Saturday, August 31, 2013

VIDEO: The Rolling Stones First Played 50 Years Ago; Watch Them Explode Into Fame Shortly Thereafter

by , Open Culture:

Just four days ago, the Rolling Stones celebrated the fiftieth anniversary of their first concert, which happened on July 12, 1962 at London’s Marquee club.

Articles have quoted lead singer Mick Jagger as describing the crowd that evening as the kind of audience they’d expected as a band: “college students having a night out,” an “art-school kind of crowd” who “weren’t particularly demonstrative, but they appreciated and enjoyed the set.”

But the Stones’ demographic would soon both shift and expand dramatically: “A few months later we were playing in front of 11 year olds who were screaming at us.”

You can witness this very phenomenon in the 1964 newsreel above; perhaps all of the kids lined up outside the theater aren’t quite that young, but we’re definitely not looking at a collegiate crowd.

Still, what this full house (“in fact,” the narrator says, “it could have been filled ten times over”) lacks in maturity, they make up for in raw enthusiasm.

This short film comes from British Pathé, then known as Pathé News, a producer of newsreels from the very early twentieth century right up to the seventies.

They captured the Stones performing in 1964, after they had already racked up a considerable degree of fame, especially in their own country. The show itself takes place in Kingston upon Hull, a medium-sided city in the northeast of England.

Summoning the surprising sense of fun that mid-sixties English media sometimes could when covering popular culture, this newsreel, called Rolling Stones Gather Moss, opens with Jagger, Keith Richards, Brian Jones, Charlie Watts, and Bill Wyman trying to hitch a ride alongside the grassy road to the venue.

“Little do they know, they’re having their legs pulled,” the announcer says of the unhesitating motorists, “because these apparent hitchhikers, so blandly ignored, are five of the most famous young men in show business, the Rolling Stones. Some of these motorists will be kicking themselves when they learn they missed the chance of a lifetime of getting to know them.”

But the historical moment remains captured on film, as do countless others, among the 90,000 clips in Pathé’s online archive.

Friday, August 30, 2013

VIDEO: John Lennon’s Raw, Soul-Baring Vocals From the Beatles’ ‘Don’t Let Me Down’ (1969)

by , Open Culture:

“When you’re drowning,” John Lennon told Rolling Stone in 1970, “you don’t say, ‘I would be incredibly pleased if someone would have the foresight to notice me drowning and come and help me.’ You just scream.”

“Don’t Let Me Down” is Lennon’s anguished scream to his lover, Yoko Ono. When he and the Beatles recorded the song during the Let It Be sessions in late January of 1969, Lennon asked Ringo Starr to hit the cymbal very hard at the beginning, to “give me the courage to come screaming in.”

The Beatles were in the process of breaking apart when Lennon wrote the song. It was a dark time in many ways, and he was becoming more and more dependent upon Ono for personal and creative support.

As Paul McCartney told writer Barry Miles in Many Years From Now:

It was a very tense period: John was with Yoko and had escalated to heroin and all the accompanying paranoias and he was putting himself out on a limb. I think that as much as it excited and amused him, at the same time it secretly terrified him. So ‘Don’t Let Me Down’ was a genuine plea, ‘Don’t let me down, please, whatever you do. I’m out on this limb, I know I’m doing all this stuff, just don’t let me down.’ It was saying to Yoko, ‘I’m really stepping out of line on this one. I’m really letting my vulnerability be seen, so you must not let me down.’ I think it was a genuine cry for help.

You can get a strong sense of Lennon’s anguish and vulnerability when you listen to the isolated vocal track above. And for the full arrangement, including Starr’s cymbal-crash near the beginning and Billy Preston’s brilliant electric piano playing, see below.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

VIDEOS: Bob Dylan and Van Morrison Sing Together in Athens, on Historic Hill Overlooking the Acropolis

by , Open Culture:

“Foreign Window” and “One Irish Rover”:

On a summer day in 1989, Van Morrison and Bob Dylan met up in Greece and brought their acoustic guitars to the place in Athens where the ancients believed the muses lived.

Philopappos Hill, traditionally known as the Hill of the Muses, rises high above the Athens Basin and has a commanding view of the Acropolis.

It was June 29. Dylan had just wrapped up a European tour the night before at Panathinaiko Stadium, and Morrison was traveling with a BBC crew for an Arena documentary that would be broadcast in 1991 as One Irish Rover: Van Morrison in Performances.

The two legendary singer-songwriters played several of Morrison’s songs: “Foreign Window” and “One Irish Rover,” above, and “Crazy Love,” below.

A fourth song, “And It Stoned Me,” was apparently cut from the film.

“Crazy Love”:

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

VIDEO: Watch Pink Floyd Play Live in the Ruins of Pompeii (1972)

by , Open Culture:

Tourism and historical research aside, most ruins aren’t particularly useful, least of all for their original purposes.

