Sunday, January 28, 2018

Bruno Mars’ “That’s What I Like” wins Grammy for Song of the Year

Updated 11/23/2018.

image from voanews.com

That’s What I Like

Bruno Mars

Writer(s): Bruno Mars, Philip Lawrence, Christopher Brody Brown (see lyrics here)


Released: 1/30/2017


First Charted: 12/10/2016


Peak: 11, 13 AC, 16 RB, 12 UK, 3 CN, 5 AU (Click for codes to singles charts.)


Sales *: 7.0 US, 0.6 UK, 8.86 world (includes US + UK)


Radio Airplay *: --


Video Airplay *: 1363.17


Streaming *: 835.00


* in millions

Review:

The 60th Annual Grammy Awards, held on January 18, 2018, proved to be Bruno Mars’ night when he won all six Grammys for which he was nominated. His 24K Magic won Album of the Year and R&B Album of the Year while the title track took Record of the Year. The big winner, though, was “That’s What I Like.” The song, which he’d performed at the Grammys the year before, walked away with honors for Song of the Year, Best R&B Song, and Best R&B Performance.

The song also won some other significant awards, including the American Music Award for Favorite Soul/R&B Song and the Soul Train Music Award for Song of the Year. Mars also performed the song at the 2017 Brit Awards and the 2017 iHeartRadio Music Awards. WK

Released as the second single from 24K Magic, “That’s What I Like” spent 24 weeks in the top 5 of the Hot 100, one of only five songs to do so. WK It also spent 20 weeks on top of Hot R&B Songs, which tied it with The Weeknd’s “Starboy” and Drake’s “One Dance” for most weeks at #1. WK It became Mars’ fifth #1 song as a lead artist and seventh time on top overall (he was featured on B.o.B.’s “Nothin’ on You” and Mark Ronson’s “Uptown Funk”). Mars was also on his way to another significant achievement – when the album’s fourth single, “Finesse,” went top 5 it made him only the second male artist in history (after Lionel Richie), to send at least three songs to the top ten from each of his first three albums.

Ray Romulus, who was part of the song’s production team, talked about Mars’ writing process. “When he was in the studio he was…dancing for us and showing us, like, ‘I can’t move like that to this chord or to this drum…change it.’” SF Jonathan Yip, also of the production team, said “We would just go back and forth and were messing around with rhythms” SF because, as Mars had said, “We need to make this bounce.” SF


Resources and Related Links:

Note: Footnotes (raised letter codes) refer to sources frequently cited on the blog. Numbers following the letter code indicate page numbers. If the raised letter code is a link, it will go directly to the correct page instead of the home page of a website. You can find the sources and corresponding footnotes on the “Lists” page in the “Song Resources” section.

Awards:


Saturday, January 27, 2018

Camila Cabello’s “Havana” hit #1

Updated 1/21/2019.

image from lorealparisusa.com

Havana

Camila Cabello with Young Thug


Writer(s): Camila Cabello, Young Thug, Pharrell Williams (see lyrics here)


Released: 8/3/2017


First Charted: 8/26/2017


Peak: 11 US, 5 AC, 15 UK, 16 CN, 13 AU (Click for codes to singles charts.)


Sales *: 6.0 US, 1.2 UK, 11.46 world (includes US + UK)


Radio Airplay *: --


Video Airplay *: 2115.87


Streaming *: 1073.00


* in millions

Review:

Camila Cabello made a name for herself as a member of Fifth Harmony, best known for hit “Work from Home.” “Havana” was initially released as a promo single to support her first solo album, Camila, but became the proper lead single when it took off. WK She told BBC Radio 1 that “Everybody kept telling me it shouldn’t be a single and that it would never work for radio.” SF It ended up doing okay – it went to #1 in a dozen countries, including the U.S., UK, Australia, and Canada. WK

