This is what we do for the joy of the King,
For His peaceable Kingdom,
For a world in despair.
And this is why we bring any hope we can give,
Any bread from the table,
Any touch of His hand.
This is what we do.
This is where we go.
This is why we sing.
This is how we live.
This is who we are.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

This Is Your Brain On Music

I bought this amazing book the other day:  THIS IS YOUR BRAIN ON MUSIC:  THE SCIENCE OF A HUMAN OBSESSION.  It's one of those art-meets-science books that explores how the human mind interprets and finds pleasure in music.  Really fascinating.

The author, Dr. Daniel J. Levitin began his career in the music business as a band member and record producer/engineer (Blue Oyster Cult, Chris Isaak, Santana, The Grateful Dead).  He became intrigued with the science of music and acoustics and earned a Ph.D at Stanford.

While earning his doctorate at Stanford (in the 1990s), Levitin became a close friend with John R. Pierce, famous for supervising the building of the TRANSfer resISTOR ("transistor"), and for launching the first telecommunications satellite, TELSTAR.  For many years, he headed the Bell Telephone/AT&T laboratories. 
On one occasion at Stanford, Pierce--brilliant about science, but completely uneducated about rock music--asked Levitin to come to dinner and play six songs that capture all that was important to know about rock & roll music.  Levitin's six choices for the evening were:

1. "Long Tall Sally," by Little Richard
2. "Roll Over Beethoven" by the Beatles
3. "All Along the Watchtower," by Jimi Hendrix
4. "Wonderful Tonight," by Eric Clapton
5. "Little Red Corvett" by Prince
6. "Anarchy in the U.K." by the Sex Pistols.

I have to confess, I didn't know a single one of these tunes!  But if they were significant enough for someone in the know (like Levitin) to share with someone of John Pierce's magnitude, I figure I should become familiar with them myself.  (Sorry...Once a music history teacher, always a music history teacher.)  They really do capture much of the wide essence of what we know as Rock & Roll.

So I share these six foundational songs with you here . . . Enjoy.

Long Tall Sally - Little Richard
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Roll Over Beethoven - The Beatles

All Along The Watchtower - Jimi Hendrix

Wonderful Tonight - Eric Clapton (obviously a remake of his 1976 classic!)

Anarchy In The UK - The Sex Pistols  (wow....this is wild!)


Diane Davis said...

"wonderful tonight" is one of my very favorite songs. i have a house of blues CD that covers clapton tunes and i think otis redding sings it. i love it.

i also find it hard to believe that you don't know "little red corvette". prince rocks!

Don said...

Sadly, I'm pretty much a rock and roll cipher. Led a very sheltered life as a teenager and a young adult. It's fun to discover all those songs that all you young whippersnappers grew up with.

Sarah B. said...

I am also shocked that you hadn't heard of any of these. Although I think I knew most of them due to the fact that my Dad loved music and we listened to what he listened too and it was a variety, consisting mostly of bubble gum pop though. I have always not understood why I love music sooo much and can appreciate music sooo much yet have 0 potential or talent when it comes to music. A babies screeching cry sounds better than my
I do have to say that Wonderful Tonight is also one of my favorites...the most romantic song ever!

Don said...

I know, it's pathetic, huh?

But...ask me about Tchaikovsky, Rimsky-Korsakoff, Chopin, Mozart, Debussy, Durufle, Couperin, Poulenc, Beethoven, or Bach, and I can talk all day! :)

But I'm learning!

discomommy said...

Don, Kristi is now excused from not being more musically diverse in her tastes and knowledge. The apple doesn't fall far...