Sunday, August 23, 2009

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Rock/Pop Tidbits

This is a rerun of a popular daily feature here at
CollectingVinylRecords Blog, a feature I call Rock/Pop Tidbits; interesting facts about rock and pop music and artists, some humorous, some informative and some just silly. Long time readers will recognize some of these, but I have written up some new ones, so now you can win at trivial pursuit! Feel free to leave comments or add more of your own:

After Elvis Presley began his meteoric rise to fame in 1956, his father Vernon said to him, "What happened El? The last thing I remember is I was working in a can factory and you were driving a truck."

Peter Cetera wrote "If You Leave Me Now" about a faltering relationship. Although the song proved to be Chicago's biggest selling record, it didn't help save the union, as the woman involved ended up leaving anyway.

CCR's John Fogerty had a notebook in which he jotted down words and names that he thought would make good song titles. At the top of his list was "Proud Mary", a phrase that brought images of a domestic washerwoman to John's mind. When he got around to putting it to music, the first few chords he used reminded him of a paddle-wheel going around. Instead of Proud Mary being a clean-up lady, she became a boat and the song is a staple at any wedding reception.

Lesley Gore's first album was called "I'll Cry If I Want To" which consisted of songs completely devoted to crying.

"Mack The Knife" was written for the 1928 German play The Threepenny Opera, in which "Mack" is Mackie Messer (Macheath), an amoral, anti-heroic criminal. Although it suffered an initially poor reception, the show went on to run 400 times in the next two years. It was translated into English in 1933 and since that time, at least seven productions have been mounted in New York, on and off Broadway.

It has often been rumored that Billy Joel played piano on The Shangri-Las' "Leader of the Pack", but this has been denied by one of the song's co-writers, Ellie Greenwich.

The original version of "Louie Louie" by The Kingsmen cost just $36 to record, but sold over 12 million copies.

In the 1950s, Paul McCartney's father lead a combo called Jim Mac's Jazz Band, where he played piano and trumpet. When he was a boy, Paul said that someday he hoped to be as good as his dad.

Set to Ronald White's tune, Smokey Robinson was inspired by his wife Claudette to write the lyrics to one of music history's greatest love songs, "My Girl". Smokey's personal problems lead to their divorce in 1986.

From clay tablets and other forms of pictures, historians have determined that stringed musical instruments were developed in ancient Egypt and Rome over 3,300 years ago. The first six string guitar, called a vihuela, was developed in Spain in the 17th century.

In February 1949, after RCA Victor introduced the first 45 rpm phonograph, they put together a promo package of seven 45s that were sent to US disc jockeys and retailers. The records were color coded for classification of music. Popular - Black; Classical - Red; Popular Classical - Midnight blue; Children's - Yellow; Country and Western - Green; Rhythm And Blues - Cerise; International - Sky blue.

Famed L.A. record store Music Man Murray preparing to close

By John Rogers of The Associated Press

LOS ANGELES — The 45s, the 78s, the vinyl LPs, the CDs are all spinning to a halt, and you can push the stop button on those old cylinder recorders.

Music Man Murray — who for almost a half-century has been L.A.'s go-to-guy for that elusive record, the one you spent years searching in vain for until you found Murray — is closing up shop and selling his collection of some 300,000 discs. Everything must go, from the rare 10-inch vinyl LPs, to the even rarer 19th century Edison cylinders. Even that framed, mint-condition “Yesterday and Today” album by the Beatles, the one with the notorious “butcher cover” that makes it worth thousands of dollars, needs a home.

No, says Murray Gershenz, an energetic man of 87, he's not getting too old to run Music Man Murray's. Truth is, he says, his budding career as a character actor is finally taking off and he just can't devote the time anymore that a record collection like his deserves.

So someone else will have to keep watch over those ancient and fragile discs like the 100-year-old 78s recorded by Swedish opera singer Sigrid Onegin.

“Great singer, absolutely phenomenal,” he says, respectfully, holding one lovingly in his hands.

Then there's the priceless Kenny & the Cadets 45 (one of those small plastic records with the big hole in the middle). Only a few copies were pressed in 1962 before the group's core members became much better known as the Beach Boys.

Read the rest here:

LA Store Closing

Bird and Animal Names In Rock And Roll History- part twenty-seven

Written By Robert Benson

Let’s continue our article series about “bird” and “animal” band names in rock and roll history, again focusing on some indie bands.

Taking his inspiration from film, photography, art and the climate in his home country of Finland, Marko Nyberg formed the indie band called Husky Rescue in 2002. Playing a mixture of ambient pop with a hint of country, the band released (with the help of twenty musicians and singers) their debut LP “Country Falls” in 2004. In order to play the compositions live, Nyberg recruited Reeta-Leena Korhola (vocals), Ville Riippa (keyboard), Anssi Sopanen (drums) and Miika Colliander (guitar) to tour and record. Nyberg poetically describes the group’s sound:

"Every track is designed to be a warm breeze to counter the chill of daily life, whether you live in cold climes or not. All moments from life become part of the music. Husky Rescue reflects our background in Helsinki where the winter nights are so cold and long while the summer is hot and short, but oh so sweet. It's melancholic music but there is always hope. Husky Rescue's music is like the first snow on the ground when you can still see the green grass through the snow. It's like spring's sunbeam after the long, dark, sunless winter time."

The group has released a series of singles throughout the years and in 2007 released their second LP “Ghost Is Not Real.” The band continues to tour and record and is gaining a small but loyal fan base.

Noah and the Whale is an Indie folk band from London, England and was formed in 2006. They draw comparisons to other indie bands such as Neutral Milk Honey and Belle & Sebastian and cite both folk and punk rock as major influences to their sound. The group derived their band name from a combination of the title of one of the band's favorite films, The Squid and the Whale, and the director of the film's name, which was Noah Baumbach.

