Guitar Train

Hop aboard the Guitar Train to the final destination of Advanced Musical Knowledge

Archive for the tag “Stevie Wonder”

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, https://guitartrain.wordpress.com/2017/08/24/the-guitar-train-is-going-to-europe/

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!

Advertisements

30 Years Later Quirky T Revisits “We Are the World”

We are the World Album cover

Thirty years ago on January 28, 1985 a large group of musical superstars came together to record the charity single “We Are the World”. The song was written by Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie and produced by Quincy Jones. They were following the lead of Bob Geldof who gathered superstar musicians in the United Kingdom in 1984 to record the song “Do They Know It’s Christmas” to raise money to help relieve famine in Africa. “We Are the World” raised over $60 million for the charity. It also won four Grammy Awards including Song of the Year and Record of the Year.

Looking back at the artists who participated in “We Are the World”, it was quite an exceptional group. The stars of the 80’s are well represented and joined by legends such as Tina Turner, Diana Ross, Dionne Warwick, Ray Charles, and Stevie Wonder. Maybe because Quincy Jones was producing this there was more diversity than would later perform at Live Aid. The only big stars from 1985 who were missing were Madonna, Whitney Houston, and Prince.

cu We are the World album cover

In researching this Guitar Train stop, I came upon various reasons why Prince did not participate. Regardless of what the real reason is, I am very happy with his replacement – Huey Lewis. Huey alone, without the News, sang the bridge part after Michael Jackson and before Cyndi Lauper and Kim Carnes. Kim Carnes was the only singer I did not recognize when I watched the DVD “The Story Behind the Song: 20th Anniversary Special”. For the music video, the artists lined up in a U-shape in the order they sang their lines. So Huey was positioned between Michael Jackson, in full King of Pop regalia, and Cyndi Lauper, wearing an abundance of jewelry. Had Prince been there instead, it would have been an 80’s overload of hair, jewelry, and brocade. Huey brought it down to earth and sang a line (which I can’t write here because of copyright issues) that I could imagine being in one of his songs. Cyndi then does her vocal thing, Kim Carnes adds her two words, and then Huey rejoins them. I think it’s cool that Huey was part of this momentous gathering. Incidentally, the News joined him later to sing in the chorus which also contained many famous musicians including another favorite of mine, The Pointer Sisters. It was nice to see other regular guys such as Billy Joel (whose line to me seems to be right from a Beatles song) and Bruce Springsteen.

In 2010, another group of musicians remade “We Are the World” to benefit Haiti which had experienced a devastating earthquake. I had heard about the remake at the time but I never bothered to listen to it because the only people I had been told were in it were Justin Bieber and Miley Cyrus. I had no interest in listening to them along with a bunch of current musicians whom I wouldn’t know. When researching this Guitar Train stop, I decided to listen to the updated version. I was pleasantly surprised by the other big name (and talented) musicians who were involved such as Wyclef Jean, Jennifer Hudson, Barbra Streisand, and Tony Bennett. Interesting note – Usher sang Huey Lewis’ line in the remake.

We are the World back cover

Back to 1985, the “We Are the World” single was part of an album of the same name which contains songs by artists from the single as well as Prince and Chicago. Huey Lewis and the News contributed the song “Trouble in Paradise”. The album also contains a group of Canadian artists recording a song called “Tears are Not Enough” under the name Northern Lights.

 

To read more about the epic recording of the song “We Are the World”, check out this great article on the “Rolling Stone” website called “’We Are the World: A Minute-by-Minute Breakdown’ on Its 30th Anniversary”. http://www.rollingstone.com/music/features/we-are-the-world-a-minute-by-minute-breakdown-30th-anniversary-20150306  Also check out the website http://www.usaforafrica.org for much information about the song and other charities.

 

Guitar Train passengers, what did you think about “We Are the World” at the time and what do you think about it now, looking back 30 years later?

 

The Guitar Train is still in 1985 as the next stop takes us to another epic charity event from that year – Live Aid. So hop back aboard The Guitar Train to see this concert from the skewed point of view of my favorite musicians.

Other Loves

On this Valentine’s Day, the Guitar Train will make a stop to look at another side of this very commercialized holiday.   Quirky T believes that as The Beatles sang, “All You Need is Love” should apply every day, to everyone, not just one day a year in the form of romantic gifts.

Some people lose sight of the fact that there are other loves besides romantic love and become depressed on Valentine’s Day. So Guitar Train passengers, on this Valentine’s Day, let’s not forget about love of family, friends, country, and most importantly, love of and from God.  Songs about those other loves include:

  1. “We Are Family” – Sister Sledge  http://youtu.be/PDSSGyPurmE
  2. “That’s What Friends Are For”  – cover by Dionne Warwick, Elton John, Gladys Knight, and Stevie Wonder  http://youtu.be/xGbnua2kSa8
  3. “God Bless the USA” – Lee Greenwood  http://youtu.be/Q65KZIqay4E
  4. “Only a Shadow”    http://youtu.be/XUirGgSa_EY

Guitar Train passengers, please don’t be depressed this Valentine’s Day if you’re not in a romantic relationship.  It is just one overly commercialized day.  It doesn’t mean that you haven’t had romantic  love in the past or won’t in the future; it just means you don’t today, this one day.  Remember the other loves and especially that God loves you every day.

To the Guitar Train passengers currently in romantic relationships, think about acting like every day is Valentine’s Day.  I don’t mean the flowers and the gifts.  I mean the caring, love, and kisses.  Like Quirky T always says, if you haven’t been brushing your teeth every day, it’s too late to start the day you have a dentist appointment.

Guitar Train passengers, how do you feel about Valentine’s Day?  What are your favorite songs about love other than romantic love?

Post Navigation

%d bloggers like this: