Happy 75th Birthday JC

Not that JC — I’m talking about John Cale. Not the one from Oklahoma, the one from Wales. Author of many great songs, “Cocaine” and “After Midnight” not among them. I’ll let him explain further:


Happy Birthday, Robbie and Robert

An interesting confluence of birthdays today: Robbie Robertson and the RZA. You could say that both have spent considerable time as musical masterminds presiding over groups of formidable talents; would that make the Wu-Tang Clan the Band of hip-hop? I guess it would.

Since I just downloaded a groovy new table-making plug-in for WordPress, let’s look at them in table form, shall we?

Robbie RobertsonThe RZA
Birth NameJaime Robert KlegermanRobert Fitzgerald Diggs
DOBJuly 5, 1943July 5, 1969
Personal FactoidMother was Mohawk, father was JewishNamed after Bobby and John Kennedy
Professional FactoidProduced Neil Diamond's "Beautiful Noise"Appears on Shaquille O'Neal's
"Shaq-Fu: Da Return"
Musical GroupsThe Band, Levon & the Hawks, Little Caesar & The Consuls, Robbie Robertson and the Rhythm Chords, Robbie & The Robots, Thumper & the TrambonesWu-Tang Clan, Gravediggaz, All in Together Now
Eccentric Musical AssociateGarth Hudson, Bob DylanOl' Dirty Bastard
Best-Known CompositionsThe Weight, The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down, Up on Cripple CreekBring the Ruckus, Protect Ya Neck, C.R.E.A.M.
Movie AppearancesCarny, The Crossing GuardGhost Dog, Funny People, American Gangster

The Love Man

The great Otis Redding would have been 70 today if not for a spot of bad luck with an airplane, and I have no doubt he would still have been going strong. Otis was a force. I’ll never forget seeing the concert doc of his performance at Monterey Pop for the first time – at the UC Theater back in the day – and being utterly flabbergasted. Words like “dynamic,” “electrifying,” and “unbelievable” scarcely begin to describe what Otis could do on stage. If, by some dreadful misfortune, you haven’t seen it, well…

I thought that this was perhaps the greatest musical performance I’d ever seen by a human being…and then the second part of the bill, Jimi Plays Monterey, came on, and we entered the realm of something beyond human.

Six months after Monterey (and two months after your humble scribe was born), Otis would be gone at the tender age of 26. Thankfully he lived long enough (by three days!) to record “(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay,” a truly beautiful song that showcases Otis’s sensitive side. It never fails to make any day better.