Tuesday, November 21, 2017

BATTLE OF THE BANDS: SIMON & GARFUNKEL V. PIGPEN THEATRE CO.

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

Wow! This Battle of the Bands was a close one. I'm not voting because it won't change the outcome.

The winners are

Simon & Garfunkel with 17 votes

while PigPen Theatre Co. finishes with a respectable 15 votes.

Thank you for voting, and I wish the rest of you in the U.S. a blessed Thanksgiving.

I'll ask Simon & Garfunkel to sing us out with one of my favorite songs.


Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug




Monday, November 20, 2017

PIGPEN THEATRE CO.

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

This is your last day to vote in BATTLE OF THE BANDS: THE ONLY LIVING BOY IN NEW YORK. The contenders are Simon & Garfunkel and PigPen Theatre Co. I'll announce the winner tomorrow.

I want to give you as much information as I can about PigPen Theatre Co., but all I know can be found on their Web site HERE. Wikipedia doesn't even have a page about them.

They are seven guys who met in 2007 during their freshman year at Carnegie Mellon University School of Drama in Pittsburgh. They wanted to create original plays, but they didn't have any money. They found that one way to make their creations work was to add music.

In 2012, they began releasing albums. In addition to their Web site, you can learn more about them by watching their TEDx talk:



It's only 11 minutes long, and it's very enjoyable. What I know now is that I'd love to see them in person.

I appreciate it that you've been willing to open your ears, hearts, and minds to them. I happened upon their cover of The Only Living Boy In New York on YouTube and knew I had to use them for my battle. Thanks to you, they're making a respectable showing. I thought Simon & Garfunkel might blow them away.

How about if we ask them to play us out today with their original song, Bremen, and with another of their covers?

See ya tomorrow with the battle results.


Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug







Sunday, November 19, 2017

BEHIND THE LYRICS OF THE ONLY LIVING BOY IN NEW YORK

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

The lyrics of The Only Living Boy In New York are copyrighted, but you can find them online if you can't understand them when they're sung. I think they're easier to hear than a lot of lyrics, such as "there's a bathroom on the right."

Of course, the song is my choice for the current Battle of the Bands. My contenders are Simon & Garfunkel and PigPen Theatre Co. If you haven't voted yet, I hope you'll do so at BATTLE OF THE BANDS: THE ONLY LIVING BOY IN NEW YORK.

Paul Simon wrote this song. Although I've cautioned my readers many times against thinking that the poetic persona is the poet (or songwriter), in this case, Paul admittedly addresses Art.

But he begins by calling Art "Tom." As you might recall from my post yesterday, A BRIEF HISTORY OF SIMON & GARFUNKEL, the duo had their first success as Tom & Jerry when they were in high school. Art was Tom.

So why does Tom fly to Mexico? He has a part in the 1969 movie Catch-22, directed by Mike Nichols. Nichols gave Simon & Garfunkel's career a big boost when he used their music for the soundtrack of his hit movie The Graduate in 1967.

Art wanted to try to have an acting career, but Paul was left behind. They would have gone to Mexico together for the movie because Simon had been offered a role, too. The offer was rescinded when Nichols cut the part. That left Simon as the only living boy in New York. Losing something that had been in his reach must have been painful for Simon.

I can't imagine that Nichols wanted to break up Simon & Garfunkel, but the split recounted in this song foreshadows their break-up as a musical pairing, which occurred the next year. Garfunkel, however, did not have a big career in movies. He played Jack Nicholson's friend in Carnal Knowledge. That and Catch-22 were his biggest accomplishments. As a singing solo act, Garfunkel had some success, but nothing compared to that of  Rhymin' Simon.

The lyrics of The Only Living Boy In New York are wistful and lonely, but Simon wishes Garfunkel well. In the future, the two often did not wish each other well.

The Only Living Boy In New York wasn't one of their big hits, but it's been covered many times. Simon & Garfunkel also gave Zach Braff permission to use the original in his 2004 film, Garden State. 

It's a beautiful and deceptively simply song.


Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

Now that we've chatted about Simon & Garfunkel's association with Mike Nichols, how about if we listen to something from The Graduate?



Saturday, November 18, 2017

A BRIEF HISTORY OF SIMON & GARFUNKEL

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

Now that we're finished with the silly distraction of the potential job, we can get back to what's really important: Battle of the Bands.

As you may already know, the song for my current battle is The Only Living Boy In New York. The contenders are Simon & Garfunkel and PigPen Theatre Co. If you haven't voted yet, please visit THIS POST to do so.

The history of Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel can be summed up as making beautiful music together, splitting up, taking verbal jabs at one another, reuniting, splitting, not speaking, and reuniting.

The duo discovered they could harmonize in 1953 when they were in the sixth grade in Queens. They continued to sing together as high school students. In 1957, they recorded a composition of their own called Hey, Schoolgirl as Tom & Jerry. It was a modest success, and they appeared on American Bandstand.



Their next attempts at recording together failed. College beckoned. Simon majored in English and went to Brooklyn Law School. Garfunkel studied art history at Columbia University and then earned a master's degree in mathematics. Both made attempts at solo singing careers, with Simon spending some time in England. When he returned to the U.S., the two recorded some songs together again, but weren't successful. One of these was The Sound of Silence.

