The Afternoon Delight with Ashley has been part of the drive home in southern Illinois since May 2007!
Weekdays from 3:00-6:00 PM, Ashley brings you musician birthdays, events in music history, the blast from
the past looking at television and movie debuts on that date in history, music news revolved around the classic
hits artists we play, giveaways and more.
The Afternoon Delight Blog
The White Album 50th Anniversary Reissue
While there isn’t an official release date for the Beatles self-titled album 50th Anniversary Reissue, (commonly known as the White Album)
it’s anticipated that it will be in November of this year. In my on air remarks a few weeks ago when talking about this, I mentioned, “Just in time for Christmas!” I’m really excited about this anniversary reissue. I make no secret about it being my favorite Beatles album.
Why is it my favorite? Because after the release of Sgt. Pepper’s and the Magical Mystery Tour albums, it blew the doors wide open for the Beatles to be completely, creatively honest. Brutally honest and transparent. And what did that creative, brutal, honesty and transparency sound like? It was weird, man. And I LOVE that. There was no overall album concept. There was no common theme amongst each song.
One could argue the most common theme was animals, but while there are several songs with animals being the subjects of the songs, they are not related in meaning or concept.
The White Album was released in November of 1968. As with many of the historic albums I have a fondness for, I was many years away from this lifetime. There are a lot of aspects of 60’s and 70’s history and culture that are fascinating to me, and since I wasn’t around (in this lifetime), movies, antiques, and especially music take my mind on a journey of what things might have been like then, or what the artist might have been experiencing in everyday life at that time.
Let’s look at 1968 for a moment. 1968 was in-between the Monterey Pop Festival, the “Summer of Love” and the Woodstock Festival.
1968 was the Vietnam War, the assassinations of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy, the Oakland Police vs. Black Panther shootout, the Civil Rights Act of 1968 is signed, the musical “Hair” opens on Broadway, the first episodes of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, 60 Minutes, and Hawaii Five-O airs, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Planet of the Apes, and Rosemary’s Baby hits theaters, Apollo: 6 is launched, the Boeing 747 is introduced, Jacqueline Kennedy becomes Jackie O., Yale begins admitting women, the first televised interracial kiss happens, and so many more historic events in humanity, weather, and popular culture. There were a lot of things happening in 1968 that could’ve directly inspired any number of the tracks on the White Album. But, did they? Probably not.
The thing that fascinates me so much about the White Album, is simply an opinion of someone outside 50 years later, looking backwards and in. The Beatles seemed to me to be bursting at the seams in many ways. Following the Beach Boys Pet Sounds album, they did their own modern and trippy concept album with Sgt. Pepper’s. Though there were some critical remarks at the time, they got away with it, and still remained to be a commercially successful band. That further opened the flood gates for them to be increasingly creative, with very little consequence likely to come about from it. Whatever they did was going to be admired, analyzed, and respected, because they were the Beatles. Each member in 1968 was showing a growing need to express himself and be more involved in the full process of making an album. The band had already studied Transcendental Meditation with the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, they had already befriended and spent time with Timothy Leary, explored the world, various cultures and the counter-culture, and it was apparent their minds couldn’t have been anymore “open” or “explored,” and their heads couldn’t have been any more “fed.” At this time, tensions within the band were on the rise due to growing personal and professional conflicts.
Songs like Back in the U.S.S.R., Glass Onion, While My Guitar Gently Weeps, Birthday and Savoy Truffle were a little more “normal” and commercially successful than some of the other, more experimental tracks. These songs gave us flavors of the “traditional rock” Beatles sounds we were used to, telling a story, radio friendly, with a rock/blues/pop style, while still showcasing some individualism of each song’s writer.
Songs like Dear Prudence, Ob-la-di Ob-la-da, Martha My Dear, Blackbird, Rocky Raccoon, Don’t Pass Me By, I Will, Yer Blues and Mother Nature’s Son give way to the more traditional folk-pop storytelling sounds typical of McCartney compositions, or in some cases Lennon or Lennon/McCartney compositions.
The Continuing Story of Bungalow Bill, Piggies, Sexy Sadie, and Cry Baby Cry, saw lyrics stepping out and discussing political and social subjects and issues, as well as events and people in popular culture, in moves that were quite bold for the time.
