The Baby Boomer Generation is a source for trends, research, comment and discussion of and by people born from 1946 - 1964.
Covering issues on the Boomer Generation including original content for Boomers, bulletin boards, user comments, Sixties and Seventies music, Baby Boomer culture, health and coverage of issues for "Aging Hipsters."
If you only think of Daryl Hall as the good looking one in the boomer-era duo, you haven't been keeping up. Check out his web show, Live From Daryl's House, where he hangs out with and plays with a wildly diverse collection of musicians--everyone from Smokey Robinson, Keb Mo and Todd Rundgren to a bunch of younger artists you might not have heard of. Great listening and watching!
The 2nd most recorded song in popular music history just turned 50. We know what you're guessing--something by Elvis? A Frank Sinatra ballad? You'd be wrong. We'll give you a hint: tall and tan and young and lovely...
According to an article in the New York Times, the Zappa Family Trust, which has regained control of Zappa's catalog will soon be releasing--both physically and digitally--his entire catalog--over 60 recordings. You can read more about it on the official Zappa website. I still wanna be a dental floss tycoon.
Yes, it's the 40th anniversary of the real Woodstock. Several sequels notwithstanding, the 3 days of peace and love was a defining event of a generation. What's interesting to me is how many people use Woodstock as a frame of reference:
"I was there and..."
"I was on the way there but..."
"I wasn't there but my (fill-in-the-blank) was...."
"Um...I think I was there..."
We would love to hear your Woodstock weekend stories--whether you were there or couldn't be there or didn't even want to be there. What were you doing the weekend of August 15-18, 1969?
We asked a few friends and here are some of things we've heard so far:
"How could I be there? I was so young I would've had to go with a babysitter."
"I was all ready to go, but my parents grounded me."
"Even then I wasn't so much about camping and stuff. How would I have dried my hair?"
"I was there..no, really, I was."
Personally, I was engrossed in the music scene in Newport, Rhode Island that summer. I stayed for a few months and went to the Newport Jazz and Folk Festivals. It required taking odd, odder and oddest jobs, copious amounts of drugs, occasional sleeping in parks or on floors, and some of the best music I had ever heard. Sadly, I was summoned (ordered) home in mid-August--August 15th to be exact.
In the NY Magazine Approval Matrix dedicated to Michael Jackson. there was a teeny blurb that caught me up: "The only one who could make white socks, black shoes, and highwater pants look cool."
Nyuh-uh. Consider two of the most important male dancers in American popular culture. Fred Astaire was known to wear soft loafers, white socks and black pants to focus attention on the steps. That also translates to the ubiquitous spats we see him pairing with tuxedos. Formal wear--same effect. Then of course, that other virile sexy male dancer--Gene Kelly. Although most often in khakis, he too went with the soft black shoes, light socks and shortened pants. He upped the sexiness ante by almost always wearing short sleeve shirts too.
Michael Jackson was a brilliant dancer, no doubt. But please let's not let our cultural references start in the '80s.
I found this on Shabby Pink Scrapper a site that doesn't have much to do with boomers. I know, I know, they're a little corny, but funny nonetheless. If you can think of more, send 'em along.
Baby Boomer Song Titles
It was fun being a baby boomer... until now. Some of the artists of the 60's are revising their hits with new lyrics to accommodate aging baby boomers:
Herman's Hermits --- Mrs. Brown, You've Got a Lovely Walker
Ringo Starr --- I Get By With a Little Help From Depends
The Bee Gees --- How Can You Mend a Broken Hip?
Bobby Darin --- Splish, Splash, I Was Havin' a Flash
Roberta Flack --- The First Time Ever I Forgot Your Face
Johnny Nash --- I Can't See Clearly Now!
Paul Simon --- Fifty Ways to Lose Your Liver
The Commodores --- Once, Twice, Three Times to the Bathroom
Marvin Gaye --- Heard It Through the Grape Nuts
Procol Harem --- A Whiter Shade of Hair
Leo Sayer--- You Make Me Feel Like Napping
The Temptations --- Papa's Got a Kidney Stone
Abba --- Denture Queen!
Tony Orlando --- Knock 3 Times On The Ceiling If You Hear Me Fall
Helen Reddy --- I Am Woman, Hear Me Snore!
Leslie Gore --- It's My Procedure, and I'll Cry If I Want To!
And my favorite: Willie Nelson --- On the Commode Again
Not long ago, we were interviewed for a New York Times article about AARP's attempt to become the hipster destination for music. We scoffed. But let's face it---there have been decades of new music since we last bought a Bruce Springsteen album. This article from the Seattle Times reviews some excellent sources on the web for discovering new music. I'm a huge fan of Pandora and have found some really interesting new artists by setting up channels of music I already liked. Try some of the other suggestions too--there's definitely life after 'Hotel California.'
As the writer points out, in this interview with Don Brewster of Grand Funk Railroad, oldies aren't old anymore---now they're 'classic rock.' Like our generation--we're not old, we're classic. So GFR is back on the concert trail. Catch them at a venue near you.
My music videos these days seem to all be confined to the 30 second variety - where lyrics and imagery from well-known songs of the Baby Boomer Generation seem to be pop(ping) up everywhere.
My all-time favorite was Janice singing for a Mercedes commercial - it didn't last long. Apparently someone higher up the age scale must have pointed out that the song wasn't exactly flattering to Benz.
Anyway - if you're like me and the song seems familiar, but you just can't place the name, fear not. The Promo Guy Dot Net has all the scoop. Like...
Rolling Stone Wants to be YourSpace: Will Boomers Care?
Does anyone under 25 still read Rolling Stone? I dunno, but I do know it was the bible of cool and current when I was a young whippersnapper. And it has some damn good writing. Now--jumping on a bandwagon that has already left the gazebo--they're planning a social network site. They plan to launch "a separate site that will be a social network for music fans, complete with profiles and the ability to have a say in their "Best of" lists." On a scale of 1-10, I give that idea a 3...not sure you can dance to it.
Anyone remember The Persuasions? I loved this group! We just received a note from Jerry Lawson, former lead singer of that a capella group, who's still making music and still forgoing instruments. He has a new group, Talk of the Town, but you'll recognize that silky, smoky gorgeous voice. Check him out on his myspace page.
And, if your old vinyl has become unplayable, you can find CDs of Persuasions' classics like We Came to Play here.
Awhile back, we received a press release about a nifty new site just made for aging hipsters, Classic Rock Central. Currently in beta, the site offers streaming radio, photos, interviews, and news. Granted, some of the news will be of interest only to die-hard classic rock fans, but who wouldn't want to read about David Lee Roth's hissy fit surrounding his Hall of Fame induction? The music not be suitable for cubicle-dwellers, but it certainly cranked up my work day.
Do Boomers Still Dig Rock & Roll Music? What's on Your iPod?
When, in preparation for his New York Times article about Boomers and music, Jeff Leeds interviewed me, I started thinking about the way I listen to music today as opposed to back in the day. For the most part I still listen to a lot of what I listened to then--Tom Waits, Bonnie Raitt, Steely Dan, Springsteen, the Allman Brothers, a bit of blues, a lot of Billie Holliday and Ella, a lot of jazz. I haven't bought a current CD by anybody, even old favorites, in the last few years. My last new discoveries were Delbert McClinton who's been around for at least 30 years and Eva Cassidy, who's dead.
If you listen to JET (the band) you get this warm, familiar feeling from some sort of primordial deja-vu. It seems every song starts with a variation of a familiar hook from a past musical life. But unlike cover bands, JET looks more like someone you don't recognize out of context - like seeing your boss in Wal-Mart.
On a rare "guys night out" trip last night to the Starland Ballroom in Sayerville, NJ, three aging hipsters spent an enjoyable evening with JET and their reassuring, yet unique sound.
Just a few thoughts from the three 50-something attendees: JET is a great live band - energetic and relentless "Man that was loud!" Lots of parent/kid combos in the crowd - maybe this goes on more than we realize since this is the first live concert we've been to in a loooooong time.
On the way home we were comparing lists of the bands we'd just heard. Sure, every Aussie band by birthright has to do a tribute to AC/DC and we sure heard that, but there were others, like the Stones, complete with a hand on hip imitation of Jagger. I know I heard the Beatles and one of us thought there was a Supremes theme buried in there somewhere.
Just for giggles we asked our resident 17-year-old if he knew about JET. His response - "yeah, they're just an AC/DC rip-off." I guess it's easy to shoehorn them into just about any category (replace AC/DC with the band of your choice) and discount them as just another cover band. But Jet has tapped into something and I hope they keep evolving their sound.
We all agreed bands like JET have a real commercial appeal to classic rock radio. Instead of playing the same old tired list, they can get some new music in and still play to the audience. Overall, it was a great evening and we look forward to future JET releases like we look forward to seeing a long lost friend - we've got a lot of catching up to do.
