Category Archives: Music

1970’s Books: ‘Rock Me On The Water’- How Movies, TV & Music Changed Culture

A new book argues the 1970’s was a moment when TV, movies, and music all shifted into a new gear, changing the cultural landscape in ways that continue to today. Jeffrey Brown has a conversation with author Ron Brownstein about his book “Rock Me on the Water: 1974-The Year Los Angeles Transformed Movies, Music, Television, and Politics.” This segment is part of our arts and culture series, CANVAS.

Performances: ‘Three Divas Live In Concert’

On May 22, sopranos Ailyn Pérez and Nadine Sierra join forces with mezzo-soprano Isabel Leonard for a concert of popular arias and ensembles, live from France’s Opéra Royal du Château de Versailles. Tickets on sale now.

Great Movie Themes: ‘How The West Was Won’ (1962)

How the West Was Won is a 1962 American  epic  Western  adventure film directed by Henry Hathaway (who directs three out of the five chapters involving the same family), John Ford, and George Marshall, produced by Bernard Smith, written by James R. Webb, and narrated by Spencer Tracy. Originally filmed in true three-lens Cinerama with the according three-panel panorama projected onto an enormous curved screen, the film stars an ensemble cast consisting of (in alphabetical order) Carroll BakerLee J. CobbHenry FondaCarolyn JonesKarl MaldenGregory PeckGeorge PeppardRobert PrestonDebbie ReynoldsJames StewartEli WallachJohn Wayne, and Richard Widmark. The supporting cast features Brigid BazlenWalter BrennanDavid BrianKen CurtisAndy DevineJack LambertRaymond Massey as Abraham LincolnAgnes MooreheadHarry Morgan as Ulysses S. GrantThelma RitterMickey ShaughnessyHarry Dean StantonRuss Tamblyn and Lee Van Cleef.

How the West Was Won is widely considered one of Hollywood‘s greatest epics.[1] The film received widespread critical acclaim and was a box office success, grossing $50 million on a budget of $15 million.[2] At the 36th Academy Awards, it earned eight nominations, including Best Picture, and won three, for Best Story and Screenplay Written Directly for the ScreenBest Sound, and Best Film Editing. In 1997, it was selected for preservation in the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”.

Tributes: Google Honors The Life Of Singer Luther Vandross (1951-2005)

Google celebrated the life of Luther Vandross with an animated Doodle by Atlanta-based guest artist Sam Bass, on what would have been his 70th birthday.

Vandross was born in 1951 and began performing and writing songs while in high school, singing at the 1969 pilot of Sesame Street with the Apollo Theater’s performing arts group. His first big break came when his song Everybody Rejoice featured in the 1974 Broadway musical The Wiz.

Vandross went on to record 14 studio albums that went either platinum or multi-platinum, and he was nominated for 33 Grammy Awards, of which he won eight. Vandross suffered from diabetes and hypertension and had a severe stroke in 2003 that left him in a wheelchair. He died of a heart attack on 1 July 2005 at the age of 54.

Read more here: https://www.independent.co.uk/arts-en…

Media: Swiss Magazine ‘Transhelvetica’ And London’s ‘Spiritland’

We visit two bold companies finding canny ways to pivot their product for changing audiences. Transhelvetica, a Swiss magazine, and Spiritland, a London-based hospitality and audio venture, are each shaping the media landscape for the better. To discover more about Monocle magazine head to http://www.monocle.com

Musical Instruments: ‘The Ancient Oud Of Lebanon’

Nazih Ghadban is one of the few remaining makers of the oud instrument. He’s handcrafted them at his small Lebanese village since 1976.

The oud is a short-neck lute-type, pear-shaped stringed instrument, usually with 11 strings grouped in 6 courses, but some models have 5 or 7 courses, with 10 or 13 strings respectively. The oud is very similar to modern lutes, and also to Western lutes. 

