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What Are YOUR Top 10 Favorite Beatles Songs?

Thursday, January 17th, 2013 - by Myra Adams

Recently a former college roommate of my husband’s requested that once again I write about classic rock music; so Bob Z. from Pittsburgh, PA this column is for you!

Like many of my past classic rock pieces this one is meant to foster group discussion at social gatherings or stimulate some “deep” personal thinking after imbibing an adult beverage or two.

And nothing stimulates deep personal thinking more than the question: What are your top 10 favorite Beatles songs?

Before I reveal my list, I can almost hear my Father saying, “The Beatles are just a passing fad.” That was his response in 1964 after watching them perform on the Ed Sullivan Showreflecting an opinion commonly held by many parents at the time.

Except that “passing fad” dramatically affected culture, helped impact world events and changed music forever, along with the hearts, minds and souls of every baby boomer born in the first wave from 1946 to 1955.

So with all that in mind, here are my top 10 favorite Beatles songs.

1. While My Guitar Gently WeepsGeorge Harrison, 1968 The Beatles  “White Album”

This song is so hauntingly beautiful that 45 years later, it sounds as fresh and vibrant as it did when it first appeared on the “White Album.”

Below is George Harrison singing a post-Beatles acoustic version.

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2. In My LifeLennon/McCartney, 1965 - Rubber Soul

A perfect song for remembering or honoring someone you love, and often heard at funerals or “life celebrations.”

In my opinion, In My Life does not receive the accolades it deserves as one of the Beatles most melodic and meaningful songs.

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3. Come Together  - John Lennon, 1969 - Abbey Road

Today, Come Together sounds as bizarre and beautiful as it did when I first heard it at age 14.

4. Back in the U.S.S.R. - Paul McCartney, 1968 – The Beatles “White Album”

How can anyone sit still while listening to this song?

But most important the song reminds us of the Beatles’ role in hastening the demise of Soviet communism.

5. I Want You (She’s So Heavy) - John Lennon, 1969 - Abbey Road

This was another Beatles breakthrough song that sounded like no other in 1969 and I chronicled the experience of hearing it for the first time in this Classic Rock series.

6. Here Comes the Sun - George Harrison, 1969 – Abbey Road   

Such a happy song of hope! It is nearly impossible not to be uplifted after hearing it.

7. Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown) - Lennon/McCartney, 1965 – Rubber Soul

Another groundbreaking song known for the first time a sitar was used by a rock band.

8. Day Tripper - Lennon/McCartney, 1966 - Yesterday and Today 

I always loved the main guitar riff along with the catchy tune.   

9. Paperback Writer - Lennon/McCartney, 1966 - (Released only as a single but later appeared on several Beatles compilation albums.)

Such an engaging song with an unforgettable guitar riff that hooked the 11-year-old me onto music that eventually evolved into “heavy metal,” explaining my love for Led Zeppelin.

10. You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away - John Lennon, 1965 - Help!

An overlooked Beatles masterpiece that never got the attention it deserved because many of their greatest songs were released around this same time.

So what’s on your list?

Every aging baby boomer has many favorite Beatles songs, but now it’s time to commit to naming your top 10.

Making this task easier, I have provided a list of all the Beatles songs ever recorded.  Then, if you were in the “3rd reading group” and need even further assistance, here is Rolling Stone’s list of the 100 greatest Beatles songs.

Go get started now so we can have some fun reading each others’ lists, while at the same time stimulate your brain with some “deep personal thinking.”

It is amazing how 48 years later this “passing fad” still continues to entertain and has stood the test of time.

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Related on Rock ‘n’ Roll at PJ Lifestyle:

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A Tsunami of Seniors: The Crisis Begins In 2026 When The First Baby Boomers Turn 80

Monday, January 7th, 2013 - by Myra Adams
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In 1967 the Beatles song “When I’m Sixty-Four” appeared on the now iconic Sgt. Pepper album, and many, including this writer, considered age 64 “old.” (Of course, I was only 12, but 64 was old at that time.)

But when General Norman Schwarzkopf recently died at age 78, I did not consider him old.

So what happened to change my view of when old age begins?

Well for starters, I got old along with the 76 million Americans born between 1946 and 1964 who are affectionately known as “baby boomers.” Boomers transformed America at every stage of life.  Unfortunately, our nation was totally unprepared for all the change we brought every step of the way and now is no different.

Last year at an Aging in America conference, Ken Dychtwald, CEO of the consulting firm AgeWave, summed it up like this:

“We weren’t prepared for the boomers,” he said. “There weren’t enough hospitals or pediatricians. There weren’t enough bedrooms in our homes. There weren’t enough schoolteachers or textbooks or playgrounds. The huge size of this generation has strained institutions every step of the way.”

Then Dychtwald compared his New Jersey high school, with such overcrowding that students had to go to classes in shifts, to what’s in store for aging baby boomers in the coming decades.

“The boards of education had 13 years to see this coming. What was the surprise there?” said Dychtwald. “But it’s the same today with senior care and geriatric medicine and continuum of care. It’s staggering how unprepared we are.”

Yes, it is staggering indeed — and, as the saying goes, “we ain’t seen nothin’ yet.”

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5 Positive Personality Traits Baby Boomer Women Developed While Waiting By The Phone

Saturday, December 29th, 2012 - by Myra Adams
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“It must be him, it must be him, oh dear God, it must be him or I shall die.”

Aging female baby boomers can relate to these lyrics from a 1967 hit song by Vikki Carr entitled, It Must Be Him.

Before the advent of answering machines, and decades before mobile communications and social media, waiting by the phone for your man to call was an ancient mating tradition that single women of all ages thankfully will never again have to endure.

I was reminded of this dating ritual since we are on the cusp of celebrating what is traditionally known as the greatest date night of all, New Year’s Eve.

While wracking my brain thinking of a suitable baby boomer topic applicable to this holiday, it hit me… New Year’s Eve, 1971, when I was a high school sophomore and my boyfriend was a senior.

All that stands out about that evening was my having to wait by the phone for my boyfriend to call to tell me the time he was coming by to take me to a house party (where someone’s parents were out of town).

As 5 pm turned into 6 pm, turned into 7 pm, turned into 8 pm, I became extremely anxious, especially when my mother said, “Would it be so bad if you stayed home?” (Yea mom, how about the end of the world as I know it.)

When Mr. Considerate finally called at 8 pm the trauma ceased. But thinking back upon that 1971 New Year’s Eve, it was how waiting by the phone helped form five positive personality traits that women like me did not even realize we were developing.  Eventually these five traits served baby boomer women extremely well as we made our way through the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s taking advantage of all the new career opportunities that the women’s movement afforded.

Here are the five personality traits aging baby boomer women learned while waiting by the phone.

1. Patience

When you were forced to accept someone else’s timetable you learned it was not just all about you. Waiting by the phone developed patience and was superb training for almost any career and life in general.

2. Rejection

This feeling was experienced when you finally realized that he was not going to call after he said (or you assumed) he would. Learning to cope with rejection without feeling like a complete loser was an important life lesson. The key was to think about all your positive attributes that this man was obviously missing. Then move ahead and don’t look back. This concept was easily applied to the professional world, especially if you were a business owner or involved in sales of any kind. Women of a certain age who experienced sitting by the phone waiting for him to call learned how to be resilient in the face of rejection.

3. Self worth/Self esteem

You waited by the phone and he did call. High five! You were on top of your game. All your flirting skills worked and you were the master of the feminine universe. (But sometimes you discovered that he was not worth waiting for!)

Later in life this same initial exhilaration was experienced when you landed a new job or a new client/contract/project was won. But you never let it go to your head. One learned early on that you must never be cocky because rejection in love or life could be lurking right around the corner.

4. Diplomacy 

He called, (maybe even weeks after he said he would) and you refrained from telling him that he was an insensitive jerk. But since you were really glad to hear from him you said no such thing. Later in the business world this skill came in handy when “the customer was always right” even if he/she was not.

