Monday, December 31, 2012

hello, goodbye

The Beatles addressed the duality of man with this profoundly bouncey pop nugget. Though credited to both Lennon and McCartney, 'Hello, Goodbye' was written solely by McCartney. Brian Epstein's assistant Alistair Taylor played a pivotal role in the composition of the song: "I always say that it should be by Lennon/McCartney/Taylor. I always make a big joke of it. Because the original idea came from a semi-drunken night up at Cavendish Avenue. Paul and I were larking about on a little harmonium. He was saying come on Al anyone could write a song and I said if they could there would be a million Lennon & McCartneys. But we pumped some air into this harmonium and he said you hit that end and I'll hit this end and let's get a rythmn going. Then he said I'll shout out a word and you shout out the opposite. Black - White, Come - Go. A few weeks later he gave me a white acetate and said there you go that's the new single. It was a number one - 'Hello Goodbye'. So thanks buddy. He won't even speak to me now ... I wonder whether Paul really made up that song as he went along or whether it was running through his head already."

McCartney remembers: "'Hello Goodbye' was one of my songs. There are Geminian influences here I think-- the twins. It's such a deep theme of the universe, duality-- man woman, black white, high low, right wrong, up down, hello goodbye-- that it was a very easy song to write. It's just a song of duality, with me advocating the more positive. You say goodbye, I say hello. You say stop, I say go. I was advocating the more positive side of the duality, and I still do to this day."

The Beatles recorded it during October of 1967. The sessions were produced by George Martin and engineered by Ken Scott with Paul McCartney on lead vocal, bass, piano, bongos, and congas; John Lennon on backing vocal and Hammond organ; George Harrison on backing vocal and lead guitar; Ringo Starr on backing vocal, drums, maracas, and tambourine; with Kenneth Essex and Leo Birnbaum on viola.

'Hello, Goodbye' was released the same week as their album 'Magical Mystery Tour' in late November and was included on the US version of the album. It didn't appear on an album in the UK until 1973; but has appeared on subsequent releases of 'Magical Mystery Tour'.

Lennon dismissed the song as "three minutes of contradictions and meaningless juxtapositions ... That's another McCartney. An attempt to write a single. It wasn't a great piece. The best bit was at the end, which we all ad-libbed in the studio, where I played the piano. Like 'Ticket To Ride,' where we just threw something in at the end."

McCartney says: "I remember the end bit where there's the pause and it goes 'Heba, heba hello'. We had those words and we had this whole thing recorded but it didn't sound quite right, and I remember asking Geoff Emerick if we could really whack up the echo on the tom-toms. And we put this echo full up on the tom-toms and it just came alive."

'Hello, Goodbye' was a number one smash around the globe; their fifth in Spain, sixth in Germany, eighth in Denmark, tenth in Ireland, thirteenth in the Netherlands and Norway, fourteenth in Sweden, fifteenth in the UK and the US, nineteeth in Australia, and their twenty-first number one in Canada. In the UK, it spent seven weeks at the top of the charts, making it one of their biggest hits there.

The Beatles made promotional films for 'Hello, Goodbye' featuring them wearing their outfits from 'Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band' on November 10, 1967 at the Saville Theatre in London. The BBC refused to air them because of strict rules against lip synching in the British Musicians Union. One of the films appeared on 'The Ed Sullivan Show' on November 26, 1967.

You say yes, 
I say no.
You say stop 
And I say go go go, 
Oh no.
You say goodbye 
And I say hello
Hello hello
I don't know why you say goodbye, 
I say hello
Hello hello
I don't know why you say goodbye, 
I say hello

I say high, 
You say low
You say why 
And I say I don't know, 
Oh no
You say goodbye and I say hello
(Hello Goodbye Hello Goodbye) 
Hello hello
(Hello Goodbye) 
I don't know why you say goodbye, 
I say hello
(Hello Goodbye Hello Goodbye) 
Hello hello
(Hello Goodbye) 
I don't know why you say goodbye
(Hello Goodbye) I say hello

Why why why why why why 
Do you say goodbye goodbye, 
Oh no?

You say goodbye 
And I say hello
Hello hello
I don't know why you say goodbye, 
I say hello
Hello hello
I don't know why you say goodbye, 
I say hello

You say yes 
(I say "yes") 
I say no 
(but I may mean no.)
You say stop 
(I can stay) 
And I say go go go 
(till it's time to go ), 
Oh no no
You say goodbye and I say hello
Hello hello
I don't know why you say goodbye, 
I say hello
Hello hello
I don't know why you say goodbye, 
I say hello
Hello hello
I don't know why you say goodbye, 
I say hello hello

Hela heba helloa
Hela heba helloa Cha Cha Cha
Hela heba helloa Whooo
Hela heba helloa Hela
Hela heba helloa Cha Cha Cha
Hela heba helloa Whooo
Hela heba helloa Cha Cha
Hela heba helloa

Lennon would exclaim in disgust: "'I Am the Walrus' was the B side to 'Hello, Goodbye,'! Can you believe it?"

I am he
As you are he
As you are me
And we are all together

See how they run
Like pigs from a gun
See how they fly
I'm crying

Sitting on a cornflake
Waiting for the van to come
Corporation tee shirt
Stupid bloody Tuesday
Man, you been a naughty boy
You let your face grow long

I am the eggman (Ooh)
They are the eggmen, (Ooh)
I am the walrus
Goo goo g' joob

Mister city p'liceman sitting pretty
Little p'licemen in a row
See how they fly
Like Lucy in the sky
See how they run
I'm crying
I'm crying, I'm crying, I'm crying

Yellow matter custard
Dripping from a dead dog's eye
Crabalocker fishwife pornographic priestess
Boy you been a naughty girl
You let your knickers down

I am the eggman (Ooh)
They are the eggmen (Ooh)
I am the walrus
Goo goo g' joob

Sitting in an English
Garden waiting for the sun
If the sun don't come
You get a tan from standing in the English rain

I am the eggman
They are the eggmen
I am the walrus
Goo goo g' joob g' goo goo g' joob

Expert texpert choking smokers
Don't you think the joker laughs at you?
See how they smile
Like pigs in a sty, see how they snied
I'm crying

Semolina pilchards
Climbing up the Eiffel Tower
Element'ry penguin singing Hare Krishna
Man, you should have seen them kicking Edgar Allan Poe

I am the eggman (Ooh)
They are the eggmen (Ooh)
I am the walrus
Goo goo g' joob
Goo goo g' joob
G' goo goo g' joob
Goo goo g' joob, goo goo g' goo g' goo goo g' joob joob
Joob joob...

Sunday, December 30, 2012


Eric Clapton kicked them blues with the laid back boogie and country shuffle of this assured return to form.  'Slowhand' was produced and engineered by Glyn Johns at Olympic Studios in London with Clapton on lead vocals and guitar; Carl Radle on bass guitar; Mel Collins on saxophone; George Terry on guitar; Jamie Oldaker on drums and percussion; Dick Sims on keyboards; and Marcy Levy and Yvonne Elliman on harmony and backing vocals.  Johns pushed the band and would record with them playing live in the studio.  

The title was a nickname given to Clapton in his days with the Yardbirds.  Clapton says:   “My nickname of 'Slowhand' came from Giorgio Gomelsky. He coined it as a good pun. He kept saying I was a fast player, so he put together the slow handclap phrase into 'Slowhand' as a play on words ... On my guitar I used light-gauge guitar strings, with a very thin first string, which made it easier to bend the notes, and it was not uncommon during the most frenetic bits of playing for me to break at least one string. During the pause while I was changing my string, the frenzied audience would often break into a slow handclap, inspiring Giorgio to dream up the nickname of 'Slowhand' Clapton ... It’s got a nice affectionate ring to it… And of course The Pointer Sisters made that great record – ‘Slow Hand’ – which makes it quite clear that a man with a slow hand is someone to actually go after. So it suits me down to the ground.”

'Slowhand'  went to number forty-six in Australia, forty-one in Sweden, thirty-five in Japan, thirty-two in New Zealand, twenty-three in the UK, seventeen in the Netherlands, thirteen in France, five in Norway, and spent five weeks at number two in the US.  It has been certified gold in Switzerland and the UK and triple platinum in the US, making it his biggest album of the seventies.

Clapton says: "I think - when I asked him about this, it's -- he doesn't - he's never really given me a straight answer about, J.J., about whether it's pro or -- whether it's for or against. I think his way of -- his way of writing songs, as far as I can see, which makes -- which I think is a unique thing -- is he writes just observations. That's just an observational song."

