Plastic Tubes And Pots And Pans

I have never participated in Hugh’s Views & News Weekend Music Share before, but it seems easy enough to do, so I am going for it.  Hugh indicated that he likes science fiction and that he is big fan of anything from the 1980s, so I am adding the Oingo Boingo song ‘Weird Science’ to this fun challenge today.  The song reached #45 on the US Billboard Hot 100, and #21 on the US Dance Club Charts.  ‘Weird Science’ was written by Oingo Boingo frontman Danny Elfman and it came out on their fifth album Dead Man’s Party.  Danny Elfman was lead singer of the group and he went on to write theme music for many popular movies and TV shows, including The Simpsons, Beetlejuice, Batman and Edward Scissorhands.

The movie Weird Science was released on August 2, 1985 and in it two teen misfits Gary and Wyatt design their ideal woman on a computer, and a freak electrical accident brings this lovely, superhuman Lisa to life.  Lisa is real funny and she transforms Wyatt’s jerky older brother Chet, into a giant, talking turd.

Written for Hugh’s Views & News Weekend Music Share, the place where everyone can share their favorite music.

Sentimental Journey

Radar obtains a turntable to play the new platters the 4077 received and Colonel Potter believes that this will alleviate boredom that the unit is experiencing after 11 days of no casualties.  Klinger teaches Radar how to be a disc jockey and talk the talk to spin platters.  The OR suddenly gets beyond crazy, Col. Potter encourages Radar to keep the tunes coming.  When the MASH unit becomes overrun with casualties and tempers flare, Radar tries to raise everyone’s spirits by playing new records over the intercom.  Col. Potter requests Doris Day’s ‘Sentimental Journey’ 23 times.

The Best Things Always Disappear

The Band, Ronnie Hawkins’ backing band, were known as Levon and the Hawks and the Canadian Squires played together for eight years starting in 1958, before they cut their first album.  The Band made ten studio albums, four live albums, seven compilation albums, and thirty-one singles, as well as two studio and two live albums in collaboration with Bob Dylan, with Planet Waves and The Basement Tapes both going Gold.  They quit playing with Ronnie Hawkins and they were playing at a night club in the seashore resort of Somers Point, New Jersey when Dylan telephoned them.  In 1965, after going electric Bob Dylan recruited them to join him at the Newport Folk Festival.  After Dylan was injured in a motorcycle accident, they went to Woodstock to help him complete his documentary film Don’t Look Back, about his 1965 concert tour in England.  The Band are featured on Dylan’s ‘Ballad Of A Thin Man’, from their 1966 tour.

In the spring of 1967, they found a house called Big Pink which they were able to rent for $125 a month.  They began to grow mustaches and beards and wear hats and in Woodstock people started referring to them as The Band, which they liked, so they made this the name of their group.  In 1968, they recorded their first album Music From Big Pink.  In 1971, after the recording their fourth album Cahoots, Robertson moved up to Montreal while the rest of the Band had stayed in Woodstock.  Suffering one cold winter too many, Robertson moved to Los Angeles in 1973, eventually to be joined by the rest of the Band.  There they leased a ranch, outfitting it with a recording studio, which they named “Shangri-La”.  In 1975, they made their sixth studio album containing all original material, Northern Lights – Southern Cross.  The Malibu recording studio was built by Rob Fraboni to Bob Dylan and The Band’s specifications and it is rumored that the talking horse Mr. Ed was stabled there in the sixties.  Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton and The Rolling Stones played music, recorded, and partied there.

In this new studio Garth Hudson was able to experiment with the latest musical technology using more tracks multiple instruments, including synthesizer and multiple brass and woodwind instruments, all of which contributes significantly to the Dixieland flavor of this album.  Garth didn’t sing and he didn’t compose many songs, however many people regard ‘Ophelia’ as Hudson’s triumph, his musical testament, his masterpiece.  ‘Ophelia’ was written by Robbie Robertson and it was the lead single from the album charting #62 and it features some of the best vocals of Levon Helm’s career.  In this song a woman named Ophelia has skipped town, she left in a hurry and the singer would love to have her come back because, “The old neighborhood just ain’t the same”.  A lovesick fool waits for her unlikely return, as “Nobody knows just what became of Ophelia”.  Robbie Robertson claimed that Minnie Pearl who was born Sarah Ophelia Colley Cannon was the inspiration for his Ophelia.  Besides Northern Lights – Southern Cross, ‘Ophelia’ also appeared on several of the group’s live and compilation albums.  ‘Ophelia’ was included in the Last Waltz film, which was meant to be their grand finale.  Robertson met little resistance when he suggested that the group should dissolve after a final show at Winterland on Thanksgiving Day, November 25, 1976.