In the U.S., the song took 23 weeks to hit the top, spending seven non-consecutive weeks at #2 behind Post Malone’s “Rockstar” and Ed Sheeran’s “Perfect.” WK In June 2018, it became Spotify’s most-streamed song ever by a female artist. WK

As a child, Camila moved back and forth between Havana and Mexico City before settling in Miami. In “Havana,” she sings about “a mysterious suitor from East Atlanta, though she has left her heart in her hometown.” WK She described it as a song with a “very wind-your-waist tempo.” SF The song emerged from an instrumental with a prominent salsa piano riff created by producer Frank Dukes. When he played it for Camila, it reminded her of her birthplace and wrote the chorus on the spot. SF

Time.com’s Raise Bruner said the song “hits a freshly sultry note” WK which Allison Browsher of Much said “arrives just in time to keep the summer heat going on the radio.” WK

The video was directed by Dave Meyers, who also did Missy Elliott’s “Work It,” Janet Jackson’s “All for You,” and Kendrick Lamar’s “Humble.” Camila plays two characters in the telenovela-style video – “the bespectacled homebody Karla and the sexy, outgoing Camila.” SF She explained that her family always called her by her middle name (Camila), but when she came to the United States, teachers called her by her first name (Karla). SF At the 2017 MTV Video Music Awards, the clip took the prize for Video of the Year. SF


Resources and Related Links:

Note: Footnotes (raised letter codes) refer to sources frequently cited on the blog. Numbers following the letter code indicate page numbers. If the raised letter code is a link, it will go directly to the correct page instead of the home page of a website. You can find the sources and corresponding footnotes on the “Lists” page in the “Song Resources” section.

Awards:


January 27, 1857: Liszt's Piano Sonata in B minor performed publicly for first time

Last updated August 29, 2018.

Piano Sonata in B minor, S. 178 (LW A179)

Franz Liszt (composer)


Composed: 1851-53


First Public Performance: January 27, 1857


Sales: --


Peak: --

Quotable: “A pinnacle of Liszt's repertoire” – Wikipedia


Genre: classical > sonata


Parts/Movements:

  1. Lento assai – Allegro energico
  2. Grandioso – Recitativo
  3. Andante sostenuto – Quasi adagio
  4. Allegro energico – Stretta quasi presto – Presto – Prestissimo – Andante sostenuto – Allegro moderato – Lento assai

Average Duration: 29:40

Review:

Liszt completed his Piano Sonata in B minor in 1953 – specifically on February 2, according to his notes on the sonata’s manuscript. It was published the next year with a dedication to Robert Schumann in return for that composer dedicating his Fantasie in C major to Liszt. WK He wrote the piece during his transition from performer to composer. WK It has been argued both that the piece is autobiographical and that it is related to the Faust legend. AMG It can be considered “the only work he wrote in an absolute sonata form.” AMG

The work wasn’t well received by some of Liszt’s peers; pianist and composer Anton Rubinstein criticized the work and Johannes Brahms reportedly fell asleep during a performance of the work by Liszt in 1853. Eduard Hanslick said, “anyone who has heard it and finds it beautiful is beyond help.” WK In the German newspaper Nationalzeitung, Otto Gumprecht called it “an invitation to hissing and stomping.” WK

The initial negative reception and the sonata’s technical difficulty meant it took a long time to become commonplace in concert repertoire. However, it became established by the early twentieth century and “has been a popularly performed and extensively analyzed piece ever since,” WK becoming “an enduring masterpiece even in the estimation of those listeners who tend to find Liszt’s music overblown.” AMG It is considered “his finest example of the musical technique of continuous ‘thematic transformation,’” AMG which would profoundly affect the future of music, especially later operas by Richard Wagner. AMG Wagner was one of Liszt’s peers who praised the sonata, calling it “sublime” and beautiful “beyond all conception.” AMG

It wasn’t until January 27, 1857, that the work was publicly premiered in a performance by Hans von Bülow in Berlin. WK


Review Source(s):


Awards:


Wednesday, January 24, 2018

The Top 50 Heavy Metal Songs

image from knowyourmeme.com

Heavy metal is rooted in the hard rock of the late ‘60s and ‘70s, most often attributed to Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, and Led Zeppelin, who all got their start in England in 1968. Distortion, extended guitar solos, and overall loudness characterized the genre and the lyrics are often stereotyped as having Satanic themes.

However one defines the genre, here are the top 50 heavy metal songs as determined by aggregating 24 best-of lists. Note: after the top 50 songs were determined, they were re-ranked based on overall points in Dave’s Music Database.

1. Black Sabbath…Paranoid (1970)
2. Metallica…Enter Sandman (1991)
3. AC/DC…Back in Black (1980)
4. Guns N’ Roses…Welcome to the Jungle (1987)
5. Black Sabbath…Iron Man (1970)
6. Metallica…One (1988)
7. Motorhead…Ace of Spades (1980)
8. Ozzy Osbourne…Crazy Train (1980)
9. Metallica…Master of Puppets (1988)
10. Van Halen…Runnin’ with the Devil (1978)

11. Black Sabbath…War Pigs (1970)
12. Scorpions…Rock You Like a Hurricane (1984)
13. AC/DC...Hells Bells (1980)
14. Iron Maiden…Hallowed Be Thy Name (1982)
15. Judas Priest…Breaking the Law (1980)
16. Iron Maiden…The Number of the Beast (1982)
17. Kiss…Detroit Rock City (1976)
18. Black Sabbath…Black Sabbath (1970)
19. Iron Maiden…Run to the Hills (1982)
20. Judas Priest…You’ve Got Another Thing Coming (1982)

21. Slayer…Angel of Death (1986)
22. Deep Purple…Highway Star (1972)
23. Iron Maiden…The Trooper (1983)
24. Black Sabbath…Children of the Grave (1971)
25. Megadeth…Symphony of Destruction (1992)
26. Rainbow…Stargazer (1976)
27. Ozzy Osbourne…Mr. Crowley (1980)
28. Metallica…Fade to Black (1984)
29. Dio…Holy Diver (1983)
30. Judas Priest…Painkiller (1990)

31. Megadeth…Holy Wars – The Punishment Due (1990)
32. Dio…Rainbow in the Dark (1983)
33. Slayer…Raining Blood (1986)
34. Megadeth…Peace Sells (1986)
35. Judas Priest…The Hellion/Electric Eye (1982)
36. Megadeth…Hangar 18 (1990)
37. Iron Maiden…Rime of the Ancient Mariner (1984)
38. Black Sabbath…Heaven and Hell (1980)
39. Pantera…Cowboys from Hell (1990)
40. Diamond Head…Am I Evil? (1980)

41. Metallica…For Whom the Bell Tolls (1984)
42. Judas Priest…Beyond the Realms of Death (1978)
43. Pantera…Walk (1992)
44. Iron Maiden…Fear of the Dark (1992)
45. Judas Priest…Victim of Changes (1976)
46. Accept…Balls to the Wall (1983)
47. Judas Priest…Screaming for Vengeance (1982)
48. Pantera…Cemetery Gates (1990)
49. Anthrax…Caught in a Mosh (1987)
50. Metallica…Seek and Destroy (1983)


Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Top 50 Songs by Hair Bands

image from pinterest.com

Ah, the hair bands. This much-maligned genre was a mix of rock and pop wrapped up in big hair and leather pants. The bands – almost all white men – were known for lifestyles filled with debauchery and depravity. It was no wonder teens in the ‘80s flocked to the bands like moths to a flame.

Regardless of these bands lack of critical acclaim, some of these bands (Bon Jovi, Def Leppard) when on to become some of the biggest rock bands in the world – even after they cut their hair and opted for more sensible jeans. Here – love ‘em or hate ‘em – are the top 50 songs from hair bands. Note: 25 best-of lists were aggregated to come up with a top 50 and then those songs were ranked in order of their overall DMDB points.