5. Playing the Game

Once while chatting with some guy friends in my high school classes they admitted to me that often they did not call a girl after they said they would because they did not want to appear “pussy whipped.” (Yes, that was the operative term at the time.) So from this conversation I learned that there was a lot of game playing going on when it came to the timing of “the call.”

As a result, my friends and I would discuss when it was time to stop waiting and time to start living. (However, flirting with his friends was always an appropriate response.) The lesson “stop waiting and start living” developed into positive personality traits that were applicable to many future life situations.

But alas, girls/women today don’t have to deal with any of this waiting by the phone. In fact, waiting is a thing of the past since now there is no stigma attached to calling a boy before he calls you. Girls today will call, text, tweet, Facebook, or email and if that does not get his attention they will have their friends call, text, email, Facebook or tweet. From what I have heard about today’s dating habits, “whatever it takes” to catch the attention of the man of the moment seems to be acceptable behavior.

This behavior is a result of both the instant communications revolution and the women’s movement which generally has made the girls/women of today much more aggressive than my friends or I ever were in high school and college.

Perhaps this more aggressive behavior is cultural “payback” for all the countless hours their baby boomer mothers and grandmothers spent waiting by the phone especially in the weeks leading up to important date nights like New Year’s Eve. For around that time whenever the phone rang, teenage girls and young women were conditioned into thinking, “It must be him, it must be him, please be him or I will die.”

Happy New Year’s everyone!

****

More on generations at PJ Lifestyle:

Dissecting Baby Boomer Liberalism Like a Frog in Science Class

Baby Boomers: The Most Depressed Generation

Young America! Stop Letting Boomers Feed Off You

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What Classic Rock Album Covers Blew Your Mind?

Saturday, December 15th, 2012 - by Myra Adams

My new car comes equipped with a three month trial subscription to Sirius XM radio and when Patriot Channel talk gets repetitive, I occasionally switch to 60′s on Channel 6, where I know the words to every song.

So the other day I happened to hear a song which really jolted my memory bank. It was A Taste of Honey by Herb Albert and the Tijuana Brass, but while listening, all I could think about was the album cover.

And if you are of a certain age, you know exactly what I mean.

In 1965 when the album, Whipped Cream and Other Delights, was released the cover was considered “veddy” racy.

And here is the hit song, A Taste of Honey from the album.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Whipped Cream was my parent’s album, but even as a Beatles loving 10-year-old I enjoyed it along with them. However, it was the cover that really made an impression.  I even remember spreading whipped cream all over my arms in tribute to the girl on the cover.

This Sirius XM Radio childhood flashback got me thinking about what other album covers made lasting, even mind blowing visual impressions. So here is that small stack of album covers which came tumbling off a dusty shelf in the far reaches of my brain — presented in chronological order.

The Mamas and the Papas — If You Can Believe Your Eyes and Ears

In the middle of 1966 Beatlemania, this album by the Mamas and the Papas was released. To me, the music and the cover were equally impactful, for sitting in a bathtub fully dressed struck me as rather extreme. Chiefly responsible for the brain dent was Michelle Phillips, who was one of the most beautiful women I had ever seen, wearing those jeans and cowboy boots. I remember getting into our dry bathtub pretending to be her.  Yes, I was an impressionable pre-teen!

The Beatles — Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band

Of course the most famous album cover in history absorbed hours of 1967 summer time fun for me and my friends as we tried in vain to identify all the faces on the cover. Since we were stumped by so many, I remember having to ask my parents. (Oh the horror of asking your parents to explain a Beatles album cover!) But I had no choice since Google was 31 years in the future. Now, in one Google second here is the complete list.  (How I love the modern age!)

Cream — Disraeli Gears

Psychedelic flower power anyone?  Released in November of 1967, this album cover fascinated me. On the inside I loved Cream’s music too, but something about the album design with all the fuchsia colors, totally blew my 12-year-old mind and opened doors of endless creative possibilities.

Traffic – The Low Spark of High Heeled Boys

This 1971 album by Traffic was so graphically unique with its die-cut design, it truly broke new ground and decades later the title song is still one of my favorite classic rock tunes. So here is a 1972 live version to enjoy, especially if it has been awhile since you have heard Low Spark of High Heeled Boys.

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We must not fret about the passing of album cover art for it now lives on the net with many sites dedicated to its greatness. There are also numerous cover art quizzes that will be used as “game time” trivia at nursing homes around 2040 when I am in my 80’s. (Now at my mother’s nursing home they play trivia contest games with Broadway show tunes and my mother is often the proud winner of a new fluffy nap blanket.)

Speaking of getting old, here is the Whipped Cream girl from that famous 1965 album cover now age 76.

So what classic rock covers blew your mind at a tender age?

And if you can recall them now, remember them for later when a new fluffy nap blanket is at stake.

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Dissecting Baby Boomer Liberalism Like a Frog in Science Class

Thursday, December 13th, 2012 - by Dave Swindle

It’s one of my biggest disappointments that I’ve only begun to accept in the past few years: the average level of maturity that we experience in high school is as good as it gets. That’s where most people stop their emotional and intellectual development. Once one realizes and accepts that overgrown teenagers dominate the planet, then literally everything starts to make much more sense.

First in my post-college years in the workplace and second as I began a career of full-time new media editing the same questions continually emerged. What happened to America’s grown-ups? How come so many “adults” still act like adolescents spreading gossip, stabbing each other in the back, lying, nursing petty rivalries, and obsessing over how much fun sex is? Isn’t college supposed to be the last hurrah where you get all the stupid things you need to do out of your system before your idiocy can hurt others too much?

As the Obama campaign dragged the national dialogue down to the locker room level thanks to Lena Dunham and Sandra Fluke, baby boomer conservatives uniformly predicted victory for their white knight Mitt Romney. This Ward Cleaver epitome of adult respectability would inspire the legions of “Silent Majority” American grown-ups (who somehow the pollsters kept missing) to awaken to the truth of Obama’s fantasy of raising taxes on “the rich” for fairness’s sake regardless of the disastrous economic consequences and the pitiful extra 8 days’ worth of revenue to gain.

But those voters didn’t show up. They don’t exist anymore. Decades of cultural Marxist infiltration have finally started to bear fruit. Two rising cohorts that played key roles in Obama’s victory include the never-married and the irreligious (two interrelated subjects, as readers of David P. Goldman’s How Civilizations Die know).

Where did these voters come from to assist the president in his fundamental transformation of America?

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‘Goin’ Up To The Spirit In The Sky, The Place I’m Gonna Go When I Die’- Did This Song Impact You?

Sunday, December 9th, 2012 - by Myra Adams
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Certainly all you aging baby boomers out there remember this song.

It was 1969 when Spirit in the Sky first hit the airwaves and we used to all sing the chorus:

Goin’ up to the spirit in the sky

That’s where I’m gonna go when I die

When I die and they lay me to rest

Gonna go to the place that’s the best

As I sang along, the lyrics invoking the name of Jesus confused me since Spirit in the Sky was performed by Norman Greenbaum who had an obvious Jewish sounding last name.

Noticing that, I distinctly remember thinking, “why would someone who was Jewish sing about Jesus?”

Important to note here: I too was Jewish. However, since my parents were totally non-religious, so was I. But there was one aspect of my heritage about which I was totally versed and that was Jews did not believe in Jesus.

My questioning this belief began around the age of 11 as I was singing a Christmas carol in school.

(During the 1960s in my public school everyone sang Christmas carols, regardless of your faith.)

The song which sparked my question was The First Noel, with its chorus, “born is the King of Israel.”

Since my Jewish family did not celebrate Christmas (a real bone of contention with me from a very early age) I began wondering why we ignored this Jewish Jesus who I just learned from a song was “born the King of Israel.”

