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Monday 28 September 2015

L is for love songs of the 1960s

I have this book called Across the Charts: The 1960s, which indicates all the songs that hit the various US Billboard Hot 100 Singles (listed as pop), R&B Singles, Adult Contemporary (AC) and Country Singles.

What I have listed here is a roster of songs, which links to each of them, that 1) I was familiar with, 2) made it on more than one chart between 1960 and 1969, and 3) start with the word "love", or a variation on it. I didn't find any country crossovers. And I cheated on one item, a song that Bubbled Under the Hot 100. These are in alphabetical order by title:

L-O-V-E - Nat King Cole. #17 AC, #81 pop, 1964
My late mother's favorite singer, Nat would pass away less than six months after this song was released, from lung cancer.

Love Is A Doggone Good Thing - Eddie Floyd. #30 R&B, #97 pop, 1967
A song on that OTHER great soul label of the era, STAX.

Love Is Blue - Paul Mauriat. #1 for 11 weeks AC, #1 for 5 weeks pop, 1968
One of the biggest instrumental hits, ever.

Love Is Like An Itching In My Heart - Supremes. #7 R&B, #9 pop, 1966
This is the LOWEST-charting pop single by the Supremes between mid-1964 to the end of 1967.

Love (Makes Me Do Foolish Things) - Martha & The Vandellas. #22 R&B, #70 pop, 1966
Another great Motown female singing group.

Love's Gone Bad - Chris Clark. #41 R&B, #105 pop, 1966
She was one of the relatively few white artists on the Motown label.

A Lover's Concerto - the Toys. #2 for 3 weeks, 4 R&B, 1965
This tune was based on the Minuet in G major. Until 1970 it was attributed to Johann Sebastian Bach, but it is now universally attributed to Christian Petzold.

Monday 21 September 2015

Kensington Palace

When my friend Cathy and I ended up in London in 2012, we decided to take a day and spend it at Kensington Palace and its gardens.  Early in the morning, we caught one of the underground trains to emerge onto Kensington High Street.  After a 5-minute stroll, we arrived at the entrance to the palace and were extremely impressed with the gates.  There were still flowers and photos and other homages to Princess Diana that I found a bit excessive since she’s been gone so long already.
Wandering around to the side, we found the entrance where we duly purchased our ticket and began to explore.  We wandered through the various rooms, admiring the furnishings, chandeliers, and art. 
In one room, we noticed a young man and woman in period costume seated at a table as they played cards.  I drifted over to enquire as to what they were doing.  Staying in character, they whispered that they were discussing all the gossip of the court.  They then asked if I had any juicy bits I could add to their knowledge.   Getting into the spirit of things, I quickly sat down, leaned forward conspiratorially, and began my story.  I whispered to them that I was actually the great granddaughter of a Scottish Lord, but that unfortunately, my grandfather had been born “on the wrong side of the blanket.”  Well, of course, they were very impressed and gave me a card saying that I would be admitted to the King’s Court since I had royal blood!  It was all in great fun!
The special event in 2012 was a display of Queen Victoria’s private belongings.  One entire section at the bottom of a spiral staircase exhibited all the things she would take whenever she left to go and stay elsewhere.  It was quite a collection!
After a lovely “tea” in the restaurant, Cathy and I explored the kaleidoscopic gardens outside and passed the statue of Queen Victoria on our way to the little lake.  I took lots of photos both inside and out and at the end, we both admitted it'd been a very remarkable day.

Tourists are not allowed to go down into the gardens - there are stone and brick walls around them and locked gates here and there for the gardeners.  But the view is actually much better from above and it took us ages to see everything. 

Finally, here's one knackered but still kooky Kanadian tourist squinting in the glare beside the myriads of brilliant daisies.

Tuesday 15 September 2015

J..... my greatest joy in music

Mrs. Nesbitts' ABC-Wednesday ~ 17-J


Yesss, my turn again! Yeeeejjjjjjjj!! The letter J is on turn, one of my favorites! This entry will be about my greatest passion, music, and specifically JEANS (of course!!) I think that most of you don't know what Jeans is.. at least the non-Dutch of you. JEANS started in 1983 by Dick van den Ende, who passed away February 23 of 2014.