1. Guns N’ Roses…Sweet Child O’ Mine (1987)
2. Van Halen…Jump (1984)
3. Bon Jovi…Livin’ on a Prayer (1986)
4. Guns N’ Roses…Welcome to the Jungle (1987)
5. Def Leppard…Pour Some Sugar on Me (1987)
6. Guns N’ Roses…Paradise City (1987)
7. Whitesnake…Here I Go Again (1987)
8. Bon Jovi…You Give Love a Bad Name (1986)
9. Poison…Every Rose Has Its Thorn (1988)
10. Def Leppard…Photograph (1983)

11. Ratt…Round and Round (1984)
12. Bon Jovi…Wanted Dead or Alive (1986)
13. Twisted Sister…We’re Not Gonna Take It (1984)
14. Europe…The Final Countdown (1986)
15. Quiet Riot…Cum on Feel the Noize (1983)
16. Scorpions…Rock You Like a Hurricane (1984)
17. Quiet Riot…Metal Health (Bang Your Head) (1983)
18. Def Leppard…Rock of Ages (1983)
19. Motley Crue…Dr. Feelgood (1989)
20. Motley Crue….Girls, Girls, Girls (1987)

21. Motley Crue…Kickstart My Heart (1989)
22. Warrant…Cherry Pie (1990)
23. Poison…Talk Dirty to Me (1986)
24. Poison…Nothin’ But a Good Time (1988)
25. Tesla…Love Song (1989)
26. Skid Row…18 and Life (1989)
27. Cinderella…Nobody’s Fool (1986)
28. Lita Ford…Kiss Me Deadly (1988)
29. Warrant…Heaven (1988)
30. Great White…Once Bitten Twice Shy (1989)

31. White Lion…Wait (1987)
32. Def Leppard…Bringin’ on the Heartbreak (1981)
33. Scorpions…No One Like You (1982)
34. Skid Row…I Remember You (1989)
35. Autograph…Turn Up the Radio (1984)
36. Bon Jovi…Runaway (1983)
37. Motley Crue…Shout at the Devil (1983)
38. Whitesnake…Still of the Night (1987)
39. Cinderella…Don’t Know What You Got ‘Til It’s Gone (1988)
40. Poison…Fallen Angel (1988)

41. Winger…Seventeen (1988)
42. Kiss…Lick It Up (1983)
43. Dokken…In My Dreams (1985)
44. Twisted Rock…I Wanna Rock (1984)
45. Skid Row…Youth Gone Wild (1989)
46. Cinderella…Gypsy Road (1988)
47. Dokken…Alone Again (1984)
48. Motley Crue…Home Sweet Home (1985)
49. Cinderella…Shake Me (1986)
50. Slaughter…Up All Night (1990)


Saturday, January 20, 2018

January 20, 1941: Bartók's last string quartet debuts

Last updated August 31, 2018.

The String Quartets

Béla Bartók (composer)


Composed: 1908-1939


Debut of Final Quartet: January 20, 1941


Sales: --


Peak: --

Quotable: --


Genre: classical > chamber music > quartet for four strings


Quartets/Duration/Year(s) Composed/Debuted:

  1. String Quartet No. 1 in A minor, Sz. 40, BB 52 (1908) [29:40] (1909, 3/19/1910)
  2. String Quartet No. 2 in A minor, Sz. 67, BB 75 (Op. 17) [27:00] (1915-17, 3/3/1918)
  3. String Quartet No. 3 in C sharp major, Sz. 85, BB 93 [15:10] (1927, 2/19/1929)
  4. String Quartet No. 4 in C major, Sz. 91, BB 93 [22:50] (1928, 3/20/1929)
  5. String Quartet No. 5 in B flat major, Sz. 102, BB 110 [30:30] (1934, 4/9/1935)
  6. String Quartet No. 6 in D major, Sz. 114, BB 119 [29:00] (1939, 1/20/1941)

Review:

Bartók’s six string quartets, written “for the usual forces of two violins, viola and cello” WK have “become part of the mainstream repertoire” AZ and cited as influences for numerous composers, including Benjamin Britten and King Crimson’s Robert Fripp. WK The Juilliard Quartet, formed at the Juilliard School of Music in 1946, have much to do with the quartets’ success, having “presented the complete cycle publicly in New York for the first time” AZ in 1949. Their recording of the quartets the next year was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1987.

