Archivo de la categoría: English – Inglés

Rain! Here are you again!

Come Rain Or Come Shine (Harold Arlen & Johnny Mercer 1945) – Norah Jones with Wynton Marsalis

I’m gonna love you, like no one loves you
Come rain or come shine
High as a mountain, deep as a river
Come rain or come shine

I guess when you met me
It was just one of those things
But don’t ever bet me
‘Cause I’m gonna be true if you let me

You gonna love me, like no one love me
Come rain or come shine
Happy together, unhappy together
Wouldn’t it be fine

Days may be cloudy or sunny
We’re in or we are out of the money, yeah
But I’m with you always
I’m with you rain or shine

You gonna love me, like nobody’s loved me
Come rain or come shine
Happy together, unhappy together
Wouldn’t it be fine

Days may be cloudy or sunny
We’re in or we are out of the money, yeah
I’m with you always
I’m with you rain or shine

Singin’ in the Rain – Gene Kelly (1952)

I’m singing in the rain
Just singin’ in the rain
What a glorious feeling
I’m happy again

I’m laughing at clouds
So dark up above
The sun’s in my heart
And I’m ready for love

Let the stormy clouds chase
Everyone from the place
Come on with the rain
I have a smile on my face

I walk down the lane
With a happy refrain
Just singin’
Singin’ in the rain

Dancing in the rain
I’m happy again
I’m singin’ and dancin’ in the rain
I’m dancin’ and singin’ in the rain

A Hard Rain’s a-Gonna Fall – Bob Dylan (1963)

Oh, where have you been, my blue-eyed son?
Oh, where have you been, my darling young one?
I’ve stumbled on the side of twelve misty mountains
I’ve walked and I’ve crawled on six crooked highways
I’ve stepped in the middle of seven sad forests
I’ve been out in front of a dozen dead oceans
I’ve been ten thousand miles in the mouth of a graveyard
And it’s a hard, and it’s a hard, it’s a hard, and it’s a hard
And it’s a hard rain’s a-gonna fall

Oh, what did you see, my blue-eyed son?
Oh, what did you see, my darling young one?
I saw a newborn baby with wild wolves all around it
I saw a highway of diamonds with nobody on it
I saw a black branch with blood that kept drippin’
I saw a room full of men with their hammers a-bleedin’
I saw a white ladder all covered with water
I saw ten thousand talkers whose tongues were all broken
I saw guns and sharp swords in the hands of young children
And it’s a hard, and it’s a hard, it’s a hard, it’s a hard
And it’s a hard rain’s a-gonna fall

And what did you hear, my blue-eyed son?
And what did you hear, my darling young one?
I heard the sound of a thunder, it roared out a warnin’
Heard the roar of a wave that could drown the whole world
Heard one hundred drummers whose hands were a-blazin’
Heard ten thousand whisperin’ and nobody listenin’
Heard one person starve, I heard many people laughin’
Heard the song of a poet who died in the gutter
Heard the sound of a clown who cried in the alley
And it’s a hard, and it’s a hard, it’s a hard, it’s a hard
And it’s a hard rain’s a-gonna fall

Oh, who did you meet, my blue-eyed son?
Who did you meet, my darling young one?
I met a young child beside a dead pony
I met a white man who walked a black dog
I met a young woman whose body was burning
I met a young girl, she gave me a rainbow
I met one man who was wounded in love
I met another man who was wounded with hatred
And it’s a hard, it’s a hard, it’s a hard, it’s a hard
It’s a hard rain’s a-gonna fall

Oh, what’ll you do now, my blue-eyed son?
Oh, what’ll you do now, my darling young one?
I’m a-goin’ back out ’fore the rain starts a-fallin’
I’ll walk to the depths of the deepest black forest
Where the people are many and their hands are all empty
Where the pellets of poison are flooding their waters
Where the home in the valley meets the damp dirty prison
Where the executioner’s face is always well hidden
Where hunger is ugly, where souls are forgotten
Where black is the color, where none is the number
And I’ll tell it and think it and speak it and breathe it
And reflect it from the mountain so all souls can see it
Then I’ll stand on the ocean until I start sinkin’
But I’ll know my song well before I start singin’
And it’s a hard, it’s a hard, it’s a hard, it’s a hard
It’s a hard rain’s a-gonna fall

Rain – The Beatles (1966)

If the rain comes
They run and hide their heads
They might as well be dead
If the rain comes
If the rain comes

When the sun shines
They slip into the shade (when the sun shines down)
And sip their lemonade (when the sun shines down)
When the sun shines
When the sun shines

Rain
I don’t mind
Shine
The weather’s fine

I can show you
That when it starts to rain (when the rain comes down)
Everything’s the same (when the rain comes down)
I can show you
I can show you

Rain
I don’t mind
Shine
The weather’s fine

Can you hear me?
That when it rains and shines (when it rains and shines)
It’s just a state of mind (when it rains and shines)
Can you hear me?
Can you hear me?

The Rain, the Park & Other Things – The Cowsills (1967)

I saw her sitting in the rain
Raindrops falling on her
She didn’t seem to care
She sat there and smiled at me

Then I knew (I knew, I knew, I knew, I knew)
She could make me happy (happy, happy, she could make me very happy)
Flowers in her hair
Flowers everywhere (everywehre)

Oh I don’t know just why, she simply caught my eye
(I love the flower girl)
She seemed so sweet and kind, she crept into my mind
(To my mind, to my mind)

I knew I had to say hello (hello, hello)
She smiled up at me
And she took my hand
And we walked through the park alone

And I knew (I knew, I knew, I knew, I knew)
She had made me happy (happy, happy, she had made me very happy)
Flowers in her hair
Flowers everywhere

Oh, I don’t know just why, she simply caught my eye
(I love the flower girl)
She seemed so sweet and kind, she crept into my mind
(To my mind, to my mind)

Suddenly, the sun broke through (see the sun)
I turned around, she was gone (Where did she go?)
And all I had left was one little flower in my hand

But I knew (I knew, I knew, I knew, I knew)
She had made me happy (happy, happy, she had made me very happy)
Flowers in her hair
Flowers everywhere

Was she reality or just a dream to me?
(I love the flower girl)
Her love showed me the way to find a sunny day
(Sunny day, sunny day)

Was she reality or just a dream to me?
(I love the flower girl)

I Wish It Would Rain – The Temptations (1967)

Hmm-mm-hmm (oh)

Sunshine, blue skies, please go away
My girl has found another, and gone away
With her went my future, my life is filled with gloom
So day after day, I stay locked up in my room

I know to you it might sound strange
But I wish it would rain
(Oh, how I wish that it would rain)
Oh yeah, yeah, yeah

‘Cause so badly I wanna go outside
(Such a lovely day)
But everyone knows that a man ain’t supposed to cry
Listen, I got to cry, ‘cause crying
Eases the pain, oh yeah

People, this hurt I feel inside
Words, they, could never explain
I just wish it would rain
(Oh, how I wish that it would rain)
Oh let it rain, rain, rain, rain
(Oh, how I wish that it would rain)
Oo, baby

Let it rain (rain, rain)
Oh yeah, let it rain

Day in day out, my tear-stained face
Pressed against the window pane
My eyes search the skies, desperately for rain
‘Cause rain drops will hide my teardrops
And no one will ever know
That I’m crying (crying) crying (crying)
When I go outside

To the world outside
My tears I refuse to explain
Oo, I wish it would rain
(How I wish that it would rain)
Oo, baby

Let it rain, let it rain
I need rain to disguise
The tears in my eyes

Oh, let it rain
Oh, yeah, yeah, listen
I’m a man and I’ve got my pride
‘Til it rains I’m gonna stay inside
Let it rain

Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head – B. J. Thomas (1970)

Raindrops are falling on my head
And just like the guy whose feet are too big for his bed
Nothing seems to fit
Those raindrops are falling on my head, they keep falling

So I just did me some talking to the sun
And I said I didn’t like the way he got things done
Sleeping on the job
Those raindrops are falling on my head, they keep falling

But there’s one thing I know
The blues they send to meet me
Won’t defeat me, it won’t be long
Till happiness steps up to greet me

Raindrops keep falling on my head
But that doesn’t mean my eyes will soon be turning red
Crying’s not for me
‘Cause I’m never gonna stop the rain by complaining
Because I’m free
Nothing’s worrying me

It won’t be long till happiness steps up to greet me

Raindrops keep falling on my head
But that doesn’t mean my eyes will soon be turning red
Crying’s not for me
‘Cause I’m never gonna stop the rain by complaining
Because I’m free
Nothing’s worrying me

Have You Ever Seen the Rain? (Creedence Clearwater Revival 1971) – Rod Stewart

Someone told me long ago
There’s a calm before the storm
I know, it’s been comin’ for some time
When it’s over, so they say
It’ll rain a sunny day
I know, shinin’ down like water

I wanna know, have you ever seen the rain?
I wanna know, have you ever seen the rain
Comin’ down on a sunny day?

Yesterday and days before
Sun is cold and rain is hard
I know, been that way for all my time
‘Til forever on it goes
Through the circle, fast and slow
I know, it can’t stop, I wonder

I wanna know, have you ever seen the rain?
I wanna know, have you ever seen the rain
Comin’ down on a sunny day?

Yeah
I wanna know, have you ever seen the rain?
I wanna know, have you ever seen the rain
Comin’ down on a sunny day?

The Rain Song – Led Zeppelin (1973)

It is the springtime of my loving
The second season I am to know
You are the sunlight in my growing
So little warmth I’ve felt before
It isn’t hard to feel me glowing
I watched the fire that grew so low, oh

It is the summer of my smiles
Flee from me, keepers of the gloom
Speak to me only with your eyes
It is to you, I give this tune
Ain’t so hard to recognize, oh
These things are clear to all from time to time, ooh

Oh, oh

Oh
Talk, talk, talk, talk
Hey, I felt the coldness of my winter
I never thought it would ever go
I cursed the gloom that set upon us, ‘pon us, ‘pon us
But I know that I love you so
Oh, but I know
That I love you so

These are the seasons of emotion
And like the wind, they rise and fall
This is the wonder of devotion
I see the torch
We all must hold
This is the mystery of the quotient, quotient
Upon us all, upon us all, a little rain must fall
Just a little rain, oh, yeah
Oh, ooh, yeah-yeah-yeah

It’s Raining Men – The Weather Girls (1982)

Hi!
(Hi!)
We’re your Weather Girls
(Uh, huh)
And have we got news for you
(You better listen!)
Get ready, all you lonely girls
And leave those umbrellas at home
(Alright!)

Humidity is rising
Barometer’s getting low
According to all sources
The street’s the place to go

‘Cause tonight, for the first time
Just about half-past ten
For the first time in history
It’s gonna start raining men

It’s raining men! Hallelujah!
It’s raining men! Amen!
I’m gonna go out to run and let myself get
Absolutely soaking wet!

It’s raining men! Hallelujah!
It’s raining men! Every specimen!
Tall, blonde, dark and lean
Rough and tough and strong and mean

God bless Mother Nature
She’s a single woman too
She took off to heaven
And she did what she had to do
She taught every angel
And rearranged the sky
So that each and every woman
Could find her perfect guy

It’s raining men! Hallelujah!
It’s raining men! Amen!
It’s raining men! Hallelujah!
It’s raining men! Amen!

I feel stormy weather
Moving in, about to begin
Hear the thunder
Don’t you lose your head
Rip off the roof and stay in bed
(Rip off the roof and stay in bed)

God bless Mother Nature
She’s a single woman too
She took off to heaven
And she did what she had to do
She taught every angel
She rearranged the sky
So that each and every woman
Could find her perfect guy

It’s raining men, yeah!

Humidity is rising
Barometer’s getting low
According to all sources
The street’s the place to go

‘Cause tonight for the first time
Just about half-past ten
For the first time in history
It’s gonna start raining men

It’s raining men! Hallelujah!
It’s raining men! Amen!
It’s raining men! Hallelujah!
It’s raining men! Amen!
It’s raining men! Hallelujah!
It’s raining men! Amen!
It’s raining men! Hallelujah!
It’s raining men! Amen!
Tall, blonde, dark and lean
Rough and tough and strong and mean

Here Comes the Rain Again – Eurythmics (1983)

Here comes the rain again
Falling on my head like a memory
Falling on my head like a new emotion
I want to walk in the open wind
I want to talk like lovers do
Want to dive into your ocean
Is it raining with you?

So, baby, talk to me
Like lovers do
Walk with me
Like lovers do
Talk to me
Like lovers do

Here comes the rain again
Raining in my head like a tragedy
Tearing me apart like a new emotion (ooh-ooh, ooh-ooh)
I want to breathe in the open wind
I want to kiss like lovers do
Want to dive into your ocean
Is it raining with you?

So, baby, talk to me
Like lovers do
Walk with me
Like lovers do
Talk to me
Like lovers do

So, baby, talk to me
Like lovers do

Ooh
Ooh, yeah
Here it comes again
Ooh-ooh
Hey, hey, hey, hey, hey

Here it comes the rain again
Falling on my head like a memory
Falling on my head like a new emotion
(Here it comes again, here it comes again, oh-ah)
I want to walk in the open wind
I want to talk like lovers do
Want dive into your ocean
Is it raining with you?

Ooh, here it comes again
Here comes the rain again (I said)
Falling on my head like a memory
Falling on my head like a new emotion (ooh, ooh, yeah)
I want to walk in the open wind (ooh, ooh)
I want to talk like lovers do
I want to dive into your ocean
Is it raining with you?

Here comes the rain again
Falling on my head like a memory
Falling on my head like a new emotion

Purple Rain – Prince and The Revolution (1984)

I never meant to cause you any sorrow
I never meant to cause you any pain
I only wanted to one time to see you laughing
I only wanted to see you
Laughing in the purple rain

Purple rain, purple rain
Purple rain, purple rain
Purple rain, purple rain
I only wanted to see you
Bathing in the purple rain

I never wanted to be your weekend lover
I only wanted to be some kind of friend (hey)
Baby, I could never steal you from another
It’s such a shame our friendship had to end

Purple rain, purple rain
Purple rain, purple rain
Purple rain, purple rain
I only wanted to see you
Underneath the purple rain

Honey, I know, I know
I know times are changing
It’s time we all reach out
For something new, that means you too

You say you want a leader
But you can’t seem to make up your mind
I think you better close it
And let me guide you to the purple rain

Purple rain, purple rain
Purple rain, purple rain
If you know what I’m singing about up here
C’mon, raise your hand

Purple rain, purple rain
I only want to see you
Only want to see you
In the purple rain

Red Rain – Peter Gabriel (1986)

Red rain is coming down
Red rain
Red rain is pouring down
Pouring down all over me

I am standing up at the water’s edge in my dream
I cannot make a single sound as you scream
It can’t be that cold, the ground is still warm to touch
Hey, we touch
This place is so quiet, sensing that storm

Red rain is coming down
Red rain
Red rain is pouring down
Pouring down all over me

Well I’ve seen them buried in a sheltered place in this town
They tell you that this rain can sting and look down
There is no blood around, see no sign of pain
Hey, no pain
Seeing no red now, see no rain

Red rain is coming down
Red rain
Red rain is pouring down
Pouring down all over me

Red rain
Oh-oh, putting the pressure on much harder now
To return again and again
(Red rain), just let the red rain splash you
(Red rain), let the rain fall on your skin
(Red rain), I come to you, defenses down
With the trust of a child

Red rain coming down
Red rain
Red rain is pouring down
Pouring down all over me

And I can’t watch anymore
No more denial
It’s so hard to lay down in all of this

Red rain coming down
Red rain
Red rain is pouring down
I’m bathing in

Red rain coming down
Red rain is pouring down
Oh! rain is coming down all over me
I’m begging you

Red rain coming down
Red rain coming down
Red rain coming down
Red rain coming down
Over me in the red, red sea
Over me, over me
Red rain

Rain – Madonna (1992)

I feel it…

It’s coming…

Rain
Feel it on my finger tips
Hear it on my window pane
Your love’s coming down like
Rain
Wash away my sorrow
Take away my pain
Your love’s coming down like
Rain

When your lips are burning mine
And you take the time to tell me how you feel
When you listen to my words
And I know you’ve heard, I know it’s real
Rain is what the thunder brings
For the first time I can hear my heart sing
Call me a fool but I know I’m not
I’m gonna stand out here on the mountain top
‘Til I feel your

Rain
Feel it on my finger tips
Hear it on my window pane
Your love’s coming down like
Rain
Wash away my sorrow
Take away my pain
Your love’s coming down like
Rain

When you looked into my eyes
And you said goodbye could you see my tears?
When I turned the other way
Did you hear me say
I’d wait for all the dark clouds bursting in a perfect sky?
You promised me when you said goodbye
That you’d return when the storm was done
And now I’ll wait for the light, I’ll wait for the sun
‘Til I feel your

Rain
Feel it on my finger tips
Hear it on my window pane
Your love’s coming down like
Rain
Wash away my sorrow
Take away my pain
Your love’s coming down like…

Here comes the sun! Here comes the sun
And I say, never go away

Waiting is the hardest thing
(It’s strange)
I tell myself that if I believe in you
(I feel like I’ve known you before)
In dream of you
(And I want to understand you)
With all my heart and all my soul
(More and more and more)
That by sheer force of will
(When I’m with you)
I will raise you from the ground
(I feel like a magical child)
And without a sound, you’ll appear
(Everything strange)
And surrender to me, to love
(Everything wild)

Rain is what the thunder brings
For the first time I can hear my heart sing
Call me a fool but I know I’m not
I’m gonna stand out here on the mountain top
‘Til I feel your

Rain
I feel it, it’s coming
Your love’s coming down like
Rain
I feel it, it’s coming
Your love’s coming down like

Rain
Feel it on my finger tips
Hear it on my window pane
Your love’s coming down like
Rain
Wash away my sorrow
Take away my pain
Your love’s coming down like

Rain
I feel it, it’s coming
Your love’s coming down like

Rain
I feel it, it’s coming
Your love’s coming down like
Rain

I’ll stand out on the mountain top
Until I hear you call
My name

Rain

Only Happy When It Rains – Garbage (1995)

Letras

I’m only happy when it rains
I’m only happy when it’s complicated
And though I know you can’t appreciate it
I’m only happy when it rains

You know I love it when the news is bad
Why it feels so good to feel so sad?
I’m only happy when it rains

Pour your misery down
Pour your misery down on me
Pour your misery down
Pour your misery down on me

I’m only happy when it rains
I feel good when things are goin’ wrong
I only listen to the sad, sad songs
I’m only happy when it rains

I only smile in the dark
My only comfort is the night gone black
I didn’t accidentally tell you that
I’m only happy when it rains
You’ll get the message by the time I’m through
When I complain about me and you
I’m only happy when it rains

Pour your misery down (Pour your misery down)
Pour your misery down on me
Pour your misery down (Pour your misery down)
Pour your misery down on me
Pour your misery down (Pour your misery down)
Pour your misery down on me

Pour your misery down
You can keep me company
As long as you don’t care

I’m only happy when it rains
You wanna hear about my new obsession?
I’m riding high upon a deep depression
I’m only happy when it rains

Pour some misery down on me
I’m only happy when it rains
Pour some misery down on me
I’m only happy when it rains
Pour some misery down on me
I’m only happy when it rains
Pour some misery down on me

I’m only happy when it rains
Pour some misery down on me
Pour some misery down on me
Pour some misery down on me
Pour some misery down on me

Pour some misery down on me
Pour some misery down on me

Kiss the Rain – Billie Myers (1997)

Hello
Can you hear me?
Am I getting through to you?
Hello
Is it late there?
Is there laughter on the line?
Are you sure you’re there alone?
‘Cause I’m
Trying to explain
Something’s wrong
You just don’t sound the same

Why don’t you
Why don’t you
Go outside
Go outside

Kiss the rain
Whenever you need me
Kiss the rain
Whenever I’m gone too long
If your lips feel lonely and thirsty
Kiss the rain
And wait for the dawn
Keep in mind
We’re under the same sky
And the night’s
As empty for me as for you
If you feel
You can’t wait ‘til morning
Kiss the rain
Kiss the rain
Kiss the rain

Hello
Do you miss me?
I hear you say you do
But not the way I’m missing you
What’s new?
How’s the weather?
Is it stormy where you are?
You sound so close but it feels like you’re so far
Oh, would it mean anything
If you knew
What I’m left imagining
In my mind
In my mind
Would you go
Would you go

Kiss the rain

As you fall
Over me
Think of me
Think of me
Think of me
Only me
Kiss the rain
Whenever you need me
Kiss the rain
Whenever I’m gone too long
If your lips
Feel hungry and tempted
Kiss the rain
And wait for the dawn
Keep in mind
We’re under the same sky
And the night’s
As empty for me as for you
If you feel you can’t wait ‘til morning
Kiss the rain
Kiss the rain
Kiss the rain
Kiss the rain

Hello
Can you hear me?
Can you hear me?
Can you hear me?

