When Rock N Roll and Science collide.

Hugh

It might surprise some of you that Rock N Roll and science can be, and indeed often are good bedfellows. Below are just a few examples.

Eels.

Eels an American rock band, formed in California in 1995 by singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Mark Oliver Everett, known by the stage name E. It is the father of this same Mark Oliver Everett who was a highly regarded scientist. Hugh Everett III  was an American physicist who first proposed the many-worlds interpretation (MWI) of quantum physics, which he termed his “relative state” formulation.

After graduation in September 1956, He joined the Pentagon’s newly-forming Weapons Systems Evaluation Group . There is so much to say about this man ,but I won’t have enough space or time to cover all his life. I would highly recommend the watch the documentary “Parallel Worlds, Parallel Lives (2007)” about Hugh Everett III which is narrated by Mark Oliver Everett.

eels

 

Brian May

Brian May one of the best guitarists in the world and of course known from the band Queen.  Brian has a Ph.D. in astrophysics. He studied physics and mathematics at Imperial College London and was in the process of getting his Ph.D. when Queen became big. Thirty years later, in 2007, he completed his dissertation.  The man who wrote “We Will Rock You” also wrote A Survey of Radial Velocities in the Zodiacal Dust Cloud. QUEEN

Greg Graffin

Greg Graffin is the lead singer with the LA based punk band “Bad Religion”, but he also double-majored in anthropology and geology at UCLA and got a master’s degree in geology from the same school. His Ph.D. in zoology comes from Cornell University and was titled “Monism, Atheism and the Naturalist Worldview: Perspectives from Evolutionary Biology.”

Yes, sometimes Truth is stranger then fiction

bad

Dexter Holland

Dexter Holland is best known as the lead singer, rhythm guitarist, and primary songwriter for the punk rock band The Offspring.

However he is also a molecular biologist.He was a doctoral student at the Laboratory of Viral Oncology and Proteomics Research,  In March 2013, Holland and co-authors published a paper in PLoS One regarding micro RNA in HIV genomes,titled “Identification of Human Micro RNA-Like Sequences Embedded within the Protein-Encoding Genes of the Human Immunodeficiency Virus”.

That must have worked wonders on his self esteem.

Dexter

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Sources

IMDb

GizModo

WikiPedia

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Alexander Zwaap AKA Lex van Delden

Lex

Although he was born as Alexander Zwaap, for most of his life he would be known as Lex van Delden. He was a truly remarkable man, despite hardships he never gave up.

He was born  in Amsterdam on September 10, 1919, as the only child of Wolf Zwaap, a school-teacher, and his wife Sara Olivier-Zwaap, Lex started taking piano-lessons from an early age, initially from  from Martha Zwaga and later from the celebrated pianist, Cor de Groot.

In 1938 he enrolled at the University of Amsterdam to study medicines, he wanted to become a neuro-surgeon, but he did not lose his love for music and composing.

In 1942, two years into German occupation of the Netherlands he was  forced to interrupt his studies,because he was Jewish. He had no other choice then  to go into hiding. Refuge and a hiding place was arranged at the home of a former colleague of his father, who was a headmaster at the penitentiary in Veenhuizen, In 1943, his parents who were also in hiding, were betrayed and deported to Sobibor, where they were murdered. Lex never saw them again. It was only in 1980, when he discovered a  postcard written by his  parents  to him from the Hollandse Schouwburg( a theater which was used as a deportation centre)   while awaiting their deportation.

schouweburg

While in hiding Lex  decided to take the pseudonym “van Delden”

Due to the fact he could not make any noise, leave alone play piano and had to hide under the raised floor of a basement closet.,he became depressed.His hosts eventually included him in their daily family life.

He helped by translating all kinds of literary works and also by helping  his host’s daughter with her homework. Via  a contact with the student resistance movement,  Lex joined the resistance he was sent to the province of Brabant, where he forged identity papers at the Personal Identification Card Centre. On a daily basis he visited, by bicycle, a family with a piano and even managed to give house concerts. Unfortunately his hopes of becoming a neuro-surgeon were dashed during this time due to an exploding carbide lamp, which virtually blinded him in his left eye while in hiding.

When peace came he hurled himself under the name Lex van Delden wholeheartedly into the world of music. Apart from composing he worked as a music journalist for Het Parool; later he was chairman of the Dutch authors’ rights association Buma Stemra.

