“Blackface” and the Minstrel Show


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Myself By T.V. Antony Raj

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American actor John McCullough as Othello, 1878.

American actor John McCullough as Othello, 1878.

In England, theatrical portrayals of black characters by white actors date back to as early as 1604. Since Shakespeare’s days, the character of Othello was traditionally played by a white actor in black makeup.

In the United States, during the 19th century, “Blackface” was a form of theatrical makeup used by performers to represent a black person – a stereotyped caricature of black people – in minstrel shows, and later in vaudeville.

Reproduction of a 1900 William H. West minstrel show poster, originally published by the Strobridge Litho Co., shows the transformation from white to "black". (Source: Library of Congress)

Reproduction of a 1900 William H. West minstrel show poster, originally published by the Strobridge Litho Co., shows the transformation from white to “black”. (Source: Library of Congress)

However, there is no consensus about the origin of blackface.

The Padlock is a two-act ‘afterpiece‘ opera created by Charles Dibdin. It debuted in 1768 at the Drury Lane Theatre in London, England, and was a success, largely due to Dibdin’s portrayal of Mungo, a blackface caricature of an inebriated black servant from the West Indies. The following year, the company took the production to the United States.

On May 29, 1769, Lewis Hallam, Jr., a white blackface actor of American Company fame, played the role of Mungo, in The Padlock, that premiered in New York City at the John Street Theatre with even greater accolades. In due course, the Mungo character attracted notice, and other performers adopted the style.

From the 1810s, blackface clowns were popular in the United States.

British actor Charles Mathews toured the United States in 1822–23, and as a result added a “black” characterization to his repertoire of British regional types for his next show, A Trip to America, which included Mathews singingPossum up a Gum Tree,” a popular slave freedom song.

Edwin Forrest played a plantation black in 1823, and George Washington Dixon was already building his stage career around blackface in 1828.

The song “Old Zip Coon

The song “Old Zip Coon” or “Zip Coon,” or was written sometime before 1827. At least four versions of the song were published between 1827 and 1834. Several folks have claimed to have written the song, but the true composer will probably never be known. Today, the tune itself is best known as “Turkey In The Straw.” The following video by Tom Roush portrays American life and music in the 19th century.

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The song “Jump Jim Crow

Thomas Dartmouth “Daddy” Rice Playing Jim Crow in Blackface, New York City, 1833.

Thomas Dartmouth “Daddy” Rice Playing Jim Crow in Blackface, New York City, 1833.

In 1828, Thomas Dartmouth “Daddy” Rice, a white New York comedian, performed his song and dance routine called “Jump Jim Crow” in blackface. Rice’s performance was supposedly inspired by the song and dance of a physically disabled black man he had seen in Cincinnati, Ohio, named Jim Cuff or Jim Crow.

The song “Jump Jim Crow” became a huge hit and Thomas Rice performed it across the country. By 1832, he scored stardom as “Daddy Jim Crow,” a caricature of a shabbily dressed Afro-American man.

Jim Crow as entertainment spread rapidly across the United States in the years prior to the Civil War and eventually spread its influence around the world. Because of this influence, in 1841, when John Lloyd Stephens, the United States’ special ambassador to Central America, arrived in Merida on Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, a local brass band played “Jump Jim Crow” inadvertently, because they thought it was the national anthem of the United States.

The popularity of Jump Jim Crow and the blackface form of entertainment also prompted many whites to refer to most black males routinely as Jim Crow.

Jim Crow contributed to the proliferation of stereotypes such as the “happy-go-lucky darky on the plantation” or the “dandified coon”.

The Minstrel Show

Jump Jim Crow” initiated a new form of popular music and theatrical performances in the United States that focused their attention on the mockery of Afro-Americans. This new genre was called the minstrel show.

The minstrel show, or minstrelsy, was a form of American entertainment consisting of comic skits, variety acts, dancing, and music, performed by white people in blackface. By the late 18th century, blackface characters began appearing on the American stage, usually as servants to provide some element of comic relief. The black people were lampooned in the minstrel shows as musically oriented lazy, dim-witted, buffoonish, superstitious, and happy-go-lucky.

In the early 1830s, the blackface acts found a home in the taverns of New York’s less respectable precincts of Lower Broadway, the Bowery, and Chatham Street and in circuses.

