Sunday, October 21, 2012

Music Sunday: The Magnitude 5.3 Edition

This week's Music Sunday is brought to you by Mother Nature.

No, seriously. Last night at nearly midnight, my region of the world experienced a 5.3 magnitude earthquake. The quake was centered near King City, California, but some of us here in Fresno felt it as a sharp jolt followed by fifteen or twenty seconds of sort of quivering ground motion, during which my floor lamp continued to sway. My poor stomach continued to quiver for some time after that, since I don't like earthquakes at all - probably a function of having been in too many of them, which is a topic for another day.

Anyway, as always happens when I feel a quake, Carole King's song "I Feel The Earth Move" popped into my head shortly after the tremor and has been running on a loop ever since, and so I decided that it was only fair and proper to share some of King's music with you all today.

King has been writing, by herself, with her former husband Gerry Goffin, and with others since the mid-1950s, and her work has been covered by singers and bands in virtually every genre of music. She wrote or co-wrote 118 songs that made the Billboard Hot 100 between 1955 and 1999, and she has four Grammy awards and has been inducted into both the Songwriter's Hall of Fame and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Those are some serious credentials. Also, it means that there is a lot of her music out there to choose from.

Of course, I have to share "I Feel The Earth Move", which went to number one on the Hot 100 in 1971. And, although the song is not about earthquakes, at least not the geological kind, the beginning of the song is used in an earthquake exhibit at the Oregon Museum of Science & Industry in Portland, Oregon. This performance comes from the BBC in the year the song was released:

"I Feel The Earth Move" was actually a double A-side single with "It's Too Late", which King co-wrote with Toni Stern, and which also hit number one in Billboard in 1971. This performance is from the same 1971 BBC show as the previous clip:

Here's another performance of "It's Too Late" that I found. This time, King performs with James Taylor, in 2007 at the Troubadour in Los Angeles, thirty-six years after the BBC performance:

James Taylor recorded what is probably the most famous of the covers of another Carole King song, "You've Got A Friend", a song that has been covered by singers and bands in just about every genre of music that exists. This performance looks like it was given around the time that Taylor's cover of the song was released, also in 1971, which was a big year for King. If you look closely, you can see King playing piano in the background:

And, because I'm fascinated by the way singers and songs grow and evolve over the years, here is another live performance of the the song by James Taylor, this time from 2009:

In another aspect of her career, some of King's songs written with Gerry Goffin turned up, along with songs from other writers of the era, as songs for The Monkees. Some were love songs; this one, for example, from 1966, is "Sometime in the Morning":

On the other hand, "Pleasant Valley Sunday", also by King and Goffin, was a piece of fairly sharp social commentary, proving that they could write good songs that were not love songs and that The Monkees might not be as harmless and "prefab" as most people assumed they were:

One of these days, I'll do a Music Sunday post on why I think The Monkees were not the blight on pop music so many critics at the time, and now, seem to think they were. But that will be another day. For now, enjoy your day, and here's hoping you don't experience any earthquakes.

No comments: