Archive for ‘music’

May 30, 2009

‘Cause I’m the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll

Just a hunk, a hunk of burnin’ love, baby.

UPDATE: My son Bob challenges the King.

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May 3, 2009

VIDEO: HOT YOUNG SUSAN BOYLE!

Wow! The backup group is crappy, but she clearly had something back in 1984:

Hat-tip: Hot Air Headlines.

The woman who, in middle age, sprang to stardom on “Britain Got Talent,” was a very polished performer at age 22 but, for whatever reason, never got a break. This kind of situation — the undiscovered talent — is really more common than might be imagined by people who aren’t in the music business.

I used to know a bartender in Georgia who was a tremendous R&B singer. At one point, he had been under contract as singer for the group that eventually became famous as the Atlanta Rhythm Section. For whatever reason — he told me the story, but I’ve forgotten now — it just didn’t work out, and he never really got another shot.

UPDATE: ‘Lanches, light the corners of my mind . . .

UPDATE II: Some commenters are saying that Susan Boyle’s thick eyebrows explain her lack of ’80s stardom. Let me remind you of something:


That’s Brooke Shields on the cover of German Vogue in 1984, when thick eyebrows on women were all the rage. Well, Susan Boyle’s eyes weren’t quite as startling and her mouth wasn’t quite as pouty as Brooke’s, and so everybody in the comments is saying that Susan didn’t become a singing star 25 years ago because she needed a pair of tweezers. I think the explanation is otherwise, but I’m waiting for someone else to tell me what it is.

UPDATE III: OK, some of you guys in the comments (talking about the fact that there 5,000 musical geniuses waiting tables and driving forklifts in Nashville) are getting closer to the truth about the situation. Now check out my attempt to explain why Susan Boyle went undiscovered.

April 29, 2009

All great rock music was recorded by the time John Bonham died

That is all the “rock music criticism” anyone under 40 needs to know. Anything recorded after Sept. 25, 1980, is therefore not great rock music.

As to this silly dispute over ’80s “hair bands” vs. ’90s “grunge,” it’s like debating which was the better painter, de Kooning or Pollock. Neither one had any talent, so who cares?

UPDATE: James Joyner weighs in, prompting his commenter Bernard Finel to say of my argument: “I think this is probably the single dumbest thing ever posted anywhere in the history of the internet.”

Don’t be too sure of that, Bernie. I’ve written more 3,900 posts here. Surely you could find something dumber. If not, there’s always tomorrow . . .

February 22, 2009

Instapundit does . . . show tunes?

In linking to a story about Larry Summers allegedly screwing up the Harvard endowment, we find Professor Glenn Reynolds employing the phrase, “The country’s in the very best of hands.”

Having starred, at age 14, as Pappy Yokum in the Douglas County (Ga.) High School production of the Broadway musical “Li’l Abner,” I recognize this as the title of a song (by Johnny Mercer and Gene de Paul) from that show:

The Treasury says the national debt
Is climbing to the sky
And govermnent expenditures
Have never been so high.
It makes a feller get
A gleam of pride within his eye,
To see how our economy expands,
The country’s in the very best of hands.

Now, it is a matter of fact that I majored in drama, so I’ve got an excuse for knowing lots of Broadway lyrics. But Professor Reynolds is a law grad. What’s up with that, Dr. Helen? I mean:

  • When you started dating him, did you notice any Judy Garland posters at his apartment?
  • Does he download Streisand on his iPod?
  • If you happen to be in a department store when the Muzak plays a Rodgers and Hammerstein tune, do you hear him muttering under his breath, “. . . and 6, 7, 8 — kick — 2, 3, 4″?
  • When guests arrive at your house, does the professor greet them by saying, “Wilkommen, bienvenue, welcome?”

NTTAWWT. I’m so unmistakably macho that I don’t mind bursting into an occasional a capella rendition of “Til There Was You.” And I believe John Podhoretz has been known to cite “The Street Where You Live.” But if the professor is A Guy Who Likes Show Tunes, he needs to come out of the closet about it, don’t you think?

“. . . our favorite American group, Sophie Tucker.”

UPDATE: Welcome, Insty readers! Yes, the armchair psychologists like to accuse us Guys Who Like Show Tunes of overcompensating by swaggering displays of heterosexuality. Insty married Dr. Helen to quell those whispers in the faculty lounge, and I’m a happily married father of six kids who feels compelled to follow up his Chorus Boy camp routine by gratuitous babe-blogging. (Click that link, you sissies — I dare you!)

UPDATE II: In the comments, the irrepressible Kathy Shaidle — who’s working her diminuitive self to exhaustion trying to get deported from Canada as a one-woman human rights violation — informs us that Mark Steyn is all about the show tunes. Which may explain why he didn’t appreciate the irony of this lame gag. Or worse yet, maybe he did appreciate it. (Foghorn Leghorn: “That’s a joke, son! A joke, ah say!”)

UPDATE III: Moe Lane manages to work in a sly Ghostbusters allusion. Yeah, he’s thinking it’s Oscar night, and Bill Murray got ripped that year — not even nominated!

February 19, 2009

Ready for ‘hip-hop Republicans’?

