Saturday, January 31, 2009

VIDEO: BBC Interview with John Lennon - 6th December 1980

Hi all,

I've just found a great interview in 8 parts with John Lennon. It's the last interview with him from the BBC, released on the 6th December, 1980, two days before he was shot. It is audio only but is accompanied by some very striking photos.

It's all very sad knowing what happened so soon afterwards. Let's just think about, and remember the man. So, here's the audio interview:

Part 1: http://au.youtube.com/watch?v=1GMfScVbOck

Part 2: http://au.youtube.com/watch?v=1Dxax1EJGqs

Part 3: http://au.youtube.com/watch?v=7x9l3Z9Hbo4

Part 4: http://au.youtube.com/watch?v=-Shx7ZrCmnA

Part 5: http://au.youtube.com/watch?v=1IgX4YbvXN8

Part 6: http://au.youtube.com/watch?v=8PnDYrjHpYY

Part 7: http://au.youtube.com/watch?v=_oaxWl8sX_A

Part 8: http://au.youtube.com/watch?v=UBAvd5DydLs

Enjoy!

Friday, January 30, 2009

Jimi Hendrix Experience Drummer - Mitch Mitchell

Stone free - a tribute to Jimi HendrixImage by oddsock via Flickr

Famous Drummer - Mitch Mitchell by Drew Mers

Mitch Mitchell, born on July 9, 1947 in England and died November 12, 2008, was the famed jazz-influenced drummer of the rock band The Jimi Hendrix Experience.

Mitchell started in show business as a child actor, and in terms of his music, he was largely self-taught, though he received some valuable instruction when he worked in Jim Marshalls music shop in London. He used to be part of Johnny Harris and the Shades, The Pretty Things, The Riot Squad, and Georgie Fame and the Blue Flames, before joining Jimi Hendrix in 1966.

He is best known for his admirable work on Manic Depression, Voodoo Child (Slight Return), Fire, and Third Stone from the Sun. With the jazz chops and explosive drumming style he brought to the band, Mitchell proved to be one of Hendrix's most valuable musical partners. From 1966 to mid-1969, he played with Hendrix's Experience trio. He also backed Hendrix in his remarkable Woodstock performance in 1969.

The musical influences of Mitchell included the works of Elvin Jones, Max Roach, and Joe Morello. Mitchell pioneered a lead style of drumming, characterized by interplay with lead instruments such as guitar or keyboards. His drumming is akin to Elvin Jones explosive style, but what distinguished him from other jazz drummers of his time was his responsiveness whenever he played with Hendrix; he always responded to Hendrix's variations, be it a studio or live performance. Together, Hendrix's avant-garde guitar work and songwriting and Mitchell's pioneering drumming style made for a great combination.

Mitchell also performed in the English group The Dirty Mac in December 1968, with vocalist and rhythm guitarist John Lennon, lead guitarist Eric Clapton, and bassist Keith Richards. The band was put together by Lennon for The Rolling Stones ill-fated TV special, The Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus. The group did a cover of the Beatles track Yer Blues and backed up on Yoko Ono's Whole Lotta Yoko.

Mitchell worked with the Jack Bruce and Friends band in late 1969 and early 1970, around the time when Hendrix was working with the live album Band of Gypsys. Other members in the band then were bassist and vocalist Jack Bruce, keyboardist Mike Mandel, and jazz-fusion guitarist Larry Coryell. In this group, Bruce was the one with the rhythmic drive, while Mitchell was simply allowed to fill and explode, but in a controlled way. The band could have gone on, had Jack Bruce not decided to join Tony Williams Lifetime.

With Jimi Hendrix's death in September 1970, Mitchell took to completing production works on unfinished Hendrix recordings, leading to the release of 1971s The Cry of Love and Rainbow Bridge, posthumously. 1972 saw Mitchell form the act Ramatam, along with female lead guitarist April Lawton and vocalist Mike Pinera. The group released a self-titled debut album in 1972. Mitchell and Pinera departed from the band before the release of its second and final album. In addition to these projects, Mitchell did collaborations in some concerts with Terry Reid, Jack Bruce, and Jeff Beck. He also auditioned for Paul McCartney's band Wings but was turned down.

Up until the nineties, Mitchell continued to perform and record, and also participated in recordings, videos, and interviews which were Hendrix-related. He continued to work with Billy Cox, Buddy Miles, Jack Bruce, and Gary Serkin, all fellow Hendrix alumni.

Mitchell joined the 2008 Experience Hendrix Tour, which was a four-week, 18-city concert series in the US to celebrate the music and legacy of the late rock star. Five days after the tour, however, Mitchell was found dead in his hotel room in downtown Portland. Medical tests that followed revealed a death of natural causes. Mitchell died at age 61.

Drew Mers is a consultant to Empire Rehearsal Studios, which rents aspiring bands, musicians and drummers rehearsal studios in Long Island City, Queens, New York - about 10 minutes from midtown Manhattan and consultant to City Closet Storage, one of the largest New York self-storage companies.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Drew_Mers
http://EzineArticles.com/?Famous-Drummer---Mitch-Mitchell&id=1920806

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Santana Drummer - Michael Shrieve

Cover of "Transfer Station Blue"Cover of Transfer Station Blue

Famous Drummer - Michael Shrieve by Drew Mers

Some drummers only have chops, but Michael Shrieve has vision, thus says Carlos Santana of Mike Shrieve, an American drummer, percussionist and electronic music composer, best acknowledged for being the original drummer of Santana.

Born on July 6, 1949 in San Francisco, California, Shrieve attended the JunĂ­pero Serra High School, and then joined the early lineup of the band Santana at the age of nineteen. At 20, he became the youngest man to perform at the 1969 Woodstock Festival. He helped compose and produce eight albums with the band, but left in 1974 to pursue solo projects.

Since his departure with the band, Shrieve has done collaborations with various artists. In 1976, he played in guitarist Pat Thralls Automatic Man. In 1983, he also became a part of the band Hagar Schon Aaronson Shrieve, also known as HSAS, with vocalist Sammy Hagar, lead guitarist Neal Schon, and bassist Kenny Aaronson. The group recorded during two shows at the Warfield in San Francisco, and released a semi-live album, Through the Fire, in 1984.

During this year, he also played in Roger Hodgsons first album, In the Eye of the Storm. For 5 years, Shrieve was percussionist in Klaus Shulzes side project, Richard Wahnfried, and was able to record with him in three albums, while working also on Schulzes first solo album of electronic music, Transfer Station Blue.

Shrieves other collaborations were with Mick Jagger, the Rolling Stones, Pete Townshend, Steve Winwood, David Beal, Andy Summers, Steve Roach, Stomu Yamashta, Jonas Hellborg, Buckethead, Revolution Void, and jazz musicians Freddie Hubbard, John Laughlin and Jaco Pastorius. He worked together with artists in diverse genres.

