Archive for the 'Music' Category

Life on Mars

Everyone knows I love this show, but unfortunately, not enough other people do and the show will air its final episode on April 2. At least they knew it was going to end in time to create a final episode which will tie everything together. In the meantime, I enjoyed this last episode. It had music by Simon and Garfunkel AND the Partridge Family. How bad could it have been?

Enjoy!


Fakin’ It by Simon and Garfunkel


Venus by Shocking Blue


Point Me in the Direction of Albuquerque by the Partridge Family

Avi’s Progress (and something fun)

Avi has been getting worse and it has been putting a strain on everything.  Today he was admitted to a partial hospital program.  He was there over the summer (Princeton House). He will go there from 9:30 to 3:30 every day at least until next Thursday when they will re-submit to the insurance (which I am sure will go through).  It is also a possibility that he will move to an in-patient program in the near future and we are now starting to consider residential programs.  It’s hard but we need to consider every possibility and determine what will be best for Avi.

It is very hard to imagine Avi not staying with us, but we need to think of what would be best for him and for our family, and if a residential program is what will help, then we will certainly consider it. Right now it is just getting him into this program and figuring out his meds and his therapy.

Wanting to end this off on a good note, I recently got a hold of a movie. And before I say the name, I have to add:

NO WISECRACKS WREKE!

Ok, that being said, I purchased the DVD of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. So Wreke can calm down a bit, this movie is horrible! The acting, if you want to call it that, was in the toilet. Most of the covers of the Beatles songs are bad and there is almost no plot. So why did I buy the movie? I remember it being fun watching it. It was not fun in an “I love that” way, but in a campy let’s have a good laugh way. I showed this to Avi and Shayna. To my surprise, it was Shayna who enjoyed this more than anyone. She recognized many of the Beatles songs even though some did not sound like the original. Shayna…Is…Three…Years…Old! Go Shayna! And at least there are three redeeming moments in the movie, Got to Get You Into My Life by Earth, Wind, and Fire, Get Back by Billy Preston and Come Together by Aerosmith. And the final scene with loads of stars recreating the concept of the album cover is memorable (although Carol Channing gets way too much time on screen).

So there you have it. I guess even though it is a horrible movie, I like it and I am not afraid to admit it!

Here is the Earth Wind and Fire clip.

Enjoy!

Beatles Covers Part 2

First off, when talking about instrumental covers of The Beatles, I accidentally left off some great work by Booker T and the MGs. Their wonderful disco sounds really made great instrumental versions of some songs, especially Eleanor Rigby (which shows off amazing use of the wah wah pedal).

There are literally hundreds if not thousands of covers of Beatles songs, and it would be impossible to list them all in one place. I took some time over the past few days to listen to some that I have and found a few that I don’t, and came up with this list of 42 examples (in alphabetical order by artist). Some will surprise you. Some are good, some are not so good and some are great, but I think they all deserve notice. Some of the artists covered multiple Beatles songs and I only noting one or two. With a few of exceptions, I am leaving off songs from the movie Across the Universe. I have written about this movie in previous blog posts, and I find all the covers exceptional. The two that are in this list are the most exceptional of the movie. One final note, some of these covers are recorded and some were live performances. All the live performances can be found in youtube so I have included them here.

I will comment on a few at the end.

  1. Aerosmith – Come Together
  2. Bananarama – Help!
  3. Bon Jovi – Here Comes the Sun
  4. Bono – I am the Walrus
  5. James Brown – Something
  6. Jim Carrey – I am the Walrus
  7. Ray Charles – Let It Be
  8. George Michael – The Long and Winding Road
  9. Judy Collins – In My Life
  10. Phil Collins – Golden Slumbers/Carry That Weight/The End
  11. Sheryl Crow – Mother Nature’s Son
  12. Dave Matthews – In My Life
  13. John Denven – Mother Nature’s Son
  14. Electric Light Orchestra – Day Tripper
  15. John Farnham – I feel Fine
  16. Alison Kraus – I will
  17. Emmylou Harris – For No One
  18. Emmylou Harris – Here, There and Everywhere
  19. Eddie Izzard – Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite
  20. Michael Jackson – Come Together
  21. The Jam – And Your Bird Can Sing
  22. Elton John – Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds
  23. Kansas (with the London Symphony Orchestra) – Eleanor Rigby
  24. Cyndi Lauper – Strawberry Fields
  25. Aimee Mann & Michael Penn – Two of Us
  26. Sarah McLachlan – Blackbird
  27. Bette Middler – In My Life
  28. Alanis Morissette – Norwegian Wood
  29. Alanis Morissette – Dear Prudence
  30. Ozzy Osborne – In My Life
  31. Tom Petty – I Need You
  32. Elvis Presley – Lady Madonna
  33. Billy Preston – Get Back
  34. Otis Redding – Day Tripper
  35. The Rolling Stones – I Wanna Be Your Man
  36. Sting – A Day in the Life
  37. Toto – While My Guitar Gently Weeps
  38. U2 – Norwegian Wood
  39. Whitesnake – Day Tripper
  40. Paul Westerberg – Nowhere Man
  41. Carol Woods – Let It Be
  42. Yes – Every Little Thing

Some of the ones I like are obvious, but some really surprise me. Like for example Bananarama’s version of Help! This British girl groups had mile success in the US in the late 80’s particularly their remake of the 70s hit Venus. They recorded Help! together with the British comics French & Saunders and Kathy Burke to raise money for comic relief. The record hit #3 on the British Charts. I cannot tell you why I like this version; perhaps it is due to the homage to the Beatles in the comic video of just my love of girl groups in general.

