Monday, November 26, 2012

The term "jukebox" came into use in the United States around 1940, apparently derived from the familiar usage "juke joint", derived from the Gullah word "juke" or "joog" meaning disorderly, rowdy, or wicked

I saw him dancin' there by the record machine
I knew he must a been about seventeen

I Love Rock N' Roll - Joan Jett And The Blackhearts

in the jukebox of her memory
the list of names flips by and stops
she closes her eyes
and smiles as the record drops

Jukebox  - Ani DiFranco

I love rock n' roll
So put another dime in the jukebox, baby
I love rock n' roll
So come and take your time and dance with me

I Love Rock N' Roll - Joan Jett And The Blackhearts

I saw him dancin' there by the record machine I knew he must a been about seventeen The beat was goin' strong
Playin' my favorite song An' I could tell it wouldn't be long Till he was with me, yeah me, singin'
I love rock n' roll So put another dime in the jukebox, baby I love rock n' roll So come an' take your time an' dance with me


I knew that you  d been  cheating

Cause you stayed away so long

 And I heard the jukebox playing 

 When you called me on  the phone

I Heard Jukebox Playing - Kitty Wells


Friday, November 23, 2012

The 50 albums that changed music via The Observer

i'm not really a list freak, but this one is more interesting
than usual... could be because over half of the first 10
are in my own collection, and they certainly changed me...

The 50 albums that changed music

1 The Velvet Underground and Nico

The Velvet Underground and Nico (1967)
Though it sold poorly on its initial release, this has since become
arguably the most influential rock album of all time.
The first art-rock album, it merges dreamy, druggy balladry ('Sunday Morning') with raw and uncompromising sonic experimentation ('Venus in Furs'), and is famously clothed in that Andy Warhol-designed 'banana' sleeve. Lou Reed's lyrics depicted a Warholian New York demi-monde where hard drugs and sexual experimentation held sway. Shocking then, and still utterly transfixing.

Without this, there'd be no ... Bowie, Roxy Music, Siouxsie
and the Banshees and the Jesus and Mary Chain, among many others.

2 The Beatles
Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967)
There are those who rate Revolver (1966) or 'the White Album' (1968) higher. But Sgt Pepper's made the watertight case for pop music as an art form in itself; until then, it was thought the silly, transient stuff of teenagers.
At a time when all pop music was stringently manufactured, these Paul McCartney-driven melodies and George Martin-produced whorls of sound proved that untried ground was not only the most fertile stuff, but also the most viable commercially. It defined the Sixties and - for good and ill - gave white rock all its airs and graces.

Without this ... pop would be a very different beast.

3 Kraftwerk
Trans-Europe Express (1977)
Released at the height of punk, this sleek, urbane, synthesised, intellectual work shared little ground with its contemporaries. Not that it wanted to. Kraftwerk operated from within a bubble of equipment and ideas which owed more to science and philosophy than mere entertainment. Still, this paean to the beauty of mechanised movement and European civilisation was a moving and exquisite album in itself. And, through a sample on Afrika Bambaataa's seminal 'Planet Rock', the German eggheads joined the dots with black American electro, giving rise to entire new genres.
Without this... no techno, no house, no Pet Shop Boys. The list is endless.

Straight Outta Compton (1989)
Like a darker, more vengeful Public Enemy, NWA (Niggaz With Attitude) exposed the vicious realities of the West Coast gang culture on their lurid, fluent debut. Part aural reportage (sirens, gunshots, police radio), part thuggish swagger, Compton laid the blueprint for the most successful musical genre of the last 20 years, gangsta rap. It gave the world a new production mogul in Dr Dre, and gave voice to the frustrations that flared up into the LA riots in 1992. As befits an album boasting a song called 'Fuck tha Police', attention from the FBI, the Parents' Music Resource Centre and our own Metropolitan Police's Obscene Publications Squad sealed its notoriety.
Without this ... no Eminem, no 50 Cent, no Dizzee Rascal.

5 Robert Johnson
King of the Delta Blues Singers (1961)
Described by Eric Clapton as 'the most important blues singer that ever lived', Johnson was an intensely private man, whose short life and mysterious death created an enduring mythology. He was said to have sold his soul to the devil at a crossroads in Mississippi in exchange for his finger-picking prowess. Johnson recorded a mere 29 songs, chief among them 'Hellhound on My Trail', but when it was finally issued, King of the Delta Blues Singers became one of the touchstones of the British blues scene.
Without this ... no Rolling Stones, Cream, Led Zeppelin.

