Denny Sinnoh's "Akihabara Starlight"

Posts tagged ‘Rock Music History’

My favorite Mr. Children song — “HANABI” — covered by my favorite children!

Mr. Children or “Misu-Chiru” is one of the most popular rock groups in Japanese pop music history. Today I wanted to share with you my FAVORITE Misutā Chirudoren song called HANABI.

There are a number of good live performances of the song on YouTube. It was hard to choose just one to share,  but I settled on this one from late 2017. It does beg the question, how is it Thanksgiving, when the performance is in Japan?

The song was written by Kazutoshi Sakurai. It is from their great 2008 album called Supermarket Fantasy* .

* … and I thought I was the only one who had this grocery store fantasy!

Mr. Children’s web site is linked here if you want to learn more about the band, the albums, upcoming tours and so on. My WordPress Jpop mentor, Morningberryz48, had written a great article about the band — linked here.  Another of her articles is linked here. Lyrics and English translation are linked here.

After I viewed a few of their live performances, I came across some interesting covers of the song. Some of the covers were by professional singers. Others are karaoke-like. Let me share some of the pretty ones. Each cover adds a little bit more to an appreciation of the song. I’m sure you will be drawn in the same way I was. Which one do you like best?

This is a very sweet and beautiful cover, by the very sweet and beautiful Minami Sakuma, from her YouTube Channel.

This next cover by the YouTube duo  kobasolo This cover includes the lyrics in Romanji and an English translation. Make sure to have your CC on!

Nice job kids!

More? “mou ikkai … mou ikkai!” …There are so many good, heartfelt covers of this wonderful song out there, but I think this next one is my favorite cover:

This is by Hitomi Sano. See and hear more of her on her YouTube Channel. I love how she sings it while playing solo piano. She sings it with the perfect blend of LOVE and URGENCY. Her hair, her lovely face, give the appearance of windswept emotions. Like the “Hanabi” or “Fireworks” which are ephemeral. They are a joy, but they are bittersweet because although they are a climax, they cannot last. We wonder about our own imperfect perceptions. Are we wrong for feeling this way? We deal, and we make our way … but I see that I have digressed.

There are too many to share here, but I think that this next one will be popular with anime fans.

Mari Channel, another YouTube user, has presented this interesting, amusing and passionate music video as Kashiko Mari. The playback works best if you enable your CC , as you get the sing-along Japanese lyrics, plus the English translation. True, you are watching an animated sprite, but the little cartoon lady really BRINGS IT! Note her very emotional face, mouth and hand gestures.

Thank You Kashiko! Of course you can find other covers through the suggested links on YT. If you need just “one more time — one more time –“

Just for you, Bob: The guitar chords for the song are linked here

Thank you YouTube user Ryuzo.

Starlight: It took nine years for “Hanabi” to reach my world. It bounced around in my atmosphere for a while, until I could perceive it.

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Can you get hepatitis from sharing Keith Richards’ mp3s?

keithrichards-netflix-ad

I will indeed admit it when I am wrong. I watched the new Keith Richards documentary “Under The Influence” on Netflix streaming a few weeks ago. I went in with very low expectations, and I expected it to be crap. WOW, WAS I EVER WRONG!!!

I LOVED it. I was a Rolling Stones fan in the 1970s like all my friends were, but I was never super crazy about them. I was more of a Zeppelin/Who fan. Although I was a 70s rocker, I don’t get into it anymore … now that I have turned my life over to the Idols. So, I thought I was going to have a laugh-fest making fun of an out-of-touch, burned out, rich, arrogant old wanker.

Now I am feeling guilty about that. Mr. Richards showed himself to be a great artist worthy of my (and your) respect. He has aged, but that has only added to his deep, historic perspectives on rock-and-roll music. The documentary is a treat for an amateur music historian (that’s me). Mr. Richards is a MASTER of music history.  The documentary shows his love and respect for the roots-music of American Rock-and-Roll, Blues, Country, Rockabilly and Folk.

