The tragic case of Milli Vanilli

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Don’t worry I haven’t lost my Rock N Roll roots, but the Milli Vanilli case is a good indication of he hypocrisy of the Pop Music industry0

On November 16 1990 Milli Vanilli were stripped of their Grammy Award because the duo did not sing at all on the Girl You Know It’s True album. Session musicians had provided all the vocals.

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Nowadays there are countless Boy bands and Girl bands where maybe 1 or 2 can hold a tune and the rest are miming and no one seems to care. I know with Milli Vanilli the real musicians were at the background.not to be seen, but the principle of it is the same.

As for the 2 members of Milli Vanilli.was a German  duo from Munich. The group was founded by Frank Farian in 1988 and consisted of Fab Morvan and Rob Pilatus..

After the Grammy scandal there were several feeble attempts to control the damage caused by the scandal.

The session musicians who had actually provides all the vocals were formed as a band called ‘the Real Milli Vanilli’

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The resulting album, released in Europe in early 1991, was named The Moment of Truth and spawned three singles, “Keep On Running”, “Nice ‘n Easy” and “Too Late (True Love)”. A Morvan/Pilatus lookalike named Ray Horton was depicted on the cover along with the real singers; Brad Howell and John Davis. In addition, the album featured rappers Icy Bro on “Hard as Hell” and Tammy T on “Too Late (True Love)”. Original members and vocalists Jodie Rocco and Linda Rocco remained on 95% of the tracks. One of four Diane Warren-penned songs that are included on The Moment of Truth, “When I Die”, has been covered by several other artists, including Farian’s No Mercy. For the American market, Farian chose to avoid any association with Milli Vanilli and had the tracks re-recorded with Ray Horton on the majority of lead vocals, however, The Moment of Truth was never released in that format in the USA.

In 1992, RCA signed on to release the album as the debut of the newly created group Try ‘N’ B. The self-titled release included three additional tracks not on the Real Milli Vanilli release: “Ding Dong”, “Who Do You Love”, and a remake of Dr. Hook’s “Sexy Eyes”, and featured original Milli Vanilli vocalists Jodie Rocco and Linda Rocco.

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Because of significantly better sales under the name Try ‘N’ B in America, a slightly modified Try ‘N’ B debut album was released internationally. It featured guest singer Tracy Ganser, a Ray Horton lookalike named Kevin Weatherspoon, as well as Jodie Rocco and Linda Rocco.

Meanwhile, Morvan and Pilatus moved to Los Angeles, California, and signed with the Joss Entertainment Group, where they recorded their follow-up album under the name Rob & Fab. Almost all the songs on the album were written by Kenny Taylor and Fab Morvan, while Morvan and Pilatus provided the lead vocals. Because of financial constraints, Joss Entertainment Group was only able to release the album in the United States, the priority market to Milli Vanilli. A single, “We Can Get It On”, was made available for radio play shortly before the album’s release.

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However, the lack of publicity, poor distribution, and their steep fall from the height of pop-culture visibility after the lip-synching scandal contributed to its failure. The album only sold around 2,000 copies(Still 2001 too many in my opinion)

But alas there was a real tragedy Eight years after fifteen-minute pop sensation Milli Vanilli were ensconced in the annals of pop infamy for not singing on their Grammy winning debut album and lip-synching in concert, model/dancer/”singer” Rob Pilatus was found dead from an overdose of alcohol and pills in a Frankfurt hotel room on Thursday, April 2. He was 33.

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This case says it all about the Pop Music industry, they just don’t know when to quit even when the game is up, leaving a path of destruction behind it.

On the radio this morning I heard a record executive complaining about the breach of copyrights by the likes of YouTube and how it was costing the music industry millions,possibly billions. However he forgot to mention the elephant in the room, the quality of music is just very poor, the songs don’t have any longevity.

I tested this theory ones where I asked someone to name 3 number 1 hits of the last few years, and they couldn’t.

Ending up with that infamous song.

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I am passionate about my site and I know a 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

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The Death of Paul McCartney

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It is widely assumed that the first Beatle to die was John Lennon who was killed on the 8th of December by Mark David Chapman.