After The Rain Has Fallen – Sting (1999)

The palace guards are all sleeping
Their fires burn into the night
There’s a threat of rain on the dark horizon
And all that’s left is a quarter moon of light
He climbs up through the darkness
No weapon but his surprise
The greatest thief in the high Sahara
Enters the room where a sleeping princess lies
All your money, your pretty necklace
This is my work on such a night
There’s a storm coming over the mountain
I’ll be gone long before the morning
After the rain has fallen
After the tears have washed your eyes
You find that I’ve taken nothing, that
Love can’t replace in the blink of an eye
He was as gentle as the night wind
As no lover had been before
And the rings she wore for her bride groom
Slipped from her fingers and fell to the floor
Take me with you, take me with you
Before my lonely life is set
I’ve been promised to another
To a man I’ve never even met
After the rain has fallen
After the tears have washed your eyes
You’ll find that I’ve taken nothing, that
Love can’t replace in the blink of an eye
After the thunder’s spoken, and
After the lightning bolt’s been hurled
After the dream is broken, there’ll
Still be love in the world
She said take me to another life
Take me for a pirate’s wife
Take me where the wind blows
Take me where the red wine flows
Take me to the danger
Take me to the life of crime
Take me to the stars
Take me to the moon while we still have time
After the rain has fallen
After the tears have washed your eyes
You’ll find that I’ve taken nothing, that
Love can’t replace in the blink of an eye
After the thunder’s spoken, and
After the lightning bolt’s been hurled
After the dream is broken, there’ll
Still be love in the world

Rain Is a Good Thing – Luke Bryan (2009)

My daddy spent his life lookin’ up at the sky
He’d cuss kick the dust, sayin’ son it’s way too dry
It clouds up in the city, the weather man complains
But where I come from, rain is a good thing

Rain makes corn, corn makes whiskey
Whiskey makes my baby, feel a little frisky
Back roads are boggin’ up, my buddies pile up in my truck
We hunt our hunnies down, we take ‘em into town
Start washin’ all our worries down the drain
Rain is a good thing

Ain’t nothin’ like a kiss out back in the barn
Ringin’ out our soakin’ clothes, ridin’ out a thunderstorm
When tin roof gets to talkin’; that’s the best love we made
Yea where I come from, rain is a good thing

Rain makes corn, corn makes whiskey
Whiskey makes my baby, feel a little frisky
Back roads are boggin’ up, my buddies pile up in my truck
We hunt our hunnies down, we take ‘em into town
Start washin’ all our worries down the drain
Rain is a good thing

Farmer Johnson does a little dance
Creeks on the rise, roll up your pants
Country girls, they wanna cuddle
Kids out playin’ in a big mud puddle

Rain makes corn, corn makes whiskey
Whiskey makes my baby
Back roads are boggin’ up, my buddies pile up in my truck
We hunt our hunnies down, we take ‘em into town
Start washin’ all our worries down the drain
Rain is a good thing

Rain is a good thing, rain is a good thing, rain is a good thing

Every Storm (Runs Out of Rain) – Gary Allan (2012)

I saw you standing in the middle of the thunder and lightning
I know you’re feeling like you just can’t win, but you’re trying
It’s hard to keep on keepin’ on, when you’re being pushed around
Don’t even know which way is up, you just keep spinning down, ‘round, down

Every storm runs, runs out of rain
Just like every dark night turns into day
Every heartache will fade away
Just like every storm runs, runs out of rain

So hold your head up and tell yourself that there’s something more
And walk out that door
Go find a new rose, don’t be afraid of the thorns
‘Cause we all have thorns
Just put your feet up to the edge, put your face in the wind
And when you fall back down, keep on rememberin’

Every storm runs, runs out of rain
Just like every dark night turns into day
Every heartache will fade away
Just like every storm runs, runs out of rain

It’s gonna run out of pain
It’s gonna run out of sting
It’s gonna leave you alone
It’s gonna set you free
Set you free

Every storm runs, runs out of rain
Just like every dark night turns into day
Every heartache will fade away
Just like every storm runs, runs out of rain

It’s gonna set you free,
It’s gonna run out of pain,
It’s gonna set you free

Rain – The Script (2017)

Woke up this morning, can’t shake the thunder from last night
You left with no warning and took the summer from my life
I gave you my everything, now my world it don’t seem right
Can we just go back to being us again?

‘Cause when I’m sitting in the bar
All the lovers with umbrellas always pass me by
It’s like I’m living in the dark
And my heart’s turned cold since you left my life
And no matter where I go
Girl, I know if I’m alone, there’ll be no blue sky
I don’t know what I’m doing wrong

‘Cause baby, when you’re gone
All it does is rain, rain, rain down on me
Each drop is pain, pain, pain when you leave
It’s such a shame we fucked it up, you and me
‘Cause baby, when you’re gone
All it does is rain

And it feels like, oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh
Oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh
And it feels like, oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh
‘Cause baby, when you’re gone
All it does is rain

Yeah, tried to find shelter here in the arms of someone new
But I’d rather be there under the covers just with you, oh
‘Cause you were my everything
Now I don’t know what to do
Oh, I’m caught up in the storm

‘Cause baby, when you’re gone
All it does is rain, rain, rain down on me
Each drop is pain, pain, pain when you leave
It’s such a shame we fucked it up, you and me
‘Cause baby, when you’re gone
All it does is rain

And it feels like, oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh
Oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh
And it feels like, oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh
‘Cause baby, when you’re gone
All it does is rain

‘Cause when I’m sitting in the bar
All the lovers with umbrellas always pass me by
It’s like I’m living in the dark
And my heart’s turned cold since you left my life
And no matter where I go
I know if I’m alone, there’ll be no blue sky
I don’t know what I’m doing wrong

Baby, when you’re gone
All it does is rain, rain, rain down on me
Each drop is pain, pain, pain when you leave
It’s such a shame we fucked it up, you and me
‘Cause baby, when you’re gone
All it does is rain

And it feels like, oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh
Oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh
And it feels like, oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh
‘Cause baby, when you’re gone
All it does is rain

when leaves turn to autumn

L’autunno (Antonio Vivaldi) Frederieke Saeijs

Autumn in New York (Vernon Duke) Frank Sinatra

Autumn in New York
Why does it seem so inviting?
Autumn in New York
It spells the thrill of first-nighting
Glittering crowds
And shimmering clouds
In canyons of steel
They’re making me feel
I’m home

It’s autumn in New York
That brings the promise of new love
Autumn in New York
Is often mingled with pain
Dreamers with empty hands
May sigh for exotic lands
It’s autumn in New York
It’s good to live it again

It’s autumn in New York
That brings the promise of new love
Autumn in New York
Is often mingled with pain
Lovers that bless the dark
On benches in Central Park
It’s autumn in New York
It’s good to live it again

Leaves That Are Green Simon and Garfunkel

I was twenty-one years when I wrote this song
I’m twenty-two now, but I won’t be for long
Time hurries on
And the leaves that are green turn to brown
And they wither with the wind
And they crumble in your hand

Once my heart was filled with the love of a girl
I held her close, but she faded in the night
Like a poem I meant to write
And the leaves that are green turn to brown
And they wither with the wind
And they crumble in your hand

I threw a pebble in a brook
And watched the ripples run away
And they never made a sound
And the leaves that are green turn to brown
And they wither with the wind
And they crumble in your hand

Hello, hello, hello, hello
Good-bye, good-bye, good-bye, good-bye
That’s all there is
And the leaves that are green turn to brown

Les Feuilles Mortes (Jacques Prévert)Yves Montand

Oh, je voudais tant que tu te souviennes
Des jours heureux où nous étions amis
En ce temps-là la vie était plus belle
Et le soleil plus brûlant qu’aujourd’hui

Les feuilles mortes se ramassent à la pelle
Tu vois, je n’ai pas oublié
Les feuilles mortes se ramassent à la pelle
Les souvenirs et les regrets aussi

Et le vent du Nord les emporte
Dans la nuit froide de l’oubli
Tu vois, je n’ai pas oublié
La chanson que tu me chantais

C’est une chanson qui nous ressemble
Toi tu m’aimais, et je t’aimais
Nous vivions tous les deux ensemble
Toi qui m’aimais, moi qui t’aimais

Mais la vie sépare ceux qui s’aiment
Tout doucement, sans faire de bruit
Et la mer efface sur le sable
Les pas des amants désunis

La, la, la, la
La, la, la, la
La, la, la, la
La, la, la, la
La, la, la, la
La, la, la, la
La, la, la, la
La, la, la, la

Mais la vie sépare ceux qui s’aiment
Tout doucement, sans faire de bruit
Et la mer efface sur le sable
Les pas des amants désunis

Autumn Leaves (Johnny Mercer) – Nat King Cole

The falling leaves drift by the window
The autumn leaves of red and gold
I see your lips, the summer kisses
The sun-burned hands I used to hold

Since you went away the days grow long
And soon I’ll hear old winter’s song
But I miss you most of all my darling
When autumn leaves start to fall

Since you went away the days grow long
And soon I’ll hear old winter’s song
But I miss you most of all my darling
When autumn leaves start to fall

Autumn – Paolo Nutini

Autumn leaves under frozen souls
Hungry hands turning soft and old
My hero cried as we stood out there in the cold
Like these autumn leaves I don’t have nothing to hold

Handsome smile wearing handsome shoes
Too young to say, though I swear he knew
And I hear him singing while he sits there in his chair
While these autumn leaves float around everywhere

And I look at you and I see me
Making noise so restlessly
But now it’s quiet and I can hear you singing
«My little fish don’t cry, my little fish don’t cry»

Autumn leaves are fading now
That smile I lost, well I’ve found somehow
‘Cause you still live on in my father’s eyes
These autumn leaves, all these autumn leaves
All these autumn leaves are yours tonight

loving MOTHER EARTH autumn

STOP MOTHER EARTH DESTRUCTION!!!

The Last Day of Summer – The Cure

Nothing I am
Nothing I dream
Nothing is new
Nothing I think or believe in or say
Nothing is true

It used to be so easy
I never even tried
Yeah it used to be so easy

But the last day of summer
Never felt so cold
The last day of summer
Never felt so old
Never felt so…

All that I have
All that I hold
All that is wrong
All that I feel for or trust in or love
All that is gone

It used to be so easy
I never even tried
Yeah it used to be so easy

But the last day of summer
Never felt so cold
The last day of summer
Never felt so old
The last day of summer
Never felt so cold

Never felt so

Women playing Jazz

Women in jazz still face many barriers to success – new research

There are are relatively few female musicians in jazz. Recordings led by women formed only one-fifth of the top 50 albums NPR Music Jazz Critics Poll over 2017 to 2019, and this seems to be a long-term trend: a survey of British jazz musicians in 2004 suggested 14% were female.

Rather than there being explicit barriers to entry, scholarly attention has focused on gender differences in preferences and socialisation: men seeing concerts as a male space, and male musicians more likely to be encouraged to continue following early experience of playing with others – particularly in terms of learning improvisation and taking a solo from a young age.

It’s a cliché that music is a meritocracy, in which success is seen to arise from a combination of talent and effort. If women are not present in jazz, it is often assumed to be because they cannot play well enough, play the wrong instruments, or simply prefer other musical genres and the cultures around them.

It is likely, though, that some female musicians find the professional environment hostile. In recent years, we’ve seen extensive reporting about sexist assumptions in the jazz industry, as well as accounts of sexual harassment. Clearly, changes are still needed on the industry side. But what about the audiences? Are they helping to shape the sexism that is being reported in jazz?

Interrogating the numbers

Our new research paper combines analysis of John Chilton’s Who’s Who of British Jazz, an archive of career histories from 2004, with data on the recordings made by each of these musicians drawn from the continually updated Lord Discography. We also examine jazz audiences via the government’s 2016 Taking Part survey of cultural participation.

Chilton gives a rich picture of the history of British jazz careers — there is no better single source giving such detail on career histories for a large number of jazz musicians. Careers are generally lifelong, and so we would not expect dramatic shifts to have taken place among the community of professional musicians since his book was published. Taking Part gives more contemporary information on the jazz audience.

Among audiences, the government survey data showed that more men than women report attending jazz concerts, and that the gap is larger for jazz than for rock. By comparison, women are more likely to attend classical concerts than men. Female jazz performers therefore face primarily male audiences, and rely on them to buy recordings too.

For musicians, our analysis suggests that men tended to play with men, and women – represented in yellow in the network diagram below – also tend to play with men. Although there have been celebrated female-led initiatives and female-only bands, women are still dependent on men for their careers. Our longer-run perspective also supports findings from analysis of female representation in jazz festivals published in December 2020.

Part of this lack of women reflects the history of the genre. The world of pre-second world war jazz was overwhelmingly male. It was a time when it was near-taboo for women to play professionally in nightclubs and dance halls, at least outside female-only bands. In earlier decades, many jazz musicians honed their trade in the armed forces. The expansion of jazz tuition by universities made a difference: jazz programmes run by universities were more open to women than informal or military training routes, providing access to networks and credentials.

Instrument choice and audience preferences

There is also some evidence that women are pigeonholed as vocalists: 60% of the female musicians in our dataset are vocalists compared with 2% of male musicians. Moreover, the female musicians in our dataset play slightly fewer instruments on average than the male musicians. Our analysis finds that this lower versatility is in turn associated with making fewer records. Learning fewer instruments in the first place may therefore be one of the reasons for the recording gender gap.

On the recordings side, we see a clear and consistent gap between male and female musicians in the numbers of records made, even when taking training, instrument choice and period of birth into account. This suggests that women face structural constraints in getting recorded, whether due to having shorter careers, or a tendency for male musicians to be selected in preference.

Our triple focus on audiences, collaborations and recordings gives us a new perspective on gender inequalities – one which encourages us to think afresh about how things could be different. Jazz audiences tend to be older and predominantly male. Ultimately, they fund the festivals and recordings which provide opportunities to female artists: their musical preferences and preferred concert experiences matter, and festival programmers have to take them into account.

Assumptions about what the audience wants tend to reproduce the male-dominated world of jazz. Audiences can play a part in challenging these assumptions. They can do this by being open to different live music experiences, and most importantly, by supporting and investing in talented female jazz musicians.

Source: https://theconversation.com/women-in-jazz-still-face-many-barriers-to-success-new-research-160732

Inroads finally seem possible in what traditionally has been a man’s musical world

The Piacenza Jazz Club in Italy is home to a music school. So when acclaimed pianist and singer Dena DeRose had down time before a recent show there, she perused the books in the teaching studio. Pulling from the shelf one jazz biography after another, she couldn’t find a single one about a woman instrumentalist.

“Some of them were written in the 1990s, and they were still not up to date,” said DeRose. “Women are still not written about in history books. You can count on one hand — Mary Lou Williams or Melba Liston — and they’re not even mentioned.”

For DeRose, who heads the vocal jazz department at the KUG Jazz Institute/University for Music and Performing Arts in Graz, Austria, the book problem encapsulates the continuing challenge for female musicians in an industry dominated by men. It’s also why she was happy to accept Harvard music senior lecturer Yosvany Terry’s invitation last fall to do a residency as part of a year “Celebrating Women in Jazz.” Part of the Learning From Performers Program, the program culminates this week with a visit from award-winning singer and musician Cassandra Wilson, who as a master in residence will be a speaker and performer next week with the Harvard Jazz Bands.

“Women are not celebrated enough, and they are contributing incredibly,” said Terry, who has gigged with DeRose and Wilson. “When you look back in history, there was not only racism for many of these women, but the male-dominated society was even more of a factor. It was rare to find female jazz musicians touring regularly. For women to play an instrument [in bands] is very hard. They have to really work hard to prove they are good musicians, and then face sexism such as ‘Oh, she sounds like a man.’ No, she sounds like an accomplished musician.”

Terry said that, historically, women who pursued careers as jazz musicians were often isolated. Families discouraged their daughters from being part of a music scene laden with sexism, alcohol, and drugs.

As a case in point, there’s the great trombonist Melba Liston, who played in Dizzy Gillespie’s big band with the likes of saxophonists John Coltrane and Paul Gonsalves, and pianist John Lewis. In Linda Dahl’s book “Stormy Weather: The Music and Lives of a Century of Jazzwomen,” Liston, who died in 1999, told the author: “I just had to prove myself, just like Jackie Robinson.”

“It’s not what they intend to do — the brothers would not hurt for nothing. They would give me money, they would take care of me, or anything. But they wouldn’t let me have the job,” Liston told Dahl.

Diana Gerberich hasn’t experienced that kind of sexism in her 21 years, but the baritone saxophonist does appreciate her unique place as the only female member of the Harvard Monday Jazz Band.

“It’s true there still aren’t many women in jazz, but on stage the gender barriers fall away,” said Gerberich, a junior who is concentrating in anthropology. “I’m glad I’m able to be an example and a representative for women in jazz. I also hope to inspire other women who feel like they’re out of place and to show it’s possible to cut through boundaries, enjoy jazz and not worry about gender differences.”

Gerberich, who grew up in Wilbraham, Mass., idolizing Ella Fitzgerald as well as Gerry Mulligan, fell in love with the sax at an early age, saying the brass instrument matched her vivacious personality.

“It tends to be a more prominent instrument in jazz. I’m Italian. I have a very loud voice, and I have a lot of energy,” she said.

Though she originally played classical saxophone, she joined her elementary school jazz band at age 11, drawn to the energy with fellow musicians and the audience.

“In jazz you really get a visual of the audience engaging with the music. For other styles of music, there is less audience interaction,” said Gerberich, who was one of two women in the 2013 National Association for Music Education’s All-National Jazz Band. “I love the personal touch that comes through jazz and the unique style that each musician contributes.”

Talents like Gerberich make Ingrid Monson, the Quincy Jones Professor of African-American Music and African and African American Studies, hopeful for the future, and she ticked off names of prominent contemporaries such as Esperanza Spalding, Patricia Barber, Diana Krall, and drummer Terri Lyne Carrington, who received a scholarship to the Berklee College of Music at age 11.

“I think we’re at a cultural turning point,” said Monson, pointing to a progressive shift in society that she hopes will create more opportunities for women in music. “I’ve been fascinated by the Black Lives Matter movement, which was founded by queer black women. Its mission statement includes transgender people, and you see in the movement people taking that seriously. Also, Beyonce’s “Lemonade” video album brought women and girls to the center of the future of social justice. There are more people speaking up, and this is happening in jazz too.”

Monson, who will interview Wilson on Wednesday at the Leverett House Library Theatre, said many women in jazz still feel “caught between their love of jazz and the way their gender is often considered out of place within it.”

“Many cultural signs work against you. There’s a way in which a man playing a saxophone is cool or more manly. With women, it’s the opposite effect,” she said. “The ethos is if you have enough talent you’re going to be fine, but it takes a certain type of woman to do this.”

Source: https://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2017/04/women-seek-inroads-in-jazz-long-a-mans-world/

The Women Who Changed Jazz

One of the interesting things about the rise and rise of jazz education is that it has increasingly had to walk a tightrope between the real world of jazz and jazz as taught in the classroom. A key educational objective is helping young musicians achieve a high standard of professional competence. By the 1980s, educators such as David Baker, Jamey Aebersold and Jerry Coker had written exhaustive textbooks to aid students achieve this end, breaking down the methodology and techniques of jazz improvisation into a series of modules based on quantifiable and analysable aspects of bop. They became the basis for what Gary Burton has described as the means by which students learned ‘how harmony works and what the grammar of this music is in order to play better’.

Jazz music that preceded the emergence of Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie receded in importance as this music was deemed irrelevant to students seeking to enter a contemporary music scene. Today, to all intents and purposes, jazz history begins with bebop.

This is a shame, and it loses sight of the fact that the jazz that preceded it was far from trivial. As the inevitable canon formation took place, what emerged was a gendered construction biased towards the male of the species – Wynton Marsalis, for example, endorses this ‘patriarchal continuum’. Although he expresses a deep respect for women as individuals and performers, he emphasises the role of men as carriers of the jazz tradition. Some academics have argued this is part of a contemporary anti-feminist backlash. Who knows? Far more likely is that jazz writing and histories that began emerging in the late 1930s and 40s were by male writers (with the notable exception of Helen Oakley Dance) and tended to be constructed around the ‘great man’ theory of [jazz] history. However, it’s clear that a significant slice of interesting jazz history has gone missing – take the aforementioned Helen Oakley Dance, for example. How many know that she was responsible for introducing pianist Teddy Wilson to Benny Goodman, then a rising star in the jazz firmament? Goodman formed the Benny Goodman Trio with Wilson in 1935, by presenting an interracial group in venues throughout the USA – and if you think American society today has its racial problems, just imagine what it was like back then.

If Goodman was stung by racist comments in the press, he didn’t show it. In 1936 he formed the Benny Goodman Quartet with the addition of Lionel Hampton. Helen Oakley, as she was then, played a powerful role in breaking down segregation. When she helped coordinate Benny Goodman’s landmark 1938 Carnegie Hall Concert, a major event that saw jazz enter a citadel of American culture, she arranged for a contingent of musicians from the orchestras of Count Basie and Duke Ellington to perform with Goodman and his musicians on the Carnegie Hall stage. It was a big statement towards breaking down racial barriers in apartheid America.

Going back a bit further in jazz history, trumpeter Joe ‘King’ Oliver moved to Chicago in 1918, but it wasn’t until 1922 he and his Creole Jazz band became an overnight sensation at Chicago’s Royal Gardens. Pianist in the band was Lil Hardin, who had studied at Fisk University, and when Oliver sent to New Orleans for a young Louis Armstrong, history was made. Their incredible duets became the talk of the town, while Lil and Louis became an item with talk of wedding bells in the air. In 1924, word of Armstrong’s prodigious talent reached New York and Fletcher Henderson, leader of the top black band in New York, sent for him. It’s fair to say Armstrong impressed, the country boy quickly making a name for himself while becoming very popular with the ladies. Word reached Lil. In 1925 she sent a telegram, something along the lines of ‘you get back to Chicago or you’re out of the door’. Louis replied: ‘I’LL BE THERE!’.

Lil was also an entrepreneur, forming a band to feature her husband, whom she billed as ‘The World’s Greatest Trumpet Player’; she was also behind a contract with the OKeh label. Billed as Louis Armstrong and his Hot Five (the band only existed in the recording studio), the Hot Five and Hot Seven recordings are recognised as a foundation stone of jazz, Armstrong convincingly demonstrating jazz as a soloist’s art and influencing the whole history of the music. But what if Lil had chosen to break things off with Louis and he remained in New York living it up? Jazz might have taken a quite different turn.

Another forgotten name from this period was Leora Henderson. She was a trumpeter, arranger, music copyist, had a good business head and was married to Fletcher Henderson. She was the glue that kept the Henderson Orchestra together; her husband was so laid back he was almost horizontal, and after a road accident in 1928 became even more so. It fell to Leora to call rehearsals, hustle for work, organise tours, ‘extract’ and copy individual parts from her husband’s scores. She was the power behind the throne.

If a trumpeter was late for a gig (alcohol was the drug of choice in pre-bop America) Leora stood in: Herman Autrey, who played with Henderson before being featured with Fats Waller; he said she was a better trumpeter than Russell Smith, then regarded a top NYC trumpeter. She is thought to have deputised, uncredited, on several Henderson recordings. The period 1928-34 coincided with Henderson’s most productive period as an arranger, but in 1934 he was forced to disband the Orchestra, and within months a clarinet player called Benny Goodman bought 18 of his arrangements for his own, newly-formed band. Within a year Goodman made a breakthrough to American youth, recognised as the beginning of the Swing Era (or Big Band Era). Goodman commissioned more arrangements, but always gave credit to Henderson for his success. Henderson’s writing style introduced a relaxed ‘swing’ style that provided the blueprint for an era. But if Leora hadn’t kept Fletcher’s show on the road from 1928, jazz history might have been very different.

One of the biggest stars in jazz you never heard of was pianist Hazel Scott. With perfect pitch, she was playing the piano two-handed at the age of three. Her family thought they were witnessing a miracle. At eight she was studying at Juilliard, where the school’s founder chanced on Scott practicing; “I am in the presence of a genius” he’s on record as saying. At age 13, her mother – a musician and friend of Billie Holiday and Lester Young – got her an intermission job at the Roseland Ballroom in NYC. Her first job was to follow the Count Basie Orchestra. Stage fright or not, she brought the house down. She was on her way. When Cafe Society opened in 1938, Scott became the headliner at age 19 – there’s a photo of Count Basie, Teddy Wilson, Scott, Duke Ellington and fellow teenage prodigy Mel Powell gathered around her at the piano.

