GIVE TIL IT HURTS!

Unintentional (?) hilarity

The Revolver author takes it as satire, but after looking the thing over a cpl-three times, I ain’t so sure about that myself.

With our coverage of Ray Epps, Scaffold Commander, and the ever-elusive MAGA Pipe Bomber, we at Revolver have done our part to thoroughly discredit the mainstream narrative of January 6.

Most of America, of course, has moved on from January 6, regardless of how it voted in 2020. But then, there are the diehards: The collection of people for whom a few hooligans in the Capitol was the most psychologically traumatizing event of their entire lives.

And now, they have a comic book. Fresh from OneSix Comics, it’s…“1/6: The Graphic Novel”!

My bolded bit below would seem to be a dead giveaway as to satirical intent and authenticity:

1/6: The Graphic Novel asks and answers the question: what if the January 6, 2021 Insurrection had been successful? In an entertaining, chilling, and sometimes humorous form, 1/6 illustrates how close we came to authoritarian rule in the United States, demonstrating how strategic disinformation, racial and religious bigotry, and cynical political ambition convinced millions of ordinary Americans to reject cherished constitutional values and support violent sedition.

Harvard Law School Professor Alan Jenkins and New York Times bestselling graphic novelist Gan Golan have teamed up with veteran comic book artist Will Rosado to depict, in chilling detail, what the Insurrectionists and their allies had planned on that day, the threats to our democracy that remain, and what can be done about it.

Ayup, NOT satire. Still hilarious though, if only in a dark way.

For now, here are Revolver’s nine favorite details from Volume 1. 

1. The story opens with a team of special forces storming a CNN-esque news station, and executing the staff without a trial.

2. The murdered news anchor is replaced with a new one, and apparently, the new anchor is supposed to be Tucker Carlson. Only problem is, he looks more like Mitch McConnell in a toupee.

I’m digging it already. My personal fave from the unfortunately notional MAGAmerica? This one.

5. The old Thurgood Marshall Federal Judiciary Building has been renamed in honor of a far better black Supreme Court justice…and also his wife, for some reason.

The building’s courtyard is dominated by a massive statue of Clarence Thomas and Donald Trump both waving gavels.

Heh. Yep, totes digging it. ¡Viva la MEGA-MAGA revolucion!

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Fucked around. Found out

Recent events would seem to indicate that ordinary Americans are just about fed the fuck UP with lawlessness, theft without repercussion, and random scumbaggery.


When I forwarded this to him via text message, habitual commenter brack said: “The collar/belt buckle heave-ho into the trash can is priceless.” I couldn’t agree more with that assessment. This post is going into the “Art” category, among others, because that fast-takedown is a true thing of beauty.

(Via Driscoll)

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” THAT TIME IN 1968 WHEN JIMMY PAGE AND THE YARDBIRDS PLAYED AT A CINCINNATI HIGH SCHOOL PROM”

Full props to Ed for a truly great catch.

IN 1968, JIMMY PAGE AND THE YARDBIRDS PLAYED AT ST. XAVIER’S PROM
Months before the legendary guitar player formed a little band called Led Zeppelin, he and his bandmates took an unexpected gig—and made quite an impression.

Oh, I just bet they did. I just bet they did at that.

By all accounts St. Xavier High School was a pretty buttoned-up place in the late 1960s: an all-male student body with a coat-and-tie dress code, daily Mass (confession optional), and a special Jesuit brand of detention called J.U.G., or Justice Under God (still in place today; ditto for the all-male thing). The chief rule enforcer back then was Patrick J. Boyle, S.J., the school’s assistant principal and unofficial dean of discipline, legendary for incidents like sending boys home mid-day for a haircut if their locks even grazed the tops of their shirt collars.

At the very same time, out in the world-at-large, the times they were a-changin’, as the song lyrics sort of go. Between war, devastating assassinations, increasingly violent protests, political theater, and even the world’s first manned lunar orbit, 1968 in particular would end up being one of the most pivotal and tumultuous years in recent U.S. history. High school and college students nationwide had begun advocating vehemently for a freer, less restrictive, and more open society; in the process they’d also managed to usher in a new era of rock music that aptly reflected the times (sex, drugs, et al). Such was the cultural landscape when St. X’s class of 1968 entered its senior year and a new principal, Father Ed Smith, arrived on campus for—among many other things—his first meetings with the student council.

