Feel Good Inc. – Gorillaz

GorillazGorillaz are an English virtual band created in 1998 by Damon Albarn and Jamie Hewlett. The band consists of four animated members: 2D (lead vocals, keyboard), Murdoc Niccals (bass guitar), Noodle (guitar, keyboard, and backing vocals) and Russel Hobbs (drums and percussion). These members are completely fictional and are not personas of any “real life” musicians involved in the project.  Their fictional universe is explored through the band’s website and music videos, as well as a number of other media, such as short cartoons. The music is a collaboration between various musicians, with Albarn being the only permanent musical contributor. Writers and critics have described their music as alternative rock,  Britpop,  trip hop,  hip hop,  electronica, indie,dub, reggae and pop.

The band’s 2001 debut album Gorillaz sold over seven million copies and earned them an entry in the Guinness Book of World Records as the Most Successful Virtual Band.  It was nominated for the Mercury Prize in 2001, but the nomination was later withdrawn at the band’s request.  Their second studio album, Demon Days, released in 2005, went five times platinum in the UK,  double platinum in the US, earned five Grammy Award nominations for 2006  and won one of them in the Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals category.  The band has won numerous other awards, including two MTV Video Music Awards, an NME Award, three MTV Europe Music Awards, and have been nominated for nine Brit Awards. The combined sales of the Gorillaz and Demon Days albums had exceeded 15 million by 2007.  The band’s third studio album, Plastic Beach, was released in March 2010. Their latest album, The Fall, was released in December 2010 as a free download for fan club members, then in April 2011 as a physical release. Gorillaz plan to release new material in 2016.

Feel Good Inc.

Feel Good Inc.” is a song by British virtual band Gorillaz. The song features De La Soul. The lyrical themes of the song revolve around isolation and escapism.

The song was the lead single from the band’s second studio album Demon Days on 9 May 2005. The single peaked at No. 2 in the United Kingdom and No. 14 in the United States. It also topped the Hot Modern Rock Tracks chart in the U.S. for eight consecutive weeks, a first for the band. This is the only song in Damon Albarn’s career to reach the top 40 on the Billboard Hot 100. It peaked in the top 10 in 17 countries, reaching No. 1 in Spain. The song was listed in Pitchfork Media and Rolling Stone’s Best Songs of the 2000s. The song won Best Pop Collaboration at the 2006 Grammy Awards. This song has surpassed “Clint Eastwood” to be Gorillaz’s most successful single worldwide. Popdose ranked it 24th on their list of 100 best songs of the decade.

The integration of computer-generated imagery with two-dimensional animation is more seamless than in previous Gorillaz videos, creating a more textured, layered effect. At the beginning of the video, while the camera is rising up from the Feel Good Inc. tower, a sample of the Spacemonkeyz dub of “Clint Eastwood” entitled “A Fistful of Peanuts” can be heard. The main themes of the video are intellectual freedom and the media’s dumbing down of mass culture.

In the video, 2D yearns for the freedom to join Noodle on her floating island. The characters lying on the floor represent those who have already been “dumbed down”, while the band members are the ones who have awakened. 2D is trying to wake all the people from their half-dead state by yelling at them through his megaphone, in the style of a political activist. Jamie Hewlett said in an interview that the inspiration for some scenes in the video came from Hayao Miyazaki; specifically, the windmill-powered landmass, which has been compared to that of Miyazaki’sCastle in the Sky. The floating island is chased by ominous helicopters, which closely resemble Korean War era Bell H-13s, monitoring the behaviour inside and ensuring that no one escapes. It is unclear whether they are preventing Noodle’s escape or are chasing her away. Back in the tower, De La Soul appear as larger-than life, seemingly omnipotent images on surrounding television screens, laughing at the Gorillaz band members. Their taunting drives 2D into a wild, hypnotic frenzy as he tries to resist the urge to be dumbed down. At the end of the video, 2D appears beaten by his surroundings, and returns to the state he was in when the video began, repeating the words “Feel good” until the video finally ends, in an exact reversal of the intro. The repetition of “Feel good” represents that 2D is convincing himself that everything is OK (as if he is brainwashing himself to believe it), instead of facing the harsh truth of the situation. The music video for “El Mañana” is a continuation of this video, depicting two helicopter gunships catching up to Noodle’s floating windmill island and attacking it.

Feel Good Inc. – Danger Mouse/Gorillaz

City’s breaking down on a camel’s back.
They just have to go ’cause they don’t know wack
So all you fill the streets it’s appealing to see
You wont get out the county, ‘cos you’re damn as free
You’ve got a new horizon It’s ephemeral style.
A melancholy town where we never smile.
And all I wanna hear is the message beep.
My dreams, they’ve got to kiss, because I don’t get sleep, no..

