STARMAN 45 RELEASED 41 YEARS AGO TODAY. “So I picked on you-oo-oo…” Well, if life begins at forty, Starman is one year old today. Released this day in 1972, it still sounds as good now as it did way back then. The proof is here.
“Saturday in the Park” is a song written by Robert Lamm and recorded by the group Chicago for their 1972 album Chicago V, with Lamm on piano and lead vocals and Peter Cetera on bass and backing vocals. The single version hit #3 on the Billboard Hot 100, becoming the band’s highest-charting single to date and helping lift the album to #1 on the charts. The single was certified Gold by the RIAA.
According to fellow Chicago member Walter Parazaider, Lamm was inspired to write the song during the recording of V in New York City on July 4, 1971:
“Robert came back to the hotel from Central Park very excited after seeing the steel drum players, singers, dancers, and jugglers. I said, ‘Man, it’s time to put music to this!’”
The line “singing Italian songs” is followed by “Eh Cumpari” and then Italian-sounding nonsense words, in the studio version of the song, rendered in the printed lyrics as “?”. Piano/guitar/vocal sheet music arrangements have often read “improvised Italian lyrics” in parentheses after this line. However, in a film of Chicago performing “Saturday in the Park,” at the Arie Crown Theater in Chicago, in 1973, Robert Lamm clearly sings, “Eh Cumpari, ci vo sunari,” the first line of a song known as “Eh, Cumpari!”, which was made famous by Julius La Rosa in 1953. “Saturday in the Park” has also been used in a popular commercial in Japan, advertising a marketing campaign known as “Parkhouse”. The song is played at Saturday afternoon baseball games at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Yankee Stadium in New York, and Coors Field in Denver. Comedian Paul F. Tompkins has called it: “the least patriotic song in popular culture.”
Re-make/Re-model – How pop art became art pop
Tate Britain, Auditorium
Thursday 6 December 2012, 18.30 – 20.00
In the third AICA Annual Lecture, Michael Bracewell will explore the intertwined history of the art rock group Roxy Music and the ideas and attitudes emerging from British art schools and university departments during the 1960s. He will recount some of the stories unearthed through his research, linking the commercial world of pop music to the ideas of fine art. Michael Bracewell is the author of six novels and four works of non-fiction, including Re-make/Re-model 2006 and England Is Mine 1997. He writes widely on modern and contemporary British art, and is a regular contributor to Frieze magazine. His most recent book The Space Between: Collected Writings on Art 2012 is published by Ridinghouse.
The lecture will be followed by a Q&A chaired by Marco Livingstone, and a drinks reception. AICA (International Association of Art Critics UK) inaugurated this lecture series in 2010 with American art historian James Elkins on the State of Art Criticism, followed by art historian and critic Stephen Bann in 2011. This is the third annual AICA lecture at Tate Britain. In association with AICA (The International Association of Art Critics, UK). [Source]
Paul Hardcastle: I remember playing the first Roxy Music album to death after watching them on the OGWT when I was around 12… I was looking at Brian Eno playing synth and I thought I want to do that! Virginia Plain – I still don’t have a clue what it’s about but I couldn’t care less – its a great tune from a still fantastic album.
#1 Record is the debut album by the American power pop group Big Star. It was released in 1972 by Memphis-based Ardent Records. Though many critics praised the album’s elegant vocal harmonies and refined songcraft (frequently drawing comparisons to the British Invasion groups of the 1960s, including The Beatles, The Kinks and The Who), #1 Record suffered from poor distribution and sold fewer than 10,000 copies. However, like Big Star’s follow-up albums Radio City and Third/Sister Lovers, #1 Record has more recently attracted wider attention, and in 2003 it was ranked number 438 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.
