Why I hate Metallica’s “One”

Growing up in the Netherlands there was a tradition on Good Friday. Every year on Good Friday the Dutch radio would play the ‘Top 100 of all time’, basically the greatest songs ever recorded. The majority would be rock songs.

The top 4 would always be ‘Child in Time’ by Deep Purple; ‘Stairway to Heaven’ by Led Zeppelin; ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ by Queen, and ‘Hotel California’ by The Eagles.

I would be totally happy with these 4 songs in the top spots, sometimes the sequence of the position would change but I didn’t care about that, because they also happened to be my favourite songs of all time. I would find it difficult enough to place them in a sequence of 1 to 4.

Then Metallica decided to release the album “… And justice for all” on the album was a track called ‘One’ of 7.27 minutes long. How dared they messing up my 4 favourite songs. Immediately after I heard the song for the 1st time, all the others were put in a shadows. Decades of finding the 4 perfect songs for me, destroyed.

Recently I went for a walk, as I would do for every walk I plug in my earplugs into the phone, select the music player, and listen to the music whilst on the walk. This time however, I was nearly home when ‘One’ came up on the player. it forced me to extend my walk by 7+ minutes. 7 minutes of missing out on a lovely cup of coffee.

That, ladies and gentleman. is why I hate ‘One’ by Metallica so much. Because the song is addictive and it is impossible not to love.

Even the video is so compelling to watch. It is intercut with scenes taken from the 1971 anti-war film ‘Johnny Got His Gun’.

In this tragic, dark, anti-war movie , a patriotic young American in WW1 is rendered blind, deaf, limbless, and mute by a horrific artillery shell attack, played by Timothy Bottoms. Trapped in what’s left of his body, he desperately looks for a way to end his life.

Metallica could have taken scenes from any other war movie but no they had to choose ‘Johnny Got His Gun’ ,written and directed by Dalton Trumbo.

Dalton Trumbo, the Oscar-winning screenwriter, arguably the most talented, most famous of the blacklisted film professionals known to history as the Hollywood 10. How did Metallica know that aside from music my other passion is History? How did they know I would be compelled to research that video? In a pre internet and Google era, that was not an easy task.

I am sorry to do this to all of you but I have no choice but to end this piece with that notorious piece pf music I hate so much, and yet I love it more then any other piece of music.

Minutn Fun Bitokhn-Moments of certainty

Music is not just a few notes strung together to create a tune, often accompanied by lyrics. Music is much more then that. It is therapy. It gives hope where there is despair. It gives joy where there is grief. It can transport you back to the days of yore, when time was complicated. It gives you an outlet to voice an opinion in a creative way. It gives meaning to your soul.

Mordechai Gebirtig must have realized the power of music.

Mordechai Gebirtig , was an influential Yiddish poet and songwriter of the interwar period. He was shot by Germans in the Kraków Ghetto, Poland, during the Holocaust.

He had three daughters, for whom he wrote and performed his poems. The words were set to improvised melodies, and most of his songs resemble entries in a diary.

He was self-taught in music, played the shepherd’s pipe, and tapped out tunes on the piano with one finger. He earned his livelihood as a furniture maker. However music and theatre were his hobbies.

During the first years of the war, most Jews were expelled from the city of Kraków. In November 1940, along with his wife and daughters, Gebirtig settled in a nearby village, where – without a real income, adequate shelter, food or health services. Gebirtig gave many of his papers to his friend Hoffmann, who managed to preserve them throughout the war.

On October 2, 1940. Mordecai Gebirtig wrote the song ” Minutn Fun Bitokhn-Moments of certainty” to raise the spirits of the persecuted Jewish community in Krakow. The poet’s reference to “Haman” alludes to the ancient Persian enemy of the Jewish people.

But when daily deportations of Jews to the death camps began in January 1942, his songs became increasingly pessimistic and dark.

