Showing posts with label David Bowie. Show all posts
Showing posts with label David Bowie. Show all posts

Monday, June 20, 2022

Fifty Years of Music • June, 1972

I'm not an Alice Cooper fan, but his timely June, 1972 release of School's Out was a big hit with all the kids back in the day. Years later as a teacher inside the educational system, I remember our host playing School's Out at a year-end staff party at his house with assorted beverages. I was ready to hit the beach.

On a recent weekend trip to Santa Maria to see my mother, I was driving on a two lane blacktop back road (the old Highway 1) heading down from the Nipomo mesa to Oceano. I suddenly had a flashback of being on this same stretch as a 14 year old in the summer of 1969 with pals, Ron, Paul, and Gary on our bikes. As I remember it, they were all on their 10-speed bikes, but I had my sister's old three-speed clunker as my 10-speed had recently been stolen from my front driveway, the frickin' nerve. I even wrote a letter to the Santa Maria Times editorial page warning of the rash of bike thefts at the time. That bike was a jewel with its metallic pearl white finish.

"And meaner than a junkyard dog"
–Bad, Bad Leroy Brown
So the lads and I just out of school head out one early morning west of Santa Maria on Main St. (166) to the little town of Guadalupe. 

Note- I guess living in a small town in the late 60's our parents would just let us take off on our bikes to go beach camping by ourselves. I can't even imagine a parent letting a 14 year old do that today.

Anyway, somewhere on the often dangerous two lane to Guadalupe, Gary gets a flat tire and we waste a good part of the day walking to a gas station in Guadalupe to get the tire patched. Then we head north through the eucalyptus trees on Nipomo Highway 1. I remember we rode past one of the old junkyards that used be there in the woods and suddenly several junkyard dogs emerge chasing us on this backroad. My friends on their 10-speeds put their bikes into gear and easily sped away from the dogs. I on the other hand with a rusty chain in a single gear was instantly the sole target now standing and frantically pedaling to get some speed. With the handlebars swaying from side to side I thought I'd finally pumped up enough speed when suddenly I feel a stinging pain as the lead dog sinks his teeth into my right ankle. Winded and defeated, I ride up to the rested and waiting boys. They ridicule the old family 3-speed, and revenge visions of catching my 10-speed bike thief in his criminal act come back to play in my head.


So, we proceed on our bike journey and come to a downward grade (pictured above from Google Maps).  I will estimate it is about a mile long as you come out of Nipomo. It drops into a left turn on Highway 1 that leads into Oceano and then north to our destination, the Pismo Beach Campgrounds.

The boys take off for the glide and brake down the hill as I follow in tow. As I pick up speed, the bike starts to shake, rattle and rattle some more. I apply both the front and rear brakes on my handlebars... nothing! I'm now speeding down this hill in this rocket rust bucket as the worn down brake pads serve only as a hood ornament. 

If you look at the picture where the road bends, I think this is the spot where I was going to attempt to ride up the side of the hill to slow myself down. Unfortunately, my front tire flipped sideways as it hit the dip at the edge of the asphalt. This did stop the bike cold, but my inertia propelled me straight over the handlebars in a momentary superman fashion before landing hands first sliding across the road for probably 5 or 6 feet. Luckily, I was wearing my trusty Levi 501 jeans that protected my knees, but my hands absorbing the impact were a fire hot red from the horizontal skid on the pavement. I picked myself up, the bike actually still rideable. I then straddle the bar with my tennis shoes acting as my new brake pads until I get to the bottom of the hill, where I find the boys rested and waiting for me. 


When we finally got to Pismo Beach, I remember going into the pacific ocean with the healing properties of the salt water washing over me like a cool blanket. School's out. I'm surrounded by great friends, free and on our own as young teenagers on the central coast of California with many fun days of summer still ahead.

Enjoy the eclectic sounds of June, 1972 with the Eagles debut album, David Bowie taking off as Ziggy Stardust, Aretha's gospel roots on full display, Leon Russell's great songwriting, and Jethro Tull with sort of a compilation album with some songs never released in the U.S. before. No format radio here. Take it easy my friends and have a great summer!

