Wednesday, May 1, 2013
I'm not quite sure how I got to Tina Turner's "We Don't Need Another Hero" on YouTube, but it may have been the result of my browsing through Songfacts, looking at titles by year. This song is the theme to the 1985 movie Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome -- which, by the way, I never saw. It's okay, because I was young enough in 1985 that the movie would have scared the daylights out of me. In fact, the video did at the time, which is why it is so ironic that 28 years later, I can't stop watching it! Anyway, Tina Turner starred in the movie with Mel Gibson, and wouldn't you know, I never realized that until now. I just thought the song was all Tina, singing about the movie's plot. And, might I add, that Ms. Tuner looks fierce in this video. That's right. With all due respect, she was fierce long before Beyoncé...
Taking a closer look at the video and song, they are a perfect match. The song begins with what sounds like pan flute, accompanied by simple drum and bass guitar lines. That is really all you need. It's quite subdued, and as the video begins, we catch a glimpse of Tina Tuner. I should say THE Tina Tuner. Her legendary voice begins -- so controlled, focused, and mesmerizingly soulful. We get through the first verse and onto a chorus which explodes with the power of Ms. Tuner's voice -- but this is only the beginning. I was sure I heard timpani between her vocal lines in the chorus, too. The musical fireball builds, and we get to the bridge, where Tina's voice could power an entire village. "So what do we do with our lives? We leave only -- a mark. Will our story shine like a light? Or end in the dark? Give it all or nothing!" And boom! Our of the ruins, a tenor saxophone!!!!! Tina brings him in, matching his first line - "Doot-do, doot-do, doot-do, doooooo-dooooooo." One more round of the chorus, and "All the children say -- We don't need another heee-ro." Harken, there is a chorus of angels. I mean, it's really the King's House School Choir from South London, but WOW! Now that is one vocal supernova between the kids and Tina. And then, the song ends with one last word from Tina, "Thunderdome..." Well, we don't need another hero. Nope, it IS Tina Turner!
Tuesday, April 30, 2013
It's embarrassing that I have been away from Becky's World for so long. I'm not sure why I took such a long hiatus, but I am back and ready to share more great music with you.
Can you hear me calling -- out your name... I know that I'm (hum hum), and I don't know what to say...
Well, that's pretty much how I hear the lyrics to Fleetwood Mac's "Everywhere," but it's okay. You see, I've always been so entranced by the awesome bass guitar line that I simply didn't pay much attention to the lyrics. I can remember when the song was released in 1988. It was okay -- kind of catchy and upbeat, but it was that incredible bass line that always seemed to grab me. I can't say that I remember the video, so I was a bit perplexed when I revisited it this evening. It's a bit hard to follow, at least in terms of the song and lyrics. "Everywhere" is a simple love song about a woman who is in love with a man and, well, she wants to be with him everywhere. The video is kind of an odd story set in what appears to be the 18th century. I'm not sure I follow the plot at all, but the video is supposed to follow the poem "The Highwayman" by Alfred Noyes. Check out the poem if you haven't already. I actually just took a look, and now it makes sense. I still think (considering the tinkling of the chimes in the song's intro) that the video calls for more of the band and an air of mystical, magical something. I can visualize glitter and translucent scarves -- maybe a man and woman in love, with the woman following him around.
Anyway, I found a video of the group performing this song live a few years ago. Truly amazing! Oddly enough, it isn't the video that held me in awe as much as the clarity of lines in the recording. You can really hear Lindsey Buckingham's lead guitar, Steve Nicks harmonizing on back-up vocals, and even Christine McVie playing maracas. When I watched this, I saw some "suggested videos," including a three part "Master Class" with Stevie on Oprah's Network. I thought, "Cool! A masterclass with Stevie Nicks!" In the classical world, that means that several students play for an artist, and the artist coaches them through their pieces. This was more of a video interview/retrospective, but boy was it amazing. Check it out if you have time. I'm still feeling moved by Stevie's experience. Touching and incredible. You can find the three-part video on YouTube. It's a must-see in my opinion.
