7 Songs You Didn’t Know Jeff Lynne Wrote

7 Songs You Didn’t Know Jeff Lynne Wrote

This article originally appeared on MusicTimes.com.

Sam Smith’s “Stay With Me” was one of the biggest songs of 2014 and this week’s big news was that Tom Petty would receive a songwriting credit for the song due to its similarities to his own “I Won’t Back Down,” a coincidence that Petty referred to as a “musical accident no more no less.” Although Petty has appeared in all of the headlines, an equal amount of the songwriting credit was also awarded to Jeff Lynne, the frontman for the Electric Light Orchestra, who has been behind the scenes on many a track. Check out a list of Lynne’s other surprise songwriting credits, not counting work with band’s he’s a part of, including the Traveling Wilburys.

“Into The Great Wide Open”/”Learning to Fly” by Tom Petty (1991)

As you may have picked up on from the fact that Lynne also received a songwriting credit for Smith’s single, he also played a role in writing “I Won’t Back Down” for Petty. It wouldn’t be the last time he teamed up with the Heartbreakers’ frontman, and he had a particularly good year during 1991 when he helped pen “Into The Great Wide Open” and “Learning To Fly,” the latter of which is one of Petty’s best tracks. 

“Do Ya” by The Move (1972)

The Electric Light Orchestra had its first taste of chart success when the “10538 Overture” reached no. 9 during 1972. Prior to that however, Lynne had also dabbled in songwriting and performing with other bands. One of those groups was The Move, which Lynne was a temporary member of when he wrote “Do Ya,” prior to it peaking at no. 93 on the Billboard Hot 100. Lynne’s main project eventually took off however and he decided to go back to his song as a “cover” of sorts. ELO’s version of “Do Ya” peaked at no. 24 on the American charts.

“One Way Love” by Agnetha Fältskog (1985)

Everyone knows what happens when a huge act breaks down: The individual members go their separate ways and tries to cut it as a solo act. Such was the case with ABBA when it broke up during 1982. Most of ABBA’s songwriting was handled by Björn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson, so Agnetha Fältskog had to find some other big voices when it came to pushing her solo albums. She employed Lynne during the recording or her second album Eyes of A Woman, for the song “One Way Love.” If you doubt his skills, you should know that Fältskog was choosy: She turned down a track written by Elvis Costello.

“This Is Love” by George Harrison (1988)

Despite the huge sales totals of Electric Light Orchestra, few people are aware of Lynne’s responsibility for it. That doesn’t really matter when bigger names in the industry appreciate you however. Petty brought him into the fold for The Traveling Wilburys and those performers took a liking to him as well. Former Beatle George Harrison had help from Lynne when writing “This Is Love” for the album Cloud Nine. It was a modestly successful single, peaking at no. 53 on the UK charts, although single “When We Was Fab” got to no. 23 on the Hot 100.

“Let It Shine” by Brian Wilson (1988)

It was a heck of a year for Lynne during 1988. There were essentially two bands that made several of the greatest records ever during the ’60s: The Beatles and The Beach Boys (The Rolling Stones hit its stride at the end of the decade). Lynne had already worked with George Harrison but he also got the opportunity to work with Brian Wilson, the brain behind the Beach Boys. Brian Wilson was the first solo album for the songwriter after a long run with his major band. Lynne was one of the less controversial songwriters featured on the album: Eugene Landy, the performer’s psychologist, and his wife Morgan were listed as songwriters on many of the tracks. After it was revealed the doctor had essentially been exploiting Wilson, he and his wife’s credits were removed from reissues.

“Beep” by The Pussycat Dolls (2006)

You’ve probably noticed a trend in the types of people that Lynne tends to work with when songwriting: American rock icons. That’s why many are surprised to find out that he had a hand in crafting the very non-rock “Beep” for the Pussycat Dolls during 2005. The song was a hot mess of hit songwriters, including Will.i.am (who also performed on the track) and eventual American Idol judge Kara DioGuaradi. Of course, Lynne wasn’t exactly sitting in the room when the song was dreamt up: “Beep” featured an instrumental hook that was nearly 100 percent sampled from ELO’s 1975 song “Evil Woman.”

