A Foreign Sound

Concept, graphic design, and photography by Miguel Rio Branco.

The album’s title seems derived from a line of a Bob Dylan’s song, It’s Alright Ma (I’m Only Bleeding): “So don’t fear if you hear/ A foreign sound to your ear”

 
 

Caetano Veloso is widely recognized as one of the world’s most original artists and has been hailed by as “one of the greatest songwriters of the century.” Still Veloso never hesitates to acknowledge those who influence his own music—whether the bossa nova pioneer João Gilberto or the seminal filmmaker Federico Fellini. His first album sung entirely in English, A Foreign Sound reveals the diversity of American songwriters he has loved and studied over the years, from Irving Berlin, Rodgers & Hart, and Cole Porter to Stevie Wonder, Bob Dylan and David Byrne.

A Foreign Sound is a culmination of Veloso’s longstanding and multifarious exploration of American music. Surprising and imaginative interpretations of American songs have been a staple of his recent live shows, and they have made occasional appearances on his studio albums over the years. As he explains in his acclaimed memoir, Tropical Truth: A Story of Music & Revolution in Brazil (Knopf 2002), he came to some of his favorite American singers and musicians—including Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, Chet Baker, Miles Davis, and the Modern Jazz Quartet—by tracing the steps of his foremost musical hero, Joao Gilberto. On A Foreign Sound, Veloso interprets several songs he first learned listening to these artists in the early 1960s, including So In Love, Love for Sale, Manhattan, and Body and Soul. Other songs have particular significance in the context of Brazilian culture.

Veloso’s approach to the music varies from track to track. While on some songs he is backed by a 28-piece orchestra, on others his only accompaniment is his signature acoustic guitar playing. Love for Sale is recorded completely a cappella. Among the many accomplished musicians featured on the album are Caetano’s son Moreno and his longtime collaborator Jaques Morelenbaum, who contributes as arranger, conductor and cellist.

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The Daisy Follows Soft the Sun

Viretta Park, Seattle, located directly next door to Kurt and Courtney’s house. Photo credit: Ryan Coleman.

Killing Yourself to Live: 85% of a True Story by Chuck Klosterman states that “The greenhouse where Cobain swallowed a shotgun shell was torn down in 1996; now it’s just a garden. One specially tall sunflower appears to signify where the Nirvana frontman died, but that might be coincidence…”

 
 

106

The Daisy follows soft the Sun—
And when his golden walk is done—
Sits shyly at his feet—
He—waking—finds the flower there—
Wherefore—Marauder—art thou here?
Because, Sir, love is sweet!

We are the Flower—Thou the Sun!
Forgive us, if as days decline—
We nearer steal to Thee!
Enamored of the parting West—
The peace—the flight—the Amethyst—
Night’s possibility!

Emily Dickinson

The Weight of Epitaph

Rolling Stone. Issue No. 683,  June 2, 1994

 
 

In a special edition to remember his life and legacy, Rolling Stone put a close-up photo of Kurt Cobain staring at the camera on its June 4, 1994 cover. That photo, shown at right, was taken at the Park Trades Center in Kalamazoo (Michigan) on Oct. 27, 1993, according to Rolling Stone and Kalamazoo Gazette archives.

“On good days, Kurt was talkative and eager to play,” says former Nirvana publicist Jim Merlis. “On bad days, no one could make you feel so uncomfortable without saying a word.” October 27th, 1993, was a good day. Nirvana were in Kalamazoo, Michigan, ten days into a U.S. tour promoting In Utero, and Kurt Cobain was excited about that night’s show; two of his favorite bands, the Meat Puppets and the Boredoms, were joining the bill.

And Cobain’s daughter, one-year-old Frances Bean, was in the entourage. She had been shuttling between Nirvana gigs and a studio in Atlanta where her mother, Courtney Love, was recording Hole’s Live Through This. “Just the sight of Frances could change his whole attitude,” Merlis says of Cobain, who was in such a buoyant mood that afternoon he happily sailed through a long Rolling Stone cover session with Mark Seliger.