By now, thanks to Billie Holiday’s encouragement, she was singing too – and very good at it. President Roosevelt’s wife Eleanor, the First Lady, ‘dropped in’ to see her perform and invited her to join her afterwards for supper. Friend to the biggest names in jazz she was just 22 years old and regarded as New York’s Queen of Jazz. She married Congressman Adam Powell, Jr, toured the USA in the 1940s to rave reviews, all the while fighting against discrimination.

The first African American woman to have her own TV show, she was hauled in front of the notorious House of Un-American Activities in 1950. Facing down the now-discredited Senator Joseph McCarthy, who accused her of communist sympathies, she defended herself eloquently, but it destroyed her career. Her TV show was cancelled, concert and nightclubs closed their doors and she moved to Paris. When she returned to the US she had slipped into obscurity, dying in 1981 at the age of 61 from cancer.

Una Mae Carlise was a pianist, singer and another pioneer – she was the first black woman to be credited as the composer of a song on the Billboard chart, and the first to host her own regular nationally broadcast radio show, while also writing for major stars such as Benny Goodman and Peggy Lee.

By comparison, pianist Jutta Hipp came from a different planet. Born in 1925, she taught herself jazz piano growing up in Nazi Germany, where she studied for an art degree. When the war was over, she supported herself as a professional jazz pianist, working with the top German jazzers of the time, Emil and Albert Mangelsdorff, Joki Freund and Hans Koller. In 1955 she moved to New York and was the first woman instrumentalist to record for the Blue Note label. An object of awe in the clubs (she was a strikingly beautiful redhead) she was dubbed the ‘Frauleinwunder’ but she only enjoyed 15 minutes of fame; after three albums for Blue Note, she became difficult to work with, left jazz, turned to drink and in 1958 found work as a seamstress. She died a recluse in 2003, aged 78.

The multi-talented Valaida Snow also experienced life under the Nazis, but in her case, it was from inside a prison. An excellent trumpeter, she played a dozen instruments, sang, danced, did arrangements for her big band and others, and appeared in Hollywood films.

Dubbed ‘Little Louis’ and ‘Queen of the Trumpet’ by none other than WC Handy, as an African American woman top billing in New York and Chicago somehow eluded her, she made no recordings in the US, but moved to Europe where she did and found the stardom she craved. In Denmark when World War II broke out, she was arrested, imprisoned and became ill but by way of prisoner exchange in 1942 she got back to the States. Her health never really recovered and she died in 1956, age 52; but what a life!

Every self-respecting jazz fan has heard of Billie Holiday, but Billie Rogers? From a musical family she had perfect pitch, learned piano, organ, accordion, double bass and soprano sax and, from age eight, trumpet, which became her first instrument. She played in a family band and was discovered by Woody Herman working in a bar in Los Angeles in 1941. He hired her on the spot. Until then Herman had a polite band with a hit ‘Woodchopper’s Ball’.

When Rogers joined, she beefed up the trumpet section, sang and would come down from the horn section as a featured soloist in her own right. She was soon a major draw for the band, featuring on Herman’s now legendary ‘Dancing in The Dawn’. There’s not too much of her on record, this was the AFM recording ban, but there are broadcasts and V Discs that show how she transformed Herman’s band. She left Herman in 1943, but his 1944 band showed her influence with a roaring trumpet section led by Pete Candoli that sent the jazz world on their collective ear. Until Laurie Frink in the 1980s and 1990s, Billie Rogers was the only female to have ever held down a regular chair in the trumpet section of a major US big band. Fair to say there’s a lot more evidence to dispel the great man theory of the jazz canon, but one thing’s sure – jazz history does indeed need revisiting.

Source: https://www.jazzwise.com/features/article/the-women-who-changed-jazz

10 Women in Jazz Who Never Got Their Due

We’re often taught to think of jazz’s history as a cavalcade of great men and their bands, but from its beginnings the music was often in the hands of women. Listen to some of the greatest.

Young, female instrumentalists have been establishing a firmer footing in jazz, taking some of the music’s boldest creative steps and organizing for change on a structural level. But this isn’t an entirely new development.

While we’re often taught to think of jazz’s history as a cavalcade of great men and their bands, from its beginnings in the early 20th century women played a range of important roles, including onstage. During World War II, right in the heart of the swing era, all-female bands became a sensation, filling the void left by men in the military. But in fact they were continuing a tradition that had begun in the vaudeville years and continued, albeit to a lesser degree, in jazz’s early decades.

Prevented from taking center stage, many female instrumentalists became composers, arrangers or artists’ managers. Buffeted by sexism from venue owners and record companies in the United States, they often went abroad to pursue careers in Europe or even Asia. As was also true of their male counterparts, the African-American women who helped blaze some of jazz’s earliest trails had to innovate their way around additional roadblocks.

“These jazz women were pioneers, and huge proponents in disseminating jazz and making it a global art form,” said Hannah Grantham, a musicologist at the National Museum of African American History and Culture who studies the work of female jazz musicians and contributed notes to this list. “I don’t think they’ve been given enough credit for that, because of their willingness to go everywhere.”

The piano and organ were considered more socially acceptable instruments for young women to play, and few serious fans of jazz would be unfamiliar with the names Mary Lou WilliamsMarian McPartlandHazel ScottShirley Scott or Alice Coltrane. But the ranks of female jazz genius run much deeper than that. Here are 10 performers who made a big impression in their day, but are rarely as remembered as they should be in jazz’s popular history.

Lovie Austin, pianist (1887-1972)

Lil Hardin met her future husband Louis Armstrong in 1922, when he joined her as a member of King Oliver’s famed Creole Jazz Band. Hardin, who studied at Fisk University and had an entrepreneurial streak, helped bring Armstrong forward as a bandleader, serving as his first manager, pianist and frequent co-composer. After they split up around 1930, she found some success with her own big band, but stepped away from performing years later after determining that male promoters would never be willing to promote her on the same level as men.

Valaida Snow, trumpeter (1904-1956)

Valaida Snow’s career was a wildfire: a thing of great expanse and then rapid, wrenching exhaustion. She was a master of the trumpet but played a dozen other instruments, as well as singing, doing arrangements for orchestras, dancing, and appearing prominently in early Hollywood films. When the pioneering blues musician and composer W.C. Handy heard her play, he dubbed her “Queen of the Trumpet.” Denied a proper spotlight in Chicago and New York, Snow became a star abroad, touring for years in East Asia and Europe. She wound up stuck in Denmark during World War II, becoming ill while imprisoned there. She escaped in 1942 and spent the rest of her career back in the United States, although her health never recovered.

Peggy Gilbert, saxophonist (1905-2007)

As a grade-school student in Sioux City, Iowa, Peggy Gilbert quickly became accustomed to cutting against the grain. The daughter of classical musicians, she was told in high school that the saxophone was unsuitable for a young woman — but she taught herself anyway. A year after graduating she started her first band, the Melody Girls. In 1938, outraged at an article in DownBeat magazine headlined “Why Women Musicians Are Inferior,” she penned a retort that the magazine published in full. “A woman has to be a thousand times more talented, has to have a thousand times more initiative even to be recognized as the peer of the least successful man,” she wrote. Talent and initiative were two things Gilbert possessed. She went on to lead ensembles for decades, on the vaudeville circuit and the Los Angeles scene, eventually becoming an official with the musicians’ union there. She continued to perform well into her 90s, and died at 102.

Una Mae Carlisle, pianist (1915-1956)

Just like better-remembered contemporaries such as Fats Waller and Louis Jordan, Una Mae Carlisle made jazz that was also R&B and also pop — before the Billboard charts had effectively codified those genres. She was publicly known best as a singer, but she played virtuosic stride piano and composed prolifically too. Part black and part Native American, Carlisle was a pioneer in various ways, as Ms. Grantham pointed out. Carlisle was the first black woman to be credited as the composer of a song on the Billboard charts, and the first African-American to host her own regular, nationally broadcast radio show. She wrote for stars like Benny Goodman and Peggy Lee, and recorded her own hit singles, often with famous jazz musicians as her accompanists, before illness tragically shortened her career.

Ginger Smock, violinist (1920-1995)

A blazing player whose personality was as big and effusive as her talents, Dorothy Donegan piled her mastery of classical, stride, boogie-woogie and modern jazz piano into boisterous, often ribald performances. An old-school performer at heart, she could amaze and amuse an audience in equal measure. Donegan’s career was book ended by illustrious performances: In 1943, with dreams of becoming a professional classical pianist, she became the first black instrumentalist to give a concert at Orchestra Hall in Chicago. Time magazine covered it, and it set her on a path to renown, although a career in classical music was off-limits because of both her gender and her race. Fifty years later, she performed at the White House for President Bill Clinton. For all her accomplishments, Donegan made it clear in interviews that she felt sexism had prevented her from joining her male contemporaries in the music’s pantheon.

Jutta Hipp, pianist (1925-2003)

Hailing from Leipzig, Germany, Jutta Hipp taught herself jazz as a child growing up in the Third Reich, secretly listening to international radio broadcasts. She was forced to flee her hometown at age 21, after the war left it in ruin; she supported herself by becoming a professional jazz pianist. Hipp eventually became the first woman bandleader to record for Blue Note Records, whose proprietors were German expatriates. But with true stardom escaping her, she eventually abandoned her career as a professional musician for the stability of job working with seamstresses, although she never totally gave up playing.

Clora Bryant, trumpeter (1927-2019)

A self-proclaimed “trumpetiste,” Clora Bryant was part of the first generation of bebop musicians innovating in Los Angeles clubs, and she joined a handful of all-female ensembles in the years during and after World War II. Bryant became a featured soloist in the International Sweethearts of Rhythm, the most famous ensemble of its kind, then joined the Queens of Rhythm. Through the esteemed trombonist Melba Liston she met Dizzy Gillespie, who became her mentor. And as her career went on, she mentored countless musicians herself as a respected elder on the L.A. scene.

Bertha Hope Booker, pianist (1936-)

Bertha Hope’s career bloomed alongside that of her husband Elmo Hope, whose economic hard-bop style was not altogether different from hers. They released a joint album together in 1961, but after his untimely death she focused on raising their children, performing intermittently around the New York area and remaining close with many musicians on the scene. Years later, she remarried, to the bassist Walter Booker; since then she has recorded a handful of albums and become a respected elder among younger New York musicians, including the bassist Mimi Jones, who recently made a documentary about her mentor titled “Seeking Hope.”

Source: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/22/arts/music/women-jazz-musicians.html

Just Some Female Jazz Singers & Musicians:

Bessie Smit

June Christy

Billie Holiday

Dina Washington

Sarah Vaughan

Julie London

Nina Simone

Ella Fitzgerald

Anita O’Day

Mary Lou Williams

Peggy Lee

Blossom Dearie

Carmen McRae

Helen Merrill

Emily Remler

Alice Coltrane

Shirley Horn

Abbey Lincoln

Betty Carter

Dakota Staton

Dee Dee Bridgewater

Diana Krall

Cassandra Wilson

Madeleine Peyroux

Amy Winehouse

Bobbi Humphrey

Dianne Reeves

Terri Lyne Carrington

Eliane Elias

Norah Jones

Carla Bley

Toshiko Akiyoshi

Melissa Aldana

Come September – Vieni Settembre

September In The Rain – Sarah Vaughan

The leaves of brown
Came tumbling down, remember
In September in the rain

The sun went out
Just like a dying ember
That September in the rain

To every word of love
I heard you whisper
The raindrops seemed to play
A sweet refrain

Though spring is here,
To me it’s still September
That September in the rain

To every word of love
I heard you whisper
The raindrops seemed to play
A sweet refrain

Though spring is here,
To me it’s still September
That September in the rain
I said that September in the rain

September Of My Years – Frank Sinatra

One day you turn around, and it’s summer
Next day you turn around, and it’s fall
And the springs and the winters of a life time
Whatever happened to them all

As a man who has always had the wandering ways
Now I’m reaching back for yesterdays
‘Til a long forgotten love appears
And I find that I’m sighing softly as I near September
The warm September of my years

As a man who has never paused at wishing wells
Now I’m watching children’s carousels
And their laughter’s music to my ears
And I find that I’m smiling gently as I near September
The warm September of my years
The golden, warm September of my years

Settembre – Peppino Gagliardi

Fra qualche giorno finirà l’estate
E sulla spiaggia niente resterà
Le ore passate saranno un ricordo
Che noi porteremo lontano, io e te

L’estate se ne andrà insieme al sole
L’amore se ne è andato già con lei
Le prime gocce baciano la sabbia
E stanno già bagnando gli occhi miei

Settembre poi verrà, ma senza sole
E forse un altro amore nascerà
Settembre poi verrà, ma non ti troverà
E piangeranno solo gli occhi miei

Settembre poi verrà, ma non ti troverà
E piangeranno solo gli occhi miei

E piangeranno solo gli occhi miei

E piangeranno solo gli occhi miei

September – Earth, Wind & Fire

Do you remember
The 21st night of September?
Love was changin’ the minds of pretenders
While chasin’ the clouds away

Our hearts were ringin’
In the key that our souls were singin’
As we danced in the night, remember
How the stars stole the night away, oh, yeah

Hey, hey, hey
Ba-dee-ya, say, do you remember?
Ba-dee-ya, dancin’ in September
Ba-dee-ya, never was a cloudy day

Ba-du-da, ba-du-da, ba-du-da, ba-du
Ba-du-da, ba-du, ba-du-da, ba-du
Ba-du-da, ba-du, ba-du-da

My thoughts are with you
Holdin’ hands with your heart to see you
Only blue talk and love, remember
How we knew love was here to stay

Now December
Found the love that we shared in September
Only blue talk and love, remember
The true love we share today

Hey, hey, hey
Ba-dee-ya, say, do you remember?
Ba-dee-ya, dancin’ in September
Ba-dee-ya, never was a cloudy day
There was a
Ba-dee-ya (dee-ya, dee-ya), say, do you remember?
Ba-dee-ya (dee-ya, dee-ya), dancin’ in September
Ba-dee-ya (dee-ya, dee-ya), golden dreams were shiny days

The bell was ringin’, oh, oh
Our souls were singin’
Do you remember never a cloudy day? Yow

There was a
Ba-dee-ya (dee-ya, dee-ya), say, do you remember?
Ba-dee-ya (dee-ya, dee-ya), dancin’ in September
Ba-dee-ya (dee-ya, dee-ya), never was a cloudy day
And we’ll say
Ba-dee-ya (dee-ya, dee-ya), say, do you remember?
Ba-dee-ya (dee-ya, dee-ya), dancin’ in September
Ba-dee-ya (dee ya, dee-ya), golden dreams were shiny days

Ba-dee-ya, dee-ya, dee-ya
Ba-dee-ya, dee-ya, dee-ya
Ba-dee-ya, dee-ya, dee-ya, dee-ya!
Ba-dee-ya, dee-ya, dee-ya
Ba-dee-ya, dee-ya, dee-ya
Ba-dee-ya, dee-ya, dee-ya, dee-ya!

September morn – Neil Diamond

Stay for just a while
Stay and let me look at you
It’s been so long, I hardly knew you
Standing in the door

Stay with me a while
I only wanna talk to you
We’ve traveled halfway ‘round the world
To find ourselves again

September morn
We danced until the night
Became a brand new day
Two lovers playing scenes
From some romantic play
September morning
Still can make me feel that way

Look at what you’ve done
Why, you’ve become a grown-up girl
I still can hear you crying
In a corner of your room
And look how far we’ve come
So far from where we used to be
But not so far that we’ve forgotten
How it was before

September morn
Do you remember
How we danced that night away
Two lovers playing scenes
From some romantic play
September morning
Still can make me feel that way

September morn
We danced until the night
Became a brand new day
Two lovers playing scenes
From some romantic play
September morning
Still can make me feel that way

September morn
We danced until the night
Became a brand new day
Two lovers playing scenes
From some romantic play
September morning
Still can make me feel that way
September morning
Still can make me feel that way

Settembre – Alberto Fortis

Ahi settembre mi dirai
Quanti amori porterai
Le vendemmie che farò
Ahi settembre tornerò

Sono pronto e tocca a me
L’aria fresca soffierà
L’armatura non l’avrò
Ahi settembre partirò

Mentre il giorno sparisce
Primavera verrà
Sarà dolce e nervosa
Ma non mi scapperà
Salirò sul battello e non la fuggirò
Sarò avvolto per sempre e la bacerò
E i suoi lunghi capelli
Non li rivedrò più
Ahi settembre lontano
Dalle un bacio per me
La tempesta di neve non mi sorprenderà
Ahi settembre che sarà

Lascio tutto a te
Dille del mio amore
Dille che se può
Io saprò aspettare
L’accompagnerò dentro il mio giardino
Sempre la terrò
Da vicino, sempre, sempre

Ed un giorno mi disse
Entra ti aspetterò
Ma il nemico da sempre si cattura così
Apri bene la porta
Fallo entrare da te
Lei l’ha fatto settembre
Lei l’ha fatto con me

E se nella sua testa un rasoio terrà
Taglierà i miei pensieri
Come e quando vorrà
Userà i suoi capelli
Io la pettinerò
E prima che sia settembre
Il mio sangue darò

Lascio tutto a te
Dille del mio amore
Dille che se può
Io saprò aspettare
L’accompagnerò dentro il mio giardino
Sempre la terrò
Da vicino, sempre, sempre

Sempre vi terrò
Da vicino, sempre, sempre

Oh settembre my love
I love
Oh settembre my love

September Song – Wynton Marsalis & Sarah Vaughan

Oh, it’s a long, long while
From May to December
But the days grow short
When you reach September

When the autumn weather
Turns the leaves to flame
One hasn’t got time
For the waiting game

Oh, the days dwindle down
To a precious few
September
November

And these few precious days
I’ll spend with you
These precious days
I’ll spend with you

September When I First Met You – Barry White

September
Remember?
September
Remember?
September

September (september)
When I first met you
Remember? (remember)
September (september)
When I first met you
Remember? (remember)

Oh what a day it was
Everything was so clear
There’s something about that day
I could feel it in the air
Ooh Suddenly I knew
Why I felt that way
The moment I laid eyes on you

Girl, I just had to say
Please let me be the one
You give your love to
If we reminisce
Through all of this
That’s how we make
Everyday anew

September
Remember?
September
Remember?

September (september)
When I first met you
Remember? (remember)
September (september)
When I first met you
Remember? (remember)
Oh what a night it was
How I had it planned
The things I would say and do
The way I’d hold your hand
But when you rushed into my arms
There was nothing left to say
I’ll never forget that night
I’ll never forget that day

September
Remember?
September
Remember?
September
Remember?
September
Remember?

September (september)
When I first met you
Remember? (remember)
September (september)
When I first met you
Remember? (remember)
September (september)
When I first met you
Remember? (remember)
Uh uh uh
Uh uh uh

September
Remember?
September
Remember?
September
Remember?
September
Remember?
September

Remember?
September
Remember?
September
Remember?
September
Remember?
September
Remember?

Settembre – Luca Carboni

Forse sarà quest’aria di settembre
O solo che, che tutto cambia sempre
L’estate va e poi ogni giorno muore
E se ne va portandosi con sé la mia allegria

Forse sarà quest’aria di settembre
O solo che vorrei sognare sempre
Ma poi perché di colpo tutto non è facile
Mi chiedo se qualcosa resta o tutto se ne va

Come i gol che facevo contro una porta di legno
Con le ginocchia sbucciate di esterno gol
Come morire di sete dopo una corsa d’estate
Ma non ho più la mia bici da cross

E allora scaldalo, amore
Questo bambino che trema
Che vuole tutto l’amore che c’è

Forse sarà quest’aria di settembre
O solo che sto diventando grande
Ecco cos’è, mi vien da ridere due lacrime
Ma poi perché di colpo tutto non è facile

Come i gol che facevo contro una porta di legno
E con le braccia alzate segnare gol
È la mia mamma che chiama che è già pronta la cena
Ma voglio ancora giocare un po’

E allora salvalo, amore
Questo bambino che trema
Che vuole tutto l’amore che c’è

Come morire di sete dopo una corsa d’estate

Come aspettare Natale e poi le palle di neve

Come aspettare Natale

September Gurls – The Bangles

September girls
Do so much
And for so long
‘Till we touched
I love you, boy
Never mind
I’ve been crying
All the time

December boys got it bad
December boys got it bad

September girls
I don’t know why
How can I deny
What’s inside
Even though I
Keep away
They will love
All our days

December boys got it bad
December boys got it bad

When I get to bed
Late at night
That’s the time he
Makes things right
Ooh when he makes
Love to me

September When It Comes – Rosanne Cash

There’s a cross above the baby’s bed
A Saviour in her dreams
But she was not delivered then
And the baby became me

There’s a light inside the darkened room
A footstep on the stair
A door that I forever close
To leave those memories there

So when the shadows link them
Into an evening sun
Well, first there’s summer then
I’ll let you in
September when it comes

I plan to crawl outside these walls
Close my eyes and see
And fall into the heart and arms
Of those who wait for me

I cannot move a mountain now
I can no longer run
I cannot be who I was then
In a way I never was

I watch the clouds go sailing
I watch the clock and sun
Oh, I watch myself depending on
September when it comes

When the shadows link them
And burn away the clouds
They will fly me like an angel
To a place where I can rest

When this begins
I’ll let you in
September when it comes

Impressioni di settembre – Marlene Kuntz

Quante gocce di rugiada intorno a me
Cerco il sole ma non c’e’
Dorme ancora la campagna, o forse no
è sveglia
Mi guarda
Non so

Già l’odore della terra
Odor di grano
Sale adagio verso me
E la vita nel mio petto, batte piano
Respiro la nebbia
Penso a te

Quanto verde tutto intorno
E ancor piu’ in la’
Sembra quasi un mare d’erba
E leggero il mio pensiero vola e va
Ho quasi paura che si perda…

Un cavallo tende il collo verso il prato
Resta fermo come me
Io faccio un passo
Lui mi vede
è già fuggito
Respiro
La nebbia
Penso a te

No! Cosa sono, adesso non lo so
Sono solo
Un uomo in cerca di se stesso
No! Cosa sono adesso non lo sooooo
Sono solo
Solo il suono del mio passo

E intanto il sole
Tra la nebbia filtra gia’
Il giorno
Come sempre
Sara’…

Aaaaaahhhhhh

September – Sting and Zucchero

One more sunrise
One more empty sky
Though she’s gone
I will stay
Counting days
‘Til September

Sorge il sole
Sui miei giorni
E tu sei
Via da qui
Pregherò
Vieni Settembre

Lunghi giorni d’estate
Mi rattristano un po’
Piove dentro di me
Un deserto che so

Trace her perfume
In my lonely room
Like a dream
Coming down
You’ll come back
Come September

Ma se ascolto però
Queste voci
Sembra strano, lo so
Cade pioggia dal sole

Verrò
Lo sai
Ovunque tu sarai
I lie awake
So many thoughts in my head

E che mai ti dirò
Se tu fossi qui
Io chi mai tradirei
E se fosse cosi
Prego te e prego Dio
Vieni Settembre
Vieni Settembre

More Bricks in the Wall?

