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Archive for the tag “La Bamba”

Music Heard When the Guitar Train Traveled in Europe

Quirky T recently conducted The Guitar Train to seven marvelous countries in Europe. As I wrote in a previous Guitar Train stop,

I was not familiar with music from the countries I would be visiting – France, Germany, Italy, Austria, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, and Luxembourg. The trip was filled with amazing sights, history, food, familiar music, and even a real train ride through the Alps.

Swiss Folklore Restaurant, Lucerne

As I had anticipated, I did not hear native music in all of those counties. Switzerland was the one exception. In Lucerne, I went to an ear-opening Swiss folklore dinner and music show. Besides yodeling and alp horns, I did not know much about Swiss music. Apparentally, the Swiss had much free time back in the day while farming which led them to turn saws, brooms, bowls, bottles, cow bells and spoons into musical instruments. To see video of this musical talent and ingenuity, search You Tube for Stadtkellar Lucerne Swiss Folklore Show. To my horror, I was among a group of people called on stage to take turns doing a solo yodel in front of hundreds of tourists from around the world. My Swiss ancestors would have been embarrassed by my horrible yodeling.

Eiffel Tower

The music part of my trip began on the plane ride to Paris where I watched a documentary about Bruce Springsteen called “In His Own Words”. It was interesting as he went through his family and musical background and read from his recent autobiography. My next encounter with music occurred on the minivan ride to the Paris hotel. The driver had the Nostalgia Station on the radio and Billy Ocean’s “Caribbean Queen” played as we passed by more graffiti than I have ever seen in my life.


Musee d'Orsay, Paris

Musee d’Orsay, Paris


That was just the beginning of the familiar American and English music I heard throughout Europe. On the tour bus in Paris near the Jardin des Tuileries, “Time After Time” by Cyndi Lauper was playing on the bus radio. On the way to dinner that night, on the tour bus I heard the first of many ABBA songs as “Dancing Queen” made its first appearance.


The dinner in Paris included an amazing strolling, joking, and singing guitarist who sang songs in French, English, Italian, Spanish, and Russian to entertain the tourists from many countries. Not surprisingly the four Beatles songs he performed were very popular. Everyone happily sang along to “Michelle”, “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da”, “I Saw Her Standing There”, and “Yellow Submarine.” “La Bamba” was another song that got the crowd singing.

Neuschwanstein Castle

Neuschwanstein Castle

At a dinner in Freiberg, Germany, I had an interesting conversation with an elderly British tourist. He recounted how he first saw The Beatles on the “Ed Sullivan Show” when he lived in America. He didn’t like them then and I don’t think his opinion ever changed. He went on to tell me his theory that The Beatles wrote the words to their songs but not the music. I wasn’t able to ask him more about his conspiracy theory since the waitress interrupted us then to start dinner. He left me wondering who he thought came up with the music if not John, Paul, or George. And how did this person or group of people continue to make music for all four Beatles when they had separated and had four successful music careers for decades more? I have never heard or read this theory before and I give it no credence.

Lake Lucerne

Lake Lucerne

Someone who had much more love and respect for The Beatles was the Swiss captain of the boat cruise the tour group took on Lake Lucerne in Switzerland. He said as a youth he had four great English teachers – John, Paul, George, and Ringo. He then played “From Me to You” and “She Loves You”. He asked for requests and “Hey Jude” played as we cruised the beautiful lake.


Other familiar songs I heard were Stevie Wonder’s “I Just Called to Say I Love You” in the hotel in Lucerne and Dean Martin’s “Volare” in a home goods store in a Lucerne mall.

Duomo, Milan, Italy

Duomo, Milan, Italy

I think my very organized, energetic, and perfect for her job Hungarian tour director had an affinity for ABBA. She had the Italian tour bus driver play ABBA several times during our long bus rides through Europe. One night after having a delicious dinner near the Duomo in Milan, Italy, the bus ride to the hotel contained more ABBA songs than I have ever heard in my entire life. It was nice to hear songs of theirs which I had never heard before. They were mostly uplifting, fun songs.