Robertson said that he was always fascinated by the name Ophelia and many people think of the Ophelia as the character in Shakespeare’s play Hamlet, that was caught between her love for Hamlet and the wishes of her father, Polonius.  Her father used her to spy on Hamlet and she feels like she has no control of her life and descends into madness, eventually drowning after falling out of a tree into a brook.  This Ophelia who left town, is thought to be a black woman living in a Southern town who was forced to flee because of Southern attitudes at the time towards interracial relationships with the white singer.  The relationship between Ophelia and the singer may have been illegal at this time as the Supreme Court did not declare interracial marriage legal across the US till 1967.

In 1983, the group re-formed without Robertson and played a less-than-spectacular tour.  Three years later, Manuel was found hanging from a shower curtain in a Florida motel room.  Helm, Hudson, and Danko, who moved back to Woodstock, continued to operate as the Band and released three indifferent albums in the 1990s.  Robertson remained in Los Angeles, where he made several solo albums and created film soundtracks.  The Band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1994.

Boards on the window
Mail by the door
What would anybody leave so quickly for?
Where have you gone?

The old neighborhood just ain’t the same
Nobody knows just what became of
Tell me, what went wrong

Was it something that somebody said?
Mama, I know we broke the rules
Was somebody up against the law?
Honey, you know I’d die for you

Ashes of laughter
The ghost is clear
Why do the best things always disappear
Like Ophelia
Please darken my door

Was it something that somebody said?
Mama, I know we broke the rules
Was somebody up against the law?
Honey, you know I’d die for you

They got your number
Scared and running
But I’m still waiting for the second coming
Of Ophelia
Come back home

She Knows How To Rock And Roll

Doobie Brothers co-founder guitarist/singer Tom Johnston, said that the name of their band was coined by a roommate who was living with when the group when they were in their infancy.  This guy said, “Why don’t you call yourself the Doobie Brothers because you’re always smoking’.”  The group formed in 1970 in San Jose California with guitarist/singer Patrick Simmons, drummer John Hartman, bassist Dave Shogren and Tom Johnston.  They started playing live across the region, gaining quick popularity among local chapters of Hells Angels.  The biker gang actually served as inspiration to the band’s image during this time.

The group went through many changes in their lineup having had almost 100 members over the years, starting out as a post-Woodstock group of long-haired jam freaks.  The only constant member of the group is Patrick Simmons and he is the only one who has appeared on all of their releases.  In 1968, Skip Spence of Moby Grape who was formerly in Jefferson Airplane was consuming psychedelic drugs at an alarming rate and he went after someone with an axe and was committed to Bellevue Hospital for six months.  Moby Grape tried to carry on without him, but there was a legal dispute over the name.  When Spence was discharged, he went to Nashville and recorded a solo album Oar, where he played every single instrument, but the album bombed.

Skip Spence who is known as the American Syd Barrett, moved south of San Francisco, and hooked up with Tom Johnston, a graphic-design student at San Jose State University.  Spence recruited drummer John Hartman and bassist Greg Murphy to help revive Moby Grape, and Johnston would complete the foursome, but when this fizzled, Hartman and Johnston formed Pud.  Simmons belonged to several area groups (among them a band Scratch, which included future Doobies bassist Tiran Porter).  The quartet formed and they were signed to Warner Bros. in 1970.  The band’s eponymous debut failed to chart in its 1971 release.  Following its release, Shogren was replaced by Tiran Porter and in late 1971, the group added second drummer Michael Hossack, and the dual-drummers formation has persisted ever since.

Their second album Toulouse Street included some hits like ‘Listen to the Music’ and ‘Jesus Is Just Alright’, but this was a short-lived lineup.  Pianist Bill Payne of Little Feat contributed keyboards for the first time, beginning a decades-long collaboration that included many recording sessions with the band.  A string of hits followed, including Johnston’s ‘Long Train Runnin’’ and ‘China Grove’, from their 1973 album The Captain and Me.  Their next album in 1974, What Were Once Vices Are Now Habits, saw Hossack departing the band citing burnout and he was replaced by drummer, songwriter and vocalist Keith Knudsen.  ‘Black Water’ from this album became the first of the two Doobie Brothers’ #1 hit singles.  In 1974, guitarist Jeff “Skunk” Baxter a founding member of Steely Dan learned that his band was retiring from the road and that Donald Fagen and Walter Becker intended to work almost exclusively with session players in the future.  Before Baxter played in Steely Dan, he met up-and-coming guitar legend Jimi Hendrix and during part of 1966 he was the bassist for Jimmy James and the Blue Flames.  Baxter joined the Doobie Brothers, helping them to remake their sound into a commercially appealing mix of funk and jazzy pop.

