Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Purple Rain at 30

30 years ago today Prince and the Revolution unleashed the soundtrack album 4 a movie called Purple Rain. My (musical) life changed 4ever. The whole world of high school, MTV and beyond became paisley, purple gospel, girls and fuzzed out guitars in 1984. Move over Michael Jackson. It inaugurated the Purple Reign of Prince.

Purple Rain is rightly considered a masterpiece. I have my original vinyl, poster intact. I made several cassette copies of Purple Rain that I wore out. So many highlights on that record, the album opener, Let's Go Crazy; Baby I'm a Star; I Would Die 4 U; The Beautiful Ones; When Doves Cry and Purple Rain. And it's an Oscar winner. That's right! People forget that Prince and the Revolution took home the Academy Award for best Song Score. All from the LP that ultimately resulted in the parental advisory sticker.

Purple Rain has lost none of its power in 30 years. It is melodic, heavy, groovy, melancholy and uplifting. Dig Prince and his new band 3rdEyeGirl jamming Let's Go Crazy from earlier this year. And then of course, you should simply pull out your vinyl, cassette or CD of Purple Rain and go crazy. If you make a playlist be sure to add the B-Sides, 17 Days, God and the rare 12" of Let's Go Crazy, the version from the top of the film with the whacked-out piano solo, 4 maximum effect (This doesn't even include the hits we heard later from Morris Day and the Time).

I'm still waiting however for a proper remaster of the CD. The best way 2 experience the record is on vinyl. WB and Prince are allegedly rereleasing Purple Rain, so there is hope. In the meantime, I don't care where we go...

Make it a Purple day!


Thursday, June 05, 2014

The Barry Gibb Rock Show

The following mini-blogs were posted on my facebook page before and after attending Barry Gibb: Mythology the Tour at the Hollywood Bowl. The show was amazing. Barry was on a short list of living performers/heroes I had yet to experience in concert. The list is now narrowed down to one David Bowie. But now, the man of the hour is the biggest single influence the second half of my musical career, Barry Gibb...

Dispatch 1, From June 3rd: Tonight, I have been listening to maximum BeeGees because tomorrow night, it's Barry F'n Gibb at the Hollywood Bowl! No, I am not mad about the Barry Gibb Talk Show. It's where Fallon finally won me over on SNL. But tomorrow it's Barry's Mythology Show, his own tribute to his brothers and his own fabulous musical catalog of hits.

"Night Fever" is one of my 5 favorite records of all time. Main Course & Saturday Night Fever are among my 25 favorite LPs of all time, with Idea, Spirits Having Flown, Children of the World and Trafalgar all in my Top 100. Yes, I have a Top 100.

I'm current listening to Idea. Don't know the album? It features "Idea," "Swan Song," "Kilburn Towers," the classic "I've Gotta Get A Message To You" and the utter masterpiece "I Started a Joke" on Side B!

Once you get beyond Robin's voice (which I love), "Joke" rivals any pop song of it's era. It's kin to "Yesterday" and "Waterloo Sunset." I do enjoy how Penn & Teller used it in their movie, too.

Well, I am looking forward to the Disco, the ballads and the psychedelic pop masterworks from Barry. All of it. The most versatile writer of the pop era. Yes, I said it.

If you follow me, you already know how I feel about Barry, Robin, Maurice & Andy. Only the Beatles & Prince hold more sway over me musically; with Bowie & James on equal footing. And with a catalog as expansive and varied as the BeeGees there is always something to discover.

The BeeGees are dead, long live the BeeGees! "I love you well!"


Dispatch 2, From June 4th: From "Technicolor Dreams" to "Tragedy:" Barry Gibb gave the Hollywood Bowl mythology last night. Simply one of the greatest concert events I have ever experienced. The place rocked, danced, swayed and wept; all due to the power of the music of the Brothers Gibb. Hit after hit. Not just the BeeGees, but songs he wrote for Barbra Streisand, Andy Gibb, Dolly & Kenny, "Grease." So many classics.

I am grateful that I had the opportunity to see & hear Barry. His voice got stronger as the show went on; even as he became more emotional. The hardest moment for us all was when he turned over "I Started A Joke" to a video of Robin singing the lead along with the live band. And you already know how I feel about that song.

Barry & his brothers are arguably the most versatile pop writers of the 20th century. As a performer, Barry is a rock star of the highest order. And I mean rock star. He was in command. Wish I had seen the whole band circa 1979.

There were some fun interludes and moments, too. He even referenced the Barry Gibb Talk Show to introduce "Nights On Broadway."

My camera/phone isn't great (out gardenbox seats were dead center near near the light board); but you can see Barry and his trademark Blue Guild Songbird guitar in this shot.

If he brings Mythology back on the road, you owe it to yourself to see him. He does not disappoint.