Yet Pink Floyd fans know of one instance when a ruin made a comeback, if a brief and specialized one, that could make you forget all about the ash and pumice that buried it nearly 2000 years before.

In October 1971, the band set up their gear in the middle of the Ampitheatre of Pompeii and blasted three songs out into the antiquity surrounding them: “Echoes,” “A Saucerful of Secrets,” and “One of These Days.”

They played not to a live audience, but to an array of studio-quality recording equipment designed to faithfully capture every layer of their sound for theatrical reproduction.

You can see and hear all the then-highest-of-the-high-tech musical equipment used to produce then-thoroughly modern rock music in this nearly alien-looking geometric setting of time-worn stone and encroaching grass in Pink Floyd: Live at Pompeii, now free to watch on YouTube.

Pink Floyd’s chosen venue, the oldest standing Roman ampitheatre of them all, suits their project sonically as well as aesthetically. Had the band invited an audience, the old place probably could, with a touch of restoration, have handled it with aplomb.

An article from CSO Security and Risk cites its bathroom design and placement, its queue separation, its anxiety-reducing openness, its simple stairway scheme, its lack of corners and bottleneck points, and the wide road leading to it as qualities from which today’s stadium designers can still learn.

Just last May, the surviving members of Pink Floyd happened to get back together on stage; should they launch a reunion tour, they might consider starting at the ampitheatre they introduced to so many young fans before history teachers could.

You’ll find embedded above the 2003 director’s cut of Pink Floyd: Live at Pompeii, the latest of several versions of the film.

It includes not just the band’s Pompeii performance, but additional songs shot in Paris, recording and interviewing sessions at Abbey Road, and a number of clips of exploding volcanoes and Earth from space.

The non-concert material further explores themes naturally raised by placing music from 1971 into a venue from 70 BC.

Considering any creation’s place in history and the danger of fetishizing the man-made, the band members talk about how to avoid becoming “slaves to all our equipment,” how not to one day find themselves “a relic of the past,” and whether or not rock would survive a vast societal collapse.

Some of this feels like a more intelligent version of the rock-documentary sensibility that This is Spinal Tap would so thoroughly lambast almost a decade later.

We all had a good laugh when that film’s hapless fictional rock group ordered up an all-too-miniature replica of Stonehenge for their live show. You may also chuckle at the grandness of Pink Floyd’s use of the Ampitheatre of Pompeii, but it also presents you with questions worth thinking about.

Colin Marshall hosts and produces Notebook on Cities and Culture. Follow him on Twitter at @colinmarshall.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Robert Crumb Illustrates Philip K. Dick’s Infamous, Hallucinatory Meeting with God (1974)

“I saw God,” Fat states, and Kevin and I and Sherri state, “No, you just saw something like God, exactly like God.” And having spoke, we do not stay to hear the answer, like jesting Pilate, upon his asking, “What is truth?” - Philip K. Dick, VALIS.

In the months of February and March, 1974, Philip K. Dick met God, or something like God, or what he thought was God, at least, in a hallucinatory experience he chronicled in several obsessively dense diaries that recently saw publication as The Exegesis of Philip K. Dick, a work of deeply personal theo-philosophical reflection akin to Carl Jung’s The Red Book.

Whatever it was he encountered - Dick was never too dogmatic about it - he ended up referring to it as Zebra, or by the acronym VALIS, Vast Active Living Intelligence System, also the title of a novel detailing the experiences of one very PKD-like character with the improbable name of “Horselover Fat.”
LSD-triggered psychotic break, genuine religious experience, or something else entirely, whatever Dick’s encounter meant, he didn’t let the opportunity to turn it into art slip by him, and neither did outsider cartoonist and PKD fan Robert Crumb.

In issue #17 of the underground comix magazine Weirdo, Crumb narrated and illustrated Dick’s meeting with a divine intelligence in the appropriately titled “The Religious Experience of Philip K. Dick” (see the comic in motion in the awkward, amateur video above).

The comic quotes directly from Dick’s telling of the event, which began with a wisdom tooth extraction and was ultimately triggered by a golden Christian fish symbol worn around the neck of a pharmaceutical delivery girl.

Most PKD fans will be familiar with the story, whether they treat it as gospel or not, but to see it illustrated with such empathetic intensity by Crumb is truly a treat.

If you only know Crumb as the creator of lascivious Rubenesque women and schlubby, druggy horndog hipsters (like Fritz the Cat), you may be surprised by these emotionally realist illustrations.

If you know Crumb’s more serious work, like his take on the book of Genesis, you won’t. In either case, fans of Dick, Crumb, or - most likely - both, won’t want to miss this.