By the end of 1974, Johnston’s health was suffering from the rigors of the road.  Stampede was the fifth studio album for The Doobie Brothers and the western-themed concept album was released in 1975.  Stampede featured another hit single, Johnston’s cover of the Holland-Dozier-Holland- Motown hit ‘Take Me in Your Arms’ and Simmons contributed with ‘I Cheat the Hangman’, as well as ‘Neal’s Fandango’, an ode to Santa Cruz, Jack Kerouac and Neal Cassady.  Along with Doobie Brothers Tiran Porter, Tom Johnston, John Hartman, Patrick Simmons, Keith Knudsen and Jeff Baxter, many guest musicians contributed on this album including vocalist Maria Muldaur, slide guitarist Ry Cooder and soul legend Curtis Mayfield.  Founding member Tom Johnston was hospitalization for a bleeding ulcer and when he departed, Baxter proposed recruiting a fellow Steely Dan songwriter, keyboardist and vocalist Michael McDonald to fill the hole and he took the band in a whole new musical direction.

The album charted #4 and was certified gold by the RIAA opens with the bouncy rocker ‘Sweet Maxine’, which went to No. 40 on the Billboard Hot 100.  This song was written by Tom Johnston and Patrick Simmons.  ‘I Cheat the Hangman’ made it to No. 60 on the U.S. Billboard and ‘Take Me In Your Arms (Rock Me)’, topped out at No. 11 on the Billboard Hot 100.  ‘Sweet Maxine’ might have made a better single if it was shortened down to three and a half minutes.  The Doobie Brothers were inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 2004, in 1979 they won two Grammy Awards including, Record Of The Year with ‘What a Fool Believes’ and Best Pop Vocal Performance By A Duo, Group Or Chorus with ‘Minute By Minute’.  They sold more than 48 million records worldwide (including three multi-platinum, seven platinum, and 14 gold albums).

She can capture your heart
When they start the music playin’
Sparkle in her eyes, you better be wise
Or you will end up losin’ your mind

I said baby, pretty baby
Got to get my hands on you

Somethin’ is got a hold on, somethin’ is got a hold on me
Somethin’ is got a hold on, somethin’ is got a hold on me
She was born with it in her soul, Lord she knows how to rock and roll
She was born with it in her soul, Lord she knows how to rock and roll

She’s the answer to a poor boy’s dream
Never seen such a sweet young thing
She’s a teaser, love to squeeze her
An actress from a fantasy scene

I said baby, pretty baby
Open your eyes to the truth

Somethin’ is got a hold on, somethin’ is got a hold on me
Somethin’ is got a hold on, somethin’ is got a hold on me
She was born with it in her soul, Lord she knows how to rock and roll
She was born with it in her soul, Lord she knows how to rock and roll

She’s got the power, power in her soul
She’s got the power, power, rock and roll
She’s got the power, power in her soul
She’s got the power, power, rock and roll

She was born with it in her soul, Lord she knows how to rock and roll
She was born with it in her soul, Lord she knows how to rock and roll
She was born with it in her soul, Lord she knows how to rock and roll

Dreaming Of A Thousand Lovers

‘The Ballad of Lucy Jordan’ is a song by American poet and songwriter Shel Silverstein.  It is about a woman who lives a comfortable, middle class lifestyle, but goes crazy.  The song describes the disillusionment and mental deterioration of this suburban housewife, who climbs to a rooftop “when the laughter grew too loud”.  The song was originally recorded by Dr. Hook and the Medicine Show on their 1975 album Bankrupt, right after they shortened their name to Dr. Hook.  Later in 1979, ‘The Ballad of Lucy Jordan’ came out on Marianne Faithfull’s album Broken English and it charted #48 in the UK.  Marianne Faithfull said that when she heard the song she identified with it immediately.  She thought this was a feminist song and said that some people misinterpret the song thinking the story ends in suicide, but after Lucy Jordan climbs onto the roof she doesn’t jump, but instead is taken away in an ambulance to a mental hospital.  When she climbs into the ambulance she is so far gone that she imagines she is riding through Paris in a sports car, which she had always dreamed about, and is repeatedly stated in the song.

