Category Archives: Music

1960’s Music: Kenneth Womack Discusses “The Beatles” Early “Proto-Feminism” (Harvard)

From a Harvard News online article:

The Beatles Encyclopedia Kenneth WomackRock ’n’ roll, or even popular music, [was] often highly gendered and sexist. It certainly was paternalistic in the ’60s and prior, in terms of songs being directed at women as objects, women as needing to be “counseled” about love, [or] it was about coming on to them, even if it was just something innocent and romantic, “I Want to Hold Your Hand.” And the Beatles very consciously in 1965 began to change their tone. They created a very specific type of female character who would think for herself and did not need a man.

The Harvard GazetteLooking back at your favorite classic rock songs through the lens of today’s attitudes about women’s empowerment, male privilege, and even sexual violence can be cringeworthy at best. But just as they were trailblazers in music, film, fashion, and popular culture, the Beatles were ahead of their time in embracing feminism, argues Kenneth Womack, a well-known authority on the band and dean at Monmouth University, evolving from early patronizing “hey, girl” entreaties to songs filled with independent women who don’t need a man, not even a Beatle. Ideological Diversity, a Harvard Kennedy School student organization, hosts a free talk with Womack on Thursday about how the group explored issues of feminism, gender, and inclusion in ways few rock bands dared in the 1960s.

To read more: https://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2019/12/kenneth-womack-explains-why-the-beatles-were-proto-feminists/?utm_source=SilverpopMailing&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Daily%2520Gazette%252020191211%2520%281%29

Music Criticism Podcasts: “The Music And Morality Of Beethoven’s Mighty Ninth” (Marin Alsop, NPR)

Marin Alsop ConductorEver since Beethoven‘s iconic Ninth Symphony premiered May 7, 1824 at the Theater am Kärntnertor in Vienna, it has remained arguably the most popular composition in the classical music canon, thanks largely to its final movement, the “Ode to Joy,” with a text by poet Friedrich Schiller.

But Beethoven’s music has become something much more than popular. With its expansive length, mold-busting design, and the inclusion of solo singers and chorus, he was proposing nothing less than a philosophy for humanity.

Beethoven, the composer-philosopher, was a man who suffered more than we can imagine and yet he retained optimism and a sense of hope that we can admire and even envy. He believed wholeheartedly in the goodness of humanity, the power of love, joy, unity, tolerance and peace to overcome and endure.

Website: https://www.npr.org/sections/deceptivecadence/2019/12/07/785098204/the-music-and-morality-of-beethovens-mighty-ninth?utm_medium=RSS&utm_campaign=storiesfromnpr

Nostalgia Books: “1973 – Rock At The Crossroads” By Andrew Grant Jackson

1973 Rock at the CrossroadsLed Zep’s Houses of the Holy reflected the rise of funk and reggae. The singer songwriter movement led by Bob Dylan, Neil Young, and Joni Mitchell flourished at the Troubadour and Max’s Kansas City, where Bruce Springsteen and Bob Marley shared bill. Elvis Presley’s Aloha from Hawaii via Satellite was NBC’s top-rated special of the year, while Elton John’s albums dominated the number one spot for two and a half months.

A fascinating account of the music and epic social change of 1973, a defining year for David Bowie, Bruce Springsteen, Pink Floyd, Elton John, the Rolling Stones, Eagles, Elvis Presley, and the former members of The Beatles.

1973 was the year rock hit its peak while splintering―just like the rest of the world. Ziggy Stardust travelled to America in David Bowie’s Aladdin Sane. The Dark Side of the Moon began its epic run on the Billboard charts, inspired by the madness of Pink Floyd’s founder, while all four former Beatles scored top ten albums, two hitting #1.

To read more and purchase: https://www.amazon.com/1973-Crossroads-Andrew-Grant-Jackson/dp/1250299985

Animated Visual Essay: Songwriter “Leonard Cohen” Interview In Video By Joe Donaldson (2019)

Direction, Design & Animation: Joe Donaldson

Original Music and Sound Design: Ambrose Yu
Executive Producer: Soo-Jeong Kang
Senior Producer: Yara Bishara
Senior Editor: Brian Redondo
Producer: Sara Joe Wolansky
Audio Engineer: Jill Du Boff

The New Yorker - Leonard Cohen Animated Visual Essay Directed by Joe Donaldson 2019

“I was recently commissioned by The New Yorker to direct, design, and animate a pilot series of three animated visual essays.

