Songmeaning - Layla  

Posted by Son Of Alerik

From Derek and the Dominos to Eric Clapton

This is about George Harrison's wife, Pattie. She and Clapton began living together in 1974 and married in 1979. Clapton and Harrison remained good friends, with George playing at their wedding along with Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr. Clapton left her for actress Lory Del Santo (with whom he had his son, Conor) in 1985. In an article published in The Guardian December 13, 2008, Pattie said: "I wasn't so happy when Eric wrote 'Layla,' while I was still married to George. I felt I was being exposed. I was amazed and thrilled at the song - it was so passionate and devastatingly dramatic - but I wanted to hang on to my marriage. Eric made this public declaration of love. I resisted his attentions for a long time - I didn't want to leave my husband. But obviously when things got so excruciatingly bad for George and me it was the end of our relationship. We both had to move on. Layla was based on a book by a 12th-century Persian poet called Nizami about a man who is in love with an unobtainable woman. The song was fantastically painful and beautiful. After I married Eric we were invited out for an evening and he was sitting round playing his guitar while I was trying on dresses upstairs. I was taking so long and I was panicking about my hair, my clothes, everything, and I came downstairs expecting him to really berate me but he said, 'Listen to this!' In the time I had taken to get ready he had written "Wonderful Tonight." I was a bit more hurt when Eric wrote Old Love (1989). The end of a relationship is a sad enough thing, but to then have Eric writing about it as well. It makes me more sad, I think, because I can't answer back."

Duane Allman came up with the famous guitar riff and played lead with Clapton. Allman was a big Clapton fan and arranged to drop by the session through Tom Dowd, who produced the Allman Brothers' album Idlewild South. Dowd was working with Clapton on the Derek and the Dominos album and made sure Duane paid a visit. When he came by, Allman was thrilled to learn that Clapton not only knew who he was, but also thought he was a great guitarist. They got along very well and Clapton asked Allman to record with the band.

Allman's death in a motorcycle accident in October, 1971 helped renew interest in the song.

Clapton went into a drug-filled depression when the single tanked in 1971. He couldn't understand why it wasn't a hit. The record company did very little to advertise the album, figuring any project with Clapton would get plenty of publicity. It eventually did, and the record company made out very well.

Derek and the Dominos formed after Eric Clapton, Bobby Whitlock, Carl Radle and Jim Gordon worked on George Harrison's first post-Beatles album, All Things Must Pass.

At the end of the song, Dwayne Allman produced the "crying bird" sound with his guitar while Clapton played acoustic. It was a tribute to Charlie Parker, a jazz legend known as "bird."

The piano piece at the end was edited on a few weeks later. Drummer Jim Gordon came up with it as a solo project and had to be convinced to use it on "Layla." Gordon was one of the most successful session drummers of the late 1960s and early 1970s, playing on many classic albums of the time. The piano at the end has become famous. It was used to great effect at the end of the movie Goodfellas, and radio stations almost always play the version with the piano.

Clapton performed a slow, acoustic version for an MTV Unplugged concert in 1992. It was released as a single and made #12 in the US, getting lots of airplay on pop, rock, and adult contemporary radio stations. This version also won a Grammy for Best Rock Song.

Songmeaning - Child in Time, Deep Purple  

Posted by Son Of Alerik

The Hymn of Rock

Written by the band in 1969, it is said by the band members themselves to have been inspired by a riff featured in a song by Purple contemporaries It's a Beautiful Day, called "Bombay Calling". The riff was played on violins and much faster in tempo.

"Child in Time" is an essentially simple composition, featuring an organ intro, three power chords, and a two minute long solo. Lyrically dark, vocalist Ian Gillan utilizes his full vocal range and goes from quiet singing to loud, high-pitched, banshee-esque screaming. Guitarist Ritchie Blackmore comes in with a slow solo, which builds up to a fast-pace playing and then ends abruptly, with the whole song cycle starting over again. Blackmore is normally associated with playing a Fender Stratocaster, however, he played a Gibson ES-335 on the studio version of the song.

