Robert Plant Finally Performs The Iconic Song “Kashmir” As A Solo Act At The Royal Albert Hall in London Tuesday March 14, 2017
Kashmir, the name itself conjures up grandiose images of the mighty Led Zeppelin at their peak of performance.
But for whatever reason former Zeppelin vocalist Robert Plant refrained from performing the song without co-writer and Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page, that is until Tuesday night, March 14, 2017.
In a performance with two members of Plant’s solo band The Sensational Space Shifters, Plant joined famous violinist Nigel Kennedy at the Royal Albert Hall in London..
For the first time since 2007 when Led Zeppelin reunited at the O2 and played Kashmir, Plant decided it was time to play the song on his own. Every other live performance of Kashmir by Plant had been alongside Jimmy Page, whether it was in the 1990’s on the Page/Plant tour or with Led Zeppelin in the 1970’s.
With a full orchestra backing Plant, he starts off Kashmir in a dirge-like manner. You immediately think he has turned Kashmir into a slow whispered lament. Finally after the initial introduction to the haunting first phrase of lyrics, Plant and the band kick off a powerful performance of a revised version of Kashmir.
MLB About To Introduce Two Ridiculous Rule Changes To “Speed Up” The Game.
Why The Changes Are Bad And What They Should Do Instead.
These fans watching baseball in the 1940s don’t look bored at all. That may be because the average length of a 9 inning baseball game in the 1940s was about 2 hours and 15 minutes.
Baseball is a slow and boring sport. The games are too long. There is not enough scoring.
These are some of the complaints that have been lodged against the National Pastime.
The only part I’ll agree with is that the games are definitely too long.
MLB executives and the players union are trying out two changes this year in the minor leagues to speed up the game. After trial periods, it is likely these changes will be permanently adapted in the major leagues. They may indeed speed up games by a few seconds. For the vast majority of games these changes will have little effect and do more damage than good to the overall structure of baseball.
There are other changes that would be more practical and easy to implement to dramatically shorten all games without changing baseball itself. I’ll discuss that after we review the two proposed MLB rule changes.
The first proposed rule change is that a team will be able to declare an intentional walk without the pitcher throwing any pitches. The pitcher’s manager will just signal for an intentional walk and the batter will go to first.
The second rule change is even sillier. In extra inning games, starting in the tenth inning each team when they come to bat will start the inning with a man already on second base.
So why are these changes beyond foolish?
Let’s look at the first proposal, the announced intentional walk. Although it sounds like an easy strategy to walk a batter intentionally, it is sometimes not so simple to throw four balls that are nowhere near home plate.
There are pitchers, such as the Yankees Dellin Betances, who when called upon to execute an intentional walk, every ball they throw can be an adventure. A wild pitch is always a possibility. Lobbing the ball to the catcher is hard for some pitchers. There are also quite a number of pitchers who throw the ball too close to the plate, so the batter can swing at the ball. Every now and then you’ll see something that you rarely see. Here are just two recent examples.
Miguel Cabrera drives in a run on an intended intentional walk.
Gary Sanchez of the Yankees nearly hits a home run on a pitch that was meant to be a ball.
As I pointed out many pitchers really have a hard time throwing a ball intentionally outside of the strike zone when the situation is called for. This is far more common than you might imagine. Wild pitches can change the outcome of a ballgame, especially with runners on base as seen here in multiple cases:
Then there is the opposite effect, where the defense pulls a tricky play.
In the early 1970s I recall seeing Reds superstar Johnny Bench get fooled at the plate. It happened on the biggest stage possible; game three of the 1972 World Series.
Bench had a 3 and 2 count when A’s manager Dick Williams paid a visit to the mound. Williams talked with pitcher Rollie Fingers and catcher Gene Tenace and made it seem like Williams told Fingers to intentionally walk the dangerous slugger. Because as Tenace returned to the plate to await the next pitch from Fingers, Tenace, stood up, put his hand out calling for an intentional ball four.
And guess what? Tenace jumped right back behind the plate and Fingers threw a slider for strike three, stunning Bench and everyone watching. It was a deft move you don’t see very often.
I couldn’t believe that I found the moment on YouTube.
In 1996 Dennis Martinez and Tony Pena of the Indians, successfully pulled the same move on Blue Jays star John Olerud.
It’s true, these flubs are extremely rare, but they do occur. The automatic intentional walk is a shortsighted rule change and ends up removing strategy from the game.
One other thing: how does the new rule go down in the record books? Will the pitcher be credited with four pitches thrown? What happens when you are at three balls and one strike, do you just declare the walk when you want to intentionally pass a batter or does the pitcher still have to throw a pitch?
The second rule change of starting the inning of an extra inning game with a man placed on second base to begin the inning is simply ludicrous.
No nail-biters anymore, no strategy – it’s just get this game over with. This is what MLB is saying.
Joe Torre, MLB’s Chief Baseball Officer, is in favor of bringing the rule to the major leagues if the minor league experiment works.
Torre said, “Let’s see what it looks like. It’s not fun to watch when you go through your whole pitching staff and wind up bringing a utility infielder in to pitch. As much as it’s nice to talk about being at an 18-inning game, it takes time.”
Really Joe? How many games went to 18 innings or more in the past ten years? How many times did a manager use their whole pitching staff?
In the entire history of Major League Baseball there have only been 46 games that have gone more than 19 innings. On average less than 10 games per year last 15 innings or more. If a manager goes through his entire pitching staff, well he’s not a good manager. Believe it or not many fans enjoy marathon games. It’s the time of those exciting games that gets people sleepy, not the number of innings.
If you want to ruin baseball then this rule change is perfect.
By the way: how would the scoring work for putting a runner on second? Idiotically.
The pitcher didn’t allow the runner on, so why penalize him and the team when a ground ball to second for an out advancing the runner to third and then a fly ball can result in a run. The pitcher and the team was essentially defensively effective, but could lose the game.
This rule is MLB being lazy and coming up with a dumb solution just to shorten games and appeal to younger fans with limited attention spans. It’s like MLB took a page out of the NHL rule book with hockey’s overtime shootout to decide tie games. That adjustment has been horrible for hockey and its fans.
Now what are the ways to speed up baseball games significantly?
Change # 1 – Enforce rule 5.07 (c) of the Major League Baseball rule book which states: “When the bases are unoccupied, the pitcher shall deliver the ball to the batter within 12 seconds after he receives the ball. Each time the pitcher delays the game by violating this rule, the umpire shall call “Ball.”
The 12-second timing starts when the pitcher is in possession of the ball and the batter is in the box, alert to the pitcher. The timing stops when the pitcher releases the ball. The intent of this rule is to avoid unnecessary delays. The umpire shall insist that the catcher return the ball promptly to the pitcher, and that the pitcher take his position on the rubber promptly. Obvious delay by the pitcher should instantly be penalized by the umpire.
Did you realize rule 6.02a (8) says:
If there is a runner, or runners, it is a balk when: The pitcher unnecessarily delays the game;
Have you ever seen that enforced? I haven’t. But I’ve seen pitchers call the catcher to the mound six separate times for one batter or take over 30 seconds between each and every pitch.
I’ve noticed and counted the time between pitches in many games. Most pitchers take between 22 -27 seconds to throw a pitch after receiving the ball back from the catcher. Some pitchers are agonizingly slow, like the Dodgers Pedro Baez (over 30 seconds between pitches) and Kenley Jansen (27 seconds between pitches). There are many hurlers who can transform their own fielders into a trance-like state with all that inactivity.
There’s no excuse for this. Watch R.A. Dickey or Mark Buehrle pitch and the game moves at a brisk pace. Unfortunately they are the exceptions. Most pitchers take wayyyyy too long between pitches. Put up a pitch clock and give the pitchers a little leeway- 15 seconds and have them throw the pitch or call it a ball. Figure saving at least 5 seconds per pitch with 260 total pitches being thrown. total time shortened per game: minimum 26 minutes Continue reading →
Cary Grant Never Won An Academy Award For Best Actor
The Academy Awards were held February 26, 2017. Millions of people watched. Millions more did not. The Oscars have been declining in TV viewership steadily over the years. It’s true that there are more choices to divert your entertainment time. But could it be that today’s stars don’t measure up to the stars of yesteryear and many people like myself could care less about the Academy Awards?
There are movie stars and then there are Movie Stars. Cary Grant was a Movie Star. Women fantasized about being with him and men wanted to be him.
In 1952 Cary Grant starred with Ginger Rogers (seen above) in Monkey Business, a zany comedy about a scientist (Grant) discovering a potion that when consumed will make you young again. An escaped chimpanzee is responsible for concocting the “successful” potion. The film also had Marilyn Monroe playing a sexy secretary. Monkey Business was made right before Marilyn’s breakthrough film Niagara.
4/7/70 Hollywood – As singer Frank Sinatra claps for him, actor Cary Grant holds his hands as he accepts a special achievement award at the 42nd annual Academy award presentation at the Music Center. The Board of Governors of the Academy voted the special award for Grant. photo: UPI Telephoto
Cary Grant was nominated only twice for Best Actor in a leading role; Penny Serenade (1941) and None But The Lonely Heart (1944), neither of which are among his best films. Continue reading →
Believe it or not, this bucolic scene shown above, from March 1914, is in the Bronx at Jerome Avenue looking north from Clarke Place.