Shrieve was producer in a total of 21 albums, some of which are Douglas Septembers Ten Bulls, released in 1998, Santanas Aye Aye Aye in the 2003 album Shaman, and AriSawkaDorias Chapter One in 2006. His work on Aye Aye Aye was regarded by Rolling Stone magazine as one that achieves globe-spanning euphoria. Shrieves television and film credits include the 1982 Paul Mazursky film The Tempest, 1986s Children of Time Square, 1987 Curtis Hanson film The Bedroom Window, and 1990s The Take.

Apart from writing, producing, and playing on albums that have sold millions of copies worldwide, Mike Shrieve also had his share of recognitions. In 1998, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and in 2005, he received Guitar Centers first annual Lifetime Achievement Award. He is on the alumni Wall of Fame at John F. Kennedy Middle School in Redwood City, CA. Shrieve was also cited for his exceptional work in a number of publications, such as The New York Times, Downbeat, Billboard, Modern Drummer, Musician, Drum, Paris Match, Melody Maker, and Life Magazine.

Shrieve currently lives in Seattle, Washington. He continues to compose, produce, and play drums. At present, he plays with Spellbinder, a jazz/fusion group. The band performs on a weekly basis at ToST in Fremont, Seattle.

Drew Mers is a consultant to Empire Rehearsal Studios, which rents aspiring bands, musicians and drummers rehearsal studios in Long Island City, Queens, New York - about 10 minutes from midtown Manhattan and consultant to City Closet Storage, one of the largest New York self-storage companies.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Drew_Mers
http://EzineArticles.com/?Famous-Drummer---Michael-Shrieve&id=1920802

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Journey Drummer - Steve Smith

Cover of "Trial By Fire"Cover of Trial By Fire

Famous Drummer - Steve Smith by Drew Mers

Steve Smith is widely known for being the drummer of American rock band Journey. He is an all-around drummer, collaborating with hundreds of artists to date. With his powerful drumming and command of jazz, he has captured the attention of audiences of different ages.

Born on August 21, 1954 in Whitman, Massachusetts, Smith found interest in drums upon hearing marching bands during parades in his hometown as a child. He received his first drum kit at two years old. In 1963, at an early age of nine, he started studying the drums with a local teacher, Bill Flanagan, who had his share of playing in big bands in the swing era. He had his first real drum set at twelve. As a teenager, Smith performed in the school band program and garage bands. His first paid gig was with a garage band. He later played in a professional Brockton concert band and in the big band at the local college, Bridgewater State College. Smith went on to study music at the Berklee College of Music in Boston, where learned under renowned teachers, Gary Chaffee and Alan Dawson.

In 1974, Smith joined the Lin Biviano Big Band, with whom he toured and recorded for two years. He also toured with jazz violinist Jean Luc Ponty in 1976, as well as with Ronnie Montrose in 1977. It was during his tour with Montrose that Smith was asked to join the rock band Journey, replacing Aynsley Dunbar. He joined singer Steve Perry, lead guitarist Neal Schon, keyboardist Gregg Rolie, and bassist Ross Valory in the band.

Smith played drums, toured and recorded with the band from 1978 to 1985, during the period which is considered most successful for the band. The group then decided to take some time off in 1985. Smith focused on jazz, and pursued his career as a session player. He has played on numerous hits with various artists, including, Mariah Carey, Savage Garden, Bryan Adams, Andrea Bocelli, Corrado Rustici, and Ray Price. He also played with a number of high-profile jazz artists, such as Mike Mainieris group Steps Ahead, Tom Coster, Ahmad Jamal, Dave Liebman, Anthony Jackson, Mike Stern, George Brooks Summit, Scott Henderson, Buddy Rich Big Band, and many more.

In 1983, while still a member of Journey, Smith formed his own jazz/fusion group, Steve Smith and Vital Information. He is also the bandleader of Steve Smiths Jazz Legacy, featuring Andy Fusco on alto sax, Walt Weiskof on tenor and soprano saxes, Mark Soskin on piano, and Baron Browne on bass. The group pays tribute to great jazz drummers.

In 1995, the band re-united and recorded a comeback album, Trial by Fire, released the following year. The recording included the chart-topper When You Love a Woman, a single that gave Journey a Grammy nomination. The band planned a subsequent tour following the success of their album; however, Steve Perry sustained a hip injury, so the band decided to look for a new vocalist. It was during this time that Smith also decided to leave the band.

Steve Smiths explosive solos gained him much acclaim. He was named in 2001 as one of the Top 25 Drummers of All Time in Modern Drummer Magazine after being voted as #1 All-Around Drummer for five consecutive years. In 2002, he was voted into the Modern Drummer Hall of Fame. The following year, his Hudson Music DVD Steve Smith Drumset Technique - History of the U.S Beat was voted #1 Educational DVD of 2003. Smiths calendar is filled with drum clinics, which showcases his exceptional drumming techniques and concepts to students all over the world.

Smith plays Sonor drums, Zildjian cymbals, Vic Firth Signature Sticks and Tala Wands, Sonor Hardware, Roland Electronics, Shure Microphones, DW Bass Drum Pedals, Puresound Snare Wires, and Remo Drumheads.

Drew Mers is a consultant to Empire Rehearsal Studios, which rents aspiring bands, musicians and drummers rehearsal studios in Long Island City, Queens, New York - about 10 minutes from midtown Manhattan and consultant to City Closet Storage, one of the largest New York self-storage companies.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Drew_Mers
http://EzineArticles.com/?Famous-Drummer---Steve-Smith&id=1920813

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The 40th Anniversary of 'Hey Jude'

Hey Jude album coverImage via Wikipedia

Forty Years of "Hey Jude" by Clarence Threepwood

It was 40 years ago this week that the finest pop song of the late, lamented rock and roll era was finishing its run at number one on the Billboard Hot 100. We had just started high school when "Hey Jude" hit the Top 40 in September 1968, and we remember it well.

That was the summer we become addicted to hit radio and started our collection of 45 rpm records with "Mrs. Robinson," "Turn Around, Look at Me," "Classical Gas," "Lady Willpower," and "Macarthur Park." "Hey Jude" was our first Beatles record.

Hey Jude - don't make it bad
Take a sad song and make it better
Remember to let her into your heart
Then you can start to make it better

So this was what the Beatles were like! (this teenager, a veritable rock-and-roll virgin in September 1968, hadn't yet heard "Please Please Me," "A Hard Day's Night," or "Ticket to Ride"). If this was the music that older people seemed to dislike so much, we didn't see what the fuss was about!

"Hey Jude" wasn't a noisy record (at least, for the first three and a half minutes) - it was just a guy at a piano who just starts singing, without an introduction.