String Quartet No. 1:
Bartók was unrequitedly in love with violinist Stefi Geyer, for whom he developed a musical portrait with his 1908 violin concerto. This quartet was the culmination of him dealing with his rejection. He described the opening movement in a letter to Geyer as his “funeral dirge.” MS1 Indeed, “sadness and despair are the prevailing sentiments in this work” MS1 and the three movements “plainly trace a course from the…anguish of the convoluted first movement to the heady, forceful finale.” MS1

String Quartet No. 2:
During World War I, Bartók lived in seclusion outside Budapest and that “isolation may have made its way into” MS2 this quartet. Like “other works from the era, especially the yet-to-come violin sonatas, Bartók’s…melodies…have clear and easily comprehended shapes [which] intertwine…in ways that produce great…harmonic tensions; yet…also yield gem-like moments of diatonic triads, all the more beautiful for their rarity.” MS2

String Quartet No. 3:
Bartók’s single-movement third quartet “is the most concentrated in thematic material and structure,” MS3 lasting just over fifteen minutes. With his native Hungary losing “two-thirds of its land and population under” MS3 the terms of the Treaty of Trianon, Bartók’s primary source of folk music was cut off, leading him to “a more cosmopolitan style, such as he had encountered during his tours of post-war Europe.” MS3 He “subjected folk-style themes and motifs to a technique he called ‘expansion in range,’ wherein melodic shape and intervallic relations were stretched to produce themes that develop freely without compromising musical unity.” MS3 “The mood is desolate, though the folk-like themes are clear and immediately comprehensible.” MS3

String Quartet No. 4:
“A dark, nocturnal mood…prevails through the entire work.” MS4 The fourth quartet “represents both an intensification and relaxation of elements present in Bartók’s previous quartet…While the radically dissonant harmonic language and rigorous motivic development found in the third string quartet are intensified…the third’s tightly interwoven single-movement structure is…‘opened out’ into a more easily comprehended, five-movement span arranged in Bartók’s characteristic ‘arch’ form. The composer did point out, however, that the five movements functioned collectively according to the template of sonata form.” MS4

String Quartet No. 5:
Bartók wrote comparatively less music in the six years between his fourth and fifth quartets, but the work he did “pointed to his mature style of the 1930s and 1940s, in which directness of compositional technique is coupled with a new concern for clear communication.” MS5 They paved the way for his fifth quartet “easily Bartók’s most virtuosic essay in the form.” MS5 Here he again uses “the five-movement arch form, this time employing a more distinctive variation technique in which the first and fifth movements, and the second and fourth, closely mirror each other.” MS5

String Quartet No. 6:
“Bartók’s last completed quartet exemplifies the composer’s continuing search for new forms, even as he sought to distill and clarify his mode of expression. The form he devised for the String Quartet No. 6 is ingenious: each movement is preceded by an introductory section marked ‘Mesto’ (‘sadly’), with increasing complexity at each appearance. The ‘mesto’ theme functions both as a motto and as the source of much of the quartet’s thematic substance. In the fourth movement, rather than giving way to a lively finale (the original plan as indicated by Bartók’s sketches), the motto continues on to become the conclusion itself.” MS6


Review Source(s):


Awards:


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Monday, January 15, 2018

January 15, 1791: Mozart completed his final concerto

Last updated August 27, 2018.

