WBEZ | Marvin Gaye http://www.wbez.org/tags/marvin-gaye Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Act Two…or Three…or…: The remaking of an artist http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-11/act-two%E2%80%A6or-three%E2%80%A6or%E2%80%A6-remaking-artist-103741 <p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="http://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F66637020&amp;auto_play=false&amp;show_artwork=true&amp;color=ffe12b" width="100%"></iframe></p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/6150800473_13f11baa53_z.jpg" style="height: 308px; width: 300px; float: left; " title="Marvin Gaye's 'What's Going On'(Flickr/Chris Drumm)" /><strong>Tony Sarabia:</strong></p><p>So now that President Barack Obama has been reelected to a second term, how will his final four years in the White House unfold? What will his &lsquo;second act&rsquo; look like?</p><p>And what sort of reinvention will defeated Tea Party Congressman Joe Walsh undertake? The political landscape is littered with stories of reinvention, which caused <em>Morning Shift</em> intern Miles Doornbos to start wondering about musical second acts--good and bad.</p><p>A quick glance at the history of pop, soul, jazz and other musical styles reveals some fascinating examples of artists who, either out of commercial necessity, creative frustration, an epiphany or a combination of these and other factors, have taken a turn in the music they create.</p><p>Bob Dylan&rsquo;s music went thru a number of transformations; who could forget the <em>Saved </em>album?</p><p>Frank Sinatra&rsquo;s Capitol years presented a mature, almost brooding, yet relaxed swing that was antithetical to his early work with Columbia. And of course, who can forget the Jefferson Starship? What the heck was that all about? Talk about a crash landing.</p><p>Thursday&#39;s&nbsp;<em>Morning Shift</em>&nbsp;takes a look at some of mine and Richard Steele&rsquo;s artist reinventions: from Miles to Snoop, Luther to Bowie.</p><p>I want to start with a man who produced one of his greatest works after once asking himself, &ldquo;with the world exploding around me, how I am supposed to keep singing love songs?&rdquo;</p><p>There has been so much written about <strong>Marvin Gaye</strong>&#39;s 1971 masterpiece<strong>&nbsp;<em>What&#39;s Going On</em>&nbsp;</strong>and the story behind the recording is documented as part of the NPR 100 series. Gaye composed he song &quot;What&rsquo;s Going On&quot; in 1970. Motown chief Berry Gordy didn&rsquo;t want to release the song saying the jazz sound was outdated. Gaye told him he wouldn&rsquo;t record anything unless Gordy released the song. He did, it reached number one on the R&amp;B charts, number two on the Billboard pop chart and sold over two million copies. Not bad for a song that had an &quot;outdated&quot; sound. The album that followed--which Gordy warned would displease his fan base--had Gaye writing about issues of the day, such as the lingering Vietnam War and the environment. And it was not only Gaye&rsquo;s but R&amp;B&rsquo;s first song cycle album; songs segued into each other, adding an overall narrative. <strong>&quot;What&rsquo;s Happening Brother&quot;</strong> is the second track on <em>What&rsquo;s Going On</em> and was dedicated to his younger brother, Frankie, who was returning from a three-year duty in Vietnam.</p><p>There&rsquo;s a reason why <strong>David Bowie</strong> was once referred to as the chameleon; he&rsquo;s transformed himself musically perhaps more than any other pop star. Not long after releasing his Thin White Duke era <em>Station to Station</em> in 1976, Bowie moved to Berlin and lived in a flat above a mechanic&rsquo;s garage. He was looking for a bit of anonymity and to kick his cocaine habit. During that time he became more interested in Krautrock, classical music and post-modernist art. Those three endeavors fed into what would later be called The Berlin Era, with three albums that would swing from minimalist Philip Glass style sounds to Kraftwerk inspired dance rock and hints of the not yet realized New Wave/ Electronic/New Romantic sound which owed a great debt to this Bowie period.</p><p><em>Low </em>was the first album from this era and is by far the most experimental, at least on side two of the LP. <strong>&quot;Weeping Wall&quot;</strong> is an instrumental in which Bowie plays all the instruments including xylophone, vibraphone and synthesizer. He also adds some eerie sounding wordless vocals. At first listen, you might think the melody sounds a bit like Scarborough Fair; that was intentional. Bowie once said the song was intended to evoke the misery of the Berlin Wall.