So, how did your 2015 go? Learn lots? Lost a bit? Love a little? Personally, it was ‘ight. It was certainly an improvement from the rather embarrassing and drawn-out 2014. When you’re at the bottom, the only direction to move is up, baby! That’s enough for me to look forward to what’s in store for 2016, at least.
So, as we head towards a new year full of monkey business, let’s take a moment to remember who we’re leaving behind, but will continue to shape the landscape of the arts as they’ve always done.Leonard Nimoy
“Fools follow rainbows, but rainbows disappear.” I wonder how many people know of Nimoy’s musical endeavors? For a while, it seemed like Trekkie trivia, but I occasional find myself singing along to the sincere ballads. It’s more soothing than hearing his friend freaking the fuck out to Dylan’s tunes.
This is a stellar performance. A display of blues guitar virtuoso, humor, clever lyrics and the raw emotion to center all eyes on King. Not a bad day at Sing Sing Prison. Not only that, even if you’re not familiar with Mr. King’s blues, you’ve likely already heard him sampled on Primitive Radio God’s 1996 hit ‘Standing Outside a Broken Phone Booth with Money in My Hand.’
Ben E. King
Stand by Me is a timeless classic adored by many, but Ben E. King had more up his sleeve. With the help of Phil Spector’s influences of Latin percussion, E. King lays on his vocals on the 1961 track that is “soft and sweet” as it is haunting — in an enigmatic way. He reordered tirelessly for many years since then, reaching through the soulful funk of the 1970s with Supernatural Thing.
This is going to sound odd, but maybe I’m not the first person to notice. Earlier in the year, I watched the anime series KimiKiss (it’s not Amagami, but it’s not bad). In short, Mao tries to get get closer to her potential love interest Eiji by becoming familiar with his love of jazz. To pique Mao’s interest, Eiji mentions Phil Woods playing the sax on Billy Joel’s ‘Just the Way You Are.’ I’m not sure if that was enough to woo Mao, but I’m always down with anime series recommending some good tunes from my side of reality.
That high pitch you hear throughout The Token’s 1961 hit ‘The Lion Sleeps Tonight’ isn’t a theremin, but the soprano voicing of opera and musical singer Anita Darian. Anita is an artist that has worked in so many areas where her voiced is used that it’s actually not quite easy to pinpoint defining moments, but who ever said beauty was easy to grasp?