Yes, the piano! That was our instrument! We sat down at the ivories and played the song ourselves, over and over, till our mother told us to stop and play something else. Only later did we realize the oddity: the biggest hit of the world's best-known guitar band was based on a piano accompaniment.

Hey Jude, don't be afraid
You were made to go out and get her
The minute you let her under your skin
Then you begin to make it better

What did the lyrics mean? We weren't quite sure: advice about girls, apparently. Jude had been unfortunate in love; that much was clear. Paul McCartney's advice? Mellow out, get back in the game.

In school, the kids all talked about top 40 music, and they all listened to the local AM radio stations, not to their iPods. And we remember that they were of two minds about "Hey Jude." Some of them claimed to hate the Beatles; others complained that the radio stations 'overplayed' "Hey Jude."

Well, it was true that you were guaranteed to hear "Hey Jude" every evening, week after week, between 7:30 and 8:30 p.m. on our local station's request-and-dedication show. But if the kids hadn't kept requesting it, they wouldn't have kept playing it. On the national charts, it was number one for nine weeks; it was in rotation on the radio for only about four months, far less than the full year (all of 2000) during which Faith Hill's "Breathe" stayed on the radio (and how quickly can you bring that tune to mind? We bet you don't).

And any time you feel the pain, hey Jude, refrain
Don't carry the world upon your shoulders
For well you know that it's a fool who plays it cool
By making his world a little colder

But the thing was, "Hey Jude" wasn't just on the top 40 radio stations in the fall of 1968; it was on all the stations, even on KDKA radio, which followed what would today be called an "adult contemporary" format (nearly a hundred miles from Pittsburgh, we still pulled in KDKA pretty well). On KDKA you'd expect to hear Andy Williams sing "Happy Heart," Petula Clark singing "Downtown," Harpers Bizarre singing "Feelin' Groovy," and the Fifth Dimension singing "Up, Up and Away." But not the Stones, the Doors, or, ordinarily, the Beatles.

But KDKA played "Hey Jude." In fact, with "Hey Jude," the grown-ups, by and large, exhaled and gave up the struggle against rock and roll. This was music they could live with, after all.

Hey Jude, don't let me down
You have found her, now go and get her
Remember to let her into your heart
Then you can start to make it better

It's seven minutes and eleven seconds of pop music perfection. Overplayed or not - and we've surely heard it hundreds of times over the last forty years - "Hey Jude" still sounds fresh and original.

http://emsworth.wordpress.com

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http://EzineArticles.com/?Forty-Years-of-Hey-Jude&id=1910794
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Sunday, January 25, 2009

Fleetwood Mac Drummer - Mick Fleetwood

The Original Fleetwood Mac album coverImage via Wikipedia

Famous Drummer - Mick Fleetwood by Drew Mers

Mick Fleetwood is one of the musicians with a tumultuous life that many think of when they think of rock in the seventies and eighties. Out of a chaotic life though, came the drummer for one of the most influential bands around who added lots of passion and strength to his creativity in the bargain.

Mick Fleetwood was one of the founding members of the band and also stuck with it the longest, through periods of rising and ebbing fame, losses of band members, and changing music trends. His devotion to the band made others think that he was married to the band, not to the women he married over the course of his life, and such dedication put a strain on his relationships with other people. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998.

Mick Fleetwood was born in 1947 in England. His family moved around a lot because of his fathers involvement in the Royal Air Force. He attended several boarding schools, but he was never very good at schoolwork, preferring drumming instead. He was a self-taught musician, encouraged by his father who bought him a drum kit at the age of thirteen.

He was also involved in theatre and fencing, but his lack of interest in academia drove him to move out of his parents home at the age of fifteen and move in with his sister. It was there that he first attracted the attention of a band, the Senders and then The Cheynes which allowed him to do club gigs.

From there, there was no looking back for Mick. He met three founding members of Fleetwood Mac while working briefly for another band and the four of them immediately hit it off and formed their own band, with the leader wanting no-one but Mick on the drums. Over the life of the band, he was the only one who did not come and go; he was dedicated to his music and this dedication spilled over into a number of failed marriages.

He was also there as the band rose and fell in fame, became the leader of the band, in the sense that he was the one looking for and choosing members to replace those who left, and tried to manage two solo careers (Bob Welch and Peter Green), though he was less successful at that.

However, Mick's health was not always the best. He was addicted to cocaine for a long period, and still considers himself to be an addict; he drank heavily and was very overweight when he met his last wife who helped him through several of his personal problems. He was diagnosed with diabetes in 1979 and had fought off several bouts of hypoglycemia while on stage. Despite all this, he continues to perform, is planning a family with his current wife Lynn, and enjoys spending time with his grandchildren. Mick Fleetwood may not have had the idyllic life that many try to have when they are famous, but his rough life translated into brilliant drumming and an incredible dedication to his band.

Drew Mers is a consultant to Empire Rehearsal Studios, which rents aspiring bands, musicians and drummers a music studio in Long Island City, Queens, New York.

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http://EzineArticles.com/?Famous-Drummer---Mick-Fleetwood&id=1906201

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Learning How to Play Guitar Like The Beatles

The Beatles - Last photo sessionImage by oddsock via Flickr

Beatles Guitar Lessons by Edgar Z. Johnson

If you want to learn to play guitar like the greatest rock band of all time, The Beatles, then I congratulate you on your choice. It will be a very rewarding experience for you to learn how to play in the style of John Lennon, Paul McCartney, & George Harrison.

Instead of hiring an expensive local guitar teacher to teach you how to play guitar, I definitely recommend trying online guitar lessons. They are cheaper and in many cases they are actually more effective. The best online guitar lessons have everything you need to learn to play guitar like The Beatles (or anyone else for that matter).

If you are mostly interested in playing acoustic guitar then you should consider learning one of the songs listed below first.

Acoustic Guitar Beatles Songs

"Blackbird" - This may be the ultimate Beatles song to learn on solo acoustic guitar. It will certainly impress people if you can learn to play it just like Paul McCartney did and if you do it will also be a great learning experience for you. That's one of the great things about learning how to play their music, you will learn so much about music. You will become a better musician and a better songwriter (if you are interested in writing songs).

"Yesterday" - Another McCartney classic. Much easier to play than "Blackbird" but it's also more dependent on a nice vocal to go with it, while "Blackbird" sounds great all on it's own.

"Julia" - John Lennon played this song from the legendary 1968 self-titled album that is better known as The White Album. It's a beautiful song that will teach you good fingerpicking technique.

"Here Comes The Sun" - You will need a capo to capture the same sound that George Harrison got out of his guitar in 1969. Another timeless Beatles classic.

Download Jamorama Online Guitar Lessons.

The Music Blog.