</p><p>Okay, I&rsquo;ll say it upfront; I never really got into Snoop&rsquo;s music although I won&rsquo;t deny his talent. This is a rather dramatic turn for Snoop; he takes on the name Snoop Lion, embraces the Rastafarian faith and embarks on a reggae album.&nbsp; Now whether Snoop is serious or not (he also says he&rsquo;s Bob Marley reincarnated), the music isn&rsquo;t a fluff attempt a reggae; Snoop dives into the one drop sound and the result is soulful, playful and radio friendly. This is music from skanking. <strong>&quot;La La La&quot;</strong> is the only single released so far from his forthcoming reggae album <em>Reincarnated</em>.</p><p>Damon Albarn knows a thing or two about reggae and dub, having incorporated them into the music of his band Gorillaz. Albarn first came to prominence as part of the Brit indie band Blur in 1988 and has since expressed his musical creativity in ways that has put him outside his rock comfort zone but usually with more than a modicum of success at least artistically. He&rsquo;s played music with Malian artists, added electronica to the music of the Democratic Republic of Congo and helped write a Chinese opera. Here he teams up with Afrobeat drum master Tony Allen and Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea for further explorations in African funk&hellip;and beyond. &nbsp;<strong>Rocket Juice &amp; The Moon</strong> is Albarn&rsquo;s latest project (he&rsquo;s also done work with Chinese opera), and it&rsquo;s a heady mix of basson drum, jazz, afro beat, Sun Ra, and space funk. The guests are as mixed as the sounds: Eryka Badu, Ghanaian rapper M.anifest and Mailian guitarist and vocalist Fatoumata Diawara, who teams up wioth Albarn on the tune<strong> &quot;Benko.&quot;</strong> So with music from Kinshasa , Mali and China under his belt, one has to wonder what&rsquo;s the next act for Albarn.</p><p style="text-align: center; "><iframe frameborder="0" height="250" src="https://rd.io/i/QX9-5DNI-Cs" width="500"></iframe></p><p><strong>Richard Steele:</strong></p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/2695583862_e4ff1a690b_z.jpg" style="float: right; height: 225px; width: 300px; " title="Cassandra Wilson performing in 2008. (Flickr/Evert-Jan Hielema)" />This is an amazing story about three African-American operatic tenors with a background in classical music. The idea to bring Victor Trent Cook, Rodrick Dixon and Thomas Young together was the brainchild of Broadway producer Marion Caffey. Caffey was responsible for bringing <strong>Three Mo&rsquo; Tenors</strong> to PBS as part of the <em>Great Performances </em>series. The idea was to celebrate the African-American tenor voice by showcasing performances that included opera, jazz, blues, spirituals, gospel, R&amp;B and Broadway tunes. From the moment the show aired during a 2001 pledge drive, it became a phenomenal PBS favorite, and its three stars became known across America. This is a medley of R&amp;B classics starting with the track<strong> &ldquo;Love Train.&rdquo; &nbsp;</strong>&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;</p><p><strong>Phil Collins</strong> is a multi-talented English singer-songwriter, drummer and actor born in 1951.His showbiz career began as a child actor on the London stage when he appeared in a production of <em>Oliver.</em> He also began to play drums at an early age. Over the course of time, music became his full-time pursuit. He played, recorded and toured with a local band in the late &lsquo;60s. The next move was to answer an ad by a group called Genesis that was looking for a new drummer. At that time, Peter Gabriel was the group&#39;s lead singer; &nbsp;Collins did backup vocals and drummed for the group &nbsp;for about five years. When Gabriel left, Collins became the lead singer. That&rsquo;s when his career really started to take flight.