Will There Be Another Michael Jackson?

Will There Be Another Michael Jackson?

Michael Jackson was indisputably the King of a musical era. He was a powerhouse performer with a boundless passion for entertaining the world. His presence on the stage captivated the attention of millions and continues to do so long after his passing. His legacy and musical style continues to reverberate throughout music today, with artists such as The Weeknd putting their own spin on Jackson’s iconic style in several songs. But will another artist ever come close to reaching Michael Jackson’s level of fame or influence in today’s digital world?

The short answer: Maybe. The long answer gets a bit more complicated.

Michael Jackson’s most influential work was Thriller. The album sold more than 46 million copies, and continues to hold that record today. The issue, is that modern day music sales hardly deal with physical copies. Honestly, when was the last time that you went to the store to buy an album? You probably just went on YouTube or Spotify to listen to that song you couldn’t get out of your head. This is where the biggest discrepancy lies. Even though Jackson’s Thriller album was such an iconic hit, it wasn’t released in the same way that albums release today. People didn’t listen to music then the same way that they listen to music today.

When Quincy Jones and Michael Jackson were producing Thriller, Jones said that his goal with the album was to “get kids out of the video arcades and back into the record stores.” Well, he was successful for a brief time, but here in 2017 the record stores AND the video arcades have landed in our pockets.

People don’t go out to buy physical copies of music like they used to. Streaming services such as Spotify, YouTube, Tidal (well kind of) and others are completely dominating the market. Because of this, it’s almost impossible to draw comparisons between artists then and artists now. 30 years ago, and long before the internet, only a few artists at a time could hold the spotlight. Now on the other hand, famous artists are a dime a dozen. People listen to the music of artists all over the world thanks to the internet, and no one person can hold the title of King. Instead of listening to entire albums, people create playlists of their favorite songs and listen to them on shuffle. Pop music has reached a sort of saturation, where one song is popular only until the next big hit comes out. Long gone are the days when everyone you knew was listening to the same album right when it dropped.

In short, the musical atmosphere is completely different.

But there is a sect of people who believe that the next King of Pop has already risen. They claim that he has already established himself as a musical legend. They claim that that person is Drake.

It’s a bit of a long shot I’ll be honest, but when you look at the numbers it’s easy to see why people draw the comparison. For one, Drakes 2016 album, Views, gained 13 American Music Award nominations, which broke Michael Jackson’s 32 year record of 11 nominations for Thriller in 1984. Michael Jackson received his 11 nominations on his sixth album, while Drake received his 13 on his fourth album. On top of that, we have to take video stats into account. Granted, Michael Jackson didn’t have YouTube when he was making music videos, but it doesn’t diminish how important the platform is when it comes to fame. As of today, Drake has more than 3 billion views on his music videos. That’s 3,000,000,000 views. Heck that number alone was probably some of the inspiration for his 2016 album’s title. With so many views from around the world, and record breaking statistics Drake could actually become the next King of Pop (if he isn’t already).

May is National Barbecue Month. Yes, Really

May is National Barbecue Month. Yes, Really

Just about every month is National something month, and May happens to be the month of barbecue. Yes, May is National Barbecue Month. The weather is getting hotter, so there’s no better time to whip out those barbecues (not grills, mind you) and take part in an American tradition that dates back hundreds of years.

The original method of barbecuing was developed by indigenous Caribbean tribes. When Christopher Columbus and his band of explorers encountered these tribes, they adopted their cooking method. They called it, “barbacoa”. The Spanish explorers brought the cooking technique with them as they traveled North, and eventually it made its way to the colonies. In 1540, explorer Hernando de Soto recorded that he, along with the Mississippi Chicksaw Tribe, cooked a feast of pork over the barbacoa. No one really knows where the term “barbecue” originated, but its widely believed to have originated from the original term “barbacoa”.