Pink FloydThe Wall

THOUGH IT IN no way endangers the meisterwerk musical status of Dark Side of the Moon (still on the charts nearly seven years after its release), Pink Floyd’s twelfth album, The Wall, is the most startling rhetorical achievement in the group’s singular, thirteen-year career. Stretching his talents over four sides, Floyd bassist Roger Waters, who wrote all the words and a majority of the music here, projects a dark, multilayered vision of post-World War II Western (and especially British) society so unremittingly dismal and acidulous that it makes contemporary gloom-mongers such as Randy Newman or, say, Nico seem like Peter Pan and Tinker Bell.

The Wall is a stunning synthesis of Waters’ by now familiar thematic obsessions: the brutal misanthropy of Pink Floyd’s last LP, AnimalsDark Side of the Moon‘s sour, middle-aged tristesse; the surprisingly shrewd perception that the music business is a microcosm of institutional oppression (Wish You Were Here); and the dread of impending psychoses that runs through all these records — plus a strongly felt antiwar animus that dates way back to 1968’s A Saucerful of Secrets. But where Animals, for instance, suffered from self-centered smugness, the even more abject The Wall leaps to life with a relentless lyrical rage that’s clearly genuine and, in its painstaking particularity, ultimately horrifying.

Fashioned as a kind of circular maze (the last words on side four begin a sentence completed by the first words on side one), The Wall offers no exit except madness from a world malevolently bent on crippling its citizens at every level of endeavor. The process — for those of Waters’ generation, at least — begins at birth with the smothering distortions of mother love. Then there are some vaguely remembered upheavals from the wartime Blitz:

Did you ever wonder
Why we had to run for shelter
When the promise of a brave new world
Unfurled beneath a clear blue sky?

In government-run schools, children are methodically tormented and humiliated by teachers whose comeuppance occurs when they go home at night and “their fat and/Psychopathic wives would thrash them/Within inches of their lives.”

As Roger Waters sees it, even the most glittering success later in life — in his case, international rock stardom — is a mockery because of mortality. The halfhearted hope of interpersonal salvation that slightly brightened Animals is gone, too: women are viewed as inscrutable sexual punching bags, and men (their immediate oppressors in a grand scheme of oppression) are inevitably left alone to flail about in increasingly unbearable frustration. This wall of conditioning finally forms a prison. And its pitiful inmate, by now practically catatonic, submits to “The Trial” — a bizarre musical cataclysm out of Gilbert and Sullivan via Brecht and Weill — in which all of his past tormentors converge for the long-awaited kill.

This is very tough stuff, and hardly the hallmark of a hit album. Whether or not The Wall succeeds commercially will probably depend on its musical virtues, of which there are many. Longtime Pink Floyd fans will find the requisite number of bone-crushing riffs and Saturn-bound guitar screams (“In the Flesh”), along with one of the loveliest ballads the band has ever recorded (“Comfortably Numb — “). And the singing throughout is — at last — truly firstrate, clear, impassioned. Listen to the vocals in the frightening “One of My Turns,” in which the deranged rock-star narrator, his shattered synapses misfiring like wet firecrackers, screams at his groupie companion: “Would you like to learn to fly?/Would you like to see me try?”

Problems do arise, however. While The Wall‘s length is certainly justified by the breadth of its thematic concerns, the music is stretched a bit thin. Heavy-metal maestro Bob Ezrin, brought in to coproduce with Roger, Waters and guitarist David Gilmour, adds a certain hard-rock consciousness to a few cuts (especially the nearfunky “Young Lust”) but has generally been unable to match the high sonic gloss that engineer Alan Parsons contributed to Dark Side of the Moon. Even Floydstarved devotees may not be sucked into The Wall‘s relatively flat aural ambiance on first hearing. But when they finally are — and then get a good look at that forbidding lyrical landscape — they may wonder which way is out real fast.

Source: https://www.rollingstone.com/music/music-album-reviews/the-wall-188348/

Behind the Meaning of “Another Brick in the Wall (Part II)” by Pink Floyd

In a world of love songs, Pink Floyd’s “Another Brick in the Wall (Part 2)” inevitably stands out. 

The defiant anthem is a satirical view on formal education, a loud protest against authority, and it became one of Pink Floyd’s most recognizable songs. 

Here we’ll dive into the song’s context, composition, and success.

Just one part of the story.

“Another Brick in the Wall (Part 2)” is as it’s descriptor indicates, only one part of the story. There are three sections of “Another Brick in the Wall” on Pink Floyd’s 1979 rock opera album, The Wall. All three parts total eight odd minutes of building up emotional walls. 

The beginning, “Part 1,” sets the scene with the protagnoist’s first blow from life. His father abandons the narrator, whether that is in death or otherwise, and creates a level of distress. Daddy, what else did you leave for me? / Daddy, what’d ya leave behind for me?

“Part 2,” which we will get to, continues the assembling of emotion. Then, “Part 3” concludes the trilogy with the determination that everyone has simply been just bricks in the wall

Recording an unexpected beat and children’s choir.

Roger Waters, singer/songwriter and bassist for Pink Floyd, wrote the “Another Brick in the Wall” song series and the band recorded the songs for several months in 1979. 

For “Another Brick in the Wall (Part 2),” the underlying beat leans into the themes and sounds of disco. And according guitarist David Gilmour, the band’s producer Bob Ezrin, has suggested this sonic turn. “[Ezrin] said to me, ‘Go to a couple of clubs and listen to what’s happening with disco music,’” Gilmour recalled in a 2009 interview with Guitar World, “so I forced myself out and listened to loud, four-to-the-bar bass drums and stuff and thought, Gawd, awful! Then we went back and tried to turn one of the parts into one of those so it would be catchy.”

Another unique aspect of “Another Brick in the Wall (Part 2)” is the children’s choir that sings the second verse of the song. The collection of young singers was composed of 23 children from the Islington Green School in North London. After recording, the childrens’ part was overdubbed 12 times to give the effect of many, many more children singing. 

Ezrin explains their decision to use a children’s choir: “[W]e sent [engineer] Nick Griffiths to a school near the Floyd studios [in Islington, North London]. I said, ‘Give me 24 tracks of kids singing this thing. I want Cockney, I want posh, fill ’em up,’ and I put them on the song. I called Roger into the room, and when the kids came in on the second verse there was a total softening of his face, and you just knew that he knew it was going to be an important record.”

Lyrics: Say a lot with little.

The lyrics themselves while not necessarily elaborate, speak volumes. 

We don’t need no education
We don’t need no thought control
No dark sarcasm in the classroom
Teacher, leave them kids alone
Hey! Teacher! Leave them kids alone!

It’s a pretty glaring critic of the education system, but Waters explained that it wasn’t so much of a blanket statement on education itself, but rather a statement to inspire a sense of individuality. 

“Obviously, I care deeply about education. I just wanted to encourage anyone who marches to a different drum to push back against those who try to control their minds rather than to retreat behind emotional walls,” Waters told The Wall Street Journal in 2015.

Further explaining how he arrived at these lyrics, Waters revealed that his own experiences in school left a bad taste in his mouth.

“The lyrics were a reaction to my time at the Cambridgeshire High School for Boys in 1955, when I was 12,” Waters told The Wall Street Journal. “Some of the teachers there were locked into the idea that young boys needed to be controlled with sarcasm and the exercising of brute force to subjugate us to their will. That was their idea of education.”

Success and its haters.

Pink Floyd released “Another Brick in the Wall (Part 2)” as a single, their first single release after “Point Me at the Sky” in 1968. The track topped the charts in 14 different countries, including the United States and the U.K. The song also garnered a Grammy nomination and a spot on Rolling Stone’s “The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time” list in 2010. 

Not everyone liked the track, however. The single and the subsequent album were banned in South Africa in 1980 after the lyrics were used by school children to protest their educaiton under apartheid. Prime minster Margaret Thatcher was also reported to have “hated it.”

All in all, it’s just another brick in the wall
All in all, you’re just another brick in the wall

Source: https://americansongwriter.com/behind-the-meaning-of-another-brick-in-the-wall-part-ii-by-pink-floyd/

Another Brick in the Wall, Part 2 by de Pink Floyd

We don’t need no education
We don’t need no thought control
No dark sarcasm in the classroom
Teacher, leave them kids alone

Hey, teacher, leave them kids alone
All in all, it’s just another brick in the wall
All in all, you’re just another brick in the wall

We don’t need no education
We don’t need no thought control
No dark sarcasm in the classroom
Teachers, leave them kids alone

Hey, teacher, leave us kids alone
All in all, you’re just another brick in the wall
All in all, you’re just another brick in the wall

If you don’t eat yer meat, you can’t have any pudding
How can you have any pudding if you don’t eat yer meat?
You! Yes, you behind the bike stands
Stand still, laddy!

40 years later: Are we still just another brick in the wall?

They tell us we are the next generation. A representation of greatness, a symbol of hope, a future of prosperity. They tell us we have the power to fix all the wrongs in this world, make it a better place for all. And then they throw us into the deep end of the pool, expecting us to stay afloat. They don’t even flinch when we become just another brick in the wall.

Pink Floyd shattered the traditional notion of a song with their album “The Wall,” which is widely regarded as one of the best concept albums ever produced. Its most popular single, “Another Brick in the Wall (Part 2),” issued a provocative social statement on the British education system in the 1950’s. 

Although Waters wrote “Another Brick in the Wall” about another country and an earlier generation, the song’s lyrics and key concepts stay relevant to our own education system today. 

We don’t need no education, we don’t need no thought control

Our educational institutions have systematically failed to adapt to change. They continue, even during these unprecedented times, to evaluate student performance based solely on rote memorization rather than progress and learning. We are labeled by our grades, which seems like the ultimate determinant of our futures. Our stomachs drop when a teacher hands back a grade, and we realize we underperformed on an exam. But shouldn’t failing be a learning experience  rather than a punishment? And who decided that letter grades were supposed to determine what we could achieve in our lives? School is not supposed to be a series of memorized algebraic calculations or properly formatted, multi-paragraphed english essays; it’s intended to help us acquire new knowledge and skills, to teach us to collaborate and, most importantly, to inspire us.

However, Waters paints a bleak, but accurate image of the education system in his lyrics; he explains that education revolved around a set of rigid ideas to which all students were expected to conform and teachers were meant to enforce. Just like Roger Waters and his generation, we are being taught to put our heads down and  color inside the lines. But what we truly need is for education to encourage free thinking and critical thought, releasing students and teachers from the confines of the curriculum. 

The reality of our current educational system: we don’t need this type of “education.”  

No dark sarcasm in the classroom; Hey! Teachers leave those kids alone

During our foundational years, we spend most of our lives in school. Yet, so many of us are scared to speak up in class, talk to our teachers or ask our counselors for help.

More than 40 years ago, Waters felt as though teachers served to chastise students whenever they stepped out of line. He too believed that his teachers simply enforced the “rules” of the classroom, turning his educational experience into one of isolation.

From kindergarten through senior year, the same set of rules are designed to mold us into the “ideal student,” one who displays only acceptable behavior in the classroom. 

Don’t speak without raising your hand; don’t go to the bathroom before you ask; don’t talk back to teachers. 

Those who do not follow such rules are deemed “bad children” and punished accordingly. In the music video for “Another Brick in the Wall,” the teacher punishes the main character for reading poetry because it did not fall within the classroom’s guidelines. 

This is where the real question lies: when did school become more intimidating than inviting? As we sit in our Zoom classes, many are too afraid to unmute themselves. We build psychological walls to protect ourselves. School is still an unfriendly, increasingly isolating environment for many students. It can be terrifying to speak up to a teacher, and often “unacceptable” to voice your opinion when an adult says it’s not right.  

The needless rules some teachers impose and the constant fear many students face reinforce Waters’ idea that if teachers cannot create a welcoming learning environment, they really should leave us kids alone. 

You’re just another brick in the wall

As kindergarteners, we are eager to be “grown up,” excited about everything  the world has to offer and filled with innocence. During our last years in high school, that curiosity has dimmed, replaced by a mask of stress, sleeplessness and cynicism.

Pink Floyd sketched this transformation through their lyrics: “you’re just another brick in the wall, all in all it’s just another brick in the wall.”

The education system is a machine, taking us in at kindergarten and spitting us out in 12th grade, isolated and alone,  feeling like just another stitch in the fabric of society. It strips us of our humanity and our individuality as we make our way through the factory; it reminds us at every turn that we are always replaceable.

Yet, we aren’t. We are unique individuals, with passions, motivations and intrinsic drives. We are not clones molded by the education system. We will never be replaceable. We are not “just another brick in the wall.” Let’s stop letting them tell us we are.

Source: https://theblackandwhite.net/69213/opinion/40-years-later-are-we-still-just-another-brick-in-the-wall/

ROGER WATERS: THE WALL 2014

This should be the best place to live in PEACE & LOVE

STOP DESTRUCTION! STOP WAR!

A better place lyrics – A better place lyrics

1, 2, 3, 4
Freedom and Justice
Is the melody that let us shine on
If you feel it through the music
We can make this world a better place.

Freedom and Justice
Is the melody that let us shine on
If you feel it through the music
We can make this world a better place
Live together, love forever
Is the only thing we can do
Hold.. my hand, by me stand
We are gonna make it through.

Ohh..

Freedom and Justice
Is the melody that let us shine on
If you feel it through the music
We can make this world a better place.

Freedom and Justice
Is the melody that let us shine on
If you feel it through the music
https://lyricsofsong.com/w/2ay6

We can make this world a better place.

Freedom.

Freedom and Justice
Is the melody that let us shine on
If you feel it through the music
We can make this world a better place.

Freedom and Justice
Is the melody that let us shine on
If you feel it through the music
We can make this world a better place.

Freedom and Justice
Is the melody that let us shine on
If you feel it through the music.

We can make this world a better place
We can make this world a better place
We can make this world a better place
We can make this world a better place..

Heal the World – Michael Jackson

(Think about um, the generations
And ah, say we want to make it a better place for our children
And our children’s children so that they, they
They, they know it’s a better world for them
And think if they can make it a better place)

There’s a place in your heart
And I know that it is love
And this place it was brighter than tomorrow
And if you really try
You’ll find there’s no need to cry
In this place you’ll feel there’s no hurt or sorrow

There are ways to get there
If you care enough for the living
Make a little space
Make a better place

Heal the world
Make it a better place
For you and for me, and the entire human race
There are people dying
If you care enough for the living
Make a better place for you and for me

If you want to know why
There’s love that cannot lie
Love is strong
It only cares of joyful giving
If we try we shall see
In this bliss we cannot feel
Fear of dread, we stop existing and start living

Then it feels that always
Love’s enough for us growing
Make a better world
So make a better world

Heal the world
Make it a better place
For you and for me, and the entire human race
There are people dying
If you care enough for the living
Make a better place for you and for me

And the dream we were conceived in will reveal a joyful face
And the world we once believed in will shine again in grace
Then why do we keep strangling life
Wound this earth, crucify its soul?
Though it’s plain to see, this world is heavenly
Be god’s glow

We could fly so high
Let our spirits never die
In my heart I feel you are all my brothers
Create a world with no fear
Together we cry happy tears
See the nations turn their swords into plowshares

We could really get there
If you cared enough for the living
Make a little space
To make a better place

Heal the world
Make it a better place
For you and for me, and the entire human race
There are people dying
If you care enough for the living
Make a better place for you and for me
Heal the world
Make it a better place
For you and for me, and the entire human race
There are people dying
If you care enough for the living
Make a better place for you and for me

Heal the world (heal the world)
Make it a better place
For you and for me, and the entire human race
There are people dying
If you care enough for the living
Make a better place for you and for me

There are people dying
If you care enough for the living
Make a better place for you and for me

There are people dying
If you care enough for the living
Make a better place for you and for me

You and for me (for a better place)
You and for me (make a better place)
You and for me (make a better place)
You and for me (heal the world we live in)
You and for me (save it for our children)
You and for me (heal the world we live in)
You and for me (save it for our children)
You and for me (heal the world we live in)
You and for me (save it for our children)
You and for me (heal the world we live in)
You and for me (save it for our children)


Blues Blues K.

B. B. King: The King Of The Blues

They hanged a young black man in Lexington, Mississippi. He was castrated, then the mob dragged his mutilated body up and down the street behind a car, as a teenage boy called Riley B. King watched from the sidewalk.

“Where I came from they used to hang them every week,” BB King tells The Blues. “It wasn’t nothing I hadn’t seen before. That was one of the strange things about white people in that area. Usually you had no problems out of a white family. But the guys, the men, they’d hang some youngster, a black boy, nearly every week or so.”

It’s no wonder the blues flourished in a time and place where just having a black face could get you killed. “I grew up knowing that I didn’t have a name but ‘boy’,” says BB. “‘Come here boy! That’s your name.’ There were certain rules you grew up knowing about. If I saw a white man at that time and didn’t know him, I’d get off the street and let him pass by.”

Racism is still prevalent in the Deep South, as it is all over, but attitudes have changed over the years (“I was shocked more than most white people to find we had a black President!” laughs BB) as The King of the Blues was to discover one life-changing date in the late 60s. It’s early in the afternoon on Sunday February 26, 1967. An old International tour bus nicknamed Big Red rolls up to the Fillmore Auditorium in San Francisco, California.

As the bus comes to a halt, BB King and his entourage peer out of its side windows at the ‘same old funky building’ they’ve played countless times before. On this occasion, the clientele strikes them as unusual. Instead of the mature, well-dressed black patrons they’ve played to since forever, there’s a bunch of scruffy white kids lounging around the Fillmore’s entrance.

“They had long hair,” says BB King. “They were sitting out there on the stairs that led to the doorway of the Fillmore. I told my road manager, ‘I think my agent’s made a mistake.’ All these guys, with the long hair, they didn’t seem to be bothered with us at all.”

The Fillmore is run by impresario and promoter Bill Graham. A champion of the counter-culture scene, Graham and his venue host shows by the likes of The Doors and Jefferson Airplane. He will abandon the Auditorium a year after BB plays there to open the larger capacity Fillmore West and Winterland Ballroom venues, both in San Francisco; and the Fillmore East in New York City.

In the meantime, back at the original Fillmore, BB King is looking for answers.

“I sent my road manager and told him to tell Bill Graham I was there but I thought it was the wrong place. So, we were gonna leave,” says BB. “Bill came back out with the road manager, came on the bus and said, ‘You’re at the right place. Get ready and I’ll take you in.’ I followed him into the same old dressing room. I remember that somebody had took a knife and cut the seat. That happened before Bill bought the place but he hadn’t fixed it [laughs]. Anyway, we started to talk and he told me what he wanted me to do.”

BB and his band are the headliners for this ‘one night only’ show with support from psychedelic group Moby Grape and The Steve Miller Blues Band. Miller himself is making his debut at the Fillmore that afternoon. As it dawns on BB that he has been booked to entertain a young, predominantly white rock audience for the first time in his life, he can feel beads of cold sweat running down the back of his neck. His heart begins racing. His throat goes dry.

“I said to Bill, ‘Man, I can’t handle it. You gonna have to get me a bottle,’” he laughs. “I was drinking then. Bill said, ‘Dude, we don’t sell it.’ I said, ‘I didn’t say nuthin’ about selling it. Get me a bottle!’ He looked at me and said, ‘OK’ and sent someone over with a miniature bottle. I wanted to tell them to send it back but I didn’t. I tried to keep my cool.”

While the support acts do their thing BB can only sit and wait. “Bill said, ‘I’ll come back for you when it’s time to go on,’” he says. “So, I grab the bottle and I go glug, glug, glug [laughs], cos I’m nervous as a cat with about six dogs around him. Finally, Bill sent up a message to me to say he’d be up for me in five or 10 minutes. He was a no-nonsense guy. Whatever you had to do you do it and we ok. That’s the way he was.

“So, I sit there like I’m on pins and sure enough he came and got me. I followed him down to where the bandstand was. He walked out on the stage and said ‘Ladies and gentleman… – and I swear, you could hear a pin drop – ‘I bring you The Chairman of the Board, BB King.’ I’ve never been introduced like that before or since.”

BB walks out onto the stage as the auditorium’s floodlights capture a sea of kids rising to their feet.

“When we used to play the Fillmore [when a guy named Charles Sullivan owned it], it had chairs and tables and stuff,” remembers BB. “Now, all the kids were sat on the floor and when Bill mentioned my name they all stood up. For three or four tunes after that time, they would stand up after every tune.”

Nervous to the point of near collapse, BB is suddenly hit by the size of the audience. At this point in his career he is mainly playing small club dates, with around 200 to 250 people in attendance. The Fillmore Auditorium holds more than a 1,000 souls.

The enthusiastic response from the audience, coupled with his nerve-racked demeanour, proves too much for BB to handle and he breaks down. “I was so touched I cried,” he admits. “Cos I was thinking, ‘what am I gonna do with all these kids out here?’ They didn’t know who I was when I was walking through the door, but they had heard of me, they knew about me and for some reason they seemed to think that I was pretty good as a guitarist.”

BB’s stock is running high with young rock fans in the late 60s. It’s just that he doesn’t know it yet. When kids ask white American blues guitarists like Mike Bloomfield (of Paul Butterfield Blues Band fame) how he learned to play the blues the response was invariably, ‘BB King’.

Now, the Fillmore audience has at last had its opportunity to pay respects to The King of the Blues, and as an emotionally drained BB hits his last note of the night, soaks up the applause, then turns to leave the stage, he breaks down once again.

BB broke the seal at the Fillmore Auditorium. All of a sudden there was no such thing as a typical BB King fan or blues listener in general. The whole white audience discovery thing that had already boosted the careers of John Lee Hooker, Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf and a host of obscure Delta blues artists dragged out of retirement, had passed BB King by.

