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.
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.”
“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.
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!
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I don’t believe people who say that they don’t like music. They might not like certain types of music, but everyone loves at least one bit of music. Without music, life would be boring.
I am always amazed by the amounts of tunes and songs that are composed by using only eight notes or less. The music scale is made up of eight notes. All of these notes may have a variation in a minor or major scale, but technically there are only eight notes or octaves.
But music is so much more than a series of notes put together. It is the fabric of the soul of human nature. A piece of music can evoke so many emotions, varying from joy and laughter to fear and anger. So if you deny yourself music you deny yourself emotional well-being.
The saying goes “Music soothes the savage beast” and never in mankind’s history was there more savagery than during the Holocaust. Yet there were some who despite all the horrors they witnessed on a daily basis and were still able to compose music and even a joyous foxtrot. And yes I do realize that using the term foxtrot in the context of the Holocaust is, to say the least, bizarre. I know that some people will criticise me for the title of this post. They will see it and will not bother to read any further. I did not make up the title, it is the translation of a song written in Auschwitz Birkenau Die schönste Zeit des Lebens—The Most Beautiful Time of Life.”
Patricia Hall, a professor of music theory at the University of Michigan, has been researching musical manuscripts for the past 40 years. She knew that the Auschwitz-Birkenau museum kept music in its archive, and had heard from a scholar at the museum that some of the documents might include penciled annotations. So in 2016, Hall decided to travel to Poland to explore the archive herself. She was amazed to find several handwritten manuscripts, one of which struck her as particularly poignant due to the cruel irony of its cheerful title: “The Most Beautiful Time of Life.”
Originally a 1941 popular song composed by the German film composer Franz Grothe with a text by Willi Dehmel, “Die schönste Zeit des Lebens” has been arranged for a small ensemble of fourteen instruments: four first violins, five second-violins, a viola, two clarinets, a trombone, and a tuba.
Three prisoners had penned the manuscript, adapting Grothe’s music to suit 14 musical instruments: nine violins, a viola, a tuba, a trombone, and two clarinets. Although the prisoners didn’t compose the songs, they had to arrange them so they could be played by the available instruments and musicians.
Hall suspects the piece was played during one of the regular Sunday concerts in front of the villa of Rudolf Höss, the commandant of Auschwitz.
Patricia Hall explained “This was for the SS personnel, It was about a three-hour concert that was broken up into stages, and at one point, they had a dance band so that soldiers could dance. Given the instrumentation of this foxtrot, I think that’s probably what it was used for.”
Based on the prisoner numbers on the manuscript, Hall could identify two of the three arrangers: Antoni Gargul, who was released in 1943, and Maksymilian Pilat, released in 1945 and later performed in the Gdansk Symphony Orchestra. They were Polish political prisoners.
While survivors said that the musicians received more food, had clean clothes, and were spared the hardest labor, the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum director Piotr M. A. Cywinski recently said in a statement that they experienced “an element of humiliation and terror.”
Patricia Hall said, “They weren’t immune to the greatest horrors of the camp…. We like to think of a narrative in which the musicians were saved because they had that ability to play instruments.”
“However, it’s been documented by another prisoner [in an orchestra] that around 50 of them…were taken out and shot.”
Survivor Coco Schumann said after the war :
“The music could save you: if not your life, then at least the day. The images that I saw every day were impossible to live with, and yet we held on. We played music to them, for our basic survival. We made music in hell.”
“Die schönste Zeit des Lebens” is a song about falling in love in the month of May, when “a mysterious magic lies in the air! The world is full of music and tender fragrance.” Like many of the other popular songs in the archive of the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum, it describes an atmosphere about as far from a concentration camp as one could imagine. Here is the complete text of the song:
“Die schönste Zeit des Lebens beginnt im Monat Mai: Die Welt ist voll Musik und zärtlichem Duft! Wer dann nicht ganz aus Stein ist, verliert sein Herz dabei: Ein rätselhafter Zauber liegt in der Luft! Und aus manchen kürzen schönen Sekunden werden viele lange glückliche Stunden! Die schönste Zeit des Lebens beginnt im Monat Mai; doch wann sie für uns enden soll, bestimmen nur wir zwei!”
“The most beautiful time of life begins in the month of May: The world is filled with music and tender fragrance. Whoever isn’t then made completely of stone loses his heart thereby: Mysterious magic lies in the air! And many short, delightful seconds, become many long, happy hours! The most beautiful time of life begins in the month of May; However, when it should end for us, only we decide.”