</p><p>It seems he was always re-inventing himself:&nbsp; He even played jazz and produced some R&amp;B tracks. His first solo album was <em>Face Value</em>, and he said his divorce influenced the project. The track called <strong>&ldquo;If Leaving Me Is Easy&rdquo; </strong>might be a testament to that. &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p>This is a vocal version of one of the tracks from the trend-setting <em>Bitches Brew </em>album from Miles Davis. This recording makes a connection between the two extraordinary musicians: &nbsp;Davis was a brilliant jazz innovator who never stopped inventing, and Cassandra Wilson is a contemporary vocalist who often defies musical categories and is not afraid to take chances. Davis&rsquo; jazz trumpet sought out new territory in 1970 with the release of <em>Bitches Brew</em>;&nbsp;That album turned completely away from the be-bop form of jazz from the 1940s and 50s, which Davis had been closely associated with, and took jazz in a whole new direction. Wilson was able to capture some of that momentum vocally on the <em>Traveling Miles</em> tribute album released in 1999. The first track on this recording,<strong> &ldquo;Run the Voodoo Down,&rdquo;</strong> &nbsp;is a nod to the classic <em>Bitches Brew </em>package.&nbsp;</p></p> Thu, 08 Nov 2012 08:18:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-11/act-two%E2%80%A6or-three%E2%80%A6or%E2%80%A6-remaking-artist-103741 Music Thursdays with Tony Sarabia and Richard Steele: Protest songs http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-05/music-thursdays-tony-sarabia-and-richard-steele-protest-songs-99231 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/6218762466_1f2aaace38_z.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><strong>Tony Sarabia:</strong></p><p>Woody Guthrie, Bob Dylan and Gil-Scott Heron: They&#39;re three names that immediately come to mind when I think of the phrase &ldquo;protest song.&rdquo; But the history of protest songs began decades before Guthrie&rsquo;s landmark 1940 album, <em>Dustbowl Ballad</em>s. Some of the first protest songs surfaced not long after the founding of the United States and those were primarily by and about slaves.</p><p>This week on <em>Music Thursday</em>, WBEZ&rsquo;s Richard Steele and I survey the protest song in its numerous forms.</p><p>Below are some tunes I think best capture a spirit of rebellion, frustration, displacement and oppression of people from the Southern U.S. to the African country of Zimbabwe.</p><p style="text-align: center; "><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="360" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/h4ZyuULy9zs" width="480"></iframe></p><p>This first song comes at the end of what many called the terrible &#39;30s and not without good reason: the Depression and the Dustbowl. More horrifying though than being left without a job or on a farm buried in dust was the brutal lynching of African Americans &ndash; mostly men.</p><p>Between 1889 and 1930, 3,724 blacks were lynched. A Bronx-raised teacher named Abel Meeropol was moved to write a poem titled &quot;Bitter Fruit&quot; after he saw a graphic newspaper photo of a lynching. Meeropol wrote poetry and music under the pseudonym Lewis Allen. Billie Holiday, herself the victim of racism time and again, was playing New York&rsquo;s Café Society one evening when Meeropol approached her with the song. She and pianist Sonny White decided to perform the song at the end of their show. According to accounts, the room was completely dark except a spotlight on Holiday. The song&rsquo;s graphic lyrics and haunting melody resulted in a totally silent room after the song was performed.</p><p>Holiday&rsquo;s then record company, RCA, refused to release the song, prompting her to move to the more progressive Commodore label. The song is considered one of the most important in the protest song canon. I only wish I was at Café Society that night to witness the haunting beauty of Lady Day&rsquo;s delivery.</p><p style="text-align: center; "><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="360" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/O7adjRhjpu4" width="480"></iframe></p><p>There&rsquo;s been no shortage of controversy in the history of American popular music: Elvis, jazz, rap lyrics, even the merits of disco. But imagine living in a country where performing a particular genre could get you killed.</p><p>That used to be the case with Algerian rai. &quot;Rai&quot; means &quot;opinion&quot; and originated in Oran, Algeria, created by Bedouin shepherds in the 1930s. The music is a stylistic mix of Arab, French, Spanish and African. It was forbidden music, but since the 1980s, restrictions have loosened and it&rsquo;s no longer the underground music it once was.</p><p>Cheb Mami is a contemporary rai artist who Americans may have heard in 1999, the year he sang with Sting on the former Police member&rsquo;s <em>Desert Rose</em>. That same year, Mami, already known as the prince of rai, released &quot;Parisien du Nord&quot; with rapper K-Mel, a French rapper of North African descent. The song became an anthem against racism and the issue of identity. A serious topic with a groove behind it.</p><p style="text-align: center; "><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/gYMkEMCHtJ4" width="560"></iframe></p><p>Talk about a slow jam dance groove laced with anger and a sense of despair. I remember running into the old Club 950 in Chicago&rsquo;s Lincoln Park neighborhood after parking the car one night back in &#39;82, because my friends and I could hear the DJ blasting this song. I had purchased the 12-inch after hearing it on WGCI radio late one night. I&rsquo;m pretty sure it was the first time the rap genre had been used in protest music. This song hits you in the face with the singer&rsquo;s &ldquo;I can&rsquo;t take it anymore&rdquo; mood in the chorus: &ldquo;Don&rsquo;t push me cuz I&rsquo;m close to the edge.&quot; A Gil Scott Heron attitude for a new decade.</p><p>If you ask a Zimbabwean to describe chimurenga music, they&rsquo;ll probably say two words: Thomas Mapfumo. The word is Shona and it means struggle and Mapfumo has used music to bring attention to the struggles in his home country, beginning with his involvement in the fight to transform white-dominated Rhodesia into the Republic of Zimbabwe in 1980. He was forced into exile by his criticism of Robert Mugabe&#39;s old regime and now lives in Oregon. The man known as the Lion of Zimbabwe doesn&rsquo;t get his music played in the country of his birth because it&rsquo;s banned there.</p><p>Chimurenga dates back to at least the 1890s. For black Zimbaweans, the music is emblematic of nationalist sentiment: an icon of the strength, integrity and modernity of black tradition. The sound of Thomas Mapfumo&rsquo;s chimurenga is based on Shona mbira (thumb piano) music, where the guitar replaces the mbira.&nbsp; It&rsquo;s highly danceable with tinges of reggae horns, rock and roll and afropop,&nbsp;which dates back to the 1930s and has primarily evolved through women in the culture.</p><p><strong>Richard Steele:</strong></p><p style="text-align: center; "><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="360" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/f39Zs0gB87c" width="480"></iframe></p><p>Marvin Gaye was one of the legendary recording artists for Motown Records, but the birth of the song &ldquo;What&rsquo;s Going On&rdquo; was touch and go in the delivery room. It almost never saw the light of day.</p><p>The basic structure of the song was written by Obie Benson, bass singer for The Four Tops. He brought it to his label-mate for some retooling; then Gaye called in Al Cleveland to help. The end result was one of the most impactful contemporary protest songs ever written.</p><p>But Berry Gordy was not impressed! Not only didn&rsquo;t he like the song, he thought it was a mistake for Gaye to step outside of his romantic image with female fans. Gordy was adamant about his position that Gaye not do a protest song. This was one of the few times Gordy was wrong.</p><p>&ldquo;What&rsquo;s Going On&rdquo; (the single) went to number one shortly after its release. Gordy then gave Gaye, whose brother was a returning vet, the green light to do an entire album addressing a range of social issues, including the Vietnam War. Gaye&rsquo;s question regarding all of these social issues was &ldquo;What&rsquo;s Going On.&rdquo; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;</p><p style="text-align: center; "><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="360" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/4BTNjeKqpEk" width="480"></iframe></p><p>In the mid &lsquo;50s, Nina Simone played piano and accompanyed her own vocals in small clubs in and around New York and also working in Atlantic City. Simone recorded for a small label during this period, and her music covered a wide range of categories including blues, jazz and folk. She hit the jackpot in 1959 with her recording of &ldquo;I Loves You Porgy&rdquo; from the Gershwins&rsquo; folk opera <em>Porgy and Bess</em>.</p><p>Simone had a very unique voice and admirable song-writing skills. She lent those abilities to the Civil Rights Movement of the &lsquo;60s with songs like the classic &ldquo;Mississippi Goddam.&rdquo; Some of her anger stemmed from the fact that she had always wanted to become a classical pianist. She even studied at Julliard, but she felt that being a black woman in the 1950s held her back.&nbsp;</p><p>She co-wrote and recorded &ldquo;Revolution&rdquo; in 1969. This version was a performance at the Harlem Cultural Festival that same year. This song should not be confused with &ldquo;Revolution&rdquo; by The Beatles, which was written a year earlier and has no connection to Simone&rsquo;s recording. &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p style="text-align: center; "><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="360" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/UZ1ohsissjE" width="480"></iframe></p><p>Bobby Darin was a man of many talents who lived a very short life; he died at age 37. Some might say that this singer, actor and musician was dealt a bad hand. He had rheumatic fever as a child, which damaged his heart and gave him a short life expectancy, so he worked hard to get in as much as he could.</p><p>Darin started writing songs and working as a demo singer early on. Then in 1959 he hit it big with a recording of &ldquo;Mack The Knife,&rdquo; which earned him a Grammy.</p><p>Darin was especially close to Robert Kennedy. After the senator&rsquo;s assassination, Darin wrote and recorded some protest albums, which tended to show his feelings of pacifism. &ldquo;Simple Song of Freedom&rdquo; is a reflection of where his thoughts were at that point in his life.</p></p> Thu, 17 May 2012 08:12:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-05/music-thursdays-tony-sarabia-and-richard-steele-protest-songs-99231 Music Thursdays with Tony Sarabia and Richard Steele: Space jams http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-04/music-thursdays-tony-sarabia-and-richard-steele-space-jams-98152 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/space jams flickr Robert Couse-Baker.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><strong>Tony Sarabia:</strong></p><div><p>Today is the worldwide celebration known as Yuri&rsquo;s&nbsp;Night. The event is held on April 12th&nbsp;every year to commemorate space exploration milestones and is named for Yuri Gagarin, a Russian who was the first human to launch into space in his Vostok 1 spaceship in 1961.</p><p>So for this week&rsquo;s Music Thursday, Richard Steele and I offer up some of our favorite space-themed songs. These are tunes about flying into space, visits from space, intergalactic love, rock n&#39; roll and space and more. Strap in and take a sonic ride with us.</p><p style="text-align: center; "><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="360" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/1EPP3gkh_00" width="480"></iframe></p><p>I bought the debut album by the B-52&rsquo;s after seeing them on <em>Saturday Night Live</em> in January of 1980. I was smitten by the dancing, the music and the lyrics. Kicking off the album is &quot;Planet Claire&quot;&nbsp;and what a way to begin an album.</p><p>The walkie talkie beeps, along with the reference to the theme of the old TV show <em>Peter Gunn</em>, lend the song its overall distressing feel. The song&rsquo;s vocals begin with that eerie &lsquo;ahhh&rsquo; from Kate Pierson, giving way to Fred Schneider&rsquo;s robotic and menacing storytelling.</p><p>&ldquo;Planet Claire has pink air, all the trees are red, no one ever dies there, no one has a head&quot; is a lyric that makes me want to take a spaceship to that faraway place. This album became the party soundtrack for me and my group of friends.&nbsp;I was back at Val&rsquo;s&nbsp;Halla Records in April of that year to snap up <em>Wild Planet</em>, the follow up to the B-52&rsquo;s debut and one that continued with the dark danceable music with yet another space themed song.</p><p style="text-align: center; "><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="360" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/KjovZd8HkTA" width="480"></iframe></p><p>Let&rsquo;s travel from &quot;Planet Claire&quot; to Mars. When we decided on this theme I naturally gravitated to David Bowie&rsquo;s catalog. There are many choices; from &quot;Space Oddity&quot; to &quot;Life on Mars&quot; and &quot;Ashes to Ashes.&quot;</p><p>&quot;Five Years&quot; may not seem like a natural for lots of folks but for me it makes perfect sense.&nbsp;This is the opening track off the classic, &ldquo;The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars.&rdquo; It&rsquo;s a concept album that tells the story of an alien who comes to Earth with a message of peace, love and hope as earthlings face the last five years of their existence. The alien becomes Ziggy Stardust the rock star who self-destructs; &quot;Five Years&quot; sets up the whole drama.