Buma

He was a prolific composer  and during  the 1950s and 60s he was one of the most frequently played composers of his generation. Van Delden wrote for orchestras such as the Noordhollands Philharmonisch Orkest (North Dutch Philharmonic Orchestra), the Hague Philharmonic Orchestra and the Nederlands Blazers Ensemble (Dutch Wind Ensemble). He has won many prestigious music awards.

2019-09-10

His  music radiates an idealistic longing for life. The structure is tight; he often includes sharp contrasts between dramatic and lyrical passages.

Despite his plans of all his set backs and losing his parents,, he did not give up.He died on July 1, 1988 in Amsterdam.

His son also took the name Lex van Deldden became an actor and starred in movies such as A bridge too far and Soldaat van Oranje(Soldier of Orange).

Finishing up with one of Lex’s compositions.

 

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Sources

Leo Smit

forbiddenmusicregained.org

gramophone.co.uk

YouTube

 

 

Bohemian Rhapsody

Freddie

Bohemian Rhapsody is probably the most unlikely title for a Rock song and yet it became a classic , if not THE classic Rock song for many generations.

This musical masterpiece lasted 5 minutes and 55 seconds, another reason why it should not have become a hit. Because prior to that, 3 minutes was the magic number for Rock hits.

It is not just a s song but in fact a mini opera consisting out of 6 pieces.

Part i.

Intro (0:00–0:49) it starts of with  an .acappella introduction, just to set the story line. “Is this the real life, is this just fantasy?” When I first heard it I didn’t know. I was mesmerized.

Part 2.

Ballad (0:49–2:37) The piano begins in B♭ major along with the entrance of John Deacon’s bass guitar.

Part 3.

Guitar solo (2:37–3:05) as we get toward the end of the ballad part we already hear the unset of Brian May’s guitar piece, soon to explode into a solo

Part 4

Opera (3:05–4:07) a succession of a various rhythmic and harmonic changes .

Part 5

Rock (4:07–4:54) The operatic section leads into a rock interlude with a guitar riff written by Mercury. It really is a piece of Heavy Metal

Part 6

Outro (4:54–5:55) as the intro the outtro slows down the Opera to bring it to a smoot conclusion.

The song has inspired some spoof versions none as funny as “Bad News” (You might recognize them as the Young Ones)

What is amazing about the song it was written by one man,Farrokh Bulsara aka Freddie Mercury who would have been 73 today. Happy Birthday Freddie

All that is left for me to do is to end the blog with probably the best Rock song ever written.

 

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Source

You Tube

Queen

 

5 Forgotten 20th Century Guitar Tracks.

guitar

This a complete deviation from my usual heavy historical blogs. Every once in a while it is important to have something lighthearted to absorb.

This list is completely based on my own choice , there is no science behind it. They are just 5 guitar tracks that I think have been forgotten.

In no particular order.

Enjoy.

1.  Manic Street Preachers – Motorcycle Emptiness

 

2. Deep Purple – Place in Line

 

3.White Lion – Cry For Freedom

4. Van Halen – 316

5.Jan Akkerman Bonnaville

 

Source

YouTube

The singing stopped but the voice remains.

magda

When a nation destroys its own culture it does a lot more then destroying  the cultural fabric , it also destroys the soul of the nation, especially when it comes to the musical cultural heritage. When it murders the artist who perform this cultural legacy, a part of that soul will be lost forever.

Magda Spiegel  was a German contralto, who was born in Prague in the now Czech republic, she was a member of the Frankfurt Opera ensemble and was murdered in the Auschwitz concentration camp.

One Of her best known performances was that of Adriano in Wagner’s Rienzi ,when the Frankfurt opera company visited the Netherlands in 1934, according Peter Hugh Reed in The American Record Guide  .

The irony (for lack of a better word) was that Wagner was Hitler’s favourite composer.

Magda Spiegel

Although Magda was killed in the gas chambers and her body was burned, her voice was preserved in several recordings.

Physically the singing was stopped but her voice remains.

 

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Sources

Opera Arias.com

Find a Grave

Operanostalgia.be

 

 

The Train Violin.

violin 1

The following story may not seem like much for anyone who is not a musician. But a musician will understand the significance of it and can identify with the sense of loss and sacrifice.

A musician’s instrument is more then a tool it becomes part of him or her.nearly a member of the family.