It also appeared on more respectable stages, most often as brief burlesques and comic an entr’acte in New York theaters. Upper-class houses at first limited the number of such acts they would show, but beginning in 1841, much to the dismay of some patrons, blackface performers frequently took to the stage at even the classy Park Theatre.

In popularity, the blackface “Sambo” character superseded the “tall-tale-telling Yankee” and the “frontiersman” character-types.

White actors such as Charles Mathews, George Washington Dixon, and Edwin Forrest began to build reputations as blackface performers. Author Constance Rourke even claimed that Forrest’s impression was so good he could fool blacks when he mingled with them in the streets.

In the following decade, blackface minstrelsy transformed into a full-fledged distinctly American theatrical form. By 1848, blackface minstrel shows were an American national art form of the time that translated formal art such as the opera into popular terms for a general audience. After the Civil War (fought from 1861 to 1865), black people too got into the act in the minstrel shows.

In the 1830s and 1840s, blackface minstrelsy was at the core of the rise of an American music industry, and for several decades, it served as the spectacles through which white America viewed black America.

While the blackface minstrelsy had its strong racist aspects, it also afforded the white Americans to have a singular and broad awareness of the significant aspects of black-American culture.

The Panic of 1837 was a financial crisis in the United States that touched off a major recession that lasted until the mid-1840s. During this period, theater attendance suffered, and concerts were one of the few attractions that could still make money.

In 1843, four blackface performers led by Dan Emmett, calling themselves the Virginia Minstrels, staged a concert at the New York Bowery Amphitheatre. Thus, was born the minstrel show as a complete evening’s entertainment. The original lineup consisted of Emmett, Billy Whitlock, Dick Pelham, and Frank Brower.

The Virginia Minstrels show had little structure. The four sat in a semicircle, played songs, and traded wisecracks. One gave a stump speech in dialect, and they ended with a lively plantation song.

The term “minstrel” had previously been reserved for traveling white singing groups, but Emmett and his group made it synonymous with blackface performance, and by using it, signalled that they were reaching out to a new, middle-class audience.

On February 6, 1843, New York Herald, wrote that the production was “entirely exempt from the vulgarities and other objectionable features, which have hitherto characterized Negro extravaganzas.”

1844 sheet music cover for a collection of songs by the Christy's Minstrels. George Christy appears in the circle at top. (Source: Boston Public Library)

1844 sheet music cover for a collection of songs by the Christy’s Minstrels. George Christy appears in the circle at top. (Source: Boston Public Library)

In 1845, the Ethiopian Serenaders surpassed the Virginia Minstrels in popularity by purging out low humor from their show. Shortly thereafter, Edwin Pearce Christy formed Christy’s Minstrels, combining the refined singing of the Ethiopian Serenaders with the Virginia Minstrels’ bawdy act. Christy’s company established the three-act template into which minstrel shows would fall for the next few decades.

From then on, a typical minstrel performance followed a three-act structure. The troupe first danced onto stage, then exchanged wisecracks and sang songs. The second part featured a variety of entertainment, including the pun-filled stump speech. The final act consisted of a slapstick musical plantation skit or a send-up of a popular play.

The songs and sketches in the typical minstrel show featured several stock characters, most popularly the slave and the dandy. The characters were further divided into sub-archetypes such as the mammy, her counterpart the old darky, the provocative mulatto wench, and the black soldier.

Minstrels claimed that their songs and dances were authentically black, although the extent of the black influence remains debated.

In 1866, Sam Hague, a British blackface minstrel dancer was the first white owner of a minstrel troupe composed of black members called Sam Hague’s Slave Troupe of Georgia Minstrels. The troupe toured England for several years.

Hague’s overseas success lent black minstrelsy a new credence in the United States. However, at least one critic maintained their rise had damaged minstrelsy, and that white blackface minstrels were better at representing black Americans than black Americans were themselves.

Hague’s lead inspired many other white owners to purchase black companies. By the mid-1870s, white men owned the most successful American black troupes. Ironically, when Sam Hague’s Slave Troupe returned to the United States, Charles Callender purchased the company.

William H. West, known as the “Progressive Minstrel,” emulated Sam Hague and became one of the first white owners of a minstrel troupe composed of black performers in the United States. West often produced and played minstrel shows with George Primrose. They had a hit, and were known as “The Millionaires of Minstrelsy.”

Poster of William H. West's Big Minstrel Jubilee rough riders.

Poster of William H. West’s Big Minstrel Jubilee rough riders.