 
 

Rolling Stone No. 628, April 1992

 
 

Seliger had already shot Cobain on a bad day, for a 1992 cover story about Nirvana’s manic overnight stardom. “Kurt was very resistant,” Seliger recalls. “He didn’t want to be publicized. He didn’t want anything but to be true to his fans and to the music.” To emphasize his discontent, Cobain wore a T-shirt with the now-famous homemade inscription corporate magazines still suck. Twenty months later, in Kalamazoo, Cobain was ready to laugh at the irony of Nirvana’s superstardom. “We arranged to have Brooks Brothers suits as a response to their success,” says Seliger. “Kurt thought it was really funny. He loved it.” Cobain also posed in a female cheerleader’s outfit, complete with pompoms.

But before taking those photos, Seliger also quickly shot individual frames of each band member. And in this commanding close-up of Cobain’s steady, wary gaze, he caught the insecurity, frustration and mistrust that still gnawed at the Nirvana frontman. Two days earlier, in Chicago, Cobain had spoken frankly of his teenage rock & roll dreams and his ongoing war with fame. “I never wanted to sing,” he told Rolling Stone‘s David Fricke. “I just wanted to play rhythm guitar — hide in the back and just play.” But when the big time hit him, in the fall of 1991, he said, “It was so fast and explosive. I didn’t know how to deal with it. If there was a Rock Star 101 course, I would have liked to take it. It might have helped me.” Still, he insisted, life was good and getting better: “I just hope I don’t become so blissful I become boring. I think I’ll always be neurotic enough to do something weird.”

Six months later, on April 8th, 1994, Cobain was found dead, from a self-inflicted gunshot, in a room above the garage at his Seattle home, and Seliger’s portrait, first published with Fricke’s interview, carried the weight of epitaph, on the cover of Rolling Stone‘s special issue commemorating Cobain’s life, music and tragic death.

 
 

 Caption: “Originally an inside opener for Rolling Stone cover story of Nirvana in conjunction with the release of “In Utero”, my first Polaroid (with negative) was by far the most emotional and revealing of his spirit. Two months later Kurt died from a self-inflicted gun shot wound to his head. This photograph became the memorial R.S. Cover”

 
 

Wanting to Be Big Stars

“The outside influences are always pouring in upon us, and we are always obeying their orders and accepting their verdicts. The Smiths like the new play; the Joneses go to see it, and they copy the Smith verdict.”

Mark Twain
Corn Pone Opinions
1923

 
 

 
 

“Sha, la, la, la, la, la, la

Mmm

Uh huh

I was down at the New Amsterdam

Staring at this yellow-haired girl

Mr Jones strikes up a conversation

Sha, la, la, la, la, la, la

Mmm

Uh huh

With a black-haired flamenco dancer

You know, she dances while his father plays guitar

She’s suddenly beautiful

We all want something beautiful

Man, I wish I was beautiful

So come dance the silence down through the morning

Sha la, la, la, la, la, la, la

Yeah

Uh huh

Yeah

Cut up, Maria!

Show me some of that Spanish dancin’

Pass me a bottle, Mr Jones

Believe in me

Help me believe in anything

‘Cause I want to be someone who believes

Yeah

Mr Jones and me

Tell each other fairy tales

And we stare at the beautiful women

She’s looking at you

Ah, no, no, she’s looking at me

Smilin’ in the bright lights

Coming through in stereo

When everybody loves you

You can never be lonely

Well, I’m gonna paint my picture

Paint myself in blue and red and black and gray

All of the beautiful colors are very, very meaningful

Yeah, well, you know gray is my favorite color

I felt so symbolic yesterday

If I knew Picasso

I would buy myself a gray guitar and play

Mr Jones and me

Look into the future

Yeah, we stare at the beautiful women

She’s looking at you

I don’t think so

She’s looking at me

Standing in the spotlight

I bought myself a gray guitar

When everybody loves me

I will never be lonely

I will never be lonely

Said I’m never gonna be

Lonely

I wanna be a lion

Yeah, everybody wants to pass as cats

We all wanna be big, big stars

Yeah, but we got different reasons for that

Believe in me

‘Cause I don’t believe in anything

And I wanna be someone to believe, to believe, to believe

Yeah!

