Buck Owens, who was inducted in The Country Music Hall of Fame in 1996, was born in 1929 in Sherman, Texas. His bio traces his musical roots:
The musical influences on the young Owens were diverse, reflecting both the popular music of the time and places in which he matured and the various styles that he had to learn to play as a working dance-hall musician in the Southwest. He listened to stringband and cowboy music on Mexican border radio stations and learned to play and synthesize western swing, rhythm & blues, and the emerging genre of honky-tonk. (Continue Reading…)
Wikipedia offers Owens’ bio:
Alvis Edgar Owens, Jr. (August 12, 1929 – March 25, 2006), known professionally as Buck Owens, was an American musician, singer and songwriter who had 21 No. 1 hits on the Billboard country music charts with his band the Buckaroos. They pioneered what came to be called the Bakersfield sound, a reference to Bakersfield, California, the city Owens called home and from which he drew inspiration for what he preferred to call American music.
While Owens originally used fiddle and retained pedal steel guitar into the 1970s, his sound on records and onstage was always more stripped-down and elemental, incorporating elements of rock and roll. His signature style was based on simple storylines, infectious choruses, a twangy electric guitar, an insistent rhythm supplied by a drum track placed forward in the mix, and high two-part harmonies featuring Owens and his guitarist Don Rich. (Continue Reading…)
Owens and the Buckaroos’ biggest hit, probably, was “Act Naturally.” It’s above. Below is “My Heart Skips a Beat,” which was another hit.
Nelson Mandela, who died yesterday at age 95, inspired some great music. Here is a story from MTV on Mandela’s musical legacy:
Nelson Mandela, the iconic anti-apartheid leader who helped end nearly 50 years of racial segregation by a white minority government in South Africa, died on Thursday (December 5) at the age of 95 after a series of lung infections. During his lifetime his battle to end apartheid was supported by musicians from around the world.
As early as the mid-1980s, ska band the Special AKA released a protest song called “Free Nelson Mandela,” which would give way to large-scale concerts and tributes like London’s Wembley stadium performance (also known as the Free Nelson Mandela Concert). All aimed to help raise awareness of Mandela’s brave work to end the practice of segregation in South Africa. Later, music-loving Mandela would even reveal that he was a major fan of U.K. pop sensations the Spice Girls. (Continue Reading…)
“Free Nelson Mandela,” presented with a nice slideshow, is above. It was written by band member Jerry Dammers.
Wikipedia has the lineup for “Sun City” (better known as “Ain’t Gonna Play Sun City), which was written and co-produced (with Arthur Baker) by Steve Van Zandt, a longtime member of the E Street Band. The video, probably the best single-issue celebrity musicians one-offs, was a product of Artists United Against Apartheid. A lot of talent was involved:
When Van Zandt was finished writing “Sun City”, he, Baker and Schechter spent the next several months searching for artists to participate in recording it. Van Zandt initially declined to invite Bruce Springsteen, not wanting to take advantage of their friendship, but Schechter had no problem asking himself; Springsteen accepted the invitation. Van Zandt was also shy about calling legendary jazz artist Miles Davis, whom Schechter also contacted; with minimal persuasion, Davis also accepted. Eventually, Van Zandt, Baker and Schechter would gather a wide array of artists, including Kool DJ Herc, Grandmaster Melle Mel, The Fat Boys, Ruben Blades, Bob Dylan, Herbie Hancock, Ringo Starr and his son Zak Starkey, Lou Reed, Run DMC, Peter Gabriel, David Ruffin, Eddie Kendricks, Darlene Love, Bobby Womack, Afrika Bambaataa, Kurtis Blow, Jackson Browne and then-girlfriend Daryl Hannah, U2, George Clinton,Keith Richards, Ronnie Wood, Peter Wolf, Bonnie Raitt, Hall & Oates, Jimmy Cliff, Big Youth, Michael Monroe, Peter Garrett, Ron Carter, Ray Barretto, Gil-Scott Heron, Nona Hendryx, Pete Townshend, Pat Benatar, Clarence Clemons, and Joey Ramone. (Continue Reading…)
One of the more amusing things about Mandela and music–and the world’s way of being ironic–is that he was a Spice Girls fan. I guess he was Courageous Spice.