In the 1870s, spirituals, also known as jubilees, entered the repertoire marking the first undeniably black music to be used in minstrelsy. William West became the sole producer “William H. West’s Big Minstrel Jubilee,” the supposedly richest and costliest minstrel organization in existence. The Big Minstrel Jubilee, featured some of the leading performers of the day. Their show always ended with the cast, in blackface, singing songs of the period.

The minstrel shows were extremely popular, enjoyed by whole families from all walks of life irrespective of the ethnic group they belonged to.

At the same time, they were also controversial. While the racial integrationists decried them as falsely showing happy slaves while at the same time making fun of them, the segregationists thought such shows were disrespectful of social norms as they portrayed runaway slaves with sympathy, and undermined the institution of the southerners.

The minstrel shows survived as professional entertainment until about 1910 when it lost popularity and was replaced for the most part by vaudeville. Blackface branched off from the minstrel show and became a form in its own right. Stereotypes embodied in the stock characters of blackface minstrels played a significant role in cementing and proliferating racist images, attitudes, and perceptions worldwide. At the same time, they popularized black culture.

Amateurs continued to perform blackface and the minstrel shows in high schools, and local theaters, until the 1960s. These performances too ended in the United States as the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s progressed and gained acceptance.

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Some Mothers Still Do Have ‘Em!


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Myself . By T.V. Antony Raj
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Senthil: Tamil Cinema comedian, Tamilnadu, India.

Senthil: Tamil Cinema comedian, Tamilnadu, India.

Actor Senthil is a popular cine comedian in the South Indian cine field particularly in Kollywood, Tamilnadu, India. He has acted in many popular movies with several leading actors and comedians.

Senthil was born on March 23, 1951, in Ilanjambore, in a small village near Mudukulathur, Ramanathapuram District, Tamilnadu. Since he was an unruly boy, he was constantly scolded by his father. At the age of 12, he ran away from home. He first worked in the shop of a cooking oil vendor. Later he worked as a bar attendant in a private wine shop. Interested in acting, he joined a drama troupe where he developed his acting skills. He received small roles in the Tamil film industry in Chennai.

The movie Malayoor Mambattiyan gave him the required exposure to propel him to stardom. He has about 185 Tamil movies to his credit. He has also acted in movies in Hindi, Malayalam etc.

He is notable for his comedy roles pairing with actor Goundamani in the vein of Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy who were popular during the late 1920s to the mid-1940s

Senthil is one of the most-loved comedians in the South Indian film industry. His appearance on the screen enlivened the audience replete with claps and whistles; and, when he paired up with Goundamani, the cheering doubled.

Goundamani and Senthil ruled the comedy world of Tamil cinema for over two decades. They established a place for themselves in the heart of their audience by entertaining them with their perfectly timed dialogue delivery and unsurpassed body language, and witty, rib-tickling comedy.

Senthil opted to act in movies irrespective of their budget. Once he said: “I don’t believe in movies with small budgets are large budgets. There are only two types of movies – good and bad.”

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Let Us Begin This Year with a Bit of Laughter …


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Myself By T.V. Antony Raj
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Bud Abbott and Lou Costello

Bud Abbott and Lou Costello

During the 1940s and 1950s the American comedy duo William “Bud” Abbott and Lou Costello (born Louis Francis Cristillo), appeared in vaudeville and on stage, radio, film and television. This popular comedy team made everyone in the audience split their sides with laughter.

Their patter routine in “Who’s on First?” sets the framework for many of their best-known comedy bits. Many consider it as one of the greatest comedy routines of all time.

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In this following video clip titled “Crazy House” Bud Abbott and Lou Costello perform one of their most famous and widely copied burlesque and vaudeville interruption sketches. Known on the vaudeville circuit as the “Nut House,” this filmed sketch from the first season of their 1952 half-hour television show is probably one of the few surviving performances of this well-worn, and now largely forgotten, burlesque classic.

The sketch starts with Lou suffering from insomnia. Bud decides to check Lou into a “rest home.” More like a mental institution with patients in command, Lou subjected to a series of bizarre intrusions into his hospital room eventually sleeps. We get a chance to experience such classic schtick as spit takes, gun fire, and seltzer bottles.

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Wish you all a world surrounded by laughter and glee!

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The Black Hole: I Like this Video


Click the image to see the video.
The Black Hole

I hope you enjoyed this short video.

Isn’t this similar to the story of the Golden Goose?