On the last day, on the bus ride to the Milan airport, the Italian bus driver took over control of the music and had the Radio Monte Carlo station on which played “Fantasy” by George Michael, “With or Without You” by U2, and “Sowing the Seeds of Love” by Tears for Fears.

Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band

Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band

Finishing the amazing trip on a Beatles note, on the plane ride from Milan to Miami, I watched the good documentary “It Was Fifty Years Ago Today … Sgt. Peppers and Beyond”. The fact that I was flying to Miami reminded me of “Back in the USSR”. Luckily, it wasn’t a dreadful flight- just very long at 10 ½ hours!


After experiencing how much English was spoken throughout the seven European countries I visited and the large amount of signs written in English, I should not have been surprised to hear so many English language songs. I definitely also should not have been surprised to hear all the Beatles songs I did. Vive Les Beatles! Vive la musique!


Quirky T’s Favorites Sing The Standards


The third stop as the Guitar Train explores The Standards listens to cover versions of these timeless songs performed by Quirky T’s favorite musicians. Interestingly, three of my five all time favorite musicians have recently released CDs with their versions of classic songs from the 20’s – 50’s.


Every time I hear music from the 40’s to the 50’s, I think “This is why The Beatles had to come along and why they became so popular, so no one would have to listen to this music anymore.” Apparently, Paul McCartney didn’t feel the same way as he released a CD of his version of songs from this time period. 2012‘s “Kisses on the Bottom” is the first and only Paul McCartney CD to put me to sleep. The pace of the music is much too slow for me. I just couldn’t get into it. Frank Sinatra recorded a version of George Harrison’s “Something” so I can imagine Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin singing other Beatles’ songs such as “Yes It Is”, “I Will”, and “I’ll Follow the Sun” but why is Paul McCartney doing The Standards? His voice doesn’t lend itself to this type of music.


I am very familiar with the Paul McCartney remake of the song “Get Yourself Another Fool” because it was one of only 20 songs that was continuously played where I work. It always annoyed me that of all The Beatles and Paul McCartney songs that could have been played – why that one? It’s not even his original song; it doesn’t accurately represent him.


The Beatles album

The Beatles album

Another remake Paul McCartney did on this CD is called “Bye Bye Blackbird”. All I could think about when I heard this song was The Beatles’ song “Blackbird” from “The Beatles” (White) album. I prefer The Beatles song.


Jon Secada - Classics

As I mentioned in the Guitar Train stop about Frank Sinatra songs, Jon Secada recorded a “duet” with Frank Sinatra on the song, “The Best is Yet to Come.”  Then in 2010 Jon Secada released a CD of his versions of The Standards called “Classics” in English and “Clasicos” for the Spanish version. I’d rather he make some new, original music for me to dance to and sing along with. At least “Classics” includes a fast song like “La Bamba” (which, while not a Standard, is a classic). Interestingly, the CD also contains a cover of a Frank Sinatra song, “My Way” and “Besame Mucho” which The Beatles also covered.

Gloria Estefan also recorded a “duet” with Frank Sinatra on the song “Come Rain or Come Shine”. While I liked that recording, I was not excited in 2013 to hear that Gloria Estefan was going to release her version of The Standards. Why, why, why? At least I’m used to slower songs from Gloria Estefan but enough with these classics. The songs on Gloria Estefan’s CD simply called “The Standards” drag out so much. Just sing the next word already! They are the opposite of Gloria Estefan songs such as “Conga” where she sings very fast. I guess it shows how talented she is to be able to sing two drastically different styles of music. I certainly wouldn’t expect Frank Sinatra or Dean Martin to sing “Conga” or “The Rhythm’s Gonna Get You.”


Paul McCartney and Gloria Estefan have stated they recorded their versions of The Standards because they have connections to the songs. They grew up listening to the songs and have memories associated with these songs. I don’t have those connections or memories and hearing these songs hasn’t given me any. So please, Huey Lewis and the News, keep your remakes to soul songs and don’t torture me with more Standards.


Guitar Train passengers, have any of your favorite musicians recorded cover songs in a genre you don’t like? Did these remakes change your opinion of that genre?


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