</p><p>The song tells the reaction of one person who realizes that the earth is facing its inevitable end. Bowie&rsquo;s songwriting is beautiful and poetic and the song is quite sad. This version is taken from a British music television show called the <em>Old Grey Whistle Test</em>.</p><p style="text-align: center; "><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="360" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/c139yqQOqGU" width="480"></iframe></p><p>Time for love of the intergalactic kind: &quot;A Funky Space Reincarnation&quot; is from Marvin Gaye&rsquo;s 1978&rsquo;s <em>Here My Dear</em>. This was the album he cut to pay for alimony and child support for his ex-wife Anna Gordy - hence the name. Gaye had planned on recording what he called &quot;a lazy album&quot; because the royalties wouldn&rsquo;t be his anyway. But the emotions of his ill-fated marriage to Anna took over the music, and it ended up chronicling that period of his life.</p><p>This song though seems to break away a little bit from the overall theme, but it could be argued that it&rsquo;s a song about hope. It&rsquo;s basically about a parallel universe where in the future Marvin is the captain of a &quot;space bed&quot; and he meets a woman that reminds him of Anna.&nbsp;It clocks in at over eight minutes and did peak at #23 on the R&amp;B charts. Not bad for an album that upon released was panned as bizarre. Today though, <em>Here My Dear</em> is considered a classic.</p><p>&quot;Two Little Spacemen in a Flying Saucer&quot; is a gem of a novelty song by Ella Fitzgerald that was released in 1951. I don&rsquo;t know much about the song&rsquo;s composers Elaine Wise and Arthur Pitt, but the song is included on a compilation I own called <em>Ella Fitzgerald 1951: The Chronological Classics</em>. What is clear from the lyrics is that these two little men don&rsquo;t think much of us earthlings. As a matter of fact, they think we&rsquo;re pretty stupid.</p><p style="text-align: center; "><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="360" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/-KZMg-fvn-s" width="480"></iframe></p><p>For my last pick we head to southern California for a song where an earthling is begging an alien to take him away. &quot;Mr. Spaceman&quot; comes from the 1966 album <em>Fifth Dimension</em> by The Byrd&rsquo;s. The country sound is a precursor to the bands deep exploration of country music on its classic <em>Sweetheart of the Rodeo</em> with the great Gram Parsons.</p><p>Upon its release, some in the music press termed the song &ldquo;space rock.&quot; But it does have more of a country feel. Mr. Spaceman was written by Roger McGuinn as a sort of meditation on extraterrestrial life. Mr. Spaceman peaked at #36 on the Billboard Hot 100.</p><p>There you go, a fun and wild ride into a musical space-age.</p></div><div><strong>Richard Steele:</strong>&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;</div><p style="text-align: center; "><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="360" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/YuA-fqKCiAE" width="480"></iframe></p><div>This very weird 1962 recording was done by a British band called The Tornados. It was a novelty instrumental with sound effects that were supposed to connect&nbsp;to&nbsp;the new&nbsp;Space&nbsp;Age. The&nbsp;song&nbsp;was named after the AT&amp;T communications satellite called Telstar&nbsp;that went into orbit the same year. Somehow the record-buying public&nbsp;&ldquo;got the message,&rdquo;&nbsp;and the record sold millions of copies worldwide. &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;</div><p style="text-align: center; "><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="360" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/fYnmVmmN2Gg" width="480"></iframe></p><div>Sun Ra (born Herman Poole Blount) legally changed his name to Le Sony&rsquo;r Ra.&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Whatever his name, he was a jazz composer, piano and synthesizer player, bandleader and&nbsp;&ldquo;cosmic philosopher.&rdquo; There were many variations on his name, but he made the legal change while he resided in Chicago from the mid-&lsquo;40s&nbsp;to the early&nbsp;&lsquo;60s. The band that he had during that period reflected his belief that he was from Saturn (based on a life-changing spiritual experience he claimed that he had earlier in his life).