Category Archives: music

The making of “It was a very good year”

This famous song was written in 1961 by Ervin Drake. It was first recorded by Bob Shane, an original member of the Kingston Trio (one of my childhood favorites), but really made famous by Frank Sinatra’s 1965 recording, which nabbed a Grammy the next year. The arrangement was by Gordon Jenkins, not Sinatra’s most famous arranger, […]

Hieronymous Bosch’s 500-year-old butt song from Hell

This is a testimony to the tenacity of human endeavor born of curiosity. Below is Hieronymous Bosch’s great, great painting, “The Garden of Earthly Delights,” which I had the pleasure of seeing (with no other gawkers around) when I visited the Prado about a year and a half ago. It was painted between 1490 and 1510. […]

George Harrison: “Something”

The two greatest love ballads produced by the Beatles are “In My Life”, written by John Lennon and appearing on the Rubber Soul album, and this one: “Something,” by George Harrison, the second song on Abbey Road (1969).  It’s a wonderful piece, at first not appreciated by Lennon and McCartney, who tended to neglect Harrison. The […]

Woman/cat musical duo

To end the week (is it really Friday?), we have singer Ayleen O’Hanlon singing “Loverless” with the help of her cat, George, who provides fusses and even tries to help on guitar: People Magazine explains: Ayleen O’Hanlon is a singer-songwriter from Victoria, Australia. George is her cat. O’Hanlon says that George “gets a little needy” from […]

A godless French song

George Brassens (1921-1981) was a well known French poet, singer and songwriter who, as you can tell from this song about unbelief, was a renegade (he called himself an anarchist). He also loved cats, which are often mentioned in his songs. The song was sent, and the English translation rendered, by a reader who describes herself as […]

The Staves

How about some music for the week? (The work week in America starts today.) A reader called my attention to this group of three sisters (last name Staveley-Taylor) from Watford, England: The Staves, who for some reason had escaped my attention. Their lovely three-part harmony reminds me of Crosby, Stills & Nash, and one of them, Camilla […]

Google Doodle celebrates Bartolomeo Cristofori

Today’s Google Doodle celebrates the 360th birthday of Bartolomeo Cristofori (could he be an ancestor of Astronaut Sam?). You know who he is, right? (I didn’t.) But we all should, for he invented the piano. As the Guardian explains, According to Encyclopaedia Britannica, the instrument Cristofori invented was referred to during his lifetime as a harpsichord that plays soft […]

Singer of “Louie, Louie” dies at 71

I’ll never forget the first time I heard the classic rock song “Louie, Louie,” by the Kingsmen (it was actually written by Richard Berry and first recorded by him in 1957). It was 1963, and a friend and I had hiked from one Army base to another in Germany, where my dad was stationed. I had […]

The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face

You thought I’d forgotten Gordon Lightfoot, didn’t you? Well, there are a few good songs left from his superb Lightfoot! album, and this is one. If you’re a bit younger than I, you may remember the 1972 version of this song that became a huge hit for Roberta Flack. But I like Lightfoot’s version better. “The First […]

Snowball et moi: In which I visit a renowned dancing cockatoo

I meant to write something about the Tsarnaev trial and the death penalty today, discuss a new survey of world religion, and address the new legal ruling on the rights of chimpanzees, but those will have to wait, for I am working on two essays and a talk (you try putting up eight posts a day on […]


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