Podcasts about lyrically

Wiki-based lyric database

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Best podcasts about lyrically

Latest podcast episodes about lyrically

KEXP Song of the Day
Fievel Is Glauque - My Rebel

KEXP Song of the Day

Play Episode Listen Later Feb 1, 2023 1:48


Fievel Is Glauque - "My Rebel" from the 2022 album Flaming Swords on MATH Interactive. Taking their name from a diss on a 1986 cartoon character, Belgium-based vocalist Ma Clément and NY producer/musician Zach Phillips comprise the duo that is Fievel Is Glauque. ("Fievel" is a mouse who stars in the animated An American Tail film series; the internet says "glauque" translates from French to "sinister, ominous, worrying.")  The jazzy-pop of their 2021 debut cassette God's Trashmen Sent To Right The Mess landed them an opening slot on Stereolab's recent North American tour, but their first proper LP — Flaming Swords, released back in November — adds a sheen to their prog-punk-jazz sound. The album was recorded live, in its entirety, during an evening in Brussels, August 2021.  “Musically, Ma directed melodic impetus and I directed harmonic and rhythmic framing,” Phillips said in a press release. “Lyrically, we fought and embraced our initial impulses alternatingly; above all, we tried to trust and document the psychodynamics of the process itself rather than attempting to express concrete, prefab emotional or intellectual messaging. This approach to writing is intended to promote poetry while avoiding alibis and the hall-of-mirrors reproduction of excessive self-identification.” Read the full story at KEXP.orgSupport the show: https://www.kexp.org/donateSee omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

80z Babies
Episode 169: A Tribute to Instant Vintage by Raphael Saadiq

80z Babies

Play Episode Listen Later Jan 13, 2023 71:34


The 80z Babies are joined by special guest Haas to discuss the debut solo album from the legendary Raphael Saadiq - Instant Vintage released June 11, 2002.   Timestamps: (1:30) Where was Yinka? (3:38) Where was Jaz? (4:06) Where was Outlaw? (6:14) Is Saadiq being extra with "Instant Vintage" and "Gospel-Delic"? Is he a neo soul artist? (7:48) Critical reception (9:14) How weird is Saadiq? Does he still have his mystique? (11:37) Overarching highlights (15:47) We need more projects helmed by bassists (17:35) Overarching lowlights. Is the songwriting suspect? (25:06) Track for track analysis (25:21) Is "Doing What I Can" one of the strongest basslines and intros ever? Yinka's 'Highlight of Highlights' (28:44) The team pokes fun at the "Body Parts" lyrics (31:29) D'Angelo's participation wasn't always reliable (34:57) Jaz' 'Highlight of Highlights' (35:35) The tuba is such a striking choice for "Still Ray" (50:45) Lyrically, is Saadiq's "love" and "i miss you" bag better than his "sex" bag? (53:42) Is "Faithful" a fuck boy anthem? (55:53) Outlaw's 'Highlight of Highlights' (1:10:30) Closing thoughts  

Classless Threadz
Episode 34 - Classless Threadz Presents: Lyrically Inclined Poetry Slam & Open Mic - December 2022

Classless Threadz

Play Episode Listen Later Dec 31, 2022 131:43


Since September, We've shown a more poetic side of this podcast. If you haven't checked out Episodes 28, 30, and 33, We suggest you do that first, if You're interested in continuances. Not necessary, just a thought. If you have listened to those (and other) episodes, then you know 1/3 of our Classless Threadz dais is PoeticSoul aka Alex Johnson, whose organization, Lyrically Inclined, encourages the use of Spoken Word Poetry as a tool to express emotion, develop higher levels of literacy and performance, raising self awareness and strive to achieve lyrically in these times. The Slams since September have been used to narrow down to the finalists competing in January 2023 to make the 2023 Lyrically Inclined Poetry Slam Team, representing Lyrically Inclined in multiple engagements, highlighted by competing at the 2023 Southern Fried Poetry Slam, to be held in Knoxville, Tennessee June 7-10, 2023. This is from the December 20, 2022 edition held at Cite' Des Arts, Lafayette, La Linktr.ee/ClasslessThreadz ClasslessThreadz@gmail.com @Moose_Harris @PoeticSoul337 @IAmKenEdwards @LyricallyInclined337 --- This episode is sponsored by · Anchor: The easiest way to make a podcast. https://anchor.fm/app --- Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/classlessthreadz/message Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/classlessthreadz/support

Classless Threadz
Episode 33 - Classless Threadz Presents: Lyrically Inclined Poetry Slam & Open Mic - November 2022

Classless Threadz

Play Episode Listen Later Dec 27, 2022 101:22


1/3 of our Classless Threadz dais is PoeticSoul aka Alex Johnson, whose organization, Lyrically Inclined, encourages the use of Spoken Word Poetry as a tool to express emotion, develop higher levels of literacy and performance, raising self awareness and strive to achieve lyrically in these times. This is from the November 15, 2022 edition held at Cite' Des Arts, Lafayette, La https://Linktr.ee/ClasslessThreadz ClasslessThreadz@gmail.com @Moose_Harris @PoeticSoul337 @IAmKenEdwards @LyricallyInclined337 --- This episode is sponsored by · Anchor: The easiest way to make a podcast. https://anchor.fm/app --- Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/classlessthreadz/message Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/classlessthreadz/support

Beaucoup Stories
Lyrically Challenged

Beaucoup Stories

Play Episode Listen Later Dec 8, 2022 45:18


You know the melodies, but do you know the lyrics?

Jearlyn Steele
Lyrically Celebrating the Season

Jearlyn Steele

Play Episode Listen Later Dec 5, 2022 35:19


Guest host Sheletta Brundidge chats with the following guests on this edition of Center Stage: Legendary singer Ginger Commodore Singer/musician/songwriter Preston Gunderson Billy McLaughlin from the group SimpleGifts

The Jersey Guys Podcast
Episode 39: Joshua Perahia of Joshua

The Jersey Guys Podcast

Play Episode Listen Later Dec 4, 2022 83:42


Joshua is a Christian hard rock/AOR band that formed in 1980 and is centered on guitarist Joshua Perahia. Despite being based in Los Angeles, CA they are probably best known outside of the United States.The band's first release was entitled The Hand Is Quicker Than the Eye, which referred to Perahia's guitar skills and songwriting ability, was released by Enigma Records in 1983. The single "November Is Going Away" was the band's biggest hit, achieving No. 1 status in Japan. Perahia had a religious experience at a Hal Lindsey–lead Bible study in 1983, and converted to Protestant Christianity from his Greek Orthodox upbringing.Perahia put together a new band for his 2nd album, Surrender, which included singer Jeff Fenholt. Surrender was released in 1985. Lyrically, the album marked a change in the band's style to lyrics which were evangelical in nature. Rob Rock was involved with their third album on RCA Records, Intense Defense. In 1988, Intense Defense, which was recorded at Dierks Studios and produced initially by Eddie Kramer and then Dieter Dierks (Scorpions fame) was characterized by the editor of HM Magazine as being "probably the best AOR melodic metal album in the universe." It sold well worldwide, but not in the United States. In 1995, the group re-formed and they released one album under the name M Pire, Chapter One, though it was never released in the US. The band then expanded its name back to Joshua Perahia. The addition of Joshua's last name was to avoid confusion as so many bands were using the name Joshua at the time. The band lacked a permanent vocalist and hired Alex Ligertwood of Santana to fill the spot on the follow-up Something to Say in 2001. However, while in production, the band recruited Jerry Gabriel and re-recorded the vocals. As a result, the album (except four tracks) contains Gabriel's lead vocals, and Ligertwood's vocals are available on a re-release. One song, "The First and the Last", appeared in the Larry Buchanan–directed movie The Copper Scroll of Mary Magdalene in 2004.2012 saw the release of the band's latest work, entitled “Resurrection” and featured vocals from Mark Boals (Yngwie Malmsteen, Ring of Fire, Shining Black, etc.). While Joshua still writes music today for a possible future release he has shifted his focus to his son and their passion for vintage muscle cars and exotic cars as well. It's a passion that was ignited when Joshua was just 13 years old. The fact that Joshua still writes music means that fans can be hopeful of seeing a new recording in the future but for now please enjoy this episode of The Jersey Guys Podcast!

Primus Tracks
Erin on the Side of Caution

Primus Tracks

Play Episode Listen Later Nov 28, 2022 43:13


We round out our coverage of Conspiranoid with Erin on the Side of Caution, which imtroduces new wrinkles to the Primus fabric, and promises of more creativity to come. Lyrically, the track sticks with the other two on the release to provide the full picture of Les Claypool's frustrations with certain factions of society in 2020-21. Uh huh uh HUH!https://www.patreon.com/primustrackshttps://www.instagram.com/primustrackshttps://www.twitter.com/primustracksprimustrackspod@gmail.com

Bringin' it Backwards
Interview with Asher Monroe

Bringin' it Backwards

Play Episode Listen Later Nov 22, 2022 56:35


We had the pleasure of interviewing Asher Monroe over Zoom video!Singer, songwriter, and producer Asher Monroe released his latest album, "Windows of Time" this past summer. Lyrically, Windows of Time is soul-baring and weaves a spiritual thread throughout its tracks while Asher speaks to his passions as well as his personal life, his relationship with Real Housewives of Beverly Hills Star and Neuro Drinks founder Diana Jenkins and becoming a father for the first time. The 8-track LP was produced by Walter Afanasieff and Asher did an XR (Extended reality live concert) and is releasing chapter 1 “Wanderlust” (video below) Using the same technology used to produce Disney's “The Mandalorian” visuals, with the same studio team to have filmed Billie Eilish's “Where Do We Go” XR Live stream along with Kid Cudi's “Watch A Man Named Scott” special on Amazon Prime. "The XR is an incredibly rewarding process from start to finish. From storyboards to hiring a team, of top-notch graphic artists over many months of fine-tuning. I didn't realize I was building my own video game universe where I could live, interact and perform in. I want to inspire other artists of my generation that with a wild enough imagination…they can do the same!, said Asher. Sign up for updates from American Musical Supply by texting “BIB” to 800-458-4076 & get $20 off your first order of $100 or more. You'll receive about 4 messages per month, message and data rates may apply. Consent not required for purchase, reply HELP for help and STOP to opt out. Link for show notes: https://ter.li/AmericanMusicalSupply-BiB2 We want to hear from you! Please email Tera@BringinitBackwards.com. www.BringinitBackwards.com#podcast #interview #bringinbackpod #AsherMonroe #WindowsOfTime #NewMusic #zoomListen & Subscribe to BiB https://www.bringinitbackwards.com/follow/ Follow our podcast on Instagram and Twitter! https://www.facebook.com/groups/bringinbackpod

HEAVY Music Interviews
Turning Darkness Into Light With JOSHUA POOLE From WE CAME AS ROMANS

HEAVY Music Interviews

Play Episode Listen Later Nov 15, 2022 15:17


People deal with grief in different ways, but as a musician the power of music is often the best avenue toward solace.After losing co-vocalist and keyboard player Kyle Pavone four years ago, metalcore legends We Came As Romans did just that, knuckling down and writing an album in direct tribute to their fallen brother.It became a long process, but the end goal never wavered.With the recent release of Darkbloom, We Came As Romans have delivered a beautifully brutal musical eulogy to Pavone, with the deeply personal subject matter allowing each member to contribute something over and above anything attempted before. It is a triumphant farewell and one which guitarist Joshua Moore explained in greater detail when HEAVY got the chance to sit down for a chat with him. We start by asking how the early response to the album has been."It has been insane," he smiled, "better than I could have ever expected. Especially because we had such a long period in between albums. Our last album Cold Like War came out in 2017 and for anyone that follows the band, obviously we lost our singer Kyle shortly after that. It took some time to figure out if we could even be a band any more. If we wanted to be a band any more. And it took some time to write a record that is solely about our grieving process that we dealt with, everything that we went through emotionally navigating the loss of Kyle."Without wanting to dwell on Kyle's loss too much, we ask if the dedication to their former band mate is more musically or lyrically, to which Moore replied."First and foremost musically we wanted to write an album that we thought Kyle would love if he was still with us," he measured. "And I think we nailed that one on the head. Musically, all of us love the album. I think it is the best version of We Came As Romans that we have put out yet. Lyrically the songs are about different emotions that we felt on our way navigating through the grieving process, because you learn alot going through that. It's not just 'oh, I'm going to be sad all the time because I lost my friend'. There's a lot of different emotions that are felt and we wanted to give all of those things their own place in the song. Each song is very different in what it talks about and how it describes the things that we were going through, which was really important because no-one wants to hear an album of ten songs that say the same thing over and over again. So we did our best to make it as different as possible with the topic of each song."In the full interview, Joshua talks about how writing this album helped with the grieving process, if they did anything differently because the subject matter was so personal, the overall feel of Darkbloom, the early days of We Came As Romans and where the band fit in, introducing elements such as orchestral instrumentalisation and keyboards into their music and how they made it work, whittling the album down from more than 30 songs and how they did it and more.

The Language of Creativity Podcast
The Mirror – Steven Leavitt (reverse-interview with Adam Sears) Ep. 28

The Language of Creativity Podcast

Play Episode Listen Later Nov 5, 2022 103:47


“Creativity is a base element of the human soul.” So says Steven Leavitt, the host of the Language of Creativity podcast. In this very special episode, Steve's very first guest on the podcast flips the tables in this tell-all reverse interview guest-hosted by his long-time collaborator Adam Sears! As a music producer, Steve has helped Sears craft his last 3 projects with Progressive Rock band Lobate Scarp. Their 2016 recording of Beautiful Light has won awards and recognition as “a masterpiece” and in 2022 Steve Co-Executive Produced Lobate Scarp's latest album You Have It All. The ambitious full-length album has received high praise from reviewers and fans alike.  But it wasn't always easy… Steven was born into a family of motion-picture stunt performers but always felt way more at home in front of a microphone, piano or a mixing console. Steve began learning the piano at 8 years old “to express what I was feeling when I couldn't express it in words.” Lyrically blocked, bullied as a kid and extremely sensitive as a boy he was certainly an odd fit in a family that worked in such a rough and tumble industry. But he stuck with it, choosing to pursue audio engineering in college at Musician's Institute in Hollywood after realizing that there was an ideal career path for using his skills and talents: music producer. Steve graduated in 2000, unfortunately right as Napster was crashing the music industry. The dot-com bust made it hard to enter the job market (thanks Enron) so he began to freelance making websites, editing video demo-reels for stunt-people, and started working on films as a background precision driver. He recorded for independent musicians to build experience, joined a band, and edited videos for his dad's stunt-company producing “featurettes” with celebrity talent and assisted with MTV shoots. Steve kept a “web journal” before blogging got big and considered himself a multimedia artist a whole five years before the advent of YouTube. When he started Don't Call Us Tori in 2004, a music showcase he co-founded with with singer-songwriter Shannon Hurley, in Hollywood, Steve's music network really began to grow leading to a fateful introduction to Adam who approached Steve to produce his band's debut album Time and Space in 2008. The album's production coincided with what Steve describes as “an unexpected spiritual awakening” during the lead up to the album's 2012 release “that felt like I was coming home to myself.”  Adam talks with Steve about their very fruitful creative partnership and Steve's relentlessly perfectionistic work ethic in the studio. They discuss starting this podcast and how it has been a major creative outlet for Steve (he probably could have pursued a career in Radio). They talk about what it was like growing up attending “backflips down the aisles churches” and discovering hit singles on KIIS FM while coming of age thinking it's only okay to listen to Christian music but finding Christian grunge, loving Weird Al… about dropping out, burnout, ptsd, and… Just why the heck did Steve choose not to go into the stunt business? Steve shares  about learning the importance of infusing joy into your work, finding your inner creative spark, and how sometimes we can be doing the right thing while going about it the wrong way! Could Future-Steve have somehow been sending messages back in time to himself? ** if show-notes cut off click here Guest: Steven Leavitt Producer Website: stevenleavitt.com Artist Coaching: icreatesound.com Podcast: thelanguageofcreativity.com (please subscribe and review!) Steven Leavitt (filmography: IMDB) Guest-Host: Adam Sears adamsears.com Lobate Scarp: website | BandCamp @lobatescarp Twitter | Instagram @adamsears32 Twitter | Instagram Adam Sears on Ep.1 of The Language of Creativity Podcast “Naming The Podcast” Featured Music The Mirror by Lobate Scarp Safe With You by Skillet The Dime by performed (and re-recorded) by Steven Leavitt, lyrics by Steven Leavitt and Tony Khan a parody of Sign (originally performed by Ace of Base) written by Jenny Cecilia Berggren (STIM), Jonas Petter Berggren (STIM), Malin Sofia Katarina Berggren (STIM), and Ulf Gunnar Ekberg (STIM) published by Megasong Publishing (KODA) and Warner-Tamarlane Publishing Group (BMI) Copyright 1992. Episode References Ender's Game (IMDB) Nat Magnuson (episode 4 and 5) The Artist's Way by Juilia Cameron (theartistswaybook.com) Serendipity & Synchronicity (Dr. Carder Stout for Goop) Synchronicity by The Police (Wikipedia) “Prog” = Progressive Rock (music genre: Wikipedia) Time and Space by Lobate Scarp Interstellar (movie: Rotten Tomatoes) Rich Mouser (discogs.com) Spock's Beard V (Album: Wikipedia) The Mouse House Studio The Highly Sensitive Person (hsperson.com) Debbie Evans (Steve's mom, professional stuntwoman) Precision Driving The Truman Show (Rotten Tomatoes) Bruce Almighty (IMDB)   Toni Koch on The Language of Creativity Ep. 11 “The Times They Are a Changin Matthew 5:15 (BibleGateway.com) Episode 26 with Physical Therapist Elizabeth Makous Amy Grant album Lead Me On (title track: YouTube | Wikipedia) KIIS FM, Los Angeles (Wikipedia) Pentecostalism (BBC Religions) Church scene from The Blues Brothers (feat. James Brown! YouTube) 35 Best 90s Christian Alternative Rock Bands (Ranker.com) Poor Old Lu (BandCamp) Skillet (rateyourmusic.com) Jonie Blinman (Apple Music) Radiohead: Kid A (besteveralbums.com) World Music in Newhall (Yelp.com) Yes! (official website) Roger Waters - Amused to Death (Wikipedia | Last 3 tracks: YouTube) KLOS Jim Ladd (LAist.com) Hammond B3 (Wikipedia) Agnosticism (Wikipedia) Weird Al work ethic in the studio (Behind the Scenes on the making of Strait Outta Lynwood) (Weird Al and Steve share a birthday!) The Sign (song: Wikipedia) – Ace of Base (Music Video: YouTube) Cakewalk for DOS (WinWorld), SMPTE (Old School Tape Sync, How Did It Work? YouTube) Amish Paradise by “Weird” Al Yankovic (Video: YouTube) Episode 165 - Top Ten “Weird” Al Songs w/ Steven Leavitt on All Time Top Ten with Ben Eisen Parody vs. Pastiche (Masterclass) Christianne Kinney (Entertainment Attorney) The Language of Creativity Ep. 14 Callin' in Sick by “Weird” Al Yankovic (YouTube) Beautiful Light by Lobate Scarp (Lyric Video: YouTube) Lobate Scarp Choir Session (Making-of: YouTube) Malcolm Gladwell's “Connectors”: People Who Spread Ideas (ShortForm.com) Adrienne Woods (official website) Friendster (Article: Vice) Six Degrees: The Science of a Connected Age (GoodReads) The Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon (

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"Dig This With The Splendid Bohemians" - JERRY LEE LEWIS - "WOULD YOU TAKE ANOTHER CHANCE ON ME"- "PUT ON A STACK OF 45's"- The Boys Devote Each Episode To A Famed 45 RPM "Single"- Featuring Bill Mesnik and Rich

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Play Episode Listen Later Oct 28, 2022 42:22


“JERRY LEE and THE SUN SOUND”The Sun Sound began when Sam Phillips launched his record company in February of 1952. He named it Sun Records as a sign of his perpetual optimism: a new day and a new beginning. Sam rented a small space at 706 Union Avenue for his own all-purpose studio. The label was launched amid a growing number of independent labels. In a short while Sun gained the reputation throughout Memphis as a label that treated local artists with respect and honesty. Sam provided a non-critical, spontaneous environment that invited creativity and vision.As a businessman, Phillips was patient and willing to listen to almost anyone who came in off the street to record. Memphis was a happy home to a diverse musical scene: gospel, blues, hillbilly, country, boogie, and western swing. Taking advantage of this range of talent, there were no style limitations at the label. In one form or another Sun recorded them all.Then in 1954 Sam found Elvis Presley, an artist who could perform with the excitement, unpredictability and energy of a blues artist but could reach across regional, musical and racial barriers.He helped form the beginnings of the Sun Sound by infusing Country music with R&B. Elvis's bright star attracted even more ground-breaking talent to the Sun galaxy. Listed among his contemporaries and music mates were Johnny Cash, the inimitable Jerry Lee Lewis, and the “Rockin' Guitar Man”, Carl Perkins. These four soon became known as the Million Dollar Quartet. Right behind them came Roy Orbison, Charlie Rich, Bill Justis, Harold Jenkins (a.k.a. Conway Twitty) and other equally memorable musical talents. All eventually sold on Pop, R&B and Country charts and grew to international fame.Rockabilly became the major evolution in the Sun Sound. Lyrically it was bold; musically it was sparse; but it moved. In the 1950's Country music rarely used drums that were so vital to jazz, blues, and jump bands. In fact, drums were prohibited on stage at the Grand Ole Opry. However, Rockabilly drums played an essential role in driving teens across the nation to become enamored with the Rockabilly movement and the revolutionary Sun Sound. Once again, Sun was able to break new ground recording music of unparalleled diversity in an incubator of creativity.Inherent in the music of Sun is a vibrancy that survives to this day. Sincere, passionate music. Music that has stood the test of time. It is music that has reached across race, age and gender boundaries. It reflects the diversity and vision of the talent that recorded on the Sun label, and indeed, American popular culture itself.

