Friday, April 1, 2016

Hits of America Saturated with Purple Rain?

If the bid team for LA24 plans a music compilation enticing supporters to #FollowTheSun, consider this my nomination of four California-centric hits from the band America for the collection.

Sure, this band launched 46 years ago, in 1970 -- one Olympiad before the birth of bid chief Casey Wasserman. But America's staying power and upbeat music/lyrics could provide many positive vibes on a Los Angeles Olympic bid play list.

One month ago, I was driving north from LA on U.S. 101 bound for Thousand Oaks, Calif., and tonight in Atlanta there was time to enjoy a live performance of one of my personal favorites by America, "Ventura Highway" (on the radio than March 4 evening).

Like no other, this song instantly, vividly brings to mind youthful dreams of the SoCal experience. Every time I've visited Los Angeles (the 2016 trek for the Team USA Media Summit was my seventh City of Angels adventure) "Ventura Highway" and its chipper guitar opening pops up on local radio as if to say "welcome back" to one of my favorite stretches of American road.

In addition to hearing "Ventura Highway" live, tonight I learned three new-to-my-ears West Coast-themed hits also crooned by America: "California Revisited" from their "Homecoming" album, "Hollywood" (much more of a rockin' song than other America works), and the band's cover of "California Dreamin'" made famous by The Mamas & the Papas (my preferred version is by DJ Sammy).

The Uber ride home had my brain swimming with other big songs of the region from "Under The Bridge" and "Californication" by the Red Hot Chili Peppers to "California Girls" and other Beach Boys tunes, Katy Perry "California Gurls" and 2Pac/Dr. Dre "California Love."

Of course, "Hotel California" also crossed my mind ... I figure the more prominent rockers (the Eagles) slept with way more groupies than America's easy-listening singer-songwriters, who maybe felt-up a lot of fans but did not take as many back to their green room or hotel.

But back to "Ventura Highway" -- until this evening, when the band was describing the song's history to the audience, I had not a clue the fourth verse includes what may be the world's first musical reference to "Purple Rain."

The two-person conversation in the lyrics carries listeners to the West Coast with the following:

Wishin' on a falling star
Watchin' for the early train
Sorry, boy, but I've been hit by
Purple rain

By chance, a Minneapolis singer named Prince Rogers Nelson will perform his "Piano and a Microphone" tour in Atlanta next week, and it will be fun and exciting to experience another all-time favorite musician (now informed by his possible inspiration from America).

Now there's a singer I'd like to see performing at the Olympics!

Perhaps given their tethered "Purple Rain" ties, America could be Prince's opening act in the music portion of the L.A. 2024 Olympics opening ceremony? Talk about California dreaming.

Images via www.venturahighway.com, www.ventura-usa.com and www.FoxTheatre.org

1 comment:

GCAT 1.618 said...

YEP,YOUR A FAN.i AM CURRENTLY WORKING ON A PLAYLIST "CALIFORNIA",AFTER MOVING TO HAWAII MANY YEARS AGO,I DECIDED TO COMPILE A LIST OF AUDIO AND ONE OF VIDEO TO PLAY WHEN I FELT THE STIRRINGS OF MY YOUTH.I GREW UP IN SOCAL.I WAS BORN IN MINNESOTA BUT OUR FAMILY HEADED WEST IN THE BIG AERO-SPACE JOB BOOM IN THE MID 60S.MY DAD WORKED FOR ROCKWELL,ETC.THANKS AGAIN FOR THE ADDED SONGS TO MY LIST!

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