Tag Archives: beatles

Strawberry fields are not forever

Out & About

I taught chess yesterday, but it wasn’t at an after-school enrichment program. Instead, a overly wealthy couple hired me to teach chess to their four children, the oldest a girl of 8, and the youngest a 2-boy-1-girl set of triplets of age 6½. The couple live in Rancho Santa Fe which regularly ranks as one of the richest zip codes in the entire United States. The house I went to had 11,300 square feet, eight bedrooms, 11 bathrooms, and eight garages in two sets of four.

But that’s not what this blog post is about. This post is about strawberry fields, so I’ll provide you with some music for your reading pleasure:

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

When I first came to San Diego in April 1993, I quickly learned where all the 1% neighborhoods were, and I succeeded in visiting them, determined to see things for myself. Who needs pictures in a magazine when you can simply drive over there?

On my way to Rancho Santa Fe back in 1993, I had to pass through hundreds of acres of strawberry fields. I even stopped to pick my own strawberries, and man were they scrumptious.

Well, on the way to Rancho Santa Fe yesterday, I passed through those hundreds of acres again. Sadly, here is what they looked like yesterday:

Former strawberry fields

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I haven’t tried to find what kind of subdivision is being built, but I’m pretty sure the homes will be on the larger side and cost several million dollars each.

I suppose it just became too much for the owners of the strawberry fields:

“Let’s see. Do I want to sell ten million strawberries at 5¢ each, net, or do I just want to sell 500 acres at $10,000 per acre, be done with it, and retire? Hmmm. This is a tough one……….NOT!”

I did get one extraordinarily beautiful picture, though:

Former strawberry fields

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Which I promptly turned into Photographic Art:

Former strawberry fields

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I’m guessing you do want to see the house, though, right? Well, here’s the driveway:

Driveway

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

The house is way back there around the bend to the left. Here’s half of the house:

House and pool

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

What does one do in a house with 11,300 square feet? Play hide and seek?

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The Music Chronicles of Russel Ray

Music on Mondays (11-11-13)—Singers and songwriters

The Music Chronicles of Russel Ray

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Back in the early days, the music industry consisted of singers and songwriters. Songwriters wrote the songs, and singers sang them. If you look at music charts from the 1940s through the 1970s, you will notice that there might be four or five versions of the same song on the charts. Songwriters wrote the songs and then sold them to singers while keeping royalties from music publishing.

In many cases, singers got a monetary advance from the record company. When the record was released, and you bought it, you actually were supporting the record company and the music publishing company more than you were the recording group. Debut groups sometimes had recording contracts that paid them a mere penny per record sold. That included The Beatles, whose initial recording contract gave the group one penny for each record sold. That penny, though, was split between John, Paul, George, and Ringo. The royalty rate was further reduced for singles sold outside the United Kingdom, for which The Beatles received half of one penny per record sold, again split between John, Paul, George, and Ringo.

Although songwriters also made money with the release of the record, they made additional money from royalties from the sale of sheet music, public performances, cover versions twenty years later by a different artist, etc.

When Whitney Houston died a few years ago, it was revealed that she basically died penniless, mostly due to her apparent drug addiction but also due to the fact that she wrote very few, if any, of her hit songs. They were written by songwriters. The public felt sorry for her in her death and started buying all of her music posthumously, wrongly believing that they were supporting her estate. They were not. They were supporting the record company, the music publishing company, and the songwriters. Many songwriters got extraordinarily rich when her hits became hits again after her death.

For example, “I Will Always Love You,” Whitney’s #1 hit from 1992, was written by Dolly Parton and was a hit for her in 1974. Dolly made a lot of money from that song in 1974, in 1992 when Whitney released it, and again after Whitney’s death in 2012 when the public started buying it again.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

The Beatles were the first to recognize that songwriters didn’t get the glory but got a hefty part of the money. They became singer-songwriters, and the John Lennon-Paul McCartney partnership is recognized as the most prolific in the history of music, even outshining Rodgers & Hammerstein of musical fame (“Oklahoma,” “South Pacific,” etc.).

How lucrative are publishing rights? Very. When Paul McCartney and Michael Jackson were recording “Say, Say, Say” in 1983, McCartney introduced Jackson to the world of music publishing, telling Jackson that he was earning $30 million per year from royalties on the songs of other people that he owned. For example, McCartney owns the publishing rights to all the music by Buddy Holly.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Jackson followed up on that knowledge when he bought the catalog of Beatles music from 1962 to mid-1967. The Beatles’ early music was owned not by them but by their publishing company at the time, Northern Songs. When the Northern Songs music catalog was sold in the early 1980s, Jackson acquired The Beatles music for $40 million. Paul McCartney and Yoko Ono initially had bid for The Beatles music, but ultimately Yoko Ono apparently thought the price was too high.