Friday, August 23, 2013

The 10-Minute, Never-Released, Experimental Demo of The Beatles’ “Revolution” (1968)

by by Josh Jones, Open Culture:

Josh Jones is a writer and musician based in Washington, DC. Follow him at @jdmagness

What is a “Revolution”? The question might precede a lengthy disquisition on political philosophy; it might presage a manifesto redefining an old, worn-out term; it might open up a vinyl-era flight of theoretical fancy over the qualitative dimension of Revolutions Per Minute.

As an opening gambit to a discussion of The Beatles’ “Revolution” (and “Revolution 9”), perhaps the question ventures on the truth of versions, alternates, “takes,” as much a part of history as toppling regimes and mass movements.

How does all of this heaviness get into pop music? Ask John Lennon. Well, no, ask his music. Ask the history of his music, the alternates, the hidden intentions, false starts, discarded revolutionary movements.

Ask, “Revolution Take 20,” the alternate take of “Revolution” that you hear above. “Revolution 20” has a lot to say.

It tells us about how a noisy, upbeat shooby-doo-wop blues proclaiming the power of love over violence did not originally do so with such starry-eyed optimism and comforting pop brevity (the kind of thing that sells Nikes, for instance).

“Revolution” had other intentions, which we only glimpse in the song’s severed vestigial tail “Revolution 9,” and which we may have had quite enough of, thank you, in the arty weirdness of Yoko Ono’s most experimental work.

You see, “Revolution” and non-Nike-worthy “Revolution 9” once belonged to the same animal, a creature that evolved from Lennon’s (and Ono’s) fascination with musique concrète, and with deconstructing rock music into something unrecognizable.

The kind of revolution “Revolution 20” stages isn’t the dichotomous option between peace and love theatrics or reactionary violence.

It’s a revolution of form, which is what Lennon seems to be after here, a new way of being that dissolves contradictions in the silly Freudian shtick of Paul McCartney and George Harrison singing “Mama … Dada …” over and over as the classical tropes of rock and roll warp and wobble around them in disintegrating pitch shifts, radio noise, and spoken word non-sequiturs.

At over ten minutes in length, “Revolution Take 20” - which appeared as a mono mix on a 2009 bootleg CD called Revolution: Take … Your Knickers Off (after a piece of Lennon humor at the intro) - is more than an alternate take.

It’s an alternate history, one in which Lennon doesn’t just lay in bed for peace; he lays down on the studio floor to record his vocals, and all the while his mind actively disassembles rock and roll.

As the recording engineer Brian Gibson remembers the session: “John decided he would feel more comfortable on the floor so I had to rig up a microphone which would be suspended on a boom above his mouth. It struck me as somewhat odd, a little eccentric, but they were always looking for a different sound; something new.”

That Lennon ultimately decided to divide this monster into Revolutions 1 and 9 does not mean that he’d given up on making “something new.”

Perhaps it was a marketing decision; maybe he realized that he had a hit on his hands. Less, cynically, perhaps he felt that pop music could not contain the weight of his desire to move beyond, or to dissolve, the seeming false choices on offer.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

The Beatles’ Final, “Painful” Photo Shoot: A Gallery of Bittersweet Images

by , Open Culture:


Well, this is bittersweet. The photo above comes from The Beatles’ final photo shoot together at John Lennon’s newly purchased estate in Sunninghill Berkshire: clearly not a welcome event for at least one Beatle.

The band had just completed their final two album releases, Let it Be and Abbey Road - famously contentious recording sessions in which George Harrison walked out for a few days with a flippant “See you ‘round the clubs,” prompting John Lennon to snap (according to director Michael Lindsay-Hogg), “Let’s get in Eric [Clapton]. He’s just as good and not such a headache.”

George later recalled the circumstances of the shoot:

They were filming us having a row. It never came to blows, but I thought, ‘What’s the point of this? I’m quite capable of being relatively happy on my own and I’m not able to be happy in this situation. I’m getting out of here.’ Everybody had gone through that. Ringo had left at one point. I know John wanted out. It was a very, very difficult, stressful time, and being filmed having a row as well was terrible. I got up and I thought, ‘I’m not doing this any more. I’m out of here.’ So I got my guitar and went home and that afternoon wrote Wah-Wah. It became stifling, so that although this new album was supposed to break away from that type of recording (we were going back to playing live) it was still very much that kind of situation where he already had in his mind what he wanted. Paul wanted nobody to play on his songs until he decided how it should go. For me it was like: ‘What am I doing here? This is painful!’

See many more photos from the shoot and read more painful details about the sessions and, yes, Yoko, over at Messy Nessy Chic.

via Mefi.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

“The Lost Paris Tapes” Preserves Jim Morrison’s Final Poetry Recordings from 1971

by Josh Jones, Open Culture:

Josh Jones is a writer and musician based in Durham, NC. Follow him at @jdmagness

Billed and sold as the ninth and final studio album by The Doors, An American Prayer tends to divide Jim Morrison fans.

