Stream of consciousness or from the temporal to the meteorological (part seven)

First, I confess that this is a theme which could last as long as the author.  Rather than striving with no end in sight, I will arbitrarily limit this exploration to ten posts…and then move on.  For today’s installment, I’ll begin as I finished the previous post.  Paul McCartney‘s “night fixation” didn’t begin as a solo artist…here he is with several of his mates performing the title track from their first movie…

A Hard Day’s Night, released in 1964, capitalized on the popularity of The Beatles (or Beatlemania) at the time.  Directed by Richard Lester, the film was both a financial and critical success.  Both the single and the album easily reached #1 on American, British and Canadian charts.

I’m sticking with the band for the moment in order to transition to today’s “stream”.  And that’s a literal stream…  Parts of Canada have been experiencing considerable bouts of rain with severe flooding in some regions this spring.  So today’s key word is Rain

The song was released as the B-side of Paperback Writer and portended the psychedelic sounds of the upcoming album, Revolver.  The song itself reached #23 in the US in June of 1966.

So, since we’re wet, let’s stay out in the rain for a moment…

Jay and the Americans enjoyed their greatest fame during the period 1963-1965 but reprieved some that chart success at the end of the decade with This Magic Moment (#9 in 1969) and Walkin’ In the Rain (which reached #19 in 1970).  Some trivia… the group has actually had three different “Jays” over its history but the one most identified with the “big hits” is Jay (real name David) Black.

My wife would not forgive me if I didn’t include this next song by The Cowsills (check out the link for more details)…

Let’s go back…to 1952…a year with some significance for me!  That was the year in which Singin’ in the Rain (the movie starring Gene Kelly) hit the theatres.  While it received some acclaim during initial release it has only grown in stature over the years and it is now regarded as one of the best movie musicals of all time.

The song itself was first published in 1929 but was probably performed as early as 1927!

And, from the film, here’s the iconic segment…

Fast forward to 1970 and the release of Cosmo’s Factory by Creedence Clearwater Revival.  In a period of increasingly long, complex and (at times) indulgent performances by popular musicians, the songs of CCR stood out for their seeming simplicity, brevity and directness.  Who’ll Stop the Rain (which ran a succinct 2:29) reached #2 on the charts.  If one pauses to examine the song’s lyrics, however, there is material for reflection.

And…I haven’t even mentioned…

I Think It’s Going to Rain Today   Joe Cocker

Baby the Rain Must Fall  Glenn Yarbrough

Early Morning Rain  Gordon Lightfoot

Rain Rain Beautiful Rain  Ladysmith Black Mambazo (a group we had the opportunity to hear in concert back in February…excellent show!)

…but click on these links and you can get a little more rain in your life.

But today, I’m going to finish with this guy…

A fashion clone of Gino Vannelli?*

Here is Albert Hammond, performing It Never Rains in Southern California live in 1972.  The song reached #5 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart that same year.

*So… what was the the Vannelli caption all about?  Look below…

An Albert Hammond clone? Or just a 70’s thing?

I think I’ll head out to California for my next post…see you there!

 

 

Stream of consciousness or Where do I go (part one)…

In 1890 American philosopher and psychologist William James coined the term “stream of consciousness” in his book, The Principles of Psychology.  The term is now usually applied to a certain form of narrative in fiction… Stream of consciousness is a narrative technique that gives the impression of a mind at work, jumping from one observation, sensation, or reflection to the next. These varied elements are usually expressed in a flow of words without conventional transitions (http://grammar.about.com/od/rs/g/Stream-Of-Consciousness.htm).

It was as I was looking at my last post and deciding what “road” I would next follow that I decided just to wander.  In that post I mentioned The Free Design‘s cover of Where Do I Go.  The song is part of Hair: The American Tribal Love-Rock Musical which made its debut in 1967.  The show enjoyed (and continues to enjoy) a level of popularity and spawned a number of top 40 hits for various artists.

The book and lyrics were by James Rado and Gerome Ragni and music by Galt MacDermot.
The book and lyrics were by James Rado and Gerome Ragni and music by Galt MacDermot.

Now back in the late ’60’s I was beginning to collect albums and ’45’s.  My criterion in getting a ’45 was quite simple…either I really liked the song (enough to play it repeatedly) or it was a clearance item.  Easy to be Hard (by Three Dog Night) fell into that first category. So how does that fit into today’s wandering.  Well, it too comes from the musical Hair… Here it is…

By the way, as a matter of trivia, the song reached #4 on Billboard’s Hot 100 in 1969.  The band, which had the distinction of having three lead singers, charted no less than twelve gold albums in their heyday as well as 21 top 40 hits… not exactly one-hit wonders!

At this point, my road divides.  Part of me wants to choose Everything Reminds Me of My Dog by Jane Siberry… a nod to the previous band’s name.

On the other hand, as I consider Easy to be Hard‘s lyrics in the context of the recent American election, the refugee immigration debate and the tragic death of six individuals at a mosque here in Canada (in Quebec) I lean to that Quebec native son so recently taken from us, Leonard Cohen.  Always prescient, always clever and serving his songs with a more than a hint of irony (and even a little hope)…

So…take your pick of these two (depending on your own stream) and we’ll see where these selections lead us in the next post…