Mr Jones and me

Stumbling through the Barrio

Yeah, we stare at the beautiful women

She’s perfect for you

Man, there’s got to be somebody for me

I wanna be Bob Dylan

Mr Jones wishes he was someone just a little more funky

When everybody love you

Oh! Son, that’s just about as funky as you can be

Mr Jones and me

Starin’ at the video

When I look at the television, I wanna see me

Staring right back at me

We all wanna be big stars

But we don’t know why, and we don’t know how

But when everybody loves me

I’m wanna be just about as happy as I can be

Mr Jones and me

We’re gonna be big stars”

 
 

Mr. Jones is a song by American alternative rock band Counting Crows. It was released in December 1993 as the lead single and third track from their debut album, August and Everything After (1993). It was the band’s first radio hit and one of their most popular singles.

 
 

The album cover depicts handwritten lyrics to a song called August and Everything After, but the band decided against featuring the song on the album of the same name; it was not until over a decade later that it was played as part of one of their live concerts.

 
 

The band’s debut album August and Everything After was produced by American musician, songwriter, and soundtrack and record producer T-Bone Burnett. Joseph Henry “T Bone” Burnett was a touring guitarist in Bob Dylan‘s band on the Rolling Thunder Revue. And he also produced the second album by The Wallflowers, Bringing Down the Horse, released in 1996. August and Everything After became the fastest-selling album since Nirvana‘s Nevermind.

According to Adam Duritz, the song title had a hand in the naming by Jonathan Pontell of Generation Jones, the group of people born between 1954 and 1965. “I feel honored that my song Mr. Jones was part of the inspiration for the name Generation Jones. The name Generation Jones has several connotations, including a large anonymous generation, a “keeping up with the Joneses” competitiveness and the slang word “jones” or “jonesing”, meaning a yearning or craving

The primary topic of the song itself is perhaps how two struggling musicians (Duritz and bassist Marty Jones of The Himalayans) “want to be big stars,” believing that “when everybody loves me, I will never be lonely.” Duritz would later recant these values, and in later concert appearances, Mr. Jones was played in a subdued acoustic style, if at all. On the live CD Across a Wire Duritz changes the lyrics “We all wanna be big, big stars, but we got different reasons for that” to “We all wanna be big, big stars, but then we get second thoughts about that,” and “when everybody loves you, sometimes that’s just about as funky as you can be” to “when everybody loves you, sometimes that’s just about as fucked up as you can be.”

Some believe the song is a veiled reference to the protagonist of Bob Dylan’s Ballad of a Thin Man, based on the lyric “I wanna be Bob Dylan, Mr. Jones wishes he was someone just a little more funky.” According to Adam Duritz on VH1 Story Tellers “It’s really a song about my friend Marty and I. We went out one night to watch his dad play, his dad was a Flamenco guitar player who lived in Spain (David Serva), and he was in San Francisco in the mission playing with his old Flamenco troupe. And after the gig we all went to this bar called the New Amsterdam in San Francisco on Columbus.”

In a 2013 interview, Duritz explained that the song is named for his friend Marty Jones, but that is about Duritz himself. “I wrote a song about me, I just happened to be out with him that night,” Duritz said. The inspiration for the song came as Duritz and Jones were d runk at a bar after watching Jones’ father perform, when they saw Kenney Dale Johnson, longtime drummer for the musician Chris Isaak, sitting with three women. “It just seemed like, you know, we couldn’t even manage to talk to girls, … we were just thinking if we were rock stars, it’d be easier. I went home and wrote the song,” Duritz said. He sang the song in fun, enjoying the fantasy of making it big. However, he did not realize that just months later, in December 1993, MTV would begin playing the video for the song. It was an unexpected hit song, drawing massive radio play and launching the band into stardom.

 

To listen to this song and watch the music video, please take a gander at The Genealogy of Style‘s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Genealogy-of-Style/597542157001228

Halfway Down the Stairs

Photo portrait of Kurt Cobain. Author unknown

 
 

HALFWAY DOWN

Halfway down the stairs
is a stair where I sit.
there isn’t any other stair
quite like it.
I’m not at the bottom,
I’m not at the top;
so this is the stair where I always stop.
Halfway up the stairs
Isn’t up
And it isn’t down.
It isn’t in the nursery,
It isn’t in town.
And all sorts of funny thoughts
Run round my head.
It isn’t really Anywhere!
It’s somewhere else Instead!

