Michaelwclark.com

Just my stuff


Leave a comment

Reelin’ in the Years – 1972

The original David Bowie album came out in 1969 but “Space Oddity” is often compared to Elton John’s “Rocket Man” of 1972 – Image: badgreeb RECORDS via Flickr

It’s 1972 and I’ve completed ten full solar orbits on spaceship Earth.

I just realized that I overlooked David Bowie’s influential song “Space Oddity” for 1969. When I was seven in ’69, “Space Oddity” was too far out for me. I didn’t discover that until high school.

“Rocket Man” (1972) by Elton John is another story.

Elton hit the scene with a big splash. Suddenly we had a superstar who rivaled the Beatles in popularity and talent. And he was just one guy. Actually, that’s not quite right. Lyricist Bernie Taupin adds a lot to the picture. And Elton’s backup musicians make the perfect 70s band.

Publicity photo of Elton John and Bernie Taupin.

Publicity photo of Elton John and Bernie Taupin. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Some felt that Elton was just a flash in the pan. Well, they got the flash part right. But Elton has weathered ups and downs and is still in the spotlight.

He just hasn’t gone away. Always adding his two bits on some controversial topic, be it Billy Joel’s lack of productivity, his own dislike of religion… Whatever.

Elton is touring again. His Farewell Yellow Brick Road show is being billed as his last-ever tour.

“Rocket Man” is usually seen as Elton’s take on Bowie’s “Space Oddity” theme. Of course, Bowie did it first. But I like both songs. “Rocket Man” is a bit more human and ironically, down-to-earth. I have related to this song in different ways through life’s changes. I got it at 10 years old. And it holds up now.

Elton and Taupin wrote songs accessible to fans of all ages. Isn’t that what superstars do?

Mars ain’t the kind of place to raise your kids
In fact it’s cold as hell

Reelin’ in ALL the Years

 Observatory Spots Elon Musk’s Tesla Roadster Zooming Through Space (Video) (space.com)

 Watch the live feed from SpaceX’s Roadster-driving Starman in space (feedproxy.google.com)

 Katherine Jenkins – she’s gone up an octave (slippedisc.com)

 Super realistic animation shows Falcon Heavy launching Tesla Roaster into space (mashable.com)

 Watch Japan’s ice skating team dance to Ryuichi Sakamoto (thefader.com)

 A car ad in space finally brought the country together (businessinsider.com)

 Elon Musk’s Roadster Launch Sparks Sales of Hot Wheels Toy Tesla (space.com)

 Where Is Elon Musk’s Space Tesla Actually Going? (theatlantic.com)

 SpaceX poised to launch ‘world’s most powerful rocket’ (vanguardngr.com)

 David Bowie book club launched by his son, Duncan Jones (telegraph.co.uk)

Advertisements


Leave a comment

Reelin’ in the Years – 1971

Outstanding album with tunes like “You’ve got a Friend”, “So Far Away” and several other timeless greats – via Wikipedia

It’s 1971 and I’m nine years old. Trying to decide on my favorite tune for this year is almost impossible. I could list several.

Pop music has not only shifted into a whole new genre in the 70s, but my young brain is maturing now, and I clearly remember all the tunes.

Music was having an increased impact on me. It really is my first love.

All the school, book learning and dabbling in world religions came later as I tried to make sense of our duplicitous world. But as a young kid, most things are taken for granted. You don’t care so much about the weight of the world. You’re just in the moment. Happy and groovin’.

My favorite song for ’71 happens to be a Canadian song. Carole King’s Tapestry hit the charts that year and it contains several timeless, outstanding singles. But for sheer nine-year-old fun, this is the tune! (Great social commentary too).

The album cover pictured (before you click play) isn’t right. That’s from an earlier album by the Five Man Electrical Band. And that is the very first album I bought with my own coin. On sale at Zellers (defunct Canadian retailer) for 2 bucks!

So begins a long career in adoring music.

And the sign said, “Everybody welcome. Come in, kneel down and pray”
But when they passed around the plate at the end of it all
I didn’t have a penny to pay
So I got me a pen and a paper and I made up my own little sign
I said, “Thank you, Lord, for thinkin’ ’bout me. I’m alive and doin’ fine”

via Wikipedia

Reelin’ in ALL the Years

 Quincy Jones said he ‘used to date’ Ivanka Trump and the internet can’t stop screaming (mashable.com)

 Justin Timberlake’s Manly Prance Through the Woods (theatlantic.com)


Leave a comment

Reelin’ in the Years – 1970

Clouds (Joni Mitchell album)

Clouds (Joni Mitchell album) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s 1970 and I’m eight years old. You had to be there to really understand what 1970 meant. Today it seems so long ago, so old fashioned. I mean, 70s music. That’s dad and mom music. Maybe even grandpa and grandma music!

I remember sitting in junior school and seeing the date written in chalk on the blackboard. I guess it was January after Christmas. I mused how futuristic the numerals looked. This was the space age. Computers and all sorts of electronic devices were coming of age.