He plays several examples, and as he does it, he does so with loving affection to the genres.  He is warm, charming, smart, very genuine and funny. I loved all the stories of the early Rolling Stones tours in the US during the 1960s. He got to meet and play with many of his blues heroes such as Buddy Guy, Muddy Waters, Chuck Berry Bo Diddley and many others. Mr. Richards describes the great influence these musicians had on him. There was a time in the 1960s when the Stones described themselves as “Rhythm and Blues” band. There are many great moments when he pays his respects to the landscapes of American culture. I also liked what he had to say about topics like English folk music being an influence on early American Blues and Rock-and-Roll — as well as Country.

Thus “Under The Influence” is surprisingly … less about DRUG influence and more about MUSICAL influences.

kr playing 17KEITH-master675

When Keith Richards plays or talks about American jazz, blues and folk, he does so with great LOVE. I respected that.

Other musicians such as Tom Waits and Paul Williams also are interviewed, and they discuss their admiration for Mr. Richard’s accomplishments. He still plays with a band. He can still play that guitar. There is a reason why he is a rock god. His voice is a little aged, but he can still do it. He can still play, he can still write, and he can still experiment.

I mean musically. Of course the subject of his drug and alcohol use come up when other musicians recount a number of stories. Basically, Keith drank and smoked everyone (and everything) under the table.

He even discusses that at one point. He admits that many fans and non-fans have the image of him as drug addled. Of course that subject needs to be discussed: Mr. Richards has proven that he is a SURVIVOR. True he pretty much merged his body with drugs and alcohol. He also chain-smokes during the entire documentary.

You see, drugs did not KILL Keith Richards. He made it through the 60s, 70s, etc. without dying, and that is an accomplishment in itself. I did notice that they did not mention his hard needle-drugs period. I guess that is understandable. It is one thing to portray the rock legend as a party animal – that is cool. But to show his heroin and needle-sharing period would have been in bad taste.

No, drugs did not kill him, drugs MUMMIFIED him. Mr. Richards is VERY WELL PRESERVED, THANK YOU. To that end I have made a little slide show which shows Mr. Richards as well as several real mummies:

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Can you spot the ones which are mummies, and those that are Keith? 

I am left with this music history question however: Could he have even been a better musician/composer had he not done drugs? What could he have done with his musical life if he had not been stoned much of the time?

Mr. Keith Richards, I SALUTE YOU SIR! Denny highly recommends this gem of a music documentary.

Starlight: I am old enough to remember Rolling Stones singles on my AM transistor radio.

“Just another sad old man, all alone and dying of cancer.”

PinkFloydAnimalTourTee

Sit back down you! If you are drinking my beer, you are going to have to listen to my “old man” music. Forget that “hippy-hoppy” crap for a few minutes, and learn some music history.

This is “Dogs” by Pink Floyd, from their great 1977 LP “Animals”. The record was a concept album (slight sarcastic inflection in Denny’s voice). Each song title describes a different domestic animal. The central theme is that people often are like the animals. Each describes some of the worst aspects of humanity. People might be greedy pigs, are often docile sheep, and may live in a dog-eat-dog world.

You are going to need the lyric sheet. I am posting the full lyrics at the end of this post, if you want to view them while you listen to this SEVENTEEN-MINUTE PROGRESSIVE ROCK SONG.

Oh, right you use your phone for everything. Try to follow along.  The song is about how people act like aggressive dogs. The song is directed at businessmen in particular. My favorite lyrical part captures very clearly how I view the cutthroat world of business.

After a while, you can work on points for style.
Like the club tie, and the firm handshake,
A certain look in the eye and an easy smile.

You have to be trusted by the people that you lie to,
So that when they turn their backs on you,
You’ll get the chance to put the knife in.