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The Vesper Martini


“One drink of vodka in a cheerful glass, in the company of good poetry and the scent of blossoms and earth might entice the most well intended to forgo promise of atonement until a worse time. I have at times been just less than amazed how one drink merges with the second, where at some unknown point a mental transformation sets in.” – Ronald Everett Capps, Off Magazine Street

 

Vesper Martini James Bond style

The Vesper Martini of Ian Fleming’s James Bond

 

As connoisseurs say, Martini is a drink with many options. Every bartender knows how to prepare the classic Martini:

 

2 1/2 ounce gin
1/2 ounce dry vermouth
1 green olive or lemon twist for garnish
Orange or Angostura bitters (optional)

 

The bartender first fills a mixing glass with ice cubes, pours the ingredients over the ice and after stirring for half a minute, strains the mix into a chilled cocktail glass. If desired, he will add a dash of orange or Angostura bitters. Finally, he adds an olive or a lemon twist garnish.

 

There are many shades of the classic martini. Dry Martini uses a bit more dry vermouth. Bone Dry Martini also known as Desert Martini does not contain vermouth. Gibson Martini uses a cocktail onion for garnish. Perfect Marini has equal portions of dry and sweet vermouth. Dirty Martini contains a dash of olive brine. 50:50 Martinii uses equal parts of gin and dry vermouth. In Vodka Martini, vodka replaces gin.

 

I like this quote from Casino Royale where James Bond sent to play a high-stakes baccarat game against Le Chiffre orders a martini:

 

“A dry martini,” [Bond] said. “One. In a deep champagne goblet.”

 

“Oui, monsieur.”

 

“Just a moment. Three measures of Gordon’s, one of vodka, half a measure of Kina Lillet. Shake it very well until it’s ice-cold, then add a large thin slice of lemon peel. Got it?”

 

“Certainly, monsieur.” The barman seemed pleased with the idea.

 

“Gosh, that’s certainly a drink,” said Leiter.

 

Bond laughed. “When I’m…er…concentrating,” he explained, “I never have more than one drink before dinner. But I do like that one to be large and very strong and very cold and very well-made. I hate small portions of anything, particularly when they taste bad. This drink’s my own invention. I’m going to patent it when I can think of a good name.”

 

Later in the film James Bond names the Martini “Vesper” after Vesper Lynd the novel’s lead female character.

 

James Bond: I think I’ll call it a Vesper.
Vesper Lynd: Because of the bitter aftertaste?
James Bond: No, because once you’ve tasted it, that’s all you want to drink.

 

Vesper Martini uses both gin and vodka. However, it uses the delicate, golden-colored French aperitif Kina Lillet often referred to as “L’apéritif de Bordeaux” in lieu of the usual dry vermouth, and lemon peel instead of an olive for garnish.

 

Ingredients for Vesper Martini:

 

3 measures of Gordon’s Gin
1 measure of vodka
1/2 measure Kina Lillet
One large thin slice of lemon peel for garnish

 

Since the publication of the book Casino Royale in 1953, there has been much change. English Gordon’s gin now under 80 proof used to be 94 then. The brand of vodka though not specified in the novel or the film have a Bond connection in both 100 proof Stolichnaya and Smirnoff. Now, the Kina Lillet, can be found labeled as White or Blanc Lillet.

 

I found this recipe for a modern Vesper in Esquire.

 

The Vesper, 2006

 

Shake (if you must) with plenty of cracked ice:

 

3 ounce Tanqueray gin
1 ounce 100-proof Stolichnaya vodka
1/2 ounce Lillet Blanc
1/8 teaspoon (or less) quinine powder or, in desperation, 2 dashes of bitters

 

Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and twist a large swatch of thin-cut lemon peel over the top. Shoot somebody evil.

 

Oh, and don’t worry about the champagne goblet. Cocktail glasses are bigger now. And that shaking business? All things being equal, a stirred martini will be colder and silkier. Just so you know.

 

 

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The ARKOFF Formula and the Peter Pan Syndrome


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Myself . By T.V. Antony Raj

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In 1954, James H. Nicholson, and Samuel Z. Arkoff, an entertainment lawyer founded American Releasing Corporation (ARC). They released their first film “The Fast and the Furious” starring John Ireland and Dorothy Malone in 1955.