Windmill, Windmill for the land.
Turn forever hand in hand
Take it all in on your stride
It is sinking, falling down
Love forever love is free
Let’s turn forever you and me
Windmill, windmill for the land
Is everybody in?

Laughing gas these hazmats, fast cats,
Lining them up-a like ass cracks,
Lay these ponies at the track
Its my chocolate attack.
Shit, I’m stepping in the heart of this here
Care bear bumping in the heart of this here
Watch me as I gravitate
Hahahahahahaa.
Yo, we gonna go ghost town,
This motown,
With yo sound
You’re in the place
You gonna bite the dust
Can’t fight with us
With yo sound
You kill the INC.
So don’t stop, get it, get it
Until you’re Jet Ahead.
Yo, watch the way I navigate
Hahahahahhaa

Feel good, AHHHHahahahah [x4]

Windmill, Windmill for the land.
Turn forever hand in hand
Take it all in on your stride
It is ticking, falling down
Love forever love is free
Let’s turn forever you and me
Windmill, windmill for the land
Is everybody in?

Don’t shout, get it, get it
We are your captains in it
Steady,
Watch me navigate,
Ahahahahahhaa.
Don’t shout, get it, get it
We are your captains in it
Steady, watch me navigate
Ahahahahahhaa.

Feel good, AHHHHahahahaha
Feel good,
Feel good, AHHHHahahahaha
Feel good….

  • Audio from the 2005 album, Demon Days:


The Sound of Silence ~ Disturbed

Disturbed150x100Disturbed is an American heavy metal band from Chicago, Illinois. The band comprises vocalist David Draiman, bassist John Moyer, guitarist Dan Donegan, and drummer Mike Wengren. Former band members are vocalist Erich Awalt and bassist Steve Kmak.

Formed in 1994 as Brawl, the band was renamed Disturbed in 1996 after Draiman was hired as the band’s new vocalist. The band has released six studio albums, five of which have consecutively debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200. Disturbed went into hiatus in October 2011, during which the band’s members focused on various side projects, and returned in June 2015, releasing their first album in five years, Immortalized, on August 21, 2015.

Before David Draiman joined Disturbed, the lineup consisted of vocalist Erich Awalt, guitarist Dan Donegan, drummer Mike Wengren, and bassist Steve “Fuzz” Kmak. Before changing their name to “Brawl“, however, Donegan mentioned in the band’s DVD, Decade of Disturbed, that the name was originally going to be “Crawl”; they switched it to “Brawl”, due to the name already being used by another band. Awalt left the band shortly after the recording of a demo tape; the other three members advertised for a singer. They posted an advertisement in the local music publication in Chicago, Illinois, called the “Illinois Entertainer”. Draiman answered the advertisement after going to twenty other auditions that month. Guitarist Dan Donegan commented on Draiman: “You know, out of all the singers that we had talked to or auditioned, he [Draiman] was the only singer who was ready to go with originals. And that impressed me, just to attempt that”.

With regard to Draiman being the new singer for the band, Donegan said, “After a minute or two, he just starts banging out these melodies that were huge…I’m playing my guitar and I’m grinning from ear to ear, trying not to give it away that I like this guy, you know, because I don’t want to, you know…[say] ‘Yeah, we’ll give you a call back. We’ll, you know, discuss it.’ But I was so psyched. Chill up my spine. I’m like, ‘There is something here.'” As drummer Mike Wengren commented, “We clicked right off the bat.” Draiman then joined the band in 1996 and the band was renamed Disturbed. When asked in an interview why he suggested to name the band “Disturbed,” Draiman said, “It had been a name I have been contemplating for a band for years. It just seems to symbolize everything we were feeling at the time. The level of conformity that people are forced into was disturbing to us and we were just trying to push the envelope and the name just sorta made sense.”

The Sound of Silence

The Sound of Silence“, originally “The Sounds of Silence“, is a song by the American music duo Simon & Garfunkel. The song was written by Paul Simon over the period of several months between 1963 and 1964. A studio audition led to the duo signing a record deal with Columbia Records, and the song was recorded in March 1964 at Columbia Studios in New York City for inclusion on their debut studio album, Wednesday Morning, 3 A.M..

