Anyone looking at the title of the post would be inclined to think, this as being another eulogy to the ‘Queen of Soul’. Yes it is, about her but no it is not really about her. The beauty of the initial rock/rock n roll/blues was the interconnectivity through one to other. Artist to other, they were covering some of the legends and at times they were just covering and appreciating the contemporaries. 60s-70s the golden ages of English music, never to return.

So, coming to our story, Respect, I was introduced to Aretha Franklin through some of the best or top 100 songs type list and i got to know about the brave strong voice of Aretha. I wouldn’t say that this is my favourite song but I can fully appreciate the magnitude of the song and singer. One thing lead to another, and I landed up at the original ‘Respect’ guy, our dear old Otis Redding, I had heard the name a lot, having had some sort of charisma and charm. And yet, I hadnt heard much of him except the mellow (Sitting on the) dock of the bay. So, expecting dock of the bay, I tuned into Respect by Otis Redding and it was my turn to be blown over. When he starts, “What youuu wantt” louder than the loud thumping and trumpeting going on, I just forgot Aretha Franklin’s voice. His voice didnt carry that message, the earnest but here then, just listening to the song, I will swear to my death bed, I would prefer listening to Respect by Otis Redding over Respect by Aretha Franklin.

And yet, the guy died even younger than the 27 club. Surely a great voice, some great lines lost. Adding both the versions for people to make their opinion.


The Silly One

Paul is a core romantic, thats a fact well documented in any annal of rock music history. But there is a dimension in Macca’s romance that I haven’t seen much elsewhere . So many times Macca seems an outcast in the world of Beatles and the contemporary rock scene in general. While Stones were giving us Sister Morphine, Lennon gave us Revolution and Harrison gave While My Guitar Gently Weeps Macca at similar times was chugging out Yesterday and When I’m Sixty Four (admittedly an old composition).

Two of the more prevalant trends in Rock music can be seen as,
a) Poring into the darker side or express change/angst/anger/rebelion or else
b) going into the real world things bringing them to life and music instead of the more abstract relations and feelings. [Time, Money, Car, Sea, Guitar, Drugs etc] {This obviously is among the oldest concept in poetry writing}
Paul thus comes from such a background which valued material things and the changing times more than the usual old concepts of love and romance.

True to the soul of rock music, Paul also presented a counter. But his counter was of a different breed than most rock artists around. An analysis of some of his lyrics presents a counter but with love and happiness against negativity/sadness or such feelings. By the virtue of him written on so many topics, it can be a crime to brand him or his songs belonging to a particular line of thought. For my analysis thus, I will chose few of his songs which stay true to my hypothesis. His stories so often start with a sad thought or a heartbreaking event.

At the end of the end – The End of the End
The grand old painter died last night – Picasso’s last Words
When I get older losing my hair many years from now – When I’m sixty four
They say that people have had enough of silly love songs – Silly Love Songs

Paul! Perhaps more than the experimental Beatle,was and to date remains a Pop star, a fact brought forth much better on listening to his solo work or the albums with Wings.

The lyrics mentioned above clearly don’t present the loving rosy picture as would be expected from a pop artist. Instead they have all the makings of a rock song beginning, the ideal platform to burst into tirade accompanied by a solo or two and some ingenuous drumming.

And thence comes perhaps the most beautiful part of Paul’s song writing. The light seems more enriching and enticing when its coming from the end of a dark tunnel and that’s where Sir James Paul McCartney brings a different life to his songs. The depressing situation created, shall be rebelled against, with hope shining out of the travesty.

Thus come the later lines of the songs I’ve mentioned in the first place which show the light coming after the darkness of the first line of his songs

Is the start of a journey to a much better place… On the day that I die, I’d like jokes to be told – The End of The End
Drink to me, drink to my health, you know I can’t drink anymore – Picasso’s last Words
I could be handy, mending a fuse… Every summer we can rent a cottage in the Isle of Wight – When I’m sixty four
Some people want to fill the world with silly love songs….
‘Cause here I go again – I love you, I love you – Silly Love Songs

Of these songs, the one that has inspired me most is the one called “Silly Love Songs”. It can be quite obviously seen that the rock fraternity at the time was against the Pop artists and the trend of writing Silly love songs as a rockhead would term them. And yet here comes Paul, supposedly one of the Messiahs of Rockheads daringly rubbishing any thoughts harboured by the people and fans of his ilk (rock world). This song, thus, presents Paul as a rebel, rebelling against the original rebels (rock musicians) presenting the ideas of equality, universal acceptance as against the high handedness of the people. A clever retort whose point is well taken by Rolling Stones (magazine).

