Holocaust and Rock ’n’ Roll

I know there will be people who might think the title of the post is quite disrespectful, but it is far from it. The post will reflect how close and relevant the Holocaust still is.

So many great rock songs would never have been written or recorded if the Nazis had succeeded in their plans to murder all Jews. I have done a post on Kiss before, both Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley are children of Holocaust survivors, as is Billy Joel.

However, there are so many other rock musicians who have a direct connection to the Holocaust. Below are just a few of them.

Bass player Bob Glaub may not be a household name, but check the credits on Rod Stewart’s album “Atlantic Crossing” and John Lennon’s “Rock & Roll.”

He is a bass player and session musician. He has played with such artists and bands as Journey, Steve Miller Band, John Fogerty, Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan, Neil Diamond, Jerry Lee Lewis, Ringo Starr, Dusty Springfield, Aaron Neville, Linda Ronstadt, Stevie Nicks, Jackson Browne, Warren Zevon, Donna Summer, John Lennon, Rod Stewart, Crosby, Stills & Nash, Bee Gees. He has also accompanied Dwight Yoakam — on concert tours. He’s the bass player on Adam Sandler’s, “Hanukkah Song.”

His mother, a Hungarian-speaking Czech, and Glaub’s mother, Edith, were working as a nanny in Budapest when Hitler’s troops swept through Hungary in 1944. His father, from the same Czech village as his mother, spent the war in a series of slave labour camps in Ukraine. Glaub’s parents were reunited after the war and immigrated to the United States in 1949. (His father, Zoltan, paid their way by helping to paint the ship.)

One of the most iconic rock classics is Procol Harum”s “A Whiter Shade of Pale.” The song’s most innovative feature is its unique pairing of musical source material from Baroque composer Johann Sebastian Bach and from soul singer Percy Sledge’s hit, “When A Man Loves A Woman.

“We skipped the light fandango… .“Her face, at first just ghostly, turned a whiter shade of pale” — were the product of the band’s co-founder and poet-in-residence, Keith Reid, one of only a handful of nonperforming members of rock bands.

Reid’s father, Irwin Reid, a Viennese lawyer fluent in a half-dozen languages, was one of over 6,000 Jews arrested in Vienna during Kristallnacht on November 9 and 10, 1938. Like most Viennese Jews, he was transported to Dachau. He was, however, released several months later after promising to leave the country; with his younger brother, he promptly immigrated to England, leaving behind his parents, whom he would never see or hear from again and whose fate remains a mystery.

Canadian Rock band ‘Rush’ Geddy Lee’s (born Gary Lee Weinrib) parents were Jewish Holocaust survivors from Poland who had survived the ghetto in Starachowice (where they met), followed by their imprisonments at Auschwitz and later Dachau and Bergen-Belsen concentration camps during the Holocaust and World War II. They were in their teens when they were initially imprisoned at Auschwitz. “It was kind of surreal pre-teen shit”, says Lee, describing how his father bribed guards to bring his mother shoes. After a period, his mother was transferred to Bergen-Belsen and his father to Dachau. When the war ended four years later, and the Allies liberated the camps, Morris set out in search of Manya and found her at a Bergen-Belsen displaced person camp. They married there and eventually emigrated to Canada.

In 1984, Geddy Lee together with Neil Peart and Alex Lifeson wrote “Red Sector A” is a song that provides a first-person account of a nameless protagonist living in an unspecified prison camp setting.

Geddy Lee explained the genesis of the song in an interview:

“The seeds for the song were planted nearly 60 years ago in April 1945 when British and Canadian soldiers liberated the Nazi concentration camp Bergen-Belsen. Lee’s mother, Manya (now Mary) Rubenstein, was among the survivors. (His father, Morris Weinrib, was liberated from the Dachau concentration camp a few weeks later.) The whole album “Grace Under Pressure,” says Lee, who was born Gary Lee Weinrib, “is about being on the brink and having the courage and strength to survive.”

Though ‘Red Sector A,’ like much of the album from which it comes, is set in a bleak, apocalyptic future, what Lee calls “the psychology” of the song comes directly from a story his mother told him about the day she was liberated.

I once asked my mother her first thoughts upon being liberated,” Lee says during a phone conversation. “She didn’t believe [liberation] was possible. She didn’t believe that if there was a society outside the camp how they could allow this to exist, so she believed society was done in.”

Just think of the impact the Holocaust had on the arts and music and how much worse it could have been.

sources

https://forward.com/culture/music/370234/procol-harum-jewish-history/

https://statements.qld.gov.au/statements/96051

Epic Rock Episode 13-Hear’n’Aid: Stars

When it comes to heavy metal it probably doesn’t get better then this. It is the forgotten Live Aid project.