Songs like Helter Skelter, and Everybody’s Got Something to Hide Except for Me and My Monkey introduce us to a seriously heavy sound for the time, a “screaming” Paul McCartney, heavily distorted and loud guitars, new variations of drum fills, and lots of new sounds and noises.
And of course, Helter Skelter has it’s own side history.
The beautiful song Julia, was one of the first times we saw John Lennon completely exposing his soul, not hiding behind a false ego, not taking stabs at those in higher powers, nor talking conspiracy theories. In this instance, Lennon was just a boy in a lot of emotional pain, missing his mother. The tragic and sudden passing of his mother Julia, of course, had a profound impact on his life. To me, this is one of the most heart-to-heart moments that listeners can have with the real, honest, caring, beautiful soul that was John Lennon.
Good Night gave us a preview of what could be expected in later albums with the Beatles incorporating full orchestration, much like the Beach Boys periodically had.
And then there’s Revolution 9. (Did you really think I was doing to go through all this and not talk about Revolution 9?)
There are plenty of tracks on this album that I love listening to, that have inspired me, that have influenced me musically, that I know were influences to others and created shifts in “acceptable” rock and blues music. But, Revolution 9 captivates me more than anything else on that entire album. I fully realize it was just another Beatles experiment, and that there isn’t a lot of deep meaning to it, other than a group of creative individuals stretching the current technology to it’s extremities, and forcing those listening to be more open minded about what art is, or isn’t.
However, I will always feel that there are deeper meanings hidden within Revolution 9. There had to be reason behind the selection of each dialog, sound, or piece of music involved. And let’s be real…. they were probably all having a taste of Timothy Leary’s medicine of choice while all this was going on. There’s just so much going on. The echo of the the man calling out “Number 9”, “Block That Kick” coming later on with outdoor stadium sounds, music being played backwards, panicked screams and gasps, a happy baby cooing, random spoken words and sounds, every day sounds of traffic and people and places… But, is it just random? It is just “experimental sound?”
The answer, I suppose, is up to us. Fortunately for me, it takes me on a journey to 1968. It’s so realistic, that is feels like 1968 is now.
I can assure you, I have never had a taste of “Timothy Leary’s medicine”, or any other related things. Ever. But, with a good pair of head phones, a black light, a kaleidoscope light, and Revolution 9, I can go to 1968 with simply tapping into my own senses of sight, sound, and an open mind.
Kokomo and the Beach Boys
Southern Illinois gets the privilege of welcoming the Beach Boys as they are scheduled to perform
at this year’s Herrinfesta Italiana. We’ve already had several calls asking questions about the show,
and of course if we’re going to be giving away tickets. (Yes, we will be.)
The main question asked thus far as been, “Which version of the Beach Boys is coming?”
Unfortunately, with all that has happened over the years with the Beach Boys, they have been
yet another group that has ended up in court over rights for current and former band
members to use the rights as the “official” band. So, even though Brian Wilson was
and always will be a dominant member of the Beach Boys at the forefront of
composition, lyrics and production, his issues which led to him no longer being part of the
group, also took part in him losing the rights to tour or record as “The Beach Boys.”
So, who exactly is in “The Beach Boys” these days? For one, the next in line as far as
prominent and memorable members of the Beach Boys, Mike Love and Bruce Johnston. While Bruce
Johnston isn’t an “original” member, he’s certainly close enough and has earned
his chops to be called an original Beach Boy. Bruce replaced Brian when he quit
touring and has been an integral part of the Beach Boys since. He’s also responsible
for contributing to some other songs you may know. In addition to Love and Johnston, you’ll
find Jeff Foskett, Scott Totten, John Cowsill, Tim Bonhomme, Randy Leago, Christian Love,
and Keith Hubacher, as listed online as their current lineup. This is not confirmed to be
the exact lineup coming to Herrin.
There’s a distinct difference between Brian Wilson’s Beach Boys, and Mike Love’s Beach
Boys, in addition to the lineup. The music is just different. Period. You almost can’t
put them in the same category. I’m not going to dive into the depths of Brian Wilson today…
But, let’s face it… if you’re under 40, maybe even under 50, you probably simply refer
to Mike Love’s Beach Boys as, “The Kokomo Guys.” (This is NOT a bad thing.)
And even in a more extreme case of not-so-notoriety, you may have even thought of them as
“That group of guys that was on Full House once and they went to their concert.”
In the early 80’s, the Beach Boys had nearly faded away as a group of yesteryear, and we were more familiar
with Brian Wilson’s troubles, than with his incredible genius. You see, those of us that weren’t around when the
Beach Boys first came out, hadn’t truly yet discovered the magic of the Beach Boys. Sure, we may have know a little
of “Help Me Rhonda” or “Barbara Ann”, but we sure weren’t familiar with the magic of Pet Sounds.
I know there was Beach Boys played around my house and in the car growing up. I was told one time
that my first words were “Barbara Ann,” though I cannot confirm that is actually true.
Some of the Beach Boys or Beach Boys fans, may not think Kokomo was that great, or that big of a deal,
since it was “only made for a movie.” But, for those of us that didn’t know much about the Beach Boys at the
time of it’s release, Mike Love’s Beach Boys and “Kokomo” changed who they were to us. Kokomo had
new-age flower child written all over it with contributions from Scott McKenzie, John Phillips and Terry Melcher.
It was fun, it was warm, it was romantic, it was catchy, it was a new summer favorite that took over radio,
gave significant notoriety to a movie that if not for Tom Cruise’s popularity at the time was hardly a cult classic,
and it introduced the Beach Boys to a new audience. We wanted more.
So, as we so often do with classic groups, we went backwards. We found “Good Vibrations,”Caroline, No ” “Sloop
John B” and so many more tunes we fell in love with. And then, like so many of us do, the older we got, the more
we appreciated their contributions to music, their originality, their pop culture influence, the lyrics, the music,
the production value, the stories behind the music, etc. There’s so much to love about the Beach Boys. All of them.
There’s a lot to be talked about, a lot of intrigue, a lot to be respected.
No matter which version of the Beach Boys is your favorite, it’s all important. It’s hard to say if I, and others of the
30’s and 40’s group, ever would’ve appreciated the older Beach Boys stuff without Mike Love and Kokomo?
The Division Bell
The album that held the title of being “Pink Floyd’s last studio album” for 20 years until the release
of “The Endless River” in 2014, turned 24 years old this week. While next year is obviously the more significant
anniversary, with all the spring rains we’re having, I thought we should talk about the album a little bit anyway.
What does spring rain have to do with The Division Bell? In my mind, the two go hand-in-hand. Yes, I am
so compulsive about my music listening habits, that I not only have playlists for seasons and the specific type
of weather within that season, I also have specific albums and songs that I associate with those
seasons and that specific weather event. We’re not yet having the type of weather I associate with the Division Bell, but it
won’t be long. If I’m home on a warm, raining, spring Saturday catching up on things in the house,
having morning coffee or doing other projects, I open the windows and crank up “The Division Bell.”
When I hear so many of the songs on the album, I see a bold, grey sky that makes the color of the
green grass sharp. The trees and shrubs have bright new blooms. The birds are singing, even if
I don’t see them in the rain. I feel warm air, hear soft rain, and feel peace.
Now how any of this came about for me is hard to tell. It’s possible I just happened to listen to the
album years ago on a rainy, spring day, and I’ve associated it with such weather since. However,
I think it’s more likely that Pink Floyd naturally put that association in my head.
The first song, “Cluster One” begins with noise that could be widely interpreted.
When listening more intently, I hear the interference noise that is referenced in the song’s Wikipedia entry.
But to me, it could be interpreted as soft rain falling, and birds chirping. It’s followed by Richard Wright’s
repetitive and grinding synth work reminiscent of “Welcome to the Machine,” and transitions to
Wright’s ambient and melancholy piano, synth and organ work. David Gilmour’s smooth, flowing and haunting
guitar joins in with Nick Mason adding just the right amount of percussion to keep the piece moving and give
it a touch of extra personality and mystique.
The album moves ahead into the dark and melodic, “What Do You Want From Me?” that boasts some
powerful lyrics and gritty and gravely vocals by Gilmour, perfect for the context. And even though this
is the second album by the “new” Pink Floyd that has embraced current technology and
sound trends, and is also the second Pink Floyd studio album absent of Roger Waters, there are clear
flashbacks and tributes in the music to the previous sounds of Pink Floyd. The bridge
in the song is reminiscent of themes found throughout “Dark Side of the Moon.”
I could go on and on about this album, but I won’t. I’ll save it for next year when it turns 25.
I’ll quickly mention other stand outs you have to give a chance if you haven’t already, “Wearing the Inside Out,”
“Keep Talking” and “High Hopes.” The next warm, rainy, day that finds you looking for something
to listen to, put on The Division Bell and listen to it all the way through from start to finish in order.
It might just become your new spring, rainy day favourite.
I Just Died in Your Arms Tonight
One of my favorite things about music, and particularly popular music, is that it is always open to interpretation.
Sometimes the writers and composers come forward and say directly what a song and/or it’s lyrics are about, or
they may give us a little tidbit of information and leave the rest to personal interpretation.
Often times, we’re completely left to our own imagination,which is surely by design of the writer,
knowing that the mystery and intrigue of the lyrics is part of the attraction to the
complete work. Yesterday as the radio played, “(I Just) Died in Your Arms Tonight” by Cutting Crew, a song we’ve
heard over and over again for many years, a potential meaning of the song hit me all at once. It all happened
because of truly hearing one line of the song for the first time. I’ll get to that in a moment.
Here’s what songfacts.com has to say about the meaning of the song:
This was written by Cutting Crew lead singer Nick Van Eede, who told us that it was inspired by a real relationship. Says Nick: “Yes, I cannot tell a lie. It’s a song written about my girlfriend (who is actually the mother of my daughter). We got back together for one night after a year apart and I guess there were some fireworks but all the time tinged with a feeling of ‘should I really be doing this?’ Hence the lyric, ‘I should have walked away.’ I know it sounds corny but I awoke that morning and wrote the basic lyrics within an hour and wrote and recorded the demo completely within three days.”
Even though I now know the alleged meaning of the song, it wasn’t the meaning that came to me yesterday. The line that really got me thinking was, “On the surface I’m a name on a list.” A name on a list? What list? Like, a little black book list? The next line is, “I try to be discreet but then blow it again.” Hmmm… being discreet, a name on a list, a long hot night, the moment is gone… Before I read the quote on songfacts.com about the meaning, I really thought I had stumbled onto something. I just thought this song was yet another 80’s pop/power ballad, and I never thought anything more about it, until yesterday. Yes… I believe I understand what it’s about now!
It’s clearly about a one night event, that cannot happen again, a mistake, etc. And I understand after reading the meaning how that is all relative to the night he refers to with his child’s mother. However, I keep going back to the those lines. Even if the relationship is over, is he really just “a name on a list” if they have a child together? And being discreet? We may never truly know the meaning of the song, but like with so many other songs, we’ll continue to wonder on.
Yes and Jethro Tull are both celebrating 50 years of music in 2018. According to Rolling Stone, Jethro Tull’s founder Ian Anderson has hand-picked 50 songs form the band’s 21 studio albums for the upcoming “50 for 50” 3-disc compilation album that is due out May 25th vial Parlophone. “50th Anniversary Hits,” a condensed, 15-track collection will be available on CD and vinyl. The CD is scheduled for release alongside “50 for 50,” and the vinyl version will be released August 31st. Yes is also celebrating their 50th anniversary with a tour. The group has added additional tour dates for the summer on top of their UK spring tour. Dates include June 10th in Kansas City, MO and Highland Park, IL on September 7th.
Today in music history, the Temptations released the album, “Sing Smokey,” which comprised of songs all written or co-written by Smokey Robinson. It included the hits “My Girl,” and “The Way You Do the Things You Do.”
Did you know Smokey’s song writing credits for recorded and released singles spans over 40 years? Smokey’s earliest noted song writing credit for a song that was recorded, released as a single, and appeared on the charts was in 1959.
Other artists in addition to the Temptations that have covered songs by the Miracles or have recorded original songs that were at least c0-written by Smokey include the Captain and Tennille, Mary Wells, The Supremes, A Taste of Honey, Gene Chandler, Earl McCormick, Eddie Money, The Marvelettes, Rita Coolidge, Hall and Oates, UB40, Petula Clark, Amii Stewart, Sister Sledge, Marvin Gaye, the Contours, Kim Carnes, Grace Jones, and so many, many more. Smokey continues to be active in performing and throughout the music industry. He recently filmed and participated in an episode of CMT’s Crossroads.