I’m a Believer

This song, written by Neil Diamond and performed by The Monkees was their best one, I thought. It is the ideal song, at least the title phrase, for those occasions when one is cheering for one’s preferred team, especially when it is the underdog and fighting back. I don’t go to any sporting events so don’t know if it is actually used for that purpose.
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Lip-syncing

I found this video of Sandie Shaw singing Puppet on a String that enabled Britain to win the Eurovision Song Contest in 1967. The video is interesting but not for the song itself. One reason is that Shaw’s lip-syncing is really bad. Another is that the young people selected to surround her and dance seem to be the most awkward and nerdy group they could have possibly picked, as if the producers went to a nearby high school to round up some students and found that only the chess club was available. Hell, even I could dance better than that and I don’t even dance. The song is a pretty silly one and the one notable thing about it is the tuba line that runs through the entire song, unusual for a pop song.
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Joe Cocker (1944-2014)

The British rock star died today at the age of 70 of lung cancer. No one who has seen it will forget his performance at the Woodstock music festival in 1969 where he took the Beatles’ With a little help from my friends, a gentle song sung by Ringo Starr, and turned into a weird, over-the top, air-guitar-playing, frenzied, incoherent performance that looked like he was having some kind of seizure.
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Flash mob’s Ode To Joy

We need a break from depressing news about torture and what better than some good music?

I love these flash mobs that pop up in public spaces to play the great classical pieces. And there are few pieces more suited to this kind of street art than the last movement from Beethoven’s 9th Symphony, a magnificent piece that never fails to move me however many times I hear it. And since this took place at a street fair in Nurenberg, Germany, there was the added bonus that many of the spectators actually knew the words and could join in on the choral parts.
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Down memory lane with Carole King

Here’s a performance of that lovely song It might as well rain until September by the highly gifted singer-songwriter Carole King, creator of so many wonderful songs, alone and with several co-creators including as in this case her one-time husband Gerry Goffin, It was originally released as a single in 1962 and is a song that brings back pleasant memories of my childhood, it being a staple on Sri Lankan radio.
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Slick tracking shot in the new OK Go video

The group OK Go performed at the opening of my university’s academic year back in late August and the lead singer said that they had just returned from Japan. It looks like they spent some time while there creating the video to accompany the release of their new single I won’t let you down. The group has developed a reputation for creating highly choreographed complex videos that are done in a single take and the new one follows that pattern, with a lot of people engaged in high-precision maneuvers on nifty little motorized unicycles that I had not seen before, though they seem like they are way cooler than the Segway.
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Bolero

There is something deeply hypnotic about listening to Ravel’s Bolero. It is like getting engrossed in a mystery novel and not wanting to stop until you know how it ends. In this performance by the London Symphony Orchestra, we get to see close up the increasing intensity of the musicians at the climax approaches. I wonder how hard it is for the percussionists to keep that steady tempo for 15 minutes, because that is crucial.
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