Alan Alexander Milne

Part of America’s Musical Landscape

“I guess I wrote it because there was a part of myself that I was looking for. Maybe now that I feel more comfortable with the way that I live my life and my mental state (laughs) and my spiritual state whatever, maybe I feel there’s some kind of unity now. That song for me always exemplified kind of how you feel when you’re young, when you know that there’s a piece of yourself that you haven’t really put together yet. You have this great searching, this great need to find out who you really are.”

David Bowie
BBC Radio 1 special programme ChangesNowBowie, broadcast on 8 January 1997

 
 

David Bowie poses in front of US flag for a portrait by Michael Ochs, 1976

 
 

In his journals, Kurt Cobain of the American grunge band Nirvana ranked the album The Man Who Sold the World at number 45 in his top 50 favourite albums. A live rendition of the song was recorded by the band in 1993 during their MTV Unplugged appearance, and it was released on their MTV Unplugged in New York album the following year. The song was also released as a promotional single for the album, and received considerable airplay on alternative rock radio stations. It was also thrown into heavy rotation on music video stations such as MTV. Nirvana regularly covered the song during live sets after their memorable acoustic performance up until lead singer Cobain’s death in 1994. In 2002 the song was re-released on Nirvana’s “best of” compilation album Nirvana.

Bowie said of Nirvana’s cover: “I was simply blown away when I found that Kurt Cobain liked my work, and have always wanted to talk to him about his reasons for covering The Man Who Sold the World” and that “it was a good straight forward rendition and sounded somehow very honest. It would have been nice to have worked with him, but just talking with him would have been real cool”. Bowie called Nirvana’s cover “heartfelt,” noting that “until this [cover], it hadn’t occurred to me that I was part of America’s musical landscape. I always felt my weight in Europe, but not [in the US].” In the wake of its release, Bowie bemoaned the fact that when he performed the number himself he would encounter “kids that come up afterwards and say, ‘It’s cool you’re doing a Nirvana song.’ And I think, ‘Fuck you, you little tosser!'”

The song’s title is similar to that of Robert A. Heinlein‘s 1949 science fiction novella The Man Who Sold the Moon, with which Bowie was familiar. However, the song has no similarities to the story in the book. In common with a number of tracks on the album, the song’s themes have been compared to the horror-fantasy works of H. P. Lovecraft. The persona in the song has an encounter with a kind of doppelgänger, as suggested in the second chorus where “I never lost control” is replaced with “We never lost control”. Beyond this, the episode is unexplained: as James E. Perone wrote:

Bowie encounters the title character, but it is not clear just what the phrase means, or exactly who this man is. … The main thing that the song does is to paint – however elusively – the title character as another example of the societal outcasts who populate the album.

 
 

To watch Nirvana’s performance, please take a gander at The Genealogy of Style‘s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Genealogy-of-Style/597542157001228?ref=hl

Must Be Santa

Mick Jagger

 
 

John Lennon and Yoko Ono

 
 

Jimi Hendrix

 
 

Kurt Cobain and Chris Novaselic

 
 

Alice Cooper

 
 

Iggy Pop. Galleries Lafayette ad campaign

 
 

Ronnie Vannucci Jr.

 
 

Brandon Flowers

 
 

Bruce Springsteen and Clarence Clemons

 
 

Flea

 
 

Bette Midler

 
 

Katy Perry

 
 

Cee Lo Green

 
 

Mariah Carey

 
 

Destiny’s Child

 
 

Elvis Presley

 
 

Bono

 
 

Ian Anderson (lead vocalist of Jethro Tull)

 
 

Bob Dylan. Must Be Santa (Nash Edgerton, 2009)

 
 

Based on a German drinking song, Must Be Santa is structured as a call and response, with the lead singer posing the question of who has a certain feature, with a chorus responding that Santa Claus has said feature. After every other verse, the list of features mentioned up to that point is reiterated, followed by the chorus of “must be Santa” repeated three times and ending with “Santa Claus.”

In November 2009, Bob Dylan covered Brave Combo‘s version of the song in a polka style for his Christmas album, Christmas in the Heart. The New York Daily News described Dylan’s version as such: “It’s sort of unclear if Dylan (…) was aiming to celebrate the holiday, or gently poke fun at the music’s Norman Rockwell-esque simplicity.”

