The late 60's were a great time for teenage me as you'll see in this segment from my biography "Do or do not!"
I turned 13 in June 1967, and finally was able to do something I’d wanted for a while, joining the Air Training Corps, a kind of air force cadets. My father was a rear gunner on a Lancaster during World War 2 and my Uncle was in the RAF at ST. Mawgan as I’d mentioned so it was pretty much in the blood. I wore my uniform with pride and quickly became a marksman with the .303 rifle, actually winning my father a packet of cigarettes by cutting a single one in half down the range. The kick from the old style 303 rifle was pretty sharp and I injured my shoulder at the very beginning but soon got to grips with it. I stayed with the ATC (30F) squadron until I joined the RAF in January of 1970, and it was a really beneficial experience that taught me a wide range of skills.
I hadn't heard much 1940's music apart from the obvious Vera Lynn and such until a couple of years ago, when a chance purchase of a load of sheet music at a car boot sale gave me the best music education I've had in a long long time. The original intent was that I would be learning to play the music and singing with an acoustic guitar in care homes – but there was a huge flaw in that plan – I'm awful socially and not very confident so I had immense trouble connecting with people. Yet I love old people, I guess I just didn't know what to say to many of these strangers in the homes. However, the education was amazing and one I continue on today. It has widened my already unimaginable breadth of music love. So in this piece I'm hoping to share with you this knowledge and open up a whole era of new music to you. I find that a lot of the music that is played from that era is generally the war time pieces – many of these have sad or profound lyrics which will hold a variety of memories for those who were alive at the time, but there is SO much more music that was around in that decade and I'm going to focus generally on the more upbeat and less known ones.
I was born in 1995, and I have a wide variety of favorite music. From the 20s to the 2000s. The music of the 50s makes me feel alive differently like I am going back in time in an era I’ve never been. Then again, who doesn’t like the classic older music? Especially jazz and rock and roll playing in the background of a movie, bars and some casinos.
The origin of my favorite music is rooted in a garage sale.
There I was in the middle of summer, not going to waterparks or hanging by a poolside, but rather organizing my mom's garage sale. After the divorce, we had to save up whatever money we could to prepare for the big move to Florida. My mom focused on packing all the junk in the basement while I took the role of selling all our items (she was a horrible saleswoman). While negotiating back and forth like a crazy car sales worker, I was able to sell a lot of our unnecessary belongings. Towards the end of the sale, we were desperate. My mom was telling me to sell just about anything not vital, even if it had sentimental value. I watched strangers carry away items I had known my whole life to be part of my home. Finally, my mom brings out a big box of vinyls. Although we did not have a record player, my mother seemed to have collected a decent range of "old fashion" music. I saw her grief as she insisted I sell them. As she continued her work inside, I decided to spare the vinyls. As if I was the Grinch on Christmas Eve, I secretly stuffed the vinyls in my boyfriend's house for safekeeping.
There is nothing that makes me feel the way music makes me feel. Music is the gateway to my heart. Growing up in the Bronx from the late 90s into the early 2000s played a huge role in my musical knowledge. Every time I reminisce on my childhood, the music holds the centerpiece of my attention. I remember days when I would come home from school and my two older brothers and I had no responsibilities whatsoever. We would watch music videos all afternoon from Ashanti to TLC to Mariah Carey and Puff Daddy. When I started singing, I was around six years old and I sang Usher's Let It Burn to my mom and she smiled so hard! R&B music has been mighty tasteful to me from such an early age. Throughout my life I've always been drawn to learning more about it, especially because it is such an essential fragment of black culture. Simply growing up and hearing songs on the radio about love and relationships created an open door for me to do my research as a child. With that being said, I started singing The Temptations, The Jackson 5, The Supremes, Marvin Gaye, and all the other phenomenal Motown acts at only eleven years old. I fell in love with the 60s and there was nothing that I wanted more than a time traveling machine. Yes, I was aware that this was a very crucial and uncertain era for people of color, but the music alone made me want to take a trip back in time. Although I have a ton of love for the 60s, I also began dabbling into the 80s/90s. What y'all know about New Jack Swing? There is something about the roughness and sensuality of the way the instruments were incorporated into the music made by Bobby Brown, Babyface, New Edition, Guy and so many more! We call that "babymaking music." I'm always told that I have an old soul, and it shows in my music choice whenever I get a hold of the aux, but it's definitely prevalent in my fashion choice too. This era makes me realize that it's so much deeper than the music. The entertainment, the fashion, and music made it worthwhile. Remember oversized hoop earrings, high waist jeans and baggy windbreakers before we starting recycling those very same pieces today? Remember films like Love Jones and Sister Act 2? Even shows like Living Single and A Different World!
