keep having troubles with music these days.
the problem can be summed up in a simple concept: I’m not hearing
much that seems like it will be memorable, important, memorable,
well-regarded, memorable… and did I say memorable?
Adele… I understand.
beyond incredible. Breathtaking… awesome… makes you believe in
angels and miracles and all of the beauty in the world.
she is an exception.
ask you to try this… (1) Select any artist recording hit songs
today. (2) Randomly pick ten people. And by ten people, selected
at random, I mean men and women, different ages, at work and at
a restaurant and at the grocery store and at random. Not a bunch
of people that all listen to the same music being approached about
their favorite musician. (3) Ask them to name four or five songs
from that artist.
guess is that most of us won’t be overwhelmed by positive results.
For roughly twenty years, most hit songs simply haven’t been that
memorable, and even the biggest names in the business don’t connect
the same way with audiences. So… biggest names… and the majority
of people knowing more than a song or two… not going to happen.
Adele… the exception.)
in 1967, the Beatles released an album called Magical Mystery
Tour. And I have said before, that record is a completely
up to any singer, songwriter, band, etc., and say the following:
“I’m here with an offer. If you sign right now, your best album
will be in content and quality the equivalent of the material
on Magical Mystery Tour.” Once you tell them the songs
on the album, I guarantee every one of them will sign.
course you’re not. Heck… Magical Mystery Tour isn’t even
close to being one of the five best or most significant albums
recorded by the Beatles. It’s virtually a throwaway. It’s not
Revolver or Rubber Soul. It’s not Sgt. Pepper’s
Lonely Hearts Club Band… not Abbey Road… not The
Beatles (you know… The White Album). It isn’t thought
of like their movie soundtracks Help! or A Hard Day’s
Night. It’s not one of the early albums that introduced John,
Paul, George and Ringo to the world.
I said it’s virtually a throwaway. Is it really?
track listing includes: “Magical Mystery Tour”, “The Fool on the
Hill”, “I Am The Walrus”, “Penny Lane”, “Hello, Goodbye”, “Strawberry
Fields Forever” and “All You Need Is Love”.
yeah… the album wasn’t recorded entirely as many of their albums
were. Some of those songs came from other projects, or had been
released as singles and found a home on that project.
I repeat my challenge… most musicians would be absolutely fine
with their best personal body of work reaching the levels of Magical
just don’t make them like the Beatles any more.
leads us to Tony Orlando.
parents had the chance to see Orlando perform recently. And Mom
wanted to know what I knew about him and whether or not he had
been performing at all with Dawn at any point in the past four
decades. So I started thinking about him, and…
I was considering a man that had recorded “Candida”, “Knock Three
Times”, and “Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Ole Oak Tree”. I knew
that already. Also knew about the television show and the Freddie
Prinze friendship and more.
I had been in one of my “current music stinks” moods. Suddenly
I was thinking about a guy that was the singer of three pretty
decent songs. You know those songs. Right now, if we burst into
the chorus of any of those three you could probably sing along.
You definitely know the music well enough to hum them.
let’s toss in “Say Has Anybody Seen My Sweet Gypsy Rose”.
Orlando… no struggles… four memorable songs.
certainly don’t listen to music in the same way that we used to.
Yes… radio is still around. Yes… people are appearing on The
Tonight Show and Saturday Night Live and all sorts
of special segments of different prime time programs. We even
still buy albums.
it’s not the same.
it comes to music, we obtain, consume, distribute, listen, watch,
share and more, in ways that were beyond any thought a generation
a funny test though…
you showed me a listing of the top three to five songs from any
week, or any year, between say 1960 and 1990, my guess is I would
know just about every song. (And for several of those years, I
wasn’t even born yet.) Now, I’m sad to admit, that often I can’t
match an artist to a song, or even say for certain that I know
a song by hearing its title.
does that mean?
when I hear the media craze for bands like New Kids On The Block,
The Jonas Brothers, and One Direction… a craze that always seems
to speak of comparisons to the Beatles… I chuckle.
any performer is entertaining their fans… may not be my cup of
tea… more power to them, and I tip my cap. And some of them are
recording damn fine music.
forty years from now… virtually none of them will have a Magical
Mystery Tour to their credit. (And most will not have a career
that includes the equivalent of “Candida”, “Knock Three Times”,
“Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Ole Oak Tree” and “Say Has Anybody
Seen My Sweet Gypsy Rose”)
I suppose, all of us have a shot at our own fifteen minutes.