Prompted by this phrase, I asked my mother, “Why don’t we believe in Jesus if He was born the King of Israel?”

Her scholarly reply was “because we are Jewish.”

Now fast forward a few years, as I am listening to Norman Greenbaum sing:

I got a friend in Jesus

So you know that when I die

He’s gonna set me up with the spirit in the sky

These lyrics, combined with the Christmas carol incident just left me more confused about this “forbidden Jesus,” who was “born the King of Israel” and now I hear is “gonna set me up with the spirit in the sky.”

Throughout my teenage years more seeds of religious curiosity were planted, eventually sprouting into a glorious garden leading me to be baptized, “in the name of Jesus” at the age of 21.

So how many of you practice a faith that is different from the one in which you were born and raised?

Many of you is my guess.

For the record, baby boomers are a relatively religious bunch. According to Pew Research:

Among Baby Boomers, 43% say they are a “strong” member of their religion, a higher share than among younger adults and a lower share than among older ones. Four-in-ten say they attend religious services at least once a week.

Then, a new Gallup study on religion just released this week states:

Although it is always difficult to predict the future, certain trends in the age composition of the American public suggest that religion may become increasingly important in the years to come. This is mostly the result of the fact that the number of Americans who are 65 and older will essentially double over the next 20 years, dramatically increasing the number of older Americans. As long as these aging baby boomers become more religious as they age — following the path of their elders — the average religiousness in the population will go up.

So from Pew and Gallup we learn that Christianity, and this message, as reflected in the Spirit in the Sky lyrics is increasingly striking a chord with aging baby boomers:

Prepare yourself, you know it’s a must

Gotta have a friend in Jesus

So you know that when you die

He’s gonna recommend you to the spirit in the sky

While researching this piece I discovered some interesting facts.

Mr. “Spirit in the Sky,” Norman Greenbaum was born in 1942 (which means he is NOT a baby boomer) and is from my hometown of Boston.

Since my maternal Grandmother’s maiden name was also Greenbaum and she settled in Boston after arriving from Russia around 1910, is it safe to assume that Norman and I are somehow related?

Furthermore, Wiki has this to say about my newly discovered long lost relative:

Although “Spirit in the Sky” has a clear Christian theme, Greenbaum was, and still is, a practicing Jew.  Greenbaum says he was inspired to write the song after watching country singers Dolly Parton and Porter Wagoner singing a religious song on television.

Regardless of Norman’s motives in writing his only hit, the song played a role in bringing me to believe that Jesus was and is the Jewish Messiah, “born the King of Israel.”

(And as you can imagine, Dora Greenbaum Cohen’s daughter, my non-religious Jewish mother Gloria Cohen Kahn, was not at all happy about my embracing that Jewish King.)

So please do comment about any family trauma your faith change may have caused and we can all compare notes.

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‘Even Though We Ain’t Got Money, I’m So In Love With Ya Honey’ … How Did That Work Out For You?

Friday, November 30th, 2012 - by Myra Adams
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Recently while dining with my favorite husband at a restaurant with live music, the singer performed Danny’s Song, an old favorite of mine.

Since I had not heard this song in years it touched a raw emotional chord in my memory bank and the song has stayed on my mind ever since.

Just to refresh your memory, Danny’s Song was released in 1971 by Loggins and Messina from their debut album entitled Sittin’ In.

At the height of the song’s popularity I was a 16-year-old sophomore in high school. Whenever it played on the radio (which was quite frequently) my girlfriends and I would sing along at the top of our lungs.

But above all I remember the lyrics making a huge psychological impact on me, helping formulate my sweet 16 view of love, relationships and future marriage.

Now looking back at the song from my 57-year-old perspective it was the chorus that imprinted itself on my heart.

 And even though we ain’t got money, I’m so in love with ya honey,  everything will bring a chain of love.
And in the morning when I rise, you bring a tear of joy to my eyes,
And tell me everything is gonna be alright.

As a teenager that chorus spoke to me saying “whether you are rich or poor, love conquers all.”

I truly embraced the message.

Then of course you grow up and strap yourself in for a ride on the roller coaster of life. When hurricanes strike and the roller coaster gets swept out to sea (like this one in New Jersey recently) with you still on it, but your partner is gone and your wallet is empty, then you wise up and realize that song’s message was just a sweet 16 fairy tale.   

As many aging baby boomers experienced their roller coaster ride through life, money issues were often deal breakers in marriages.

My peers may have started out singing “even though we ain’t got money, I’m so in love with ya honey” but then we watched as the record got severely scratched or broken after the roller-coaster took some sharp unexpected turns.

Since I like to think of myself as a one person aging baby boomer focus group… and if I was so heavily impacted by this song’s idyllic message, how many of you were as well?

In the comments section, you are allowed to stomp on your ex who stole your wallet, but just do not use real names!

On the other hand, if you are still in your first baby boomer marriage that is a testament to Danny’s Song, congratulations, and please share your story, but don’t make the rest of us feel too bad.

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And get caught up on Myra’s previous Baby Boomer nostalgia adventures in this series’ predecessor, Classic Rock and Cheap Wine:

Fleetwood Mac – Many Memories and Some Rumours

Jimi Hendrix, Love Beads, and My First Concert

Do You Want The Greatest Rock Song Played At Your Funeral?

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Baby Boomers: The Most Depressed Generation

Tuesday, November 20th, 2012 - by PJ Lifestyle Health

via What Boomer Women Can Learn About Aging From (Gasp) Older Women – Emily Esfahani Smith – The Atlantic.

The 79 million boomers alive today make up over a quarter of the entire American population. Last year, the oldest members of the generation turned 65. For the next 18 years, 10,000 boomers will turn 65 each day, according to the Pew Research Center. Today, the average life expectancy for women in America is 81 years old. For men, it is 76 years old. According to Gallup, the expected retirement age in the United States is 67. So, as Boomers enter into the retirement that precedes the end of their lives, will they find meaning and satisfaction as they age? Will they thrive, flourish, take a slow ride off into the sunset?

This is an enormously important question not just because of the implications it has on the happiness of real people, but also for the consequences it will have on society, social services, and our culture as a whole. As Pew points out, “By force of numbers alone, they almost certainly will redefine old age in America, just as they’ve made their mark on teen culture, young adult life and middle age.”

The baby boomers are becoming characterized by startlingly high rates of depression and pessimism. Boomers are more depressed and less satisfied with their lives than both those who are older and younger than them, according to a study published in the American Sociological Review in 2008.

Women, in particular, are suffering. In the American population generally, women tend to be more depressive than men, and this is true of the boomers as well. In 2008, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that between 1999 and 2004, rates of suicide increased by 20 percent for 45-to-54-year-olds, a far greater increase than that experienced in nearly every other age group. Among women who were 45-to-54-year-olds, the increase was a staggering 31 percent. Suicide aside, boomers have found another way to cope with their doldrums: according to the National Institute of Health, between 2002 and 2011, the number of illicit drugs users aged 50 to 59 tripled.

What is going on? This is a generation that is better educated, more successful, and has better access to health care than the generations that directly preceded it. This is the generation whose women benefitted from the gains of second wave feminism.

Experts on aging, depression, and happiness are at a loss for what is causing the boomers’ funk. One explanation is stress. “Much of the research is pointing to daily stress as a precipitator of their depression,” according to Donald A. Malone, Jr., the director of the Mood and Anxiety Clinic in the department of psychiatry and psychology at the Cleveland Clinic.

Read the whole thing at The Atlantic and Follow Emily on Twitter @EmEsfahaniSmith

*****

Related at PJ Lifestyle:

Young America! Stop Letting Boomers Feed Off You

What Are YOUR Five Favorite Classic Rock Songs?

When Boomer Culture Finishes Its Suicide, What Will Rise Next?