After releasing several singles early on, the band released their debut album, "Peaceful, The World Lays Me Down" in August 2008. The release rose to #5 on the UK Album Chart and has received critical acclaim and support.

Their next release, "The First Days Of Spring" is scheduled for release in the US on October 6, 2009. Singer Charlie Fink is making a film to accompany the LP; which will mark his directorial debut. The new album has been described as more electric than previous releases and there will be a running narrative throughout the album describing the disillusion of a relationship.

The band gained many fans as performers on the Jeremy Warmsley’s internet television show, "Welcome to our TV" show, and have made several appearances at festivals including Leeds, Latitude, SXSW, V Festival and Glastonbury and have tour dates scheduled in Europe well into November of 2009. The band plans to come to the states after the UK touring is finished, confirming a date in Phoenix, Arizona in late November and bringing their unique blend of folk-punk to the music lovers of America.

Neon Horse is an American rock band from Los Angeles, California, signed to Tooth and Nail Records with two studio albums to their credit. Their sound has been described as a 'very 80s sound.'

The band remained almost anonymous and did not release any of the band member’s names, the lead singer was known only as "Norman Horse." However after playing a gig on April 10, 2008 at the House of Blues in Anaheim, the secret came out; the band members are now known: Mark Salomon (of Stavesacre) is the singer, Jason Martin (of Starflyer 59) plays guitar, and Steven Dail (of Project 86 and Crash Rickshaw) plays bass. It's rumored that Alex Albert (formerly of Project 86, also of Crash Rickshaw) is Neon Horse's drummer.

On the band's MySpace page, they describe themselves to their music audience:

“From the wreckage of roughly 20 nameless and faceless Los Angeles bands, Neon Horse arose as a collective of session musicians, home studio producers, waiters, postal workers, and bartenders …who found common ground in their music.”

"Citing influences broad in range – from the Rock of AC/DC, Oingo Boingo, and even the Stooges to the Sass of Depeche Mode, Bauhaus, and the Eurythmics – the band set out to make music they could play with a straight face, and that would allow Norman to exhibit his wide range and… personality. Eclectic and manic, Neon Horse is a band of Rock and Roll roots in the purest form: An ever changing, mercurial, addictive – and at times, slightly bizarre – continuation of Rock’s re-inventive nature."

“The band elected to maintain a simple understanding: Beyond the logical necessity of establishing Norman as the face of the group, they simply prefer to be known as: Neon Horse.”

Mixing parts David Bowie with elements of Alice Cooper blended with a grinding rhythm, the cut “Crazy Daisy” is getting major playing time on the band’s MySpace page. Another cut, "Little Lamb," with an infectious beginning riff and again brings the Bowie sound to the forefront. Ok, Neon Horse it is.

Hailing from Chicago, Illinois, The Ponys are an indie rock/garage rock band formed in early 2001. Founder Jered Gummere was in a punk outfit called Guilty Pleasures; a band he subsequently quit to devote his full attention to the Ponys.

He recruited members for the band, the first being his girlfriend, Melissa Elias. They were soon joined by drummer Nathan Jerde and the band began playing the clubs in the Chicago area. Gummere then recruited Happy Supply member Ian Adams to round out the sound, a mix of indie/post punk styles. The band cut a few singles and was signed to Red Records and released their first album, "Laced With Romance" in 2004. The LP met with moderate success and was praised, not only in the local indie papers, but mainstream music publications like Rolling Stone and Spin. The Ponys toured with The Unicorns, The Fall and The Fiery Furnaces in support of the release.

The next LP, "Celebration Castle" was released in May of 2005 despite some band members tiring of the road and the recording schedule. The album had a much more defined sound to it and retained the instantly recognizable live sound that they were known for. Later that year, Ian Adams left the band, tired of touring and was replaced by Brian Case of 90 Day Men.

The Ponys left their record label and signed with the New York-based indie label Matador Records. They recorded their third album, "Turn The Lights Out," in the fall of 2006 and it was released in March of 2007. With their most brilliant batch of songs to date, plus the luxury of being able to take their time in the studio, the group turned in an ambitious, but wholly addictive recording. At heart, the Ponys are and always will be a garage band, with a bright future and new musical boundaries to cross.

Look for more write ups here at the Collecting Vinyl Records Blog, when we continue of look at indie bird and animal band names.

Husky Rescue Tidbits:

The cut "My World" has been used in Hyundai's ‘Think About It’ advertisements and the song "New Light of Tomorrow" was used in a P&O TV commercial.

Buy Husky Rescue Music

Noah and the Whale Tidbits:

The band consists of Charlie Fink (vocals, guitar), Doug Fink (drums), Tom Hobden (fiddle), and Urby Whale (bass). Laura Marling and Emmy The Great sang with the band for a short period; however the band has decided that there will be no female backup vocals on their second LP.

The group are also avid fans of the film director Wes Anderson, who helped produce The Squid and the Whale alongside Baumbach; in fact, the group's e-mails, and many of their MySpace blog posts, are signed "Sic Transit Gloria", a phrase frequently used in Anderson's film Rushmore.

"The First Days of Spring" will be the first single release from the album of the same name and is available for download from the band’s website. Additionally the cut "Blue Skies" will also be released as a single.

Neon Horse Tidbits:

The band has posted a Christmas song on their MySpace page.

On July 27, 2009, their sophomore album titled "Haunted Horse: Songs of Love, Defiance, and Delusion" was made available for download on iTunes.

Buy Neon Horse Music

The Ponys Tidbits:

Gummere met his girlfriend Melissa Elias while she was attending Illinois State University in his hometown.

Buy The Ponys Music