All posts by Paul

Today in Music History July 19

1954, Elvis Presley’s first single, “That’s All Right” was released by Sun Records.

 

1974 The Ozark Music Festival began today at the Missouri State Fairgrounds in Sedalia, Missouri.  Acts who appeared included Bachman–Turner Overdrive, Blue Öyster Cult, The Eagles, America, Marshall Tucker Band, The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Boz Scaggs, Ted Nugent, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Electric Flag, Joe Walsh, Aerosmith and Spirit. A committee of the Missouri state Senate issued a report after the festival stating that the festival made Sodom and Gomorrah look mild by comparison.

1987, Bruce Springsteen played his first concert behind the Iron Curtain when he appeared in East Berlin in front of 180,000 people.Sources: This Day in Music.com; Wikipedia.

A Change was Made Uptown, and the Piano Man Joined the Band…

Last night in NYC, Billy Joel celebrated his 100th MSG show with special guest Bruce Springsteen!

From Backstreets.com


“JERSEY AND LONG ISLAND BUST THE CITY IN HALF”
Last night in NYC, Bruce Springsteen headed downtown from 48th Street to 33rd, to join Billy Joel for a big night at Madison Square Garden. Celebrating his unprecedented 100th lifetime show at the Garden, Billy brought Bruce out midway through Wednesday night’s concert, introducing him as “an old friend of mine… an Oscar-winner, Grammy-winner… and a Tony Award-winner, please welcome Bruce Springsteen!”

Taking the stage with mic in hand, to plenty of Brooocing and a hug from his pal, Springsteen congratulated Billy on 100 shows before counting the band into “Tenth Avenue Freeze-out.” “Do it again, do it again!” he called to Billy’s horn section, before working the stage and hopping up on the piano as he has at the Garden many times before — though not in the triple digits. Billy took the second verse, and Bruce didn’t miss the opportunity for a perfect lyric change: “They made that change uptown, and the Piano Man joined the band!” And of course, “Jersey and Long Island bust the city in half.”

Soon Bruce was strapping on his trusty Fender for one more: “Born to Run.” Billy sang the second verse on this one, too, and his longtime saxman Mark Rivera joined Bruce center stage for a deft turn on the iconic sax solo. Interestingly, one other band member on stage has played that solo before, as this appearance also reunited Springsteen with ’92-93 bandmember Crystal Taliefero.

Watch the full appearance above — pretty thrilling to see Springsteen not only back in his rock ‘n’ roll element with two classics, but to be sharing a big moment with his Columbia compatriot. As proclaimed by Governor Andrew Cuomo, yesterday was officially Billy Joel Day in the state of New York — congrats to Billy on the honor and on 100 nights at the World’s Most Famous Arena.
– July 19, 2018 – photograph via Twitter/@WineConcierge – setlist via Twitter/@billyjoel

Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, 7/14/18

 

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Our family (like many) loves the Harry Potter books and movies.  I have read the books three times (once myself, and once each with each of my kids).  I have always been a bit disappointed with the movies as I feel that they don’t always do justice to the richness of the novels – of course they can’t given the inherent limits of time and format of a movie.

But when we heard that the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra (BSO) was going to be playing the soundtrack to the 4th movie, HP and the Goblet of Fire, live as the movie played, we thought it would be a fun way to see the movie.

My sense is that many professional orchestras have been doing these types of concerts as a way of connecting with younger generation of listeners.  Of course the counter point, as expressed by my son’s music teacher (herself a professional bass player) is that it just shows that audiences these days can’t even listen to an orchestra without some visual stimulation.  Be that as it may….

Goblet of Fire is one of my favorites of the movie series, and I was excited to see how it would be with a live symphony accompaniment.  In a word it was amazing!

After the traditional orchestra tune-up, the orchestra conductor Jeffrey Schindler came out and enthusiastically welcomed the audience, encouraging everyone to enjoy the movie by clapping, cheering and laughing to their favorite parts.  He then polled us on our Hogwarts House allegiances (we have always been Gryffindor, although I was surprised how many Hufflepuffs and Ravenclaws there were in audience – even Slytherin got a good response).  As the house lights went down, the stage was black except for small lights on the orchestra member’s music stands so they could see their music, and a single spotlight on the conductor.  At first I thought this would be distracting in watching the movie on the large screen above the orchestra, but it left my awareness after the movie started.  The other potential distraction was that the film was close captioned, but again this ended up not being a big deal and was actually essential at several points where the orchestra music made it hard to hear the dialogue. (Although it did make it clear how simple and brief the movie dialogue is).  Given that the movie was close to 2:40, there was a 15 minute intermission about 1:30 into the movie.

