Saturday, April 1, 2017

Musical Theater Therapy: "You Can't Stop the Beat"

The fantastic finale from Hairspray. A daily dose of therapy here.

Song of the Day: "We Got the Power"

Gorillaz are right. We got the power, but we don't know how to yield it.

And some folks insist on having more than others which really fucks things up.



Song: "We Got the Power"
Artist: Gorillaz/Jehnny Beth

Friday, March 31, 2017

Women Who Rock and/or Make History: Jennifer Warnes and Angela Merkel

March is Girl Women's History Month.

Fact: girls can do things too!

Fact: girls can't do rock and roll, or so one might conclude from the paucity of females inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame (motto: "We've got Randy Newman!"). Real fact: girls can do rock and roll (some of them).

Since I am enjoying getting on my high horse (or getting high on horse), I'm going to double dip with a series of girl-on-girl posts. It's a combination of a female musical act (or a band with a female member [possibly more]) that merits* induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, and a female who did something like bake a cake or killed a guy (Laura Bush killed a guy).

I probably should have concluded with Yoko Ono, but I just couldn't work up any enthusiasm. About 10 years ago, a much younger coworker referred to Jennifer Warnes as a one-hit wonder, after hearing her hit duet from An Officer and a Gentleman. I pointed out that Warnes also had a hit duet from Dirty Dancing, so clearly she was a two-hit wonder. I didn't mention that she sang 4 songs nominated for Best Original Song at the Academy Awards (1979, 1981, 1982 and 1987), with 3 of them winning the Oscar. Nor did I mention "Right Time of the Night" or "I Know a Heartache When I See One" since those songs were older than her.

Warnes also was a lifelong friend and collaborator with Leonard Cohen. She sang on 7 of his albums, toured with him twice. and released an album of his material, Famous Blue Raincoat. Cohen sketched a cartoon for the liner notes of a torch being passed that read "Jenny sings Lenny."



Angela Merkel is the leader of the free world and has a PhD in  Physical Chemistry (as opposed to, I don't know, emotional chemistry. She is the first girl to serve as Chancellor of Germany, she is the longest serving head of state (12 years and counting) in the European Union, the senior-most member of the G20, and she's not a fucking idiot. Germans are so lucky.



* There is a wide spectrum of rock & roll gravitas for the artists included in the 31 I will include. I feel like a reasonable case can be made for each, and everyone one of these is at least as worthy as Randy Newman, 2103 inductee.

Musical Theater Therapy: "Three Small Words"

From the criminally underappreciated Josie and the Pussycats. Daily therapy available here.


Thursday, March 30, 2017

Musical Theater Therapy: "Hard Knock Life"

From Annie. A new therapeutic song every day here.

Women Who Rock and/or Make History: Bananarama and Catherine the Great

March is Girl Women's History Month.

Fact: girls can do things too!

Fact: girls can't do rock and roll, or so one might conclude from the paucity of females inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame (motto: "We've got Randy Newman!"). Real fact: girls can do rock and roll (some of them).

Since I am enjoying getting on my high horse (or getting high on horse), I'm going to double dip with a series of girl-on-girl posts. It's a combination of a female musical act (or a band with a female member [possibly more]) that merits* induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, and a female who did something like bake a cake or killed a guy (Laura Bush killed a guy).

Their early releases as a new wave act and their cover of Shocking Blue's "Venus" are the closest the band gets to rock & roll, but their hits in pop and dance earned them a Guinness Book of World Records entry as the all-female band with the most chart entries. 



Catherine the Great's 34 year reign over Russia is the longest by any female. The period ia considered a golden age for Russia: it included the Russian Enlightenment; a focus on education, including education for women;  and Russia's emergence as one of the major powers in Europe. Also she liked horses.  



Robert Massie Interview from Skip Prichard on Vimeo.

* There is a wide spectrum of rock & roll gravitas for the artists included in the 31 I will include. I feel like a reasonable case can be made for each, and everyone one of these is at least as worthy as Randy Newman, 2103 inductee.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Musical Theater Therapy: "Heartquake"

From A Diva's Christmas Carol starring national treasure Vanessa Williams. Daily therapy here.


Women Who Rock and/or Make History: Sonic Youth and Ethel Merman

March is Girl Women's History Month.

Fact: girls can do things too!

Fact: girls can't do rock and roll, or so one might conclude from the paucity of females inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame (motto: "We've got Randy Newman!"). Real fact: girls can do rock and roll (some of them).

