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Good Morning Nanty Glo!
Friday, April 27 2001

The day the music died

Don McLean created a new American myth by writing, in "American Pie," about the plane crash that took the lives of Buddy Holly, J.P. Richardson (the Big Bopper), and Ritchie Valens as the day the music died (February 3, 1959). Since McLean's interminable song hit, the phrase has come to be used to describe any black day in the music world. Lovers of online midi files (many of which have been utilized on the Nanty Glo Home Pages, several of them here in the Jonal) call the point at which efforts of industry powers tried to restrict their online use succeeded as the day the music died. A pop magazine refers to the merger of the biggest concert promoter and the country's largest radio station-owning company the same way.

For about 30 years, I thought of the day the music died as the day, on my honeymoon, when my bride of only hours admitted that she'd misled me to think that we shared the same taste in popular music. Until then, collecting my favorite songs had been my favorite hobby and personal passion. I'd been the first on my block to have a tape recorder, then later a cassette recorder, and I had a collection of scores of cassettes of favorites by the time I'd been married. Though my brother Bob (13 years my senior) and I were always close, the music quest in particular was a shared passion. Learning that my new wife didn't support it and considered it a waste of both time and money was a blow from which I never recovered.

There's a funny/sad scene in my favorite "Nanty Glo" movie, "Diner," in which a newly married couple make a somewhat similar discovery. Though the groom is fanatic about his album collection, his wife perceives it as just something to use and enjoy without letting it control them, a sentiment the groom can't fathom, at least initially. It was a whole different level of discovery than my own, but one that suggests that couples may frequently have communication problems stemming from unshared musical appreciation, among other things.

Though discussion of music the way we have been doing here recently was a major topic of the teen column in my Blacklick Valley heyday, I haven't written it about it again until we stumbled into it here in February. I slowly weaned myself from my music hobby, sublimating all interest in it after the last friend of my youth and of my 20s, a musician and record reviewer for my magazine, relocated from Santa Barbara where we then lived, to Toronto. I eventually packed all my cassettes away and haven't listened to any of them (except Christmas ones) for years. Though I continued to listen to top-40/soft rock radio while driving alone, I didn't try to keep up with the music news and trends. Though the separation of my wife and eventual divorce is now about 20 years in the past, I hadn't tried to revisit that part of my younger self.

Until we began here discussing the role music played and has in the past played in our lives which led to my investigating Napster, joining in the fun there, and plunging into a "new"/old vocation. That day was the day music came to life again. Until April 26, yesterday, when, the music died again.

As of yesterday, Napster is decimated. The 600,000 to 800,000 titles that were available from 6,000 to 8,000 subscribers online at any given time over the past two weeks got compressed down, first, by about 200,000 titles at any given time, and by yesterday down to under 80,000 titles (the number of subscribers using it has stayed at about the same level). The contraction has taken place because most of the titles shared by the members are now blocked, in accordance with a court directive. Most of the famous performers found there the day before yesterday are now "not found." Even Bing Crosby and Al Jolson. Even the topical search using the keyword "Christmas" produces "No matching files found."

Napster is still appealing to Congress and might get some relief or reprieve...or it may not. Meanwhile, its worth as a research tool is nullified. If you can't find any titles by Pat Boone, how can you verify which hits he had, much less in which order, as was possible using Napster clues earlier?

I hope your own play list was almost complete.

Webmaster Jon Kennedy


A guy was sitting quietly reading his paper when his wife sneaked up behind him and whacked him on the head with a frying pan.

"What was that for?" he asked.

"That was for the piece of paper in your pants pocket with the name Marylou written on it," she replied.

"Two weeks ago when I went to the races, Marylou was the name of one of the horses I bet on," he explained. She looked satisfied, apologized, and went off to work around the house.

Three days later he's again sitting in his chair reading when she nails him with an even bigger frying pan, knocking him out cold. When he camr to, he asked, "What the H was that for?"

"Your horse phoned."

Sent by Mike Harrison

Suffer the children...

When I look at a patch of dandelions, I see a bunch of weeds that are going to take over my yard. My kids see flowers for Mom and blowing white fluff you can wish on.

When an old drunk smiles at me, I see a smelly, dirty person who probably wants money and I look away. My kids see someone smiling at them and they smile back.

When I hear music I love, I know I can't carry a tune and don't have much rhythm so I sit self-consciously and listen. My kids feel the beat and move to it. They sing out the words. If they don't know them, they make up their own.

When I feel wind on my face, I brace myself against it. I feel it messing up my hair and pulling me back when I walk. My kids close their eyes, spread their arms, and fly with it until they fall to the ground laughing.

When I pray, I say Thee and Thou and grant me this, give me that. My kids say, "Hi God! Thanks for my toys and my friends. Please keep the bad dreams away tonight. Sorry, I don't want to go to Heaven yet. I would miss my Mommy and Daddy."

When I see a mud puddle, I step around it. I see muddy shoes and clothes and dirty carpets. My kids sit in it. They see dams to build, rivers to cross and worms to play with.

I wonder if we are given kids to teach or to learn from? No wonder God loves the little children!

Sent by Zan
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