Music was also used in very sinister ways, Primo Levi once said:
“And for the first time, since I entered the camp the reveille catches me in a deep sleep and its ringing is a return from nothingness. As the bread is distributed, one can hear, far from the windows, in the dark air, the band beginning to play; the healthy comrades are leaving in squads for work. One cannot hear the music well from Ka-Be [Krankenbau or inmate infirmary]. The beating of the big drums and the cymbals reaches us continuously and monotonously, but on this weft, the musical phrases weave a pattern only intermittently, according to the caprices of the wind. We all look at each other from our beds, because we all feel that this music is infernal. The tunes are few, a dozen, the same ones every day, morning and evening: marches and popular songs dear to every German. They lie engraved on our minds and will be the last thing in Lager that we shall forget; they are the voice of the Lager, the perceptible expression of its geometrical madness, of the resolution of others to annihilate us, first as men in order to kill us more slowly afterward. When this music plays, we know that our comrades, out in the fog, are marching like automatons; their souls are dead and the music drives them, like the wind drives dead leaves, and takes the place of their wills”
Survivor Franz Danimann recalled how the Leonore overture from Beethoven’s Fidelio, performed by the official band during roll call in the summer of 1943, strengthened his will to survive:
“I was aware of the similarity of our situation to Florestan’s in the last act. He should have died as a witness to Pizarro’s misdeeds, just as the SS pursued the destruction of the prisoners. But the music warned us not to despair and lose hope.”
The SS also tolerated a swing band, as it provided an opportunity for them to hear music that was banned. At these clandestine concerts, officers would reward musicians with liquor or cigarettes. There are also reports of a separate jazz band that played exclusively at SS orgies and drinking parties.
The original composer of the music of “Die schönste Zeit des Lebens” Franz Grothe was a German composer, mainly for the cinema. His musicals were outstanding successes. He was required to be a member of the Nazi party (No. 2.580.427) from 1933 and remained opposed to de-Nazification after the war.
Finishing this post with the music of “Die schönste Zeit des Lebens”
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In general I am not a great fan of songs in the Dutch language, I don’t really know why not. It’s probably because Dutch is not the most poetic language. However there is one exception, “Het Dorp” by Wim Sonneveld. The original is titled “La montagne” by Jean Ferrat. But the lyrics from Het Dorp evoke such powerful nostalgic feeling that one cannot but be touched by it, especially combined with the gentle voice of Wim Sonnveld.
Below is the Dutch text and the English translation and I will also include the original song in this post.
At home I still have a postcard on which a church has a cart with a horse, a butcher shop J. van der Ven Thuis heb ik nog een ansichtkaart waarop een kerk een kar met paard, een slagerij J. van der Ven
A pub, a lady on a bike Een kroeg, een juffrouw op de fiets
It probably doesn’t mean anything to you, but it’s where I was born Het zegt u hoogstwaarschijnlijk niets, maar het is waar ik geboren ben
this village Dit dorp
I still remember how it was Ik weet nog hoe het was
The farm children in the classroom De boerenkind’ren in de klas
A cart that rattles on the boulders Een kar die ratelt op de keien
The town hall with a pump in front Het raadhuis met een pomp ervoor
A dirt road between corn Een zandweg tussen koren door
The cattle, the farms Het vee, de boerderijen And along my father’s garden path En langs het tuinpad van m’n vader
Did I see the tall trees Zag ik de hoge bomen staan
I was a kid and didn’t know any better Ik was een kind en wist niet beter
Than it would never end Dan dat ‘t nooit voorbij zou gaan How simple they lived then Wat leefden ze eenvoudig toen
In simple houses between greenery In simp’le huizen tussen groen
With farm flowers and a hedge Met boerenbloemen en een heg
But apparently they lived wrong Maar blijkbaar leefden ze verkeerd
The village has been modernized Het dorp is gemoderniseerd
And now they are on the right track En nou zijn ze op de goeie weg
For see how rich life is Want ziet, hoe rijk het leven is
They see the television quiz Ze zien de televisiequiz
And living in concrete boxes En wonen in betonnen dozen
With a lot of glass, you can see how the sofa looks at Mien and her dresser with plastic roses Met flink veel glas, dan kun je zie, hoe of het bankstel staat bij Mien en d’r dressoir met plastic rozen And along my father’s garden path En langs het tuinpad van m’n vader
Did I see the tall trees Zag ik de hoge bomen staan
I was a kid and didn’t know any better Ik was een kind en wist niet beter
Than it would never end Dan dat ‘t nooit voorbij zou gaan The village youth gets together a bit De dorpsjeugd klit wat bij elkaar
In mini skirt and Beatle hair and yelling along to beat music In minirok en Beatle-haar en joelt wat mee met beat-muziek
I know it’s their right Ik weet wel het is hun goeie recht
The new time, just what you say De nieuwe tijd, net wat u zegt
But it makes me a little melancholy Maar het maakt me wat melancholiek
I never knew their fathers Ik heb hun vaders nog gekend
They bought liquorice for a penny Ze kochten zoethout voor een cent
I saw their mothers skipping rope Ik zag hun moeders touwtjespringen
That village from then, it’s over Dat dorp van toen, het is voorbij
This is all that remained for me Dit is al wat er bleef voor mij
A postcard and memories Een ansicht en herinneringen When I saw the tall trees along my father’s garden path Toen ik langs het tuinpad van m’n vader de hoge bomen nog zag staan
I was a kid, how could I know Ik was een kind, hoe kon ik weten
That that would be gone forever Dat dat voorgoed voorbij zou gaan
Still so profoundly sad that Dolores died so young, This is one of their best songs, although there is no such thing as a bad Cranberries song.