The song was popularized by Roberta Flack in 1972 in a version that became a breakout hit for the singer. The song first appeared on Flack’s 1969 album First Take. Flack’s rendition was much slower than the original as an early solo recording by Peggy Seeger ran two and a half minutes long whereas Flack’s is more than twice that length. This slower, more sensual version was used by Clint Eastwood in his 1971 directorial debut Play Misty for Me during a lovemaking scene. With the new exposure, Atlantic Records cut the song down to four minutes and released it to radio. It became an extremely successful single in the United States where it reached #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and Easy Listening charts in April 1972 for six week runs on each. It reached #14 on the UK Singles Chart.
“Spoon” is the name of a song by the krautrock group Can, recorded in 1972. It was originally released as a single with the song “Shikaku Maru Ten” on the b-side. “Spoon” also appeared as the final track to the band’s album Ege Bamyasi later that year. The song marked Can’s first recorded use of drum machine coupled with live drums, an unusual feature in popular music at the time. The single reached #6 on the German chart in early 1972 due to being the signature theme of the popular German television thriller Das Messer (after Francis Durbridge). Due to the single’s success, Can played a free concert at Kölner Sporthalle in Cologne on February 3, 1972. “Spoon” was also featured more recently in Lynne Ramsay’s film adaptation of Morvern Callar (2004). Popular indie rock band Spoon took their name from this song, as did Can themselves for their own record label, Spoon Records. “Spoon” was also remixed by both Sonic Youth and System 7 for Can’s remix album, Sacrilege. Sacrilege is a double remix album by the band Can, released in 1997. It features remixes of many of the band’s most well-known songs from the 1960s and 70s, remixed by contemporary recording artists.
Regarded as one of glam rock’s anthems, the song originated after David Bowie came into contact with Mott the Hoople’s bassist Peter Watts and learned that the band was ready to split due to continued lack of commercial success. When Mott rejected his first offer of a composition, “Suffragette City” (from The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars), Bowie wrote “All the Young Dudes” in short order specially for them, allegedly sitting cross-legged on the floor of a room in Regent Street, London, in front of the band’s lead singer, Ian Hunter. With its dirge-like music, youth suicide references and calls to an imaginary audience, the song bore similarities to Bowie’s own “Rock ‘n’ Roll Suicide”, the final track from Ziggy Stardust. Described as being to glam rock what “All You Need Is Love” was to the hippie era, the lyrics name-checked contemporary star T.Rex and contained references to The Beatles and The Rolling Stones (“My brother’s back at home with his Beatles and his Stones/We never got it off on that revolution stuff”) in a “wearied swipe at the previous generation”. Bowie himself once claimed that the song was not intended to be an anthem for glam, that it actually carried a darker message of apocalypse. According to an interview Bowie gave to Rolling Stone magazine in 1973, the boys are carrying the same news that the newscaster was carrying in the song “Five Years” from Ziggy Stardust; the news being the fact that the Earth had only five years left to live. Bowie explains: “All the Young Dudes’ is a song about this news. It’s no hymn to the youth, as people thought. It is completely the opposite.
[via Mark Stewart]
Dangerous Minds’ reader Rhodri turned me on to this slowed down (from 45 r.p.m to 33 r.p.m) version of The Osmonds’ “Crazy Horses.” A pretty great rock song has now become a monolithic slab of heavy metal with Cookie Monster vocals. [Source]
[via Jan Milton Werther]
The Spotlight Kid is the sixth album by Captain Beefheart (Don Van Vliet) and the Magic Band, originally released in 1972. It is the only album formally credited solely to Captain Beefheart. Often cited as one of the most accessible of Beefheart’s albums, it is solidly founded in the blues but also uses instruments such as marimba and jingle bells that are not typical of that genre. The incarnation of the Magic Band on this album was Bill Harkleroad and Elliot Ingber, guitars; Mark Boston, bass; John French, drums; and Art Tripp, marimba. Session drummer Rhys Clark substituted for French on one track, “Glider.”
[via Paul Newport - Dedicated to Jacob Grønlykke]