Released in October 1964, the album was a commercial failure and led to the duo breaking apart, with Paul Simon returning to England and Art Garfunkel to his studies at Columbia University. In spring 1965, the song began to attract airplay at radio stations in Boston, Massachusetts, and throughout Florida. The growing airplay led Tom Wilson, the song’s producer, to remix the track, overdubbing electric instrumentation with the same musicians who backed Bob Dylan’s “Like a Rolling Stone”. Simon & Garfunkel were not informed of the song’s remix until after its release. The single was released in September 1965.

The song hit No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for the week ending January 1, 1966, leading the duo to reunite and hastily record their second album, which Columbia titled Sounds of Silence in an attempt to capitalize on the song’s success. The song was a top-ten hit in multiple countries worldwide, among them Australia, Austria, West Germany, Ireland, Japan and the Netherlands. Generally considered a classic folk rock song, the song was added to the National Recording Registry in the Library of Congress for being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically important” in 2013 along with the rest of the Sounds of Silence album.

Originally titled “The Sounds of Silence” on Wednesday Morning, 3 A.M., as well as on the single release and Sounds of Silence album, the song was re-titled for later compilations beginning with Simon and Garfunkel’s Greatest Hits.

Heavy metal band Disturbed covered the song in 2015, which became very popular. Paul Simon endorsed the song as a result.

A music video was released on December 7, 2015. Their cover hit number one on the Billboard Hard Rock Digital Songs and Mainstream Rock charts, and is their highest charting song on the Hot 100, peaking at number 51. It is also their highest charting single in Australia, peaking at number 4.

The Sound of Silence – Simon

Hello darkness, my old friend,
I’ve come to talk with you again,
Because a vision softly creeping,
Left its seeds while I was sleeping,
And the vision that was planted in my brain
Still remains
Within the sound of silence.

In restless dreams I walked alone
Narrow streets of cobblestone,
‘Neath the halo of a street lamp,
I turned my collar to the cold and damp
When my eyes were stabbed by the flash of a neon light
That split the night
And touched the sound of silence.

And in the naked light I saw
Ten thousand people, maybe more.
People talking without speaking,
People hearing without listening,
People writing songs that voices never share
And no one dared
Disturb the sound of silence.

“Fools,” said I, “You do not know.
Silence like a cancer grows.
Hear my words that I might teach you.
Take my arms that I might reach you.”
But my words like silent raindrops fell
And echoed in the wells of silence

And the people bowed and prayed
To the neon god they made.
And the sign flashed out its warning
In the words that it was forming.
And the sign said, “The words of the prophets are written on the subway walls
And tenement halls
And whispered in the sounds of silence.”

  • Audio from the 2010 album, Immortalized:

Disturbed_immortalized_cover

Play The Sound of Silence - by Disturbed

Started Out With Nothin’ ~ Seasick Steve

seasick-steveSteven Gene Wold, commonly known as Seasick Steve is an American bluesman, although he prefers to be called “a song and dance man”. He plays guitars (mostly personalized), and sings, usually about his early life living rough and doing casual work.

Wold was born in Oakland, California.When he was four years old, his parents split up. His father played boogie-woogie piano and at five or six years old Wold tried to learn but could not. At age eight, he learned to play the guitar (he later found out that it was blues) from K. C. Douglas, who worked at his grandfather’s garage.Douglas wrote the song “Mercury Blues” and used to play with Tommy Johnson. Wold left home at 13 to avoid abuse at the hands of his stepfather, and lived rough and on the road in Tennessee, Mississippi and elsewhere, until 1973. He would travel long distances by hopping freight trains, looking for work as a farm laborer or in other seasonal jobs, often living as a hobo. At various times, Wold worked as a carnie, cowboy and a migrant worker.

Of this time he once said:

“Hobos are people who move around looking for work, tramps are people who move around but don’t look for work, and bums are people who don’t move and don’t work. I’ve been all three.”

In the sixties he started touring and performing with fellow blues musicians, and had friends in the music scene including Janis Joplin and Joni Mitchell. Since then, he has worked, on and off, as a session musician and studio engineer. In the late 1980s, while living in Olympia, near Seattle, he worked with many indie label artistsKurt Cobain was a friend. In the 1990s he continued to work as a recording engineer and producer, including producing several releases by Modest Mouse. including their 1996 debut album This Is a Long Drive for Someone with Nothing to Think About.

At one time, living in Paris, Wold made his living busking, mostly on the metro. After moving to Norway in 2001, Wold released his first album, entitled “Cheap”, recorded with The Level Devils (Jo Husmo on stand-up bass and Kai Kristoffersen on drums) as his rhythm section. His debut solo album, “Dog House Music” was released by Bronzerat Records in November 2006, after he was championed by an old friend, Joe Cushley, DJ on the Ballin’ The Jack blues show on London radio station Resonance FM.