HEAVY Music Interviews
Getting Ready For KAIJU FEST With SIN SOTO

HEAVY Music Interviews

Play Episode Listen Later Oct 27, 2022 19:16


Sin Soto are a three-piece music group from Australia. On June 18 2021, they released their debut album MADA, which features 20 tracks spanning across 2 discs and is an energetic, eclectic mix of rock, metal, hip hop, pop and electronica. Lyrically, the band always cover socially aware topics that are worldwide issues and not just from Australia. An example of this is the track Tribe which features the voice of now deceased Native-American artist, activist, musician, and humanitarian, John Trudell. Sin Soto produced, recorded, engineered and mixed the album themselves, spending much of the 2020 Covid 19 lock-down doing this. The album was mastered by Bryce Moorehead in Australia. The album art was created by digital artist John English of Solvent Image.With Sin Soto set to perform at the upcoming Kaiju Festival in Brisbane, CJ Nash caught up with the band to find out what they have been up to.

A History Of Rock Music in Five Hundred Songs
Episode 156: “I Was Made to Love Her” by Stevie Wonder

A History Of Rock Music in Five Hundred Songs

Play Episode Listen Later Oct 25, 2022


Episode one hundred and fifty-six of A History of Rock Music in Five Hundred Songs looks at “I Was Made to Love Her", the early career of Stevie Wonder, and the Detroit riots of 1967. Click the full post to read liner notes, links to more information, and a transcript of the episode. Patreon backers also have a twenty-minute bonus episode available, on "Groovin'" by the Young Rascals. Tilt Araiza has assisted invaluably by doing a first-pass edit, and will hopefully be doing so from now on. Check out Tilt's irregular podcasts at http://www.podnose.com/jaffa-cakes-for-proust and http://sitcomclub.com/ Resources As usual, I've put together a Mixcloud playlist of all the recordings excerpted in this episode. The best value way to get all of Stevie Wonder's early singles is this MP3 collection, which has the original mono single mixes of fifty-five tracks for a very reasonable price. For those who prefer physical media, this is a decent single-CD collection of his early work at a very low price indeed. As well as the general Motown information listed below, I've also referred to Signed, Sealed, and Delivered: The Soulful Journey of Stevie Wonder by Mark Ribowsky, which rather astonishingly is the only full-length biography of Wonder, to Higher Ground: Stevie Wonder, Aretha Franklin, Curtis Mayfield, and the Rise and Fall of American Soul by Craig Werner, and to Detroit 67: The Year That Changed Soul by Stuart Cosgrove. For Motown-related information in this and other Motown episodes, I've used the following resources: Where Did Our Love Go? The Rise and Fall of the Motown Sound by Nelson George is an excellent popular history of the various companies that became Motown. To Be Loved by Berry Gordy is Gordy's own, understandably one-sided, but relatively well-written, autobiography. Women of Motown: An Oral History by Susan Whitall is a collection of interviews with women involved in Motown. I Hear a Symphony: Motown and Crossover R&B by J. Andrew Flory is an academic look at Motown. The Motown Encyclopaedia by Graham Betts is an exhaustive look at the people and records involved in Motown's thirty-year history. How Sweet It Is by Lamont Dozier and Scott B. Bomar is Dozier's autobiography, while Come and Get These Memories by Brian and Eddie Holland and Dave Thompson is the Holland brothers'. Standing in the Shadows of Motown: The Life and Music of Legendary Bassist James Jamerson by "Dr Licks" is a mixture of a short biography of the great bass player, and tablature of his most impressive bass parts. And Motown Junkies is an infrequently-updated blog looking at (so far) the first 694 tracks released on Motown singles. Patreon This podcast is brought to you by the generosity of my backers on Patreon. Why not join them? Transcript A quick note before I begin -- this episode deals with disability and racism, and also deals from the very beginning with sex work and domestic violence. It also has some discussion of police violence and sexual assault. As always I will try to deal with those subjects as non-judgementally and sensitively as possible, but if you worry that anything about those subjects might disturb you, please check the transcript. Calvin Judkins was not a good man. Lula Mae Hardaway thought at first he might be, when he took her in, with her infant son whose father had left before the boy was born. He was someone who seemed, when he played the piano, to be deeply sensitive and emotional, and he even did the decent thing and married her when he got her pregnant. She thought she could save him, even though he was a street hustler and not even very good at it, and thirty years older than her -- she was only nineteen, he was nearly fifty. But she soon discovered that he wasn't interested in being saved, and instead he was interested in hurting her. He became physically and financially abusive, and started pimping her out. Lula would eventually realise that Calvin Judkins was no good, but not until she got pregnant again, shortly after the birth of her second son. Her third son was born premature -- different sources give different numbers for how premature, with some saying four months and others six weeks -- and while he apparently went by Stevland Judkins throughout his early childhood, the name on his birth certificate was apparently Stevland Morris, Lula having decided not to give another child the surname of her abuser, though nobody has ever properly explained where she got the surname "Morris" from. Little Stevland was put in an incubator with an oxygen mask, which saved the tiny child's life but destroyed his sight, giving him a condition called retinopathy of prematurity -- a condition which nowadays can be prevented and cured, but in 1951 was just an unavoidable consequence for some portion of premature babies. Shortly after the family moved from Saginaw to Detroit, Lula kicked Calvin out, and he would remain only a peripheral figure in his children's lives, but one thing he did do was notice young Stevland's interest in music, and on his increasingly infrequent visits to his wife and kids -- visits that usually ended with violence -- he would bring along toy instruments for the young child to play, like a harmonica and a set of bongos. Stevie was a real prodigy, and by the time he was nine he had a collection of real musical instruments, because everyone could see that the kid was something special. A neighbour who owned a piano gave it to Stevie when she moved out and couldn't take it with her. A local Lions Club gave him a drum kit at a party they organised for local blind children, and a barber gave him a chromatic harmonica after seeing him play his toy one. Stevie gave his first professional performance when he was eight. His mother had taken him to a picnic in the park, and there was a band playing, and the little boy got as close to the stage as he could and started dancing wildly. The MC of the show asked the child who he was, and he said "My name is Stevie, and I can sing and play drums", so of course they got the cute kid up on stage behind the drum kit while the band played Johnny Ace's "Pledging My Love": [Excerpt: Johnny Ace, "Pledging My Love"] He did well enough that they paid him seventy-five cents -- an enormous amount for a small child at that time -- though he was disappointed afterwards that they hadn't played something faster that would really allow him to show off his drumming skills. After that he would perform semi-regularly at small events, and always ask to be paid in quarters rather than paper money, because he liked the sound of the coins -- one of his party tricks was to be able to tell one coin from another by the sound of them hitting a table. Soon he formed a duo with a neighbourhood friend, John Glover, who was a couple of years older and could play guitar while Stevie sang and played harmonica and bongos. The two were friends, and both accomplished musicians for their age, but that wasn't the only reason Stevie latched on to Glover. Even as young as he was, he knew that Motown was soon going to be the place to be in Detroit if you were a musician, and Glover had an in -- his cousin was Ronnie White of the Miracles. Stevie and John performed as a duo everywhere they could and honed their act, performing particularly at the talent shows which were such an incubator of Black musical talent at the time, and they also at this point seem to have got the attention of Clarence Paul, but it was White who brought the duo to Motown. Stevie and John first played for White and Bobby Rodgers, another of the Miracles, then when they were impressed they took them through the several layers of Motown people who would have to sign off on signing a new act. First they were taken to see Brian Holland, who was a rising star within Motown as "Please Mr. Postman" was just entering the charts. They impressed him with a performance of the Miracles song "Bad Girl": [Excerpt: The Miracles, "Bad Girl"] After that, Stevie and John went to see Mickey Stevenson, who was at first sceptical, thinking that a kid so young -- Stevie was only eleven at the time -- must be some kind of novelty act rather than a serious musician. He said later "It was like, what's next, the singing mouse?" But Stevenson was won over by the child's talent. Normally, Stevenson had the power to sign whoever he liked to the label, but given the extra legal complications involved in signing someone under-age, he had to get Berry Gordy's permission. Gordy didn't even like signing teenagers because of all the extra paperwork that would be involved, and he certainly wasn't interested in signing pre-teens. But he came down to the studio to see what Stevie could do, and was amazed, not by his singing -- Gordy didn't think much of that -- but by his instrumental ability. First Stevie played harmonica and bongos as proficiently as an adult professional, and then he made his way around the studio playing on every other instrument in the place -- often only a few notes, but competent on them all. Gordy decided to sign the duo -- and the initial contract was for an act named "Steve and John" -- but it was soon decided to separate them. Glover would be allowed to hang around Motown while he was finishing school, and there would be a place for him when he finished -- he later became a staff songwriter, working on tracks for the Four Tops and the Miracles among others, and he would even later write a number one hit, "You Don't Have to be a Star (to be in My Show)" for Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis Jr -- but they were going to make Stevie a star right now. The man put in charge of that was Clarence Paul. Paul, under his birth name of Clarence Pauling, had started his career in the "5" Royales, a vocal group he formed with his brother Lowman Pauling that had been signed to Apollo Records by Ralph Bass, and later to King Records. Paul seems to have been on at least some of the earliest recordings by the group, so is likely on their first single, "Give Me One More Chance": [Excerpt: The "5" Royales, "Give Me One More Chance"] But Paul was drafted to go and fight in the Korean War, and so wasn't part of the group's string of hit singles, mostly written by his brother Lowman, like "Think", which later became better known in James Brown's cover version, or "Dedicated to the One I Love", later covered by the Shirelles, but in its original version dominated by Lowman's stinging guitar playing: [Excerpt: The "5" Royales, "Dedicated to the One I Love"] After being discharged, Clarence had shortened his name to Clarence Paul, and had started recording for all the usual R&B labels like Roulette and Federal, with little success: [Excerpt: Clarence Paul, "I'm Gonna Love You, Love You Til I Die"] He'd also co-written "I Need Your Lovin'", which had been an R&B hit for Roy Hamilton: [Excerpt: Roy Hamilton, "I Need Your Lovin'"] Paul had recently come to work for Motown – one of the things Berry Gordy did to try to make his label more attractive was to hire the relatives of R&B stars on other labels, in the hopes of getting them to switch to Motown – and he was the new man on the team, not given any of the important work to do. He was working with acts like Henry Lumpkin and the Valladiers, and had also been the producer of "Mind Over Matter", the single the Temptations had released as The Pirates in a desperate attempt to get a hit: [Excerpt: The Pirates, "Mind Over Matter"] Paul was the person you turned to when no-one else was interested, and who would come up with bizarre ideas. A year or so after the time period we're talking about, it was him who produced an album of country music for the Supremes, before they'd had a hit, and came up with "The Man With the Rock and Roll Banjo Band" for them: [Excerpt: The Supremes, "The Man With The Rock and Roll Banjo Band"] So, Paul was the perfect person to give a child -- by this time twelve years old -- who had the triple novelties of being a multi-instrumentalist, a child, and blind. Stevie started spending all his time around the Motown studios, partly because he was eager to learn everything about making records and partly because his home life wasn't particularly great and he wanted to be somewhere else. He earned the affection and irritation, in equal measure, of people at Motown both for his habit of wandering into the middle of sessions because he couldn't see the light that showed that the studio was in use, and for his practical joking. He was a great mimic, and would do things like phoning one of the engineers and imitating Berry Gordy's voice, telling the engineer that Stevie would be coming down, and to give him studio equipment to take home. He'd also astonish women by complimenting them, in detail, on their dresses, having been told in advance what they looked like by an accomplice. But other "jokes" were less welcome -- he would regularly sexually assault women working at Motown, grabbing their breasts or buttocks and then claiming it was an accident because he couldn't see what he was doing. Most of the women he molested still speak of him fondly, and say everybody loved him, and this may even be the case -- and certainly I don't think any of us should be judged too harshly for what we did when we were twelve -- but this kind of thing led to a certain amount of pressure to make Stevie's career worth the extra effort he was causing everyone at Motown. Because Berry Gordy was not impressed with Stevie's vocals, the decision was made to promote him as a jazz instrumentalist, and so Clarence Paul insisted that his first release be an album, rather than doing what everyone would normally do and only put out an album after a hit single. Paul reasoned that there was no way on Earth they were going to be able to get a hit single with a jazz instrumental by a twelve-year-old kid, and eventually persuaded Gordy of the wisdom of this idea. So they started work on The Jazz Soul of Little Stevie, released under his new stagename of Little Stevie Wonder, supposedly a name given to him after Berry Gordy said "That kid's a wonder!", though Mickey Stevenson always said that the name came from a brainstorming session between him and Clarence Paul. The album featured Stevie on harmonica, piano, and organ on different tracks, but on the opening track, "Fingertips", he's playing the bongos that give the track its name: [Excerpt: Little Stevie Wonder, "Fingertips (studio version)"] The composition of that track is credited to Paul and the arranger Hank Cosby, but Beans Bowles, who played flute on the track, always claimed that he came up with the melody, and it seems quite likely to me that most of the tracks on the album were created more or less as jam sessions -- though Wonder's contributions were all overdubbed later. The album sat in the can for several months -- Berry Gordy was not at all sure of its commercial potential. Instead, he told Paul to go in another direction -- focusing on Wonder's blindness, he decided that what they needed to do was create an association in listeners' minds with Ray Charles, who at this point was at the peak of his commercial power. So back into the studio went Wonder and Paul, to record an album made up almost entirely of Ray Charles covers, titled Tribute to Uncle Ray. (Some sources have the Ray Charles tribute album recorded first -- and given Motown's lax record-keeping at this time it may be impossible to know for sure -- but this is the way round that Mark Ribowsky's biography of Wonder has it). But at Motown's regular quality control meeting it was decided that there wasn't a single on the album, and you didn't release an album like that without having a hit single first. By this point, Clarence Paul was convinced that Berry Gordy was just looking for excuses not to do anything with Wonder -- and there may have been a grain of truth to that. There's some evidence that Gordy was worried that the kid wouldn't be able to sing once his voice broke, and was scared of having another Frankie Lymon on his hands. But the decision was made that rather than put out either of those albums, they would put out a single. The A-side was a song called "I Call it Pretty Music But the Old People Call it the Blues, Part 1", which very much played on Wonder's image as a loveable naive kid: [Excerpt: Little Stevie Wonder, "I Call it Pretty Music But the Old People Call it the Blues, Part 1"] The B-side, meanwhile, was part two -- a slowed-down, near instrumental, version of the song, reframed as an actual blues, and as a showcase for Wonder's harmonica playing rather than his vocals. The single wasn't a hit, but it made number 101 on the Billboard charts, just missing the Hot One Hundred, which for the debut single of a new artist wasn't too bad, especially for Motown at this point in time, when most of its releases were flopping. That was good enough that Gordy authorised the release of the two albums that they had in the can. The next single, "Little Water Boy", was a rather baffling duet with Clarence Paul, which did nothing at all on the charts. [Excerpt: Clarence Paul and Little Stevie Wonder, "Little Water Boy"] After this came another flop single, written by Brian Holland, Lamont Dozier, and Janie Bradford, before the record that finally broke Little Stevie Wonder out into the mainstream in a big way. While Wonder hadn't had a hit yet, he was sent out on the first Motortown Revue tour, along with almost every other act on the label. Because he hadn't had a hit, he was supposed to only play one song per show, but nobody had told him how long that song should be. He had quickly become a great live performer, and the audiences were excited to watch him, so when he went into extended harmonica solos rather than quickly finishing the song, the audience would be with him. Clarence Paul, who came along on the tour, would have to motion to the onstage bandleader to stop the music, but the bandleader would know that the audiences were with Stevie, and so would just keep the song going as long as Stevie was playing. Often Paul would have to go on to the stage and shout in Wonder's ear to stop playing -- and often Wonder would ignore him, and have to be physically dragged off stage by Paul, still playing, causing the audience to boo Paul for stopping him from playing. Wonder would complain off-stage that the audience had been enjoying it, and didn't seem to get it into his head that he wasn't the star of the show, that the audiences *were* enjoying him, but were *there* to see the Miracles and Mary Wells and the Marvelettes and Marvin Gaye. This made all the acts who had to go on after him, and who were running late as a result, furious at him -- especially since one aspect of Wonder's blindness was that his circadian rhythms weren't regulated by sunlight in the same way that the sighted members of the tour's were. He would often wake up the entire tour bus by playing his harmonica at two or three in the morning, while they were all trying to sleep. Soon Berry Gordy insisted that Clarence Paul be on stage with Wonder throughout his performance, ready to drag him off stage, so that he wouldn't have to come out onto the stage to do it. But one of the first times he had done this had been on one of the very first Motortown Revue shows, before any of his records had come out. There he'd done a performance of "Fingertips", playing the flute part on harmonica rather than only playing bongos throughout as he had on the studio version -- leaving the percussion to Marvin Gaye, who was playing drums for Wonder's set: [Excerpt: Little Stevie Wonder, "Fingertips (Parts 1 & 2)"] But he'd extended the song with a little bit of call-and-response vocalising: [Excerpt: Little Stevie Wonder, "Fingertips (Parts 1 & 2)"] After the long performance ended, Clarence Paul dragged Wonder off-stage and the MC asked the audience to give him a round of applause -- but then Stevie came running back on and carried on playing: [Excerpt: Little Stevie Wonder, "Fingertips (Parts 1 & 2)"] By this point, though, the musicians had started to change over -- Mary Wells, who was on after Wonder, was using different musicians from his, and some of her players were already on stage. You can hear Joe Swift, who was playing bass for Wells, asking what key he was meant to be playing in: [Excerpt: Little Stevie Wonder, "Fingertips (Parts 1 & 2)"] Eventually, after six and a half minutes, they got Wonder off stage, but that performance became the two sides of Wonder's next single, with "Fingertips Part 2", the part with the ad lib singing and the false ending, rather than the instrumental part one, being labelled as the side the DJs should play. When it was released, the song started a slow climb up the charts, and by August 1963, three months after it came out, it was at number one -- only the second ever Motown number one, and the first ever live single to get there. Not only that, but Motown released a live album -- Recorded Live, the Twelve-Year-Old Genius (though as many people point out he was thirteen when it was released -- he was twelve when it was recorded though) and that made number one on the albums chart, becoming the first Motown album ever to do so. They followed up "Fingertips" with a similar sounding track, "Workout, Stevie, Workout", which made number thirty-three. After that, his albums -- though not yet his singles -- started to be released as by "Stevie Wonder" with no "Little" -- he'd had a bit of a growth spurt and his voice was breaking, and so marketing him as a child prodigy was not going to work much longer and they needed to transition him into a star with adult potential. In the Motown of 1963 that meant cutting an album of standards, because the belief at the time in Motown was that the future for their entertainers was doing show tunes at the Copacabana. But for some reason the audience who had wanted an R&B harmonica instrumental with call-and-response improvised gospel-influenced yelling was not in the mood for a thirteen year old singing "Put on a Happy Face" and "When You Wish Upon a Star", and especially not when the instrumental tracks were recorded in a key that suited him at age twelve but not thirteen, so he was clearly straining. "Fingertips" being a massive hit also meant Stevie was now near the top of the bill on the Motortown Revue when it went on its second tour. But this actually put him in a precarious position. When he had been down at the bottom of the bill and unknown, nobody expected anything from him, and he was following other minor acts, so when he was surprisingly good the audiences went wild. Now, near the top of the bill, he had to go on after Marvin Gaye, and he was not nearly so impressive in that context. The audiences were polite enough, but not in the raptures he was used to. Although Stevie could still beat Gaye in some circumstances. At Motown staff parties, Berry Gordy would always have a contest where he'd pit two artists against each other to see who could win the crowd over, something he thought instilled a fun and useful competitive spirit in his artists. They'd alternate songs, two songs each, and Gordy would decide on the winner based on audience response. For the 1963 Motown Christmas party, it was Stevie versus Marvin. Wonder went first, with "Workout, Stevie, Workout", and was apparently impressive, but then Gaye topped him with a version of "Hitch-Hike". So Stevie had to top that, and apparently did, with a hugely extended version of "I Call it Pretty Music", reworked in the Ray Charles style he'd used for "Fingertips". So Marvin Gaye had to top that with the final song of the contest, and he did, performing "Stubborn Kind of Fellow": [Excerpt: Marvin Gaye, "Stubborn Kind of Fellow"] And he was great. So great, it turned the crowd against him. They started booing, and someone in the audience shouted "Marvin, you should be ashamed of yourself, taking advantage of a little blind kid!" The crowd got so hostile Berry Gordy had to stop the performance and end the party early. He never had another contest like that again. There were other problems, as well. Wonder had been assigned a tutor, a young man named Ted Hull, who began to take serious control over his life. Hull was legally blind, so could teach Wonder using Braille, but unlike Wonder had some sight -- enough that he was even able to get a drivers' license and a co-pilot license for planes. Hull was put in loco parentis on most of Stevie's tours, and soon became basically inseparable from him, but this caused a lot of problems, not least because Hull was a conservative white man, while almost everyone else at Motown was Black, and Stevie was socially liberal and on the side of the civil rights and anti-Vietnam movements. Hull started to collaborate on songwriting with Wonder, which most people at Motown were OK with but which now seems like a serious conflict of interest, and he also started calling himself Stevie's "manager" -- which did *not* impress the people at Motown, who had their own conflict of interest because with Stevie, like with all their artists, they were his management company and agents as well as his record label and publishers. Motown grudgingly tolerated Hull, though, mostly because he was someone they could pass Lula Mae Hardaway to to deal with her complaints. Stevie's mother was not very impressed with the way that Motown were handling her son, and would make her opinion known to anyone who would listen. Hull and Hardaway did not get on at all, but he could be relied on to save the Gordy family members from having to deal with her. Wonder was sent over to Europe for Christmas 1963, to perform shows at the Paris Olympia and do some British media appearances. But both his mother and Hull had come along, and their clear dislike for each other was making him stressed. He started to get pains in his throat whenever he sang -- pains which everyone assumed were a stress reaction to the unhealthy atmosphere that happened whenever Hull and his mother were in the same room together, but which later turned out to be throat nodules that required surgery. Because of this, his singing was generally not up to standard, which meant he was moved to a less prominent place on the bill, which in turn led to his mother accusing the Gordy family of being against him and trying to stop him becoming a star. Wonder started to take her side and believe that Motown were conspiring against him, and at one point he even "accidentally" dropped a bottle of wine on Ted Hull's foot, breaking one of his toes, because he saw Hull as part of the enemy that was Motown. Before leaving for those shows, he had recorded the album he later considered the worst of his career. While he was now just plain Stevie on albums, he wasn't for his single releases, or in his first film appearance, where he was still Little Stevie Wonder. Berry Gordy was already trying to get a foot in the door in Hollywood -- by the end of the decade Motown would be moving from Detroit to LA -- and his first real connections there were with American International Pictures, the low-budget film-makers who have come up a lot in connection with the LA scene. AIP were the producers of the successful low-budget series of beach party films, which combined appearances by teen heartthrobs Frankie Avalon and Annette Funicello in swimsuits with cameo appearances by old film stars fallen on hard times, and with musical performances by bands like the Bobby Fuller Four. There would be a couple of Motown connections to these films -- most notably, the Supremes would do the theme tune for Dr. Goldfoot and the Bikini Machine -- but Muscle Beach Party was to be the first. Most of the music for Muscle Beach Party was written by Brian Wilson, Roger Christian, and Gary Usher, as one might expect for a film about surfing, and was performed by Dick Dale and the Del-Tones, the film's major musical guests, with Annette, Frankie, and Donna Loren [pron Lorren] adding vocals, on songs like "Muscle Bustle": [Excerpt: Donna Loren with Dick Dale and the Del-Tones, "Muscle Bustle"] The film followed the formula in every way -- it also had a cameo appearance by Peter Lorre, his last film appearance before his death, and it featured Little Stevie Wonder playing one of the few songs not written by the surf and car writers, a piece of nothing called "Happy Street". Stevie also featured in the follow-up, Bikini Beach, which came out a little under four months later, again doing a single number, "Happy Feelin'". To cash in on his appearances in these films, and having tried releasing albums of Little Stevie as jazz multi-instrumentalist, Ray Charles tribute act, live soulman and Andy Williams-style crooner, they now decided to see if they could sell him as a surf singer. Or at least, as Motown's idea of a surf singer, which meant a lot of songs about the beach and the sea -- mostly old standards like "Red Sails in the Sunset" and "Ebb Tide" -- backed by rather schlocky Wrecking Crew arrangements. And this is as good a place as any to take on one of the bits of disinformation that goes around about Motown. I've addressed this before, but it's worth repeating here in slightly more detail. Carol Kaye, one of the go-to Wrecking Crew bass players, is a known credit thief, and claims to have played on hundreds of records she didn't -- claims which too many people take seriously because she is a genuine pioneer and was for a long time undercredited on many records she *did* play on. In particular, she claims to have played on almost all the classic Motown hits that James Jamerson of the Funk Brothers played on, like the title track for this episode, and she