John Lennon called "In My Life" his "first real major piece of work."
The song started as a long poem about the bus ride from his Aunt Mimi's house in suburban Liverpool, where he grew up, to the dockside area of the Mersey River. The poem listed Lennon's beloved childhood haunts, including one locale familiar to Beatles fans: Penny Lane.
"The words were almost irrelevant. 'In My Life' started out as a bus journey from my house at 250 Menlove Avenue to town, mentioning every place I could remember," said Lennon in a 1980 interview. "I wrote it all down and it was ridiculous... it was the most boring sort of 'What I Did On My Holiday's Bus Trip' song, and it wasn't working at all. But then I laid back and these lyrics started coming to me about the places I remember. Paul helped with the middle-eight."
And though Lennon variously referred to "In My Life" as his, the elegiac reverie on life and love, a poignant reflection on what matters most, the essential fragile translucence of things caught in a Beatle melody was so beautiful that neither John nor Paul would ever agree on ...
Doug Bradley, author of DEROS Vietnam, has written extensively about his Vietnam, and post-Vietnam, experiences. He was drafted into the U.S. Army in March 1970 and served one year as an information specialist (journalist) at U.S. Army Republic of Vietnam (USARV) headquarters near Saigon.
I first became a soldier in a war zone on Veterans Day (November 11) 1970. It’s an irony I’ve wrestled with for 45 years, due in part to the precise timing of U. S. Army tours of duty in Vietnam, which meant that Uncle Sam would send me back home exactly 365 days later — on November 11, 1971.
Needless to say, the date is etched in my mind and will always be. It’s personal, of course, but in a way it’s lyrical, too. I say that because my earliest Vietnam memories aren’t about guns and bullets, but rather about music.
As my fellow “newbies” and I were being transported from Tan Son Nhut Air Force Base to the Army’s 90th Replacement Battalion at Long Binh, I vividly recall hearing Smokey Robinson and The Miracles singing “Tears of a Clown.” That pop song was blasting from four or five ...
Motown was like the soundtrack of my household. That's pretty much all we played, so I was enormously familiar with Smokey Robinson, Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, as well as all the Motown stuff that Smokey wrote.
He was my first example of a songwriter. Period. Not only was he an artist that wrote for himself, but he wrote for all these other artists. And there were all these hits, and it was like, man, this guy is like really working towards the betterment of music, and the betterment of like lyrics.
So as I grew and got into poetry, got into music, I was very much a student of Smokey Robinson, very much a big fan of a lot of his songs that he created, and just all the things he was doing.
It really helped me when I got into the industry and became a songwriter and was pretty well-known and was trying to become an artist as well, most of the labels ...
After countless hours researching, interviewing Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductee Paul Simon and collecting for Paul Simon: Words and Music, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum lead curator Craig Inciardi shares some of his favorite things in the new Paul Simon feature exhibit, which opened October 30, 2014.
1. Paul Simon's First Acoustic Guitar
All musicians get their start somewhere. On his 13th birthday, Paul Simon received his first guitar as a gift from his father Louis Simon, who was a musician. His father taught him a few chords and Simon quickly realized that many of the popular songs from the 1950s – the ones he was listening to – used the same chords and patterns. He and childhood friend Art Garfunkel began to write songs using those voicings. The first song they wrote using the Stadium brand acoustic guitar was called “The Girl for Me.”
2. Letter from Paul Simon to Art Garfunkel
Paul Simon wrote this letter dated August 13, 1957, when he was attending summer camp in Bellport, New York. Art Garfunkel was at different summer camp in New Jersey, and it was a pivotal moment in their young lives. They had been singing ...
Born on November 18, 1927 (some sources note 1936), Hank Ballard wasn't the first to write smutty songs, but he was one of the more determinedly single-minded to exploit what he called the "raunch groove." His "Get It" was about, well, getting it. The title was startling coming after "The Shrine of St. Cecillia," the previous release by the Royals (as Ballard and the Midnighters were known prior to being labelmates with a "5" Royales). Its success, however, pointed the way. Ballard hit his stride with "Work With Me Annie," which is not about working. Reportedly toned down from its first draft, "Annie" still didn't leave much to the imagination: “Annie, please don’t cheat/ Give me all my meat / Oooo-weee / So good to me /Work with me, Annie / Let’s get it while the getting is good.” Needless to say, it went to the top of the R&B record charts in early 1954 despite being banned by the FCC. In a 1987 interview, Ballard recalled: "But [controversy] made the record hot. All that carryin’ on. 'What is this record about?' 'You can’t hear it on the radio – banned!' I tell you, in the Boston area ...
Tonight as part of the 18th Music Masters series of events, Alan Light will present a keynote lecture at Case Western Reserve University's Ford Auditorium that will look at the triumphs and challenges of the Rolling Stones' longevity. Light is the former Editor-in-Chief of Spin and Vibe magazines, a frequent contributor to The New York Times and Rolling Stone, and the author of The Holy or the Broken: Leonard Cohen and Jeff Buckley and the Unlikely Ascent of “Hallelujah.” This event is free and reservations are not required. Seats are available on a first-come, first-served basis. The event will be live streamed here.
Although Ed Sullivan vowed never again to have the Rolling Stones on his show after their first appearance in 1964 – the same year the impressionable group of twenty somethings first landed on American shores, making a pilgrimage of sorts to Chess Records in Chicago – the popular TV host knew a ratings boom when he saw and heard it. Putting aside his resentment for the "unkempt" appearance of the Stones and the raucous audiences they attracted, Sullivan would welcome the Stones on his program five more times in the Sixties, where they'd perform 17 of their ...
This month, the Rolling Stones returned to Hyde Park for two concerts, 44 years after the group's 1969 performance at the landmark venue. Delivering a set on July 6 that echoed that fabled show with performances of such classics as "Sympathy for the Devil" and "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction," Mick Jagger reportedly asked: "Anybody here that was here in 1969?"
On July 5, 1969, the Rolling Stones took to a stage at London's Hyde Park, dedicating the show to founding member Brian Jones who had died just two days earlier. The performance in front of more than half a million people marked the first appearance of guitarist Mick Taylor with the group.
Jagger quoted poet Percy Bysshe Shelley in tribute to their departed bandmate, and two large panels promoting 1968's Beggars Banquet that pictured Jones were placed on the stage. The panels were enlarged from the original gatefold sleeve of Beggars Banquet, with its medieval-menagerie scene of the band. The promo panels were first used during the album's infamous press launch – an event that quite literally left the Rolling Stones and the heads of Decca Records with pie on their faces.
In the above ...
For decades, love, in all its permutations, has proven among rock and roll's most powerful tonics. From blissful to bawdy, artists have regaled listeners with memorable tales of romance that have inspired and infuriated, giving the language of love a bold voice in the process.
Through February 17, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland, Ohio, is sharing the love with a special self-guided tour highlighting artifacts that relate rock's more romantic side. Visitors to the Rock Hall on February 14 will be treated to a special curator-led version of the tour, which covers the Beatles, John Lennon, Jimi Hendrix, Sex Pistols, U2 and more.
Among the artifacts featured are the handwritten lyrics to the Beach Boys' "God Only Knows," written by Tony Asher and Brian Wilson, and appearing on 1966's Pet Sounds. Wilson originally disliked the opening line of the song, “I may not always love you,” feeling it was “too negative." After hearing the rest of Asher's lyrics, however, he changed his mind. “God Only Knows” was one of the first pop songs to use the word “god” in its title, and though he feared the worst, Wilson decided ...