Hear ‘n Aid was a charity record recorded by a large ensemble of 40 heavy metal musicians and released in 1986. The project was organized by Ronnie James Dio, Jimmy Bain, and Vivian Campbell, all from the band Dio. Proceeds from the album were used to raise money for famine relief in Africa.[1]

The 40 musicians were gathered together by Dio and recorded the single “Stars” together; the rest of the album was filled out with eight other tracks, several of which were contributed by artists who were on tour and unable to attend and participate in the mass recording session. A music video was released as well, produced during the recording sessions.

The credits list for “Stars,” which was spearheaded by the late Ronnie James Dio, reads like a who’s-who of ‘80s metal.

Lead vocals

Eric Bloom (Blue Öyster Cult)
Ronnie James Dio (Dio)
Don Dokken (Dokken)
Kevin DuBrow (Quiet Riot)
Rob Halford (Judas Priest)
Dave Meniketti (Y&T)
Paul Shortino (Rough Cutt)
Geoff Tate (Queensrÿche)


Backing vocals

Tommy Aldridge (Ozzy Osbourne)
Dave Alford (Rough Cutt)
Carmine Appice (Vanilla Fudge/King Kobra)
Vinny Appice (Dio)
Jimmy Bain (Dio)
Frankie Banali (Quiet Riot)
Mick Brown (Dokken)
Vivian Campbell (Dio)
Carlos Cavazo (Quiet Riot)
Amir Derakh (Rough Cutt)
Buck Dharma (Blue Öyster Cult)
Brad Gillis (Night Ranger)
Craig Goldy (Giuffria)
Chris Hager (Rough Cutt)
Chris Holmes (W.A.S.P.)
Blackie Lawless (W.A.S.P.)
George Lynch (Dokken)
Yngwie Malmsteen
Mick Mars (Mötley Crüe)
Michael McKean (in character, and credited as David St. Hubbins of Spinal Tap)
Vince Neil (Mötley Crüe)
Ted Nugent
Eddie Ojeda (Twisted Sister)
Jeff Pilson (Dokken)
Rudy Sarzo (Quiet Riot)
Claude Schnell (Dio)
Neal Schon (Journey)
Harry Shearer (in character, and credited as Derek Smalls of Spinal Tap)
Mark Stein (Vanilla Fudge)
Matt Thorr (Rough Cutt)

Lead guitar solos
1st solo:

Craig Goldy (Giuffria)
Eddie Ojeda (Twisted Sister)
2nd solo:

Vivian Campbell (Dio)
Brad Gillis (Night Ranger)
3rd solo:

Neal Schon (Journey)
George Lynch (Dokken)
4th solo:

Yngwie Malmsteen
Vivian Campbell (Dio)
5th solo:

George Lynch (Dokken)
Carlos Cavazo (Quiet Riot)
6th solo:

Brad Gillis (Night Ranger)
Buck Dharma (Blue Öyster Cult)
Rhythm guitar melody lines

Dave Murray (Iron Maiden)
Adrian Smith (Iron Maiden)
Bass

Jimmy Bain (Dio)
Drums

Vinny Appice (Dio)
Frankie Banali (Quiet Riot)


Keyboards

Claude Schnell (Dio)

Enjoy the full 10 minutes.

Yahoo Entertainment spoke to Mark Weiss, Ronnie James Dio’s widow Wendy Dio, and publicist Sharon Weisz, who oversaw the project. “Stars” is clearly the metal gift that keeps on giving.

Sharon: The [Los Angeles radio station] KLOS event that sparked all of this was a radiothon for African famine relief over the weekend of Feb. 22, 1985. That’s when [Dio band members] Vivian [Campbell] and Jimmy [Bain] decided that the metal community could do something as well. … Everyone was talking about “We Are the World” and raising money for Africa, and they started talking about how were no metal people on that record.

Wendy: I think that they wanted to get together with “We Are the World,” but as musicians with “dirty nasty heavy metal people,” they didn’t want us to do anything with them. So we decided to do our own thing.

Mark: I think at that period of time, 1985 — I went to the PMRC hearings with Dee Snider, [protesting] against the stickers that PMRC did with the records labels. And so that period right there was really like, we were shunned upon. There was the thing with Judas Priest, a suicide that people tried to blame on the music. So I think [other charity singles] made a conscious decision just to stay away from us because they felt that lyrically, some of [the artists] were a little dark. And, you know, they really weren’t. …Like Ozzy’s “Suicide “Solution” wasn’t about killing yourself, it was a reference to the alcohol-related death of his friend Bon Scott. But anyway, I think because of all the press, all the tabloid shows, all the court cases, I don’t think they wanted [metal acts] to be attached.

