Today is the 30th anniversary of the murder of John Lennon. I suspect there'll be a lot of Lennon's music, and a lot of memories today. Here's my contribution. One of my favourite covers is Rufus Wainwright's rendition of Across the Universe; in this performance, he's joined by Sean Lennon, as well as Moby.
Some years ago, one of my friends commented that he figured Christmas albums would eventually peter out, because "all the good songs have already been written," with the implication that future records would basically just be retreads of the same canon of several dozen songs. It does indeed feel that way sometimes, but new songs do pop up, and sometimes they astound you.
Rufus Wainwright's Spotlight on Christmas is a good example. It's a song with universal themes (money doesn't buy happiness, etc.) but with a call to set aside differences during Christmas - all 12 days, thanks very much. The lyrics are a prize, like this set:
Don't forget Jesus, Mary, and Joseph Running from the law King Herod had imposeth And they were each one quite odd: A mensch, a virgin, and a God
The next lines spell out the song's real meaning: the unconditional love families (and everyone) need to survive.
The song has already been anthologized a few times, although a great place to buy it is on the McGarrigle Christmas Hour, a holiday album from 2005 produced by his mother and aunt, Kate and Anna McGarrigle. The family has been doing annual Christmas extravaganzas, this year in London at the Royal Albert Hall.
Below is a video of Wainwright performing it solo on U.S. television a few years ago.
This is the 13th entry in a musical advent calendar I'm compiling this year. Click on the link to read the rest, and check back each day through Christmas Eve.
A generous gift certificate has brought some new music into the house: new entries from U2 and Rufus Wainwright, and Paul Weller's acoustic set, Days of Speed. The last one has been the most played so far. I was curious to see that both U2 and Wainwright included generous DVDs (a full live concert in the latter case) with the CDs, indicating either a way to lure fans to spend money on actual discs, or a marketing shift that adds value to the whole package. U2's disc, after all, consists largely of promo videos that are given free to networks ... the problem being that even MTV hardly plays music anymore, and not aging rock bands at that.
Dot Dot Dot is Morse code for the letter 'S,' the full message Guglielmo Marconi claimed to have received atop Signal Hill in St. John's in 1901. It ushered in the age of telecommunications. My maternal grandfather worked as a telegraph operator for Canadian Marconi on Signal Hill for many years.
As well, I have a habit of overusing the ellipsis when I write ... as frequent readers might notice.