Paul Simon‘s Newark and Queens upbringing doesn’t always seem as intrinsic to his musical identity as it is for other New York City-affiliated musicians, but the songwriter’s background came to the forefront yesterday at the site where the World Trade Center stood, as he played the 1964 Simon & Garfunkel single “The Sound of Silence” for the gathered crowd. His performance was reportedly one of the most powerful moments of the September 11 memorial service, and after watching the footage above, we believe it. Simon has performed in a similar capacity before, most notably his performance of “The Boxer” as part of the tribute that opened the September 29, 2001 episode of Saturday Night Live.
Interestingly, the official program for the tenth anniversary ceremony indicated that Simon would be performing “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” the 1970 single that was originally sung by Art Garfunkel, and which would also have been appropriate. Nevertheless Simon’s decision to sing “The Sound of Silence” instead made the performance all the more moving and memorable.
Starting at 4 p.m. ET this afternoon, VH1 will be airing six uninterrupted hours of footage from The Concert For New York City, which was originally held in New York City’s Madison Square Garden on October 20, 2001. We’ll be streaming the entire show this one-time only on VH1.com, and you’ll also be able to tune-in on your television to watch, too. As a way to help you remember this epic event, we put together this gallery of images from that unforgettable evening. We’ve got snaps from the night’s biggest performances (Paul McCartney, The Who, Bon Jovi, etc.) and some awesome backstage photographs as well.
September 11: How Music Responded
Long Read of the Day: We wrote earlier today about the music that people listened to after the events of September 11 occurred, but before they had any effect on recordings. Over at MTV Hive, five pieces explore what those effects turned out to be for pop, country, indie rock, rap, and dance. [MTV Hive]
Coldplay Share Cover Art And Final Tracklisting For New Album Coldplay posted the details for Mylo Xyloto, due out October 25, on their website this afternoon. Also, each track has its own little pictogram. (The symbol for “Every Teardrop Is A Waterfall”? A teardrop.) [Coldplay.com] Read more…
It’s easy to think about the months following September 11, 2001 as a rude awakening from an imagined bliss (doubly fictitious, in that the peace only ever appeared to exist, and that it wasn’t that blissful to begin with). Nevertheless, the events of that day had a dramatic?and traumatic?effect on Americans, not least through our consumption of popular culture. But before the slew of original compositions responding directly to the event (of which Sound of the City has compiled what, in their estimation, were the nine worst), many listeners were already looking to music for comfort, guidance, or other emotional needs, while rejecting other music that flew in the face of those needs. Here’s what people especially did?and did not?want to hear.
In the second full chart week after 9/11, Houston’s 1991 rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner” re-entered the Hot 100 at #50, and Greenwood’s “God Bless the USA” debuted at #16 (in 1984, the song had hit the country charts but never crossed over). In a pattern that would be reversed once digital sales became common, the songs had two chart peaks?the first when radio’s support was strongest, and the second when physical singles were re-released. Sales of “God Bless the USA” were strong enough to keep it on the chart, but not to match its debut. “The Star-Spangled Banner,” on the other hand, hit #6 on the strength of sales (and continuing radio support). Read more…
The Horrible Crowes are the new side project of Brian Fallon, the man best known as being the singer and songwriter of the Springsteen-revering New Jersey punk band The Gaslight Anthem. His new outfit played a sold-out show at New York City’s Bowery Ballroom last night, focusing mainly on the group’s new record, Elsie. However, The Horrible Crowes found the time to work an unexpected cover into their set: Katy Perry‘s “Teenage Dream.”
Indie acts have been cheekily covering Top 40 songs for as long as there have been Top 40 songs to mock—Travis‘ cover of “Baby One More Time” remains a high-water mark in this genre—but instead of following that pattern, The Horrible Crowes decided to flip the script. Rather than mocking the song’s inherently anthemic qualities with, say, insincere fist-pumping during the chorus, Fallon instead infused the song with a sense of lovelorn regret, totally transforming its entire nature. In Perry’s version, the song is a come-on; in Fallon’s haunting take, it seems as if the narrator is reminiscing about his better days and a love that’s long since faded away. Suffice to say, if the Horrible Crowes ever decided to put this song on wax, it could do for “Teenage Dream” what the Cowboy Junkies once did for the Velvet Underground‘s “Sweet Jane.”
Imagine: you’re a talented but struggling singer-songwriter with an ear for lush arrangements (not to mention a director’s eye for collage) who moves to Brooklyn from upstate New York but can’t get any traction at open mic nights, where you’re limited to your voice and a guitar, and even your name (Lizzy Grant) only brings to mind a character on Entourage. Do you throw in the towel?
If you’re lucky, you’ve got some resources you can draw on (in Grant’s case, her father’s shrewd investments in real estate domain names) and you can hire a top-line producer like David Kahne and PR team like Shore Fire Media. Then, if you’re smart, you work, and you wait. Grant, now Lana del Rey, (presumably after Lana Turner and, perhaps, Dolores del Rio?) is both lucky and smart, and now she’s poised to make a huge splash. On the strength of her first single “Video Games,” and its accompanying video, above, she’s sold out her first two shows as del Rey?one each in New York City and Los Angeles?and has just premiered another killer video for the B-side “Blue Jeans”: Read more…
Next Wednesday, Sept. 14, the Big 4 Festival will descend upon Yankee Stadium in New York City. The participants will include the ?big four? bands (i.e., pillars, staples, torch bearers, etc.) of thrash metal music: Metallica, Slayer, Megadeth, and Anthrax. Here are some other acts that could pull off a Big 4 Festival of their own:
1) Big 4 of Millennial Pop: Britney Spears, *NSYNC, Christina Aguilera, Backstreet Boys
This past summer, the Backstreet Boys created some buzz when they toured with their boy-band predecessors, New Kids On The Block, as NKOTBSB; but could you imagine the pandemonium they could create by teaming up with late ?90s peer/rival, *NSYNC? The reunions alone would sell tickets on this tour: Justin and *NSYNC, Justin and Britney, Britney and Christina, and three old Mouseketeers back together again.
So when the band took the stage, the crowd was ready?or so they thought, until the band launched into not one of their many hits, or even their numerous B-sides, but a brand new song that they hadn’t even played at their festival this past weekend. “Olé” is a fun, hard-charging rocker, and the band turned out a great performance. Can’t wait to hear a studio version? It’s already available for free download from the band’s website. Wish the band would play more? They’ll be on Fallon again tomorrow night. Any more questions?
VH1.com will be streaming a special, one-time only re-broadcast of the Concert For New York City this Sunday afternoon, September 11th, starting at 4 p.m. ET; the entire broadcast will also be shown commercial-free on VH1 that afternoon, too. As a nation reflects back on the tenth anniversary of the most horrific attack to ever occur on American soil, we here at VH1 will be focused on remembering the way that the artistic community came together during the difficult days and weeks after 9/11 to not only to pay respect to those who lost their lives that day, but also to honor the heroes that emerged in the aftermath of the terrorist attack.
The Concert For New York City: 10 Years Later is being hosted by native New Yorker Ed Burns, and will feature memorable, once-in-a-lifetime performances from the likes of Paul McCartney, The Who, Bon Jovi, Billy Joel, Jay-Z, Destiny’s Child and many, many more. In order to make sure that you don’t miss the performances of your favorite artists, we’ve put together this handy schedule for you of who will be streaming/appearing on-air when. We hope you find it helpful!
And remember, even though it’s 10 years later, the Robin Hood Relief Fund could still use your assistance. Follow along for a schedule of when to tune-in to see the show’s most captivating moments…