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.
Labor Day has come and gone, so you have stopped wearing white because you’re supposed to, right?
Gabrielle Ulubay is an E-Commerce Writer at Marie Claire, where she primarily covers fashion and beauty. She wrote about a week ago:
“Before you know it, you’ll be packing away your sundresses and summer sandals to make room for chunky sweaters and over-the-knee boots. But there’s one fashion category I always hesitate to retire: The all-white outfits and cream-colored pieces I’ve accumulated over the years. The age-old question―”Can I wear white after Labor Day?”—has long haunted fashion lovers everywhere. Many people (including me) have have feared wearing their favorite white pieces during September and beyond in order to prevent censure and condemnation, but is this necessary? Can you, in fact, wear white after Labor Day without committing a fashion crime?“
More on that coming up. But WHITE music is always appropriate. That’s our feature this week. Let’s get started.
One of the most popular instrumentals of all-time is “Cherry Pink And Apple Blossom White.” Perez Prado first recorded it in 1951, turning it into a mambo, a rhythm he had pioneered in the late 1940s. Four years later he re-recorded it for the movie “Underwater!”
In 1982 Meco Menardo, who previously had a huge hit with a Star Wars medley, recorded an album of big band tunes including “Patricia/Cherry Pink And Apple Blossom White.”
Can you, in fact, wear white after Labor Day without committing a fashion crime? The short answer: Yes! In fact, the story behind this arbitrary post-Labor Day dress code is not only unconvincing, but incredibly classist.
NEXT…Brazilian musician, keyboardist, composer, arranger and producer Eumir Deodato is best remembered for his hit single of “Also Sprach Zarathustra (2001).”
Here’s Deodato’s version of a Moody Blues classic that starts out slowly with an eerie synthesizer and then blasts off.
The guitar work was provided by noted session artist John Tropea.
Now, where were we?
During the late 19th century—long before you could wear jeans to a Michelin-starred restaurant—society ladies were engaged in an invisible battle with the nouveau riche (a.k.a. people who’d recently become rich rather than having benefitted from generations of wealth). One of the subtle jabs that the old money crowd used to distinguish themselves from the nouveau riche was to make wearing white after Labor Day a fashion faux pas.
“It [was] insiders trying to keep other people out,” says Valerie Steele, director of the Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology, in an interview with Time “and outsiders trying to climb in by proving they know the rules.”
Some etiquette authorities like Judith Martin rebuff this class theory, with Martin telling Time, “There are always people who want to attribute everything in etiquette to snobbery. There were many little rules that people did dream up in order to annoy those from whom they wished to disassociate themselves. But I do not believe this is one of them.” The true reason could be much simpler.
We’ll pick up on that, promise.
The songwriting team of Burt Bacharach and Hal Davis is one of the best, with a resume that’s a mile long.
Bacharach came up with the music, and David wrote the lyrics for “Walk on By” about a woman asking her former lover to leave her alone.
If you see me walking down the street
And I start to cry each time we meet
Walk on by, walk on by
That you don’t see the tears
Just let me grieve
In private ’cause each time I see you
I break down and cry
Dionne Warwick who sang many Bacharach/Davis collaborations did “Walk on By” first. Others included the Four Seasons, Connie Francis, Aretha Franklin, Gloria Gaynor, Kool & the Gang, Cyndi Lauper, Steve Lawrence, The Lettermen, Little Anthony And The Imperials, Johnny Mathis, The Miracles, Mitch Ryder And The Detroit Wheels, and guitarist Peter WHITE, accompanied by saxophonist Boney James.
After Labor Day—the first Monday of September—became a federal holiday in 1894, it came to symbolically mark the end of summer. Vacationers packed away their breezy white dresses and linen button-downs in favor of darker-hued clothing, like navy suits and gray sweaters. “There used to be a much clearer sense of re-entry,” explained Steele to Time. “You’re back in the city, back at school, back doing whatever you’re doing in the fall—and so you have a new wardrobe.”