Where having a live orchestra playing live to the movie worked best was during the many dramatic or suspenseful scenes – the Quidditch World Cup, the naming of the House Champions by the Goblet, the dragon task, the underwater lake task, the Yule Ball, and especially the final task and scene with Voldemort [I am assuming readers have seen the movies – if not, sorry…].  All of these scenes were enhanced, made more dramatic or suspenseful by both the volume of the sound and the brightness and clarity of the themes being played.   Call me crazy, but Emma Watson looked all the more stunning coming down the stairs at the Yule Ball with the orchestra accompaniment.  Ditto the death of Cedric Diggory, which was all the sadder and more tragic.

As I mentioned earlier, I have sometimes been disappointed with the movie versions of the Harry Potter books, in part because I find myself always comparing them to the books and thinking of all the plotlines being left out or changed.  But I have to say that seeing Goblet of Fire with the BSO let me enjoy the movie on its own merits and as its own version of the story.  There were many times when I simply forgot that the orchestra was there and that the music was just bigger and bolder than normal.

Having a live symphony orchestra playing while watching is a one of a kind experience that I would definitely recommend everyone experience at least once (we are already planning for future Harry Potter concerts as well as Star Wars)!

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Today in Music History July 18

1953, Elvis Presley, still a truck driver at the time, records his first songs for a vanity disc for his Mom.  The disc costs $3.98 and includes two songs, “My Happiness” and “That’s When Your Heartaches Begin.”

 

1964, The Rolling Stones make their first appearance on the US music charts with their cover of the Buddy Holly hit “Not Fade Away.”

 

1966, Bobby Fuller, whose band The Bobby Fuller Four achieved fame with the song “I Fought the Law”  was found dead in his car in Los Angeles of gasoline asphyxiation at the age of 23. His death was labeled a suicide, although numerous other theories have been put forward over the years. “I Fought the Law” regained fame in the 1970s when the Clash covered it.

 

1973 Bruce Springsteen began a four night stand at New York City’s Max’s Kansas City.  The opening band was a new reggae artist making their first tour of North America – Bob Marley and the Wailers! (Not that is a concert for the ages!)

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George Theiss 1949-2018. Bandmate of Bruce Springsteen in his first band The Castiles

George Theiss passed away this past Friday, July 13.

From Backstreets.com:

GEORGE THEISS, 1949-2018

George Theiss died on Friday after a two-year battle with lung cancer. He was 68. Theiss was Bruce Springsteen’s bandmate in their teen-years band The Castiles; Springsteen is now the last surviving member of that band.

Theiss formed The Castiles — named after the shampoo that he used — in late 1964 and was the band’s lead singer. He had been dating Virginia Springsteen for a while before learning that her brother could play the guitar; George soon invited Bruce to join the band. In his Born to Run autobiography, Springsteen identified The Castiles as “my first real band”….  He also described George Theiss as “the best vocalist we had. He had a real voice and charisma and did the job well. I was considered toxic in front of a microphone…

The Castiles actually got as far as playing New York City’s famous Café Wha? and doing a bit of recording. Their two-track recording of “Baby I,” a song that Springsteen and Theiss wrote together, was featured on Chapter and Verse, the 2016 compilation released in conjunction with the Born to Run autobiography.  After The Castiles broke up, George Theiss remained a fixture on the Jersey Shore music scene through the 1970s and 1980s, later leading Cahoots and The George Theiss Band, and continuing to write and perform.

July 16 This Day in Music History

1969, The Beatles begin work on two new George Harrison songs, “Here Comes the Sun” and “Something” during recording of Abbey Road.  Harrison was apparently inspired to write “Here Comes the Sun” after spending the day in the garden at Eric Clapton’s house.

 

 

1977, One hit wonder Shaun Cassidy, half brother of Partridge Family heartthrob David Cassidy, went to No.1 on the US singles chart with ‘Da Doo Ron Ron’, a cover of the 1963 hit by the Crystals.  Is a one hit wonder less of a wonder if the hit is a cover??  He also was in the Hardy Boy Mysteries, a late 70’s TV series.

 

 

2007, The White Stripes played their ‘shortest live show ever’ in St. John’s, Newfoundland, Canada, when Jack White played a single guitar C# note accompanied by a bass drum/crash cymbal hit from Meg White. At the end of the “show”, Jack announced, “We have now officially played in every province and territory in Canada.” They then left the stage and performed a full show later that night in St John’s.  Why?  Why not?  From This Day in Music.com

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Sources: This Day in Music.com; Wikipedia