He mourns the death of the greatest painter of the age, he talks of his very own end, the senility and disabillty of the old age is pondered upon or he just gives a big fuck you to the rockheads. And yet the most inspiring thing is, all this, still comes in the sweetest of wordings and the nicest ‘pop’ular music full of love, laughter . 🙂

Albums for Eternity

Through all these years, music has been my best and closest constant friends and source of strength. From the days of buying the cassette of DDLJ, first musical buy of my sister and me, times have changed, technology has changed. Individual songs have been many but whole albums which I listen on a loop have also been there. This listla is my collection which has preserved the transition from cassettes to computer to finally mobile devices and a lot of hard disk crashes. A reflection of my tastes, a heartfelt collection…

Aamir – Small men can cast the longest of shadows says Tyrion Lannister. On the similar lines, this is a small movie which casted theA longest of shadow. The movie was definitely top class while the music was bollywood beater to say the least.
Fav Song : Ek lau zindagi ki

Abbey Road – The last composition of Beatles albeit the second last album released. But if there is a concept of, last and the least, Beatles definitely didn’t believe in it. Full of love songs, soulful songs and some stories to tell. Abbey Road would definitely be my favourite Beatles album and thats a lot to say about the album. Definitely a chart topper, most played album of mine.
Fav Song : Here Comes the Sun

Band on the Run – Paul McCartney at his best, typical Paul album, lots of Pop, lots of love, happiness. Paul never gets too philosophical but the music is always top notch. You could observe this trend in the Beatles songs but when he finally got a chance to express himself singly, we get albums of this ilk. This, Flaming Pie and Kisses on the bottom can fill any heart with love and happiness
Fav Song : Band on the Run

Barfi – He might be a copy cat, he might steal the tunes but when Pritam gives the music to an album, so many times its freaking wonderful. The music of Barfi fitted absolutely well with the movie. But even if you listen in isolation, the music is sure to touch more than a few nerves. Absolutel amazing music, the latest album in my list. For one such album and another to come in the list, Pritam can be forgiven any number of music tunes copied.
Fav Song : Sanwali si Raat

Bridge Over Troubled Waters – Simon & Garfunkel are easily my favourite artists after Beatles who compare favourably due to the large catalogue of music. They again suffer out a bit here as my collection have most of their songs in compilations or Best of albums. BOTW is a kinda tribute to my love for S&G as well makes the cut due to its track listing, almost all of which are absolutely “Ek Number”
Fav Song : Bridge over troubled water/Cecilia/El Condor Pasa/Boxer (I just can’t choose)

C.I.D – In old bollywood music, there is only one favourite I have, that is the great S.D.Burman but if any other musician comes close in my ranking that’d be O.P.Nayyar. This album is the amazing combo of OP Nayyar, Dev Anand and Her Magician-ness Geeta Dutt. This star cast is enough to make me spell bound and the album doesn’t fall shy of its billing.
Fav Song : It’s so bloody difficult, almost all songs equally good with all songs in the album being stand out. If still have to choose one, it might be “Aankhon ki Aankhon mein Ishara”

Dev D – THE cult movie of our generation, DCH the earlier cult came while most of my generation were still tiny teenagers. We would be forever grateful to the movie for introducing us to Amit Trivedi. One movie i don’t need to talk much, everyone is more than aware of the awesomeness.
Fav Song : 18 Songs, every one of them a chart buster but I’ll perhaps go for Dev-Chanda Theme 2

Guide – India swears by RD, but there is only one Burman who I like, the one and only S D Burman. Guide, was cinematic excellence, recently its 50 years were celebrated in Cannes and the music by SD is fully fitting. It has hope, it has romance and sure enough melancholy which are the songs I like more in the movie.
Fav Song : Allah Megh de/Wahan Kaun hai both sung by SDB himself.

Let Go – My love of Avril started with my beginning of English music, I wonder who was that great soul who introuduced me to her music. Definitely not my music, Punk for a classic rock, generally soft soulful music lover. Definitely not my age, she’s the only English artist post 1970s that i listen to. But then she, I just cant take out of my library. Everything is punk, everything is mostly soulful and thoughtful and just adorable to me.
Fav Song : Complicated

Let It Be… Naked – There supposedly is a lot of differnce between the 2 versions of this album, this one doesn’t have the Wall of Sound of Phil Spector, is a stripped down version as was originally intended by The Beatles. The project was initiated by none other than Macca and no wonder that I like the music much there’s too much life in the music as compared to general Beatles/Lennon inspired music. For me one vital difference is that the original album (I had) didnt have the song “Get Back” which this one has and is definitely a song to favour. Thus my vote for Naked
Fav Song : Let it Be / Get Back

Life In A.. Metro – Probably the best music to have come out of Bollywood in this millennium. Pritam has again managed to bring out the magic by the virtue of just his music and nothing. Lyrics are decent, there isnt too much variety in the album unlike many in the list. There are too many unplugged versions, too many reprise. But the music is just so amazing that even one listening to them after other wouldnt bore you.
Fav Song : Baatein kuch ankahee si/Rishtey

Pyaasa – Another S D Burman in the mix. Definitely the most exhiliriating album. Every time I listen to the album it sends shivers down my spine. It has the haunting effect, it has amazing romance, it has fun and it is the Godmother of melancholy. Guru Dutt was perhaps at his best making this movie. SD also didn’t leave any stone unturned to give the music of the level of the movie. And last but definitely not the least Hemant Kumar (just one song ), Geeta Dutt and the unbeatable Rafi tell us what painful, colourful and romantic singing is.
Fav Song : Jane wo kaise log the.. The most played Hindi song in my library

Rockstar – If Life in A.. Metro is the best music of naughties then Rockstar is definitely my favourite album of this decade. A.R.Rahman,as always is in his elements. The lyrics, the depth, the vocals all are here but my favourite song in this album is the instrumental overtaking the usual Rahman sung, soft croon Kun Faya Kun. If only Rahman could give us more such albums regularly
Fav Song : The Dichotomy of Fame

Sifar – Lucky Ali is my favourite voice, his ethereal voice which I first heard sometime in school to this date remains the favourite voice till date. Although I would be more than happy to find another voice more pleasing to my ears than his, but none found as of yet. I generally wouldnt be able to live without any of his first 3 albums but still if I have to chose 1 out of his albums, it will undoubtedly be Sifar, contains my favourite Lucky Ali song Mehboob, my 2nd fav song Dekha Hai Aise Bhi and many of my most fav lucky songs
Fav Song : Mehboob

Slowhand – Clapton was a magician we all know, Clapton defeated Harrison in a duel we know, Clapton serenaded Patty Boyd away from George we know. And this album is what tells us (atleast me) why he was all the above. Love songs par excellence (and to think Layla and Bell Bottom Blues lie outside this album), Guitaring phenomenal, the song Peaches and Diesel is just guitaragasm.
Fav Song – Wonderful Tonight/Peaches and Diesel.

Swades – A. R. Rahman is just a maestro. The undoubted king of contemporary Bollywood music. The fact that his albums are spectacular is universal knowledge. But the one song that I look to in his albums is the one soft crooning song that he composes and is generally sung by the maestro as well. In this movie the song was “Ye jo des hai tera”. A gem, a song to hum your whole life. BUT the biggest success of Swades music (for me) was its background music and the album called Swades.Background with 37 songs that I have is perhaps only a bit more valuable than the actual album.
Fav Song : Ye jo des hai

Chuck Berry

If you tried to give rock and roll another name, you might call it Chuck Berry

Said so, John Lennon, a whose credentials might not need any telling for anyone remotely associated with Rock/Rock n Roll music. Elvis, was and always shall remain the King of Rock & Roll. Buddy Holly shall always be credited as amongst the first who started writing Rock & Roll music, who brought Rock & Roll to the fore. Elvis delved in Gospels and other genres as well beside being the King. But it was Chuck Berry who popularised, revolutionised and brought Rock & Roll to the fore.

Johny B. Goode, might forever be enshrined in the anals of Rock & Roll history as the one of the most popular song to come under the genre.Berry’s showmanship has been influential on other rock guitar players, particularly his one-legged hop routine, and the ‘duck walk’, which he first used as a child when he walked stooping with full-bended knees, but with my back and head vertical under a table to retrieve a ball and his family found it entertaining; he used it when “performing in New York for the first time and some journalist branded it the duck walk.”