From ARC, Nicholson and Arkoff launched a film production company, American International Pictures (AIP) in April 1954. Perceiving that other filmmakers were overlooking the lucrative teenage drive-in sector, AIP focused on producing several low-budget, youth-oriented movies. They exploited the up and coming juvenile delinquent genre with movies like Daddy-O, High School Hellcats, Female Jungle, Reform School Girl, Runaway Daughters, and Girls in Prison. Additionally they distributed independently produced low-budget films bundled as double features, particularly appealing to the teenagers of the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s.

In a 1980s talk show, Samuel Z. Arkoff spelled out his tried-and-true “ARKOFF formula” for producing a successful low-budget movie.

Action (exciting, entertaining drama)
Revolution (novel or controversial themes and ideas)
Killing (a modicum of violence)
Oratory (notable dialogue and speeches)
Fantasy (acted-out fantasies common to the audience)
Fornication (sex appeal, for young adults)

Soon after, the AIP promotion division envisaged a strategy known as “The Peter Pan Syndrome”:

a) A younger child will watch anything an older child will watch.
b) An older child will not watch anything a younger child will watch.
c) A girl will watch anything a boy will watch.
d) A boy will not watch anything a girl will watch.

Consequently, to capture the largest audience they zeroed in on the 19-year old male.

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Six Word Saturday – August 11, 2012 : RESOURCES


Here’s my entry for Six Word Saturday:

CHECK ALL RESOURCES BEFORE STARTING PROJECT

Click on the badge above for more details on this challenge.

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What would you prefer to read – ‘The Holy Bible’ or ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’?


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Myself By T.V. Antony Raj

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Earlier this month, Damson Dene Hotel, in England’s Lake District, replaced in all 40 guest rooms, the ubiquitous bedside cabinet Gideon Bible with something a bit more modern, the soft-porn bestseller: “Fifty Shades of Grey” by E.L. James, a former TV executive, wife and mother of two based in West London.

The irony is that the Damson Dene Hotel, was purchased from a Methodist group 10 years ago. Its current owner, Jonathan Denby, apparently thought it inappropriate to distribute Bibles in today’s secular society and has explained his decision in a blog post:

Tonight millions of women will be curling up in bed with a good book and you can bet your life it won’t be the Bible. More likely than not it will be Fifty Shades of Grey. I haven’t read the book yet – I’m not in the target audience – but I’m told it’s a ripping good yarn and everyone who’s in the target audience loves it. This made me  wonder about the sense of providing a book, the Gideon Bible which no one reads, and many dislike, in the bedside cabinet of our hotel bedrooms, instead of a book which everyone wants to read, such as Fifty Shades of Grey.

Denby said he did not do it for any philosophical reasons, and had considered substitutions for a long time. “I was thinking originally of putting in a book by Ayn Rand – Atlas Shrugged was my first thought,” Denby told NBC News.

Denby also said in his blog: “I’ll keep a couple behind the reception desk so that if any guest whose preferred bedtime reading happens to be the Bible finds that they have forgotten to pack their copy, they’ll be pleased to read in the guest handbook that they can borrow a copy from the receptionist.

That hasn’t stopped the local vicar from publicly denouncing the change. Rev. Michael Woodcock, Local vicar and parish priest at St. Mary’s Church in Crosthwaite has publicly denounced the change. He told British media that the hotel’s decision is just a gimmick. “It is a shame that the Bible has been taken out,” he told the paper. “But I am sure it will be put back in the future. The more attention that is drawn to this the more bad publicity it gets.”

Fifty Shades of Grey‘ is all that people are talking about at the moment, but I know that some are too shy to buy it for themselves,” hotel manager Wayne Bartholomew told the Daily Mail. “I thought it would be a special treat for our guests to find it in their bedside cabinet and that includes the men too.”

“The Bible is a great read. It has stories which feature sex and violence, as well as comedy, tragedy, poetry, and prose. Its themes are eternal; they still speak directly into people’s lives centuries after it was written,” said a member of The Bible Society.

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Harris Jayaraj for Dummies


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Myself . By T.V. Antony Raj

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Harris Jayaraj, an Indian film composer from Chennai, Tamil Nadu has written numerous scores and soundtracks for Tamil, Telugu and Hindi films.

His father, S. M. Jayakumar, a noted film guitarist was an assistant to Shyam, the Malayalam music director and later became a film composer.

