Monday, January 21, 2013

Music Monday ~ Two Songs Representing the Best of Aquarius sung by Sun Aquarians:

It's pleasing (to me) to find that two singers who were born on 21 and 22 January in 1931 and 1942, with Sun in the first degree of Aquarius, are both remembered best for songs which I think represent the very best Aquarius can be:

Edwin Starr for War
Sam Cooke for A Change is Gonna Come.

Sadly both artists are no longer with us. Starr died in 2003 of a heart attack; Cooke was shot and killed in 1964.

Edwin Starr -

War , a protest song against the Vietnam war written by Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong - the latter also had Sun in Aquarius - born 5 February 1941.

Considered among Motown's "second-string" acts, Starr had only one major hit, 1968's number-six hit Twenty-Five Miles, before recording War
He heard about the conflict surrounding the debate of whether or not to release "War", and volunteered to re-record it. Whitfield re-created the song to match Starr's James Brown-influenced soul shout: the single version of "War" was dramatic and intense, depicting the general anger and distaste the antiwar movement felt towards the war in Vietnam. Unlike the Temptations' original, Starr's "War" was a full-scale Whitfield production, with prominent electric guitar lines, clavinets, a heavily syncopated rhythm accented by a horn section, and with The Originals and Whitfield's new act The Undisputed Truth on backing vocals.

Upon its release in June 1970, Starr's "War" became a runaway hit, and held the #1 position on the Billboard Pop Singles chart for three weeks, in August and September 1970

From the 1970s Starr was based in the UK. In the 1980s he collaborated with the Style Council on a record in support of striking coal miners, more Aquarius flavour!

Sam Cooke -
A Change is Gonna Come - written by Cooke himself

Upon hearing Bob Dylan's "Blowin' in the Wind" in 1963, Cooke was greatly moved that such a poignant song about racism in America could come from someone who was not black. While on tour in May 1963, and after speaking with sit-in demonstrators in Durham, North Carolina following a concert, Cooke returned to his tour bus and wrote the first draft of what would become "A Change Is Gonna Come". The song also reflected much of Cooke's own inner turmoil. Known for his polished image and light-hearted songs such as "You Send Me" and "Twistin' the Night Away", he had long felt the need to address the situation of discrimination and racism in America. However, his image and fears of losing his largely white fan base prevented him from doing so.

The song, very much a departure for Cooke, reflected two major incidents in his life. The first was the death of Cooke's 18-month-old son, Vincent, who died of an accidental drowning in June of that year. The second major incident came on October 8, 1963, when Cooke and his band tried to register at a "whites only" motel in Shreveport, Louisiana and were summarily arrested for disturbing the peace. Both incidents are represented in the weary tone and lyrics of the piece, especially the final verse: There have been times that I thought I couldn't last for long/but now I think I'm able to carry on/It's been a long time coming, but I know a change is gonna come.


mike said...

Hey, two fine picks, Twilight! Let's have a war on war and a war on discrimination! Get out your ASSAULT RIFLES! I particularly enjoy Sam Cooke's voice.

If you haven't seen John Waters' movie (the original, 1988) "Hairspray", I recommend it.

Twilight said...

mike ~ Sam Cooke's version hasn't ever been bettered, though the song is so good it'd be difficult to spoil it, whoever the singer.

I've seen the 2007 Hairspray movie (with John Travolta playing the mother) but not the version you mention. I also think we saw a stage presentation of it somewhere, locally, which was why we made a point of seeing the movie - but can't drag the detail out of my murky memory banks. Thought I'd done a post on it, but can't find it. Maybe I was dreaming!

I'll look out for a tape or DVD of the John Waters version.

Wisewebwoman said...

I love this Sam Cooke song, T, always have. How ironic he was killed, yeah? Tragic.

He had so much more to give.


Twilight said...

Wisewebwoman ~~ Ironic, yes!