Eventually the tradition of barbecue was adopted wholeheartedly by early Americans and transformed into the cooking culture that we love. To this day, the most traditional barbecue joints only serve pork, as the original BBQ-ers of the South only had access to cheap cuts of the meat. They used pork instead of beef because pig farming at the time was incredibly low-maintenance and far cheaper than beef. Cows required massive amounts of feed and closed spaces, while pigs could roam around and fend for themselves. The cheap cuts of pork needed to be tenderized to be enjoyable, which is what led to the “low and slow” nature of barbecue cooking.

Today there are 4 distinct styles of American barbecue – most of the variations brought to America by immigrants. The original “whole hog” style barbecue is thought to have originated in the eastern colonies. There it was perfected when British colonists introduced the idea of basting the meat with sauce to preserve the juices inside. The Britons also preferred a tart sauce with their barbecue, and that tartness can still be found in North Carolina barbecue sauce. In South Carolina on the other hand, a mustard-based sauce was adopted, due to the large German and French immigrant population in the area.

May is National Barbecue Month

North Carolina BBQ

The barbecue fad moved west and settled in Texas, where locals began applying the Carolina cooking methods to beef instead of pork.

May is National Barbecue Month

Texas BBQ

The fad also landed in Memphis, Tennessee, where a sweeter, tomato-based barbecue sauce was born, due to the city’s easy access to molasses.

May is National Barbecue Month

Memphis BBQ

 Barbecue eventually found its way to Kansas City, brought there in the early 1900s by a man named Henry Perry. Perry’s method of barbecuing is said to have defined Kansas City barbecue. Kansas City barbecue combines Carolina and Texas barbecue, while adding its own zing. Barbecue in Kansas City includes both pork and beef, and a sweet sauce that you won’t find anywhere else. Barbecue experts call Kansas City barbecue the “ultimate amalgamation of East and West barbecue.”

May is National Barbecue Month

Kansas City BBQ

Despite all this, history does little to describe the actual flavor and smell of rich, down home barbecue. Barbecue lovers from around the world make pilgrimages to America’s “Barbecue Belt”, to try the four barbecue styles that are steeped in American tradition.

10 Facts You Didn’t Know About Cinco de Mayo

10 Facts You Didn’t Know About Cinco de Mayo

10 Facts You Didn’t Know About Cinco de Mayo

Cinco de Mayo is a celebration in honor of Mexico’s victory over France at the Battle of Puebla. Even though the Mexico only had a small group of fighters at Puebla, they were able to overcome the massive French army on May 5, 1862. Cinco de Mayo is right around the corner, so here’s 10 interesting facts about the holiday that you may not know.

  1. Cinco de Mayo is Not Mexican Independence Day

A common misconception about Cinco de Mayo is that it is Mexican Independence Day. In realty, Mexican Independence Day is celebrated on September 16th. Cinco de Mayo is just a celebration of Mexico’s victory at the Battle of Puebla during the Franco-Mexican War. Because the outnumbered Mexican soldiers were still victorious despite the odds against them, Cinco de Mayo was (and still is) a celebration of national pride.

  1. Napoleon III Wanted to Win the Battle at Puebla for Several Reasons

The Battle at Puebla happened at the same time as the American Civil War. If Napoleon III won the Battle at Puebla, he would have spread his empire and gained a key Mexican access point to the U.S., where he could then lend support to the confederate army to keep the U.S. divided. Because Mexico won the battle, it was a dual victory for Mexican Americans at the time, which is why the holiday became so popular in the United States.