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Classic Rock and Cheap Wine: Fleetwood Mac – Many Memories and Some Rumours

Saturday, November 17th, 2012 - by Myra Adams
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In 1972 (or what I like to refer to as “prehistoric times” before cell phones, internet or cable) I was a junior at Needham High School in Needham, Massachusetts, a suburb of Boston.

In homeroom, my assigned seat was next to a student named Peter, who my friends had designated “most likely to die of a drug overdose.” But Peter, despite  “having issues,” had cultivated a reputation for being on the cutting edge of rock music hip-ness.

So one day during homeroom “quiet time,” I passed Peter a note asking what bands he was currently listening to and he wrote back Pink Floyd, Black Sabbath and Fleetwood Mac.

These names fascinated me because I had yet to hear of any of them.

Why do I even remember this note passing incident from 40 years ago?

Two reasons: first, as predicted, not long after high school Peter tragically died of a drug overdose. And second, the music of the bands named in Peter’s note formed a prophetic soundtrack for my life in the years ahead.

Starting in September of 1973, Pink Floyd and I had a monumental first meeting during my freshman year at Ohio State University. The experience resulted in lifelong friendship bonds chronicled here a few months ago.

Then there is Black Sabbath, or rather Ozzy Osbourne. Although I was never a big fan of his, the lyrics, “I am going off the rails of the crazy train” is a favorite phrase that occasionally pops up in my writing, but more often in conversation when I am describing the current state of our nation.

But most prophetic was Fleetwood Mac, a band with whom I had a love affair which lasted years. Later in 1972 a friend introduced me to their new album called Bare Trees.  A good album I thought, but not life altering.

But in 1977, during my senior year in college, Fleetwood Mac released the album Rumours and that was life altering. Songs from Rumours were always playing in the background as I transitioned from college to Washington D.C with first jobs and first marriage.

I will not bore you with all the tawdry details of why I am so emotionally tied to this album, but please do write some comments about yours! For if you are about my age I know you have some, because this album greatly impacted millions of baby boomers.

Especially one 1946 “first crop” baby boomer by the name of Bill Clinton, who in 1992 revived the popularity of Rumours and Fleetwood Mac by choosing Don’t Stop Thinking about Tomorrow as his presidential campaign theme song.

President Clinton even convinced the band to get back together to play at his 1993 inaugural ball.

Back in the late 70’s, due to the popularity of Rumours, I discovered the first and only album by Lindsey Buckingham and Steve Nicks entitled Buckingham Nicks. This spectacular album, largely forgotten and never released on CD, was a foreshadowing of this duo’s future greatness.  Here is the entire album if you have never heard it.

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So in honor of Rumours, Fleetwood Mac, Lindsey, Stevie and Peter (may he rest in peace) what shall we drink?

Absolutely nothing but spring water! Because this morning I am sitting in Manitou Springs, Colorado elevation 6,412 feet with a pounding headache that started last night after I imbibed three glasses of Pinot Noir with my dinner of wild boar spare ribs and a few bites of my husband’s antelope.

Apparently, since I now live at sea level (literally next to the sea), an elevation of 6,412 feet and wine do not make beautiful music together for this aging baby boomer.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone and may I recommend that your family along with ours sing this really classic song before dinner.

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And will someone please try that “favorite rock song conversation game” I wrote about recently over the long holiday weekend when gossiping about other family members finally runs dry?

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Young America! Stop Letting Boomers Feed Off You

Tuesday, November 13th, 2012 - by Tim O'Hair

Good morning, Young America! And by “young,” I mean Gen X, Gen Y, and Millennials, many of whom just had the honor, or for some reason bypassed the honor, of voting in a national election. If the media is correct, you are really happy and enthusiastic about what you have seen. They told you to be happy. Yet you should be frightfully pissed off.

You see, Young Americans, you’ve been royally screwed. By your parents, no less. For the last twenty-odd years, since they gained power across the board, the Baby Boomers have sold your generations down the river — and they got you all to help seal your own fate. Ingenious? Insidious? However you wish to describe it, you’re going to need to legalize marijuana in a lot more states to dull the pain of what is yet to come.

The Boomers at MTV told you to get involved, to focus on the social issues, vote for change. But what were they really doing? With marketing far more effective than anything Don Draper ever imagined, they were selling you a massive bill of goods, making sure you look the other way while they continue to move the loot out the back door. And we can get political here — both parties were and are culpable, Republican and Democrat, acting with such brazen self-interest as could be expected of the Me generation members in control. More debt, more spending, more consumption — that was their American way.

Not only did you buy it, you continue to buy it. So one is left to conclude: either a) you are a willing accomplice, selling out your own futures to make sure that your parents — who gave you so much — can continue to enjoy more than you ever will; or b) you are bloody ignorant. It makes no sense for anybody to seek a worse life than they enjoyed as kids, so draw your own conclusion.

Since the Clinton era, the Boomers, your parents, have been in charge of industry, Washington, Hollywood, and Wall Street — which is the problem. With such absolute power, the old cliché applies: they are greedy, corrupt, and self-interested. And they won’t give up such status easily. In business, they are in their prime earning years, and are going to stay in their high-earning positions long enough to endure any downturn and to make sure they are set for their own retirement (what does that mean for you, coming up the ladder?). Politically, they are going to give huge sums of money to their peers running for office (it doesn’t matter the party — $2 billion dollars in negative advertising during a recession? Really?) so that they can hold onto the power which protects policies which benefit … them. You’ll hear rhetoric of change, and they’ll try to sell it to you as good for the future, but when it comes to tough choices you’ll hear outcries of fairness. Wait a minute: is it fair to steal from their kids to maintain their own lifestyles, as they have already bought the house, made the money, and run the country?

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Classic Rock: What Are Your Cat Stevens Music Memories?

Saturday, November 10th, 2012 - by Myra Adams
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No discussion of classic rock (especially among aging female baby boomers) can be complete without mentioning Yusuf Islam or “the artist formerly known as Cat Stevens.”

(We all need to thank Prince for that phrase commonly used after he changed his name to a symbol.)

If you need your memory refreshed after over four decades, here is what Wiki says about Cat Stevens:

Yusuf Islam (born Steven Demetre Georgiou, 21 July 1948), commonly known by his former stage name Cat Stevens, is a British singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, educator, philanthropist, and prominent convert to Islam.[4]

His early 1970s record albums Tea for the Tillerman and Teaser and the Firecat were both certified triple platinum in the United States by the RIAA.[5] His 1972 album Catch Bull at Four sold half a million copies in the first two weeks of release alone and was Billboards number-one LP for three consecutive weeks.[6] He has also earned two ASCAP songwriting awards in consecutive years for “The First Cut Is the Deepest“, which has been a hit single for four different artists.[7]

Stevens converted to Islam in December 1977 and adopted the name Yusuf Islam the following year. In 1979, he auctioned all his guitars for charity and left his music career to devote himself to educational and philanthropic causes in the Muslim community.

Now that you have been reminded of the pertinent Cat facts, it is time recall all the memories and emotions attached to his songs. Here are mine.

Besides Led Zeppelin, (which I have discussed  ad nauseum)  Cat Stevens, representing the mellow side of life, was also a sound track of my 1970 – 1973 years at Needham High School. (Needham is close – in a suburb of Boston, MA.)

During those years, Cat Stevens music consumed numerous hours of my time when I was alone in my room avoiding my parents or with my friends.

Four decades later two particular memories are invoked — lost teenage love and lost teenage job.

First the lost love.

It was during my junior year, when a song from the album Teaser and the Firecat, called “How Can I Tell You,” exemplified my dilemma as it related to the secret love I had for my friend who lived across the street.

(This is the same young man whose car my girlfriends and I “stole” as chronicled in the Three Dog Night, Joy to the World installment of this series.)

Now the lost job.

Sometime during my senior year I visited Cape Cod with some friends and did things kids in the ’70s used to do on weekends. Cat Stevens albums were playing non-stop, when as an irresponsible 17-year-old, I called my boss at the local drugstore where I worked part-time to inform him that I was at the Cape and was not planning to make it to work on Sunday. He told me this meant I would be fired and I told him I understood.

What is it about music that imprints moments like that in your memory bank for decades?

That is the question of the week and one about which you can ponder and comment as you recall your own Cat Stevens music memories. (Sometimes I get the impression this weekly series is turning into a therapy session on lost youth. But that is OK because there is no charge for occupying my virtual couch.)

Now, out of respect for Yusuf Islam, and his Muslim faith which abstains from alcohol, there will be no cheap wine recommendation this week.

Instead, here is a novel idea — why not conger up old Cat Stevens memories without any help from the “fruit of the vine?” Or try the fruit of the vine in another form, as in a nice warm glass of prune juice. Get a head start on a drink all aging baby boomers can look forward to imbibing in the coming decades while you listen to Cat Stevens singing, “Morning Has Broken.”

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What Are YOUR Five Favorite Classic Rock Songs?

Saturday, November 3rd, 2012 - by Myra Adams
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Besides sex, politics and religion no topic stimulates aging baby boomer cocktail party conversation more than classic rock music. For this is our music; we grew up with it and it is the soundtrack of our lives.

Previously, I have written that asking baby boomers to name their first rock concert is always an engaging conversation starter.

And here is another musical topic, just as engaging – ask boomers to name their five favorite classic rock songs.

Fueled by some adult beverages, this discussion could last until it is time to go home, which for aging baby boomers always seems to be around 11:00pm.

(Ahh, I remember the good old days when 2:00am was my departure time!)

Do you need a few minutes to name your top five favorites?

(Think of this as a Sudoku exercise for brains over the age of 50.)

While the wheels inside your head go round and round, here are my top five:

Stairway to Heaven  by Led Zeppelin  (See last week’s column)

Kashmir   by Led Zeppelin

Bohemian Rhapsody  by Queen  (See this column from September)

Question  by Moody Blues

While My Guitar Gently Weeps  a Beatles song by George Harrison

Imagine just how much you can learn about a person by knowing their top five classic rock songs! (Obviously my selections prove that I am a complex, confused individual with a colorful past and zest for life!)

Now with the election finally coming to a close next week (at least we hope it will be over next week) this means 50% of your friends and family will be ticked off by the results.

So with family holiday gatherings just around the corner here is some useful advice.

Rather than stab your liberal uncle/aunt/sister/cousin/brother-in-law with the turkey carving knife when the dinner conversation turns to the election results, why not change the topic by asking folks to name their five favorite classic rock songs?

Try this friendly topic changer when the heat begins to rise, because if your family is anything like mine, I wish I had thought of this idea a long time ago.

Are you still contemplating your five favorites? If so, what shall we drink to stimulate the thinking process?  Correction, what is in my refrigerator?

The answer is sake! Gekkeikan Haiku Sake with its 15% alcohol content.            

Lately, I have enjoyed sipping cold sake on the rocks. The bottle, I just noticed has been partially consumed, a sure sign my husband has endorsed my new fad. (After all, he is married to a “complex, confused individual with a colorful past and a zest for life,” so the poor guy needs some relief.)

Gekkeikan Haiku Sake is according to the label: “light, with just a hint of dryness Gekkeikan Haiku brings hundreds of years of sake making experience to the modern palate.”

So when your gathering is boring and needs some lively conversation or it is too lively and relatives are at each other throats, then pour some Gekkeikan Haiku Sake over ice and ask folks to name their five favorite classic rock songs.

This is guaranteed to have the desired effect.

That is until someone yells Freebird and all hell breaks loose!

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Classic Rock and Cheap Wine: Do You Want The Greatest Rock Song Played At Your Funeral?

Saturday, October 27th, 2012 - by Myra Adams

Did you happen to notice there were 63 million views of this Stairway to Heaven video?

That is what we call “going viral” classic rock style! And no classic rock song defines the musical genre better than Stairway to Heaven by Led Zeppelin.

Released in 1971, and composed by Jimmy Page and Robert Plant, Stairway to Heaven is universally acknowledged as the greatest classic rock song or one of the greatest, depending on the chart.

As a loyal reader of this weekly series you know, (even at my advanced age) I am not ashamed of being obsessed with Led Zeppelin, so it is no surprise that Stairway to Heaven is my favorite classic rock song of all time.

When I hear it on the car radio it still “makes me wonder” what is the force that commands me to sit in the car listening to the very end – even after I have reached my destination.

Did you know that Stairway to Heaven has even become a popular funeral song?

But do not expect to hear it played at Robert Plant’s funeral some day because apparently he “loathes”  the song.

So why is this 41-year-old eight minute masterpiece with the mysterious lyrics #1 on the “greatest ever” charts?

For starters, unlike most rock songs there is no repeat chorus. Instead the song slowly climbs, like musical stairs, up to an explosive instrumental segment where Jimmy Page shows us why he is Jimmy Page. After which Robert Plant launches into his “rock god” falsetto voice and in the process releases enough raw sexual power and energy to set off a musical “orgasm.”

Maybe that is why generations of young men and women love this song. It symbolizes pure passion without any commitment!

Curious about what my contemporaries now think of Stairway to Heaven I asked two old friends, who both happen to be musically hip aging baby boomers (aging exceptionally well I might add.)

The first, a media consultant who often appears on national cable news shows responded with this pithy one line email: “Stairway to Heaven was the soundtrack to my life in high school.”

The other is a classic rock radio DJ, so I consider his comments about Stairway to Heaven to be “expert opinion.”

He emailed: “Yes, I do like it….it’s ingrained into the fabric of my life!”

Interesting how both these comments reflect a “life” impact.

Then Mr. Classic Rock DJ continues his email with this startling calculation:

I’ve been on the radio for around 34 years….and played Stairway at least once or twice a week…

Let’s look at the numbers… (This is the low ball figure)

Song is about 8 minutes long…

8 minutes times 52 weeks = 416 minutes or 6.9 Hours

6.9 hours times 34 years = 234.6 hours

234.6 hours divided by 24 hours in a day = 9.8 days

10 days of my life have been spent listening to “Stairway.”

That’s just on the air….doesn’t include the amount of times

I heard the song from 1971 (when it came out) to 1978 when

I started in radio!

————————

My takeaway on the song…

“No matter how much opulence she displays on the planet, she still can’t buy her way into the Kingdom!”

Was that the message of Robert Plant’s infamous lyrics? For decades later questions still remain over whether Stairway to Heaven’s music and message was divinely inspired or satanic.

While contemplating heaven or hell may I suggest a nice bubbly to further stimulate the brain.

In past columns, I mentioned  my fondness for Prosecco (Italian Sparking Wine) which is growing in popularity because of its light pleasing taste.                 

Today, I recommend a brand called LaMarca priced at $15.00 or less.

So now, with a glass of LaMarca in hand, let’s toast to the greatest classic rock song of all time and sing some familiar lyrics to which every aging baby boomer can contemplate and relate.

Yes, there are two paths you can go by, but in the long run
There’s still time to change the road you’re on.
And it makes me wonder.

I wonder if someone will remember to play Stairway to Heaven at my funeral many decades from now. (I hope.)

***

Related at PJ Lifestyle:

Classic Rock and Jack Daniels: The ‘Stairway to Heaven’ Leads to the Kennedy Center Gala

Classic Rock and Cheap Wine: Paul is Still Alive and Now Made of Mushrooms

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Get It On!: The Adam Carolla-Dennis Prager Story

Sunday, October 21st, 2012 - by R.J. Moeller

Like peanut butter and jelly, like Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen, Adam Carolla and Dennis Prager were meant to be together. Their on-air, on-stage chemistry works because it was meant to work. It’s supposed to work.

I am simply the one who made it all happen.

