March ’64 -Beatle-Martin-Mania

George Martin, who was described as the “5th Beatle” by Paul McCartney, passed away this week.  His contributions to the music industry extended beyond the traditional producer role; he arranged, composed, conducted, engineered and performed on many of the Beatles’s hits….and there were many hits.Martin 64

Take a look at the second week in March 1964 when the Beatles had four of the top ten hits on Billboard:

#1 She Loves You

#2 Please Please Me 

#4 I Want to Hold Your Hand

#9 Twist and Shout

The number two hit that week was Please, Please Me, a 1962 re-released, that has since been credited as the song that brought fame to the Beatles.

This song’s success has been attributed to Martin who recommended to speed up the original tempo. While the lead vocals were Lennon and McCartney, the design was George Martin.

52 years ago, during the month of March, George Martin and four lads from Liverpool, England, changed music…on both sides of the Atlantic.

 

 

Hamilton’s Washington Lifted from Speeches

By now, everyone knows about Lin-Manuel Miranda’s significant contribution to American musical theatre and to radically altering our perspective on the Founding Fathers in American History. His musical Hamilton is sold out; he just won a Grammy…and he got all NY Newspaper critics (Yes, even the NY Post) to give great reviews.

In one of the play’s many memorable moments, George Washington, skillfully played by the actor Christopher Jackson, dictates his Farewell Address to Alexander Hamilton, played by Lin-Manuel Miranda. The text of the duet they sing together at near the end is lifted almost entirely from Washington’s Farewell Address.

When the Genius website annotated these lyrics, they referenced the phrase “Under their vine and fig tree” as being quoted in the Hebrew Scriptures in three different places: Micah 4:4, 1 Kings 4:25, and Zechariah 3:10.1. They explain that this particular scripture quote is Micah 4:4.

In response to their annotation, is a Tweet from Miranda:

Screenshot 2016-02-16 14.21.30

Here below is an excerpt from One Last Time 

 

(lyrics below start at 1:55)
[HAMILTON]
Mr. President, they will say you’re weak

[WASHINGTON]
No, they will see we’re strong

[HAMILTON]
Your position is so unique

[WASHINGTON]
So I’ll use it to move them along

[HAMILTON]
Why do you have to say goodbye?

[WASHINGTON]
If I say goodbye, the nation learns to move on
It outlives me when I’m gone
Like the scripture says:
“Everyone shall sit under their own vine and fig tree
And no one shall make them afraid.”

They’ll be safe in the nation we’ve made
I wanna sit under my own vine and fig tree
A moment alone in the shade
At home in this nation we’ve made
One last time

[HAMILTON]
One last time

[HAMILTON-repeating the last paragraphs of Washington’s Farewell Address; sung as a duet with WASHINGTON]
Though, in reviewing the incidents of my administration, I am unconscious of intentional error, I am nevertheless too sensible of my defects not to think it probable that I may have committed many errors. I shall also carry with me the hope that my country will view them with indulgence; and that after forty-five years of my life dedicated to its service, with an upright zeal, the faults of incompetent abilities will be consigned to oblivion, as I myself must soon be to the mansions of rest. I anticipate with pleasing expectation that retreat, in which I promise myself to realize the sweet enjoyment of partaking, in the midst of my fellow-citizens, the benign influence of good laws under a free government, the ever-favorite object of my heart, and the happy reward, as I trust of our mutual cares, labors, and dangers.

The Closing Lines of Washington’s Farewell Address:

(lines in blue not in lyrics above)

…”Though in reviewing the incidents of my Administration, I am unconscious of intentional error–I am nevertheless too sensible of my defects not to think it probable that I may have committed many errors. Whatever they may be I fervently beseech the Almighty to avert or mitigate the evils to which they may tend. I shall also carry with me the hope that my Country will never cease to view them with indulgence; and that after forty five years of my life dedicated to its Service, with an upright zeal, the faults of incompetent abilities will be consigned to oblivion, as myself must soon be to the Mansions of rest.

Relying on its kindness in this as in other things, and actuated by that fervent love towards it, which is so natural to a Man, who views in it the native soil of himself and his progenitors for several Generations; I anticipate with pleasing expectation that retreat, in which I promise myself to realize, without alloy, the sweet enjoyment of partaking, in the midst of my fellow Citizens, the benign influence of good Laws under a free Government–the ever favourite object of my heart, and the happy reward, as I trust, of our mutual cares, labours and dangers.”

Thank you, George….no one shall make us afraid.

“Ba de ya – Say Do You Remember?”

The voices of my youth are being silenced.

Maurice White, the founder of the soul band Earth, Wind, and Fire, has died at the age of 74. My dream of hiring the band to play at my 60th birthday had always been financially out of reach (I checked…somewhere in the range of $30K), but without Maurice, the dream is officially over.

We owned three of the 90 million albums the band sold. We blasted them LOUD and we danced: Fantasy, Shining Star, Boogie Wonderland (Did I mention Fantasy?) We turned down the volume and we swayed: After the Love is Gone, That’s The Way-of the World, Reasons.

My father-ruler of acceptable decibels- did not complain about the music of Earth, Wind, and Fire...I think it was the band’s horn section that caught him. That…or my mother’s love for this music.

Maurice’s band won 7 Grammy Awards; I saw him in concert once (1978), and the band four more times after he left due to Parkinson’s disease. They were a participatory band: part work-out (you did not sit at an Earth, Wind and Fire concert) and part seduction (memorable line? “You are all our children…because we like to think so many of you here today were created during our music!”)

Maurice wrote many of the band’s songs and lyrics, but an NPR story  Why Earth, Wind and Fire’s “September” Sustains explains how the songwriter Allee Willis collaborated on the song “September”:

The, kind of, go-to phrase that Maurice used in every song he wrote was ‘ba-dee-ya,’ ” she says. “So right from the beginning he was singing, ‘Ba-dee-ya, say, do you remember / Ba-dee-ya, dancing in September.’ And I said, ‘We are going to change ‘ba-dee-ya’ to real words, right?’ ”

Wrong. Willis says that at the final vocal session she got desperate and begged White to rewrite the part.

“And finally, when it was so obvious that he was not going to do it, I just said, ‘What the f- – – does ‘ba-dee-ya’ mean?’ And he essentially said, ‘Who the f- – – cares?'” she says. “I learned my greatest lesson ever in songwriting from him, which was never let the lyric get in the way of the groove.”

Enjoy the video…‘ba-dee-ya,’ Maurice!