10 Facts You Didn’t Know About Cinco de Mayo

Napolean III

  1. Cinco de Mayo is Celebrated More in the U.S. than in Mexico

The victory at Puebla was a victory not only for the Union, but also for Mexico. For this reason, the holiday quickly grew to be a wildly popular celebration in America. The U.S. has several huge Cinco de Mayo festivals throughout the country, some of which are larger than any in Mexico. Because Cinco de Mayo is a holiday of national pride, many Mexican Americans take the opportunity to remember their heritage and share Mexican culture with people around them.

10 Facts You Didn’t Know About Cinco de Mayo

Los Angeles Cinco de Mayo Festival

  1. Abraham Lincoln Eventually Helped rid Mexico of the French Occupation

Abraham Lincoln wanted to provide support to Mexico during the Franco-Mexican War, but he couldn’t due to the Civil War in America at the time. However, once the war ended, Lincoln influenced France to remove their troops from Mexico.

  1. Cinco de Mayo Isn’t a National Holiday in Mexico

Outside of Puebla and the United States, Cinco de Mayo is a relatively small holiday. There aren’t too many places in Mexico where the holiday is observed heavily, but in Puebla and Veracruz, Cinco de Mayo is celebrated with parades, reenactments and festivals.

  1. Roosevelt Helped to Make the Celebration Popular

After Roosevelt enacted the “Good Neighbor Policy” of 1933 to improve relations with Latin American countries, the holiday gained even more popularity.

  1. Holy Guacamole!

Every year Americans consume 81 million pounds of avocados on Cinco de Mayo!

10 Facts You Didn’t Know About Cinco de Mayo

  1. Some Celebrate with Chihuahua Races and Beauty Contests

Chandler Arizona hosts an annual Chihuahua race to celebrate the occasion! If that isn’t quirky enough for you, there’s also Longmont Colorado who celebrates Cinco de Mayo with a chihuahua beauty pageant every year. The winner of the contest gets a mini sombrero as a crown.

  1. The Biggest Cinco de Mayo Celebration is in L.A.

You may think that the largest celebration of the event is in Puebla, where the holiday originated, but it’s actually in Los Angeles. The area has the highest population of people from Mexican origin in the country, so it makes sense that the celebration is so grand every year!

  1. Australia and Canada Celebrate Cinco de Mayo in Interesting Ways

There’s an annual competition held in Sydney Australia on May 5 every year called the Margarita Showdown, where local bars compete to see who can make the best margarita. Everyone in attendance gets one vote for their favorite margarita.

Vancouver’s celebration is a little more extreme. Every year, Vancouver, Canada hosts a Cinco de Mayo skydiving event that’s not for the faint of heart.

10 Facts You Didn’t Know About Cinco de Mayo

Cinco de Mayo Skydiving


Blessed to be Stressed?

Blessed to be Stressed?

Congratulations America, you have already broken a record for 2017, let’s not focus on the fact that it was the Psychologist Stress Record. We are living in a day and age with a level of technology and convenience that our ancestors never even dreamed of, from microwaves to smart phones, personal jets and now we even have an artificially intelligent personal assistant named “Alexa” to welcome us home and perform basic human tasks such as turning the house lights on and off.

Since the beginning of time stress has existed and affected all of mankind in both positive and negative ways. There were hunter/gatherers who grew concerned about where their next meal would come from, then we had unknown diseases and plagues wiping out people by the thousands. We read in history of great depressions and gigantic economic collapses and we can know for certain that these individuals felt a heavy weight and experienced stress just as we do today.

Even with all of our tremendous advances that we have made, humans are still plagued by these primary stressors; money, work, and the economy. Since it doesn’t look like the basic causes of stress will be subsiding anytime in the foreseeable future, let’s take a look at what stress actually does to our bodies and see if there are any benefits to its pesky existence.

When the body senses stress our brain sends a panic message to our adrenal glands and adrenaline begins to course through our veins. We quickly begin to experience the “fight or flight” reactions such as a racing heart and sweaty palms. But there is more happening than those pesky physical manifestations. The adrenaline grants us a momentary superhero experience in which we feel a surge of strength and speed. The stress hormone ‘cortisol’ helps our minds to better focus and retain knowledge and our immune cells increase, helping us to fight off any illnesses that may be lurking around. Stress seems to “put a fire under our bums” and can oftentimes motivate us to do things we didn’t believe we could accomplish.

