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Sir Elton John (1947- ) is a British pop music star.
Elton John’s original name was Reginald Kenneth Dwight. Born in Pinner, Middlesex, Reginald played songs by ear on the piano at the age of 4 and took formal training at the Royal Academy of Music when 11.
As Elton John, his collaboration with lyricist Bernie Taupin flowered in the 1970′s with chart toppers like ‘Your Song’, ‘Rocket Man’, ‘Daniel’, ‘Honky Cat’, ‘Bennie and the Jets,’ ‘Goodbye Yellow Brick Road’ and ‘Don’t Let the Sun Go Down On Me.’
With a keen interest in Rugby, Elton at one time owned a British Football Club, eventually selling his shares to become its Life President.
He apparently began life as a shy person. Most biographers say his glamorous 1970′s stage image compensated for his inherent sensitivity. Others suggest he was hiding behind various – at that time outlandish – costumes and wigs while fighting an inner battle with drug addiction.
Likely both factors came into play. Elton apparently came close to suicide, at which time the journeyman musician Long John Baldry convinced him to quit drugs (‘Someone Saved My Life Tonight’).
After achieving international stardom, Elton publicly admitted to being bisexual, an admission that hurt his career for a while. But despite scathing comments from the press, he kept making albums. These didn’t do quite as well commercially until a comeback in 1992 with the album The One.
His remake of ‘Candle in the Wind’, performed with revised lyrics at Princess Diana‘s funeral, was the largest selling single in history one month after its release (The original 1973 song was about Marilyn Monroe).
He continues in the spotlight as an artist and icon for gay liberation, particularly since his much publicized same sex marriage to a long-time companion. Like Mick Jagger and Paul McCartney, he was knighted by the Queen of England in 1998 for “services to music and charitable services.” However, he’s shown marked distaste for organized religion.
More recently, Sir Elton John seems comfortable not having his new singles on the top 10 charts. He says his approach to making cds is more about an album concept instead of going for a hit. In other words, a slow burn instead of fireworks.
- Elton John Replica Red Piano on Display Sheenhans of Leicester (femaleimagination.wordpress.com)
- Elton rocks harder than Gaga (and Bono Bieber) (michaelthinks.typepad.com)
- One Night With Two Knights ‘Cliff and Elton’ Tour 2012 (femaleimagination.wordpress.com)
- Artwork Audi A1 up for charity sale (autonetinsurance.co.uk)
- Elton John “Crocodile Rock” (lezgetreal.com)
- Today In Music: Elton John’s ‘Captain Fantastic…’ Goes No.1 (wdok.radio.com)
- Elizabeth Hurley Granted Quick Divorce From Husband of Four Years (foxnews.com)
- Peter Andre crowned Dad of the Year for second year running (mirror.co.uk)
- Audi A1 artwork fetches £350,000 (autonetinsurance.co.uk)
- Liz Hurley and Arun Nayar granted ‘quickie’ divorce (telegraph.co.uk)
As the Princess of Wales, Lady Diana Spencer (1961-1997) arguably became an enduring type of mythological figure. While critical media hype discredited her public persona as a mere chimera, another perspective sees her as an inspirational role model for human kindness, honesty and noble humility.
Diana took an active interest in AIDS victims and worked with the International Red Cross. Early in the Royal marriage, Lady Diana quickly overshadowed Prince Charles in the public eye. Charles’ princely decorum was eclipsed by her straight from the heart charm.
Apart from all the media attention surrounding Diana’s untimely death by car accident, one scholar claims she is a mere “footnote” in human history.
Sir Elton John was a close friend of Lady Diana. He and Bernie Taupin recast their song Candle in the Wind (formerly written for Marilyn Monroe on the 1973 lp Goodbye Yellow Brick Road) with new lyrics appropriate for Lady Diana’s televised funeral. The reimagined single is the best selling single record of all time. Sir Elton John has vowed never to play the song in public again, unless requested by Diana’s children.
- Earl Spencer names his new daughter Charlotte Diana after his beloved sister (standard.co.uk)
- Diana Princess Of Wales – Diana, Princess Of Wales’ Brother Names Daughter After Late Sister (contactmusic.com)
- One for every day of the week: Earl Spencer celebrates the birth of SEVENTH child and names William and Harry’s new cousin after their mother Princess Diana (dailymail.co.uk)
- Lady Gaga – Lady Gaga Causes Controversy With New Song About Princess Diana (contactmusic.com)
- Princess Diana Remembered: Earl Spencer Names New Baby After His Late Sister (celebuzz.com)
- Earl Spencer names daughter for Princess Diana (cbsnews.com)
- Prince Charles’ wedding toast for $350 (bigpondnews.com)
- Diana, Princess Of Wales’ brother names daughter after late sister (hollywood.com)
- Concorde picks up German rights to Naomi Watts’ “Diana” Lady Di biopic (panarmenian.net)
A knight was a mounted warrior in the Middle Ages who pledged allegiance to the Church and, as such, answered to ordained priests. During the Crusades it was believed that a knight only fought for just and holy causes.
However, many abuses occurred (including rapes, pillaging, cruelty and senseless murder), and some would argue that the whole idea of ‘killing for Christ’ is a twisted perversion of Christ’s teachings.
It has often been said that crusaders tended to behave particularly badly once they were in the field. That they could be undisciplined and capable of acts of great cruelty cannot be denied.¹
The Crusading knight was also a servant of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and as the institution developed over the centuries, the idea of knighthood became highly romanticized in life, literature and song. Instead of being a mere ‘killer for Christ,’ the knight evolved into a courageous hero who was bound to protect women through acts of chivalry. At least, that was the prevailing ideal in the latter Middle Ages, an idea that became even more pronounced during the Renaissance.
Part of the knight’s identity rested upon horsemanship and another part on armoury–just as horsemanship, battle attire and weapons have always been important to warriors, stretching back into antiquity. When the technology of warfare changed, the old idea of the mounted knight in armor gradually fell into obscurity.
Today, the knight remains an omnipresent symbol of heroism and honor in works of fiction and pop culture. And those knighted by royalty are done so for some great lifetime achievement (e.g. Sir Paul McCartney, Sir Elton John and Sir Michael Phillip “Mick” Jagger).
In addition, certain religious groups have adapted the term knight to symbolize holiness and the pursuit of goodness (e.g. The Knights of Columbus).
Interestingly, some contemporary figures do not accept the honor of knighthood which the British royalty so carefully offers.²
¹ See Rethinking the Crusades by JONATHAN RILEY SMITH » http://www.catholiceducation.org/articles/history/world/wh0042.html
² David Bowie declined the honor in 2003, saying : “I would never have any intention of accepting anything like that. I seriously don’t know what it’s for. It’s not what I spent my life working for.” See » http://www.bowiewonderworld.com/press/00/030912thesun.htm. And many others have responded similarly, as revealed in this list: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Declining_a_British_honour
- Constantine, We Are Here: (brothersjuddblog.com)
- Mar 11, 1997: Paul McCartney Knighted (censorshipinamerica.com)
- Feudal Europe Essay (socyberty.com)
- Teutonic Knights and Knights Templar at War (socyberty.com)
- King Arthur in Legends and Literature (socyberty.com)
- Teutonic Knights and Knights Templar: Clash of Interests (socyberty.com)
- Jousting Tournaments in the Middle Ages (brighthub.com)
- A Crusading Knight and Cute Concrete (nytimes.com)
- Santorum Tackles the Crusades (unreasonablefaith.com)
- In Defense of Medieval Gaming from Geekcentricity ” Role-Playing (geekcentricity.com)
Mind Abuse is a fairly recent term relating to a wide variety of phenomena where a person or institution psychologically manipulates a victim or victims into accepting beliefs and performing actions that a third party or parties, representing the moral majority, deems unhealthy and destructive to the victims’ true character and, perhaps, his or her greater society.
Standard examples would be so-called cults and suicidal spiritual movements.
However, some like John Lennon and Elton John make the case that all organized religion exemplifies mind abuse by deflecting pressing concerns about this world to another world (Lennon), or by encouraging hateful discrimination (John).
Organized religion could also be seen as a kind of mind abuse if upper level officials in a religious hierarchy had knowledge of unsavory practices within that hierarchy but withheld that knowledge from tithing believers and lower ranking clergy (who, in this scenario, would invest their lives in a lie or partial lie).
The idea of “mind abuse” is potentially useful for bona fide victims but also problematic in some cases. For instance, what if the status quo sees something as “abusive” when, in fact, it’s liberating for a believer? Clearly, some kind of social value judgment is involved here. Whether or not this value judgment is always correct is occasionally open to debate.