I have not been able to identify the lone building on the left. Besides some telephone and telegraph wires, Belgian block paved streets and trolley tracks, modernity had not yet touched most of the Bronx. The population according to the 1915 police census was 649,726.
In 1914 the Bronx was prosperous and living there was considered to be a sign of upward mobility.
Fast forward 102 years later. Below is the same street from about the same spot.
Jerome Avenue was transformed by the construction of the El in 1917 and 1918, darkening the street, but fostering a building boom. Continue reading →
Ted Williams In Action At The 1946 & 1947 All-Star Games
Ted Williams hitting a home run off of Rip Sewell’s blooper pitch in the 1946 All-Star game
One of the most famous moments in the history of baseball’s All Star game occurred when Ted Williams connected for a long home run on a Rip Sewell eephus or blooper pitch in the July 9, 1946 game held at Boston’s Fenway Park. The eighth inning homer came with the American League holding an 8-0 lead. The home run definitely put a charge into the bored crowd. The game ended up being a 12-0 American League blowout over the National League.
Rip Sewell said it was the only time anyone ever hit a home run off of his high arc, super slow blooper pitch. What many people do not know is that Williams fouled off the first eephus pitch Sewell threw. Williams challenged Sewell to throw the pitch again, which he did. Below is Sewell describing the homer and film footage of the famous clout.
In 1947 Ted Williams started again in left field for the American League All-Star team and went two for four in an A.L. 2-1 victory. Continue reading →
A Look Back At The 1970s With Great Funky Songs Performed Live
The 1970s music scene. It wasn’t just the hairstyles, costumes or clothes. It wasn’t just the sheer magnitude of the musicianship. It wasn’t just that the songs were actually saying something. It wasn’t that these bands had multi-talented singer-songwriters.
It was a combination of these things and something else. There was something intangible about the 1970s: that great music like this was written, performed live and recorded for posterity. It makes me feel really sorry for the 2016 generation: kids who have not discovered this music and think that Pitbull, Selena Gomez, Justin Bieber or Kanye West are the greatest.
As with all good music, appreciating it meant you were colorblind. You couldn’t care less if the band was white, black yellow or polka dotted. All that mattered was that it was great music.
Here are 5 great funky songs from the 70s performed live.
Let’s start with one of the most underappreciated musicians of all-time, Billy Preston (1946-2006). Preston, known by many music fans for playing with the Beatles on the Get Back sessions, had his own successful solo career that never reached the heights it should have. In this ebullient performance, Billy Preston delvers the goods and belts out Will It Go Round In Circles on The Midnight Special in 1973. Will afros ever come back? Preston and his drummer make them look cool.
There is not much more that can be said about Stevie Wonder that hasn’t already been said. He’s one of the greatest songwriters and performers of all-time. Most fans of Led Zeppelin know that Stevie’s 1972 song Superstition heavily influenced Zeppelin’s 1975 hit Trampled Under Foot. The Doobie Brothers 1973 Long Train Running also bears a striking similarity as all three songs have a similar main hook.
On the LP recording, Stevie Wonder played clavinet, drums, and Moog bass! Here live in 1973 on the show, Sesame Street (yes, the children’s PBS show Sesame Street!) is Stevie Wonder with his phenomenal live band performing Superstition. The whole band is fantastic and the mix is great, but take note of drummer Ollie Brown who keeps perfect time while making it all look too easy.
Man o’ War at age 22 in 1939 at Faraway Farm near Lexington, KY. photo: Associated Press
Churchill Downs is packed awaiting the 75th running of the Kentucky Derby. Here the fans watch the running of the 2nd race, in a prelude to the big race. May 7, 1949 photo: Associated Press
The Kentucky Derby, which will be run this weekend is the first leg of the triple crown of American horse racing. When a horse wins the Kentucky Derby, the inevitable talk begins: can the winning horse go on to take the Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes? To win all three races is considered the measure of a great horse.
But Man o’ War (1917 – 1947) possibly the greatest horse of all-time never won the 1920 Kentucky Derby because Continue reading →
Prince the famous pit bull, was just a little over the age of eight (57 in dog years) when he died suddenly last week, shocking the entertainment world. His longtime veterinarian, Dr. Hugo Z. Clydell in a news conference said today that he was “not surprised by Prince’s death” and revealed the likely cause of his demise.
“Although Prince seemed to be in good health,” Dr. Clydell stated, “he had been secretly battling the mange for quite a while. Prince was also suffering from distemper, so it was just a matter of time before he died of natural causes or had to be put down.”
Prince in one of his famous costumes
The intensively private pooch also had some bad habits which few on the outside knew about. Dr Clydell told reporters that for the past few years Prince had been drinking out of the toilet bowl.