claims this despite evidence including notarised statements from everyone involved in the records, the release of session recordings that show producers talking to the Funk Brothers, and most importantly the evidence of the recordings themselves, which have all the characteristics of the Detroit studio and sound like the Funk Brothers playing, and have absolutely nothing in common, sonically, with the records the Wrecking Crew played on at Gold Star, Western, and other LA studios. The Wrecking Crew *did* play on a lot of Motown records, but with a handful of exceptions, mostly by Brenda Holloway, the records they played on were quickie knock-off album tracks and potboiler albums made to tie in with film or TV work -- soundtracks to TV specials the acts did, and that kind of thing. And in this case, the Wrecking Crew played on the entire Stevie at the Beach album, including the last single to be released as by "Little Stevie Wonder", "Castles in the Sand", which was arranged by Jack Nitzsche: [Excerpt: Little Stevie Wonder, "Castles in the Sand"] Apparently the idea of surfin' Stevie didn't catch on any more than that of swingin' Stevie had earlier. Indeed, throughout 1964 and 65 Motown seem to have had less than no idea what they were doing with Stevie Wonder, and he himself refers to all his recordings from this period as an embarrassment, saving particular scorn for the second single from Stevie at the Beach, "Hey Harmonica Man", possibly because that, unlike most of his other singles around this point, was a minor hit, reaching number twenty-nine on the charts. Motown were still pushing Wonder hard -- he even got an appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show in May 1964, only the second Motown act to appear on it after the Marvelettes -- but Wonder was getting more and more unhappy with the decisions they were making. He loathed the Stevie at the Beach album -- the records he'd made earlier, while patchy and not things he'd chosen, were at least in some way related to his musical interests. He *did* love jazz, and he *did* love Ray Charles, and he *did* love old standards, and the records were made by his friend Clarence Paul and with the studio musicians he'd grown to know in Detroit. But Stevie at the Beach was something that was imposed on Clarence Paul from above, it was cut with unfamiliar musicians, Stevie thought the films he was appearing in were embarrassing, and he wasn't even having much commercial success, which was the whole point of these compromises. He started to get more rebellious against Paul in the studio, though many of these decisions weren't made by Paul, and he would complain to anyone who would listen that if he was just allowed to do the music he wanted to sing, the way he wanted to sing it, he would have more hits. But for nine months he did basically no singing other than that Ed Sullivan Show appearance -- he had to recover from the operation to remove the throat nodules. When he did return to the studio, the first single he cut remained unreleased, and while some stuff from the archives was released between the start of 1964 and March 1965, the first single he recorded and released after the throat nodules, "Kiss Me Baby", which came out in March, was a complete flop. That single was released to coincide with the first Motown tour of Europe, which we looked at in the episode on "Stop! In the Name of Love", and which was mostly set up to promote the Supremes, but which also featured Martha and the Vandellas, the Miracles, and the Temptations. Even though Stevie had not had a major hit in eighteen months by this point, he was still brought along on the tour, the only solo artist to be included -- at this point Gordy thought that solo artists looked outdated compared to vocal groups, in a world dominated by bands, and so other solo artists like Marvin Gaye weren't invited. This was a sign that Gordy was happier with Stevie than his recent lack of chart success might suggest. One of the main reasons that Gordy had been in two minds about him was that he'd had no idea if Wonder would still be able to sing well after his voice broke. But now, as he was about to turn fifteen, his adult voice had more or less stabilised, and Gordy knew that he was capable of having a long career, if they just gave him the proper material. But for now his job on the tour was to do his couple of hits, smile, and be on the lower rungs of the ladder. But even that was still a prominent place to be given the scaled-down nature of this bill compared to the Motortown Revues. While the tour was in England, for example, Dusty Springfield presented a TV special focusing on all the acts on the tour, and while the Supremes were the main stars, Stevie got to do two songs, and also took part in the finale, a version of "Mickey's Monkey" led by Smokey Robinson but with all the performers joining in, with Wonder getting a harmonica solo: [Excerpt: Smokey Robinson and the Motown acts, "Mickey's Monkey"] Sadly, there was one aspect of the trip to the UK that was extremely upsetting for Wonder. Almost all the media attention he got -- which was relatively little, as he wasn't a Supreme -- was about his blindness, and one reporter in particular convinced him that there was an operation he could have to restore his sight, but that Motown were preventing him from finding out about it in order to keep his gimmick going. He was devastated about this, and then further devastated when Ted Hull finally convinced him that it wasn't true, and that he'd been lied to. Meanwhile other newspapers were reporting that he *could* see, and that he was just feigning blindness to boost his record sales. After the tour, a live recording of Wonder singing the blues standard "High Heeled Sneakers" was released as a single, and barely made the R&B top thirty, and didn't hit the top forty on the pop charts. Stevie's initial contract with Motown was going to expire in the middle of 1966, so there was a year to get him back to a point where he was having the kind of hits that other Motown acts were regularly getting at this point. Otherwise, it looked like his career might end by the time he was sixteen. The B-side to "High Heeled Sneakers" was another duet with Clarence Paul, who dominates the vocal sound for much of it -- a version of Willie Nelson's country classic "Funny How Time Slips Away": [Excerpt: Stevie Wonder and Clarence Paul, "Funny How Time Slips Away"] There are a few of these duet records scattered through Wonder's early career -- we'll hear another one a little later -- and they're mostly dismissed as Paul trying to muscle his way into a revival of his own recording career as an artist, and there may be some truth in that. But they're also a natural extension of the way the two of them worked in the studio. Motown didn't have the facilities to give Wonder Braille lyric sheets, and Paul didn't trust him to be able to remember the lyrics, so often when they made a record, Paul would be just off-mic, reciting the lyrics to Wonder fractionally ahead of him singing them. So it was more or less natural that this dynamic would leak out onto records, but not everyone saw it that way. But at the same time, there has been some suggestion that Paul was among those manoeuvring to get rid of Wonder from Motown as soon as his contract was finished -- despite the fact that Wonder was the only act Paul had worked on any big hits for. Either way, Paul and Wonder were starting to chafe at working with each other in the studio, and while Paul remained his on-stage musical director, the opportunity to work on Wonder's singles for what would surely be his last few months at Motown was given to Hank Cosby and Sylvia Moy. Cosby was a saxophone player and staff songwriter who had been working with Wonder and Paul for years -- he'd co-written "Fingertips" and several other tracks -- while Moy was a staff songwriter who was working as an apprentice to Cosby. Basically, at this point, nobody else wanted the job of writing for Wonder, and as Moy was having no luck getting songs cut by any other artists and her career was looking about as dead as Wonder's, they started working together. Wonder was, at this point, full of musical ideas but with absolutely no discipline. He's said in interviews that at this point he was writing a hundred and fifty songs a month, but these were often not full songs -- they were fragments, hooks, or a single verse, or a few lines, which he would pass on to Moy, who would turn his ideas into structured songs that fit the Motown hit template, usually with the assistance of Cosby. Then Cosby would come up with an arrangement, and would co-produce with Mickey Stevenson. The first song they came up with in this manner was a sign of how Wonder was looking outside the world of Motown to the rock music that was starting to dominate the US charts -- but which was itself inspired by Motown music. We heard in the last episode on the Rolling Stones how "Nowhere to Run" by the Vandellas: [Excerpt: Martha and the Vandellas, "Nowhere to Run"] had inspired the Stones' "Satisfaction": [Excerpt: The Rolling Stones, "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction"] And Wonder in turn was inspired by "Satisfaction" to come up with his own song -- though again, much of the work making it into an actual finished song was done by Sylvia Moy. They took the four-on-the-floor beat and basic melody of "Satisfaction" and brought it back to Motown, where those things had originated -- though they hadn't originated with Stevie, and this was his first record to sound like a Motown record in the way we think of those things. As a sign of how, despite the way these stories are usually told, the histories of rock and soul were completely and complexly intertwined, that four-on-the-floor beat itself was a conscious attempt by Holland, Dozier, and Holland to appeal to white listeners -- on the grounds that while Black people generally clapped on the backbeat, white people didn't, and so having a four-on-the-floor beat wouldn't throw them off. So Cosby, Moy, and Wonder, in trying to come up with a "Satisfaction" soundalike were Black Motown writers trying to copy a white rock band trying to copy Black Motown writers trying to appeal to a white rock audience. Wonder came up with the basic chorus hook, which was based around a lot of current slang terms he was fond of: [Excerpt: Stevie Wonder, "Uptight"] Then Moy, with some assistance from Cosby, filled it out into a full song. Lyrically, it was as close to social comment as Motown had come at this point -- Wonder was, like many of his peers in soul music, interested in the power of popular music to make political statements, and he would become a much more political artist in the next few years, but at this point it's still couched in the acceptable boy-meets-girl romantic love song that Motown specialised in. But in 1965 a story about a boy from the wrong side of the tracks dating a rich girl inevitably raised the idea that the boy and girl might be of different races -- a subject that was very, very, controversial in the mid-sixties. [Excerpt: Stevie Wonder, "Uptight"] "Uptight" made number three on the pop charts and number one on the R&B charts, and saved Stevie Wonder's career. And this is where, for all that I've criticised Motown in this episode, their strategy paid off. Mickey Stevenson talked a lot about how in the early sixties Motown didn't give up on artists -- if someone had potential but was not yet having hits or finding the right approach, they would keep putting out singles in a holding pattern, trying different things and seeing what would work, rather than toss them aside. It had already worked for the Temptations and the Supremes, and now it had worked for Stevie Wonder. He would be the last beneficiary of this policy -- soon things would change, and Motown would become increasingly focused on trying to get the maximum returns out of a small number of stars, rather than building careers for a range of artists -- but it paid off brilliantly for Wonder. "Uptight" was such a reinvention of Wonder's career, sound, and image that many of his fans consider it the real start of his career -- everything before it only counting as prologue. The follow-up, "Nothing's Too Good For My Baby", was an "Uptight" soundalike, and as with Motown soundalike follow-ups in general, it didn't do quite as well, but it still made the top twenty on the pop chart and got to number four on the R&B chart. Stevie Wonder was now safe at Motown, and so he was going to do something no other Motown act had ever done before -- he was going to record a protest song and release it as a single. For about a year he'd been ending his shows with a version of Bob Dylan's "Blowin' in the Wind", sung as a duet with Clarence Paul, who was still his on stage bandleader even though the two weren't working together in the studio as much. Wonder brought that into the studio, and recorded it with Paul back as the producer, and as his duet partner. Berry Gordy wasn't happy with the choice of single, but Wonder pushed, and Gordy knew that Wonder was on a winning streak and gave in, and so "Blowin' in the Wind" became Stevie Wonder's next single: [Excerpt: Stevie Wonder and Clarence Paul, "Blowin' in the Wind"] "Blowin' in the Wind" made the top ten, and number one on the R&B charts, and convinced Gordy that there was some commercial potential in going after the socially aware market, and over the next few years Motown would start putting out more and more political records. Because Motown convention was to have the producer of a hit record produce the next hit for that artist, and keep doing so until they had a flop, Paul was given the opportunity to produce the next single. "A Place in the Sun" was another ambiguously socially-aware song, co-written by the only white writer on Motown staff, Ron Miller, who happened to live in the same building as Stevie's tutor-cum-manager Ted Hull. "A Place in the Sun" was a pleasant enough song, inspired by "A Change is Gonna Come", but with a more watered-down, generic, message of hope, but the record was lifted by Stevie's voice, and again made the top ten. This meant that Paul and Miller, and Miller's writing partner Bryan Mills, got to work on his next  two singles -- his 1966 Christmas song "Someday at Christmas", which made number twenty-four, and the ballad "Travellin' Man" which made thirty-two. The downward trajectory with Paul meant that Wonder was soon working with other producers again. Harvey Fuqua and Johnny Bristol cut another Miller and Mills song with him, "Yester-Me, Yester-You, Yesterday": [Excerpt: Stevie Wonder, "Yester-Me, Yester-You, Yesterday"] But that was left in the can, as not good enough to release, and Stevie was soon back working with Cosby. The two of them had come up with an instrumental together in late 1966, but had not been able to come up with any words for it, so they played it for Smokey Robinson, who said their instrumental sounded like circus music, and wrote lyrics about a clown: [Excerpt: The Miracles, "The Tears of a Clown"] The Miracles cut that as album filler, but it was released three years later as a single and became the Miracles' only number one hit with Smokey Robinson as lead singer. So Wonder and Cosby definitely still had their commercial touch, even if their renewed collaboration with Moy, who they started working with again, took a while to find a hit. To start with, Wonder returned to the idea of taking inspiration from a hit by a white British group, as he had with "Uptight". This time it was the Beatles, and the track "Michelle", from the Rubber Soul album: [Excerpt: The Beatles, "Michelle"] Wonder took the idea of a song with some French lyrics, and a melody with some similarities to the Beatles song, and came up with "My Cherie Amour", which Cosby and Moy finished off. [Excerpt: Stevie Wonder, "My Cherie Amour"] Gordy wouldn't allow that to be released, saying it was too close to "Michelle" and people would think it was a rip-off, and it stayed in the vaults for several years. Cosby also produced a version of a song Ron Miller had written with Orlando Murden, "For Once in My Life", which pretty much every other Motown act was recording versions of -- the Four Tops, the Temptations, Billy Eckstine, Martha and the Vandellas and Barbra McNair all cut versions of it in 1967, and Gordy wouldn't let Wonder's version be put out either. So they had to return to the drawing board. But in truth, Stevie Wonder was not the biggest thing worrying Berry Gordy at this point. He was dealing with problems in the Supremes, which we'll look at in a future episode -- they were about to get rid of Florence Ballard, and thus possibly destroy one of the biggest acts in the world, but Gordy thought that if they *didn't* get rid of her they would be destroying themselves even more certainly. Not only that, but Gordy was in the midst of a secret affair with Diana Ross, Holland, Dozier, and Holland were getting restless about their contracts, and his producers kept bringing him unlistenable garbage that would never be a hit. Like Norman Whitfield, insisting that this track he'd cut with Marvin Gaye, "I Heard it Through the Grapevine", should be a single. Gordy had put his foot down about that one too, just like he had about "My Cherie Amour", and wouldn't allow it to be released. Meanwhile, many of the smaller acts on the label were starting to feel like they were being ignored by Gordy, and had formed what amounted to a union, having regular meetings at Clarence Paul's house to discuss how they could pressure the label to put the same effort into their careers as into those of the big stars. And the Funk Brothers, the musicians who played on all of Motown's hits, were also getting restless -- they contributed to the arrangements, and they did more for the sound of the records than half the credited producers; why weren't they getting production credits and royalties? Harvey Fuqua had divorced Gordy's sister Gwen, and so became persona non grata at the label and was in the process of leaving Motown, and so was Mickey Stevenson, Gordy's second in command, because Gordy wouldn't give him any stock in the company. And Detroit itself was on edge. The crime rate in the city had started to go up, but even worse, the *perception* of crime was going up. The Detroit News had been running a campaign to whip up fear, which it called its Secret Witness campaign, and running constant headlines about rapes, murders, and muggings. These in turn had led to increased calls for more funds for the police, calls which inevitably contained a strong racial element and at least implicitly linked the perceived rise in crime to the ongoing Civil Rights movement. At this point the police in Detroit were ninety-three percent white, even though Detroit's population was over thirty percent Black. The Mayor and Police Commissioner were trying to bring in some modest reforms, but they weren't going anywhere near fast enough for the Black population who felt harassed and attacked by the police, but were still going too fast for the white people who were being whipped up into a state of terror about supposedly soft-on-crime policies, and for the police who felt under siege and betrayed by the politicians. And this wasn't the only problem affecting the city, and especially affecting Black people. Redlining and underfunded housing projects meant that the large Black population was being crammed into smaller and smaller spaces with fewer local amenities. A few Black people who were lucky enough to become rich -- many of them associated with Motown -- were able to move into majority-white areas, but that was just leading to white flight, and to an increase in racial tensions. The police were on edge after the murder of George Overman Jr, the son of a policeman, and though they arrested the killers that was just another sign that they weren't being shown enough respect. They started organising "blu flu"s -- the police weren't allowed to strike, so they'd claim en masse that they were off sick, as a protest against the supposed soft-on-crime administration. Meanwhile John Sinclair was organising "love-ins", gatherings of hippies at which new bands like the MC5 played, which were being invaded by gangs of bikers who were there to beat up the hippies. And the Detroit auto industry was on its knees -- working conditions had got bad enough that the mostly Black workforce organised a series of wildcat strikes. All in all, Detroit was looking less and less like somewhere that Berry Gordy wanted to stay, and the small LA subsidiary of Motown was rapidly becoming, in his head if nowhere else, the more important part of the company, and its future. He was starting to think that maybe he should leave all these ungrateful people behind in their dangerous city, and move the parts of the operation that actually mattered out to Hollywood. Stevie Wonder was, of course, one of the parts that mattered, but the pressure was on in 1967 to come up with a hit as big as his records from 1965 and early 66, before he'd been sidetracked down the ballad route. The song that was eventually released was one on which Stevie's mother, Lula Mae Hardaway, had a co-writing credit: [Excerpt: Stevie Wonder, "I Was Made to Love Her"] "I Was Made to Love Her" was inspired by Wonder's first love, a girl from the same housing projects as him, and he talked about the song being special to him because it was true, saying it "kind of speaks of my first love to a girl named Angie, who was a very beautiful woman... Actually, she was my third girlfriend but my first love. I used to call Angie up and, like, we would talk and say, 'I love you, I love you,' and we'd talk and we'd both go to sleep on the phone. And this was like from Detroit to California, right? You know, mother said, 'Boy, what you doing - get off the phone!' Boy, I tell you, it was ridiculous." But while it was inspired by her, like with many of the songs from this period, much of the lyric came from Moy -- her mother grew up in Arkansas, and that's why the lyric started "I was born in Little Rock", as *her* inspiration came from stories told by her parents. But truth be told, the lyrics weren't particularly detailed or impressive, just a standard story of young love. Rather what mattered in the record was the music. The song was structured differently from many Motown records, including most of Wonder's earlier ones. Most Motown records had a huge amount of dynamic variation, and a clear demarcation between verse and chorus. Even a record like "Dancing in the Street", which took most of its power from the tension and release caused by spending most of the track on one chord, had the release that came with the line "All we need is music", and could be clearly subdivided into different sections. "I Was Made to Love Her" wasn't like that. There was a tiny section which functioned as a middle eight -- and which cover versions like the one by the Beach Boys later that year tend to cut out, because it disrupts the song's flow: [Excerpt: Stevie Wonder, "I Was Made to Love Her"] But other than that, the song has no verse or chorus, no distinct sections, it's just a series of lyrical couplets over the same four chords, repeating over and over, an incessant groove that could really go on indefinitely: [Excerpt: Stevie Wonder, "I Was Made to Love Her"] This is as close as Motown had come at this point to the new genre of funk, of records that were just staying with one groove throughout. It wasn't a funk record, not yet -- it was still a pop-soul record, But what made it extraordinary was the bass line, and this is why I had to emphasise earlier that this was a record by the Funk Brothers, not the Wrecking Crew, no matter how much some Crew members may claim otherwise. As on most of Cosby's sessions, James Jamerson was given free reign to come up with his own part with little guidance, and what he came up with is extraordinary. This was at a time when rock and pop basslines were becoming a little more mobile, thanks to the influence of Jamerson in Detroit, Brian Wilson in LA, and Paul McCartney in London.  But for the most part, even those bass parts had been fairly straightforward technically -- often inventive, but usually just crotchets and quavers, still keeping rhythm along with the drums rather than in dialogue with them, roaming free rhythmically. Jamerson had started to change his approach, inspired by the change in studio equipment. Motown had upgraded to eight-track recording in 1965, and once he'd become aware of the possibilities, and of the greater prominence that his bass parts could have if they were recorded on their own track, Jamerson had become a much busier player. Jamerson was a jazz musician by inclination, and so would have been very aware of John Coltrane's legendary "sheets of sound", in which Coltrane would play fast arpeggios and scales, in clusters of five and seven notes, usually in semiquaver runs (though sometimes in even smaller fractions -- his solo in Miles Davis' "Straight, No Chaser" is mostly semiquavers but has a short passage in hemidemisemiquavers): [Excerpt: Miles Davis, "Straight, No Chaser"] Jamerson started to adapt the "sheets of sound" style to bass playing, treating the bass almost as a jazz solo instrument -- though unlike Coltrane he was also very, very concerned with creating something that people could tap their feet to. Much like James Brown, Jamerson was taking jazz techniques and repurposing them for dance music. The most notable example of that up to this point had been in the Four Tops' "Bernadette", where there are a few scuffling semiquaver runs thrown in, and which is a much more fluid part than most of his playing previously: [Excerpt: The Four Tops, "Bernadette"] But on "Bernadette", Jamerson had been limited by Holland, Dozier, and Holland, who liked him to improvise but around a framework they created. Cosby, on the other hand, because he had been a Funk Brother himself, was much more aware of the musicians' improvisational abilities, and would largely give them a free hand. This led to a truly remarkable bass part on "I Was Made to Love Her", which is somewhat buried in the single mix, but Marcus Miller did an isolated recreation of the part for the accompanying CD to a book on Jamerson, Standing in the Shadows of Motown, and listening to that you can hear just how inventive it is: [Excerpt: Marcus Miller, "I Was Made to Love Her"] This was exciting stuff -- though much less so for the touring musicians who went on the road with the Motown revues while Jamerson largely stayed in Detroit recording. Jamerson's family would later talk about him coming home grumbling because complaints from the touring musicians had been brought to him, and he'd been asked to play less difficult parts so they'd find it easier to replicate them on stage. "I Was Made to Love Her" wouldn't exist without Stevie Wonder, Hank Cosby, Sylvia Moy, or Lula Mae Hardaway, but it's James Jamerson's record through and through: [Excerpt: Stevie Wonder, "I Was Made to Love Her"] It went to number two on the charts, sat between "Light My Fire" at number one, and "All You Need is Love" at number three, with the Beatles song soon to overtake it and make number one itself. But within a few weeks of "I Was Made to Love Her" reaching its chart peak, things in Detroit would change irrevocably. On the 23rd of July, the police busted an illegal drinking den. They thought they were only going to get about twenty-five people there, but there turned out to be a big party on. They tried to arrest seventy-four people, but their wagon wouldn't fit them all in so they had to call reinforcements and make the arrestees wait around til more wagons arrived. A crowd of hundreds gathered while they were waiting. Someone threw a brick at a squad car window, a rumour went round that the police had bayonetted someone, and soon the city was in flames. Riots lasted for days, with people burning down and looting businesses, but what really made the situation bad was the police's overreaction. They basically started shooting at young Black men, using them as target practice, and later claiming they were snipers, arsonists, and looters -- but there were cases like the Algiers Motel incident, where the police raided a motel where several Black men, including the members of the soul group The Dramatics, were hiding out along with a few white women. The police sexually assaulted the women, and then killed three of the men for associating with white women, in what was described as a "lynching with bullets". The policemen in question were later acquitted of all charges. The National Guard were called in, as were Federal troops -- the 82nd Airborne Division, and the 101st Airborne from Clarksville, the division in which Jimi Hendrix had recently served. After four days of rioting, one of the bloodiest riots in US history was at an end, with forty-three people dead (of whom thirty-three were Black and only one was a policeman). Official counts had 1,189 people injured, and over 7,200 arrests, almost all of them of Black people. A lot of the histories written later say that Black-owned businesses were spared during the riots, but that wasn't really the case. For example, Joe's Record Shop, owned by Joe Von Battle, who had put out the first records by C.L. Franklin and his daughter Aretha, was burned down, destroying not only the stock of records for sale but the master tapes of hundreds of recordings of Black artists, many of them unreleased and so now lost forever. John Lee Hooker, one of the artists whose music Von Battle had released, soon put out a song, "The Motor City is Burning", about the events: [Excerpt: John Lee Hooker, "The Motor City is Burning"] But one business that did remain unburned was Motown, with the Hitsville studio going untouched by flames and unlooted. Motown legend has this being down to the rioters showing respect for the studio that had done so much for Detroit, but it seems likely to have just been luck. Although Motown wasn't completely unscathed -- a National Guard tank fired a shell through the building, leaving a gigantic hole, which Berry Gordy saw as soon as he got back from a business trip he'd been on during the rioting. That was what made Berry Gordy decide once and for all that things needed to change. Motown owned a whole row of houses near the studio, which they used as additional office space and for everything other than the core business of making records. Gordy immediately started to sell them, and move the admin work into temporary rented space. He hadn't announced it yet, and it would be a few years before the move was complete, but from that moment on, the die was cast. Motown was going to leave Detroit and move to Hollywood.

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Classless Threadz
Episode 30 - Classless Threadz Presents Lyrically Inclined Poetry Slam and Open Mic | Cité des Arts, Lafayette, La - October 18, 2022

Classless Threadz

Play Episode Listen Later Oct 20, 2022 119:35


1/3 of our Classless Threadz dais is PoeticSoul aka Alex Johnson, whose organization, Lyrically Inclined, encourages the use of Spoken Word Poetry as a tool to express emotion, develop higher levels of literacy and performance, raising self awareness and strive to achieve lyrically in these times. This is from the October 18, 2022 edition held at Cite' Des Arts, Lafayette, La. (visual version available at this link) https://Linktr.ee/ClasslessThreadz ClasslessThreadz@gmail.com @Moose_Harris @PoeticSoul337 @IAmKenEdwards @LyricallyInclined337 --- This episode is sponsored by · Anchor: The easiest way to make a podcast. https://anchor.fm/app --- Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/classlessthreadz/message Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/classlessthreadz/support

1-On-1 Music Review
Don Yute interviews w/Dr Empress Rose

1-On-1 Music Review

Play Episode Listen Later Oct 15, 2022 45:21


Lyrically acclaimed Artist of the World, Don Yute does not miss a beat. With a career that spans more than 2 decades, he maintains a quality crafted catalog to match his exuberant personality. His work-ethic emphasizes his meticulous talent, to continuously produce soul-searching top-shelf productions. His latest, "Blood on the Streets" single release confirms his relevance in an ever-changing music industry. Please check out the complete interview, feedback is welcomed!

HEAVY Music Interviews
Knuckling Down With SEAN MAGUIRE From SOUTH OF SIDEWAYS

HEAVY Music Interviews

Play Episode Listen Later Oct 13, 2022 6:30


After forming towards the end of 2019 and releasing their promising debut single The Light You Promised, Gold Coast heavy rock outfit South Of Sideways - as did everyone else - fell victim to COVID and the ensuing lockdowns and basically had their career crippled at the knees before it had even had time to gestate.Rather than bemoan what might have been, the band knuckled down and wrote new tracks to unleash on the other side of lockdowns and hit the ground running with their second single Consequences. The song showed a more refined side to the band's sound while still maintaining the contrast of light and shade within their music that helped make South Of Sideways a band to watch from the outset.On October 14 they return with their third single Closer To Nowhere, yet another step forward in a musical education which began in earnest more than two years ago.Vocalist Sean Maguire joined HEAVY to chat about the song. "It's a pretty complicated song for us," Maguire measured. "When we first started writing - we got together three years ago - the songs were quite basic. Over the years through COVID and other things we progressed as a band and this song has a lot of moving parts to it. The producer that we've got at the moment, Kalen is really helping us out as well. We're pretty proud of it. Lyrically it's about a bloke who has a near death experience and woke up one day and realised that climbing the corporate ladder and making as much money as you can is just not that important any more. He's trying to change his life around and concentrate on things that's important to him. Like being happy, and love, and family and stuff like that."In the full interview, Sean talks more about the musical nature of the song, how it differs from previous releases, the light and shade inherent in the band's music, whether the song is part of a bigger picture or a stand alone release, surviving COVID and more.

Classless Threadz
Episode 28 - Classless Threadz Presents: Lyrically Inclined Poetry Slam and Open Mic - Cité des Arts, Lafayette, La, September 20, 2022

Classless Threadz

Play Episode Listen Later Oct 10, 2022 105:17


21 Poems...... 1/3 of our Classless Threadz dais is PoeticSoul aka Alex Johnson, whose organization, Lyrically Inclined, encourages the use of Spoken Word Poetry as a tool to express emotion, develop higher levels of literacy and performance, raising self awareness and strive to achieve lyrically in these times. This is from the September 20, 2022 edition held at Cite' Des Arts, Lafayette, La. 8 Slammers, 4 Open Mic Explorers. 21 Poems total. https://Linktr.ee/ClasslessThreadz ClasslessThreadz@gmail.com @Moose_Harris @PoeticSoul337 @IAmKenEdwards @LyricallyInclined337 --- This episode is sponsored by · Anchor: The easiest way to make a podcast. https://anchor.fm/app --- Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/classlessthreadz/message Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/classlessthreadz/support

The Sophisticatedly Ratchet Podcast
Lyrically speaking: 6 song you need to build a love making playlist

The Sophisticatedly Ratchet Podcast

Play Episode Listen Later Oct 5, 2022 91:03


Salutation, SR Tribe! Welcome, and thank you for coming back for another hearty serving of The Sophisticatedly Ratchet Podcast, giving the real in a world of fake. As a Tribe, we all share different interests and different backgrounds, but one thing we all have in common is a love for music! So in today's episode, Flash, “The Philosopher,” leads the team in moderation as we discuss music and the power of lyrics. Music produces a kind of pleasure that human nature cannot do without. Music is the language of the spirit. It opens the secret of life bringing peace, and abolishing strife. So we here to talk our shit, share favorite songs, and albums, and we even put together a sexy playlist available on Spotify SR - Songs for Love Making Playlist. Pull up a chair and join as we discuss Lyrically Speaking- SR Perfect Playlists   TJ Chakra Alignment: Red Singing Bowl The root chakra, or Muladhara, is located at the base of your spine. It provides you with a base or foundation for life, and it helps you feel grounded and able to withstand challenges. Your root chakra is responsible for your sense of security and stability.  Shake's Word of the Week: Forte (noun) - a thing at which someone excels Song Playlist here: Spotify SR - Songs for Love Making Playlist   Tribe's Favorite Songs: Flash The Philosopher”: Canibus “I'll Buss ‘Em You Punish “Em” Shake: Carl Thomas “ I Wish” | Lauryn Hill “Doo Wop” | Notorious BIG “Warning” Sly Boogie: Jadakiss “Kiss of Death” SPEWgod DripDrip: David Sabastian “The Light” | Eminem “Real Slim Shady” Lil Moe: Lauryn Hill “Zion” | Kanye West “Can't Tell Me Nothing” | Mary J. Blige “Be Happy” TJ Ice Queen: Pandora, Itunes, Spotify shuffler…    Tribe's Favorite Album: TJ Ice Queen: Notorious BIG “Life After Death” Shake: Nas “Stillmatic” Flash The Philosopher”: Kanye West “Late Registration” Spewgod Drip Drip: Lupe Fiasco “Food and Liquor”   What Song tells the Best Story Flash The Philosopher” Lost Boyz “Renee” SPEWgod DripDrip: R Kelly “Trapped in the Closet Saga” Lil Moe Notorious BIG “Story to Tell” Sly Boogie: Nas “Rewind” | Eminem “Stan” Shake: Slick Rick “Children Story”   What Songs you play for Love making - Funny how time flys by Janet Jackson  Say it by Neyo Tonight by John Legend TP2 by R Kelly Mirror by Neyo Fancy By Dream Love hate album by Dream Satina by Jenai Aiko Ari Lennox Shea butter What it's made for by Usher Doing it by LLCoolJ Dot com by Usher Naked by Ella mae Motivation Kelly Roland How does it feel by Maxwell Love faces by Trey Songz Signs of love making Tyrese   For more information about the show, click here: https://linktr.ee/SoRatchetPodcast Don't forget to like, subscribe, follow, comment & share us with a friend. Catch us LIVE on YouTube every FIRST WEDNESDAY of the month at 9 pm EST, we can't wait to connect with you. Please remember to follow us on the following social media platforms: Youtube - SoRatchet Podcast  IG - @SoRatchetPodcast  TikTok- @SoRatchetPodcast Twitter - @TheSRPod Let us know your thoughts on the episode, do you agree or disagree, and tell us how you really feel - Please email us at SoRatchetPodcast@gmail.com. Thanks for joining the TRIBE!!!!

The 11th Hour: A Rancid Podcast
Episode 20: Poison

The 11th Hour: A Rancid Podcast

Play Episode Listen Later Sep 15, 2022 36:12


The 11th Hour: A Rancid Podcast Presented by Foxy Digitalis. Going back into Rancid 2000, the guys dig into the real tipping point track from the record, “Poison.” The combination of visceral intensity, 100 mph Matt Freeman runs, and a childlike, all-time hook is a microcosm for what makes it such an all-time album. Lyrically and vocally, Tim really pushes himself, but we still gotta ask, who the fuck is Chancer? Song of the Week - Poison: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Ja5j89ClB8 Contact us at @rancidpod on twitter and instagram! Listen to older episodes: https://rancidpod.cast.rocks/ RSS Feed: http://rancidpod.cast.rocks/feed.xml Brad Rose is the the principal writer and editor-in-chief of Foxy Digitalis, an online music magazine and has run various DIY record labels for the last 30 years. foxydigitalis.zone patreon.com/foxydigitalis twitter: @foxydigitalis Sam Melancon runs Debacle Records, an experimental record label out of Seattle, WA. debaclerecords.com twitter: @debaclerecords

Faux Reel Podcast
North by Current with Angelo Madsen Minax

Faux Reel Podcast

Play Episode Listen Later Sep 12, 2022 29:04


After the inconclusive death of his young niece, filmmaker Angelo Madsen Minax returns to his rural Michigan hometown, preparing to make a film about a broken criminal justice system. Instead, he pivots to excavate the depths of generational addiction, Christian fervor, and trans embodiment. Lyrically assembled images, decades of home movies, and ethereal narration form an idiosyncratic and poetic undertow that guide a viewer through lifetimes and relationships. Like the relentless Michigan seasons, the meaning of family shifts, as Madsen, his sister, and his parents strive tirelessly to accept each other. Poised to incite more internal searching than provide clear statements or easy answers, NORTH BY CURRENT is a visual rumination on the understated relationships between mothers and children, truths and myths, losses and gains. In this episode Madsen and Dawn discuss how trust was built in his family in making this film, the link (or lack thereof) between gender transition and death, and how you cope when having to discuss and relive traumatic events many times over. TW: Death, substance abuse Follow the film: Website: http://www.northbycurrent.com/ Instagram: @angelomadsen Watch: https://www.justwatch.com/us/movie/north-by-current

Laughing with Gingers Podcast
Bonus Episode! Lyrically Challenged | Do you know the REAL words to the songs you're singing?