Monday, January 28, 2013
So, I was on the plane back from NAMM, listening to an '80s station on Sirius radio, and this one Daryl Hall and John Oates tune came on -- "Adult Education." I hadn't heard the song in ages, and quite frankly, I didn't really know what it was about since I didn't know the lyrics. Anyway, long story short, I checked out the video on YouTube this afternoon and am still trying to figure it out. I mean, I understand the song, but I didn't quite get the concept behind the video, which kind of had an Indiana Jones feel. Meanwhile, I stumbled upon a version of the song from "Live From Daryl's House," which is a terrific show that I had no idea was on! It's a webcast from Daryl Hall's house, which I think is a restored farmhouse out in Dutchess County, NY. Actually, I read that there were two 18th century houses that he bought, combined, and moved there from CT.
Anyway, once I discovered this show's website, I had to poke around and look through some episodes. Chances are, I will post more from the show in the future, because there are some terrific clips and episodes. I watched the episode with Jason Mraz and loved this version of "The Remedy." It's such an upbeat song to begin with, and this performance looks like they are having so much fun. I did a bit of research, because I never knew what the song was about. Turns out it was inspired by a friend of Jason Mraz's who had cancer. It's definitely a positive song about living your life to the fullest and not worrying. All I knew was that I was certainly all for a song with the lyrics "this is a dangerous liason..." Yeah! It's not everyday that you hear that in a popular song. In fact, I don't think I have even heard "liason" in a song. Two thumbs up! This is a terrific performance, and now that I have discovered the show, I will have to check out more episodes. I know the songs are not all "80s," but since Daryl Hall was so popular in that decade, well, I think it's alright to include here!
Saturday, January 19, 2013
Took me a while to decide on a song this evening. In fact, I was watching all these videos and looking through Songfacts to see what I could find of interest. Clock was ticking, and it was getting later, and later, and so I decided on something kind of mellow. Plus, it's about time for another Fleetwood Mac tune. They are one of my favorites, and I've always admired Stevie Nicks. I hear this song more on the radio now than I did when it first came out in 1982. I do remember seeing the video several times on MTV. It didn't scare me, but it did make me feel a bit sad, mostly because Stevie is dancing in the rain -- just kind of spinning and twirling. It seems o be in some kind of slow motion, too. For some reason, I found it very saddening at the time, although now it doesn't seem so bad. Seems kind of nostalgic, actually.
Anyway, I hadn't paid much attention to the lyrics until now. Turns out the song is about Stevie's close friend who was dying of leukemia. I think (after reading the lyrics) that you can almost feel the time pass through the woman's illness, death, and to the days afterward. Still kind of sad, but the guitar, harmonies, and Stevie's vocal quality make the song feel very calming and peaceful. I suppose that was the point. I am glad that I've come to discover this song and that it is getting so much airplay even to this day. It's just a nice, calming song -- and not too depressing if you don't pay attention to the lyrics ;)
Thursday, January 17, 2013
Well, once again I have come to a tune with a debatable release date. "I Can't Go for That (No Can Do)" by Daryl Hall and John Oates was released in 1982 according to the Songfacts website, but it was on the album Private Eyes, which was released in 1981. So, I am going with 1981. That seems correct to me. I was pretty young, so I don't remember this song too well from back when it was released. I think I probably became familiar with it later in the '80s. It is supposedly one of the top 100 tunes of the 1980s, and I can believe it.
So, this song is pretty much about a man and a woman in a relationship. She uses her body tand now she wants his soul, but he won't think about it -- say no go. I'm sitting here wondering what "that" is that he can't go for. I am thinking it might be cheating and coming back. That seems to be a hot topic in many '80s songs. Some people take the cheater back, and some can't go for that, no can do. I can't be 100% sure that he is talking about cheating, but it seems from the song that she might be the type of woman to go out and cheat and then come back and still want to have a relationship. Not sure. In fact, I wasn't even sure that there was an alto sax solo in this, because when I listened to it, it sure sounded like tenor to me. In the video, there is an alto, but in many live performances, it's tenor. I, personally, prefer tenor because it has a richer, darker tone. Meanwhile, this song is supposedly the first to use a drum machine, which I think really gives it it's groove. I also happen to like the mystical, tinkly synthesized part in the beginning. You can hear that throughout the song as well. In fact, this tune has so many musical layers -- it is amazing. Now, I can go for that!
Tuesday, January 15, 2013
There's some debate as to whether Falco's "Rock Me Amadeus" was released in 1985 or 1986, but I seem to remember it being when I was young, so I'm guessing 1985. Not that there is a big difference, but for me the difference was between age 10 and 11, and this video and song scared the daylights out of me. For that very reason, I'm guessing I was only 10 when it came out. At that age, I was just on the cusp of being scared or not scared of things like freaky synthesized pop. That plus the crazy rainbow wig in the video just threw me over the edge in terms of fright. Listening to the song today, I think the synthesized ostinato may have contributed subconsciously as well.
It's kind of ironic that I would be afraid of something that would become such an integral part of my life. At that age, I had just started playing clarinet. Who would have thought that I would grow-up to become a professional musician, playing Mozart K.191 and 622 over and over and over... I love Mozart's music, don't get me wrong -- all of it. His chamber wind music, wind concertos, operas, symphonies -- they are all the foundation from which we learn much of what we need to know as classical musicians. Anyway, back to the tune. So, my older brother loved this song and could recite the spoken part verbatim. He said that was how he remembered all the important dates in Mozart's life. As for me, well, I had those dates ingrained in my head after many years of music schooling. Now that I listen to the song again, I realize that that may be the only part we could recite, because the rest of the lyrics are kind of an English-German hybrid. Of course, we get the gist of it all, and we can certainly understand the chorus and other repeated lines -- "Baby, baby do it to me, rock me, baby, baby do it to me, rock me..." "Ooooh -- rock me, Amedeus..." Kind of silly and tongue-in-cheek for sure. Oddly enough, I never saw the movie, but I will put that on my to-do list! There are two videos that I found rather interesting -- the movie version and the extended American mix. They are very different, so I am including them both. The extended one is certainly, well, you'll see. Good thing I was so young when this came out and completely unaware of any of the stuff in the extended mix video. Wow. Enjoy!
Monday, January 14, 2013
Well, since I wrote about Marconi in my last post, I was inspired to look at another 80s tune with historical names -- lots of historical names. "We Didn't Start the Fire" was written by Billy Joel in 1989, which is much later than I originally thought. I guess it works out well since it is a historical retrospective montage, so it makes sense to have it end in the last year of a decade. Hard to believe that 24 years have gone by since it was written! Wow. Anyway, this is not the kind of tune you can easily sing in your car or at karaoke, but nevertheless, it would be a challenge in both cases (especially karaoke). Have you ever sung karaoke, finding yourself scrambling to get all the words in as they go by the screen? I admit that I have. It's pretty fun.
I think we all know that this song is kind of a giant poem with some accompaniment rather than a song in the melodic sense. Does it have a melody? Well, only if you count the chorus. Meanwhile, the video for this tune is awesome. I was blown away by the quality of the video in terms of direction, acting, etc. It seems to have a plot as well, since we follow a family through all these decades. I watched it and thought, "Hey, isn't that Marlee Matlin in there?" Come to find out, it is! She was the one burning her bra in the '60s/70s part and thumbing her nose to her family. I think she may also have been the girl on the table getting her prom dress hemmed just before the bra burning scene, but I can't really confirm this. Rewinding just a but further, I have to say that I was just a bit bugged that the mom in the 50s/60s part is popping pills because of her child playing violin. That's not fair! I guess I never noticed that when I was younger, because back in '89, I had never even seen stringed instruments up close and personal. It's alright, though. We'll let that one slide in the name of art. As for Mr. Joel, well, we know he is a musical genius, and this song is just kind of a neat little anomaly in his catalog. I'll probably write about more of his songs later, but for now, we can all challenge ourselves to sing along with this!