The reason for that is that BB was a progressive musician. He moved with the times to keep one step ahead of the needs of his black audiences. They didn’t want a folk blues revival. BB’s audience had sophisticated tastes. They wanted horns, strings, backing singers… the whole nine yards. BB wasn’t about to start looking back.

It’s only in recent years that BB King has even allowed himself to pause and reflect on his illustriuous past. Hence the 2008 opening of his BB King Museum and Delta Interpretive Centre in his old stomping ground of Indianola, Mississippi.

There’s the forthcoming movie – The Life of Riley directed by Jon Brewer – which sees the film maker burrow into every aspect of BB’s past. And there’s this feature, where BB and pals like Eric Clapton, John Mayall, Mick Taylor and others discuss his amazing history and why he’s still so revered 63 years after he cut his first record.

The story begins with BB King’s birth on September 16, 1925. “I was born, according to my dad, between Indianola and Itta Bena in Mississippi,” says BB, who was christened Riley B. King. His father Albert described the exact location of his son’s birthplace (just outside of Berclair in LaFlore County) to BB’s biographer Charles Sawyer, shortly before he died. “My dad led us there by tape recorder. By telling Charles how to get there he was able to lead us – and my bus – all the way to where I was born.”

According to BB, his parents split up when he was around five years old. There was also a brother who died, of whom he has no recollection. His father moved on while his mother, Nora Ella Farr, took the boy Riley to live with his maternal grandmother, Elnora Farr, in Kilmichael, Mississippi. “I had nothing to say about it,” says BB today. “She carried me with her. My mother carried me to church every Sunday too. I didn’t like to go. She made me go cos whatever my mother said to do was done! I loved her but she was strict… very strict.”

Funnily enough, BB’s attitude to Sunday morning scripture meetings soon changed. “I started to see girls,” he laughs. “I would see them sitting down at the front of the pulpit and I got to wanting to go to church! Every time they had a meeting each Sunday I would be one of the first to go in because there was girls there. I’ve liked girls all my life.”

BB was also keen on his pastor, the Reverend Archie Fair – but for very different reasons, obviously. “I liked him because he played guitar,” says BB, of his first stirrings of interest in the instrument. “I liked the way he played, sang and preached in church. He had a style of his own and I liked it.”

BB always gave credit where it was due, claiming that he got his guitar style by trying to sound like T-Bone Walker – and failing. It was also T-Bone that inspired the kid to get an electric guitar, after BB met him at WDIA radio station. The credit for giving him the guitar bug in the first place, however, falls to the good Reverend Fair.

“I remember when he would visit my uncle. My mother’s brother was married to the preacher’s sister. He would always lay his guitar on the bed – the soft parts of the bed – and I’d bother with it while they was eating dinner. The adults would eat first, before they would let us kids eat. Well, one day they got through eating sooner than I thought and they caught me with the guitar. My uncle was a mean guy. He figured he’d get ready to beat me up. My pastor begged him not to bother me. He didn’t, and from that moment I adored Archie Fair [laughs].”

Life for Riley was good for a while, but blues-inspiring heartache was on the way. BB’s mother passed away when he was nine and a half years old. His grandmother died two years later. “I felt deserted,” says BB. “When she died, there was no one to live with that I wanted to live with. My uncle still lived in the area, and I had an aunt that lived in the area, but I didn’t like either of them to live with.”

So Riley spent two years on his own – working as a sharecropper – until his father came back into his life. “When he found out where I was, he came back. I was still a minor. He was married again and had four more kids.”

Albert took his son to his home in Lexington, Mississippi to meet his new siblings: “I had been living with other people all of my life. So I learned to live and tried to get along with everybody because there’s one of me… and four of them.”

Unfortunately, happy families was not on the cards for BB, and he was soon on his own again: “I didn’t like my stepmother,” he explains. “I later found out that she was a good woman. It was me. I didn’t understand her and didn’t like her.”

BB rode his bicycle from Lexington back to Kilmichael, a journey of about 100 miles. “When I got up there all of the blacks had left,” he recalls. “So, I went back to the Delta to pick cotton just as the war was starting. I fell in love with a girl called Martha, did basic training, and got married. I was 18. She was 17.”

King was already singing and playing guitar with gospel group The Famous St. John’s Quartet, based in Inverness, Mississippi, when a silly accident forced him to go on the run to Memphis, Tennessee. He somehow damaged the exhaust on a tractor and, fearing that the plantation owner would ‘kill him’, he took off.

One big misconception that gets on BB’s nerves is his relationship with Delta bluesman Bukka White, with whom he first hooked up on that unscheduled trip to Memphis.“Bukka was not my uncle!” shouts BB, hoping he’s cleared this one up once and for all. “He was my cousin– my mother’s first cousin. My mother’s mother was a sister to his mother [laughs].”

Another popular misconception is that Bukka helped BB get a foothold in the Memphis blues scene on his first visit to the city. “No, he helped me get a job,” BB explains. “I worked for a company called the Newberry Equipment Company. That’s where Bukka was working, so he helped me get a job. I stayed there a long time.” It was, however, apparently Bukka who inspired BB’s sartorial elegance, telling the young musician something along the lines of “When you play the blues, always dress like you’re going to the bank to borrow money.”

Eventually, the misunderstanding over the broken tractor exhaust was settled, via a polite letter courtesy of BB and either $600 or $800 – the exact figure escapes him – and he returned home to his wife and job. He wasn’t back for long, however, before the lure of Memphis proved too strong to resist. This time, though, he was determined to make his way, and money, as well as a musician.

BB found a job on Memphis radio station WDIA – which was the first to be programmed entirely by African-Americans – on Union Avenue.

“I don’t know why, but all of the radio stations east of the Mississippi river started with a W,” says BB, shaking his head. “All of them west of the Mississippi started with a K, I think. I never knew why it was like that but that’s the way it was.”

Speaking of initials, it was while working at the station that young Riley B. King first picked up his ‘Beale Street Blues Boy’ nickname – a reference to the local blues landmark, where he now owns a nightclub. The nickname was later shortened to ‘Blues Boy’, then ‘Bee Bee’ (as seen painted on his guitar amplifier in a photo from the time), before he settled on the now legendary BB.

It wasn’t long until BB decided he wanted to make a record. “I got in touch with a group out of Nashville,” he recalls. “The record company was called Bullet. So, I talked with them, and had my boss out at the radio station talk with them, and they agreed to record me.”

BB recorded four sides at the WDIA station in May or June 1949, for release on the Bullet label. Miss Martha KingWhen Your Baby Packs Up And GoesGot the Blues and Take A Swing With Me. All four tracks were recorded with pianist Phineas Newborn, Jr, guitarist Calvin Newborn, tenor saxophonist Ben Branch, trumpet player Thomas Branch, Sammy Jett on trombone, the brilliantly-named Tuff Green on bass and drummer Phineas Newborn, Sr.

The band were all top-notch cats. Sadly, BB’s self-penned tracks were way beneath them, with the man himself admitting they weren’t up to scratch. But as he says, “you can hear what I was trying to get to.”

BB soon found himself being pursued by the Bihari Brothers, the owners of Modern Records. “They found me,” says King. “I was still at the radio station. I stayed at the radio station long after I was sort of popular. Long after. They found me because of Ike Turner. He knew the Bihari Brothers and he sort of worked as a scout for them at the time and he knew me… And I knew him.”

Now, this might be teaching your granny to suck eggs but we should mention that BB King calls whatever Gibson ES-355 semi-acoustic guitar he happens to be using at any given time, Lucille. The reason he does that is the stuff of blues lore… and if you don’t know the story, you should.

Towards the end of 1949, BB is playing a date at a dance hall in Twist, Arkansas. It’s a cold night so, in seemingly typical Arkansas fashion, the hall is being heated by a barrel part-filled with kerosene that has been lit, a fairly common practice at the time. While BB and his band are performing onstage, a fight breaks out between two guys nursing some type of beef. Of course, during the scuffle the blokes knock over the barrel of kerosene. The burning fuel spills out and the building is soon aflame.

BB, along with anyone else with any sense, runs out of the building then remembers that he’s left his Gibson guitar on the stage. He runs back into the hall and grabs his guitar. The next day, King discovers that not only did two people perish in the fire, but the two men who were fighting were fighting for the honour, or otherwise, of a woman called Lucille. King christened the guitar he rescued Lucille, and every one he’s owned since, to remind him never to act so stupid again.

The Bihari Brothers set up some recording time with producer Sam Phillips at his Memphis Recording and Sound Service at 706 Union Avenue – the place that would soon become better known as Sun Studio, the home of Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash and Carl Perkins, and the original sound of rockabilly.

BB cut some sides at the studio – including Boogie – until the relationship between the Bihari Brothers and Sam Phillips soured. BB had his own bone to pick with Phillips: “He said something – and I’m quite touchy – he said Howlin’ Wolf was the best blues singer that he had ever recorded. I had been over there too, so I figured he didn’t give a damn about me.” [Phillips to his credit, maintained his belief that Howlin’ Wolf was the greatest ever, right up until his death in 2003.]

As it happens, BB’s first breakthrough hit was in the post. Recorded in the Memphis YMCA in September 1951, Three O’Clock Blues was a song that BB had been practicing for some time: “I had heard Three O’Clock Blues from Lowell Fulson. I got to where I could sing it good, so the Bihari Brothers let me cut it and it was a hit. But what they did – they copyrighted the song as if I had wrote it, but I didn’t. So, it was a big selling record for me. I started then to begin writing songs myself.”

BB’s first bonafide classic the song made an impact on listeners way beyond the airwaves around Memphis.

“I first heard BB King on Three O’Clock Blues,” remembers Blues Breaker boss John Mayall. “I came out of the army in 1955, and up to that point I hadn’t heard him; or heard of him pretty much. Somebody that lived down the road, a West Indian, happened to have a 78 of BB’s record. I was just amazed at his high singing voice. That was the first thing that struck me; and just the way he was playing. It was something very different.”

For Eric Clapton, BB found his groove while working with the Bihari Brothers in the 1950s: “I think he found his voice early on with the guitar,” says Clapton. “If anything, it’s really just become more refined. He doesn’t have to play as much, as he did in the old days. He found a way to condense it. When I first heard him it would have been Sweet 16 Part 1 & 2 (recorded in Los Angeles in 1959). It’s a mono recording, and he’s obviously playing live with a big orchestra.

“I immediately recognised that he was playing guitar like he sings. His voice is answering the guitar. No other blues guitar player can do that in the same way. BB sings with his guitar.”

The relationship between BB and the Bihari Brothers ended when he jumped ship to ABC. The reason? The oldest one in the book: money. “I have a friend named Fats Domino,” says BB. “He was on ABC and, at that time, it looked like everything he touched was a hit record. That’s when he told me I was with the wrong people.”

BB lost a certain amount of artistic freedom when he split from the Bihari Brothers, but his association with ABC gave him financial stability and lead to him recording one of the greatest blues records of all time, Live At The Regal. This is the record that drove a bunch of tone hungry English kids crazy in 60s London – and this is the point in the feature where BBs famous fans take over the narration to discuss his influence, legacy and genius.

“There was a now-defunct blues record shop in Lisle Street in Soho, near the old Flamingo Club,” recalls former Rolling Stones guitarist Mick Taylor. “All the guitarists used to go there on a Saturday morning – Jeff Beck, Eric Clapton, loads of people. They used to import American blues albums and singles. One of the first albums I ever bought was Live At The Regal, recorded at a famous theatre in Chicago. That was very influential… And an album that’s dear to my heart. That’s BB King in his prime.”

BB’s 1965 Live At The Regal is a career-defining record in much the same way as his later anthem, The Thrill Is Gone. The album is an example of ‘as good as it gets’, thanks to a dynamite performance from BB and his band, captured at the Regal Theater on the South Side of Chicago on November 21, 1964. Aside from BB, the line-up features top-line dudes: Duke Jethro on piano, Kenny Sands on trumpet Johnny Board, Bobby Forte (both tenor sax), bassist Leo Lauchie and drummer Sonny Freeman. BB works the crowd like a pro, pulling screams of ecstasy from the women and howls and hollers from the men.

Curiously, the only person that doesn’t get the album’s significance is BB himself. “I think it’s a good album, yes,” he says, calmly. “But it wasn’t like some people have said, that it was the best thing I’d ever done.”

But for guitarists like Mick Taylor, Live At The Regal is a masterclass in using the guitar as an extension of the voice. “I thought about it a lot back in the days when I was still learning about blues playing,” says Taylor. “Learning the art of singing and answering what you were singing with a guitar phrase… I think that’s where BB King is a master. He has a great voice, and a great sense of dynamics. He could bring a song right down, and of course his band would follow him. Unlike Albert King’s band; if they missed a beat or were too loud, Albert would turn round and give them the evil eye… a nasty look. I’ve never seen BB King do that.”

Live At The Regal was like this pivotal musical watershed that took me away from the British Blues – temporarily,” says Joe Bonamassa. “I had just discovered American blues for the very first time, after listening to the English stuff like Clapton, Peter Green, Paul Kossoff and Free, and every incarnation of John Mayall and the Blues Breakers. Live At The Regal was the first American blues album I really liked. It was lively, and big, and had horns.”

“BB King has been a huge influence on me,” says Free and Bad Company vocalist Paul Rodgers. “When I first met Paul Kossoff and he asked if he could get up and jam with me at The Fickle Pickle in Finsbury Park all those many years ago, the first things we played were BB King songs like Every Day I Have The Blues, off Live At The Regal. Paul introduced me to that record and we really sat and listened to it. One of the things that BB has is a great rapport with the audience.”

If BB was unaware of the effect his records were having on American kids in the late 60s, there’s no way he could have guessed the influence he was exerting over in London. Blues Breakers leader John Mayall had no trouble spotting which of his Holy Trinity of guitarists were feeling BB’s style the most.

“Of the three main guitar players from the English stable – Eric, Peter Green and Mick Taylor – I would say that Eric was most influenced by Freddie King; Mick Taylor was most influenced by Albert King; and Peter Green was most definitely a BB King devotee. He learned how to play as little as possible, and most effectively as possible, in the same way that BB can play one note and you know exactly who it is. So, that was Peter’s goal. I think he learned a great deal from BB.”

“That’s dead right to me… Very observant,” says Eric Clapton.

Mick Taylor, however, is not so sure. “Well, John is entitled to his opinion,” he says. “But I actually think Eric was influenced by Freddie and BB King. BB especially.”

BB has his own opinion on the subject. “I think Eric liked me as a guitarist – he’s a good friend,” he says. “But I don’t think he idolised me like he did with Albert King and Buddy Guy.”

“There’s simplicity and honesty in BB’s playing,” continues Mayall. “What he can do with one note a lot of lesser guitar players would not be able to accomplish playing a million notes a minute. He’s been a great influence on a lot of people I know who have latched onto the fact that it’s not how many notes you play, it is how you play them in order to convey your feelings.”

The old ‘one note’ thing doesn’t half get on some guitar players’ goats, but if there is a blues player that is recognisable from a single pluck, it has to be BB King.

“Yeah, one note is all it takes for BB,” says Eric Clapton. “Often that’s exactly what he’ll do. He’ll slide up to hit the octave to make a point. It’s like an exclamation mark. He’ll sing a phrase, and to punctuate it and give it drama he’ll slide up and hit that octave with just the right amount of vibrato. It’s about economy and power, with the maximum amount of passion.”

“I’d say that’s true, yeah,” agrees Mick Taylor. “His sound is completely unique to him. One or two notes and I know it’s BB. Certainly no more than three! I think his vibrato sets him apart. Eric’s playing and BB King’s playing is similar in that in the sense that they have the same kind of vibrato.”

Eric Clapton remembers the first time he played with BB. Well, a reasonable chunk of it.

“It was during a period when I had become friends with Al Kooper,” he says. “He’d formed this band called Blood, Sweat and Tears, and their debut gig was at the Cafe Au Go-Go [in New York’s Greenwich Village]. So, I’d gone down with Al to see them play. I don’t remember how the jam with BB came about, but there we were, and I’ve seen pictures of us sitting on our amplifiers playing together.

“What I do remember – and it’s sad for the guy – the bass player with Blood, Sweat and Tears – a guy called Jim Fielding I think – managed to stay four bars ahead of everybody, you know, for about half an hour. I thought it was quite an achievement in itself. When you get to the end of a 12-bar sequence, someone will shout and everyone will fall back into the sequence. Well, this guy managed to remain out of sync the whole time.”

“I was 17,” says Texan slide guitar genius Johnny Winter. “It was a club in Belmont, Texas called The Raven. I heard it on the radio that BB King was gonna be there. So, I gotta hear this! I had a fake I.D. and got in.”

Johnny was a fan but he wasn’t there just to listen to his idol play.

“Yeah, I bothered him,” he laughs. “I wanted to see him, but I really wanted him to hear me. I kept sending my band members up to ask him if it was alright if I played.”

What Johnny and his friends didn’t realise is that BB was eyeing them with suspicion. “We were the only white people in the club, and he’d been having tax problems,” laughs Johnny. “He thought we were from the IRS! He finally let me play and I got a standing ovation.”

BB chuckles at the memory; he remembers the encounter well. Not only the fear of undercover tax men, but his first taste of the young guitarist’s playing: “Johnny was good,” he says.

Not only did Johnny and his mates put the wind up poor old BB, he also forgot to bring any gear with him. “Yeah, I didn’t bring my guitar,” continues Johnny. “So I played Lucille!”

Johnny admits that BB went out of his way to accomodate him. “It was very nice of him to let me play cos he didn’t know whether I could play or not,” he says. I remember he kept saying, ‘We have arrangements’. I said, ‘I’ve heard all your records. I know all your arrangements.’

“BB asked to see my union card. He wanted to check me out. It took him a long time before he decided to let me play. I think he was so glad that we weren’t coming to bust him for his taxes; he didn’t care if I could play or not [laughs].”

“I met BB King on May 24, 1990,” says Joe Bonamassa. “I’d just turned 13. I was playing shows in upstate New York. When you’re that young and you play blues music you tend to get a lot of media. Especially how I looked – I was like this pudgy white kid with a Telecaster. I was attracting a decent crowd. Mainly curiosity seekers at that point – when I showed up to these gigs it was kind of like a circus. This one promoter rang my mother one time and booked me to open up for BB King, which was a thrill because about three years before that I had discovered Live At The Regal. To meet him that first time was extraordinarily special for me, because he was one of my musical heroes. When you’re that young and able to meet someone like that, it was really a special thrill. I just thought I’d play the show and then move on, but he ended up calling me back to his dressing room and we had a really lovely chat and I got to sit in with him that night. It was my big break and it totally changed my life. He plucked me out of obscurity. I’ve played shows with BB King pretty much every year for the past 22 years.”

When BB King passes on, sad as it will be, we’ll wager that he’ll be performing onstage, lounging around in his tour bus, or trundling somewhere between the two. While he’s not running at the speed he was when he played 342 shows in one year back in 1956, the man is 86 years of age and still tours his ass off. Like his contemporaries Chuck Berry and Jerry Lewis, the desire to hit the road is undiminished in BB, regardless of age and ill-health (in his case, King has suffered from Type 2 diabetes). He’s never happier than when he’s pulling into a new town and playing shows, spending hours chatting to fans and signing autographs.

While not many of the characters interviewed for this feature – and Jon Brewer’s brilliant film, The Life Of Riley – would expect BB to continue touring the world for much longer, all believe he’ll keep up his commitments in North America. For his part Eric Clapton is adamant that BB will never really put Lucille back in her case for good, unless he really has to. As Slowhand says: “It’s his life. It’s what he does.”

“He’s a trooper!” shouts Paul Rodgers. “He’s played almost every night of the week for years and years. I think he just takes Christmas day off or something ridiculous like that… amazing guy.”

Others that you would consider consummate road warriors are still blown away by BB’s relentless schedule. “I do about 120 gigs a year,” says Johnny Winter. “BB used to play almost every night when he was younger. He played like 350 gigs a year. I don’t know anybody that could play as much as he did. Playing keeps you young.”

When we ask the man himself if he’ll ever stop rolling down the highway he looks us in the eye and replies with a simple “No.”

Ask him how he’d like to be remembered and BB takes a little more time to reach for an answer.

“‘He was a pretty nice guy’,” he says eventually with a grin. “No… something like, ‘He was a son of a bitch but he was himself!‘”

Source: https://www.loudersound.com/features/bb-king-the-king-of-the-blues

BB King was great because he played ‘out of tune’

There are those who believed that BB King wasn’t the world’s greatest guitar player, including the man himself. In a recent interview he said:

I call myself a blues singer, but you ain’t never heard me call myself a blues guitar man. Well, that’s because there’s been so many can do it better’n I can, play the blues better’n me.

And his musical vocabulary was limited; King once told Bono: “I’m no good with chords, so what we do is, uh, get somebody else to play chords… I’m horrible with chords”. He even claimed that he couldn’t play and sing at the same time.

Speaking as someone who used to teach guitar, I would agree that BB King wasn’t a particularly technical player. Although he was one of the first guitarists to have hits with single-note electric blues solos, he was followed by a wave of more proficient and versatile practitioners, prominent among them Eric Clapton, Bonnie Raitt, Robert Cray and Stevie Ray Vaughan.

Despite this, he continued to play to packed houses well into his 80s and remains one of the most loved and respected guitarists in music history. So what was it about King’s playing that has captivated me and so many others? I think the answer lies the way he never played perfectly in tune.

Blue notes

Like most blues players, King based many of his phrases and licks on the minor pentatonic scale, which is a simple “box shape” on the fingerboard that most electric guitarists learn very early in their careers. Indeed, box shapes are such a simple musical vocabulary that blues guitarists often don’t even need to know the names of the notes they’re playing (in my experience, this fact often comes as a shock to classical musicians).

The minor pentatonic scale – and its close cousin the blues scale – works by omitting some steps from the full minor scale. This simplifies the melodic choices available to the soloist, effectively limiting the musical vocabulary of the melody. But it’s this melodic constraint that I think gave BB King’s playing the opportunity to develop its majestic and expressive style. He was what I like to call a microtonal guitarist – his solos were made more expressive by bending the notes slightly out of tune.

King’s seventh-to-octave licks were sometimes slightly flat, his fifths would sometimes slowly drift toward the note as the string bend was pushed from the note below, and – most importantly – he was a lifelong student of the mysterious “blues third”, the note that can be found somewhere in the cracks between the third step of the minor and major scale.

