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Reelin’ in the Years – 1967

Front cover of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Clu...

Front cover of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, “probably the most famous album cover in popular musical history”Ashplant Smyth 2001, p. 185. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s 1967 and I’m five years old.

I definitely remember hearing Sgt. Pepper’s on vinyl. The song that first caught my imagination was “Lucy in the Sky.” That guitar riff at the beginning has been copied and morphed by so many other bands.

They probably changed it just enough to avoid a lawsuit. I learned how to play that riff as a boy. Not so hard. But getting something simple that unique, well, that’s the challenge of pop, isn’t it?

I don’t mean to pass over The Beatles. It’s the Summer of Love in ’67 and their groundbreaking Sgt. Pepper’s blew away most other bands. Actually all other bands. And most everyone admitted it (maybe not Quincy Jones).

A rose is a rose is a rose. And genius is genius is genius. And at that moment, The Beatles with George Martin were genius. No doubt about it.

English: Quincy Jones attending an after-party...

Quincy Jones attending an after-party of a tribute to his work at Life Restaurant, Los Angeles, CA on October 1, 2008 – Photo by Glenn Francis of http://www.PacificProDigital.com (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

To think they did all that on a four-track recorder! Anyone who knows studio tech will understand how amazing that is.

I really should list “A Day in the Life” as my favorite song. But that was me in the basement, looking over and trying to play some sheet music on our old piano. Right now I want to focus more on stuff that really made AM radio what it was.

From 1966 you can see that AM radios were all rage back then. Most cars, except for the odd luxury vehicle, were standard equipped with a thin, overly compressed sounding AM radio. Basically music in a tin can.

That was it. So pop songs had to sound good on AM radios. And they had to go a full cycle (verse, chorus, bridge, etc.) in about 2 and a half minutes to fit the AM radio format.

If they went much over two minutes, the DJ would just start talking and fade into the next song or go to a commercial. So really, no long sagas like “A Day in the Life” would work on AM. That was for FM, which would find its full voice in the 70s. (get out the tape deck!)

Image – Wikipedia

One tune that did sound good on AM was the Rolling Stone’s “Ruby Tuesday.” I remember hearing this on vinyl – we had lots of vinyl kicking around – and sensing it was somehow different.

“Ruby Tuesday” proved that the Stones could do mature work. I think it’s a great song with fabulous instrumentation. That recorder, or whatever it is, adds an almost medieval, courtly flair that only the Brits could pull off.

Fantastic lyrics. Fantastic song. Enjoy.

Reelin’ in ALL the Years

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Reelin’ in the Years – 1966

The Monkees, 1966 via Wikipedia

Boy oh boy. There are so many good tunes for the Billboard Year-End Hot 100 singles of 1966 that I really had to scratch my head over choosing just one. I am now 4 years old and remembering more songs as I grow older.

We had the Monkees 33.3 record with “Last Train to Clarksville.” My last name is Clark so as a kid that got my attention.

Even as a child, though, I sensed that the Monkees weren’t really the best of bands. A made-for-TV copy of the Beatles. We had oodles of Beatles 33s and 45s kicking around. So I had a good basis for comparison.

The Monkees were catchy. But they weren’t the Beatles.

Most cars in the mid-60s only had an AM radio. 8-track, FM and cassette were soon to follow. In Canada, the speedometer still used MPH. We took a turn to KM (and Celcius) in the 70s. I remember reading in the paper that metric was more “international.” – Image via Wikipedia

Later in life I came to appreciate and really adore Frank Sinatra. But in ’66 he was more of a middle-aged act than a young person’s thing. Frank was going out of style. “Strangers in the Night” did chart and won a Grammy for Record of the Year. But it didn’t fly with the teeny-bop crowd. Rock and Roll was “here to stay” as Neil Young would sing.

Mind you, that swanky era wasn’t totally gone. My parents’ generation still bought records like that. Funnily enough, I don’t remember seeing any Sinatra records in my parents’ collection. My love for Frank just came naturally later in life as I enjoy most types of music, especially the greats.

Sinatra, pictured here with Eleanor Roosevelt ...

Sinatra, pictured here with Eleanor Roosevelt in 1960, was an ardent supporter of the Democratic Party until 1968. – Image via Wikipedia

For the 1966 best song, however, I chose The Mamas & The Papas’ “Monday Monday” because, like “Downtown” (1965), it was one of those songs that stayed with you, even when you weren’t near the radio.

Notice the pre-hippy fashion in this video. Elvish colors and collars. Pinstripe pants. Hair getting a bit longer and shaggier. The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s, The Moody Blues’ Days of Future Passed , Traffic’s Mr. Fantasy and Jefferson Airplane’s Surrealistic Pillow were just around the corner. And that, my friends, was a whole new ballgame.

To me, the opening vocals in this tune are like a tulip coming out in April. Something so new, so fresh, so positive. Even though the song is about a sad Monday, it’s still upbeat, uplifting.

That’s flower power, man!

You can just see Sinatra and his fellow crooners burying their heads in their hands, heading for Vegas where they can still squeeze out a few bucks for booze, cigarettes and who knows what else.

Reelin’ in ALL the Years

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 Music icon Quincy Jones says Microsoft cofounder Paul Allen can play guitar ‘just like’ Jimi Hendrix (businessinsider.com)

 Why the UK Just Appointed a Minister of Loneliness (livescience.com)

 Prince Honored By Justin Timberlake In NFL Super Bowl Halftime Show [Social Media Reactions] (business2community.com)


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Reelin’ in the Years – 1962

Billboard Tenth Anniversary Issue, 1904

Billboard Tenth Anniversary Issue, 1904 – Wikipedia

Okay, it’s mid-winter in Canada and, frankly, I need a little diversion that’s just sheer fun. So I thought it would be a great idea to do a “top song” for each year I’ve been alive, starting at 1962, the year I was born.

After a quick look at Billboard for 1962, I decided I’d begin with two songs instead of just one. I may do that again, I may not. But since ’62 is the year I came into this world, I think it’s okay to start with a bang!

Both of these songs are familiar to me. I had older bros and sis’s. And I can still see their 45s (those are vinyl singles, for those who don’t know) in my mind’s eye. Also, they’re just good songs that have enjoyed a lot of airtime and cover versions through the years.

So here’s my beginnings… 1962. And two songs I know and like from that year.

Stay tuned for next time… 1963!

Reelin’ in ALL the Years

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 Lil Uzi Vert says he’s finished a new project (thefader.com)


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Diary of a Madman

Originally a serious track called “medieval,” I was trying to record some ahhs and not having much luck. Suddenly I was inspired to go into a sort of nonsense voiceover (with a nod to the Beatles and Lewis Carroll).


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I remember when the web was young… me and suzie had so much fun

earth sunrise via deviant art

I signed up for deviant art many years ago. After retrieving my PW I’m good to go. This time I’m just testing to see if you can hyperlink to images like you can at, say, Flickr.

It’s fun to do new things on the web. This isn’t actually new but going back to deviant art reminds me of the early days when every website was an adventure, an exploration. These days it’s more about “Will I Tweet this or post it on Facebook?”

A lot of smaller sites have bitten the dust as a handful of megalomaniac CEOs take over the internet and the world. I’m glad deviant art is still around. Probably owned by Google or something like that. But at least I had a few moments where I felt that wonder that was the early days of the web.

Igloo, a Jive-style enterprise collaboration platform, raises $47M(feedproxy.google.com)

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Google’s next big Chrome update will make internet browsing less annoying(businessinsider.com)

Women In Tech: Up & Coming Female Entrepreneurs(grasshopper.com)

Germany’s New Social Media Hate Speech Law is Now Being Enforced(gizmodo.co.uk)

Still living under the tyranny of the password in 2017(techcrunch.com)

Is Your Time Online Time Well Spent?(cmswire.com)

Twitter Says 677,775 People Touched by Russia-Based Organizations(247wallst.com)


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Merry Christmas!

In Toronto we have an FM radio station, CHFI, that plays only Christmas music at this time of year. I noticed this song came up a lot (by checking “recently played” on the web) but never heard it ’till now. Not bad! 🙂


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Christmas is for kids

Image via Flickr

Taken today at one of the more economically disadvantaged parishes in Toronto (area-wise). Seems these amazing people are doing the most for kids this Xmas.

And isn’t that usually the way?

Those with a lot grasp on to it and are often cheap and miserly. Those with a little know what it means to be in want, so tend to share whatever they have to help others avoid that unpleasant feeling.