A staple of the Deep Purple live concerts in 1970–73 and later after their initial reunion tours of 1985 and 1987-88, the song has not been featured regularly at concerts since Gillan returned (for a second time) to the line up in 1993. Gillan cites many personal reasons for leaving the song out, but it is likely that, given his advancing years, the song is becoming increasingly difficult to perform without sampled vocal backings. Its last appearance in Deep Purple's live set was at Harrogate in 2002. In that performance, high-pitched guitar was used to cover up Gillan's now-limited vocal range during the "screaming" parts. A similar technique is used on current live performances of "Space Truckin'".

The live version from "Made in Japan" is considered to be even better than the original, with excellent vocal and instrumental improvisations. "Child in Time" was not a very coverred song due to the difficulty of playing it live. Yngwie Malmsteen covered this as probably the best non-Deep Purple version there is.

Ian Gillan said in an interview in 2002: "There are two sides to that song - the musical side and the lyrical side. On the musical side, there used to be this song 'Bombay Calling' by a band called It's A Beautiful Day. It was fresh and original, when Jon was one day playing it on his keyboard. It sounded good, and we thought we'd play around with it, change it a bit and do something new keeping that as a base. But then, I had never heard the original 'Bombay Calling'. So we created this song using the Cold War as the theme, and wrote the lines 'Sweet child in time, you'll see the line.' That's how the lyrical side came in. Then, Jon had the keyboard parts ready and Ritchie had the guitar parts ready. The song basically reflected the mood of the moment, and that's why it became so popular."

1 Year of Music Blessing - Stairway to Heaven, Led Zeppelin  

Posted by Son Of Alerik

July Morning was the first post on musicblessing. Eventhough it was posted on 3rd of July, the post was created one day before.

The celebrations continues with one of the most famous and disputed songs of all times. Stairway to Heaven rose both controversy and joy, and today is still listened all around the globe. Offcourse there are a lot of meanings and facts regarding Stairway to Heaven, which brings a lot of controversy to this piece of art.

The most famous Rock song of all time, this didn't chart because it was never released as a single to the general public. Radio stations received promotional singles which quickly became collector's items.

On Tuesday November 13, 2007, Led Zeppelin's entire back catalogue was made available as legal digital downloads, making all of their tracks eligible for the UK singles chart. As a result, at the end of that week the original version of "Stairway To Heaven" arrived in the UK singles charts for the first time.

Many novice guitarists try to learn this song, and most end up messing it up. In the movie Wayne's World, it is banned in the guitar shop where Wayne starts playing it. In the movie, Wayne clearly plays the first few notes before being scolded, but due to legal issues, the video version was changed so Wayne plays something incomprehensible. On an episode of South Park, the character Towelie tries to play this in a talent show and screws it up.

This is rumored to contain backward satanic messages, as if Led Zeppelin sold their souls to the devil in exchange for "Stairway To Heaven." Supporting this theory is the fact that Jimmy Page bought Aleister Crowley's house in Scotland, which had become a well known Satanic church and was known as "The Toolhouse." In his books, Crowley advocated that his followers learn to read and speak backwards.

Robert Plant addressed the issue in an interview with Musician magazine: "'Stairway To Heaven' was written with every best intention, and as far as reversing tapes and putting messages on the end, that's not my idea of making music. It's really sad. the first time I heard it was early in the morning when I was living at home, and I heard it on a news program. I was absolutely drained all day. I walked around, and I couldn't actually believe, I couldn't take people seriously who could come up with sketches like that. There are a lot of people who are making money there, and if that's the way they need to do it, then do it without my lyrics. I cherish them far too much."

The most simple theory about the subject of Stairway to Heaven is that this song is about a woman who accumulates money, but finds out the hard way her life had no meaning and will not get her into heaven.

This runs 8:03, but still became one of the most-played songs on American radio. It proved that people wouldn't tune out just because a song was long. In solo work or with other groups, Jimmy Page would not let anyone but Robert Plant sing this, but he does play it as an instrumental on occasion.

