Friday fanfare: “Hanukkah in Santa Monica”

We’re in the midst of the eight days of Hanukkah, and so what better time to present one of the few Hanukkah carols? The incredibly catchy “Hanukkah in Santa Monica” is written by Tom Lehrer, who reportedly wrote this song because all the Jewish songwriters were too busy writing Christmas carols…..

midweek music: “Late in the Evening”

Last night, we had our memorial workout in honor of Shuseki Shihan William Oliver, the founder of our discipline who passed away in November 2004. One of the things Shuseki Shihan Paul said at the end of the workout when he was reminiscing about Oliver was a brief mention of the fact that he was a really big Paul Simon fan.

In honor of that, here are two live versions of my favorite of Simon’s songs, “Late in the Evening.” The first is from the concert in Central Park that Simon did with his erstwhile partner Art Garfunkel in 1981, a concert I attended as a twelve-year-old. The second is from a 2012 concert Simon did in Hyde Park.

midweek music: “Money for Nothing”

Here’s another one from the Music for Montserrat concert in 1997. The island of Montserrat had a studio on it owned by George Martin, and several great rock musicians have recorded there. The island suffered some nasty volcano damage in ’97, and Martin put together a benefit concert at the Royal Albert Hall. Here’s another one from it, with Sting and Mark Knopfler reuniting to perform the 1985 Dire Straits mega-hit “Money for Nothing” — still one of the ten best rock guitar riffs of all time — backed up by Eric Clapton, Phil Collins, Ray Cooper, and more. (Though I’m disappointed that the gospel choir didn’t join in the “I want my MTV” chant…….)

Monday music: “Hey Jude”

From the 1997 Music for Montserrat concert, we’ve got “Hey Jude” performed by Paul McCartney and Elton John both on vocals and piano, Sting on vocals, Mark Knopfler and Eric Clapton on guitar, Phil Collins on drums, Ray Cooper on percussion, and many more besides, including a gospel choir and an orchestra. Pretty dang fabulous…