Tuesday, July 17, 2007

How a blog entry gets made these days

Friday, June 29, 2007 (a beginning)

As far as I can tell, this is how it happened:

   My understanding is that
Jodi tagged Chris. Chris, I am led to believe, tagged Ari. I have it on good authority that Ari tagged Heather. And Heather, who for some reason thinks I don't suck, tagged me.
   This is the meme. Write about 5 or 10 (or so) songs that had an impact on your life, and tag five people to carry on (my wayward son)(but wait, I'm getting ahead of myself). That's all (as if that was so really simple to do). I've got a good idea who I'm going to tag at the end of this post, but first I have to get there. And that means thought and introspection, and we all know how much I hate that. Plus, if I finish this meme before I do Dawn's book meme, I'm pretty much a dead man. So, Heather, I'm sorry if you had to wait a while for my response, but here it is:

Thursday, July 12, 2007 (picking up the thread) 
   Wow! I wrote that, what, two weeks ago? Before I finished Dawn's book meme, certainly. And then it languished in my test journal - as things are wont to do these days it seems - until a random thought brought it back to the forefront of my mind today. Funny how these things happen.
   I was walking Shadow. As it was immediately after dinner, we took our regular path through the park, and past the Starbucks, so I could indulge myself with a horrifically over-priced coffee beverage. Then back along the main drag (longest street in the world, dontcha know) which took us right past the vet's office. Of course, Shadow wanted to go in for a visit. He didn't understand that nobody was there after six.
   That got me thinking about Shadow, and our many recent conversations with the vet about his condition. Some of you may remember that he's been ill. He's been put on medication, had an adverse reaction to it, compounded by another, apparently unrelated problem a few weeks ago. And I thought to myself (as if I were in conversation with the vet at that moment), "he's certainly back to his old self right now. Just look at him, dancin' and prancin' along."
   Which phrase, naturally, made me think about music. So I came home and got back to writing this entry. Quick, can you spot it?
   It took me a while to get my head around this meme. Songs that have had an impact on my life? Can't really think of any. Not impact, as such. I don't think men, in general, get as emotionally moved by, or attached to songs the way women do. At least I don't, so just agree with me so's not to burst my little bubble, and make me feel like I'm, you know, different.
   The best I could come up with was a discussion of which music might have been instrumental in guiding my developing musical tastes oh, so many years ago.

   My father was a huge fan of music. It's from him that I inherited my love of Jazz and Blues. One of his great sadnesses is the loss of that enjoyment due to his current hearing loss. He was twenty years old in 1957, so was already almost too old to be in on the birth of rock and roll, but he did collect a few gems. I remember youthful days of sifting through his boxes of 78s, listening to sounds of a (to me) bygone era.

Sunday, July 15, 2007 (unsuccessful continuation) 

(opened test journal - clicked 'edit entry' - stared at screen - decided I was too tired - went to bed)

Monday, July 16, 2007 (finally get to the music)

   Among the Perry Como, Paul Anka, Glen Miller and such instant classics as Why do Fools Fall in Love, by Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers, and Standing on the Corner (Watching All the Girls Go By), by The Four Lads, one record grabbed me, and to this day has not let me go. I still, on a regular basis, hum the tune to Be-Bop-A-Lula, by Gene Vincent.
   'Lula, released in 1956, was an instant hit - arguably among the first major "rock 'n' roll" hit songs - and inspired a generation of music, including later favourites of mine; 1973's Rock On, by David Essex, and Cheap Trick's 1979 breakout hit, Ain't That A Shame. In hindsight, it is easy to call Vincent an Elvis Presley knock-off, but in truth, they both developed at the same time, from the same early rock-a-billy roots, and their first big hits - Be-bop-a-lula, and Presley's Heartbreak Hotel - were released the same year.
   The first ever album of my very own I remember owning was by The DeFranco Family. Their "hit" was called Heartbeat (It's A Love Beat), and these days resides mostly in the memory of Toronto DJ, John Derringer, and gets referred to whenever he wants to imply the lameness of an artist by comparison. To be fair to the DeFrancos, their second single, Abra-ca-dabra, while still silly early seventies teen pop idol fare, featured some pretty heavy rock 'n' roll guitar work, and is less lame by far than anything ever released by...

   The Bay City Rollers. Yes, I'm serious. Yes, I'm embarrassed. C'mon, it was the seventies. I was really young. And they were huge. I mean huge. For a while. The Bay City Rollers were probably the first actual 'rock band' I liked. And Saturday Night was the first rock 'anthem' I glommed onto. Everybody pump your fists in the air. S - A...T - U - R...D - A - Y night!
   Also: Keep on Dancin' (see, you knew your patience would be rewarded).