This song was used in the 1981 film Montenegro and the 1991 drama Thelma & Louise with Geena Davis and Susan Sarandon.  Silverstein is best known for his songs, ‘A Boy Named Sue’, ‘The Cover of Rolling Stone’, and ‘Sylvia’s Mother’.  Shel Silverstein wrote ‘The Ballad of Lucy Jordan’ in 1973 back in the days when being a housewife sucked, because it was a soulless job.  Lucy Jordan is bored out of her skull, having nothing better to do than rearrange the flowers, the poor thing is at the end of her rope, ready to run naked through the streets.  At the age of thirty seven, she knows that she will never make it to Paris and because of this, she is sick of living.

In 1970, Shel Silverstein won a Grammy Award for Best Country Song with ‘A Boy Named Sue’ and in 1985 he won a Grammy Award for Best Album For Children with Where The Sidewalk Ends.  He was nominated for an Oscar and a Golden Globe Award for his song ‘I’m Checkin’ Out’ in the film Postcards from the Edge. Shel Silverstein died of a heart attack on May 10, 1999, in Key West, FL at age 68.  Shel was posthumously inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2002 and he was inducted into the Chicago Literary Hall of Fame in 2014.  Marianne Faithfull who is now 72 has been making music for ages, releasing her hit single ‘As Tears Go By’ in 1964. She was nominated for a Grammy Award in 1980 for Best Rock Vocal Performance, Female with her Broken English album, but this was won by Donna Summer for ‘Hot Stuff’. In the mid 80s, Marianne Faithfull spent some time in the McLean Psychiatric Hospital recovering from drug addiction and maybe this is why this song is so relatable to her.

The morning sun touched lightly on
The eyes of Lucy Jordan
In a white suburban bedroom
In a white suburban town

And she lay there ‘neath the covers
Dreaming of a thousand lovers
‘Til the world turned to orange
And the room went spinning round

At the age of thirty seven
She realized she’d never ride
Through Paris in a sports car
With the warm wind in her hair

So she let the phone keep ringing
And she sat there softly singing
Little nursery rhymes she’d memorized
In her Daddy’s easy chair

Her husband, he’s off to work
And the kids are off to school
And there were oh so many ways
For her to spend her days

She could clean the house for hours
Or rearrange the flowers
Or run naked through the shady street
Screaming all the way

At the age of thirty seven
She realized she’d never ride
Through Paris in a sports car
With the warm wind in her hair

So she let the phone keep ringing
As she sat there softly singing
Pretty nursery rhymes she’d memorized
In her Daddy’s easy chair

The evening sun touched gently on
The eyes of Lucy Jordan
On the rooftop where she climbed
When all the laughter grew too loud

And she bowed and curtsied to the man
Who reached and offered her his hand
And he led her down to the long white car that waited past the crowd

At the age of thirty seven
She knew she’d found forever
As she rode along through Paris
With the warm wind in her hair

Summer Goes Winter Blows

Canadian Joni Mitchell was born Roberta Joan Anderson in 1943 and she contracted polio when she was nine, and spent time in a polio ward where she first began to sing for others.  As a teenager, she was not able to afford a guitar, so she bought a cheap ukulele and a Pete Seeger songbook and taught herself to play.  Joni developed an amazing guitar technique, partially due to her way of coping with that polio she had.  She made her first club performances at the age of 19 in late October early November 1962.  In March 1965, while performing in Toronto, she met a young musician from America named Chuck Mitchell.  They married in June 1965, and at that time she was an unwed mother with a young baby daughter fathered by a former boyfriend from Alberta College of Art and Design where they both attended.  The father left before the baby was born and she was put up for adoption.  Chuck and Joni Mitchell moved to Detroit, Michigan and performed together as a folk duo.

In late 1966, Joni had an affair with a folk singer from Colorado named Michael, and she divorced Chuck in 1967.  Joni moved to New York City settling in the Chelsea district to pursue her dream of becoming a solo artist.  In July 1967 she appeared at the Newport Folk Festival along with Joan Baez, Judy Collins, Tim Hardin, Fred Neil, Odetta, Phil Ochs, Tom Paxton, and others.  That summer Joni met Judy Collins’ Canadian friend, Leonard Cohen, by then a rising poet and singer.  Joni was much taken with the 42 year-old Cohen, and the two began a romance.

Mitchell went to London in August 1967 and she was the opening act for bands that included The Piccadilly Line and The Incredible String Band.  While Joni was in London she met a lady named Marcie, who she discovered she had a lot in common with.  Mitchell immortalized this lady in her song ‘Marcie’ that came out on her debut album Song To A Seagull, which was produced by David Crosby and released in March of 1968.  Marcie was the girlfriend of Michael Rosen who Joni also met when she was hanging out in Bayswater London.  It was Joni who came up with the name Eclection for the band he was playing in and she helped the group get a record contract.  While Joni was staying in Marcie’s flat she found out that they were neighbors in New York City for two whole months, right smack dab up against each other and they never met until they both went to England.  They had also met in Toronto before either of them went to New York.

