Yep. New heading. What is a thumbnut? From Merriam-Webster:
What is a good definition of wing nut? From the Urban Dictionary:
A [piece] of metal that can be easily turned with the fingers used to anchor screws into wood or other material…[OR]
From Wikipedia: [A] pejorative American political term referring to a person who holds extreme, and often, irrational, political views.
President Biden has decided to go hard on the virus. No more Mr. Nice Guy. Sadly for him, those tiny little pathogens don’t pay taxes, don’t vote, don’t have Social Security numbers, can’t be drafted and don’t answer phone calls from poll takers, which is to say that he, and his agencies, cannot really control them. That must be frustrating, poor man. Instead his plan is to control what he can control: people and, most immediately, federal workers and the employees of large regulated companies. For him, the key to crushing the virus is the vaccine. Not enough people are obeying his demand for near-universal vaccination.
In a maniacal move of wild desperation, or as an excuse to try out the most extreme powers of his office, he is using every weapon that he believes he has to assure compliance with his dream of injecting as many arms as possible. Only then will we crush the virus, all thanks to his leadership…all the complaints about “freedom” be damned…and never mind that the realization of his dream did not work in Israel or the UK.
What are the immediate problems here? At least five:
 The Biden mandate pretends that the only immunity is injected, not natural […] even though all science for at least a year…actually, you can say centuries…contradicts that. Indeed, we’ve known about natural immunity since 400 B.C when Thucydides first wrote of the great Athens plague that revealed that “they knew the course of the disease and were themselves free from apprehension.” Biden’s mandate could affect 80 million people but, far more than that have likely been exposed and gained robust immunity regardless of vaccination status.
 This natural immunity is long-lasting, and broad, and we’ve known that since last year when the first studies revealed it. You can say that the addition of a vaccine provides even more but, it’s new, and untested, relative to most drugs approved by regulators. [Many] people are concerned about possible side effects of this vaccine, that was approved much faster than any drug in my lifetime, and there is not one living human being in a position to say with certainty that these skeptics are wrong.
 The mandate presumes that everyone is equally susceptible to severe outcomes from getting exposed to the virus, which we’ve known is not true since at least February 2020. In this entire 18-month fiasco, we’ve not seen any serious high-level communication about the huge range of demographic gradients in infection based on both age and overall health. This ignorance is a consequence of poor public-health messaging and is grossly irresponsible. The aggregated mandate from the Biden administration ignores this completely, as did the models that suggested lock-downs in the event of a virus from the Spring of 2020.
 Biden seems still of the belief that vaccines stop infection (he claimed this many times) and spread but, we know with certainty that this is not the case. [Even] the CDC admits it. The best guess at this point is that it can help in preventing hospitalization and death but, this experiment is still in its early stages. [The] relationship between cause and effect in human affairs is not as easy as throwing around two data sets and saying one caused the other. Most cases in the developed world, now, are occurring among the vaccinated…and we all know this because we have vaccinated friends who got Covid anyway. Some have died. We are not idiots, contrary to what the Biden administration believes, [nor] do any of us have all the knowledge and answers. [It] is precisely because science is uncertain that the decisions surrounding it need to be decentralized, depoliticized and open to correction rather than being imposed by top-down mandates.
 Biden’s order flies in the face of basic human freedoms and rights. There is no other way to put it. [It] is this fact that is the most prescient for the multitudes who are, right now, seething in anger that one man, who happens to hold power, can make health decisions for the whole population regardless of their perfectly rational judgements. When the needle filled with liquid is forced into the arms of people who either have natural immunities or do not fear exposure to the pathogen, it gets personal. [People] get really mad, especially after they are still forced into masks and denied other essential rights.
Hanspostcard has a song draft challenge. This is my Round Five pick.
Pulling myself out of 1978, I am moving into the 1980s. ~Vic
John Mellencamp‘s Scarecrow album was released on August 5, 1985, 25 days prior to my 19th birthday and six weeks before I started my sophomore year of college. God, what an album. This was Mellencamp’s version of Born In The USA (I own both albums). Roots rock/Heartland rock was the music in the background of my graduation from high school and subsequent foray into college. Minutes To Memories was not an official release from the album but, it managed to make it to #14 on the Top Rock Tracks for one week as a non-single album track. It spoke volumes to me…
“You are young and you are the future
So, suck it up, tough it out
Be the best you can.”