Piano Concertos (27)

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (composer)


Composed: 1773-1791


Last Concerto Completed: January 15, 1791


Sales: --


Peak: --

Quotable: --


Genre: classical > piano concertos


Concertos/Year of Completion/Approximate Time:

  1. No. 1 in F major, K. 37 (April 1767) [16:00]
  2. No. 2 in B flat major, K. 39 (April 1767) [15:00]
  3. No. 3 in D major, K. 40 (April 1767) [13:00]
  4. No. 4 in G major, K. 41 (April 1767) [14:00]
  5. No. 5 in D major, K. 175 (December 1773) [22:00]
  6. No. 6 in B♭ major, K. 238 (January 1776) [21:00]
  7. No. 7 in F major, K. 242 for three pianos (February 1776) [25:00]
  8. No. 8 in C major, K. 246 (April 1776) [23:30]
  9. No. 9 in E♭ major, K. 271 (January 1777) [33:30]
  10. No. 10 in E♭ major, K. 365/316a for two pianos (1779) [25:00]
  11. No. 11 in F major, K. 413/387a (1782–1783) [22:30]
  12. No. 12 in A major, K. 414/385p (1782) [26:30]
  13. No. 13 in C major, K. 415/387b (1782–1783) [28:30]
  14. No. 14 in E♭ major, K. 449 (9 February 1784) [22:30]
  15. No. 15 in B♭ major, K. 450 (15 March 1784) [25:30]
  16. No. 16 in D major, K. 451 (22 March 1784) [22:30]
  17. No. 17 in G major, K. 453 (12 April 1784) [29:45]
  18. No. 18 in B♭ major, K. 456 (30 September 1784) [29:00]
  19. No. 19 in F major, K. 459 (11 December 1784) [27:45]
  20. No. 20 in D minor, K. 466 (10 February 1785) [29:00]
  21. No. 21 in C major, K. 467 (9 March 1785) [26:00]
  22. No. 22 in E♭ major, K. 482 (16 December 1785) [35:00]
  23. No. 23 in A major, K. 488 (2 March 1786) [27:00]
  24. No. 24 in C minor, K. 491 (24 March 1786) [29:45]
  25. No. 25 in C major, K. 503 (4 December 1786) [32:30]
  26. No. 26 in D major, K. 537 (24 February 1788) [30:45]
  27. No. 27 in B♭ major, K. 595 (5 January 1791) [29:30]

Review:

Mozart wrote his 27 original concertos for piano and orchestra over a span of 25 years. He composed many of them to play himself in the Vienna concert series of 1784-86. WK They are recognized as “among his greatest achievements.” WK

The first four concertos were based on piano sonatas composed by others, a common practice in operas of the day. They were arranged in 1767 when Mozart was eleven. The next six, known as the Salzburg concertos, were written from 1773-79. No. 5 “was his first real effort in the genre, and one that proved popular at the time.” WK No. 6 was the first “introduce new thematic material in the piano's first solo section.” WK The seventh and eight concertos “are generally not regarded as demonstrating much of an advance, although No. 7 is quite well known.” WK

“Nine months after No. 8, however, Mozart produced one of his early masterpieces,” WK the ninth concerto, known as the “Jenamy” (formerly “Jeunehomme).” WK “This work shows a decisive advance in organization of the first movement, as well as demonstrating some irregular features.” WK No. 10, the end of his Salzburg period, was written for two pianos, the presence of which “disturbs the ‘normal’ structure of piano-orchestra interaction.” WK

Nos. 11-13 are known as the Early Vienna concertos. Mozart wrote them in the autumn of 1782, about 18 months after his arrival in Vienna, “for his own use in subscription concerts.” WK He described the trio of concertos in a letter to his father as “a happy medium between what is too easy and too difficult; they are very brilliant, pleasing to the ear, and natural, without being vapid.” WK They “are all rather different from one another and are relatively intimate works despite the mock grandeur of the last one.” WK That one, No. 13, “is an ambitious, perhaps even overambitious work, that introduces the first, military theme in a canon in an impressive orchestral opening.” WK