The violin from Lyon or the Train Violin

In July 1942 thousands of Jews were arrested in Paris and sent by cattle trains to concentration camps in the East, most of them to Auschwitz. On one of the packed trains was a man holding a violin. When the train stopped somewhere along the sad roads of France, the man heard voices speaking French, a few men were working on the railways fixing them and walking at leisure. The man in the train cried out:

“In the place where I now go – I don’t need a violin. Here, take my violin so it may live!”

The man threw his violin out the narrow window. It landed on the rails and was picked up by one of the French workers. For many years the violin had no life. No one played it. No one had any use for it. Years later the worker passed away and his children found the abandoned violin in the attic. They soon looked to sell it to a local maker in the South of France and told him the story they heard from their father. The French violin maker heard about Violins of Hope and gave it to us, so the violin will live.

violin 3

One Violin

Two Hands

Four Strings

Ten Fingers

Thousands  pieces of music

One Haunting Memory

One Final Farewell

One Revival

The soul of the musician is heard again.

The spirits are lifted one more time.

You can kill the artist but you can’t kill the art.

 

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Sources

Violins of Hope

YouTube

 

War of the Worlds-Lego style.

Lego

When it comes to music, it is very rare that I have to admit “I stand corrected”, especially when it comes to a piece of music I know inside out.

‘Jeff Wayne’s musical version of the War of the Worlds’ is by far my most favourite album in my collection, I actually have a variety of versions of the album. The original vinyl from 1978 and 3 CD versions. The original version on CD, the 2009 live version recorded in Dublin and the 2011 new generation album.

I saw the 30th anniversary show live in Dublin in June 2009 , which I really enjoyed, I was however very disappointed(to use an understatement) that in later years, Justin Hayward would be replaced by Westlife’s Brian McFadden(something I still can’t understand). I did write to Jeff Wayne and asked him to clarify why he replaced a very talented singer and musician with someone who has less talent then my small toe.(I did not use those exact words though.

But before I get side tracked, the blog is about a mistake I made. One of the singles from the original, and subsequent, album is “Forever Autumn” a romantic but yet haunting ballad. The song was played on the radio this week and the presenter mentioned that this song was actually written for a Lego  commercial.

I was outraged and said that it was a ridiculous statement. The thought of it, a classic piece of a concept album originally  music for Lego. I went on to say, that I am an expert when it comes to that particular album. However after a bit of research(and not even that much research) I discovered that the original melody was indeed written by Wayne in 1969 as a jingle for a Lego radio commercial.

Vigrass and Osborne, the performers of the original jingle, added lyrics to the song and recorded it for  their 1972 album Queues. Their version was also released as a single and gained moderate commercial success in Japan, selling more than 100,000 copies and becoming a top-20 hit on the country’s record chart.

Although it pains me, I am a big enough man to admit “I stand corrected”.

Ending the blog with the version we all know and love so well.

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Bei Mir Bistu Shein- The Ghetto swingers.

 

Ghetto

Music soothes the savage beast, that is what Eric Vogel  must have thought when he send a petition to the Commander of the Theresienstadt camp on January 8, 1943  , to start a Jazz band, named the Ghetto Swingers. The band would include the following members he noted.

Dr. Brammer (piano), Dr. Kurt Bauer (percussion), Fr. Goldschmidt (guitar), Fasal (bass), Ing. Vogel (trumpet), Langer (tenor sax and clarinet), and Fr. Mautner (trombone)

pettition

As crazy as it may seem the request was granted and the band was formed.The Jewish prisoners organized in the ghetto a lively cultural scene including jazz music.

The Jazz classic “„I Got Rhythm“ by George Gershwin became the theme tune of the band. One of the prisoners favourite song was the 1932 song Bei Mir Bistu Shein composed  by  Sholom Secunda. The song is better known as Bei mir bist du schön , The Andrew Sisters had a hit with the song in 1936.

The Ghetto Singers also included guitarist Coco Schumann  Kurt Gerron and clarinetist Bedřich “Fritz” Weiss, who had joined later.

After being pressurized following the deportation of Danish Jews to Theresienstadt, the Germans permitted representatives from the Danish Red Cross and the International Red Cross to visit in June 1944

After the Red Cross inspection, Commandant Rahm instructed Gerron to make a propaganda film.  Filming took place over eleven days between 16 August and 11 September 194.The Ghetto Swingers participated in this Nazi propaganda film “Theresienstadt: A Documentary Film from the Jewish Settlement Area” which is also known as albeit with the  erroneous name “The Fuehrer gave the Jews a city.”