Laughing with Gingers Podcast

Play Episode Listen Later Sep 2, 2022 44:33


Do you know the real lyrics or are you one of the millions of people who are singing something totally different from the song? Kristina quizzes Sara on lyrics, one of her self-proclaimed problem areas (remember what Sara admitted she used to sing instead of, "There's a bad moon on the rise!" along with Creedence Clearwater Revival?). Oh boy, this could go either way... Get premium content — watch the videos of episodes (see all the crazy stuff the ladies are doing and what our guests are wearing to be "honorary redheads"), get gifts, join us for Laughy Hours, hang with the ladies, have fun, and so much more! Starting at $3/month. patreon.com/laughingwithgingersFollow, rate, and review Laughing with Gingers on your preferred podcast platform and follow us on Instagram @laughingwithgingersGet your Laughing with Gingers Merch! laughingwithgingers.com This episode is brought to you by...Chill Paws, Pet CBD Chill Paws, human-grade CBD for your furry pals (use GINGERS20 for a discount!)BarkBox Monthly themed box of toys, treats, and unleashed joy, designed to satisfy every dog's playstyleCanva Unique and easy design for podcast hosts, business owners, and everyday lifeSprout Creative LA Marketing for heart-centered businesses; grow your potential through smart marketingDistrict Bliss A community of business owners; get the support you need to skyrocket your business with ease! Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase, I may receive a commission at no extra cost to you.

The Guys Review
Nirvana, Nevermind

The Guys Review

Play Episode Listen Later Aug 29, 2022 104:59


Nirvana, Nevermind Welcome to The Guys Review, where we review media, products and experiences.  **READ APPLE REVIEWS/Fan Mail**Mention Twitter DM group - like pinned tweet @The_GuysReviewRead emails theguysreviewpod@gmail.com Nirvana Nevermind​ Produced by Butch Vig. Kurt CobainKrist NovoselicDave GrohlReleased September 24, 1991 Budget $65,000 ($141,394.57 in 2022) Rating: google users: 96% RYM 3.95/5. ON spotify Nirvana has around 24M listerner a month. On Youtube Nevermind album has 4,9M views  Nevermind is the second studio album by the american grunge band Nirvana, released on September 24, 1991 by DGC Records. It was Nirvana's first release on a major label and the first to feature drummer Dave Grohl.Produced by Butch Vig, Nevermind features a more polished, radio-friendly sound then the band's prior work. Recording took place at Sound city studio in Van Nuys, California, and smart studios in Madison Wisconsin in May and June -91, with mastering being completed in August of that year st The Mastering Lab, California.Written primarily by frontman Kurt Cobain, the album is noted for channeling a range of emotions, being noted as dark, humorous, and disturbing. Thematically, it includes anti-establishment views, anti-sexism, Frustration, alienation and troubled love inspired by Cobain's broken relationship with Bikini kill's Toby Vail. Contrary to the popular hedonistic themes of drugs and sex at the time, writers have observed that Nevermind re-invigorated sensitivity to mainstream rock. According to Cobain, the sound of the album was influenced by bands such as Pixies, R.E.M, The Smithereens, and the Melvins. While the album is considered a cornerstone of the grunge genre, it is noted for its musical diversity, which includes acoustic ballads ("Polly" and "´Something in the way") and Punk-inspired Hard Rock("Territorial Pissings" and "Stay Away"). Nevermind became an unexpected critical and commercial success, charting highly on charts across the world. By January 1992, it reached number one on the US Billboard 200 and was selling approximately 300,000 copies a week. The lead single "Smells like teen spirit" reached the top 10 of the US Billboard Hot 100 and went on to be inducted into the Grammy hall of fame. Its video was also heavily rotated on MTV. Three other successful singles were released: "Come as you Are", "Lithium", and "In Bloom". The album was voted the best album of the year in Pass & Jop critics' poll, while "Smells Like Teen Spirit" also topped the single of the year and video of the year polls. The album also garnered the band three Grammy Award nominations in total across the 34th and 35th Grammy Awards, including Best Alternative music album. AwardsHere cometh thine shiny awards Sire. My Lord Tucker the Wanker second Earl of Wessex. Lord of the Furries. Heir of Lord baldy the one eyed snake wrestler. Protector of Freedom units. Step Sibling with funny feelings down stairs. Entertainer of uncles. Jailor of innocent. Spanker of innocent milk maids and stable boys. Nirvana has 1 win and 6 Nominations NominationsBest Alternative Music AlbumNevermind (Album)Wins Best Alternative Music PerformanceMTV Unplugged In New York  Tracks1) "Smells Like Teen Spirit" Written by: Kurt Cobain, Krist Novoselic, Dave Grohl 5:01 Released September 10, 1991 as the lead single for the album.-One of the catchiest intro hooks of all time.-Very nonsensical and def full of contradictions; but it give the feeling of angst its supposed to.-Cobain said it was an attempt to write a song in the style of the Pixies, a band he admired:"I was trying to write the ultimate pop song. I was basically trying to rip off the Pixies. I have to admit it. When I heard the Pixies for the first time, I connected with that band so heavily that I should have been in that band—or at least a Pixies cover band. We used their sense of dynamics, being soft and quiet and then loud and hard."When Cobain presented the song to his bandmates, it comprised just the main guitar riff and the chorus vocal melody. Cobain said the riff was "clichéd", similar to a riff by Boston or the Richard Berry song "Louie Louie". Bassist Krist Novoselic dismissed it as "ridiculous"; in response, Cobain made the band play it for an hour and a half. Eventually, Novoselic began playing it more slowly, inspiring drummer Dave Grohl to create the drum beat, which drew from disco artists like The Gap Band. As a result, it is the only song on Nevermind to credit all three band members as writers. 2) "In Bloom" Written by Kurt Cobain 4:14 Released November 30, 1992 "In Bloom" was released as the album's fourth and final single in November 1992-The lyrics are just making fun of listeners who don't understand what Cobain is talking about. Never realized that.-I like to visualization and juxtaposition of the clean cut 50's style band to them wearing dresses and tearing everything up.-According to the 1993 Nirvana biography Come As You Are by Michael Azerrad, "In Bloom" was originally written about "the jocks and shallow mainstream types" of the underground music scene the band began to find in their audience after the release of their 1989 debut album, Bleach. In his biography of Cobain, Heavier Than Heaven, Charles R. Cross asserted that the song was a "thinly disguised portrait" of Cobain's friend Dylan Carlson. 3) "Come As You Are" Written by Kurt Cobain 3:38 Released March 2, 1992 as the second single from Nevermind.-Great song, all of the intros are very catchy and pull you in.-Interesting visuals in the music video... Lots of sperm swimming around and flowing water.-The origin of the song's title is unclear, but Charles R. Cross speculated the song may have been named after a motto used by the Morck Hotel in Cobain's hometown of Aberdeen, Washington. The Morck was one of many places Cobain stayed in after leaving home for a time while he was seventeen years old 4) "Breed" written by Kurt Cobain 3:03 Released September 24, 1991-Much heavier sound than the previous tracks. High energy and poppy.-Reading the lyrics, it is a bunch of just nonsense.-Lyrically, the song addresses themes of teenage apathy and fear within the American middle-class. Stevie Chick of Kerrang wrote that lyrics such as "We can plant a house, we can build a tree" displayed Cobain's "gift for crafting witty, purposeful nonsense. 5) "Lithium" written Kurt Cobain 4:16 Released July 13, 1992 as the third single from Nevermind.-Very chilled vibe from the previous tracks-It's still got a LOT of energy in the YEAH parts that gets hard.-As Cobain explained, "In the song, a guy's lost his girl and his friends and he's brooding. He's decided to find God before he kills himself. It's hard for me to understand the need for a vice like [religion] but I can appreciate it too. People need vices.” 6) "Polly" written by Kurt Cobain 2:57 Released September 24, 1991-Very downtrodden song. considering the content, not surprising.-This is a really dark song. Jesus.-Cobain wrote "Polly" about an incident in Tacoma, Washington involving the abduction and rape of a 14-year-old girl in August 1987. Gerald Arthur Friend kidnapped the girl while she was leaving a rock concert, suspended her upside down from a pulley in his mobile home and raped and tortured her with a blow torch. She managed to escape by jumping from his truck at a gas station, attracting attention from surrounding people. Arthur was later arrested and convicted for his crimes. Cobain's addition to the story was to have the victim fool the kidnapper into thinking she was enjoying what he was doing to her, causing him to let his guard down long enough for her to escape.-In his Nirvana biography Come As You Are, journalist Michael Azerrad noted that rape seemed to be a consistent theme in Cobain's songs and interviews, as if Cobain was "apologizing for his entire gender." However, Cobain explained, "I don't feel bad about being a man at all. There are all kinds of men that are on the side of the woman and support them and help influence other men. In fact, a man using himself as an example toward other men can probably make more impact than a woman can". 7) "Territorial Pissings" written by Kurt Cobain and Chet Powers. 2:22-Very punk and heavy.-I have no idea how Kurt would be able to perform this song live... It hurts my voice hearing his guttural screams.-this song is a two-and-a-half-minute punk lambasting of the typical "Macho Man." In addition to being about sexism, the song is also about the way Kurt Cobain saw Native Americans treated around his home town of Aberdeen, Washington. 8) "Drain You" written by Kurt Cobain 3:43 Released September 24, 1991 as a promotional single-
Good song, musically in the same category as the more popular Nirvana tracks. Heavy, but simple and poppy.-The strangest "love" song I've ever heard.-In the 1993 Nirvana biography Come As You Are: The Story of Nirvana, Michael Azerrad described "Drain You" as "a love song, or rather a song about love," in which the babies in the lyrics "represent two people reduced to a state of perfect innocence by their love." Cobain told Azerrad that the lyrics made him think of "two brat kids who are in the same hospital bed." The song's imagery predicted the medical themes that would feature heavily in the lyrics of Nirvana's following album, In Utero.-According to the 2001 Cobain biography Heavier Than Heaven by Charles Cross, "Drain You" was one of "a half dozen...memorable songs" Cobain wrote following his break-up with American musician, Tobi Vail, in November 1990. Cross described the lyric, "It is now my duty to completely drain you," as "both an acknowledgement of the power [Vail] had over [Cobain] and an indictment." 9) "Lounge Act" written by Kurt Cobain 2:36-Super bass heavy.-It reminds me of Offspring sound-This is a song about heartache in a relationship.-The title comes from the fact that Nirvana thought that the bass intro sounded like something a cheesy lounge band would use.-This is the only song Kurt Cobain admitted was about his much maligned ex-girlfriend, Tobi Vail. 10) "Stay Away" written by Kurt Cobain 3:32-Very punk inspired-Pretty simple and to the point; confusion and agitation, easier to push people away than try to explain things to them.-Again, no idea how he would be able to sing anything else after this song. Dang.-Originally titled Pay To Play, this song appears to be about many things, including annoyance ("stay away"), lack of popularity ("I'd rather be dead than cool"), and predictability in people ("every line ends in a rhyme"). 11) "On a Plain" written by Kurt Cobain 3:16. Released on the album in September 1991, released as a promotional single in 1992.-Very much in the vein of the other tracks. Again, somewhat nonsensical, but still angsty and full of energy-Good track, I remember the single.-In a July 1993 interview in New York City, Cobain told English journalist Jon Savage that "On a Plain" was about "classic alienation, I guess," although he then noted he had to change his explanation every time he was asked about the meaning to his songs, saying that his lyrics were largely taken from "pieces of poetry thrown together," and that his poetry was "not usually thematic at all." 12) "Something in the Way" written by Kurt Cobain 3:52-Very downtrodden and depressing-Very heavy and moody-Doesn't have the explosive energy the other tracks did. But it's still solid and full of feeling.-Never released as a single and never a consistent part of the band's live setlist, "Something in the Way" charted for the first time in August 2020, after appearing in the first trailer for the 2022 superhero film, The Batman. The song peaked at number two on Billboard's US Rock Digital Songs Sales chart, and number five on their US Alternative Digital Songs Sales charts.[2] It also reached the top 20 in both Amazon Music's and iTunes' digital music charts-Cobain himself suggested that the song was not necessarily autobiographical, telling Nirvana biographer Michael Azerrad that the lyrics were "like if I was living under the bridge and I was dying of AIDS, if I was sick and I couldn't move and I was a total street person. That was kind of the fantasy of it". 13) "Endless, Nameless" written by Kurt Cobain-Very heavy and chaotic-I honestly don't know if I've ever heard this one before, but I'm not a fan of it... I don't like jam bandy type music. Sounds like they're just making noise.-According to Come As You Are, Cobain himself was unsure of what he was singing during the performance, but believed the lyrics included the lines, "I think I can, I know I can."-According to author Chuck Crisafulli, the song's placement on Nevermind was in part inspired by the use of hidden tracks by the Beatles, such as "Her Majesty" on their 1969 album, Abbey Road. **TRIPLE LINDY AWARD** **REVIEW AND RATING** TOP 5Stephen:1 Breakfast club2 T23 Sandlot4color out of space5 Mail order brides Chris:1. sandlots2. T23. trick r treat4. rocky horror picture show5. hubie halloween Trey:1) Boondocks Saints2) Mail Order Brides3) Tombstone4) Very bad things5) She out of my league  Tucker:1. T22: Tombstone4: My Cousin Vinny5: John WickNational treasure WHAT ARE WE DOING NEXT WEEK? Web: https://theguysreview.simplecast.com/EM: theguysreviewpod@gmail.comIG: @TheGuysReviewPodTW: @The_GuysReview - Twitter DM groupFB: https://facebook.com/TheGuysReviewPod/YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCYKXJhq9LbQ2VfR4K33kT9Q Please, Subscribe, rate and review us wherever you get your podcasts from!! Thank you,-The Guys

Hops & Bops Podcast
Hey Arnold | Ep 099 | Arnold Palmer Spiked x The Menzingers

Hops & Bops Podcast

Play Episode Listen Later Aug 28, 2022 84:15


piano ten thousand leaves project
Illuminating Lyrically Beautiful Landscapes And Cityscapes - #3152 By Chair House 08012022

piano ten thousand leaves project

Play Episode Listen Later Jul 31, 2022 2:30


#3152, Aug. 1, 2022: illuminating lyrically beautiful landscapes and cityscapes (this title is from "An Introduction to Ukiyo-e, in English and Japanese") Today's pure primal piano music here. Happy if this music makes you feel peaceful.. : ) Looking for absolute natural beauty every day for Piano Ten Thousand Leaves. Target number is 4536 and 3152(69.5%) achieved today. Find my project.. : ) This piece may might have good 1/f fluctuation characteristic although I stopped investigating it each piece. ######## NEW 21th SELECTION ALBUM JUST RELEASED ######## "Giouji Temple Feeling Love" - the 21st selection album of piano ten thousand leaves Youtube: Full(20 songs, 50 minutes) and Free 4K Video with Super Beautiful Motion Graphics of Artgrid https://youtu.be/Zq9Oksqf4rw spotify https://open.spotify.com/album/5JDlSrZ6wltF3ouIXsr4U2 apple music https://music.apple.com/jp/album/1615911988 iTunes https://music.apple.com/jp/album/1615911988?app=itunes amazon music https://www.amazon.co.jp/s?k=chair+house+%E7%A5%87%E7%8E%8B%E5%AF%BA%E3%81%AE%E6%83%B3%E3%81%84+-+%E3%83%94%E3%82%A2%E3%83%8E%E4%B8%87%E8%91%89%E9%9B%86+-+%E7%AC%AC21%E9%81%B8&i=digital-music&ref=nb_sb_noss_2 Line Music https://music.line.me/webapp/album/mb000000000266d79e AWA https://s.awa.fm/album/0d40ec976ca707691d13 Other Every music streaming services in the world https://linkco.re/ECPuRp77

Messy Truths Podcast
Lyrically Correct | Game Edition

Messy Truths Podcast

Play Episode Listen Later Jul 21, 2022 52:45


Get ready for a wild, music-themed game edition episode of Messy Truths hosted by Azar. This week, the ladies played Lyrically Correct, a black-owned, 90s and 2000s hip-hop and R&B trivia game that brought out the fiercest competition from all participants.  The hostesses were joined by very special guest singer, songwriter and producer, August Rigo, who is the magic behind the biggest names in music today (e.g. BTS, Chris Brown, Justin Bieber, Ginette Claudette, Kehlani, and One Direction). This was a crazy episode! Nesha joined the podcast from London and she might have been just a tad drunk. Mar got a little hostile and cray, cray. And August showed everyone why he is a triple threat in the music industry.  ********** If you're enjoying the show, please leave a review and rate the show on your streaming platform, especially on Apple. It would be greatly appreciated. Also, please share an episode with your friends and interact with us on Instagram. ********** If you like this episode, here are some others you might enjoy directly on our website: Fluster | Game Edition  Are You A Good Liar   Convo & Chill | Game Edition   ********** Connect! Website: www.messytruthspodcast.com IG: @messytruthspodcast   #lyricallycorrect #lyricallycorrectchallenge #90srandb #2000srandb #90shiphop #90srandb #augustrigo #bts #chrisbrown #justinbieber   

DIVA DAILIES
"PCD" (2005): PUSSYCAT DOLLS - Era Review | Diva Discography {Part 2}

DIVA DAILIES

Play Episode Listen Later Jul 20, 2022 96:18


Welcome back to PART 2 of our Pussycat Dolls' “PCD” journey. In this episode, Angie (@poetrysoul3) and Steffi (@inn_mho) break down the era! In our Era Breakdown episodes, we give context and explain where Diva Dailies was at this point in their career and why they made this particular album. We then talk about the glaringly obvious, unequal power dynamics and how that ultimately played into the Pussycat Doll's demise. We also try to solve one of the GREATEST POP MYSTERIES: Why did Nicole Scherzinger never make it as a solo artist? We then get into a deep dive into the genius marketing behind the group and some of our personal favorite marketing/promo they did during the era. And as per usual, we share our favorite music videos, live performances, and end the episode reflecting on the ultimate impact that the Pussycat Dolls' “PCD” had in music and the girl group pantheon.Again, this is part 2 of the conversation! So make sure you listen to part 1 where we discussed the album track by track.We hope you enjoyed our Pussycat Dolls' “PCD” journey!Album Info: PCD is the debut studio album by American girl group The Pussycat Dolls, released on September 12, 2005, by A&M Records. In 1993, the Pussycat Dolls was created as a burlesque troupe by choreographer Robin Antin. After attracting media attention, Antin struck a joint venture with Interscope Records to develop the Pussycat Dolls into a brand, with Jimmy Iovine assigning the project to Ron Fair. As one of the executive producers Fair produced the majority of the album and collaborated with producers like Kwamé, Polow da Don and Rich Harrison. The music style of PCD was described as pop/R&B and urban dance-pop. Lyrically the album incorporates sexual innuendo and explores the themes of feminism and romance. It features guest vocals from rappers Busta Rhymes, Timbaland and will.i.am.*Email us for show notes: divadailiespod@gmail.com*Twitter & Instagram: @divadailiespod*YouTube: Diva Dailies PodcastSTEFFI'S SOCIAL MEDIA:*Twitter & Instagram: @inn_mho*YouTube: innmyhumbleopinionANGIE'S SOCIAL MEDIA:*Twitter: @poetrysoul3*YouTube: Sleepy Nerd ProductionsTIME STAMPS:- Housekeeping (01:09)Era Breakdown (03:20)- Pop Corn & Pop Stars (04:12)- Spill the Technicolor Tea (16:38)- But We Need the Audience to Buy the Album (48:21)- Video Killed the Radio Star (63:48)- The Mic Is On (79:11)- Show Me the Receipts (84:02)- Impact/ Closing Thoughts (87:22)- Preview Next Week's Episode (94:10)

DIVA DAILIES
"PCD" (2005): PUSSYCAT DOLLS - Track by Track Review | Diva Discography {Part 1}

