All posts by DJ Allyn

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

Under The Milky Way ~ The Church

The_Church_(Band)The Church is an Australian psychedelic rock band formed in Sydney in 1980. Initially associated with new wave, neo-psychedelia and indie rock, their music later came to feature slower tempos and surreal soundscapes reminiscent of dream pop and post-rock. Glenn A. Baker has written that “From the release of the ‘She Never Said’ single in November 1980, this unique Sydney-originated entity has purveyed a distinctive, ethereal, psychedelic-tinged sound which has alternatively found favor and disfavor in Australia”. The Los Angeles Times has described the band’s music as “dense, shimmering, exquisite guitar pop”.

The founding members were Steve Kilbey on lead vocals and bass guitar, Peter Koppes and Marty Willson-Piper on guitars and Nick Ward on drums. Ward only played on their debut album and the band’s drummer for the rest of the 1980s was Richard Ploog. Jay Dee Daugherty (ex-Patti Smith Group) played drums from 1990 to 1993, followed by Tim Powles (ex-The Venetians) who remains with them to the present day. Koppes left the band from 1992 to 1997[4] and Willson-Piper left in 2013. He was replaced by Ian Haug, formerly of Powderfinger. Kilbey, Koppes and Powles also recorded together as “The Refo:mation” in 1997.

The Church’s debut album, Of Skins and Heart (1981), delivered their first radio hit “The Unguarded Moment” and they were signed to major labels in Australia, Europe and the United States. However, the US label was dissatisfied with their second album and dropped the band without releasing it. This put a dent in their international success, but they returned to the charts in 1988, with the album Starfish and the US Top 40 hit “Under the Milky Way”. Subsequent mainstream success has proved elusive, but the band retains a large international cult following and were inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame in Sydney in 2011. The Church continue to tour and record, releasing their 24th studio album, Further/Deeper, in October 2014.

Under The Milky Way

Under the Milky Way” is a single by Australian alternative rock band The Church, released on 15 February 1988 and appears on their fifth studio album Starfish. The song was written by bass guitarist and lead vocalistSteve Kilbey and his then-girlfriend Karin Jansson (ex-Pink Champagne, Curious (Yellow)).

“Under the Milky Way” was written by Kilbey and Karin Jansson of Curious (Yellow). Kilbey and Jansson had become friends in 1983 and lived together in Australia from 1986.  Kilbey said, “I smoked a joint and started playing the piano and she came in the room and we just made it up.”  According to a press release issued with Starfish, the title is from an Amsterdam music and cultural venue, Melkweg (Dutch for “Milky Way”), which Kilbey used to frequent.

Under The Milky Way – Kilby, Jansson

Sometimes when this place gets kind of empty
Sound of their breath fades with the light
I think about the loveless fascination
Under the Milky Way tonight

Lower the curtain down on Memphis
Lower the curtain down, all right
I got no time for private consultation
Under the Milky Way tonight

Wish I knew what you were looking for
Might have known what you would find
Wish I knew what you were looking for
Might have known what you would find

And it’s something quite peculiar
Something shimmering and white
Leads you here despite your destination
Under the Milky Way tonight

Wish I knew what you were looking for
Might have known what you would find
Wish I knew what you were looking for
Might have known what you would find

Under the Milky Way tonight
Under the Milky Way tonight

  • Audio from the 1988 album, Starfish:

Starfish_album

Play Under The Milky Way - by The Church

History Repeating – Propellerheads

PropellerheadsPropellerheads are a British big beat music band made up of electronic producers Will White and Alex Gifford. The term “Propellerhead” is slang for a nerd, and when Gifford and White heard a friend from California use this in a conversation, they thought it the perfect name for their band.

Proponents of the much-maligned big-beat style of dance music (i.e. the Chemical Brothers), the Propellerheads — keyboardist/bassist/DJ Alex Gifford and drummer/DJ Will White — sprang out of Bath, England in 1996 to achieve almost overnight success in the U.K. with their brand of unabashed party techno, which combines strains of hip-hop, acid house, jazz-funk, and spy-film soundtracks. Gifford began his career as a studio musician, playing keyboards for Van Morrison and saxophone for the Stranglers, among others, before joining dance collective the Grid. After a stint on the staff of Peter Gabriel’s Real World Studios, where he helped write and produce the well-received Arcane compilation, Gifford decided to start recording his own music, and sought out local drummer White. In 1996, the duo released its first EP, Dive, on Wall of Sound; almost immediately, the title track was licensed by Adidas for use in a television commercial. The follow-up, Take California, appeared later that year, and the title track became a significant underground big-beat success. The 1997 Spybreak! EP was another hit, demonstrating the duo’s love for spy-film soundtracks; later in the year, the group hit the British Top Five with a remake of the Bond theme “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service,” recorded for the compilation Shaken and Stirred: The David Arnold 007 Project. Remixes for acts like Luscious Jackson, Soul Coughing, and 808 State followed, and Propellerheads signed to DreamWorks. The band made its U.S. debut in 1997 with a self-titled CD5, which contained the new single “Bang On!,” as well as several old and new tracks. In early 1998, the Propellerheads released their full-length debut, Decksandrumsandrockandroll, to generally positive reviews.

History Repeating

History Repeating” is a song written by Alex Gifford and originally performed by the Propellerheads featuring Shirley Bassey in 1997.

The track is a fusion of several different styles of big beat, breakbeat and Jazz combined with the powerful vocals of Shirley Bassey. The sleeve cover, an illustration by Duke D. Jukes takes its inspiration from classic album sleeves, such as those used for the Capitol 1959 release No One Cares from Frank Sinatra. The retro style was also continued with the video, filmed in monochrome, the opening of which is themed on a TV Jazz show called Jazz 1200 and clearly harks back to the serious music shows of the 1960’s. Scenes from the video shoot were included in the Divas are Forever DVD.

History Repeating – Gifford

The word is about, there’s something evolving,
whatever may come, the world keeps revolving
They say the next big thing is here,
that the revolution’s near,
but to me it seems quite clear
that it’s all just a little bit of history repeating

The newspapers shout a new style is growing,
but it don’t know if it’s coming or going,
there is fashion, there is fad
some is good, some is bad
and the joke is rather sad,
that its all just a little bit of history repeating

.. and I’ve seen it before
.. and I’ll see it again
.. yes I’ve seen it before
.. just little bits of history repeating

Some people don’t dance, if they don’t know who’s singing,
why ask your head, it’s your hips that are swinging
life’s for us to enjoy
woman, man, girl and boy,
feel the pain, feel the joy
aside set the little bits of history repeating

.. just little bits of history repeating
.. and I’ve seen it before
.. and I’ll see it again
.. yes I’ve seen it before
.. just little bits of history repeating

  • Audio from the 1997 album, Decksanddrumsandrockandroll:

Propellerheads_decksandrumsandrockandroll_cover

Play History Repeating - by Propellerheads

Make it Rain ~ Ed Sheeran

ed-sheeran-150Ed Sheeran  is an English singer-songwriter and musician.  He was born in Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire and raised in Framlingham, Suffolk. After dropping out of school at 16, he moved to London the following year, in 2008, to pursue a career in music. In early 2011, Sheeran independently released the extended play No. 5 Collaborations Project, which caught the attention of Elton John and Jamie Foxx.  After signing with Asylum Records, his debut album, + (read as “plus”), was released on 9 September 2011 and has since been certified six-times platinum in the UK. The album contains the single “The A Team”, which earned him the Ivor Novello Award for Best Song Musically and Lyrically.  In 2012, Sheeran won the Brit Awards for Best British Male Solo Artist and British Breakthrough Act.

Sheeran’s popularity abroad began in 2012. In the US, he made a guest appearance on Taylor Swift’s fourth studio album, Red.  “The A Team” was nominated for Song of the Year at the 2013 Grammy Awards, where he performed the song with Elton John.[7][8] He spent much of 2013 opening for Swift’s The Red Tour in North America dates.  In late 2013, he performed three sold-out shows at New York’s Madison Square Garden as a headline act. He was nominated for Best New Artist at the 2014 Grammy Awards.

His second studio album, x (read as “multiply”), was released worldwide on 23 June 2014. It peaked at number one in the UK and the US. In 2015, x won the Brit Award for Album of the Year, and he received the Ivor Novello Award for Songwriter of the Year.  As part of his world tour, Sheeran played three sold-out concerts at London’s Wembley Stadium in July 2015, his biggest solo shows to date.

Make It Rain

Make It Rain” is a song by the Northern Irish musician Foy Vance. It was made famous by Ed Sheeran in 2014 when it was used in the television series Sons of Anarchy

Ed Sheeran’s recording of the song was used in an episode in season 7 of the television series Sons of Anarchy.  Sheeran was an avid fan of the series and mentioned it on his Twitter account. When the creator read it, he proposed that Sheeran records a song for one of the episodes. As Sheeran was touring with Foy Vance at the time, and as one of Vance’s songs (Make It Rain) started with the lyrics “When the sins of my father / Weigh down in my soul”, Sheeran thought it was appropriate for the series and with Vance’s approval, Sheeran recorded the song to be used in the episode “Red Rose” broadcast on December 2, 2014.

Make It Rain – Vance

When the sins of my father
Weigh down in my soul
And the pain of my mother
Will not let me go
Well, I know there can come fire from the sky
To refine the purest of kings
And even though
I know this fire brings me pain
Even so
And just the same

Make it rain
Make it rain down, Lord
Make it rain
Oh, make it rain
Make it rain
Make it rain down, Lord
Make it rain
Make it rain

And the seed needs the water
Before it grows out of the ground
But it just keeps on getting hotter
And the hunger more profound
Well, I know there can come tears from the eyes
But they may as well be in vain
Even though
I know these tears come with pain
Even so
And just the same

Make it rain
Make it rain down, Lord
Make it rain
Make it rain
Make it rain
Make it rain down, Lord
Make it rain
Make it rain

Make it rain [x8]

And the seas are full of water
That stops by the shore
Just like the riches of grandeur
That never reach the poor

And let the clouds fill with thunderous applause
And let lightning be the veins
And fill the sky
With all that they can drop
When it’s time
To make a change

Make it rain
Make it rain down, Lord
Make it rain
Make it rain
Make it rain
Make it rain down, Lord

  • Audio from the 2014 album, x:

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