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You’d all be wrong believing this for it was Paul McCartney who died in a car crash in 1966, below you will find all the compelling evidence.

Well I had you going there for a while, of course it was John Lennon who was the first of the fab 4 to die in a heinous crime.However there were and there still are many conspiracy theorists(aka nutcases) who claim that Paul McCartney died in 1966.Life_magazine_nov_69

In September 1969, American college students published articles claiming that clues to McCartney’s supposed death could be found among the lyrics and artwork of the Beatles’ recordings. Clue-hunting proved infectious and, within a few weeks, had become an international phenomenon. Rumours declined after a contemporary interview with McCartney was published in Life magazine in November 1969.

On 21 October 1969, the Beatles’ press office issued statements denying the rumour, deeming it “a load of old rubbish”and saying that “the story has been circulating for about two years—we get letters from all sorts of nuts but Paul is still very much with us.” Rumours started to decline when,on 7 November 1969, Life magazine published a contemporary interview with McCartney in which he said,

Perhaps the rumour started because I haven’t been much in the press lately. I have done enough press for a lifetime, and I don’t have anything to say these days. I am happy to be with my family and I will work when I work. I was switched on for ten years and I never switched off. Now I am switching off whenever I can. I would rather be a little less famous these days

But how did the theory start in the first place?

1. McCartney didn’t have his shoes in that photograph

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Paul was shoeless on the Abbey Road sleeve, reminding us of the custom to bury people without their shoes in some cultures. And the best one – in the background on Abbey Road is the Volkswagen Beetle with the number plate “LMW 28IF”, which is supposed to say that Paul would be 28 if still alive… However, Paul was 27 at the time. Some say that some cultures count you as 1 when you are born, and so that he would be 28 in their customs.

2. Sgt Pepper’s wreath album cover 

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There is a yellow wreath at the bottom shaped like a bass guitar. People thought that was proof that he had died, and The Beatles were candidly mourning. The entire Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album was awash with Paul-is-dead clues: the Beatles had formed a “new” band featuring a fictional member named Billy Shears — supposedly the name of Paul’s replacement. The album contained John Lennon’s “A Day in the Life,” which had the lyrics “He blew his mind out in a car” and the recorded phrase “Paul is dead, miss him, miss him,” which becomes evident only when the song is played backward. Lennon also mumbled, “I buried Paul” at the end of “Strawberry Fields Forever” (in interviews, Lennon said the phrase was actually “cranberry sauce” and denied the existence of any backward messages).

3.Yesterday and Today  album

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The original cover of 1966’s Yesterday and Today album featured the Beatles posed amid raw meat and dismembered doll parts — symbolizing McCartney’s gruesome accident.

There are several other bits of ‘evidence’ but I will leave you with the classic Strawberry Fields forever where John Lennon allegedly says at the end “I buried Paul” rather then “Cranberry Sauce”

Some of these people are crazy, next they will say Ringo Starr is the narrator in “Thomas the Tank engine”

Viktor Ullmann-Musical Hero who didn’t give up.

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I was struggling to find an appropriate title for this blog because so much can be said about this man.

I am passionate about music although I am not necessarily that keen on classical music, I do listen to the works of great composers like Mozart,Beethoven.Satie,Ravel and Strauss.However all these great composers pale in comparison to Viktor Ullman.

Born into a Catholic family of Jewish origin, Viktor Ullmann studied in Vienna, where he was introduced into the circle of Schoenberg’s pupils, his literary interests embracing Karl Kraus, Wedekind, Heinrich Mann and others. In 1919 he moved to Prague, where he served as chorus répétiteur and conductor under Zemlinsky.

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He began to establish himself as a composer in the 1920s, working from 1929 to 1931 as director of music at the Zurich Schauspielhaus before moving to Stuttgart. In 1933 he returned to Prague, working as a freelance musician.

On 8 September 1942 he was deported to the Theresienstadt concentration camp.

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Up to his deportation his list of works had reached 41 opus numbers and contained an additional three piano sonatas, song cycles on texts by various poets, operas, and the piano concerto Op. 25, which he finished in December 1939, nine months after the entry of German troops into Prague. Most of these works are missing. The manuscripts presumably disappeared during the occupation. Thirteen printed items, which Ullmann published privately and entrusted to a friend for safekeeping, have survived.