Wendy: I think hard rock and heavy metal have always been stigmatized by the other people. They’re like, “Oh no, we don’t anything to do you!”

Mark: We just wanted to help. Don’t let us not help because of what we write about! Everyone talked about how we want people to know that we’re not bad guys and we really do want to help. I mean, there was no reason not to.

Sharon: So the three of us [Dio, Campbell, and Bain] just started talking and I said, “So, what — you wanna make a record?” We all went our separate ways that night, and they apparently called a few friends in the metal community and said, “What do you think?” And then they called me and said, “OK, we think we could get a bunch of people together and make a record. What do we do now?” … And they sat down that night and started writing a song, the three of them, which was cool.

Wendy: Ronnie was very intent. He had a lot on his head. He was the producer, the arranger, the writer, everything. So he was kind of really steeped into his business mode. … Ronnie being Ronnie, he was a control freak and he just took over, took off with it.

Sharon: Jimmy wanted to call it “Hearing Aid.” Wendy thought we were calling it “Hear in Aid,” which sounded more serious, but we settled on “Hear ‘N Aid,” like “rock ’n’ roll.”

Mark: If anyone were to pull it off, I don’t think anyone else was going to but Ronnie. … Ronnie was like the godfather of rock, pretty much. He was like a big brother, maybe even like a father figure, to a lot of these artists.

Sharon:so, I happened to represent Lindsey Buckingham, who was managed by a man named Michael Brokaw who worked for [music manager] Ken Kragen [who had worked on “We Are the World”]. So I called Michael to set up a meeting for us. I thought I wanted to meet with Ken. But Michael said, “No, you want to meet with Marty Rogol,” who actually was the head of USA for Africa. So he set up the meeting, and [Marty] explained how difficult it would be to make this record. And then he showed us the rough, rough video of “We Are the World,” sitting there in the office. We were looking at the TV, then looking at each other. And we left saying, “OK, I think we can do this.” And basically Marty gave us all of the vendors he gave us. Everybody that helped make the USA for Africa record, he gave us access to, otherwise we never could have done it. Marty really helped us structure the foundation and steered us toward people that had donated goods. We ended up with a half a million dollars in donated goods and services. … And by the way, the black backdrop used in the studio during the recording and filming of chorus on the first night was the black velvet stage curtains from Fleetwood Mac’s Mirage tour — borrowed by me.

I also thought we should reach out to Bob Geldof I reached out to Bob Geldof via “telex” — remember those? — which was how we reached out to a lot of people back then. And one morning I came in to the office, the phone rang, and it was Bob Geldof. He was asking a lot of questions about what we were doing and gave us his blessing, which was absolutely shocking. … When I told him what we were doing, he said “F***ing great!”… I remember he told me that he was about to make a big announcement about an event that was tied to Band Aid, which of course was the Live Aid concert.

This Hear ‘N Aid project then became my life for essentially about 18 months. I kept a diary of that entire time and used a lot of it to create the written promotional materials. The overarching vibe of my writing is that we weren’t being taken very seriously, but once we committed to making the record, there was no thought of going back. … The tracking session took place on April 1, 1985 at the late, great Sound City. In addition to having two drummers — Vinny Appice and Frankie Banali — there was also supposed to be another bass player besides Jimmy Bain and another guitarist besides Vivian Campbell. The two other musicians, Nikki Sixx and Brian May, were no-shows — in the not-taking-us-very-seriously vein.

Mark: Wendy gave me a call and said, “You’ve got to come out!” [for the May 20-21 sessions at Hollywood’s A&M Studios], because I was on the East Coast. I said, “Sure, it’d be an honor. Whatever you want to do with the photos, so it can help raise awareness and also rid this heavy metal stigma of the black sheep of the rock ‘n’ roll family, that would be nice too.” So they flew me out.

Sharon: Guitar solos were scheduled to be recorded at regular intervals during the first day of recording, May 20 — Neal Schon being first, around 12 noon. He called me at 6:30 a.m. to tell me he had the flu, and I apparently told him to go back to sleep and we would book him on a later flight — back when you could do that at will. When he did arrive much later that day, he entertained the troops with his impression of Bruce Springsteen singing on “We Are the World.”

Mark: For me as a photographer, I was like a kid in the candy store. It was like, anywhere I turned, I would have a photograph. Looking at the pictures now in the book, it’s amazing that I was able to capture those moments. It was a moment caught in time, as Ronnie James Dio would once say.

Sharon: Everyone was shockingly punctual. Dedicated! Virtually everyone arrived on time, some brought from the Holiday Inn by a Hollywood Fantasy Tours double-decker bus. Only Michael McKean was late, because he was shooting the film Clue at Paramount. He changed into Spinal Tap gear in the men’s room.

Wendy: I liked the Spinal Tap guys. I thought that was crazy that they came.