One of the group’s first orders of business: planning the prom.

Even if you’re not a classic-hard-rock fan—which I am—a Led Zep fan—which, ditto—or a Yardbirds devotee—which I ain’t, and never have been—you’ll still find this a fun read. It’s an amazing story, albeit an all too familiar one to any poor lost soul who’s ever seriously attempted to embark on a career as a full-time professional musician. The weddings, bar mitzvahs, birthday parties, and sundry private gatherings any such misguided fool must endure so as to eke out their paltry living in the biz are indeed the curse of the calling.

No, whether or not you do manage to scratch and claw your way to the top of the rock and roll heap, the road there is a long and thorny one, guaranteed to be liberally salted with what my erstwhile partner in musical crime Mookie Brill (yes, that’s moi with Mook in the top-left photo, thenksveddymuch; there’s video of our old power-duo, the Parodi Kings, available for perusal there also, looks like) un-affectionately used to call “menu venues,” along with the whole panoply of other painful life experiences. Not to complain or anything, it’s all just part of the working-musician life.

I remember one wedding the BPs played in DC, for one of the steepest tolls we ever did charge, wherein the minister responsible for the preceding nuptials introduced the band by turning to us to glare in goggle-eyed horror and sneering over the mic, “Guess it really does take all kinds to make a world.” My brother the doghouse bassist was so offended by the obvious insult he immediately started lobbying me hard for just up and walking out then and there (direct would-be-exit quote: “Man, SCREW this, let’s just pack our stuff up and leave!”), before we’d struck the very first chord and/or rock-star pose.

The bride and groom were so mortified by this incident that, in addition to our exorbitant fee (of which we damned well earned every fucking penny), they were moved to ship us an entire case of pricey Knob Creek small-batch bourbon and a nice note when they got back home to San Francisco by way of apology. Handsome is as handsome does, as they say; they were actually very nice people, one of many couples who had met at one of our Double Door shows back when they were living in CLT.

In one of life’s great ironies, the majority of those couples at whose wedding receptions we later played, those that I know of anyway, ended up divorced after a few years. It got so bad that, before the last few we did before giving them up forever, we went out of our way to warn the soon-to-be-unhappy couples when they first inquired about us playing for them of our dismal track record to date, and what it might well wind up meaning to them ere the (bitter, acrimonious) end.

Anyways, the thing that really grabbed me about the Yardbirds-prom article is this photo of Jimmy Page:

Whaaa....?
Page goes nearly all-Fender, shockingly enough

Yep, that is indeed Jimmy Page—renowned throughout the guitar-playing universe for his strict insistence on running various Gibson Les Pauls through several serried ranks of Marshall full-stacks, with a doubleneck SG along for the ride on “Stairway To Heaven,” natch—working not just a chop-shop Fender Tele (GASP!!!) but what looks to my jaded eyes to be a silverface Bassman head, alongside a Vox UL4120, through three (count ’em, 3) Dual Showman cabs.

A replica of Jimmy’s beat-up, junky old Tele can now be had from Fender as the obnoxiously-overpriced “Jimmy Page Signature Model Telecaster,” no less, available in various colors including “Natural with Artwork” at selected music stores near you. Really, what can one say but, “YIKES!”

Hell with them Yardbirds, sez I, have yourselves a little Led Zep as a palate cleanser instead.

ZOMG update! Scanning the comments over at Insty, there’s a whole slew of similar stories, including this one, from 1971:

Black Sabbath plays Union Catholic High School
From Master of Reality documentary
On the second night of their tour, February 18th, they played an uncommon stop for most rock bands. Union Catholic High School in Scotch Plains, New Jersey. The student body contacted the band’s booking agent, asking if Sabbath would play at their school. Tired of the usual dull bake sales and dances, the students of Union Catholic endeavored upon a novel approach to fundraising. It first started with The Who concert at the school in 1967, followed by other notable bands such as Chicago, Blood Sweat and Tears, and Cream. Black Sabbath would be the last.

One first-hand account said: “As the concert started, Ozzy came out with his band from our left. Then FROZE midstage. Facing him right up front were rows of seated priests and nuns in the audience. I still remember the puzzled look on his face. He then shrugged his shoulders and began.” Apparently, the nuns and priests had commandeered the first two rows.