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http://EzineArticles.com/?Beatles-Guitar-Lessons&id=1912257

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Saturday, January 24, 2009

A Tribute to Billy Gibbons - ZZ Top Legendary Guitarist

Billy F.Image via Wikipedia

Learn to Play Guitar Like ZZ Top's Reverend Willie G by Harry Rackers

Billy F. Gibbons is the kind of guy that is irresistible to watch and hypnotic to hear when he's on stage with his 1959 Gibson Les Paul electric guitar known to the blues and rock world as "Miss Pearly Gates."

Gibbons, recognized also as "Reverend Willie G." is the lead vocalist and guitarist for the band ZZ Top. While he has achieved his infamy through his music, he is also an ordained minister with license to perform weddings in 49 states. Anyone that would like to learn to play guitar like the Reverend ought to know that his distinctive sound is the result of using a quarter or a peso as a guitar pick and his masterful use of harmonics.

Gibbons was born and raised in Houston, Texas and is touted to be one of the finest blues-rock guitarists to emerge from the state, alongside the late, great Stevie Ray Vaughan. He had significant musical influences in his early years; his father, Fred Gibbons played the piano and gave him appreciation for classical and country sounds. The families Afro-American housekeeper introduced him to the blues.

In 1963 at the age of 13, Gibbons received a Gibson Melody Maker electric guitar with a Fender Champ amp and commenced to emulate the new sounds of rock n' roll bursting from the TV and radio through Elvis Presley, Little Richard and Jimmy Reid. Gibbons was favoured while in his band, Moving Sidewalks by one of histories all-time favourite guitarists, Jimi Hendrix. When the band folded in 1969 he pushed his way permanently onto the music scene when he hooked up with fellow Texans, Dusty Hill and Frank Beard of American Blues to form ZZ Top.

The band was named after the blues master B.B. King and was initially Z.Z. King. The band members shortly changed it to ZZ Top so it didn't sound too much like their blues hero. Despite the fact that ZZ Top has sold in the range of 60 million records, one of the most memorable moments Gibbons recalls was an early performance when he was relatively unknown.

"Perhaps one of the first performances where the curtain opened and we were greeted by the one paying customer of the evening. We looked at each other, and then launched into the show. Played the first set, took a break, went out and bought the guy a Coke and went back and completed the night. We're still friends with the guy!"

Many aspiring blues guitarists have attempted to mimic Gibbon's eccentric style over the years but it can be frustrating to make it sound as good as the master. Fortunately for us, there is a guitar tuition program available that features Billy Gibbons breaking down his techniques into easy to follow steps. Online guitar lessons give you the chance to begin practicing his famous blues riffs at a slow pace until you can really get going. Gibbons followed some of the greatest musicians in the country while developing his unique style and now technology has made it a simple approach to learning from the genius that changed the course of music history.

Visit the guitar classroom for your online guitar lessons.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Harry_Rackers
http://EzineArticles.com/?Learn-to-Play-Guitar-Like-ZZ-Tops-Reverend-Willie-G&id=1896367

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Friday, January 23, 2009

The Classic Rock Songs that Defined the 1970s

The Wall album coverImage via Wikipedia

The Wacky 70s - The Classic Songs & Genres That Defined an Era by Martin Sejas

The 70s were another memorable decade of classic songs from many legendary singers and bands with most of them following up the innovations of the 60s. As a result, new genres were invented in this decade, all of which are featured in this article.

At the beginning of the 70s, progressive rock was certainly the order of the day as it followed on from the psychedelic rock movement from the mid to late 60s. Artists such as Pink Floyd and Genesis dominated during this period with the most famous song being "Another Brick In The Wall" by Pink Floyd. Progressive rock was also sometimes referred to as art rock and one of its major exponents was the British band 10CC whose song "I'm Not In Love" is a must-listen timeless classic.

The punk movement also has its origins in the middle of the 70s with major bands such as The Sex Pistols and The Clash becoming idols for an entire generation. Punk music continues today and it's largely due to these pioneers who continue to be held in high esteem by modern punk artists.

The 70s also saw many Southern and country rock bands have tremendous commercial success. The Eagles were the dominant band of this genre conjuring up 5 number 1 hit singles in the US during this period. Their signature song "Hotel California" remains one of the all time classic rock songs. Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Sweet Home Alabama" also symbolizes the 70s for a whole generation while other bands such as America enthralled audiences with their simple yet catchy songs.

Hard rock and heavy metal truly arrived in its more well-known form in the 70s led by bands such as AC/DC, Queen and Led Zeppelin. Songs such as "Highway To Hell" and "We Will Rock You" became anthems of hard rock fans the world over. Other rock bands chose a slightly different direction with their music. For example, Electric Light Orchestra mixed conventional rock with classical music with amazing results. Songs such as "Sweet Talkin' Woman" and "Livin' Thing" are also emblematic of the rock genre of this era.

Disco is probably the genre which dominated the 70s and which best defines the decade. It seems as if the word 'disco' is intrinsically and eternally tied to the 70s. It was so dominant that at the height of its popularity in the late 70s, the only way that artists could have a hit was to sing a disco tune, which many of them did with varying levels of success. At the height of the disco movement, the Bee Gees and ABBA dominated the charts and worldwide sales. However, the most famous song from this era was probably "Y.M.C.A" by the Village People which has since become one of the most popular anthems for the gay community. The Saturday Night Fever soundtrack from the Bee Gees is essentially what symbolizes all things disco in the 70s.

There's absolutely no doubt that the 70s will be remembered for its wide range of genres and classic songs that defined a generation.

Martin Sejas is the chief columnist of http://www.AllTimeClassicSongs.com, a website showcasing some of the greatest 70s classic songs and songs from other eras in music history.

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Captain Beefheart Drummer - John French

Promo picture for Mirror Man circa 1969Image via Wikipedia

Famous Drummers - John French by Drew Mers

John French of the band Captain Beefheart, provides an enigma of sorts to those who study musicians and their life. French is an American musician who specialized in drums, but has also done vocals and played the harmonica in the most recent years of his career. French moved between different bands, always a strong part of the band and yet never making any true lasting impression in any one until after he left. For this reason, he is something of a ghost in the music world - his influence is felt everywhere, yet no-one has direct connections to it and no-one has tried to directly emulate his work, though he did prove in his time that some truly remarkable things could be done with a set of drums.

French was born in 1949 in San Bernardino, California. He spent his teenage years haunting the local music scenes with Doug Moon and watched the band The Omens. By 1964, he was playing professionally, first in the band Merrill and the Exiles. Then in 1966, he joined Beefheart and the Magic Band. He heavily influenced the bands sound, and yet he was never in the band credits or the photographs. This did not seem to bother him unduly though - when he was fired, he left and when he was invited to return, he came back, though the times he spent with the band were difficult for him; he often cited physical and mental abuse in his interviews later on and said that the reason he stayed was because he believed in turning the other cheek and that he had little right to get angry at anyone when he was only sixteen.

The only major exception was when the band leader later required him to learn forty songs in two weeks which he simply could not do and walked out as a result. Overall though, the music seemed to be the most important thing to French, not recognition, money, or fame. In fact, it was not until the 1990s that he was able to lead his own recordings and finally gain the recognition he deserved for his work. He was also invited to do a solo for the British Music Collective in 1996.

Now, French works on his own recordings. In 2008, City of Refuge came to the market, showcasing not only his unique style, but also his ability to put music together in a way that is popular with many people. He also led the reunion of Beefheart and the Magic Band in 2003 for a tour, which led to a pair of CDs and a DVD showing the reunion. After many years of work, French is finally being recognized for the music genius he is and such recognition is well deserved. He does not let it get to his head though; in interviews, he comes across as a man with a sense of humor, humility, and who is very honest about his life and his work.

Drew Mers is a consultant to Empire Rehearsal Studios, which rents aspiring bands, musicians and drummers a music rehearsal studio in Long Island City, Queens, New York.

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http://EzineArticles.com/?Famous-Drummers---John-French&id=1890113

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Jethro Tull's First Drummer - Clive Bunker

A professional level drumset (Pearl Masters St...Image via Wikipedia

Famous Drummers - Clive Bunker by Drew Mers

Clive Bunker is a blues enthusiast and Jethro Tull was an extension of his love. The band mixed folk music, blues, and rock and was very popular, touring America and producing several albums. He left the band when the music began to turn more towards progressive rock which was something that Bunker was uninterested in pursuing.

He was still under contract though with Chrysalis Records which is why he began working with other bands and juggling that with his other work endeavors and his marriage. He also began shifting from blues to folk music, working with bands such as the Vikki Clayton Band and performing with his new band Twin Dragons.

Bunker was born in 1946 in Luton, England. He took up the drums as a serious musical profession when he partnered with Mick Abrahams to play around the town of Luton. This allowed him to get his mix and match drum kit which matched his mix and match style of playing. He also became friends with other drummers on the tour of the band and took/gave some inspiration from and to them.

He left Jethro Tull cordially enough and went on to become more of a freelance drummer while enjoying married life and working on engineering. Although he is now divorced from his wife, he continues to perform in the function of a session drummer for people who ask him and otherwise enjoys a quiet life on his farm. He is a very popular session drummer though and often remarks on the offers that come pouring in for his work. He produced an album for New Day records and performs with his band Twin Dragons while working with other bands and performers as a session drummer.

Drew Mers is a consultant to Empire Rehearsal Studios, which rents aspiring bands, musicians and drummers a music rehearsal studio in Long Island City, Queens, New York.

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Woodstock - Defining the Hippie Era?

Janis Joplin, San Jose, California, 1968Image via Wikipedia

1969 Woodstock - A Memorable Dream by Mark Ralph

The 1969 Woodstock Festival in upstate New York was an event that changed the world. It was the first time that so many people gathered together to listen to music in an outdoor setting. It was historic because of the sheer volume of people (estimates are 450,000) who attended and because of the performers who took the stage. Instead of just being a concert, it became an event. The cultural significance of Woodstock cannot be overlooked.

Hippies and flower power were all the rage at that time. The youth were disenfranchised by the system and Vietnam War protests were taking place every day. Though the concert was not a war protest, the event itself became a protest. There were political figures such as Abby Hoffman there to talk about the war and why he was against it. There were politically inspired songs which captured the flavor. There were people who came to party but ended up coming into a group consciousness, an awakening of freedom.

The Woodstock Festival was originally supposed to be held in Woodstock NY, but it was actually held in Bethel NY on a farm owned by Max Yasgur. When the idea for the concert first came up and permits were needed, the organizers estimated there would be 50,000 people, which was a large number. As word of the event spread, it garnered the attention of hippies all around the United States. People wanted to come from nearly every state, and the idea of having 50,000 crazy hippies in town was no longer appealing, so they withdrew the permit for the concert.

Max Yasgur came forward and offered his farm as the new site for the concert. The organizers had no choice but to accept his offer and so the concert venue had changed to a pig farm. There was no way that anyone could have known the appeal this concert would have on the youth. So many people showed up that the New York State Thruway was shut down and turned into a parking lot. Concert goers abandoned their vehicles and began walking to the event.

There were big names at the concert such as The Who, Jimi Hendrix, Joan Baez, Grateful Dead and Janis Joplin. There were so many acts that they had to construct multiple stages to accommodate all the performers who wanted to partake in this once in a lifetime event. Musicians who performed remember it forever and the ones who did not, regretted it forever.

Woodstock has become synonymous with counter-culture, drug use and hippies but ask those in attendance and they will tell you that it was so much more than that. It was a movement by people who were more in tune with worldly events then at any other time. It was like a spiritual awakening multiplied by thousands. It was a message of peace, harmony and love in a world that was in such a mess. In many ways that message has now been lost forever. Today we have a new world which is less caring, with more crimes including home invasion burglaries, large drug running gangs and a culture of greed & corruption... but we can still have the mystical memories of 1969 and the dream of Woodstock.

The author is an Art Critic, Artist and Curator. He's a prolific writer on the web and writes about a variety of topics. For Woodstock Memorabilia Go to: http://WoodstockMemorabilia.com and For News, Events Click: Woodstock News.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Mark_Ralph
http://EzineArticles.com/?1969-Woodstock---A-Memorable-Dream&id=1850331

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Jimmy Page and his Gibson Les Paul

2005 Gibson '58 Reissue Les Paul in Iced Tea i...Image via Wikipedia

The Gibson Les Paul and Jimmy Page by Robert W. Walker

His talent led him to hold the title of founder, lead guitarist, songwriter, producer and engineer of what is arguably the biggest rock band ever... Led Zeppelin. As a guitarist, few people have ever had the enormous impact on future guitar players as Jimmy Page. To inspire so many musicians requires impeccable technique as well as an innovative sound, Jimmy Page had the ability and the sound and that sound, at the height of its popularity, was created on the Gibson Les Paul electric guitar.

Some legendary guitar players are most noted for the use of certain guitars, Jimi Hendrix and his right-handed, played-left handed Fender Stratocaster, Eddie Van Halen's home made Frankenstein and Jimmy Page's Gibson Les Paul. In fact, to think of Jimmy Page without his low-slung Les Paul would be like thinking about an angel without wings. While Jimmy Page can thank his unique and inventive sound to the Les Paul, Gibson should thank Page for a resurgence of popularity in the guitar.

Jimmy Page's use of Gibson guitars is extensive, from his trademark Les Pauls to his use of the double neck Gibson SG as well as a host of Gibson acoustic guitars. While those other guitars had occasional appearances on Led Zeppelin albums and live performances the workhorses of Jimmy Page's playing were his Gibson Les Pauls.

