Posted by purplemary54 on January 4, 2017
One of the things I love most about music is that there is a never-ending treasure trove of incredible, wonderful songs to discover. While watching Jeopardy! today, I discovered this little gem from Husker Du. It might sound a little familiar to sitcom fans.
Yes, that’s the theme from The Mary Tyler Moore Show performed with fuzzy guitar and whipcrack drums by one of the darling bands of the post-Punk 80s. Husker Du, for all their rage and raging sound, could be surprisingly gentle and tender. This is one of the most optimistic songs ever about one of the most optimistic TV heroines ever, played by one of its most wholesomely appealing stars. But while Bob Mould and company manage to keep that optimism and wholesome appeal intact, they can’t help but add a slight edge of Lou Grant style curmudgeon. “You got spunk. I hate spunk.” There is absolutely nothing about this I don’t love.
Posted in Music, Punk | Tagged: husker du, mary tyler moore show, music, musicians, songs, tv themes, video | Leave a Comment »
Posted by purplemary54 on December 31, 2016
This hasn’t been much of a year for me. It’s been an unbelievably bad year in terms of politics and celebrity deaths. I’ve been sad for pretty significant portions of the year. I’m hoping for something else in 2017. And I think old Ludwig had the right idea on this one.
I wish for nothing but joy for everyone this year. I’m not holding my breath for it, because that would be childish and silly. But I wish it nonetheless. Joy and peace and happiness and love. Absolutely.
Posted in Music, Orchestral | Tagged: beethoven, happy new year, music, video | Leave a Comment »
Posted by purplemary54 on December 28, 2016
I don’t really have any words for this. Losing Carrie Fisher was hard on her fans, but I knew it was a million times harder for her family. And a little part of me knew that losing her would kill Debbie. I really fucking hate being right. They were so devoted to each other. When Eddie Fisher left her, Debbie Reynolds really made her life about Carrie and Todd. Yeah, she got married a couple more times (to real asshats), and she spent a great deal of their childhoods working away from them. But they were a complete little universe those three. I’m just so sad and sorry right now. I can’t imagine the grief Todd Fisher must be feeling, or Billie Lourd. (Gary the dog will be living with his human sister now, so I think he’ll be okay. After a while. Animals mourn, too, after all.)
So here’s a little bit of Debbie and Carrie singing and loving. The next plane of existence is a far more witty and sparkling place today.
Posted in Music, Obituaries | Tagged: carrie fisher, debbie reynolds, news, obituaries, video | Leave a Comment »
Posted by purplemary54 on December 25, 2016
I shouldn’t be posting this after so much wine, but goddammit, I’m just so tired.
George Michael has passed at 53, presumably from heart failure. Carrie Fisher had a massive heart attack at 60 just a couple days ago, although she is still hanging on (and will hopefully recover).
No one should die at Christmas. I know that there is a statistical increase in deaths this time of year, but my heart tells me that no one should die during a time of celebration. Logically, that would mean no one would ever die anywhere because there is always a celebration of something happening somewhere on the globe, but the heart wants what the heart wants. In this case, the heart wants no one to suffer or feel pain during a time of joy in my world. Self-centered maybe, but there it is.
I was never a Wham! fan, and had little patience for most of Michael’s solo work. I did like “Faith,” though. It was one of those perfect little Pop songs that burrowed into your consciousness and never let go. It is a relentlessly catchy song, with an irresistible hook. And Michael delivers it with the ease and charisma of a true Pop star (in spite of the fact that he used a butt double at the beginning of the video). I always thought his pussyfooting around his sexuality was kind of wimpy. (It took him a very long time to confirm the fact that he was homosexual, something everyone already knew–and no one is ever going to convince me that Wham! didn’t break up because he and Andrew Ridgely ended their affair. Facts be damned!) But he had style and popularity, and he could sing with the best of them.
It’s just been so bad that it’s hard to follow the dictum of George Michael’s song and have faith. There have been some small victories and minor miracles on the personal front in recent days. I have hope that there are better times, a light at the end of this really long dark tunnel, etc, etc. I do still have faith in the Universe. I try to be accepting of the pain that seems to be unending these days, because I know in my head that you cannot have yin without yang, dark without light, enlightenment without suffering. But my heart still says that all of this is wrong, that the balance of good and bad is desperately out of whack. Like the song says, I need a little time to pick my heart up off the floor.
