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Bands composers Music music videos photography Robyn Hitchcock Soft Boys

Dreamer of Trains: Robyn Hitchcock.

Robyn Hitchcock is one of the more prolific and gifted figures in a certain (eccentric) quadrant of music history. After leaving The Soft Boys, a Neo-psych outfit he founded, Hitchcock emerged as a most formidable solo figure. Heavily influenced by Dylan, and Syd Barrett, his compositions tend towards the obscure, the ineffable, the humorous, the surreal. He remains a vital figure to this day.

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The Velvet Underground, and Lou Reed.

The Velvet Underground consisted, in their heyday, of vocalist/guitarist Lou Reed, keyboardist/bassist John Cale, guitarist Sterling Morrison, and Moe Tucker on the drumkit. Doug Yule replaced Cale in 1969, and Teutonic songstress Nico appeared on the group’s debut record.

Often cited as Godfathers of Punk, this hugely influential New York band mixed art rock, minimalism, garage rock, and often quite taboo lyrical subject matter. Brian Eno commented on the group’s initial lack of sales, “Everyone who bought one of those 30,000 albums (referring to the “Banana Album”) ended up starting a band.”

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Auteurs Bands composers hit singles Music music videos photography Poetic Genius Psychedelic Music Singers Syd Barrett

Look Homeward, Angel: The Great Syd Barrett.

Syd Barrett, co-founder and main braintrust of Pink Floyd until his mental state made his departure inevitable, was without doubt one of the greatest, most original musicians of his time. Until being ousted from the band, he contributed the vast majority of the material.

Embarking on a solo career, Barrett composed and performed a wealth of brilliant, if patchwork, songs. Flashes of his genius abounded, but his increasingly erratic behavior made production quite challenging, indeed. Syd released 2 albums worth of material, then retired to private life for the rest of his days.

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A Giant Talent: Wilt Chamberlain.

Wilt Chamberlain accomplished Herculean, seemingly impossible feats. 100 points in a game; a 50.4 scoring average in a season; 55 rebounds in a game; seven consecutive scoring titles to begin his career. And on and on. As a Harlem Globetrotter, he hurled Meadowlark Lemon around in one skit as if he weighed 210 ounces, rather than 210 pounds. Lemon called Chamberlain the strongest athlete who ever lived. He was certainly one of the greatest.

Wilt won his 2nd and most satisfying NBA championship in 1972 with the Lakers, who set a then-league record with 69 wins, including a stunning 33 in a row. His role had changed, and he showed he could dominate by defending (though he was already a great shot-blocker), rebounding and fuelling the team’s lethal fast-break. A legendary, iconic sporting figure whose true talents may never be fathomed.

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President Obama: 2020 DNC.

Full transcript of 2020 DNC speech here. Truly one for the ages.

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Giant Steps. SF World Series Championships.

Highlights from the 2010, 2012, and 2014 World Series Championships for the San Francisco Giants.

Please see our related post focusing on 2010 and 2012, at our site Bideodromage II.

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Allan Holdsworth Fusion Jazz Miles Davis Music music videos photography

Electric Jazz.

Great moments in so-called Fusion. Miles pretty much invented it, then along came Mahavishnu Orchestra. The latter’s John McLaughlin is a towering instrumentalist, and is featured also in Davis’s Jack Johnson. Belew and Fripp are gods. But perhaps this music’s most brilliant practitioner might be guitarist Allan Holdsworth. A titan of the instrument, revered by Eddie Van Halen, Frank Zappa, and countless others, Holdsworth’s improvisations induce breath-holding and goosebumps.

Addendum: as this post evolves, more will be revealed. Inserting now some Weather Report, featuring Wayne Shorter. And *now*, Jeff Beck.

And furthermore: Pat Martino. And Larry Coryell.

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The Missouri Breaks {1976}.

This offbeat, rather twisted Western presents the intertwined stories of Tom Logan (Jack Nicholson) and his good-hearted, somewhat hapless rustling gang, and Lee Clayton (Marlon Brando), a so-called “regulator” (hired killer) whose job it is to identify and curtail the activities of Logan, et al. As the film progresses, an ever-increasing sense of dread and disquiet permeate the proceedings, as it becomes clearer all the time that the eccentric Clayton is a ruthless, sadistic sociopath, who relishes his deadly machinations and depraved exploits. The bounty hunter’s bewildering array of accents and disguises also merits mentioning.

Arthur Penn directed this cult masterpiece, and allowed the actors, especially Brando, to find their own way with the characters, including improvising much of the dialogue. Idiosyncratically paced, this oddball absurdist comedy/western thriller deconstructs the genre to beautiful effect, and Marlon Brando’s incomprehensibly stunning performance ultimately defines and lifts the film to the very heights.

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composers hit singles Music music videos photography Producers

Mr. Lee Hazlewood.

Lee Hazlewood came to be known as a songwriter for, and vocalist with, the wonderful Nancy Sinatra. His gravelly baritone was the perfect compliment to Sinatra’s pure-as-gold pipes. But he was far, far more than that. Listening to his solo material, it’s hard not to be won over by the deadpan idiosyncrasies that pervade his songs and delivery. Wry humour, outright quirkiness, and a wistful sense of loss are Lee’s calling cards. A wonderful musician, the leading light of “Cowboy Psychedelia”. But most importantly, he’s utterly, unapologetically himself.

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Bands Gang of Four Guitarists hit singles Improvisers Music music videos photography

Gang of Four.

Formed in 1976 by guitar maestro Andy Gill, vocalist Jon King, drummer Hugo Burnham, and bassist Dave Allen, Gang of Four produced some of the most crucial music of the late 70s-early 80s. Acerbic, satirical lyrics that were extremely socially aware were the group’s calling card, as was Gill’s formidable guitar work. The rhythm section generally laid down hard funk grooves, yet the music was spare, angular, jagged. A critical assemblage.