Sad Irony: George Harrison Memorial Tree killed… by beetles.

A beautifully rendered tribute to George Harrison by Deviant Art member Legitturtle (Photo: courtesy of legitturtle.diviantart.com)

A beautifully rendered tribute to George Harrison by Deviant Art member Legitturtle (Photo: courtesy of legitturtle.diviantart.com)

In 2001, former Beatle George Harrison died at the all-too-early age of 58. A tree was planted at a Los Angeles memorial garden in 2004 in order to honor the memory of the iconic singer/songwriter. Unfortunately, barely ten years later, that peaceful and unobtrusive pine has met a sad, yet fitting end; it was killed off by an infestation of beetles.

Harrison, who lived out the last years of his life in the Los Angeles area before falling victim to lung cancer, was a noted follower of Buddhist and Hindu traditions, fueling his love for nature and gardening. The simple 10-foot-tall pine was a perfect tribute to the singer as it was largely unnoticeable and blended well with the rest of the garden’s foliage.

Known simply as The George Harrison Tree, the memorial includes a ground level plaque which reads, “In memory of a great humanitarian who touched the world as an artist, a musician and a gardener.” It also includes a quote from Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, founder of the Transcendental Meditation movement, of which Harrison was a follower. It reads, “For the forest to be green, each tree must be green.”

Thankfully, the tree is due to be replaced soon. One pilgrim to the memorial wrote a beautifully worded review of the site on Yelp, which reads:

“On the day I was there, many tourists and visitors, in fact, walked right by it without noticing it at all. There is no signage that leads people to the tree, and the memorial plaque is near the ground and out-of-sight. Furthermore, I didn’t see any buskers or fans with guitars either playing ‘Here Comes the Sun,’ ‘Something,’ or ‘My Sweet Lord’ (or any of Harrison’s many other well known songs). Instead, with my own private thoughts and reflections, I enjoyed that pine tree in peace just as George, I’m sure, would have wanted it.”

Oh, Baby! Study shows music turns toddlers into “team players.”

Study shows bouncing to the beat may induce cooperative behavior in toddlers

Study shows bouncing to the beat may induce cooperative behavior in babies and toddlers

Alright, parents. We’ve all been there. It’s one of those days and you’ve been anticipating the meltdown all afternoon. Sure enough, be it bath time or bed time… critical mass! Now the rest of your evening is filled with pleading and begging the gods for quiet and, quite possibly, your sanity. Fear not! For music may be your salvation!

I’ve posted several times about how music affects the human brain in many different ways. Now, developmental researchers are claiming that bouncing your baby to the beat of your favorite song may significantly increase the infant’s desire/ability to cooperate.

Anyone who’s seen this episode of Friends knows that music makes babies happy…

… but cooperative? According to an article in the New York Times, researchers worked with 48 toddlers and gently bounced them to the beat of The Beatles‘ “Twist And Shout.” Some were bounced on beat and others off beat. The researchers found that the toddlers who were bounced on beat were more willing to “help out” with things like picking up an “accidentally” dropped object than those who were being bounced off beat. So it isn’t just music that’s important, but rhythm, also.

So dance with your babies, parents (though, “Baby Got Back” may not be the most appropriate choice of songs). Laugh with them, sing with them, and let the rhythm move you both. It makes the child happy and could make your life just a little bit easier. You’re welcome! 🙂

“Jersey Boys” Falling On Deaf Ears With Critics

Clint Eastwood's "Jersey Boys" opens today, but critics aren't listening (Photo: courtesy of fandango.com)

Clint Eastwood’s “Jersey Boys” opens today, but critics aren’t listening (Photo: courtesy of fandango.com)

The Four Seasons. Just the name of the popular 1960’s pop-group drums up images of fast cars, slicked-back hair, and soda fountains; iconic pieces of Americana lost to a simpler, bygone era. Director Clint Eastwood’s Jersey Boys, a big-screen adaptation of the Broadway play, looks to capitalize on those fond memories by telling the story of the rise and fall of what was considered to be the most popular rock band of the pre-Beatles era. Critics, however, are singing a different tune.

