“People felt themselves watching him even before they knew that there was anything different about him. His eyes made a person think that he heard things that no one else had ever heard, that he knew things no one had ever guessed before. He did not seem quite human.”
Carson McCullers, The Heart is a Lonely Hunter
Fifty years ago, I Got You Babe by Sonny & Cher spent three weeks at #1 on the US Billboard Hot 100. The single sold more than one million copies and the song went on to top the British, Irish and Canadian charts. Our 1965 music series continues.
“So let them say your hair’s too long
‘Cause I don’t care, with you I can’t go wrong
Then put your little hand in mine
There ain’t no hill or mountain we can’t climb.”
Responding to Bob Dylan’s acerbic It Ain’t Me Babe, Sonny Bono conceived I Got You Babe as an opposing work in every sense. Where Dylan was lyrically complex, Sonny was simple. Where Dylan was musically simple, Sonny was complex and he built upon Phil Spector’s Wall of Sound using the song’s verse-chorus-verse format with a rising coda, led by a distinctive oboe, to reach a climax. Then, the song started to crescendo again before the fadeout, and all this in just three minutes. A pop masterpiece.Tweet
On this day in 1894, the English writer and philosopher Aldous Huxley was born. He is best known for his novel, Brave New World, set in a dystopian, futuristic London, and for The Doors of Perception, a non-fiction book that recalls his experiences when taking the drug mescaline. In his poem, Social Amenities, Huxley confronts forgetfulness, a condition associated with, but not limited to, ageing.
I am getting on well with this anecdote,
When suddenly I recall
The many times I have told it of old,
And all the worked-up phrases, and the dying fall
Of voice, well timed in the crisis, the note
Of mock-heroic ingeniously struck —
The whole thing sticks in my throat,
And my face all tingles and pricks with shame
For myself and my hearers.
These are the social pleasures, my God!
But I finish the story triumphantly all the same.
Aldous Huxley (26 July 1894 — 22 November 1963)
“Experienced in Landscape, Portrait, Product, Event and Aerial Photography,” is how Garðar Ólafsson describes himself. The locations in his “Powerful Iceland” include Mount Kirkjufell, Vík í Mýrdal, Sólheimasandur, Sandvík, Straumsvík, Seljalandsfoss waterfall, Goðafoss waterfall, Aldeyjafoss waterfall, Hólmbergsviti lighthouse, Garðskagi lighthouse, Hvalsneskirkja church, Miðnesheiði and Vatnsnes.Tweet
“Sometimes it’s moments like that, real complicated moments, absorbing moments, that make you realize that even hard times have things in them that make you feel alive. And then there’s music, and girls, and drugs, and homeless people who’ve read Pauline Kael, and wah-wah pedals, and English potato chip flavors, and I haven’t even read Martin Chuzzlewit yet… There’s plenty out there.” — Nick Hornby, A Long Way Down
The fourth song in our series of the classics of 1965, that vital year in the history of modern music, is My Generation by The Who. Lead guitarist Pete Townshend composed it on a train journey from London to Southampton on 19 May 1965 — his 20th birthday. In a 1987 Rolling Stone interview, he said: “My Generation was very much about trying to find a place in society. The band was young then. It was believed that its career would be incredibly brief.” The song contains the famous line, “I hope I die before I get old” and the band’s drummer Keith Moon did, dying of a drug overdose in 1978 at 32.
Anorak note: The song features one of the first bass solos in rock history played by John Entwistle on a Danelectro instrument.Tweet
“Oh Lion in a peculiar guise,
Sharp Roman road to Paradise,
Come eat me up, I’ll pay thy toll
With all my flesh, and keep my soul.”
— Stevie Smith, Selected Poems
“He’ll be coming and going” he had said. “One day you’ll see him and another you won’t. He doesn’t like being tied down — and of course he has other countries to attend to. It’s quite all right. He’ll often drop in. Only you mustn’t press him. He’s wild, you know. Not like a tame lion.” — C.S. Lewis, The Lion, the Witch, and the WardrobeTweet
The third song in our series of the classics of 1965, that pivotal year in the history of modern music, is In the Midnight Hour by Wilson Pickett. It was composed by Pickett and Steve Cropper at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis where Martin Luther King, Jr. would later be shot in April 1968. Released on the eponymous album, the song has become a soul standard and is regarded as one of the great songs of all-time.Tweet
Stony seaboard, far and foreign,
Stony hills poured over space,
Stony outcrop of the Burren,
Stones in every fertile place,
Little fields with boulders dotted,
Grey-stone shoulders saffron-spotted,
Stone-walled cabins thatched with reeds,
Where a Stone Age people breeds
The last of Europe’s stone age race.
Ogden Nash was famous for his light verse and he wrote more than 500 waggish pieces during his lifetime. The poet entered Harvard University in 1920, only to drop out a year later. He then worked as a teacher for a year at his alma mater, St. George’s School in Newport County, Rhode Island, before heading to New York to sell bonds, about which he later remarked, “Came to New York to make my fortune as a bond salesman and in two years sold one bond — to my godmother. However, I saw lots of good movies.” In 1934, Nash moved to Baltimore, where he remained until his death in 1971. “I could have loved New York had I not loved Balti-more,” he said, Nashlike.
Note: The guppy (Poecilia reticulata) is one of the world’s most widely distributed tropical fish.
Whales have calves,
Cats have kittens,
Bears have cubs,
Bats have bittens,
Swans have cygnets,
Seals have puppies,
But guppies just have little guppies.
Ogden Nash (1902 – 1971)
Dean Moriarty is the hero of On the Road by Jack Kerouac and Leonard Cohen enjoyed a few wild days and nights in the company of Kerouac during that mid-60s Chelsea Hotel phase in New York City. Fast forward a generation and we find Kerouac and Cohen providing inspiration for Moriarty, a musical collective of French, American, Swiss and Vietnamese artists living in France. Here, lead singer, Rosemary Moriarty, aka Rosemary Standley, joins forces with Dom La Nena, a Brazilian-born cellist and singer based in Paris. This is a special trans-Atlantic mix of Kerouac and Cohen, past and present.
I saw a beggar leaning on his wooden crutch,
He said to me, “You must not ask for so much.”
And a pretty woman leaning in her darkened door,
She cried to me, “Hey, why not ask for more?”