Music History August 18

On August 18.1969, Rolling Stones front man was shot. This was not by a criminal or by a deranged fan, but while shooting a film about an Irish outlaw in Australia ‘Ned Kelly’. A pistol loaded with blanks, which he was using at the time, backfired to drive the metal into his hand. Maybe that’s why singers should stick to singing, and actors stick to acting.

On August 18,1972, Paul and Linda McCartney were fined ś800 in Sweden for cannabis possession. They had been arrested 8 days earlier. They did not serve any time in Jail. The incident is rumored to have been the inspiration for the hit single ‘Band on the Run’

On August 18, 1956 Elvis Presley’s “Hound Dog” and “Don’t Be Cruel” reach #1 in the charts

On August 18, 1984,Duran Duran keyboardist Nick Rhodes (weds Des Moines department store heiress Julie Anne Friedman at London registrar’s office.

Born in Des Moines, Julie Anne Friedman went to boarding school in Massachusetts and university in New Orleans before landing in LA. It was there, in the early 80s, that she was discovered by a photographer. An invite to a yacht party after Duran Duran’s mixing session for Hungry Like the Wolf brought her and keyboardist Nick Rhodes together.

On August 18,2004 Elmer Bernstein, American film music composer (The Magnificent Seven; To Kill A Mockingbird; The Age Of Innocence; Thoroughly Modern Millie), dies at 82

Donation

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The original version of “Sympathy for the Devil”

Who doesn’t know the Rolling Stones master piece “Sympathy for the Devil”?

For anyone of you who don’t know the song, go to YouTube, Spotify or any other music streaming platform and listen to it. I don’t mean that awful Guns N Roses version but the original by the Rolling Stones.

The song is basically a brief summary of 2000 years of history compressed in to a few minutes.

The lyrics focus on atrocities in mankind’s history from Satan’s point of view including the trial and death of Jesus Christ :”Made damn sure that Pilate washed his hands to seal his fate”

European religious wars: “I watched with glee while your kings and queens fought for ten decades for the gods they made”.

The violence of the Russian Revolution of 1917 and the 1918 execution of the Romanov family during World War I :”I stuck around St. Petersburg when I saw it was a time for a change/Killed the Tsar and his ministers/Anastasia screamed in vain”.

World War II:”I rode a tank, held a general’s rank when the blitzkrieg raged, and the bodies stank”.

It also mentions several other historical events which happened up to the time the song was released. Originally the song was going to be released including the lyrics: “I shouted out ‘Who killed Kennedy?'”. However they had to change the lyrics after Robert Kennedy was also assassinated on June 6,1968. They changed the lyrics to “Who killed the Kennedys?”

The recording of “Sympathy for the Devil” began at London’s Olympic Sound Studios on 4 June 1968 and continued into the next day; overdubs were done on 8, 9 and 10 June.

The assassination of Robert Kennedy did not make much of a difference lyrics wise but it clearly would have had an impact if they would have left the song as it was.

How many artists are able to say that they wrote a song about historical events as they were happening?

Ending up with that master piece.

Please allow me to introduce myself.

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No I haven’t suddenly gone all ultra nice, as many of you know the title of this blog is actually the 1st line of the classic Rolling Stones song”Sympathy for the devil”

A song which is often misunderstood for being some satanic worshiping bit of musical poetry, but it couldn’t be further away from that. The song is really a summary of events the Stones contribute to Beelzebub, but from the perspective that an element of him is in all of us.I have also heard people, who hate history, say how much they love this song not realizing it is a song only about historic events. Below is a breakdown of some of the events.

“I was ’round when Jesus Christ Had his moment of doubt and pain
Made damn sure that Pilate Washed his hands and sealed his fate”

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During the crucifixion, while in pain, Jesus cries out asking God why he has been forsaken. The narrator claims to have witnessed this but also may be insinuating that he (the devil) influenced this. The devil is also said to cause believers in God to doubt their faith.

“And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, ‘Elohai, Elohai, lama shachachthani?’ which is, being interpreted, ‘My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken (forgot) me?’” – Mark 15:34

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According to the Bible, Pontius Pilate was the judge at Jesus’s trial and the man who ordered his execution. He is said to have “washed his hands” of the matter (refusing responsibility)

“I stuck around St. Petersburg. When I saw it was a time for a change
Killed the czar and his ministers”

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In the song Satan(as the narrator) admits to once again influencing major (and majorly questionable) global events, taking credit for the Russian Revolution of 1917 which led to the rise of Communist Soviet Union (or U.S.S.R., Union of Soviet Socialist Republics). On July 17, 1918, the Bolsheviks executed the royal family of the last Czar Nicholas II of Russia sealing the fate of their former rulers, and of their country.

“I rode a tank. Held a general’s rank.When the blitzkrieg raged
And the bodies stank”

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This implies that the narrator was right with Hitler throughout the Holocaust, associating Hitler with the devil. He was in the battle field, leading Blitzkrieg (“lightning war”) attacks through Europe (mostly Poland and France), of which tanks were an important part.

The 1939 Blitzkrieg in Poland took place in hot weather. The German army was moving fast and killing civilians as well as Polish soldiers, leaving the bodies to rot. However, the lines are ambiguous enough that they might also be a reference to the genocide perpetrated against the Jewish population of Europe. The reference is elided enough to contain both interpretations in describing, in its satanic glee, the horrors of WWII.

“I shouted out, ‘Who killed the Kennedys?’” 

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This song was recorded before Robert Kennedy died, so the original line was “Who killed Kennedy?” (referring to JFK).It was changed after Robert’s death, since now both brothers were gunshot victims.

“When after all It was you and me”

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By saying “you and me”, the devil associates all of mankind with himself. He doesn’t put the blame of the Kennedys deaths on the shooters, but on the character and corruption of all humans.

“And I laid traps for troubadours. Who get killed before they reached Bombay”

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This line possibly refers to the notorious Thuggee cult, who worshiped Kali, the Hindu goddess of death. They would waylay travelers on the roads of India, then kill the entire group in order to make off with their valuables. This seems to be the closest well known historical incident to fit the lyrics. Also, the Thuggee would have been well known in England, since the British Army put a stop to the cult during the colonial period.

“Just as every cop is a criminal. And all the sinners saints”

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There is good and evil in everyone, don’t try to make it such a black and white statement.

So next time you listen to this song show it some courtesy some sympathy, and some taste..

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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Pinkpop: the death of an institute.

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PinkPop is the oldest and longest running annual dedicated pop and rock music festival in the world.

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It started in 1970 in the former mining town of Geleen in the south east of the Netherlands. It stayed there until 1986. In 1987 it moved north a bit to Baarlo and since 1988 it has been held in the town of Landgraaf.

In 2017  though it  decided to commit artistic and musical suicide by announcing that the 2017 headliner would be be Justin Bieber.

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It is sad to see this legendary institution which originated in my home town taking its own life.

Let’s just have a look back at some of the legendary bands who performed there in the past.

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RIP Pinkpop, it was good while it lasted.