The particular nature of the camp at Theresienstadt enabled Ullmann to remain active musically: he was a piano accompanist, organized concerts (“Collegium musicum”, “Studio for New Music”), wrote critiques of musical events, and composed, as part of a cultural circle including Karel Ančerl, Rafael Schachter, Gideon Klein, Hans Krása, and other prominent musicians imprisoned there. He wrote: “By no means did we sit weeping on the banks of the waters of Babylon. Our endeavor with respect to arts was commensurate with our will to live.”

While in Theresienstadt  he composed Der Kaiser von Atlantis oder Die Tod-Verweigerung (The Emperor of Atlantis or The Disobedience of Death) is a one-act opera  with a libretto by Peter Kien.

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On 16 October 1944 he was deported to the camp at Auschwitz-Birkenau, where on 18 October 1944 he was killed in the gas chambers.

About 1943, Ullmann and Kien were inmates at the Nazi concentration camp of Theresienstadt (Terezín) when they collaborated on the opera. It was rehearsed at Theresienstadt in March 1944, but the Nazi authorities interpreted the work’s depiction of the character of the Kaiser as a satire on Adolf Hitler and did not allow it to be performed.

 

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Ullmann entrusted his manuscripts to a fellow-prisoner, Dr. Emil Utitz, a former Professor of Philosophy at the German University in Prague, who served as the camp’s librarian. Utitz survived the camp and passed the manuscripts on to another survivor, Dr. Hans Gunther Adler, a friend of Ullmann’s, some of whose poems Ullmann had set to music. The score was a working version with edits, substitutions, and alternatives made in the course of rehearsals. Dr. Adler deposited the original manuscripts and two copies of the libretto in his possession at the Goetheanum in Dornach, the center for the anthroposophical movement with which Ullmann was associated.

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The manuscripts subsequently passed to the Paul Sacher Stiftung in Basle.

The world premiere was presented by the Dutch National Opera (DNO) on 16 December 1975 at the Theater Bellevue in Amsterdam. In 1976 DNO presented two performances in Brussels and a further four in Spoleto.It was recreated in April 1977 by the San Francisco Spring Opera Theater for its American premiere, and the same group also presented the New York premiere at the Lepercq Space at the Brooklyn Academy of Music on 19 May 1977. DNO revived their production in Amsterdam in June 1978 and later that year presented five performances in Israel. In 1979 DNO presented two performances at the Nottingham Playhouse, England. All of these performances were conducted by Kerry Woodward.

Despite an uncertain future with a high probability of being killed, Viktor Ullman just kept going. To me the ultimate heroes are those who don’t give up not even when they are facing torture and death. Viktor is therefor a Hero in my books.

 

 

 

 

Songs that made a difference.

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To quote John Miles”Music was my first love and it will be my last”. Music is my passion, its power has no equal. A good song can make you happy, sad or angry, a great song will make you think.

There are songs that made a difference and made people think. Unfortunately nowadays artists only seem to care which toilet should be placed during their gigs, while they don’t mind being paid millions to perform in countries where nearly every human right is ignored and/or broken, but that is a different story. In this blog I want to focus on songs where artists saw real injustice and sang or wrote about it.

Although I don’t always agree with the message they were giving,I do respect them because they are doing it out of a noble principle.

Starting off with probably the most powerful one.

Billie Holiday – “Strange Fruit” (1939)

I always liked this song but it was only a few years ago I realized what this song was about and ever since the bittersweet sounds have been haunting me.

Billie Holiday’s “Strange Fruit” is a protest song with enduring relevance. It’s lyrics symbolize the brutality and racism of the practice of lynching in the American South. It was the first time a black artist had sung such controversial lyrics. The song itself has endured and become a symbol of the racism, cruelty, pain.

“Strange Fruit” was originated as a poem written by American writer, teacher and songwriter Abel Meeropol, under his pseudonym Lewis Allan, as a protest against lynchings.In the poem, Meeropol expressed his horror at lynchings, inspired by Lawrence Beitler’s photograph of the 1930 lynching of Thomas Shipp and Abram Smith in Marion, Indiana.