Rhino Entertainment released Robert Plant's comprehensive 9 Lives boxed set earlier this week and I'm sure a lot of you will be trampling each other to be the first. The boxed set features all nine of Plant's solo albums remastered and expanded with bonus tracks that include previously unreleased material. The collection also contains a DVD compilation of Plant's solo music videos along with a career-spanning interview and bonus footage.
I may one of the few whose teeth clench when I hear the opening riff of "Stairway to Heaven"--I became the anti-fan when Led Zeppelin appeared at the Newport Jazz Festival in 1969. 37 years later the only Zeppelin song I can stand is "Babe, I'm Gonna Leave You" and even that was recorded years earlier by Joan Baez.
But, living as I do in a houseful of Zeppelin fans and in the interest of the fair and open dissemination of news, thought you all might want to know. Plus, Rhino Records is well worth supporting.
I'm a huge Steely Dan fan. I even know where they got the name. So, I appreciated this story on a Billboard.com blog about the snarky duo's letter to Luke Wilson about brother Owen ripping off their Cousin Dupree character in his new movie.
By the way, if your appreciation for the band exceeds all reasonable limits (or you just like aging hipster bands), check out Stealin' Dan.
For those Pink Floyd fans out there (I am not one), here's an interesting article/review of David Gilmour's movie, The Guitar and Voice of Pink Floyd. The writer also references something I hadn't heard of, Big Screen Concerts,
which presents movies of big-ticket concerts at selected theaters. The site has a bit of the bouncer at the velvet rope feel, with almost no info on upcoming films, but the cool factor is hard to resist.
You've got this favorite song, it replays in your head - over and over. Yeah, you love it, but make it go away! Perhaps it's the melody, a particular beat or instrumental quality that implants itself in the music lobe of your brain - where it gets top billing.
Now, thanks to Pandora, you can not only hear your favorite song, but listen to an endless stream of other songs with similar qualities. For you Aging Hipsters out there who want to discover music (new and old) that puts you in a single groove, this is the place. It's your "personal DJ"
From the Pandora FAQ:
"Pandora is a music discovery service designed to help you find and enjoy music that you'll love. It's powered by the Music Genome Project, the most comprehensive analysis of music ever undertaken. Just tell us one of your favorite songs or artists and we'll launch a streaming station to explore that part of the music universe."
"We take your input (artists, songs) and feedback ("I like this", "I don't like this") and use the Music Genome Project to create stations that play songs that are musically similar to what you've told us. That's it; only the music counts. We don't care how popular the artist is, who's backing them, and we don't care which genre bin they usually belong in. Only the music matters."
They go too far. Just when I got used to hearing our music used as pseudo-symbolic themes, marketing everything from cars to box stores, along comes Fidelity Funds--who are shameless enough to use In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida, for Christ's sake, to convince us to hand over our money. At least the other brazen carpetbaggers pretend to try to tie the song into the product. The only thing the Iron Butterfly 'classic'evokes in me is an unpleasant acid flashback and an urge to wipe the drool from the corner of my mouth. Investments...stupid stoner song...what the hell dots are they trying to connect here? Unless it's those between companies who'll do anything to make a buck from Boomers and the advertising firms who'd sell their mothers to get the account. Oh wait..they sort of are selling their mothers.
We weren't the only ones shaking our collective Boomer heads - Karen Heller at Philly.com was wondering the same thing... "Utilizing "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida" to sell retirement services is absurd, ironic and self-referential, which makes sense because these are the hallmarks of the group Fidelity is trying to land as clients." Read Keller's entire article here >
And for those of you wondering what ever happened to Philip Kramer, the one-time bassist for Iron Butterfly... no he didn't discover faster-than-light space travel, his minivan was found at the bottom of a 200 foot ravine in 1999. Get the facts here >
It's not so much second childhoods many of us are after, it's more second hippie-hoods. Not that it's necessarily time to re-learn macrame, but maybe it's never too late to be a rock star. A friend sent us an article from the New York Times that's probably hitting a chord with aging hipsters and their loving groupies everywhere.
By the way, check out this ultimate Boomer band with a monomaniacal (albeit justified) attachment to Steely Dan.
A friend turned us on to this great internet radio, Wolfgang's Vault. ęThis is material from over 7,000 concerts that Bill Graham produced and recorded in his lifetime. Some incredible gems in rotation, not to mention pictures and memorabilia. Not only is it free, but you don't even have to give up registration info, like most 'free' music sites. Just click and listen. I swear I'm getting a contact high through my computer speakers.