Jersey Boys opens in theaters nationwide today (6/20), but the movie isn’t being well-received by critics. USA Today‘s Claudia Puig opened her review by saying “The catchy hits by The Four Seasons are indelible, but Jersey Boys, the drab movie based on the Broadway musical about those tunes, is sadly forgettable.” She later states that the movie “comes off like a slightly edgier, more harmonic episode of Happy Days.”

Michael Phillips of the Chicago Tribune states that the film “labors under a case of directorial miscasting” and calls it “uncertainly stylized… with a drab sense of atmosphere at odds with the material’s punchy theatrics.”

Ouch! The reviews are definitely not kind for this jukebox tuner, but one thing that all the critics seem to agree on is the unbeatable magic of the music itself.

Fronted by the legendary Frankie Valley, The Four Seasons skyrocketed to stardom in the 1960’s with Valley’s instantly recognizable and unapologetically falsetto tones leading the charge and setting the group apart from musical rivals such as The Beach Boys. Their unique sound kept them afloat and ensured that they were one of the few American rock groups to survive the British Invasion lead by The Beatles, and in 1990 The Four Seasons were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

I tend to keep an open mind about movies until I have seen them for myself, regardless of what critics have to say, and Jersey Boys is no different. In my experience movie reviewers tend to be unnecessarily harsh and, at times, almost impossible to please. There’s a reason they’re called “critics,” after all.

 

“The End”: Suspected virus puts an end to Paul McCartney’s Japanese tour

Paul McCartney in Tokyo, November 2013 (phot: paulmccartney.com)

Paul McCartney in Tokyo, November 2013 (phot: paulmccartney.com)

It appears that Sir Paul McCartney has had to cancel the remainder of his 2014 Japanese tour due to illness. According to Rolling Stone, McCartney is under strict doctor’s orders for “complete bed rest” in order to fight off a suspected virus.

In a prepared statement, McCartney told fans that he was “really looking forward to playing Japan again” and apologized profusely. “Unfortunately my condition has not improved overnight. I was really hoping that I’d be feeling better today. I’m so disappointed and sorry to be letting my fans down.”

The former Beatle is expected to make a full recovery in the coming weeks and is scheduled to bring his “Out There” tour to the United States starting on June 14.

Get well soon, Sir Paul. 🙂

 

50 Years Ago: The Beatles’ Domination of Billboard’s Hot 100 Chart

The Beatles, Karaoke Cloud, Billboard, Billboard Hot 100 chart

Photo courtesy of http://www.showbiz411.com

To say the Beatles were at the top of their game on April 4, 1964, would be an understatement. It was 50 years ago when the Fab Four made chart-topping history. In a Billboard takeover the legendary group held the top 5 spots on the Hot 100 chart with their singles “Can’t Buy Me Love,” “Twist and Shout,” “She Loves You,” “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” and “Please Please Me.”

The Beatles, Billboard, Billboard Hot 100 chart, karoke cloud

Photo courtesy of sixties-radio.com

As if locking down the top 5 wasn’t enough, the Beatles also had seven other hit songs in the Top 100. Only a week later they surpassed their record-breaking 12 song spread with a whopping 14. To top the craze off “We Love You Beatles” by the Carefrees and “A Letter to the Beatles” by the Four Preps both occupied the chart as well. Not to mention Meet the Beatles! and Introducing … The Beatles held the top 2 spots on the album chart.

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Beatles Mania Revisited: Paul and Ringo together again!

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Beatles fans, rejoice! 50 years to the day that the mop-headed icons were first introduced to American TV audiences, Ringo Starr and Sir Paul McCartney reunite to celebrate that vaunted night.

