Celtic Angel

Our tribute song for Bernie Torme is now released with a contribution to the Teenage Cancer Trust. Get copies of the songs on Amazon, iTunes, Spotify etc. There are both male and female vocal versions.

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Prince

Prince defies classification. Funk, Rock, Jazz, Pop, fusion, ambience and so on. In this video we take a look at one of his early tracks and look at his ability to seamlessly fuse genres, genes and jeans.

Read our article on Prince at Linkedin which achieved record numbers of views.

Download our homage of songs for Prince at Bandcamp.

Listen to our interviews with Prince collaborators and band members Ida Nielsen, Andy Allo, Marcus Anderson, George Clinton and Sheila E at interviews with music giants.

Ask us to deliver a Prince masterclass with parallel lessons for leaders.

Read our books “The Music of Business” and “Sex, Leadership and Rock’n’Roll“. Contact me for signed copies. The books contain analysis of Prince’s contribution to music and of course his philosophy on life.

Prince and me – extract from the Linkedin article

The last few days have been something of an emotional roller coaster for me, as someone who is the same age as Prince and who has followed his career from start to finish. Prince Rogers Nelson’s untimely death at 57 has deprived the world of one of its greatest polymaths and on Friday I was compelled to give a talk on his life, creative contribution and perform some of his songs at Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Money Lounge. Whilst preparing to give the talk I listened to Marvin Gaye’s rendition of “Abraham, Martin and John” and finally broke down in tears – I always think “better out than in” 🙂 and 10 minutes of uncontrollable sobbing gave me enough energy to carry the rest of the day without losing control. I also recalled our wedding day some 22 years ago – we had “The Beautiful Ones” as our wedding dance, much to the surprise of my Father in Law, once the screaming started … 🙂 As part of my own cathartic release of energy surrounding this very sad event, what then can I say about the man behind the controversy, sexual ambiguity, a symbol which journalists could not type on a keyboard and platform shoes that has not been said already in the media?

Download “The Pauper and The Prince” by clicking the picture

Roxy Music

In this edition of The Peer Review, Steve Peer and Peter Cook examine Roxy Music’s opening track “Re-Make, Re-Model”. Roxy Music were an unusual fusion of glam, rockabilly, avant garde and much more. Check the review out:

In 1972, it was indeed common to “trade instrumentals” by taking a break in a song for individual musicians to take a solo break. However this generally did not extend to ambient synthesiser breaks, nor quotes from “March of the Valkyries” on sax! Nor was it common to quote the number plate of a car as a refrain. Roxy Music broke boundaries. Too many for Polydor records ….

Roxy Music rejection letter

They also influenced massively. Brian Eno went on to be an ambient professor and production legend whilst Bryan Ferry became a style icon with Roxy Music and then in his own right.

Smoke on the Water

In this edition, we examine the classic rock track “Smoke on the Water” by Deep Purple. Check out Steve Peer’s interview below:

In the interview we deal with subjects such as:

  • Which was the definitive Deep Purple line up? One of our commenters sums up the answer!

It just isn’t the same band. Oh sure, they say it’s still Deep Purple but to me, “Purple” was Gillian, Glover, Lord, Blackmore and Ian Paice. With new players, the band has evolved into a completely different entity. Good music yeah…but not stone cold Purple.

  • What are some of the distinctive elements of the track that make it so enduring? The drummer’s view and the guitar hero’s obsession?
  • What about the anatomy of the band? How do you hold dysfunctional and explosive elements together?

To access the transferable lessons for businesses and leaders check out our article on Linkedin on the topic.

Do check our book out “The Music of Business” for more insights into business and personal development from music:

Our next interview will focus on a classic Roxy Music track. What’s her name? No, it’s not Virginia Plain!

A Celebration of Bernie Tormé 1952-2019

Oh Celtic Angel, it’s time to fly

Axe Victim, crying to the sky

On the Sabbath, with Demon’s Eye

All strung up, but too young to die

Celtic Angel is a tribute to Bernie Tormé R.I.P. 1952-2019, band leader, guitarist and songwriter for Ian Gillan and Ozzy Osbourne.  The song was written by Peter Cook who first met Bernie by accident in 2010 at his studio, whilst recording a song for a friend.  A friendship evolved and Peter was privileged to perform with this gentle giant on a number of occasions.  Bernie reflected this in his own words on cover of one of his albums after Peter spent some time with Bernie on his renaissance.

Release date April 23

Celtic Angel reflects many of Bernie’s influences, with various nods and winks to Deep Purple, Hendrix, Ozzy, Bill Nelson and his infamous Big Muff effects pedal which Bernie used to push his Marshall amps over the cliff edge to ear splitting volumes. Featuring sitars, guitars turned up to 11 and some soaring sonics that give a wink and a nod to the great man from the emerald isle.  Although Celtic Angel was conceived in a basement, it is a truly global production, featuring Gareth Dylan Smith from New York City, Tim Hands from the North of England, David Bourke and Rosie Horne from Kent. Video production by Mark Duffy.

“What a sad day. We’ve lost another great musician. Bernie was a gentle soul with a heart of gold. He will be dearly missed. I send my sincere condolences to his family, friends and fans. Rest in Peace Bernie.”

