The King, Ziggy, and a bit of Rubber Soul

By: sonofabeach96

Jan 08 2016

Category: Uncategorized


On this date, in 1935, a king was born in Tupelo, MS.  Elvis Presley entered the world, and this would eventually lead to an explosion of social, cultural, and artistic alterations, catapulting a sheltered and conservative society into revolution and freedom of expression.

His music career began in 1954, and he would ultimately reach the pinnacle of stardom.  He first recorded with Sam Phillips, of Sun Records fame, in Memphis, and amassed nearly 700 singles recorded.

His career took a turn towards acting with 1956’s Love Me Tender, and his musical interests followed suit, minus a stint in the Army after being drafted in 1958.  Throughout most of the ’60’s, his recordings were primarily soundtracks to his films.  In the ’70’s his albums became primarily live recordings.

As the times changed, and rock and roll itself became more rebellious, he maintained his ardent following, but the youth became more interested in revolution, social change, and free love.  He was once looked at as a rebel himself,  vulgar in his hip sways, and was accused of corrupting young people, coercing them  into suggestive dancing and pleasure from a new rhythym.  But his fan base grew older.  He became a Vegas staple.  And he became addicted to prescription pain meds.  Elvis died in 1977 at the age of 42.  His legacy is solid though, as The King of Rock and Roll.

On this date, in 1947, David Robert Jones, aka David Bowie, aka Ziggy Stardust, was born in London.  Obviously he’s well known as a singer, but he’s also a songwriter, plays multiple instruments, a producer, an arranger, a painter, and even an actor.  He’s been active in the music biz for nearly 50 years now.

His first big hit came in 1969 with “Space Oddity”.  He kinda went into an experimental phase shortly after that with little commercial success.  He re-emerged in 1972 as the androgynous alter-ego, Ziggy Stardust.  Then, in 1975, his album Young Americans shot him to superstar status.

Bowie has been commercially successful in the ’70’s, ’80’s, and ’90’s.  he’s sold over 100 million albums worldwide.  He was inducted into the Rock and Rill Hall of Fame in 1996.  He has been one of the most influential and experimental artists of his time.  And he continues to create, with a new album, Blackstar, due out today.

And, on this date, in 1966, The Beatles’ Rubber Soul reached no. 1 on the charts.  It was their 6th studio album and it was recorded in just 4 weeks.  Most of the songs were written immediately following The Fab Four’s return to England following their North American tour.

The album signaled a new direction in instrumentation and lyrics from prior albums.  This one has been described as more grown-up in the topics written about and a departure from “boy band” story lines into more big boy lyrics.  It also marked their introduction of the sitar in a couple of instances as well as being influenced by American R&B, soul, folk rock, and psychedelic rock.  Even the name of the album comes from an American term: Plastic Soul, which African American soul singers used to describe Mick Jagger, a white musician singing soul.

It is certainly one of the greatest albums ever, both critically and commercially.  Rolling Stone ranks it 5th on its 500 Greatest Albums of All-Time list.  It went 6x Platinum in the US, with over 6 million copies sold.  It peaked at no. 1 on the UK Albums Chart, the Billboard Pop Albums Chart, and the Australian Albums Chart, all in 1966.

In honor of all of that, my songs of the day are:

“Drive My Car” by The Beatles

“Thats Alright” by Elvis Presley

“Ashes to Ashes” by David Bowie

“Michelle” by The Beatles

“Return To Sender” by Elvis Presley

“”Fame” by David Bowie

“In My Life” by The Beatles

“A Little Less Conversation” by Elvis Presley

“Young Americans” by David Bowie

13 comments on “The King, Ziggy, and a bit of Rubber Soul”

  1. What an interesting date for music history!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The first (and only) time I ever saw Bowie live was in Belgium at Torhout-Werchter in the late 90s. I’d always liked—but never loved—him. But when I first heard his voice live at that festival, I felt utterly electrified. That distinctive voice, that voice that had been in the background of my whole entire life, at every social and on every radio station and all over MuchMusic and MTV—and suddenly he was actually right there with nothing between us but air (and thousands of other people, ha!). It was kind of hyper-real, if that makes sense. Amazing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It makes perfect sense, especially with someone like him, that I imagine being better in-person. I had one opportunity to see him and wasn’t able to go. He’s one that’s eluded me over the years. Bet it was great! 😃


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