Mark: Spinal Tap were like the real stars there, you know. Everyone was swapping stories, because everything that happened in that movie has probably happened to at least half of those bands in real life.

Sharon: We thought they were perfect … How they got involved was, a woman named Harriet Sternberg managed them — and she worked for Ken Kragen.

Mark: I first met Spinal Tap when they did their first walk-on interview at MTV [a few months earlier]. They just said they were in this band from England and everyone went with the whole thing, and I thought they were a real band. I kind of schmoozed up to then, trying to, like, get a gig out of it! And then later on, I found out Michael was guy on Laverne & Shirley. So you know, they knew how to play the part. And when they walked into [A&M Studios], they were in character. They had their wigs on. I remember them being interviewed and I think one of his lines was, “This is like one big black leather metallic family,” when they asked him how he felt about being there.

Sharon: At 10 p.m., Ronnie prepared to rehearse the choir and appointed [Quiet Riot frontman] Kevin DuBrow to keep order, because he had “the loudest voice.”

Mark: I remember when they were doing the chorus and it was like 40 of them there, and Kevin was front and center, taking the stage, kidding around. He was a good guy, and a good friend of mine. Kevin at the time — and probably till the day he died, God rest his soul — people didn’t like him, because he always spoke his mind. He was the nicest guy, but he was the loudest guy. And to see him with all of these artists… not that he had any qualms with any of them, but you know, he always thought he was the best and that everyone didn’t give him credit for what he had done — which was really pave the way for a lot of rock bands as the first heavy metal band to go to No. 1 on the Billboard album chart. Credit where credit’s due, but he never got it.

Sharon: Ronnie was shocked that the choir actually sounded like one – remember, many of them were not singers — but he was concerned about the enunciation of “We’re stars”: “It’s not ‘we’re studs!’ It’s sounding more like ‘weird stars,’ which is probably true.” Rob Halford sang a full octave above everyone else.

Wendy: It was a real exciting time and there were no egos involved — everybody just wanted to do it to raise money for Africa. There was no rivalry. Everybody was there with their heart — as I find most musicians I know are, always there giving their heart with all of my charity work, and their time and their talent too.

Mark: That’s the beauty of this kind of music. There isn’t any rivalry. We didn’t need any [“Check your ego at the door”] signs [like the “We Are the World” session had], because everyone loved everyone. I mean, maybe once in a while one of them stole another person’s girlfriend or something, but that’s about it.

Sharon: Ken Kragen surprisingly showed up, because he felt like this was a continuation of something he had started, in a way. … When Ken arrived, everyone started singing “We Are the World” to him.

Mark: Everyone was there for hours and hours and hours. They stayed around even if they weren’t going to be playing, just to watch the other artists. It was a remarkable couple days. … Ronnie and Don Dokken, they went back a while, and I remember them playing off other, joking around. I think Don made some kind of a joke about one of Ronnie’s lyrics, like “Rainbow in the Dark,” because that’s so Ronnie James Dio — he always talks about rainbows. So Don put the lyric in there [“We all want to touch a rainbow”], just for a rainbow reference. And then Ronnie chuckled and said, “Hey, GQ is waiting for your photo shoot,” because Don was dressed up in a white suit, like really a GQ look. That was a good laugh there.

Sharon: “Stars” was finished and mastered in the following weeks, before Dio left on tour in early August 1985. … There were a couple of reasons [for its delayed release]. First of all, we were still hoping to add some additional people to the record. Like, the manager of Iron Maiden realized that he had probably made a mistake by not committing them to be part of the project. So members of Iron Maiden ended up doing one of the guitar parts, but they weren’t there for the chorus recording.

One of the people that we wanted to get was Jimmy Page. … A recording session in Philadelphia was set up for July 14 because Jimmy Page said he would record a guitar solo on the record the day after Live Aid. … [Led Zeppelin] was playing at Live Aid, and we’d gotten a commitment from his manager that he would do a guitar part if we could record it in Philadelphia. I found a recording studio to donate their staff to do this recording, and Ronnie and Wendy flew in. Then Jimmy decided not to do it. … He canceled that afternoon, after we all had arrived in Philadelphia. No reason given.

Wendy: Also, for all the people that were involved, you had to get releases from their record labels, from their management, from all that. That’s what takes time. It’s not the artists — the artists give their arm and leg for you. But you’ve got to deal with the business aspect of it.

Sharon: Wendy brought the project PolyGram and they wanted it, but they decided that it would do better if it was an album. And so then the process began of getting donated tracks, which in a funny way was a precursor to the Dio tribute album [This Is Your Life, which Wendy put together in 2014 to benefit Dio’s Stand Up and Shout Cancer Fund]. We spent six months getting donated tracks to make the Hear ‘N Aid album, with the “Stars” track as the single. I don’t know if there had been another album like this, with donated tracks, at that point. … Phonogram/PolyGram was originally going to release it in September, but were going to re-release [Band Aid’s] “Do They Know it’s Christmas” at pretty much the same time, so they decided to delay.

Mark: It probably comes down to radio. … Let’s face it, a lot of the metal bands that got on the radio, it was with either a ballad or some more pop and commercial. “Stars” was just this really just a heavy metal song. Maybe it was just wasn’t meant to be a commercial song. … But I’m surprised it didn’t do well, to be honest with you. Why wouldn’t it, with all those people on it? Today it would have done good because of social media. Everyone would be blasting it out. But back then we just relied on a company to do it, and that company wasn’t behind it.

Sharon: It’s certainly possible that [the delay, with “Stars” not coming out until January 1986] took the momentum away. There was a lot of publicity going on around the recording. We had a press conference when we were done with it, and there was a big story in the L. A. Times. A lot of the music magazines had covered it too. … But there was probably a fundraising record every two or three months at that point.

Wendy: But we raised money, and we actually did a clever thing because I think “We Are the World” sent the money and a lot of money got eaten up by the government. We bought [farm] machinery and sent it to [Africa].

Sharon: Hear ‘N Aid raised $1.2 million, from record, video, and merch sales and direct donations.

(Kiss’s ‘Heaven’s on Fire’ is track 5 on the Hear ‘N’ Aid album)

Mark: I felt these photographs needed to be part of my book, because the book is a visual history of how hard rock and heavy metal kind of changed: Sabbath and Priest at Live Aid, Hear ‘N Aid, Farm Aid where Bon Jovi was at, the Moscow Peace Festival, the PMRC hearings.

Wendy: But that is the way of the metal world, isn’t it? We always get left behind, and it’s only the real true fans that are there, that are buying it or listening to it. If you ask any true metal fan, they know about Hear ‘N Aid. If you ask the mainstream, no, they don’t know about it. Because we’re not mainstream.

sources

https://www.yahoo.com/entertainment/remembering-hear-n-aids-stars-the-forgotten-we-are-the-world-of-80-s-metal-003533651.html

https://www.loudersound.com/features/inside-the-hear-n-aid-sessions-its-one-moment-in-hard-rock-history-that-we-can-all-be-proud-of

AC/DC’s first singer.

AC/DC will celebrate their 50th anniversary later this year. I was surprised to find out that their first singer wasn’t Bon Scott but, Dave Evans, Although he only recorded one song with the band.

He was the original lead singer for AC/DC in 1973–1974 and sang on their debut single and one other single shortly ,before being replaced by Bon Scott. Evans then went on to join the band Rabbit who were active into the early 1980s. He resumed a solo career shortly after the year 2000.

Dave recorded AC/DC’s first two singles, “Can I Sit Next To You Girl” and “Baby, Please Don’t Go”. But in October 1974, less than a year after AC/DC’s first gig, Evans was out of the band.

source

https://blabbermouth.net/news/original-ac-dc-singer-dave-evans-has-no-regrets-about-his-split-with-the-band-ive-had-a-fantastic-career

RIP Lisa Marie Presley

Born on 1st February 1968, Lisa Marie came into the world when Elvis Presley was still one of the world’s biggest stars. But only four days after her father’s 87th birthday and less than three weeks before her 55th birthday, the sad news broke that Lisa Marie had died.

There will be a lot of speculation and theories as to the causes of her death, but the only thing that matters is that a beautiful human being has died.

Her life wasn’t without tragedies. Her father died on 16 August 1977 when she was only nine. I felt a connection with her because both our lives got turned upside down that year at that age because of our dads.

On 12 July 2020 her son Benjamin Keough at age 27 took his own life.

In August 2022, on National Grief Awareness Day, Lisa Marie wrote an essay about grief after her son’s suicide.

“Today is National Grief Awareness Day, and since I have been living in the horrific reality of its unrelenting grips since my son’s death two years ago, I thought I would share a few things to be aware of in regard to grief for anyone who is interested if not to help yourself but maybe to help another who is grieving.

Grief is something you will have to carry with you for the rest of your life, in spite of what certain people or our culture want us to believe. You do not ‘get over it,’ you do not ‘move on,’ period.

I already battle with and beat myself up tirelessly and chronically, blaming myself every single day and that’s hard enough to now live with, but others will judge and blame you too, even secretly or behind your back which is even more cruel and painful on top of everything else.

I can recall a couple of times in my life when I knew parents who lost their child and while I could be there for them when it happened, I avoided them after and never bothered to follow up with them because they quite literally became a representative of my biggest fear,” she wrote. “I also low-key judged them, and I swore I’d never do whatever it was that I felt they either did or neglected in their parental actions and choices with their child.