&nbsp;He and his band wore&nbsp; costumes that had a science-fiction theme with Egyptian influences.&nbsp;The&nbsp;1972&nbsp;composition &ldquo;Space Is The Place&rdquo; was initially written for a film that was part documentary, part science fiction and part black exploitation. Part of the story was about Sun Ra discovering a new planet. I&rsquo;ll leave it at that! &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;</div><p style="text-align: center; "><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/2YbnYkHL0Ek" width="560"></iframe></p><div>Clearly,&nbsp;Frank Sinatra with the Count Basie Orchestra is&nbsp;one of the best versions of this ode to the Moon.&nbsp;The list of performers who&nbsp;have&nbsp;recorded&nbsp;&ldquo;Fly Me to the Moon&rdquo;&nbsp;is enormous -- everybody from Doris Day to Marvin Gaye to Rod Stewart. One of the most significant anecdotes about this recording is that it was played by the astronauts of Apollo 10 on their lunar-orbital&nbsp;mission and then again on the Moon itself by astronaut Buzz Aldrin during the Apollo 11 landing. He was among the first humans to&nbsp;fly to the Moon and then actually&nbsp;set foot on&nbsp;it in&nbsp;1969! &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><p style="text-align: center; "><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="360" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/6rR3YDj-lME" width="480"></iframe></p><div>This 1976 gem, &ldquo;You are my Starship&rdquo; by Michael Henderson,&nbsp;was recorded on an album of the same name by drummer Norman Connors, but the vocal work was done by Michael Henderson. The song&nbsp;has a beautiful &ldquo;other worldly&rdquo; quality.&nbsp; Henderson is an extremely talented musician who not only wrote and sang the composition, but he also sang all the background vocals, produced the record and was the bass player.&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><p style="text-align: center; "><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="360" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/YH6j63lhAAc" width="480"></iframe></p><div><em>Lost in Space</em> was kind-of a cheesy&nbsp;1965&nbsp;family&nbsp;TV&nbsp;show about &ldquo;The Robinsons&rdquo; being lost and roving around the galaxy in their spaceship.&nbsp;It ended up a pretty successful Saturday morning show for kids. The thing that&rsquo;s so interesting about the show&rsquo;s theme music was its composer: John Williams went on to win five Academy Awards for his film scores.&nbsp;See if you recognize any of these films: <em>Star Wars</em>, <em>Jaws</em>, <em>Superman</em>, <em>Indiana Jones</em>, <em>E.T.</em>, <em>Home Alone</em>, <em>Jurassic Park</em>, <em>Schindler&rsquo;s List</em>&nbsp;and recently, <em>War Horse</em>. His theme music includes NBC&nbsp;Sunday Night Football&nbsp;and the&nbsp;NBC Nightly News.&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>As that list relates to&nbsp;Lost in Space...you&#39;ve got to start somewhere!</div><div>&nbsp;</div><p style="text-align: center; "><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="360" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/5kZiQf3kCXk" width="480"></iframe></p><div>Most everybody&rsquo;s heard a lot about&nbsp;the Red Hot Chili Peppers. They&rsquo;re pretty unique in that they were one of the few groups that really made major innovations in rock/pop/funk music, and later in hip-hop by literally doing a successful mash-up of all those different styles. On stage they really &ldquo;blow it out.&rdquo;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&quot;Subway To Venus&quot; was recorded in 1989 and it was on the album&nbsp;Mother&rsquo;s&nbsp;Milk. It went on to become the first gold record for&nbsp;the Red Hot Chili Peppers.&nbsp;Their version of Stevie Wonder&rsquo;s&nbsp;&ldquo;Higher Ground&rdquo;&nbsp;got some attention and airplay, but for my money, &ldquo;Subway to Venus&rdquo; was&nbsp;the&nbsp;best example of their rock/funk DNA.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><p style="text-align: center; "><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="360" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/fhQZKWBVxDA" width="480"></iframe></p><div>As an added bonus: enjoy a favorite of intern Caroline O&#39;Donovan&#39;s &nbsp;from The Carpenters.</div></p> Thu, 12 Apr 2012 08:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-04/music-thursdays-tony-sarabia-and-richard-steele-space-jams-98152