Then a remix of The Sound of Silence hit in 1965––and it hit big. No more stage names. They were Simon & Garfunkel, folk rock duo. In 1966, they had three successful albums that produced four big singles. They became one of the most popular groups in the world during the remainder of the decade, but both wanted to make some changes. Paul Simon wanted to become a solo recording artist, while Art Garfunkel embarked on an acting career in movies. Both have said they only wanted to take a break from each other for a couple of years. The break became more or less permanent (in spite of some television appearances and their hugely successful free concert in Central Park in 1982) when an album that they were to record together instead turned into a Paul Simon solo project.

Creative differences? Sick of each other? Hurt feelings? All probably apply to the end of their recording career.

In 1990 when they were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Garfunkel thanked Simon for "enriching his life." Simon's response was "Well, Arthur and I agree about almost nothing, but it´s true: I have enriched his life quite a bit now that I think about it." 

Garfunkel has referred to Simon's short stature over the years in disparaging terms and said that he spoke to Simon in high school because he felt sorry for him.

From 1993 to 2003, Simon and Garfunkel rarely spoke. In 2001, Simon was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a solo artist. In his acceptance speech, he stated, "I regret the ending of our friendship. I hope that some day before we die we will make peace with each other [long pause]. No rush."

Yet in 2003 they began to perform together again and have toured regularly, although Simon insists he'll never record with Garfunkel again. Garfunkel has also experienced problems with his vocal chords that have sometimes limited his ability to sing. They are 76 years old.




They have 10 Grammy Awards. Their last studio album, Bridge Over Troubled Water, was released in January, 1970, and became the best-selling album of all time until Michael Jackson released Thriller in 1982.

In my next post, we'll talk about the lyrics for The Only Living Boy In New York.


Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug


From The Concert In Central Park, with 500,000 in attendance:


Thursday, November 16, 2017

I'M EXCITED AND TERRIFIED!

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

My posts about the background of The Only Living Boy In New York and the histories of the two contenders in my Battle of the Bands (Simon & Garfunkel and PigPen Theatre Co.) will be delayed or might not happen at all, but I'll certainly return on November 21st to announce the winner.

At long last, I'm in the final stages of getting a job. I can't tell you what it is, but it involves an extensive background check. I have a lot of forms to fill out. There's so much I don't remember about my own work history, such as starting and ending dates. It's probably going to take me a while to get through all the paperwork.

Please say a prayer for me, send positives vibes toward Florida, cast a happy spell, and wish me well. If everything works out, it will mean a new job for me in the new year.

In the meantime, if you haven't voted yet in my BATTLE OF THE BANDS: THE ONLY LIVING BOY IN NEW YORK, I hope you'll listen to the two versions of the song and tell us which one you prefer.


Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug





Wednesday, November 15, 2017

BATTLE OF THE BANDS: THE ONLY LIVING BOY IN NEW YORK

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

It's November 15th, so it's time for this month's Battle of the Bands, hosted by Stephen McCarthy at STMcC Presents 'Battle of the Bands'. I urge you to visit his blog to see the complete list of participants in the battle and to visit them.


Here's the deal: I present two renditions of the same song. In your comment, you vote for the one you prefer, and if possible, tell us the reason for your choice. You have until midnight on November 20th to vote. On November 21st, I'll tell you who the winner is.

Today I present a competition . . . well, I'll let T. S. Eliot tell you what I'm thinking through the voice of the poetic persona in The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock:

"And indeed there will be time / To wonder, 'Do I dare?' and, 'Do I dare?' . . . Do I dare / Disturb the universe?"

For I have known them all already, known them all––
Have known the evening, mornings, afternoons,
I have measured out my life with coffee spoons.
I know the voices dying with a dying fall
Beneath the music from a farther room.
     So how should I presume?

I did not think, Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell, that I dared make anyone compete against Simon & Garfunkel, performing a song that Paul Simon wrote to/for Art Garfunkel. Paul and Artie are icons of American music.

I am one who would say, Of course I shall vote for Paul and Artie. I cannot do otherwise. But I dare disturb the universe because I heard a cover of The Only Living Boy In New York that gave me chills although I adore the original.

But how should I presume? Even if this battle is a blowout in favor of Simon & Garfunkel, then at least I will have introduced you––if you do not know them already, as I did not––to PigPen Theatre Co.

In the days to come, I'll also write posts about the meaning of The Only Living Boy In New York and the histories of Simon & Garfunkel and PigPen Theatre Co. If you cannot vote today, it's okay. You'll learn and you'll listen more and you'll come back from a farther room to vote another day.

We participants in the Battle of the Bands often ask our followers to ignore videos of the bands if we use them, but I shan't do that today, for music can be more than aural grandeur.

We begin with Simon & Garfunkel:




And now PigPen Theatre Co.:




Thanks for joining me in this battle. I hope you enjoy The Only Living Boy In New York.


Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

Friday, November 10, 2017

PENELOPE SPEAKS: I AM IN CHARGE HERE

Hello. It is I, Penelope.


Mom Mom does not feel well. She keeps dashing off to the bathroom to sit on her white throne. Do not worry. I am tending to her.

That is all.