The song then describes one unlucky company man who dedicates his life to pursuing money, but in the end has accumulated nothing of true value.  Near the end he faces disillusionment with the corporate world, and how one must act in order to survive in it. The ruthless businessman must face death, realizing that he is unloved, and has wasted his life in the pursuit of financial gain. Someday you will understand the meaning of the line: “it’s too late to lose the weight you used to need to throw around.”

I can remember seeing Pink Floyd performing this live on their 1977 tour. During this song, the band had inflated blimps which hovered over the stage. The blimps were of such as objects as a car, a TV set, refrigerator, etc. All of these are objects which the protagonist sacrificed his life for.

baloons.inflatable family

Oh, you want to hear more of my “war stories” from rock life in the 1970s do you? Let me tell you a little more about the Pink Floyd 1977 tour. The band would only play five cities in North America. I saw them in Cleveland, Ohio.

It was a hot and humid summer day. Fortunately it was partly cloudy, thus I avoided a lot of sunburn …

BB-Pink-Floyd-1977-Cleveland-Stadium-admission-ticket

“General Admission” – meaning you have to fight drug addicts for a place on the baseball field close to the stage.

80,000 potheads filled the old Cleveland Municipal Stadium. I may have been the ONLY CLEAR-HEADED person in the entire stadium.

I hate marijuana. It never made me “high” — just stupid.  It was tough growing up in the 1970s when so many of my peers were using weed to attain euphoria. Everyone else would mellow out and feel great. Marijuana turns me into a paranoid psychopath. Lucky you if you can use it as a euphoric … er … I mean, to treat your glaucoma.   Luckily I attended this drug fest accompanied only by my stoner friends and a gallon jug of green Gatorade. (My anti-drug stance will have to wait for another post. I know, I’m a hypocrite because I drink like a tree). I don’t like drug culture, but I love the “altered state” which Pink Floyd transported me too. Hypnotic, perhaps ethereal, but with a small sense of underlying dread.

Denny is NOT making this up: To this day I can remember how the show opened. The crowd was waiting for the show, when all of a sudden a 747 jet airliner flies DIRECTLY OVER THE STADIUM. I mean it flew just above the top of the structure. No one had ever seen anything like it. In my minds eye, I can still remember … at least I think I do … maybe I embellish it now … seeing people inside the plane WAVING OUT THE WINDOW. That is HOW CLOSE the band plane flew to the top of the stadium. It was very quick, and as far as I know, there is no photographic evidence of the flight.Today (post- 9/11) of course, you could never get an airplane that close to that big of a crowd. I would find out later that Pink Floyd was cited for the FAA infraction.

The stoned crowd was of course freaked out. While we sat there all agog, no one noticed that the band had already taken the stage and was already playing “Sheep”. This was a great practical joke on a crowd that was already hallucinating. I guess we really were all easily manipulated sheep … good one guys!

Find the young Denny.

Find the young Denny.

Oh, back to “Dogs” … there is that one part right after the “dragged down by the stone” lyric where the word “stone” is repeated, then phased-synthesized so that the word slowly becomes a sound instead of a word. It is a good example of the dreamlike steam-of-consciousness aspect of Pink Floyd music. Also, if you are listening to this — your dog may come running into the room, as the song also has some real dog-barking, and synthesized dog sounds. Legend has it — there are also sounds which only a dog can hear are included. Test it out for yourself.

What do you mean it is depressing? Of course it is dark … it is ART! A lot of Pink Floyd is kind of depressing … and kind of scary. Like a bad dream.

It was a great show. The band played the full “Animals” and “Wish-You-Were-Here” albums. The WYWH set had a big-screen animated movie to accompany it. I once saw a song from it on VH1, but I have been looking forever for the full movie. Like a lot of PF, it will put you into a trance.

Unfortunately, people CAN be animals. I saw a lot of bad behavior. Plenty of mean dogs, sloppy pigs and clueless sheep. One of my friends had his pockets picked and lost his ticket, There was a lot of fighting between the druggies of course. The police were harassing a lot of the stoners, but there is no way that they could arrest all 80,000, so they had to let a lot of drug use slide.

