I see that today’s closing at TED featured Jamie Cullum (he’s on Twitter!) playing John Lennon’s Imagine. A very powerful song for a very big event.

I couldn’t find that cut in iTunes – but it did cause me to browse many of the other 150+ artists who have recorded Lennon’s amazing song and are available on iTunes.

A couple of new found favorites: Chalice (doing a delightful Reggae version), the late Eva Cassidy (doing an acoustic version with her “goes right through you voice” – wow!), and Madonna with a live, very electric version – chills included!

Be sure to read more about Eva Cassidy – she died in 1996 from melanoma. Listening to her performance of Imagine was the first time I’d heard her amazing voice! Whew, takes your breath away. (For a real treat, listen to Cassidy’s True Colors while watching the iTunes Visualizer!)

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Dirty Dancing (in London!)

I played tourist today in London. It was just great. Me and my Oyster card out on the surface of London. I stayed with the buses all day – great scenery and efficiency!

After walking down Whitehall from the Charing Cross Hotel and being first in line this morning at the Churchill Museum and Cabinet War Rooms, I headed to Knightsbridge for Harrods and Harvey Nichols for some gift shopping, lunch and then headed back to my hotel for a brief rest and to try to figure out my afternoon game plan.

While checking out the London TKTS site, I decided to see if any tickets were available for Dirty Dancing – but none were. Looking on Ticketmaster, I was able to secure a 3 PM matinée box seat for Dirty Dancing. I bought the ticket from my Mac at 1:40 and was in my box seat at the theatre just up the Strand from my hotel less than an hour later.

I’ve always enjoyed Dirty Dancing the movie and especially the great music – but the stage performance turned out to be one great tingling experience. This show brings you right up to the edge with the goosebumps – and then brings you out of your seat in the finale. Wow! (Also, I’d say the audience at today’s matinée was something like a 5:1 female/male ratio!)

After the play, I caught the RV1 bus just around the block from the theatre in Covent Garden over to the Tate Modern – for another “big wow”! The sheer scale of the Tate is unlike any other I’ve ever experienced.

PS: At SFO while I waiting for my flight to London, I downloaded the latest Rick Steves’ London guidebook to my Kindle. Today’s serendipity wouldn’t have happened without Rick’s guidance!

Something Especially Beautiful

Today, while working in my office, I had Music Choice’s Soundscapes channel on in the background when the most beautiful solo guitar piece started playing…one of those songs that just makes you stop what you’re doing in your tracks and listen.

I’ve started going to Amazon to look for used CD’s when I hear something I like – the used CD’s are cheaper than iTunes. I looked up the artist and read the description…

“The ice machine in my refrigerator broke. I called a service technician to fix it. He showed up at my house and began working on the problem while I proceeded to work on my music. When he was finished, he came to my studio (that was in a bedroom no bigger than a closet) to present the bill to me. He noticed that I had an acoustic guitar in the corner. He told me he was a guitar player. I asked him, somewhat cynically, if he’d like to play my guitar. He paused for a moment, looked me in the eyes, answered ‘yes’ in a whisper, then picked up the guitar, sat on the floor and began to play.”…

Read more of it online – it gets even better. Tony Sandate’s Simple Song on the album Sunset Meditation is truly a sheer delight. I both bought it on iTunes and as well as a used CD on Amazon!

iPod Shuffle = Amazing!

I couldn’t resist and ordered an Apple iPod Shuffle on announcement day. My Shuffle arrived yesterday and I got around to loading it up tonight. The USB 2.0 loading from my PowerBook was a bit slower than the FireWire loading of a traditional iPod — but not by much.

What I find particularly amazing about the Shuffle is the superb audio quality. I’m listening tonight on my original Bose noise-canceling headphones and the audio quality is just superb…and it’s all pretty amazing coming out of such a small device as the Shuffle!


Tell A Friend

Just noticed this morning that Apple’s iTunes Music Store has added a “Tell a Friend” feature — allowing you to send an email album recommendation to a friend. The HTML email includes the album cover and a link back to the iTunes Music Store page for the album.

Killing the Music

Don Henley writes in the Washington Post about the effects of music industry consolidation. The effects are larger including consolidation in ownership of broadcast media, retail stores, etc.

Artists are finally realizing their predicament is no different from that of any other group with common economic and political interests. They can no longer just hope for change; they must fight for it. Washington is where artists must go to plead their case and find answers.

Tower Records

Tower Records filed for bankruptcy last week marking the end of an era. In today’s New York Times, Verlyn Klinkenborg shares his memories of that first Tower Records store he visited back in the mid-60’s.

For me, that first Tower store was the one in San Francisco’s North Beach, on the corner of Columbus and Bay. What a place — a big box retailer before we even knew what they were. As Klinkenborg says, “once upon a time Tower Records seemed like the last word in consumer gratification.”

Music and Lawyers

Terril Yue Jones reports in the Los Angeles Times about recently announced Apple/HP deal around the iPod and the iTunes Music Store.

The most intense negotiations concerned myriad issues relating to digital rights, which were handled by lawyers, Anderson said. Apple already had worked out digital rights management and royalty agreements with the five major record companies, and HP hoped to eliminate the need for having to repeat those tortuous consultations with the record industry.

So, it wasn’t the beauty of the iPod — although that helped a lot — it was Apple’s ability to get the music industry to go along that was most attractive to HP.