11,000 to 1

30 09 2009

Those aren’t odds, those are views of this blog from two different days.  Last week this blog had 11,188 views in one day*. Today there is 1 view.   Over the last few months I’ve been consistently getting 200 to 300 per day.  Not so far today, though, and the last few days the views have been in the 10’s.

I write because I want to write.  I have no expectation of others necessarily even liking what I have to say. [here comes the but]  But, I don’t understand how views could change that dramatically over a seven day period.  Does wordpress do things that changes traffic patterns?  Are there simply less blog surfers the last few days?  Has there been an error such that I should demand a recount?

This isn’t meant as either attention whoring or whining.  I’m just stumped.  *scratches head*

*  Most of those views were of this post. https://soundofthepounding.wordpress.com/2009/09/23/2010-rock-and-roll-hall-of-fame-nominees-announced/

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“Lucy in the Sky” has passed away

28 09 2009

Lucy Vodden, who inspired the Beatles classic “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds,” has passed away.  Most Beatles fans — and even many casual followers — will recall the story that while the Beatles were writing songs for Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, Julian Lennon came home from school with a drawing of his classmate, Lucy.  He showed his father and explained that the drawing was “Lucy in the sky with diamonds.”

To this day, people refuse to believe that the song was about anything other than LSD, a surprising notion to cling to given that the John and his fellow Beatles were quite honest about the drug references that did find their way into songs and that they had experimented quite extensively with various substances.

Nevertheless, the young lady who inspired the song has sadly passed after a long battle with cancer.  Godspeed to her family and friends.

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,556580,00.html?test=latestnews





Tommy n’ Pink

27 09 2009

As  Who fan for 20-some years, I’ve been quite familiar with what is arguably the seminal rock opera, Tommy.  By contrast, I’ve only recently discovered Pink Floyd’s The Wall.  By radio play alone, I’ve heard and was very familiar with perhaps as much as half the The Wall’s songs.  But listening to it all the way through and reading up on it, I was surprised at the similarities in themes and even some of the plot between these two, which are among the most revered concept albums ever made.

To try to get a grip on these similarities, I did some extensive searching for summaries or synopses of the stories told by each album.  The following were, I feel, the simplest but most helpful.

TOMMY

British Army Captain Walker is reported missing in action during World War I, and is not expected ever to be seen again. Shortly after his wife, Mrs. Walker, receives this news, she gives birth to their son, Tommy.  Approximately four years later, Captain Walker returns home and discovers that his wife has found a new lover. Captain Walker confronts the two and kills the lover. Tommy witnesses this through his mirror. To cover up the crime, Tommy’s parents tell Tommy that he didn’t see it, didn’t hear it, and he will say “nothing to no one ever in [his] life”. A
traumatized Tommy becomes deaf, dumb, and blind.

Tommy’s subconscious reveals itself to him as a tall stranger dressed in silvery robes, and the vision sets him on an internal spiritual journey upon which he learns to interpret all physical sensations as music.

His thoughtless parents leave him to the care of his cousin, Kevin, who tortures him and later to the care of his uncle Ernie, an alcoholic child molester.  Uncle Ernie, like Kevin, takes abuses Tommy (in this case sexually) knowing he will not be caught.

Tommy’s brilliance at pinball is discovered, and quickly defeats the game’s tournament champion, making him an international celebrity, really like a rock mega-star.

His parents find a medical specialist to once more try to understand and cure his symptoms. After numerous tests, they are told that there is nothing medically wrong with him, and that his problems are psychosomatic. However, as they are trying to reach him, Tommy’s subconscious is also trying to reach out to them.  Tommy’s mother continues to try to reach him, and becomes frustrated that he completely ignores her while staring directly at a mirror. Out of this frustration
she smashes the mirror.  The smashing of the mirror snaps Tommy back into reality. Tommy’s cure becomes a public sensation and he attains guru-like status. Thereafter he assumes a quasi-messianic mantle and tries to lead his fans to an enlightenment similar to his own.

Tommy opens his own home to anyone willing to join him, and urges them to bring as many people with them as they can.  His home ultimately turns into a “holiday camp” run by Uncle Ernie, who is apparently motivated by greed and not spiritual enlightenment.  Tommy demands that his followers play pinball and blind, deafen and mute themselves in order to truly reach their spiritual height, but the heavy-handedness of his cult and the exploitation of its followers by his family and
associates cause his followers to revolt against him. Abandoned by his followers and worshipers, Tommy gains a new enlightenment.