The Marist brother, who was assigned to the student council, took one look at Ozzy, wearing a big cross and chain around his neck, and turned a member of the student body and said, “Finally. (YOU booked) A Christian band!”

The sold-out concert, with an estimated 2,200 attending, would gross $8,803.50, over $60k in 2022 dollars. Black Sabbath would go down as the biggest revenue generator in all of Union Catholic High School’s concert history.

Heh. And probably made about 300 bucks themselves, if that. There’s also this:

The Way It Was – The Who, 1967
The night of Nov. 22, 1967, is indelibly etched in the memories of local music fans lucky enough to nab a ticket to The Who’s performance at Southfield High School’s gym. “It was packed to the gills, and I was in the front row,” recalls Don Henderson, who shot this photo. The British group was preceded by warm-up bands The Unrelated Segments and The Amboy Dukes (with Ted Nugent). Singer Roger Daltrey’s back is to the crowd in front of drummer Keith Moon while guitarist Pete Townshend puts the finishing touches on his signature windmill move, in which he wound up his arm in anticipation of striking a furious power chord. Not pictured is bassist John Entwistle. Henderson, who was just 17 at the time, was himself then in an established local group, The Gang, which was one of the house bands at Detroit’s Grande Ballroom. Lead guitarist Henderson also saw The Who in June of ’67 at Ann Arbor’s The Fifth Dimension club, now long gone. He and his bandmates were smitten by the English group. “Our band looked up to The Who,” Henderson says. “They were what we wanted to be like and sound like and we did their songs.” By the time they appeared at Southfield High, The Who already had a string of hits, including “I Can’t Explain,” “My Generation,” and “Happy Jack.” Their signature concert finale was smashing their instruments. Henderson says they did so at Southfield High — after a fashion. “They didn’t go too crazy,” he remembers. “Pete Townshend knocked his guitar to the floor a couple of times and Keith Moon tipped his drums over.” Incidentally, the fellow peeking out of the curtains is Tom Weschler, a respected music photographer in his own right who also became Bob Seger’s road manager. Henderson continues to keep in touch with Weschler and Nugent.

Mind-blowing pics from the Sabbath show are included with that article, too. Other brushes with future greatness from Glenn’s/Ed’s comment section include Van Halen, REO Speedwagon, Chicago, Ted Nugent, and more. Every professional player, every band, be they exalted or humble, is gonna have skeletons of this nature rattling around in their closets.

Calls for another embed, I think, of the dead-bang greatest Sabbath tune of them all.


Not sure if that’s the original Sabbath drummer in that vid or not, and my apologies to Geezer Butler and all, but as far as I’m concerned as long as you have Ozzie and Tony Iommi in there, then hey, it’s Black Sabbath.

Repost update! After much thrashing about trying to figure this whole Substack business out, this post can now be viewed at my grubby, disreputable hangout there also: The Eyrie, Mike’s CF Adjunct. I left comments open, if you feel like giving it a whirl.

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A real find

So I’ve found my new nomenclature for the criminal organization masquerading as a political party, the DemonRats, which I swiped from a comment I ran across someplace or other, can’t recall where:

D卐M☭CRAT.

Says it all, don’tcha think?

Upon finding the thing, I immediately tried command-C to copy, not really expecting it to transfer correctly. But lo, when I command-P’ed it into a plain-text doc, it worked like I charm. Don’t know what the hex code might be for the swastika/hammer and sickle characters, and I don’t care either; I love it! Expect to see a lot more of this one from here on out, y’all.

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Hitting the books

I am thrilled as all git-out to report that, after my having contacted him a day or two ago about the possibility of getting my greasy hands on one, the esteemed and estimable Oleg Atbashian of the wholly brilliant People’s Cube satire site has most graciously provided me with an ePub copy of his latest autobiographical book, Hotel USSR, for review purposes. I have two other books with pending reviews on my to-do list—Jonathan Fesmire’s unconventional, wild, and rollicking Bodacious Creed and the San Francisco Syndicate (done, and done—M), and our good friend TL Davis’s uncompromising, bare-knuckled Rogue, the sequel to his paean to freedom, REBEL: The Last American Novel. I’ll be catching up on this happy backlog of reading and reviewing in a trice, folks.

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The paramount importance of proper product placement

Methinks a little judicious shelf-rearrangement might be in order here.