First, they won the White House on a five-to-four vote
Ignoring the citizens, precluding the tote
But within two years they'd surely learned their big lesson:
Own vote counting companies, eliminate guessin'
They're Banana Republicans, leading the way
To the National Security US of A
They're bought and they're paid for, the companies say
That they'll keep them in office, and make us all pay.
If you want to see some great photographs of rock and roll icons as well as some faux icons, check out Bob Gruen's website. He has been described in the press as the rock photographer--don't miss his photos of Bob Dylan and of John Lennon. Unfortunately he doesn't sell photos online but if you live in New York, L.A., or New Orleans, you can find 'em there.
We're Never Too Old for Rock and Roll--as proven by all the aging hipsters out there making music and playing in bands. One sent us a song for your Boomer delectation. If you like it, you can check out more of Dugan and the Kendrick Road Kings.
We know there are a bunch of you old rockers out there. Let us hear about you too.
Looks like Japan appreciates its Boomers, especially when it comes to rock and roll. In fact, contests for Oyaji (old man) bands are bringing out hundreds of musicians and enthusiastic audiences. So, if your old man band isn't getting any respect here in the states, consider renewing your passport.
Forget the lottery or Publsher's Clearinghouse Sweepstakes, we at Baby Boomers have a great giveaway ---the newly released DVD of Roy Orbison's "Live From Australia." We have 5 copies of the DVD to give away courtesy of Big Honcho Media. Just tell us why you deserve the DVD and you could be one of the lucky ones. At a loss for words? Then send us a picture of you in your Roy Orbison sunglasses.
In this rarely seen concert held at the Festival Hall in Melbourne, Australia, in 1972, Roy Orbison takes the stage backed by an entire orchestra in addition to his own band. This dynamic performance is filled with his classic hits, great ballads and powerful rockers. See one of the top rock 'n' roll singers of all time at the top of his form in this historical must-see performance.
Get your entries in now--photo or prose. The giveaway lasts only until June 17th. We'll select what we think are the 5 best entries and send the winners "Live From Australia."
Songs include: Only the Lonely, Crying, Dream Baby, In Dreams, Mean Woman Blues, Too Soon to Know, Penny Arcade, Blue Bayou, Land of 1000 Dances,Bridge Over Troubled Water, Leah, Running Scared, Sweet Caroline, It's Over, Oh, Pretty Woman.
When I was 13, my parents gave me a Gibson guitar; it was red, orange and yellow and had a double pick-guard. What did I know? I was 13 and had never played a guitar in my life. Now, happily, according to an article in the New York Times, guitars have become the hottest and priciest of collectibles. Okay, my beat up old warped neck Gibson may not be the Gibson ES-335 that went for $847,500 at auction recently, but who knows--maybe it'll pay for a weekend in a Motel 6 somewhere.
The singer formerly known as Cat Stevens (as the Times article describes him) is on the Homeland Security watch list. Is it because of his name, his politics, or his music?
You might also want to check out the Cat Stevens website. I'm not sure if it's a music site or a testimonial to Islam. As for its terroristic leanings---I don't happen to have my secret decoder ring, so your guess is as good as mine.
Accusations on Detention of Ex-Singer
By MATTHEW L. WALD
Published: September 23, 2004
WASHINGTON, Sept. 22 - United Airlines and the Department of Homeland Security blamed each other Wednesday because a passenger, the singer formerly known as Cat Stevens, was allowed on a London-to-Washington flight on Tuesday even though his name is on a terrorism watch list.
The government ordered the plane to be diverted to Bangor, Me., where the passenger, now known as Yusuf Islam, was detained.
"Kill Your Idols" topples our music icons in critiques by contemporary music writers. We haven't read this, but we wish someone would.
Extra credit for a book review.
UPDATE: Reading the reviews at Amazon.com, we came across this:
Older rock critics NEVER liked The Best of the Doors, Dark Side of the Moon, Ram, and Sgt. Pepper's (or for that matter, most of 'em, Kick Out the Jams, which DeRogatis's hero Lester Bangs tried to kill on contact), so what's the point here? A slim pretense on which to hang a payday, but then, that's authorial style for ya. And by the way, if somebody can't hear what's great about Exile on Main Street and the Sex Pistols, they're the dope.--Dave Marsh"
Wait, is that the same Dave Marsh who used to write for "Rolling Stone"? Hmmm.