I keep going for my girls,” she wrote. “I keep going because my son made it very clear in his final moments that taking care of his little sisters and looking out for them was at the forefront of his concerns and his mind. He absolutely adored them and they, him.”

Today we all grieve for the loss of Lisa Marie who died on Thursday, 12 January 2023, aged 54.

sources

https://www.today.com/health/health/lisa-marie-presley-benjamin-keough-death-essay-rcna45605

https://allthatsinteresting.com/elvis-presley-grandson

The Man Who Would be King

On 8 January 1935, two baby boys were born in Tupelo, Mississippi, to Vernon Elvis and Gladys Love—Jesse Garon Presley and 35 minutes later Elvis Aaron Presley. Jesse Garon was stillborn, and Elvis would live to become the Man Who Would be King.

Elvis’ first name comes from his father, Vernon Elvis Presley. However, the origins of Vernon’s middle name remain unclear to this day. One theory is that the name was an homage to a sixth-century Irish saint.

Elvis’ first big hit, “Heartbreak Hotel,” was inspired by a newspaper article about a man who killed himself by jumping from a hotel window in Florida. His suicide note read, “I walk a lonely street.”

On his 11th birthday, Elvis was hoping for a new bike (some say a rifle), but much to his disappointment, was given a guitar instead.

Elvis Presley met Richard Nixon on 21 December 1970—to the shock of just about everyone working at the White House at the time. The King of Rock ‘n’ Roll descended upon Washington, D.C. in the hopes of securing a badge from the Federal Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs.

Nixon obliged, giving him an “honorary” badge that didn’t actually hold any power, and Presley declared his full support of Nixon’s presidency.

From 1956 through 1958, Elvis completely dominated the bestseller charts and ushered in the age of rock and roll, opening doors for both white and black rock artists. His television appearances, especially those on Ed Sullivan’s Sunday night variety show, set records for the size of the audiences. Even his films, a few slight vehicles, were box office smashes.

Elvis held a black belt in karate. His karate name was Mr Tiger.

At 19, Elvis was ready to enter the glitzy world of music but was promptly rejected. He auditioned to join a gospel quartet named ‘Songfellows,’ but they turned him down.

Although Elvis recorded hundreds of songs throughout his career, he was not a songwriter. One author, Ken Sharp, noted that Elvis did co-write a couple of songs, including the tune “That’s Someone You Never Forget.” But according to Sharp, Elvis’ true magic lay not in penning song lyrics but in giving songs “his own distinctive personal interpretation.”

Happy Birthday, King.

sources

https://allthatsinteresting.com/facts-about-elvis-presley

https://allthatsinteresting.com/elvis-presley-facts

https://collider.com/galleries/elvis-presley-rare-facts/

NewSong – The Christmas Shoes

I know I am going to lose a lot of credibility here, and probably rightfully so. This song has appeared on the worst Christmas songs list for several years in a row. It was also covered by Dutch singer Rene Froger, that alone should be enough for me to hate the song. But I can’t help it by I just do love this song.

“The Christmas Shoes,” which recounts a little boy trying to get enough money to buy shoes for his terminally ill mother. Nothing kills the holiday mood quite like the lyric “Could you hurry, sir, Daddy says there’s not much time.”

The song recounts the events experienced the story teller completing the last of his gift shopping on Christmas Eve. He is waiting in a checkout line but is “not really in the Christmas mood” when he notices a young boy in front of him who wants to buy a pair of shoes for his terminally-ill mother: the boy tells the cashier he wants her to appear beautiful when she meets Jesus. Since he is short on money, the narrator ends up paying for the shoes, which reminds him of the true meaning of Christmas.

Yes, I know it’s bad and a tearjerker but hey I can’t help it.

source

https://bestlifeonline.com/most-hated-christmas-songs/

Holocaust Music

“Music has charms to soothe a savage breast,” is a famous line which was used by a character in William Congreve’s 1697 play The Mourning Bride. And sometimes music does soothe the savage beast, but during the Holocaust, some of these ‘beasts’ were so evil that nothing could soothe them.

However, music did play an important role during the Holocaust and not always for the people in the camps or the ghettos. On occasion, it was also used to relay a universal message of tolerance

A Child of Our Time is a secular oratorio (a usually sacred musical work for soloists, chorus and orchestra intended for concert performance) by the British composer Michael Tippett, who also wrote the libretto(the text of an opera or musical). He composed it between 1939 and 1941, it was first performed at the Adelphi Theatre in London on 19 March 1944. The work was inspired by events that affected Tippett profoundly: the assassination in 1938 of a German diplomat by a young Jewish refugee, and the Nazi government’s reaction in the form of a violent pogrom against its Jewish population: Kristallnacht.