“It was something he was ashamed of, but couldn’t stop,” said Dr. Clydell. Frequently after drinking from the toilet, Prince would chew on a shoe and then pee on the rug.
“Prince tried all sorts of therapy to stop this behavior,” Dr Clydell added, “but it never worked. It was only after the fact that he realized that he may have been doing something wrong. He was then made clear of his transgressions when he was hit on the snout with a rolled up newspaper and yelled at by humans, ‘Bad dog! Bad dog!'”‘
Some of Prince’s playmates were also aware of his maladies, weaknesses and recent changes in behavior.
Snoopy, a beagle owned by C.M. Schulz of St. Paul, MN knew that Prince was not himself when they met last week at Perkins Hill Park. When Snoopy greeted Prince in his usual fashion, Prince did not reciprocate and sniff longtime pal Snoopy’s testicles. “Something is wrong,” thought Snoopy who retreated to lay on the top of his doghouse.
Below: video of Prince playing and singing at home.
A Career In Retrospect Prince gained prominence as a precocious puppy by finishing second in the Westbrook, MN dog show in 2008. After the show, Prince was signed to a long term contract by Weaning Bros. Records, a deal Prince later regretted and growled about as his fame grew. Prince put out numerous albums and appeared in dozens of television commercials, music videos and a feature film over a seven year span.
Prince’s first television commercial for Alps dog food, was a smashing success, spurring the catchy Alps theme song Let’s Go Gravy on to the Billboard semi-hot 100 music chart. Let’s Go Gravy remained on the charts for 41 weeks peaking at number four and made Prince a household name at least in his home state of Minnesota.
From there Prince went on to star as the dog who chased (always without success) a car with shiny hubcaps in a series of Chevrolet ads for the failed re-launch of the Corvair. The song to these commercials written and barked by Prince was also a top ten hit with its catchy lyrics:
“Hubcaps so shiny, / Car that can explode / Make you all miney / Chase you down the road / Little red corvair, / slow down, / you’re….wooof, much…. wooof…. too…. woooofff, ……fast.” Continue reading →
10 Rarely Seen 1970s Live Music Videos – featuring Blondie, Sweet, The Cars, Cheap Trick, The Clash, Rush and others.
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.
At least that’s how the musically schizophrenic 1970s felt to me. The era that gave us timeless music from bands like Led Zeppelin, Steely Dan, Pink Floyd and Queen, gave way in popularity in the mid 70s to the monotonous 4/4 beat of disco. As The Who sang in Long Live Rock “rock is dead.”
The Clash 1979 – photo: Bob Gruen
But towards the end of the decade, new rock bands emerged with aplomb; The Ramones, Elvis Costello, The Clash and Blondie being among them. The foundations for the emerging New Wave of British Heavy Metal (NWOBHM) would be laid by 1970s hard rock bands like Sweet, UFO and Rainbow.
You’ve got to love Youtube. Without it, how would you discover video that you never knew existed?
Youtube is a strange world, where there have been over two billion views for Psy and Gangam Style, while Sweet’s 1974 live version of No You Don’t has about 21,000 views. Crazy isn’t it? With millions of music videos to sort through, it can be difficult to find the great ones, kind of like plucking gems from a vault.
For most of the videos we selected, some have viewership not in the millions, but incredibly just in the thousands.
We’ve selected ten live, rarely seen rock videos from Youtube from between 1974 – 1979 that hopefully don’t get pulled down from the site.
Five videos are from the late, great Capitol Theatre in Passaic, NJ. There are over 100 complete concerts that have been released in the past year from that storied rock venue.
Rock n’ roll may be dead, at least to the 2016 generation, but in the 1970s it was relevant, alive and kicking.
First off, Cheap Trick plays Auf Wiedersehen in 1978 with a Nirvana-like energy
Next, Blondie from 1978 with a terrific version of Hangin’ on the Telephone
The Clash I Fought The Law Live in London at The Lyceum Theatre 1979
Sweet from 1974 perform No You Don’t on Musikladen in Germany. Pat Benitar’s cover version is more well known than Sweet’s hard rock original.
This phenomenal panoramic street level view of Columbus Circle comes via the National Archives. On their website it is misidentified as Eighth Avenue Trolley, (true – Eighth Avenue changes names to Central Park West) Downtown (which it certainly is not.) Click the photo to greatly enlarge.
We are looking north from 59th Street (Central Park South). The Columbus monument is not visible, but would be to the extreme left near where two gentlemen are standing in the street. Directly behind them are two subway kiosks for the entrance and exit of the soon to be opened New York City subway system.
Besides the subway, the new metropolis is emerging in other ways. An automobile is heading east towards Central Park South. To the left of the automobile, a trolley makes its way up Central Park West. To the left of the trolley is one of many horse drawn vehicles traveling up and down Broadway. Continue reading →