Bono is one of the most successful artists in history and he was recruited to be in the movie Across the Universe. In the movie he play a character called Dr. Robert, loosely based on Ken Kesey. Bono was wonderful in the role, ad-libbing much of his way through his part. He got to sing two songs for the movie, and his I Am the Walrus is amazing.

George Michael has also had an amazing career (despite being part of Wham!) I loved his appearance on the tv show Eli Stone. He performed The Long and Winding Road in concert.

Judy Collins is perhaps one of the greatest living American folk singers. Her voice is extraordinarily beautiful and she recorded a wonderful version of In My Life (forgive the cheesy video)

John Denver had, I believe, one of the best male singing voices in our times. Yes, he was basically a county singer and I loathe country music, but he crossed over to the pop charts so many times, you can easily call him a pop singer. He did a number of different Beatles tunes, but when I heard him sing Mother Nature’s Son, I decided that the song was really meant for him to sing.

Alison Krauss is also a country singer and a fiddler. She has the record for the most grammy awards for a female singer and 3rd over all. This is a beautiful version of I Will.

Cyndi Lauper has always been a favorite of mine. Her wonderful work in her early career earned her 5 hit songs from one album (a first at that time), and she has an amazing voice and makes consistently beautiful music. This video is from a tribute to John Lennon that was performed at Strawberry Fields in Central Park.

Aimee Mann & Michael Penn recorded Two of Us for the movie I am Sam. I think that this is my second favorite Beatles Cover (next to Joe Cockers With a Little Help from my Friends). The song, written by Paul, was about his time with Linda, but if you listen to the lyrics it could be about any couple (perhaps really about he and John).

Alanis Morissette is an amazing singer. She recorded Norwegian Wood which is one of my favorite Beatles songs. The song is perhaps about a Lesbian encounter that leads to nothing and perhaps it is best sung by a woman.

Billy Preston is the only artist who got billing alongside the Beatles on any recording. On the single for Get Back the artists are listed as The Beatles with Billy Preston. He also played the Hammond Organ for much of the Get Back sessions (what later became the album Let It Be). Years later he appeared in the movie Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, the horrible movie that is loosely based on the album of the same name. He appeared as Sgt. Pepper and his song in the movie, Get Back, is perhaps the only good song in the film.

Lastly Carol Woods was cast as a gospel singer in the Movie Across the Universe to sing Let It Be. The first time I heard this version of the song (before I saw the movie) I was stunned. I mean is it possible for one artist to cover a song better than the original singers? I don’t know the answer, but this Let It Be is about the best I have ever heard. The song was made to be a gospel piece and the scene in the movie is perhaps the most moving of the film.

Well, thank you for indulging me in the fun exercise. I hope everyone enjoys!

Facebook

Facebook has become a major part of my daily routine and it has brought me in contact with many people from my USY days. It’s been a lot of fun. One interesting thing has been these facebook memes that are spreading (whether they are really memes at all is for a different discussion). They are little notes that are being passed from person to person and you have to answer a bunch of questions and then send to friends and they answer the same questions, etc.

One of the more recent of these memes that I have done was called coverama. You had to pick a half dozen of your favorite cover songs. I, of course made mine into a Beatles edition, and it got me thinking about covers of Beatles songs. Now you might remember that I have written here in the past on covers, and I have stated that in general I do not like covers, but listening to a lot of Beatles covers over the past few days has changed my opinion a little. I still don’t really like the idea of covers, but there are some good ones out there, and so for the next few days I am bringing back song of the day and focusing on Beatles Covers.

Today I want to focus on instrumental covers. There are a host of possibilities out there as many symphony orchestras have recorded Beatles songs (first and foremost the London Symphony Orchestra) but I want to feature a few from outside the symphonies.

Perhaps the best I have heard is Jeff Beck’s version of A Day in the Life. Jeff Beck was the second guitarist of the Yardbirds, replacing Eric Clapton when he left. Together with Clapton and Jimmy Page, Jeff Beck completes perhaps the greatest trio of British guitarists (all who played with the Yardbirds). Today he records almost exclusively instrumental pieces. When Sir George Martin, the famous producer of most of the Beatles work, did a “farewell” album of Beatles Songs, he recruited Beck. That album is called In My Life. This song is also prominently featured in the movie Across the Universe.

The other two recordings are also from that album by Martin. First is a beautiful rendition of Because by the amazing violinist Vanessa Mae (there is some choral in this) and the other is an arrangement by John Williams of Here Comes the Sun (he also conducted this as well).