While Page used several different Les Pauls throughout his career, there were two guitars that stood out. The first was a 1958 Gibson Les Paul Standard, that he purchased from James Gang and Eagles lead guitarist Joe Walsh in 1969. This guitar consequently was the template for the Jimmy Page Custom Shop Les Paul (sold from 2004 to 2007). The second guitar, which was named Number Two, was a 1959 Les Paul Standard.

It's been 40 years since Led Zeppelin's inception and Jimmy Page is still is a popular and influential musician and the Gibson Les Paul is still the guitar Page turns to display his unique style and sound.

Robert W. (Bob) Walker

I'm a big fan of the Gibson Les Paul in all of its variations. Please visit my blog...
http://www.gibsonlespaulelectricguitar.com/

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http://EzineArticles.com/?The-Gibson-Les-Paul-and-Jimmy-Page&id=1894166

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Thursday, January 22, 2009

The Baby Boomer Legacy

Right-to-left: Barack Obama and Maya Soetoro w...Image via Wikipedia

The Baby Boomer Legacy by Philip Harris

Many have said that the election of Barack Obama represents the end of the era of the baby-boomer generation. I beg to differ. In fact, the election of Obama is the fulfillment of the baby boomer generation.

As we pass the torch of power, boomers can feel a sense of redemption when Obama takes the oath of office. In truth, our moment in history will be recorded as the one that most altered the course of history. Arising from the ashes of World War II, boomers literally rocked the world in the 60's and 70's.

Rejecting the ideology of those who came before us, we declared that LOVE is the answer to all of our questions. We institutionalized our historic commitment to equality for all. From civil rights to gender rights, we broke the back of hatred and bigotry. We said 'no' to separate but equal' and proclaimed that no topic is sacred and beyond question. We raised the 'red flag' on environmental destruction. We 'caught a glimpse' of the true nature of our relationship to each other and the world in which we live; but, our failing was that we became consumed by consumption.

As the 'age of technology' took hold we were fascinated by all things new. Gadgets and gizmos, a speeding lifestyle, and life on the go with fast food and fast cars were as enticing to us as it was reported to be to the Atlanteans of ancient lore. We thought we could do both; conspicuously consume and erase our sin by pushing for bottle bills. Money flowed like water from a garden hose as we were enticed to buy more, toss away, and then buy some more. Gold cards, Platinum cards, and equity lines of credit enabled us to spend double, triple our wages.

And so what, government was doing it, why not us? To fight rising prices we sent our production to foreign workers who received pennies a day in sweat shops. As long as the gadgets and the credit kept flowing, we could ignore the cries of child labor in remote places of the world. Our money was the standard for the world and our military kept it that way. Mess with us and the newest technology and super weapons would set you straight.

But, in the deep recesses of our memory, we felt the growing pains of the seeds that we planted in the 60's and 70's. Something was not quite right. We were haunted by the memories of 'love-ins,' the toppling of a president that had gotten out of control, civil rights marches and the recurring dream of Camelot. And even though the never really free market system continued its daily barrage on our senses to spend, spend, and spend - deep down inside - we began to question.

What was with all of the new diseases? Why do our children not want to learn? What is happening to all of those species that once populated our lakes, forests and jungles? Why is the weather acting so strange? What is happening to our culture? Why are crime rates getting out of control? What is that spilled oil really doing to our environment? Are you sure those materials are safe? Who really did make that sweater? Where are all of the jobs going? Why is it getting more difficult to pay all of those credit cards?

Our peaceful but shaky world shattered on 9/11. Our attention and questioning was diverted and we rallied to fight the new enemy. But who were the enemy? We could not find them. In a state of fear and paranoia, we gave away freedoms, money and lives. And, as my good friend Marvin Wilson would say, Owen Fiddler came to town. It was time to pay the fiddler, the piper and the ferryman.

Stretched beyond our means to a level that only the bankers knew and even encouraged, the money tree was chopped down. We all know the story; it plays out in the news every day. We, the "baby boomers," brought ourselves to a state of collapse. We made things so bad that only the most ignorant would say we could stay the course. Had all of this not happened, we would have awakened one morning to find that our ecosystem had collapsed and that there was nothing we could do to alter the continuation of the "Sixth Great Extinction" that would soon include the human species. By bringing our lifestyle to an abrupt halt, we had to take notice.

Barack Obama's election was our crowning achievement. Not because he is some super human savior that will solve all of our problems, but because he represents the re-emergence and manifestation of the dreams of those aged 'flower children.' Because of our errors and our ignorance, we have allowed the Lady of the Lake to return Excalibur. Not to President Obama, but to us.

But we are not yet finished. We must still lead our children to the Promised Land, even if many of us will not enter it. This is not in any religious sense, but rather in the sense that we must continue to teach and remind the new generations not to repeat our mistakes. This is our parting gift; we have shown the world how not to live.

Mr. Harris was born in Massachusetts. He attended The American University in Washington, D.C. and received his degree in Political Science. His graduate work was done at the University of Northern Colorado and Howard University. He spent several years working for local and regional and state government agencies. He worked on a White House Task Force and served as Rural Policy Coordinator at the FRCouncil of New England.

Mr. Harris is co-author of the novel WAKING GOD and is a nationally syndicated/featured writer for The American Chronicle. His second novel, A MAINE CHRISTMAS CAROL was released by Cambridge Books, his third book, JESUS TAUGHT IT, TOO: THE EARLY ROOTS OF THE LAW OF ATTRACTION (Avatar Publication). He is author of the book, RAPING LOUISIANA: A DIARY OF DECEIT and his two most recent self-growth titles, the "MESSAGES" series were just released by Avatar. See his book titles at: http://dickens111.tripod.com/theliteraryworksofphilipharris

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Philip_Harris
http://EzineArticles.com/?The-Baby-Boomer-Legacy&id=1892929

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Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The Great Music of The Swinging 60s

Cover of Cover via Amazon

The Swinging 60s - The Evolution of Classic Songs That Shook the World by Martin Sejas

The 60s are considered a watershed decade in the history of music due to the many classic songs that appeared in this era that changed the sound and direction of music forever. The changes that took place in just 10 short years were simply enormous and its effects are still being felt and are still influencing today's musicians. The following article has been written to give you a concise rundown of the major songs and artists from this decade whose legacy is still being felt today.

At the beginning of the 1960s, Elvis was still the King and even more so when he released his first songs after returning from military service in Germany. Many of his songs such as "It's Now or Never" and "Are You Lonesome Tonight?" became number 1 hits during this period. The early 1960s also saw the emergence of teen artists who for the first time achieved significant success on the charts. Brenda Lee made her debut with the classic song "I'm Sorry" at just 15 years of age and had a long career through the 60s and 70s. Matt Dinning's song "Teen Angel" also became a smash hit and continued with the theme of lost teen love. All these young artists had a clean-cut image which would not last much longer in the 60s.

