This video made me smile, a lot. Guy #1 is dancing for the sheer joy of it. You can see it as guy #2 arrives. Two crazy guys dancing at a music festival. The tipping point to get a dance party going, as it turns out, is 3 crazy dancers. The first 3 dudes have courage and vision to see a dance party before the others. There are likely some lessons that can be drawn out of that for businesses and startups. It is good to be 1st, but the 2nd and 3rd to market are also innovators. Guy #1’s are fun to watch, flail about as they may, but as Seth Godin puts it, “We need more guy #3s”.
It was hard to take the latest blaspheme hurled in the Beatles direction with American Idol contestants, by and large, butchering Beatles songs for two straight weeks. Sure there were some standouts such as Brooke White’s rendition of Let It Be, Carly Smithson’s version of Come Together, A Day In the Life and Across the Universe by Michael Johns, and Yesterday by Syesha Mercado but nearly all the other performances were bizarre? What do all those songs have in common? They are good. Hello? Why pick the crappiest Beatles songs to sing? If I Fell, Michelle, I Should Have Know Better, Day Tripper, The Long and Winding Road, She’s a Woman, Back in The U.S.S.R., and Eight Days a Week are all terrible.
I’ve Just Seen A Face (Chikezie) and You Can’t Do That (Amanda Overmyer) are two possible exceptions, as I thought they took poor songs and at least made them interesting.
Almost without variance the judges and the call-in voters like performances more if they like the songs being sung. That is why there are cover bands. That is also why, according to the Guinness Book of Records, “Yesterday” has the most cover versions of any song ever written. The song remains popular today with more than 3000 recorded cover versions.
As I sit in the office today listening to the songs I have heard thousands of time before, I am reminded of how good the Beatles were and how good their music still is. Here are a few achievements, feats, and fact from various Wikipedia entries on the Beatles and their music:
- The Beatles are the best-selling musical group of all time, estimated by EMI to have over one billion discs and tapes sold worldwide.
- The Beatles have notched up the most multi-platinum selling albums for any artist or musical group (thirteen in the U.S. alone).
- The Beatles have a record six diamond-selling albums (10 million copies): Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, The Beatles, Abbey Road, The Beatles: 1962-1966, The Beatles: 1967-1970, and The Beatles 1.
- The Beatles have had more number one albums than any other group (19 in the U.S. and 15 in the United Kingdom).
- The Beatles spent the highest number of weeks at number one in the albums chart (174 in the UK and 132 in the U.S.).
- The most successful first week of sales for a double album (The Beatles Anthology Volume 1, which sold 855,473 copies in the U.S. from 21 November to 28 November 1995).
- The Beatles have the fastest selling CD of all time with 1. It sold over 13 million copies in four weeks.
- The Beatles have had more number one singles than any other musical group (23 in Australia, 23 in The Netherlands, 22 in Canada, 21 in Norway, 20 in the U.S., and 18 in Sweden). Ironically, the Beatles could easily have had even more number ones, because they were often competing with their own singles.
- In terms of charting positions, Lennon and McCartney are the most successful songwriters in history, with 32 number one singles in the U.S. for McCartney, and 26 for Lennon (23 of which were written together). Lennon was responsible for 29 Number One singles in the UK, and McCartney was responsible for 28 (25 of which were written together).
- During the week of 4 April 1964, The Beatles held twelve positions on Billboard Hot 100 singles chart, including the top five positions, which has never been accomplished by any other artist. The songs were “Can’t Buy Me Love” , “Twist and Shout”, “She Loves You”, “I Want to Hold Your Hand”, and “Please Please Me”. Furthermore, two Beatles tribute records appeared on the chart: “We Love You Beatles” by The Carefrees (at #42), and “A Letter to the Beatles” by The Four Preps (#85).
- The next week, 11 April 1964, the Beatles held fourteen positions on the Billboard Hot 100.
- With their performance at Shea Stadium in 1965, The Beatles set new world records for concert attendance (55,600) and revenue. This was the first time in the history of popular music anyone had played in a proper stadium as opposed to a theatre or concert hall.