 

I can’t help but suspect that, somewhere out there, there’s a nonbinary, gender-befuddled Minor Attracted Pedophile™ Wal Mart store manager having him/her/itself a good snicker over this.

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Naming (un)conventions

Never underestimate the creative ingenuity and all-round insouciance of the general public. First, the backstory:

A few years ago, Britain’s Natural Environment Research Council announced a competition to name a new research vessel.  Given the sense of humor of the British public, it was perhaps not surprising that the winner – by a very large margin – was “Boaty McBoatface“.  Horrified at such unseemly (and un-bureaucratic) levity, the Council stiffly announced that the ship would be christened David Attenborough, but in recognition of public opinion, one of its remotely controlled submersible vehicles would be named according to the popular poll.  Wikipedia notes:  “Observers of contemporary culture coined the term ‘McBoatfacing’, defined as ‘making the critical mistake of letting the internet decide things’.”

One suspects the Ohio Turnpike Commission might have had that example in mind when they announced the winners of their second annual “Name-a-snowplow” competition.

Now, the winners.

Ctrl-Salt-Delete by Nicole G.

Blizzard Wizard by Jacqueline F.

Plow Chicka Plow Wow by Joshua K.

You’re Killin’ Me Squalls by Linda V.

The Big LePlowski by Matthew S.

The Blizzard of Oz by Annette B.

Ohio Thaw Enforcement by Jonathan H.

Clearopathtra by Samantha S.

One plow at each of the turnpike’s eight maintenance buildings will get one of the names. That includes the Amherst, Boston and Hiram facilities as well as others in Erie, Fulton, Mahoning, Ottawa and Williams counties.

Each winner will receive a $100 cash gift card, according to a news release. The commission got more than 5,500 entries between Oct. 24 and Nov. 20. The top 50 were put up for a public vote which ended Dec. 2 with more than 1,100 votes cast.

Heh. I love it. Back over to Peter for the wrap-up.

Good on the Turnpike Authority for letting the public join in the fun, and for selecting amusing names that will make people smile. There’s all too little of that from ponderous public authorities these days.

Ain’t THAT the sad, sorry truth.

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Happy 100th birthday

To the incomparable Charles Schultz.

The 100th anniversary of the late cartoonist Charles Schulz’s birthday came and went last week without any notice anywhere, that I saw. And so, with thanks to Mark, I pen my own little tribute here to one of the great creative geniuses in American history.

If you were young at any time between 1950 (when Schulz first began publishing his comic strip Peanuts) and 2000, when Schulz died at the age of 77, you grew up in a world in which everyone read the latest Peanuts comic strip (particularly in the US and Canada) as part of their daily newspaper reading ritual.

In that world, Peanuts comic strip panels—carefully cut from the newspaper—adorned refrigerators, bedroom walls, lockers, office bulletin boards, everywhere you went; Peanuts characters adorned T-shirts and lunch boxes; Peanuts references peppered everyday conversations; and Peanuts television specials attracted as many adult viewers as child viewers.

Most remarkably, in that world, Peanuts story lines, themes, and characters resided so deeply in the North American psyche, they had come to serve as crucial cognitive tools for enabling people to experience, make sense of, and communicate about themselves and the world around them.

On that last point, think of how many times you’ve said, or heard someone say, “It’s Lucy with the football”. The reference instantly transmits not just an insight into the true dynamics of a situation, but an insight with powerful emotional valence. In a flash, you think back to all those strips showing Lucy fooling Charlie Brown again…and you re-experience your own past feeling of wanting to believe in something so badly, you’ve forgotten what history has already taught you, and you’ve started to fall prey to the persuasions of someone who just won’t deliver in the end. Think of Lucy holding that football, and you inevitably start to wonder if, in this case, you’ve turned into Charlie Brown. It’s a reality check.

That it surely is. Tal goes on from there to, as he puts it, “touch on a few deeper issues,” in his usual erudite and adroit fashion. To wit:

People naturally tend to think of earlier generations as somewhat benighted compared to us in our present age. We assume those before us didn’t have the awareness we have, or the depth, sophistication, or imagination. And certainly, we might be tempted to imagine that about an era in which “The Andy Griffith Show”, “Gilligan’s Island”, and “My Three Sons” were the biggest shows going, as opposed to, say, “Narcos”, or whatever the latest serial killer series Netflix is running now. Or where the biggest pop stars were Frankie ValliDion, and Patti Page, as opposed to our present collection of convicted felonsprostitutesdrug addictspimps, and Satanists.