Tippett’s oratorio deals with these incidents in the context of the experiences of oppressed people generally and carries a strong pacifist message of ultimate understanding and reconciliation. The text’s recurrent themes of shadow and light reflect the Jungian psychoanalysis that Tippett underwent in the years immediately before writing the work. A Child of Our Time was named after a novel by anti-Nazi writer Odon von Horwath.

This is an excerpt of the text:

A star rises in mid-winter.
Behold the man! Behold the man!
The scapegoat! The scapegoat!
The child of our time.”

Erich Frost was a musician and devout Jehovah’s Witness, he was active in the religious resistance to Hitler’s authority. Caught smuggling pamphlets from Switzerland to Germany, he was imprisoned in the Sachsenhausen concentration camp near Berlin where he composed the song “Steht Fest” (Stand Fast) in 1942. Later deported to a labour camp at Alderney, Channel Islands, Frost survived the war and returned to Germany to serve the Watchtower Society. “Fest steht,” reworked in English as “Forward, You Witnesses,” is among the most popular Jehovah’s Witness hymns. This performance, evoking some of the song’s original spirit, took place under Frost’s direction at an event held in Wiesbaden, Germany, during the 1960s.

“Standing firm in a great and difficult time
Is a people dedicated to the struggle for their King?
He teaches us to fight and win,
He teaches us to fight and win.
Bright is the eye and calm the blood;
Their sword is the truth; they wield it well:
What serves the enemy all its lies?
What serves the enemy all its lies?

refrain:
Jehovah’s Witnesses, undeterred!
The struggle is fierce,
The battle rages wild.
The fetters too are binding,
The chains are heavy,
But mighty the arm which shields you!
Jehovah’s Witnesses in enemy land
And far from the homeland, exiled from loved ones;
Lift up your gazes to Him,
Whose hand is already extended to you!

2.
Truth and justice, perverted by men;
The name of Jehovah, debased by devils:
These must reign once again!
These must reign once again!
Holy war–from the Highest Mouth–
It is called at the right hour
For the weak, which, it makes heroes,
For the weak, which, it makes heroes.

refrain

3.
Innocent in their cells, robbed of their freedom!
Scornfully the enemies raise up their heads:
They would like to rule over us,
They would like to rule over us.
Yet we, we hear in every place
Only the commandments of our King.
Only he can safely guide us.
Only he can safely guide us!

refrain

4.
Enemies’ threats, friends’ supplications
To desist from the struggle:
They can never shake our resolve.
They can never shake our resolve.
Hunger and beatings and harsh slavery
Are the cruel reward for our constancy,
And many are they that must grow pale.
And many are they that must grow pale!

refrain

5.
But one day the day will come which liberates
All those who are dedicated to the Highest Glory
From Satan’s dreary fetters,
From Satan’s dreary fetters!
Jubilation and singing prevail through the land,
Echoing from every mountain.
The Kingdom of our Lord has risen,
The Kingdom of our Lord has risen.

Gideon Klein was a Czech pianist and composer and was a prize-winning student at the Prague Conservatory. Klein organized the cultural life in the Theresienstadt concentration camp. In 1940 he was offered a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Music in London, but by that time, anti-Jewish legislation prevented his emigration. In Theresienstadt, he wrote works for a string quartet, a string trio, and a piano sonata. He died in unclear circumstances during the liquidation of the Fürstengrube camp in January 1945. In December 1941, deported by the Nazis to the Terezín concentration camp, Gideon Klein, along with Leoš Janáček’s pupils, Pavel Haas, Hans Krása, and Schoenberg’s pupil Viktor Ullmann, he became one of the major composers at that camp.

About a dozen of Gideon Klein’s Terezín compositions and arrangements survived the war. Of these, the brief choral piece “Spruch” (Verdict) has come to light only relatively recently. It was written for and dedicated to Freizeitgestaltung Chairman Moritz Henschel for his 65th birthday, 21 February 1944.

sources

https://encyclopedia.ushmm.org/content/en/song/stand-fast

https://www.classicfm.com/discover-music/latest/remembrance-great-composers/gideon-klein/

https://holocaustmusic.ort.org/places/theresienstadt/klein-gideon/

https://www.schott-music.com/en/a-child-of-our-time-no175102.html

https://www.bl.uk/20th-century-music/articles/music-and-the-holocaust

https://www.ushmm.org/collections/the-museums-collections/collections-highlights/music-of-the-holocaust-highlights-from-the-collection/music-of-the-holocaust/a-child-of-our-time

https://www.ushmm.org/collections/the-museums-collections/collections-highlights/music-of-the-holocaust-highlights-from-the-collection/music-of-the-holocaust/verdict

https://www.ushmm.org/collections/the-museums-collections/collections-highlights/music-of-the-holocaust-highlights-from-the-collection/music-of-the-holocaust/stand-fast

Same Old Lang Syne

Today marks the 15th anniversary of Dan Fogelberg’s death. I thought it would be appropriate to remember him with one of my favourite Christmas songs.

