Weihnachtssongs, die fast nicht nerven

Eels sind überzeugt: Weihnachten geht vor die Hunde. Clarence Carter singt vom Weihnachtsmann, der die kleinen Mädchen in den frühen Morgenstunden glücklich macht, während die Knaben draussen spielen.

Otis Reddings Version des Weihnachtsklassiker “White Christmas” ist unübertroffen: Zerrissen, verzweifelt und sehnsüchtig träumt er von einem weissen Fest. Poly Styrene zerschmettert, von einem Reggae- Rhythmus unterlegt, die weihnachtliche Idylle. Ella Fitzgerald hingegen lädt zur unbeschwerten Schlittenfahrt. Und Neil Diamond zitiert sein eigenes Repertoire.

Die Spotify-Liste ist eine eigenwillige, aber nicht zufällige Mischung aus Soullegenden, Rockgiganten, Jazz, Elvis und Indiebands.

Fröhliche Weihnachten. Oder wie die Ramones sagen würden: Merry Christmas (I Don’t Want to Fight Tonight).

Billy Strange: September 29, 1930 – February 22, 2012

Billy Strange, about two years old

Billy Strange, about two years old

I’m still very sad about the passing of the great musician Billy Strange. Not was he only a wonderful guitarist, producer and arranger, he was also a great friend. A unique man: thoughtful, funny, clever, heardheaded and supportive. He had the greatness to let others shine on stage and on records.

Over the years I’ve met Billy several times. And the more I learned about his life and career, the more in awe I was. That’s why I started writing about him on this blog. Later I interviewed Billy on video. Two parts of this video interview were published by Swiss newspaper Tages-Anzeiger (English with German subtitles):

Das unbekannte Genie hinter Elvis und Sinatra: Teil 1
Das unbekannte Genie hinter Elvis und Sinatra: Teil 2

Here is my farewell to Billy (in German):

Der Forrest Gump der Musikgeschichte

And here are some articles from this blog about Billy Strange:

Billy Strange talks about Nancy Sinatra

Billy Strange’s Fuzz Guitar Spices Up Ann-Margret Ballad

The Billy Strange Story of Chubby Checker Hit Song ‘Limbo Rock’

The Birth of a Beach Boys Song

The Forgotten Nancy Sinatra and Lee Hazlewood CD

Billy Strange instrumentals on iTunes

Working With Nancy Sinatra, Lee Hazlewood and Elvis Presley: Part II Of Billy Strange Video-Documentary

Nancy Sinatra and Billy Strange in the recording studio

Nancy Sinatra in the studio with Billy Strange.

Part 2 of my mini-video-documentary is now online: Billy Strange – Hit Maker.

Guitar-Legend and Master-Arranger Billy Strange Celebrates 80th Birthday

Nancy Sinatra, Billy Strange (middle) and Lee Hazlewood in 2003.

Today Billy Strange celebrates his 80th birthday in Nashville, TN. Here’s a video interview with Billy Strange I did. He talks about working with The Beach Boys, Nat King Cole, Phil Spector and Nancy Sinatra.

Billy Strange helped the Beach Boys, Elvis, Frank and Nancy Sinatra and many others to make hits.

He was a number one studio guitarist in the music studios of Hollywood in the 1950s and 1960s. You can hear his guitar on songs like “Surfin’ U.S.A.”, “Sloop John B.” and countless other Beach Boys and surf songs. He’s also famous for playing the haunting guitar on “Bang Bang”, the song that was used by Quentin Tarantino in “Kill Bill”. His arranging skills made songs like “These Boots Are Made For Walkin'”, “Some Velvet Morning” and “Something Stupid” immortal.

Memphis – City Of Music: Interactive Map – History Of Soul, Blues, Gospel And Rock ‘n’ Rol

Learn about the music history of Memphis. Or plan your next trip to Memphis, Tennessee with this map.

Memphis’ contribution to the history of popular music is amazing. Soul, gospel, funk, blues or rock ‘n’ roll wouldn’t be the same without the musical creativity of this city.

The map shows the places where music history was made. See where the music was played and recorded. Find the homes of Aretha Franklin, Maurice White or W.C. Handy. Learn about forgotten swing legend Jimmy Lunceford.

Al Green, Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, B.B. Kind, O.V. Wright, Albert King, Memphis Minnie and many more contributed to the great music of Memphis.

Elvis Presley Was A Country Star

[picapp align=”center” wrap=”false” link=”term=elvis+presley&iid=1517711″ src=”a/7/f/2/FILE_PHOTO_a2a7.jpg?adImageId=8900986&imageId=1517711″ width=”380″ height=”483″ /]

Elvis Presley, the “King of Rock & Roll” actually was a country music star. Contradictory, isn’t it? No, it isn’t, claims music author Colin Escott in his article about Elvis published on the Country Music Hall Of Fame website. And he makes some good points.

Keyboard And Electric Bass Player Larry Knechtel Dies

According to the Yakima Herald keyboarder/electric bass player Larry Knechtel dies at age 69.

Larry Knechtel was a busy musician, working live and in the studios. He recently collaborated with The Dixie Chicks. Besides that he played with musicians and bands such as Ray Charles, Dolly Parton, The Doors, The Byrds, Neil Diamond, The Beach Boys, Steppenwolf, Randy Newman, Harry Nilsson and Elvis Presley.

Larry Knechtel received a Grammy award for arranging Simon and Garfunkel’s super hit Bridge Over Troubled Water, on which he also played keyboard. He was also a member of Bread.

As studio musician Larry Knechtel was an important part of the Los Angeles music studio scene of the nineteen-sixties.