Publishing rights to Lennon-McCartney music from mid-1967 on belongs to Apple Corps, a multimedia corporation that The Beatles founded in mid-1967 partially to manage their publishing rights and royalties.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

Looking for real estate services in San Diego County?
I can highly recommend
James Frimmer, Realtor
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Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Don't try suicide

Music on Mondays — Junior Seau, Bob Welch, and me

The Music Chronicles of Russel Ray

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

At the time I disappeared — that’s the correct word — from College Station, Texas, in April 1993, I owned over 5,000 vinyl records and over 1,000 CDs. About 100 CDs accompanied my disappearance in my highly customized 1989 Ford Mustang GT — Beatles, Who, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Simon & Garfunkel, Doobie Brothers, Bread, Queen, Fleetwood Mac — music to which I could sing along as I was driving down the highway.

I didn’t know where my trip would end but I knew how it would end — at least I thought I did — in suicide. I left College Station on April 15, 1993, and drove north with the intent on ending my life in Canada. I was too patriotic to do it in the United States. Weird and sick, I know. Sick, mostly. How I wound up in San Diego — alive! — is a story for another time.

This past month we here in San Diego have had to deal with the suicide of a popular and successful former professional football player, Junior Seau — 10-time All-Pro, 12-time Pro Bowl selection, and named to the NFL 1990s All-Decade Team. Suicide? And no friend or family had any clues? Probably not. I wasn’t leaving clues either.

Earlier this month, Bob Welch committed suicide. Welch was a member of Fleetwood Mac from 1971-1974. Shortly after Welch left Fleetwood Mac, the group rocketed to international supergroup status with the 1975 release of “Fleetwood Mac.”

I want to share two songs in today’s Music on Mondays from the Music Chronicles of Russel Ray. The first is “Ebony Eyes” from 1977, Welch’s most successful hit after he left Fleetwood Mac. The second is “Sentimental Lady,” a 1972 hit for Fleetwood Mac that was written by Bob Welch. The last is “Don’t Try Suicide,” a song off of Queen’s 1980 album “The Game.” Seems like life is, indeed, a game, but don’t try suicide. If you’re reading this and having thoughts about ending it all, find a way to call me or email me. I’ve been there. I’m not a professional counselor but at least give me a chance to help you first…………

Don't try suicide

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Looking for real estate services in San Diego County?
I can highly recommend
James Frimmer, Realtor
Century 21 Award, DRE #01458572

If you’re looking for a home inspector,
I recommend Russel Ray — that’s me!Real Estate Solutions

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Right here in urban San Diego….

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Out & About San Diego

 

Friends back in my native Texas, in the East Texas Piney Woods, experienced a 4.3 earthquake a few days ago. They were rockin’ ‘n’ rollin’, and there were no Beatles involved. I read reports of fallen pictures and things knocked from shelves. Out here, of course, most of us would never suffer that kind of damage from a 4.3 earthquake. Pictures are hung with earthquake hangars and things we don’t want knocked from shelves in minor earthquakes are appropriately attached to the shelves with earthquake goop or earthquake tape.

I have always been fascinated by earthquake faults. I wrote my first term paper on earthquakes in 1969. I was 13 and wrote it for a customer of my typing/research enterprise. He was a sophomore at Texas A&I University, and he (I) got a B+ on that paper!

Television documentaries showing a helicopter flying over a fault zone, usually the San Andreas Fault somewhere in remote California, would enthrall me.

Right here in urban San Diego is the Rose Canyon Fault:

Southern California showing Rose Canyon Fault

 

Seismic experts say the Rose Canyon Fault has the potential to unleash a 7.5 earthquake. As you can see on the map, the Rose Canyon Fault goes right underneath downtown San Diego. When that 7.5 earthquake happens, I’m sure it will be considered “the big one” as far as San Diegans are concerned.

If you know where to go, you can actually see the Rose Canyon Fault on the ground surface.

Rose Canyon Fault Zone

 

Using the descriptions in the picture above, here is the “50 million year old Eocene sandstone of the Scripps Formation”:

Eocene sandstone of the Scripps Formation

 

Notice the houses, too, built right on top of that sandstone formation. Their foundation pillars probably go pretty deep.

On the other side of the canyon is the “half-million year old Pleistocene conglomerate,” which the pine trees seem to like.

Half-million year old Pleistocene conglomerate in Rose Canyon

 

In between the two formations is “a major strand of the Rose Canyon Fault”:

Rose Canyon Fault

 

Considering the location of the baseball field, I guess it was built by some parents with unruly children.

Specific location:

Location of rose canyon fault

View Larger Map

 

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Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Looking for real estate services in San Diego County? I can highly recommend
James Frimmer, Realtor with Century 21 Award, DRE #01458572

If you’re just looking for a home inspector,
I can highly recommend Russel Ray; that’s me!Real Estate Solutions

Music on Mondays — #2: Who knows where the road may lead us, who knows if we’ll meet along the way

The Music Chronicles of Russel Ray

#2
Who knows where the road may lead us,
who knows if we’ll meet along the way

See my initial post about Music on Mondays from the Music Chronicles of Russel Ray.

I love virtually anything that incorporates history into it, such as books in the historical fiction category — Stephen King’s new novel 11/23/60 comes immediately to mind.

I don’t think there’s a similar category in music, but many songs mention places and events. One that always intrigued me is La Sagrada Familia. Sagrada Familia is a Roman Catholic church in Barcelona, Spain. Construction was begun in 1882 and is not yet complete. The renowned architect Antoni Gaudi became involved in 1883 and its architecture is mostly of his doing.

The song is by The Alan Parsons Project, one of my Top 10 groups of all time, from their 1987 album Gaudi. It’s along song at 8:50, so sit back and relax. Hope you enjoy it.

The words:

Who knows where the road may lead us, only the fool would say
Who knows if we’ll meet along the way
Follow the brightest star as far as the brave may dare
What will we find when we get there
La Sagrada Familia we pray the storm will soon be over
La Sagrada Familia for the lion and the lamb

Who knows where the winds may blow us, only a fool would say
Who knows if we’ll ever reach the shore
Follow a rising sun with eyes that may only stare
What kind of fire will burn us there?
What kind of fire? Only a fool would say

La Sagrada Familia the wind has changed the storm is over
La Sagrada Familia for the lion and the lamb
La Sagrada Familia we thank the Lord the danger’s over
La Sagrada Familia there’s peace throughout the land

Under clear blue skies our voices rise in songs of glory
And for all those years our eyes and ears were filled with tears
Who knows where the world may turn us, only a fool would say
Who knows what the fate may have in store

Follow the light of truth as far as our eyes can see
How should we knows where that may be? How should we know?
Then the angry skies, the battle cries, the sounds of glory
And for all those years out eyes and ears were filled with tears

Who knows where the road may lead us, only a fool would say
Who knows what’s been lost along the way
Look for the promised land in all of the dreams we share
How will we know when we are there?
How will we know? Only a fool would say

La Sagrada Familia the war is won the battle’s over
La Sagrada Familia for the lion and the lamb
La Sagrada Familia we thank the lord the danger’s over
La Sagrada Familia behold the mighty hand
La Sagrada Familia the night is gone the waiting’s over
La Sagrada Familia there’s peace throughout the land
Until the next time
Until the next time
La Sagrada Familia

Read more about Gaudi.

See pictures of Sagrada Familia.

This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

Music on Mondays — #1: Get back, Jo Jo!

The Music Chronicles of Russel Ray

#1
Get back, Jo Jo!

See my initial post about Music on Mondays from the Music Chronicles of Russel Ray.

Today is the 43rd anniversary of The Beatle’s unannounced rooftop concert in London.

The Beatles have been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. When my parents put me in an adoption home in Ogden, Utah — the Thomas D. Dee Memorial Hospital — in 1965, I met an 18-year-old woman from Bakersfield, California. She introduced me to The Beatles. The rest is history.

In 1970 one of my favorite songs was Get Back. I was constantly humming or singing it in classes and around the school. People started calling me Jo Jo.

As I look back on life, I could easily change just six words in the song and have it easily be about me:

Russel was a man who knew he was a loner, but he knew it couldn’t last.
Russel left his home in College Station, Texas, for some California grass.

The Beatles have been like that throughout my life. When I cried, they cried — In My Life, Michelle, I’m So Tired…. On my birthday, Birthday. So many more Beatles songs bring back so many memories — Help!, Hey Jude (my first date), Ticket to Ride (dad and granddad worked for Missouri Pacific Railroad), etc.

Their unannounced rooftop concert in London had the neighbors and the people on the streets below all abuzz. It was to be their last live performance together. Of course, many people in surrounding offices complained, and the police eventually shut the concert down, but not before the world got some great music and film — Let It Be.

Although Get Back is not my favorite Beatles song (Let It Be holds that honor), it does get into my Top 10. Here is a YouTube video of Get Back from the London rooftop concert, and the lyrics:

Jo Jo was a man who thought he was a loner,
But he knew it couldn’t last.
Jo Jo left his home in Tucson, Arizona,
For some California grass.

Get back! Get back! Get back to where you once belonged.
Get back! Get back! Get back to where you once belonged.
Get back, Jo Jo. Go home.
Get back! Get back! Get back to where you once belonged.
Get back! Get back! Get back to where you once belonged.
Get back, Jo!

Sweet Loretta Martin thought she was a woman,
But she was another man.
All the girls around her say she’s got it coming,
But she gets it while she can.

Get back! Get back! Get back to where you once belonged.
Get back! Get back! Get back to where you once belonged.
Get back, Loretta! You mommy’s waitin’.
In high heel shoes and a low-neck sweater.
Get back! Get back! Get back to where you once belonged.
Get back! Get back! Get back to where you once belonged.

 

This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat