11 May 2020

11 May 2020 - Bee Gees - Tragedy

The Bee Gees have never gotten due respect for their songwriting abilities.  And yet, in one day, they wrote this song, "Shadow Dancing", performed by their brother Andy, and "Too Much Heaven" - all while making a movie (the terrible Sgt. Pepper movie, but still)

That's three Number one songs in one DAY that they wrote.

This would be the group's fifth of six consecutive #1 hits.  The only other artists to match this are The Beatles, Elvis Presley, and Bing Crosby.  They were this huge in the late 1970's.

The song itself is a breakup song - with the title becoming an exclamation point in a chorus to follow the desperate verses. 

You might be wondering how they get that exploding sound near the end of the song.   It was created in studio by Barry Gibb cupping his hands over the microphone and making the sound - and then duplicating it so it sounded impressive.

Yeah, you're making that sound right now. 

Here they are in studio, recording this song and showing the process - notice how Barry isn't singing every lyric in this take. 

08 May 2020

8 May 2020 - Childish Gambino - This Is America

Well, it ain't Troy and Abed in the Morning!

What it IS is a provocative song with a a video featuring a lot of Jim Crow imagery.   The song, which was a breakthrough song and Donald Glover's biggest hit to date, won four Grammys, including Record and Song of the Year.

The song itself moves between African-style folk, gospel, and dark trap rhythms, and it is exceptionally well constructed.  The lyrics - which address gun violence and police brutality, among other things - are not always easy to hear, the video difficult to watch at times.  Please, watch and listen anyway.   You'll be glad you did. 

06 May 2020

6 May 2020 -The Darling Buds - Hit the Ground

Remember music programs when they made the artists lipsync?

On this ninth annual Darling Buds Day, we go back to the late 80's and Top of the Pops, where there were no cables or microphone cords to trip over and the band sounded studio-fresh.

They STILL rocked it.

There was an official video for this song, too.  This way, you can hear the whole song.

Will we be able to do this in Year 10?  Well, the Darling Buds are rumoured to be in the studio, so I am guessing we will.

04 May 2020

4 May 2020 - Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young - Ohio

On May 4th, 1970, at Kent State University in Ohio, National Guardsmen opened fire on students protesting the US bombing of Cambodia, a neutral party during the Vietnam War.  Four people were killed, and nine were wounded.

The poster announcing the protest at Kent State

Neil Young saw the pictures of the incident in Life Magazine and wrote this song.  Released in June 1970, the song was a top 20 hit - despite being banned on many radio stations for its indictment of the Nixon administration - and a poignant reminder of what had happened on that fateful day.

The incident and the song sped the tide of sentiment already turning against the US involvement in Vietnam.  The massacre in Ohio is one of the darkest moments in American history, and this song brilliantly captures the nation's feelings.  Music can really capture and sway a culture, and this song is perhaps the best example of that.

Here's Young performing his song solo. 

01 May 2020

1 May 2020 - KONGOS - Come With Me Now

John Kongos was a bit hitmaking musician in the early 1970s, best known for his hits "He's Gonna Step On You Again" and "Tokoloshe Man" (both covered by the Happy Mondays)

Kongos had four sons who went on to form their own hitmaking band, KONGOS.  They made their own label - Tokoloshe Records - to release their music.  Part of the result of that was this song - which you might have heard if you paid attention to big action movies or the WWE - because it became a big hit and directly resulted in their major label record deal.

It's a rare rock song not starring Weird Al that features a lead accordion so prominently - and yet this one does, giving the song a bit of a folksy feel without being folk music.  All four brothers sing and harmonize well... which is something they got from their father.

Also, check out the musically synchronized lipstick (and blowdried hair).

KONGOS is still around and still touring and releasing music.  Here's a taste of them performing in Toronto in 2019.