The early 1960's also see the start of the Twist dance craze instigated by the massive hit "The Twist" by Chubby Checker and this dance craze would continue until at least 1962. 1962 would also see the emergence of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons with their first 3 singles all reaching number 1 in the United States ("Sherry", "Walk Like A Man" and "Big Girls Don't Cry").

However, 1964 would be the year that changed music forever. The arrival of the Beatles in America and along with it The British Invasion would completely transform the entire industry, especially in North America. The Beatles' appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show in February 1964 has been pinpointed as possibly the most important musical moment of the 20th century.

It is their appearances on the show that kick-started Beatlemania in America and the rest of the world. No other band had ever caused so much hysteria and no other band has done since. The Beatles became mega superstars with their outrageous chords, beautiful melodies, accumulating incredible commercial and critical success and 20 number 1 hits in the United States in just 6 years. No other singer or group has been able to match their success since and it's unlikely anybody ever will.

The Beatles' success also led to the British Invasion with artists such as The Rolling Stones and The Animals also becoming commercially successful in their own right during this period. Bands such as the Troggs and the Kinks emerged as pioneers of heavy metal which would emerge in its more well-known form in the early 70s but you can't help but recognize the influence of these early bands. "Wild Thing" and "You Really Got Me" are much listened songs from the 60s if you are a heavy metal or hard rock fan.

The 60s also saw the emergence of the all girl group The Supremes who are considered to be the pioneers of RnB and soul with songs such as "Baby Love" and "Stop! In The Name of Love" still influencing today's Rnb artists. They had a total of 12 number 1 hits in the United States and are considered one of the most successful female vocal groups of all time.

The second half of the 60s saw a profound change in sound with the rise of psychedelic rock which was essentially rock music trying to represent experiences with hallucinogenic drugs. Drugs such as LSD were commonplace at the time and used by many artists such as The Beatles and hits such as "Strawberry Fields Forever" reflected this new type of rock. The popularity of this psychedelic rock did not last long as it simply became a transition from blues-oriented rock to progressive rock and heavy metal in the early 1970s.

The end of the 1960s also saw the arrival of Creedence Clearwater Revival (CCR) with their distinctive Southern rock sound which would be the inspiration for many rock groups in the 70s such as the Eagles and Lynyrd Skynyrd. CCR experienced enormous commercial success in the United States in just a few short years and many of their songs such as "Proud Mary", "Who'll Stop The Rain", "Bad Moon Rising" and "Fortunate Son" are still staples of classic rock music stations.

The 60s were a significant period in the history of music whose legacy continues to live in the music of today. Artists from this period has inspired countless of music artists throughout history and there's no doubt that people will continue to look back on the period as a source of inspiration for future music.

Martin Sejas is the lead writer of http://www.AllTimeClassicSongs.com, a website dedicated to appropriately honoring 60s classic songs and other classic songs from other influential musical eras.

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Saturday, January 17, 2009

Wish You Were Here - Guitar and Vocal Sections

Cover of Cover of Wish You Were Here

Wish You Were Here by David Gilmour of Pink Floyd - Guitars Parts and Vocals by Ameen Jabbar

Wish You Were Here by David Gilmour of Pink Floyd is always pleasing to the ear and is an inspiration for guitar players, because of it's soothing melody, guitar parts and wise lyrics. Many might think that it was made by and belongs to David Gilmour, but it is actually the band's song and most probably written by Roger Waters, the band's bass player, just like many other songs.

Wish You Were Here comes from the album of the same name, which is strongly dedicated to their very early band member, Syd Barrett. However, it is said by Roger Waters that Wish You Were Here is not entirely aimed at Syd Barrett, but it is about Waters's feelings of alienation from other people.

The first slight leap of the song was brought by David Gilmour playing a riff on his acoustic guitar which inspired the creation to Wish You Were Here for Roger Waters and the rest of the band. The melody, sound and feel of the song were mainly created by David Gilmour through his musical ideas coming from his guitar playing. The lyrics were already written by Roger Waters and then immediately put into use with this song.

Basically, David Gilmour wrote and played the introduction for Wish You Were on his acoustic guitar. He also sang the verse and chorus and also played the middle and acoustic guitar solos.

Wish You Were Here is well worth a listen and certainly needs to be played on guitar if you're a guitarist. Why not learn guitar from this very song with the chords C, D Am and G? If you would like to hear a sample of Wish You Were Here, or learn to play the chords and intro to Wish You Were Here by David Gimour of Pink Floyd go to http://www.pinkfloyd-guitar.com.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Ameen_Jabbar
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Bob Dylan - Icon of the 1960s

Joan Baez & Bob Dylan PosterImage by Larry He's So Fine via Flickr

A Bob Dylan Biography by Paul Drake

Bob Dylan was born Robert Allen Zimmerman on May 24th, 1941 in Deluth, Minnesota and later relocated to Greenwich Village where he went on to not only be come of the most notable folk music icons of all time but also to become an instrumental figure in the civil rights movement as well.

While his musical stylings have included rock, blues, country and gospel, it is folk music that he is best known for leaving such instrumental ballads in his wake as "Blowing In the Wind", and "The Times, They Are a-Changing."

The Bob Dylan Biography begins in his childhood with a love of other roots music icons such as Woody Guthrie. He even made a pilgrimage later in life to visit the father of folk music as he lay on his death bed. Bob Dylan has been linked to several tumultuous relationships such as that with Joan Baez and even the infamous Andy Warhol groupie, Eddie Sedgwick.

On July 29th 1966 while riding his motorcycle through the country roads of Woodstock, Dylan crashed his bike and was severely injured. While the extent of the injuries were not life threatening there has always been a great deal of controversy over the ultimate effect the accident had on Bob Dylan's voice, career, and mental stability.

After a long and controversial solo career Bob Dylan became a part of the much loved Traveling Wilburys featuring Roy Orbison, George Harrison, Jeff Lynn, and Tom Petty. The group released two albums and had several hit songs.

If you like Bob Dylan then you will love Interscope recording artist, John Oszajca.

Download a copy of his latest single for free at http://www.johnomusic.net

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Paul_Drake
http://EzineArticles.com/?A-Bob-Dylan-Biography&id=1874675

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Friday, January 16, 2009

A History of Musical Improvisation - An Imperative in Psychedelic Music

Hendrix playing The Star-Spangled Banner, Wood...Image via Wikipedia

Cultures of Improvisation by Jon O'Bergh

Improvisation has been the norm in most cultures throughout most of human history. Nowadays, though, improvisation is largely associated with jazz, and its antithesis is Britney Spears at one end of the spectrum and a classical symphony at the other.

Improvisation -- that foundation of the musical impulse in man -- has been drained out of classical music and much of contemporary popular music like the Taliban shutting down music stores. What happened?

