Sunday, November 18, 2012

Music Sunday: The Birthday Potluck Edition

The holidays are coming up quickly now, and since birthdays are personal holidays (and sometimes you get your birthday off from work, making it more of a holiday), I decided to have a look and see who is celebrating a birthday this weekend.

Sadly, Jeff Buckley is no longer with us to celebrate his birthday (he would have turned 46 yesterday), but he left us with what many people consider the definitive version of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah", which he recorded in 1994. This recording was ranked at 250 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of "The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time". You've probably heard this version of the song even if you don't know it, as it has been used in a number of television shows and films.

Yesterday was also Gordon Lightfoot's birthday. It is difficult for me to decide which of his songs to share - I'll admit to being a huge fan. One of the things Lightfoot is known for is his story songs. "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald" is probably the best-known of these, and it is a very good song, but I also like "The Canadian Railroad Trilogy". The song was first recorded in 1966 and released in 1967 after being specially commissioned by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation for a broadcast celebrating the beginning of Canada's Centennial year. The song commemmorates the building of the Canadian Pacific Railroad:

The first Lightfoot song I ever heard, as far as I can remember, was "Don Quixote", and it remains one of my favorites. It was recorded in 1972.

And then there's the other Lightfoot song that everybody knows (aside from "Edmund Fitzgerald"), "If You Could Read My Mind", which was released in 1970. This live performance is from the BBC in 1972:

Celebrating a birthday today is guitarist Kirk Hammett of Metallica. Hammett was listed 11th on Rolling Stone magazine's list of "The 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time". I like a lot of Metallica's music, but for me their standout song is "One", from the album "...And Justice for All", released in 1988. The video for the song is as remarkable as the song itself, successfully incorporating footage from the film "Johnny Got His Gun". The band, so the story goes, bought the rights to the film so that it wouldn't have to contend with licensing issues to use the footage going forward:

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