Started Out With Nothin’

Started Out With Nothin’ – Wold

I can’t lose what I never had
You can’t take what I ain’t got
When I’m happy, you won’t make me sad
Depending on you all
Well I’m not
Cause I started out with nothing
and I’ve still got most of it left

When I’m down I just get up
When I’m down well I stand up
Been down many times well you know it’s true
Haven’t had a red dime between me and you

Cause I started out with nothing
and I’ve still got most of it left
Cause I started out with nothing
and I’ve still got most of it left
Cause I started out with nothing
and I’ve still got most of it left

And if all fell apart today
I could just walk
Get on down the street
I ain’t worried where I’m going to sleep
I can always find some food to eat

Cause I started out with nothing
and I’ve still got most of it left
Cause I started out with nothing
and I’ve still got most of it left
Cause I started out with nothing
and I’ve still got most of it left

  • Audio from the 2008 album, Started Out With Nothin’:

started-out-with-nothin

Play Started Out With Nothing - by Seasick Steve

Karn Evil 9 – 1st Impression, Part 2 ~ Emerson, Lake, & Palmer

ELP-150Emerson, Lake & Palmer (ELP) were an English progressive rock supergroup.

On two occasions in 1969, The Nice (with Keith Emerson on keyboards) and King Crimson (with Greg Lake on bass and vocals) shared the same venue, first on August 10, 1969 at the 9th Jazz and Blues Pop Festival in Plumpton, England and on October 17, 1969 at Fairfield Halls in Croydon, England.

After playing at a few of the same concerts, Emerson and Lake tried working together and found their styles to be not only compatible, but complementary. They wanted to be a keyboard/bass/drum band, and so searched out a drummer.

Before settling on Carl Palmer, who at that time was a member of Atomic Rooster, they approached Mitch Mitchell of The Jimi Hendrix Experience; Mitchell was uninterested but passed the idea to Jimi Hendrix. Hendrix, tired of his band and wanting to try something different, expressed an interest in playing with the group. The British press, after hearing about this, speculated that such a supergroup would have been called HELP, or “Hendrix, Emerson, Lake & Palmer“. Due to scheduling conflicts, such plans were not immediately realised, but the initial three planned a jam session with Hendrix after their second concert at the Isle of Wight Festival (their debut being in Plymouth Guildhall six days earlier), with the possibility of him joining. Hendrix died shortly thereafter, so the three pressed on as Emerson, Lake and Palmer.

Karn Evil 9 – 1st Impression, Part 2

Karn Evil 9” is an extended work by progressive rock group Emerson, Lake & Palmer (ELP), appearing on the album, Brain Salad Surgery. A futuristic fusion of rock and classical themes, it is regarded by many fans to be among their best works. At nearly half an hour long, it is also their longest studio recording.

The story of “Karn Evil 9” is told in 3 parts, with the second part being an instrumental interlude between the first and the third. First Impression tells the story of a world from which “all manner of evil and decadence had been banished.” The decadence of the old world is preserved through exhibits that are part of a futuristic carnival show, which exhibits depravities like “seven virgins and a mule,” along with things that are rare in the future, such as a “real blade of grass.”

The Second Impression is an instrumental and unlike the rest of Karn Evil, is just three instruments: piano, bass and drums. This Impression changes from an upbeat out-of-control tune to a creepy slow interval and then picks up the pace again with a structure similar to that of a sonata. This Impression is often overlooked and is less popular than the others, though it is a rather complex piece, showing the three musicians virtuosity.

Third Impression describes a war between humans and computers, which can be interpreted in two different ways. One interpretation allows the victory to the humans, who reimpose their domain over the computers. The other interpretation allows victory to the computers, claiming that the computers were successful in dominating the humans and let them live only for the sake of gloating. Peter Sinfield’s original interpretation was that “what [Man had] invented ironically takes him over.”

Karn Evil 9 – 1st Impression, Part 2 – Emerson

Welcome back, my friends
to the show that never ends.
We’re so glad you could attend!
Come inside! Come inside!

There behind a glass
stands a real blade of grass
be careful as you pass.
Move along! Move along!