The song was written in response to the death of Johnathan Ball, 3, and Tim Parry, 12, who had been killed in the IRA bombing in Warrington, northwest England, when two devices hidden in litter bins were detonated. Ball died at the scene of the bombing as a result of his shrapnel-inflicted injuries and, five days later, Parry lost his life as a result of head injuries.56 others were injured, some seriously. Parry died in his father’s arms in Liverpool’s Walton hospital. The two boys had gone shopping to buy Mother’s Day cards on one of the town’s busiest shopping streets.
“There were a lot of bombs going off in London and I remember this one time a child was killed when a bomb was put in a rubbish bin – that’s why there’s that line in the song, ‘A child is slowly taken’. [ … ] We were on a tour bus and I was near the location where it happened, so it really struck me hard – I was quite young, but I remember being devastated about the innocent children being pulled into that kind of thing. So I suppose that’s why I was saying, ‘It’s not me’ – that even though I’m Irish it wasn’t me, I didn’t do it. Because being Irish, it was quite hard, especially in the UK when there was so much tension.”
“Paranoid” is a song by English heavy metal band Black Sabbath, released in 1970 off the band’s second studio album Paranoid (1970). It is the first single from the album, while the B-side is the song “The Wizard”. It reached number 4 on the UK Singles Chart and number 61 on the US Billboard Hot 100.
It was the first Black Sabbath single release, coming six months after their self-titled debut was released. Black Sabbath bassist Geezer Butler (from Guitar World magazine, March 2004):
A lot of the Paranoid album was written around the time of our first album, Black Sabbath. We recorded the whole thing in about 2 or 3 days, live in the studio. The song “Paranoid” was written as an afterthought. We basically needed a 3 minute filler for the album, and Tony came up with the riff. I quickly did the lyrics, and Ozzy was reading them as he was singing.
Written off by critics as horror trash from ‘unskilled labourers’, Sabbath’s masterpiece album took beaten-down listeners on a rollercoaster out of their struggles.
Finished with my woman ’cause She couldn’t help me with my mind People think I’m insane because I am frowning all the time All day long I think of things But nothing seems to satisfy Think I’ll lose my mind If I don’t find something to pacify Can you help me Occupy my brain? Oh yeah I need someone to show me The things in life that I can’t find I can’t see the things that make True happiness, I must be blind Make a joke and I will sigh And you will laugh and I will cry Happiness I cannot feel And love to me is so unreal And so as you hear these words Telling you now of my state I tell you to enjoy life I wish I could but it’s too late Source: LyricFind Songwriters: Michael Butler / Ozzy Osbourne / Tony Iommi / William Ward
In my opinion 1993 was the worst year in Pop music-I have no scientific data to back this up, it is just based on the re-runs of Top of the Pops on BBC4. Most of the songs are awful and hardly memorable.
Luckily the rock track on this episode of Rocktober is not from 1993 but was released in June 1992, I find it hard to believe it is 30 years old.
“Motorcycle Emptiness” is a song by Welsh alternative rock band Manic Street Preachers. It was released on 1 June 1992 through Columbia Records. It was the fifth single to be released from their debut album, Generation Terrorists. The track is inspired by S.E. Hinton’s book Rumble Fish, about biker gang culture. According to the band, the lyrics are an attack on the hollowness of a lifestyle centered around the consumerism which is offered by capitalism, describing how society expects young people to conform. The line “From feudal serf to spender” draws a direct parallel between slavery of peasants to the lord of their manor under the Feudal system in medieval times and the brand loyalty of people in modern capitalist societies, which the companies use to their advantage in pursuit of profit.
In 2006, Q magazine readers voted the song as the 88th best song ever.