Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Saying of the hour

An apology can restore peace, but only real forgiveness heals the pains of the war.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Berlin Wall

Since yesterday was the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, I thought it might be interesting to post this video. It is a Channel 2 News story from August 1986 about a protest rally in West Germany on the 25th anniversary of the Wall. The U.S. Ambassador says be believes one day "the Wall will be nothing more than one of history's bad memories". But then a young Berliner say he thinks the Wall will never "be opened" and it is just "an illusion".

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Petition for Beatles mono CDs to be sold separately

Do you want the Beatles mono CDs to be sold separately? There are a number of reasons why this would benefit potential buyers:

1) The first four albums had long been available in mono, so only diehards will want to buy them again.

2) Some collectors would only want "Sgt. Pepper's", the White Album and maybe "Magical Mystery Tour", which are the ones featuring the most noticeable differences compared to their stereo counterparts.

3) Even for those who want them all, it might be easier on their pockets to buy a few CDs at a time than all of them at once.

If you support this idea, please sign the petition by clicking here.

Monday, September 14, 2009

We want the Bee Gees in Brazil!

The Bee Gees are reuniting. At least, these are the plans. Ever since Maurice died in 2003, it was never clear whether Barry and Robin intended to continue with the group. At times, they said they did. Only to deny it later. They did perform as a duo in 2006 for the Prince's Trust, but apart from that, they remained with their respective agendas. But now the announcement is official. The word is being spread all over the world that the Bee Gees are back.

The only time the Bee Gees performed in South America was in Argentina in 1997, during the One Night Only tour. Lots of Brazilians went to Buenos Aires to see the show. At a certain point during the performance, a Brazilian flag was thrown on stage. This was news in Brazilian papers. In November 2005, Robin Gibb performed in São Paulo. Four thousand people were there to see him.

It is generally agreed by critics and fans alike that the Bee Gees had their finest hour in the 60's and 70's. In the 60's, because of unforgettable ballads such as "Massachusetts" and "I Started a Joke". In the 70's, because of the disco craze, the "Saturday Night Fever" soundtrack and other songs in a similar vein such as "Tragedy" and "Too Much Heaven". In Brazil, however, there is a new generation of fans that rank the Bee Gees' post-70's albums as high as anything they did before. Of course, this is owing to the period in which they were born, with songs such as "Wish You Were Here" and "For Whom the Bells Toll" getting a lot of airplay in Brazil. But one just has to listen carefully to each of the albums from those years to realize these younger fans are not wrong. "One" (1989), "Size Isn't Everything" (1993), "Still Waters" (1997) and "This is Where I Came In" (2001) are as good as the Bee Gees' most memorable records from their classic years. The truth is that the Bee Gees have always maintained the same level of creativity and craftsmanship, even when they didn't get as much media coverage. And if there is any country in which this has always been perceived and acknowledged, it is Brazil.

We don't know yet what Barry and Robin's plans are exactly, whether they are planning on a major world tour or at the very least a number of concerts in other countries. What we do know is that we want the Bee Gees in Brazil. Brazilian fans are uniting to try to get the Brothers to perform here. The biggest Bee Gees community in Orkut (a friendship website that has become more popular in Brazil than Facebook, Multiply or MySpace) has more than 61 thousand members. We do hope that this message reaches Barry, Robin or anyone in their inner circle. Do get in touch with Brazilian promoters and bring the boys here. A Bee Gees concert in Brazil is long overdue. This reunion is the perfect chance to make it happen.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

A Brazilian rarity

In late 1976, this Elton John album was released in the Brazilian market. For all intents and purposes, this was "Elton's latest album". Only the better informed Brazilian collectors could spot that it was actually a compilation of tracks previously unreleased in this country. Elton had signed with his own label Rocket Records, so from then on his new records would be released by a different label here. But RGE still held the rights over the previous recordings. Elton was hot at the time, so no one can blame the company for resorting to this smart move. Even a major Brazilian music critic was fooled and reviewed the album as a new release.

The single tracks will be easily recognizable to any serious Elton John fan: "One Day at a Time", "Step Into Christmas", "It's Me That You Need", "Lady Samantha", "Jack Rabbit", "Into The Old Man's Shoes", "Sick City" and "Sugar on The Floor". But then, there are also "I've Seen That Movie Too", "Jamaica Jerk-Off" and "All The Girls Love Alice", originally from the "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road" double album. It so happens that this particular release had been reduced to a single record in Brazil. Again, the Brazilian company can't be blamed: Elton was just beginning to get popular over here in late 1973. A double album might be a bit much for the newly converted Brazilian fans. As it stood, the reduced album sold well, making Elton as popular here as he already was in other countries. Two of the tracks that were left off were released on the "4 Top Hits From England" EP series, namely, "Ballad of Danny Bailey" and "Sweet Painted Lady". Incidentally, the first release from this series featured the 1973 remake of "Skyline Pigeon", which is still remembered by long-time Brazilian fans as an Elton John greatest hit - so much in fact that it was recently included in the Brazilian edition of the "Rocket Man: Number Ones" compilation.
The "One Day at a Time" album had a beautiful gatefold sleeve and it is certainly a very nice item for any serious collector. But knowledgeable fans can only wonder how anyone could be fooled into thinking Elton could have recorded such dissimilar songs as "Lady Samantha" and "Step Into Christmas" in the same sessions!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Beatles comic book

Alright, maybe I haven't posted here as often as I intended to (how's that for an understatement!). But I'm still here.

This comic book was published in Brazil in 1966 by O Cruzeiro, which used to publish Little Lulu ("Luluzinha" in Brazil), Top Cat ("Manda Chuva") and other great comic book characters, not to mention the major magazine that gave the company its name. The original book was published by Dell in the United States and must be quite a collector's item now. I saw it for sale in 1990 in a New York rare record store called "It's Only Rock and Roll" for $50. I wonder how much it's worth today. By now the real Beatles' story has been told countless times, but in the 60's a "sanitized" version was prepared for the teen audience. For instance: we all know that John Lennon married Cynthia because she was pregnant. The comic book presents a much more romantic version. In the panel below, John is in Hamburg missing Cynthia so much that he doesn't feel like dating the German girls:

So what does he do? He comes back to Liverpool and marries her, of course! Where else but in a church? In fact, the real scene has been drawn by Cynthia herself and printed in both her books, "A Twist of Lennon" and "John". The wedding took place in a Registry Office and the only people in attendance were George Harrison, Paul McCartney, Brian Epstein, Cynthia's brother Tony and his wife. The words of the service were drowned out by the sound of a pneumatic drill outside.

The comic book gives no explanation for Pete Best's departure. Ringo just appears in his place by the time they're recording "Love Me Do". There is also an anectode about the Beatles wearing fake beards to avoid being recognized by the fans while leaving a concert venue, then George Harrison (according to the picture) forgot to remove his fake beard the next time they performed. Ever since then, each and every bearded guy was suspected of being a Beatle in disguise. I've never confirmed this story in any of the books I've read, but who knows? This is typical teen magazine stuff and it may or may not have happened. The art is by Joe Sinnott, famous for his work with Thor and other Marvel characters. Incidentally, Marvel published a Beatles comic book in the 70's, but I've never read it.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Those were the days

This is me in 1990, aged 29, in my heyday. No one remembers me anymore.