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    Music Tag

    We featured this video last year and liked it so much, we’re doing it again. Christmas flash mobs have become very popular over the last few years but so far none have matched the outstanding effort put forth by the Opera Company of Philadelphia in 2010. The Hallelujah Chorus from Handel’s Messiah is a staple of Christmas music for good reason but when singers from multiple groups joined to create this moment on video, history was made.

    As the rock generation of the 60s and 70s ages, we're seeing increasing number of deaths at relatively "young" ages based on current average life expectencies. We can't write about them all, but this one is special, at least to me. Greg Lake died yesterday. BBC reports:

    Leonard Cohen passed away. Rolling Stone reports:
    Leonard Cohen, the hugely influential singer and songwriter whose work spanned nearly 50 years, died Monday at the age of 82. Cohen's label, Sony Music Canada, confirmed his death on the singer's Facebook page Thursday evening. "It is with profound sorrow we report that legendary poet, songwriter and artist, Leonard Cohen has passed away," the statement read. "We have lost one of music's most revered and prolific visionaries. A memorial will take place in Los Angeles at a later date. The family requests privacy during their time of grief." A cause of death was not given.

    I never pass up an opportunity to play Boney M music. I first wrote a separate post about Boney M was when lead singer Bobby Farrell died in December 2010:

    Boney M

    That is a name I had not heard in decades. When I studied in the Soviet Union many of the East European students loved the group Boney M and were surprised that none of the Americans in our group had heard of it.  To them, Boney M was supposed to be one of the leading bands in the U.S.

    We cover so many stories and events that it's hard to follow up on a lot. I have over 10,000 posts myself, and as a website we have almost 20,000 posts. Usually it's some external reminder (a Facebook Memories notice, a Tweet, or something similar) that triggers an update post. And that's what happened this time, I received a Facebook Memories reminder of my August 27, 2015 post, that on one year ago charges were dropped against Lane Pittman. Do you remember Pittman? Doesn't ring a bell? Pittman was the Florida rocker who was charged with disrupting the peace for playing the Star Spangled banner on July 4th in Neptune Beach, near Jacksonville, Florida man arrested for playing Star Spangled Banner on 4th of July rejects plea deal:
    On July 4, 2015, 22 year-old Lane Pittman decided to take his electric guitar and play the Star Spangled Banner on the street outside his friend’s house in Neptune Beach, near Jacksonville. Pittman says that after a police officer asked him to stop, he asked if it was okay to play on the sidewalk, and was told that was okay. And play he did:

    I don't know that this comes close to the various Obama anthems from 2008, but it's a start. There's a new video anthem for Bernie Sanders, produced by the woman who produced the viral Obama Girl video. The anthem title is "Bernie Bae" (Bae is slang for Before Anyone Else). Time Magazine (which apparently still exists) reports:
    The woman who brought us the mega-viral hit “Crush On Obama” is back with another political pop song just begging to go viral. This one is about Bernie Sanders. It’s called “Bernie Bae.” The production values in this music video are much higher this time around—and we have to admit, the song is quite catchy.

    A somewhat unlikely story, via The Washington Post, These singing sisters are wildly popular in Yemen. And they’re Israeli Jews:
    With their ebony hair and Yemeni accented Arabic, singing sisters Tair, Liron and Tagel Haim would probably not seem out of place on the streets of Yemen’s capital, Sanaa. But the sisters, collectively known as A-Wa, or “yes” in Arabic slang, are actually descendants of Yemeni Jews who immigrated to Israel decades ago. Today, they live in Tel Aviv. While siblings singing sweet harmonies together might not be big news, these Jewish sisters — who mix near extinct Yemenite poetry with fast-paced hip-hop and electronic beats — just might be.

    The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement has been targeting American Reggae musician Matisyahu because he is Jewish and refuses to denounce Israel. In the summer of 2015 an international firestorm of controversy erupted after BDS succeeded in getting Matisyahu banned at the Spanish Rototom Reggae festival. The ban was reversed only after an international outcry, including denunciations by the Spanish government and a leading Spanish newspaper that the action amounted to religious discrimination. So when Matisyahu booked an appearance in Ithaca, NY, as part of his world tour, it was not long before the local BDS crowd, including our own BDS "star," sought a boycott of the event and planned a protest. But it didn't work. There was a substantial backlash in favor of artistic freedom. Ithaca resident Linda Glaser wrote a powerful op-ed in The Ithaca Journal, Let Jewish artist perform in Ithaca:
    Artistic freedom is the right of every American, as it is based on the First Amendment right of freedom of speech. The Ithaca Coalition for Unity and Cooperation in the Middle East (ICU-CME) supports the right of American musician Matisyahu to perform and to be heard free from intimidation at the State Theatre of Ithaca.

    Lesley Sue Goldstein, better known as Lesley Gore, was featured for a week in our Video of the Day series in December. She's best known for "It's My Party" but that was just a part, and not even the best, of her music. Fox News reports:
    Singer-songwriter Lesley Gore, who topped the charts in 1963 at age 16 with her epic song of teenage angst, "It's My Party," and followed it up with the hits "Judy's Turn to Cry," and the feminist anthem "You Don't Own Me," died Monday. She was 68. Gore died of lung cancer at New York University Langone Medical Center in Manhattan, according to her partner of 33 years, Lois Sasson. "She was a wonderful human being — caring, giving, a great feminist, great woman, great human being, great humanitarian," Sasson, a jewelry designer, told The Associated Press. Brooklyn-born and New Jersey-raised, Gore was discovered by Quincy Jones as a teenager and signed to Mercury Records. She graduated from Sarah Lawrence College with a degree in English/American literature. Gore's other hits include "She's A Fool," ''Sunshine, Lollipops and Rainbows," ''That's the Way Boys Are" and "Maybe I Know." She co-wrote with her brother, Michael, the Academy Award-nominated "Out Here On My Own" from the film "Fame."
    Here are two of my favorites:

    He died today. The BBC reports:
    Singer Joe Cocker, best known for his cover of the Beatles' With A Little Help From My Friends, has died aged 70, his agent has confirmed. The Sheffield born singer-songwriter had a career lasting more than 40 years with hits including You Are So Beautiful and Up Where We Belong. His agent Barrie Marshall said Cocker, who died after battling lung cancer, was "simply unique". Sir Paul McCartney said he was a lovely guy who "brought so much to the world". Cocker's friend Rick Wakeman, keyboard player for the rock band Yes, called his rendering of With a Little Help From My Friends "sensational" and said: "He had a voice that was just unique."
    He'll always be most remembered for his rendition at Woodstock of With A Little Help From My Friends: It was more than a rendition. It became something of a cultural icon:
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