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He published the poem under the title “Bitter Fruit” in 1937 in The New York Teacher, a union magazine. Though Meeropol had asked others (notably Earl Robinson) to set his poems to music, he set “Strange Fruit” to music himself. His protest song gained a certain success in and around New York. Meeropol, his wife, and black vocalist Laura Duncan performed it at Madison Square Garden.Barney Josephson, the founder of Cafe Society in Greenwich Village, New York’s first integrated nightclub, heard the song and introduced it to Billie Holiday. Other reports say that Robert Gordon, who was directing Billie Holiday’s show at Cafe Society, heard the song at Madison Square Garden and introduced it to her.[11] Holiday first performed the song at Cafe Society in 1939.

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A hymn that has been performed by many artist, however I chose the version of the most famous of all singers,Elvis.

Former slave ship captain John Newton wrote Amazing Grace in 1772 .

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He mentored William Wilberforce in his long fight to outlaw slave trading. The song took root in the US during the Second Great (religious protestant) Awakening in early 1800s. It became a standard hymn sung by all races but also a protest song associated with civil rights and with Martin Luther King. It remains a hymn, a freedom song and also has a life as a radio chart hit for performers as diverse as Mahalia Jackson, Judy Collins and the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards. It is the song most frequently sung on Martin Luther King Jr Day in the US.

Get Up Stand Up – Bob Marley 1973

“You can fool some people sometimes, but you can’t fool all the people all the time. So now we see the light! We gonna stand up for our rights!”

Marley was inspired to write this song after touring Haiti where he was moved by the extreme poverty  Haitian people faced. The song describes taking action to avoid oppression by higher forces.

Creedence Clearwater Revival: Fortunate Son

The song, released during the peak period of U.S. involvement in Vietnam, is not explicit in its criticism of that war in particular, rather, it “speaks more to the unfairness of class than war itself,” according to its author, John Fogerty. “It’s the old saying about rich men making war and poor men having to fight them.

‘Fortunate Son’ wasn’t really inspired by any one event. Julie Nixon was dating David Eisenhower.

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This song is said to be inspired by the joining together of two political families when David Eisenhower, grandson of President Dwight Eisenhower, and Julie Nixon, daughter of President Richard Nixon, married. Writer John Fogerty told Rolling Stones he “had the feeling that none of these people were going to be involved with the war. In 1968, the majority of the country thought morale was great among the troops, and eighty percent of them were in favor of the war. But to some of us who were watching closely, we just knew we were headed for trouble.”

 

 

 

Soul Asylum’s Runaway Train- The story behind it.

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This is a very personal blog for me.Not because I was personally involved in it, because I wasn’t, but because it really touched me emotionally. Although I am don’t suffer from depression myself that is really what the song is about,depression and the effects it has especially on teenagers and young adolescents.

I first heard the song on the radio and fell in love with it, but that made the song not unique because I have fallen in love with thousands of songs.It was only after I saw the video of it , it had a profound impact on me, it really gave me the goosebumps.

The music video for “Runaway Train” featured photographs and names of missing children in the style of a public service announcement. At the end of the video, lead singer Dave Pirner appeared and said, “If you’ve seen one of these kids, or you are one of them, please call this number” before a missing children telephone helpline number appeared.

Below is the video but alas without the message at the end, for some reason it is impossible to find a version with the message, but even without that you will appreciate what the video is telling you.

A few days after I had seen the video I saw news footage saying that one of the children in the video had been found because of it. Those goosebumps were back and a few teardrops to complement them.

Finally a music video with real value. I have listened to the song many of time afterwards. not realizing the story didn’t end there.

Earlier this week I looked up the story behind the missing children again, because cynical me doesn’t always take heed to all news reports. Since this was going back for more than 2 decades I just wanted to re-assure the more mature me that the finding of this 1 missing child just wasn’t an urban myth.

Turned out it wasn’t just 1 child, in total 26 children were re-united with their families after being featured in the video.(and whiles I am writing this the goosebumps are back)

Unfortunately not all of them were found alive.