DIVA DAILIES

Play Episode Listen Later Jul 13, 2022 82:46


It's time to grab your pink boas, black heels, and chunky belts because we are talking about one of our favorite girl group divas from the 2000s: the Pussycat Dolls. In this episode of Diva Dailies, Angie (@poetrysoul3) and Steffi (@inn_mho) review the Pussycat Dolls' debut album entitled, “PCD” (2005). As we do in all of our Diva Discography episodes, part 1 is an in-depth review and discussion on EVERY SINGLE TRACK of the album. We then end our conversation sharing our Top 3 favorite songs from the album, 1 song we'd cut, and the underrated gem. Make sure you tune in next week for part 2 when we talk about the PCD era.Album Info: PCD is the debut studio album by American girl group The Pussycat Dolls, released on September 12, 2005, by A&M Records. In 1993, the Pussycat Dolls was created as a burlesque troupe by choreographer Robin Antin. After attracting media attention, Antin struck a joint venture with Interscope Records to develop the Pussycat Dolls into a brand, with Jimmy Iovine assigning the project to Ron Fair. As one of the executive producers Fair produced the majority of the album and collaborated with producers like Kwamé, Polow da Don and Rich Harrison. The music style of PCD was described as pop/R&B and urban dance-pop. Lyrically the album incorporates sexual innuendo and explores the themes of feminism and romance. It features guest vocals from rappers Busta Rhymes, Timbaland and will.i.am.*Email us for show notes: divadailiespod@gmail.com*Twitter & Instagram: @divadailiespod*YouTube: Diva Dailies PodcastSTEFFI'S SOCIAL MEDIA:*Twitter & Instagram: @inn_mho*YouTube: innmyhumbleopinionANGIE'S SOCIAL MEDIA:*Twitter: @poetrysoul3*YouTube: Sleepy Nerd ProductionsEPISODE TIME STAMPS:- Housekeeping (01:00)- Friendly Reminder to Review the Pod! (01:14)- Listener Feedback (02:59)- Oscar & Razzie Moment of the Week (03:55)- Opening Discussions: Album Intro (15:37)- Opening Discussions: Who Are the Pussycat Dolls? Group Origins? (18:01)- Opening Discussions: Our First Listening Experience & Initial Impressions (26:18)Track by Track Review- Don't Cha (33:37)- Beep (40:44)- Wait a Minute (45:30)- Stickwitu (48:03)- Buttons (53:30)- I Don't Need a Man (57:53)- Hot Stuff [I Want You Back] (60:42)- How Many Times How Many Lies (64:43)- Bite the Dust (68:02)- Right Now (69:12)- Tainted Love/ Where Did Our Love Go (72:37)- Feelin' Good (75:27)Rapid Fire Round- Top 3 Fave Songs (78:30)- 1 Song to Cut (79:41)- Underrated Gem (80:11)- Closing Thoughts (80:36)

Bringin' it Backwards
Interview with Drew Green

Bringin' it Backwards

Play Episode Listen Later Jul 7, 2022 39:50


We had the pleasure of interviewing Drew Green over Zoom video.As a McMinnville, Tennessee, native, Drew Green grew up just beyond earshot of Nashville's storied country music industry. Now, after years of thriving as one of Music Row's most prolific songwriters, the singer is poised for an equally fruitful artist career. With his debut track, "Little More Be Alright," Green counts the blessings of his well-earned success. Lyrically, it's a prayer of sorts — he gives thanks for what he has, while acknowledging that there's always room for more when it comes to time spent with loved ones.Drew Green got his start as a songwriter -- including penning a Florida Georgia Line cut "Colorado" with HARDY and Hunter Phelps (FGL, Chase Rice). Drew just released a new single, "Good Ol' Man," a heartwarming track about being the best father and husband he can for his family. The song has received an overwhelming response on TikTok with over 13M total views on all “Good Ol' Man” posts, while he's nearly tripled his total follower count.We want to hear from you! Please email Tera@BringinitBackwards.com.www.BringinitBackwards.com#podcast #interview #bringinbackpod #DrewGreen #GoodOlMan #NewMusic #zoom Listen & Subscribe to BiB https://www.bringinitbackwards.com/follow/ Follow our podcast on Instagram and Twitter! https://www.facebook.com/groups/bringinbackpod

The Big Album Show
Fáilte Isteach by Imlé (Interview)

The Big Album Show

Play Episode Listen Later Jun 25, 2022 45:23


IMLÉ - an unconventional band with a unique sound all performed in the Irish Language - return with their second album entitled Fáilte Isteach.The album is a follow-up to 2017's self-titled debut IMLÉ which was described as "a ray of hope for the future of newly-composed music in Irish" by Nós.ie. Spearheaded by duo Pádraig 'MC Muipéad' Ó Conghaile (rapper, singer, lyricist, synths & producer) & Cian Mac Cárthaigh (guitar, bass, beats & producer), Fáilte Isteach sees Ó Conghaile & Mac Cárthaigh working with an eclectic group of musicians who make up the latest incarnation of the IMLÉ collective.Regular contributors Karl Odlum (Producer & multi-instrumentalist), Fergal Moloney (singer-songwriter & producer) & David Hingerty (Drummer & percussionist) return and are joined by bi-lingual vocalist, composer & songwriter Ríona Sally Hartman and Conamara native Róisín Seoighe, who began life as a Sean Nós singer but who is now writes & sings her own newly composed material in Irish, as well as Ross Whyte a Scottish composer, sound artist and one half of Scottish Gael Electronica duo WHYTE. Lyrically the album covers many different themes - from a call to action against intolerance, xenophobia & racism (Dúiseann Muid Suas) to the highly unrealistic environment of social media with imagery & profiles depicting perfection (ÉAD) but ultimately the message of the album is to celebrate the small beautiful things, the everyday and a shared life - as expressed on their first single from the album Do Chuid Jeans. The melting pot of musical styles & perspectives creates a body of work that mixes Hip-Hop, Indie, RnB, Trip-Hop and Dance music amongst other genres but ultimately results in a sound that is unique to IMLÉ. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

Unforgettable Presentations
Ep. 146 How To Speak Lyrically With Wintley Phipps

Unforgettable Presentations

Play Episode Listen Later Jun 9, 2022 55:44


What can speakers learn from an award-winning vocalist? Darren and Mark find out from Wintley Phipps, an internationally known singer who has performed for millions, including Mother Teresa, Nelson Mandela, and five American presidents. Wintley dispenses wisdom on identifying the lyrical musicality in our voices, using our voices with purpose, and employing language that will be remembered and repeated. These techniques will help any speaker to speak lyrically and be unforgettable. Snippets: Your voice is an instrument of purpose There is great musicality in your speaking voice, develop it Speak the way you sing, and sing the way you speak Every speaker can benefit from a musical vocal coach Every speaker makes mistakes in every presentation Great speakers turn stumbles into pirouettes You don't have to compromise to be recognized Use language in a musical way Speak to everyone with respect Rehearse and refine your words to make them unforgettable

Get Wrecked | The Game Show Podcast
215- "Lyrically Correct"

Get Wrecked | The Game Show Podcast

Play Episode Listen Later Jun 1, 2022 66:33


THIS WEEK'S QUESTION: We SEE you, okay!? With your COOL airpods on the subway and walking down the street clearly trying to brag that your Spotify Wrapped results mean you're a better person that we are! WE SEE YOU! But do you actually know what you're listening to? Are you being honest with yourself? Are you cultured or are you just as basic as we are? Time to find out, bitches!! THIS WEEK'S GAME: We are playing a fill in the lyric game! We are going use our beautiful glistening throats to give are guests a portion of a famous song and it's their jobs to finish that lyric baby! May the best team win!! The Show: @getwreckedpodcast (insta/tiktok), @getwreckedcast (twitter),    The Hosts (insta): @ericmmyrick, @kourtneybellll    The Players (insta): Natti Vogel (@nattivogel), Alexandre Matos (@alexandermatos), Andrew Otchere (@andrewotchere), Savannah Crosby (@savannacrosbee) Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

1001 Album Club
449 Public Image Ltd - Metal Box

1001 Album Club

Play Episode Listen Later May 23, 2022 34:56


In November of 1979 Public Image Ltd released their sophomore album. The album is a departure and giant leap forward from the debut. Lyrically it is less cringe, the rhythm section is on point, and the guitar work and tone shaped post punk to come. The packaging ain't too shabby, either. Lets talk PiL, Metal Box!

Front Row
Cornelia Parker and Emergency reviewed, The Wreckers, Ivor Novello Awards

Front Row

Play Episode Listen Later May 19, 2022 42:24


Melly Still on directing ‘The Wreckers', by Ethel Smyth, the first ever opera by a woman composer to be performed at the Glyndebourne Festival. Morgan Quaintance and Hettie Judah join us to review Emergency, the new film directed by Carey Williams and the Cornelia Parker exhibition at The Tate. Ivor Novello Awards: Sam Fender's track Seventeen Going Under, taken from his album of the same name, was today awarded the accolade of Best Song Musically and Lyrically at this year's Ivor Novello Awards. We step inside the anatomy of the song with singer, musician, composer and lyricist Joe Stilgoe as he talks us through its prize-winning qualities.

The New Exchange with Ken Grand-Pierre
Samm Henshaw on unearthing beauty in the mess of life

The New Exchange with Ken Grand-Pierre

Play Episode Listen Later May 3, 2022 46:10


Samm Henshaw is an unbelievably talented singer and producer from London that's unabashedly elevating R&B to new heights. The most striking thing about Samm's music is how it has this throwback vibe from his love of soul and gospel, yet his music never feels out of place within our modern age. His debut album Untidy Soul, presents Samm as a clear student of music, with a warmth that'll undoubtedly catch you off-guard. Lyrically, the album sees Samm embracing the fact that we're all a little fucked up inside and that there's a beauty in trying to have a better day than the last. On today's episode, we chat about the importance of those life lessons and how they can inform the work that goes into our art. You can catch Samm Henshaw live during his upcoming US tour that will be kicking off on June 3rd at the Cafe Du Nord in San Francisco. Be sure to visit Samm's website here for more tour dates. Also be sure to check out the official New Exchange Playlist, which features a song from each musical guest that has guested on the series.

Jrodconcerts Presents: 'LIVE! From The Space at 100 Taylor' with Jamie Rodriguez

Originally from Eastern KY, and now based in Lexington, Eric Bolander is a voice taking the music world by storm. Lyrically driven by life experiences, Eric's songs give listeners a glimpse into universal experiences and the realization that growth happens when life gives us challenges and unplanned curveballs. An Art Teacher by day and Musician by night, Eric's mind is always immersed in the arts. A passion for the arts that keeps him moving forward and a unique work ethic and discipline has slowly made Eric's name a music tastemaker's choice in the exploding musical scene coming out of the 'Bluegrass State'. On this special episode of LIVE! From The Space at 100 Taylor, Eric shares with Jamie how he manages to keep his life in balance, the breakthrough moment where he picked up the guitar, we remember the late Taylor Hawkins and much more. Also, stay tuned for exclusive performances of 'I Wonder' and 'Cold Men'

The Dark Side Of Music With Derek Hanjora
#375: Struggle, Laughter, Tiny Tim and more with the band, Owls and Aliens!

The Dark Side Of Music With Derek Hanjora

Play Episode Listen Later Apr 14, 2022 62:20


Klamath Falls, OR - Owls & Aliens Release Their Single "These Vices" with MVK Music Group. "These Vices" -WATCH HERE is their last single release from their forthcoming album due out this summer! Owls & Aliens bring the hot sauce to rock ‘n roll, taking inspiration from the genre's most quintessential styles. When the music of Owls & Aliens hits listeners' earholes, layers of classic rock, heavy metal, punk rock, alternative rock, metalcore, and everything in between come crashing together, creating a beautiful amalgamation of sounds. The brotherhood formed between the five members is caused by each of their unfettered need to play, write and listen to music - despite coming from quite different musical backgrounds. "These Vices" is a song that has always felt emotionally massive and sonically dynamic to me, with lyrics written on a much more personal level than I had ever done before, as well as being an opportunistic moment for me to share lead vocals with Dustin. Lyrically, the song centers around depression, addiction, and most of all are about looking inwards in oneself in order to gain personal reflection and direction. As being the first song, our band created to feature me as a lead vocalist, it allows for a completely different narrative and display of Owls & Aliens to share with our fans. All of us members feel it's important to always have the most honest and genuine manner possible, and we feel like this song delivers those qualities perfectly." - Travis Siebecke The Dark Side Of Music | Facebook https://www.facebook.com/thedarksideof_music The Dark Of Music (@thedarksideof_music) • Instagram photos and videos https://www.instagram.com/thedarksideof_music/ Black Rose Media (theblackrosemedia.com) https://www.theblackrosemedia.com/ --- Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/thedarksideofmusic/message Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/thedarksideofmusic/support

Bringin' it Backwards
Interview with Haley Smalls

Bringin' it Backwards

Play Episode Listen Later Mar 28, 2022 44:53


We had the pleasure of interviewing Haley Smalls over Zoom video! Toronto based singer-songwriter Haley Smalls recently release her latest single “Do Better . This single release follows a string of consistent singles over the last year from Haley, including Run-DMC influence track “Bass” that premiered with Hip-HopVibe & Rolling Out, as well asSummer 2021 buzz track “I Do.”. Haley's single “Do Better” is the build up to her currently untitled 5th project set for release in 2022. Lyrically, the core of the project centers around love: love of self, love of others, and the love of success and the money it brings. While the style of the project is rooted in R&B/Hip Hop don't be surprised to hear a country or rock influence come through as Haley works to make her sound uniquely diverse creating something that can be received by all, no matter their background or their age. Now, after inking a deal with industry veterans Jimmy Maynes & JoJo Brim at V Nation, along with her long-time management team from Ludacris' Ebony Son Mgt and music producers Poke and Tone from Trackmasters, Haley Smalls finally has the right team in place to release her next project in 2022. Haley started her musical journey at a young age when her parents recognized her unique talents and signed her up for singing lessons. Haley started booking studio time at age twelve, writing songs and working with producers in the U.S. and the UK. After years of grinding, it all came to fruition when she met her producer in 2013, the Grammy nominated multi-Platinum Megaman. Her 2015 debut This Is Me was a culmination of Haley coming into her own and shaping her identity. Following This Is Me Haley released a series of noteworthy projects, including 2017's Heart of Gold, 2018's The Cure II, and 2019's Summer Nights. She continued her momentum through 2020, releasing a series of tracks well into 2021. This next phase for Haley Smalls is unstoppable now that she finally has the right team around her, following her recent signing to V Nation. Sas well as updates on her upcoming project due out later this year. We want to hear from you! Please email Tera@BringinitBackwards.com. www.BringinitBackwards.com #podcast #interview #bringinbackpod #HaleySmalls #IDo #DoBetter #musicinterview #MusicPodcast #NewMusic #zoom Listen & Subscribe to BiB https://www.bringinitbackwards.com/follow/ Follow our podcast on Instagram and Twitter! https://www.facebook.com/groups/bringinbackpod

The New Exchange with Ken Grand-Pierre
Fishbach on the significance of our eyes

The New Exchange with Ken Grand-Pierre

Play Episode Listen Later Mar 22, 2022 32:21


Flora Fishbach is a musician/actor from France who isn't afraid to follow the beat of her own drum. Her new album Avec Les Yeux (aka With The Eyes) is a glorious example of what a maverick she is in the music world. Lyrically, Flora forces listeners to ask uncomfortable questions about life and highlights the significant role our eyes play throughout our lives. All of this is discussed on today's episode, along with life itself. Flora is a dear friend and getting to have such an intimate conversation was a true privilege. If you're new to the podcast, I feel like this is a great episode to start with.

One Hit History
LadyCouch Loves You…and Tag Team “Whoomp! There It Is”

One Hit History

Play Episode Listen Later Feb 16, 2022 16:29


"Whoomp! There It Is!" is talking about their particular art scene as a whole, even though it's more T&A based.  -- Keshia Bailey and Allen Thompson, co-founders of jam band LadyCouch on their favorite one hit wonder by Tag Team The conversation bounces around so much between Sloane Spencer and the co-founders of LadyCouch (Keshia Bailey and Allen Thompson) that who knows where it is while they talk about their favorite one hit wonder from 1993. But the Nashville duo finally lands on “Whoomp There It Is” by Tag Team. But don't confuse it with 95 South's “Whoot There It Is”, though the trio chats about the differences and similarities between the two.  My philosophy is ‘hit' is however you want to define it. It's whatever it means for the conversation. -- Sloane Spencer, host of One Hit History, on how loosely the podcast defines "hit" Listen to see how the strip club scene in Atlanta in the 90s was essential to the music scene, the unlikely way the band got their party song on the streets, and how many musicians' favorite one hit wonders come outside of the genre in which they perform and write.  That recent Geico commercial has taken me back to the spring of ‘93.  -- Allen Thompson (LadyCouch co-founder) Links Blackbird Records label LadyCouch (6-12 members rotating, core is Keshia Bailey and Allen Thompson) One Hit History podcast playlist of show guests One Hit History playlist of one hit wonders Bonus episodes, outtakes, and sneak peeks Music Mentions The Future Looks Fine LadyCouch “Whoomp There It Is” “Whoot, There It Is” “Who Let the Dogs Out” “Ring my Bell”  Terence Trent D'Arby (who now goes by Sananda Maitreya) “Bittersweet Symphony” “Touch of Grey”  Don't forget to give One Hit History a five star rating!  AI Transcript Sloane Spencer  Hey y'all Sloane Spencer here you found us. It's one hit history, the new podcast where we talk with music people about what's your favorite one hit wonder. We're fixing to jump in talking with our friends Keshia Bailey and Allen Thompson of the band LadyCouch. They got the new record out called future looks fun. It's on Blackbird records. You can find it in all your favorite places where music is available. We'll talk with them a little bit throughout the conversation about their own music as well and the cool stuff they have coming up. But first, let's just jump right in some y'all. What's your favorite one hit wonder. Keshia Bailey Oh my god. This is so hard. Allen Thompson So we've got a lot of favorite one hit wonders. But that recent GEICO commercial with tag team has taken me back to the spring of 1993. And made me really think about Whoop, there it is, by tag team versus Whoop, there it is by 95. Sell. The course is almost identical. Minus the spelling of the whoop and or WOOT in the title, subject matter. Kind of similar. I feel like tag jeans, the writings a little stronger. Lyrically, it's a little bit more poetic. Both of them are you know, pretty much worldwide sports Hanson's at this point. Yes, absolutely. AT Anybody that has been to a football game or owns any of the 385 editions have now That's What I Call Music, you've definitely heard SS both songs platinum at the minimum, in fact, the whoop version of it multi platinum and the WOOT version, platinum, both of them and not 100. And just absolutely successful in and of their own right. But it's been that continuation through sports and advertising that has made these songs of the millennium in many ways. AT I mean, they open the door for Who let the dogs out many other one hit wonder classics. SS We're gonna feature the song, who let the dogs out on another one hit history, because there's actually quite a bit more behind the scenes about that particular song as well. So hold those thoughts on that particular song. But yeah, but styling. AT I mean, I'm interested, I'm looking forward to that episode.