If you want to hang out, 
You've gotta take her out
If you want to get down, 
Get down on the ground
She don't lie,
She don't lie, 
She don't lie,
If you got that lose, 
You want to kick them blues
When your day is done, 
And you want to ride on
She don't lie, 
She don't lie,
She don't lie,
If your day is gone, 
And you want to ride on
Don't forget this fact: 
You can't get it back
She don't lie,
She don't lie,
She don't lie,

"Wonderful Tonight" would open Clapton up to a whole new audience, charting at twenty-six in New Zealand, sixteen in the US, fifteen in Canada, and number two in the Netherlands.  "Every now and then you fall in love again, albeit with the same woman, just one night for some reason - something she's said or how she's approached the situation and bang! you're in love again and it's such a strong feeling you can't do anything else but write it down."  

It's late in the evening; 
She's wondering what clothes to wear.
She'll put on her make-up 
And brushes her long blonde hair.
And then she asks me, 
"Do I look all right?"
And I say, "Yes, 
You look wonderful tonight."
We go to a party 
And everyone turns to see
This beautiful lady 
That's walking around with me.
And then she asks me, 
"Do you feel all right?"
And I say, "Yes, 
I feel wonderful tonight."
I feel wonderful because I see
The love light in your eyes.
And the wonder of it all
Is that you just don't realize 
How much I love you.
It's time to go home now 
And I've got an aching head,
So I give her the car keys 
And she helps me to bed.
And then I tell her, 
As I turn out the light,
I say, "My darling, 
You were wonderful tonight.
Oh my darling, 
You were wonderful tonight."

"Lay Down Sally" gave Clapton his biggest hit since 'I Shot the Sheriff', going to fifty-seven in Australia, thirty-nine in the UK, sixteen in New Zealand, and number three in Canada and the US.  It was conceived as a tribute to J.J. Cale. 

There is nothing that is wrong
In wanting you to stay here with me.
I know you've got somewhere to go,
But won't you make yourself at home and stay with me?
And don't you ever leave.
Lay down, Sally, and rest you in my arms.
Don't you think you want someone to talk to?
Lay down, Sally, no need to leave so soon.
I've been trying all night long just to talk to you.
The sun ain't nearly on the rise
And we still got the moon and stars above.
Underneath the velvet skies,
Love is all that matters. Won't you stay with me?
And don't you ever leave.
Lay down, Sally, and rest you in my arms.
Don't you think you want someone to talk to?
Lay down, Sally, no need to leave so soon.
I've been trying all night long just to talk to you.
I long to see the morning light
Coloring your face so dreamily.
So don't you go and say goodbye,
You can lay your worries down and stay with me.
And don't you ever leave.
Lay down, Sally, and rest you in my arms.
Don't you think you want someone to talk to?
Lay down, Sally, no need to leave so soon.
I've been trying all night long just to talk to you. 

"The Core"

Every morning when I wake
A feeling soon begins to overtake me
Ringing in my ears resounds
through my brain; it finally surrounds me
There is fire, there is life
There is passion, fever and fury
There is love and there is hate
There is longing, anger and worry
Oh, I am a flame
Feel it touch my heart
And down at my core is the hottest part
I can run without fear

full album:

Side one
1. "Cocaine"   J.J. Cale 3:38
2. "Wonderful Tonight"   Eric Clapton 3:44
3. "Lay Down Sally"   Eric Clapton · George Terry · Marcy Levy 3:56
4. "Next Time You See Her"   Eric Clapton 4:01
5. "We're All the Way"   Don Williams 2:32
Side two
1. "The Core"   Eric Clapton · Marcy Levy 8:45
2. "May You Never"   John Martyn 3:01
3. "Mean Old Frisco"   Arthur Crudup 4:42
4. "Peaches and Diesel"   Eric Clapton · Albhy Galuten 4:46

Saturday, December 29, 2012

the entertainer

Scott Joplin had his most enduring success with this classic ragtime two step.  Joplin had taught himself to play piano as a young child at a house where his mother worked.  A German music teacher Julius Weiss recognized his talent and taught him classical music.  By his early twenties, he was playing in various travelling musical groups.  He also took music classes at George R. Smith College in Sedalia, Missouri.  After some problems with getting his work published, he contacted a lawyer Robert Higdon who helped him write a contract with Sedalia music store owner and publisher John Stark.  The deal included a one cent royalty on every copy sold.  His first Stark publication was his 'Maple Leaf Rag' in 1899. 

After some success, Joplin moved to St. Louis in 1901.  He met Tom Turpin who owned a saloon and had published his own rags; but Joplin preferred teaching and composition to performing.  On December 29, 1902, he published his most famous piece, 'The Entertainer', which he dedicated to James Brown and his Mandolin Club.  The song was an immediate hit and secured his place as one of the great ragtime composers.  Joplin said that he called the music ragtime "because it has such a ragged movement. It suggests something like that".

