Category Archives: John Mellencamp

Pre-inaugural Music

There was this concert last Sunday at the Lincoln Memorial. The program was on HBO, but it was to made free to anyone with basic cable. From what I’ve read, a number of cable companies didn’t get the word to unscramble HBO, though that was the intent. I know my cable was asking for a PIN number (yes, I know “PIN number” is redundant); Time Warner told me it is the “universal default” number, 0000, and it was.

In any case, the We Are One concert is on the HBO website for free. It runs just under two hours, and starts with Bishop Gene Robinson’s invocation, which was reportedly excised from the broadcast; Robinson is openly gay. From time to time, I had a buffering problem, so I decided to see if I could find at least the pop music performances on YouTube, and I did. The ones from, I think, Groban/Headley on are from one person and are pretty good quality. The earlier videos are of various folks and quality; at least one jittery video was obviously taken by someone actually at the show, not dependent on a TV feed.

Master Sergeant Caleb B. Green III The Star-Spangled Banner

Denzel Washington Homage to the leaders given Monuments or Memorials

Bruce Springsteen “The Rising” by Bruce Springsteen. The choir is very effective.
LINK

Laura Linney and Martin Luther King III: F.D.R and John F. Kennedy

Mary J. Blige “Lean on Me” by Bill Withers
LINK

Jamie Foxx and Steve Carell Referencing Thomas Jefferson, Thurgood Marshall and Robert Kennedy – Foxx imitates Obama.

Bettye LaVette and Jon Bon Jovi “A Change Is Gonna Come” by Sam Cooke – LaVette blows away Bon Jovi
LINK

Tom Hanks Tribute to Abraham Lincoln

Marisa Tomei Quoting Ronald Reagan

James Taylor, John Legend and Jennifer Nettles “Shower the People” by James Taylor. I’m old, because I liked it.
LINK

Joe Biden Speech

John Mellencamp “Pink Houses” by John Mellencamp
LINK

Queen Latifah Referencing Marian Anderson

Josh Groban and Heather Headley “My Country, ‘Tis of Thee”
LINK

Kal Pen and George Lopez Quotes Dwight Eisenhower and Barbara Jordan

Herbie Hancock, will.i.am and Sheryl Crow “One Love” by Bob Marley
LINK

Tiger Woods Dedicating the Armed Forces

Renee Fleming “You’ll Never Walk Alone”
LINK

Jack Black and Rosario Dawson Tribute to Theodore Roosevelt

Garth Brooks “American Pie” by Don McLean/”Shout” (Isley Brothers)/”We Shall Be Free” (Garth Brooks). The new Commander-in-Chief knows at least some of the lyrics to American Pie.
LINK

Ashley Judd and Forest Whitaker Referencing John F. Kennedy and William Faulkner

Usher, Stevie Wonder and Shakira “Higher Ground” by Stevie Wonder. A number of people suggested that Shakira was the worst performer of the day. One YouTube person wondered who that guy was playing keyboards was – it was Stevie.
LINK

Samuel L. Jackson Referencing Abraham
Lincoln, Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King Jr.

U2 “Pride (in the Name of Love)” and “City of Blinding Lights” by U2. Pride, especially in that setting, was particularly moving. City, I read recently, is reportedly on Obama’s iPod.
LINK

Barack Obama Speech: Voices Calling for Change

Pete Seeger and Bruce Springsteen “This Land is your Land” by Woody Guthrie. Pete’s voice is shot (though his grandson Tao’s is strong), but it was very moving to hear those verses one doesn’t usually hear:

“In the squares of the city – By the shadow of the steeple
By the relief office – I saw my people
As they stood there hungry, I stood there wonderin
If this land’s still made for you and me.”

“There was a big high wall there – that tried to stop me;
Sign was painted – it said private property;
But on the other side – it didn’t say nothing;
That side was 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.”
LINK

Beyonce “America the Beautiful”. A suitable ending.
LINK

ROG

Buying New Music

It’s been a while since I went out and bought new music, but the Barnes & Noble had sent me a coupon worth 40% off on all CDs, after whatever sale prices applied. Sunday, I took the bus to the ever-expanding Colonie Center. B&N used to be in a free-standing building on Wolf Road in Colonie across from the mall. But at some point in the past few months, it has moved to its new location across the street.

I went in figuring I’d buy some new music, the new k.d. lang, the new Herbie Hancock that won a Grammy for best album(!) or maybe its predecessor which featured Paul Simon and Sting. I was also looking for the soundtrack of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella, either the Julie Andrews or the Lesley Ann Warren version. NONE of them were there. O.K., now what?

So, I just systematically started looking through the albums. I was trying not to buy on CD the exact same albums I already own on vinyl, because a friend of mine told me about her recent experience converting vinyl to CD. That eliminated greatest hits by Bob Dylan, Queen, the Guess Who, Hall & Oates (yes, shut up), The Association (YES, shut up), and a couple others.

First album picked, much to my surprise: Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy by Elton John. I have all of the other “classic” period EJ albums on vinyl, save for the early Empty Sky, but never got this one. At some level, the garish cover, and the fact that the album went to #1 in its first week, turned me off at the time. But it was Elton’s 61st birthday recently, and the only CDs I had to play were various greatest hits collections, plus the later Made in England. I’m sure I was affected also by Johnny B.’s recent discussions of all things early Elton. What sealed the deal was one of the additional tracks. Along with Lucy in the Sky and Philly Freedom was One Day at a Time, which I assumed was not the theme song of the Bonnie Franklin TV show that debuted in 1975, but rather the John Lennon cut, and it was.

Second album: The Ramones Greatest Hits. I have a couple LPs, but have massive holes in the collection. Probably influenced by Gordon.

The third album: The Very Best of Todd Rundgren. I have various Nazz, Utopia and solo LPs, but still wanted this.

The fourth album: OK, no recent Herbie Hancock? How about some classic Herbie Hancock, Head Hunters, featuring the classic cut Watermelon Man? All right then.

These were all $12.99 each list price, so $7.80 after the coupon, and I might have quit there, but I discovered The Millennium rack. If you’ve been in a record store lately, you’d recognize these. Black and white picture, gray top. And there were several to choose from: the Platters, Tom Jones, the Allman Brothers were all considered. The cool thing about these is that they were $9.99 each, but three for $20 if I used my MasterCard. I ended up picking Joan Baez, who my father admired as far back as 1959, when he brought home the oddly-named The Best of Joan Baez; and John Mellencamp, probably in part because of the love Tosy had given him after his recent induction to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

The final album was also on the Millennium rack, but was not a Millennium album. It was Lucinda Williams’ 2003 album World Without Tears. $16.99 list, but still with the 3 for $20 sticker. I might have gotten this one anyway, but Lefty Brown’s affection for her did not hurt. Also the fact that, because I had the 40% off coupon, 3 for $20 became 3 for $12, or $4 apiece. (BTW, there’s a second version of World Without Tears with three extra songs available out there. Oh, and the three for $20 continues through May 5.)

Total price, less than $47, under my $50 mental budget. So thanks, guys, for going shopping with me.
***
Elton Joe Performs “Dogs in the Kitchen” , the never-completed song, the lyrics of which appear in Captain Fantastic.

ROG