Tag: Frank Zappa

Album Cover of the Week: Frank Zappa, Over-Nite Sensation

Album Cover of the Week: Frank Zappa, Over-Nite Sensation

Album Cover of the Week, Music
It took a long time before I had the nerve to finally dive into the deep, deep well that is Frank Zappa's discography. And for me, the album that hooked me to his delightful weirdness was 1973's Over-Nite Sensation. It's a bizarre mix of music that is by and large straightforward and experimental at the same time. Zappa truly was a colossal talent and is missed. And just like the music therein, the cover of Over-Nite Sensation is absolutely packed with fun details. Because there are so many of them, I've included an extra-large foldout version of the cover. Click for a larger version. So we've got an electric hand reaching into a painting of Frank Zappa's dressing room for a cigarette. There's some sort of figure in white rising out of a crack in a table, and in the upper left on...
My favorite music: 1983

My favorite music: 1983

Music
If there's one thing the internet lacks, it's pointless music lists. So to fill that void, here's a sampling of my favorite albums from some random year. Let's say, 1983. (Spotify users, check out the accompanying playlist and subscribe!) Robert Plant, The Principle of Moments -- While I would in no way claim that Robert Plant's solo output bests Led Zeppelin's music, a lot of times I simply prefer to listen to Plant. In fact I'd say that Plant has enjoyed one of the most artistically rewarding solo careers of any artist who was part of a popular band that I can think of. The Principle of Moments is probably my favorite Plant solo effort (next to Fate of Nations) -- he sounds freed from the constraints of creating larger-than-life rock and the music just crackles with energy. "In the...
“Hope I die before I get old” — Do famous musicians really die young?

“Hope I die before I get old” — Do famous musicians really die young?

Featured Posts, Music, People
With her tragic and untimely death, Amy Winehouse became the latest member of a grim group -- the so-called Club 27, whose only entrance requirement is to be a famous musician and to die at age 27. The club also includes legends such as Jim Morrison, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, and Kurt Cobain. This got me to thinking -- is it really true that the brightest stars burn out the earliest? Or does it just seem that way because of our fascination with stars who die young? Curious, I decided to conduct a little research so I compiled a list of famous and influential dead musicians. Of course that list could be limitless, depending on your standards for fame and influence. I ultimately opted to use Rolling Stone's list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time, first published in 2004/05 and...
My favorite music: 1972

My favorite music: 1972

Music
If there's one thing the internet lacks, it's pointless music lists. So to fill that void, here's a sampling of my favorite albums from some random year. Let's say, 1972. Fleetwood Mac, Bare Trees -- Oh sure, I love Rumours as much as the next person. But there's something about this particular, pre-Buckingham/Nicks incarnation of the band that speaks to me. Bare Trees is a bit uneven in spots but I keep coming back to it just the same. That said, the original version of Bob Welch's "Sentimental Lady" found on this record is far superior to the 1977 hit single version. Steely Dan, Can't Buy a Thrill -- I don't care if Donald Fagen and Walter Becker want to disown this record, I love it and I know a ton of Dan fans love it. Like all classic Steely Dan records, the hits are only part o...
I come not to bury jazz, but to praise it

I come not to bury jazz, but to praise it

Music, Rants
I might as well offer my two cents on Terry Teachout's recent editorial for the Wall Street Journal, "Can Jazz Be Saved?", since so many others already have.  In it, Teachout beats the same funeral drum that countless other jazz pundits have for decades - namely that the already small audience for jazz is shrinking alarmingly fast.  He even offers as evidence some results from a recent survey by the National Endowment for the Arts. The survey results Teachout extracts present a gloomy picture for jazz lovers indeed- not only is attendance down, but the median age for jazz fans is fast approaching AARP territory (from 29 in 1982 to 46 in 2008).  He makes the case that jazz, in terms of its audience, is becoming the next version of classical music. This reminds me of the old joke about