Nos. 14-25, written between 1784 and 1786, are known as the Major Vienna concertos. They represent “a period of creativity that has certainly never been surpassed in piano concerto production.” WK No. 14 “is the first instrumental work by Mozart that shows the strong influence of his operatic writing.” WK No. 15 “shows a reversion to an earlier, galant style.” WK No 16. “is a not very well known work…The first movement is broadly "symphonic" in structure and marks a further advance in the interactions between piano and orchestra.” WK

Nos. 17-19 “can be considered to form a group, as they all share certain features, such as the same rhythm in the opening.” WK No. 17 “was written for Barbara Ployer and is famous in particular for its last movement.” WK No. 18 “was for a long time believed to have been written for the blind pianist Maria Theresa von Paradis to play in Paris.” WK No. 19 “is sunny with an exhilarating finale.” WK

The year 1785 was “marked by the contrasting pair…[of Nos. 20 and 21] remarkably, written within the same month. These two works, one the first minor-key concerto Mozart wrote…and a dark and stormy work, and the other sunny, are among the most popular works Mozart produced.” WK No. 22 “is slightly less popular, possibly because it lacks the striking themes of the first two.” WK

“In 1786, Mozart managed to write two more masterpieces in one month.” WK No. 23 was “one of the most consistently popular of his concertos, notable particularly for its poignant slow movement in F♯ minor, the only work he wrote in the key. He followed it with No. 24…is a dark and passionate work, made more striking by its classical restraint.” WK “The final work of the year, No. 25…is one of the most expansive of all classical concertos, rivaling Beethoven's fifth piano concerto.” WK This “was the last of the regular series of concertos Mozart wrote for his subscription concerts.” WK

26-27 are referred to as the Later concertos. No. 26, “completed in February 1788, has a mixed reputation and possibly is the revision of a smaller chamber concerto into a larger structure.” WK No. 27, the last concerto, “was the first work from the last year of Mozart's life: it represents a return to form for Mozart in the genre.” WK


Review Source(s):


Awards:


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Saturday, January 13, 2018

Johnny Cash recorded live at Folsom Prison 50 Years Ago Today

image from findingdulcinea.com

First posted 1/13/2013; updated 6/14/2019.

At Folsom Prison

Johnny Cash


Recorded: 1/13/1968


Released: May 1968


Charted: 6/15/1968


Peak: #13 US, #7 UK, #1 CW


Sales (in millions): 3.0 US, 0.1 UK, 3.2 world (includes US + UK)


Genre: country


Quotable: Cash “delivers the songs with the conviction of someone who has lived through it.” – Stephen Thomas Erlewine, All Music Guide


Tracks: (Click for codes to singles charts.)

  1. Folsom Prison Blues (6/1/68, #32 US, #39 AC, #1 CW)
  2. Busted * (4/6/63, #13 CW)
  3. Dark As the Dungeon (2/15/64, #49 CW)
  4. I Still Miss Someone
  5. Cocaine Blues
  6. 25 Minutes to Go
  7. Orange Blossom Special (2/13/65, #80 US, #3 CW)
  8. The Long Black Veil
  9. Send a Picture of Mother
  10. The Wall
  11. Dirty Old Egg Sucking Dog
  12. Flushed from the Bathroom of Your Heart
  13. Joe Bean *
  14. Jackson (3/4/67, #2 CW)
  15. Give My Love to Rose (9/16/57, #13 CW)
  16. I Got Stripes (8/3/59; #43 US, #4 CW)
  17. The Legend of John Henry’s Hammer *
  18. Green, Green Grass of Home
  19. Greystone Chapel

Chart information is for the original studio releases of the songs, except for “Folsom Prison Blues,” which was released as a live single from this album. Also, songs marked with an asterisk (*) were added as bonus tracks to the 1999 CD reissue.