Jimmy Page has a strong affinity for this song, and felt Robert Plant's lyrics were his best yet. He had him write all of Zeppelin's lyrics from then on. In an interview with Rolling Stone magazine (March 13, 1975) the interviewer, Cameron Crowe, asked Jimmy Page how important "Stairway To Heaven" was to him: Page replied: "To me, I thought 'Stairway' crystallized the essence of the band. It had everything there and showed the band at its best... as a band, as a unit. Not talking about solos or anything, it had everything there. We were careful never to release it as a single. It was a milestone for us. Every musician wants to do something of lasting quality, something which will hold up for a long time and I guess we did it with 'Stairway.' Townshend probably thought that he got it with Tommy. I don't know whether I have the ability to come up with more. I have to do a lot of hard work before I can get anywhere near those stages of consistent, total brilliance."

Robert and Jimmy wrote this in an old mansion called Headley Grange in Liphook Road, Headley, Hampshire, where Led Zeppelin recorded most of their 4th album. It was a huge, old, dusty mansion with no electricity but great acoustics. Bands would go there to get some privacy and focus on songwriting. One night, in front of a roaring fire, Page strummed the chords to this for Robert. Plant wrote 90% of the lyrics right there in front of the fire. He has said in many interviews that he didn't seem to be writing, that something else was moving his pencil for him. Plant is a great admirer of all things mystic, the old English legends and lore and the writings of the Celts. He was immersed in The Lord Of The Rings around this time and many of his lyrics reflect that.

Zeppelin bass player John Paul Jones decided not to use a bass on this because it sounded like a folk song. Instead, he added a string section, keyboards and flutes. He also played wooden recorders that were used on the intro. Bonham's drums do not come in until 4:18.

An impressive list of artists covered this song: U2, Jimmy Castor, Frank Zappa, The Foo Fighters, The Dave Matthews Band, Sisters of Mercy, Nancy Wilson, Zakk Wylde, Elkie Brooks, Pardon Me Boys, White Flag, Jana, Great White, Stanley Jordan, Far Corporation, Dixie Power Trio, Justin Hayward, Leningrad Cowboys, Dread Zeppelin, Tiny Tim, piano virtuoso Richard Abel, and Monte Montgomery. Neil Sedaka had an unrelated Top-10 hit with the same title in 1960.

The band performed this at the Atlantic Records 40th anniversary concert in 1988 with Jason Bonham sitting in on drums for his late father. Plant did not want to play it, but was convinced at the last minute. It was sloppy and Plant forgot some of the words. This was not the case when Jason joined them again in 2007 for a benefit show to raise money for the Ahmet Ertegun education fund. They performed this song and 15 others, earning rave reviews from fans and critics.

Led Zeppelin played this for the first time in Belfast on March 5, 1971 - Northern Ireland was a war zone at the time. John Paul Jones said in an audio documentary that when they played it, the audience was not that impressed. They wanted to hear something they knew - like "Whole Lotta Love."

Jimmy Page considers this a masterpiece, but Robert Plant does not share his fondness for the song. Plant has referred to it as a "wedding song" and insists that his favorite Led Zeppelin song is "Kashmir." After the band broke up, Plant refused to sing it except on rare occasions, including Live Aid.

This was the last song the remaining members of Led Zeppelin performed when they reunited for Live Aid in 1985. Bob Geldof organized the event, and did his best to get many famous bands to play even if they had broken up. Unlike The Who, Geldof had an easy time convincing Plant, Page, and Jones to play the show. They played the Philadelphia stage with Tony Thompson and Phil Collins sitting in on drums.

The acoustic intro was borrowed from the song "Taurus" from the band Spirit, who toured with Led Zeppelin when they first played the US. The band Spirit has acknowledged this, and is okay with it.

Zeppelin's longest ever performance of this song was their last gig in Berlin in 1980. It clocked in around 15 minutes long.

According to the radio trade magazine Monday Morning Replay, this is still played 4,203 times a year by the 67 largest AOR (album-oriented rock) radio stations in the US. ASCAP, the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers, refuses to release exact figures on how many times it has been played since its release, but figure that on each AOR station in America, the song was played 5 times a day during its first 3 months of existence; twice a day for the next 9 months; once a day for the next 4 years; and 2 to 3 times a week for the next 15 years. There are roughly 600 AOR and Classic Rock stations in the US, which means that "Stairway" has been broadcast a minimum of 2,874 times. At 8 minutes per spin, roughly 23 million minutes - almost 44 years - have been devoted to the song. So far.

