Its been a long player

That in joke might sail past any younger readers, but in the good old days, when you bought an album, or LP (long player, as they were known when I was young) they played at 33 1/3 rpm. And yes, 33 days from now, I wont be here in England, at least for a week, guaranteed! Well, I suspect I will come back at that point, as I have a return air ticket, but I wouldnt mind…lol!

Its a funny thing, by the time I was 9 or 10, I had a very decent collection of singles to my name, but not a single LP. Principally because at that time I wasnt actually buying my music, just choosing the singles I wanted, and that was the cheaper option. Therefore I was about 14 before I bought my first album, and must have had well over 100 singles by then. No, 40 years on, I’m not sure which was the first. If you twisted my arm, it would either be Osmonds, or Partridge Family/David Cassidy related I suspect? But as I say, dont quote me on that! I soon moved on to the likes of Gerry Rafferty, and Glam rock stuff, thats for sure lol! Though “The Plan” by the Osmonds certainly wasnt teeny bopper stuff, that much I do remember. “Crazy Horses” was probably one of the first ‘ecological’ releases, and on that album.

No, its a great song, but if you want to find it, you’ll need your own You Tube link lol! See if you can find “Are You Up There?” from the same album, if thoughtful religious perspective is your scene.

But no, after that piece of whimsical musing, this is really about what happens 33 days from now, a break from the insanity of work, for a wonderful week, with great friends across in the US, cant wait.

And musically tonight, two for the price of one, albeit the same song.

Firstly, the original, and well known version of this song, and tribute to a great singer recently taken from us

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oKGZNZOkTPQ

Ironically, they hadnt planned to record it, the plan was for another wonderful group from my young years to do so, The Seekers. They finally did in 2002, after Maurice Gibb’s death as a tribute, and here that is too.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?NR=1&feature=fvwp&v=CUfUNNN68eQ

The clue, think of a certain New England State, lol 😉

 

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Songs that change music

Yes, I’m sure everyone could name at least several records that have done that for them, one of the obvious ones for my generation being Queen, and Bohemian Rhapsody. A sound that was not only very different, but singles just werent this long back in the days when you had to cram it all on to one side of a 45 rpm record! Yes, American Pie (Don McClean) was longer, but that took up both sides of the single!

Nowadays, with CD’s and the like, the whole length thing is irrelevant, but back then…

Me, I came through, and loved the whole flower power music scene, though I certainly wasnt into the sex and drugs of that era, I was far too young for that! For me, it was just about the music. To be honest, the first time that image, and look came into it for me, was the early seventies, as I started to enter my teen years, and yes, I guess puberty played a part. What coincided with that time was the start of something called glam rock. For my younger readers, try wikipedia for more details, something you couldnt do back then lol!

I’m not certain how big a Bowie fan I was, say compared to Sweet, Mud and Slade, but yes, his music was a definite influence. But for me, there will always be one song that launched the whole glam rock scene for me, and thats the video delight I have for you tonight. And yes, you see the blonde guy, by the name of Mick Ronson? Well he played a bigger part in all of this than he ever got credited for. Bit like Pironi with Adam Ant, I would say.

But this is just one of those songs that just appeared on Top of the Pops, and everyone went wow, and was talking about it the next day. It might not have changed music, but changed my musical perception, that is for sure.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xvnoRTC7JQ4

I believe in Father Christmas

I’ve been lazy tonight, both blogs have got the same title, the same song, though different versions, and neither the original Greg lake one, though this is obviously close to it!

Back in the dim, distant past of the 1970’s, something called prog rock developed, mainly a number of groups turning out albums full of tracks that lasted ‘forever’, and about 6 tracks (or less) would fill an album lasting 45 minutes or so. Genesis are probably the most famous of those in the sense they turned to pop after Gabriel’s departure, and popular acclaim came their way. Others, like Yes, and indeed ELP (Emerson, Lake and Palmer in full) never seemed to worry about such matters.

And then in 1975, Greg Lake came up with a Christmas hit, shock horror! Not your typical schmaltzy, sweet as saccharin record though, his had far more of a jaded, and cynical touch to it, and thats probably why I loved it. The original video (which I’m sure you can find) hints at the horrors of the Vietnam War, which was still very much in the news back then. It wasnt a massive hit in the way many others were, I’m sure the nature of it put some off buying it. It wasnt sweetness and light, it was more real life than that. And also clearly, shock horror, he didnt really believe in Father Christmas!

