Natürlich: Elvis lebt – und Michael Jackson auch

Elvis und Michael Jackson haben zwei Dinge gemeinsam.

Erstens: ihr früher körperlicher und psychischer Zerfall überschattet ihre grossen musikalischen Leistungen.

Zweitens: um beide ranken sich die phantastischsten Verschwörungstheorien.

Tages-Anzeiger-Online hat einige Verschwörungstheorien, Gerüchte und Falschmeldungen um Michael Jackson aufgelistet.

Und Stern.de berichtete 2007 über die wildesten Elvis Verschwörungstheorien.

Wayne Brady: Healing My Beatles Cover Phobia

When I was a boy, I was very strict about cover versions of Beatles songs. There was only one legitimate version in my rigid fan mind: the original. Although there was one small exception to the rule: I reluctantly had to admit that Joe Cocker’s version of With A Little Help From My Friends wasn’t bad.

My aversion to Beatles cover versions stayed in my unconciousness. It only started changing a few years ago, when I suddenly started liking all kind of instrumental Beatles covers. Maybe these were the first signs of a midlife crisis. Anyway, the absent voice somehow made it easier for me to like the covers. So this was the weird phase in my life when I eagerly collected all kind of instrumental cover versions. That is mostly jazz, easy listening and muzak. But still, vocal cover versions were a no go zone for me.

Until today, when I stumbled upon the post A Long Time Coming – Wayne Brady (2008) on the Everythig Old is New Again blog. There’s an audio sample of Can’t Buy Me Love sung by Wayne Brady in the post. It’s a soulful rendition that turns the song in something completely new. Thank you Wayne Brady for curing my aversion to vocal Beatles covers!

Please Don’t Sing With The Dead

Natalie Cole did it again – on her latest album “Still Unforgettable” she sings a duet with her late father Nat King Cole. Thanks to refined audio techniques it is possible to combine a voice from old tapes with newly recorded voices and instruments. She has used this little gimmick before on her 1991 album “Unforgettable”. I just hope there won’t be any more of these eerie duets.

I don’t think it’s eerie because the singer Nat King Cole is dead. I listen to the voices of dead singer all the time. It’s eerie because the dead singer can’t control what’s happening to his work and it’s eerie that people don’t show any respect. It’s alright to re-issue material of dead artists, but there’s no point in cobbling together “new” songs. Unfortunately Natalie Cole is not the only one who loves to unearth the dead.

A similar thing happened to the late Buddy Holly. His record company managed to release several albums after his death. They took demonstration recordings and overdubbed them with additional instruments and backing vocals.

Even the Beatles couldn’t resist to jump on the “let’s-tinker-with-the-voice-of-the-dead-train”. In 1995 Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr took the song “Free As A Bird” that John Lennon had recorded at home in poor sound quality on a cassette. It’s just him singing and playing piano and it’s probably one of the weakest songs that John Lennon ever wrote.

Beatles, Free As A Bird That his singing is uninspired doesn’t make the song better. It’s not John Lennon’s fault, he was killed in 1980 and couldn’t prevent damage. The surviving Beatles added instruments to the home-recording and audio engineers managed to bring everything together. In the case of the Beatles greed is probably not the motive for committing this musical crime. Maybe it’s just bad taste.

Also soul singer Sam Cooke was not spared. Someone had the idea to violate his songs “Ain’t That Good News” and “Somebody Ease My Troublin’ Mind” on the Les Paul album “American Made World Played”. This album that claims to be a Les Paul album would be bad enough even without the overdubbed Sam Cooke songs, because there’s hardly any playing by guitarist legend Les Paul on it. I wonder how the producers managed to talk Eric Clapton and Jeff Beck into adding their guitars to the two Sam Cooke songs. And I wonder even more what Sam Cooke has to do with Les Paul.

Here’s my appeal to musicians, relatives of musicians and music producers: please don’t sing with the dead.

Why Did They Make CD Graphics So Ugly?

Back Cover Abbey Road CD

When the first CDs came on the market in the nineteen-eighties, most music lovers were happy. The time of noisy and scratched vinyl LPs was over for good.

And the record companies were happy, too. Very happy. Because they could reissue their back catalogs at low costs and sell them on the then very expensive CDs. It was the last time that record companies made big money before music went on line and the downloading started.

What always troubled me, was the bad art work of the CDs. I’m not talking about the front cover. I’m talking about the back cover. Usually they reprinted the original vinyl art work. But on the back cover and on the CD itself they used ugly small square boxes in order to number the songs.

All companies used these ugly square boxes. Maybe the wanted to express with these boxes, that this sound carrier was digital indeed. Probably the square boxes were used as a symbol for digital, and should have indicated that this new thing is well organized, clean and modern. I don’t know. Over time the ugly boxes started disappearing. But you still can find them on a lot of CDs.

I also wonder why they came up with the ugly plastic cases. But that’s another story.