Monday, December 19, 2016

Remembrance 2016

Come together right now over me
                                     John Lennon

December is a time to reflect and remember. I remember December 8, 1980, the day John Lennon was shot and killed in New York City. It was my first year of teaching in a very intense special education class for children with severe multiple disabilities. I believe one of my classroom assistant's had quit and I then had a series of long-term substitutes for awhile. One fellow, (who for the life of me I can't remember his name) was a struggling musician who had various part-time jobs. We had been working together a couple of weeks and often talked about music and bands we loved. As I recall, this really wonderful guy came to work in my class the morning of December 9th and hadn't heard about the shooting. Now, I can't remember his name, but I'll never forget the look on his face and breakdown when I told him that John Lennon had been shot in front of his apartment building, The Dakota and died. In the days following, many news outlets and public mourning activities in Central Park would play, Come Together as John couldn't have possibly imagined this scene and the context of this song being used to actually bring people together over his tragic death. Like millions, I took John's death hard. I was 25 and not too many of my own loved ones had yet died in my first quarter century.

Today, I still take some musicians passing with a bit of a jolt. These wonderful artists have been in our hearts and minds for so many years, they touched us and we shall never forget the impact they had on us. I know older people in especially smaller towns will scan the obituaries in their daily local paper to see if an old friend or acquaintance has died. I guess for music I get a similar experience when my Rolling Stone phone app pops up to tell me this kind of news. 

2016 has been an exceptionally hard as many giants of music have passed this year. I went to this web site, We Heart Music and got the monthly list to prepare for this blog. I like their across the board approach as they acknowledge many lesser know artists in the music business.

As I get older myself, I'm sure this might be an annual blog on my part. At the Grammy's and Oscar's I now always get a bit teary-eyed when they do their annual remembrance segment. The beautiful thing about people in the arts is that we have their performances preserved in various media formats that we can enjoy again and again.

Here, I've embedded a memorable track under each artist.

Happy eggnog and wishing you a healthy year and as Glenn would say, "Take it Easy."

2016 Remembrance

January
1/10 - David Bowie, 69



1/18 - Glenn Frey, 67 (Eagles)



1/28 - Paul Kantner, 74 (Jefferson Airplane)



February
2/6 - Dan Hicks, 74 (Dan Hicks and His Hot Licks)



March
3/8 - George Martin, 74 (Beatles Producer Extraordinaire, "The 5th Beatle")



3/10 - Keith Emerson, 74 (Emerson, Lake and Palmer)



April
4/6 - Merle Haggard, 79



4/21 - Prince, 57



June
6/3 - Mohammad Ali, 74 ("Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee")



6/28 - Scotty Moore, 84 (Elvis Presley's lead guitar player)



July
7/24 - Marni Nixon, 86 (Best known for dubbing the singing voices of the leading actresses in films, including The King and I, West Side Story, and My Fair Lady.



August
8/11 - Glenn Yarbrough, (The Limeliters)



September
9/1 - Fred Hellerman, 89 (The Weavers (Fred on Guitar),
Fred also produced Alice's Restaurant for Arlo Guthrie)



November
11/7 - Leonard Cohen, 82



11/13 - Leon Russell, 74



December
12/7 - Greg Lake, 69 (Emerson, Lake and Palmer)


Monday, September 12, 2016

Under Pressure

School has started up, the boss is not happy, a family member is not doing well, the home improvement project is stalled, your to-do list is growing and you are simply, under pressure. Life does it's ebb and flow, you catch the wave and sometimes the wave catches you.

Today, Monday is a new day, what will it bring, what will you bring to it?

For me, it's Sunday morning, I'm in the shower going over that to-do list in my head thinking, why do I get myself in this hustle-bustle? I should be going to beach, the tourists are gone, I'm retired two years from my day job, what the hell?

I need to go for a walk. So, Mary Kit and I go for walk in our community, we then go to Costco, I watch a little football and my to-do list waits a little longer. Maybe, just maybe I've finally reached a place of peace because my hustle-bustle is mine, I own it. I start to write this blog, it's on my to-do list but music is a passion, so my rule now is passion always comes first. I know, nice to be a retired guy, I worked, I worked for it.

So I'm thinking about the song, Under Pressure by Queen with David Bowie. I'm thinking Freddie Mercury would have been 70 years old last week. I'm thinking David Bowie was a very remarkable person and these two people have left this world. But, they left us with so many wonderful songs, songs that touched our lives. Under Pressure is one of my favorite songs. I started playing the tape of the song in my head while in the shower yesterday and instantly started feeling better. When David Bowie leads the last chorus and the band soars, I think it's one of the most inspiring verses in rock and I get the tingle feeling every time I hear it.

I have no idea about your Monday, I wish you a prosperous one. I hope this song helps kick-start your work day.