Come inside, the show’s about to start
guaranteed to blow your head apart
Rest assured you’ll get your money’s worth
The greatest show in Heaven, Hell, or Earth

You’ve got to see the show, it’s a dynamo.
You’ve got to see the show, it’s rock and roll

Right before your eyes,
We’ll pull laughter from the skies
And he laughs until he cries,
then he dies, then he dies

You’ve got to see the show, it’s a dynamo.
You’ve got to see the show, it’s rock and roll

(Extended instrumental, mostly keyboard)

Soon the Gypsy Queen
in a glaze of Vaseline
Will perform on guillotine
What a scene! What a scene!
Next upon the stand
will you please extend a hand
to Alexander’s Ragtime Band
Dixieland, Dixieland

Roll up! Roll up! Roll up!
See the show!

Performing on a stool
we’ve a sight to make you drool
Seven virgins and a mule
Keep it cool. Keep it cool.
We would like it to be known
the exhibits that were shown
were exclusively our own,
All our own. All our own.

Come and see the show!
Come and see the show!
Come and see the show!
See the show!

See the shoooowwwwwww!

  • Audio from the 1973 album, Brain Salad Surgery:

brain-salad-surgery

Play Karn Evil 9 - 1st Impression - by ELP

Kathy’s Song ~ Simon & Garfunkel

THE “KATHY” SERIES

up-simon_and_garfunkleSMThe duo of Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel are American popular musicians known collectively as Simon & Garfunkel. They met in elementary school in 1953, when they both appeared in the school play Alice in Wonderland (Simon as the White Rabbit, Garfunkel as the Cheshire Cat). They formed the group Tom and Jerry in 1957, and had their first taste of success with the minor hit “Hey Schoolgirl”. As Simon and Garfunkel, the duo rose to fame in 1965 backed by the hit single “The Sounds of Silence”. Their music was featured on the landmark film The Graduate, propelling them further into the public consciousness. They are well known for their close harmonies and sometimes unstable relationship. Their last album, Bridge Over Troubled Water, was marked with several delays caused by artistic disagreements.

Kathy’s Song

Kathleen Mary “Kathy” Chitty worked part-time selling tickets at the Railway Inn Folk Club in Brentwood, Essex, UK in 1964. She became the girlfriend and muse of Paul Simon when he lived in England in 1964 and 1965. She is referred to directly or indirectly in at least three of his songs.

Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel’s first album, Wednesday Morning, 3 A.M. was recorded in early 1964 and included the original acoustic version of The Sound of Silence. After the recording, Simon moved to England without Garfunkel. At this time folk music was becoming popular in England and Simon started working around the English folk clubs and coffee houses.

He met Kathy Chitty on 12th April 1964 at the very first English folk club he played at, the Railway Inn Folk Club in Brentwood, Essex. She was 17, he was 22 and they fell in love. Later that year they visited the US together, touring around mainly by bus. Kathy returned to England on her own with Simon returning to her some weeks later. When he was back in London he recorded the album The Paul Simon Songbook that included Kathy’s Song, and had a photo of Simon and Kathy on the cover. Also included in the album was another version of The Sound of Silence.

Although Wednesday Morning 3 A.M. was initially a flop, the version of The Sound of Silence on that album began to receive limited airplay, so the producer, Tom Wilson, without consulting Simon or Garfunkel, overdubbed the recording with electric guitar and base, and drums. This new version entered the US charts in September 1965. By the end of 1965 and for the first few weeks of 1966 it was at No. 1 in the US pop charts.

In September 1965, when Simon learned of the growing success of The Sound of Silence he felt the need to immediately return to the US to continue his career. Kathy was quite shy and wanted no part of the success and fame that awaited Simon. They split up.

References to Kathy in Paul Simon’s Songs

During the separation after Kathy returned home from the American trip, Paul Simon wrote America, clearly a love song to Kathy, that lays bare the extent to which he was missing her:

“Kathy, I’m lost,” I said, though I knew she was sleeping
“I’m empty and aching and I don’t know why”

During their separation he also wrote “Kathy’s Song”:

I gaze beyond the rain-drenched streets
To England where my heart lies.
My mind’s distracted and diffused
My thoughts are many miles away
They lie with you when you’re asleep
And kiss you when you start your day.

Simon wrote Homeward Bound  at the  Ditton Railway Station, one of two stations located in the town of Widnes Ditton in Cheshire, England on Hale Road on the border between Ditton and Halebank. The station, on the London-Liverpool line, was closed to passengers on 27 May 1994. Now only the Widnes Railway Station remains. It is also widely interpreted that this song is also about Kathy:

I wish I was homeward bound
Home, where my thoughts escaping
Home, where my music’s playing
Home, where my love lies waiting
Silently for me.