- The Beatles broke television ratings records in the U.S. with their first appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show with over 70 million people viewing.
In the interview Butler addresses why he smashed his guitar on Saturday Night Live a couple weeks ago (it was cutting him and he hated it) and speaks about society and religion today (not to mention how much being a kid sucks). He sounds smart and thoughtful and it goes a long way to helping me forget the smashing of the guitar – plus I really love their new album Neon Bible and their show a couple years ago was among the top 2 or 3 concert experiences of my life.
Here is something he told the interviewer at the very end of the interview that strikes a chord with me because it captures a big part of why I am so angry with the way things are going in our country and in me.
When you read Martin Luther King’s speeches about Vietnam, it could be today. Just change the word, and you’re talking about the exact same situation. We’re basically causing spiritual death in our country by doing what we’re doing. At a certain point, you become morally unable to do good in the world, because the country gets so cynical and depressed, there isn’t the force of will to try and change things. I definitely feel that in my generation, this kind of fatigue. And I feel that myself. You’ve got to fight it.
After a bit of a down year for music that you may not have noticed because you were still so happy with the great crop from 2005. The year 2007 is set to be a great year for new stuff. In the first 4 months alone there will be new albums from the following artists.
Of Montreal (Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer?)
The Shins (Wincing The Night Away)
Clap Your Hands Say Yeah (Some Loud Thunder)
Apples In Stereo (New Magnetic Wonder)
Bloc Party (A Weekend In The City)
Magic Numbers (Those The Brokes)
Ted Leo & The Pharmacists (Living With The Living)
Low (Drums And Guns)
Modest Mouse (We Were Dead Before The Ship Even Sank)
Arcade Fire (Neon Bible)
Brock doesn’t seem content to have just one star collaborator in new Modest Mouse member Johnny Marr. The Shins’ James Mercer guests on three We Were Dead tracks: “We’ve Got Everything”, “Florida”, and “Missed the Boat”. Other song titles include “Fire It Up”, “Steaming Genius”, “Parting of the Sensories”, and “Spitting Venom”.
Also the Arcade Fire is set to play some shows in New York (not all of them will be in churches either though it would be great to see them in a venue like this), if you are in the area get to the show, they are amazing live. Possibly the only band not named Radiohead that I would travel a half a day to hear. Though it appears that their reputation for live shows is really jacking up the value of their tickets. Also worth seeing in NYC: David Bowie and Daniel Johnston. [Brooklyn Vegan]
I don’t trust people who’s musical tastes have stopped growing. I used to not trust people who I didn’t know or who offered me candy. Later I was wary of smokers thanks to the Jets, but later became mistrustful of the Jets, too. Now I mainly only mistrust politicians and people who talk about business strategy and synergy.
Oh yeah and I mistrust Microsoft, and organized religion, and the big media conglomerates that play all this crap on the radio. Radio? you say? What is radio? Well, kids, radio is something that, once upon a time, would seek out (or be sought out) musical talents for the purposes of providing entertainment to its listeners, attract more listeners, and ultimately make money via the advertisement dollars brought in by companies wishing to sell said listeners products and services. Not the noblest of professions but still nothing like the evil industry that it has become today.
Now radio, after years and years of research into the music preferences of the American public, these media companies have found 2 things to be true (in general of course): 1. People like to have music chosen for them. It is simpler that way. 2. People will like a song after 10 exposures that they did not like after just 1 or 2. By combining these 2 facts (backed up by extensive research) we get what we have today: radio stations playing the same 30-50 songs (that all follow a specific format and are of certain styles) in heavy rotation, building a loyal following of “fans”. And after years and years of consolidation and mergers there are only like, 6 media companies that own *all* the radio stations in the country. What are we left with? Is all hope lost for those who would seek out good music? A few independent radio stations, the Web, and our friends’ collections, is all.
In its own small way GarageBand.com tries to correct some parts of this problem. GarageBand.com allows visitors to rank and review independent bands and provides these bands with money in some cases to produce and distribute their albums based upon these reviews. A neat idea if they don’t just become another label adding to the problem.
[Source: MPR: Marketplace]
On another, wholly unrelated note, goodbye and good riddance.