Harris began his formal training in carnatic music when he was six. As per his father wish he learned classical guitar. At the 4th grade exam conducted by the Trinity
College of Music, London, Harris scored the highest mark in Asia. In 1987, at the tender age of twelve Harris began his music career as a guitarist.

Click on the above image

First night, First dreams, They are coming

Note: The English translation was done by an anonymous person.

Lyrics

Mudhal iravu, mudhal kanavu, varugiradhu
(First night, first dreams, coming)

Muzhu nilavu, oru milagu, erigiradhu
(full moon, one black pepper, burning)

Pagal nilavu, digil kanavu, varugiradhu
(day moon, nightmare, coming)

Vazhi sevuru, mazhai kuluru, adikiradhu
(a wall on the way, cold rain, beating)

Chorus

Thirakkaadha vaanam ondru, pirikkaamal paathen indru
(non opening sky, without opening, I saw today)

Thiriyaadha paalai kondu wowuwowuyeah
(non spoiled milk, wowuwowuyeah)

Sirikkaadha pennai kandu, markkaadha nenjam ondru
(seeing non smiling girl, one non-forgetting heart)

Arikkaadha mudhugai kandu, wowuwowuyeah
(seeing non-scratchy back, wowuwowuyeah)

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Paul McCartney’s “When I’m Sixty-Four”


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Myself By T.V. Antony Raj

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When I’m Sixty-Four” was the first song recorded for Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (often shortened to Sgt. Pepper), the eighth studio album by “The Beatles”, the English rock band. The album was released on June 1, 1967 on the Parlophone label, arranged and produced by George Martin (who later in 1996 was made a Knight Bachelor and honoured as Sir George Henry Martin CBE, in recognition of his services to the music industry and popular culture.).

The album, “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band“, is widely regarded as one of the greatest of all time, and has since been recognised as one of the most important albums in the history of popular music, that included songs such as “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” and “A Day in the Life

Paul McCartney, a Beatle, was born on June 18, 1942, in Liverpool, England to Mary, a maternity nurse and James McCartney, a cotton salesman. Paul was raised in a traditional working-class family, much the same as his future fellow Beatles Ringo Starr and George Harrison.

When Paul was 14 years old his mother died. Soon, he began his lifelong love affair with music. His father, a jazz pianist from the 1930s and 1940s, who never got a nod of recognition from anyone, encouraged him to play multiple musical instruments. Paul took formal music lessons as a boy, but the future Beatle preferred to learn by ear. He taught himself the Spanish guitar, trumpet and piano.

In 1957, at the age of 15, Paul McCartney met John Lennon at a church festival where both teenagers were performing. They both struck a chord and Paul joined Lennon’s band “The Quarrymen.”

Paul McCartney, wrote the basic tune for the song “When I’m Sixty-Four” when he was only 15. He copied his father James McCartney’s style. He used to play it when The Beatles were still known as “The Quarrymen.” Paul wrote the lyrics later in honor of his father’s 64th birthday and sang the lead vocals.

In “When I’m Sixty-Four“, a man asks a woman whether she will still be with him when he got older, when he was 64 years old.

In March 1997, Paul McCartney was knighted for services to music.

Sir James Paul McCartney, MBE, turned 64 on June 18, 2006. Isn’t it pathetic that on May 17, 2006, Paul McCartney and his then wife, Heather Mills, separated, finalizing the divorce in 2008? So, “No” would be the answer to his musical query with regards to Heather Mills.

They could have waited a year.

LYRICS

When I’m Sixty Four

When I get older, losing my hair
many years from now,
will you still be sending me a valentine,
birthday greetings, bottle of wine?

If I’d been out till quarter to three,
would you lock the door?
Will you still need me, will you still feed me,
when I’m sixty four? Ooh

You’ll be older too.
Ah, and if you say the word,
I could stay with you.

I could be handy mending a fuse
when your lights have gone.
You can knit a sweater by the fireside,
Sunday mornings, go for a ride.

Doing the garden, digging the weeds,
who could ask for more?
Will you still need me, will you still feed me,
when I’m sixty four?

Ev’ry summer we can rent a cottage
in the Isle of Wight if it’s not too dear.
We shall scrimp and save.
Grandchildren on your knee;
Vera, Chuck and Dave.

Send me a postcard, drop me a line,
stating point of view.
Indicate precisely what you mean to say,
yours sincerely, wasting away.

Give me your answer, fill in a form,
mine forevermore.
Will you still need me, will you still feed me,
when I’m sixty four? Ho!