On the one hand, it’s a captivating document of the late singer reading his free-associative poetry: dark, weirdly beautiful psychedelic lyrical fugues.

On the other hand, it’s only a “Doors album” in that the three remaining members convened in 1978 to record original music over the deceased Morrison’s solo readings.

While the resulting product is both a haunting tribute and an immersive late-night listen, many have felt that the band’s rendering did violence to the departed singer’s original intentions (listen to and download it here for free).

An American Prayer‘s readings were recorded unaccompanied in March 1969 and December 1970. In 1971, Morrison joined his long-time lover Pamela Courson in Paris. That same year, Jim Morrison died, under some rather mysterious circumstances, at the age of 27.

Before his death, however, he made what is said to be his final studio recording, a poetry reading/ performance with a couple of unknown Parisian street musicians.

Although Doors keyboardist Ray Manzarek allegedly dismissed this recording as “drunken gibberish,” Doors fans have circulated it since 1994 - combined with a 37-minute poetry reading from 1968 - as a bootleg called The Lost Paris Tapes.

While it’s true that An American Prayer is a powerful and haunting album, it’s also true that The Lost Paris Tapes represents the unadorned, unedited Morrison, in full control of how his voice sounds, and without his famous band.

I cannot help you find a copy of The Lost Paris Tapes, but many of the tracks are on Youtube, such as “Orange County Suite” (top), an affecting piece written for Pamela Courson.

Other excerpts from the bootleg, such as “Hitler Poem” (above) show Morrison in a very strange mood indeed, and show off his unsettling sense of humor.

While the work on The Lost Paris Tapes ranges in quality, all of it preserves the seductive voice and cryptic imagination that Jim Morrison never lost, even as he began to slip away into alcoholism. 

Friday, August 16, 2013

VIDEO: Eric Clapton’s Favorite Guitar Solo: Duane Allman on Wilson Pickett’s 1968 Cover of the Beatles’ ‘Hey Jude’

by Open Culture:

Ask a group of guitarists to name their favorite guitar solo, and there’s a pretty good chance someone will mention Eric Clapton’s solo on the live recording of “Crossroads,” from Cream’s 1968 Wheel’s of Fire album.

So then, whose solo does Eric Clapton like? On more than one occasion he has singled out Duane Allman’s breakthrough performance on Wilson Pickett’s R & B cover of the Beatles’ “Hey Jude.”

In late 1968 Allman was about 22 years old and had not yet formed the Allman Brothers Band. Eager to make a name for himself, he showed up at Rick Hall’s now-legendary FAME Studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, to offer his services as a session guitarist.

Hall told Allman he already had more guitar players than he could use. Allman asked if he could just hang around the studio and help out if the need should ever arise.

“I mean, this was Duane,” Hall said to Allman’s biographer Randy Poe. “He was hell-bent for stardom and nothing was going to stop him.”

Hall let the young guitarist hang around, and before long he was playing on a few sessions with Clarence Carter. Hall liked what he heard, and Allman’s crucial moment arrived shortly afterward, when the former Stax recording artist Wilson Pickett showed up at the studio unexpectedly.

As Poe writes in his book Skydog: The Duane Allman Story

“Pickett came into the studio,” says Hall, “and I said, ‘We don’t have anything to cut.’ We didn’t have a song. Duane was there, and he came up with an idea. By this time he’d kind of broken the ice and become my guy. So Duane said, ‘Why don’t we cut “Hey Jude”?’ I said, ‘That’s the most preposterous thing I ever heard. It’s insanity. We’re gonna cover the Beatles? That’s crazy!’ And Pickett said, ‘No, we’re not gonna do it.’ I said, ‘Their single’s gonna be Number 1. I mean, this is the biggest group in the world!’ And Duane said, ‘That’s exactly why we should do it - because [the Beatles single] will be Number 1 and they’re so big. The fact that we would cut the song with a black artist will get so much attention, it’ll be an automatic smash.’ That made all the sense in the world to me. So I said, ‘Well, okay. Let’s do it.’

The original Beatles version of “Hey Jude” is over seven minutes long. Pickett was determined to keep his version shorter, to make it suitable for radio play.

At four minutes long, it was still more than a minute longer than the average popular song from that era. Most of the extra time is taken up by Allman’s explosive rock and roll-style guitar solo.

“From the moment Duane plays the first lick ten seconds into the coda,” writes Poe, “until the song fades out over a minute later, it is entirely his show. The background vocalists are singing those familiar ‘na-na-na-na’s’ - but it’s all for naught. Rick Hall has pushed them so far down in the mix, they are merely ambiance. Absolutely nothing matters but Duane’s guitar.”

