Rising and Falling and Rising Again
Back in my radio days, I used to do an occasional on-air feature called "Signs of the Coming Apocalypse," in which I'd note events in pop culture that indicated the end of the world was nigh. The fact that last night's American Idol episode had its cast of bland star-wannabes singing Queen songs would certainly qualify, as would the corporate synergy that has led to the release of yet another best-of-Queen CD, just in time to sell it to Idol fans who'd never heard of Queen before last night. No defunct band has had its musical carcass picked clean more completely than Queen, since Freddie Mercury's death in 1991. Depending on how you count them, there have been at least a dozen best-of-Queen collections released--and those are just the ones on major labels.
Other interesting music stuff from out on the web today:
--Salon has an article today about the fall of Whitney Houston--from reigning pop diva to cracked-out disaster. Houston's is one of the sadder tales of its kind, especially when you recall just how enormous a pop-culture figure she was in the early 90s. For a while, her recording of "I Will Always Love You," godawful yodel and all, was the Number One song of the entire rock era. She was a movie star, and had recorded a handful of multi-gazillion selling albums. And, it was all about to end, tragically.
--WFMU's Beware of the Blog has a review of the 1978 musical version of War of the Worlds, which featured Justin Hayward of the Moody Blues (singing, among others, the unspeakably beautiful "Forever Autumn"), David Essex, and Richard Burton as the narrator of the H.G. Wells tale. Megan Murphy describes it as "disco-meets-prog-meets-L. Ron Hubbard greatness." (Which is about right.) Creator Jeff Wayne is taking the show on the road this month in Britain, with a string of sold-out shows featuring Hayward.
--Moistworks features two posts (one here and one here) featuring songs about the president: Marilyn Monroe breathing through "Happy Birthday," James Brown's 1975 "Funky President," rap tunes, folk tunes, blues tunes, and punk rockers, too. There's some interesting writing at Moistworks, so you might want to spend some time there.
--In February 1972, Pink Floyd played a concert at the Rainbow in London, at which they performed songs from the as-yet-unreleased Dark Side of the Moon in public for the first time. Kwaya Na Kisser has the tracks.