“Sibling” rivalries and collaboration

A “sleeping giant” is what this video calls famously shy George Harrison, the “baby brother” in the Beatles family, explaining the origins of the song “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” and his relationship with the other members of the band:

Which of these versions of the song do you prefer? (There are others, too…)

Discussion / writing / research questions:

  • Do you have siblings? Do you think the youngest in the family usually gets more attention? Is the relationship between you and your sibling(s) harmonious?
  • Are you, or is any member of your family, a Beatles fan? Do you prefer the early or later music? Who do you think is the best musician?
  • Try doing a little research about the Beatles, or another band you like, to find out more about the members’ personalities or the origins of their songs.
  • Look up the lyrics of “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” and do some language noticing (vocabulary, phrases, rhyming).
  • What other bands with 4 members (or maybe 3 or 5) do you like? Do you see similar dynamics among the members as that of the Beatles?
  • Use a thesaurus to look up synonyms for “shy” and “outgoing”. Which of the words do you think are most useful? Try using them in some original sentences with lots of detail.
  • As George Harrison did, try opening an English book to a random page and pick out a word or a couple of words, then use them to make a sentence, a story, or write your own song.
  • Have you ever heard of the I Ching (Book of Changes)? If you’re feeling ambitious, try researching it a little and teach us what you learn.

Going viral

This subway performer’s videos have gone viral at least a few times in recent years. You wonder (well, I wonder) why some arguably less talented singers go viral. Piko Taro said last year that he had not made much money off his “song” and Mike Yung, if you look at his Twitter feed, hasn’t either.

This was funny (he means “front page”):

A student last semester did a research project about what it takes for people to become famous. He never really found a secret formula (and if he had, we’d all know him by now, right?). But what do you think? Why do some people, or videos, go viral and others don’t? (writing prompt). And another writing prompt can be: Explain what Reddit is to Mr. Yung.

Anyway, I could listen to “A Change is Gonna Come” over and over again. Not something I can say about PPAP.

Read more about Mike Yung here: “Searching the Subway for Mike Yung, the Viral Singer that Time Forgot” (from Pitchfork)

Not everybody

Here’s a cover of the Tears for Fears song “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” from the 1980s, on a hammered dulcimer. Tears for Fears stopped by his house in Indiana to sing along. Very cool.

What’s the song about? According to Curt Smith:

“The concept is quite serious – it’s about everybody wanting power, about warfare and the misery it causes.”

This is not a new song, nor a new cover, but it seems really relevant today.

You can see this musician play other songs, including “Hotel California” and “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” on his YouTube channel.