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Music’s Intimate Moments: To Be A Fly On The Wall

There are quite a few “best” or “top” events to write about when it comes to music but what about those moments when no one could do anything but be captivated or sucked in; those times when music and the spirit of humanity intersected to create history. A moment in time where music; had the answer, was the focal point and changed the way reality was perceived. Here are a few of those moments and their magic.

                             

 

  1. Les Paul and Mary Ford make Multitrack History - "Sound on Sound” as it was called shook the foundations of the recording industry. After WWII companies like Ampex were releasing single track reel to reel recorders. One day Bing Crosby showed up at Les’ house and simply said, “I got something in the car for you… have fun”. It was a brand new Ampex recorder. Les had only had it for about hour before he was on the phone with Ampex asking if he could, "get another tape head". The head arrived and was immediately screwed into place. Les recalled, “I said, ‘Mary, say something’ (“hello, hello” Mary talks as two voices come through on tape)... both parts were on the tape machine and at that time I just had come out of an accident (a car wreck that nearly killed Les in Jan ’48)… I threw my crutch in the air and we danced…we danced". What a moment! I wish I had been in that room with Les and Mary. What a magical night that changed the way we record music today; almost all music we hear on the radio today is recorded track by track to create the audible magic that we hear coming through our speakers. There are many moments in Les’ career that are earth shattering but this is the moment that I wish I could have been there for. 
  2. Jimi Lights His Guitar on Fire - the 1967 Monterey Pop Festival was 3 days of the California counterculture’s greatest music acts. The bill included, a then only big in Europe, Jimi Hendrix. The festival was Jimi's first major American music performance. This Pop Fest was one of the first of its kind and later became a template for many festivals to follow. This moment would have been amazing to behold. I mean, everyone in the music world knows this moment; with tongue out and fingers demanding more from the flames atop his iconic Monterey Fest. strat, Jimi picked up his axe and proceeded to smash it on the stage seven times before throwing it into the crowd. Soon after this night, Jimi’s fame and antics burst onto the U.S. music scene and we have all been forever changed, standing in awe of his “Fire”.
  3. The 8 Person Orchestra Aboard the Titanic - This is probably one of my most favorite musical moments of all time. Devotion at it finest. As musicians, we all want to present our craft to the hearts and minds of others. However, what if all those hearts and minds are in utter terror and eminent death is starring them (and you) in the face? For 8 musician on one cold, arctic night their finest hour had come. As the people frantically swarmed about the decks of the Titanic they played, on and on, until they met their end in the frozen depths of the sea. I almost wonder if any passengers, realizing the same fate as the musicians, decided to meet their doom by simply standing and listening to the aire of the music being played. Music is magical and can affect & effect us at all moments in Life. One of the Titanic’s survivors recalled later, “Many brave things were done that night, but none were more brave that those done by men playing minute after minute as the ship settled quietly lower and lower in the sea. The music they played served alike as their own immortal requiem and their right to be recalled on the scrolls of undying fame.”. Truly I am amazed and don’t even have the words to express my honor for these great musicians. Bravery at its finest.
  4. Alan Freed’s Big Beat Show, March 28th, 1958 - Buddy Holly, Chuck Berry, Jerry Lee Lewis, the Juniors, and Fats Domino; what a musical line up for a touring show. It was opening night of Alan Freed’s and, after quite an argument backstage, he had selected Chuck Berry to headline the evening with Lewis playing right before. This wasn’t exactly the set placement Lewis has hoped for. Infuriated, Jerry Lee took to the stage and played a raucous set, ending with his hit “Great Balls of Fire”. As the climax to his night’s antics, a maniacal Lewis proceeded to set his piano on fire which caused a giant uproar from the crowd. How do you follow that act? Sure it would have been great to be an attendee of the show and see this all take place right in front of you but what i would really want is to be back stage as Jerry walked off, found Berry and said, “top that”. 
  5. Sasquatch Hill Dancing - Ok, ok… so this didn’t take place on the stage but rather on a hill. It all started when an ecstatic Santigold fan literally got his “groove" on. This video proves, "it’s all about heart". I love watching music enrapture someone. When everything around fades into the background and the spirit inside takes control. Sometimes it takes others a moment to catch on to the vibe but there is always one person who has seemed to tap into the electricity in the air at a show. We can all learn a little something from this music fan, for sure! Next time you are at a show, jamming with your friends or even singing in the shower, take that opportunity to live Life to the fullest and get your groove on! Let the music flow because we never know the magic we could create! 

 

Seriously, I haven’t had this much fun studying for a blog in a while. I love history! It shows us where we have come from; our greatness and our failures. As Elie Wiesel once said, “Without memory, there is no culture, there would be no civilization, no society, no future.”. Want to talk about the past or maybe your possible gear future? let me know - nate@rogueguitarshop.com