Prince's Timeless Performance of While My Guitar Gently Weeps

Posted in George Harrison, Prince, The Beatles on July 25th, 2012 by Willie

Prince is one of my heroes, so you might be wondering why the Prince page on my website is fairly barren.  Well, the truth is, I’d probably have every Prince music video and performance I could get my hands on if I could, but Prince and his legal team make it damn near impossible to for anyone on the internet to post his music and videos.  Well, there is one performance that thankfully is available for the public to consume, and that is of Prince’s epic guitar heroics at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.  Prince was inducted in the same year George Harrison was honored as a solo artist, and so Dhani Harrison, George’s son, invited Prince on stage for the performance of the White Album classic, “While My Guitar Gently Weeps.”  I read somewhere that Prince had never even heard the song before, though that’s hard to believe as Prince peeled off one of the greatest and most showstopping flawless guitar solos of all time.  What is especially spectacular about the performance is that the man who played the original solo on the record, Eric Clapton, was a bit of a guitar legend too, so Prince had a lot to live up to.  The thing is, sometimes people forget that Prince is Prince.  The man is rightfully one of the greatest musical geniuses of the pop era, and one of the more criminally underrated ones too.  Rumor has it that Prince played such an insanely great solo in response to the snub he felt after being left off of Rolling Stone Magazine’s top 100 guitar players ever list.  Prince proves that he belongs somewhere on that list, perhaps in the top ten, so watch this clip if you’ve never seen it, and take in the “purple’s one’s” majesty of rock.  Oh, and lastly, at the end of the song, Prince hurls his guitar into the sky towards the audience, and it never lands…a new mystery for our time.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Of Montreal, Disconnect the Dots, Lysergic Bliss (live), Art Snob Solutions (live)

Posted in Of Montreal, Youtube Favs on September 22nd, 2011 by Willie

R.E.M. broke up yesterday, but worry not, because Athens, Georgia rocks on with their other native sons, Of Montreal.  Of Montreal, famously not “of Montreal,” hail from R.E.M.’s hometown too.  Kevin Barnes, the group’s extroverted introvert genius front man, is peculiar guy.  When he broke into music, his talent wasn’t entirely assembled.  His early home record, Cherry Peel, is pretty terrible.  The only redeeming feature was  the strange lyrical sense.  It mixed a sublimely inspired high brow thing with an almost crass vulnerability.  Even though his early records weren’t great, Kevin kept plugging away, churning out song after song, and record after record, becoming one of the most prolific artists in rock and roll.  Along the way, his talent skyrocketed, and most of Of Montreal’s records were entirely recorded by him, and featured stunning melodies, complex arrangements, and a mashing together of styles that was bold and futuristic.  My favorite Of Montreal record was 2004’s Satanic Panic in the Attic, a modern day Sgt. Pepper if I ever heard one.  That album launched Of Montreal into the mainstream of indie rock, and they have capitalizing on its success ever since, crafting an outrageous David Bowie and Prince inspired live show, and headlining shows all across the world.  The first two songs are from the aforementioned album, and the last one, “Art Snob Solutions,” was a bonus cut from The Sunlandic Twins record that followed in the next year.  These are my favorite Of Montreal songs, and not only reflect the spirit of Elephant 6’s desire to bring vintage Beatles psychedelia back to life, but Barnes’s own dreams of writing hits and becoming a modern day rock star.  Since the middle part of the last decade, Of Montreal has veered towards a more experimental funk disco oriented sound, away from their 60s British roots that I love, and they have become an object of profound love or hate.  Again, like Neutral Milk Hotel, I fall somewhere in the middle, not entirely digging their newer stuff, but not dismissing them at all due to my knowledge of the supreme accomplishments Kevin has achieved with his group.  He is just following his muse down a path where the one rule seems to be, “don’t repeat yourself,” and its a creed I wished more artists would live by.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

My Top 100 Youtube Favorites, a Retrospective, Part 3

Posted in Youtube Favs on June 29th, 2011 by Willie

We knocked off 100-50, now its time to begin rounding off the list of my 100 favorite youtube videos with part 3.  In this list you’re gonna find a lot of amazing super groups, all-star pair ups, and ultra rare collaborations!  Let’s begin the magical mystery tour right now!

#49.  John Lennon, Jealous Guy – I dig this video because of John’s ruminations on the philosophy of love right before he launches into the song.

#48.  Louie CK on Late Night With Conan O’Brien – Appropriate because Louie’s genius show Louie began its second season last week.  Don’t miss that.