6 Marvin Gaye
What's Going On (1971)
Gaye's career as tuxedo-clad heart-throb gave no hint he would cut a concept album dealing with civil rights, the Vietnam war and ghetto life. Equally startling was the music, softening and double-tracking Gaye's falsetto against a wash of bubbling percussion, swaying strings and chattering guitars. Motown boss Berry Gordy hated it but its disillusioned nobility caught the public mood. Led by the oft-covered 'Inner City Blues', it ushered in an era of socially aware soul.
Without this ... no Innervisions (Stevie Wonder) or Superfly (Curtis Mayfield).

7 Patti Smith
Horses (1975)
Who would have thought punk rock was, in part, kickstarted by a girl?
Poet, misfit and New York ligger, Patti channelled the spirits of Keith Richards, Bob Dylan and Rimbaud into female form, and onto an album whose febrile energy and Dionysian spirit helped light the touchpaper for New York punk. The Robert Mapplethorpe-shot cover, in which a hungry, mannish Patti stares down the viewer, defiantly broke with the music industry's treatment of women artists (sexy or girl-next-door) and still startles today.

Without this ... no REM, PJ Harvey, Razorlight. And no
powerful female pop icons like Madonna.

8 Bob Dylan
Bringing it All Back Home (1965)
The first folk-rock album? Maybe. Certainly the first augury of what was to come with the momentous 'Like a Rolling Stone'. Released in one of pop's pivotal years, Bringing it All Back Home fused hallucinatory lyricism and, on half of its tracks, a raw, ragged rock'n'roll thrust. On the opening song, 'Subterranean Homesick Blues', Dylan manages to pay homage to the Beats and Chuck Berry, while anticipating the surreal wordplay of rap.
Without this ... put simply, on this album and the follow-up, Highway 61 Revisited, Dylan invented modern rock music.

9 Elvis Presley
Elvis Presley (1956)
The King's first album was also the first example of how to cash in on a teenage craze. With Presleymania at full tilt, RCA simultaneously released a single, a four-track EP and an album, all with the same cover of Elvis in full, demented cry. They got their first million dollar album, the fans got a mix of rock-outs like 'Blue Suede Shoes', lascivious R&B and syrupy ballads.
Without this ... no King, no rock and roll madness, no Beatles first album, no pop sex symbols.

10 The Beach Boys
Pet Sounds (1966)
Of late, Pet Sounds has replaced Sgt Pepper's as the critics' choice of Greatest Album of All Time. Composed by the increasingly reclusive Brian Wilson while the rest of the group were touring, it might well have been a solo album. The beauty resides not just in its compositional genius and instrumental invention, but in the elaborate vocal harmonies that imbue these sad songs with an almost heartbreaking grandeur.
Without this ... where to start? The Beatles acknowledged its influence; Dylan said of Brian Wilson, 'That ear! I mean, Jesus, he's got to will
that to the Smithsonian.'

 ... for 40 more musical keystones, as heard by the Observer.
click this convenient link!

The 50 albums that changed music | Music | The Observer


The First Electric Guitars

These schematic drawings are
from a patent application
or an electrical musical instrument, submitted on behalf
the Gibson Guitar Company in 1937.

This electrical musical instrument is one of the rarest
in the world. It was
made by the Rickenbacker Guitar
Company in 1931.

They called it the Electro Hawaiian, but most people
now call it
the Frying Pan.

Crafted from a single piece of wood, it was the prototype
for a cast-aluminum model. Its electromagnetic pickup
is essentially the technology used on all electric guitars today.

The 1936 Rickenbacker, known
as the Spanish Model B.

Working for Adolph Rickenbacker, George Beauchamp
filed his first U.S. patent application for the Frying Pan
in 1932, shortly before the guitar went into commercial
production. A second, greatly revised application was
submitted in 1934.

At the North Carolina State University Engineering Fair
in 1940, first prize went to NCSU physics professor Sidney Wilson
for his invention of the world's first fully electric guitar.
The instrument was the first to have single-string pick-up.

Gibson had introduced a converted acoustic guitar - the ES-150 -
in 1937 that used a single bar to pick up the signal from all strings.
It achieved some popularity, but was plagued by unequal
loudness across the six strings.

Professor Wilson reasoned that: 1) individual pick-ups could remedy
the unequal loudness problem, and 2) the acoustical body
was not necessary for a fully electric instrument.


This under-stated little beauty is
the Harmony Lap Steel Electric.

... and in 1939, Slingerland put out the Songster.

It seems electric guitars have always been beautiful.



Your Band is Your Brand!

Long before "branding" became the high holy buzz
word among the MBA set, it was a fait accompli
in cultural zones- none more so than music.

In 1969, Mick Jagger - CEO of Rolling Stones Inc -
went down to the Royal College of Art in search
of a new look for the band and a few weeks later,
John Pasche delivered the “The Tongue”.

It was inspired in part by an image of the goddess Kali
favoured by Mr. Jagger, but the primary influence
was Mr. Pasche's first impression of Mr. Jagger.

“It symbolized freedom,rebellion
and, of course,there is a sexual connotation.”

The brief had included a fee of £50, but the Stones
were so pleased with it they later added another £200.

The Tongue was originally the logo for the band's
new record label, and it first appeared on
the Stone's album Sticky Fingers...

Soon, it became an integral element in all of their
marketing and merchandise and over the years,
it's become synonymous with the band.

The tongue and lips logo is among the 13 live trademarks owned
in both the UK and the US by Musidor BV,
the Stones’ Dutch-based company.

In the UK, it is registered in sound and video devices,
paper articles, shaped pieces and patches and clothing.

In August 2006, records released in the Netherlands
revealed that the band had earned $450 million since
moving its commercial operations to that country in 1972.

Pasche received royalties on the design for a number of years,
and would go on to design tour posters and other materials
for the Stones in the years to come.

He recently sold the original art to the Victoria and Albert Museum
for more than £50,000.

branding your band links

the story

the designer

the designer describes how it happened

a collection of tongues

the merch

the Stones and IP

- 30 -


for Captain Beefheart, a.k.a. Don van Vliet

i wrote this for another now-defunct blog
after hearing of the death of Don van Vliet...

the real Captain America

has left the building. 

Captain Beefheart
was a nom de plume used
by the closest thing white rock music ever had
to a true shaman.

A man with more gris-gris than Mac Rebennack,
and more poetry than Jim Morrison,
who was more far out than Mercury
or that other Morrison,
or Morrisey.

He spent more of his life living in remote areas
and painting than being a rock star, which if you
go by sales, he never really

mutually useful but volatile.

Typically a Beefheart album might do 50 to 60,000 units.
His sales volumes may have been low, but his demographics
were something else.

His audience included Jerzy Kosinski, Igor Stravinsky, Charles Mingus,
Miles Davis, Pharoah Sanders, Woody Allen, John Lydon,
Joe Strummer, Devo, Pere Ubu, Tom Waits, Matt Groening,
Nick Cave, Franz Ferdinand, Oasis, Red Hot Chilli Peppers
and The White Stripes

...and 50 to 60,000 others.

Beefheart was a one-namer before Madonna
could cross the street
by herself.

"If it had been produced by any professional,
famous producer," Zappa said later,
"there could have been a number
of suicides involved."

"Once you've heard Beefheart, it's hard to wash him
out of your clothes. It stains, like coffee or blood."

Tom Waits

'all roads lead to coca-cola'
Don van Vliet

His singular musical journey mixed delta blues, psychedelia,
free jazz and poetry into something new and magical.

He taught himself to play soprano sax, bass clarinet,
harmonica, guitar, piano, and even the mellotron.

His vocals spanned seven and a half octaves

His imagination spanned the universe.



I look at her and she looks at me
In her eyes I see the sea
I can't see what she sees in a man like me
She says she loves me

Her eyes
Her eyes
Her eyes are a blue million miles

Her eyes are a blue million miles 
Don van Vliet 1972

Fast goes fast
Slow goes slow
Rich are rich and the po' are po'
Everybody's doing the Low Yo Yo Yo Yo
Everybody's doing it
Deep down everybody knows they should
Do the Low Yo Yo Yo Yo

Low Yo Yo Stuff   Don van Vliet 1972

Interestingly, 50 to 60,000 is also about the number
of US dollars you would need to buy a painting
or two of his now.

Funny business, art.

You used me like an ashtray heart
Right from the start
Case of the punks
Another day, another way
Somebody's had too much to think
Open up another case of the punks
Each pillow is touted like a rock
The mother / father figure
Somebody's had too much to think
Send your mother home your navel

Ashtray Heart   
Don van Vliet  1980

i told my mother - she showed it to me not too long ago,
in this baby book in that horrible palmer penmanship
method of writing that she used...
on this old yellow piece of paper it's written out,
that if she would stay on one side of the room
and i would stay on the other, that we would
be friends the rest of our life.

Don van Vliet

i met Aldous Huxley. i sold him a vacuum cleaner.
i said: 'i assure you, sir, this thing sucks!'.
he bought everything in my car.
i was selling electrolux vacuum cleaners.
i quit right after that - probably some time before 1959.

Don van Vliet

stars are matter
we are matter
but it doesn't matter.

Don van Vliet

January 15, 1941 – December 17, 2010
after a long battle with multiple sclerosis.

Love over gold.

Don Van Vliet

the Captain Beefheart Radio Station