Tuesday, June 26, 2007

If music be the food of love, dance on

I traveled across to London yesterday to meet with Tony Wadsworth and his EMI team in the UK. Under Tony’s leadership, and with Ronn Werre’s passionate pioneering, we (Saatchi & Saatchi) have just put together a first for the industry in a partnership with EMI. The first project out of the box? We have been appointed to market the entire Beatles back catalog globally. How do you like them onions!

On the way to the meeting, I was listening to stuff recently added to the playlist on my iPod. Four albums are staples for me this week. Springsteen’s Live In Dublin, with the Sessions band, is his best album since Born to Run. The Boss keeps growing and keeps reaching out to more and more people. Recently, I had a session with David Lauren and the Ralph Lauren team on ‘American Living’, their new concept for JCPenney. If anybody epitomizes this quality, it’s Springsteen. Ok, you can’t beat the E Street Band; but the band Springsteen has with him playing the Seeger Sessions is the next best thing. The album combines some amazing favorites like 'Atlantic City' and staples I was brought up on in the Pete Seeger days. 'Deep Protests' has been completely updated and hammered home; Springsteen on top form musically and vocally. Thinking about it, 'How Can A Poor Man Stand In Such Times And Live', is probably seventy years old now but has been updated so it can rage at today’s US political environment. I never tire of hearing 'We Shall Overcome' – it takes me back to more innocent times – and The Boss’ duet with Mrs. Springsteen on 'If I Should Fall Behind' is one of the great love songs of all times.

Here’s a leap. Springsteen to Springfield. Dusty Springfield was the first of the UK pop divas and the first white woman to sing with a black voice. The BBC have dusted (that’s not the worst pun that’s ever been made) off their archives and put together the best of her music from 1962 to 1970. The big songs are sung beautifully from 'I Just Don’t Know What To Do With Myself' to 'In the Middle of Nowhere' and 'You Don’t Have To Say You Love Me'. Then there is the Bee Gees' 'To Love Somebody', a track I had never heard from Dusty before. Apparently she recorded it for her greatest album Dusty In Memphis, but somehow the tape got lost in a fire. Typical of the times. Don’t miss it this time round.

A contemporary of Dusty’s, but from Queens, New York, was Mary Weiss, the lead singer of the Shangri-Las. Who will ever forget 'Leader of the Pack' and 'Remember'. I’ve always considered Mary the forerunner to people like Debbie Harry and Cyndi Lauper, but with a more dangerous sexy edge (very Queens!). Forty years on, she has finally released a solo album. The track 'Heaven Only Knows' is sensational.

And finally, iTunes have at last put The Traveling Willburys’ two albums into play. My great friend and colleague, Jim O’Mahony, alerted me to this and I downloaded them on the spot. I’m going out to Virgin this morning to buy the ‘got-to-have’ three disc deluxe set which has previously unreleased bonus tracks. Twenty years ago, The Traveling Willburys, Vol. 1 appeared with one of the world’s greatest songs, 'Tweeter And The Monkey Man'. And can you believe it the song is now a tv show! On top of that, 'Dirty World', 'Congratulations', 'Last Night', 'Margarita', and 'End Of The Line' are all just brilliant. To top this all off, Roy Orbison steals the show on 'Not Alone Anymore', which puts 'Pretty Woman' and 'Running Scared' into the shade.

Was that flight to London six hours? I barely noticed.