Es brent “It’s burning”, also known as undzer shtetl brent “our town is burning”, in Hebrew translation) is a Yiddish poem–song which was written in 1936 by Gebirtig. Although the poem is generally said to have been written in response to the Przytyk Pogrom of 1936, after the Holocaust the song was often used in Holocaust commemoration or in programmes of World War II Ghetto music, both in the original Yiddish and in Hebrew translation.This is probably Gebirtig’s best-known composition.

By 1939, with the changing political situation in Europe, he had changed the final line of the poem from “if the town is dear to you” to “if life is dear to you.”[4] Rising antisemitic censorship in Poland also made it so that Gebirtig was occasionally forbidden to perform the song in public.

During the war, the song was adopted by Jewish Partisans against the Nazi regime, particularly in Krakow. According to some recollections, whistling its melody was used as a code by imprisoned resistance fighters in the Montelupich Prison.

On 4 June 1942, Nazis surrounded the ghetto and began marching Jews to waiting cattle cars. The screams of the soldiers were accompanied by gunshots; all those too slow to keep up, or too ill or weak to stay on their feet, were shot. Among the first Jews to die on the way to the cars was Gebirtig. Although both the poet and his wife were murdered, his daughters managed to survive in hiding.

Sources

http://aha.org.pl/en/projects-en/15-the-mordechai-gebirtig-project

https://holocaustmusic.ort.org/fr/places/ghettos/krakow/gebirtigmordechai/

https://archives.cjh.org//repositories/7/resources/3533

Christopher Lee-Heavy Metal star

We all know Christopher Lee as Count Dracula, or as the Sith lord Count Dooku. Some of you may even know him as the evil wizard Saruman from the Lord of the Rings. Others may know him as the dentist father of Willie Wonka.

Few will know of his real life heroic exploits during World War 2 ,where he was attached to the No. 260 Squadron RAF as an intelligence officer where he was a liaison officer for the Special Operations Executive.

Even fewer will know him as a Rock star, Heavy Metal star even, yet he was.

Lee became a fan of metal in the early Seventies when he first heard Black Sabbath, whose guitarist Tony Iommi reciprocated the respect the actor had for his band and the genre it spawned. In a 2013 promotional video for one of Lee’s own albums, he told Iommi, “You are the father of metal,” to which the guitarist replied, “But you’re the one that started it, really, because we used to go watch Dracula and the horror films you did and that’s what influenced us.”

He worked together with Heavy Metal acts like Rhapsody of Fire and Manowar.

In late 2010 it was announced that Manowar were to rerecord Battle Hymns for a November 26 release. The album, Battle Hymns MMXI, was drummer Donnie Hamzik’s first studio recording with Manowar since the original 1982 Battle Hymns release. Orson Welles having died 25 years before, the narration during “Dark Avenger” was recorded by Sir Christopher Lee.

But prior to the Manowar’s re-release of “Battle Hymns” Christopher Lee had already released his first album.

“Charlemagne: By the Sword and the Cross” is a symphonic metal concept album . It was released on 15 March 2010. This was Lee’s first full-length album. It tells the story of Charlemagne, the First Holy Roman Emperor. The album’s promotional MySpace page garnered over 20 million hits globally The album features 2 metal bands, and a number of guest vocalists playing the different roles in the story. Music was composed by Marco Sabiu. A music video for “The Bloody Verdict of Verden” was released in June 2012.

Christopher Lee was 90(yes that’s right 90) when the single was released. That must surely make him the oldest Rocker ever.

He had released two albums previously. His first one “Christopher Lee Sings Devils, Rogues & Other Villains” released in 1998 was not Heavy Metal albums.

His second album “Revelation” from 2006 was a cover album and did include some heavy metal tracks. like “The Toreador March”.

In 2012 and 2013 he released two Christmas albums .titled “A Heavy Metal Christmas” (2012), and “A Heavy Metal Christmas Too” (2013).