Michael Steele thinks you are:

Newly elected Republican National Committee Chairman Michael S. Steele plans an “off the hook” public relations offensive to attract younger voters, especially blacks and Hispanics, by applying the party’s principles to “urban-suburban hip-hop settings.”
The RNC’s first black chairman will “surprise everyone” when updating the party’s image using the Internet and advertisements on radio, on television and in print, he told The Washington Times.

Did somebody say, “off the hook”?

Now you asked me, baby,
Say, what’s my name?
I said I go by the name

Of Stacy McCain
And I’m the best —

I’m the creme de la creme!
My friends are all jealous
‘Cause I’m better than them.
I’m a master of the amorous arts,
A well-known breaker
Of the ladies’ hearts.
I been breakin’ hearts
From coast to coast.
I’m in the Guinness Book of Records
‘Cause I broke the most.

Now, it’s time to introduce you
To my man Mike.
He’s a free-stylin’ daddy
Like I know you’ll like.
Gonna bring some magic action
To the GOP.
With some super satisfaction
From the RNC.
Democrats ain’t that
‘Cause they can’t bring the funk
Like Mike excites the night
With the elephant’s trunk.

Now, let me hear you cheer
The American Dream!
From Maryland, our chairman’s
Gonna make you scream.
Like the Reagan Revolution

And like in ’94,
Mike’s got the Right solution
That you want some more.
See the fact is that your taxes
Are still way too high.
And Obama?
Mama, that Democrat
Is gonna drain you dry.

Now I could keep on syncopatin’
‘Til the break of dawn,
But the time for celebratin’
Will be later on.
And just in case you missed it,
Ladies, let’s be clear:
Mike’s number is unlisted
But the party’s right here,
With a hiphop chairman
At the RNC,
He’s a mojo repairman —
And you heard it from me!
Is that fresh? Is it def?
Is my jive signified?
Baby, I just bring the beats.
I hiphop. You decide.

February 17, 2009

Overnight music video

For some unfathomable reason, Smitty posted this video on my Facebook wall:

So we might as well have a video music fest. “My Sharona”:

How ’bout some Beatles?

Since we seem to be in pure power-pop mode here, how about some Nick Lowe?

From power-pop to harmolodic funk. Here’s a rare cut, Bell & James, “You Never Know What You’ve Got,” 1978:

Did somebody say “funk”? Baby, let’s bring the beats — Heatwave, “Grooveline”:

Aw, now you got me in that Old School groove, gotta hit the kickspin with some Brothers Johnson,”Stomp”:

Yeah, the crowd screams, “One more! One more!” Better get ready to get up and jam, ’cause this one’s the last groove of the night — Gap Band, “Early in the Morning”:

January 25, 2009

An odd hatred

For some odd reason, Ron Rosenbaum unleashes a torrent of abuse at Billy Joel. I don’t know why. Billy Joel was never a personal favorite of mine, but “schlock ‘n’ roll” seems unduly harsh.

Musically, he is versatile and clever, for example the Four Seasons send-up of “Uptown Girl” and the straight-out rock of “You May Be Right” are adequate rebuttals of the attempt of critics to pigeonhole him as a syrupy balladeer. The lyrics of “Only the Good Die Young” are extraordinarily well-crafted:

You got a nice white dress
And a party on your confirmation.
You got a brand new soul
And a cross of gold.
But Virginia they didn’t give you
Quite enough information.
You didn’t count on me
When you were counting on your rosary.

Perhaps it is the well-crafted quality of Joel’s music — and the high production values of the recordings — that offends Rosenberg, who professes himself an admirer of Dylan and Springsteen.

It’s the “authenticity” trip again, a marked tendency of certain intellectuals to prefer rock music that has such “street cred” trappings as hoarse vocals and a sloppy spontaneity. This is kind of like the marked preference of intellectuals in the 1950s and ’60s for jazz that was bebop, rebop or otherwise avante-garde. You can go back and read ridiculously pretentious critics debating “hot” vs. “cool” jazz and so forth. The one thing they agreed on was their disdain for the smooth arrangements and pop sensibilities of classic Big Band jazz.

“Anything, so long as it’s not popular” seems to be the critical theory of the intellectual class, and so Billy Joel is singled out for Rosenberg’s wrath. I could think of a lot of acts from the ’70s deserving more critical scorn — REO Speedwagon, say, or Supertramp — but those acts have not endured in popularity, with such a deep repertoire of hits, as has Billy Joel. Being the Gene Hackman of pop-rock doesn’t win you any credibility with the critics.

November 28, 2008

Jimmie blogs the classics

Jimmie at The Sundries Shack tackles an unusual topic for bloggers, classical music, complaining about a WETA listener poll in which five of the top 10 selections were Beethoven. I’m with Jimmie in wishing for more variety. (Hello, Mozart? Liszt? Shubert?)

My tastes in classical music are eclectic. Jimmie wants more Wagner, but Wagner is mostly opera, and I can’t stand operatic singing. (I’m convinced the demons in hell warble like operatic sopranos.) The only Wagner I like is instrumental parts like “Ride of the Valkyries.” I like Tchaikovsky and Stravinsky, and Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue” and “An American in Paris.”

I suppose I’ll be written off as a philistine for confessing that I also like John Williams, but it’s kind of a sentimental thing. I used to have a girlfriend who was a huge “Indiana Jones” fan, and she liked to . . . uh, enjoy some quality time listening to the soundtrack.