Although we recently discovered how to access the primitive version of Facebook on our non-iPhone (so watch out), Rocks Off generally lives in an Internet-free bubble outside the office. And happily so, so it took until Monday's late local news for us to see - and subsequently laugh our fool heads off at - the video of
Houston Oilers Tennessee Titans owner Bud Adams going all Hopalong Cassidy with his middle fingers during last Sunday's Titans/Buffalo Bills American football contest. Naturally, this got Rocks Off to thinking about fingers and birds as deployed in various musical contexts. We did a little digging on the Interwebs and here's what we came up with. 1. This picture of Johnny Cash: Although the Man In Black was country to the bone - and not even wearing black here - some people call this the most famous rock and roll photograph ever taken. Somewhere at home Rocks Off has a T-shirt about two sizes too small featuring this image, supposedly snapped by Jim Marshall before a 1969 Cash concert at California's San Quentin prison (Marshall allegedly told him the next shot was "for the warden"). The photo was famously revived in the late '90s as a full-page ad in several publications after Cash's Unchained won the Grammy for Best Country Album. If that type is a little hard to make out, it says, "American Recordings and Johnny Cash would like to acknowledge the Nashville music establishment and country radio for your support." Burn!
The Bird - Morris Day2. Morris Day & the Time, "The Bird":
Rocks Off is about as big a Prince fan as we can imagine ever existing, but for our money, Morris Day & the Time's performances inPurple Rain
- this song and the better-known "Jungle Love," both from 1984'sIce Cream Castle
LP - are every bit the equal of His Purpleness and the Revolution's. And, dare we say, perhaps just a little funkier. Then again, we might be biased because long before we actually saw the movie - though not long before we went crazy over "Let's Go Crazy," "When Doves Cry," "Darling Nikki," etc. - we already loved this song, only as acrobatic WWF wrestler Koko B. Ware's theme music. Come to think of it, we wonder whatever happened to Koko's parrot/mascot, Frankie. One of The Time may well be wearing his feathers on that album cover there.3. Steven Fromholz, "I Gave Her a Ring":Renaissance man Steven Fromholz
- he's also a river tour guide and former Poet Laureate of Texas - may be one of the Lone Star State's most unsung songwriters. The general public may not know who he his, but Willie Nelson and Lyle Lovett sure do. Nelson had a hit with Fromholz's "I'd Have to Be Crazy" in 1976, while Lovett recorded "Bears" and "Texas Trilogy" on 1998'sStep Inside This House
. The tone of "I Gave Her a Ring" is similar to Fromholz's "The Saddest Man In Texas," but even sad sacks have to crack a smile at the line, "I said that's the wrong one/ When she held out the long one." Listen to the song onFromholz's MySpace page
.4. Igor Stravinsky, "The Firebird":
Composers from Mozart and Haydn to John Cage andDirty Harry
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scorer Lalo Schifirin have attempted to translate bird songs into beautiful music, and often succeeded.This interesting site even looks at the process from a science-fair-project point of view.
Rocks Off's pick is this Stravinsky ballet, adapted into an orchestral suite in 1945 by the composer, mostly for the gorgeous, bassoon- and oboe-led "Berceuse (Lullaby)" and majestic "Finale."
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Even to jazz philistines like Rocks Off, it's pretty obvious where "Bird" got his nickname from the way he makes that saxophone sing.6. Finger 11:
Rocks Off has a feeling from which finger the Canadian Staind knockoffs - in terms of truth in advertising, we prefer their former name Rainbow Butt Monkeys - take their name, and Beyonce sure wouldn't put a ring on that one. Gross.