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German band Can established themselves as pioneers of experimental avant-garde by seamlessly combining their influences, from the tape-splicing technique of electronic composer Karlheinz Stockhausen, the trance-like drone of The Velvet Underground, the minimalism of composer mavericks like Terry Riley as well as the jazz rhythms of James Brown.


When Can formed in Cologne in 1968, the members had little experience with rock. Two former students of avant-garde classical composer Karlheinz Stockhausen, the bassist Holger Czukayand keyboardist Irmin Schmidt wanted to merge free jazz, contemporary classical music, and worldbeat.


They were joined by drummer Jaki Liebezeit, a free jazz drummer interested in math, and later by one of Czukay’s students, guitarist Michael Karoli who was 10 years younger than the others.


It was Karoli, a passionate fan of rock music, who suggested that The Beatles was a better influence to take from than Stockhausen, and the band began their first months together by jamming at a 14th-century castle called Schloss Norvenich.


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The Chain, included on Fleetwood Mac’s classic 1977 Rumours album, has retained that particular brand of culturally iconic for decades, but even so, it is safe to say that the recent years pushed the song to a much more immediate pop culture awareness.


The credit mostly lies with Hollywood (though TV had its fun much earlier with Glee, The Americans, and even BBC’s Formula One coverage used the ending bass line bass line as a theme tune from 1978 till 1997) and its generous streak of splicing it into trailers, ads, and dramatically fueled scenes in which the song becomes an actual integral part of the narrative.


Most notable recent appearances were probably in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 and I, Tonya.


Both Guardians movies are known for their epic retro soundtracks, but the sequel channels a more creative way to make better use of the old hits. The Chain serves a point by emphasizing the discord between the group (read: Star-Lord and Gamora have a shouting fest over their undefined relationship but well before Star-Lord calls Rocket a jerk and skips to chill with his newly found dad to his home planet) as they split and go different ways:


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Sunshine of Your Love by the British rock band Cream is perhaps their best known song that spawned numerous covers across genres over the years. 

The song's origins lie with Cream bassist Jack Bruce and his distinctive bass riff which he developed after attending Jimi Hendrix's first London concert at the Saville Theatre on 29 January 1967. After the riff had taken roots, guitarist Eric Clapton and beat poet Pete Brown later contributed to the song. 

Clapton elaborated in an interview:

"He [Hendrix] played this gig that was blinding. I don't think Jack [Bruce] had really taken him in before [...] and when he did see it that night, after the gig he went home and came up with the riff. It was strictly a dedication to Jimi. And then we wrote a song on top of it."

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The authorship of The House of the Rising Sun can not be accurately determined to this day, since the song is a folk ballad.


It is based on the tradition of the 16th century ballads, and the melody might be related to a 17th century folk song Matty Groves. Presumably, The Rising Sun was the name of some English pubs, and the location was changed from England to New Orleans by Southern singers. The first known version of the lyrics was printed in 1925.


The oldest record, made by the artists Clarence Ashley and Gwen Foster, was released in...


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I Put a Spell on You is a 1956 song written by Screamin' Jay Hawkins that became an instant classic and remained his greatest commercial success.


Hawkins wrote this as a calm ballad lamenting the lost love of a woman he longed to get back. His first recording of the song in 1955 was not released, and was a lot more slower and tamer than the version everyone is familiar with.

A year later, at his second attempt at the song for Columbia Records, Hawkins and the studio musicians drank heavily during the recording session. The result, which Hawkins claimed not to remember recording, was a bluesy, voodoo-tinged single filled with boisterous vocals, including moans and other sound effects.


Hawkins reflected on it:


Read more on MusicTales.club


Original article on MusicTales.club


Jerusalem is a British national song based on a poem by William Blake printed in 1808. At the heart of the poem is the contrast between the harmonious, peaceful society Blake aspired to and the crushing reality of the rapid industrial transformation of his natural world.

Blake was a radical poet and artist who lived most of his life in poverty and obscurity. Like most Romantics, he wrote and poems that celebrated energy, imagination and freedom, but what separated him from the rest were his incredible artistic abilities that allowed him to illustrate his writings. 


In 1916, the little known Jerusalem was included in the patriotic anthology The Spirit of Man, edited by the poet Robert Bridges, at a time when the national spirit had hit its low due to the high number of casualties in World War I.

Bridges also commissioned composer Sir Hubert Parry to put it to music, asking him to supply "suitable, simple music to Blake's stanzas – music that an audience could take up and join in."

The song was first called And Did Those Feet in Ancient Time, so most of its early scores had this title. Then, in 1922, Sir Edward Elgar re-scored the work for a very large orchestra to perform at the Leeds Festival, and the rest was history.

It is now a popular hymn, sung in churches, schools, and at sporting events across England. For decades, many have considered it to be the unofficial English anthem.

In 1973, progressive rock band Emerson, Lake & Palmer recorded their version of the song, keeping the poem's title Jerusalem. Though released as a single, the song failed to chart, and was banned from BBC airplay.


Drummer Carl Palmer later expressed disappointment over this decision:

“Jerusalem” has a great story attached to it. It was recorded here in the U.K., and we had to present it to the BBC. The BBC had a panel at the time, and they would veto what would be played on the radio and what could be shown on television, so for us to get the single released, it would have to go in front of this BBC panel, which was about four or five people.

He also added:

So “Jerusalem” was recorded by us, and it was banned immediately by the BBC. We thought it was an unbelievable piece of music. It actually summed up prog rock, British prog rock, in that moment in time. It had everything. It was so grand, it was so English, and it was absolutely perfect for the voice."




Original article on MusicTales.club


A tender ballad Easy Living has forthright lyrics that declare just how wonderful life can be when living for someone you love. 

The songwriting team of Ralph Rainger and Leo Robin wrote Easy Living in 1937 for the film of the same name which was well-reviewed and is best characterized as a screwball comedy classic. Their partnership was a productive one, producing a number of hits in the '30s, and lasted until Rainger’s tragic death in a plane crash in 1942. 

Upon the film's release, the song did not garner much public attention due to the fact that of it being an instrumental track. That same year, however, Billie Holiday did a vocal cover of the song with Teddy Wilson’s Orchestra, and their version stayed in the charts for two weeks peaking at 15th position. It is with her that Easy Living is associated with to this day. 

Following Holiday's footsteps, such artists as Ella Fitzgerald, Peggy Lee, Chet Baker, and Wardell Gray covered Easy Living and by doing so contributed to it becoming a jazz standard. 

In 1955, iconic trumpeter Miles Davis also recorded a great version of the song with an offbeat arrangenment and breezy rhythm section provided by the drummer Elvin Jones, vibraphonist Teddy Charles, trombonist Britt Woodman, and bassist Charles Mingus:






Original article on MusicTales.club


Man of Constant Sorrow is a traditional American folk song first published by Dick Burnett, a partially blind fiddler from Kentucky.

The song was originally titled Farewell Song in a songbook published by Burnett around 1913. An early version was recorded by Emry Arthur in 1928 under the title Man of Constant Sorrow which eventually replaced the original name.

That piece was popularized by The Stanley Brothers who recorded their version in the 1950s. Later variations came from many artists including Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, Judy Collins, and Ginger Baker's Air Force.

Public interest in the song was renewed after the release of the 2000 film O Brother, Where Art Thou? in which it plays a central role in the plot. 

The song was also included in the film's highly successful multiple-platinum-selling soundtrack. George Clooney was originally intended to sing it himself, but due to the tight shooting schedule that couldn't allow room for proper rehearsals, the lead vocals were provided by Dan Tyminski instead.   


Another great track from this iconic Coen brothers' comedy:



Stephen Foster (1826—1864) was an American composer whose vast contribution to popular song, specifically the ballad genre, earned him an honorary place in the hall of fame of American music history.

He had no choice but to get side-tracked from his main ambitions to compose music for the mainstream market, such as minstrel and sentimental pop ballads which were in high demand at the time.

It is estimated that Foster authored around 200 songs, holding the credits for both lyrics and score for the most of them. However, in those days the copyright practice was virtually non-existent, so the profits from his works went largely to performers and publishers.

One such example of his poor entrepreneurship occured in 1848 when he sold his song Oh! Susanna for $100 which later earned the publisher more than $10,000:


A whole century later, in 1963, Tim Rose of The Big 3, inspired by Oh! Susanna, came up with his own power-rock version called The Banjo Song. The original chorus can still be easily recognized in Rose's cover, but it is the harmony that had to be almost entirely rewritten to reflect the aesthetics of the time, peppered with fresh and electric guitar riff.

The Big 3 emerged as a novelty powerful trio, anchored by the drummer Johnny Hutchinson, who even used to help out on a few The Beatles gigs as the last minute replacement drummer. The Beatles' manager Brian Epstein also worked with The Big 3 and honed them into a powerful live outfit, but the trio was unsuccessful at translating this energy into their records. This proved to be their eventual downfall as the leading pop band, relegating them to a mere footnote in the era of the British music wave.




Even after the disbandment of The Big 3, The Banjo Song wasn't forgotten, suddenly surfacing as the main foundation for the soon-to-become sensational Venus, an iconic song written by Robbie van Leeuwen from the Dutch band Shocking Blue. 

This time the situation was reversed: Van Leeuwen wrote a completely new set of lyrics while borrowing Rose's song harmony and musical form almost in its entirety, with some minimal changes. The key was changed to E minor, and the distinct guitar riff was converted for the keyboard and placed between the verses.

In 1970, Venus made history by reaching the No.1 spot on Billboard Hot 100, being the first single by a Dutch band to do so. But by the mid-70s, the hippie counterculture era was coming to an end, and just as many other formative groups of the flower movement, Shocking Blue had to disband in 1974.

Here is the perfect vinyl rip of the biggest Shocking Blue hits:




Original article on MusicTales.cub


Establishing the track number for the album's title song might be one of he most vital things in production. Historically, sound engineers had two main reasons to put the main track in the middle of a record. First of all, the vinyl's edge was far too quick to get worn out, so putting the hit songs at the top of the tracklist was out of the question. Secondly, the vinyl's circular middle was known to have a poorer sound due to its perimeter.


What started as a practical solution has eventually grown into a trend that is still more or less being followed to this day, with the majority of modern artists choosing to place their title songs between 3rd and 5th on the tracklist.

One notable example of this trend is Led Zeppelin's album III, with its hit song 'Since I've Been Loving You' holding the 4th place:





The Beatles' 'Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds' is placed 3rd on the album 'Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band'








In Latin America and Europe, this guy is virtually an icon who seems to have taken the role of Bob Marley. Manu Chao is a wandering artist who for years never had his own place, staying forever on the move, as though addicted to the travel itself. He was born in Paris to Spanish parents, growing up to the sound bolero at home and rock'n'roll in the streets.


It is now two decades since Manu Chao released his higly popular 'Clandestino' album. At the cross-fade of the millennium, it sounded perfect: a mix of simple acoustic sound and bare vocals, underlined by the clear message to all minority groups in the darkest parts of European and South American reality. 

Four continents come together for Manu Chao's 'Clandestino'


It seems that since the initial release of the White Stripes' Seven Nation Army in 2003, the crowds at sporting events all over the world have adopted it as their favorite chant.


One of the origin legends claims that the trend started at a Milan bar when the fans of the Belgian football club Club Brugge KV heard the original tune and started singing along. A few years later, Brugge fans cheered for their club in Rome with the song, and it began catching on in Italy. 


AS Roma captain at the time, Francesco Totti, recounted later:


Seven Nation Army riff conquers sport and classical music


Bourrée is a French folk dance typically danced with quick, skipping steps. The dancers sometimes wear wooden clogs to accentuate the sounds made by their feet. The bourrée was among the dances from which ballet derived its early movements. 


Stylized bourrées have been composed as conceptual pieces since the 16th century. In suites of Johann Sebastian Bach and George Frideric Handel, the bourrée often appears as one of the optional movements.


The fifth movement from Bach's Suite in E minor for Lute is arguably one of the most famous pieces among guitarists. It dates to Bach's mid Weimar period (1708-1717). Here is the 'Bourrèe' played by Andrès Segovia:

Bourrée: French folk dance from the Bach suite inspired prog-rock flute and the work of Sir Paul McCartney


Turlough O'Carolan (1670-1738) knew how to combine traditional Irish music with Italian Baroque that was the preferred choice of the high society at that time. The repetition of short motifs as well as the particular way of building tension reveal O'Carolan's knowledge of the leading styles in the Baroque era. His experiments with harp music influenced a whole new genre, as it were: the Celtic Classics.


O’Carolan, who was the son of an iron founder, lost his sight to smallpox at the age of 18, and spent most of his life as a travelling harpist. However, he gained fame due to his gift of composing harp music and writing songs, mostly in Irish, with the exception of one English tune.


The Celtic Baroque roots of 'Stairway to Heaven'

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