Hot Stove #75 – Bill Shapiro and Cyprus Avenue – 40 Years of Rock ‘n’ Roll

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My thanks to those Hot Stove readers who got through my three (long) installments on baseball collusion. Despite the best efforts of my editor/wife Rita, I still often drift to posts that fit the dreaded TLDR designation. I had not heard of that term until last week when Hollis Hanover filled me in. It is internet shorthand for “Too Long. Didn’t Read.”

 

So I’m going to make a change. This long post will be about rock ‘n’ roll.

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Hot Stove #36 – Chuck Berry and Lonnie’s Jukebox

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Rita and I were in Phoenix last week to visit friends of long standing, Larry and Diana Brewer. Di has been my friend since before high school and Larry was my Sigma Nu fraternity brother at college. I introduced them and most of the time they thank me. Di and I also had lunch with fellow 1959 Van Horn grad Jan Clemens, another Arizona transplant from KC. Long ago, I danced at teen-town with Di and Jan. To Chuck Berry. When those songs were originally released. This past weekend, Chuck Berry died at the age of 90. So I just have to take a break from baseball posting and talk about Chuck. I’ll be back soon to talk about the Royals free agents and TV money in baseball.

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Hot Stove #29 – Leonard Cohen – Rita’s Story

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I hope you don’t mind, but I am interrupting my baseball posts to share a story about singer/songwriter Leonard Cohen who passed away earlier this month. For a good brief piece on Leonard’s career, click on the arrow at the top of this NPR report, (3:25).

Many of you on the Hot Stove mailing list were also part of Rita’s village in 2012-2013, and so you will be familiar with part of this story.

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Hot Stove #15 – Prince of Baseball

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Prince of Baseball: The death of the music artist Prince this past week was widely noted, including on baseball diamonds. Prince songs were played in many stadiums and several players changed their walk-up songs to honor Prince. Alex Rodriquez used a different Prince song for each of his four at-bats (0-2 and 2 walks). Over the years, Prince’s hometown team, the Twins, have welcomed new players with a ritual where the player sings excerpts from Prince’s “Little Red Corvette” (click here, 39 seconds). The song is about a one night stand with a fast woman (she being his “Little Red Corvette”) – my generation’s version was Chuck Berry’s “Maybellene” (“why can’t you be true…”). General Motors ran its own tribute ad:

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Lonnie’s Jukebox

September, 2009, on the occasion of the 50 Year Reunion of the Van Horn Graduating Class of 1959

My Jukebox. I do not actually have a jukebox, but it sounds better than referring to my four beat-up record cases holding my 45-rpm record collection. Every adolescent generation fondly remembers its own popular music, but those of my age were uniquely blessed because our teenage years coincided with the birth of Rock and Roll. It was not really the birth of the style of music, but instead the mass acceptance of a genre that had been around for years as “race music,” a mix of blues and jazz, which in 1948 became known as Rhythm and Blues – a term coined by Jerry Wexler, a writer at Billboard Magazine, to provide a more marketable reference for the music. Rock and Roll would emerge from this genre, often with crossover elements from country, folk, gospel and pop. When my wife Rita and I made the pilgrimage to Cleveland to tour the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, I saw a great quote from a Muddy Waters’ song: “The Blues had a baby and they named it Rock and Roll.” Muddy also had a 1948 song titled “Rollin’ Stone,” which inspired the naming of a band still playing today and, in conflicting reports, may have also inspired the naming of Rolling Stone Magazine (the other possibility being 1965’s “Like a Rolling Stone” by Robert Zimmerman, better known as Bob Dylan). Continue reading