When it was over, everyone rushed to hear the playback. Hall was so excited he picked up the telephone and called Atlantic Records producer and executive Jerry Wexler, who had sent Pickett to Muscle Shoals. Writes Poe:

Hall cranked up the volume, held the receiver near the speakers, and played the recording all the way through. The guitar player, naturally, blew Jerry Wexler away. “Who is he?” Wexler asked. Hall told Wexler that Pickett called him Sky Man. He said that Sky Man was a hippie from Florida who had talked Pickett into cutting the tune. Wexler persisted. “Who the hell is he?” “Name’s Duane Allman,” Rick replied.

Before Pickett christened Allman “Sky Man,” the guitarist already had a nickname he was fond of: “Dog.” In keeping with it, he always wore a dog collar wrapped around his right boot, like a spur. So the two nicknames were combined, and Allman was known thereafter as “Skydog.”

Although Pickett recorded “Hey Jude” against his will, he liked the result so much he made it the title song of his next album.

And right about the time the Beatles’ version was coming down after nine weeks at number one on the American charts, Pickett’s version started going up. It peaked at number 15 on the R & B chart and number 23 on the pop chart.

When Clapton first heard Allman’s solo on his car radio, he reportedly pulled over to the side of the road to listen. “I drove home and called Atlantic Records immediately,” Clapton said. “I had to know who that was playing guitar and I had to know now.”

Listen to the full song:

Related Content:

Here Comes The Sun: The Lost Guitar Solo by George Harrison
Eric Clapton’s Isolated Guitar Track From the Classic Beatles Song, ‘While My Guitar Gently Weeps’ (1968)
Guitar Stories: Mark Knopfler on the Six Guitars That Shaped His Career

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

The Best Carly Simon Songs You've Been Missing Out On, Part 5: Teenage Boys And Laughing Bats

by Garrett Sawyer

By this stage in her career Carly Simon's songs were at a consistently high artistic level. Not only was she creative but she was innovative as well, coming up with song ideas out of left field that other artists could only envy. Here are some more examples:

1) In Times When My Head

The song begins with her relationship to James in a pleasant and comfortable state; she even enjoys the visual attention her husband gets from other women. It's Simon who strays first (no reason given) and can't get over it.

Now the looks from other women feel like a threat, not a complement. She desperately looks for evidence of his unfaithfulness to assuage her guilt and misses the ease that she felt before her infidelity.

This moody ballad with thundering toms (think "You're So Vain" and you've got the essentials) is also probably lyrical license. If Simon ever strayed on James Taylor during their marriage she hid it impressively well.

This song is pretty convincing evidence, though that she must have at least thought about it (Sample lyric: In times when my head was together about you I was an expert at silence").

2) Boys In The Trees

This soft, wistful little acoustic guitar-laden melody is an unsung gem. She's reminiscing about the summer home she grew up in at an age when she first became conscious of boys.

Her intense physical desire is all mixed together with confusion, uncertainty, guilt and a host of other emotions that overwhelm girls this age.

You can practically see the pubescent young Carly daydreaming out the window, fantasizing about this boy or that (Sample lyric: "Last night I slept in sheets the color of fire. Tonight I lie alone again and curse my own desires, sentenced first to burn and then to freeze").

3) De Bat (Fly In Me Face)

I just had to include this one. The goofy sense of humor Simon cultivated as a child is on full display here, tongue firmly planted in cheek. This song is pure slapstick.

In the same way that the Pink Panther's Inspector Clouseau was comically ambushed each time he came home by his assistant, Cato, Simon's home now features a bat who's taken up residence and who thinks it's fun to blind-side her when she's not looking. He's fast, he's devious and he's out to get her.

James Taylor himself provided the guitar in a Caribbean arrangement punctuated by a cast of background vocalists who not only sing but provide commentary as well.

Simon herself cracks up on the mike at one point, the engineer caught it and it made it to the final mix; God only knows what made her laugh. I challenge you to listen to this song without smiling (Sample lyric: "De bat he rat got wings. All the children know that. What I need to know from the lord is how you get de wings on the cat").

Now don't you wish you could write like that? I do. Sometimes I wish I were her trashcan; the songs Carly Simon throws out are probably better than what most of us mortals manage to produce on a good day.

If you like Carly Simon then you'll like a song inspired by the story of a young soldier who returned from Iraq. For a limited time only you can download that song for FREE by clicking HERE.

Download your free song at:

Article Source:,-Part-5:-Teenage-Boys-And-Laughing-Bats&id=7910839

Monday, August 5, 2013

Rock and Roll Fans Won’t Fade Away

by Tony Ward, University of Melbourne

Legendary British band The Rolling Stones have started themselves up for their 50th anniversary tour. Predictably, this has encouraged more replays on vinyl - I doubt it’s on iTunes yet - of that old refrain that ageing rockers should just shuffle off the stage.