#47.  Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, Mean Woman Blues/Blue Suede Shoes – They were still young, and they were still thin, and of course they could still rock.

#46.  The Beatles, Strawberry Fields Forever –  My favorite Beatles song, when I was 17 years old. Read more »

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Michael Jackson, James Brown, and Prince

Posted in James Brown, Michael Jackson, Prince, Youtube Favs on April 19th, 2011 by Willie

Part 39 of my youtube countdown is loaded with star power.  In it, you’ll see a Prince, a King, and a Godfather, the Holy Trinity of R&B, dance, funk, and soul.  In 1983, at a James Brown concert, we have the Godfather calling to stage the King of Pop in all his pre-insane person glory.  Michael Jackson gets up, sings a bit, then busts out some dance moves that just flatten the world with their perfection.  The first video presents James and Michael in crystal clear beauty.  Michael does some spins, some incredible James Brown-esque footwork, and throws in his moonwalk.  Just amazing.  Clip 2, sadly of lesser quality, covers the Michael performance again, but also includes the introduction of Prince to the stage.  Now, this was bizarre.  Prince, who seems high as hell, is carried to the stage by a bodyguard in full out foppish dandy boy mode, straps on a guitar, and plays a pretty terrible solo.  But, no matter, this moment is too amazing to ignore, or to criticize really.  It’s doubtful that this much talent, funk, and soul will ever grace a stage ever again.  Enjoy this eternal moment.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

James Brown, Please Please Please

Posted in James Brown, Youtube Favs on March 8th, 2011 by Willie

Welcome to part 16 of my youtube favorites countdown.  In this edition we’ll be bringing down the house with the Godfather of Soul, James Brown.  Helped out by his Famous Flames, this performance of Please Please Please, is from the TAMI rock show, a 1964 concert movie.  This performance, considered by Prince to be the greatest in rock and roll history, was the second to last act of the evening.  According to legend, the Rolling Stones had the option to appear before or after James, and they chose to close it out.  Keith Richards said it was the worst decision they ever made as Brown blew the roof off the joint, and the Stones, while playing well, couldn’t hope to match the energy JB created.  This video is worth watching from beginning to end.  James is in full control of his voice and body.  Every grimace, yelp, and shake is one of utter perfection, the true work of a master.  So, here you go, bow down to James Brown.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

We are the World, and the Rest of You Can Watch…

Posted in Michael Jackson, Youtube Favs on February 17th, 2011 by Willie

Continuing the journey down my youtube favorites list, I give you the infamous “We Are the World.”  This tune was written by Lionel Richie and Michael Jackson sometime in 1985, as a response to the horrendous Ethiopian famine which killed over a million people.  I guess it did some good as it raised between 50-60 million dollars according to Wikipedia, which is all well and good, but honestly, no one remembers the humanitarian crisis, but rather the image of all those super famous humans gathering in one room to belt out this piece of classic schmaltz.  Now, from a distance, this song really sucks.  Its cheesy, overwrought, and covered with a layer of outdated 80s glitter, but still, there is no denying the underlying charm of all these ultra-stars, and a few artists manage to give this thing some heat by the end.  Here are a few random comments I have for you before enjoy the vid.

#1.  Billy Joel, I love you, but go home, also that goes double for Kenny Loggins (for sucking), Kenny Rogers and Paul Simon (for making insanely strange faces.)

#2. Bruce Springsteen, you absolutely RULE the end of the song when you manage to hold your own with Stevie Wonder, but wouldn’t like you like a new take of your first line earlier in the song?  You make this face in which you look like you were shot in the stomach.  Although, I gotta hand it to him overall, this is the coolest look he ever had.  He’s like a combination of Elvis, the Fonz, and Dean Martin.  Man, what a rock star.

#3. We can all agree, this is Steve Perry’s greatest moment in music history. I think Journey is horrible, but what a soaring voice this guy has.

#4.  This video marked the beginning of when Michael Jackson thought it was a good idea to basically dress up as the fifth member of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band…for the rest of his life.

#5.  The story goes that Prince skipped out on the recording of this song for some ego bruised reason…which, ironically makes Prince the most genuine superstar out of this whole group.  Why?  Because Prince wasn’t about to pretend he didn’t have an ego, unlike every single one of these stars, who tried their damnedest to make you believe they were selfless.

#6.  And lastly, Bob Dylan and his disciple Bruce Springsteen are dressed exactly the same.  Must have been awkward…

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,