But Peanuts often went deep. One example is the daring surrealism Schulz inserted into the strip, particularly through the character of Charlie Brown’s beagle, Snoopy.

Sitting alone on top of his doghouse, Snoopy regularly hallucinates himself back in time to World War I. Once there, he often finds himself in air battle as a fighter pilot. In these moments, his doghouse is no longer a doghouse. It is a Sopwith Camel outfitted with Vickers machine guns. His main job is to kill Germans (particularly the flying ace Manfred von Richthofen); but in various sequences, he carries messages through trenches filled with the wounded, gets shot down behind enemy lines, dates local French girls, and laments the deaths of his fallen comrades.

Schulz goes farther. He ends up casting these episodes as perhaps more than hallucinations. In one strip, for example, Charlie Brown stands before his school classroom to read a paper on the flu epidemic of 1918. He then reveals it was actually Snoopy who wrote it, since Snoopy was there throughout the crisis. Snoopy stands next to Charlie Brown in class, dressed in his World War I flying gear. That Schulz never definitively explains what’s going on with the fantasy sequences only heightens our emotional engagement with the sequences.

Bachman’s deft analysis continues from there. Read of it, for It Is Good.

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A Cuban missile-crisis Christmas?

FINALLY, another brilliant Steynmusic post.

Back in 1952, Gloria Shayne had been the pianist in the dining room of a New York hotel when a young man walked in, took one look at the gal at the keyboard, and went up and introduced himself. He was a Frenchman who spoke very little English, she was an American who spoke even less French. She liked pop music, he had come to America to be a classical musician. Yet within a month they were married. Flash forward ten years: Noël Regney’s English has improved, and, although he still hasn’t made his name in serious music, he’s learned to appreciate American pop music since his wife hit the jackpot with “Goodbye, Cruel World”. They even write songs together – usually with Noël writing the music, and Gloria the lyrics.

But not this time. Noël Regney had had a lively war. Born in Strasbourg, he’d been conscripted, after the German invasion, into the army of the Reich. And, although he soon deserted and joined the Resistance, he stayed in German uniform long enough to lead his platoon intentionally into the path of a group of French partisans, who wound up shooting him. After the liberation of his country, he went east to be the musical director of the Indochinese service of Radio France, and found himself in the middle of a new conflict. He thought the Second World War was so terrible that it must surely be the end of all war. But here it was – October 1962 – and as he saw it Washington and Moscow were playing a dangerous game of nuclear brinksmanship over Soviet missiles in Cuba. On the streets of Manhattan, he saw two infants in strollers being wheeled by their mothers along the sidewalk, and decided he wanted to write something for them. Not music, but words: A poem.He remembered scenes from his own childhood – sheep grazing in the pasture of the beautiful campagne – and he had the image he needed:

Said the wind to the little lamb,
‘Do you see what I see?
Way up in the sky, little lamb
Do you see what I see?
A star, a star
Dancing in the night
With a tail as big as a kite.’

He wrote a tune to go with it, too, but he decided it wasn’t right, and turned to his wife. “When he finished,” said Gloria, “Noël gave it to me and asked me to write the music. He said he wanted me to do it because he didn’t want the song to be too classical. I read over the lyrics, then went shopping. I was going to Bloomingdale’s when I thought of the first music line.”

It was only when she got home and played the tune for her husband that she realized she’d made a mistake, and had added one note more to that first line than the lyric required. But Noel loved the melody and didn’t want her to change a thing. So he went back to his poem and added a syllable for the spare note:

Said the night wind to the little lamb…

Gloria asked for one other text change: “A tail as big as a kite” didn’t sound right to her ears: somehow it wasn’t quite American English. But Noël put his foot down on that one: those words were staying, just as they were. “He was right,” she later told Yuletide musical archivist Ace Collins. “It is a line that people dearly love.” It’s perhaps the most vivid and memorable in the song, and a good example of how a phrase you might have no use for as a piece of speech can be transformed by music. The star dancing in the night with a tail as big as a kite is a rare moment of poetic imagery in a lyric that’s otherwise baldly descriptive. It’s slightly off-kilter – a tail as long as a kite, surely? – but “big” makes it more childlike and wondering.