Written by Mellencamp and his childhoon friend George M. Green, it is the #4 track on the album and Mimi Mapes sang backing vocals. Scarecrow made it to #2 on the Billboard 200 chart the week of November 16, 1985 (coming underneath Born In The USA, twice) and stayed for a couple of weeks, stuck behind the Miami Vice Soundtrack.
“I wrote a song called [You’ve Got To] Stand For Something,” [Mellencamp] explains, “but, I never did say what you should stand for…except your own truth. That song was supposed to be funny, too and, I hope people got that. But, I think that’s the key to the whole LP…suggesting that each person come to grips with their own individual truth […] and try to like themselves a little bit more. Find out what you as a person are […] and don’t let the world drag you down. People should have respect for and believe in themselves.”
A deeply felt sense of responsibility and an equally motivating need to atone for past missteps seem to define Scarecrow. On the midtempo Minutes to Memories, Mellencamp tells the story of a young boy riding home to Indiana after a trip to the South. In the next seat on the bus is a seventy-seven-year-old retired steelworker lecturing the child on how to live, backing his advice with experience. “My family and friends are the best things I’ve known,” he instructs, and the child, a budding rebel, chuckles to himself at how out of touch the old dog is.
Easing into the final verse, Mellencamp hushes his band. In a voice just above a whisper, he suddenly shifts the tale from third to first person. He’s the kid on the Greyhound and, his inability to comprehend, let alone act on, the wisdom he was given then, still haunts him… “Now that I’m older I can see he was right.” [T]hen Mellencamp reveals that he’s telling this story to his own son. He knows he’s being silently scoffed at as surely as his travel companion was two decades earlier. Still, he accepts it and the band rocks out.
There is no official video of this song but, the below is one guy’s idea.
Hanspostcard has a song draft challenge. This is my Round Four pick.
I nearly abandoned the rest of the 1970s for the 1980s until Quinn’s pick. Listening, again, to Tears for Fears reminded me of how much I love a saxophone in rock music. I think I might stay in 1978 for a little while. It was a good year, musically…for me, anyway. I can remember buying this 45 at a Woolworths in my hometown’s only mall. I also remember playing it on my little suitcase record player. I was eleven at the time. There’s not much that Gerry Rafferty put out that I didn’t like. ~Vic
A Scotsman (I am from Clan MacPherson), Rafferty’s first band was The Humblebums (founded in 1965), joining comic Billy Connolly and Tam Harvey in 1969. Harvey departed shortly afterwards and, in 1971, Rafferty recorded his first solo album when he and Connolly parted company. In 1972, he joined with Joe Egan to form Stealers Wheel, their biggest hit being Stuck In The Middle With You from their first, self-titled album. After disbanding in 1975, legal issues over Stealers Wheel prevented him from releasing new material for three years.
Baker Street, the second track from the album City To City, was released February 3, 1978 or, possibly, January 20, 1978, depending and entered the Billboard Hot 100 chart the week of April 22, 1978. It made it to #2 the week of June 24, 1978 and stayed there, stuck behind Andy Gibb‘s Shadow Dancing, for six weeks (as a side note, my paternal aunt gave me the Shadow Dancing 8-track album for my twelfth birthday and it was shoved into a brand new stereo system from my parents):
“…Baker Street was a smash and it allegedly took some serious chart chicanery to keep it out of the #1 spot. [It] stalled out at #2 right as […] Gibb’s Shadow Dancing was in the midst of its seven-week run at #1. According to legend, the chart tabulators at Billboard had actually figured out that Baker Street had finally ascended to the #1 spot in one of those [seven] weeks and they’d called the new chart into the producers at Casey Kasem’s radio show, America’s Top 40 [sic]. But, because of a last-minute correction, Kasem had to re-record the end of that week’s show, putting Shadow Dancing back on top.
According to rumor, Bill Wardlow, Billboard chart director, made the call to keep Shadow Dancing at #1. Wardlow had supposedly gone to dinner with Andy Gibb’s managers and he’d mentioned that Baker Street had knocked Shadow Dancing out of the #1 spot. Gibb had been scheduled to perform at a Billboard-sponsored show in New York and his label threatened to pull him from the bill if Billboard didn’t keep Shadow Dancing on top…so that’s why Baker Street never got to #1. This is all pure speculation and hearsay but, it’s a good story. Record labels have been doing everything in their power to game the Billboard charts ever since those charts began and it certainly seems possible that Baker Street could’ve been a casualty of all that.
“While doing a bit of research the other day, I found myself poking around the edition of Billboard dated February 17, 1973 (PDF), as one does.
