Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for September, 2015

At number 40 in Rolling Stone Magazine’s 100 greatest Beatles songs is “For No One”. This is a beautiful love song, written by Paul McCartney and is one of my favourite love songs of his. It is on Revolver which is, as I’ve said before, my favourite Beatles album, which is rated the 3rd greatest album of all time by Rolling Stone Magazine.

“For No One” is, of course, a story of lost love; and as well as beautiful lyrics one of its stand-out features is the French horn which plaintively plays



At number 40 in Rolling Stone Magazine's list of the 100 greatest Beatles songs is "For No One".

At number 40 in Rolling Stone Magazine’s list of the 100 greatest Beatles songs is “For No One”.




Your day breaks, your mind aches
You find that all the words of kindness linger on
When she no longer needs you

She wakes up, she makes up
She takes her time and doesn’t feel she has to hurry
She no longer needs you

And in her eyes you see nothing
No sign of love behind the tears
Cried for no one
A love that should have lasted years

You want her, you need her
And yet you don’t believe her when she said her love is dead
You think she needs you

And in her eyes you see nothing
No sign of love behind the tears
Cried for no one
A love that should have lasted years

You stay home, she goes out
She says that long ago she knew someone but now he’s gone
She doesn’t need him

Your day breaks, your mind aches
There will be time when all the things she said will fill your head
You won’t forget her

And in her eyes you see nothing
No sign of love behind the tears
Cried for no one
A love that should have lasted years







Which is your favourite track on Revolver?

Read Full Post »

At number 27 in Rolling Stone Magazine’s 100 greatest songwriters is Ray Davies of the Kinks. I am a huge fan of The Kinks, and of Ray Davies’ songwriting; to me they are some of the best songs of the 1960s.



At number 27 in Rolling Stone Magazine's list of the 100 greatest songwriters of all time is Ray Davies of The Kinks.

At number 27 in Rolling Stone Magazine’s list of the 100 greatest songwriters of all time is Ray Davies of The Kinks.



Read Full Post »

At number 41 in Rolling Stone Magazine’s 100 greatest Beatles songs is “Get Back”, which was released as a single in 1969. I have blogged about this song before here, to celebrate the anniversary of The Beatles’ famous roof-top concert. But, you can’t get too much of a good thing, so I am more than happy to blog about this wonderful song again. Also, the videos of them performing the song during the live roof-top concert do not seem to be available on YouTube anymore (and I’ve tried linking to two separate ones), Apple (The Beatles’ publishing company, not the tech company) keep removing it on copyright grounds.



At number 41 in Rolling Stone Magazine's list of the 100 greatest Beatles songs is "Get Back".

At number 41 in Rolling Stone Magazine’s list of the 100 greatest Beatles songs is “Get Back”.



“Get Back” is another example of Paul McCartney at his funky best; it is a wonderful song with such a fantastic driving rhythm from John Lennon’s rhythm guitar. Lennon always felt that it was aimed at Yoko, “Get back to where you once belonged” aimed at the woman whom McCartney maybe felt was coming between the two songwriting friends. I suspect we will never know, as it is not the sort of thing McCartney would ever confess to, but it is clear from the footage in the Let It Be movie that things were pretty strained between McCartney and the other members of the band by this time.


Jojo was a man who thought he was a loner
But he knew it wouldn’t last.
Jojo left his home in Tucson, Arizona
For some California grass.

Get back, get back.
Get back to where you once belonged
Get back, get back.
Get back to where you once belonged.
Get back Jojo. Go home
Get back, get back.
Back to where you once belonged
Get back, get back.
Back to where you once belonged.
Get back Jo.

Sweet Loretta Martin thought she was a woman
But she was another man
All the girls around her say she’s got it coming
But she gets it while she can

Get back, get back.
Get back to where you once belonged
Get back, get back.
Get back to where you once belonged.
Get back Loretta. Go home
Get back, get back.
Get back to where you once belonged
Get back, get back.
Get back to where you once belonged.


As the live version from the roof-top concert keeps getting removed, here is a link to the studio version of the single (which differs from the version on the album). Enjoy!





Read Full Post »

At number 28 in Rolling Stone Magazine’s list of the 100 greatest songwriters is Woody Guthrie. I wonder how many of you reading this, particularly non-Americans, have heard of Woody Guthrie? I first heard of him when I became interested in Bob Dylan; he was a hero of the young Dylan and, in fact, Dylan wrote a song of tribute to him on his first album, “Song for Woody”.

Guthrie was born in Oklahoma in 1912, and so lived through the depression of the 1930s in a state which was particularly blighted by the depression and the ‘dust-bowl’. This led to thousands of farmers and their families from Oklahoma leaving for California (this story is the basis of John Steinbeck’s wonderful novel The Grapes of Wrath). Living through these dismal years had a long-lasting effect on Guthrie, and he spent a career as a folk-singer and activist championing the rights of downtrodden people.



At number 28 in Rolling Stone Magazine's list of the 100 greatest songwriters of all time is Woody Guthrie.

At number 28 in Rolling Stone Magazine’s list of the 100 greatest songwriters of all time is Woody Guthrie.



Probably Guthrie’s best known song is “This Land is Our Land”, a song which has been translated into many languages, including into Welsh. Guthrie wrote this song in 1940, basing the lyrics to fit with an existing melody. He then altered the lyrics in 1944, which is when he first recorded it, and it was released in 1945. You can read more about the two different versions of the song here on its Wikipedia page.