King’s thirds could be wayward, mischievous, reflective, reckless, argumentative, morose, pensive or accusatory. Take a listen to his performance from Montreux in 1993. At [0:29] the third is sharp, brazenly drawing attention to itself as an almost-wrong E-natural against the brass section’s A flat chord. At [1:21] it’s right in the middle of the cracks, starting angrily on the full minor third and quickly bending upward as the titular “thrill” ride disappears down the road, speeding away from the lyric’s lonely protagonist. At [1:49] there’s a seven-note lick where every note is slightly out of tune, and the thirds drift between major and minor intervals in a way that, to me, resembles the fluctuations of a human voice – followed by an almost silent final minor third, the upward string bend resembling nothing less than an intake of breath.

This is what BB King fans mean when they say he’s speaking through the guitar. The irregularities in his tuning are more than just a stylistic feature – they are the way he communicates musically. The blues genre’s simple chords and predictable note choices are not the point of the performance; they’re just the shape of the picture frame through which King’s artistry can be seen.

And while that agonised “blues face” he pulls when he up-bends a string may be partly showmanship, it is also representative of the incredibly subtle and difficult judgement a great blues player has to make as the string bend approaches the perfectly expressive out-of-tune note.

Still not convinced? Think my analysis represents the over-constructed ramblings of a grieving electric blues fan? Have a listen to these three different King performances.

In 3 o’clock blues (1952), the licks are brash and loud but the microtones are unsubtle, as the 26-year-old King ambitiously shows off his newly-minted technique to the world. In Sweet Little Angel (1964) we hear King the live showman at the height of his powers; the guitar licks respond dynamically to the crowd, as the pitching of the thirds reacts to the auditorium’s screams in real time. The 2006 recording of The Thrill is Gone shows King in his sunset years, with the occasional fluffed note but the microtones and dynamics more varied than ever – the confident maturity of an old man who knows his audience is hanging on his every note.

BB King’s subtle string bends are the sound of a musician completely immersed in his communication medium, speaking a special and unique musical language that he has been inventing for a lifetime. The great man is gone, but his blue notes will live forever.

Source: https://theconversation.com/bb-king-was-great-because-he-played-out-of-tune-41910

B.B. King, The Blues, and African American Identity

Last week people across the world mourned the passing of Blues legend B.B. King. His legacy as a musician has been secure for decades. One of the hardest working men in show business (at the least enough of a hard worker to have an excellent show with the hardest working man in show business, James Brown), King’s career is an example of the larger African American experience in music and American entertainment. In my post for today, I am going to consider another part of King’s legacy. Later in his career, B.B. King was gravely concerned about the status of the Blues among African American listeners. Was it still a musical form, by the 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s, being consumed by African American listeners? Or had it become a genre mainly listened to by white listeners? And, finally, why should this question matter to intellectual historians?

Questions about African American identity and American music have long been a concern for intellectuals, lay listeners of music, and musicians. From Al Jolson’s performances in blackface in the early 20th century, to concerns about the appropriation of “black” music by superstars such as Elvis Presley, to modern-day debates about the merits of white hip hop artists such as Eminem and Iggy Azalea, the interrelated questions of who can perform “black” music and, more importantly, just what constitutes “black” music, has shaped modern American understandings of popular music. The blues has been no less plagued by this question.

As far back as 1979, readers in Ebony magazine were treated to this debate. The timing of this was not a coincidence. Consider the release of a recent book, Country Soul: Making Music and Making Race in the American South by Charles L. Hughes. In this book, Hughes argues that the 1960s and 1970s were a time in which both the genres of soul and country became places where black and white southerners teased out and re-shaped ideas of southern identity in the post-Civil Rights Movement era. Of course, other historians—Jefferson Cowie in Stayin’ Alive for instance—have also written about the 1970s as a period of cultural ferment in terms of white identity, especially in the American South. Not surprising, then, that the blues would be but one place where questions of identity manifested themselves.

African American blues and rock singers in the 1970s argued whether white performers could correctly “sing” the blues. For Ray Charles, the blues was born “out of a special African-American group experience,” as paraphrased by Hollie I. West, who interviewed Charles. This belief that the blues was special to African Americans precisely because of this relationship to African American history was something for which B.B. King also argued. And if you were black and not listening to the blues—well, various articles also expressed a fear among older African Americans that their legacy and heritage were being forgotten. Take notice of the language from this 1979 essay about white Americans singing the blues: “And while young Whites listen to traditional bluesmen, young Blacks support groups such as Earth, Wind and Fire and the O’Jays, musicians whose flashy style and breezy art fits the contemporary Black lifestyle—and dance steps—of young Blacks more than Muddy Waters’ or Joe Turner’s.” In other words, the question becomes: what does it mean for African American culture when the blues is no longer in vogue?

King himself addressed the question several times during his career. It seemed that Ebony, not surprisingly, did a reflective piece on either him or the blues field itself. By 1990 King was quoted as taking notice of the largely white audiences he was performing for, and later on he argued that the blues was central to the African American experience. King stated: “More than anything else, it is important to study history, to know history,” he says. “To be a black person and sing the blues, you are Black twice. I’ve heard it said, ‘If we don’t know whence we came, we don’t know how to where we are trying to go.’” Where you stand on the blues becomes a statement for how you believe African American society must adapt to the future. It seemed for Charles and King both that the blues was an integral part of African American identity. Without the blues as a glue to hold African American identity together, to serve as a reminder of both good days and bad, the idea of being African American turns to dust—or at least becomes something unrecognizable to members of an earlier generation.

For intellectual historians, the questions raised by Ray Charles, B.B. King, and other musicians—not to mention intellectuals from this era—about the African American experiences become crucial to thinking about other questions plaguing thinkers at the same time. Consider questions about the urban crisis during the 1970s and 1980s. And then tie them back to what Charles and King express, which is a reluctance to celebrate white Americans embracing a “black” art form. While much of that is born out of their own experiences with segregation and the exploitation of black talent and labor in the music industry during much of the 20th century, it’s also an exploration of the questions black intellectuals posed in the 1970s and 1980s about the gains and, yes, inferred losses for African American society due to desegregation. Often black intellectuals, activists, politicians, and community leaders would look back to previous generations and argue, “Those families, those groups were more stable .What happened to us since then?” A nostalgia for a more united black past—one born out of the fires of segregation and, before that, slavery, but lost with the advent of desegregation—permeates much of the language surrounding arguments about the fate of the blues. That’s not to dismiss those concerns. But as intellectual historians we should never forget the importance of music such as the blues to demarcating generational lines of agreement, disagreement, debate, and discussion. Or, at the very least, we should consider them as echoes of larger cultural and intellectual debates—perhaps, even, the echoes wars or fractures of culture.

Source: https://s-usih.org/2015/05/b-b-king-the-blues-and-african-american-identity/

Feel Good!

The difference between Feelings, Emotions and Moods

Do you know someone who always seems to have it all together? No matter what comes their way, they remain calm, cool and collected. You might feel like a wreck compared to them, especially if you’re prone to easily getting stress or struggle with anxiety. What makes them tick? Do they have less emotions than the rest of us? Not likely. Chances are they just have a better understanding of their feelings and know how to regulate their moods.

But what is the difference between feelings and emotions? Although they are used interchangeably, there is a distinction between them. Each one factors into your mood, and your mood provides cognitive feedback for your emotions. It may seem like a complicated cycle, but you can learn how to better understand each one and, in turn, feel more in control of yourself, too.

WHAT ARE FEELINGS?

Feelings can be physical sensations, like hot or cold, or mental perceptions. They can be considered the conscious expression of your emotions. For example, you may feel the emotion of fear, but it could result in feeling anxiety or anger. Feelings emerge from your brain’s processing and interpretation of any given emotion.

WHAT ARE EMOTIONS?

Psychologists debate how many emotions humans can feel, but all of them can be categorized into four basic emotions: anger, joy, sadness and fear. These emotions are primitive, spanning back millennia to our ancestors. They are survival mechanisms that helped human beings evolve. Fear, for example, was a helpful response to serious threats that could have ended someone’s life. Fear even played a role on a social level, helping our ancestors adapt favorable behaviors to avoid being isolated from society.

Today, our emotions are just as important, but we often confuse them with our reactions. That’s why therapy can be so helpful; it helps you dig deeper and sometimes discover emotions that seem completely unrelated to what you’re feeling but, with introspection, make perfect sense.

WHAT ARE MOODS?

Your mood is your emotional state at a given time. You could be cranky, frustrated, stressed, calm or any other number of moods depending on the situation. For people with mood disorders, moods are either exaggerated and difficult to manage or change too frequently. They may suffer from a persistent low mood, as is the case in clients with major depressive disorder or dysthymia.

Your surroundings and perception of your emotions largely influence your mood. People with low emotional intelligence (EQ), that is the ability to understand, interpret and respond to their emotions, tend to struggle with their mood states more than those with higher EQ.

HOW CAN YOU LEARN TO CONTROL YOUR EMOTIONS BETTER?

Emotions, feelings and moods are all temporary, but they can have long-lasting effects on your life. If you feel like yours are getting in the way of your happiness, therapy can help. Contact us at Foundations Family Counseling to learn more about our approach to therapy and what we may be able to help you with.

Source: https://foundationsfamilycounseling.com/the-difference-between-feelings-emotions-and-moods/

Moods and Emotions: What’s The Difference Anyway?

When we are trying to deal with the world of emotion, we can often forget or be confused about the differences between moods and emotions. Knowing what are moods and what are emotions, and getting clear on the differences may help us understand ourselves, and understand others better. So what are moods versus emotions?

What are moods? Moods stay for a while

In general, the differences are fairly straightforward. Paul Ekman in his accessible book ‘Emotions Revealed’, says that moods are generally emotional feelings. They can last for an extended period of time, say at least one or two days. When we have these moody periods, they often feel like stages that we are going through and they are hard to shift. They often seem like they are brought on by circumstances; pressure at work, pressure at home, money trouble.

Emotions come and go quickly

In contrast, emotions are things that tend to come and go quite quickly. We can think of these emotions as being positive or negative (although the idea of negative emotions is a myth). They’re also much more likely to be caused by immediate circumstances; something that someone just said, something that you witnessed or some memories that you had.

Emotions are likely to be sharper than moods, and also more varied; while we can have a great range of exquisitely different emotions, we tend to have moods which are more generalised — a good mood, a bad mood.

Small things we experience can change our emotions quickly, and we can experience more than one emotion at once, and these can reflect different parts of us.

Affects – what we actually feel

The third part of the equation here is Affect. Affect is the physical sensations you have when you have emotions. These are the butterflies in the stomach that we experience with anxiety, the muscular tension that anger can bring, or the ache in the heart we have with grief.

These Affects can be the thing we notice about emotions, and the thing that we can find most distressing about them. I’ve written more about Affect before.

Moods and emotions

We can experience moods and emotions at the same time, but emotions seem to ‘sit on top’ of moods. For instance, whilst in a bad mood is quite possible to have brief feelings of happiness and joy. Similarly, when a good mood, it is still possible to feel sad or angry feelings. However, it is much more likely that your mood will influence the emotion you feel. So it’s not really a question of moods versus emotions; instead it’s more moods and emotions.

If this happens, the emotion may have the same flavour as the mood. In this way, our emotions are susceptible to the mood we are in, and this also make us more likely to interpret our environment in particular ways and distort our thinking. When we are in a bad mood, it is much easier to misinterpret things in the light of this bad mood.

Understanding what are moods and emotions – and their differences – takes time and practice. When you do, you can sometimes see that the anger and frustration you are feeling isn’t caused by the people around you but by a mood you have been feeling before you walked in the door and that they shouldn’t be blamed. I’ve written before on what you can do when you’re in a bad mood.

Source: http://timhillpsychotherapy.com/moods-vs-emotions/

What Are Feelings: The Most Fascinating Facts About Our Emotional States

A feeling is an experience of emotion. While the term “feeling” can be used to describe purely physical sensations, such as touch or pain, in the context of this article we are going to talk about feelings as psychological phenomenon, such as being head over heels in love or simply feeling like a cool dude.

Feelings are important because they are largely responsible for our entire experience of life. It’s our feelings that determine whether we are happy or sad, content or frustrated. There is no shortage of examples of people who seem to have it all, yet feel unhappy, unfulfilled and depressed. On the other hand, there are those who defy all odds and lead happy and fulfilling lives despite obvious disadvantages, such as extreme poverty or physical disabilities.

It is our feelings that motivate us to do things:

  • working out to feel attractive,
  • studying to feel smart and/or accepted,
  • working extra hard to compensate for our real or imagined flaws in order to feel like a worthy romantic partner.

Some people donate money not because of their concern for the less fortunate but to feel better about themselves.

Many of us buy products not because we really need them but because they make us feel better about ourselves, or so we hope. Feeling beautiful, stylish, rich, luxurious, cool are just a few examples.

Despite intellectually understanding that things are squeaky clean, people with obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) keep washing because things don’t feel clean for some reason.

Counseling and psychotherapy are largely about understanding of the client’s feelings and then being able to work from there, usually by figuring out the way to change these feelings.

If we can figure out how to change negative feelings and replace them with positive ones, we can change our experience of life, and it doesn’t have to involve any other radical changes. Change your feelings, change your life!

Our feelings about the world are heavily influenced by our past experiences. In this sense, our feelings are our perception of things or events. Middle aged, young and old, we all had different experiences in life; we may come from different cultures; some of us possess knowledge and experience others don’t have — it’s only natural that we have different reactions to same events. Each of us looks through the filter of their own perception and feels accordingly.

Feelings vs. Emotions
There are several websites that suggest that feelings and emotions are different, or no, VERY different things and that knowing this difference is crucial for your success and self-improvement. While some believe that emotions precede feelings, others believe the opposite. Some say feelings are physical and emotions are mental, others are confident it’s the other way around.

Forget it. There is no consensus on difference between feelings and emotions, and if there is one, it’s still okay to use the two terms interchangeably because that’s what most people do anyway. According to APA Dictionary of Psychology, feeling is a conscious subjective experience of emotion, and we are going to stick to that. In the context of this article, feelings and emotions are definitely the same thing.

If you got an assignment in school to find the difference between feelings and emotions, then this article probably isn’t what you need. If, on the other hand, you are wondering about human feelings (and emotions) and how it all works, then read on!

The Relationship Between Thoughts and Feelings
If you ever read at least one self-improvement book in your life, it probably told you that to improve your life and reach your goals, you need to change the way you think. Self-help junkies know that, basically, all self-help books teach this one concept, which makes these books boring after a while. However, in many ways this advice holds true. Our thoughts have a profound impact on our feelings; our feelings affect the way we behave; and our behavior is responsible for our results.

Both our thoughts and feelings are important parts of our experience of life. For example, if you feel sad, both thoughts and feelings are parts of the experience of being sad. The good news is that both thoughts and feelings can be challenged for their accuracy and, if they are found to be wrong, intentionally replaced with something more helpful.

Feelings, Hormones and Brain Chemicals
Things would be so simple if it was just a matter of thinking right or if we could force ourselves to think the way we need to at all times. Sometimes, we simply can’t. In fact, that happens very often. This is the reason why despite knowing all the secrets, you are still struggling instead of living the life of your dreams. Our health, our hormones and our brain chemicals in particular, have a huge impact on how we feel! Here are some of them:

  • testosterone,
  • estrogen,
  • progesterone,
  • norepinephrine,
  • epinephrine,
  • serotonin,
  • dopamine,
  • GABA,
  • oxytocin (the love hormone!)

Gut Feeling
The concept of feelings and emotions is fascinating by itself, but one of the most interesting parts of it is the phenomenon of gut feeling. Gut feeling is unconscious, irrational and intuitive. It can be both positive or negative: You might feel you can trust someone without actually knowing them, or you might feel in danger when, rationally speaking, there is no reasons to be afraid. The weirdest part is that sometimes our gut feeling is actually right.

Many attempts have been made to explain intuition or gut feeling. Some suggest it can be explained by our previous experiences: The more similar experiences you had in a particular area, the more reliable your gut feeling or intuition regarding that area. It is like all of a sudden all your knowledge and experience manifests without any effort from your side. You feel like you know things but you yourself can’t explain how you know it. This, of course, makes perfect sense. Having said that, you can probably think of a time when your correct intuition can’t be explained by having previous experiences.

The Six Basic Emotions

Paul Ekman, an American psychologist, is known for his work on emotions. He concluded that there are six basic emotions: anger, disgust, fear, happiness, sadness and surprise. He found that even members of isolated tribes had these emotions, which means it’s not something we learn from media, which probably doesn’t come as a surprise.

Another study found that when subjects contorted their facial muscles into facial expressions that matched the basic emotions (e.g. happiness or disgust), they reported congruent feelings. This brings us to a conclusion that smiling is not just incredibly attractive, it can also make you happier!

Source: https://psychologia.co/what-are-feelings/

Big Feels and How to Talk About Them

You can talk about your emotions with practice, even if it feels uncomfortable at first.

Emotions are an essential part of who you are, but they can be messy, complicated, and downright confusing at times. Knowing how to name your emotions and talk about them — with both yourself and others — is a key part of developing emotional health.

You don’t have to navigate the process of identifying your emotions alone.

Paul Ekman, a psychologist and leading researcher on emotions, surveyed more than 100 scientists and used their input to develop what’s known as the Atlas of Emotions.

1. Enjoyment

People generally like to feel happy, calm, and good. You might express these feelings by smiling, laughing, or indulging yourself.

You might feel enjoyment when:

  • You feel close and connected to people you care about.
  • You feel safe and secure.
  • You’re doing something that triggers sensory pleasure.
  • You’re absorbed in an activity.
  • You feel relaxed and at peace.

How to talk about it

Some words you can use to describe different kinds of enjoyment include:

  • happiness
  • love
  • relief
  • contentment
  • amusement
  • joy
  • pride
  • excitement
  • peace
  • satisfaction

If enjoyment and its related feelings seem out of reach, try to take a look at how other emotions or feelings may be getting in the way, such as:

  • trouble focusing on what’s happening in the present
  • worry
  • stress
  • a low or anxious mood

2. Sadness

Everyone feels sad from time to time. This emotion might relate to a specific event, such as a loss or rejection. But in other cases, you might have no idea why you feel sad.

How to talk about it

When you’re sad, you might describe yourself as feeling:

  • lonely
  • heartbroken
  • gloomy
  • disappointed
  • hopeless
  • grieved
  • unhappy
  • lost
  • troubled
  • resigned
  • miserable

Sadness can be hard to shake, but depending on your situation, these tips might help:

  • Mourn. Mourning is a typical part of grief. Whether you’re trying to recover from a loss, breakup, change, or failure to reach a goal, acknowledging your loss can help you accept and work through it. Everyone grieves in their own way, so do what feels right to you. It might help to talk about the pain you’re in, but it also might help to simply sit with your feelings for a while or express them creatively.
  • Do something meaningful. Doing something to help others or give back to society can help you feel more connected with other people. If you’ve recently lost someone you love, consider finishing a project they cared about or donating your time to a cause they supported.
  • Reach out for support. This is easier said than done when you’re at a low point. Try to remember the people in your life who care for you and likely want to help you. The pain of heartache does ease with time, even if you can’t imagine it at the moment.

It may help to talk with a therapist if your sadness lingers or begins to have a significant impact on daily life and makes it hard to work, go to school, or maintain your relationships.

3. Fear

Fear happens when you sense any type of threat. Depending on that perceived threat, fear can range from mild to severe.

Keep in mind that the level of fear you feel doesn’t always match up with the intensity of the threat. For example, if you live with anxiety, you might feel fear around situations that don’t actually pose much of a threat — though that doesn’t make the fear any less real.

How to talk about it

Fear can make you feel:

  • worried
  • doubtful
  • nervous
  • anxious
  • terrified
  • panicked
  • horrified
  • desperate
  • confused
  • stressed

Fear is a totally normal emotion — and one that likely kept your ancestors from being eaten alive. There are things you can do to manage this feeling:

  • Confront fear instead of avoiding it. If you’re afraid of something, whether it’s a serious discussion, meeting new people, or driving, it’s natural to want to stay away from the source of your fear. But this can often make your fear worse. Instead, try to face your fear safely. For example, if you develop a fear of driving, get back in your car and drive again right away. Stick close to home at first if it helps, but don’t avoid it.
  • Distract yourself from your fear. Sometimes fear can become so overwhelming that it’s hard to think about anything else. But ruminating, or letting the same thoughts play out over and over again, can have a negative impact on your emotional state. It can also make fear worse. If you feel yourself fixating on a worry or source of stress, try to do something distracting. Listen to an audiobook or podcast, cook with a new recipe, or go for a walk or jog with energizing music.
  • Consider the fear logically. Take a moment to think about your fear. Is there anything you can do about it? Can it actually harm you? What’s the worst thing that could happen if your fear came true? What would you do in that scenario? Knowing how you would deal with your fear can help you feel less afraid.

It’s important to not get discouraged if these tips seem impossible or overwhelming — they can be hard to accomplish on your own.

Consider working with a therapist, who can help you navigate mental health issues around fear, such as:

4. Anger

Anger usually happens when you experience some type of injustice. This experience can make you feel threatened, trapped, and unable to defend yourself.

Many people think of anger as a negative thing, but it’s a normal emotion that can help you know when a situation has become toxic.

How to talk about it

Words you might use when you feel angry include:

  • annoyed
  • frustrated
  • peeved
  • contrary
  • bitter
  • infuriated
  • irritated
  • mad
  • cheated
  • vengeful
  • insulted

There are a lot of ways to deal with anger, many of which can cause problems for you and those around you.

The next time you find yourself in a huff, try these tips for managing anger more productively:

  • Take a break. When you feel frustrated, putting some distance between yourself and the upsetting situation can help you avoid in-the-moment reactions or angry outbursts. Try taking a walk or listening to a calming song. While you’re away, take a few minutes to consider what’s causing your anger. Does the situation have another perspective? Can you do anything to make it better?
  • Express your anger constructively. You might avoid talking about your anger to help prevent conflict. Internalizing can seem like a safe strategy, but your anger can fester, and you may end up holding a grudge. This can affect your interpersonal relationships as well as your emotional well-being. Instead, take time to cool off if you need it, and then try expressing your feelings calmly and respectfully.
  • Focus on finding a solution. Anger is often difficult to deal with because it makes you feel helpless. Working to solve the problem that’s causing your anger can help relieve this frustration. You may not be able to fix every situation that makes you angry, but you can usually bring about some improvement. Ask other people involved what they think and work together. You can also try asking your loved ones for their input. Different perspectives can help you consider solutions you may not have seen yourself.

Everyone gets angry from time to time. But if you feel like you have anger issues, a therapist can help you develop effective tools for dealing with these emotions.

5. Disgust

You typically experience disgust as a reaction to unpleasant or unwanted situations. Like anger, feelings of disgust can help protect you from things you want to avoid.

It can also pose problems if it leads you to dislike certain people, including yourself, or situations that aren’t necessarily bad for you.

