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Last Friday I was in B’lore, whataday – breakfast at Windsor Manor…

an afternoon to remember…

Dinner at Hard Rock Cafe

Midnight, landed in Chennai, no taxis, walked a kilometer for a rik. How Pushpak!

We grew up on a rich diet of diverse sounds – Bryan Adams, America, Beatles, Bread, Clapton, CCR, CSNY, Dire Straits, Purple, Doors, Dylan, Eagles, Elvis, Hendrix, Marley, Floyd, Queen, Santana, Simon & Garfunkel, Status Quo, Stones, Rod Stewart. Original cassettes were difficult to obtain and if you wanted to own a piece of music, you had to, um… pirate.

Stop, fast forward…I found a job, bought a lot of cassettes, happy…till the CDs came along. Then I started buying CDs, the usual suspects… Bryan Adams, America, Beatles, Bread, Clapton…there is a very fine line separating hobby and obsessive compulsive behaviour.

Last week I picked up Bob Marley Africa Unite Singles Collection. Started playing it and couldn’t stop grinning…lemme explain.

Many years ago, we were regulars at an LP-to-cassette joint on Broadway. Once, after getting Bob Marley Hits copied, I was noting down the song titles and I noticed the pretty shopgirl intently watching me write. Hmm…good…I wrote ‘Could You be Loved?’ and looked deep into her eyes…she blushed, and I bolted. But for many years after that, I could never walk down Broadway without humming, ‘could you be could you be could you be loved’.

Buffalo Soldier was another special track from the period and a concert staple, and it was Bobby who deciphered the song…

Buffalo Soldier uppu chaak uppu chaak
Dreadlock Rasta uppu chaak uppu chaak
There was a Buffalo Soldier uppu chaak uppu chaak,
in the heart of America uppu chaak uppu chaak

Serious! Listen here. The Sangham singing harmony…uppu chaak uppu chaak, now that is my fav concert memory.

Vaal kashnam: A Pullepady bhai sitting stoned on the rail track lost his legs to a train. Asked if he didn’t see/ hear the train coming, the loco drawled, “No, but loved the Rastaman Vibrations”. BHH.

Have you heard the Allegra song from Kanthasamy? The first time I heard the refrain that opens the song (QOTD – can a refrain open a song?), I thought it was a commercial promoting some drug, but soon I fell for the song and couldn’t refrain from humming the refrain 24×7. Yesterday night, while drifting off to sleep, I had this vision, a rebus version…somebody restrain me…



A blackbird singing outside my window woke me up. Switched on the TV, and Michael Jackson’s death was breaking news.

I know all his hits, I like his performances, love the music videos (Thriller directed by John Landis, In The Closet with Naomi Campbell, Jam with Michael Jordan, Black or White which introduced morphing to masses, They Don’t Care About Us directed by Spike Lee, Remember The Time with Eddie Murphy & Magic Johnson), I absolutely adore Will You Be There, the Free Willy theme, which even today transports be back to the magical era when I was a free-wheeling free willy. But I was never a big MJ fan, and the intensity of my grief took me by surprise.

I sat in front of the TV stunned and sad…it was as if somebody we knew and grew up with was no more. I needed to talk to the guys but I was scared words would stick to my throat… I started texting…The King is dead, Long Live the King.

PS: Doesn’t the video links kind of sum his life…Thriller through Remember The Time

Mulla was a let down, both as a movie and as a Meera Nandakumar vehicle, but loved the songs, especially Aarumughan…vintage Rimi Tomy. Now Aarumughan gets the full Nadir Shah treatment…Check out…

Thanks Chittapps.

I’m sick and tired of hearing things
From uptight, short-sighted, narrow-minded hypocrites
All I want is the truth
Just gimme some truth

I’ve had enough of reading things
By neurotic, psychotic, pig-headed politicians
All I want is the truth
Just gimme some truth

I’m sick to death of seeing things
From tight-lipped, condescending, mama’s little chauvinists
All I want is the truth
Just gimme some truth now

I’ve had enough of watching scenes
Of schizophrenic, ego-centric, paranoiac, prima-donnas
All I want is the truth now
Just gimme some truth

The Parikrama – Strings concert in Chennai took me back to the REC days…the cops wading into the crowd, the large-scale scuffles…

We reached the venue at 5.30, sober and clean, everyone had agreed that it was a little too early to be otherwise (Big mistake). For a rock concert, there was a surprisingly large ‘family’ crowd, and outside the venue, a teenager plugging Ford Fiesta kept them engaged with a quiz on acceleration, warranties, etc. – “Kai thattunge Chennai, kai thattunge”.


The show started two hours late, but nobody complained as the dialogue between the band and the sound engineers, blasting from the speakers, was semma kamedy…“turn the bass up a notch”, “cut the reverb”, “where is my guitar”, “what was that?”, “are you really so dumb or are you doing this just to annoy me”…


I had never had so much fun before a concert.




Parikrama started with a screechy rendition of Ay-ron Maiden. They played Yellow for the girls and the other songs for nobody in particular. The finale was Highway to Hell, with Sherpa in Angus Young shorts – you won’t believe this – strumming an acoustic guitar.


During the break local fast-man Jibran came onstage to announce the Fiesta quiz winners, dropping four-letter words trying fcuking hard to be cool. When the commissioner of police joined Jibran to hand over the prizes, the kids started chanting ‘commissioner, commissioner…’. I knew then that the evening wasn’t going to be a complete waste.


Finally Strings…age appropriate music…and the guys who were with me dozed off.



Suddenly the action started, two groups of IIPM vadakkans going at each other in true Braveheart ishtyle. The cops, not wanting to miss out on all the fun, joined in and the crowd had a great time. Strings played on through all this, I am sure they would have seen bigger stuff at home.



Abrupt end.
Read a real review here

Check out the mallu version of Queen’s I Want to Break Free.

(Click on the above link to open an Odeo player window, click ‘play’ to start the song. It’s worth the hassle. Believe me…)

In case you know who the pink-lungi-wearing, card-carrying, beef-eating genius behind the track is, please let me know.

Manoj the Malayalee inspired this post. Thank you.

I love books on bands and have over the years acquired many Rock histories, encyclopaedias, biographies, guides and a big collection on The Beatles.

Biju’s Oldies (from Connection Mathai) kicked off my Beatlemania 27 years ago. And as my love for the Beatles sound increased so did my passion for everything Beatles – I read the authorised biography as well as books that proudly proclaimed ‘No Beatle was interviewed in the writing of this book’ – and everything in between; I read the interviews & gossip, hagiographies & hatchet jobs, analysis, reviews, critiques; I collected photographs, album artworks, commemorative stamps…

Been a magical mystery tour, and I loved it.
I guess, “the love you take is equal to the love you make”…

Now, the caption is very original, thank you.
It was 50 years ago today that John and Paul first met, thus setting off this big huge thing

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April 2021