Empty Garden – From Elton (John) to (John) Lennon

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Of all tribute songs written by a non-Beatle for John Lennon after his senseless killing in December 1980, nothing compares for me to Elton John’s Empty Garden (Hey Hey Johnny).

The song likens John to a worthy garden caretaker that some inconsequential person took away, “A gardener like that one no one can replace…It’s funny how an insect can damage so much grain…” The lyrics are Bernie Taupin’s, Elton’s lifetime collaborator, while the beautiful melody is, of course, his own.

From what I remember, Elton rarely played it live since the song’s release in his 1982 album Jump Up! because it was painful for him to be reminded of John Lennon’s death. Elton was a close friend to John; their relationship was secured by their musical collaboration in the mid-1970s. Elton and John appeared together in a concert and Elton is Sean’s godfather.

A harrowing live version of this song performed at the turn of the century at the Madison Square Garden is in this link. Elton at the beginning explains why he rarely performed the song live.

The lyrics are here:

What happened here
As the New York sunset disappeared
I found an empty garden among the flagstones there
Who lived here
He must have been a gardener that cared a lot
Who weeded out the tears and grew a good crop
And now it all looks strange
It’s funny how one insect can damage so much grain
And what’s it for
This little empty garden by the brownstone door
And in the cracks along the sidewalk nothing grows no more
Who lived here
He must have been a gardener that cared a lot
Who weeded out the tears and grew a good crop
And we are so amazed we’re crippled and we’re dazed
A gardener like that one no one can replace
And I’ve been knocking but no one answers
And I’ve been knocking most all the day
Oh and I’ve been calling oh hey hey Johnny
Can’t you come out to play
And through their tears
Some say he farmed his best in younger years
But he’d have said that roots grow stronger if only he could hear
Who lived there
He must have been a gardener that cared a lot
Who weeded out the tears and grew a good crop
Now we pray for rain, and with every drop that falls
We hear, we hear your name
Johnny can’t you come out to play in your empty garden
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Saddest Beatles Songs

Image result for the beatles images
Source: https://www.google.com.ph/search?q=the+beatles+images&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjP__W4xMLZAhVCtpQKHScAAnAQ7AkIQQ&biw=1242&bih=557#imgrc=DgmFmmKExuMu9M:

http://www.myusyk.com [which cannot be anymore reached] came out five years ago with Top Ten Saddest Beatles Songs, which is quite a good list. Many may agree, but equally many may not. At any rate, the main contention would probably be about the ranking. That is what I also feel. Sad that the six-minuter youtube video is no longer accessible to launch the countdown. Anyway, here is the list with my own description of each song.

10. No Reply from Beatles for Sale is about a partner not being upfront

9. Norwegian Wood from Rubber Soul deals with a one-night affair that would not work

8. I’m A Loser from Beatles for Sale is putting a different face despite a regrettable loss

7. You’ve Got To Hide Your love Away from Help! is purportedly about gays

6. Yes It Is, b-side but compiled in Past Masters is a relationship in transition past a previous one

5. For No One from Revolver is about falling out of love

4. She’s Leaving Home from Sgt. Pepper deals with a daughter who elopes. Verdict “…Fun is something money can’t buy”

3. While My Guitar Gently Weeps from The Beatles aka White Album seems to be the singer silently weeping for everybody for not knowing how to unfold love, perversion, control. (probably!)

2. Eleanor Rigby from Revolver is a very lonely picture cast in a painting. Wow what a great poetry!

1. Yesterday from Help! is longing for a past that is forever gone

My own verdict? I don’t know the basis for the Top Ten whether or not it was the lyrics, song structure, melody, or intent of the writer, or all of the above. But I agree with the Top Two.

Now if you talk about the saddest song of The Beatles, for me it should be Eleanor Rigby. On the other hand, if you talk about the saddest Beatles love song, then it should be Yesterday. There is always something in The Beatles lyrics that hits you hard.

Let’s listen to both again courtesy of youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Ntiz-Pmvy4 (Yesterday); (Eleanor Rigby) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7wssbIgRh0k

Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars

It is a hard day’s night so I am a bit cool with myself. Watched the latest from New Amsterdam, Madam Secretary and now, David Bowie with Mick Ronson. They are the real spiders from Mars. In fact, watching this gives me an impression there are only two persons in the band – David, with his vocals, and Mick, with his electric guitar. The rest of the band are much more low-key. Great version of ch-ch-ch-Changes and I love the solo in Moonage Daydream. The acoustic cover of My Death is impeccably rendered.

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The second half is undoubtedly stronger with Mick stepping up to the plate. The guitar works on the Width of A Circle showcased this.

The setlist, courtesy of Wikipedia –

  1. Opening Credits/Intro – Incorporating Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony arranged and performed by Wendy Carlos from A Clockwork Orange
  2. Hang On to Yourself” (Bowie) from the album The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars
  3. Ziggy Stardust” (Bowie) from the album The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars
  4. Watch That Man” (Bowie) from the album Aladdin Sane
  5. Wild Eyed Boy from Freecloud” (Bowie) from the album Space Oddity
  6. All the Young Dudes” (Bowie) originally penned for Mott the Hoople
  7. Oh! You Pretty Things” (Bowie) from the album Hunky Dory
  8. Moonage Daydream” (Bowie) from the album The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars
  9. Changes” (Bowie) from the album Hunky Dory
  10. Space Oddity” (Bowie) from the album Space Oddity
  11. “My Death” (Jacques BrelMort Shuman) from the Brel album La Valse à Mille Temps, originally written by Brel as “La Mort” and translated into English by Shuman and Eric Blau
  12. Cracked Actor” (Bowie) from the album Aladdin Sane
  13. Time” (Bowie) from the album Aladdin Sane
  14. The Width of a Circle” (Bowie) from the album The Man Who Sold the World
  15. Band introduction – Spoken word
  16. Let’s Spend the Night Together” (Mick JaggerKeith Richards) from the Bowie album Aladdin Sane, originally performed by The Rolling Stones
  17. Suffragette City” (Bowie) from the album The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars
  18. White Light/White Heat” (Lou Reed) from The Velvet Underground album White Light/White Heat
  19. Farewell Speech – Spoken word
  20. Rock ‘n’ Roll Suicide” (Bowie) from the album The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars
  21. End Credits – Incorporating Pomp and Circumstance by Edward Elgar

YOU CAN NOW TRAVEL THE WORLD THROUGH BEATLES LYRICS

A new video uses Google Maps to take Beatles fans on a world tour, covering more than 25,000 miles, using the group’s lyrics as a guide.

Produced by Vanity Fair, the nearly 13-minute clip begins in their hometown of Liverpool. In addition to obvious places like Penny Lane and Strawberry Field, Beatles songs that reference their parents (like “Julia” and “Let It Be”) are matched with John Lennon‘s and Paul McCartney‘s childhood homes.

After three-and-a-half minutes, the video turns from Liverpool to Blackburn (“A Day in the Life”) and the Scottish town of Kircaldy (“Cry Baby Cry”) before flying to London, where Buckingham Palace (“Her Majesty”), the Royal Albert Hall and the House of Lords and Bishopsgate (“Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite!”) are acknowledged.

 

“The Ballad of John and Yoko”‘s travelogue takes fans out of Britain — moving from Southampton to Paris (with a stop at the Eiffel Tower for “I Am the Walrus”), Amsterdam, Gibraltar and Vienna. It then visits all the places name-checked in “Back in the U.S.S.R.” After a stop in Rishikesh, India, which isn’t mentioned by name in any lyrics but inspired “Dear Prudence” and “Sexy Sadie,” the video travels to the U.S. for “Rocky Raccoon,” “Get Back” and “Blue Jay Way” before returning to London.

The clip does take a few liberties, suggesting that “Savoy Truffle” may have been inspired by chocolates from the Savoy Hotel, and Abbey Road Studios is represented by “I Want You (She’s So Heavy),” because of Yoko Ono’s presence at the sessions (George Harrison‘s gently weeping guitar might have been less of a stretch).”Strawberry Fields Forever” is also revisited as a section of New York’s Central Park that’s named after the song.

As the Daily Beatle points out, “Eleanor Rigby” wasn’t inspired by a gravestone at the cemetery at St. Peter’s Church in Woolton, Liverpool, where, the video fails to mention, Lennon and McCartney met in 1957. McCartney has said that, though the cemetery may have been in his subconscious, he chose the name Eleanor from his Help! co-star Eleanor Bron and Rigby from a shop in Bristol.

Source: http://ultimateclassicrock.com/beatles-lyrics-mapped/

Paul McCartney ‘Bruce McMouse’ Film Screening

 

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Paul McCartney’s The Bruce McMouse Show will premiere in select theaters around the world on Jan. 21, it was announced today by Abramorama (which has partnered with MPL/Capitol/UMe). The Bruce McMouse Show is a previously unseen film that tells the story of how Paul McCartney and Wings “came to meet the inimitable impresario Bruce McMouse.”

According to a press release: “Part concert film, part animated feature, The Bruce McMouse Show features footage from Wings’ 1972 European tour, interspersed with animated scenes that introduce a family of mice living under the stage.”

After opening the film with “Big Barn Bed” from Red Rose Speedway, the camera “takes us down through the floorboards into this charming animated world. We see Bruce McMouse regale his children with stories from his past, when son Soily rushes into the room in a whirlwind of excitement announcing that ‘The Wings’ are playing above them. As the concert plays on, Bruce declares to his wife Yvonne that Paul and the band need his help. Bruce then proceeds to venture on stage to offers his services as producer. As the concert progresses, the animated scenes culminate with dozens of animated mice flocking to the venue to see Wings play.” The Bruce McMouse Show has been fully restored in 2018 at Final Frame Post alongside a brand-new audio mix (stereo and 5.1) created at AIR Studios where it was also mastered.

Pioneering black woman in advertising dies

 

By Steven Strahler, 11 January 2019

Barbara Gardner Proctor was the first African-American female to own an ad agency. Before that, as a record company executive, she brought the Beatles’ music to America.

Barbara Gardner Proctor, in a photo that accompanied a 1984 story in Advertising Age.

Barbara Gardner Proctor, a trailblazing Chicago businesswoman who brought the Beatles’ music to America—literally—as a Vee-Jay Records executive, has died at 85, according to her son, Morgan.

He said she died Dec. 19 at Chicago’s Fairmont Care Center after falling and injuring her hip, adding, “She was in the throes of dementia.”

Proctor was best known as the founder, in 1970, of the first ad agency owned by an African-American woman. She borrowed $1,000 from a friend in the Count Basie Band and rented space above Pizzeria Uno. Her billings grew into the millions as she labored to land Jewel Food Stores and then Kraft and other mass-market consumer companies as clients.

In 1983 she was featured on “60 Minutes.” The next year, Ronald Reagan cited her in his State of the Union address as a “spirit of America” who “rose from a ghetto shack to build a multi-million-dollar advertising agency in Chicago.” The Washington Post described her East Wacker Drive offices as “glitzy plush.”

But as established advertising firms slowly warmed to the black consumer and other African-Americans started competing firms, Proctor’s business declined, and her dream of creating another Leo Burnett died. Her firm dissolved in 1995.

“It is not, in any way, easy to be a minority company, and as I am a woman and black, it has been a double minority situation,” she told the Tribune five years earlier. She named her firm Proctor & Gardner Advertising, to give the impression of a white male behind the curtains. (A resemblance to Procter & Gamble didn’t hurt.)  It would take seven more years before a black female became a major ad agency vice president.

Judy Foster Davis, author of “Pioneering African-American Women in the Advertising Business: Biographies of Mad Black Women,” calls Proctor a Hidden Figure of the ad industry. “She didn’t just see advertising as a business enterprise. She saw it for its ability to lead social change,” Davis told Crain’s.

Proctor’s story was every bit the tale that Reagan made it out to be.

Born to an unmarried 16-year-old in North Carolina, she was raised by grandparents in a dirt-floor shack with no running water or electricity. She got a teacher’s certificate from Talladega College in Alabama and was headed to back home after serving as a camp counselor in Kalamazoo, Mich. First, she detoured to Chicago buy clothes for her teaching assignment.

“I wound up spending all of my money and didn’t have bus fare to get home. And in large measure, for 30 years I’ve been trying to get my bus fare back to North Carolina,” she told the Tribune in 1990.  She volunteered at the Chicago Urban League, which surprised her with a paycheck, and became a jazz critic for Down Beat magazine.

As international director of black-owned Vee-Jay in the early 1960s, she traveled to Europe four times a year “when black people were hardly flying in airplanes,” Davis says, to swap records with other recording companies. In late 1962, she took stacks of Four Seasons records stamped out by Vee-Jay and returned with singles recorded by what Vee-Jay publicized as “England’s No. 1 Vocal Group”—the Beatles.

“Please Please Me,” with “Ask Me Why” on the flip side, didn’t make much of a dent in early 1963. A year later, though, it went to No. 3 on Billboard’s pop chart with “From Me to You” on the B-side. Keeping it from the top spot were two Beatles songs released by Capitol Records, “I Want to Hold Your Hand” and “Can’t Buy Me Love,” and another from Swan Records, “She Loves You.”

Proctor, who said she wanted to learn how to write short, left Vee-Jay to work as a copywriter for two Chicago advertising firms, one of which became True North. Besides the $1,000 loan, she talked the SBA into lending her an unsecured $80,000 to fund her fledgling firm.

“I told them to call three advertising agencies and ask them what kind of annual salary they would pay to get me as a creative director. I said I’d take that to start a company. And that’s what they did,” she told the Tribune. “I think it worked because they hadn’t heard the approach before and they didn’t have an excuse built up to turn it down.”

Besides Kraft, she scored blue-chip clients like Illinois Bell, Alberto-Culver and CBS-TV’s Channel 2, and billings grew to a reputed $12 million by 1992 before an economic recession and the defection of Illinois Bell cut that in half. Davis says Proctor’s status as a single mother limited her ability to drum up business outside Chicago.

Meanwhile, Tom Burrell, a Burnett executive Proctor had tapped to write liner notes for a Jerry Butler album at Vee-Jay, emerged as a new type of competitor. Burrell Communications, founded a year after Proctor’s firm, became Chicago’s largest black-owned agency, with mainstream clients like Coca-Cola and P&G.

“We really wanted the Jewel business, but she had the inside track,” says Burrell. “The one thing she knew, she knew how to sell—she knew how to position herself.”

By 1995, however, Proctor & Gardner was left with just two clients besides Jewel: Kraft and American Family Insurance. It filed for bankruptcy protection, listing $1.8 million in debt and $361,000 in assets. “(General) agencies are very decidedly going after ethnically targeted business,” Burrell President Sarah Burroughs told Crain’s that year. “It’s going to make for a very interesting competitive situation.”

A generation later, black women make up fewer than 1 percent of executives in advertising, public relations and related services, according to Equal Employment Opportunity Commission statistics cited last year by Interpublic Group.

Proctor sensed where the industry—and world—was going when she formed an internet advertising firm, Proctor Information Network, in 1996 with other investors. But the plan stalled.

In her latter years, she provided expertise for Rainbow/PUSH, according to Charles Colbert, who was a communications consultant for Proctor & Gardner.

 

Source: https://www.chicagobusiness.com/news/pioneering-black-woman-advertising-dies

Bohemian Rhapsody by guitar greats

Can you imagine 1k gave this a thumbs down? Varied tastes, purists, bad arrangement – there could be more reasons for this reaction. As for me, I enjoyed it very much. Guitars replaced the vocals and harmonies!

This performance took place three days after Freddie’s 27th death anniversary and around the same time the film Bohemian Rhapsody would hit the theaters all around the world.

Jim Powers: Bohemian Rhapsody (Queen Cover), Steve Vai & Yngwie Malmsteen & Zakk Wylde & Nuno Bettencourt, Sands Casino Event Center, Bethlehem, PA; November 27th, 2018; Generation Axe – A Night of Guitars.