So there you have it, history has shown us that stress doesn’t seem to be going away anytime soon and America in particular seems to embrace it more than any other nation. We might as well make the most of it by learning how to use it for our own benefit, to fight off colds, improve our brain capacity, stay motivated and get ahead in our workplaces and in our stress-filled yet blessed lives.

Why Is Easter Always On A Different Date?

Why Is Easter Always On A Different Date?

Why is Easter Always on a Different Date?

Thanksgiving is always on the fourth Thursday of the month. Christmas is always on December 25. Easter on the other hand, can fall anywhere between March 22 and April 25! On top of that, Eastern Orthodox churches have historically celebrated the holiday on different days than Western churches. What led Easter to having such a large timing window and how is the date determined every year? To understand why Easter is the way it is, we must look at a bit of history.

To put it simply, Easter is a holiday that was originally tied to Jewish Passover. Jesus was crucified soon after Passover, and the early church in Asia Minor wanted to keep the two celebrations correlated with one another. However, the Jewish holiday calendar followed lunar cycles while the widely used Roman calendar followed Solar cycles, meaning Easter would fall on different days every year, depending on what calendar your area subscribed to. That’s the condensed version of it, but the history gets far more interesting (and complicated) from here.

The confusion begins with an incongruence between the two calendar systems. The Julian (solar-based) calendar of the Roman Empire had been used since 30 A.D., but it didn’t consider the Lunar calendar of the Jewish people that was jam packed with 2000 years of Jewish history. The clashing of these two calendar systems became even more apparent in 325 A.D., when the Council of Nicaea met to create a standardized system for determining the date of Easter.

When the Council of Nicaea met, members of the council went back and forth on which calendar system to use. The churches in Antioch and Syria wanted to continue to use the Jewish lunar calendar to determine Easter’s date, while the churches in Alexandria and Rome wanted to use the Solar calendar. Eventually they reached a middle ground, and determined that Easter would only come on the Sunday directly after the first full moon following spring equinox. This method was a seemingly perfect middle ground that paid respect to both the Solar and Lunar calendars.

Why is Easter Always on a Different Date?

Council of Nicaea

But the story doesn’t end there. Nearly 1000 years later, in the mid-1200s, and English Friar named Roger Bacon noticed a critical flaw in the current Easter calendar that was causing the holiday to slide further into Spring each year. The Julian calendar that was being used at the time believed the solar year to be 365.250 days long. However, Astronomers alive in Bacon’s time now knew the year to be closer to 365.242 days long. This small difference of only 11 minutes per year was slowly pushing the date of Easter back. In that 1000 year time span, the date of Easter had been pushed back nearly 9 days! Although Bacon advocated to correct the error, his efforts yielded no success.

However, it was this critical error that led to a far better calendar system. In the 1500s, Pope Gregory XIII realized how far Easter had drifted, and sought to fix it once and for all. He hired a mathematician and astronomer named Christopher Clavius to create a solution to the problem. Several years later, Pope Gregory would sign a bill instating a new calendar named after himself. You may know it as the “Gregorian Calendar”, which is the calendar that we use today.

Pope Gregory’s calendar was based off the Julian calendar, but with 250 less leap days per 1000 years. This way the calendar would more accurately reflect the number of days in a year – 365.242. Additionally, the Gregorian calendar specified that leap days would only be observed at century boundaries when the century number is divisible by 400. For this reason, the leap year in 2000 was a rare, once-in-a-lifetime event, as the next leap year on a century boundary won’t come until 2400.

Although the process of determining the holiday’s date was long and convoluted, without the confusion surrounding Easter, we wouldn’t have the calendar system that we use today.