“I know there’s a spiritual aspect to everybody’s life, whether they want to cop to it or not,” he said at one point. “It’s there, you can feel it in people—there’s some recognition that there is a reality that they cannot penetrate but which influences their mood and activity. So that’s operating. . . . Sometimes it’s just, like, ‘You are losing too much weight, Leonard. You’re dying, but you don’t have to coöperate enthusiastically with the process.’ Force yourself to have a sandwich.”

Leonard Cohen (1934 – 2016)

The New Yorker - Leonard Cohen Animated Visual Essay Directed by Joe Donaldson 2019

The first film features the great Leonard Cohen as he reflects on death and preparing for the end. The initial interview, by David Remnick, was recorded at Cohen’s home in Los Angeles a month before he passed away.”

The New Yorker - Leonard Cohen Animated Visual Essay Directed by Joe Donaldson 2019

You can view the full article on The New Yorker here: newyorker.com/culture/video-dept/leonard-cohen-and-the-divine-voice

Nostalgia: “Abbey Road” – 50 Years Since The Beatles Walked Off Stage (1969)

From a New Yorker Magazine online article:

Beatles Abbey Road Quote from Paul McCartney“Abbey Road” was the Beatles’ last word—the final recordings by the most popular and influential artists of the nineteen-sixties. Now, on the occasion of its fiftieth anniversary, “Abbey Road” has been expertly remixed by Giles Martin, George Martin’s son and protégé, and reissued in a super-deluxe edition that comes with an archive of studio outtakes and a hundred-page book of essays and liner notes that chronicle how the recordings were made. “The Beatles are good even though everybody already knows that they’re good,” the classical composer Ned Rorem observed in 1968, alluding to how the band’s immense popularity confounded the usual notions of discriminating taste. If anyone needs to be reminded of this, this new edition of “Abbey Road” should do the trick.

In the spring of 1969, Paul McCartney telephoned George Martin to ask if he would be willing to work with the Beatles on a new album they planned to record in the months ahead. Martin, who was widely regarded as the most accomplished pop-record producer in the world, had overseen the making of all nine albums and nineteen singles that the Beatles had released in Britain since their début on E.M.I.’s Parlophone label, in 1962. His reputation was synonymous with that of the group, and the fact that McCartney felt a need to ask him about his availability dramatized how much the Beatles’ professional circumstances had changed since the release of the two-record set known as the White Album, in the fall of 1968. In Martin’s view, the five months of tension and drama it took to make that album, followed by the fiasco of “Get Back,” an ill-fated film, concert, and recording project that ended inconclusively in January, 1969, had turned his recent work with the Beatles into a “miserable experience.”

To read more: https://www.newyorker.com/culture/culture-desk/when-the-beatles-walked-offstage-fifty-years-of-abbey-road?utm_campaign

Rock Nostalgia: Led Zeppelin’s Final Studio Album “In Through The Out Door” Celebrates 40th Anniversary (1979)

From a Rolling Stone online article:

In Through The Out Door Led Zeppelin 1979 tracksThe album was rumored to be originally titled Look, but the title was changed to In Through the Out Door as a nod to the band overcoming their struggles. (“That’s the hardest way to get back in,” Page said). Hipgnosis — the English design company co-owned by Aubrey Powell and Storm Thorgerson — designed six different album sleeves, each depicting sepia-toned scenes in a New Orleans–inspired bar. Copies were famously packaged in brown paper bags, concealing which cover was purchased. Even with this odd gimmick, the record sold an astounding 2 million copies in the first 10 days of its release. With record sales at a dangerous low, the album’s success helped revive an ailing industry.

Instead of embarking on a tour, the band decided to return to the stage with two outdoor shows at England’s Knebworth Festival on August 4th and 11th, 1979 — their first time playing on U.K. soil in four years. In the video above, they tear through “In the Evening” with Bonham taking the lead, pounding the drums during an intense strobe-light display. “So don’t you let her get under your skin,” Plant sings. “It’s only bad luck and trouble/From the day that you begin.”

To read more click on the following link: https://www.rollingstone.com/music/music-news/led-zeppelin-in-through-out-door-knebworth-1979-866992/

Top Upcoming Festivals: Newport Jazz Festival Features 60 Artists For 65th Anniversary Event

Newport Jazz Festival Keith Jarrett“Referred to as the grandfather of all jazz festivals, this event draws thousands of people from all over the world to Newport, Rhode Island — a city famed for its spectacular coastal scenery and awe-inspiring architecture. The Newport Jazz Festival was founded in 1954 as the first annual jazz festival in America and has been host to numerous legendary performances by some of the world’s leading established and emerging artists.”

(NBC Boston – June 17, 2019)

Newport Jazz Festival Lineup