Joni said that even though this song isn’t specifically for her friend, Marcie, that she took poetic license and borrowed her name.  Mitchell said that it is sort of a song for every girl who’s had to come to NY.  The song was originally titled ‘Portrait in Red and Green’.  Marcie is an ordinary woman that dresses warm when it’s snowing, takes a yellow cab uptown, sees a show and rides back down.  Joni Mitchell’s poetic genius is interspersed between the mundane act of just getting into a cab, buying a bag of peaches, needing a plumber to fix her leaking faucet and washing her curtains.  Marcie shows sorrow because she needs a man and she waits for a letter that is never delivered.  “Reds are sweet and greens are sour, Red is autumn green is summer, Red is stop and green’s for going, Red is angry green is jealous” and in the end Marcie moves away.  Joni Mitchell said that her song Marcie has a lot of Leonard Cohen in it, but she is the girl in all these songs and Marcie was used because she needed a two-syllable name.

All songs were written by Joni Mitchell on the Song To A Seagull album which is also titled Joni Mitchell and every song is sung by her and accompanied by her playing guitar or piano.  None of the songs that she had already written like ‘Chelsea Morning’, ‘Both Sides Now’, ‘The Circle Game’ or ‘Urge for Going’ appear on this album, instead she recorded 10 songs that most people never heard of.   The album says that Lee Keefer plays a banshee, which is probably Rocktron’s Banshee Talk box, which is a unique device that provides the ability to let your music do the “talking”.  Words and phrases that you speak or sing while playing your guitar or keyboard will flow from your mouth, through the Banshee, out the Banshee tubing, into your microphone, and finally, out your amplification!  The Banshee is featured on her song ‘Nathan La Franeer’, which is a sad song that includes observations of a cab ride, that expresses enthusiastic praise to loneliness and alienation.  The wailing noise of the banshee sounds like a wailing female spirit portending death!

Marcie in a coat of flowers
Steps inside a candy store
Reds are sweet and greens are sour
Still no letter at her door
So she’ll wash her flower curtains
Hang them in the wind to dry
Dust her tables with his shirt and
Wave another day goodbye

Marcie’s faucet needs a plumber
Marcie’s sorrow needs a man
Red is autumn green is summer
Greens are turning and the sand
All along the ocean beaches
Stares up empty at the sky
Marcie buys a bag of peaches
Stops a postman passing by
And summer goes
Falls to the sidewalk like string and brown paper
Winter blows
Up from the river there’s no one to take her
To the sea

Marcie dresses warm its snowing
Takes a yellow cab uptown
Red is stop and green’s for going
Sees a show and rides back down
Down along the Hudson River
Past the shipyards in the cold
Still no letter’s been delivered
Still the winter days unfold
Like magazines
Fading in dusty grey attics and cellars
Make a dream
Dream back to summer and hear how
He tells her
Wait for me

Marcie leaves and doesn’t tell us
Where or why she moved away
Red is angry green is jealous
That was all she had to say
Someone thought they saw her Sunday
Window shopping in the rain
Someone heard she bought a one-way ticket
And went west again

The Meaning Of Life

The 1966 film Alfie sums up some of the confusion and misinformation that surrounds the 1960s and the British made movie starring Michael Caine, Millicent Martin, Jane Asher, Shelley Winters and Julia Foster was a big hit.  Burt Bacharach wrote the melody and Hal David wrote the lyrics for the song ‘What’s It All About Alfie’.  Burt Bacharach said that, “Alfie’ could be as close to the best song Hal and I ever wrote.”  Hal David said the line, “What do you lend on an old golden rule”, in the song, “doesn’t mean anything, it’s one of those lines that’s open to interpretation.”  Does Alfie ever find love, does he have any answers?  Alfie does not seem to provide anything in this song, so I think that it is best to stop asking Alfie what anything is about.

What’s it all about, Alfie?
Is it just for the moment we live?
What’s it all about when you sort it out, Alfie?
Are we meant to take more than we give
Or are we meant to be kind?
And if only fools are kind, Alfie
Then I guess it is wise to be cruel
And if life belongs only to the strong, Alfie
What will you lend on an old golden rule?
As sure as I believe there’s a heaven above, Alfie
I know there’s something much more,
Something even non-believers can believe in
I believe in love, Alfie
Without true love we just exist, Alfie
Until you find the love you’ve missed you’re nothing, Alfie
When you walk let your heart lead the way
And you’ll find love any day, Alfie