Muhammad Ali’s “I Am the Greatest!” is as much of a novelty record as you can get, part spoken word bragging, part singing. I like to bring this up whenever someone complains about actors or sports figures making an album or a music video. If Ali, the greatest boxer and one of the biggest personalities of the 20th century, a man who had it all, still had something empty inside him to want to be a rock star, then it’s fair game for anyone else. Ali’s album was noticed for one big reason – it contained a bit of backing vocals by his friend, Sam Cooke.
Here’s Ali andCooke harmonizing on a BBC sports program.
What you’re looking at is a shot from the top of the world’s tallest waterslide, currently being erected at the Schlitterbahn Kansas City Waterpark. They named it Verruckt (that’s German for “insane”), which is just perfect, when you think about it.
It’s around 140 feet high and will send you and your heart hurling at 65 miles per hour.
Long the centrepiece for the group at Led Zeppelin concerts, at least through the release of “Whole Lotta Love” from their second album, “Dazed And Confused” was usually played at a slower overall tempo, and gradually extended in duration as a multi-section improvised jam.
Their show at Inglewood, California on March 27, 1975 gave the audience the longest version the band ever played. Grab a coffee, folks, it’s 45 minutes long.
In his 1997 publication Led Zeppelin Live: An Illustrated Exploration of Underground Tapes, Luis Rey dissects the pattern of the song (as it was in 1975) into twelve sections, in order to demonstrate its gradual state of evolution when played live:
Stage 1: Bass intro and wah-wah interludes
Stage 2: Main vocal theme
Stage 3: Fast instrumental and ‘oriental’ riffs
Stage 4: “San Francisco/Achilles Last Stand” or “Woodstock”
Stage 5: Violin bow episode including echo-slapping from the guitar; interlude with Plant’s ‘instrumental voice’; Gustav Holst’s Mars, the Bringer of War and return of the rhythm section
Stage 6: Fast guitar solo and battle with Plant
Stage 7: Slower tempo solo and ‘funky’ moods
Stage 8: Violent breaks and call and response interlude
Stage 9: Faster solo in crescendos and occasional break-up tempo
Stage 10: New arrangement of Mars, the Bringer of War (slow and fast versions) and final frenzy
Stage 11: Return to main theme
Stage 12: Coda. Final instrumental and vocal battle inside syncopated rhythms, drum-solo and final explosion
Artist Greg Frederick creates portraits of celebrities and pop stars out of shards of vinyl records andcan be purchased by contacting Frederick through his website. If you know of any artists who do cool things out of vinyl records or musical instruments, let me know – I’d love to highlight them here.
Remember as a kid there were cereal boxes with records attached to them? Here’s one for The Archies’ “Sugar, Sugar” that is named the Most Manufactured Record Ever:
Kellogg’s also produced a 33 1/3 RPM record, but it didn’t contain music – it was all about their most popular products in 1971, which, they proclaim, would be “A Kellogg’s Year”.
There are eight songs in total, ranging from just under a minute to just over two minutes. It wasn’t made for the general public, but for internal use, perhaps for the sales and marketing staff.
Track three, “Low Noon”, is easily the strangest part of the record. It’s a parody of Johnny Cash’s singing style and musical style, in which the lyrics make repeated fun of those who claim that that Frosted Flakes have little or no nutritional value. It predates snarky by a few decades, and it would be a bad PR move it was ever released to the public at the time.
This chart designed by Marcelo Duhalde and published on visualizing.org shows the life expectancies for those born in 2013 and assume that mortality rates will remain constant. Have a great day and be careful!
American Idol went home this week, forcing its remaining 12 contestants to power their way through songs that reminded them of their humble beginnings. Results were, as they say, mixed, and much of the show was given over to the judges (well, mostly Harry Connick, Jr. and Keith Urban) telling the singers exactly how they needed to improve in order to make it to the seemingly far-off May finish line. It’s still early in the season, though, and having too many good contestants at this point is actually not good for the show’s dramatic development! Better to watch these rough-hewn kids from all over this fine nation’s map blossom into stahhhs, baby, stahhs.
Caleb Johnson. As the singer who, after so many years, brought the crypto-libertarian Canadian trio Rush to American Idol, Caleb deserves a place in the show’s official history books—never mind that even though he told Ryan Seacrest that Rush was his favorite band of all time, his version of “Working Man” once again revealed that his true musical idol is Whitesnake frontman David Coverdale. (Note to Jimmy Page: if you have a hankering to do another Coverdale/Page-type project again but don’t want to shell out the cash for the Snake Charmer, this is the dude to get in touch with.)
“40 years later and their debut album gets them a commercial for one of the largest retailers and a spot on one of the top TV shows. Amazing!”
“That was a good cover. The musicians were kicking ass and the singer was great with strong pipes. A country artist and a pop artist headbanging(sort of). He also managed to get high praise from Jennifer ‘dat ass’ Lopez.”
“Hate to say it, but that singer and the band sounded better than the real thing.”
“Mmmmm, not so fast my friend. That dude sounds better today than Geddy does today, and probably has a more listenable voice than Geddy did in his prime. But, Rickey Minor and company are good, but they most definitely do not sound better than Rush.”
In the fall of 1979, U2 released their first single in Dublin, and the group sent it to London-based RSO Records, looking for a record deal The reason to Paul Hewson, was that it was “not suitable for us at present.” Within a year, U2 had signed with Island Records.
The prehistoric monument Stonehenge may have been built as a giant xylophone, researchers have claimed. The Royal College of Art spent months tapping more than 1,000 types of rock to study the monument’s musical qualities. And then they turned it up to 11!
Most rocks produced a “dull thud” while the bluestones, which formed the earliest stone circle, were found to “sing” when struck. The rocks made a range of metallic sounds like bells, gongs and tin drums, the study confirmed. Which means one of two things – it could be the world’s largest, hands-on musical instrument, or aliens did put it here as part of their giant rock concert, and left it behind because it wouldn’t fit into their van/flying saucer.
Paul Devereux, who led the study with Jon Wozencroftfrom, said: “We have had percussionists up here who have been able to actually get proper tunes out of the rocks. This is real rock music.”
Really. He said that. Now THAT’S funny, right there.
The sight of a rotary dial phone to a kid could be a signal that this communications device is so unique and retro, they just can’t wait until they claim it as one of their own fun items to play with, and start the buzz to make cool again. Unfortunately, this doesn’t happen. At all. This makes me feel old. I’m going to be over here…