Rock and pop music have always been a scene for youngsters. Even the most energetic older rockers can only look on in amazement at Pink’s acrobatics in her Truth About Love tour this year.

She has sold out 18 shows at Melbourne’s Rod Laver Arena - breaking her own record from her 2009 Funhouse tour of the most shows in one tour.

Another younger star, Justin Timberlake, has the record for the biggest single crowd at Rod Laver Arena of 16,183 in 2007.

The latest Australian Bureau of Statistic (ABS) stats on pop music audiences show that just under half the 5.3 million Australians attending pop music each year are aged 15-34.

That means 2.7 million pop music fans are 35 or older. Rod Laver Arena didn’t get to be the third highest grossing venue in the world in 2009 by just hosting the younger fans.

Within a few seats of Timberlake’s crowd number are two shows by veterans - heavy metal act Metallica in 2010 and Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band earlier this year.

There can be plenty of smirks for some older rockers. The two remaining Beatles have been singing about “when I’m 64” with nostalgia for some time now. And Who guitartist Pete Townshend’s “hope I die before I get old” now ranks with the best post-modern irony.

If the longevity of some rockers is impressive, the same goes for their fans. The ABS has been publishing these figures for twenty years now so we can track people since 1990. Overall attendances at popular music have grown strongly over this period.

We can follow particular groups. The older baby boomers, born between 1945 and 1954, were 15 to 25 year olds in 1970. They were the ones who saw the heyday of the first incarnation of the Rolling Stones, for example.

This group were aged 35 to 44 for the first ABS survey in 1990, and 700,000 of them went to pop music events. They averaged 50 in 2000, and 650,000 went along. In 2010, 600,000 people celebrated turning 60 by still rocking.

Not fade away, indeed

The next older cohort - born between 1935 and 1944 - were always less into rock ‘n roll. They were 25-34 in 1970 and in a time when the average age of marriage was 22, most were dealing with young kids rather than attending the live music scene.

Nonetheless, a reasonable 400,000 of this group turned out for popular music in 1990. That 400,000 kept their interest over the next ten years, with the same number - and, you suspect, mostly the same people - coming in 2000, when they were 60.

Numbers have dropped a little as they reach their 70s, but 236,000 of 65-74 year olds still attended popular music shows in 2010. Incidentally, that was slightly more than the 215,000 of the same age group who went to classical music in 2010.

The decline in numbers after age 65 might not just be a question of interest.

More than a few blogs have celebrated the Rolling Stones’ 50th anniversary by looking back at the 50 years of the band’s concert ticket prices. There’s been a massive escalation.

In the 1970s, you could see the Rolling Stones in various venues across the United States for a mere $10. In the late 1980s the price rose to $30. The tickets are now well into the $100s, and that sort of inflation isn’t included in adjustments to pensions for their diehard fans.

Tony Ward is a social economist and historian, a Fellow in History at the University of Melbourne, and also Director, Milbur Consulting. He has a particular interest in stats for cultural and sporting events. The most recent gig he went to was Mary Wilson (ex Supremes) at the Recital Centre.
The Conversation

This article was originally published at The Conversation. Read the original article.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

The Best Carly Simon Songs You've Been Missing Out On, Part 4: Servitude And Absentee Dads

by Garrett Sawyer

I promised more overlooked pearls in my last article. And here they are!

1) Slave

Between the infamous cover photo and songs like this one Simon's fifth album, "Playing Possum", didn't do as well as it ought to have, sales-wise. Co-written with Jacob Brackman this was easily the most infamous song.

On the surface it would seem that Simon was single-handedly undoing much of what the women's movement had achieved (comparing yourself to a slave is not something that would endear yourself to the women's liberation movement, especially when you do so as vividly as this).

Not only does Simon express utter self-debasement but sexual longing as well. You wouldn't be faulted if you came away with a first impression of a woman who was totally dependent, like the unfortunate women of earlier generations.

Yet Simon disputed that interpretation by pointing out in interviews that the song was meant to address unfinished issues that needed attention, i.e. that despite all that has been accomplished to strengthen women and their roles in the family and society Simon still had deeply entrenched feelings of dependency which cry out for redress.

To be fair to her she never said she liked feeling this way. Give it a listen with this in mind (Sample lyric: "The clock beside my pillow has ticked away the night, like a heartbeat mocking me until the light").

2) Half A Chance

This is another song co-written with Jacob Brackman. It's the leadoff song from the follow-up album to "Playing Possum", 1976's "Another Passenger". The lyrics aren't groundbreaking: a simple exhortation to stick with a relationship even though the going gets rough.

However, if I had to pick one song of Carly Simon's that wasn't a hit that should have been this would probably be the one. It's got "Top 10" written all over it (Sample lyric: "There's always times when your legs feel broken but you still don't drop out of the dance").