After Paul Simon returned to America in 1965 they were not in contact for over 20 years. In 1986, during his success with Graceland he received a letter from her. In 1991, while on tour in the UK, Kathy and her family attended Simon´s show in Sheffield. In July 2004 Simon confirmed her attendance at the Old Friends Reunion Tour stop in Hyde Park.

Kathy is a very private person, all attempts by the press to cajole information or her whereabouts out of Simon have failed. As far as anybody knows, she is now a grandmother with three grown-up children and living in the Welsh mountains (where she has lived most of her life) working part-time at a technical college. Widnes station has a plaque commemorating the history of Homeward Bound. When this went missing a few years ago, Kathy was invited to unveil the replacement but she declined.

Kathy’s Song – Simon

I hear the drizzle of the rain
Like a memory it falls
Soft and warm continuing
Tapping on my roof and walls.

And from the shelter of my mind
Through the window of my eyes
I gaze beyond the rain-drenched streets
To England where my heart lies.

My mind’s distracted and diffused
My thoughts are many miles away
They lie with you when you’re asleep
And kiss you when you start your day.

And a song I was writing is left undone
I don’t know why I spend my time
Writing songs I can’t believe
With words that tear and strain to rhyme.

And so you see I have come to doubt
All that I once held as true
I stand alone without beliefs
The only truth I know is you.

And as I watch the drops of rain
Weave their weary paths and die
I know that I am like the rain
There before for the grace of you go I.

 

  • Audio from the 1966 album, Sounds of Silence:

sounds-of-silence

Play Kathy's Song - by Simon &

Lazarus ~ David Bowie

bowie-150David Robert Jones, known as David Bowie , was an English singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, record producer, arranger, painter and actor. He was a figure in popular music for over five decades, and was considered by critics and other musicians as an innovator, particularly for his work in the 1970s. His androgynous appearance was an iconic element of his image, principally in the 1970s and 1980s.

Born and raised in Brixton, south London, Bowie developed an early interest in music although his attempts to succeed as a pop star during much of the 1960s were frustrating. “Space Oddity” became his first top five entry on the UK Singles Chart after its release in July 1969. After a three-year period of experimentation, he re-emerged in 1972 during the glam rock era with his flamboyant and androgynous alter ego Ziggy Stardust. The character was spearheaded by his single “Starman” and album The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars. The relatively short-lived Ziggy persona proved to be one facet of a career marked by reinvention, musical innovation and visual presentation.

In 1975, Bowie achieved his first major American crossover success with the number-one single “Fame” and the album Young Americans, which the singer characterised as “plastic soul”. The sound constituted a radical shift in style that initially alienated many of his UK devotees. He then confounded the expectations of both his record label and his American audiences by recording the electronic-inflected album Low, the first of three collaborations with Brian Eno. Low (1977), “Heroes” (1977), and Lodger (1979)—the so-called “Berlin Trilogy” albums—all reached the UK top five and received lasting critical praise. After uneven commercial success in the late 1970s, Bowie had UK number ones with the 1980 single “Ashes to Ashes”, its parent album Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps), and “Under Pressure”, a 1981 collaboration with Queen. He then reached a new commercial peak in 1983 with Let’s Dance, which yielded several successful singles. Throughout the 1990s and 2000s, Bowie continued to experiment with musical styles, including blue-eyed soul, industrial, adult contemporary, and jungle. Bowie also had a successful but sporadic film career. His acting roles include the eponymous character in The Man Who Fell to Earth (1976), Major Celliers in Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence (1983), Jareth, the Goblin King in Labyrinth (1986), Pontius Pilate in Martin Scorsese’s The Last Temptation of Christ(1988), and Nikola Tesla in The Prestige (2006), among other film and television appearances and cameos. Bowie stopped touring after his 2003–04 Reality Tour, and last performed live at a charity event in 2006. On 8 January 2016, the date of Bowie’s 69th birthday, the album Blackstar was released; he died two days later.

Throughout his career, Bowie sold an estimated 140 million records worldwide. In the UK, he was awarded nine Platinum album certifications, eleven Gold and eight Silver, and in the US, five Platinum and seven Gold certifications. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996.

Lazarus

Lazarus” is a song by English rock musician David Bowie. It was released on 17 December 2015 as an advance single from his twenty-fifth studio album, Blackstar, which was released in January 2016. “Lazarus” was released on 17 December 2015 as a digital download. The single received its world premiere on BBC Radio 6 Music’s Steve Lamacq on that date.[1] In addition to its release on Blackstar, the track is used in Bowie’s off-Broadway musical of the same name. The official music video, directed by Johan Renck, was released on 7 January 2016. “Lazarus” is the last single released by Bowie before his death on 10 January 2016.

