On this day (September 19) in 1974 Bob Dylan recorded 'Simple Twist of Fate' in New York City. It’s been reinterpreted by artists as varied as Jerry Garcia and Diana Krall. I’ve always been attracted to this song. Perhaps one reason is that Dylan's lyric notebook reveals that it was originally titled "4th Street Affair” referring to a time when he lived in an apartment on West 4th Street in Greenwich Village. I lived around the corner on Cornelia Street in the early ’70’s while I was at NYU. In my opinion, this is an example of one of the ways Dylan changed song writing by throwing out conventions. Even without the need for any words, chorus or bridge, he had (has) me with the just the song name and the simple repetitive 5-chord progression that is evocative of nostalgia of the title ‘Simple Twist of Fate’ . I’ve included the first 4 verses that seemingly describe a fleeting one night affair. I look at this song as kind of a minimalist musical mantra, another example of Dylan’s genius. This performance is dedicated to my patient Barbara M. Enjoy, Dr. Weiss Related Posts: Forever Young If Dogs Run Free Bosendorfer [...]
On this day (March 26) in 1827, Ludvig van Beethoven, one of our great classical composers, died in his apartment in Vienna at the age of 56 during a thunderstorm (and there reportedly was a peal of thunder at the moment of death!) I didn’t realize that Beethoven apparently had a sense of humor. His last recorded words were "Pity, pity—too late!", as the dying composer was told of a gift of twelve bottles of wine from his publisher. Adieux to the Piano was one of the greatly popular parlor pieces for the piano during much of the 19th and 20th centuries. Although attributed to Beethoven, there is some controversy. During the 19th century unscrupulous publishers (so the music business is the same more than 200 years later!) would frequently attempt to improve sales of their works by slapping Beethoven's name onto them. However, it is listed in the library of congress by Beethoven. In any case, there is a simple meditative peacefulness to this song, and it’s fun to play! Beethoven also wrote the popular "Moonlight Sonata", which clocks in at around 4 minutes (I play it a little faster than usual.) It's a fun piece and I'd love to share that with [...]
A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes On this day (March 25) in 1909, Jerry Livingston was born, who wrote the lyrics to “A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes”, featured in the 1950 Walt Disney film Cinderella. Interestingly, the theme of the song was taken from an Etude by Franz Liszt. The song was also used in the medley for The Wonderful World Of Disney (1969–1979), where it must have been imprinted on my brain when I used to go over to my cousins’ house once a week to watch Disney’s Wonderful World of Color (as it was initially called), as our family didn’t yet have one of those miraculous new color television sets. The combination of a beautiful sentiment and an unforgettable melody must have touched other artists in the same way, as evidenced by versions by Brian Wilson, Johnny Mathis, Cher, Bette Midler, Linda Ronstadt, Shakey Graves and Hilary Duff, among others. Enjoy, Dr. Weiss
Casablanca is consistently rated as one of the most important and influential movies ever made. Many of its elements are synonymous with classic Hollywood - black and white film grain, Humphrey Bogart in a trench coat, the oh-so-quotable lines and of course, the indelible soundtrack! Today's On This Day is a performance of the song "As Time Goes By", memorably performed by Sam in the famed nightclub, in honor of composer Herman Hupfeld's birthday. Interesting factoids: The "piano player" Dooley Wilson was actually a drummer, so the piano was actually played by someone off screen! Also interesting, is that one of the lines most often associated with the film ("Play it again, Sam), is actually a misquote! When Ilsa first enters the Café Americain, she spots Sam and asks him to "Play it once, Sam, for old times' sake." After he feigns ignorance, she responds, "Play it, Sam. Play 'As Time Goes By'". Finally, the aforementioned song might have been dropped from the film entirely if not for a haircut Ingrid Bergman got for her next film - making reshoots impossible. So if not for a haircut, we might never have known this song!! Thanks for watching and "here's looking [...]
On this day, Brazilian musician Antonio Carlos Jobim was born in 1927! "How Insensitive" is one of his more popular songs, having been covered by a large and diverse swath of people - from Ella Fitzgerald and Diana Krall to Liberace, The Monkees and William Shatner of Star Trek fame! Jobim is also known perhaps for his most popular song (and one of the most recorded songs in the world )- The Girl from Ipanema.
On This Day, “Forever Young” was released by Bob Dylan with backing by the Band in 1974. Written as a lullaby for his eldest son Jesse, born in 1966, Dylan's song relates a father's hopes that his child will remain strong and happy. It opens with the lines, "May God bless and keep you always / May your wishes all come true", echoing the Old Testament's Book of Numbers, which has lines that begin: "May the Lord bless you and guard you / May the Lord make His face shed light upon you." Its always been one of my favorites - I played it for my son at his Bar Mitzvah. Today’s Music Minute is a truncated instrumental version, but if you’re not familiar with this song, it’s worth listening to Dylan’s version (I like the slow version) and looking up the words. It’s been covered by many artists including Joan Baez, Peter, Paul and Mary, The Band, Diana Ross, Johnny Cash, the Grateful Dead, Neil Young, the Jerry Garcia Band, Pete Seeger, the Pretenders, Norah Johns and even Meat Loaf!
Charles Zimmermann, composer of “Anchors Aweigh”, passed away on this day in 1916. “Anchors Aweigh" is the fight song of the United States Naval Academy and march song of the United States Navy. Zimmermann composed “Anchors Aweigh”, his most famous song, in 1906 when he was a Lieutenant in the United States Navy. The lyrics were written by Alfred Hart Miles, a midshipman. The march was intended from the beginning to serve as a rousing tune for football games. The song was first played during the Army–Navy football game on December 1, 1906, at Franklin Field in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. [P.S. I’m from Philadelphia - yay!] Navy won the game 10–0! (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anchors_Aweigh) The word 'aweigh' is now only used in this little phrase. An anchor that is aweigh is one that has just begun to put weight onto the rope or chain by which it is being hauled up. Sailors were fond of adding 'a' to words to make new ones, for example, 'astern', 'aboard', ashore', 'afloat', 'adrift', 'aground', etc. (https://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/anchors-aweigh.html) I’d like to dedicate this song to my friend and senior Naval officer, S.L., and thank him for his service.