Every Friday night we smooth our way into the weekend with music, the universal language. These selections demonstrate that despite what is being passed off as art today, there is plenty of really good music available. Come along and enjoy.
From the NY Times, 7/21/1969:
Men have landed and walked on the moon.
Two Americans, astronauts of Apollo 11, steered their fragile four-legged lunar module safely and smoothly to the historic landing yesterday at 4:17:40 P.M., Eastern daylight time.
Neil A. Armstrong, the 38-year-old civilian commander, radioed to earth and the mission control room here:
“Houston, Tranquility Base here. The Eagle has landed.”
The first men to reach the moon–Mr. Armstrong and his co-pilot, Col. Edwin E. Aldrin, Jr. of the Air Force–brought their ship to rest on a level, rock-strewn plain near the southwestern shore of the arid Sea of Tranquility.
About six and a half hours later, Mr. Armstrong opened the landing craft’s hatch, stepped slowly down the ladder and declared as he planted the first human footprint on the lunar crust:
“That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”
That was 48 years ago Thursday.
Mom, Dad, my brother and I watched on TV.
This week, wonderful music about…
Let’s start traveling.
Space: the final frontier.
These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise.
Its five-year mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before.
Those, of course, are the famous opening lines from “Star Trek.”
To boldly go where no man has gone before.
To boldly go where no man has gone before.
We open with Eumir Deodato.
The Apollo 11 crew leaves Kennedy Space Center’s Manned Spacecraft Operations Building during the pre-launch countdown. Mission commander Neil Armstrong, command module pilot Michael Collins, and lunar module pilot Buzz Aldrin prepare to ride the special transport van to Launch Complex 39A where their spacecraft awaited them. Liftoff occurred at 9:32 a.m. EDT, July 16, 1969. Photo: NASA
This could easily fall under the category of “Forgotten Oldie.”
During the British Invasion, Jonathan King wrote and recorded a single called “Everyone’s Gone to the Moon.” With a string section and dreamy lyrics, it made the top 20 in America in 1965. Impressive given that the young King was still an undergraduate at Trinity College, Cambridge at the time.
King remained in the music business for decades, primarily working behind the scenes producing some major acts.
His career took an ugly turn in 2001 when he was accused of abusing young boys in incidents that dated back some 30 years. King was sentenced to seven years and released from prison in 2005. He made a strange statement that he enjoyed his time behind bars.
“I’ve had a brilliant three-and-a-half years for crimes I did not commit.”
The Apollo 11 mission launched from the Kennedy Space Center, Florida on July 16, 1969, bearing the first humans to walk on the moon. Photo: NASA
More and more female saxophonists have burst onto the scene over the past dozen years or so. Our next artist’s 2008 debut album, “Tequila Moon” helped her be named Radio and Records “Debut Artist of The Year.” The title track was honored as contemporary jazz song of the year by R&R and Billboard.
Born in Portland and raised in Hemet, California, she started playing piano at the age of four. Her home often hosted festive parties featuring Latin music. Growing up, she was influenced by Cannonball Adderley and John Coltrane. After graduation from USC with a degree in jazz studies, she recorded sessions with Michael Buble and toured with the Temptations and Jessica Simpson.
In 2004, this artist joined the cast of the off-Broadway show Blast! During her travels with the show, she decided she wanted to do more on her own. Friend and drummer Jamie Tate got her to see his gig with saxophonist Mindi Abair at the Newport Jazz Festival. The concert inspired her to record her own CD.
Her name is Jessy J. From her “Tequila Moon” CD, here’s the title track.
Astronaut Edwin E. “Buzz” Aldrin, Jr., lunar module pilot of the first lunar landing mission, is beside the U.S. flag during an Apollo 11 moon walk. The Lunar Module (LM) is on the left, and the footprints of the astronauts are clearly visible in the soil of the moon. Astronaut Neil A. Armstrong, commander, took this picture with a 70mm Hasselblad lunar surface camera.
The son of a shipyard worker in Belfast, Northern Ireland, Van Morrison dropped out of school to pursue a career in music. His biggest hit came in 1967, “Brown-Eyed Girl,” but he gained even greater critical acclaim in 1970 with the release of “Moondance.”
It’s performed here by Michael Buble.
Apollo 11 astronauts trained on Earth to take individual photographs in succession in order to create a series of frames that could be assembled into panoramic images. This frame from Aldrin’s panorama of the Apollo 11 landing site is the only good picture of mission commander Neil Armstrong on the lunar surface. Photo: NASA
That’s it for this week.
Have a great weekend.
Do you remember Harry Nilsson?
Nilsson is the subject of the book, “Nilsson: The Life of a Singer-Songwriter” by Alyn Shipton. The website Pop Matters calls the book a “perfect portrait of an imperfect man.” Jedd Beudoin writes:
“Harry Nilsson was one of the greatest American vocalists to ever have lived, a stylistic chameleon who could make you split your sides or who could break your heart, sometimes in the space of one line or even inside the same note. He was a favorite artist of all four Beatles, a writer of hits for other acts including Three Dog Night, an occasional actor, a family man, and finally, a truly tragic figure.
“What makes Shipton’s book essential reading is not just his enthusiasm for the subject, which is evident on each page, but his honesty, as well. No one can talk about Nilsson without talking about his failures: He sabotaged his career through drugs and drink and an unwillingness to become the hit machine he so clearly could have been; he damaged his voice not only through substance abuse but also in an attempt to impress (John) Lennon; although his own father abandoned him as a child he could not avoid doing the same with his eldest son. That said, there’s no way you can do anything but love Nilsson, maybe even because of those failures. He was, by all accounts, warm, generous, funny, brilliant, and a guy who had a heart large enough to match his outsized personality. His rich, avuncular voice could make you laugh not only when he sang, but also when he spoke, and his singing could help heal even the deepest wounds.”
Nilsson died of heart failure in 1994 at the age of 52.
A diverse talent, Nilsson recorded an album of old standards long before it became en vogue. Nilsson never performed solo in concert and only rarely turned up on television Here’s one of those appearances with a classic moon reference in what just might be the greatest song ever.
Enlargements of the New Frontier Congressional Gold Medal being on display in the Capitol Rotunda. The smaller, actual-size medals were awarded to astronauts Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, Michael Collins and John Glenn on Nov. 16, 2011. Photo: NASA
From the Apollo 11 mission in 1969. Photo: NASA