I notice it in my own kids--eventually they do step over from the dark side and realize how great our rock and roll was/is. Okay--I've learned from them too: one son has turned me on to Sublime and the other passed me a...dare I say it...rap song I actually love. But Bob Seger was right---rock and roll never forgets.
When the boys were younger I instituted a contest when we were listening to the car radio. A few notes of an old classic--rock or R&B or Motown--and I expected them to know who it was. I mean, what musically educated person does not recognize the opening bars of 'Respect?' I get a thrill when they borrow my old Dylan albums (note to parents: you may have to spring for a turntable for the kids) or when they argue about which Rolling Stone song could be considered definitive. And what parent doesn't feel a frisson when your kids look at you--if only for one moment--as if you might be cool?
This editorial from The Spectrum in Utah was a nice validation of our attachment to our music.
No, Roger Dean didn't do the albun cover for Pink Floyd's "The Wall," but many Baby Boomers will remember his memorable work for the band "Yes." Now his unique artwork is available as computer desktop wallpaper. I'm no longer the owner of a lonely heart now that Roger is in my face daily. Roger Dean: Computer Wallpaper
Like many of us of a certain age, Neil Young has found that re-inventing himself is almost a survival skill. Now he's turned his talents to multimedia and the internet. I came across the the following article, written by Ted Greenwald of Wired Magazine
The Reinvention of Neil Young, Part 6
The folk-country-grunge dinosaur is reborn (again) as an Internet-friendly, biodiesel-driven, multimedia machine.
By Ted Greenwald
Neil Young flips genres so often that his record company once sued him for failing to release "Neil Young music." He experimented with orchestral accompaniment in the '60s and techno in the '80s. But the folk-country-grunge rocker's latest project makes those early forays look like adolescent angst. The 58-year-old has transformed the songs on his latest album, Greendale, into an opera that plays in every medium but PowerPoint (so far): There's a CD and bonus DVD; a live concert tour, which boasts three stages filled with 30 lip-synching actors; a Web site that streams every song on the album; and finally, a movie opening in Los Angeles February 27. Taken together, they tell the Faulkneresque tale of a fictional rural California family, the Greens, who get caught up in a media frenzy. Given Young's penchant for simple statements, Greendale's scope may seem like overkill. But that might be just what it takes for an aging rocker to survive in the MP3 era.
Spanning an impressive fifteen days, The Savannah Music Festival brings nearly 100 world class musicians to the southeast March 21-April 4, 2004. Appealing to a wide range of music lovers, the festival will highlight a broad mix of musical genres to include Classical, Blues, Jazz, Opera, Gospel, Zydeco, Latin and Southern Alternative Music.
I bought this book for my teenage son several years ago, probably more to show him how hip a Baby Boomer I was than for his edification. Taking a look-through before I gave it to him, I realized it was too full of sex, drugs, and rock and roll for his tender sensibilities. But not for mine. Subtitled "A Backstage Pass to the Outrageous World of Rock 'n Roll," this may be one of the sleaziest, most scurrilous books I ever loved. Rock Confidential is a sordid and highly entertaining shuffle down memory's back alley.
The book is out of print but you may be able to find a used copy of Rock Confidential at Amazon.
Enlighten me, oh rock star:
"Getting old is a fascinating thing. The older you get, the older you want to get." Keith Richards
"Reporting I'm drunk is like saying there was a Tuesday last week." Grace Slick
Over thirty years ago, a Boomer friend wrote this adaptation of a Christmas favorite. No doubt feeling the effects of some illicit drug themselves, this tune is sung to the music of "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer".
In fact, it was so "catchy" I only heard it once and remembered it all these years. I guess the brain decides for itself what's important.
Randy The Red-Eyed Hippie"
Randy the red-eyed hippie
had some very glassy eyes
and if you ever saw him
you would be so surprised.
All of the other hippies
used to laugh and call him names
they wouldn't let poor Randy
smoke and toke in any of their games
Then one smoky party night
Randy freaked them out,
he showed up with ten whole pounds
and blew their minds right out
Now all the hippies love him
as they smoke and toke with glee
Randy the red-eyed hippie
pass the freakin' joint to me.