Enjoy!

Life on Mars

My friend wrekehavoc has been doing a whole month of blog posts on great 70s music. It’s been a lot of fun reading her posts and I definitely recommend a look.

Now that one of my favorite shows, Life On Mars, is back I get to hear some great 70s music. One of the great things is that they strive to find music that would have been on the radio. Back in the 70s (unlike today) you also got to hear more obscure songs as well as the big hits.

There were four songs on last night’s episode, starting with the big hit No Time from The Guess Who. The Guess Who is a very interesting band. They are a Canadian group and the first Canadian group to get into the top 5 on the US charts (including their number one hit a few months later, American Woman). The Guess Who was a very typical band of the early 70s and their music is like much of the early 70s rock music that we all know and love. I think the most interesting thing about the band is that the name may have been an attempt to keep the names of the band secret and make people think that it was a group of very well known singers and help sell the records.

The second song was Legs by Darondo (somewhat obscure song)

Third was Whisky in the Jar by Thin Lizzy. This Irish folk song from the 17th Century was given a nice rock spin by this Irish heavy Metal group.

Finally the show ended with My Maria by B.W. Stevenson. This great love ballad became a bit hit for Country singer Stevenson in 1973.

Enjoy!

New Year, More Blog

It’s hard to believe it is 2009. Some days I wake up and I can remember the mid 80s like it was yesterday. When people tell you that time moves so fast, they are certainly telling the truth. It’s been a while since I have written in my blog and one of my two real New Year’s resolutions is to get back to writing regularly. I’ll come to the other in a moment. I want to partially go back to my original plan for this blog which was to write about my family and I am going to do that. I also want to continue writing about things that I think about and current events. So as much as I loved writing a song of the day for every day, I am going to give that a rest. From time to time I may have a song of the day blog posting, but much less frequent. I have been thinking about starting to write movie reviews, so perhaps you will see some of those in the near future (or course they will mostly be reviews of movies I see on DVD and Blu-Ray as we rarely get to the movie theater).

So starting off this year of blogging I want to update on my family. I’ll start with the kids. Shayna is 3 years old and definitely going through a defiant stage. There is almost nothing that she will not try to defy us on, but unlike Avi, she does respond to the consequences of her actions, and I am confident that we will see the end of this phase soon. The other major obstacle with Shayna is potty training. When the boys were training I always remember people telling us that girls were so much easier. Well, I’m here to tell you that they must have been lying. She has been a nightmare with this. One of the main reasons we moved her to a different pre-school is because at her old school she could not be in the pre-school class without being out of diapers (but we are happy with the new school). Luckily, her class is doing a major push, since most of the kids in the class are not trained. God willing she will be a more regular pottier.

Noam is cursed with being the middle child. Definite Jan Brady syndrome. We try hard to give him the attention he needs, and I think much of the time we succeed. He is a fun kid, but is still hesitant with new things. He is starting to get into the cub scouts like Avi and I think he will slowly come out of his shell as he gets more into the scouts. He is really enjoying Solomon Schechter and soon he might know more Hebrew than me!

Avi’s ADHD (and maybe bipolar disorder) are continuing to be sources of difficulty in our home. He is still going to the special school (New Vue Academy) and is doing well there. They work on a point system and the max the kids can get in a day is 20. If Avi gets 20 points today it will be his tenth in a row and that will put him on honors (I’m not entirely sure what that he will get for that) and this will be the first time he will achieve that. Avi gets home at about 2:30 from school and Noam and Shayna at about 4. It is the time between 4 and when I get home that are the most difficult. Starting next week, we will have a behavioral therapist come to our house for 5 hours each week, so that will happen on two or three days a week during that time, so God willing things will get a bit easier.

Marsha is still doing the Pampered Chef thing and is working hard to build her business this year. If anyone wants to host a Pampered Chef party or do a catalog sale, let me know. You could get a lot of free stuff for hosting and you will certainly have a lot of fun.

Which brings me to me. Many people know that I have Crohn’s Disease. I have not had any major problems from this in years, but last week we got a little scare. I was in the hospital for a number of hours on Friday with abdominal pains. They did a CT scan and it was inconclusive (although now they think it was a kidney stone). I am long overdue for a Colonoscopy and I will get that done the week after next. I went to the doctor to follow up last night and he really scared me about my weight, and that brings me to resolution number 2. I really want to get down to a more healthy weight this year. Marsha is doing weight watchers and I have done that in the past, so I signed up to do the online version. I will update my progress here from time to time

Well that is enough information to last for a while. Happy new year to everyone!

Oh, and I was watching a clip from the amazing movie Fame yesterday. It is a great song from the 80s and one of the best movie songs ever.

Enjoy!

Pushing Daisies

I am always on the lookout for great music on TV. Here is a wonderful clip from last week’s episode of Pushing Daisies. I featured this show last year in a blog post. When you have Kristin Chenoweth in a tv show you just hope you are going to get to hear her sing.

Enjoy!