Plus, for those who had money and could leave the city during warmer months, white was considered vacation attire, with city dwellers more often sticking to dark colors. White linen suits and Panama hats were considered the “look of leisure.”
Gary Brooker, the Procol Harum frontman who sang one of the most enduring hits of the 1960s, A Whiter Shade of Pale, died this past February. He was 76. The English rock band said Brooker died at his home. He had been receiving treatment for cancer.
From my blog in August of 2017:
August of 1967, the new group “Procol Harum” had a major hit on their hands, landing at #5 on the Billboard chart. If “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” was the album of The Summer of Love, then Procol Harum had the single of that era, “A Whiter Shade of Pale.”
At a time when the increasingly experimental British pop music of the mid to late Sixties was on the cusp, Procol Harum’s debut single did more than any other individual song to push it over the edge into what we now know as rock.
A mournful lament with a teasing – even disturbing – lyric masquerading as a feel-good summer love song, AWSOP (as it is known by its devotees) was a conundrum from day one. Clearly inspired by other works, it clearly inspired other works. It was both classical and pop. It was soul without funk. It helped invent rock that didn’t rock. It was a worldwide hit single by ‘serious artists’ that ushered in the era of the album as the true medium for ‘serious artists’. It was the most successful record ever broken by pirate radio… just as pirate radio was about to sink below the waves and be replaced by something more official and terrestrial.
Chris Rodley of The Guardian got right to the point. Or at least tried to.
What’s it about? Sex? Drugs? Death? Procol Harum’s mysterious, classically influenced song, released exactly 50 years ago, was an unlikely hit but went on to sell 10m copies.
I was just 14 when I first heard it, walking through the Hertfordshire countryside in the middle of the night.
Who was behind such music? Procal what? Surely the definite article was missing? (Even Pink Floyd were called The Pink Floyd back then.)
The music was even harder to pin down. The voice sounded black; the tune recalled that posh classical stuff that we thought we didn’t much like; the words … well, what on earth did they mean? What was a “light fandango” when it was skipped? I knew what a schoolboy virgin was, but what was a “vestal virgin” when he, she or it was at home? With every swell of that celestial Hammond organ, the mystery became deeper and more delicious.
It is the most played song in public places in the UK and the most played record ever on British radio.
Is it about a drug experience, a drug death, or a half-remembered, girl-leaves-boy relationship? Or is it simply about a drunken seduction, the sex having been drowned in metaphors about travelling the seas?
A few months ago Billboard.com interviewed co-founder, singer and keyboardist Gary Brooker.
When it was written and I was singing it, just the piano and vocal, I thought, ‘This is different.’ It was a good song and the recording came out very well, so that was job done. And of course it was a smash hit around the world straightaway, which is even more fantastic. But I never even thought 10 years ahead, let alone 50. I never thought that far in front at all.
It is still a great mystery to me why, how it’s come to be still so strong in so many people’s brains and lives and feelings. And new people pick it up as well. It’s not everybody that met their first girlfriend in 1967, you know? There’s people that have picked up the song along the way. And if I hear it myself on the radio, it always sounds different to all else that is going on in 2017, just like it sounded so different to everything else in 1967. It still sounds different.
Procol Harum’s lyricist Keith Reid wrote the words.
“It’s sort of a film, really, trying to conjure up mood and tell a story. It’s about a relationship. There’s characters and there’s a location, and there’s a journey. You get the sound of the room and the feel of the room and the smell of the room. But certainly there’s a journey going on, it’s not a collection of lines just stuck together. It’s got a thread running through it.”
Here’s Procol Harum performing A Whiter Shade of Pale with the Danish National Concert Orchestra and choir at Ledreborg Castle, Denmark in August 2006.
Wearing white after Labor Day?
Regardless of how this subjective rule really came about, no one in 2022 should feel the need to follow it. Wear whatever color you want! Life is too short―and fashion is too fun―to care about what other people think.
That’s it for this week.
Have a great weekend.
From “The White Album.”