Every December I get a hankering for Christmas music--not the carols and religious music-- but the popular tunes through the years. It's a pretty odd hankering for a Jewish girl, but what can I say? Gimme Elvis singing Blue Christmas and I start looking for some mistletoe to stand under. And, in case you want to put your liberty and bank account at risk by downloading illegal music, there are some great ideas for customized holiday CDs. Herewith, a completely subjective list from Randy' Rodeo
Virgin Records is courting a re-marriage with Baby Boomers and "follow the money" seems to be an apt suggestion. Many retailers are trying to stop the bleeding and Virgin is leading the way with innovative displays designed to wrench every last dollar out of Boomers.
From The Arizona Republic: "This week, shoppers in the company's Virgin Megastore in San Francisco will find jars of English marmalade and Yellow Submarine lunch boxes alongside Beatles CDs, and jazz magazines next to Miles Davis tunes. Lucille Ball T-shirts and Cher memorabilia will appear in a new gay-lifestyle section, and scented bath oils and self-help books will be packaged with music for yoga enthusiasts."
"Twist & Shout, with its eclectic mix of products ranging from retro candy and Jimi Hendrix T-shirts to Bart Simpson characters and irreverent bumper stickers, has done for the past 16 years what Virgin is attempting to do."
"The baby boomers are the ones who made rock and roll a phenomenon in the first place," he said. "A lot of other places forgot that, and now they're having to work extra hard to repair the damage."
Damage? I've already got all the music I care about. I suppose the only thing left is to peddle t-shirts and lunchboxes. Hey music industry, how about some new music for the people (read Baby Boomers) who actually BUY music.
UPDATE: Here's a rather cutting review of of what to give your "Aging Hipster" this holiday season:
"...disenfranchised citizens of the post-Woodstock Nation grow conspicuously fat and bald, please forgive them for failing to move on. Surely, somebody realizes that graying boomers comprise a significant demographic, because on this Yuletide, enterprising retailers have unveiled a provocative line of gifts aimed at 40- and 50-somethings who cut their musical teeth on lots of Hendrix and perhaps a bit of herb. Or was it a little Hendrix and lots of herb?!"
And if that wasn't enough to get you singing an old familiar tune, Amazon has jumped into the fray with their own list of Baby Boomer favs: Amazon Listmania. But frankly, "All On A Wintry Night: A Judy Collins Christmas" scares the living hell out of me.
We don't make it a habit of announcing Boomer passings, but this one deserves some ink. Warren Zevon died last week of inoperable cancer. In a letter to friends, Miami Herald columnist Carl Hiaasen writes about his close friend.
"Remaining welded to his chair, he sat motionless, staring at the stage. I was almost ready to summon a "CSI" squad until I noticed that his hands actually moved a few times to clap. Yes, he was breathing, but he definitely was not alive. At least not in the Springsteen sense of the word."
Chuck Barney of the Contra Costa Times describes the living dead at a Springsteen concert.
"Much has been made of how baby boomers are flocking to live concerts these days, helping to keep afloat their old-time faves such as the Rolling Stones, Fleetwood Mac and others. The sad truth, though, is that many of these boomers have forgotten how to rock."
He may be right! Read the entire article and feel the shame. The Undead
Have you seen the undead? Tell us about it. Add your experience to the comments below.
Most Baby Boomers either loved it or hated it. Whichever, In-a-Gadda-da-Vida occupied (and still does on Flashback Lane) a unique place in rockology. Maybe I knew what the song was about at some hazy point in time, but these days I had to go to the web to look for answers. I found the following on the Phrasefinder bulletin boards. (By the way a great site when you have to know what...well...in a gadda da vida means.)
"As I remember, the phrase means,
In The Garden of Eden
Don't you know that I love you
He wrote it In A Gadda Da Vida because it was easier to sing, and it allowed him to be covertly religious, rather than overt about it. A lot of Rock and Role has obscure religious overtones. REM has the song, "Losing My Religion" which
gives an obscure but obvious religious message. "Stairway To Heaven" does the same thing.
In A Gadda Da Vida allowed Iron Butterfly to talk about the perfected paradise where they would meet the most beautiful woman in creation, but they would also have no moral or ethical responsibility to live a good and holy life."
Erik Braunn, Iron Butterfly Guitarist, Dies at 52
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
LOS ANGELES, July 29 - Erik Braunn, the Iron Butterfly guitarist who played one of rock's most recognizable riffs in the 17-minute anthem "In-a-Gadda-da-Vida," died here on Friday. He was 52.
The cause was cardiac arrest, his family said.
Mr. Braunn, who was born in Pekin, Ill., and raised in Los Angeles, was a violin prodigy who began his musical career at 4. He joined the heavy-metal band Iron Butterfly when he was 16 and toured with it from 1967 to 1969, when the group was enjoying its greatest success.