Since I am enjoying getting on my high horse (or getting high on horse), I'm going to double dip with a series of girl-on-girl posts. It's a combination of a female musical act (or a band with a female member [possibly more]) that merits* induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, and a female who did something like bake a cake or killed a guy (Laura Bush killed a guy).

Sonic Youth are one of the bridges directly from punk rock to grunge. Kim Gordon is one of the arches in that bridge. And years after Blondie, Chaka Khan, Run D.M.C. and Aerosmith had each done their part to bridge rock and rock, Sonic Youth was the first rock act to collaborate with a rap artist.


Ethel Merman is the first lady of the musical comedy stage, she is a Grammy and Tony winning performer who originated the role of Mama Rose in Gypsy, Reno Sweeney in Anything Goes, Annie Oakley in Annie Get Your Gun, and Sally Adams in Call Me Madam. When covering her brief (1 month) marriage to actor Ernest Borgnine in her autobiography, she dedicated one blank page to it.

Her disco album is the campiest thing in the entire universe.


* There is a wide spectrum of rock & roll gravitas for the artists included in the 31 I will include. I feel like a reasonable case can be made for each, and everyone one of these is at least as worthy as Randy Newman, 2103 inductee.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Musical Theater Therapy: "Frank Mills"

From Hair. Daily therapy sessions every day here.

Women Who Rock and/or Make History: Tina Turner and Ida Wells

March is Girl Women's History Month.

Fact: girls can do things too!

Fact: girls can't do rock and roll, or so one might conclude from the paucity of females inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame (motto: "We've got Randy Newman!"). Real fact: girls can do rock and roll (some of them).

Since I am enjoying getting on my high horse (or getting high on horse), I'm going to double dip with a series of girl-on-girl posts. It's a combination of a female musical act (or a band with a female member [possibly more]) that merits* induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, and a female who did something like bake a cake or killed a guy (Laura Bush killed a guy).

Tina Turner is a member of the Hall of Fame as part of Ike and Tina Turner. This post makes a case for Tina Turner, solo artist, as inductee to the Hall. After divorcing Ike in 1978, Turner's career found a new life, first in the UK and parts of Europe, eventually around the world, earning her the title of Queen of Rock and Roll, a crown she still holds to this day. She is not Queen based solely on her work with Ike, and her solo work is more substantively rock & roll than the solo work of either Michael Jackson or RIngo Starr. Of her 8 Grammy awards, 7 are from her post-Ike solo career, and 4 are in the Rock category.



Ida Wells was a journalist and editor, a civil rights pioneer, and a feminist/suffragist. As a writer and activist, she focused on lynchings which were common in her home of Memphis and surrounding areas. She was one of the founders of the NAACP, although her name was not among the original list of founders

After a lynch mob killed her friend and 2 othersthe mob pulled the men from jail then strung them up and killed themshe called for a boycott of Memphis. More than 6,000 people moved away.

She kept her name after marrying Ferdinand Barnett.



* There is a wide spectrum of rock & roll gravitas for the artists included in the 31 I will include. I feel like a reasonable case can be made for each, and everyone one of these is at least as worthy as Randy Newman, 2103 inductee.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Musical Theater Therapy: "So Long, Dearie"

From Hello, Dolly, starring Pearl Bailey. Daily therapy here.

Women Who Rock and/or Make History: Siouxsie & the Banshees and June Carter Cash

March is Girl Women's History Month.

Fact: girls can do things too!

Fact: girls can't do rock and roll, or so one might conclude from the paucity of females inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame (motto: "We've got Randy Newman!"). Real fact: girls can do rock and roll (some of them).

Since I am enjoying getting on my high horse (or getting high on horse), I'm going to double dip with a series of girl-on-girl posts. It's a combination of a female musical act (or a band with a female member [possibly more]) that merits* induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, and a female who did something like bake a cake or killed a guy (Laura Bush killed a guy).

Siouxsie Sioux is, unquestionably, the queen of goth music. Artists as notably non-goth as Radiohead, The Smiths, Suede and Garbage cite the band as an influence. Where one might parse the music of Donna Summer or Run DMC to find rock & roll within the body, there's nothing but rock for Siouxsie & the Banshees. 



I probably haven't thanked Kim directly for whatever happened that resulted in us seeing Johnny Cash (and June Carter Cash) in concert in New York City, fall 1989, on a weekend when folks from college radio would have been seeing Red Hot Chili Peppers or Jane's Addiction or Soundgarden or Iggy Pop (maybe). I was able to see any of the expected artists later. I had a decade to see Cash & Carter Cash, but somehow seeing them that weekend made for a much cooler outing and took care of that item on the bucket list.

June Carter Cash was a singer, songwriter, actress, writer, dancer, comedian. She's included here because she wrote "Ring of Fire" and, to a much lesser extent, helped Reese Witherspoon with an Oscar.



* There is a wide spectrum of rock & roll gravitas for the artists included in the 31 I will include. I feel like a reasonable case can be made for each, and everyone one of these is at least as worthy as Randy Newman, 2103 inductee.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Musical Theater Therapy: "All I Wanted Was the Dream"

Isabel Keating in her Tony nominated performance as Judy Garland in The Boy From Oz.  Get a new song every day here.

Women Who Rock and/or Make History: Grace Jones and June Foray

March is Girl Women's History Month.

Fact: girls can do things too!

Fact: girls can't do rock and roll, or so one might conclude from the paucity of females inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame (motto: "We've got Randy Newman!"). Real fact: girls can do rock and roll (some of them).

Since I am enjoying getting on my high horse (or getting high on horse), I'm going to double dip with a series of girl-on-girl posts. It's a combination of a female musical act (or a band with a female member [possibly more]) that merits* induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, and a female who did something like bake a cake or killed a guy (Laura Bush killed a guy).

Today I'm celebrating 2 all-time favorites of mine. My cousin (all Joneses are cousins of mine) Grace is a bad ass singer, songwriter, producer, video artist, actress, model, and bon vivant. Like a rock & roll bon vivant, to be clear. 

She was not the first female to embrace glam (I credit Labelle there, predating her by 2 years) but she is the most committed to it, even if she's dialed it up and down during her 40+ years performing. Her influence is clear in the visuals and music of Annie Lennox, Rihanna, Lady Gaga, and Santigold. Don't believe me? Just ask Jones, she will tell you in no uncertain terms, they owe her.

Musically she's done standards, disco, electronic, rock, hip hop, art rock, semi-reggae, and whatever Arcadia is considered (new wave? synth pop?). Visually she's always conveyed strength and grace. And the visual is an important dimension for Jones, she was an early artist in the video music genre (her only EGOT love was a nomination for Best Long-Form Video for One Man Show), and also collaborated with artists and designers, folks like Andy Warhol, Helmut Newton, and Jean-Paul Goude. 

In 2012, at the age of 64, Grace performed at the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II. She sang "Slave to the Rhythm" and hula-hooped through the entire song

She continues to record, both as a solo artist and guest vocalist. While her appearance on Last Train to Paris, an album I love, is unrecognizable, Gorillaz have announced her as one of their new album's guests.

She is one of the reasons my dog is named Grace/Gracie. Gracie is Randall's mom's name, and the name I usually give out to people when they meet her, but Grace Kelly Jones is her full name. She is 1 part Grace Kelly and 2 parts Grace Jones.

Her version of "Demolition Man" came out a few months before the Police's, by they way:



According to legendary animator Chuck Jones, June Foray isn't the female Mel Blanc, Mel Blanc is the male June Foray. She started in radio at 12 years old and was doing regular voice work a few years later. That was 84 years ago. She was still performing in 2014, a career of more than 80 years.

In that time she has given voice to Rocky the Flying Squirrel and Natasha Fatale (these are the voices that make me cherish her, her contribution to the magic that is Bullwinkle), Nell Fenwick from Dudley Do-Right, Granny (from Tweety Bird; she took over the role from Bea Benaderet), Cindy Lou Who, Witch Hazel, and scores more. 

In 2012, at age 94, she became the oldest entertainer to win an Emmy (a Daytime Emmy, but still) for voice work on The Garfield Show, just a year after winning the Governors Award from the actual (Primetime) Emmy peeps.

In 2011 I wrote that it was time for her to step aside, let some new female voices get established. The talent that made her ubiquitous was building her something of a monopoly. Most women who are established voice artists tend to have fewer characters than their male counterparts (the 3 female voice actors for The Simpsons have an average of 8 characters/actor between them; the 3 male voice actors have an average of 33.3 characters/actor between them). June is 99 and she won't be around forever. When we say goodbye, I will be genuinely very sad.



* There is a wide spectrum of rock & roll gravitas for the artists included in the 31 I will include. I feel like a reasonable case can be made for each, and everyone one of these is at least as worthy as Randy Newman, 2103 inductee.

Song of the Day: "Cold"

I got my Adam Levine sunglasses at Kmart.



Song: "Cold"
Artist: Maroon 5/Future