How to talk about it

Disgust might cause you to feel:

  • dislike
  • revulsion
  • loathing
  • disapproving
  • offended
  • horrified
  • uncomfortable
  • nauseated
  • disturbed
  • withdrawn
  • aversion

Disgust can happen as a natural response to something you dislike. In some situations, you might want to work through or overcome your disgust. These strategies can help:

  • Practice compassion. It’s common to feel uncomfortable when facing things you fear or don’t understand. Many people dislike being around sick people, for example. If you feel disturbed when thinking about sick people, try spending some time with an unwell friend or loved one, or offering to help them out. It’s important to take steps to protect your own health, so first, make sure their illness is not contagious.
  • Focus on the behavior, not the person. If someone you care about does something that offends or disgusts you, you may disapprove and react by withdrawing, pushing them away, or getting angry. Instead, try talking with that person. For example, if your sister smokes, avoid coughing loudly or making pointed comments about the smell of tobacco. Instead, tell her that cigarette smoke makes you feel sick and you’re concerned for her health. Offer to help her quit or work with her on finding support.
  • Expose yourself slowly. Some things may turn your stomach no matter what. Maybe you can’t stand any type of creepy-crawly creature but wish you could try gardening. To get over your disgust for worms, you might start by reading about them and looking at pictures of them. If you worry about them getting on your hands, you could try wearing gardening gloves. If you don’t like watching them move, you could try watching short video clips about worms to get used to them before seeing them in real life.

If you feel strong dislike toward a group of people, a specific person, or yourself, consider talking with a therapist about your feelings (noticing a theme here?).

Even if you are not sure exactly what’s behind your disgust, a therapist can help you work through the emotion and explore positive ways of coping with it.

Source: https://www.healthline.com/health/list-of-emotions#putting-it-all-together

5 Ways to Manage Your Emotions and Improve Your Mood

Everyone can have a hard time controlling their emotional reactions sometimes — it’s part of being human. But if it happens often, these regulation tools may help.

You’re going about a typical day when something changes. Suddenly, you feel overwhelmed, anxious, or out of control of your emotions.

Perhaps you’ve heard the usual self-help advice, like “pause and take a breath,” and the not-so-helpful advice like “just control yourself.” Yet somehow, you still feel like your emotions are in the driver’s seat while you’re sitting passenger.

When this happens, it can help to remember your feelings are there for a reason. There is no such thing as a “bad” emotion. If possible, try to find gratitude for your feelings, as they contain valuable information. If you can, try to welcome emotions — all emotions — as your friend.

It is possible to learn how to effectively manage your emotions with some practice, a few therapist-backed strategies, and (possibly) professional support.

Self-regulation is the core of managing your emotions

Self-regulation is the ability to experience your thoughts, feelings, and emotions and choose how you’re going to respond in a way that is positive for you and others.

Managing your emotions is a learned skill. Research, including a 2020 study, shows it begins forming in childhood through your relationship with your primary caregivers.

In fact, we are born without the ability to self-soothe. We rely on the nervous systems of our caregivers to restore balance, a process known as co-regulation, says Pauline Peck, PhD, a licensed psychologist in Santa Barbara, California.

“When we are distressed and dysregulated as babies, lying on our caregiver’s chest and syncing our breathing with theirs can help us calm down,” she explains.

“As we grow, the way our caregivers model emotional management, as well as the messages they give us about our emotions, can have a tremendous impact on how we understand our emotions and whether we believe we can handle them,” she adds.

Teenagers and adults who did not experience a supportive environment in early childhood may have a more difficult time with emotional regulation. If this sounds like you, don’t despair. Several methods can help.

1. Deep breathing

When you feel overwhelmed with emotion, it’s not possible to think logically and feel your emotions at the same time due to the fight, flight, or freeze response kicking into high gear.

“Your pulse is likely speeding up, your blood flow to your gut and kidneys slows down, adrenaline starts to surge,” explains Noelle Benach, a licensed clinical professional counselor and psychotherapist in Baltimore.

“When you’re in this state, it’s difficult or impossible to process what other people are saying, let alone be aware of your own thoughts and emotions,” she adds. Basically, you’re in survival mode for a perceived threat.

Breathwork can help. Research from 2018 shows that deep breathing activates something called the parasympathetic nervous system (your “rest-and-digest” mode), which allows your body to unwind and restore balance.

Box breathing exercise

You may find it helpful to repeat this exercise five or more times or until relative calm is restored:

  • inhale while counting to 4
  • hold while counting to 4
  • exhale while counting to 4
  • hold while counting to 4

You can learn how to practice some other deep breathing exercises here.

2. Sensory grounding

When emotions are running high, it may feel difficult to stay present in your body or physical environment. If possible, try to tune into your five senses to stay grounded.

This can include any number of grounding strategies, like splashing cold water on your face, singing or humming, or using a technique called progressive muscle relaxation.

“My favorite exercise is called the 5-4-3-2-1 technique,” says Benach. The goal, she says, is to name:

  • 5 things you can see
  • 4 things you can touch
  • 3 things you can hear
  • 2 things you can smell
  • 1 thing you can taste.

“Once you go through the exercise, you’ve provided yourself with some distraction from your stressor and allowed your parasympathetic nervous system to kick in,” she explains.

3. Mindfulness activities

2019 study reported that a daily meditation practice of 13 minutes for 8 weeks helped improve peoples’ mood and emotional regulation, among other benefits.

“Mindfulness has been shown to actually change matter in your brain,” says Peck. “Our brains have neuroplasticity, which means that they can change and grow and adapt depending on how we use them.”

If meditation isn’t your thing, you can also look into yoga, tai chi, gardening, or forest bathing as a resource.

4. Practice accepting your emotions

All too often, we label emotions as “negative” or “bad.” This can create an added layer of shame or guilt when you’re already feeling emotionally charged.

Instead, you might find it helpful to approach your feelings from a place of curiosity rather than judgment. This is called the “observer” mindset, or the state of allowing feelings to ebb and flow, like the tide.

When you notice your emotions arise, it can be useful to say to yourself, “Isn’t that interesting? I’m experiencing anger. I allow it to be here, and I will get through this.”

If you’re having a challenging time figuring out exactly what you’re feeling, you may find it helpful to:

  • use a feeling chart
  • jot down your thoughts in a journal
  • record yourself on your smartphone talking things through, then watch it back for clues

5. Challenge your thoughts

If irrational thoughts are causing your emotional distress, you may find it helpful to challenge them using cognitive reappraisal (changing the narrative).

“Sometimes, I have my clients put their negative or threatening thoughts on trial,” says Benach. “I’ll ask questions like: Is there any evidence that supports this? Are there times when this thought is not true? Will this matter a day/week/month/year from now?”

Source: https://psychcentral.com/health/ways-to-manage-your-emotions

The dramatic black and white silence

Why Buster Keaton is today’s most influential actor

Buster Keaton was something of an enigma to his own era. The silent-film star launched himself between rooftops, battled storms and sand dunes, boarded moving vehicles – and frequently trailed behind them, perfectly horizontal and as suspended as our disbelief – all in the name of comedy, and all while seeming unfazed. Film historian Peter Kramer, in his essay The Makings of a Comic Star, contends that Keaton’s «deadpan performance was seen as a highly inappropriate response to the task of creating characters which were rounded and believable». His unrelenting imperturbability was misinterpreted as a lack of emotional expression, or perhaps acting skill.

Nowadays we applaud performances that exhibit this level of restraint, wowed by microscopic gestures that hint at subtext, but refuse to spell it out. As Slate’s movie critic and author Dana Stevens points out in Camera Man, a new biography-meets-cultural-history about Buster Keaton and the birth of the 20th Century, «[Keaton] was ahead of his time in many ways». It is exactly this prescience and timelessness that makes Buster Keaton a figure ripe for reference in contemporary performance. His type of minimalism, stoicism and lyricism transcended the 20th Century, and can be seen on-screen now perhaps more than ever.

Stevens cites Keaton’s «self-contained stillness» as his «secret weapon», and we can see its weaponisation in the opening sequence of The Cameraman (1928) in which Buster aspires to be a newsreel cameraman in order to impress a girl. As an excited crowd gathers, yelling and gesticulating, to celebrate and capture the marriage of two famous individuals, Buster is caught in the melee and squashed against the woman who will claim his heart. He is a picture of enraptured calm amid the clamour.

That calmness or stoicism, despite deep inner turmoil, is something that can also be located in Oscar Isaac’s critically-acclaimed performance in Inside Llewyn Davis (2013). Speaking to Scott Feinberg on the Awards Chatter podcast, Isaac reveals that the starting point for his singer-songwriter character Llewyn in The Coen Brothers’ folk music odyssey was indeed Buster Keaton. «I thought that was a great inspiration for me», says Isaac, who wanted to tap into what he calls a «comedy of resilience» and to adopt a facial expression that «doesn’t really change but has a melancholy to it». And so Isaac subtracted smiling from his arsenal of expressions to birth a character who is frustrated with the world and everyone in it.

But stillness isn’t blankness. As both Keaton and Isaac convey, a limited palette can still paint many colours. There is one scene in Inside Llewyn Davis during which Isaac’s sardonic melancholia feels particularly Keatonesque – although the entire sequence where he carries a cat onto the subway, his face glazed in faint irritation, before having to lurch after said feline on a crowded carriage, could be a silent comedy – and that’s the car ride with John Goodman’s Roland Turner. Llewyn rides up front with beat poet and valet Johnny Five (Garret Hedlund) and Goodman’s cocky, cane-toting jazz musician reclines in the backseat. Upon snoring himself awake he begins to prod Llewyn with both questions and cane. When he discovers that Llewyn is a Welsh name, and launches into a long and uninteresting story, Isaac’s face remains placid. But there is a perceptible smirk, a lick of the lips and a glance out the window that says: «this guy is unbelievable». Down the road and more deeply exasperated, Llewyn reveals that he’s a solo act «now» because his partner Mike «threw himself off the George Washington Bridge». There is barely a glimmer of grief, just a stony stare into the middle distance as Isaac’s big brown eyes concentrate on the road ahead, but still betray the sadness within.

That stare undeniably shares heritage with Keaton. In the book The Look of Buster Keaton, French film critic Robert Benayoun offers a series of insightful essays alongside strikingly rendered images of Keaton’s face, in which his solemnity is on full display. Benayoun posits that «the aim of every close-up» in a Keaton film was to «confront us with [his] gaze. When Buster stares at some unexpected obstacle, in the offscreen space overhead, his gaze makes that obstacle, surprise or danger, or marvel visible… Keaton was the comedian of deliberate attention, intense and dynamic reflection; we can see him thinking» – just as we can see Llewyn contemplating Mike in that car.

Isaac isn’t alone in exhibiting this trend towards minimalist acting, or what Shonni Enelow, an academic and author called «recessive aesthetics» in a 2016 article for Film Comment. Compared to Method performances, which functioned within a framework of «tension and release» and generated performances that were «feverish, agitated [and] on the edge of eruption», a remote performance is marked by tiny expressions, contained intensity and «a refusal of big reactions or loud moments». Enelow points to Jennifer Lawrence in Winter’s Bone, Rooney Mara in Carol and Michael B Jordan in Fruitvale Station, and offers up a reading of their «emotional withdrawal in these performances as a response to a violent or chaotic environment».

Keaton might have done it for laughs more than integrity, but he too saw the value in responding to unpredictable and dangerous events with a stoic shrug or exhalation. This minimalism is also surely part of the reason he’s endured. Critic and film historian Imogen Sara Smith points out that «the coolness and subtlety of his style [is] very cinematic in terms of recognising that the camera can pick up very, very small effects». That contemporary acting has become much more internalised and naturalised could be «the reason why he translates more [than other stars of his era] in terms of style of performance», posits Smith.

This recessive melancholy is equally visible in Awkwafina’s performance in Lulu Wang’s 2019 tragicomedy The Farewell. As The New Yorker observed, «[Awkwafina] gives a master class in hangdoggery«, as Chinese-born, US-raised Billi, who returns to Changchun after discovering that her grandma Nai-Nai has weeks to live. After Billi’s family decide not to tell Nai-Nai she’s dying, she is forced into a mode of repression. The contrivance of that composure can be seen in the fact that prior to and upon learning of Nai-Nai’s fate she is humorous, sassy and indignant. The shock of this news is etched all over her face, which doesn’t go unnoticed by her mother: «Look at you, you can’t hide your emotions». For the sake of her grandma, she learns how. As such, it differs from Keaton and Isaac’s mode of performance which is grounded in immutability.

However, Billi’s alienation in a culture that is both hers and not hers chimes with the way Keaton is often seen to be performing social conventions. Billi’s Uncle Haibin explains, «We’re not telling Nai-Nai because it’s our duty to carry this emotional burden for her», and he chastises Billi and her father’s westernised desire to tell the truth. Billi finds herself having to adapt to eastern values, no matter how uncomfortable they make her. Likewise, Keaton frequently played into the «innocent abroad» archetype; naive in the ways of life and love. In Sherlock Jr (1924) he studies a manual How To Be a Detective, shadows a man and in doing so replicates his walk, and finally, when he gets a moment alone with his love interest in the projection room of a cinema, must look towards the actors on screen to figure out how to kiss her. There is an awareness of performance in Keaton’s persona and Sherlock Jr is just one instance where you see him modifying it according to what might be expected of him.

Similarly, Awkwafina moves between performance styles according to what is required of Billi, and there are moments of emotional release where she pivots into Method acting, as when Billi admits to her mother that as a child she was often «confused and scared because [her parents] never told [her] what was going on». But then she recedes and gives herself over to «hangdoggery». Keaton too gave a masterclass in that.

A less disputed element of Keaton’s performance style was his sheer athleticism or what Stevens describes as his «signature kineticism». Which brings me on to Adam Driver. I could point to his thoughtful repose in Paterson, his slapstick humour in Marriage Story or his deadpan delivery in The Dead Don’t Die as indicative of a Keaton-ness. However it was in last year’s macabre rock opera Annette, directed by Leos Carax, that Driver demonstrated a «full-bodied enthusiasm and physicality», as Little White Lies’ Hannah Strong put it, that more forcefully summoned the spirit of Keaton.

That skittish, unpredictable physicality is first apparent in Driver’s Henry McHenry, an aggressively macho comedian with a reputation for «mildly offensive» jokes, when he stalks on to stage (having just eaten a banana) to rapturous applause. Before long he has burst into song and is leaping and frolicking about with what IndieWire called «balletic precision», in a manner that resembles both Denis Lavant in Mauvais Sang (1986) and Keaton in Grand Slam Opera (a low-budget short he co-wrote and starred in for Educational Pictures in 1936). 

Lucidity and precision

«The other thing that’s really distinctive about [Keaton],» explains Smith, «is this lucidity and precision». Although he was not a formally trained dancer, his acrobatics are full of the kind of rigour, lyricism and rhythm that any dancer would kill for. «Every little movement that he makes with his face or his body is very clear, but in a way that doesn’t feel mechanical,» continues Smith. «He had incredible control over everything he did.» It is unsurprising then, that there are several actor-dancers (including Lavant) who also simulate Keaton with their level of control.

The first person who comes to mind is Miranda July, who The New Yorker once described as having «the steely fragility of Buster Keaton», and who performs an abstract dance sequence in her 2011 sophomore feature The Future. The performance – made up of precise and sometimes melancholic bodily contortions  – shares a lineage with the American dance company Pilobolus (I cannot claim to be the first to notice this) who take their name from a fungus that «propels itself with extraordinary strength, speed and accuracy».

The second person is Ariane Labed, a Greek-French actress for whom dance is a recurring feature: she was cast as a synchronised swimmer in the 2020 TV series Trigonometry, had the best moves in The Lobster’s silent disco, and schools us in the art of synchronised gesture during Attenberg’s semi-dance sequences. The director of the latter film, Athina Rachel Tsangari, unsurprisingly singled Keaton out, in an interview with Culture Whisper, as an inspiring «composer of human movement».

In Annette, there is a pivotal scene onboard a ship in which the narrative reaches an emotional crescendo. There is a storm brewing, and a drunken Henry (Driver) attempts to waltz with his wife Ann (played by Marion Cotillard) across the stern. Driver’s body now mirrors Keaton’s in its perpetual motion. Despite their difference in stature they are both industrious and powerful, and more than just the specificity of their movement, its effect is such that you are never quite sure what will happen next, or what they’re capable of. Moreover, they exert their physicality in a way that displays a tendency towards possessiveness and machismo. In The Cameraman (1928), Keaton kicks another man into a swimming pool for talking to his date. This anticipates a scene in which Henry wrestles a man known only as The Accompanist into his pool, having had suspicions that he posed a threat to the titular baby Annette.

The other aspect of physicality that Keaton and Driver share is their sex appeal. Returning to the words of Benayoun, he observes a sense of «the sublime in Keaton… He’s glamorous. He’s gorgeous. [He has a] sculptural sexiness». Not to gush too freely, but Driver is another such sublime specimen; a figure of extreme masculinity and muscularity. And what could be more glamorous than Henry McHenry riding his motorcycle, before kissing Ann with his helmet still on? Keaton and Driver have a commanding presence in common, and when they are on screen, you simply cannot take your eyes off them.

Keaton’s performance style is known for its deadpan execution. No matter the ridiculousness of the gag – he liked a banana skin as much as any comedian – his face remains a picture of steadfast seriousness. As Smith points out, it is this contrast between his «deadpan serenity [and] his body constantly [being] subjected to all these indignities [that is] the essence of him as a performer».

Filmmaker and comedian Richard Ayoade frequently channels Keatons deadpan-ness, and often cites him as a point of reference when working with actors. In a 2014 interview, Ayoade reveals that he had Jesse Eisenberg watch Buster Keaton’s films before starring in his sophomore feature The Double, feeling that they could demonstrate a «sense of someone acknowledging that everything bad that happens to them shouldn’t come as a surprise».

Deadpan delivery and that lack of surprise are also notable in Donald Glover’s acting. In Atlanta, the Emmy-winning comedy TV series about two cousins trying to work their way up in Georgia’s music industry, Glover (who created and co-writes the show) stars as Earn Marks, an aspiring talent manager who approaches life with a stone-cold sobriety. «Van’s dating other people, she’s going to kick me out of the house [and] I’m also broke,» sighs Earn in the pilot episode, as he explains his current situation with his baby’s mother to a colleague, with a subdued weariness.

​Earn’s expressionlessness doesn’t mean that he’s devoid of emotion; when he hears his cousin Paper Boi’s new track on the radio – having got it into the hands of a producer – he breaks out into a genuine smile. Rather, it serves to underscore the absurdity of modern existence. He is no longer outraged or surprised when setbacks come his way. In the pilot, the biggest reaction he can muster when a white acquaintance drops «the n word» twice in conversation is mild offence. No matter what happens, be it a man on a bus feeding Earn a nutella sandwich or a pet alligator strolling out of his Uncle Willy’s house, there is a level of apathy to Earn’s deadpan response because on some level, he’s seen it all before. And like Keaton, he’s just trying to survive.

Keaton’s films have likewise been considered a response to the absurdity of modern existence. His characters endlessly invite and contend with calamity, existing in a world where structures – both mechanical and architectural – are in a constant state of precarity, and where the elements themselves (he is perpetually battling wind and rain) have turned against him. In the 1920 two-reel comedy One Week, Keaton and his new wife attempt to build a DIY house. They fail miserably. As Dana Stevens notes in Camera Man, «the resulting structure makes the cabinet of Dr Caligari look Grecian in its symmetry». After a freight train crashes through the building, they stick a «For Sale» sign in the rubble, and head for new pastures. You could just as easily see Keaton describing this character as homeless but «not real homeless» as when Earn defends his peripatetic living situation.

That said, there are of course other authors of this deadpan mode of expression who may well have influenced performers such as Glover. As Tina Post – an assistant professor at the University of Chicago specialising in racial performativity and deadpan aesthetics – asserts «the term [deadpan] precedes Buster Keaton or is coterminous with his rise». Post also points out that «the way that Keaton couples a blank expression with a bodily endurability is very much in line with American constructions of blackness.» Post is quick to point out that expanding the definition or lineage of deadpan isn’t a condemnation of Keaton himself, but rather a consideration of «the ways performatives move through American culture». Much as in the way the 20th Century’s benighted use of blackface has evolved to allow for its memorable subversion, or rather inversion, in the Teddy Perkins episode of Atlanta.

This chimes with the way Keaton himself has migrated through screen culture, ever accessible and influential, with aspects of his performance style being adopted, reacted to and modified in order to suit a range of bodies, genres and purposes. There is still no-one quite like Keaton: the tension and contradiction in his comedy is as unique now as it was in the 1920s. However, it feels safe to say that the restraint as well as the commitment present in these acclaimed, 21st-Century performances owe a debt to a filmmaker and performer who figured out not just how to take a camera apart and put it back together again, but what it was capable of capturing and expressing.

Source: https://www.bbc.com/culture/article/20220121-why-buster-keaton-is-todays-most-influential-actor

What Made Buster Keaton’s Comedy So Modern?

Critics like to create causes. If a pair of new Grover Cleveland biographies appears, we say that, with the prospect of a President returning to win a second term after having been defeated at the end of his first, who else would interest us more than the only President who has? In reality, the biographers started their work back when, and now is when the biographies just happen to be ready. And so it is with the appearance of two significant new books about the silent-film comedian Buster Keaton. We start to search for his contemporary relevance—the influence of silent-comedy short subjects on TikTok?—when the reason is that two good writers began writing on the subject a while ago, and now their books are here.

The truth is that Keaton’s prominence has receded, probably irretrievably, from where it stood half a century ago—a time when, if you were passionate about movies, you wore either the white rose of Keaton or the red rose of Chaplin and quarrelled fiercely with anyone on the other side. In Bertolucci’s wonderful movie about the Paris revolt of May, 1968, “The Dreamers,” two student radicals, French and American, nearly come to blows over the relative merits of Charlie and Buster: “Keaton is a real filmmaker. Chaplin, all he cares about is his own performance, his own ego!” “That’s bullshit!” “That’s not bullshit!” Meanwhile, Janis Joplin growls on the stereo behind them.