Posted in Music, Obituaries, Pop | Tagged: george michael, music, news, obituaries, video | 1 Comment »
Posted by purplemary54 on December 18, 2016
I seem to only check in these days to commemorate the passing of a celebrity or other luminary. 2016’s been a really hard year. Beyond the cataclysmic political changes, my personal life has kind of gone to hell in a handbasket. With Mom’s illness (illnesses, if you count the last couple of weeks), I’ve just been barely keeping my head above water. A hard rain is indeed falling on me. It’s falling on a lot of people, but I’m having a tough time getting out of my own way enough to care.
Patti Smith’s performance of Dylan’s “A Hard Rain’s Gonna Fall” is something of an antidote to my personal storm, in spite of this song’s melancholy and ominous sense of doom. She is so breathtakingly human, so perfectly imperfect. Smith is that rare artist who means what she says. She is not putting on characters in the sense that she is masking herself from her audience; the personas she adopts for her music and poetry are all authentic reflections of the person she is. When she bothers to adopt a persona that is. Mostly, when Patti Smith says “I” she means herself. That kind of honesty and bravery is really beautiful and terrifying. And her fumbling of these lyrics–from a song she probably knew inside and out long before heading to Stockholm, a song by one of her greatest influences–is beautiful in its own way. She admits to her own fear and nervousness, something most artists would never do on any stage. But Smith remains as open about that as she is about pretty much everything. I don’t think most people know how to deal with that.
It’s one of the reasons I tend to retreat when I have problems of my own. I have a tendency to not want to bother people (something I know I got from my mother; the last couple of months have shown me that many of the qualities I find most upsetting in myself seem to have been inherited from her, either through nurture or nature). But my retreat is more than that. It’s also more than my feeling that my problems don’t amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world (quick. . . name that movie!). I know, deep down, that people really don’t know what to do with honest emotion and I am crap at hiding my emotions. I know I don’t know what to do with other people’s feelings. I always want to do something to help, to make them feel better, but I also know how fucking annoying I find it when people do the same thing to me. I don’t always want comfort; sometimes, I just want to feel. It’s hard to do that around other people without making them really uncomfortable.
So I’m gonna try to come out of my self-imposed exile. Music helps heal me, and I’ve been neglecting even listening to it lately. I don’t need advice or comfort, although I won’t stop anyone from offering it. Distraction is nice; waving shiny objects in front of me almost always helps me feel better, but it’s not obligatory. I just want to break out of my own tangled web of emotions. I’m still gonna feel them, I’m just gonna try not to hide it so much. I might melt down on y’all. I know I’m gonna say stupid stuff. And like Patti, I’m gonna fumble the lyrics occasionally. But I’m gonna own that, just like she did. If Patti Smith can be that open and generous and honest, then I can try it too.
Crap. I think I just made a New Year’s resolution.
Posted in Music, Rock, Singer-Songwriters | Tagged: life, music, nobel prize ceremony, patti smith, thoughts, video | Leave a Comment »
Posted by purplemary54 on December 8, 2016
Losing Greg Lake was a blow for the music world (now two-thirds of Emerson, Lake & Palmer live on another plane). But losing John Glenn was a blow for the entire world. I can’t speak of him any better than anyone else. He was just great. So I’ll let Elton John do the talking for me. So long, Rocket Man.
Posted in Music, Obituaries, Rock | Tagged: john glenn, music, news, obituaries | 1 Comment »
Posted by purplemary54 on November 13, 2016
I’ve been waiting for the other shoe to drop. Unfortunately, it seems to be raining Manolo Blahnik’s lately. What may go down as the crappiest year in history just got a hell of a lot crappier for me.
Leon Russell has left this world.
That might not mean much to a lot of you, but it breaks my already beat up heart into a million tiny little pieces. I love Leon Russell. He’s one of the oddest of the odd ducks in music, a musician’s musician, an influence and a mentor to so many others. He had a brief moment in the sun in the 70s, but he mostly toiled in semi-obscurity. He toured with Joe Cocker on the Mad Dogs & Englishmen tour. He helped organize the concert for Bangladesh. He wrote hits for so many others, and it’s a crying shame that not more people know who he is.