The simple structure of the song is very effective – four verses, passing the story from the night wind to the little lamb, the little lamb to the shepherd boy, the shepherd boy to the mighty king, and finally the mighty king to the people. The repetition of “a star, a star/Dancing in the night” is matched by “a song, a song/High above the trees”, and “a child, a child/Shivers in the cold…” And at the end Noël Regney finally spelled out what was on his mind in that fall of 1962:

Said the king to the people everywhere,
‘Listen to what I say!
Pray for peace, people everywhere
Listen to what I say!
The child, the child
Sleeping in the night,
He will bring us goodness and light.

M and Mme Regney took their song to the Regency publishing company, and Regency immediately got hold of Harry Simeone. You can understand why. The Harry Simeone Chorale had had a huge hit four years earlier with “The Little Drummer Boy”, and to a casual listener “Do You Hear What I Hear?” can easily sound like “The Little Drummer Boy” sideways. Both tunes share a kind of simplistic formality, and the words of the later song echo the first: “Do You Hear?” reprises “Drummer Boy”‘s king and baby (actually, in the first song, the king is the baby) and one half of “the ox and lamb”, and the little shepherd boy is clearly a kindred spirit of the little drummer boy. So the Simeone Chorale recorded it, put it out for Thanksgiving 1962, and sold a quarter-million copies in its first week.

There were stories in the papers about drivers hearing it on the radio and pulling over on to the shoulder to listen to the lyrics. Regney and Shayne had written a song so powerful they couldn’t even get through it themselves without dissolving into tears. “We couldn’t sing it,” said Gloria. “Our little song broke us up. You must realize there was a threat of nuclear war at the time.”

But threats of nuclear war come and go; a good song is forever. What turned “Do You Hear What I Hear?” from a peace anthem to a seasonal standard was a recording the following year by Mister White Christmas himself, Bing Crosby. Bing’s warm dramatic baritone drew out the words in ways that the 25 voices of the Harry Simeone Chorale simply couldn’t. When I see these lyrics on paper, my mind’s ear hears them in Crosby’s voice:

Said the shepherd boy to the mighty king,
‘Do you know what I know?
In your palace warm, mighty king
Do you know what I know?
A child, a child
Shivers in the cold
Let us bring him silver and gold
Let us bring him silver and gold…’

Bing’s version sold a million copies, and the song never looked back.

“I am amazed that people can think they know the song,” said Noël Regney, “and not know it is a prayer for peace.” Ah, but most great popular art wiggles free of its creator. And so many if not most of those singing along to “Do You Hear What I Hear?” will have no idea that it has anything to do with some ancient flash point of the Cold War. Which is as it should be. Noël Regney and Gloria Shayne eventually divorced. The man who wrote those powerful words was hit by a stroke and ended his days unable to speak. The woman who wrote that melody was struck by cancer and unable to play the piano. But their song lives on, with a tail stretching across the decades:

Said the night wind to the little lamb,
‘Do you see what I see?
Way up in the sky, little lamb
Do you see what I see?
A star, a star
Dancing in the night
With a tail as big as a kite.’

Noël Regney: the first Noël to write an American Christmas classic, even if it took the Cuban missile crisis to inspire him.

Happily, Steyn includes what I myself agree is the best version yet recorded, by the aforementioned Der Bingle.



Wonderful stuff, no? And, as is so often the case, with an equally wonderful story behind its creation as well.

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Happy birthday

To one of the greats, a true American original.

Berry Gordy: The Visionary Who Made Motown

A company that was started with a loan of $800 went on to help shape the sound of the 20th century. We could only be talking about Motown Records, founded on January 12, 1959 by Berry Gordy Jr, who was born in the city he helped make synonymous with soulfulness, Detroit, on November 28, 1929. Unfailingly spritely, just ahead of his 90th birthday, Gordy announced his retirement at the Hitsville Honours ceremony, safe in the knowledge that his achievements will last forever.

Gordy built his empire on his early success as a songwriter, notably of “Reet Petite,” “Lonely Teardrops” and others for perhaps the pre-eminent black music entertainer of the late 1950s, Jackie Wilson.

“Of the late 1950s”? RUFKM? Try: of all time, it’s a much better fit. Don’t believe me?



