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British Invasion bands of the 60s

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Dear Readers,

alt="IMAGE-bands-british-invasion-after-the-kids-leave"Yep, time for another Saturday List! And today we have a treat for you: if you were alive in the early to mid-1960s, you’ll remember cranking up the radio when these songs came on.

Following its raucous, unruly birth in the 1950s, rock and roll had begun to emulsify into a smooth, syrupy kind of pablum by the early 1960s. Despite injections of energy from the surfing craze, it seemed to be in danger of collapsing into a sad, pop parody of itself.

In short, it was becoming a snooze-fest.

But help was on the way, and from a most unlikely quarter: while American kids were nodding off to songs like “Soldier Boy,” bands in Britain had begun to experiment with American blues, and were giving it their own interpretation. Skiffle, a blues and folk-based music with a DIY sensibility, made way for Merseybeat, music that started in the gritty industrial cities in the north of England. The best-known of these bands was a little foursome known as the Beatles.

By 1964, kids in North America had begun to catch on. “I Want to Hold Your Hand” hit the top of the US singles charts in January, and launched what became known as the British Invasion.

And what an invasion it was!

I still remember the furor when the Beatles landed in New York for their first tour—the frenzied hysteria made Justin Bieber’s fans look like rank amateurs. The Beatles were followed by Dusty Springfield, whose “I Only Want to Be with You” caused quite the sensation…and next thing you know, you couldn’t turn on a radio without hearing one of the British Invasion bands.

Beatles, Stones, The Who, the Kinks…it was glorious, and I’ve barely scratched the surface with this list. So tell me: who were your favourites? You can vote right on the list, add your opinions, or even add a band I’ve missed…have fun, go nuts!

And most of all, enjoy the music. That’s what it’s really all about.

Love,

Karen

British Invasion Bands of the 60s

KarenWendy Irving British Invasion Bands of the 60s

KarenWendy Irving | 12 items | 0 views

Bet you can't read this list without starting to hum a tune or two!

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  1. 1. The Yardbirds - For Your Love (1965) (Full version)

    The Yardbirds - For Your Love (1965) (Full version)

    Live H.264 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HU5zqidlxMQ&fmt=18
    Ever wonder where legendary guitarists Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, and Jimmy Page all got their start? Yep, it was right here. With their adorable bowl haircuts and fuzzed-out sound, the Yardbirds were a blues-based group that expanded into rock in a big way.

  2. 2. A Hard Day's Night Screenings Info

    A Hard Day's Night Screenings Info

    Yep, they've digitally restored the movie and they're re-releasing it. Let's face it, the Beatles are legend. And A Hard Day's Night, their first movie, is a rollicking, ridiculous, and utterly engaging look at the band in their early days. If you've never seen it, what are you waiting for?

  3. 3. The Rolling Stones

    The Rolling Stones

    These days they're not so much a rough-edged blues-based rock group with a bad-boy reputation, as an ongoing franchise juggernaut that shows no signs of slowing down. But let's take a moment and remember the Stones as they were: rock and roll at its absolute best.

  4. 4. The Who - My Generation

    The Who - My Generation

    Wendy's all-time favourite band. Ever. Period. And if you try to contradict her, she will fight you.
    Also part of the Big Three, along with the Beatles and Stones. Their Mod sensibility included smashing guitars onstage and wearing British flag-patterned clothing (why? because it was the 60s!), and their iconic song, "My Generation" defined the growing dissatisfaction we all felt back then.

  5. 5. Herman's Hermits - I'm Henry Vlll I Am

    Herman's Hermits - I'm Henry Vlll I Am

    Emerging from the Manchester beat scene shortly after the Beatles, Hermans Hermits specialized in lighter fare, with an emphasis on a British music hall sound. They were meant to be a non-threatening alternative to the Beatles, Stones, and the Who...but that also meant their repertoire, and ultimately their appeal, was limited. Fun fact: "Mrs. Brown You've Got a Lovely Daughter" was written by Trevor Peacock, who played Jim Trott in "The Vicar of Dibley."

  6. 6. Dusty Springfield - Son of a preacher man

    Dusty Springfield - Son of a preacher man

    Dusty Springfield's sultry, evocative voice and her blonde bouffant hair made her instantly recognizable--and this song is one of my all-time favourites by anyone, ever. She manages to capture the laconic table chatter of a Southern family, and their blindness to a mysterious tragedy, in a few simple lines. Simply beautiful.

  7. 7. The Troggs - Wild Thing

    The Troggs - Wild Thing

    The Troggs--if you remember them for nothing else, it'll be for this song. Garage music at its finest, and if you listen carefully, you can sing "Louis, Louis" over that fuzzed-out bass line.

  8. 8. The Zombies - Time Of The Season

    The Zombies - Time Of The Season

    My favourite memory of this song: driving with Mrs. Auchterloney and my friend Mary, I noticed Mrs. A. singing along--to a rock song! Our parents wouldn't have done this in a zillion years, and I instantly decided I wanted Mrs. A. for a mother, since she was obviously much cooler than the one we had. Probably not a bad choice on my part, all things considered.