Search Think Free » Alien Possession Theory
- John Lennon: Overpopulation is a Myth (cherylcline.wordpress.com)
- “Nowhere Boy”: John Lennon, before the Beatles (salon.com)
- Tom Dean: Happy Birthday! John Lennon (grantlawrence.blogspot.com)
- The John Lennon Cheat Sheet (bettyconfidential.com)
- Last ever snap of Lennon revealed (thesun.co.uk)
- John Lennon Remembered (cbsnews.com)
- Sir Elton John’s mother sells his memorabilia for £28k (telegraph.co.uk)
- What would John Lennon be doing on his 70th birthday? (telegraph.co.uk)
- Nowhere Boy: Lennon and McCartney Before the Beatles (time.com)
- John Lennon, Unwitting Prophet? (catholicexchange.com)
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Just let me hear some of that
Rock and roll music,
Any old way you choose it;
It’s got a back beat, you can’t lose it,
Any old time you use it.
It’s gotta be rock and roll music,
If you want to dance with me,
If you want to dance with me.
–Rock and Roll Music, Chuck Berry
Rock and Roll is a form of popular music originally emblematic of the freedoms, joys, challenges, heartaches and rebellion of youth.
Rock and Roll developed in the 1950s as a synthesis of Country-Western and Blues music. Interestingly enough, the accent falls on the back beat which emphasizes the second and fourth beat (ta TA ta TA), the reverse of the military march, which accents the first and third beat (TA ta TA ta).
In the 1960s and 70s the target market of Rock expanded, as did the music. Dianna Ross and The Supremes helped to shape the Motown sound (music from a record company based in the automobile producing city of Detroit), while British groups like the Moody Blues and the perhaps unsurpassable Beatles made Rock accessible to kids from 2 to 102. Meanwhile, American groups like The Doors (with Jim Morrison) and soloists like Jimi Hendrix remained a threat to conservative parents throughout North America and beyond.
At this time Rock branched out into different styles and related marketing categories: Hard Rock, Heavy Metal, Progressive Rock, Funk, Raggae, Soul, Easy Rock, Disco, Glam Rock, Pop Rock, Bubble Gum Rock, Folk Rock, etc.
Some of the major players in this period were Paul McCartney and Wings, The Rolling Stones, Genesis (with Peter Gabriel), Pink Floyd, Yes, Led Zeppelin, Bob Marley, Rod Stewart, Eric Clapton, The Who, Bob Dylan, Neil Young, James Taylor, Cat Stevens, Joni Mitchell, Billy Joel, Elton John, David Bowie, Stevie Wonder, Carole King and many more talented outfits. But things needed to change.
The late 1970s brought on reactionary trends such as Punk Rock and New Wave. Johnny Rotten and the Sex Pistols are often credited with spearheading Punk Rock, while innovative groups with a stripped-down sound like Devo, The B-52s and The Talking Heads enjoyed success. The Talking Heads continued to make their mark into the 80s, their apparently postmodern approach being avidly discussed among ivory tower academics.
Rock in 1980s, however, was mostly characterized by increasingly slick studio productions, made possible by the advent of digital recording technology. Duran Duran is a good example of this new lush sound, whereas Depeche Mode used digital sampling to create a more industrial sound. Other important groups such as Soft Cell and The Eurythmics used technology to minimal effect while The Art of Noise used the new digital sampling technique in their own way, often emphasizing the orchestra hit–i.e. having a full-burst orchestral sound at the touch of a finger.
Madonna was a sensation in the 80s, as was Sting and The Police and, of course, Michael Jackson. Meanwhile, the New Age movement and ‘ambient music’ emerged. Ambient music is a diffuse style (some might say spacey) that was pioneered by the respected producer Brian Eno (Eno also made Rock and Roll albums) in the late 70s. Eno’s most important album is probably “Music For Airports” (1978), a soft and repetitive strain of analogue voice and piano loops. The idea and sound carried through into more accessible digital New Age productions with the likes of Enya, Windham Hill records and others. And stars like U2, David Bowie, The Talking Heads, Philip Glass periodically collaborated with Eno.
In 1980 John Lennon and Yoko Ono released the commercially successful album, Double Fantasy. Sadly, Lennon was murdered by a misguided fan in that same year.
The 90s saw increasingly lush studio production with the likes of Mariah Carey and Celine Dione. Others like the late Kurt Cobain (Nirvana) and The Smashing Pumpkins kept it straight up and simple. And Radiohead came up with a sound reminiscent of the 70s band Jethro Tull.
Some veteran rockers continued to flourish in the 90s with top-selling albums, such as Elton John and David Bowie. Other stars like Paul McCartney and Bob Dylan released cds but seemed to lose touch with the pulse of the people.
Rap, Hiphop, Dance, Grunge and Techno (now a branch of Electronica) also took off in the 90s.