You aging hipsters out there might remember Glass Harp, the 70's cult band featuring guitarist Phil Keaggy. Get ready to dust off the vinyl because they're back with a fresh studio album and a new distribution channel. Original tracks are one thing, but when independent artists use the power of the Internet to bypass the traditional record company marketing machine, it's significant.
According to Eric Olsen of www.blogcritics.org "One of the most important, celebrated cult bands of the '70s, Glass Harp, has reunited for its first studio album in 30 years. Hourglass, to be released in August, is 16 brand-new songs convincingly updating a timeless sound.
A classic power trio and one of the original jam bands, Glass Harp is world-renowned guitarist Phil Keaggy, bassist Daniel Pecchio, and drummer John Sferra. All members sing and write, crafting a unique sound equal parts Cream, CSNY, Allman Brothers, James Gang, and Traffic with the talent and chops to transcend the comparisons and a profound spirituality to nourish the soul."
www.blogcritics.org has some MP3 samples and exclusive electronic rights to the first four songs of the new album. Buy them here for $3 and in the bargain, support indy music.
It sure ain't Woodstock. According to this article on the Canada.com website, baby boomers still love a rock concert--except now we want comfort, reserved seats, and polished performances. Not only that, seems boomers flock to concerts by dusty old groups like the Guess Who, who are apparently making more money in concert than they did decades ago.
Maybe that's only Canadians. Some of us have actually stood in the rain to rock out to the Allman Brothers or waited on line for tickets to a local blues festival. Of course, a reserved patch of weeds close to the front would've helped.
Country Music: Is It Rock & Roll Or Just Travis Tritt?
So here we are, rock 'n rollers from way back. Aren't we the
generation that listened to 6 hour Grateful Dead jams,
,earsplitting Led Zeppelin, subversive Rolling Stones? Weren't
ours the record collections that were so psychedelic you
couldn't even read the lettering on the covers? One of us is not
even ashamed to admit she waited for 48 hours on a cold city
sidewalk for Rolling Stones Tickets. Why then, have so many of
us turned in our Frye boots for cowboy boots? Why are we
two-stepping instead of toking? Why, as Alan Jackson put it
have Boomers "gone country?"
There are many theories about country music's popularity. For
one, country isn't quite as...well, country as it used to be.
There probably isn't one song on the country charts that has
lyrics about freight trains, prison, or dead dogs. (Note-pickup
trucks seem to have replaced trains as the vehicles of choice.)
And, as some purists note, not many country performers today
have the absolute vibrant purity of a Kitty Wells or Patsy Cline
or the sheer originality of Hank Williams.
Country (or modern country as it is now called) is nothing like
what you remember form the 60's and 70's. Were not talking about
Porter Waggoner or Conway Twitty. Today's country features
artists raised when Rock & Roll was king of the airwaves. To
some extent, they bring a fresh new approach to country, one
based in the history of American folk music and influenced by a
generation of rockers.
Also, the lines have blurred between country and rock.We had a
taste of what was to come with the popularity of bands like
Charlie Daniels, The Allman Brothers and The Marshall Tucker
Band. The term "Southern Rock" was an attempt to label these
bands as something other than country, but it gave rise to a
revolution in country music. A rocking country singer like
Travis Tritt is not so far removed from country rockers like
Lynard Skynard. The ballads of "California
rockers" like the Eagles and Poco are pure country. Sing
"Desperado" with a twang and you have country.
Another interesting theory would have it that we boomers,
hitting middle-age, are so depressed , self-absorbed, and
downright whiny, that the only music that suits us is good ole
cry-in-your-beer-tear-your-heart-out country. After all, a
generation that made Carole King and James Taylor stars is a
natural for the rampant emotionality of country music .
Admittedly, there isn't much exciting on the Boomer radio dial.
It seems all those lyrical, melodic tunes of the 60's and 70's
never grew into anything meaningful enough to recognize. And
rock- and -roll as we knew it has morphed into that headbanger
stuff our teenagers listen to. In the faceless world of "Rock &
Roll," the few significant artists are easy to pick out of an
undefined wasteland where the musical icons of our generation
remain simply to attract an older audience.
It would appear that even the recording industry recognizes the
wilderness they have created. Go into any music retailer today;
a huge amount of their business is devoted to converting vinyl
into digital. The thousands of boomer titles now available on CD
are overshadowing the apparent lack of excitement in the
industry and propping up sales figures. It's not surprising
then, that Country has gained a following among musically
So, if country music is your thang, you're not alone. And if you
haven't tried it yet, pour yourself a beer, adjust that radio
dial, and prepare to be hooked. .. or not.
