Ask 411 Music 10.13.11: Monsters and Mirrors
Posted by Ron Martin on 10.13.2011
Who used to put out mixtapes featuring new music from Jay-Z, Notorious B.I.G. and Puff Daddy? What musical is Sheryl Crow writing music for? When did Celine Dion win Eurovision? All this and more covered this week in Ask 411 Music!
Here you are, here I am at this point together somewhere further down the timeline than I am right now. Technically, I'm not really here at the moment, but you are and I wrote this, so we are together in spirit, brother. Or sister. Do girls read 411mania? I seem to remember one, a long time ago. Anyways, onto the business at hand.
Onto the world of music! I'm saddened to hear of the death of former WEEZER bassist MIKEY WELSH, and at the same time a little weirded out at his uncanny ability to predict his own death. It's events like this that make me think he was messed up in supernatural dealings and his death was payback for some unpaid debt made to look like an accident. He knew it was coming. Maybe not, but it would make for a pretty solid movie, no?
I wish I had a make it or break it mixtape story to share. Like some of my readers, I only made mixtapes for the ladies when I already had them in my clutches. And like VINCE mentioned, it was a labor of love. The one time I made one for a girl that wasn't already attached to me, it was pretty much duly ignored and I was too chicken to follow up on it. That was probably for the better. Onto the column proper!
PAUL SIMON turns 70 today…
SAMMY HAGAR turns 64 today…
ASHANTI turns 31 today…
PORN STAR BIRTHDAYS
IT CAME FROM MY IPOD
I write this column mostly on Mondays and Tuesdays. Seeing as I have 3 to 4 columns a week here and they all come out on Thursday, I usually try to knock this one out first. I have my dinner Monday night, driving home trying to think of a topic for this very segment. I'm stopped about four deep at a stop sign with my earphones in. Suddenly, some old guy rear ends me. Before you start getting disgusting porn images in your head, I mean he just didn't stop and bump my car from behind. No damage. Not even a scratch. He lucked out this time. Five songs from my iPod about the experience.
1. "Blind Man" by Aerosmith
2. "Awake" by Godsmack
3. "Bump" by Here Come the Mummies
4. "I'll Sue Ya" by "Weird Al" Yankovic
5. " Chasing Cars" by Snow Patrol
You ready for this? You ready for…
VINCE, who loves me more than my mama, has some followup questions… Thanks for the information about mixtapes, there was a lot in there I didn't know. What about more recent (the past 15 years) mixtapes? I know there are a bunch of rappers that release mixtapes and dis tracks. You just said that Childish Gambino has them. Some information about the more recent mixtape history would be greatly appreciated.
The history of mixtapes has always been along the same lines, mostly with DJs recording their own sets and then selling the beats underground. In the 90s some of the more famous New York nightclubs where the DJs would record their sets were beginning to close down. DJs took to recording their mixes in their own apartments. Then a guy named DJ CLUE came along. DJ Clue was having a hard time making his sounds profitable, so he had the idea of changing the game. Instead of focusing on mixing already existing beats, he began looking for new talent and new beats by current talent. Besides getting first play on some new songs by established artists such as THE NOTORIOUS BIG, PUFF DADDY and JAY-Z, DJ Clue was instrumental in getting exposure for other artists such as JA RULE, DMX and MASE.
In the 21st century, it's not uncommon for rappers to use the mixtape format in the same way rockers use singles. A lot of times on the "B-side" of singles, a band will throw a song that didn't make it onto the record. For rappers, if they have a big album coming out, they might put out a mixtape with some songs that didn't make the cut for the album, some remixes of songs on the album and/or new tracks on old beats. It's still a valid format and very popular in the rap/hip hop community. Just last month saw the release of several mixtapes by artists including YOUNG JEEZY, EXILE and NEAKO. Mixtapes even have their own (unofficial?) Top Ten Charts.
Celine Dion won Eurovision? For which country/what song? And does it count if you have a non-European or a non-citizen-of-your-country sing the song?
CELINE DION won EUROVISION in 1988 competing for SWITZERLAND. She won singing the song "Ne partez pas sans moi." For those of us who don't speak French, that translates into "Don't Leave Without Me." My English speaking spell check hated that. It was one of the closest competitions in its history. The UK representative SCOTT FITZGERALD held a five point lead over Dion with one country left to announce their points. As countries normally announced their awarded points in ascending order. The final country, YUGOSLAVIA, awarded Dion six points giving her a one point lead. However, it was assumed that Fitzgerald would be announced as getting more points, so everyone was in shock when Yugoslavia awarded their top prize (12 points) to the representative from Iceland, and awarding no points to the UK for Dion and Switzerland to hang onto the top score by one.
For a really good description of how some of the larger European nations view Eurovision, go back and check out the COMMENTS section from last week. Regular reader RASHER gives us the competition from the UK's perspective. It's an interesting read!
How about naming all the celebrities who appeared in the following two Sesame Street songs: "Put Down the Duckie" starring Ernie and Toots the Owl, and "Wubba Wubba Wubba" starring Grover?
Alright. Let's see if I can do this. First up, "Put Down the Duckie." The song has become a staple of Sesame Street preaching not to let possessions get in the way of other activities. The first appearance of the song was November 22, 1989 when the show was being sponsored by the letters "G" and "U" and the number "1." During the 1989 season, whenever the show had a celebrity on, they would sing a verse of the song to be used later in the montage.