The new millennium has seen more powerful woman acts like Britney Spears and Avril Lavigne, and it’s fitting that Mick Jagger and The Rolling Stones, who’ve billed themselves as the “longest running rock act,” continue to fill large stadiums.
There’s no easy summary of Rock’s meaning today. Some see it as a consumer-driven sellout; others, as a window to artistic and social possibilities.
Ironically, some rock stars are now seen as more socially responsible than many corporate and political leaders. The widely respected granddaddy of Grunge, Neil Young, for instance, has become a prominent spokesperson for the development of Green technologies. And figures like Bob Geldof, Bono and The Rolling Stones (who did a Toronto concert to help that city’s economy after a SARS scare while Billy Joel and Elton John canceled) have virtually inverted the rotten apple image that the moral majority originally imputed to rock stars.
Recently, however, critics have suggested that international simulcast benefit concerts are starting to look more like shallow publicity stunts than effective measures toward global betterment.
And the beat goes on…
Bowie is in a rare league of iconic rockers including the likes of Elvis Presley, Mick Jagger, Michael Jackson, Bob Marley, Madonna and Elton John.
Like all innovators, his music is often exploratory, synthesizing existing styles into something entirely new.
Bowie the philosopher, if you like, explores in “Starman” (1972) the idea of extraterrestrial life:
There’s a starman waiting in the sky
He’d like to come and meet us
But he thinks he’d blow our minds
There’s a starman waiting in the sky
He’s told us not to blow it
Cause he knows it’s all worthwhile
And in “Loving the Alien” (1984):
Believing the strangest things
loving the alien
Meanwhile, Black Tie White Noise (1993) looks to the meeting of flesh and spirit:
Where the flesh meets
the spirit world
Where the traffic is thin…
You’ve been around
but you’ve changed me
In his heyday the press often depicted him as “going away” from this world into some kind of creative journey and then “returning” whenever he produced a hit single.
There might be some psychological truth to this, as we find in ”Little Wonder” (1997):
Enter Galactic, see me to be you
It’s all in the tablets, Sneezy Bhutan
Little wonder then, little wonder
You little wonder, little wonder you…
Sending me so far away,
so far away
Not entirely unlike the Hindu Shiva-Shakti dyad, Bowie plunged into cross-dressing well before this was considered chic in the music industry.
Connecting Bowie to religion and spirituality is far from spurious considering his interest in parapsychology, as found in “Sound and Vision” (1977):
Don’t you wonder sometimes
‘Bout sound and vision…
I will sit right down,
Waiting for the gift of sound and vision
Within Asian systems these abilities are known as siddhis, and in Catholic mysticism they’re called interior locutions, perceptions and private revelations.
Bowie himself, however, is often critical of organized religion, as expressed in this chant in The Buddha of Suburbia (1993), released several years before the Catholic sex-abuse lawsuits were exposed by the media:
Sex and the church
Sex and the church
Sex and the church
And the church
And the church
Some believe that Bowie might someday be regarded not just as a musician but as a visionary or futurist. Considering the current global water crisis the following scenario from “Looking for Water” (2003) doesn’t seem too far off:
Silver leaves are spinning round
Take my hand as we
go down and down
Looking for water…
I’m looking for water
Looking for water
I’m looking for water
Looking for water…
The combination of musician and visionary is not unheard of. Both Pythagoras and the legendary Orpheus combined music, philosophy and spirituality.
While Pythagoras related musical harmony to cosmic order, Orpheus used his lyre to wrest his wife Eurydice from the underworld lord of death, Cerberus. But like Lot‘s wife, and against a dire warning not to look back during the escape, Orpheus foolishly cast a glance backward, losing Eurydice again.
This story speaks to the wisdom of accepting and trusting in the future, an idea summed up in Bowie’s tune, “Changes” (1971):
Turn and face the strange
ch ch changes…
time may change me
but I can’t trace time
Bowie has also ventured into acting and composing soundtracks for film and video games. For some time he had a lively and free internet forum called “Discourse” at davidbowie.com, which now charges membership fees.
Although criticized for being a skinflint when it comes to charity, Bowie replies
I can never make my mind up, I’m so f***ing flippy floppy. I can see both sides of everything and it’s really awful. Source » “DAVID BOWIE – BOWIE’S CHARITY STRUGGLES” at contactmusic.com
Skinflint or not, for his considerable import as an artist he was awarded the 2008 Andromeda Award at earthpages.org.
Earthpages.org’s Very First 2008 Andromeda Award!
Cropped from the original “David Bowie” by NYCArthur at http://www.flickr.com/photos/70945486@N00/252869934/, Creative Commons 2.0 license.
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