2013 must have been a busy musical year for Sir Christopher lee, because he also released the follow up to “Charlemagne: By the Sword and the Cross” that year, titled “Charlemagne: The Omens of Death”

It was his fourth and final album and was released on 27 May 2013,his 91st birthday It is a sequel to his album Charlemagne: By the Sword and the Cross (2010). The music was arranged by Judas Priest’s Richie Faulkner, and features prominent Guatemalan guitar virtuoso and World Guitar Idol Champion Hedras Ramos on guitar, as well as his father, Hedras Ramos Sr, on bass.

This must make Sir Christopher Lee the coolest man on earth. He would have been 99 today. Alas he died on June 7, 2015, aged 93. But the man live a truly full life.

Sir Christopher Lee, Happy Birthday. I salute you.

Donation

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Happy Birthday Charles Aznavour-Not just a singer.

Charles Aznavour born Shahnour Vaghinag Aznavourian, on 22 May 1924, he was a French-Armenian singer, lyricist, actor and diplomat. Aznavour was known for his distinctive tenor voice:, clear and ringing in its upper reaches, with gravelly and profound low notes. In a career as a composer, singer and songwriter, spanning over 70 years, he recorded more than 1,200 songs interpreted in 9 languages. Moreover, he wrote or co-wrote more than 1,000 songs for himself and others. If that wasn’t enough there is a lot more to the man.

Aznavour was born at the clinic Tarnier at 89, rue d’Assas in Saint-Germain-des-Prés, 6th arrondissement of Paris, into a family of artists living on rue Monsieur-le-Prince. His parents were Armenian immigrants Michael (Misha) Aznavourian was born in present-day Akhaltsikhe, Georgia,and his mother Knar Baghdasarian, was an Armenian Genocide survivor from Adapazarı (in present-day Sakarya, Turkey).His grandfather was a cook of Tsar Nicholas II. Charles’s father sang in restaurants in France before establishing a restaurant specialising in food from the Caucasus called Le Caucase. Charles’s parents introduced him to performing at an early age, and he dropped out of school at an early age , and took the stage name “Aznavour”.

His parents fled to France to escape the massacres that more than 20 countries have recognized as a genocide, a charge strongly denied by Turkey.

During the German occupation of France during World War II, Aznavour and his family hid a number of people who were persecuted by the Nazis, while Charles and his sister Aida were involved in rescue activities.

When the Resistance gained momentum in Nazi occupied Paris, the Germans got even more enraged and ruthless. Gestapo tightened its grip on searches and tortures day by day. It was under these conditions that Misha Aznavour, Charles Aznavour’s father, volunteered with the Armenian resistance with great risk to his own life and that of his family.

During an interview Charles once said : “Armenian peddlers, including my father, looked after the stalls of the Jews after they were arrested in the mass deportation of Parisian Jews [“the roundup”] in July 1942. So taking in and hiding Jews in our home during the war was a very natural thing for us to do: they were our neighbors and friends,” he adds. “We had a life together. We were there for them and they were there for us. We had to try to help them, just as it was natural for us to try and help the Armenians who were drafted into the German army and deserted.”

The two Aznavour children, Charles and Aida , who were 16 and 17 at the start of the German occupation in 1940, pitched in to help, not knowing then that they would go on offering shelter to strangers. But then a woman came to the family, asking them to hide her Jewish husband, whose name was Simon. He had escaped from the Drancy internment camp, where the Jews of Paris were sent before being sent to the concentration camps outside of France. For a while, the family also sheltered another Jew, and later on their apartment also served as a hideout for Armenians who’d deserted after being forcibly drafted into the Germany army. Charles and his sister Aida recall that at one stage there were 11 refugees who were all hiding in the family’s apartment simultaneously. They hid in different corners of the house, and at night had to sleep on the floor.

The family prepared false papers for them, and one of the tasks assigned to the two children was to burn the deserters’ German uniforms and dispose of them far from the house.

On October 26,2017 Charles and Aida were given the Raoul Wallenberg Medal , for their family’s efforts to protect Jews and others persecuted by the Nazis during World War II. They received the honor from President Reuven Rivlin, who spoke of his love of Aznavour’s music, saying “La Boheme” was his favorite song.