Polly Klaas

Polly Klaas was a 12-year-old girl who went missing in October 1993, a few months after the song had peaked on the charts. The case made national news, drawing more attention to the issue of missing and exploited children.Polly_Klaas

It was later learned the Klaas was abducted and murdered. by Richard Allen Davis. On October 1, 1993, Polly Klaas and two friends were having a slumber party. Late in the evening, Richard Allen Davis entered their bedroom, carrying a knife. He tied both friends up, pulled pillowcases over their heads and told them to count to 1,000. He then kidnapped the scared Klaas. Davis was caught and arrested and admitted to strangling Polly.After a long, tumultuous trial, Davis was convicted on June 18, 1996 of first-degree murder and four special circumstances (robbery, burglary, kidnapping and a lewd act on a child) in Klaas’ death.A San Jose Superior Court jury returned a verdict of death. At his formal sentencing by a judge, Davis provoked national outrage by taunting his victim’s family, extending both middle fingers at a courtroom camera and later saying that Klaas’ last words just before he killed her were that her father molested her.

Curtis Huntzinger

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Below is some of the timeline of his case.

Early May, 1990 — 14-year-old Curtis Huntzinger reportedly tells his parents he has been molested by family acquaintance Stephen Hash, then 35, for whom Curtis was working.

May 11, 1990 — Curtis reportedly recants the allegations when asked about them by then-Blue Lake Police Chief Donald Trumble.

May 18, 1990 — Curtis, an Arcata High School freshman, is last seen at his sister’s Blue Lake home and is reported missing the next day. It is initially believed by authorities that Curtis, who had some trouble in school and a recent brush with the law, ran away from home. Trumble said at the time he was confident Curtis was not a victim of foul play.

April 1999 — Thomas Michael Fox, who was serving life in prison for the killing of 11-year old Danny Williams of Eureka, reportedly confesses to having killed Huntzinger. As a part of the confession, Fox reportedly admitted to shooting Huntzinger and fingered the accomplices who he said helped him bury the boy.

April 24, 1999 — During a confrontation with Huntzinger’s mom, Nancy, family acquaintance Stephen Daniel Hash reportedly admits to killing Curtis Huntzinger, even taking Nancy Huntzinger to her son’s burial site. Hash, however, refuses to talk to law enforcement about the case.

Over the ensuing weeks, police investigators search Hash’s property, even removing the floor boards of his house and sending its carpets to the Department of Justice Crime Lab for testing. The area where Hash claimed to have buried Huntzinger is scoured by dozens of members of the California Conservation Corps, police and the Huntzinger family. Several bones, including a vertebrae, are found, and believed to be those of Curtis Huntzinger. “This could be over in a few weeks,” then Blue Lake Police Chief Floyd Stokes said. The bones are later determined to be animal remains, and the case goes dormant.

Dec. 3, 2008 — Hash is arrested on suspicion of voluntary manslaughter by District Attorney’s Office investigators after reportedly giving a “complete confession” and showing them where Huntzinger was buried.

Dec. 9, 2008 — Investigators find a body believed to be Huntzinger’s located off old State Route 299 between Blue Lake and Korbel in the location Hash had led them to. The body is sent to the Humboldt County Coroner for an autopsy. where it is confirmed that the remains are those of Curtis.

Thomas Dean Gibson

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The last image in all three U.S. versions of the song is Thomas Dean Gibson, who disappeared from Glendale, Oregon, in 1991 at the age of 2. He is still missing as of 2014, and age-progressed photos of him at age 19 and age 21 were released in 2009 and 2012, respectively, by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.His father, Larry Gibson, a former deputy sheriff, was convicted of second degree manslaughter for accidentally shooting his son to death when he shot at a stray cat in his front yard even though no remains were ever found. He steadfastly denies killing his son and has worked on finding him since being released from prison in 1996.

The version shown in Australia showed a number of young backpacking tourists whose families were looking for them. Several of them turned out to be victims of Ivan Milat, the Backpacker Murderer.

