I admit, 2017 music losses were completely over-shadowed by the insanity of politics. But this year again, every genre lost a legend or two it seems. Country music lost Glen Campbell, funk lost Clyde Stubblefield, romance lost Al Jarreau, we lost the inspiration for Mr Tambourine Man Bruce Langhorne, jazz lost Arthur Blythe, the Allman Brothers lost more than most, and we all lost the legendary Chuck Berry. The year also sort feels like seven degrees of separation from Paul Simon.
I’ve tried to round up some of the farewells below; it’s a long list. Omissions are not meant to offend, but do reflect my personal taste in music, and the paths I have both traveled and not yet discovered in music.
I don’t think as a Canadian I could start any mourning with anyone except Gord:
Bill Marin – behind acts I love, like Tito Puente and Celia Cruz.
Carol Peters – manager of the band Heart, a band of women managed by a woman. How could I not note that?
Johnny Sandlin – Allman Brothers producer. I told you they got hit bad in 2017.
Harry Sandler– behind acts I love, like John Mellencamp, Eagles, Billy Joel, Bruce Springsteen and Stevie Nicks.
Nigel Grainge– founded Ensign Records home to acts I love like, Sinead O’Connor, The Boomtown Rats, Thin Lizzy, The Waterboys, and 10cc.
Eric Miller – brought back recordings by legendary artists I love, like Ella Fitzgerald, Duke Ellington, Oscar Peterson, Art Tatum, Count Basie, Billie Holiday, Dizzy Gillespie and Ray Charles, and might be the reason I found them and love them.
Ilene Berns– ran Bang Records with groups I love, like Van Morrison, Neil Diamond, The McCoys, Strangeloves.
Marilyn Petrone – music executive who has worked with more artists I love than I can list but to name a few: Tina Turner, War, ELO, Kenny Rogers, and Johnny Rivers.
Buddy Bregman – worked with legends I love like, Ella Fitzgerald, Ethel Merman and Bing Crosby.
I know she’s not a musician, but since her loss mattered to me I’m going to include her with the song we all associate with her: Mary Tyler Moore
I wake up almost every morning with an earworm. Sometimes they fade quickly, other times they last for days. Sometimes they make me happy, sometimes they make me doubt my own sanity. They come from all genres. I can never figure out what triggered them. The only thing I do know and that they do without fail is reinforce my belief that all music is connected and good music never goes out of style.
Lotti Golden is a cult icon of the late 60s music scene. She was one of the creative women that began to demand that their share of the spotlight shine on the unique perspective of women, not just on women’s voices singing men’s words. I found her in my early 20s when I ended up with a record someone gave me. That record is lost. Sadly, she isn’t on iTunes (unless I’m doing something wrong) so she won’t be found by another generation of women. As my favour to you, I’m going to share her.
I hope you enjoyed this little intro to an artist that isn’t in the spotlight anymore. See if you can find her music elsewhere. I know I’m going to keep looking for her in discount LP bins every chance I get.
I wake up almost every morning with an earworm. Some fade quickly, other last for days. Sometimes they make me happy, sometimes they make me doubt my own sanity. They come from all genres. I can rarely know what triggers them. The only thing I do know and that they do without fail is reinforce my belief that all music is connected and good music never goes out of style.
This is an aside and not a September earworm, but it came up right after that last video. Watch the body language when George uses Tammy’s name in the song. Brutal. I hope nobody ever makes me sing a duet with my ex.
“…I hid in the elm and raised the bough, that hung even with your neck, And I chased you and drowned you, there deep in the well, And when your mouth was full and wet, I swallowed all your reckless fate, And with your last breath, you moaned too drunk to wake…”Another murder the narrator cloaks in unrequited love.
“…Let this be a sermon, I mean everything I’ve said, Baby, I’m determined, And I’d rather see you dead…”Threats of murder cloaked in unrequited love – albeit at least these lyrics later acknowledge he’s a wicked man.
“…Every move you make, Every vow you break, Every smile you fake, Every claim you stake,I’ll be watching you…”This song is indisputably about claiming ownership of a lover and feeling justified in rage when they challenge that idea by leaving. Pretty creepy.
“…I wear my sunglasses at night, So I can so I can, Watch you weave then breathe your story lines…”Although to be fair this set of lyrics is a bit more gibberish than menace than Every Breath You Take is.
“…Walk away, if you want to, It’s okay, if you need to, You can run but you can never hide, From the shadow that’s creepin’ up beside you…”So gee thanks it’s ok but I’m not going to let you have any peace of mind because I’m gonna stalk you.
“…Hey now, do you see me down the way? Been watching you every day, In my car on your street is where I stay, I know you better that way, One day, I’ll be meeting you for real, You’ll feel bad like I feel…” Eek. Scary creepy.
“…Now five years later on you’ve got the world at your feet, Success has been so easy for you, But don’t forget, it’s me who put you where you are now, And I can put you back down too…”Again, all about feeling justified in revenge for unrequited affection.
“…Ah read her diary on her sheets, Scrutinizin’ every lil bit of dirt, Tore out a page’n’stufft it inside my shirt, Fled out of the window, And shinning it down the vine, Out of her night-mare, and back into mine, Mine! O Mine!…” All about no boundaries and no respect, to say the least. Then there’s the nightmares.
These are the obviously concerning songs I could think of. I’m sure I’ll come up with more as I trip across old tunes in my head or in my travels. Meanwhile I could write a whole other blog about inappropriate or emotionally immature love songs. In fact I probably will…
It can be so hard to find information online about women in music. Unless it’s made explicit, cultural assumptions have tended to credited the creation of music to men. Women were more likely to be given credit performing music than creating it. If you look hard enough there are hidden gems in the popular catalogs.
This is the case with the jazz standard Willow Weep for Me written by Ann Ronell. It was covered by everyone who was anyone, and still is. I’ve included as many of their versions below as I can find.
Rosemary Clooney (with Count Basie) and Dinah Shore both also sang this song but I can’t find links to share with you. Sam Cooke did a version I really like.
Willow Weep For Me wasn’t a one hit wonder. Ann was an early successful female writer for Hollywood films and theatre. She wrote Rain on theRoof(sung here by Al Bowlly), and Baby’s BirthdayParty (performed here by Nat Shilkret). She co-wrote the song Linda from The Story of G. I. Joe, and Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf for Disney.
Ann was born Ann Rosenblatt, but changed her name. I assume the change was due to the potential double jeopardy of being a woman and a Jew making a living in American popular music.