Chuck Berry will always be remembered as one of the greatest artists to have ever held a guitar and a mike. Yet, the greatest of the men have had their follies and this guy was just a rock (& roll) star and such people are bound to have their own misdoings. This man, true to his billing, went completely different way, as compared to other music stars. While most such stars are in news mostly because of their habit of destroying themselves under some influences. But, Chuck Berry was charged with perhaps the more petty  and more disappointing offence of installing cameras in the ladies bathroom of a restaurant called  The Southern Air, that he owned. The case subsided only after a class action settlement, he had to make with 59 women (which supposedly cost him $1.2 million). A police raid on his house did find the aforesaid videos (including 1 video of a minor). Although, he was let off with a marijuana possession charge for the 62 gms of stuff found at his place.

The famous duck walk

Cold Turkey

Beatles broke apart is the major fact everyone is quite aware of, yet the finer or even granular nuances of the fiasco like How, when, why and where  are almost as clear as Mona Lisa’s identity, the only point of difference being, in case of Mona Lisa, atleast the involved parties, lady and Da Vinci might have known all the details. In this case, on the contrary, the subjects, even the Beatles themselves cant be sure about the unknowns.
There are man events which are argued about as being the turning events in the whole cycle, yet the event I am going to talk about today, is the one which is hardly ever considered to be of significance. But, history entices and excites and as a result we talk about Cold Turkey.
Looking at the song itself, objectively there isnt much of note about the song and hence hasn’t been too popular. Its basically a song which deals about Lennon’s heroin addiction, which he decided to leave by going Cold Turkey, he has done a nice job in displaying his pain and things, but that shall mostly be disgressing from the  main point, which is the point I shall presently return to.
Cold Turkey was the final breakup of Lennon/McCartney song writing partnership. Give Peace A Chance being the first  solo single of Lennon is a knowledge which, if not of abundance can be believed to be found in some circles of rock music. The only clincher is the fact, that Give Peace a Chance was attributed to Lennon/McCartney  team instead of being Lennon alone. It was only with Cold Turkey, that Lennon could get over the feeling of being in a ‘relation‘ with Macca and could release the song with a new name John Lennon.

This event which happened in 1969(the year of love?), could definitely be seen as one of the defining event in breakup of the best Rock/Rock’n’Roll/Pop band in the history of music.

Ye duniya agar

One of the most important feature of this year for me has been my music and more so on my blog. Things have come and gone, many thigns have changed a lot, yet the only constant through this tumultous year for me has been my music, even when my life had almost deserted me, it was the music which played a major part in keeping me sane. Thats why I thought what better way to end the year but with a post on a song, yet again. I have written a lot about the english music and shall be (hopefully) doing so, in near future as well. Thats why, a little bit of detour lands up us at Sahir Ludhianavi from Paul McCartney.

Since inconcievable time, I have always been enamoured by Sahir Ludhianavi, to my own admission, I havent listened much of his writings. Yet, the very rare that I had the pleasure of listening, has been exemplary. I generally dont have much fondness for the music of Amitabh Bachhan era, specially his songs, yet the 2 songs of AB, which I prefer the most have been penned down by Sahir Ludhianavi. Rafi as I have alread mentioned has been my favourite male singer in bollywood. S.D.Burman has since time infinite been my favourite music composer, while the world has always gone gaga about the other Burmam, but for me its always been the elder Burman, who called the shots, never liked RD as much. While Guru Dutt is a genius whose standing in hindi film industry has been rarely challenged by people coming after him. Its only when all 4 of these people met in a song that we could get the awesomeness better known as Ye duniya agar mil bhi jaye .

Its only been 53 years since the song and the movie were released and the song carried on just by the soulful voice of Rafi with almost nill instruments, might seem to be the death cry of a person and could be rather too mellow to be considered a song. Still, a few listens of the song or a read through the lyrics and you are just too overcome by the beauty, the pain, the euphoria of the song to be able to say anything and any effort to describe the song in any way shall remain rather futile. Even I shall not dwell too much on the lyrics or any aspects of the song, beside just stating perhaps a million times that things rarely do come better than this.

Leaving with my fav paragraph from the song :

जहां एक खिलौना है इंसान की हस्ती
ये बस्ती है मुर्दा परस्तों की बस्ती
यहाँ पर तो जीवन से है मौत सस्ती
ये दुनिया अगर मिल भी जाये तो क्या है


Guru Dutt : Pyaasa




BTW wishing you all, a

Happy New Year!!!