Bobby Vinton is an American pop singer and songwriter. He is of Polish heritage and in music circles he became known as “The Polish Prince”. One of his most popular songs “Blue Velvet” reached number one and became the inspiration for a movie by the same name.
Corona does have a symptom for the uninfected, and that must be this summery slumber. These days, the sunlight burns moth holes through the curtains, making the 93 million mile trek just to wake me, a mummy wrapped in linens.
Artists often record pieces without appraising listeners of what a song may mean to them. This oversight usually occurs because of production demands that preclude verbal descriptions of what a given song may mean to an artist. Producing a polished CD or video is considerable, and producers are reluctant to spend their precious dollars on verbal tributes that can be made by recording artists during a concert. Once in the studio, artists are expected to record their music as quickly and efficiently. Reminiscing about the composition of a particular song is discouraged. Fortunately, the recording of this specific song did require the use of an expensive recording studio. When I recorded the piece, I had no neurotic producer hanging over my shoulder. I am therefore free to reflect on what the relatively unknown aria "kennst du das land." Those unfamiliar with opera are unlikely to recognize the piece. I first became familiar with the Aria after attending a performance of "Little Woman." An original operatic work, the production allowed me to hear a breath-taking musical score and the Aria "Kennst du das Land". I became determined to master the Aria in question. My years of training had provided me with the technical tools needed to sing a variety of styles, but I had always reframed from singing pieces written in German. The sheer beauty of the piece overwhelmed my reservation and set to work on it with passion and zeal. The experience has been transformative, allowing me to connect with a part of my German heritage that had always felt peripheral. Having to master German required that I steep myself in a language that members of the Hurst family line had practiced for generations. Learning "Kennst du das land" became a transformative experience, allowing me to reintegrate a disowned aspect of my family heritage. I am not the first, or only, singer to have had such an experience. Singing is an inherently personal process. Few performers become successful by relying solely upon their technical prowess. Acclaim rarely occurs unless a performer has found a way to merge technique and emotional resonance. For this singer at least, mastering the complexities of the Aria Kennst du das land became an example of such a process. It is why this previously unfamiliar piece now feels profoundly connected to my body and soul.
Let’s face it: There are a few things that you can expect in every Latinx home on weekends. A pot of something bubbling away on the stove. The smell of strong coffee mixing with the perfume of that bottle of purple Fabuloso multi-purpose cleaner we all know too well and the queen of salsa playing like a bugle call for everyone in the house (and neighborhood for that matter) to wake up and get ready for a day full of dancing, cleaning, and eating. Even today, the first few seconds of Muñeca del Cha Cha Cha takes me back to my childhood games that my mother later confessed were ploys to get us to help clean the house.
On August 15th, 1969, four hundred thousand Americans gathered around Max Yasgur’s dairy farm in White Lake, New York. Fashioned to familiarize the concepts of free love, radical hippie movements, and drug culture, America presented one of the most inspiring and liberating music festivals of its time, Woodstock. The festival brought a great deal of noted musical artists to take part in the counterculture’s strategy in putting an end to the Vietnam War. The festival was able to flock together the American youths who had opposed views towards war. Woodstock furnished an alternative community for those who promoted peace and free-love known as the “hippie” community. With the Vietnam War happening half the world away, people’s stress towards the loss of great numbers of soldiers in the war grew and found no reason in their country’s inclusion in the mishap, especially the youths of the era due to their rebellious ideologies. This investigation will answer the question “How and to what extent did Woodstock influence the anti-war movement in the United States particularly during the Vietnam War between 1969 and 1975?” Society was slowly becoming segregated between people who supported it and those who opposed it. This gave Americans an initiative to bring the anti-war movement to light by taking control over mass media and altering people’s views regarding the Vietnam War. Throughout its development, Woodstock was argued to be just a group of people listening to music and did not create any effect in aiding the countercultural anti-war movement. Tom Wells states that the countercultural movement would have been more efficient and succeeded in ways more than one if it hadn’t focused so much on developing an attractive media-driven coating to attract youth.
As a Mystery author, I like that late night, smoke hanging in the air, gin-soaked jazz club feeling. Something about that noir atmosphere always intrigued me.
"No, I can't do it, I can't sing." That is a phrase that irks me every time. Every. Single. Time. In reality, there is a small percentage that actually can't sing, and it's usually due to physical damage. That part of the population I'll exclude from this.