In 2011 Aznavour released a song with the title “J’ai connu”

“I knew the chains/I knew the wound/I knew the hate/I knew the hurt/ the thirst and hunger/I knew the fear/from one day to the next.”

The song is told from a perspective of a Jewish victim in the concentration camps.

Charles Aznavour died on 1 October 2018, aged 94. I think it is safe to say that he lived a full life.

While doing the research for this blog I was struggling to find a song to finish up with. I was torn between “She” and “Dance in the old fashioned way” I chose the latter.

sources

https://www.aish.com/ci/s/Charles-Aznavour-and-His-Family-Saved-Jews-during-the-Holocaust.html

https://en.aznavourfoundation.org/details-aznavours+in+wwii-222.html

https://www.timesofisrael.com/legendary-singer-aznavour-given-award-for-family-efforts-to-save-jews-in-wwii/

https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/culture/.premium-aznavour-sings-praises-of-his-family-who-saved-jews-during-war-1.5381024

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Aznavour#Death_and_funeral

Donation

I am passionate about my site and I know you all like reading my blogs. I have been doing this at no cost and will continue to do so. All I ask is for a voluntary donation of $2 ,however if you are not in a position to do so I can fully understand, maybe next time then. Thanks To donate click on the credit/debit card icon of the card you will use. If you want to donate more then $2 just add a higher number in the box left from the paypal link. Many thanks

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The story behind Innuendo.

Some of you may not realize this but Queen only had 3 number 1 hits in the UK; Bohemian Rhapsody in 1975,Under Pressure in 1981 and 10 years later with Innuendo in 1991. Ironically their previous number one hit had been brutalized by a certain Mr. Vanilla Ice who used it for his Ice Ice Baby which only had been released a few months before Innuendo. Vanilla Ice completely denied that he used Queen and David Bowie’s ‘Under Pressure’ for his single. He must have realized though that even a deaf person could have heard he sampled the song.

Innuendo is one of Queen’s epic songs and their longest ever released as a single, exceeding “Bohemian Rhapsody” by 35 seconds.

Much like David Bowie’s Blackstar, to listen to Innuendo isn’t to be confronted with the sorrow of a man with one foot in the grave. Rather, the song and indeed the album comes off as the work of an artist staring sickness right in the eye and vowing to “keep working until I fucking drop,” as Mercury was once quoted as saying.

And from the sound of Innuendo, he meant exactly what he said. In many ways, Innuendo looked to be a triumphant continuance of the return to Queen’s early-Seventies hard-rock roots that began on 1989’s underrated The Miracle. Innuendo is also the only studio cut of the group’s to feature another guitarist: Steve Howe of Yes joined May in the song’s meticulously designed middle section.

On a break from a recording session in Geneva, Howe drove to Montreux and stopped to have lunch. There he ran into Martin Groves who had worked for Yes before and by this time was Queen’s equipment supervisor. Groves told him that Queen were in the studio at the moment.

As soon as Steve Howe went into the studios, Mercury asked him to play some guitar (according to producer David Richards, who had worked with Yes in the past as well). Another version is that Brian May was the one who asked him to play the flamenco bit.[5] When the members of Queen asked if Howe wanted to play on the title track, Howe politely suggested they’d lost their minds. It took the combined weight of Mercury, May and Taylor to persuade him.

According to Steve Howe:

“Inside, there’s Freddie, Brian and Roger all sitting together. They go: ‘Let’s play you the album’. Of course, I’m hearing it for the first time […] And they saved “Innuendo” itself until last. They played it and I was fucking blown away. They all chimed in: ‘We want some crazy Spanish guitar flying around over the top. Improvise!’ I started noodling around on the guitar, and it was pretty tough. After a couple of hours, I thought: ‘I’ve bitten off more than I can chew here’. I had to learn a bit of the structure, work out what the chordal roots were, where you had to fall if you did a mad run in the distance; you have to know where you’re going. But it got towards evening, and we’d doodled and I’d noodled, and it turned out to be really good fun. We have this beautiful dinner, we go back to the studio and have a listen. And they go: ‘That’s great. That’s what we wanted’.”