But unlike a coming together of freshly baked chocolate chip cookies and a tall glass of cold milk, the union of the foul-mouthed atheist comedian Carolla and the erudite religious conservative Prager was not something as plain as the delicious smell wafting into the nose on your face. There was preparation and man-hours involved. There is a backstory.

Here it comes.

In 2005, while sitting on the roof of a house whose shutters I was painting to make some side cash during my senior year of college, I heard for the first time the commanding voice and demonstrable wisdom of Dennis Prager. In spite of the poor sound quality my small boombox offered, I heard the intellectual mentor for whom I’d been searching. Although the work I was doing at that exact moment was mundane and thoughtless, the monologue Prager unfurled had a zeal and depth that made one want to drop the paintbrush in order that he might go read an important book or start a charity or help an old lady cross the street.

Or, at the very least, do the best job of painting a shutter that one possibly could.

Like greater men such as Andrew Breitbart and David Mamet before me, I “found” Dennis in much the same way Gary Cooper in Sergeant York “found” religion.

To be fair to the Cooper-Breitbart-Mamet analogy, conservatism already coursed through my veins, but up to that point my political appetite had been fed primarily by the red meat served up daily on cable news shows and in Sean Hannity’s books. I believe in Ronald Reagan’s 11th Commandment, and so please understand that I mean no disrespect to any of the fine people who represent my values in the media, but it was then, finally, that I heard in Dennis’ presentation a voice of strength and breadth and insight that I had secretly craved.

A man of substance. A man of thoughtful inquiry. A man of big ideas.

This was my introduction to what I affectionately call “Prager Conservatism,” and from that point until today I haven’t gone more than a few days without listening to his nationally syndicated radio show or reading his discerning weekly columns. Eventually, after graduating from college, my friends and I began hosting “Prager Hour” nights twice a month where a bunch of guys in their 20s would come over, enjoy a cigar if they so chose, hear a pre-selected segment or two of The Dennis Prager Radio Show’s podcast, and engage in lively discussion and debate for a couple of hours.  Dennis was Obi-wan to our band of Luke Skywalkers.

Thankfully none of us have had our hands chopped off with a light-saber by a scary man who claims to have sired us…yet!

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Classic Rock and Cheap Wine: An Eyewitness Account of the Beatles First American Concert

Saturday, October 20th, 2012 - by Myra Adams
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In last week’s Classic Rock installment I wrote that if you wanted to spark a lively conversation among aging baby boomers just pose the question, “What was your first rock concert?”

Without a doubt the best answer is any Beatles concert.

But, it just so happens, a close friend, JW from Virginia, attended the first Beatles concert. This was held on February 11, 1964 at the Coliseum in Washington D.C. –  two days after the Beatles made their historic appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show.

After alluding to him in last week’s piece, JW wrote the following comment:

Late winter of ’64 we were still in a funk caused by Kennedy’s Assassination and not yet into the hoopla of the Johnson-Goldwater campaign. Saw the Beatles on Ed Sullivan’s in NY, and they were to entertain down the East Coast: Washington and Miami. Manage to get tickets to sold-out Washington show in the round. Ringo was in the middle and on an elevated, rotating platform. They had made the mistake of saying that they like jelly-beans, so we all brought a supply. When the music started the crowd pelted the stage with jelly-beans trying to hit any of the Fab-Four, though Ringo was the principal target. He was up there turning on the platform, dodging the beans. Kids in the lower rows were pelted by the incoming from the other side. It was a blast!

For the record, JW was a high school senior at the time, born in the first baby boom crop of 1946, along with two future presidents, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush.

Reading JW’s comment piqued my interest so he agreed to answer a few questions.

Q.  You mentioned in your comment that “we were still in a funk caused by Kennedy’s assassination.” Given that the two events were less than three months apart — can you further elaborate on the emotional connection between Kennedy’s death and the Beatles popularity?

A.  The Kennedy assassination was a national shock: our emotions remained subdued during that Christmas holiday and into the cold of late winter 1964. I felt a sense of emptiness, since kids of my age had been so “grabbed” emotionally by the Kennedy Presidency, which was an exhilaration following the drabness of the 1950s. The Beatles lit a spark in us that seemed to re-enliven my peers, and lifted us into our college years. President Johnson was quite dull in comparison, and could not compete with the Beatles as a social phenomenon and distraction

Q. As a 17-year-old in the audience, did you have any inkling that you were watching history being made?

A.  Definitely, yes: all the kids were a-buzz about the Fab-Four before they even came to the US. When the first US tour was announced, I knew it would be really big so I went out of my way to get tickets immediately when sales started, and it was sold-out early.

1964: Fans outside the Coliseum, Washington waiting for the Beatles to arrive. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)

Q.  From your perspective 48 years later, what are your lasting impressions of that first Beatles concert?

A. The frenzy of the crowd was unforgettable, and as I described in my comment, arching jelly-beans over the Fab-Four heads into the crowd on the other side was like the food-fight in “Animal House.” Also, Ringo turning around on his elevated turntable and  ”I Wanna Hold Your Handdddddddddddddd!!!!!!!!”

Thanks for the memories, JW.

While we are regaling in baby boom nostalgia, JW is truly a walking exhibit! Besides witnessing the first Beatles concert, JW marched in President John Kennedy’s 1961 inaugural parade as a Boy Scout. Then later, as a member of Yale’s 1964 freshman class, that aforementioned 1946 born president, George W. Bush, was one of JW’s classmates.

Like many baby boomers, JW is a fruit of the vine connoisseur, so I asked him to make this week’s cheap wine recommendation. As a Virginian, JW takes great pride in his state’s small, but nationally award- winning wineries and thus chose Naked Mountain Chardonnay.

Fortunately, I am familiar with this quaint, picturesque vineyard situated about 60 miles west of Washington D.C. in Markham, Virginia. And, while enjoying the scenery of the Blue Ridge Mountains, have been seen consuming a glass or two of their buttery, richly-flavored oak tasting Chardonnay — so I applaud JW for his refined selection.

Let’s toast to JW and the first 1946 crop of baby boomers who paved the way and changed our nation forever. Now that 10,000 of their younger peers are reaching the age of 65 every day for the next 17 years, they are scheduled to bankrupt Medicare and Social Security — again changing our nation forever.

But that my friends is a discussion for another day.

*****

Check out Myra’s previous Classic Rock and Cheap Wine columns:

Classic Rock and Cheap Wine: Jimi Hendrix, Love Beads, and My First Concert

Classic Rock & Cheap Wine: A Three Dog Night Without ‘Joy to the World’ After a Trip to the Police Station

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Classic Rock and Cheap Wine: Jimi Hendrix, Love Beads, and My First Concert

Saturday, October 13th, 2012 - by Myra Adams

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=RHTqFlOP0NM

If you ever want to start a lively conversation among aging baby boomers just ask the question, “What was your first rock concert?”

There is a definite pecking order of impressive answers.

First, is the Beatles. (I have a close friend who wins this prize.) Second, is Led Zeppelin and then there are many possible answers for third place.

For example, my husband’s first concert was The Who, an acceptable contender. Mine was Jimi Hendrix and if you continue reading you might decide to award me the bronze medal for third.

It was June of 1970, and to celebrate our graduation from Newman Junior High in Needham, Massachusetts, three girlfriends and I went to see Jimi Hendrix.

Hendrix was performing at the now iconic Boston Garden, torn down in 1997, but then the home of basketball’s Boston Celtics and hockey’s Boston Bruins.

As we left the subway station and walked towards the concert, a store with the name Now Shop caught our attention. As 15-year-olds we were attuned to all the social and cultural changes taking place, but this store actually offered us the opportunity to change our look from suburban school-girls to “now.”

Shelves were lined with everything needed to dress like a hippie. There were tie-dye shirts, headbands, sandals, peasant blouses, fringed vests, peace symbols and of course piles of love beads. We all were salivating at the merchandise and bought as much as our meager budgets would allow.

