Petula Clark, Downtown, A Sign of the Times

Posted in Petula Clark on October 4th, 2012 by Willie

Normally, when you think about the end of the baseball season, you don’t think about Petula Clark, but I do. I’m a rabid New York Mets fan, and when I was a kid, I had a VHS of “Amazin Era,” a film about the history of the New York Mets from 1962-1985. I watched that tape endlessly, over and over, and the soundtrack from that tape just fills me with that special brand of nostalgia. As the Mets season came to another disappointing finish yesterday afternoon, I randomly stumbled on the old Petula Clark song “A Sign of the Times.” This song was featured prominently in the “Amazin Era” tape, and its etched in the loops of my childhood memories. Now, those who read my website know that when I’m posting songs from the 60s, they are usually the absolute best songs of the era; the most artistic, the most serious, the most life changing. Petula’s 60s output doesn’t live up to those standards, but she WAS a product of the most glorious time in pop music, and as a consequence, her cheesy music still IS powerful. “Downtown,” made famous in modern times as a minor subplot in a Seinfeld episode, is an example of this. Its about a lonely woman who just travels to the city to see a movie to lift her spirits. Its totally dumb, but the melody, and Petula’s singing are out of this world. The same goes for “A Sign of the Times,” a sterling diamond of a song. To me, and I know this is borderline insanity, but “A Sign of the Times” was exactly the type of song Paul McCartney was writing in early 1967. It has an awesome vintage British feel that has proven incredibly hard to replicate by anyone since that era. So, sit back, and enjoy these two hunks of 60s confectionery sugar.

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The Rolling Stones, Paint it, Black

Posted in The Rolling Stones, Youtube Favs on June 19th, 2011 by Willie

For part 94 of my fast concluding countdown, I have the Rolling Stones, “Paint it, Black,” from their 1966 LP Aftermath. First things first, the odd placement of the comma in the song’s title was added by the Rolling Stones record label Decca.  Why?  I have no idea.  Second, although Richards and Jagger wrote the tune, Brian Jones, having just returned from George Harrison’s house for an impromptu sitar lesson, added the eastern vibe with his own sitar work which you can clearly see in this video.  Speaking of the video, its pretty goofy with Brian vamping it up for the camera cross legged in full white jumpsuit.  The rest of the boys look positively mod and hipster chic which I don’t think is the Stones best look.  Whatever, I’ll leave the fashion criticism out of it, its just classic rock and roll, so enjoy this priceless document.

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