  9. 9. Animals - House Of The Rising Sun (1964)

    Animals - House Of The Rising Sun (1964)

    Okay, it's a little incongruous, hearing an old American folk-tune like "House of the Rising Sun" in a British accent...performed by fresh-faced kids in suits, no less. But what they lacked in blues cred, they made up in enthusiasm and a yes, musicianship. In fact, over the years, this has become the definitive version of the song.

  10. 10. "Lola"- The Kinks

    "Lola"- The Kinks

    Okay, I admit I can't listen to this song without wanting to sing the Weird Al Yankovitch version, "Yoda." But still. It's good stuff, and worthy of a place on the list. The Kinks were latecomers to the British Invasion, mostly because the US censors kept banning their songs. Yeah, that would kind of put a damper on things.

View more lists from KarenWendy Irving

 

 

Sunday Videos: We learn something new every day!

Hello students,

Sometimes it happens that we at After The Kids Leave discover we don’t know everything about everything. It’s not a common occurrence, but we’re willing to admit that it happens. Join us in discovering something new today.

What really happened in the case of the woman burned by a cup of hot McDonald’s Coffee?

How about engagement rings? Why do we all want diamonds instead of rubies, sapphires or emeralds? The answer is more diabolical than you’d think.

Finally, we never knew that Sweet Dreams, by Eurythmics could be covered by one man and one cello:

Enjoy your Sunday, and feel free to astonish your friends today with these stunning tidbits of information.

Class dismissed,

Karen & Wendy

Jitterbugging into eternity: Watching our parents dance

Dear Wendy,

It’s so funny that you’d mention Benny Goodman’s “Sing, Sing, Sing” when you were talking about your 8 desert island discs. I was just listening to that song on the weekend, after I’d set up our new stereo speakers, and I have the same reaction that you do.

The moment I hear Gene Krupa’s pounding drumbeat, followed by that opening Harry James trumpet salvo, my heart quickens a little, and I can almost see Mum and Dad jitterbugging in our family living room.

Watching them dance was like watching a pair of Olympic ice skaters—they danced like two halves of the same person, intimately familiar with one another’s moves. It was as though they sensed rather than saw the other, so that no matter what one partner did, the other was ready with the next move.

They never seemed to notice us watching them—when they danced, they moved into a private, intimate space where it was just the two of them, completely oblivious to the rest of the world.

alt="IMAGE-couple-dancing-1950"

Mum and Dad were in their own special world when they danced. And they never really stopped.

I remember Dad trying to teach me to dance once. It didn’t go well.

“Don’t move your hips so much—you’re not a hula dancer!….No, not like that, you have to let me lead….stop bouncing! Just try to follow me, and listen to the music. This isn’t rock’n’roll, it’s swing—it’s supposed to be smooth!”

Essentially, I think the problem was that I wasn’t Mum.

alt="IMAGE-couple-dressed-up-for-dance-1940s"

All dressed up and ready to boogie

It makes me wonder: how did our parents learn all the moves they used to execute so brilliantly and effortlessly? Because no one is born knowing how to dance, right?

Or maybe we are. Maybe emerge from the womb with the instinct to follow music with our bodies, but somehow as we get older, we forget what we once knew. Life intervenes: we grow shy or inhibited, we forget that moving to music is a primal instinct.

But even if dance is innate, that doesn’t answer the question of how two people can be so completely in synch with one another that they can merge into a single, swinging entity, at least as long as the music’s still playing.

Even when our parents were at their alcoholic worst, bickering and sniping at one another or us, it seemed that music had some special power to draw them into their own secret world, where they moved together easily, gracefully.

I’d watch them, filled with a combination of admiration and relief: at least when they were so fully absorbed in one another, they weren’t paying attention to me. Score!

I still love that old music. The arrangements hold up even today, and you just can’t deny its power to get you up and dancing. I’m not sure how I feel about the afterlife, but I’m pretty sure that if one exists, and if our parents are there, they’re twirling and jiving together, into eternity.

Love,
Karen

Greetings from a desert island: Songs to last a lifetime

Dear Karen,

Have you ever heard of the BBC programme, Desert Island Discs?  It’s a radio show with an intriguing premise:

You’re alone on a desert island.  Aside from the complete works of Shakespeare and a book of your most treasured religious or philosophical work, you are allowed to choose 8 pieces of music to take with you.

You’re also allowed to choose one luxury, as long as it’s inanimate.  It can’t be used to help you escape from the island, so helicopters and boats aren’t allowed.  Some guests have asked for cyanide pills, curling tongs and cigarettes, for example.

I thought I’d give this a go.  Aside from choosing 8 songs that I might have to listen to for the rest of my life, assuming I never get rescued, I have to explain why I’ve chosen them.

1st Choice:

Sweet City Woman, by The Stampeders.