You ready for this? Celebrities include JOHN CANDY, CELIA CRUZ, JANE CURTIN, JEREMY IRONS, GORDON JACKSON, MADELINE KAHN, DANNY DEVITO, WYNTON MARSALIS, JEAN MARSH, ANDREA MARTIN, ITZHAK PERLMAN, RHEA PERLMAN, PAUL SIMON, LADYSMITH BLACK MAMBAZO, ROBERT MACNEIL, GLADYS KNIGHT AND THE PIPS, PHIL DONAHUE, BARBARA WALTERS and JOE WILLIAMS.
There is a second version of the song running around with a lot of New York athletes and PEE WEE HERMAN involved. Obviously, I couldn't have named all those celebrities on my own, but I can tell you upon first watching I correctly got 12 of them right! That's not too shabby.
Now for GROVER's time in the spotlight.
This song first appeared in the 1990 season. It's actually called "Monster in the Mirror." However, ELMO has referred to it in later seasons as the "Wubba Wubba Wubba Song." It's first appearance including no celebrities. Again, like "Put Down the Duckie," the gang at Sesame Street had celebrity guests sing choruses and later re-edited the video to add in the celebrities. Before I look up the official list, I'm going to try to get as many as I can.
In no order because I sloppily wrote these on a piece of paper; WHOOPI GOLDBERG, KID N PLAY, THE SIMPSONS, ROBIN WILLIAMS, GLENN CLOSE, KADEEM HARDISON, LOU DIAMOND PHILLIPS, SISKEL AND EBERT, TRACEY ULLMAN, GEENA DAVIS, BO JACKSON, CANDICE BERGEN, RAY CHARLES, CHUBBY CHECKER, JULIA ROBERTS and MALCOLM-JAMAL WARNER.
It looks like I missed MARIA CONCHITA ALONSO, TYNE DALY, BO DIDDLEY (how did I miss him?), JEFF GOLDBLUM (again – how?), CHARLAYNE HUNTER-GAULT, ROBERT MACNEIL, JEFF SMITH and BLAIR UNDERWOOD.
There you go. Sesame Street celebrities.
I made MLSQ42 and now he has a question about the WWE's music guy… Jim Johnston. Thoughts as a music guy?
You know, I never really thought much of JIM JOHNSTON until I saw the movie Beyond the Mat. Johnston was only in the movie for literally one minute discussing his creating the music for THE MAN THEY CALL VADER. It was an interesting minute, however and an interesting choice. Interesting because Vader's music in particular has been criticized as a jazzed up version of the basic beat from DEMOLITION's old music. To hear his explanation of the song was either complete bullshit made up by him on the spot by a guy who's been doing it for years or genius. Given his track record, I'm willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. A lot of the superstar's music these days is actual licensed songs by actual groups, but all your favorite wrestling theme music from back in the day came straight from this man's mind. On top of that, knowing what we know about the inner workings of the WWE, my guess is he gets all of a day or so to come up with music.
I just pulled my favorite wrestling CD, WWF: The Music Volume 4. Johnston composed all the music for the CD which includes a rock anthem for CHRIS JERICHO, a goth sound for CHRISTIAN, R&B for MARK HENRY, the hellacious but fun theme for MANKIND and a political statement for TRIPLE H. That's just on one CD. The man has scores of gold and even platinum albums and has been with the WWF/E since the first boom. There are rumors that he will be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame next year and you will get no argument from me.
I will declare the man a stone cold (no pun intended) genius if I found out he wrote the lyrics for this
Something I have always wondered about this song that maybe you guys can help me with. There's a part near the end that goes like this:
HULK HOGAN: You'll be on your back
UNKOWN PERSON: ???????
MILLION DOLLAR MAN: Hit by a Cadillac.
Anyone have any idea who this unknown person is or what they say? I've wondered literally for decades.
RASHER not only schools us on Eurovision, but wonders about a couple of our lady friends… What is Alanis Morrisette up to these days? What about Sheryl Crow?
ALANIS MORRISETTE is currently in the studio working on new songs. How do I know? She wrote "back in the studio saddle…the songs have come in droves…! helmet on :)" on her Facebook page just twelve hours before I am writing this.
In 2008, Morrisette released Flavors of Entanglement. Since then, she has mostly just contributed songs to relief efforts CDs or soundtracks. Last year she married rapper Mario "MC Souleye" Treadway and gave birth to a child last Christmas Day. There's a joke about a woman who played God giving birth to a child on Christmas, but I can't seem to find it. Other than that, she plays herself in what I assume must be a cameo appearance in the upcoming movie As Cool as I Am.
Onto SHERYL CROW.
Sheryl Crow has gone country – sort of. Crow has a new album coming out early in 2012 and it's said to be more country than anything else. This comes after working with LORETTA LYNN on her tribute album and appearing at the Country Music Awards.
Other than that, it was recently announced that Crow is writing the music and lyrics for the Broadway musical Diner, based on the movie of the same name. The show is scheduled to open in Fall of 2012.
As PORKY PIG famously said, "That's all, folks!"
As always, feel free to leave questions in the COMMENTS section or email them to me directly. Have a great week, everyone.