The official music video for “Lazarus”, featuring a shorter edit of the song lasting just over four minutes, was uploaded on 7 January 2016 to Bowie’s Vevo channel on YouTube. The video was directed by Johan Renck, who also directed the music video for Bowie’s previous single, “Blackstar”. The video is shown in a 1:1 aspect ratio and prominently features Bowie lying on a deathbed.

According to Bowie’s producer Tony Visconti, the lyrics and video of Lazarus and other songs on the album were intended to be a self-epitaph, a commentary on Bowie’s own impending death.

From NME:

Bowing out with typical style, David Bowie didn’t just release his last album ‘Blackstar’ to coincide with his 69th birthday last week, on January 8 – he was using it to say goodbye to the world.

An 18-month battle with cancer that hardly anyone knew about came to tragic end yesterday (January 10), but Bowie provided bleak hints about his terminal condition for his fans and followers in what was to be the final music video of his that was to be released in his lifetime.

Released only four days ago, the video for single ‘Lazarus’ was Bowie’s parting shot, opening with a blindfolded, fragile-looking Bowie laying in bed. His first words “look up here, I’m in heaven/I’ve got scars that can’t be seen” are now obviously an admission of his ill health, rather than just a fantastical musing on mortality. It soon becomes obvious that the bed he’s in is a hospital one and Bowie begins to float above it, signifying his transmutation to the other side – whatever, or wherever that may be. Watching it now, it’s a statement as bold as it is bleak.

As Bowie writhes around on the bed, trying to break free, another Bowie then appears, a Bowie clad in black and stood upright, a Bowie who can still pose, pout, pick up a pen and create. Inspiration hits him and he scrawls at speed in a notebook, while the other Bowie continues to convulse. As he writes, we see a skull sitting ominously on his writing desk, the spectre of death looming over Bowie and his final creation, before he steps backwards into a wooden wardrobe, a fitting kind of coffin for an icon of style and fashion.

“His death was no different from his life – a work of Art,” explained Bowie’s producer Tony Visconti, in tribute. “He made ‘Blackstar’ for us, his parting gift. I knew for a year this was the way it would be. I wasn’t, however, prepared for it.” Creative to the very end, the ‘Lazarus’ video is a heartbreakingly sad way to bid farewell, but a more than appropriate one.

Lazarus – Bowie

Look up here, I’m in heaven
I’ve got scars that can’t be seen
I’ve got drama, can’t be stolen
Everybody knows me now

Look up here, man, I’m in danger
I’ve got nothing left to lose
I’m so high it makes my brain whirl
Dropped my cell phone down below

Ain’t that just like me

By the time I got to New York
I was living like a king
Then I used up all my money
I was looking for your ass

This way or no way
You know, I’ll be free
Just like that bluebird
Now ain’t that just like me

Oh I’ll be free
Just like that bluebird
Oh I’ll be free
Ain’t that just like me

  • Audio from the 2016 album, Blackstar:

blackstar

Play Lazarus - by David Bowie

Me and Bobby McGee ~ Janis Joplin

janis-150Janis Lyn Joplin was an American singer, songwriter, and music arranger, from Port Arthur, Texas. She rose to prominence in the late 1960s as the lead singer of Big Brother and the Holding Company, and later as a solo artist. In 2004, Rolling Stone magazine ranked Joplin #46 on its list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time. She died in Los Angeles, California of a drug overdose at the age of 27.

There is so much this woman accomplished in her short life, and I could spend hours writing about it. Her music was probably one of the most influential things in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

Don McLean is widely believed to allude to Janis Joplin in his song “American Pie” with the lines “I met a girl who sang the blues / And I asked her for some happy news, / But she just smiled and turned away”. McLean has not denied nor confirmed the belief.

Me and Bobby McGee

Me and Bobby McGee” is a song written by Kris Kristofferson and Fred Foster, originally performed by Roger Miller, and later by Janis Joplin, who topped the U.S. singles charts with the song in 1971.

Some sources incorrectly state that Gordon Lightfoot issued the first recorded version. In fact, Lightfoot sang this new song after a detailed tribute to Kris Kristopherson in a CBC broadcast from the summer 1969 Charlottetown (Prince Edward Island) Festival. In his introduction, Gordon clearly referred disparagingly to the Miller version and said he intended recording it himself “the way it should be done.” According to another story, Kristofferson popped his head into the studio with freshly written verses as Roger Miller was recording the song. Regardless, Miller was the first artist to have a hit with the song, peaking with it at No. 12 on the US country charts in 1969. Lightfoot’s version hit No. 13 on the pop charts and No. 1 country in his native Canada in 1970. In a 2008 autobiography, Don Reid and Harold Reid of the Statler Brothers say Kristofferson promised it to them, but when they later inquired about recording it, they learned Miller had already cut the song. The Reids say there were no hard feelings, and were happy about Miller’s success with the song. The song was later included on a Statler Brothers album, but was not released as a single.