Last night (Sunday, Feb. 9th), the two remaining Beatles teamed up with other industry icons and current superstars and treated fans to a 2 1/2 hour spectacular commemorating their appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show on February 9, 1964. Performances from the likes of Katy Perry, Keith Urban, and Stevie Wonder paid tribute to the “Fab Four” as Hollywood stars and Joe Schmoes alike looked on from the audience.

A-listers such as Kate Beckinsale, Tom Hanks, and Johnny Depp were in attendance as Maroon 5 performed their version of “Ticket To Ride.” Other performances included Ed Sheeran playing guitar and singing “In My Life,” Stevie Wonder on both the piano and harmonica as he performed “a little more funky” version of “We Can Work It Out,” and Katy Perry belting out her rendition of “Yesterday.” In one of my favorite moments, Alicia Keys and John Legend gave a masterful performance of “Let It Be,” earning a standing ovation from all in attendance.

While there were many other outstanding performances and tributes from stars such as John Mayer, Pharrell Williams, and Imagine Dragons, the conclusion of the festivities was, by far, the most anticipated and exciting part of the night as the former Beatles themselves took center stage! Ringo went first, the 73-year-old enthralling the audience as he performed the song “Boys” with the legendary Peter Frampton on guitar and finished up in his rightful place, on the throne behind the drums. The crowd then happily joined in, clapping and singing along as he performed “Yellow Submarine.”

Not to be outdone, the 71-year-old McCartney took the stage and performed 2 songs of his own, “Birthday” and “Get Back.” Next, with the backing of an orchestra, Sir Paul began singing the beloved “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band,” then came the reunion as Ringo joined Paul on stage (introduced, of course, as Billy Shears!) to finish out the song. The duo then teamed up to perform “With A Little Help From My Friends” and “Hey, Jude.”

What a night it was for Beatles fans and music lovers of all kinds. You can pay your own tribute to the band that changed American pop-culture forever with our free Sing-N-Share app! Check it out on both the Apple App Store and Google Play today!

The 2014 Grammy Awards: Big winners and big moments.

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“Music’s biggest night” always leaves us talking the next day, and the 56th Annual Grammy Awards were no exception! Star-studded and packed with big moments (which, of course, have already gone viral), it was a tour de force of conversation starters. Here were some of our favorites.

Punking the Competition: The French electronic/dance artists, Daft Punk, “Get Lucky” and steal the show with 4 big wins, including Album of the Year (“Random Access Memories“), Record of the Year (“Get Lucky”), Pop/Duo Group Performance of the Year (“Get Lucky”), and Dance/Electronica Album of the Year (“Random Access Memories”).

Ringo and Paul, Together Again: It may not have quite been a Beatles reunion tour, but anytime Ringo Starr and Sir Paul McCartney get together it’s an opportunity for music lovers to rejoice. Sunday night these two legends reunited and gave the crowd something to cheer for.

4 More for Macklemore: After kicking off 2014 by winning the People’s Choice Award for Favorite Hip-Hop Artist, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis extend their winning streak by taking home 4 Grammys; Rap Performance of the Year, Rap Song of the Year (both for “Thrift Shop”), Rap Album of the Year (“The Heist“), and New Artist of the Year.

The First Couple of Music Kick Things Off With a Steamy Performance: Fresh off being named the most powerful people in the music industry (check out our post on Billboard’s Power 100), Jay Z and Beyoncé heat things up with their lead-off performance of “Drunk In Love.”

From the Super Bowl of Music to the Actual Super Bowl? Winning! Primed to entertain the masses at the Super Bowl XLVIII half-time show, Bruno Mars warms up at the Grammys by taking home the coveted Pop Vocal Album of the Year award for his second studio album “Unorthodox Jukebox.” Don’t ever change, Bruno! We love you “Just The Way You Are.”

What were your favorite moments from this year’s Grammy Awards? Let us know in the comments below. Afterwards, be sure to check out all of the Karaoke Cloud powered apps and products (KaraokeOnVEVO, Sing-N-Share, etc.) where you can give your own performances of today’s hottest songs from many of today’s biggest artists!