Jackie was so incredibly, unbelievably good that a young Elvis Presley, on his first time seeing him perform in Vegas, was so blown away by the show he asked to come backstage to visit with “Mr Excitement” in the green room, to which request Wilson graciously acceded. Elvis made his obeisances to a man he recognized as one of the most awe-inspiring vocalists the world has ever seen or ever will see before solemnly swearing that he would never, not EVER, willingly follow Jackie onstage.

Smart fella, that Elvis.

The two nascent legends shared a few laughs and hung out awhile just shooting the familiar old road-dog breeze, then Wilson explained one of his own stage tricks to Elvis: gulp down a bunch of salt tablets and drink a gallon or two of water before going out onstage, so as to make oneself sweat profusely during the show, something any audience just loves to see from a singer; as Wilson told E at the time, “the chicks love it.”

Elvis used the trick forever after, there being but one minor little problem with the technique—it’s just liable to kill ya from a heart attack or stroke eventually. In fact, it was almost certainly a contributing factor in Jackie Wilson’s own debilitating heart attack a few years on down the road, a setback from which he never really recovered.

On September 29, 1975, Wilson was one of the featured acts in Dick Clark‘s Good Ol’ Rock and Roll Revue, hosted by the Latin Casino in Cherry Hill, New Jersey. He was in the middle of singing “Lonely Teardrops” when he suffered a massive heart attack. On the words “My heart is crying” he collapsed on stage; audience members applauded as they initially thought it was part of the act. Clark sensed something was wrong, then ordered the musicians to stop the music. Cornell Gunter of the Coasters, who was backstage, noticed Wilson was not breathing. Gunter was able to resuscitate him and Wilson was then rushed to a nearby hospital.

Medical personnel worked to stabilize Wilson’s vital signs, but the lack of oxygen to his brain caused him to slip into a coma. He briefly recovered in early 1976, and was even able to take a few wobbly steps, but slipped back into a semi-comatose state.

Wilson’s friend, fellow singer Bobby Womack, planned a benefit at the Hollywood Palladium to raise funds for Wilson on March 4. Wilson was deemed conscious but incapacitated in early June 1976, unable to speak but aware of his surroundings. He was a resident of the Medford Leas Retirement Center in Medford, New Jersey, when he was admitted into Memorial Hospital of Burlington County in Mount Holly, New Jersey, due to having trouble taking nourishment, according to his attorney John Mulkerin. Elvis Presley covered a large portion of Wilson’s medical bills. Wilson’s friend Joyce McRae tried to become his caregiver while he was in a nursing home, but he was placed in the guardianship of his estranged wife Harlean Harris and her lawyer John Mulkerin in 1978.

Wilson died on January 21, 1984, at the age of 49 from complications of pneumonia. He was initially buried in an unmarked grave at Westlawn Cemetery near Detroit.

So sad. But all this got me to revisiting a few of my personal all-time Motown faves on YewToob, a list which would necessarily have to include this slice of pure musical genius on it.



Pay especial attention to what the aptly-named Miracles are doing behind Smokey here; it pulls the entire song together in a way most non-professionals will never even notice at all—a thing often striven for by tunesmiths, but seldom achieved except in the verymost brilliant compositions.

And yes, Smokey Robinson and the Miracles were also on Motown, of course. Actually, Robinson himself was the label’s VP from 1972 until 1990, two years after the company had been sold.

So yeah, happy 93rd birthday to the great Berry Gordy, who brought us so very much wonderful, wonderful music on the Motown label. Thanks for that, sir, and God bless you.

8

Publick Notice

Even though I had originally declared my intention to test this header-image-swapping hoopajoob for a cpl-three days and then, once I’d confirmed everything worked as it ought to, reverting to the usual Angry Guy blue CF theme for the remainder of November, I am now thinking of reneging on that. I’d forgotten just what a tedious, time-consuming pain in the ass this whole business was. Plus, as I said before, ol’ Scrooge Picard and now the lovely SantaBettie make me smile. So, well, I dunno; give me another couple days and we’ll see what develops, aiiight?

2

There she is…

Took me a while, but my Bettie Page header image xxx-periment is now live, and kickin’. Do let me know if buck-nekkid Bettie works for y’all or not, and don’t be shy about it; at this point, replacing Ms Page with good old Scrooge Picard will be simplicity itself, and will take me all of about three seconds to do. Didn’t get the randomized header-swap thingie implemented yet, but that’s no biggie either.

Update! Aiight, the header-swap dealio should be working as of now.

11

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