Janis Joplin also covered the song for inclusion on her Pearl album only a few days before her death in October 1970. Kristofferson had sung the song for Joplin, and singer Bob Neuwirth taught it to her. Kristofferson, however, did not know she had covered it until after her death (the first time he heard it was the day after she died). Joplin’s version topped the charts to become her only number one single and only the second posthumous number one single in rock & roll history (the first was “(Sittin’ on) the Dock of the Bay” by Otis Redding). In 2004, the Janis Joplin version of this song was ranked No. 148 on Rolling Stone’s list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

Kristofferson performed the song live at the Isle of Wight Festival 1970 and a CD and DVD of the event were issued 30 years later as Message to Love: The Isle of Wight Festival 1970. The Janis Joplin version was used prominently in the epilogue of Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s epic film of Berlin Alexanderplatz.

In the original version of the song, Bobby is a woman; Janis Joplin, who was a lover and a friend of Kristofferson’s from the beginning of her career to her death, changed the sex and a few of the lyrics in her cover. Kristofferson states he did not write this song for her, but the song is associated with her. Especially, he has said, in the line, “Somewhere near Salinas, Lord, I let her slip away.” In a conversation with director Monte Hellman called “Somewhere Near Salinas”, available in the supplements to the Two-Lane Blacktop Criterion Collection DVD release (a film in which Kristofferson’s version is used on the soundtrack), Kristofferson states that the film La Strada was an inspiration for the song and remarks on the irony of how a song inspired by a classic “road movie” should come to used in another.

The line about “Bobby and I Sang the Blues”, was adopted by Don Mcclean for the song “American Pie” when he met a girl who “Sang the Blues”, hoping for some “Happy News”, but “She just smiled and turned away”.

The line: “Freedom is just another word for nothing left to lose/ But nothing ain’t worth nothing but it’s free”, is listed in Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations under Kris Kristofferson’s name.

Me and Bobby McGee – Kristofferson

Busted flat in Baton Rouge, waiting for a train
And I’s feeling nearly as faded as my jeans.
Bobby thumbed a diesel down just before it rained,
It rode us all the way to New Orleans.

I pulled my harpoon out of my dirty red bandanna,
I was playing soft while Bobby sang the blues.
Windshield wipers slapping time, I was holding Bobby’s hand in mine,
We sang every song that driver knew.

Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose,
Nothing don’t mean nothing honey if it ain’t free, now now.
And feeling good was easy, Lord, when he sang the blues,
You know feeling good was good enough for me,
Good enough for me and my Bobby McGee.

From the Kentucky coal mines to the California sun,
Hey, Bobby shared the secrets of my soul.
Through all kinds of weather, through everything we done,
Hey Bobby baby? kept me from the cold.

One day up near Salinas, Lord, I let him slip away,
He’s looking for that home and I hope he finds it,
But I’d trade all of my tomorrows for one single yesterday
To be holding Bobby’s body next to mine.

Freedom is just another word for nothing left to lose,
Nothing, that’s all that Bobby left me, yeah,
But feeling good was easy, Lord, when he sang the blues,
Hey, feeling good was good enough for me, hmm hmm,
Good enough for me and my Bobby McGee.

La la la, la la la la, la la la, la la la la
La la la la la Bobby McGee.
La la la la la, la la la la la
La la la la la, Bobby McGee, la.

La La la, la la la la la la,
La La la la la la la la la, ain`t no bumb on my bobby McGee yeah.
Na na na na na na na na, na na na na na na na na na na na
Hey now Bobby now, Bobby McGee, yeah.

Lord, I’m calling my lover, calling my man,
I said I’m calling my lover just the best I can,
C’mon, hey now Bobby yeah, hey now Bobby McGee, yeah,
Lordy Lordy Lordy Lordy Lordy Lordy Lordy Lord
Hey, hey, hey, Bobby McGee, Lord!

Yeah! Whew!

Lordy Lordy Lordy Lordy Lordy Lordy Lordy Lord
Hey, hey, hey, Bobby McGee.

  • Audio from the 1971 album, Pearl:

janis-pearl

Play Me and Bobby McGee - by Janis Joplin
%d bloggers like this: