Music to my ears, Revenge of the sitar

Welcome to the third and final installment of my “Music to my ears” posts… If you’re a geek, you probably get the reference in the title…
Revenge of the sitar. If so, you can skip to paragraph 3. If you’re confused, proceed as normal.

A sitar being a musical instrument, and the Revenge of the Sith being episode 3 of the “Star Wars” series… Now, I’m sure that even though you get the reference, you’re sitting there with one eyebrow raised and a “…oookaaaay” look on your face. If you’re a geek, got the reference to begin with, and read this paragraph anyway, I think you’ll agree that it’s far less clever and amusing having had to explain it. I’m willing to bet I just lost the attention of at least 2/3s of my readers.

I’m going to attempt to explain my mother’s musical impact on me here. It’s likely to be a shorter entry, as she didn’t really start making any musical impressions until after my father died. Neither one of my parents ever really listened to much music in the house, so it was all in the car. My father always had control of the car radio, so when we went places, I was fast asleep at the hands of Bach or Mozart. When he died, control of the radio fell to my mother by default.

In the car, it was always Oldies 103.3, which in the beginning, I didn’t really mind so much. I have to say that the dozen or so songs that they do play constantly did end up getting very … old.

I started getting tired of hearing the oldies… And then, I started getting irritated by the oldies. Shortly thereafter, I started becoming very critical of the oldies. For example…

He gets a feeling that “OOooOOeey”? And then right after he says that, someone in the background goes “AHhh!” in such a way that it sounds like a bird-call of some kind. My cousin and I got a hell of a kick out of this, and took every opportunity to make that noise. I intended to find a time to say that something made me feel OOooOOeey… but I don’t recall ever getting to use that one.

For years, I thought they were singing to Snoopy.

How about “Sing like a man”? I always thought Frankie V. sounded like he slammed his junk in the car door on the way in. All I could think of was a friend of mine who constantly whined when he didn’t get his way, even at the age of 12. Imagine Frankie saying “But MAAAaaa! I don’t wanna go to bed!”

ugh… makes my eye twitch. Don’t even get me started on “Sherry” either. How anyone could have found that guy “Dreamy” I’ll never understand.

Every now and then, they’d play something out of the ordinary though.

I thought that song was hysterical. My cousin and I would do the whole song in the car. We had a great time with that one.

“Say man! I saw your wife the other day! She’s UUUGGGGLYYY!!!”
“Yeah, but she sure can cook man!”

Ahh… hehe. Gets me every time.

Actually, at my wedding, he (My cousin… Who was also my best man) had the DJ play this song. Fortunately my wife loves this song.

But it wasn’t all oldies that my mother listened to. She was the one who introduced me to Queen, Specifically, the album “A Night at the Opera“. The song was “Death on Two Legs:

http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=v0c4-20&o=1&p=8&l=bpl&asins=B000000OAN&fc1=000000&IS2=1&lt1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifrI managed to get myself a copy of that song on tape, and I listened to it over and over. Love the guitar work. To this day, I remember that as the first time I was allowed to say “Damn” in the presence of my mother.

I still love Queen. I think they’re probably the most underrated yet over played band in existence. I say this because you can’t watch a sports game without hearing “We Will Rock You”, and everyone’s born knowing the words to “We Are the Champions”. But there’s so much more to them that people aren’t aware of.

Bohemian Rhapsody is pretty well known, but no one really pays attention to the complexity of the song itself. Another such song is the Prophet song. If you have the time, listen to the song, and listen to the singing in the middle, how half of them are singing “Come Here” and the other half are singing “I Hear You”… You’ll notice, that that one group is actually singing “Come Here”, but the other is only singing “I … You”… So it’s coming together as Come (I) Here (You)… I just thing that’s so simple, yet must have been such a pain in the ass to put together!

Another song that shows a completely different side of the band is “’39” also off of “A Night at the Opera”

And yet another side of Queen I think is “Gimmie the Prize”. It’s still got the “Anthem Rock” feel of energy, yet almost qualifies as 80S hair band metal… Which I don’t like… (Hrm, maybe there will be a fourth installment… “MTME – A New Note”… whatever…)

http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=v0c4-20&o=1&p=8&l=bpl&asins=B000001DTM&fc1=000000&IS2=1&lt1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifrA friend of my mother’s once told her that she had an extra ticket to an “Irish Music Concert” at the Boston Garden, and asked if she’d like to come. She went, and the “Irish music” turned out to be U2, on the “Achtung Baby” tour. She loved it. I wish someone would take me to a U2 concert!

That friend of hers also used to go to Grateful Dead concerts a lot too. I would have liked to see them too.

Anyway, my mother’s musical influence was more a reinforcing of the influences of my brother’s who were more musically charged. I also never would have gotten to understand how goofy you had to be to make music in the 50s. 🙂

It’s pretty uncommon for me to end up listing to the oldies station, but from what I understand, there’s a fair amount of S music played there now! Perhaps by 2020, I’ll be able to listen to my ’90s grunge rock on there.

Having wrapped this one up, I realize I’ve mentioned the 90s a few times over the course of these postings, so maybe I’ll expand on exactly what it is about Grunge that I enjoyed… Next time on, Music to my Ears.

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4 thoughts on “Music to my ears, Revenge of the sitar

  1. re: your title. Went RIGHT over my head as I’m not a Star Wars geek. I AM, however, familiar with the leading sitar player(s) on these shores, i.e., Ravi Shankar and his illustrious student G. Harrison. So I get a point-five, no?Oldies radio… I’ve noticed the evolution of same over the years. Back when I was a (ahem) Young Adult it was all Bill Haley, Chuck Berry, Elvis, etc. Now it’s “evolved” in Beatles/Stones/Steppenwolf/etc. That said, I only hear Oldies Radio when I’m shopping… coz it’s the Muzak in the commissary out at Cannon Airplane Patch.I saw Queen at Wembley Arena in London back around 1981 or ’82… my 16 year old proxy daughter dragged me, kicking and screaming. It was OK but wasn’t something I ever did again. The Who… in the same venue… OTOH WAS something I did again, even if they were well past their prime. Taste. It’s ALL in our mouths.

  2. Brian May is a magnificent guitarist, often overlooked when people start talking about guitar ‘gods’. Totally original, and much more of an influence than many people realize (or are willing to admit.)

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