3) Fairweather Father

No matter how many times Simon told people how James Taylor was not a "fairweather father" (she even said so in the liner notes) few people believed her. You can hardly blame them.

Even Simon herself once said of James fathering skills "He's a great... appreciator." Not exactly the most ringing endorsement in the world you must admit.

To give credit the song was not completely autobiographical; by all accounts Simon was an exceptionally devoted mother to Sally and Ben so the verse about her abandoning father and baby only to be found in a "seedy Greek diner" is lyrical license.

For your interest the worst Carly ever did was spend the night in a hotel early in their marriage after a knock-down drag-out fight one evening in 1975 immediately after the last guest had left a birthday party she had thrown for him (Sample lyric: But the mother advertised as a bargain wife. She'd make things easy for the rest of his life").

You might not agree with my choices of unsung Carly Simon songs but you have to concede that the lady was churning music and lyrics out at a steady rate of impressive quality. Not bad for a "slave".

If you like Carly Simon then you'll like a song inspired by the story of a young soldier who returned from Iraq. For a limited time only you can download that song for FREE by clicking HERE. Download your free song at:

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The Best Carly Simon Songs You've Been Missing Out On, Part 3: Sibling Rivalry and Romantic Secrets

by Garrett Sawyer

Carly Simon's songs are one of the best deals around. Since when has someone ever had something refreshing to say about love? Or when has sibling envy been this infectious? Check out these examples:

1) We Have No Secrets

It might come as a bit of a surprise to you but the title song to Simon's blockbuster third album never made it to the charts. Pity. Songwriters have hacked the male-female relationship to death so it's pretty unlikely somebody would come up with a new angle to it.

Simon succeeded with this lavish number about being so intimate with someone that you know all their innermost thoughts ... then discovering that you preferred not knowing them.

Once the genie is out of the bottle you can't put him back in (Sample lyric: "In the name of honesty, in the name of what is fair you always answer my questions but they don't always answer my prayers").

2) Embrace Me, You Child

This haunting ballad captures the bittersweet relationship Simon had with her father. For the uninitiated Richard Simon was the Simon of Simon and Schuster publishing fame. He was a powerful, imposing man but not always the easiest to please.

And the stress of running one of the most successful publishing houses in American history eventually took its toll on his health, leading to an incapacitating heart attack then finally a fatal one.

The elder Simon had hoped for a son so after two daughters (Carly's older sisters) he was quietly disappointed to have another girl. Carly's sisters felt stable love from him but, sadly, Carly didn't. The unfinished business of their relationship came out here.

Initially she sees her father as strong, magical and all-powerful, just like God himself. Until he has his heart attack and dies, that is. Afterward their power fails and Carly is left with feelings of abandonment that she still grapples with.

The song itself is made all the more effective by the heavenly choir-like background vocals (Sample lyric: "Then one night Daddy died and went to Heaven and God came down to earth and slipped away").

3) Older Sister

This lighthearted romp is the flip side of her relationship with her father. Carly was good-naturedly jealous of her older sisters. Joanna, the eldest, became an opera singer. Lucy, the next eldest, wrote songs for the theater. Joanna was sophisticated, Lucy beautiful.

This left very little room for the gawky, awkward, lanky Carly except to be the family comedian, a role encouraged by her mother.

The envy she felt at the exciting, romantic lives she thought they were leading came pouring out in this jazzy, tongue-in-cheek song, backed by producer Richard Perry's baritone punctuation.

Jealousy simply never sounded this delicious (Sample lyric: "Their silver I.D.'s and sororities, they tinker with love in their Model T's. Oh Lord, won't you let me be her for just one day!").

This kind of almost brutally open candor in songwriting is rare, but not in Carly Simon's songs. What's even rare is being able to fuse this kind of honesty with a sense of humor. In my next article I'll continue showering you with unsung gems from her canon of work.

If you like Carly Simon then you'll like a song inspired by the story of a young soldier who returned from Iraq. For a limited time only you can download that song for FREE by clicking HERE. Download your free song at:

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Thursday, August 1, 2013

The Best Carly Simon Songs You've Been Missing Out On, Part 1: Birthday Parties And Reunions

by Garrett Sawyer

We all know the hits Carly Simon has had. But you'd be pleasantly surprised by all the gorgeous songs she's produced that never made the charts or received much airplay, if they got any at all. I've been listening to these songs for ages.

So here's my list of the best Carly Simon songs you probably never heard about.

1) The Best Thing

When Simon gets personal the results are so intimate you'd swear you were reading her secret diary. She wrote this song after seeing a picture of herself blowing the candles out at her own fifth birthday party.

In case you haven't seen the picture I can report to you that the five-year old Carly was one adorable little girl (although given her height and physique it's safe to say she didn't stay little for very long afterward).

