some questions from the audience about their intentions over the next year or so. The proceedings were carried live on music television stations around the world. (Part 1 2 3 4
) The day was February 12, 1997; the song was Holy Joe; the men performing were U2. They were announcing the release of their new album, POP
, released 15 years ago, on March 3, 1997. Loved by many critics, adored by many fans, met with an indifferent shrug by the general public, and repeatedly scorned by the band themselves, perhaps it's time to look back again at this controversial groundbreaking album and landmark tour. [more inside]
posted by hippybear
on Mar 2, 2012 -
...there’s some desperation to this junk version of “Dancing in the Street,” with both parties trying to affirm their A-1 celebrity status. One of the more pernicious effects of the whole Live Aid/Farm Aid/Band Aid spectacle was to cement the hierarchy of the “legend” rock acts and a smaller tier of anointed successors from the slightly-younger generation (Tom Petty, Sting, Dire Straits, U2). It was the height of the Boomer Counter-Reformation. The late Eighties would see the over-publicized returns of everyone from Steve Winwood to the Monkees to Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, to a revamped George Harrison to a MOR version of Pink Floyd to Robbie Robertson pretending that he was Peter Gabriel (a version of Gabriel who couldn’t sing) to an all-star Yes and a Zeppelin-sampling Robert Plant, culminating in the return of the “revitalized” Stones in 1989, the touring company now reincorporated into a gleaming multinational. As Marcello Carlin said back when Popular covered this single: “Suddenly we were once again reminded who in pop and rock mattered and who didn’t…With their massacre of “Dancing In The Street,” Bowie and Jagger seemed to relish rubbing it in.“
-The Annotated Jagger/Bowie "Dancing in the Street"
posted by anazgnos
on Jan 17, 2012 -
What is Pink Lady
? In Japan they are remembered for a string of pop hits in the 70s, but Americans might remember them either from their disco single "Kiss In The Dark
" or from an attempt to sell them to the US market in 1980 via a short-lived NBC variety show Pink Lady & Jeff
) with comedian Jeff Altman.
). The show featured their Japanese hits, UFO
(a bit more rock and roll
), and SOS
along with US hits like Boogie Wonderland
, McArthur Park
and the occasional guest star.
) Also, Roy Orbison
Sadly, the show failed to break out and the two returned to Japan for a series of farewell concerts and retrospectives. Much, much more available at this charmingly retro, utterly exhaustive fan site devoted to them.
Or just read the recaps. [more inside]
posted by The Whelk
on Dec 11, 2011 -
Quincy Jones sat in the Tenafly, New Jersey den of 16-year-old vocal student Lesley Gore, playing demo after demo
, looking for the right song to cut for her first record. Out of over 200 tapes, Jones and Gore had moved only one to the "maybe" pile, and so that song, It's My Party
, was recorded on March 30, 1963 in a Manhattan studio. After the session Mercury president Irving Green warned Gore not to get her hopes up, but Gore gratefully told him that it had been a great experience anyway, and it was okay if he didn't want to release it. However, later that evening Jones learned that Phil Spector had just recorded
"It's My Party" for The Crystals
, so Jones rushed back to the studio to press 100 test copies of the single and immediately mailed them to key radio stations across the country. [more inside]
posted by swift
on Sep 13, 2011 -
Singer, knob twiddler and bass player MNDR has had a great year, especially considering that she hasn’t even finished her first full-length solo recording yet. MNDR is best known in the pop world so far for her collaboration with Mark Ronson and Q-tip on Bang Bang Bang
, a song that plays with the french children’s song alouette with a double entendre squeezed out of the consonants in “plucking feathers.” [more inside]
posted by umbú
on Aug 16, 2011 -
Is the epic saxophone solo returning to pop music?
With recent good time summer radio hits by ubiquitous hit makers Katy Perry and Lady Gaga featuring an unexpected saxophone solo, is this a hint towards a return of the woodwind as a staple in rock/pop music or just ironic posturing from vapid "tastemakers"?
posted by mediocre
on Jul 21, 2011 -
Using album & digital song sales, Hot 100 rankings, radio airplay, YouTube views, social media, concert grosses, industry awards and critics' ratings, Rolling Stone compares sixteen female artists to name the Queen of Pop
. [more inside]
posted by troika
on Jun 30, 2011 -
Overlooked '90s Indie Pop: The Cat's Miaow
, whose single sentence wiki describes them as... "an indie pop band formed in Melbourne, Australia, in 1992." And Madison Electric
, a band from Ann Arbor that played one show in a church basement before going their separate ways.
posted by puny human
on May 21, 2011 -
Inside Pop - The Rock Revolution is a CBS News special, broadcast in April 1967. The show was hosted by Leonard Bernstein and is probably one of the first examples of pop music being examined as a 'serious' art form. The film features many scenes shot in Los Angeles in late 1966, including interviews with Frank Zappa and Graham Nash, as well as the now legendary Brian Wilson solo performance of "Surf's Up." (MLYT) [more inside]
posted by overeducated_alligator
on Apr 29, 2011 -
was perhaps the biggest Brazilian popstar of her time. The clip in the first link is a single song from a TV special she did in 1973, at the height of her powers, and which has been put online in its entirety
. The song, Águas de Março, was a Tom Jobim composition, which they sang together
on the album Elis & Tom, which also featured such gems as Corcovado
, Inútil paisagem
. Over her career Elis Regina worked with a who's who of Brazilian popular music, and there's quite a lot of material out there. The best places I've found are YouTube channels elisetom1974
and, though the Elis Regina material is mixed in with other stuff, jordaoqualquer
is a treasure trove. Elis Regina died from an alcohol and cocaine overdose in 1982, 36 years of age. Last year NPR had a short appreciation
of her as part of its 50 Great Voices series.
posted by Kattullus
on Feb 5, 2011 -
It’s maybe a little
early yet for year’s end retrospectives, but who cares: we’ve got 157 songs, 10.5 hours, 1.12 GB of “some of the best and most notable music from 2010... covering indie, pop, rock, punk, folk, rap, R&B, soul, dance, country, modern classical, ambient and electronic music, and in many cases, hard-to-classify genre hybrids.”
—Curated by FluxBlog’s own Matthew Perpetua.
posted by kipmanley
on Dec 3, 2010 -