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Written By: Wray Herbert
I had the good fortune to come of age during the richest musical epoch — well, ever. The Grateful Dead, the Beatles, Dylan, Janis Joplin, Zappa. I could go on and on. The ’60s witnessed an unparalleled burst of musical creativity, ranging from Cream to CCR to Hendrix and to Neil Young and Paul Simon and Joni Mitchell. There is simply no match — not before nor since — for this outpouring of enduring song. And what’s more, nobody really disputes this.
Okay, okay. I wrote all those superlatives in part to provoke a reaction. There are people who dispute this claim, and indeed some are among my own friends and family. They say that ’60s music just seems incomparable to me because I was a young man when I encountered it. If I keep going back to Leonard Cohen and The Doors even today, they say, it’s only because those melodies were seared into my neurons when I was youthful and impressionable.
It’s hard to prove, one way or the other. But my critics do have some psychological science on their side. My musical preferences could be part of what scientists call the “reminiscence bump” — a peak in personal memories, of all kinds, that consistently comes in late adolescence and early adulthood. That is, we all remember more detail, more clearly, from this stage of our development. Since music is so emotional and personal and memorable, doesn’t it make sense that it would peak the same way?
That’s the question that Cornell University psychological scientist Carol Lynne Krumhansl set out to explore — or one of the questions. She wanted to see just how our early musical memories intersect with, and shape, our other autobiographical memories. She also wanted to see how music is transmitted from generation to generation, and to explore whether this pattern may have changed along with dramatic cultural shifts of the past half century.
Original Post From http://classicrockmusicblog.com/
Could an album’s artwork alone make you not want to listen to the music inside? Before answering, let me present Born Again, the 1983 release from Black Sabbath. Sporting one of the most garish record covers in rock history—a red, screaming baby with horns, yellow fangs and talon-like fingernails, set against a purple background— it’s easy to look at the Born Again cover and say, “This isn’t for me.” Or, as the album’s vocalist Ian Gillan was reputed to say when he first saw the artwork, “I puked!” But not so fast…
Born Again occupies an interesting space in the Sabbath timeline. After a pair of excellent platters (Heaven and Hell and The Mob Rules) recorded with the-now-departed vocalist Ronnie James Dio, the band would be soon heading into a virtual no-man’s land of lineup changes and shrinking record sales for the next decade. In many ways, Born Again was a last chance to keep Sabbath respectable and in the public eye and ear. So remaining band members Tony Iommi and Geezer Butler brought in two big guns: Gillan of Deep Purple fame, who had been fronting his own band; and original Sabbath drummer Bill Ward, who had been absent from the band and The Mob Rules album as he struggled to stay sober.
The album was rehearsed and recorded at Richard Branson’s country estate in Oxfordshire, England. Imagine a bucolic community stood on end as one of the world’s loudest bands played their bludgeoning music down the road from pasturing cows and a vicarage. What would this new incarnation—this born again version—of Sabbath sound like? Like the Sabbath of past there are plenty of heavy guitar riffs, thundering bass lines and a barrage of drums. Gillan’s voice is in amazing form and Ward plays with raw power. The songs have a more mainstream feel, but the record has a definite rawness partly because the music was written and recorded quickly and secondly because the final recorded mix is more muffled and denser than previous Sabbath releases. Depending on your taste this makes the metal either heavier or rusty.
The album opens with the turbocharged “Trashed,” a somewhat cautionary tale of a tequila-fueled Gillan racing and wrecking a car on the grounds of Branson’s estate. Iommi’s guitar and Butler’s bass drive the pulsing rhythm forward as Gillan recounts the inebriated evening that could have ended much worse. Lyrically, “Trashed” is a veering detour from the past Sabbath themes, whether with Ozzy or Dio; it’s pure Gillan, singing about wild boys doing wild things with no honest intention of stopping. It’s one of his best songs and an album highlight. We get a quick “breather” in the form of “Stonehenge,” a quasi-ambient instrumental full of warbling keyboard effects that develops into a mysteriously moody but attractive melody. Then all hell breaks loose. “Disturbing The Priest” explodes off the vinyl, powered by a Ward drum roll, Gillan’s shrieking laughter and a dissonant riff that’s a bit like the guitar line from “Black Sabbath,” only twice as fast. The song moves by turns from startling intensity to a softer, steady shuffle. The closing seconds find Gillan screaming the song title with maniacal ferocity, stretching his lungs to the limit and hitting notes that defy logic and larynx. Even by Sabbath standards, “Disturbing The Priest” is a heavy track.
Gone are the days when Iommi would tuck a quiet acoustic guitar number into the album mix for some sonic levity; instead, a second gloomy instrumental, “The Dark,” is sandwiched between tracks 3 and 5. We get 45 seconds of something that sounds like humpback whales communicating with anvils. This leads directly into Side 1 closer “Zero The Hero,” a hypnotic hard-rocker that slowly spirals into an extended lead break, where Iommi delivers one of the finest guitar solos of his career.
“Digital Bitch” opens Side 2, and for my ears it is the album’s least successful tune. The chordal riff is spunky enough but has no real identifying character of its own, sounding like a generic 2nd-rate hair metal arrangement. And Gillan—an intelligent and witty lyricist—breaks no new ground here with his tale of a rich girl with an icy personality. Maybe you’ll like it, but it’s the album’s one song I never connected with.
For the monstrously awesome title track Iommi down-tunes his guitar to subterranean levels, giving the strings a dark, murky tone that makes his rumbling arpeggios even more ominous. The music emerges as if from some primordial ooze, taking sludgy shape under Gillan’s brooding vocals. “Born Again” is probably the most Sabbath-like tune in theme and style on the album; strangely though, it’s hard to imagine anyone other than Gillan singing it. When Iommi’s towering power chords break in, announcing the chorus, Gillan follows with a howl that again defies reason—another example of his nearly uncontestable range. “Born Again” is beautiful, eerie and powerful—one of the best tunes in the Sabbath catalog, period.