After the camp closed, the members of the jazz band were sent to Auschwitz.

In Auschwitz Coco Schumann had to play for the SS hangmen, “for hours and hours every day, especially when they tattooed the new arrivals, because they considered it such boring work. Four members survived among those 4 were Vogel, Schumann and Roman

Ending this blog with the aforementioned ‘Bei Mir Bistu Shein’ played by the Ghetto Swingers.

 

 

Donation

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 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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Sources

You Tube

Geni

Huffpost

 

The Eurovision Song contest- The bizarre songs.

Lordi

No matter what you think of the Eurovision song contest, there is no denying it is a global cultural event. It might not be to everyone’s liking but it is a global cultural event nonetheless.

And it is truly global not only because it goes out live to nations across the world, bit also the last few years Australia has entered the competition.

Even last year’s winner,Israel, although Israel has strong historical,political and economical ties to Europe, geographically it is technically in Asia. But it does ly at the junction of three continents: Europe, Asia and Africa.

However this blog is not a blog about geopolitical situations but as alluded to a blog about the more bizarre songs which competed in the song contest throughout its history. I literally could pick dozens of songs  but I am sticking to the ones that stood out most for me.

Staring with probably the most bizarre band ,Lordi from Finland with their song “Hard Rock Hallelujah”, what makes this even more bizarre it actually won the competition in 2006.

 

In 1979 the Germans tried to win the contest with the band “Dschinghis Khan” who had a song with the very original name “Dschinghis Khan”. They reached the 4th place.

In 2003 the Belgians came up with the idea to enter the contest with a song in a made up language. The band “Urban Trad” the song “Sanomi” They reached the 2nd place.

If the contest was measured on the most bizarre songs Belgium would definitely be the winners. In 1980 the band “Telex” entered with the song “Euro-Vision”( I wonder where they got the idea for the title).It ended on the 17th place.

In 2007 the Ukraine came up with a song in Ukranian,German,English and some made up words.But to be honest there wasn’t that much text really. The song “Dancing Lasha Tumbai” the artist “Verka Serduchka” Funny enough it also reached the 2nd place.

Ending with the nation that won the Eurovision the most. Ireland won the competition 7 times. But I don’t think that anyone expected a Turkey to win the competition and yet in 2008 Ireland’s national broadcaster,RTE, did just that. They send a turkey named Dustin asking Europe for 12 points, Hence the title “Irlande Douze Points” strangely enough it didn’t reach the finals.

 

On  May 14 the whole circus starts again with the the 2nd semi finale on May 16th and the Grand Finale on May 18th.

Pssst, come here!Although I am supposed to be a rocker and a serious music fan, I will be watching it, but don’t tell anyone.

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Record Store day

record

This is a small deviation from my usual more dramatic historical blogs, but since today is marked as Record Store day I felt compelled to do a blog celebrating this day.

Record Store day is a bi-annual event inaugurated in 2008 and held on one Saturday every April and every “Black Friday” in November to “celebrate the culture of the independently owned record store”

As a young man I spent a lot of time and money in my local record syore called “Limburg’s platenhuis” which means Records house of Limburg. In Geleen. It wasn’t the only one where I bought my weekly and sometimes daily dose of music, but it was the one I frequented the most.

Nowadays I feel nostalgic thinking back to those days, and I feel sorry for youngsters now who often rely on downloads and/or streaming services.

Nothing beats a good customer service in a shop. Especially a pro active customer service from staff who appreciate you buying goods in their shop.

To illustrate what I mean with pro active customer service I will use an example from “Limburgs Platenhuis”

I walked in one Saturday afternoon not thinking of buying anything, just browsing. Shortly after I had entered the shop one of the sales staff called me to the counter. She told me ” I kept this album aside for you when it came in, I reckon you might like it. Have a listen to it”

She then proceeded by putting on the album ‘Long Cold Winter’ by the American Hard Rock band ‘Cinderella’

Cinderella

She was right I did like the album indeed. So much so that I didn’t mind parting with some money in order to purchase this compilation of great Rock songs.

That is the kind of service you just don’t get on line or even in shops nowadays.

All that is left for me to do now is to leave you with one of the singles of the aforementioned album. Enjoy!

 

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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 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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