This song takes me back to sitting in the back seat of our car, driving with our family, on our way to a summer cottage, most probably on Prince Edward Island.  It makes me feel happy!  I can feel the sun on my arms and legs through the car windows, and I remember the thrill of singing the silly “bon-ci-bon” chorus, and thinking “hey, I can speak French!”.  This was a song everyone in the car knew.  We’d all stop talking or arguing and sing along when it came on the radio.

2nd Choice:

Sing, Sing, Sing, by Benny Goodman and his Orchestra

I can’t listen to this without thinking about Mum and Dad.  As soon the needle hit the opening drum beats of this song,  it was like a siren call:  one or the other would come strutting into the living room and off they’d go, jitterbugging around the furniture.  Dad was a big man but wow, he was light on his feet.  And Mum was grace and beauty personified on the dance floor.  This song turned them into teenagers again, dancing at the local hall with their friends and sneaking cigarettes out back.  I’d watch them in their own little world, and smile.

3rd:

Teach me Tonight, sung by Ella Fitzgerald

I heard this song when I was 14, this exact version, live at Montreux Jazz Festival.  Mum and Dad had a pretty good record collection and I’d root through it when they were out, finding gems like Ella, Fats Waller and Duke Ellington. Since then, I’ve collected more Ella albums that you can shake a stick at.  Back in the 70s, to be a teen not singing or getting into disco took some courage, but I didn’t care.  I knew quality when I heard it.

4th:

The Hallelujah! Chorus, by Handel

We sang this song in choir when I was 16.  I was an alto then, and all these years later, I can still sing along.  We performed it at the end of every Christmas concert and we were asked by our choir director to tell our parents and guests in the audience to stand when the opening chords were struck on the piano.  We were told that this has been a tradition since it was first performed – George II was so overwhelmed at the beauty of the piece that he leapt from his seat. Since then, audiences do the same, in his honour.

5th:

River, by Joni Mitchell

Oh my.  This song has taken me through so many moods and decades.  I listened to it non-stop when we moved from Canada to LA and I was feeling very, very homesick.  Listening to it now still brings a tear or 3 to my eye.  I felt Joni was singing this, whispering it directly into my soul.  This is the song to listen to when you need a good weep and I think, on a desert island, I might need that occasionally.

6th:

Purple Rain, by Prince

This record came out in the summer of 1985, when I was pregnant with my first child.  I’d recently got my drivers’ license and spent a lot of time driving my husband to and from the airport.  Every time I’d get in the car, I’d turn this song up full blast and sing it from Pasadena to LAX.  Strangely enough, my daughter doesn’t have any particular affinity with this song, even though she listened to it for 4 months straight, in utero!  I could listen to anything by Prince, but I’m choosing this because it reminds me of that special time in particular.

7th:

Lavender’s Blue, trad., by Sharon, Lois and Bram

Shortly after the birth of Kirsten, you sent me the album this lullaby is from, Mainly Mother Goose.  What a great gift.  I sang these songs to all 3 of my children endlessly, on a constant loop, through their childhood years.   To be alone on a desert island and have a reminder of my children?  Of course!

8th:

A Way Back to Then – [title of show]

I learned this song a few years ago, and although I had the chance to perform it in a final rehearsal, I never got to sing it for an audience.  Circumstances got in the way and shortly, it was time to move to England, so it remains my big un-sung song.  It’s more than a song to me, it reminds me of hard work, fun and the pride of doing something pretty scary but exhilarating:  singing solo.  It also reminds me of the good friends I made in HK and how I miss all our rehearsals and gigs.

I could probably choose 20 other songs for this adventure on my desert island, but I’ll leave it as it stands for now.  I reserve the right to update this though, at a later date.

Now, as for my luxury item.  Honestly, it’s a no-brainer.  I’d want sun cream with a high SPF.  I’m pretty pale and the sun would kill my skin after a day.  Unlimited sun cream, please!

I don’t want the Bible, so instead would choose The Blind Assassin, by Margaret Atwood.  I’ve read it twice already, so I’m sure it’s got staying power.

And instead of The Complete Works of Shakespeare, I wonder if I could have the complete works of Doonesbury?

What would you choose, Karen, for your musical enjoyment and reading pleasure?  Let me know!

Love,
Wendy

Sunday Videos: Starting 2014 off right!

Dear Readers,

Welcome to our first Sunday Video collection of 2014!

As always, we’ve scoured the Internet to bring you the best, funniest, most touching and/or weird videos out there. Let’s start the year off right, with the best-ever cover of that old chestnut, “Tonight You Belong to Me.” Warning: if you’re diabetic, you might want to skip this one. It’s seriously sweet.

In an unusual departure for us, here’s an actual, bona fide public service announcement. Yeah, it’s funny. About as funny as a heart attack.

But if (God forbid) that should happen to you, you’ll definitely want Vinnie, the thug from Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels, on your team:

And last but absolutely not least, the inimitable Ze Frank narrates this beautifully choreographed piece, “If You Are in a Shell”:

Keep your sticks on the ice, and see you next week!

Karen and Wendy

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