On January 23, 1991, John Sebastian, owner and general manager of KLSK FM in Albuquerque, New Mexico, played the song for 24 solid hours to inaugurate a format change to Classic Rock. It played more than 200 times, eliciting hundreds of angry calls and letters. Police showed up with guns drawn after a listener reported that the DJ had apparently suffered a heart attack, later because of suspicion that - this being 8 days into the Gulf War - the radio station had been taken hostage by terrorists dispatched by Zeppelin freak Saddam Hussein. Weirdest of all, lots of listeners didn't move the dial: "Turns out a lot of people listened to see when we would finally stop playing it."

Songmeaning Thriller - Michael Jackson  

Posted by Son Of Alerik in

Tomorrow, 2nd of July, celebrates one year of good music!
And what is a better way of celebrating but also through music. The best songs of all times and their meanings will be presented here in the next weeks. And that's not all: in August 2009, Woodstock '69 festival will be honoured on this blog.

Unfortunatelly, the first song posted in these celebration days is a commemorative one: Michael Jackson's Thriller, one of the most spectacular songs off all times, with one unforgatable video.

This is a rare Pop song with a horror theme. Halloween novelty songs like "The Monster Mash" had been around for a while, but this was the first hit song with year-round appeal containing lyrics about creatures of the night who terrify their victim. At the time, Michael Jackson was one of the least frightening people on Earth, so the video had to sell it. John Landis, who worked on the 1981 movie An American Werewolf In London, was brought in to direct. Landis had Jackson turn into a Werewolf in the video.

Vincent Price, an actor known for his work on horror films, did the narration at the end, including the evil laugh. Price's rap includes the line "Must stand and face the hounds of hell." This was inspired by the most popular Sherlock Holmes novel to date, The Hound of the Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, in which Sir Henry Baskerville's family is supposedly cursed by a bloodthirsty, demonic hound. Price's personal friends, Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee (who appeared in several Hammer horror films with him), starred in a loose 1959 film adaptation of it. It was the first Sherlock Holmes film shot in color.

The 14 minute video is one of the most popular ever. It started the trend of group dance scenes in pop videos, and was named the #1 video of all time in the VH1 100 Greatest Videos countdown.

Rod Temperton wrote this. Once a member of Disco group Heatwave, he also wrote Jackson's "Off The Wall" and "Rock With You." This won for Best Performance Video, Best Choreography, and Viewers Choice at the first MTV Video Music Awards in 1984.

Thriller was the biggest-selling album ever until it was surpassed by The Eagles Their Greatest Hits 1971-1975. Both albums have sold over 26 million copies. These days, along with Michael's recent death, Thriller became again the best selling album of all times. The song Thriller was the last of 7 US Top 10 hits from the album.

Jackson, a Jehova's Witness, insisted on a disclaimer at the beginning of the video reading: "Due to my strong personal convictions, I wish to stress that this film in no way endorses a belief in the occult."

The UPC code on the album cover contained 7 digits that were rumored to be Jackson's telephone number. People with that number in many different area codes got swamped with annoying calls.

In 2008 Thriller 25, a special 25th anniversary edition of Thriller, was released. The re-recorded album debuted at #2 on the Top Comprehensive Albums chart, where catalog titles mix with current best-sellers. This made it the highest-charting catalog album in the history of the Top Comprehensive Albums survey. Despite selling 166,000 copies in its debut week, it was not eligible for the main album chart as Billboard considered it to be a catalog or oldies album, and Billboard publishes a special chart just for catalog albums. (source: Songfacts)

Few know that Thriller was very close to be named "Starlight love". Quincy Jones, the producer of the album, stated that they came across Thriller theme and they loved the ideea of a horror song and video.

Other songs of Michael Jacksons' and their meanings will follow on this blog so stay close.

What remains after Michael Jackson?  