“Same Old Lang Syne” is a song written and sung by Dan Fogelberg released as a single in 1980.

The narrator is reunited with an old flame at a grocery store on a snowy Christmas Eve. She does not recognize him at first glance and when the two reach to embrace, she drops her purse causing them to laugh until they cry. They decide to talk over a drink but can’t find an open bar, so they buy a six-pack of beer at a liquor store and drank in her car.[3]

Once an hour, the pair toast innocence, and push through their initial awkwardness to discuss their lives. The lover married an architect, for security instead of love. The narrator, a musician, loves performing for audiences, but hates traveling.[3]

After consuming all of the beer, they exchange their goodbyes and the woman kisses him before he gets out of the car and she drives away. He flashes back to school and the pain of their previous breakup; as he walks home, the falling snow turns into rain.

The melody is based on the 1812 Overture by Tchaikovsky and ends with “Auld Lang Syne” as a soprano saxophone solo by Michael Brecker.

sources

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dan_Fogelberg

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Same_Old_Lang_Syne

Frank Zappa and the Mothers were at the best place around.

There you are minding your own business, enjoying a concert by a legendary rock band, Then suddenly some stupid with a flare gun burns the place to the ground. “Wait a minute” I can hear you all think “This and the title sounds very much like a song” and you would be right.

Deep Purple wrote a song inspired by an event which took place on December 4,1971 in Montreux, Switzerland. On December 4, 1971, Montreux Casino burned down during a concert by The Mothers of Invention after a fan had set the venue on fire with a flare gun. A recording of the outbreak and fire announcement can be found on a Frank Zappa Bootleg album titled Swiss Cheese/Fire!

Deep Purple, who had planned to record Machine Head at the venue were forced to find another recording location. They wrote the Rock classic ‘Smoke on the Water’ about the eventful day.

Frank Zappa and The Mothers of Inventions were performing “King Kong”, about 80 minutes into the show , when, during Don Preston’s synthesizer solo, someone shot off a flare gun. The flare hit the wooden roof and quickly spread.

“They were very organized,” Zappa said in an interview shortly after the fire. “I was just lucky that many of the fans]were able to speak English, because I didn’t know what to say to them in French.”

In an ironic coincidence, Zappa died on Dec. 4, 1993, the 22nd anniversary of the fire.

sources

https://kmhk.com/frank-zappa-fire-smoke-on-the-water/

https://www.kpbs.org/news/2015/03/08/a-swiss-town-a-casino-fire-and-smoke-on-the-water

https://www.thevintagenews.com/2016/11/08/the-story-of-deep-purples-smoke-on-the-water-a-theater-fire-caused-by-a-flare-gun/?chrome=1

Fire in the Sky

https://ultimateclassicrock.com/frank-zappa-fire-smoke-on-the-water/

Peace on Earth/Little Drummer Boy

Since we are currently in Advent time, I reckon it’s safe to start talking about Christmas again.

My all-time favourite Christmas song is Peace on Earth/Little Drummer Boy by Bing Crosby and David Bowie. my all-time favourite Christmas song. It’s hard to believe that they recorded it 45 years ago. It’s not just a song about the yuletide festivities and presents and the birth of Christ, but it is foremost a song of hope for a peaceful planet.

The duet was one of Crosby’s final recordings before his death in October 1977.

Following the special’s broadcast during the 1977 holiday season, “Peace on Earth/Little Drummer Boy” went unavailable for many years. It was eventually released as a single by RCA Records in November 1982 and was a commercial success, peaking at number three on the UK Singles Chart. It was Crosby’s final popular hit. It became one of the best-selling singles of Bowie’s career, with total estimated sales of over 400,000 in the UK alone. The song has since become a Christmas classic in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom and has been referred to by The Washington Post as “one of the most successful duets in Christmas music history.”

“Peace on Earth, can it be? Years from now, perhaps we’ll see. I pray my wish will come true. For my child and your child too.”

He’ll see the day of glory. See the day when men of goodwill
Live in peace, live in peace again.”

David Bowie talks about his six-year-old son. That, of course, is Duncan Jones, director of movies like Moon, Source Code, Warcraft and Mute.

sources

https://musikguru.de/bing-crosby-david-bowie/songtext-peace-on-earth-little-drummer-boy-1052778.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peace_on_Earth/Little_Drummer_Boy