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04 July 2011


John B.

Happy Fourth to you and yours, too, Pam.

These versions of the anthem are fascinating to listen to. I'd heard the Hendrix before, of course, but all the others are new to me, and each is revelatory. The last thing I thought I'd ever say about Marvin Gaye (re the first version), though, is that he sounds like Nat "King" Cole; the other last thing I thought I'd ever say about the anthem itself is that some could make a version of it that you could actually groove to a little--without its demeaning the anthem-as-anthem.

Lurking behinds all this is a meditation on our relationship with performances of the anthem: what it should/should not do. I'll spare your comment section of that, you'll be pleased to know . . .


John, I was only familiar with the last two - the Hendrix and 1983 Marvin Gaye performance. But this morning I came across the earlier Marvin Gaye performance - and how he was told to sing it the traditional way - that is, to not personalize it - and hence, you have hear something that's not quite right - not quite Marvin Gaye that is. But then - not even a week later - Jose Felicianos does what is considered the first personalized rendition of the song (which is hard for me to believe - but that's what I read). It was during the height of the Vietnam War protests, and supposedly after he did this performance, he was banned from alot of radio stations, etc - and it really damaged his career. We think of Jimi Hendrix doing the ultimate personalized version of the song - but it seems that Jose F. paved the way - something that I never knew. And then - of course there is the wonderful rendition of the song in 1983 by Marvin Gaye, sung the way Marvin Gaye should sing it - and... wow! The symbolism behind these four renditions of the national anthem - well, to me it's what it's all about. Anyway, would love to hear what you have to say about our relationship with the performances - perhaps a post over at your place sometime?

ps Hope you're having a nice summer. I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed, preparing for a move to northern Virginia for a year. As always - it's good hearing from you.

Janet, The Queen of Seaford

We were out and about yesterday and our public radio station (the BEST!)(WNCW) played Jimi Hendrix, hadn't heard that for years.
How did the house hunt go?


Janet, thanks for asking - I did find a rental, a little two story brick place in McLean on a decent sized lot (a little over half an acre - with a fenced in backyard). I'm going up next week for a two day meeting, and I'll see it for the first time (someone I trust checked it out for me). It's in McLean - and only about 5 miles from my office, which I'm thrilled about. Swamped though - trying to get everything taken care of here so I can abandon the place for a while - and then packing... ugh. You know about moving!!!!

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