Here’s some of what’s inside:
Willis “Bill” Wardlow has been named associate publisher of Billboard. Over the next several years, Wardlow would be responsible for occasionally jiggering the Billboard charts to reward or punish record labels and to do favors for industry friends. As we learned a few years ago, his manipulations led to Gerry Rafferty’s “Baker Street” spending only 12 hours at #1.”
40 Years Later: Gerry Rafferty’s Baker Street ~ The Most Controversial No. 2 Song Ever? (DJ Rob Blog/04-17-2018)
Baker Street: The Mystery of Rock’s Greatest Sax Riff (The Atlantic/Adam Chandler/12-17-2015)
Scott Paton: Billboard Insider Comment (The Hits Just Keep On Comin’ Website/AT40 From The Inside/09-16-2013)
Smoking The Bible
Ten years ago, today, the #1 movie in theaters was Rise of the Planet of the Apes. Released August 5, it was directed by Rupert Wyatt and is based on the novel La Planète des singes by French novelist Pierre Boulle, translated to Planet of the Apes and, Monkey Planet in the UK. Written by Rick Jaffa & Amanda Silver (married writing team), it was produced by Jaffa, Silver, Peter Chernin and Dylan Clark. Thomas M. Hammel was Executive Producer and Patrick Doyle was the film composer. Cast: Andy Serkis (Caesar), James Franco, Freida Pinto, John Lithgow, Brian Cox, Tom Felton, David Oyelowo, David Hewlett, Karin Konoval (Maurice), Terry Notary (Rocket/Bright Eyes), Richard Ridings (Buck), Devyn Dalton (Cornelia), Jay Caputo (Alpha-Caesar’s Father) and Christopher Gordon (Koba).
At the story’s heart is Caesar, a chimpanzee who gains human-like intelligence and emotions from an experimental drug. Raised like a child by the drug’s creator, Will Rodman and a primatologist Caroline Aranha, Caesar ultimately finds himself taken from the humans he loves and imprisoned in an ape sanctuary in San Bruno. Seeking justice for his fellow inmates, Caesar gives the fellow apes the same drug that he inherited. He then assembles a simian army and escapes the sanctuary, putting man and ape on a collision course that could change the planet forever.
I liked this movie but, Roger Ebert was brutal. ~Vic
♦ The jigsaw puzzle that Caesar has nearly completed is a depiction of Taylor and Nova from Planet of the Apes (1968), riding on a horse down the beach, just before coming upon the Statue of Liberty.
♦ Koba, the scarred lab ape and, some apes at the Gen-Sys and sanctuary, are bonobos. This species was assumed, until very recently, to be a subspecies of chimp, explaining its absence in previous films.
♦ Will Rodman’s surname is a nod to Planet of the Apes (1968) screenwriter Rod Serling.
Hanspostcard has a song draft challenge. This is my Round Three pick.
I can’t recall the first time I heard Driver’s Seat but, the song entered Billboard’s Hot 100 Chart on July 21, 1979. I was twelve and I was immediately hooked. It was released in 1978 but, took a while to gain any traction. It managed to get to #15 for a couple of weeks, sandwiched between Bad Case Of Loving You (Doctor, Doctor) by Robert Palmer and Born To Be Alive by Patrick Hernandez. It was the first track from Sniff ‘n’ The Tears debut album Fickle Heart and was the band’s only hit despite fifteen albums, spanning 1978 to 2020.
The history of this British rock band is a little sketchy. Colin Larkin, the British Editor-in-Chief of The Encyclopedia of Popular Music, stated in the 1997 edition that they “had been gigging in England as early as 1974” but, an Athens Calling interview in 2018 reflects 1972. A Jason Ankeny, writing for All Music, stated that lead singer/songwriter Paul Roberts dissolved the band after not being able to get a record deal. Drummer Luigi Salvoni talked Roberts into re-forming the band with Mick Dyche, Loz Netto, Chris Birkin and Alan Fealdman. Ankeny has the actual musician line-up all wrong in comparison to the official website. There is also no mention of Noel McCalla as backing vocals for the time period. The name of the band apparently came from their manager, as Roberts had hay fever and sniffed a lot.
The band is still active as of 2001 as a quartet, with Roberts & Salvoni still working together. ~Vic
Top of the Pops 1979 (Proper Line-Up)
Hanspostcard has a song draft challenge. This is my Round Two pick.