In a weird way, the terms of the quarrel derived from the German Enlightenment philosopher Gotthold Lessing’s search for the “essence” of each art form: poetry does time, sculpture does space, and so on. To the Keaton lovers, Chaplin was staginess, and therefore sentimentality, while Keaton was cinema—he moved like the moving pictures. Chaplin’s set pieces could easily fit onto a music-hall stage: the dance of the dinner rolls in “The Gold Rush” and the boxing match in “City Lights” were both born there imaginatively, and could have been transposed there. But Keaton’s set pieces could be made only with a camera. When he employs a vast and empty Yankee Stadium as a background for the private pantomime of a ballgame, in “The Cameraman,” or when he plays every part in a vaudeville theatre (including the testy society wives, the orchestra members, and the stagehands), in “The Play House,” these things could not even be imagined without the movies to imagine them in. The Keaton who created the shipboard bits in “The Navigator” or the dream scene in “Sherlock Jr.” was a true filmmaker rather than a film-taker, a molder of moving sequences rather than someone who pointed the camera at a stage set. (One could make similar claims for the superior cinematic instincts of Harold Lloyd, who tended to get dragged into these arguments in much the same way that the Kinks get dragged into arguments about the Beatles and the Stones—though Lloyd, like Ray Davies, was such a specialized taste that he could only extend, not end, an argument over the virtues of the other two.)

Take the long sequence toward the end of “Steamboat Bill, Jr.” (1928), in which Keaton, playing an effete, Boston-educated heir who rejoins his father, a short-tempered Southern steamboat captain, gets caught in a cyclone that pulverizes a small town. The episode is breathtaking in its audacity and poetry, an unexampled work of pure special-effects ballet. The houses explode, in a thousand shards of wood, as Keaton wanders among them. The moment when the façade of a house falls on Keaton, who is saved by a well-placed attic window, has been “memed” as the very image of a narrow escape. But it is merely an incident in a longer sequence that begins when the roof and walls of a hospital building are whisked away like a magician’s napkin; then a much bigger house falls on Keaton, who, accepting it neutrally, grabs a tree trunk and holds tight as it flies across town and into the river. Nothing like it had ever been seen in a theatre, or even imagined in a book, so specific are its syntax and realization to moving pictures.

How are we to share these glories in 2022? Fortunately, Cohen Films has produced mint-quality restorations of all the great movies, and Peter Bogdanovich’s last work, the 2018 documentary “The Great Buster,” is a terrific anthology of highlights. Even more fortunately, those two new books, each excellent in its way, are weirdly complementary in their completeness. James Curtis’s “Buster Keaton: A Filmmaker’s Life” (Knopf) is an immense year-by-year, sometimes week-by-week, account of Keaton as an artist and a man. Every detail of his life and work is here, starting with his birth, in 1895, as Curtis painstakingly clarifies which of two potential midwives attended to the matter. (Mrs. Theresa Ullrich rather than Mrs. Barbara Haen, for the record.) His perpetually touring and performing parents, Joe and Myra, had been on the road when it happened, in the one-horse town of Piqua, Kansas. Curtis takes us through the progress of the brutal comedy act that Joe Keaton raised his son to star in; things were so hard at the turn of the century that at one point Harry Houdini, with whom the three Keatons shared a show, had to pretend to be the kind of psychic he despised in order to draw the rubes into the theatre. We even hear about gags that Buster Keaton helped invent for Abbott and Costello in his later, seemingly fallow, years.

Dana Stevens, in “Camera Man” (Atria), takes an original and, in a way, more distanced approach to Keaton. In place of a standard social history of silent comedy, much less a standard biography, Stevens offers a series of pas de deux between Keaton and other personages of his time, who shared one or another of his preoccupations or projects. It’s a new kind of history, making more of overlapping horizontal “frames” than of direct chronological history, and Stevens does it extraordinarily well.

Some of these pairings, to be sure, are more graceful than others. The comedienne Mabel Normand appears for the somewhat remote reason that Chaplin refused, early in his career, to be directed by her, a fact that’s taken as an index of the misogyny that reigned in the world of silent comedy. (The truth is that Chaplin, a once-in-a-century talent, routinely bullied anyone who tried to tell him what to do.) On the other hand, a chapter on Robert Sherwood and Keaton is genuinely illuminating. Sherwood, now forgotten despite four Pulitzers and an Oscar, was one of those writers whose lives reveal more about their time than do the lives of those writers gifted enough to exist outside their time. The author of well-made, well-meaning plays advancing progressive causes—he ended up as one of F.D.R.’s chief speechwriters—he championed Keaton, notably in the pages of Life, with acute discernment, a reminder that the categories of popular culture and serious art were remarkably permeable in the twenties. Just as Hart Crane was writing poetry about Chaplin when Chaplin was still only very partly formed, Sherwood recognized Keaton’s greatness almost before it seemed completely manifest. Writing about Chaplin, Lloyd, and Keaton in the early twenties, he maintained that their efforts “approximate art more closely than anything else that the movies have offered.” Sherwood even wrote a feature for Keaton, which, like James Agee’s attempt at writing a movie for Chaplin, proved unmakeable. Sherwood’s script got Keaton marooned high up in a skyscraper but couldn’t find a way of getting him down. When Keaton and Sherwood saw each other in later years, Sherwood promised to get him down, but never did.

Keaton seems to have been one of those comic geniuses who, when not working, never felt entirely alive. He fulfilled the Flaubertian idea of the artist as someone whose whole existence is poured into his art: the word “dull” crops up often as people remember him. Curtis is particularly good on the early years. Joseph Frank Keaton spent his youth in his parents’ knockabout vaudeville act; by the time he was eight, it basically consisted of his father, Joe, picking him up and throwing him against the set wall. Joe would announce, “It just breaks a father’s heart to be rough,” and he’d hurl Buster—already called this because of his stoicism—across the stage. “Once, during a matinee performance,” Curtis recounts, “he innocently slammed the boy into scenery that had a brick wall directly behind it.” That “innocently” is doing a lot of work, but all this brutality certainly conveyed a basic tenet of comedy: treating raw physical acts, like a kick in the pants, in a cerebral way is funny. “I wait five seconds—count up to ten slow—grab the seat of my pants, holler bloody murder, and the audience is rolling in the aisles,” Keaton later recalled. “It was The Slow Thinker. Audiences love The Slow Thinker.”

A quick mind impersonating the Slow Thinker: that was key to his comic invention. The slowness was a sign of a cautious, calculating inner life. Detachment in the face of disorder remained his touchstone. Of course, stoicism is one of the easier virtues to aspire to when your father has actually put a handle on your pants in order to ease the act of throwing you across a vaudeville proscenium, and it’s easy to see the brutality as the wound that drew the bow of art. But in this case the wound was the art; Keaton minded less the rough play than his increasingly drunken father’s refusal to let him out of the act long enough to go to school. He seems to have had exactly one day of public education.

In New York, the Keatons found themselves at war with city reformers who were evidently more passionate about keeping children off the vaudeville stage than about keeping them out of the sweatshop; arrests and court appearances ensued. After that, the family largely avoided New York, often retreating to the backwoods resort town of Muskegon, Michigan, the nearest thing young Buster ever had to a home. It was only when Joe started drinking too hard and got sloppy onstage that, in 1917, the fastidious Buster left him and went out on his own. It was the abuse of the art form that seemed to offend him.

In those days, young comedians were being swept off the stage and into the movies more or less the same way that garage bands were swept out of high-school gyms and into recording studios in the nineteen-sixties. Keaton fell in with Joseph Schenck, then a novice movie producer, who paired him with Roscoe (Fatty) Arbuckle in the equivalent of the John Belushi–Dan Aykroyd teaming, a “natural” comedian with a technical one. The partnership was an immediate success, starting with the two-reel short “The Butcher Boy” (1917), and was only briefly interrupted when Keaton was drafted and spent part of 1918 in France, having a good time serving in the Great War.

Keaton often credited Arbuckle with showing him how movies worked. But Schenck’s role was just as important. Anita Loos recalled him as someone who brings “forth the aroma of a special sort of smoked sturgeon that came from Barney Greengrass’s delicatessen”; and he and his brother, Nick, who later ran M-G-M, were cynosures among the generation of Russian Jews who dominated Hollywood for the next half century. Joseph Schenck was married to the film star Norma Talmadge; many dry-eyed observers thought that he was the trophy, and that Talmadge married him to keep the producer in her pocket.

Keaton’s early entry into the movies, after his almost complete isolation from a normal childhood, meant that he was really at home only within the world of his own invention. One gets the impression that he mainly lived for the choreography of movie moments, or “gags,” as they were unpretentiously called, though they were rather like Balanchine’s work, with scene and movement and story pressed together in one swoop of action. Keaton was not a reader, unlike Chaplin, who fell on Roget’s Thesaurus with the appetite of his own Tramp eating the shoe. Sex was of absent-minded importance for Keaton; his marriage to Norma Talmadge’s sister Natalie, in 1921, was apparently ceremonial and, after two children were born, celibate, at her mother’s insistence. Nor was he a family man; after they divorced, he hated losing custody of his kids, but it isn’t clear if he saw them much when he had them.

Around 1921, when false charges of rape and murder devastated Arbuckle’s career, Keaton was sympathetic, and then smoothly moved on, making solo movies. “He lives inside the camera,” as Arbuckle observed. Being anti-sentimental to the point of seeming coldhearted was at the core of his art. “In our early successes, we had to get sympathy to make any story stand up,” he said once, in a rare moment of reflection. “But the one thing that I made sure—that I didn’t ask for it. If the audience wanted to feel sorry for me, that was up to them. I didn’t ask for it in action.” Life dished it out, and Keaton’s character just had to take it.

Critics have drawn a connection between the Arbuckle scandal and Keaton’s short comedy “Cops” (1922), made between Arbuckle’s trials, in which Keaton, having been caught accidentally tossing an anarchist bomb, is chased across Los Angeles by hundreds of police officers. This is the kind of conjecture that shows little understanding of the way that artists work, rather like the belief that Picasso’s barbed-wire portraits of Dora Maar, in the nineteen-forties, are protests against the Occupation, rather than a product of his own obsessive imagery. “Cops” is not about false accusation; it’s about the massed comic power of regimented men in motion, uniform action in every sense. Pure artists like Keaton work from their own obsessions, with editorials attached awkwardly afterward.

His first feature, no surprise, was a movie about a movie, an ambitious parody of D. W. Griffith’s legendary epic “Intolerance” (1916), in which Keaton’s sister-in-law Constance Talmadge had appeared. His “Three Ages,” seven years later, stowed together three parallel stories—one Stone Age, one Roman, and one modern—and mocked both Griffith’s cosmic ambitions and his cross-century editing scheme. The caveman comedy is the same as all caveman comedies (Keaton has a calling card inscribed on a stone, etc.), but the Roman sequences are done with even more panache than Mel Brooks’s “History of the World, Part I.” Soon, Keaton was earning a thousand dollars a week, and becoming so rich that he, the boy who never had a home, built his wife a wildly extravagant faux Italian villa.

Dana Stevens takes up the really big question: What made Keaton’s solo work seem so modern? Just as “Cops” can be fairly called Kafkaesque in its juxtaposition of the unfairly pursued hero and the implacable faceless forces of authority, there are moments throughout “Sherlock Jr.” (1924) when Keaton achieves the Surrealist ambition to realize dreams as living action. Sequences like the one in which Keaton seems to step directly into the movie-house screen, and leaps from scene to scene within the projection in perfectly edited non sequiturs, make the Surrealist cinema of Buñuel and Maya Deren seem studied and gelatinous.

Stevens argues that Keaton’s art was informed by the same social revolutions as the European avant-garde: “The pervasive sense of anxiety and dislocation, of the need to reinvent the world from the ground up, that groups like the Surrealists or the Bloomsbury authors sought to express in images and words, the human mop-turned-filmmaker expressed in the comic movement of his body.” But Keaton also looks surreal because the Surrealists were feeding off the same sources as Keaton was, in circus and vaudeville and the music hall and stage magic. The Cubists, the Dadaists, and the Surrealists all had the sense that, as bourgeois pieties had grown increasingly meaningless, the only grammar from which one could construct a credible art was that of farce. So those clowns and comic artists who held down the tradition of burlesque and nonsense comedy were, willy-nilly, the modernist’s dream brothers.

And then, in a modernist way, Keaton’s movies very often are about the movies, which was a natural outgrowth of his single-minded absorption in his chosen medium. In “Sherlock Jr.,” he plays a dreamy projectionist who falls into his own films, and in “The Cameraman” (1928) the joke is that Keaton’s character accidentally makes newsreels filled with camera tricks, double exposures, speeded-up time, and backward movement. Even that great cyclone scene in “Steamboat Bill, Jr.” is meant not to provide an illusion of reality but to show off the possibilities of artifice.

Keaton’s subject, in a larger sense, is the growth of technology and the American effort to tame it. There is scarcely a classic Keaton film of the twenties that doesn’t involve his facing, with affection or respect more often than terror, one or another modern machine: the movie camera, the submarine, the open roadster. Throughout “The Navigator” (1924), he looks uncannily like Wilbur Wright in the Lartigue portrait. Keaton seems, in the combined integrity and opportunism of his persona, to explain how those alarming machines emerge from an older American culture of tinkerers and bicycle repairmen.

Keaton’s greatest work was made in the five years between “Three Ages” (1923) and “The Cameraman.” “The General” (1926), the first of Keaton’s features to enter the National Film Registry, was—surprisingly, to those who think of it as Keaton’s acknowledged masterpiece—a critical flop. A carefully plotted Civil War tale, more adventure story than comic spoof, it shared the typical fate of such passion projects: at first a baffling failure, for which everyone blames the artist, and which does him or her immense professional damage, it then gets rediscovered when the passion is all that’s evident and the financial perils of the project don’t matter anymore. Nobody questioned Keaton’s decision to make it, since the movies he had made in the same system had all been profitable. But businessmen, understandably, hate trusting artists and waiting for the product, and are always looking for an excuse to impose a discipline the artists lack. It takes only one bomb to bring the accountants down on the head of the comedian. Stevens, comparing the film to Michael Cimino’s “Heaven’s Gate,” writes, “The General was less a cause than a symptom of the end of a certain way of making movies. The independent production model that for ten years had allowed Buster the freedom to make exactly the movies he wanted . . . was collapsing under its own weight.” The thing that baffled its detractors (even Sherwood didn’t like it) and, at first, repelled audiences was the thing that seems to us now daring and audacious: the seamless mixture of Keaton’s comedy with its soberly realistic rendering of the period. No American movie gives such a memorable evocation of the Civil War landscape, all smoky Southern mornings and austere encampments—a real triumph of art, since it was shot in Oregon. Many of the images, like one of a short-barrelled cannon rolling alone on the railroad, put one in mind of Winslow Homer.

Two years later, in a studio sleight of hand so sneaky that Curtis spends a page and a half figuring out what the hell happened, Keaton became the subject of a baseball-style trade, in which Joe Schenck had Keaton transferred from United Artists to his brother Nick, at M-G-M. That gave M-G-M a cleanup-hitter comedian—United Artists already had Chaplin—while making sure that, post-“General,” Keaton would be more closely supervised by M-G-M’s boy genius, Irving Thalberg. Chaplin tried to warn Keaton off M-G-M. “Don’t let them do it to you, Buster,” he said. “It’s not that they haven’t smart showmen there. They have some of the country’s best. But there are too many of them, and they’ll all try to tell you how to make your comedies.” Keaton’s passivity made him reluctant to heed the warning, and off he went, Schenck to Schenck.

The mostly disastrous years that Keaton spent at M-G-M are the real subject of Stevens’s chapter on F. Scott Fitzgerald. Thalberg will always have his defenders, but once one gets past the “quality” films he sponsored, it becomes clear what a con artist he was. He sold one observer after another—including Fitzgerald, who took him as the model for his idealized “last tycoon,” Monroe Stahr—on the subtlety of his intellect, while everything he did revealed him to be the most ruthless kind of commercial-minded cynic. Thalberg robbed the Marx Brothers of their anarchy and Keaton of his elegance, turning him, as Stevens complains, into a mere stock rube figure. The Thalberg system tended to work well for an artist just once—as in both the Marxes’ and Keaton’s first films for M-G-M, “A Night at the Opera” and “The Cameraman.” But Thalberg didn’t grasp what had actually worked: the expensive style of the production, pitting the Marxes against the pomposity of opera, and placing Keaton against a full-scale location shoot in New York City. What Thalberg thought worked was schlock imposed on genius: big production numbers for the Marxes and unrequited-love rube comedy for Keaton. In many subsequent movies, at M-G-M and elsewhere, his character was named Elmer (and once even Elmer Gantry), to typify him as a backwoods yokel.

The M-G-M comedies did decently at the box office, but Keaton, an artist injured by the persistent insults to his artistic intelligence, started to drink hard, and soon the drinking drowned out that intelligence. The actress Louise Brooks recalls him driving drunk to the studio, where he silently destroyed a room full of glass bookshelves with a baseball bat. She sensed his message: “I am ruined, I am trapped.” In 1933, he was fired by Louis B. Mayer, essentially for being too smashed, on and off the set, to work. Keaton’s M-G-M experience, despite various efforts by Thalberg and others to keep his career alive as a gag writer, ruined his art. The next decades are truly painful to read about, as Keaton went in and out of hospitals and clinics, falling off the wagon and then sobering up again. His brother-in-law, the cartoonist Walt Kelly, recalls that “nobody really wanted to put him under control because he was a lot of fun.” What we perhaps miss, in accounts of the boozers of yore, is an adequate sense of how much fun they all thought they were having. Drunks of that period could not be shaken from the conviction that they were having a good time until they were hauled off to the hospital.

As Curtis establishes, when Keaton did dry out, by the nineteen-fifties, he had much better later years than the public image suggests. That image persists; a recent, impassioned French documentary titled “Buster Keaton: The Genius Destroyed by Hollywood” maintains that “in just a few years he went from being a worldwide star to a washed-up artist with no future.” Curtis makes it clear that this assertion is wildly exaggerated. Keaton did as well as could have been hoped. But the notion that sound killed off the silent comedians is one of those ideas which, seeming too simple to be true, are simply true. Chaplin endured because he had money and independence, but even he made only two more comedies in the thirties; Harry Langdon was ruined and Harold Lloyd kept his money and withdrew.

Keaton did have to undergo a certain amount of whatever-happened-to humiliation; he is one of Gloria Swanson’s bridge party of silent has-beens in “Sunset Boulevard.” In tribute after tribute, he was condescendingly associated with custard-pie-throwing comedies of a kind he had almost never made. But he was properly valued in France, had successful seasons at the Medrano Circus, and worked ceaselessly as a gag man, even inventing an entire routine for Lucille Ball that became part of the pilot for “I Love Lucy.”

His most famous late appearance was alongside Chaplin in “Limelight” (1952), Chaplin’s last interesting movie, in which they play two down-on-their-luck vaudevillians. Claire Bloom, who played the ingénue, recalls that, in twenty-one days of shooting, Keaton spoke to her exactly once, when showing her a tourist-type photograph of a beautiful Beverly Hills house. He told her that it had once been his home, then fell silent. This seems sad, but Curtis also evokes him watching the camerawork and helping direct Chaplin: “It’s okay, Charlie. You’re right in the center of the shot. Yeah, you’re fine, Charlie. It’s perfect.” Even when he was too frail to run or move much, as in the 1966 film “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum,” made a year before his death, and directed by his idolater Richard Lester, his face was a beacon not merely of endurance but of a kind of lost American integrity, the integrity of the engineer and the artisan and the old-style vaudeville performer.

Two kinds of American comedy made themselves felt in the first half of the twentieth century: the comedy of invasion and the comedy of resistance. The first was the immigrant comedy of energy, enterprise, mischief, and mayhem. The Marx Brothers are supreme here, but Chaplin, who, although an immigrant of the Cockney rather than the Cossacks-fleeing variety, could play the Jewish arrival brilliantly, and the immigrant-comedy vein runs right up to Phil Silvers’s Sergeant Bilko, swindling the simpleton officers at the Army base. In response comes the comedy of old-American resistance to all that explosive energy, struggling to hold on to order and decency and gallantry. It’s exemplified by W. C. Fields’s efforts to sleep on his sleeping porch in “It’s a Gift,” while the neighborhood around him refuses to quiet down. The division extends even to the written humor of the period, with S. J. Perelman the cynical navigator and commercial participant in the endless ocean of American vulgarity, and James Thurber wistfully watching from Manhattan as the old values of the republic pass away in Columbus.

Keaton is the stoical hero of the comedy of resistance, the uncomplaining man of character who sees the world of order dissolving around him and endures it as best he can. (In “Steamboat Bill, Jr.,” it’s the nostalgic world of the river steamboat; in “The General,” it is, for good or ill, the Old South.) Keaton’s characters have character. They never do anything remotely conniving. And the one thing Keaton never does is mug. There are moments in all his best features, in fact, that anticipate the kind of Method acting that didn’t come into fashion for another generation, as when he impassively slips to the ground beside the girl in the beginning of “The Cameraman,” registering the act of falling in love by the tiniest of increments. The best thing in “Steamboat Bill, Jr.” might be a bit of acting so subtle that one wonders whether people got it at the time. Under suspicion of sexual instability—“If you say what you’re thinking I’ll strangle you!” the title card has the captain saying bluntly to a friend, after watching his son caper with his ukulele—Bill, Jr., is compelled by his father to throw away his Frenchified beret, and try on a sequence of American hats. Keaton doesn’t attempt, as Chaplin might have, to adopt a distinct persona in each hat but actually does what we do in front of a clothing-store mirror: he wears his trying-on face, testing a daring expression, sampling the aesthetic effect of each hat for the sake of his vanity while trying not to offend his father by seeming too much the hat aesthete. Somehow he is both preening and hiding. It’s an amazing moment of pure performance, and every bit as “cinematic”—showing what extreme closeups can do—as the big special-effects sequences.

“Though there is a hurricane eternally raging about him, and though he is often fully caught up in it, Keaton’s constant drift is toward the quiet at the hurricane’s eye,” the critic Walter Kerr observed of Keaton. What remains most in one’s memory after an immersion in Keaton are the quiet, uncanny shots of him in seclusion, his sensitive face registering his own inwardness. In this way, maybe there is some relevance in a Keaton revival today. Critics may invent their causes, but sometimes a good critical book, or two, can create a cause that counts. Chaplin is a theatrical master and needs a theatre to make his mark. His movies play much, much better with an audience present. Keaton can be a solitary entertainment, seen with as much delight on a computer screen as in a movie palace—rather as our taste for the great humanist sacrament of the symphony depends in some part on having open concert halls, while chamber music has whispered right throughout the pandemic. Keaton is the chamber-music master of comedy, with the counterpoint clear and unmuddied by extraneous emotion. It may be that our new claustrophobia is mirrored in his old comedy. The hospital has blown away, and that house has fallen on us all. 

Source: https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2022/01/31/what-made-buster-keatons-comedy-so-modern-biography-james-curtis-dana-stevens