“Innuendo” began as a jam session in Switzerland amongst Brian May, Roger Taylor and John Deacon in spring 1989. Freddie Mercury was upstairs and heard them playing the beat, and turned it into a song, creating the melody and starting off the lyrics. From then on all four worked on polishing the track and Taylor took over the lyrics (which were written as a tribute to Led Zeppelin and their song “Kashmir”)

The single was released on January 14,1991, hard to believe it has already been 30 years since I first heard that song. 10 months later Freddie Mercury died from bronchial pneumonia resulting from AIDS.

There will never be a singer and entertainer like him again.

sources

https://www.songfacts.com/facts/queen/innuendo

https://brianmay.com/reviews/innuendo.html

Bizarrovision-The more bizarre and naughty Eurovision appearances.

Tonight is the 2nd semi finals of the 2021 Eurovision song contest. I have to admit I really enjoyed the 1st semis. Lets just have a look back at some of the more bizarre moments in Eurovision history, note this blog will contain some nudity.

Starting off with one of this years presenters. No I am not talking about Nikkie de Jager, the YouTuber, I thought she was very funny during the interval explaining the ‘winners-not winners’ I am talking about Jantje Smit, anyone not from the Netherlands will know that he is quite a big star in the Netherlands(why is still a mystery to me). Not only is he a ‘singer’ he is also a presenter and has his own fashion range. He started off quite young. This is him aged 10 on German TV.

In 2014 Poland decided to send some ‘milk maids’ to the contest. I feel they didn’t get the acknowledgement they deserved. The song was called “We are Slavic” and was performed by Donatan & Cleo and some ladies working with milk in buckets.

When you think of streakers, you don’t necessarily associate that with a live televised Song contest, more with sporting events. Yet in 2017 the performance of the Ukrainian singer Jamala, was interrupted by a man who felt compelled to drop his pants, as true professional Jamala kept singing. There was probably not much to see anyway.

Spain took part in the Eurovision Song Contest 2010 held in Oslo, Norway. The performer Daniel Diges was interrupted during the song “Algo pequeñito” by someone pretending to be part of the act. To be honest the performance was so silly that the uninvited guest didn’t actually look out of place.

Of course then there was Dustin the Turkey in 2008, lets just move swiftly on. Nothing to see here.

Then we had Ivan the naked wolfman from Belarus. I am still not sure what that was about. The song was titled “Hep you fly” last time I checked wolves don’t fly.

Alex Swings Oscar Sings! – Miss Kiss Kiss Bang the Germany entry at the 2009 Eurovision Song Contest. The band was accompanied by no other then the Queen Of Burlesque’, Dita Von Teese, wife of shock rocker Marilyn Manson.

Genghis Khan was a warrior and ruler of genius who, starting from obscure and insignificant beginnings, brought all the nomadic tribes of Mongolia under the rule of himself and his family in a rigidly disciplined military state. He then turned his attention toward the settled peoples beyond the borders of his nomadic realm and began the series of campaigns of plunder and conquest that eventually carried the Mongol armies as far as the Adriatic Sea in one direction and the Pacific coast of China in the other, leading to the establishment of the great Mongol Empire. He was one of the most brutal dictators who ever roamed the earth. However this didn’t stop the Germans or rather West Germans to send a little endearing song about the man in 1979.

In general the Eurovision is really a platform for national performers to shine on an international stage. Bizarrely enough one of the biggest stars in the world, Sir Harry Webb. aka Cliff Richard competed twice. In 1968 with ‘Congratulations’ and in in 1973 with ‘Power to all our Friends’ he ended 2nd and 3rd place.