Joplin would claim: "When I'm dead twenty-five years, people are going to begin to recognize me."  It was actually fifty-seven years later that his music had a popular resurgence when it was included as part of the Oscar-winning soundtrack for the film 'The Sting'.  The score included six rags by Joplin that were adapted by Marvin Hamlisch.  The soundtrack went to number three on the pop album chart and number one on the easy listening chart in 1974.   'The Entertainer' has been ranked at number ten on the Songs of the Century list by the Recording Industry Association of America. 

Joplin considered that “syncopations are no indication of light or trashy music, and to shy bricks at 'hateful ragtime' no longer passes for musical culture.”

Friday, December 28, 2012


Joseph-Maurice Ravel

(March 7, 1875 – December 28, 1937)

This celebrated French composer was expelled from the Conservatoire de Paris because he refused to follow their compositional guidelines.  Joseph-Maurice Ravel was born in the Basque town of Ciboure, France.  His father was a Swiss inventor and his Basque-Spanish mother used to sing folk songs to him as a child.  When he was six, Ravel began taking piano lessons once the family relocated to Paris. At fourteen he entered the Paris Conservatory for piano; but switched to compositional studies.  He tried for several years to win the prestigious Prix de Rome; but would not follow the rules.  Even though his music was already being published and performed, the Conservatoire forced him to leave. After that scandal, Ravel joined a group of radical composers known as Les Apaches.  During the First World War he wanted to enlist but was turned down for physical reasons.  Ravel became friends Claude Debussy; but due to conflicts between their fans, they kept their meetings secret. After the death of Debussy in 1918, Ravel became the leading composer in France and was offered the Légion d’honneur, which he refused.   In 1928, he did a highly successful tour of America and met George Gershwin.  That same year he composed the celebrated and controversial 'Boléro', which he dismissed as trivial.  In 1932, he suffered brain trauma in a taxi accident; which didn't seem serious at the time, but led to increasing memory problems.  He died in 1937 after undergoing experimental brain surgery.  

Boléro (1928)
Ravel's most famous work was commissioned by Russian ballerina Ida Rubinstein. He called it “an experiment in a very special and limited direction”.

La Valse (1920)

Le Tombeau de Couperin (1917)

Valse Nobles et Sentimentales (1911)

Rapsodie Espagñole (1907)

Pavane for a Dead Princess (1902)

Shéhérazade (1898)

Violin Sonata (1897)

Thursday, December 27, 2012

songs of leonard cohen

Leonard Cohen emerged as a powerful creative force at the pinnacle of his powers with the plaintive and poignant musical portraits of his pensive and personal poetry.  The Canadian poet and novelist had some minor success before moving to New York to become a singer / songwriter.  He had lived on the Greek island of Hydra and visited Cuba during the Bay of Pigs invasion, and his songs and delivery exuded a world weary wisdom.  He was discovered by John H. Hammond who signed him to Columbia Records.   'Songs of Leonard Cohen' was recorded at Columbia's Studio E in New York with producer John Simon, who replaced Hammond at the last minute because of illness.  Although Cohen wanted a very sparse sound, Simon insisted on doing arrangements with strings and horns. Cohen remembers:  "We did have a falling out over the song 'Suzanne'. He wanted a heavy piano syncopated and maybe drums and I didn't want drums on any of my songs, so that was a bone of contention. Also, he was ready to substitute this heavy chordal structure under the song to give it forward movement and I didn't like that."  The sessions also included some musical backing by the band Kaleidoscope and vocals by Nancy Priddy.  Cohen oversaw the final mix; but was unable to remove some of the additions from the master tape.  'Songs of Leonard Cohen' went to number eighty-three in the US and number thirteen in the UK. 

Cohen calls 'Suzanne' "a miracle. I don't know where the good songs come from or else I'd go there more often. I knew that I was on top of something. I developed the picking pattern first. I was spending a lot of time on the waterfront and the harbor area of Montreal. It hadn't been reconstructed yet. It's now called Old Montreal and a lot of buildings have been restored. It wasn't at that time. And there was that sailor's church that has the statue of the Virgin. Gilded so that the sun comes down on her. And I knew there was a song there. Then I met Suzanne, who was the wife of Armand Vaillancourt, a friend of mine. She was a dancer and she took me down to a place near the river. She was one of the first people to have a loft on the St. Laurent. I knew that it was about that church and I knew that it was about the river. I didn't know I had anything to crystallize the song. And then her name entered into the song, and then it was a matter of reportage, of really just being as accurate as I could about what she did." 

