Tuesday, May 24, 2016

A Message from Kurt Cobain

I currently own something called "An Open Letter From Kurt Cobain." Here is a small portion of that letter. Looking at you NC, right now.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Kennedy Center Honors and Honoring Our Own

On May 10th, 2016, songwriters extraordinaire, Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil, won the BMI (Broadcast Music Incorporated)Icon Award. BMI is the basic twin of ASCAP when it comes to music publishing, and most recording artists have a contract with one or the other.

I saw this as a news item on Twitter, and said that Barry and Cynthia should win every award every given, and called out the Kennedy Center Honors folks for not having already honored these two amazing songwriters. They are truly deserving but 140 characters allows nothing but a joke and hopefully a coherent statement.

Well I can't do jack in 140 characters so I thought I would sit down at 2:45 AM PST to expound on the subject of them getting the Kennedy Center Honors, and the seriousness of it occurring quickly. Let's talk about this award.

It's normally given as an award for a lifetime of contributions to the performing arts, and their contributions to American culture through the use of these arts. Right there is the biggest opening ever made for mankind, and for Barry and Cynthia.

To say that Barry Mann and Cynthia have contributed to the culture, continuing culture, and future culture of America, is a gross understatement of facts and feelings. I have avoided talking about the songs themselves to this time, because I want everyone to be clear about the rules before we talk about meat and potatoes.

Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil wrote, had a hand in writing, or assisted in some way in all these tunes. They are: "You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling," "On Broadway," "We Gotta Get Outta This Place," "Walking in the Rain""(You're My) Soul and Inspiration," "I Just Can't Help Believing," "Here You Come Again," "Don't Know Much," but to name but a few of their great tunes. There are many, many, many, more.

Any one of the songs I have listed above would be a career for most songwriters but not Barry and Cynthia. They flourished and worked at songwriting, but they also had soul and inspiration, and a great ability to get into your heart with words and music. I don't know how they did it, I am just glad that they did.  

The awards ceremony was in Los Angeles California at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel. BMI honored Barry, Cynthia, and a young woman who was named Taylor Swift. She is also a great songwriter and only needs 480 songs to catch Barry and Cynthia, in terms of hits.
Cynthia Weil, Taylor Swift, and Barry Mann

So I saw they won and I said on Twitter that they deserved every award for music ever given. I also checked and found out they had not been awarded The Kennedy Center Honors. This sort of pissed me off on a few different levels.

I believe that everyone who has received the Kennedy Center Honors has been a worthy recipient. They are all, and in some cases were, very talented and worthy of recognition. But again, I think some clear thinking needs to be applied to the circumstances attendant to these two specific individuals, and their possible receiving of this prestigious award.

These two have lifetime achievement awards from nearly every important music organization on the earth, they have the written the most played song on the planet in "You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling." They are members of the Songwriters Hall of Fame and the list just continues and continues.

So what are we going to do? Are we going to sit by and watch them get passed over again? I personally have no pull, no juice. I don't know anyone I could call, send a message to, or bother about this or I would. So all I can do is write this in the hopes that someone with some juice will feel the same way I do. I guess what I really have is a love for good music. So do Barry and Cynthia.

Also Barry Mann, just for the record knows who put the bomp, in the bomp buh bomp buh bomp. And that's gotta count for something. Please Kennedy Center honor these two real American heroes. I won't mention their work for saving animals, because they don't do it for fame or fortune, they just love animals. How awesome.

Please Kennedy Center Honors, step up and use this coming December to do the deed. These two deserve it while they can enjoy the fun, adulation, and recognition they truly deserve. They are one of the last ties to the Brill Building, Tin Pan Alley, and the great American songwriting tradition in general, and are American right down to their toes.


Thursday, May 5, 2016

96 Tears

No, this one is not going to be about ? and the Mysterians, of the titular "96 Tears." So if you are looking for that, then look somewhere else.

No this is a different 96 tears, for a whole different reason. This one is about football in England, It's what we in America call soccer, and it is a religion in England, not a sport. It's the reason why everyone knows the name of Leicester City.

Last week they overcame 5000-1 odds and won the Premier League cup for the first time. It's been called a "fairy tale," "miracle," and a whole lot of things that Cub fans will say if that day every comes to Chicago. It is, and was, truly an accomplishment.

What sort of got lost in all this coverage of Leicester City and their win, was Liverpool FC. On April 26, 2016, a jury found that 96 Liverpool fans, who died from a police caused crush, had been "unlawfully killed" and that the burden for this unlawful killing went right to the police doorstep.

What made it worse was when the disaster happened on April 15, 1989, the police, government, courts, and others in positions of power covered up the police actions, and continued to cover them up for over 25 years. They called the Liverpool fans drunken animals who killed each other, when it was clearly proven to not be true.

When I first heard about the incident in 1989, I just thought it smelled wrong for the dumbest reason imaginable. I still can't believe it was what jumped into my brain and is still one of the things I think of when I remember the disaster. What do I remember?

The Beatles.


Because Ringo was born in Liverpool, England, and I knew that any place where that great man came from, could not do this to themselves. I knew they did not kill each other, urinate on the police, or were drunken idiots. I just knew it could not be true, because of Ringo. How stupid is that. I actually bet on peace and love.

So 27 years later I was right, and so were the survivors, and families of those who went to a soccer match that day and never came home. I cried for joy, and I cried for justice, when I heard that verdict. It made me realize that England is still great, because they prize truth and justice over everything else, and will continue to look for it, even when the result is disappointing and discouraging.

Just like we still do in this country, at least for the time being.