Two different videos rolled into my in-box last week, each about a legend in music. And interestingly, a focal point of each was a house.
In the case of Paul McCartney, it was the house he grew up in, across the pond in Liverpool, England.
And for Jim Ladd, it's the home he's lived in since 1974, high above the Hollywood Hills.
Each video is a story about the importance of environment and place. And each icon talks about their experiences in these homes reverentially. For Sir Paul, it's the small rooms in which he and John Lennon wrote some of the most memorable songs of a generation. For Jim Ladd, it's the scenic deck where he's hosted everyone from the Doors to Tom Petty to the Eagles.
The McCartney video is actually brilliant James Corden's “Carpool Karaoke” – an extended episode that revisits Sir Paul's old stomping grounds, from Penny Lane to the neighborhood pub. It underscores why this feature may be the greatest “benchmark bit” in all of television – a chance for the delightful Corden to hang out with his favorite rock and pop stars, driving around, singing songs on the radio.
Every “Carpool Karaoke” episode I've ever seen starts with Corden reaching down to the dash and and turning up the volume on a radio we never see. That's the case in the McCartney feature, where Corden smirks a bit and kicks off the feature with “Shall we see what's on the radio?”
For Ladd, the video is a little different. While it's an amazing tour of his magical home high above the Hollywood Hills, it's actually a real estate pitch. But you forget all about that as Jim walks you around the most amazing dwelling perhaps you've ever seen – not just because you need a tram to reach it, but because of the rock royalty that have graced this place over the decades.
Sir Paul's memories of his childhood home have the same deep sentiment and job as Ladd's recollections. They are moments in time these two stars share with us, helping us contextualize the music we grew up with (or wish we'd have grown up with).
A scene outside McCartney's house of middle-aged tourists clamoring to see “The Cute Beatle” (somehow, he's still cute at age 76) brings back memories of screaming fans back in the '60s when the Beatles first stormed the U.S. It's a reminder that for the music, the more things have changed, the more they have stayed exactly the same. We've just gotten older.
Interestingly, one of Ladd's best memories of his home in Laurel Canyon was when the late George Harrison came to visit. As Ladd recounts, the former Beatle hopped on the tram, came up to the house “and spent the first 10 minutes trying to make me feel comfortable.”
Ladd's “greatest hits” – as it were – have also been spent on the radio – KLOS, KMET, and now on Sirius Satellite Radio. As he explains, Tom Petty's “The Last DJ” was about him, and in fact, the late rock n' roller got that one right. It's hard to imagine another music radio personality who will have the freedom to remind us why we first fell in love with the music in the first place.
We talk a lot about the power of storytelling and how it enhances the music we love. It's what you don't get from Spotify or Pandora. But too often, it's also missing in action on too many radio stations. Telling a great tale about a song or an artist isn't limited by any boundaries. Casey Kasem realized the power of the factoid – delivered in quick, PPM-friendly, bite-size chunks. It was never “too much talk” because great storytellers always find a way to make it interesting.
That's the case if you take the time to watch these two videos, and that's why I waited for the beginning of a long holiday week to post them. If you're fan of rock n' roll greatness, you'll enjoy them both, perhaps for different reasons.
Oddly enough, as I watched each for the first time, I thought of the late, great Nick Michaels – rock n' roll's storyteller who passed away over the Memorial Day Weekend last month. Aside from his family, Nick's prized possession was his house – an absolutely beautiful home on amazing grounds in Pinecrest, a neighborhood in Miami. Apropos it was the place where he took his last breath.
It occurred to me that Nick would have called or emailed his closest friends when he laid his eyes on both the McCartney and Ladd videos. He would have loved them both – a wonderful mashup of rock n' roll icons and the amazing stories they've told with words and music.
If these walls could talk…
Home is where the heart is.
Jacobs Media has consistently walked the walk in the digital space, providing insights and guidance through its well-read national Techsurveys.
In 2008, jacapps was launched - a mobile apps company that has designed and built more than 1,200 apps for both the Apple and Android platforms. In 2013, the DASH Conference was created - a mashup of radio and automotive, designed to foster better understanding of the "connected car" and its impact.
Along with providing the creative and intellectual direction for the company, Fred consults many of Jacobs Media's commercial and public radio clients, in addition to media brands looking to thrive in the rapidly changing tech environment.
Fred was inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame in 2018.
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