My purchases included a small suede pouch with rawhide ties and two love bead necklaces. Now that the Now Shop transformed our look and our attitude, we were ready for Jimi Hendrix.

On stage he lived up to his reputation playing all his great hits including my two favorites, Foxy Lady and Purple Haze.

Hendrix was an amazing performer, but it was the entire rock concert experience that blew me away. The smells, (you know what I mean) the energy of the crowd, and above all, the excitement of being 15 and feeling a part of something that was so hip, cool and “now.” Yes, the times were a changin’ and we were part of that change.

Just seeing Jimi Hendrix would have been memorable enough, but, as fate would have it, this Boston Garden concert on June 27, 1970 was to be his last.

Less than two months later on September 18th, Jimi Hendrix died at the age of 27 of a drug overdose.

Throughout my life I have felt an emotional connection to Jimi Hendrix since his last concert was my first. In fact, I even mentioned this concert as one of my classic rock credentials in the first installment of this silly series.

Now, what shall we drink as you listen to the actual recording of Jimi’s last concert, showcased at the top of this piece?

Since you are reading about an event that happened to me 42 years ago, that means I am old and old people must drink lots of red wine to sustain their heart health.

The cheap wine recommendation this week is Acacia Pinot Noir. The label reads: “An elegant wine with strong black cherry flavors and an unexpected hint of violet and spice that we believe conveys the essence of California Pinot Noir.”

Yea, yea, who writes this label dribble? I just like the stuff, especially when it is on sale, but can never taste the flavors the label says I am supposed to taste.

So let’s raise our glasses to the legendary music of Jimi Hendrix and a group of once “hip” 15-year-olds who wore love beads to their first rock concert that turned out to be both historic, tragic and unforgettable.

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Classic Rock & Cheap Wine: A Three Dog Night Without ‘Joy to the World’ After a Trip to the Police Station

Saturday, October 6th, 2012 - by Myra Adams
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What is it about the power of a song that upon hearing it decades later instantly brings you back to a memorable moment in your life?

That song for me is Joy to the World by Three Dog Night evoking a 1972 high school incident involving three girlfriends, a “stolen” Cadillac and a trip to the police station.

So now that I have your attention….

As a1 6-year-old high-school junior I found myself secretly “in love” with my close friend and neighbor, a handsome senior, who lived across the street. Dan (not his real name) and I had grown up together, but now as a blossoming teenager I saw him differently and fantasized that he was destined to be my future husband.

Dan had absolutely no romantic interest in me but started “going out” with my girlfriend Donna (not real name). That meant I was thrust into the position of gossip go-between, a position I relished.

Not too long after Dan and Donna became an item, Dan’s father bought a new Cadillac and handed Dan the keys to his old one.

Keep in mind that in 1972 it was rare for anyone in my high school to have their own car, especially a Cadillac. Therefore, Dan’s Cadillac, (which by today’s standards was the size of a gunboat) became a major status symbol and the ultimate party vehicle.

One day after school my three girlfriends and I started walking toward the town center when we spotted Dan’s Cadillac in the school parking lot. It was then Donna proudly proclaimed, “I have Dan’s keys,” so without any hesitation, we all jumped in the car for a harmless spin.

On the radio Joy to the World was playing and I remember us singing the famous lyrics: Jeremiah was a bull frog, was a good friend of mine, and the Joy to the World chorus at the top of our lungs while having a totally terrific time.

That was until we were stopped by the police.

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Classic Rock and Not So Cheap Wine: A Tale of Queen Concert Tickets Purchased with Blood Money

Saturday, September 29th, 2012 - by Myra Adams
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It was 1977, and my senior year at Ohio State when my friend Mike invited me to see Queen perform on campus.

Mike and I were both cadets in the Ohio State Army ROTC program. Our friendship developed because we took the ROTC program slightly less seriously than some of our fellow cadets who we had identified as future Army “lifers.” (Mike and I were much “cooler” because as Reserve officers we would have a “real life” outside of the Army.)

As we were walking over to the concert, Mike casually mentioned that he had earned ten dollars that afternoon giving blood so he could afford our concert tickets.

Suddenly I remembered seeing signs posted all around campus advertising ten dollars for blood, but this was the first I had heard of anyone actually doing it.

My immediate thought was blood money to take me to a Queen concert?

Personally, I did not think I was worthy of Mike’s blood, but seeing Queen certainly was!

Queen’s lead singer, Freddie Mercury now considered a rock legend, indeed gave a legendary performance, bouncing all around the stage wearing the same tight white shiny jumpsuit you see in the famous music video above.

Among the songs performed that night was Bohemian Rhapsody from Queen’s 1975 album, A Night at the Opera.

Besides Freddy’s costume, I also remember staring at the big gong on stage and looking forward to it being used for Bohemian Rhapsody’s final note.

Of course Bohemian Rhapsody became one of the best-selling singles of all time and shot up the charts again in 1992 after the film Wayne’s World revived its popularity for a whole new generation.

Thirty five years later, Queen remains ensconced in my “Personal Pantheon of Classic Rock Greatness.” Their music, much of it sung in a harmonic style known A cappella, is considered by many to be some of the most masterful rock music ever recorded.

Tragically, Freddy Mercury was one of the first celebrities to die of AIDS, in 1991 and his death brought early attention to the disease.

Now what shall we drink to celebrate Queen’s royal greatness?

Ah, let me rephrase that question — What do I have in my refrigerator that I can write about and photograph this second? (I literally get up, look in the refrigerator and see a bottle of La Crema Chardonnay purchased during my last expedition to COSTCO for $20.00. Since my father-in-law’s 90th birthday bash is coming up, I have begun buying some pricier wines for that glorious occasion.)

This fine label is for you if you enjoy a more “upscale” chardonnay infused with oak and citrus. However, after drinking La Crema it is difficult to go back to drinking less expensive chardonnay.

So let’s raise a glass to Freddy, Queen and my ROTC friend Mike, who, the last time I saw him, in late 1977, had actually decided to become a “lifer” and is probably a 3-star general by now.

Thanks Mike for serving our country and for earning blood money so 35 years later I could write this silly column and dedicate it to you.

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Classic Rock and Jack Daniels: The ‘Stairway to Heaven’ Leads to the Kennedy Center Gala

Saturday, September 22nd, 2012 - by Myra Adams

What is it lately with Washington types obsessing over Led Zeppelin?

The Zep boys at their peak.

First it was Congressman/VP candidate Paul Ryan exclaiming that his iPod playlist “ends with Led Zeppelin” during his acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention (RNC). This revelation caused a mini-ruckus and inspired the house-band to play the lamest version of the Led Zeppelin song “Rock and Roll” that I have ever heard.

Then, just last week the Kennedy Center announced the honorees for their upcoming Honors gala. This event (which I must admit I have attended several times, decades ago) affords the opportunity for Washington’s power elite to slobber all over A-list Hollywood types.

Washington Post reports:

The award is the nation’s highest honor for those who have influenced American culture through the arts. It comes with a dinner with Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and a reception hosted by President Barack Obama.

So this year, honored in a group that includes Dustin Hoffman and David Letterman will be “the surviving members of the rock band Led Zeppelin.”

Washington Post continues:

The three surviving members of the Britain’s Led Zeppelin — John Paul Jones, Jimmy Page and Robert Plant — are being honored for transforming the sound of rock and roll. They influenced many other bands with their innovative, blues-infused hits such as “Good Times Bad Times,” ‘’Immigrant Song,” ‘’Kashmir” and “Stairway to Heaven.”  The band, which has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, issued a joint statement saying America was the first place to embrace their music.

Led Zeppelin at the Kennedy Center Honors? I bet this band really did issue a “joint statement.”

These are the guys who practically invented the concept of sex, drugs and rock and roll – or at least elevated it to legendary new heights, while, along the way trashing hotel rooms and spawning several books on groupie exploits.