The result was this tender little ballad from her first album where she reminisces about an affair, now lost, and juxtaposes it to her own innocent, early childhood, asking, "How was I to know it was the best thing to come along for a long time?"

2) Another Door

I include this on the list because even though it wasn't her most memorable lyrically it was musically one of her most underrated songs. Simon once told an interviewer that she likes to use unusual chord changes and she does so here in the introduction/refrain.

Actually, the lyrics aren't half bad, describing the futility of searching for answers to life and love only to find that each question answered inevitably leads to another unanswered question (Sample lyric: But all I find is that behind each new door is another door").

3) Reunions

Here's another song that could have come straight out of a diary, this one co-written with Eddie Kramer and Bill Mernit (who had once been a camper where Simon taught guitar).

This gentle tune captures the mood and feel of a heartwarming winter reunion among old friends: The girls are happily chatting; there's a crackling fire; people are sharing photographs, wine and memories.

But amongst the joy of seeing old friends again there's a quiet sorrow because someone special to the singer didn't come, someone the singer was looking forward to seeing. Her friends raise a toast to the absent friend but it's just not the same without him.

The song ends with friends tearfully parting, each one noting how all of them have changed (Sample lyric: First one in the city wearin' all those grass stained jeans. Nothing is forgotten, everyone is pleased).

4) The Love's Still Growing

Simon didn't write this one. It was written by Buzzy Linhart. I included this one for the same reason as above, because musically it was the kind of tune that lingers long after the song is over.

Folky in flavor and simple in statement this guitar laced ballad is highlighted by gorgeous harmony vocals on the refrain.

All of these were from Simon's first album, 1971's eponymously titled "Carly Simon", which yielded the familiar hit "That's The Way I've Always Heard It Should Be."

But you'd be cheating yourself if you listened to it and stopped there because the rest of the album contained pearls like the ones above.

If you like Carly Simon then you'll like a song inspired by the story of a young soldier who returned from Iraq. For a limited time only you can download that song for FREE by clicking HERE.

Download your free song at:

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The Best Carly Simon Songs You've Been Missing Out On, Part 2: Comical Dependency

by Garrett Sawyer

Start playing the album after "Anticipation". Play "No Secrets" and skip over "The Right Thing To Do" and "You're So Vain".

Just listen to the rest of the albums and you'll realize the truth in what I've been saying: the rest of Carly Simon's songs are just as good as the best of Carly Simon's songs.

1) Legend In Your Own Time

Is this a put-down or a lament? It's hard to know. Simon had written "Anticipation" for Cat Stevens, her beau at the time. This one was also written for Stevens but had other elements folded into it.

The title itself came from the headline of an article about the late Hank Williams being read by a man standing in front of Simon while she stood in line at the passport office, waiting to get a passport so she could go to London to make her next album.

Her mind began to wander to all the singer-songwriters she had been attracted to and the contrast between the love that was lavished upon them while onstage and the loneliness she imagined they felt after the show, alone at parties, bars and hotel rooms once the show is over (Sample lyric: "But a legend's only a lonely boy when he goes home alone").

2) The Girl You Think You See

Rarely is the candor about the desire to please on display as it is here, redeemed by Simon's quirky sense of humor as she describes in vivid, comic detail how far she would go to please her man.

In Simon's eyes it basically means a total loss of identity, assuming whatever role her boyfriend's pampered ego needs. If it weren't for the fact that you're not sure she's totally serious you'd feel genuinely sorry for a girl who's this desperate to cling to her man.

Kudos to Jacob Brackman, who co-wrote the song - you'd never know he had a hand in it (Sample lyric: "Whoever you want is exactly who I'm more than willing to be. I'll be insane, a mathematical brain, you Tarzan, me Jane to please you").

3) The Carter Family

This is the song from "No Secrets" that's sandwiched between the leadoff hit "The Right Thing To Do" and the blockbuster "You're So Vain".

Co-written with Jacob Brackman again, the moody fadeout to "The Carter Family" is the last thing you hear just before Klaus Voormann's immortal bass roll introduction to Simon's number one smash. In your desire to get to the latter you could be forgiven if you got impatient during the former.

But you'd be cheating yourself because this is a wonderfully revealing song about outgrowing people and relationships only to realize (and regret losing) what made them special in the first place (Sample lyric: "The Carter family lived next door for almost 14 years with Gwen and I inseparable from rag dolls through brassieres").

Now wasn't that pleasant? Next time you give these albums a spin in the old CD player you'll start at track number one and hit the "play" button instead of scrolling to one or two songs and then quitting.

If you like Carly Simon then you'll like a song inspired by the story of a young soldier who returned from Iraq. For a limited time only you can download that song for FREE by clicking HERE.

Download your free song at:

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