The composer Marc-Antoine Charpentier composed six Te Deum, although only four of them have survived.Largely because of the great popularity of its prelude, the best known is the Te Deum in D major, H.146, written as a grand motet for soloists, choir, and instrumental accompaniment probably between 1688 and 1698, during Charpentier’s stay at the Jesuit Church of Saint-Louis in Paris, where he held the position of musical director.

It is thought that the composition was performed to mark the victory celebrations and the Battle of Steinkirk in August, 1692. You probably wonder now what this has to do with the Eurovision Song contest? It is the piece of music which opens every Eurovision Song contest every year.

Finishing up with one of my favourite Eurovision songs, unfortunately it got no points whatsoever.

The finished product.

The Old Grey Whistle Test

The best known music show is without a doubt Top of the Pops, and even though the show was cancelled in 2006, there are still weekly reruns on BBC 4.Most people were surprised that the BBC cancelled the show because i was and still is very popular, there have been speculations though that it may return again.

However this blog is about another iconic and legendary BBC music show,’ The Old Grey whistle test’ It was commissioned by none other then David Attenborough and aired on BBC2 from 1971 to 1988. Unlike Top of the Pops, the whistle test had some more edgier music and catered more for rock fans and focused more on albums then hit singles.

The show hosted many seminal acts of the era, including the first British TV performance of Bob Marley and the Wailers as well as then little-known acts of whom any early footage is now considered precious, such as Billy Joel, Judas Priest (with a long haired Rob Halford), Wishbone Ash, Judee Sill, Heart, and Lynyrd Skynyrd.

The series was cancelled in the spring of 1987 by Janet Street-Porter, who had been appointed head of Youth Programmes at the BBC.[7] The series ended with a live New Year’s Eve special broadcast through to the early hours of New Year’s Day 1988; material included “Hotel California” by The Eagles, live from 1977, and “Bat Out of Hell” by Meat Loaf.

Many viewers think that the performances were always live but that was always the case, although for the vast majority they were.

On 23 February 2018, the BBC broadcast a special show, hosted by Bob Harris, to mark the 30 years since the legendary series was last broadcast. This live studio show featured music, special guests and rare archive footage. It featured performances from Peter Frampton, Richard Thompson, Albert Lee and others. Bob Harris chatted to Whistle Test alumni, including Dave Stewart, Joan Armatrading, Ian Anderson, Chris Difford and Kiki Dee, as well as fan Danny Baker.

BBC 4 regularly plays old episodes from the show and I am always amazed about the new things I learn. For example I never knew that Elkie Brooks and Robert Palmer were in a band together. The band was called ‘Vinegar Joe’

Whistle Test was also the British television debut of the American glam punk band New York Dolls. Their performance influenced the following punk rock scene such as the Sex Pistols and The Clash as well as alternative bands like R.E.M. and The Smiths and the glam metal scene of the 1980s.

David Johansen was the front man of this line up of the New York Dolls, David had some solo success later on under the name of Buster Pointdexter.

Brinsley Schwarz were a 1970s English pub rock band, named after their guitarist Brinsley Schwarz. They made an appearance on the Old Grey Whistle Test in 1973.

In case you are wondering who the singer and bass player is, it is Nick Lowe from such hits as “I Love the Sound of Breaking Glass” and “Cruel to be Kind”

By 1988 it was considered well past it’s sell by date however it was an influence on many music shows that came after such as Later With Jools Holland.

As mentioned earlier Bob Marley had his first appearance on the BBC on the Old Grey Whistle test. This was another thing I hadn’t realized, Peter Tosh was also a member of the Wailers.

It would be great to see a show like the Old Grey whistle Test again on TV, but I don’t think that the same caliber of performers are available nowadays

Sources

https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b006zbkl

https://pop-culture.fandom.com/wiki/The_Old_Grey_Whistle_Test

Some Eurovision Song contest rarities.

The highlight of the European Music world is upon us again, the annual ‘Eurovision Song Contest’ So what better time then to look back at some of the rarities of the festival’s history.

Starting off with Mister Eurovision himself, Johnny Logan, it is his birthday today so Happy birthday Johnny. That is not the rarity though. He won the contest 3 times, twice as a performer. In 1980 with “What’s another year” and in 1987 with “Hold me now”. In 1992 Linda Martin won with “Why me” which was written by Johnny Logan. What most people don’t know is that in 1984 Linda Martin finished 2nd place, also with a song written and composed by Johnny Logan. The song was called “Terminal 3” was the Irish entry in the Eurovision Song Contest 1984.

The first song contest was held in 1956 in Lugano, Switzerland, at the Teatro Kursaal on Thursday 24 May 1956. Seven countries participated in the first ever contest, each were represented with two songs. Two more countries, Austria and Denmark, were also expected to take part in the contest, but they missed the submission deadline and therefore could not take part.

Although there were 7 countries participating, the total number of performers were 11. Luxembourg and Switzerland used one performer for two songs. Luxembourg with Michèle Arnaud and Switzerland with Lys Assia. The winning song was “Refrain” performed by Lys Assia.

There are 20 countries who have never won the song contest:

Malta, Cyprus, Iceland, Croatia, Slovenia, Hungary, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, F.Y.R Macedonia, Albania, Belarus, Bulgaria, Moldova, Armenia, Czech Republic, Georgia, Montenegro, San Marino and Australia. This disperses the Eastern European block voting, because if that was the case it clearly isn’t working.

Australia made its debut at the 2015 Contest with the song “Tonight Again” a song written and performed by Guy Sebastian. It was supposed to be a one off event, but since 2015 Australia has been a contender in the Eurovision Song contest.

In 1969 there wasn’t one winner but 4, Spain, United Kingdom, France and the Netherlands.

The voting systems used in the Contest have changed throughout the years. The modern system has been in place since 1975. Voters award a set of points from 1 to 8, then 10 and finally 12 to songs from other countries — with the favourite being awarded the now famous douze points. Historically, a country’s set of votes was decided by an internal jury, but in 1997 five countries experimented with televoting, giving members of the public in those countries the opportunity to vote en masse for their favourite songs. The experiment was a success and from 1998 all countries were encouraged to use televoting wherever possible. But sometimes the voting did not go as foreseen.

Norway could be found at the bottom of the scoreboard as many as eleven times. The unfortunates came last in 1963, 1969, 1974, 1976, 1978, 1981, 1990, 1997, 2001, 2004 and in the Grand Final of 2012. Nevertheless, they also won 3 times, in 1985, 1995 and 2009.

Sometimes it becomes clear how important tape can be. Javine was the UK entry in 2005, with her song Touch my Fire. During the 2005 UK final (selection) for the Eurovision Song Contest, she had a bit of a wardrobe malfunction.

I could do a blog on Eurovision Song Contest without mentioning the ‘bearded lady’.

Thomas Neuwirth is an Austrian singer, recording artist, and drag queen who is known for his stage persona Conchita Wurst.Neuwirth came to international attention after winning the Eurovision Song Contest 2014 as Austria’s entrant with the song “Rise Like a Phoenix”. Regardless what you think about Thomas/Conchita, the song was great and it surprises me that no one in the James Bond franchise has asked Conchita to do a James Bond song.

The first scandal in Eurovision history occurred in 1957 where the Danish singers Birthe Wilke and Gustav Winckler kissed for 11 seconds in the end of the song. Generating a furious reaction.

Morocco has participated in Eurovision Song Contest. But only once. It was in 1980, the performer Samira Said ended second-last. Morocco only received 7 points from Italy.

In 2020 the contest was cancelled due to Covid 19 restrictions.

The 2021 Eurovision Song Contest will be held in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. The 2 semi finals will be held on May 18 and May 20. The grand final will be on May 22.

This was the last winner.

Happy Birthday Stevie Wonder

When people ask me what my top 10 favourite albums are , I find it impossible to give a definitive answers, because over the years that has changed. However there are a few albums that will always be in that top 10, ‘Songs in the Key of life’ by Stevie Wonder is one of them.