Posted by Son Of Alerik in

The press will be full of cheep sentimentalism after this very unhappy event, they will analyse Michael's career, they will make up conspiration theories, they will remember Michael's concerts, they will review endlessly pictures with him, they will eulogize, they will polemize...

From such many controversies, something sure remains after his death: Michael Jackson entered the legend (if there was any doubt untill now). But not in any way: he became e legend as a controversial genius, a mad man, a danser clown, an absolute but frustrated artist, gone before his time.

Do you want to know which artists he has alonside in this hall of fame? It's simple: Elvis Presley, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, John Lennon, the members of Lynyrd Skynyrd, Ritchie Valens, Kurt Cobain, Jim Morrison, Buddy Holly, John Bonham - the list is opened and continuosly growing.

None of the above was considered to be "normal", every one of them shocked through their way of beeing, through their strange way of expressing their passion. They were adored by their fans, maybe too much. They have adapted very well to their times, and more than that, they were trend setters, they established the land marks. But it's a very short line from succes to loosing it. Anyhow, any genius artist will transform into dust, if not nourished with this madness.

With the risc of sounding gruesome, maybe it's better that Michael Jackson passed away. Michael will remain in our memory with those concerts from 15-20 years ago, concerts who changed the world of music, with those amazing TV videos which he brought them to the level of arts, with those incredible coreographies which will be copied another 50 years from now. Who knows if, at more than 10 years from his last concerts, he would have known to sing, or to dance?! We allready know that he didn't had the energy for this.

A mistery will remain: how Michael Jackson would have sound like today? Would have disapointed us? Would he became even brighter?

The King is dead. Long live the King!

Chris Rea - Road to Hell  

Posted by Son Of Alerik in

British singer and guitarist Chris Rea has enjoyed a run of popularity in Europe during the late '80s and early '90s after almost a decade of previous recording.

Rea started out performing with a local group called Magdalene, taking David Coverdale's place; the band won a national talent contest in 1975 as the Beautiful Losers, but still failed to get a record contract. Rea left the band and recorded the album Whatever Happened to Benny Santini, which alluded to a discarded stage name, which went gold on the strength of the U.S. Top 20 hit "Fool (If You Think It's Over)."

Rea was not heard from again in the U.S. for some time, concentrating his efforts on his main fan base of Europe. A compilation of tracks from Rea's '80s albums, New Light Through Old Windows, was released in 1988 and sold well in the U.K. and Europe and charted in the U.S.

Rea followed it up with the critically acclaimed The Road to Hell, which many regarded as his best album. The image above represents the album's cover.

It and its follow-up, Auberge, went to the top of the U.K. album charts, but did not prove as successful in the U.S., where he has failed to chart with his subsequent releases. He released his most ambitious project in 2005, an eleven-album, 130-track box set of all new material inspired by the blues and his own paintings called Blue Guitars. The fun The Return of the Fabulous Hofner Blue Notes appeared in 2008.

Guess The Band From The Picture  

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Franz Ferdinand - Ulysses  

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This song was titled after the James Joyce novel of the same name, which chronicled a day in its protagonist's life. It also references the Greek Mythological hero Ulysses who was the hero of Homer's epic poem, The Odyssey. Frontman Alex Kapranos told Mojo magazine May 2008: "I like the idea of the gods blowing you away for 10 years. I like the idea of being out in the Aegean - of being lost but embracing it."

Kapranos referred to this song when interviewed by Rolling Stone as, "quite an odd one," adding, "It's got the immediacy of a Pop song but it's an abstract construction too. Having the immediacy of pop without the conventions of pop is something that we still aim for."

This song was previously used as part of a sound art exhibition by the Albanian artist Anri Sala that was held in London.

Kapranos told Mojo December 2008 that Tonight: Franz Ferdinand is, "a night time record, about different elements of a full-on night out, from being charged up for decadence to being on the dancefloor, to freaking out, to rocking yourself to sleep in your bedsit at the end of it. The title is about the sense of anticipation that something big's about to happen."

The cover art for the single was photographed in Brooklyn by Guy Eppel. It is part of a series of photos of the band that are of, according to Franz Ferdinand's blog, "imaginary crime scenes."