Sleeping Around The Podcast
#16: Ben Brock

Sleeping Around The Podcast

Play Episode Listen Later Feb 15, 2022 61:39


Ben Brock is a songwriter born into the tradition of red dirt music. Lyrically, his roots are planted firmly in the Oklahoma clay. His genuine, heartfelt and sometimes melancholy songs are ever growing musical branches providing shade from the harsh and unforgiving dustbowl sun. Tour Dates | YouTube | Spotify | Apple Music | Facebook | Instagram SLEEP AROUND WITH US ON SOCIAL GET SLEEP TREATMENT SUPPORT THE SHOW Dr. Brandon Hedgecock (Host) Matthew Allard (Host) Dan Galvan (Producer) Contact DG Productions

The Toby Gribben Show
Margarita Shamrakov

The Toby Gribben Show

Play Episode Listen Later Feb 3, 2022 7:08


Margarita Shamrakov is an accomplished musician, educator and award-winning songwriter. She even has a 1st Place win in the prestigious John Lennon Songwriting Contest. Margarita Shamrakov's music crosses multiple genres from Pop to EDM and Classical. Lyrically she uses visual imagery and clever wordplay to spin social commentary and personal drama into a single cohesive message. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

A History Of Rock Music in Five Hundred Songs
Episode 142: “God Only Knows” by the Beach Boys

