Benny and the Mets

Originally written by Louis Prima (more about him in another post) and despite being done to death in most Woody Allen movies of the past 20 years, this is a Swing Classic that everyone should hear.

Benjamin David Goodman (May 30, 1909 – June 13, 1986) was an American jazz clarinetist and bandleader known as the “King of Swing”.[1]

In the mid-1930s, Goodman led one of the most popular musical groups in the United States. His concert at Carnegie Hall in New York City on January 16, 1938 is described by critic Bruce Eder as “the single most important jazz or popular music concert in history: jazz’s ‘coming out’ party to the world of ‘respectable’ music.”[2]

Benny Goodman: The Complete Concert, Carnegie Hall, 1938

Marvin Gaye – What’s Going On (Album Version)

Right On

Motown features quite heavily on my personal Basics playlist and although there are different periods of Marvin Gaye’s career that are worth mentioning, “What’s Going On” is certainly one of the albums everyone should listen to at some point. Wikipedia has this to say:

What’s Going On is a concept album with most of its songs segueing into the next and has been categorized as a song cycle; the album ends with a reprise of the album’s opening theme. The narrative established by the songs is told from the point of view of a Vietnam veteran returning to his home country to witness hatred, suffering, and injustice. Gaye’s introspective lyrics explore themes of drug abuse, poverty, and the Vietnam War. He has also been credited with promoting awareness of ecological issues before the public outcry over them had become prominent.

It’s also one of my favourite “morning” albums…

Marvin Gaye  - What's Going On
Marvin Gaye – What’s Going On

Pink Floyd – Comfortably Numb

The Two Bobs in action

How do you explain this one to your parents? It’s a film version of an album they’ve been bombarded with for 2 or 3 years about a rock star who’s having a nervous breakdown and ends up creating a neo-nazi alter ego.

Fair enough, but Bob Hoskins is in it and it’s directed by Alan Parker, the guy who made Bugsy Malone, yeah and Midnight Express …

Monumental film with a surprisingly (and at times, disturbingly) good performance from Sir Bob Geldof, pre-Live Aid days when he was still a Rat.

And of course, this song has one of the great guitar solos of all time!

Aaron Copland – Fanfare For The Common Man

Yes, it’s the slower version.

One of the hundreds of tunes I heard as a cover version and then later rediscovered. I’ve added a new tag – Music Collection Basics – which of course is highly subjective, but will try to add songs / artists that I consider essential. I mean, how far have we come since the days of having Carmina Burana and The Planets as the only classical albums in any young person’s collection? That is the question.

Copland: The Music of America
Copland: The Music of America

Duran Duran – Planet Earth (Official Music Video)

Ahh … The New Romantics

What I remember about this is the gig at Southampton Gaumont (as it was then). This ageing fleapit of a theatre / cinema was the place to go for concerts as Southampton audiences apparently had a very honest opinion. So we were lucky to see a lot of bands who would otherwise have forgotten all about us, especially new bands.

Openers for Duran Duran were the unknowns Talk Talk, probably one of the best support bands I can remember seeing. But the Durans were even better and my hero John Taylor was on top form. For me, this first album and Rio were some of their best material.

Duran Duran (1981)