I was very saddened to see that inebriated fuckwads kept trying to take down the animal balloons as they flew over the crowd. Jerks were grabbing the tethers. At one point, the show had to stop so that an announcement could be made to stop pulling down the pig.

REFERENCES:

See this radio station blog for further description, but it looks like they got it mostly right.

http://wncx.cbslocal.com/2014/06/19/pink-floyd-makes-history-at-world-series-of-rock-77/

Other blogger’s hazy memories can also be read here.

http://www.pinkfloydonline.com/forums/showthread.php?tid=12468

Facebook (ugh) has a page dedicated to the 1977 tour. Some Clevo photos may be seen there.

https://www.facebook.com/PinkFloydAnimalsTour1977

Some historic PF photos are also observable here.

http://concertstagedesign.blogspot.com/2011/01/pink-floyd-in-flesh-tour-1977.html

Don’t pull down the Pig!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HEB2P13T3tM

DOGS (Written by David Gilmour and Roger Waters)

You gotta be crazy, you gotta have a real need.
You gotta sleep on your toes, and when you’re on the street,
You gotta be able to pick out the easy meat with your eyes closed.
And then moving in silently, down wind and out of sight,
You gotta strike when the moment is right without thinking.

And after a while, you can work on points for style.
Like the club tie, and the firm handshake,
A certain look in the eye and an easy smile.
You have to be trusted by the people that you lie to,
So that when they turn their backs on you,
You’ll get the chance to put the knife in.

You gotta keep one eye looking over your shoulder.
You know it’s going to get harder, and harder, and harder as you
get older.
And in the end you’ll pack up and fly down south,
Hide your head in the sand,
Just another sad old man,
All alone and dying of cancer.

And when you loose control, you’ll reap the harvest you have sown.
And as the fear grows, the bad blood slows and turns to stone.
And it’s too late to lose the weight you used to need to throw
around.
So have a good drown, as you go down, all alone,
Dragged down by the stone… (stone … stone …)
[instrumental]
I gotta admit that I’m a little bit confused.
Sometimes it seems to me as if I’m just being used.
Gotta stay awake, gotta try and shake off this creeping malaise.
If I don’t stand my own ground, how can I find my way out of this
maze?

Deaf, dumb, and blind, you just keep on pretending
That everyone’s expendable and no-one has a real friend.
And it seems to you the thing to do would be to isolate the winner
And everything’s done under the sun,
And you believe at heart, everyone’s a killer.

Who was born in a house full of pain.
Who was trained not to spit in the fan.
Who was told what to do by the man.
Who was broken by trained personnel.
Who was fitted with collar and chain.
Who was given a pat on the back.
Who was breaking away from the pack.
Who was only a stranger at home.
Who was ground down in the end.
Who was found dead on the phone.
Who was dragged down by the stone.

——————–

Regarding the “Animals” album: I wondered why there were not more songs about more animals. If people behave like Sheep, Pigs and Dogs, then why not “Monkeys”? People basically are like monkeys, so why not another animal song. Yes, humanity is often ape-like. We are basically “monkeys” … just a bunch of wild monkeys. Just a bunch of masturbating, feces-throwing, infant cannibalizing  monkeys.

Starlight: … 1977? (Denny slaps forehead).

Image

Is it too early for candy corn?

where is the candy corn

Even before the camera moved up, I knew that it was Yukirin front-center here

I know that it is too early for Halloween, but I have been enjoying AKB48’s 41st single “Halloween Night” released a couple of weeks ago. I think that it is a very good disco song. Yes disco. The group did a very good job at capturing what I hear as a 1970s-style sound.