Gillan’s influence is front-and-center in a good way on “Hot Line” and Side 2 closer “Keep It Warm.” Both songs have a more commercial feel, closer to Deep Purple than Sabbath. “Keep It Warm” is the stronger of the two, with a catchy chorus and a cool bridge that changes tempo and mood before diving in for the final swim.
This Gillan-fronted Sabbath recorded one album only, so Born Again remains the lone studio document of this lineup. Deep Purple would soon call Gillan back into the fold, resulting in the highly successful Perfect Strangers album; Sabbath, meanwhile, would struggle to retain its identity for years to come. Born Again doesn’t reach the artistic heights of Sabotage under Ozzy’s tenure or Heaven and Hell under Dio’s, but it has its moments and is worth revisiting if you missed it the first time around, 30 years ago.
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Paul McCartney will sub for Kurt Cobain as Nirvana reunites for Wednesday night’s special Hurricane Sandy relief concert at Madison Square Garden. Nirvana’s Dave Grohl asked McCartney to join him and Krist Novoselic on stage for the special 12-12-12 event, according to The Sun.
“I didn’t really know who they were,” the 70-year-old Beatles legend told The Sun. “They are saying how good it is to be back together. I said, ‘Whoa? You guys haven’t played together for all that time? And somebody whispered to me, ‘That’s Nirvana. You’re Kurt.’ I couldn’t believe it.”
Cobain and Novoselic formed Nirvana in the late 1980s, and Grohl joined in 1990 as drummer. The Seattle grunge band’s brief but impressive run ended in 1994 with Cobain’s suicide. Later that year, Grohl formed the hugely-popular Foo Fighters.
McCartney, Grohl and Novoselic have been rehearsing in secret to get ready for the benefit, according to The Sun. McCartney also performed with Grohl at the Grammys earlier this year.
The Rolling Stones, The Who, Alicia Keys, Eric Clapton, Kanye West, Roger Waters, Jon Bon Jovi and Billy Joel are also expected to perform during the star-studded event. Producers believe viewership of the program could reach 2 billion.
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Colombian drug lord Carlos Lehder commissioned this statue of a nude Lennon wearing a Nazi helmet and carrying a guitar. Oh, and there’s a huge hole in his chest, just to make it extra tasteless.
Carlos Lehder wasn’t just the kingpin of the Medellin drug cartel – he was also a neo-Nazi and a hardcore Beatles fan. He opened a German-themed resort hotel called the Posada Alemena in Pereira, Colombia at the peak of his wealth and power in the early Eighties. This statue was erected in the hotel’s courtyard only a few years after Lennon was murdered in New York. It is, you see, Lehder’s tribute to the fallen Beatle.
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The strange, atmospheric and unassuming song was recorded in two versions, wasn’t meant to be the first single and was a delayed hit in the US. So what’s the appeal of Love Me Do?
It was 50 years ago today. There in the Parlophone schedule, next to the King Brothers, Shane Fenton and the Fentones, Matt Monro, the Temperance Seven and James Brown (Shout and Shimmy: a future Mod perennial, later covered by the Who) is the Beatles’ first single for the label. Out of the 11 records in those particular “Latest Releases”, only two were hits, Monro’s My Love and Devotion (29) and Love Me Do – which after a tortuous 12-week journey through the darker reaches of the charts eventually hit No 17 in the last week of December.
The Beatles had the biggest hit of that week’s releases – a fact which did not reflect the label’s confidence in their new act. The story of their audition with George Martin and their signing to EMI in June 1962 is common knowledge, of course. The Beatles’ story has been told and retold so many times and it would be easy to write off Love Me Do as a stale tale, a simplistic stepping stone to future glory. But that would be ahistorical, and would serve to deny this strange, atmospheric single its due.
Listening to it with fresh ears, Love Me Do sounds unlike anything else in the charts of the day – only the prominence of the harmonica in the arrangement recalls Bruce Channel’s soulful Hey! Baby, a No 2 hit in the UK in spring 1962. Autumn that year was dominated by Elvis, Frank Ifield and the Tornados’ Telstar. The biggest British act of the time was Cliff Richard; the biggest producer Norrie Paramor (Cliff, Ifield, the Shadows) who had 26 weeks at No 1 that year.
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It was an April morning when they told us we should go
As I turn to you, you smiled at me
How could we say no?
With all the fun to have, to live the dreams we always had
Oh, the songs to sing, when we at last return again
Sending off a glancing kiss, to those who claim they know
Below the streets that steam and hiss,
The devil’s in his hole
Oh to sail away, To sandy lands and other days
Oh to touch the dream, Hides inside and never seen.
Into the sun the south the north, at last the birds have flown
The shackles of commitment fell, In pieces on the ground
Oh to ride the wind, To tread the air above the din
Oh to laugh aloud, Dancing as we fought the crowd
To seek the man whose pointing hand, The giant step unfolds
With guidance from the curving path, That churns up into stone
If one bell should ring, in celebration for a king
So fast the heart should beat, As proud the head with heavy feet.
Days went by when you and I, bathed in eternal summers glow
As far away and distant, Our mutual child did grow
Oh the sweet refrain, Soothes the soul and calms the pain
Oh Albion remains, sleeping now to rise again
Wandering & wandering, What place to rest the search
The mighty arms of Atlas, Hold the heavens from the earth
The mighty arms of Atlas, Hold the heavens from the earth
From the earth…
I know the way, know the way, know the way, know the way
Oh the mighty arms of Atlas, Hold the heavens from the earth.