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Dinah McNicol & Vicky Hamilton

 

The UK version of the video featured Vicky Hamilton and Dinah McNicol, who each went missing in 1991. Their remains were found in 2007 at a house in Margate. Peter Tobin has since been convicted of both murders.

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Also featured in the UK version was Mark Bartley, a runaway who went missing in 1992. He was recognised in the video by a man who knew Bartley was staying in the tenant’s house below them, but was unaware of his missing status. By the time the police arrived, Bartley and the man he was living with were gone. It is unknown what happened to him after this.

Although Soul Asylum had been formed in 1983 the album Grave Dancers Union which includes Runaway Train, was there only successful album.Soul_Asylum_Grave_Dancer's_Union

 

Released in 1992. The album spent 76 weeks on the Billboard music charts and was certified triple-platinum in 1993, establishing Soul Asylum as one of the most successful rock groups of the first half of the 1990s.

At the 1994 ceremony, this won the Grammy Award for Best Rock Song, which went to its writer, Dave Pirner. Dave didn’t attend the ceremony, as he didn’t like the idea of proclaiming one song superior to another. When he won, Meat Loaf accepted the award on his behalf.

The band is still touring. They may not be considered as the best band ever, and musically this might be the case. But I believe they deserve a lot more credit for what they achieved with that 1 song which has changed the lives of so many.

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Rebel without a clue

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I could not call myself a music fan and more specifically a Rock music fan without paying tribute to one of the all time greatest Rock musicians, Tom Petty.

I have to confess I was quite late getting to know the music of Tom Petty,it was really by chance.Back in the 80s I was a great fan of a music show called “Monsters of Rock” on Sky Channel presented by Mick Wall.

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It predominantly showed hard rock/heavy metal videos, but occasionally they would put on other rock acts. So one time they showed the clip of “Don’t come around here no more” by a certain Mr Tom Petty, and I was hooked.

Written by Tom Petty and David A. Stewart of Eurythmics,who has a cameo appearance in the video.

Although I hadn’t really actively listened to any Tom Petty songs prior to that, I did recognize his voice immediately. And I think that is what made him so unique, people may not always have known his name, his distinctive voice was just so recognizable.

Not only was he a great singer he was also a great songwriter and guitarist, so many songs with so many  great guitar riffs.

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In 1976, Petty, with himself as lead singer and guitarist, formed “Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers” with Mike Campbell (lead guitarist), Ron Blair (bass), Stan Lynch (drums), and Benmont Tench (keyboards). The Heartbreakers began their recording career with a self-titled album, released through the Shelter label.

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He did also release 3 solo albums and did get Hollywood Walk of Fame star as Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers.

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Such was the greatness of the man that he wasn’t intimidated by being a member a super band with Rock N Roll royalty like George Harrison, Bob Dylan, Roy Orbison and Jeff Lynne.The Travelling Wilburys.

 

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Alas with Tom Petty’s passing away this week there are only 2 of the Traveling Wilburys left, Bob Dylan and  Jeff Lynne. I am sure Tom has already being playing some sessions with George Harrison and the Big O , up in that place which is more and more becoming a Rock N Roll heaven.

Dear sir I salute you and hope you will your place in that great wide open , you may have been a rebel without a clue but when it comes to music there is no one else like you.

 

RIP Tom Petty.

Criminal Songs

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On this day in 1974 the Bob Marley song “I shot the Sheriff” performed by Eric Clapton reached Number 1 in the Billboard 100.

Throughout the decades there have been many songs that were about crime or criminal behaviour, this is just a quick overview of some of these Criminal Songs.

Crime and murder have been the subject of popular recorded music since the invention of the phonograph. “Stagolee,” also known and performed as “Stagger Lee,” was one of the 20th century’s first hits. The lyrics, in which the theft of a Stetson hat leads to the death of a self-professed family man, were based on an actual murder that occurred in St. Louis, Missouri, in 1894 or 1895.

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Over the years, versions of the song have been recorded by hundreds of artists, including, more recently, the Grateful Dead and Nick Cave.

Derek Bentley was convicted and hanged for the murder of Police Constable Sidney Miles in London in 1952. But Bentley did not fire the shot that killed Miles. His underage accomplice Christopher Craig did. Bentley shouted the ambiguous phrase “let him have it, Chris” to his coconspirator, which was part of the reason his death sentence has been highly contested.