That is a big accomplishment, because in the 1970s, I was one of those “heavy metal kids” with the “DISCO SUCKS” t-shirt. Most of you are too young to know about this: The 1970s hard-rock, FM rock community I was a part of back then, did not like the Disco trend which was taking over the nation in the late 1970s. We loved Led Zeppelin, The Who, Todd Rundgren, Jethro Tull, Emerson Lake & Palmer, etc. , but would not tolerate any disco music. Looking back, I should not have been such a music bigot. I was young, and had a long musical journey ahead of me. I listen to all kinds of music today, and there are few genres that I do not like at least a little bit.

But .. EEE-gads, if the long-haired, leather clad 18-year old Denny would have known that someday the (something-something)-year old Denny would be loving a disco song by a “manufactured” Japanese girl dancers pop group, he would have thrown up his 12-pack of Colt 45.

… or maybe I would have liked this kind of disco music. I might admit, that there were some disco songs I thought were OK. In fact, The Rolling Stones – who were worshiped by the hard rock crowd – were actually kind of “disco” when I think back on it.  There was no getting away from disco in the 70s, no matter how hard you rocked. Furthermore, most 1970s “chicks” were OK with the Disco. Even if they liked hard rock too, most of the ladies I knew liked to disco dance! The girls had it right. They might rock out at an Aerosmith concert, but they also knew that disco dancing was fun too. I guess I was too “anal” (which is the nice way to say what we heavy metal fans were). 

“Look, if you are going to talk to this chick, you are going to have to go out on the disco dance floor”. 

… and I’m wearing a “Black Sabbath” T-shirt.

Awkward.

Oh, getting back to the new AKB48 single. It is pretty cool. Sashi does a good job centering this single. (All is forgiven. You deserve to be center, Rino-chan.) The integration of occasional English words is pretty cute, and lends itself to that 1970s feel. That “Boogie Night” phrase kills me. “Ready? …”  So cute.

The official music video features the ladies in great (but freaky) Halloween costumes. However, I think that I prefer these shiny-silver dance outfits used in this promo performance video. I think these silver mini-skirts are cuter and sexier than the scary stuff. Overall, I am liking performance videos better than the official music videos these days. I think the TV appearances and other performance videos (PVs) allow for a better look at all the Idols. The official music videos (MVs) are usually cut pretty fast, and are often about something else than the song.

I like to watch the PVs and identify the members who I know. I don’t know ALL the members, particularly with all the recent graduations, and the creation of so many sister groups and sub-units.  I can only identify about 30 current members by name, but may remember the name when reminded in a subbed video — “Oh, yeah … her.” The funny thing is, that I can ID which one is Yuki Kashiwagi, just from looking at her legs. (See top photo above.)  As the camera pans over the dance floor, you just see the girls legs, but then before it panned up, I thought “oh, there is Yuki”. Ha. I am so much of a fan, I can now identify her just by her legs. Hoo boy … I should really get going to work today.

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Here is what some of the “Halloween” costumes look like …

akb48 halloween-knight costumes

… which you can see more of in the commercial — I mean — the “short version” of the official MV approved by the company..

Sakura is a great choice to be a jester. Mayuyu is adorable as a goth-lolita, and Jurina is a perfect black widow.

sakura mayu jurina

If you can get Jpopsuki to load, you can view the entire HN video here. You may have to “boogie” something while it loads, but it is worth the wait.

http://www.jpopsuki.tv/video/AKB48—Halloween-Night/d3e3617a69eda9fe181b4c95b7a5e55a

How do they get away with it?

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The music video has a lot of lighted-floor disco dancing — straight out of Saturday Night Fever. There are a lot of dancing dudes too.  “There are girls who look like guys, dancing with guys who look like girls.” I think that I actually owned some of those polyester shirts shown. The great thing about those polyester leisure suits those guys are wearing is that they did not need any ironing or special care. You could “boogie” all night in it, wash your car with it the next day, then hang it up and it would look fine.

We also get to see disco dancing styles from not just the 70s — but some 80s “break” dancing, those 1990s dances, and the more modern “whatever-the-devil-you-young-people-call-dancing-these-days.” It is a very fun concept video, but  I will probably stick with the performance video instead.