This land is your land This land is my land
From California to the New York island;
From the red wood forest to the Gulf Stream waters
This land was made for you and Me.

As I was walking that ribbon of highway,
I saw above me that endless skyway:
I saw below me that golden valley:
This land was made for you and me.

I’ve roamed and rambled and I followed my footsteps
To the sparkling sands of her diamond deserts;
And all around me a voice was sounding:
This land was made for you and me.

When the sun came shining, and I was strolling,
And the wheat fields waving and the dust clouds rolling,
As the fog was lifting a voice was chanting:
This land was made for you and me.

As I went walking I saw a sign there
And on the sign it said “No Trespassing.”
But on the other side it didn’t say nothing,
That side was made for you and me.

In the shadow of the steeple I saw my people,
By the relief office I seen my people;
As they stood there hungry, I stood there asking
Is this land made for you and me?

Nobody living can ever stop me,
As I go walking that freedom highway;
Nobody living can ever make me turn back
This land was made for you and me.




Here is a video of Guthrie performing this song. Enjoy!




Which is your favourite Woody Guthrie song?

Read Full Post »

At number 42 in Rolling Stone Magazine’s list of the 100 greatest Beatles songs is “I Feel Fine”. This song was released as a single in 1964, with “She’s a Woman” on the B-side. It is a John Lennon composition, and is one of the first songs to feature feedback. Lennon always claimed it is the first rock record to feature feedback, something that artists like Jimi Hendrix would make their trademark. “I Feel Fine” got to number 1 in both the Disunited Kingdom and the US, and many other countries around the World.



At number 42 in Rolling Stone Magazine's list of the 100 greatest Beatles songs is "I Feel Fine".

At number 42 in Rolling Stone Magazine’s list of the 100 greatest Beatles songs is “I Feel Fine”.



Although I am very far from being an expert, according to the blurb above from Rolling Stone Magazine, Ringo’s drumming shows an evolution beyond simply keeping rhythm on the track. I won’t repeat was is said in the screen capture above, so take a read of it; but what I do know is that Ringo is often considered by those who know as one of the best drummers in rock music.


Baby’s good to me, you know
She’s happy as can be, you know
She said so
I’m in love with her and I feel fine

Baby says she’s mine, you know
She tells me all the time, you know
She said so
I’m in love with her and I feel fine

I’m so glad that she’s my little girl
She’s so glad, she’s telling all the world

That her baby buys her things, you know
He buys her diamond rings, you know
She said so
She’s in love with me and I feel fine, mmm

Baby says she’s mine, you know
She tells me all the time, you know
She said so
I’m in love with her and I feel fine

I’m so glad that she’s my little girl
She’s so glad, she’s telling all the world

That her baby buys her things, you know
He buys her diamond rings, you know
She said so
She’s in love with me and I feel fine
She’s in love with me and I feel fine, mmm, mmm


Here is a video of this great song. Enjoy!




Read Full Post »

By the time you read this I should be on an aeroplane flying from London to Los Angeles, and then on to Honolulu. I am returning to Honolulu for the first time since 1990; and both then and now my visits are for astronomical reasons. This time, I am joining a cruise to give astronomy lectures; the cruise goes from Honolulu and ends (for me) in Tahiti, twelve days later. Here is the route.





I have been asked to give four talks, and these will be during the “sea days” which come as we sail south from the Hawaiian islands to the southern Polynesian islands. Given that there are five sea days, I am not sure why I haven’t been asked to give five, but I always plan to do a few extra just in case. The lectures I will be giving will be

  • What we can see in the sky during this cruise
  • Why is Hawai’i such a good place to do astronomy?
  • The oldest light in the Universe – what is it and how was it discovered?
  • Why was Captain Cook in Tahiti in June 1769?

I also, on the days that I give lectures, run star parties on the top deck so that people can see the stars and planets. The only planets visible really during this cruise are Saturn (in the evening) and Venus (in the morning). This will be my fourth cruise, and my third with Princess, and I have found previously that the main problem in running the star parties is that they won’t turn off the lights on the top deck (for safety reasons), so seeing faint things like the Magellanic clouds becomes essentially impossible. I will see if I can persuade them to turn them off in specific places for my star parties this time.

I will, of course, take lots of photographs of the beautiful islands I will be visiting, so expect a few blogs to come about from those in the future.

Read Full Post »

With the Rugby World Cup nearly upon us, and the final stages of the qualifiers for Euro 2016 (football) also approaching, I thought I would post this famous poem by Rudyard Kipling – If. It is often quoted relating to sport, and I think I am right in saying that the words “If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster / And treat those two imposters just the same” are inscribed above the doors that lead out onto Centre Court at Wimbledon.

Joseph Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936) was an English short-story writer, poet and novelist. He won the Nobel Prize for literature in 1907. He grew up in Bombay (now Mumbai) in colonial India, his father was a professor at a newly founded school of art in the city. Because of his upbringing in a “colony”, but as one of the colonial masters, Kipling developed the typical view of Indians that most Europeans sadly held at the time, that they were inferior to white people.



A photograph of Rudyard Kipling

A photograph of Rudyard Kipling



In 1894 he wrote the book on which one of my favourite films is based “The Jungle Book”. I have only ever seen the Disney version of this film, but I absolutely love it and when I had children it was one of the first films I bought to show them! How close the film is to the book I have no idea, as I have never read the book – it is on my ‘to-do’ list though.

Here is If, which Kipling wrote in 1895, and it was first published in Rewards and Fairies in 1910.


If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!


Read Full Post »

Older Posts »