Steven Meisel: Rock The House

Carolyn Murphy: Courtney Love. Jake Schroeder: Kurt Cobain. Dylan Schroeder Murphy: Frances Bean Cobain

 
 

Fanni Bostrom: John Lennon. Audrey Marnay: Ringo Starr. Tasha Tilberg: Paul McCartney and Trish Goff: George Harrison

 
 

Ben Northover: John Lennon. Devon Aoki: Yoko Ono

 
 

Omahyra: Prince

 
 

Karolina Kurkova: Marilyn Manson

 
 

Cyrille Victor: Jimi Hendrix. Matt Duffie: Jim Morrison. Karen Elson: Janis Joplin

 
 

Crew of models: The Rolling Stones

 
 

Hannelore Knuts: David Bowie. Diana Meszaros: Angela Bowie

 
 

Sophie Dahl: Debbie Harry

The Mothers of Rock and Pop

Gladys Love and Elvis Presley

 
 

Beatrice “Beatty” Stone, Bob Dylan’s Mother

 
 

Johnny Allen Hendrix (Jimi Hendrix), was the first of Lucille Jeter’s five children

 
 

Clara Virginia Clarke holding Jim Morrison

 
 

Grace Slick with his mother Mrs. Virginia Wing

 
 

Eric Clapton grew up with his grandmother, Rose, and her second husband, Jack Clapp, who was stepfather to Patricia Clapton and her brother Adrian, believing they were his parents and that his mother, Patricia, was actually his older sister.

 
 

Eva Scutts and Mick Jagger

 
 

Curtis Donald Cobain in a family portrait accompanied by his mother Wendy Elizabeth Fradenburg, his father Donald Leland Cobain, and his young sister Kimberly

 
 

Doris Dupree taking a walk with his only child, Keith Richards

 
 

Elton John with his mother Sheila Eileen and his stepfather Fred Farebrother

 
 

Katherine Esther Scruse and the eight of her ten children, Michael Jackson

 
 

Madonna Louise Fortin, Madonna’s mother

 
 

Slash ad Ola Hudson

 
 

Beth Ditto and her mother

 
 

Beck and Bibbe Hansen, a former Warhol superstar

Music Soothe a Savage…

RCA Advertising Poster

 
 

Elvis Presley

 
 

Fifth and final album by Sonny and Cher, released in 1974

 
 

Nina Simone

 
 

Scenes from Nina Simone’s My Baby Just Cares for Me music video (Peter Lord, 1987)

 
 

Cover of the second single off Some Girls (1978). It was released along When the Whip Comes Down as B-Side.

 
 

Voodoo Lounge (1994)

 
 

Bridges to Babylon (1997)

 
 

Mick Jagger as a leopard. Photo: Albert Watson for a Rolling Stone Magazine 25th Anniversary cover issue

 
 

Keith Richards

 
 

Front cover for the CD Elton John One Night Only – The Greatest Hits. Artwork by David LaChapelle

 
 

Poster for Cats, the musical composed by Andrew Lloyd Webber based on a T.S. Eliot’s play.

 
 

Jossie and the Pussicats comic book

 
 

Rick Danko, member of The Band

 
 

Rod Stewart

 
 

Kurt Cobain

 
 

Monster(1994). The album was dedicated to Kurt Cobain and River Phoenix

 
 

Before the Fire (2009)

 
 

Head Down (2012)

 
 

George Harrison

 
 

Debbie Harry

 
 

John Lennon

 
 

Madonna in Express Yourself music video (David Fincher, 1989)

 
 

Versace Ad Campaign by Steven Meisel

 
 

Madonna… again

 
 

Lady Jazz and Mister. Photo: Herman Leonard

 
 

This another Billie Holiday’s portrait was taken by Carl Van Vechten

 
 

Frank Zappa

 
 

Bob Dylan

 
 

Guns ‘N’ Roses

 
 

David Bowie

 
 

1a71Björk in Triumph of the Heart music video (Spike Jonze, 2005)

 
 

The phrase “Music has Charms to soothe a savage Breast” was coined by the Playwright and Poet William Congreve, in The mourning bride, 1697