Category Archives: Music

Happy 30th MTV!!!

Now that’s a scary thought…

MTV is older than the last girl I dated… :  )

It’s hard to imagine the 80s without Music Television – you know, back in the days when the station played music videos.

We had heard about MTV, but growing up in West Texas meant we were at least a year or so late to the game. We had to beg our parents to add the channel to our cable subscription (and probably had to beg our parents to even get cable).

But, once we had it, especially during the summer, when we were home and anywhere in the proximity of the living room television, MTV was on. That was assuming, of course, Dad wasn’t watching anything else.

Instead fo just heairng the bands, we could see them. Before long, everyone was trying to do something different with their videos. Some would just be weird, some were artistic. Others would wisk us off to exotic locals or simply push the limits of sexuality on television. A few would push the limits of technology (remember Money For Nothing?)

I was trying to think of a list of things that were so cool about MTV:

1) The videos, obviously. How many 80s bands kicked off their careers or were propelled to superstardom through MTV? Duran Duran, Madonna, U2, Howard Jones, Def Leppard, Frankie Goes to Hollywood, Dire Straits, The Fixx, Billy Idol, Men at Work, etc etc. How big would Michael Jackson be without his videos on MTV?

2) The original VJs. They all had distinct personalities, and every guy had a crush on Martha Quinn.

3) The crazy contests where if you were lucky you might appear in a video or have your favorite band play at your house.

4) World premiere videos. Depending on the artist, you had to be there to catch the “premiere” of the latest and greatest video. Of course, if you missed it, chances were pretty good you could catch it again in a couple of hours. How many people remember catching the 20 minute premiere of Michael Jackson’s “Thriller”?

5) The impact of adding pop/rock songs to movie soundtracks. I think “Footloose” had a major impact on this as well, but think about how many 80s movies had a pop/rock soundrack (and of course, related music videos) to go with it? Imagine “Top Gun” without the corresponding “Highway to the Dangerzone,” or “Ghostbusters” without its themesong. Hell, imagine any John Hughes movie without the soundrack. How many proms in the 80s just had to play “If You Leave” by OMD? Would Prince have made “Purple Rain”? Would Madonna be an actress?

(ok, forget about that last one)

It wasn’t all good – after all, MTV helped advocate the concept that “image is everything” where the music/talent eventually didn’t matter as much so long as the video worked (see – Brittney Spears)

Plus, MTV somewhat pioneered “reallity television” that now dominates most of the channels today.

Of course, these days, with the internet and access to video software, it’s easy for just about anyone, not just the bands, to come up with their own interpretations of videos for their favorite songs. It’s not MTV, it’s YouTube.

One of the other cool things is that XM satellite radio has brought the original MTV VJ’s back, and they can be heard on the 80s channel (and a couple of others).

So, MTV may not be what it used to be, but there are still ways to get a taste of MTV back in the “good ol’ days”

“I want my, I want my, I want my M… T… V…”

Amazing Little Voice

Sara Bareilles - Little VoiceIn spite of my large music collection, I’m always on the lookout for something new. As part of this quest for new music, about once a month I check the iTunes top 100 albums just to see if there’s anything there that catches my ear.

This week, I stumbled across this little gem of an album: Sara Bareilles – Little Voice. You owe it to yourself to run, not walk, to uhm, the nearest computer and download this record from iTunes. It’s the best $7 you’ll spend this week.

She’s a singer/songwriter from California, and this is her debut record. She’s got an amazing sound. Her songwriting channels a bit of Joni Mitchell. She’s got a soulful voice that reminds me a lot of Fiona Apple and a bit of Natasha Bedingfield. Most of the songs have great hooks, and several are very radio friendly. You can listen to the single “Love Song” on her website: www.sarabmusic.com.

She’s on the verge of making it big, in my opinion. It’s a shame the record industry spends so much time on trying to manufacture new artists via shows like American Idol when there are plenty of talented people like Sara out there looking for their chance. I’d much rather see young artists like these have the opportunity to make it in the music biz over any of the Idol winners.

How big of a difference is a great singer versus a singer/songwriter? Well – let’s put it this way. Almost forty years after they broke up, the Beatles still have a major impact on musicians today. The Monkees? Not so much.

So, give her record a listen and if you like it, spread the word!

live 8 — so what’s the big?

UPDATE 07/06/2005:

AOL has posted a page with links to videos from some of the performances:

http://music.channel.aol.com/live_8_concert/highlights

Why was this show important?

Twenty years ago yesterday, another huge concert event called live aid occurred. Two concerts in London and Philadelphia ran most of the day with a large number of bands that were big in the mid 80s. They were trying to raise awareness and money to help aid poverty in african countries.

Although live aid and other efforts like it have raised millions of dollars in aid and have done a great deal to help this part of the world, the effort has simply been a band aid for the problem, not the cure.

The organizers of live 8 realize this, and they are shooting for a bigger, more important goal. End poverty in these countries. Period. But, in order to do that, things have to happen on a much larger scale than they have ever done in the past. So, live 8 is focusing on the G8 summit, where 8 of the wealthiest nations get together and talk. They already have Tony Blair, the british Prime Minister, on board, and he will present their idea to the other nations.

So, if they’re talking to world leaders, why should we care? Well, do you really think President Bush is going to listen to the likes of Bob Geldolf and Bono? Probably not. That’s where the concerts come in. The concerts are meant to attract attention of us, the people, in order to raise awareness of the situation. The president may not listen to a couple of rock stars, but he will pay attention to the concerns of millions of his constituents. I read somewhere that he appears to be on board with this and may double the amount of relief effort to africa. He’s a president on his second term, and like most presidents, he’s thinking about the legacy he will leave behind.

It’s an intriguing idea. Wouldn’t it be nice for the United States to make a difference in part of the world without sacrificing a single soldier, or firing a single shot?

Go here to find out more: www.live8live.com.

Now, about the shows themselves…

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why can’t all country songs be like this?

Man, if all country songs were this funny, I might actually listen to it…

wife meets girlfriend