Adapted from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tommy_(album)#Story_in_chronological_order

THE WALL

From the outset, Pink’s life revolves around an abyss of loss and isolation. Born to a war-ravaged nation that takes his father’s life in the name of “duty,” and an overprotective mother who lavishes equal measures of her love and phobias onto her son, Pink chooses to build a mental wall between himself and the rest of the world so that he can live in a constant, alienated equilibrium free from life’s physical and emotional troubles. Every incident that causes Pink pain is yet another brick in his ever-growing wall: a fatherless childhood, a domineering mother, a country whose king signs his father’s death certificate with a rubber stamp, the superficiality of stardom, an estranged marriage, even the very drugs he turns to in order to find release. As his wall nears completion, each brick further closing him off from the rest of the world, Pink spirals into a void of insanity, cementing in place the final brick in the wall. Yet the minute it is complete, Pink begins to realize the adverse effects of total mental isolation, helplessly watching as his fragmented psyche coalesces into the very dictatorial persona that antagonized the world during World War II, scarred his nation, killed his father, and thereby defiled his own life from birth. Culminating in a mental trial as theatrically rich as the greatest stage shows, the story ends with a message that is as enigmatic and circular as the rest of Pink’s life. Whether it is ultimately viewed as a cynical story about the futility of life, or a hopeful journey of metaphorical death and rebirth, the Wall is certainly a musical milestone worthy of the title “art.”

http://www.thewallanalysis.com/Intro.html

Is it just me, or are there some amazing similarities?  Here are those that jumped out at me.  Both Tommy and Pink lose their fathers who fight for Britain in a world war.  Tommy’s father is only presumed dead so long for his mother to take a new lover; Pink’s father is forever lost.

Most startlingly, the cruelty of parents, relatives and authority figures in general twist and warp the minds of the characters.  Tommy’s parents, indifferent and distant at best, turn him over to be tortured by a bully cousin and sick and twisted uncle.  Doctors torture him with ineffective “cures.”  Pink endures his overbearing mother and viciousness of wicked teachers.

Stardom is the temporary salvation, or at least solace, of each character.  Their celebrity, Tommy’s as a “pinball wizard” (really a rock star) and Pink’s as a rock star, bring them the fame and glory, make them little gods.  As is often the case in real life, that glory eventually becomes their emotional and psychological undoing.

While both arrive at their end point by extremely divergent paths, both cult-like figures, are taken down by their followers.  Tommy’s holiday camp attendees overthrow him.  Pink is “tried” in some fashion of a court for what in essence amount to war crimes.   Tommy is booted from his throne.  Pink’s wall is torn asunder.

At the risk of overstating the importance or depth of these works, there’s no doubt a more scholarly look at them might find more interesting and detailed similarities.  I’m neither a music nor literature expert.  My eyes are untrained to find themes, moods, tone and so on.  Nevertheless, there appear to be enough points of likeness between Tommy and The Wall to merit mention.  I’d love to read anything others might have said on the subject and welcome lots of feedback.

Tommy

pink_floyd_the_wall





40

27 09 2009

40 years ago yesterday, the Beatles’ Abbey Road was released in Britain.   It’s release came only days after John Lennon announced to his bandmates that he wanted a “divorce” and was leaving the group.

beatles_old





Looks like McCartney and Yoko might escape the poor house after all

23 09 2009

Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr and the Estates of John Lennon and George Harrison just got considerably richer.  At least they earned it by putting out quality music.

http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5jFUGj4vG5g-lJJ7mDhBHQNgNHiUgD9ASL0F00





2010 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame nominees announced

23 09 2009

The artists nominated for the next R & R Hall of Fame include

  • Kiss
  • LL Cool J
  • Red Hot Chili Peppers
  • Donna Summer
  • Darlene Love (who?)
  • ABBA
  • The Chantels (who?)
  • The Stooges

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090923/ap_en_mu/us_music_rock_hall

I’ve said this here before and I’ll say it again.  The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame does an awful job of inducting worthy rock and rollers.  How could LL Cool J or Donna Summer possibly make the Hall of Fame before massively influential groups like The Small Faces/The Faces and T. Rex?  I just don’t get it.





Finally one of the cool kids

22 09 2009

It only took 20-some years of fighting it, but I finally became one of the cool kids.  I broke down and picked up a few Pink Floyd albums.  No, I didn’t pay for them.  I got ’em from the local library.  I’ve listened to bits of Dark Side of the Moon and I am listening to The Wall as I write.

I could never tell you why I never even gave Pink Floyd a chance.  I just didn’t.  The closest thing I had to a reason was that there were just “not my style.”  It’s not as if I’d never heard them.  They’re a staple of rock radio.  I’ve heard a few dozen songs on radio alone and probably bits and pieces of albums that friends have played.  But I never sat down and listened to a single album start to finish.  No, I didn’t even try to watch The Wall synced with The Wizard Of Oz.  Since I’ve never been a head, I suppose I never felt the need to really pay much attention.

Lately, though, I’ve felt like I’ve run out of good rock and roll.  I’m a Beatles fanatic but I’m trying not to OD on the new mono and stereo remasters, which have been in heavy rotation at home, work and in the car for 2 weeks.  I need to pick up the new Black Crowes album and that will quench my rock thirst. . . for a time.

For now, though, let’s see how I like the Floyd.

wish-you-were-here