It is not commonly known that improvisation played an important role in European music throughout much of its history. Polyphony arose as a result of singers improvising counterpoint over a cantus firmus. The earliest treatises, such as the Musica enchiriadis from the ninth century, make clear that added parts were improvised for centuries before the first notated examples.

During the Renaissance, discantus supra librum -- improvised countermelody on a melody written in a book -- was regarded as an important discipline in a composer's training. Improvisatory practice is documented in a number of published instruction manuals, mainly in Italy (e.g., Ganassi in 1535, Ortiz in 1553, and Dalla Casa in 1584).

Improvised melodic ornamentation, another feature of Renaissance music, was brought to a high art in the subsequent era, the Baroque. During this period, keyboard players were also expected to improvise chord progressions based on a musical shorthand called basso continuo, where symbols were written over a bass line as a musical guide much like key charts. Bach was hardly alone but was perhaps the greatest improviser during this period. When visiting Frederick the Great of Prussia in 1747, Bach improvised a series of pieces on a theme proposed by the king, which he later set down in writing as "A Musical Offering."

Our perceptions of European music from this period -- supposedly stylized and restrained -- are way off mark. Greg Sandow, writing in "The Future of Classical Music", describes how audiences would hiss and applaud while the music was being performed. Singers were expected to take liberties with the music in operas and often tried to outdo one another or would even mock a rival in the midst of his or her solo. Handel engaged two Italian prima donnas to sing an aria at the same time. A London newspaper wrote,

  • The Contention at first was only carried on by Hissing on one Side, and Clapping on the other; but proceeded at length to Catcalls, and other great Indecencies... it is certainly an apparent Shame that two such well bred Ladies should call Bitch and Whore...
As the ornate, contrapuntal music of the Baroque was superceded by the simpler Classical style, improvisation continued to be an essential skill for any musician. In the concertos of Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven, the performer was expected to improvise the cadenza, an extended solo at the end of the first movement that showed off the performer's skill. Beethoven won many intense improvisatory contests over rival pianists.

Well into the 19th century, the period in which we can start to discern a change, improvisation was common. A widespread practice involved an improvised prelude to a notated piano composition. Singers continued to embellish melodies. The painter Delacroix argued that the boldest inventions of his friend Chopin were the ones he made up on the spot, spontaneous displays of counterpoint and lyricism. Liszt famously improvised music at his concerts (see painting above, "Franz Liszt Improvising at the Piano," by Josef Danhauser, 1840).

But as the role of composer became elevated to a godlike status, the exact notes a composer wrote consequently assumed greater significance. Like the Ten Commandments, they couldn't be tampered with. By the dawn of the 20th century, improvisation no longer held a central, esteemed role in performance. Today it is rare to find a classically trained musician who can make up music on the spot, and for those who do have the ability, there is no performance outlet.

Something different happened with popular music. From the 1920s through the 1940s, jazz was one of the prominent forms of popular music and improvisation naturally played a central role. As jazz was replaced by the rise of rock 'n roll in the 50s, improvisation was less important but lived on in the form of solos, and the simplified harmonic and song structure facilitated improvisation for musicians who might not be as broadly skilled as jazz masters. With the creative explosion and cultural experimentation of the 60s and 70s, musicians took even more liberties with improvisation. Extended drum solos, guitar solos and the like became a signature of rock. Fans appreciated Jimi Hendrix, Keith Emerson and Prince for their musicianship and improvisational skills.

Something happened as the 70s evolved into the 80s, though, that largely dampened improvisation as an integral aspect of popular music. Jazz had been marginalized. Pop songs increasingly omitted instrumental solos. There were several factors in this change. Punk, with its stripped down quality that emphasized raw energy over musical ability, and dance music -- first with the stylized regimentation of disco, then later with the overemphasis on drum and bass in repetitive house music -- began pushing aside the culture of improvisation by the late 1970s.

With the rise of music videos in the 80s, which brought an emphasis on visual style over substance, and with increasingly short attention spans, it was not surprising that improvisation faded to the margins. The one place it continued to play a vital role was in rap, but that was less about music than about words and poetry. Recorded music has become so ubiquitous that lip synching is an accepted norm in live performances. Many of us expect live music to sound "just like the CD," and there are few opportunities for spontaneity.

Improvisation has always had an uneasy peace with popular music, which demands simplicity for mass appeal, but in the current cultural climate they seem hopelessly incompatible. It is still out there, of course, in great artists of whatever genre: Prince, Tori Amos, Herbie Hancock, Carlos Santana... But improvisation is the wellspring of music, and I yearn for a time when it will again play an important role in the life of our culture.

Jon O'Bergh has released 5 CDs and is keyboardist with the jazz/funk fusion band Gemini Soul. His writings on music and its relationship to our lives appear on the website Song of Fire.

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http://EzineArticles.com/?Cultures-of-Improvisation&id=1867820
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Monday, January 12, 2009

A Tribute to All the Greats Who Died in 2008!

Paul Butterfield with John Mayall, 1967Image via WikipediaI'd like to pay tribute to all the musicians/artists/singers who died in 2008.

In memory of Jerry Reed, singer/songwriter/guitarist/actor (1937-2008)

In memory of Richard Wright (Pink Floyd), keyboardist/singer/songwriter (1943-2008)

In memory of Norman Whitfield (Gladys Knight and The Pips), songwriter/pianist/producer (1940-2008)

In memory of Colin Cooper (Climax Blues Band), singer/saxophonist/guitarist (1939-2008)

In memory of Roger Dean (John Mayall's Bluesbreakers), guitarist (1943-2008)

In memory of Mike Smith (The Dave Clark Five), singer/keyboardist/songwriter/producer
(1943-2008)

In memory of Isaac Hayes, singer/songwriter/pianist/saxophonist/producer/actor (1942-2008)

In memory of Neil Aspinall (The Beatles), road manager/personal assistant (1942-
2008)

In memory of Johnny Moore (Don Drummond and The Skatalites), trumpeter (1938-2008)

In memory of Mitch Mitchell (The Jimi Hendrix Experience), drummer (1947-2008)

In memory of Buddy Miles (Electric Flag), drummer/singer/songwriter (1947-2008)

In memory of Delaney Bramlett (Delaney and Bonnie and Friends), guitarist/singer/songwriter/producer (1939-2008)

In memory of Bo Diddley, singer/guitarist/songwriter (1928-2008)

In memory of Danny Federici (Bruce Springsteen's "Born to Run"), keyboardist (1950-2008)

In memory of Micky Waller (on Jeff Beck's "Shapes of Things"), drummer (1941-2008)

In memory of Earl Palmer (on Little Richard's "Tutti Frutti"), drummer (1924-2008)

In memory of Jimmy Carl Black (The Mothers of Invention), drummer/singer (1938-2008)

Vale great ones! Rest in peace!

All love,

Robert.
http://psychedelichippiemusic.blogspot.com/
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