OH! If you want to learn how to dance AKB’s “Halloween Night” dance, instructions are linked here. I can only do the “bat” move.

STARLIGHT: Don’t point the telescope at all my embarrassing 1970s Heavy Metal T-shirts!!! … too scary …

Pokémon Nicknames: Tynamo, Electrik, and Eeletross.

Slide1

This next Pokémon may “Zap” you! Tynamo (in Japanese  シビシラス  “Shibishirasu”) is an Electric-type Pokémon. Tynamo evolves into Eelektrik (in Japanese: シビビール  “Shibibeel”) starting at level 39.

tynamo evolution

Eelekrik evolves into Eelektross (in Japanese:  シビルドン  “Shibirudon”) only when a Thunderstone is used on it.

I named a Tynamo “Dinah Moe” after the late Frank Zappa’s famous song called “Dinah Moe Hum”. Sometimes I would just name a Tynamo  “Hum” or “Humm” because these words sound somewhat electrical. Here is the song.  It is dirtyIf you can make it all the way through the lyrics I will give you some type of prize.

I think that “Zappa” would also be good for this electric Pokemon — as one may be “Zapped” by electricity. I might suggest the name “FrankZappa” but not many in your generation would know who he was. Frank Zappa was a notable artist. The pop music historian in me does not want go back there very often. Was he Unique? Creative? Progressive? On one hand, he was very subversive. On the other hand he would even make fun of the hippie counter-culture that was his fan base. Zappa-san had about 50 albums, but had only one AM radio hit —  “Valley Girl” sang by his daughter, the actress Moon-Unit Zappa. The YouTube video will link you to other Zappa favorites such as Titties and Beer“, “Broken Hearts Are For Assholes“,  and Bobby Brown Goes Down.  Again, the Zappa songs are filthy — and many would be considered aggressively “homophobic” and “misogynist” in this century.  He could be funny, I will give him that.  He was otherwise astute and was a great guitar player when he wanted to be.

What was I THINKING in the progressive rock era of the 1970s??? Yet I digress once again …

"Kiss my Aura - Dora ..." Maybe Aura Dora would be a good name for female Tynamo.

“Kiss my Aura – Dora …”   Maybe “Aura Dora” would be a good name for female Tynamo?

Indeed we were idiots in the 1970s … I can remember when all my hippie/druggie/biker/ex-military/mill worker/alcoholic buddies would think that Frank Zappa songs were the coolest thing.  They would sit there all smug and knowing. I had to grin and go along with it, because I was so young and did not have a clue. (See lyrics.) I thought that the way these older dudes acted was how the world was supposed to work … but I digress …

Electrik is like an electric eel, but it looks more like a lamprey to me. “Lamps” might be a good name, as lamps give electric light, and it is a lamprey.

sea lamprey

I called my Electrik/Eeletross “Erie” or “Eerie” after Lake Erie, and because the word “eerie ” means strange and scary, as the mouths of lampreys (and Frank Zappa fans)are! Sea lampreys are a problematic species of fish that invaded the Great Lakes ecosystem when the St. Lawrence Seaway was built. The lampreys victimize the native fish, latching on and sucking out all their bodily fluids and flesh. (Zappa had an album called “Weasels Ripped My Flesh” , but that is off-topic. I doubt that “SuckingFace” or such — will make it past the new name censor however.“LE EEL” may be odd lettering for a French name. Otherwise, “electrical sounding” names and terminology are appropriate for these electric fish: “J.C. Watts”, “Edison”, “Shelly Shock”, or “Tesla” or some variation are possible.

If you think lampreys are funny, you may want to view this old “Saturday Night Live” sketch. Of course, SNL is even less funny than lampreys. I actually prefer Frank Zappa.

http://www.popscreen.com/v/6BfQ2/Saturday-Night-Live-_-Lampreys

What is your favorite name for these eels?

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