Another week, and another group of fascinating stories revolving around a music genre that's four or five decades old – and still going strong. Of course, I'm talking about Classic Rock, the format that continues to make news.
This was a big week for the music and some of the best known people who make it (OK, made it). Today's blog post is a three-fer of engaging stories. And I didn't even have to dip into Eric Clapton's racist past or that off-handed quote from Paul McCartney, the one where he offhandedly referred to the Rolling Stones in what some might consider a condescending manner. In an interview with The New Yorker's David Remnick, Sir Paul threw a ton of shade at Mick Jagger and Keith Richards when he said this:
“I'm not sure I should say it, but they're a blues cover band, that's sort of what the Stones are. I think our net was cast a bit wider than theirs.”
And here's another clue for you all – one of today's stories is all about the Fab Four. But first, a little astronomy:
1. 8 Miles High – More accurately, Amazon's Blue Orbit flight into space via the New Shepard launch vehicle, actually climbed 62 miles above sea level. But that would make for a weird song title. This 11 minute jaunt into space carried precious cargo, namely nonagenarian William Shatner. Better known to us as Captain James T. Kirk, the 90-year old actor was welcomed to the mission by Amazon honcho Jeff Bezos. He became the oldest person ever to travel into space, a record he is likely to hold for some time to come.
What on earth does this story have to do with Classic Rock? While Shatner and his fellow space travelers waited for takeoff, they were welcomed by passengers from the first Blue Origin space shot, including Jeff Bezos' brother, Mark. His message to this new group of extraterrestrial travelers was the lyrics of a Classic Rock song, penned by Roger McGuinn from the seminal band, the Byrds.
Bezos read the chorus to Shatner and crew:
Hey, Mr. Spaceman
Won't you please take me along
I won't do anything wrong
Hey, Mr. Spaceman
Won't you please take me along for a ride
Written 55 years ago in 1966, the song was one of the Byrds' many hits of the era, celebrating McGuinn's fascination with space. In those days, NASA was well along with its mission to the moon which would come three years later.
Below is a great rendition of “Mr. Spaceman,” sung by McGuinn and accompanied by Wilco:
Captain's Log, Stardate 2021.8. The space capsule, Shepard One, departed earth today with a crew of four, including Starfleet Command's Captain James T. Kirk. Purpose: to drum up publicity for Amazon's commercial space company, Blue Origin. Its 11-minute mission, to reach ‘Space: The Final Frontier' was considered highly successful.”
2. This Tall Boy – When you're a global brand like Budweiser, is there any way to localize your beverages? This is an especially relevant question when you consider that a Heineken was once considered an exotic choice. Today, there are as many local craft beers as there are cable TV channels. Every city, town, and berg has its own unique variety of cleverly named lager. Including my hometown of Detroit.
So, how can Bud hope to compete with Two-Hearted Ale, M-43, Soft Parade, and the other fine beverage brewed in and around The D? Simple – by embracing the rhythm of Detroit that is its musical heritage.
Budweiser has launched a “Brewed to the Music” campaign that celebrates the sounds of the Motor City, specifically the Temptations and Alice Cooper.
Bud is creating a 500 can run, a select batch of beer, strategically brewed next to a wall of speakers blaring music from these two iconic artists.
According to MLive, these new Tall Boy cans are labeled “R&B” if their contents were brewed within earshot of the sounds of the Temps' “My Girl, “Ball of Confusion,” “Just My Imagination,” and their other mega-hits.
They get the Rock seal of approval if they were created in the vicinity of what must be Marshall amps blaring Alice's “18,” Under My Wheels,” School's Out,” and his other monster hits.
Who could be next? The MC5 and Iggy Popp?
The special cans also carry the label “313” (Detroit's famous area code), “Cheers to Hitsville” and “R&B Sound.” You have to wonder whether this local outreach campaign is a pilot to see if Bud might start similar efforts in other key markets around the country.
Hey Detroit, this Bud's for you!
3. Get Back To Where You Once Belonged – And the big Classic Rock news of the week was the announcement that a three-part documentary about the Beatles, appropriately titled Get Back, will be released on Disney+ next month. It is directed by the renowned Peter Jackson.
More than a half century after the Beatles famously broke up, the doc re-explores the waning days of the Fab Four during their last recording session in January 1969, followed by their last concert on the rooftop of the Apple Corps building on Saville Row.
The four-minute trailer for Get Back was released this week, and it is nothing short of spectacular. To see these musical icons performing, hanging out, and laughing with one another is magical.
It will air on three consecutive days, starting November 25th (yes, Thanksgiving here in the States). Wonder if any Classic Rock stations will dust off those Beatle records over that weekend.
Here's the trailer:
It should be a great Q4 for Disney – and all of us.
- We're Going Back To The Future - December 3, 2021
- When Do We Lose Interest In Discovering New Music? - December 2, 2021
- To Everyone Who Says “Local” Is Overrated… - December 1, 2021