A History Of Rock Music in Five Hundred Songs

Play Episode Listen Later Jan 31, 2022


Episode one hundred and forty-two of A History of Rock Music in Five Hundred Songs looks at “God Only Knows" by the Beach Boys, and the creation of the Pet Sounds album. Click the full post to read liner notes, links to more information, and a transcript of the episode. Patreon backers also have a ten-minute bonus episode available, on "Sunny" by Bobby Hebb. Tilt Araiza has assisted invaluably by doing a first-pass edit, and will hopefully be doing so from now on. Check out Tilt's irregular podcasts at http://www.podnose.com/jaffa-cakes-for-proust and http://sitcomclub.com/ Resources There is no Mixcloud this week, because there were too many Beach Boys songs in the episode. I used many resources for this episode, most of which will be used in future Beach Boys episodes too. It's difficult to enumerate everything here, because I have been an active member of the Beach Boys fan community for twenty-four years, and have at times just used my accumulated knowledge for this. But the resources I list here are ones I've checked for specific things. Stephen McParland has published many, many books on the California surf and hot-rod music scenes, including several on both the Beach Boys and Gary Usher.  His books can be found at https://payhip.com/CMusicBooks Andrew Doe's Bellagio 10452 site is an invaluable resource. Jon Stebbins' The Beach Boys FAQ is a good balance between accuracy and readability. And Philip Lambert's Inside the Music of Brian Wilson is an excellent, though sadly out of print, musicological analysis of Wilson's music from 1962 through 67. I have also referred to Brian Wilson's autobiography, I Am Brian Wilson, and to Mike Love's, Good Vibrations: My Life as a Beach Boy. For material specific to Pet Sounds I have used Kingsley Abbot's The Beach Boys' Pet Sounds: The Greatest Album of the Twentieth Century and Charles L Granata's I Just Wasn't Made For These Times: Brian Wilson and the Making of Pet Sounds.  I also used the 126-page book The Making of Pet Sounds by David Leaf, which came as part of the The Pet Sounds Sessions box set, which also included the many alternate versions of songs from the album used here. Sadly both that box set and the 2016 updated reissue of it appear currently to be out of print, but either is well worth obtaining for anyone who is interested in how great records are made. Of the versions of Pet Sounds that are still in print, this double-CD version is the one I'd recommend. It has the original mono mix of the album, the more recent stereo remix, the instrumental backing tracks, and live versions of several songs. As a good starting point for the Beach Boys' music in general, I would recommend this budget-priced three-CD set, which has a surprisingly good selection of their material on it. The YouTube drum tutorial I excerpted a few seconds of to show a shuffle beat is here. Transcript We're still in the run of episodes that deal with the LA pop music scene -- though next week we're going to move away from LA, while still dealing with a lot of the people who would play a part in that scene. But today we're hitting something that requires a bit of explanation. Most artists covered in this podcast get one or at the most two episodes. Some get slightly more -- the major artists who are present for many revolutions in music, or who have particularly important careers, like Fats Domino or the Supremes. And then there are a few very major artists who get a lot more. The Beatles, for example, are going to get eight in total, plus there will be episodes on some of their solo careers. Elvis has had six, and will get one more wrap-up episode. This is the third Beach Boys episode, and there are going to be three more after this, because the Beach Boys were one of the most important acts of the decade. But normally, I limit major acts to one episode per calendar year of their career. This means that they will average at most one episode every ten episodes, so while for example the episodes on "Mystery Train" and "Heartbreak Hotel" came close together, there was then a reasonable gap before another Elvis episode. This is not possible for the Beach Boys, because this episode and the next two Beach Boys ones all take place over an incredibly compressed timeline. In May 1966, they released an album that has consistently been voted the best album ever in polls of critics, and which is certainly one of the most influential even if one does not believe there is such a thing as a "best album ever". In October 1966 they released one of the most important singles ever -- a record that is again often considered the single best pop single of all time, and which again was massively influential. And then in July 1967 they released the single that was intended to be the lead-off single from their album Smile, an album that didn't get released until decades later, and which became a legend of rock music that was arguably more influential by *not* being released than most records that are released manage to be. And these are all very different stories, stories that need to be told separately. This means that episode one hundred and forty-two, episode one hundred and forty-six, and episode one hundred and fifty-three are all going to be about the Beach Boys. There will be one final later episode about them, too, but the next few months are going to be very dominated by them, so I apologise in advance for that if that's not something you're interested in. Though it also means that with luck some of these episodes will be closer to the shorter length of podcast I prefer rather than the ninety-minute mammoths we've had recently. Though I'm afraid this is another long one. When we left the Beach Boys, we'd just heard that Glen Campbell had temporarily replaced Brian Wilson on the road, after Wilson's mental health had finally been unable to take the strain of touring while also being the group's record producer, principal songwriter, and leader. To thank Campbell, who at this point was not at all well known in his own right, though he was a respected session guitarist and had released a few singles, Brian had co-written and produced "Guess I'm Dumb" for him, a track which prefigured the musical style that Wilson was going to use for the next year or so: [Excerpt: Glen Campbell, "Guess I'm Dumb"] It's worth looking at "Guess I'm Dumb" in a little detail, as it points the way forward to a lot of Wilson's songwriting over the next year. Firstly, of course, there are the lyrical themes of insecurity and of what might even be descriptions of mental illness in the first verse -- "the way I act don't seem like me, I'm not on top like I used to be". The lyrics are by Russ Titelman, but it's reasonable to assume that as with many of his collaborations, Brian brought in the initial idea. There's also a noticeable change in the melodic style compared to Wilson's earlier melodies. Up to this point, Wilson has mostly been writing what get called "horizontal" melody lines -- ones with very little movement, and small movements, often centred on a single note or two. There are exceptions of course, and plenty of them, but a typical Brian Wilson melody up to this point is the kind of thing where even I can hit the notes more or less OK -- [sings] "Well, she got her daddy's car and she cruised through the hamburger stand now". It's not quite a monotone, but it's within a tight range, and you don't have to move far from one note to another. But "Guess I'm Dumb" is incorporating the influence of Roy Orbison, and more obviously of Burt Bacharach, and it's *ludicrously* vertical, with gigantic leaps all over the place, in places that are not obvious. It requires the kind of precision that only a singer like Campbell can attain, to make it sound at all natural: [Excerpt: Glen Campbell, "Guess I'm Dumb"] Bacharach's influence is also noticeable in the way that the chord changes are very different from those that Wilson was using before. Up to this point, when Wilson wrote unusual chord changes, it was mostly patterns like "The Warmth of the Sun", which is wildly inventive, but mostly uses very simple triads and sevenths. Now he was starting to do things like the line "I guess I'm dumb but I don't care", which is sort of a tumbling set of inversions of the same chord that goes from a triad with the fifth in the bass, to a major sixth, to a minor eleventh, to a minor seventh. Part of the reason that Brian could start using these more complex voicings was that he was also moving away from using just the standard guitar/bass/drums lineup, sometimes with keyboards and saxophone, which had been used on almost every Beach Boys track to this point. Instead, as well as the influence of Bacharach, Wilson was also being influenced by Jack Nitzsche's arrangements for Phil Spector's records, and in particular by the way Nitzsche would double instruments, and have, say, a harpsichord and a piano play the same line, to create a timbre that was different from either individual instrument. But where Nitzsche and Spector used the technique along with a lot of reverb and overdubbing to create a wall of sound which was oppressive and overwhelming, and which obliterated the sounds of the individual instruments, Wilson used the same instrumentalists, the Wrecking Crew, to create something far more delicate: [Excerpt: Glen Campbell, "Guess I'm Dumb (instrumental and backing vocals)"] Campbell does such a good job on "Guess I'm Dumb" that one has to wonder what would  have happened if he'd remained with the Beach Boys. But Campbell had of course not been able to join the group permanently -- he had his own career to attend to, and that would soon take off in a big way, though he would keep playing on the Beach Boys' records for a while yet as a member of the Wrecking Crew. But Brian Wilson was still not well enough to tour. In fact, as he explained to the rest of the group, he never intended to tour again -- and he wouldn't be a regular live performer for another twelve years. At first the group were terrified -- they thought he was talking about quitting the group, or the group splitting up altogether. But Brian had a different plan. From that point on, there were two subtly different lineups of the group. In the studio, Brian would sing his parts as always, but the group would get a permanent replacement for him on tour -- someone who could replace him on stage. While the group was on tour, Brian would use the time to write songs and to record backing tracks. He'd already started using the Wrecking Crew to add a bit of additional musical colour to some of the group's records, but from this point on, he'd use them to record the whole track, maybe getting Carl to add a bit of guitar as well if he happened to be around, but otherwise just using the group to provide vocals. It's important to note that this *was* a big change. A lot of general music history sources will say things like "the Beach Boys never played on their own records", and this is taken as fact by people who haven't investigated further. In fact, the basic tracks for all their early hits were performed by the group themselves -- "Surfin'", "Surfin' Safari", "409", "Surfer Girl", "Little Deuce Coupe", "Don't Worry Baby" and many more were entirely performed by the Beach Boys, while others like "I Get Around" featured the group with a couple of additional musicians augmenting them. The idea that the group never played on their records comes entirely from their recordings from 1965 and 66, and even there often Carl would overdub a guitar part. And at this point, the Beach Boys were still playing on the majority of their recordings, even on sophisticated-sounding records like "She Knows Me Too Well", which is entirely a group performance other than Brian's friend, Russ Titelman, the co-writer of "Guess I'm Dumb", adding some percussion by hitting a microphone stand with a screwdriver: [Excerpt: The Beach Boys, "She Knows Me Too Well"] So the plan to replace the group's instrumental performances in the studio was actually a bigger change than it might seem. But an even bigger change was the live performances, which of course required the group bringing in a permanent live replacement for Brian. They'd already tried this once before, when he'd quit the road for a while and they'd brought Al Jardine back in, but David Marks quitting had forced him back on stage. Now they needed someone to take his place for good. They phoned up their friend Bruce Johnston to see if he knew anyone, and after suggesting a couple of names that didn't work out, he volunteered his own services, and as of this recording he's spent more than fifty years in the band (he quit for a few years in the mid-seventies, but came back). We've seen Johnston turn up several times already, most notably in the episode on "LSD-25", where he was one of the musicians on the track we looked at, but for those of you who don't remember those episodes, he was pretty much *everywhere* in California music in the late fifties and early sixties. He had been in a band at school with Phil Spector and Sandy Nelson, and another band with Jan and Dean, and he'd played on Nelson's "Teen Beat", produced by Art Laboe: [Excerpt: Sandy Nelson, "Teen Beat"] He'd been in the house band at those shows Laboe put on at El Monte stadium we talked about a couple of episodes back, he'd been a witness to John Dolphin's murder, he'd been a record producer for Bob Keane, where he'd written and produced songs for Ron Holden, the man who had introduced "Louie Louie" to Seattle: [Excerpt: Ron Holden, "Gee But I'm Lonesome"] He'd written "The Tender Touch" for Richard Berry's backing group The Pharaos, with Berry singing backing vocals on this one: [Excerpt: The Pharaos, "The Tender Touch"] He'd helped Bob Keane compile Ritchie Valens' first posthumous album, he'd played on "LSD-25" and "Moon Dawg" by the Gamblers: [Excerpt: The Gamblers, "Moon Dawg"] He'd arranged and produced the top ten hit “Those Oldies but Goodies (Remind Me of You)” for Little Caesar and the Romans: [Excerpt Little Caesar and the Romans, "Those Oldies but Goodies (Remind Me of You)"] Basically, wherever you looked in the LA music scene in the early sixties, there was Bruce Johnston somewhere in the background. But in particular, he was suitable for the Beach Boys because he had a lot of experience in making music that sounded more than a little like theirs. He'd made cheap surf records as the Bruce Johnston Surfing Band: [Excerpt: Bruce Johnston, "The Hamptons"] And with his long-time friend and creative partner Terry Melcher he had, as well as working on several Paul Revere and the Raiders records, also recorded hit Beach Boys soundalikes both as their own duo, Bruce and Terry: [Excerpt: Bruce and Terry, "Summer Means Fun"] and under the name of a real group that Melcher had signed, but who don't seem to have sung much on their own big hit, the Rip Chords: [Excerpt: The Rip Chords, "Hey Little Cobra"] Johnston fit in well with the band, though he wasn't a bass player before joining, and had to be taught the parts by Carl and Al. But he's probably the technically strongest musician in the band, and while he would later switch to playing keyboards on stage, he was quickly able to get up to speed on the bass well enough to play the parts that were needed. He also wasn't quite as strong a falsetto singer as Brian Wilson, as can be heard by listening to this live recording of the group singing "I Get Around" in 1966: [Excerpt: The Beach Boys, "I Get Around (live 1966)"] Johnston is actually an excellent singer -- and can still hit the high notes today. He sings the extremely high falsetto part on "Fun Fun Fun" at the end of every Beach Boys show. But his falsetto was thinner than Wilson's, and he also has a distinctive voice which can be picked out from the blend in a way that none of the other Beach Boys' voices could -- the Wilson brothers and Mike Love all have a strong family resemblance, and Al Jardine always sounded spookily close to them. This meant that increasingly, the band would rearrange the vocal parts on stage, with Carl or Al taking the part that Brian had taken in the studio. Which meant that if, say, Al sang Brian's high part, Carl would have to move up to sing the part that Al had been singing, and then Bruce would slot in singing the part Carl had sung in the studio. This is a bigger difference than it sounds, and it meant that there was now a need for someone to work out live arrangements that were different from the arrangements on the records -- someone had to reassign the vocal parts, and also work out how to play songs that had been performed by maybe eighteen session musicians playing French horns and accordions and vibraphones with a standard rock-band lineup without it sounding too different from the record. Carl Wilson, still only eighteen when Brian retired from the road, stepped into that role, and would become the de facto musical director of the Beach Boys on stage for most of the next thirty years, to the point that many of the group's contracts for live performances at this point specified that the promoter was getting "Carl Wilson and four other musicians". This was a major change to the group's dynamics. Up to this point, they had been a group with a leader -- Brian -- and a frontman -- Mike, and three other members. Now they were a more democratic group on stage, and more of a dictatorship in the studio. This was, as you can imagine, not a stable situation, and was one that would not last long. But at first, this plan seemed to go very, very well. The first album to come out of this new hybrid way of working, The Beach Boys Today!, was started before Brian retired from touring, and some of the songs on it were still mostly or solely performed by the group, but as we heard with "She Knows Me Too Well" earlier, the music was still more sophisticated than on previous records, and this can be heard on songs like "When I Grow Up to Be a Man", where the only session musician is the harmonica player, with everything else played by the group: [Excerpt: The Beach Boys, "When I Grow Up to Be a Man"] But the newer sophistication really shows up on songs like "Kiss Me Baby", where most of the instrumentation is provided by the Wrecking Crew -- though Carl and Brian both play on the track -- and so there are saxophones, vibraphones, French horn, cor anglais, and multiple layers of twelve-string guitar: [Excerpt: The Beach Boys, "Kiss Me Baby"] Today had several hit singles on it -- "Dance, Dance, Dance", "When I Grow Up to be a Man", and their cover version of Bobby Freeman's "Do You Wanna Dance?" all charted -- but the big hit song on the album actually didn't become a hit in that version. "Help Me Ronda" was a piece of album filler with a harmonica part played by Billy Lee Riley, and was one of Al Jardine's first lead vocals on a Beach Boys record -- he'd only previously sung lead on the song "Christmas Day" on their Christmas album: [Excerpt: The Beach Boys, "Help Me Ronda"] While the song was only intended as album filler, other people saw the commercial potential in the song. Bruce Johnston was at this time still signed to Columbia records as an artist, and wasn't yet singing on Beach Boys records, and he recorded a version of the song with Terry Melcher as a potential single: [Excerpt: Bruce and Terry, "Help Me Rhonda"] But on seeing the reaction to the song, Brian decided to rerecord it as a single. Unfortunately, Murry Wilson turned up to the session. Murry had been fired as the group's manager by his sons the previous year, though he still owned the publishing company that published their songs. In the meantime, he'd decided to show his family who the real talent behind the group was by taking on another group of teenagers and managing and producing them. The Sunrays had a couple of minor hits, like "I Live for the Sun": [Excerpt: The Sunrays, "I Live for the Sun"] But nothing made the US top forty, and by this point it was clear, though not in the way that Murry hoped, who the real talent behind the group *actually* was. But he turned up to the recording session, with his wife in tow, and started trying to produce it: [Excerpt: Beach Boys and Murry Wilson "Help Me Rhonda" sessions] It ended up with Brian physically trying to move his drunk father away from the control panel in the studio, and having a heartbreaking conversation with him, where the twenty-two-year-old who is recovering from a nervous breakdown only a few months earlier sounds calmer, healthier, and more mature than his forty-seven-year-old father: [Excerpt: Beach Boys and Murry Wilson, "Help Me Rhonda" sessions] Knowing that this was the family dynamic helps make the comedy filler track on the next album, "I'm Bugged at My Old Man", seem rather less of a joke than it otherwise would: [Excerpt: The Beach Boys, "I'm Bugged at My Old Man"] But with Murry out of the way, the group did eventually complete recording "Help Me Rhonda" (and for those of you reading this as a blog post rather than listening to the podcast, yes they did spell it two different ways for the two different versions), and it became the group's second number one hit: [Excerpt: The Beach Boys, "Help Me, Rhonda"] As well as Murry Wilson, though, another figure was in the control room then -- Loren Daro (who at the time went by his birth surname, but I'm going to refer to him throughout by the name he chose).  You can hear, on the recording, Brian Wilson asking Daro if he could "turn him on" -- slang that was at that point not widespread enough for Wilson's parents to understand the meaning. Daro was an agent working for the William Morris Agency, and he was part of a circle of young, hip, people who were taking drugs, investigating mysticism, and exploring new spiritual ideas. His circle included the Byrds -- Daro, like Roger McGuinn, later became a follower of Subud and changed his name as a result -- as well as people like the songwriter and keyboard player Van Dyke Parks, who will become a big part of this story in subsequent episodes, and Stephen Stills, who will also be turning up again. Daro had introduced Brian to cannabis, in 1964, and in early 1965 he gave Brian acid for the first time -- one hundred and twenty-five micrograms of pure Owsley LSD-25. Now, we're going to be looking at acid culture quite a lot in the next few months, as we get through 1966 and 1967, and I'll have a lot more to say about it, but what I will say is that even the biggest proponents of psychedelic drug use tend not to suggest that it is a good idea to give large doses of LSD in an uncontrolled setting to young men recovering from a nervous breakdown. Daro later described Wilson's experience as "ego death" -- a topic we will come to in a future episode, and not considered entirely negative -- and "a beautiful thing". But he has also talked about how Wilson was so terrified by his hallucinations that he ran into the bedroom, locked the door, and hid his head under a pillow for two hours, which doesn't sound so beautiful to me. Apparently after those two hours, he came out of the bedroom, said "Well, that's enough of that", and was back to normal. After that first trip, Wilson wrote a piece of music inspired by his psychedelic experience. A piece which starts like this, with an orchestral introduction very different from anything else the group had released as a single: [Excerpt: The Beach Boys, "California Girls"] Of course, when Mike Love added the lyrics to the song, it became about far more earthly and sensual concerns: [Excerpt: The Beach Boys, "California Girls"] But leaving the lyrics aside for a second, it's interesting to look at "California Girls" musically to see what Wilson's idea of psychedelic music -- by which I mean specifically music inspired by the use of psychedelic drugs, since at this point there was no codified genre known as psychedelic music or psychedelia -- actually was. So, first, Wilson has said repeatedly that the song was specifically inspired by "Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring" by Bach: [Excerpt: Bach, "Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring"] And it's odd, because I see no real structural or musical resemblance between the two pieces that I can put my finger on, but at the same time I can totally see what he means. Normally at this point I'd say "this change here in this song relates to this change there in that song", but there's not much of that kind of thing here -- but I still. as soon as I read Wilson saying that for the first time, more than twenty years ago, thought "OK, that makes sense". There are a few similarities, though. Bach's piece is based around triplets, and they made Wilson think of a shuffle beat. If you remember *way* back in the second episode of the podcast, I talked about how one of the standard shuffle beats is to play triplets in four-four time. I'm going to excerpt a bit of recording from a YouTube drum tutorial (which I'll link in the liner notes) showing that kind of shuffle: [Excerpt: "3 Sweet Triplet Fills For Halftime Shuffles & Swung Grooves- Drum Lesson" , from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2CwlSaQZLkY ] Now, while Bach's piece is in waltz time, I hope you can hear how the DA-da-da DA-da-da in Bach's piece may have made Wilson think of that kind of shuffle rhythm. Bach's piece also has a lot of emphasis of the first, fifth, and sixth notes of the scale -- which is fairly common, and not something particularly distinctive about the piece -- and those are the notes that make up the bass riff that Wilson introduces early in the song: [Excerpt: The Beach Boys, "California Girls (track)"] That bass riff, of course, is a famous one. Those of you who were listening to the very earliest episodes of the podcast might remember it from the intros to many, many, Ink Spots records: [Excerpt: The Ink Spots, "We Three (My Echo, My Shadow, and Me)"] But the association of that bassline to most people's ears would be Western music, particularly the kind of music that was in Western films in the thirties and forties. You hear something similar in "The Trail of the Lonesome Pine", as performed by Laurel and Hardy in their 1937 film Way Out West: [Excerpt: Laurel and Hardy, "The Trail of the Lonesome Pine"] But it's most associated with the song "Tumbling Tumbleweeds", first recorded in 1934 by the Western group Sons of the Pioneers, but more famous in their 1946 rerecording, made after the Ink Spots' success, where the part becomes more prominent: [Excerpt: The Sons of the Pioneers, "Tumbling Tumbleweeds"] That song was a standard of the Western genre, and by 1965 had been covered by everyone from Gene Autry to the Supremes, Bob Wills to Johnnie Ray, and it would also end up covered by several musicians in the LA pop music scene over the next few years, including Michael Nesmith and Curt Boettcher, both people part of the same general scene as the Beach Boys. The other notable thing about "California Girls" is that it's one of the first times that Wilson was able to use multi-tracking to its full effect. The vocal parts were recorded on an eight-track machine, meaning that Wilson could triple-track both Mike Love's lead vocal and the group's backing vocals. With Johnston now in the group -- "California Girls" was his first recording session with them -- that meant that on the record there were eighteen voices singing, leading to some truly staggering harmonies: [Excerpt: The Beach Boys, "California Girls (Stack-O-Vocals)"] So, that's what the psychedelic experience meant to Brian Wilson, at least -- Bach, orchestral influences, using the recording studio to create thicker vocal harmony parts, and the old West. Keep that in the back of your mind for the present, but it'll be something to remember in eleven episodes' time. "California Girls" was, of course, another massive hit, reaching number three on the charts. And while some Beach Boys fans see the album it was included on, Summer Days... And Summer Nights!, as something of a step backward from the sophistication of Today!, this is a relative thing. It's very much of a part with the music on the earlier album, and has many wonderful moments, with songs like "Let Him Run Wild" among the group's very best. But it was their next studio album that would cement the group's artistic reputation, and which would regularly be acclaimed by polls of critics as the greatest album of all time -- a somewhat meaningless claim; even more than there is no "first" anything in music, there's no "best" anything. The impulse to make what became Pet Sounds came, as Wilson has always told the story, from hearing the Beatles album Rubber Soul. Now, we've not yet covered Rubber Soul -- we're going to look at that, and at the album that came after it, in three episodes' time -- but it is often regarded as a major artistic leap forward for the Beatles. The record Wilson heard, though, wasn't the same record that most people nowadays think of when they think of Rubber Soul. Since the mid-eighties, the CD versions of the Beatles albums have (with one exception, Magical Mystery Tour) followed the tracklistings of the original British albums, as the Beatles and George Martin intended. But in the sixties, Capitol Records were eager to make as much money out of the Beatles as they could. The Beatles' albums generally had fourteen songs on, and often didn't include their singles. Capitol thought that ten or twelve songs per album was plenty, and didn't have any aversion to putting singles on albums. They took the three British albums Help!, Rubber Soul, and Revolver, plus the non-album "Day Tripper"/"We Can Work It Out" single and Ken Thorne's orchestral score for the Help! film, and turned that into four American albums -- Help!, Rubber Soul, Yesterday and Today, and Revolver. In the case of Rubber Soul, that meant that they removed four tracks from the British album -- "Drive My Car", "Nowhere Man", "What Goes On" and "If I Needed Someone" -- and added two songs from the British version of Help!, "I've Just Seen a Face" and "It's Only Love". Now, I've seen some people claim that this made the American Rubber Soul more of a folk-rock album -- I may even have said that myself in the past -- but that's not really true. Indeed, "Nowhere Man" and "If I Needed Someone" are two of the Beatles' most overtly folk-rock tracks, and both clearly show the influence of the Byrds. But what it did do was remove several of the more electric songs from the album, and replace them with acoustic ones: [Excerpt: The Beatles, "I've Just Seen a Face"] This, completely inadvertently, gave the American Rubber Soul lineup a greater sense of cohesion than the British one. Wilson later said "I listened to Rubber Soul, and I said, 'How could they possibly make an album where the songs all sound like they come from the same place?'" At other times he's described his shock at hearing "a whole album of only good songs" and similar phrases. Because up to this point, Wilson had always included filler tracks on albums, as pretty much everyone did in the early sixties. In the American pop music market, up to the mid sixties, albums were compilations of singles plus whatever random tracks happened to be lying around. And so for example in late 1963 the Beach Boys had released two albums less than a month apart -- Surfer Girl and Little Deuce Coupe. Given that Brian Wilson wrote or co-wrote all the group's original material, it wasn't all that surprising that Little Deuce Coupe had to include four songs that had been released on previous albums, including two that were on Surfer Girl from the previous month. It was the only way the group could keep up with the demand for new product from a company that had no concept of popular music as art. Other Beach Boys albums had included padding such as generic surf instrumentals, comedy sketches like "Cassius" Love vs. "Sonny" Wilson, and in the case of The Beach Boys Today!, a track titled "Bull Session With the Big Daddy", consisting of two minutes of random chatter with the photographer Earl Leaf while they all ate burgers: [Excerpt: The Beach Boys and Earl Leaf, "Bull Session With the Big Daddy"] This is not to attack the Beach Boys. This was a simple response to the commercial pressures of the marketplace. Between October 1962 and November 1965, they released eleven albums. That's about an album every three months, as well as a few non-album singles. And on top of that Brian had also been writing songs during that time for Jan & Dean, the Honeys, the Survivors and others, and had collaborated with Gary Usher and Roger Christian on songs for Muscle Beach Party, one of American International Pictures' series of Beach Party films. It's unsurprising that not everything produced on this industrial scale was a masterpiece. Indeed, the album the Beach Boys released directly before Pet Sounds could be argued to be an entire filler album. Many biographies say that Beach Boys Party! was recorded to buy Brian time to make Pet Sounds, but the timelines don't really match up on closer investigation. Beach Boys Party! was released in November 1965, before Brian ever heard Rubber Soul, which came out later, and before he started writing the material that became Pet Sounds. Beach Boys Party! was a solution to a simple problem -- the group were meant to deliver three albums that year, and they didn't have three albums worth of material. Some shows had been recorded for a possible live album, but they'd released a live album in 1964 and hadn't really changed their setlist very much in the interim. So instead, they made a live-in-the-studio album, with the conceit that it was recorded at a party the group were holding. Rather than the lush Wrecking Crew instrumentation they'd been using in recent months, everything was played on acoustic guitars, plus some bongos provided by Wrecking Crew drummer Hal Blaine and some harmonica from Billy Hinsche of the boy band Dino, Desi, and Billy, whose sister Carl Wilson was shortly to marry. The album included jokes and false starts, and was overlaid with crowd noise, to give the impression that you were listening to an actual party where a few people were sitting round with guitars and having fun. The album consisted of songs that the group liked and could play without rehearsal -- novelty hits from a few years earlier like "Alley Oop" and "Hully Gully", a few Beatles songs, and old favourites like the Everly Brothers hit "Devoted to You" -- in a rather lovely version with two-part harmony by Mike and Brian, which sounds much better in a remixed version released later without the party-noise overdubs: [Excerpt: The Beach Boys, "Devoted to You (remix)"] But the song that defined the album, which became a massive hit, and which became an albatross around the band's neck about which some of them would complain for a long time to come, didn't even have one of the Beach Boys singing lead. As we discussed back in the episode on "Surf City", by this point Jan and Dean were recording their album "Folk 'n' Roll", their attempt at jumping on the folk-rock bandwagon, which included the truly awful "The Universal Coward", a right-wing answer song  to "The Universal Soldier" released as a Jan Berry solo single: [Excerpt: Jan Berry, "The Universal Coward"] Dean Torrence was by this point getting sick of working with Berry, and was also deeply unimpressed with the album they were making, so he popped out of the studio for a while to go and visit his friends in the Beach Boys, who were recording nearby. He came in during the Party sessions, and everyone was suggesting songs to perform, and asked Dean to suggest something. He remembered an old doo-wop song that Jan and Dean had recorded a cover version of, and suggested that. The group had Dean sing lead, and ran through a sloppy version of it, where none of them could remember the words properly: [Excerpt: The Beach Boys, "Barbara Ann"] And rather incredibly, that became one of the biggest hits the group ever had, making number two on the Billboard chart (and number one on other industry charts like Cashbox), number three in the UK, and becoming a song that the group had to perform at almost every live show they ever did, together or separately, for at least the next fifty-seven years. But meanwhile, Brian had been working on other material. He had not yet had his idea for an album made up entirely of good songs, but he had been experimenting in the studio. He'd worked on a handful of tracks which had pointed in new directions. One was a single, "The Little Girl I Once Knew": [Excerpt: The Beach Boys, "The Little Girl I Once Knew"] John Lennon gave that record a very favourable review, saying "This is the greatest! Turn it up, turn it right up. It's GOT to be a hit. It's the greatest record I've heard for weeks. It's fantastic." But the record only made number twenty -- a perfectly respectable chart placing, but nowhere near as good as the group's recent run of hits -- in part because its stop-start nature meant that the record had "dead air" -- moments of silence -- which made DJs avoid playing it, because they believed that dead air, even only a second of it here and there, would make people tune to another station. Another track that Brian had been working on was an old folk song suggested by Alan Jardine. Jardine had always been something of a folkie, of the Kingston Trio variety, and he had suggested that the group might record the old song "The Wreck of the John B", which the Kingston Trio had recorded. The Trio's version in turn had been inspired by the Weavers' version of the song from 1950: [Excerpt: The Weavers, "The Wreck of the John B"] Brian had at first not been impressed, but Jardine had fiddled with the chord sequence slightly, adding in a minor chord to make the song slightly more interesting, and Brian had agreed to record the track, though he left the instrumental without vocals for several months: [Excerpt: The Beach Boys, "Sloop John B (instrumental)"] The track was eventually finished and released as a single, and unlike "The Little Girl I Once Knew" it was a big enough hit that it was included on the next album, though several people have said it doesn't fit. Lyrically, it definitely doesn't, but musically, it's very much of a piece with the other songs on what became Pet Sounds: [Excerpt: The Beach Boys, "Sloop John B"] But while Wilson was able to create music by himself, he wasn't confident about his ability as a lyricist. Now, he's not a bad lyricist by any means -- he's written several extremely good lyrics by himself -- but Brian Wilson is not a particularly articulate or verbal person, and he wanted someone who could write lyrics as crafted as his music, but which would express the ideas he was trying to convey. He didn't think he could do it himself, and for whatever reason he didn't want to work with Mike Love, who had co-written the majority of his recent songs, or with any of his other collaborators. He did write one song with Terry Sachen, the Beach Boys' road manager at the time, which dealt obliquely with those acid-induced concepts of "ego death": [Excerpt: The Beach Boys, "Hang on to Your Ego"] But while the group recorded that song, Mike Love objected vociferously to the lyrics. While Love did try cannabis a few times in the late sixties and early seventies, he's always been generally opposed to the use of illegal drugs, and certainly didn't want the group to be making records that promoted their use -- though I would personally argue that "Hang on to Your Ego" is at best deeply ambiguous about the prospect of ego death.  Love rewrote some of the lyrics, changing the title to "I Know There's an Answer", though as with all such bowdlerisation efforts he inadvertently left in some of the drug references: [Excerpt: The Beach Boys, "I Know There's an Answer"] But Wilson wasn't going to rely on Sachen for all the lyrics. Instead he turned to Tony Asher. Asher was an advertising executive, who Wilson probably met through Loren Daro -- there is some confusion over the timeline of their meeting, with some sources saying they'd first met in 1963 and that Asher had introduced Wilson to Daro, but others saying that the introductions went the other way, and that Daro introduced Asher to Wilson in 1965. But Asher and Daro had been friends for a long time, and so Wilson and Asher were definitely orbiting in the same circles. The most common version of the story seems to be that Asher was working in Western Studios, where he was recording a jingle - the advertising agency had him writing jingles because he was an amateur songwriter, and as he later put it nobody else at the agency knew the difference between E flat and A flat. Wilson was also working in the studio complex, and Wilson dragged Asher in to listen to some of the demos he was recording -- at that time Wilson was in the habit of inviting anyone who was around to listen to his works in progress. Asher chatted with him for a while, and thought nothing of it, until he got a phone call at work a few weeks later from Brian Wilson, suggesting the two write together. Wilson was impressed with Asher, who he thought of as very verbal and very intelligent, but Asher was less impressed with Wilson. He has softened his statements in recent decades, but in the early seventies he would describe Wilson as "a genius musician but an amateur human being", and sharply criticise his taste in films and literature, and his relationship with his wife. This attitude seems at least in part to have been shared by a lot of the people that Wilson was meeting and becoming influenced by. One of the things that is very noticeable about Wilson is that he has no filters at all, and that makes his music some of the most honest music ever recorded. But that same honesty also meant that he could never be cool or hip. He was -- and remains -- enthusiastic about the things he likes, and he likes things that speak to the person he is, not things that fit some idea of what the in crowd like. And the person Brian Wilson is is a man born in 1942, brought up in a middle-class suburban white family in California, and his tastes are the tastes one would expect from that background. And those tastes were not the tastes of the hipsters and scenesters who were starting to become part of his circle at the time. And so there's a thinly-veiled contempt in the way a lot of those people talked about Wilson, particularly in the late sixties and early seventies. Wilson, meanwhile, was desperate for their approval, and trying hard to fit in, but not quite managing it. Again, Asher has softened his statements more recently, and I don't want to sound too harsh about Asher -- both men were in their twenties, and still  trying to find their place in the world, and I wouldn't want to hold anyone's opinions from their twenties against them decades later. But that was the dynamic that existed between them. Asher saw himself as something of a sophisticate, and Wilson as something of a hick in contrast, but a hick who unlike him had created a string of massive hit records. And Asher did, always, respect Wilson's musical abilities. And Wilson in turn looked up to Asher, even while remaining the dominant partner, because he respected Asher's verbal facility. Asher took a two-week sabbatical from his job at the advertising agency, and during those two weeks, he and Wilson collaborated on eight songs that would make up the backbone of the album that would become Pet Sounds. The first song the two worked on was a track that had originally been titled "In My Childhood". Wilson had already recorded the backing track for this, including the sounds of bicycle horns and bells to evoke the feel of being a child: [Excerpt: The Beach Boys, "You Still Believe in Me (instrumental track)"] The two men wrote a new lyric for the song, based around a theme that appears in many of Wilson's songs -- the inadequate man who is loved by a woman who is infinitely superior to him, who doesn't understand why he's loved, but is astonished by it. The song became "You Still Believe in Me": [Excerpt: The Beach Boys, "You Still Believe in Me"] That song also featured an instrumental contribution of sorts by Asher. Even though the main backing track had been recorded before the two started working together, Wilson came up with an idea for an intro for the song, which would require a particular piano sound. To get that sound, Wilson held down the keys on a piano, while Asher leaned into the piano and plucked the strings manually. The result, with Wilson singing over the top, sounds utterly lovely: [Excerpt: The Beach Boys, "You Still Believe in Me"] Note that I said that Wilson and Asher came up with new lyrics together. There has been some slight dispute about the way songwriting credits were apportioned to the songs. Generally the credits said that Wilson wrote all the music, while Asher and Wilson wrote the lyrics together, so Asher got twenty-five percent of the songwriting royalties and Wilson seventy-five percent. Asher, though, has said that there are some songs for which he wrote the whole lyric by himself, and that he also made some contributions to the music on some songs -- though he has always said that the majority of the musical contribution was Wilson's, and that most of the time the general theme of the lyric, at least, was suggested by Wilson. For the most part, Asher hasn't had a problem with that credit split, but he has often seemed aggrieved -- and to my mind justifiably -- about the song "Wouldn't it Be Nice". Asher wrote the whole lyric for the song, though inspired by conversations with Wilson, but accepted his customary fifty percent of the lyrical credit. The result became one of the big hits from the album: [Excerpt: The Beach Boys, "Wouldn't It Be Nice?"] But -- at least according to Mike Love, in the studio he added a single line to the song: [Excerpt: The Beach Boys, "Wouldn't it Be Nice?"] When Love sued Brian Wilson in 1994, over the credits to thirty-five songs, he included "Wouldn't it Be Nice" in the list because of that contribution. Love now gets a third of the songwriting royalties, taken proportionally from the other two writers. Which means that he gets a third of Wilson's share and a third of Asher's share. So Brian Wilson gets half the money, for writing all the music, Mike Love gets a third of the money, for writing "Good night baby, sleep tight baby", and Tony Asher gets a sixth of the money -- half as much as Love -- for writing all the rest of the lyric. Again, this is not any one individual doing anything wrong – most of the songs in the lawsuit were ones where Love wrote the entire lyric, or a substantial chunk of it, and because the lawsuit covered a lot of songs the same formula was applied to borderline cases like “Wouldn't it Be Nice” as it was to clearcut ones like “California Girls”, where nobody disputes Love's authorship of the whole lyric. It's just the result of a series of reasonable decisions, each one of which makes sense in isolation, but which has left Asher earning significantly less from one of the most successful songs he ever wrote in his career than he should have earned. The songs that Asher co-wrote with Wilson were all very much of a piece, both musically and lyrically. Pet Sounds really works as a whole album better than it does individual tracks, and while some of the claims made about it -- that it's a concept album, for example -- are clearly false, it does have a unity to it, with ideas coming back in different forms. For example, musically, almost every new song on the album contains a key change down a minor third at some point -- not the kind of thing where the listener consciously notices that an idea has been repeated, but definitely the kind of thing that makes a whole album hold together. It also differs from earlier Beach Boys albums in that the majority of the lead vocals are by Brian Wilson. Previously, Mike Love had been the dominant voice on Beach Boys records, with Brian as second lead and the other members taking few or none. Now Love only took two main lead vocals, and was the secondary lead on three more. Brian, on the other hand, took six primary lead vocals and two partial leads. The later claims by some people that this was a Brian Wilson solo album in all but name are exaggerations -- the group members did perform on almost all of the tracks -- but it is definitely much more of a personal, individual statement than the earlier albums had been. The epitome of this was "I Just Wasn't Made For These Times", which Asher wrote the lyrics for but which was definitely Brian's idea, rather than Asher's. [Excerpt: The Beach Boys, "I Just Wasn't Made For These Times"] That track also featured the first use on a Beach Boys record of the electro-theremin, an electronic instrument invented by session musician Paul Tanner, a former trombone player with the Glenn Miller band, who had created it to approximate the sound of a Theremin while being easier to play: [Excerpt: The Beach Boys, "I Just Wasn't Made For These Times"] That sound would turn up on future Beach Boys records... But the song that became the most lasting result of the Wilson/Asher collaboration was actually one that is nowhere near as personal as many of the other songs on the record, that didn't contain a lot of the musical hallmarks that unify the album, and that didn't have Brian Wilson singing lead. Of all the songs on the album, "God Only Knows" is the one that has the most of Tony Asher's fingerprints on it. Asher has spoken in the past about how when he and Wilson were writing, Asher's touchstones were old standards like "Stella By Starlight" and "How Deep is the Ocean?", and "God Only Knows" easily fits into that category. It's a crafted song rather than a deep personal expression, but the kind of craft that one would find in writers like the Gershwins, every note and syllable perfectly chosen: [Excerpt: The Beach Boys, "God Only Knows"] One of the things that is often wrongly said about the song is that it's the first pop song to have the word "God" in the title. It isn't, and indeed it isn't even the first pop song to be called "God Only Knows", as there was a song of that name recorded by the doo-wop group the Capris in 1954: [Excerpt: The Capris, "God Only Knows"] But what's definitely true is that Wilson, even though he was interested in creating spiritual music, and was holding prayer sessions with his brother Carl before vocal takes, was reluctant to include the word in the song at first, fearing it would harm radio play. He was probably justified in his fears -- a couple of years earlier he'd produced a record called "Pray for Surf" by the Honeys, a girl-group featuring his wife: [Excerpt: The Honeys, "Pray For Surf"] That record hadn't been played on the radio, in part because it was considered to be trivialising religion. But Asher eventually persuaded Wilson that it would be OK, saying "What do you think we should do instead? Say 'heck only knows'?" Asher's lyric was far more ambiguous than it may seem -- while it's on one level a straightforward love song, Asher has always pointed out that the protagonist never says that he loves the object of the song, just that he'll make her *believe* that he loves her. Coupled with the second verse, which could easily be read as a threat of suicide if the object leaves the singer, it would be very, very, easy to make the song into something that sounds like it was from the point of view of a narcissistic, manipulative, abuser. That ambiguity is also there in the music, which never settles in a strong sense of key. The song starts out with an A chord, which you'd expect to lead to the song being in A, but when the horn comes in, you get a