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Elvis Costello brings his customary literate vitriol to the case on “Let Him Dangle” from his late ‘80s smash, Spike, and takes down capital punishment in the process.

Johnny Cash recorded  “Mr. Garfield”  recounting the assassination of President Garfield by Charles Guiteau in 1881 for his epic 1965 concept album Johnny Cash Sings the Ballads of the True West. Instead of recounting the grisly details of the murder, Cash focuses his attention on the strife of the nation as it comes to grips with its fallen leader.

13-11-25 Garfield and Guiteau

“Strange Fruit” was originated as a poem written by American writer, teacher and songwriter Abel Meeropol, under his pseudonym Lewis Allan, as a protest against lynchings.

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In the poem, Meeropol expressed his horror at lynchings, inspired by Lawrence Beitler’s photograph of the 1930 lynching of Thomas Shipp and Abram Smith in Marion, Indiana. He published the poem under the title “Bitter Fruit” in 1937 in The New York Teacher, a union magazine.Though Meeropol had asked others (notably Earl Robinson) to set his poems to music, he set “Strange Fruit” to music himself.

“Have You Seen Bruce Richard Reynolds”  by Alabama 3 is a rarity on this list, as it features guest vocals from the criminal himself. In 1963, Reynolds carried out The Great Train Robbery, which at the time was Britain’s largest robbery ever.

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While Reynolds was on the run following the incident, folk musician Nigel Denver immortalized the rogue in the song “Have You Seen Bruce Richard Reynolds.” Reynolds eventually served 25 years in prison, and the song saw resurrection via the Alabama 3 a few decades after his release. In a strange twist, the Alabama 3 claims Reynolds’ son, Nick, among its members, a fact that led to a controversial appearance by Reynolds on the track.

 

 

 

Musica Italiano

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Don’t worry I haven’t suddenly turned Italian and although the music in this blog will be in Italian, the text won’t be.

The thing is every once in a while I like to deviate from my usually heavier historical subjects to a more light-hearted one.

I love Italy, I had the chance to visit the country several times especially a small town called Valli del Pasubio and a even smaller village called Sturma(you’ll ne hard pressed to find it on a map). I first visited as a young teenager

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To be honest I fell in love with the place.It is where I first learned how to eat proper food,not the potatoes and apple sauce diet I had insisted on prior to that. The food was just heavenly and 16 stone further I still have a loving relationship with food.

The blog however is about Italian music and not food.Even before I set foot in Italy I had a bit of a weak spot for Italian music,although I was a metal head, I couldn’t help falling for the soothing tones of the Italian language converted into music.

Italian music is often referred to as Italo Pop or Italo Disco but I don’t think any of these names capture the essence of the music.

Although I don’t really understand the songs, I do know that they tell a story just by the rhythm of the tunes. The song above called Gente di Mare(people of the sea),by Umberto Tozzi & Raf lost out in 1987 to Johnny Logan at the Eurovision Contest.

This one of my all time favourites by Matia Bazar” Ti sento” which I believe means I feel you, the haunting husky voice just adds so much atmosphere to the song.

I am not an emotional man but the first time I heard Andrea Bocelli it literally send shivers down my spine.The combination of a classical tenor and contemporary music is just magical, like a fairy tale coming to life.

This song is proof that the language of music is without constraints and ignores physical borders. Sung in Italian,Dutch and English by an Italian Dutch man Marco Borsato and Andrea Bocelli. If this doesn’t give you Goosebumps nothing will.

Another 80’s Italian classic

 

I hope you enjoy the music just as much as I did. Finishing up with my favorite Italian song, it is jazz song in it’s purest and sincerest form by Paolo Conte.

 

 

SRV-The death of a Legend.

I am very careful when it comes to calling someone a hero, for so many are considered a hero , often aren’t. However in this case I can say that SRV-Stevie Ray Vaughan was one of my heroes. The man who made playing guitar look cool again.

On August 26, 1990, Vaughan performed two shows with Eric Clapton at Alpine Valley Music Theatre in East Troy, Wisconsin.