Stevie Wonder was born Stevland Hardaway Judkins on May 13, 1950, in Saginaw, Michigan. He was born six weeks early with retinopathy of prematurity, an eye disorder which was exacerbated when he received too much oxygen in an incubator, leading to blindness.

When Stevie Wonder was four, his mother divorced his father and moved with her (at the time) three children to Detroit, Michigan, where Wonder sang as a child in a choir at the Whitestone Baptist Church.

He lost his sight as a newborn when he came into the world six weeks early with retinopathy of prematurity (ROP), an eye disorder caused by abnormal blood vessels throughout the retina. Receiving too much oxygen in the incubator likely worsened the condition for the tiny baby, leaving him blind.

Despite growing up in poverty and blind, this didn’t stop Stevie to live a full life and fulfill his dreams. He grew up to become one of the most recognized musicians of the 20th century and he is still active today.

He showed an early gift for music, first with a church choir in Detroit, Michigan, and later with a range of instruments, including the harmonica, piano and drums, all of which he taught himself before age 10.

In 1961, when aged 11, Wonder sang his own composition, “Lonely Boy”, to Ronnie White of the Miracles. White then took Wonder and his mother to an audition at Motown, where CEO Berry Gordy signed Wonder to Motown’s label. Before signing, producer Clarence Paul gave him the name Little Stevie Wonder.

He made his recording debut at age 11, with the album “The Jazz Soul of Little Stevie” including the single “Fingertips” written and composed by Clarence Paul and Henry Cosby.

Lifelong blindness isn’t the only health issue that Wonder has battled. In 1973, he was in a near-death car crash when the sedan he was in collided with a truck. Wonder suffered a head injury and was in a coma for four days.

He has been married three times. First he was married to Motown singer-songwriter and frequent collaborator Syreeta Wright from 1970 until their amicable divorce in 1972. From 2001 until 2012 he was married to fashion designer Kai Millard. In October 2009, Wonder and Millard divorced in August 2012. In 2017 he married Tomeeka Bracy.

Romantically he has been a busy man. He has nine children by five different women. The mother of Wonder’s first child is Yolanda Simmons, whom Wonder met when she applied for a job as secretary for his publishing company. Simmons gave birth to Wonder’s daughter Aisha Morris on February 2, 1975.] After Aisha was born, Wonder said “she was the one thing that I needed in my life and in my music for a long time”.Aisha was the inspiration for Wonder’s hit single “Isn’t She Lovely?”

She is now a singer who has toured with her father and accompanied him on recordings, including his 2005 album A Time to Love. Wonder and Simmons also had a son, Keita, in 1977.

Stevie Wonder has been given a range of awards, both for his music and for his civil rights work, including a Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Civil Rights Museum, being named one of the United Nations Messengers of Peace, and earning a Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Barack Obama in 2014.

In December 2016, the City of Detroit recognized Wonder’s legacy by renaming a portion of his childhood street, Milwaukee Avenue West, between Woodward Avenue and Brush Street, as “Stevie Wonder Avenue”. He was also awarded an honorary key to the city, presented by Mayor Mike Duggan.

He has won 25 Grammy Awards, as well as a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1996. He is one of only two artists and groups who have won the Grammy for Album of the Year three times as the main credited artist, along with Frank Sinatra. Wonder is the only artist to have won the award with three consecutive album releases.

Stevie Wonder has always been an inspiration to me especially in more recent times. In 2011 I lost my right eye and in 2015 I nearly lost my left eye too, luckily they were able to safe it , but for about 6 months I was blind.

Finishing up with one of my favourite tracks of the aforementioned album ‘Songs in the Key of Life” “Sir Duke”.

“Music is a world within itself
With a language we all understand
With an equal opportunity
For all to sing, dance and clap their hands”

Happy Birthday Stevie

sources

https://www.biography.com/musician/stevie-wonder

https://www.theguardian.com/music/2012/aug/30/stevie-wonder-blind-black-disadvantage

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