Equally, in typical ELP fashion, a few months later, totally out of season, the group did their own version of the song, and thats what you’re getting tonight. Apart from the end, the versions are fairly similar to be honest. To be honest, prog rock never was my scene, but this great Greg Lake song certainly was, hope you enjoy.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?NR=1&feature=endscreen&v=L0TBgyxRnjY

Apologies for the lyrics thing in advance

Holding on for…

One of those tenuous blog entries related to the throwaway last line of my previous one.

As most on here know, most of my musical preferences are pretty much pure pop, and quite often of the sweeter side of that. Alright, you need to ignore Kraftwerk in that lol, but anyway…

There was always one song producer that totally confounded that theory, I just adored the big rock production numbers that he churned out, mainly care of Meatloaf and Bonnie Tyler, name of Jim Steinman. Mind, the videos created for his songs, especially the Meatloaf ones probably helped! Another producer who didnt believe in the 3 minute pop song lol! Rock anthems, rock ballads, call them what you liked, but they rarely came in small packages, thank goodness.

Irony of irony, given matters, it seems that Steinman’s own personal pop project was a group called Pandora’s Box! No idea where I’ve heard that name before lol! Not that I really know anything about them, judging by the Wikipedia comments, they never really made it this side of the pond, but I doubt they made a record about Louise Brooks!

Yes, the song is the obvious one, from the hint in the last blog, and the title of this one too. I suspect I will slip in some Meatloaf at some point as well. I might have to see if I can find any Pandora’s Box sometime on You Tube as well. My idea of a hero, well it might be more a Rotwang type scientist than what Bonnie Tyler wants, but each to their own I guess? So, whichever type of hero (or heroine) you hold out for, I hope you enjoy

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7f_HsjpSVaI

A change of direction

Given that its Thanksgiving Day tomorrow in the US, which relates back to the arrival of the first immigrants to the US from here, its time to throw in a piece of hypothetical thought.

Just over a century ago,  my ancestors left Ireland, and headed to England to look for a better life. What made them choose England over North America, Australia, or other places, well who knows? Maybe they didnt want to follow the larger crowd to North America, maybe my great grandfathers had job offers already, or otherwise, I can only surmise.

But its an interesting thought, how different might I, and my life had been if they had gone west, instead of east, as so many Irish people did. Of course, if one set had headed in one direction, and the other had remained on course, I might not even have been born! If that had happened I might not have been holidaying in Boston this year, but living there!

Would I be different as an American, or Canadian woman? I dont know, I’m sure attitudes have differed over the years, musical tastes certainly have, thats for sure. Top British groups have never made it over there, top US groups have never really made it over here, so I suspect my musical influences would be very different. Politically, work wise and other things, would I have been different going through their system. For example, over here, especially when I was a teen, going to university was a pretty exclusive thing. In the US, pretty much everyone gets to go to college, or so it seems to me from over here. Would I have bettered myself with a college education, who can tell?  I might even have been a cheerleader, but I doubt it!

One thing is for certain, I might be used to colder winters than we get here lol! Though I guess that would ultimately depend on where my ancestors eventually moved to in North America, big difference between Northern Alaska and Southern Florida!

I’ve never as yet been in the US for Thanksgiving, so have no real idea what the day is like over there. Well beyond the fact you fill yourself with food, and then settle down to watch football. Of course thats a different form of football to what you’d get over here. In fact, over here the soccer doesnt get played until Boxing Day! Maybe one day I will, hopefully if I’m still up to it when I retire, I might be able to plan travel that way a bit better. Assuming of course anyone will invite me to Thanksgiving dinner lol!

My best wishes to all my American friends for tomorrow, hope you all have a marvellous day, but do remember your brave ancestors who travelled across the ocean in the past, especially those first few, now unknown pilgrims who first celebrated this day nearly 400 years ago.

Music video, well who knows, I might have ended up as a

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BADZW9tZ1uc

Though not looking like MM I suspect!