Review:

“Johnny Cash and band stride into California’s second oldest prison, unleash their gut-wrenching country- and blues-tinged rock and stride back out. Legend has it that there’s gold beneath Folsom. For Cash, there was gold inside: At Folsom Prison charted for two years.” BL

This “was one of two legendary live albums Johnny Cash recorded in front of a prison audience in the late ‘60s. Part of the appeal of the records is the way Cash plays to the audience, selecting a set of songs that are all about prison, crime, murder, regret, loss, mother, God, and loneliness.” AMG “He never did any hard time, but Cash had a natural sympathy for men who gave in to their worst impulses.” TL “Cash stimulates the audience’s emotions, which in turn stimulates his performance, especially since he delivers the songs with the conviction of someone who has lived through it.” AMG

“At California’s Folsom Prison, songs like Cocaine Blues (‘When I was arrested I was dressed in black/ They put me on a train and they took me back’) and 25 Minutes to Go (‘With my feet on the trap and my head on the noose/ Got 5 more minutes to go’) lose some of their defiance and gain some sadness, particularly when they're interrupted by announcements like, ‘88419 is wanted in reception.’” TL

“There aren't many hits on the record — Folsom Prison Blues, I Still Miss Someone, Jackson, Give My Love to Rose, and I Got Stripes are the familiar items — but few albums come as close to capturing the darkness and rage that lays deep in Cash's music, as well as the depth of his talent.” AMG

“The final track, Greystone Chapel, was written by Folsom inmate Glen Sherley. Cash heard it for the first time the night before the show and learned it fast so that the last lyric his audience heard was, ‘Inside the walls of prison my body may be/ But my Lord has set my soul free.’” TL


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Thursday, January 11, 2018

January 13, 1811: Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 5 was performed for the first time

Last updated August 28, 2018.

Piano Concerto No. 5 in E flat major (“Emperor”), Op. 73

Ludwig van Beethoven (composer)


Composed: 1809-1811


First Performed: January 13, 1811


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Genre: classical > piano concerto


Parts/Movements:

  1. Allegro
  2. Adagio un poco moto
  3. Rondo, Allegro

Average Duration: 38:40

Review:

This work is often known as the “Emperor Concerto,” so-named by Johann Baptist Cramer, the English publisher of the concerto. WK “There is hardly an adjective that could more aptly evoke the work’s impressive scale and majesty. Despite its considerable technical demands, the ‘Emperor’ Concerto handily transcends the typical role of the concerto as a mere virtuoso vehicle. Indeed, it is virtually symphonic in conception; its E flat major key (the same as that of the ‘Eroica’ Symphony), expansive form, and sometimes martial, always grand, character grant the concerto a place among the defining works in the composer’s heroic vein.” MR

“In the Piano Concerto No. 4, Beethoven made a striking break with convention in commencing the work with a piano solo. In the opening Allegro of No. 5, he takes this idea to an extreme, providing the soloist with an extended cadenza, punctuated by tutti chords from the orchestra, that outlines in miniature the entire 20-minute movement. The main theme is marchlike and assertive; the somewhat more relaxed second theme first appears cloaked in mystery, in a minor-key version that soon gives way to the expected statement in the dominant major. The grandeur of the movement is colored by excursions to remote keys that, however, never fully thwart the powerful forward drive.” MR

This piece was Beethoven’s last completed piano concerto. WK His advanced deafness, which eventually ended his own career as a pianist, may have stirred his “lost interest in concertante works.” MR Although he performed his four previous concertos, he never publicly played this one. MR

It was dedicated to Archduke Rudolf, his patron and pupil. It was first performed in Vienna at the Palace of Prince Joseph Lobkowitz with Rudolf serving as the soloist. A public concert was held in Leipzig at the Gweandhaus on 11/28/1811 with Friedrich Schneider serving as the soloist and Johann Philipp Christian Schulz as the conductor. WK


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