I grew up around lots of music. My dad had his tastes, my mom had hers and I got some exposure to my grandparents music, too. There was plenty of Elvis, Buddy Holly, Everly Brothers, Ricky Nelson, Gene Pitney, Chuck Berry, Johnny Cash, Johnny Horton, The Ventures, The Beach Boys, instrumental music (think Hugo Montenegro or Paul Mauriat), funny stuff like Ben Colder/Sheb Wooley, Ray Stevens or David Seville (my dad’s stuff), The Four Seasons, Motown, soul music, beach music (my mom’s stuff), big band music (my paternal grandparents) and, bluegrass, country and Latin/jazz (maternal grandparents). One song, in particular, that reminds me of my dad the most is Cathy’s Clown. When I was a kid, my dad liked to just get in the car, drive around and listen to the radio. It was, literally, No Particular Place To Go. When I became an adult, we’d still get in the car and cruise. He and I would sing Cathy’s Clown, together, with me taking Phil’s harmony. I still own my dad’s original 45. ~Vic
Written by Don, it was recorded in March and released in April 1960. It was recorded live, in a single take, with both brothers sharing a microphone. Floyd Cramer was on piano, Floyd Chance on bass and Buddy Harman on drums. An odd song, it has a chorus and bridges but, no verses. It was their first single for Warner Bros. It spent five weeks at #1 on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart, one week on the Billboard’s R&B chart and seven weeks at #1 on UK’s Singles chart. It was their biggest selling single and their last #1 after Wake Up Little Susie and All I Have to Do Is Dream.
The song is ranked at #150 Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Songs of All Time and it was added to the National Recording Registry of the Library of Congress in 2013. Covers have been done by Reba McEntire and Neil Sedaka (1983) with McEntire’s version reaching #1 on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart and Canada’s RPM Country Tracks chart in 1989. There is even a Jan and Dean version on Filet Of Soul Redux: The Rejected Master Recordings (2017).
“We owe those guys everything. They started it all.” ~Bob Dylan
Additional Reading & References:
The Everly Brothers: That Sibling Sound (BBC News/2014)
Cathy’s Clown ~ The Everly Brothers (Library of Congress/PDF)
Recording Cathy’s Clown (Steve Hoffman Music Forum)
Saturday Night Beech-Nut Show 1960
Johann Sebastian Bach was a German composer and organist. The most important member of the Bach family, his genius combined outstanding performing musicianship with supreme creative powers in which forceful and original inventiveness, technical mastery and intellectual control, are perfectly balanced. While it was in the former capacity, as a keyboard virtuoso, that in his lifetime he acquired an almost legendary fame, it is the latter virtues and accomplishments, as a composer, that, by the end of the 18th century, earned him a unique historical position. His musical language was distinctive and extraordinarily varied, drawing together and surmounting the techniques, the styles and the general achievements, of his own and earlier generations, and leading on to new perspectives, which later ages have received, and understood, in a great variety of ways.
Wachet! Betet! Betet! Wachet! (Watch! Pray! Pray! Watch!) is the title of two church cantatas by Johann Sebastian Bach. He composed a first version, BWV 70a, in Weimar for the second Sunday in Advent of 1716 and expanded it in 1723 in Leipzig to BWV 70, a cantata in two parts for the 26th Sunday after Trinity.
On [March] 2, 1714, Bach was appointed concertmaster of the Weimar court capelle of the co-reigning dukes Wilhelm Ernst and Ernst August of Saxe-Weimar. As concertmaster, he assumed the principal responsibility for composing new works, specifically cantatas for the Schlosskirche (palace church), on a monthly schedule. Bach originally wrote this cantata in his last year there […].
The instrumentation of the Weimar cantata is lost.
Bach first performed the cantata on [December] 6, 1716.
Gächinger Kantorei Choir
Dvořák Hall Prague
John Eliot Gardiner
Hanspostcard has a song draft challenge. This is my Round One pick. I will be posting these per decade.
Having grown up on the East Coast/Mid-Atlantic, one thing my state is known for is shagging (for the Brits, no, that is not what it means). While my grandparents did the Jitterbug as youths, my parents shagged (a descendant of the Jitterbug), as did my classmates and I. This song, in particular, was my favorite to shag to, though I enjoyed many beach music songs. ~Vic
Released either in May (per Rolling Stone Magazine) or April 24, 1959 (per Wikipedia), it was written by Benjamin Nelson (Ben E. King), Lover Patterson and George Treadwell. Produced by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, the song hit #1 on Billboard’s Hot R&B chart (July) and, #2 on Billboard’s Hot 100 (August).
This is the second version of The Drifters under Treadwell’s management, crafted from the Five Crowns: Ben E. King, Charlie Thomas, Doc Green and Elsbeary Hobbs with James “Poppa” Clark being rejected for alcohol issues. With this line-up, There Goes My Baby was their first single and King’s debut as lead singer. It was unusual for its time, being the first commercial R&B/Soul recording with strings, arranged by Stan Applebaum, and a Brazilian Baiãon groove. Phil Spector studied the production style under Leiber & Stoller.
Ben E. King and The Drifters (The Vocal Group Hall of Fame Foundation/Inducted 2000)
John Gilliland’s Pop Chronicles (The Drifters & Ritchie Valens/Track 2/University of North Texas Digital Library)
There Goes My Baby (The Art of Rock Music Listening Guide/University of Albany/PDF)
Things You Didn’t Know About The Drifters (Pop, Rock & Doo Wopp/Joe Mirrione/April 10, 2020)
Finn McMissile: “Finn McMissile, British Intelligence.”
Tow Mater: “Tow Mater, average intelligence.”
Ten years ago, today, the #1 movie at the box office was Cars 2. Directed by John Lasseter and Brad Lewis, it was produced by Denise Ream. The original story was penned by Lasseter, Lewis and Dan Fogelman with Ben Queen crafting the screenplay. Voices were Owen Wilson (Lightning McQueen), Larry the Cable Guy (Sir Tow Mater), Michael Caine (Finn McMissile), Emily Mortimer (Holley Shiftwell), John Turturro (Francesco Bernoulli), Eddie Izzard (Sir Miles Axlerod), Thomas Kretschmann (Professor Zündapp), Joe Mantegna (Grem), Peter Jacobson (Acer), Bonnie Hunt (Sally Carrera, Bruce Campbell (Rod Redline), Tony Shalhoub (Luigi), Darrell Waltrip (Darrell Cartrip), Brent Musburger (Brent Mustangburger), Colin Cowherd (Colin Cowling Blimp), Jason Isaacs (Siddeley Gulfstream V/Leland Turbo), Lloyd Sherr (Fillmore/Tony Trihull Combat Ship), Paul Dooley (Sarge), Cheech Marin (Ramone), Katherine Helmond (Lizzie), John Ratzenberger (Mack), Jeff Gordon (Jeff Gorvette) and John Lasseter as Crew Chief John Lassetire.
The famous race car Lightning McQueen and his team are invited to compete in the World Grand Prix race. There, McQueen’s best friend Mater finds himself involved in international espionage and, alongside two professional British spies, attempts to uncover a secret plan led by a mysterious mastermind and his criminal gang, which threatens the lives of all competitors in the tournament.
Tagline: Going where no car has gone before.
The French Baroque composer Jean-Philippe Rameau wrote three books of Pièces de clavecin for the harpsichord. The first, Premier Livre de Pièces de Clavecin (first book of harpsichord pieces), was published in 1706. [T]he second, Pièces de Clavessin, [was] in 1724. [T]he third, Nouvelles Suites de Pièces de Clavecin, [was] in 1726 or 1727. They were followed in 1741 by Pièces de clavecin en concerts, in which the harpsichord can either be accompanied by violin (or flute) and viola da gamba or played alone. An isolated piece, La Dauphine, survives from 1747.
Jean-Philippe Rameau was one of the most important French composers and music theorists of the 18th century. He replaced Jean-Baptiste Lully as the dominant composer of French opera and is also considered the leading French composer of his time for the harpsichord, alongside François Couperin.
Little is known about Rameau’s early years. It was not until the 1720s that he won fame as a major theorist of music with his Traité de L’harmonie Réduite à ses Principes naturels (1722…Treatise on Harmony reduced to its natural principles) and also in the following years as a composer of masterpieces for the harpsichord, which circulated throughout Europe. He was almost 50 before he embarked on the operatic career on which his reputation chiefly rests today.
Rameau’s music had gone out of fashion by the end of the 18th [C]entury and it was not until the 20th [Century] that serious efforts were made to revive it. Today, he enjoys renewed appreciation with performances and recordings of his music ever more frequent.
Jean Philippe Rameau (Atlanta Symphony Orchestra)
Jean-Philippe Rameau (Britannica)
Treatise On Harmony (CMuse)
Jean Philippe Rameau (Find A Grave)
Jean-Philippe Rameau Biography (The Famous People)