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Some of the musicians boarded four Chicago-bound helicopters, which were waiting on a nearby golf course. Vaughan, along with three members of Eric Clapton’s entourage (agent Bobby Brooks, bodyguard Nigel Browne, and assistant tour manager Colin Smythe), boarded the third of the four helicopters—a Bell 206B Jet Ranger—flying to Meigs Field.

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In Clapton: The Autobiography, Clapton explains that, contrary to rumors, his seat was not given to Vaughan, but three members of Clapton’s entourage were on board with Vaughan. According to a witness, there was haze and fog with patches of low clouds. The helicopter took off at about 12:50 am (CDT)on August 27 and, despite the conditions, turned left towards a 150-foot ski hill adjacent to the golf course. It collided with the hill approximately fifty feet from the summit.

 All on board, including the pilot, Jeff Brown, were killed instantly.According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, a veteran pilot for Alpine Valley suspected that Brown attempted to fly around the ski hill, but misjudged the location.The Civil Air Patrol was notified of the accident at 4:30 am, and located the crash site almost three hours later.

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Clapton and Jimmie Vaughan were asked to identify the bodies. The Walworth County coroner conducted an autopsy and found that Vaughan suffered from multiple internal and skull injuries.Clapton issued a statement the next day, saying that the victims “were my companions, my associates and my friends. This is a tragic loss of some very special people. I will miss all of them very much.” A Coptic cross necklace, worn by Vaughan, was given to Jimmie Vaughan.

Vaughan’s memorial was held on August 30, 1990, at Laurel Land Cemetery in Dallas, where he was buried next to his father, and was preceded by a private chapel service for close friends and family. Reverend Barry Bailey of the United Methodist Church in Fort Worth, who was Vaughan’s AA sponsor, opened the service with personal thoughts: “We’re here to thank God for this man’s life. He was a genius, a superstar, a musician’s musician. He captured the hearts of thousands and thousands of people. I am thankful for the impact of this man’s influence on thousands of people in getting his own life together in the name of God.” Kim Wilson, Jeff Healey, David Bowie, Charlie Sexton, ZZ Top, Colin James, and Buddy Guy attended the event. Stevie Wonder, Jackson Browne, and Bonnie Raitt sang “Amazing Grace” at the event. Nile Rodgers gave a eulogy,while a member of the Nightcrawlers read chapters five and eleven from The Big Book, the foundation of Alcoholics Anonymous.In 1995, the Vaughan family received an undisclosed settlement for wrongful death.

Sadly Jeff Healey and David Bowie also have died since.

David Bowie and Stevie Ray Vaughan had collaborated on Bowie’s China Girl. The guitar solo is the genius of  SRV.

I only heard the news late in the evening. I remember it as vividly as the time I heard the news about Elvis’s death. I had just finished an evening shift and went to my local pub for a drink. where I saw these big tattooed ,pierced bikers with tears in their eyes.

I asked “what happened?” and they replied in chorus”Stevie died” it was just so surreal.

Finishing up with my one of my favorite SRV tracks, taken from his last studio album “Family Style”

RIP SRV

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Elvis Presley and Robert Johnson

Why did I use the names of these 2 artists as the title of this blog? For they had nothing in common.

Well that is not entirely true. Both were born in Mississippi and both died on the 16th of August, Elvis 40 years ago today and Robert Johnson 79 year ago today. Both were pioneers in their music genre.

Also they both shaped my musical taste. It is a simple fact that there will never be any stars of their magnitude again.

Elvis was and is the undisputed King of Rock N Roll.

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Whereas Robert Johnson was and is the undisputed King of the Blues.

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Both men were legends and met untimely deaths and both were victims of circumstance.

I will not go to deep into their lives because there is nothing more that I can add to their stories. Below are 2 blogs though I have done in the past.

https://dirkdeklein.net/2016/02/23/elvis-and-the-colonel/

https://dirkdeklein.net/2016/04/27/did-robert-johnson-sell-his-soul-to-the-devil/

Let’s celebrate their lives with some of their music.

 

RIP Elvis and Robert. Thank you for the music