   At some point, I received a little transistor radio to listen to in my room. I can remember sitting it on my bedside table, and listening to it - oh, so low - when I was supposed to be sleeping. With a little bit of dial twiddling, I eventually found 1050 CHUM, Toronto's first rock and roll station. With dozens of songs popping unbidden from my memory of those evenings, one (an odd one to be sure) sticks out. My clearest musical memory of my early teen years is a little known song by former Mott The Hoople band leader Ian Hunter, called We Gotta Get Outta Here.
   Did you click through to watch the video? See that beautiful blonde with the vaguely familiar looks and voice? Yeah. On a hot summer night I always liked her better than Markie Post.

   I came late to Led Zeppelin. John Bonham was several years in the grave when, influenced by some older friends of a friend, I first listened to the concert album The Song Remains The Same. It remains a strong favourite to this day, and contains what I consider to be the definitive performances of several of their most popular songs. The centre piece of the album, a rambling, twenty seven minute rendition of the song Dazed And Confused, is something I can listen to over and over again. Way back in high school (heh, heh, 'high' school), I was blown away by the Jimmy Page violin bow guitar solo - 'cause it was, like, totally rad, y'know? Today, other parts of the song blow my mind, unaided by herbal supplements, for the pure virtuosity they display.

Tuesday, July 17,2007 (edited and added links, including embedded video)

   Now, I'm pretty sure the performance on the soundtrack album is not exactly the same one as is featured in the movie clip above. The movie performance suffered from tempo problems, and Robert Plant's voice was a bit raw sounding. The album version is much cleaner, and Page's guitar work is more even, confident and authoritative. Also, a source no less trustworthy than Jimmy Page himself has said that the performances on The Song Remains The Same were not his favourite. In fact, much of the driving force behind the recent release of How The West Was Won was based on Page's feeling that the California tour on which those recording were made was Led Zeppelin at their apex.

   As I have been writing this, the 'classic rock' station on my satellite TV system has been playing (it pretty much plays all day-every day in my house), and I keep hearing more songs I could add to this list. I could go on for ever, you know. Instead, I'll just point out that the early work of Bruce Springsteen first opened my eyes to the fact that pop music and serious poetry can - and does - coexist.
Beneath the city two hearts beat
Soul engines running through a night so tender
In a bedroom locked
In whispers of soft refusal
And then surrender
In the tunnels uptown
The Rat's own dream guns him down
As shots echo down them hallways in the night
No one watches when the ambulance pulls away
Or as the girl shuts out the bedroom light
Outside the street's on fire
In a real death waltz
Between what's flesh and what's fantasy
And the poets down here
Don't write nothing at all
They just stand back and let it all be
And in the quick of the night
They reach for their moment
And try to make an honest stand
But they wind up wounded
Not even dead
Tonight in Jungleland

tagged: Simain Farmer, 42yearoldloserorami, Byzantium's Shores, bigheathenmike, and Adventures in Juggling


simianfarmer said...

That hot blonde chick didn't do much more than hum and utter "Damn!" a few times, did she?  Ah well... good thing she was hot.

I accept the torch you have passed to me, sir.  I'll do my best to build something with it in less time than it took you.  I hope.


dpoem said...

Whew...  Dude!  You have no idea how happy I am that you didn't tag me.  


princesssaurora said...

Wow, when you do an entry...  you REALLY do an entry!  I am so glad you are back.... I have missed you so.  And, hey, you are always commenting on Dan's and I know he is so cute and funny and interesting, but could ya throw me a BONE every once in a while please????  LOL

Okay... Springsteen is a better poet/lyricist than singer for sure... Plant/Page too.  My favorite is 'Thank You' for the beauty.  'Over the Hills and Far Away' was my 'high' school anthem.  he he he  I love 50's music, especially the early ones, and didn't think anyone would know that stuff.  I listened to it all the time with my parents.  

I love my xm stations on my satelite too.

Hugs and kisses to Shadow... I am so glad he is well.  You didn't really fill us in on all the details.

be well,

tenyearnap said...

Be-bop-a-lula...it just pops into my head at odd moments. Okay, so does "Deck the Halls." I need my head cleaned out. --Cin

mechants said...

"Saturday Night" is still not as obnoxious as "Hooked On a Feeling", which my college roommate played morning, noon and night. Drove me nuts. Oooha chaka oooga ooga ooga chaka...


jouell3935 said...

tee hee...Hey there...
great list! See wasnt soooo bad...