Classical Music – Flute: “Dance of the Blessed Spirits” – Christoph Gluck

5 Minutes That Will Make You Love the Flute

It’s an instrument based on the most fundamental sign of life: breath. Listen to the best music ever written for it.

The flute is one of humanity’s oldest ways of producing a beautiful sound, and it is based on the most fundamental sign of life: breath. Made from bones, wood or reeds, the earliest specimens date from the Paleolithic era. The flute is often associated with things elegiac, poetic, angelic — with purity — but also with the world of magic; in mythology, Orpheus seduces the underworld playing the flute. In this excerpt from Gluck’s Orpheus opera, the flute is extremely sensual, and, with its lyrical soaring, takes us from earthly pleasures to heavenly ones.

Flute: Julien Beaudiment

Piano: Hugh Sung

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Video Interview: Paul McCartney On His New Album ‘McCartney III”

While he was in pandemic lockdown, Sir Paul McCartney was writing new music for his latest solo album, “McCartney III,” on which the 78-year-old not only served as songwriter and producer but also played nearly every instrument. Correspondent Seth Doane talked with McCartney about the former Beatle’s “rockdown,” and his songwriting relationship with John Lennon, who was killed 40 years ago this month.

Graphic Novels: ‘The Final Symphony – A Beethoven Anthology’ (Dec 2020)

A new original graphic novel, The Final Symphony: A Beethoven Anthology, celebrating Ludwig van Beethoven’s 250th birthday, has been published via Z2 Comics and Deutsche Grammophon. 

The Final Symphony: A Beethoven Anthology, written by Brandon Montclare and Frank Marraffino, was inspired by the composer’s life and music. The graphic novel reimagines the life of the legendary composer through striking new visuals created by world-class artists. Readers will be able to experience both masterpieces and lesser-known gems in a brand new light. The deluxe edition will be accompanied by an exclusive double vinyl LP following the story through the composer’s own works.

Featuring Alice Sara Ott, Ezinma and Max Richter

Pianist Alice Sara Ott, violinist Ezinma and composer Max Richter, are all featured in their own chapters in The Final Symphony: A Beethoven Anthology. In the chapter featuring Alice Sara Ott, drawn by Creees Lee, the pianist invites the composer to hear one of his works played in a modern concert hall. The chapter featuring Ezinma, drawn by Jarrett Williams, celebrates Beethoven’s groundbreaking musical personality, and Max Richter has been transformed by artist Dave Chisholm, who also wrote the chapter.

Tributes: Country Singer Charlie Pride (1934-2020)

We remember Charley Pride, one of the first African Americans to become popular as a country artist. Pride died yesterday at the age of 86, of complications from COVID-19.

Charley Frank Pride (March 18, 1934 – December 12, 2020) was an American singer, guitarist, and professional baseball player. His greatest musical success came in the early to mid-1970s, when he was the best-selling performer for RCA Records since Elvis Presley.[1] During the peak years of his recording career (1966–87), he had 52 top 10 hits on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart, 30 of which made it to number one. He won the Entertainer of the Year award at the Country Music Association Awards in 1971.

Pride was one of three African-American members of the Grand Ole Opry (the others are DeFord Bailey and Darius Rucker). He was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2000.

Rise to fame

While he was active in baseball, Pride had been encouraged to join the music business by country stars such as Red Sovine and Red Foley, and was working towards this career. In 1958, in Memphis, Pride visited Sun Studios and recorded some songs.[14]

He performed his music solo at clubs and with a four-piece combo called the Night Hawks during the time he lived in Montana.[11] His break came when Chet Atkins at RCA Victor heard a demonstration tape and got Pride a contract. In 1966, he released his first RCA Victor single, “The Snakes Crawl at Night”.[11] Nashville manager and agent Jack D. Johnson signed Pride. Atkins was the longtime producer at RCA Victor who had made stars out of country singers such as Jim ReevesSkeeter Davis, and others. Pride was signed to RCA Victor in 1965. “The Snakes Crawl at Night” did not chart. On the records of this song submitted to radio stations for airplay, the singer was listed as “Country Charley Pride”. Pride disputes that the omission of a photo was deliberate; he stated that getting promoters to bring in a black country singer was a bigger problem: “people didn’t care if I was pink. RCA signed me… they knew I was colored…They decided to put the record out and let it speak for itself.”[11] While living in Montana, he continued to sing at local clubs, and in Great Falls had an additional boost to his career when he befriended local businessman Louis Allen “Al” Donohue, who owned radio stations including KMON, the first stations to play Pride’s records in Montana.[11]

Soon after the release of “The Snakes Crawl at Night”, Pride released another single called “Before I Met You”, which also did not chart. Not long afterwards, his third single, “Just Between You and Me”, was released. This song finally brought Pride success on the country charts. The song reached number nine on Hot Country Songs on February 25, 1967.[15]

According to a news item by the Associated Press, Pride made this comment in a 1992 interview: “They used to ask me how it feels to be the ‘first colored country singer’ .. Then it was ‘first Negro country singer;’ then ‘first black country singer.’ Now I’m the ‘first African-American country singer.’ That’s about the only thing that’s changed”. [16]

Career peak

“Pride’s amazing baritone—it hints at twang and melisma simultaneously, and to call it warm is to slight the brightness of its heat”

Christgau’s Record Guide: Rock Albums of the Seventies (1981)

The success of “Just Between You and Me” was enormous. Pride was nominated for a Grammy Award for the song the next year. In the late summer of 1966, on the strength of his early releases, he was booked for his first large show, in Detroit‘s Olympia Stadium. Since no biographical information had been included with those singles, few of the 10,000 country fans who came to the show knew Pride was black, and only discovered the fact when he walked onto the stage, at which point the applause trickled off to silence. “I knew I’d have to get it over with sooner or later,” Pride later remembered. “I told the audience: ‘Friends, I realize it’s a little unique, me coming out here—with a permanent suntan—to sing country and western to you. But that’s the way it is.’ ”[18]

The show became the first of a long and active career playing to large audiences, his race soon becoming a minor detail compared to his success. In 1967, he became the first black performer to appear at the Grand Ole Opry since founding member DeFord Bailey, who had last appeared in 1941.[19] Between 1969 and 1971, Pride had eight singles that reached number one on the US Country Hit Parade and also charted on the Billboard Hot 100: “All I Have to Offer You (Is Me)“, “(I’m So) Afraid of Losing You Again“, “I Can’t Believe That You’ve Stopped Loving Me“, “I’d Rather Love You“, “Is Anybody Goin’ to San Antone“, “Wonder Could I Live There Anymore“, “I’m Just Me“, and “Kiss an Angel Good Mornin’“. The pop success of these songs reflected the country/pop crossover sound that was reaching country music in the 1960s and early 1970s, known as “Countrypolitan“. In 1969, his compilation albumThe Best of Charley Pride, sold more than one million copies, and was awarded a gold disc.[20] Ultimately, Elvis Presley was the only artist who sold more records than Pride for RCA Victor.[11]

Pride performed “All His Children“, featured in the film Sometimes a Great Notion (1971).[21] The film received two Oscar nominations in 1972, one for “All His Children”.[22]

“Kiss an Angel Good Mornin'”

In 1971, Pride released what would become his biggest hit, “Kiss an Angel Good Mornin'”, a million-selling crossover single. The same year, he won the Country Music Association‘s entertainer of the year award, as well as its top male vocalist award in 1971 and 1972.[23]

“Kiss an Angel Good Mornin'” became Pride’s signature tune. Besides being a five-week country number one in late 1971 and early 1972, the song was also his only pop top-40 hit, hitting number 21, and reaching the top 10 of the Adult Contemporary charts, as well.