I’m crying, anyway.
Posted in Music, Obituaries, Rock, Singer-Songwriters | Tagged: leon russell, music, musicians, news, obituaries, video | Leave a Comment »
Posted by purplemary54 on November 10, 2016
Just when I thought things couldn’t get any worse, they do. In the middle of all the personal and political difficulty comes the news that Canadian poet, songwriter, and singer Leonard Cohen has left this plane at the age of 82.
He’s one of those cult figures, an acquired taste if you will. Cohen made the kind of music that other musicians listened to. He is best known in the United States for his very nearly perfect song “Hallelujah,” which was covered to perfection by the late great Jeff Buckley. (It’s also been covered by a lot of other people, so many that there’s a book about all the iterations of this one song. I’m also especially fond of k.d. lang’s version.)
He was a cynical romantic. He wanted to believe in all the fairy tales but experience taught him to know better. He was dark, but the way a smoke-filled bar is dark: there was always a neon light in the window selling beer and sputtering candles on the tables to light your way, after all. It seems weirdly appropriate that his voice is suddenly gone at a time when it was suddenly the truest voice in the room. We’ll just have to find our own way out of this crappy dive bar we’re suddenly living in.
Posted in Music, Obituaries, Singer-Songwriters | Tagged: artists, leonard cohen, music, news, obituaries, songs, video | Leave a Comment »
Posted by purplemary54 on November 4, 2016
I did not know this song existed until a few minutes ago when they played it on Sportscenter over footage of the Cubbies victory parade and rally. It is the only song that could celebrate this moment in history. This video is a few years old, although it was updated recently. I can’t wait for another update with this year’s Cubs team in it.
Being a Chicago Cubs fan has always been a special kind of agony. I say this as an outsider, for I do not generally enjoy baseball. But I have been on the Cubs’ bandwagon for several years now, rooting for their win because no one deserves to lose for as long as they have. And win they did in what was even to me a gloriously exciting game seven of the World Series. I’ve seen replays of the final out several times, and the emotion on third baseman Kris Bryant’s face as he threw that ball to first baseman Anthony Rizzo gets me every time. He knew what that moment meant. We all did. Miracles don’t happen all that often. It’s pretty great to actually watch one as it happens.
Posted in Music | Tagged: chicago cubs, eddie vedder, music, news, songs, video | Leave a Comment »
Posted by purplemary54 on October 24, 2016
I’ve spent an awful lot of time this year memorializing people in popular culture. I am really sick of it. There’s still a couple of months left in the year, and I’m kind of still waiting for the other shoe to drop; I’ve had this terrible feeling that as bad as it’s been for music and other arts, it’s just gonna get worse somehow. I really, really, really hope I’m wrong.
Sadly, I’m not wrong today. The news has come out that music has lost two very different sorts of Pop singers.
First up is Bobby Vee, who passed as a result of Alzheimer’s complications. Vee was a teen idol in the early 60s, when the music industry had, temporarily at least, managed to sanitize and contain Rock & Roll into safe, marketable, bland Pop stars. It didn’t take, thank goodness, but during this more gentle time in music history, Bobby Vee and his clean-cut ilk ruled the airwaves. His music isn’t to my taste, but that doesn’t mean it’s less entertaining than anything else. His music has a nice doc-wop quality that makes it quite listenable.
The other Pop singer we lost today is, visually and stylistically at least, on the opposite end of the spectrum. Dead or Alive had a big hit in the 80s with “You Spin Me Round (Like a Record),” and singer Pete Burns made the most of it. His flamboyant style was perfect for the big hair, big money, big gloss decade of my adolescence. This song happens to be a favorite of mine. Bouncy and dancey with just enough sex and menace to make people nervous.
Neither one of these performers was currently on the cultural radar, but then again, not much else is right now besides the election. But for their brief times on top, they both shone like stars.
Posted in Music, Pop | Tagged: artists, bobby vee, music, news, obituaries, pete burns, video | Leave a Comment »