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February 3, 2024

Today is known as “The Day the Music Died,” a phrase coined by Don McLean in the song “American Pie” to describe the plane crash on Feb. 3, 1959, that killed Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and The Big Bopper. It’s also the perfect term to describe tomorrow, because that’s when CBS airs the 2024 Grammy Awards, aka, “The Day That Good Taste in Music Died.”    

As an indie retro jazz vocalist and recording artist, my wife/co-writer Laura Ainsworth is a Grammy voter. I stream the nominees for her to check out, so I get to hear/see them all, too. This year, the major categories such as Song, Record and Video of the Year are a depressing lot, mostly tuneless, over-processed aural sewage with promotional videos that are equal parts bloody violence, satanic images and porn. The host is Trevor Noah, and to give you an idea of how exciting the music is, the big Grammy stories in the news are that Beyonce will NOT be performing and Travis Kelce will not be Taylor Swift’s date.

We attended the Grammys a few years ago, but I doubt we’ll ever go again. My advice: turn off the TV and instead stream Laura’s latest album “You Asked For It” that should’ve gotten a nod for Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album, but we declined to sign a promotional deal with Satan.

FYI, Los Angeles is bracing for a storm that could bring potentially life-threatening flooding, so maybe God watched last year’s Grammy Awards and is doing a Noah Part II.

In other real music news, Billy Joel has released his first single since 1993. The last cut of his final pop album, “River of Dreams,” was called “Famous Last Words,” and it seemed to be his farewell to pop songwriting, where he felt he’d said all he had to say. But this week, he surprised and thrilled fans by releasing a new song, “Turn the Lights Back On,” which you can hear here:

It’s a quiet ballad with just piano and strings accompaniment. Some might say it sounds like a demo or unfinished vocal track. That inspired singer/songwriter/musician Fernando Perdomo to add some drums, bass and other instruments and give it a classic, Phil Ramone-style production, a la “The Stranger.” It's startling how much a producer can add to a song. This is the best fan remix since the early ‘60s Beatles remake of “Now And Then.”

Another real music tip: If Peter Noone and Herman’s Hermits play near you, definitely go see them.

Laura and I caught them again last night in Arlington, Texas, and as always, it was a fantastic show.  Peter’s vocals are shockingly unchanged since he cut the original records as a teenager (you’ll pay faaaaaar more for tickets to Paul McCartney and certainly won’t enjoy that perk.) There was a family in front of us with three little girls, all under 10 I’d guess, and all obviously loving the music, which gives me hope for the future.

Peter comes out after the show to sign autographs and greet fans. He’s also a Huckabee fan, has appeared twice on the TBN show and sends his regards to the Gov. and you all. (Photo of Peter Noone with Laura in her best ‘60s-inspired outfit.)  Keep it groovy!


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