Suzanne takes you down to her place near the river 
You can hear the boats go by 
You can spend the night beside her 
And you know that she's half crazy 
But that's why you want to be there 
And she feeds you tea and oranges 
That come all the way from China 
And just when you mean to tell her 
That you have no love to give her 
Then she gets you on her wavelength 
And she lets the river answer 
That you've always been her lover 
And you want to travel with her 
And you want to travel blind 
And you know that she will trust you 
For you've touched her perfect body with your mind. 
And Jesus was a sailor 
When he walked upon the water 
And he spent a long time watching 
From his lonely wooden tower 
And when he knew for certain 
Only drowning men could see him 
He said "All men will be sailors then 
Until the sea shall free them" 
But he himself was broken 
Long before the sky would open 
Forsaken, almost human 
He sank beneath your wisdom like a stone 
And you want to travel with him 
And you want to travel blind 
And you think maybe you'll trust him 
For he's touched your perfect body with his mind. 
Now Suzanne takes your hand 
And she leads you to the river 
She is wearing rags and feathers 
From Salvation Army counters 
And the sun pours down like honey 
On our lady of the harbour 
And she shows you where to look 
Among the garbage and the flowers 
There are heroes in the seaweed 
There are children in the morning 
They are leaning out for love 
And they will lean that way forever 
While Suzanne holds the mirror 
And you want to travel with her 
And you want to travel blind 
And you know that you can trust her 
For she's touched your perfect body with her mind.

'So Long, Marianne'
was inspired by Cohen's relationship with Marianne Jensen:  "I've always felt that the most important thing in this vale of tears was the relationships. I always thought that this was the real politics and that, you know, I think I wrote in purple prose somewhere that the state rose on a festered kiss, that all these institutions were the desperate and dismal alternatives to a failed embrace, and as Ginsberg observed, 'sex is the sport of the young', especially in those days when there were no epidemic inhibitions, so we were all struggling with our own desires, but Marianna consented to live with me, and she brought a tremendous sense of order into my life. She lived in a house very beautifully, it was really a great privilege to live in a house with her, she came from a Norwegian family that had roots in the countryside, and she had been brought up by her grandmother in the war, so she had the education of an older generation. Just the way that she laid a table, or lit candles, or cleaned the house, and she wasn't by any means confined to these kinds of activities that have come under the suspicion of feminists, but the way she inhabited a house was very, very nourishing. So it was a great privilege to be with her. She would put a gardenia on my table in the morning, and I was able to lead a very orderly life. She'd bring a sandwich to me while I was working. Well, these were not exactly, um, they had a real economic function, my work involved the support of our little family. It wasn't just that she was the muse, shining in front of the poet. She understood that it was a good idea to get me to my desk. So it was a very nourishing situation."

Come over to the window, my little darling, 
I'd like to try to read your palm. 
I used to think I was some kind of Gypsy boy 
before I let you take me home. 
Now so long, Marianne, it's time that we began 
to laugh and cry and cry and laugh about it all again. 
Well you know that I love to live with you, 
but you make me forget so very much. 
I forget to pray for the angels 
and then the angels forget to pray for us. 
Now so long, Marianne, it's time that we began ... 
We met when we were almost young 
deep in the green lilac park. 
You held on to me like I was a crucifix, 
as we went kneeling through the dark. 
Oh so long, Marianne, it's time that we began ... 
Your letters they all say that you're beside me now. 
Then why do I feel alone? 
I'm standing on a ledge and your fine spider web 
is fastening my ankle to a stone. 
Now so long, Marianne, it's time that we began ... 
For now I need your hidden love. 
I'm cold as a new razor blade. 
You left when I told you I was curious, 
I never said that I was brave. 
Oh so long, Marianne, it's time that we began ... 
Oh, you are really such a pretty one. 
I see you've gone and changed your name again. 
And just when I climbed this whole mountainside, 
to wash my eyelids in the rain! 
Oh so long, Marianne, it's time that we began ...

 'Songs of Leonard Cohen' full album:

01 00:00 "Suzanne" 
02 03:49 "Master Song" 
03 09:44 "Winter Lady" 
04 12:00 "The Stranger Song" 
05 17:06 "Sisters of Mercy" 
06 20:41 "So Long, Marianne" 
07 26:19 "Hey, That's No Way to Say Goodbye" 
08 29:15 "Stories of the Street" 
09 33:49 "Teachers" 
10 36:50 "One of Us Cannot Be Wrong"