For those of you who doubt the enormous popularity of disco
music , herewith a list of the biggest selling singles of the
Seventies. In a classic example of revisionist history, we may
all deny having liked the stuff, but the numbers prove we bought
it. Apparently, disco music is as durable as the polyester from
which our John Travolta suits were made--which may in fact,
explain his comeback! Check out the
A Selection from the Thirty Biggest-Selling Singles of the
Time was, most of all knew all the words to this song. Or, many of us knew most of the words, or lots of us knew at least a few of the words. One line of this song became particularly famous when it was taken by the radical underground, the Weathermen, who agreed with Dylan that "you don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows." In our opinion, this was a great song on an album of great songs, Bringing It All Back Home, recorded in 1965.
Click on the dropdown above to view the lyrics
For those of you who want MORE Dylan, check out bobdylan.com
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. We Came, We Saw, Our Feet Hurt
OK--first imagine this. You're off to a day at a museum. You approach an imposing angled and jutting glass building-You cross a stone esplanade flanked by the usual plantings, the usual signage, the usual strategically placed stone seating areas. -could be any civic building in any medium size American city. And then, yikes!! Blasting from speakers placed around the plaza is...wait, could it be? Marvin Gaye and Tammy Terrell singing "Ain't No Mountain High Enough?!" Talk about your cognitive dissonance. You have arrived at the Rock and Roll Museum and Hall of Fame. The second clue that this isn't your mother's museum outing may be the crowd--everyone looks like someone you might have gone to college with. Everyone is in jeans. Some have brought their children to make the pilgrimage. Right from the door, we expected great things. Perhaps our expectations were too high.
At first glance, I.M. Pei's building is impressive. From the lobby, it soars through five stories of glass, steel, cantilevered escalators, and views of Lake Erie and Cleveland's less-than-inspiring skyline. The entrance level generates excitement. This is gonna be big fun--a whole museum dedicated to rock and roll. It's a wonder that the place exists at all. The first exhibit, however, is in what can only be called the basement. From a central open area, the crowd is funneled through dark tunnel-like hallways flanked with hanging exhibits in no particular order. Each mini-exhibit is behind glass and mixes silly mannequin figures with genuinely interesting stuff like guitars, original sheet music, play lists. The combo platter of the sublime and ridiculous has some high points--Bo Diddly's homemade box guitar, John Lennon's school report card, the Rolling Stones food and drink order on tour, songs later to become hits scrawled on scraps of paper, for instance. We do hope that the collection of Michael Jackson mannequins as he slowly turned into Diana Ross was there more for comic relief.
Don't get us wrong--if this had been the hors d'oeuvre tray, it would've been an excellent overview. We searched in vain and through five floors for the main course. There wasn't one. There were excellent photographs of performers, interesting videos of Hall of Fame induction ceremonies, some kind of interesting album art, a radio studio broadcasting live, and not much else. Granted, we were there while several sections of the museum were closed while they install their very first in-depth temporary exhibit, a look at the 60's Psychedelic Years. Optimisitc fans can only hope there will be many more in-depth exhibits to come.
The Hall of Fame itself is on the sixth floor, which is reached by climbing a spiral staircase into a dark rotunda. A dark hushed rotunda. Built into the walls are monitors showing still photographs and signatures of the inductees, along with brief quotes about them. Period. No artifacts, no audio, no video. In fact, it looked more like a memorial to dead minor politicians than a celebration of that most subversive of musical forms. One has to wonder,"What were they thinking?!"
In fact, the whole museum leads to that question. It seems the curatorial philosophy of the place is to treat rock and roll as a serious museum subject, no different than, say, the postage stamp museum. It could work if there were in-depth exhibits, room to roam, some sort of chronology, and the chance to learn something one didn't actually know before. Part of the problem for those of us of a certain age is that we remember this stuff--we're too close to it. There isn't enough scholarship to teach us something new or enough fun to make it a giant group flashback. It would be interesting to hear reactions from people who somehow either slept through the last three decades or are too young to remember them.
If you're planning a pilgrimage despite our lukewarm review, be sure to check out the museum's web site .
In fact, if you're not planning a pilgrimage, go to the web site anyway--in many ways it's easier to navigate and more comprehensive than the museum itself.