Ozzy Osbourne

“I always enjoyed our time spent talking about music, business, philosophy and politics.  Bernie was so much more than a guitar player.  Thank you for your time and patience with an apprentice.”

Peter Cook

Celtic Angel is released worldwide on April 23 with a contribution to the Teenage Cancer Trust. I hope that you will join me in celebrating the life of one of rock’s gentle giants.

Talking Heads – An interview with Steve Peer

I was delighted to interview Steve Peer recently. Steve started life in a host of bands, ending up playing at CGBG’s with The Talking Heads alongside TV Toy, The Sex Pistols, Iggy Pop and so on.

He was asked to join Bill Nelson’s Red Noise and has a set of fascinating stories about how to work in the music business with transferable lessons for anyone trying to achieve success. Great insights for everyone.

Here’s a rare clip of the beginning of the 2nd Red Noise that not ever happened – Steve played drums on “Ideal Homes” and “Instantly Yours”.

And this is the wonderful John Peel introducing Steve’s band TV Toy.

Find TV Toy at https://www.facebook.com/tvtoy.newrockmusic

The Crown Vics at https://www.facebook.com/thecrownvicsband

Sir Ken Robinson – End of the line

Sir Ken Robinson died just recently aged 70.  Author of “All Our Futures”, a book that asked the Government to change its approach to education and perhaps most famous for his TED talk “Do Schools Kill Creativity?“.

I was invited to lunch with Ken at Warwick University just around the turn of the century, long before he did his famous TED lecture.  He invited me there after spotting that I’d released my first book “Best Practice Creativity“.  In truth I did not know much about him at that time, so of course I did my research.  Ken had a working class upbringing, suffered from Polio at the age of four and consequently had a very hard time at school which he reflected upon in later life.  But he never seemed to let his condition hold him back from learning and enquiring with a curiosity that endured through his distinguished career.

“A rare mixture of uncommon intelligence, wisdom and foresight with the common touch of someone who did not forget where he came from”

We had a wonderful dialogue, not least because of our shared interest in creativity but also because of our backgrounds, Ken in theatre and drama and mine in music as well as science.  We found much in common, in terms of our shared experience that command and control teaching and management produces low levels of achievement and attainment, he from his experience in theatre and mine from my experience in teaching for the Open University MBA programme in Creativity, Innovation and Change.   We also shared a lot on what might be called whole brain teaching and learning, finding ways to engage every student through cross-curricular teaching approaches.

Some time later, I heard that Ken was somewhat disappointed that his report on creativity in education commissioned by the Government had largely been ignored by the Government of the day.  I suspect that this was simply because he was too far ahead of his time.  He left the UK shortly after this.  I remember Ken saying many years later when we net in London, that the Americans listened to him better when he moved to the Getty Institute, perhaps because he was an eccentric Englishman.  I thought more about our conversation to this day when I included some reflections on our dialogue in the book “Leading Innovation, Creativity and Enterprise”:

Ken Robinson

I hope that Ken’s messages will reach politicians now that we are having to re-think education for the information age.  The simple upload – download model of knowledge via examinations has been outmoded for many years and has come into sharp relief under the COVID crisis.  The simple storage and regurgitation of knowledge is now less relevant than the ability to apply knowledge to solve problems and seek opportunities.  We need more people like Ken in the world to help us find better solutions to complex problems.

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One of the great joys of our lunchtime conversation was our shared love of music.  We both grew up on The Beatles, Ken of course because he hailed from Liverpool.  It therefore seems fitting to end with Ken’s favourite song from his Desert Island Discs programme which informed the title of this post.

 

 

 

We’ll meet again – R.I.P. Dame Vera Lynn

It’s a sad day for Britain.  Dame Vera Lynn passed away after an incredible life of 103 years.  It is a poignant moment to reflect that I wrote the song ‘Alo Vera in tribute to all the good things Lynn stood for, just one month ago.  Although she was adopted as an icon of war, her main focus has been about peace, understanding and compassion.  Her last song marked the end of the Falklands War and not the war per se.  In her private life, Vera devoted much time and energy to charity work connected with ex-servicemen, disabled children and breast cancer.  This is the mark of a true leader.  Her love of music and humanity is summed up:

“Music is so good for the soul”

Vera

Join me this evening online when I’ll be performing the song in her honour on the streets of Britain.  Check our song out at ‘Alo Vera.  Lynn was born in the East End and the song is evocative of the age.

Dame Vera Lynn – R.I.P.

 

Fresh Prince

Prince Logo What U C

Artwork by Simon Heath – Twitter @SimonHeath1

Under lockdown, I have had a little bit of time to compose some music in honour of Prince.  The track “Paisley Blues” is now available on Bandcamp together with my interpretation of a classic and another song I wrote for Prince in 2012 “What U C is What U Get.  Take a listen to Paisley Blues:

The track was the product of a late night recording session and came together almost instantly as a result if a happy interaction between a piano line and guitar.  To read my eulogy to Prince from four years ago, go to The Prince of Innovation.

Get in touch for our versions of Purple Rain and Sign ‘O The Times via email.  Here’s a memory of one of the last times I saw the man.  Do check our interviews out with band members at Interviews with Music Giants.

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