At the beginning he had an idea! Musical & musical-like theater shows became quite popular in The Netherlands and every producer of something like that was looking for young talented people. At those time there were not too many schools for that kind of 'job'. Nowadays that's a whole different story. He searched for a group of young talented people and created a first show and JEANS was born. Since then the cast members change very often, every season new talents arise. Some stay only one season, others stay longer for more seasons before they go ahead on another path in the music business.

Ever since show 7 I am, as they say, 'hooked, line and sinker'. Every summer I spent my time searching for info about the newbies and the dates of the shows throughout the whole country and reserve, of course, many tickets for different theaters to visit them over the autumn and winter months. Every show contains aproximately 50-70 songs wich everybody knows, so the public can sing along during a show. I always see public in very different ages; JEANS is for the young but also the 'old'. Every show is totaly different from the previous one. Full of singing, dancing and in many other ways performing. I totally adore the format as some cast members I have became friends with.

Next season is show 28th in year 25 because the first 3 shows were performed over 6 years. Comming season will start with the first show of the regular version on september 25th. I can't wait, you might have guessed that already. Monday, September 28th, there will be one jubilee show in which will many old Jeans-members re-appear. I can't wait for that either ;-) I can be a very patient person but when it comes to Jeans i am totally the way around, impatient to the max, from one show to the next.

During one season I visited the show probably 15 times . The first and the last one I never skip!! Always in tears turning home, sad that it's over and thankful for the season i have enjoyed so much! If you want to listen to some of their music just go to youtube and type in: Jeans theater shows.... and then you will get lots of video's from different shows. Have a blast of fun with it and of course with this week's challenge for the letter J at Mrs. Nesbitt's ABC-Wednesday

Tuesday 1 September 2015

H is for Help!

Being an avid Beatles Fan I have many favourite songs, albums too - Help being one of my top choices.

Robert Freeman designed many of The Beatles album covers including "Help."
The photo was taken in the Twickenham Film Studio near London, where the Beatles were finishing the last scenes from their second movie Help!. Freeman had the idea of semaphore spelling out the letters HELP, with every Beatle another letter. He got the inspiration from a scene he witnessed shooting in the Austrian Alps, with the Beatles, all dressed in black, fooling around in the snow. They were waving their arms in the air, while the music played. Freeman took publicity pictures while these scenes were shot in mid march 1965 in Obertauern.

Publicity pictures like this inspired the Help! album cover

In the studio a specially constructed platform was erected, with a white painted background. The four young men wore the black hats, coats and capes from the film wardrobe. "But when we came to do the shot the arrangement of the arms with those letters didn't look good," remembers Freeman, "So we decided to improvise and ended up with the best graphic positioning of the arms."

Ringo poses for the album cover while Victor Spinetti looks at him.

Within half an hour the pictures were taken.
Afterward, Freeman reversed some of the images, to get a more satisfying composition. For proof of this: look at John, George and Ringo’s jackets: they have the buttons on the wrong side.

John, George and Ringo reversed back again

Different poses for John and Ringo - session outtakes
The Beatles actually spell out "NUJV"
This is how "HELP" would have looked like with real semaphore.
In Holland, another version of the Help! sleeve was manufactured, with a giant Shell logo in the background. Most of the vinyl and all of the sleeves that make up this legendary item were manufactured in Holland but a few copies of the vinyl were also pressed in Sweden. This LP with its alternate picture sleeve was only ever issued to Shell employees and was never available to purchase in the shops.

The famous Dutch / Swedish Shell Help! LP cover, 1979.

During the years, there has been some discussion whether or not the Beatles' hand positions spell anything. It didn’t help that, in the US, the photos on the front cover were rearranged, from George-John-Paul-Ringo to George-Ringo-John-Paul (so that Paul appeared to be pointing to the Capitol logo?). And the image of George is reversed again. By all accounts, the semaphore remains gibberish: the various semaphore messages and their interpretations which have been ascribed to the HELP! cover, over the years are unfounded. The intention behind the arm positions was good "graphic positioning", not good semaphore.

USA Help! album

To accommodate lettering advertising the songs, the pictures of the Beatles were shrunk on the cover of the Capitol version of Help!.

There are no sleeve notes , but like on the back cover of A Hard Day’s Night, there are again four head shots taken by Freeman.

Help! back cover - Robert Freeman
What is your favourite Beatles song?