Ten Second Songs covers pop songs in twenty different styles: Linkin Park - In The End, Ariana Grande - Problem, Jason Derulo - Talk Dirty To Me [more inside]
What is it about "Happy" by Pharrell Williams that makes you want to move? Why can't we sit still when we hear Ray Charles perform "I've Got a Woman"? Michael Jackson had it, and so did Stevie Wonder. "It," in this case, is syncopation, the gaps in the rhythm that your brain wants to fill in, as reported in the article Syncopation, Body-Movement and Pleasure in Groove Music (full article online).
Blowdry hairstyles! Sequins! Self-effacing humor without irony! Amazing melodies and lyrics! It's The Barry Manilow Special [52m] shown on ABC in 1977, winner of the Emmy for Outstanding Comedy-Variety or Music Special. Featuring Penny Marshall! Guaranteed Copacabana-free! But this wouldn't be the only time Barry Manilow appeared in a television special... [more inside]
In honor of Jim Henson's 75th birthday, let's celebrate bein' green: Kermit. Ray Charles. Kermit and Ray Charles. The Boston Pops. Lena Horne and Kermit. Lena Horne. Oscar the Grouch. Bob McGrath. Audra McDonald. Chuck Findley and the Metropole Orchestra. Shirley Horn. Cibelle. Frank Sinatra. Thurl Ravenscroft. Van Morrison. Sophie Milman. Andrew Bird. Big Bird.
Hanson's (catchy, if you ask me) video "Thinking 'Bout Something" is an homage to Ray Charles's great performance of "Shake a Tailfeather" in The Blues Brothers. As an added bonus, look closely at the tambourine player; it's our favorite, Weird Al. [more inside]
Ahmet Ertegun was profiled by George W. S. Trow in The New Yorker in a classic piece back in 1978. Ertegun was the son of the Turkish ambassador to the US and he remained behind in D.C. studying medieval philosophy at Georgetown. Instead of devoting himself to his studies he founded Atlantic Records with his friend Herb Abramson. Trow charted how Ertegun moved from tramping through muddy, Louisiana fields in search of hot new sounds to the whirl of Studio 54. Below the cut are links to the songs mentioned in the article, as best as I could find, in the order in which they appear. [more inside]
He couldn't sing, dance, or tell jokes, but he was television's greatest impresario. He was a stone-faced puritan -- America's arbiter of status quo -- but had a sly sense of humor , and in the segregation-tainted 1950's, welcomed blacks to his stage, and in the 1960's showcased rock n' roll's most anti-establishment acts. His show, the longest-running variety show in history, ran from 1948 to 1971. [more inside]
Hungary may be the gloomiest country on earth. Believed by its people to be suffering from a centuries long curse, it's most famous modern musical export is probably the "Hungarian Suicide Song" - Gloomy Sunday. Originally popularized by Billie Holiday in the US (with an upbeat ending tacked onto the original lyrics), it's been covered dozens of times since then. Links to a few of my favorites inside: [more inside]
Legendary record man and music producer Jerry Wexler died on August 15, at the age of 91. His keen insight, and his deep love and appreciation for the artists he worked with resulted in an extraordinary enriching of American music. [more inside]
The Johnny Cash Show 1969-1971: Ray Charles - Ring of Fire (this, my brothers and sisters, is how you cover a song and make it your own)/ Bob Dylan - I Threw It All Away/ Derek and the Dominoes (w/Carl Perkins)/ Roy Orbison - Crying/ The Cowsills/ Joni Mitchell - The Long Black Veil (sublime) [more inside]
"Window in the Sky" is a YouTube style video synch mash-up done on a professional budget with the magic of copyright clearances. "It's a triumph of postmodern reconstruction" says the Washington Post.
Johnny Cash implores Big Bird, "Don't Take Your Ones To Town." R.E.M. explore the spectrum of muppet emotion with Furry Happy Monsters. All the way back in 1972, Stevie Wonder offers the superlatively funky 1-2-3. The Pointer Sisters teach an entire generation about surreal terror with the classic Pinball Number Count. Ray Charles sings The Alphabet Song, with an inexplicable assist from Patrick Stewart, David Robinson and Lambchop. And, of course, who could forget the time The Beetles came to Sesame Street?
Ray Charles is Dead Very sad to hear. My favorite was always "Georgia on My Mind". What was yours? Any personal memories you associate with his music?