Does anyone remember the shark story? Now I am even more amazed to find a Wiki reference to this sordid tale.

Notice how the Washington Post mentions “three surviving members” of the band. Let’s take a moment now to remember drummer John Bonham who infamously died choking on his own vomit after 40 shots of vodka.

John Bonham at the drums.

Regular readers of this semi-absurd weekly series are now fully aware of my personal devotion (obsession?) with Led Zeppelin. But what is really getting weird is how the “universe” continues to place Led Zeppelin directly in my path.  (I know this all sounds totally “New Age” crazy but please hear me out!)

It all started while I was leaving for the RNC in Tampa and had finished writing (but had not yet sent to the editor) what was the third installment of this new series — a piece about the first Led Zeppelin album and its profound effects on the teen-age me in 1969.

Then mid-week after Paul Ryan mentioned Zeppelin during his RNC speech, the crowd went nuts, so I renamed the column and changed the ending.

Now, you could just chock that up to good timing, but stay with me here for this goes much deeper.

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Classic Rock and Cheap Wine: Paul is Still Alive and Now Made of Mushrooms

Saturday, September 15th, 2012 - by Myra Adams

In the first installment of this new weekly series, I established that my first “classic rock credential” was acquired in 1964 when, at the age of eight, I watched the Beatles perform on the Ed Sullivan Show along with the rest of the nation.

That groundbreaking musical event began my lifelong love affair with the Beatles.

As witness to this devotion, my baby-sitting money, earned at the rate of 50 cents an hour, provided the cash flow necessary to purchase Beatles’ albums priced at about $3.00 each. (But do not quote me on that price. All I remember about money in those days was the Barbie Doll wedding gown I highly coveted cost $5.00 and that was way above my pay grade.)

In addition to learning my fashion sense from Barbie, the Beatles were a major cultural influence during those formative grade school years. Every new album was an event — a 60s version of the latest iPhone release.

Unless you lived through it, it is hard to describe just how much the Beatles were integrated into all our young lives.

For example, a friend’s birthday party was celebrated at the movie theater watching Help! Singing Beatles’ songs on the school bus was a daily event. And in 6th grade, my best friend and I performed our baton-twirling routine for the class talent show to the tune Day Tripper.  

As the mid- sixties progressed, I was not only a fan of Beatles’ music but related to the Fab Four on a personal level because they were growing and evolving right along with me.

So now it is October, 1969 and I am 14 years old.

Having discovered the opposite sex, my girlfriends and I gathered in someone’s basement for “make-out” sessions with our boyfriends. In the center of the room there was a huge cardboard box, where you entered to engage in serious making out.

The soundtrack of that “PG rated” afternoon was Abbey Road, for the newest Beatles’ album had just been released.

To listen to the entire album click below.

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Classic Rock – Dark Side of the Moon! – and Cheap Sparkling Wine

Saturday, September 8th, 2012 - by Myra Adams

Here is an amusing classic rock tale from the musical archives of my memory bank. Warning: the beginning may sound a bit uppity, but that was our mind set at the time.

The setting is September, 1973 and I had just begun my freshman year at the massive campus of Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio.

Those of you who read the first, second and third installments of this series might wonder how I ventured from Needham, Massachusetts, a suburb of Boston, to Ohio State. That journey was through a series of divinely-inspired events related more to the hymn, “Rock of Ages” than classic rock.

But since I came from Boston, Ohio State was like a foreign land. As a result, I became instant friends with Marian, (not her real name) one of my 10 “suite-mates,” who had just returned from living in Europe after being raised in a suburb of Philadelphia.

Marian and I took comfort in our mutual “hip-ness” compared to all those “small town Ohio girls” who had just stepped off the farm and into our dorm suite.

A week into our freshman year, while in the dining hall, Marion met an “interesting guy” named Marty (not his real name) who, she said, was “like us” (i.e., not an Ohio alien) so she invited him up to our suite.

Marty hailed from Scarsdale, New York, a tony suburb of New York City and displayed the proper amount of 1970s sophistication necessary to remain in our presence. Trying to impress, Marty bought along an album he said would “blow our minds.”

Oh yes, Marty did impress and my mind was blown as I listened to Pink Floyd’s, Dark Side of the Moon.

While writing this piece, I realized Dark Side of the Moon is the only album that triggers a memory image of precisely where I was and who I was with, upon hearing it the first time. Can anyone else relate to this?

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Classic Rock and Cheap Wine – RNC Edition

Thursday, August 30th, 2012 - by Myra Adams

If you happened to read the first installment of this series when my “classic rock credentials” were established and chronicled, it was noted that in 1969 I received an album titled Led Zeppelin as a Christmas gift from my 9th grade boyfriend.

The boyfriend is long gone but his gift began what has been a life-long love affair with Led Zeppelin and its “Rock God” lead singer Robert Plant.

Now, 43 years later, I am a married 57-year-old church-going Republican woman and embarrassed to admit that I still crave the sounds of Led Zeppelin — and further embarrassed to admit that nothing satisfies that craving more than listening to the raw, primal grit of Led Zeppelin’s first self-titled album now known as “Led 1.”

So, PJ Lifestyle readers, when was the last time you actually sat down and listened to this groundbreaking 1969 debut album in its entirety? And how long was your hair at the time?

Listening from a fresh 2012 perspective it becomes apparent that every song on “Led 1” helped develop and define the phrase “classic rock.” Especially noteworthy is the number of “top tier” classics spawned from this one album. Songs like Good Times Bad Times, Communication Breakdown, and Dazed and Confused, to name a few.

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Forgotten Classic Rock and Cheap Wine

Saturday, August 18th, 2012 - by Myra Adams

Thanks to PJ Lifestyle readers and friends in general for all the positive comments received about this new series. Now I am really feeling the pressure to solidify the “brand,” so here goes.

But first, if you missed the inaugural post and are curious about my classic rock credentials, click here, but come back immediately or we will begin without you.

While we are waiting for the newcomers, here is the background regarding my second “forgotten” classic rock album recommendation.

It was the fall of 1972 and I was a wild-child 17 year old from Needham, Massachusetts, a close-in suburb of Boston. My senior year at Needham High had just begun when my college-bound girlfriends and I collectively declared ourselves “to cool” for the boys in our class.

This attitude led us to nearby Boston College, where on Saturday nights we would wander the dorms in search of on-going hall parties. (Harmless fun then, but I would strongly warn any school girls against doing this today.)

It was on one of those excursions I met Chuck from Ohio. Chuck was a musically hip freshman who invited me on a future date to see what he could only describe as a “new band from England.”

Little did I know I had accepted an offer to witness what I still consider to be the most profound concert experience of my entire life — David Bowie’s performance of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars.

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The colors, lights, costumes, make-up and hair, combined with the most captivating music I had ever heard, from the wildest, most spell-binding performer I had ever seen, transported me from my seat in that small theater to an interplanetary excursion.

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The 3 Most Poisonous Movie Clichés of the 60s and 70s

Wednesday, August 15th, 2012 - by Kathy Shaidle

Ed Driscoll and I had fun last week with my brainwave about the preposterously-named Adam Smith’s freakish drive-by harassment of a (preternaturally Zen) Chick-Fil-A employee.

I was struck by the incident’s similarity to the famous “diner” scene in Five Easy Pieces (1970), right down to the “chicken”:

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Ed quoted a film critic who held up that scene “as the point where American movies began to celebrate gratuitous anger.”

Anyone who’s watched other drivers careen out of the parking lot after the latest Fast & Furious movie has to admit that films affect our behavior; that cinematic ideas and attitudes trickle into the cultural water table, and sometimes pollute it.

To take one trivial instance: I’ve written before about the influence all those 1970s “Satanic children” flicks had on my decision not to have kids.

Three other movie tropes from that era impacted audiences in ways that continue today.

(Language and content warning:)

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