Wow it’s the 70s! Goodbye Get Smart. Goodbye Hogans Heroes. Goodbye Elvis. Hello Three’s Company. Hello M*A*S*H. Hello “Hotel California.”

As a kid my #1 tune was B. J. Thomas’ corny but sweet “Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head.” But as a teen (a few years later), I came to really dig some of the CSNY songs. Especially the ones on the greatest hits LP, So Far.

1970 also signals a new divergence. AM vs FM radio. FM took off in Canada during the 70s. It might have already been cooking in the States, not sure. But in Canada, FM was fantastic. Entire albums, including new releases were gleefully played by DJs. And without commercial breaks. It was like super college radio. A good, clear stereo signal. Much better sound than AM. I recall one DJ actually telling listeners to “get the tape deck ready” because he was going to play an entire rock album.

This might be the actual model that our family owned. Can’t remember for sure. If not exact, very close. – via Wikipedia

Compare that relaxed openness to the paranoid and punitive mindset of today. Many record companies have always been greedy, imo. In the 70s they ripped off customers by packaging albums in cheaply made cassettes that sounded crummy, fell apart, stretched or simply broke way before vinyl records would degrade.

Nobody really felt guilty about taping a friend’s album on a higher quality tape like Maxell or TDK. And I think there was a cassette tax in Canada that helped to reimburse the music industry for any lost revenues. So it was all good and out in the open.

Anyhow, enough memory lane for now. Here’s my favorite song for 1970. I didn’t know it as a kid in 1970. So this is a retrospective fav. CSNY had, of course, Neil Young in the band. A Canadian and by far the most talented group member. And the song itself was written by Joni Mitchell, another Canadian. Of course, the wheels of American industry made this song big. But that’s another story for another time.

Reelin’ in ALL the Years

 Neil Young & Promise of the Real Celebrate Nature in ‘Almost Always’ Video (news.radio.com)

 Get a retro wake-up call in the morning with this USB-enabled FM radio alarm clock (mashable.com)

 Music streaming site Spotify preparing smart speaker launch, job openings hint (telegraph.co.uk)

 Westwood One: More AM/FM Listeners Hear Ads Than Pandora, Spotify Users (allaccess.com)


Leave a comment

Time Cop

Here’s a tune I’ve been working on for a few weeks. Sort of a synthesis of several old themes from the 70s. With a new twist. The image is Toronto downtown 1972. Looks quite different now.


Leave a comment

back in the groove

Earthpages has taken a back seat the past few days as I really wanted to get this out asap.

My little blurb at SoundCloud says it all:

You guessed it. I was thinking of Paul McCartney and other 70s feelgood love songs a bit when mixing this. But the tune was written in the late 80s / early 90s. Originally called “Karma Destiny,” it has a melody but I didn’t like my vocals so went with sax improv instead.

Today I question the whole idea of karma. So that title isn’t really me any more. But the music still is!

© 2017 Michael W. Clark

 Paul McCartney & Ringo Starr Recorded Music Together For First Time In Seven Years(stereogum.com)

 Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr Reunite for New Music(aceshowbiz.com)

 Classic Rock Almanac February 9, 2017(wncx.cbslocal.com)

 Paul McCartney sues Sony/ATV to reclaim rights to Beatles music(japantimes.co.jp)

 This Week In History: The Beatles, Compact Discs, Whitney Houston, and Michael Jackson(wcbsfm.cbslocal.com)

 DC, Hollywood Stars Celebrate Valentine’s Day On Social Media(losangeles.cbslocal.com)


Leave a comment

Rediscovering John Prine

Back in the library today. Happened to see this oldie goldie that I haven’t heard for ages. Wasn’t really knowing what to expect. Last time I heard this album it was on vinyl and I was just a young boy (I had older brothers and sisters so got a good musical education as a child).

So putting the CD in, I was entranced at how much I liked it. I mean, I REALLY liked it. Lyrics like “there’s a hole in Daddy’s arm… where all the money goes… Jesus Christ died for nothing, I suppose” and another about people making love “10 miles apart” didn’t make much sense to me as a young boy. But today I realized that Prine is a classic.

In the song posted below – “Your Flag Decal Won’t Get You Into Heaven Any More” – you can hear a definite Hank Williams Sr. influence in the word “heaven.” Hardly surprising. Maybe Prine was channeling Hank at that moment. I wouldn’t be surprised. I think Hank Williams would have really liked Prine. And since Hank Williams is my very most favorite artist out of all of them, that’s a big compliment coming from me.

Another thing I like about this album is that it’s not overly produced. The musicians are slick but not showoffs, throwing every country lick they know in your face. Nope. This is just good old-fashioned  folk-country with a dash of rock.

The entire lp is on YouTube.


Leave a comment

Yes

Probably pretty rare… Vinyl

A post shared by @ mc2go on

an old prog rock lp that I still like to listen to from time to time…