Given that it’s Memorial Day in the United States today’s Music Monday post is the appropriately titled song “Memorial Day” from the album “Going Out in Style” (affiliate link) by one of my favorite bands — Quincy, Massachusetts’ own Dropkick Murphys:

Of interest: the album on which this track appears, “Going Out in Style,” is a concept album combining the band member’s experiences and family folklore into the story of a fictional character named Cornelius Larkin.

According to the band’s bassist/vocalist, Ken Casey, “Cornelius has passed on to the other side, and the album becomes a retrospective of his life”.

If you’re not familiar with the band and their unique sound, Dropkick Murphys are an Irish-American Celtic Punk band that formed in Quincy, Massachusetts in 1996. Quincy was also the birthplace of former U.S. Presidents John Adams and his son John Quincy Adams, in addition to statesman John Hancock.

It is also adjacent to Braintree, Dropkick MurphysMassachusetts — which is where I lived for the first three years of my life.

As for the band, you might be familiar with their 2004 single “Tessie” — an EP release (affiliate link) which was their first and one of their biggest charting singles.

The original song on which it was based is the longtime anthem of the Boston Red Sox. The Dropkick Murphy’s EP of the song was used as a fan anthem for the Boston Red Sox historic 2004 and 2007 World Series victories.

If you’re not familiar with “Tessie” you have almost certainly heard the popular track off of “The Warrior’s Code” (affiliate link) and one of the band’s biggest singles: “I’m Shipping Up to Boston.”

Notably, this song was featured in the Academy Award-winning movie “The Departed“(affiliate link). It is also frequently used as an anthem for Boston sports teams.

Wishing you a wicked pissah Music Monday!

If you believed they put a man on the moon…

Today’s Music Monday is inspired by celestial events that occurred yesterday evening: the “ring of fire” solar eclipse! What was this?

According to an article about this event (which hasn’t happened since 1994), ” the moon will cover up to 94 percent of the sun at the eclipse’s peak, leaving a bright ring of light – called an annulus, which means ring-like — around the moon’s disc, NASA scientists said.”

I experienced the eclipse near my home in Southern California and, while I couldn’t actually see or get detailed pictures, the sun was significantly dimmer and, unsurprisingly, the temperature was much cooler than the near 100 degrees it had felt like prior to the eclipse. One of my photos follows below:

Solar Eclipse Over Suburbia #3

“Skyshine #Eclipse”Interestingly, although I was unable to see the eclipse, I can partially make it out in a refraction in the picture to the right (which I posted via Instagram).

Just as this “ring of fire” eclipse hadn’t happened for 18 years, the next one also won’t occur for quite some time: 11 years from now in 2023. As explained in a Reuters article, the extended time delay between these events is due to a phenomenon that requires a particular set of orbital dynamics.

Some additional information from the Reuters article: “An annular eclipse occurs when the moon’s orbit is at its furthest point from the Earth and closer to the much larger sun. That juxtaposition allows the moon to block more than 90 percent of the sun’s rays when the two orbs slide into alignment in space.”

The eclipse was quite a captivating and compelling event; something unique that brought people together.  Social media was abuzz with information and imageryTwitter search is a great way to virtually experience the solar eclipse while viewing a variety of photos and videos documenting it.

In celebration of this unique and engaging event (and the memory of something personal that occurred on this date), the classic 1980s power ballad “Total Eclipse of the Heart” seemed like an appropriate selection:

Written and produced by Jim Steinman and recorded by Welsh singer Bonnie Tyler for her album Faster Than the Speed of Night (affiliate link), the song was first released as a single in 1983.

The song is Tyler’s biggest hit reaching number one in the United States and several other countries, making her the first and sole Welsh singer to reach the top of the Billboard Charts.

Maybe for the next lunar eclipse I will feature “Moonshadow” by Yusuf Islam (formerly Cat Stevens) — or perhaps “Moon River?” 😉

A classic proverb states that two heads are better than one, so in that same spirit, two songs must be better than one. Accordingly, today’s Music Monday presents a double header.

David ByrneToday’s first selection is “Once in a Lifetime” by Talking Heads. This was chosen to celebrate the 60th birthday of David Byrne (who co-wrote it with Brian Eno, Chris Frantz, Jerry Harrison, and Tina Weymouth).

Originally released on February 2, 1981 as the first single from the Talking Heads’ fourth studio album Remain in Light (Affiliate Link), the song has since received critical acclaim. Notably, it was named as one of the 100 most important American musical works of the 20th century by National Public Radio (NPR).

The song is existential in meaning, especially with the main refrain asking “And you may ask yourself / How do I work this? / And you may ask yourself / Where is that large automobile? / And you may tell yourself / This is not my beautiful house! / And you may tell yourself / This is not my beautiful wife!”

I believe this song tells the story of a man finding himself a foreigner in his own life; having having accumulated a certain degree of wealth and comfort, yet feeling fundamentally unfulfilled.

At the same time, it is also a recognition of that discovery and the possibility of progressing towards a positive change it represents.

For quite some time I related to the first part of this song — I felt like that man. But then, after some self discovery, I took responsibility for my choices and changed the direction of my life. As a result, I am now heading positively “into the blue again/after the moneys gone.”

In an unrelated yet equally interesting TEDTalk, Byrne discusses the influence of architecture on musical composition. He offers compelling examples of various types of music throughout history such as African music, classical music, opera, jazz, rock, hip-hop, and nature itself.

Today’s second selection, “Baby, You’re a Rich Man” by The Beatles, celebrates the 28th birthday of Facebook Chairman and Mark ZuckerbergCEO Mark Zuckerberg. The song was featured at the end of  the Facebook-inspired movie The Social Network (Affiliate Link).

Long before Facebook was programmed the song was written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney and recorded on May 11, 1967 (45 years and 3 days ago). It was originally released as the B-side of the single “All You Need Is Love” and was also included later that same year on the US album Magical Mystery Tour (Affiliate Link).

Beyond the convergence of Zuckerberg’s birthday to today’s date, Facebook is representative of my aforementioned change of course and journey into the blue again (see Once in a Lifetime).

Personally, my life has been both challenged and enriched by Facebook (and social media in general). Professionally, now almost all of the courses I teach include elements of social media directly or indirectly.

One course — MGMNT X 460.394, New Media Marketing at UCLA Extension — provides an overview of leading social media tools including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and more.  If you’re interested, an online offering of this course begins on July 5, 2012 — you can enroll online here!

Fittingly, and in thematic accordance with this song, later this week, once Facebook’s IPO takes place, Zuckerberg will need an even bigger brown bag in which to keep all of his money. Netting at least $21 billion in stock might just be the best birthday present ever!

Although Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin, whose struggle with Zuckerberg was portrayed in The Social Network (Affiliate Link) and who has renounced his US citizenship, might just get the last financial laugh as his renunciation of his citizenship will likely save him tens of millions of dollars in capital gains taxesor will it?

Baby, those are rich men!