Sunday, June 25, 2017

Sgt Pepper Cover People continued: 5. Karlheinz Stockhausen (composer); 6. W.C. Fields (comedian)

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Karlheinz Stockhausen

  • Karlheinz Stockhausen (1928 – 2007) was a German composer, widely acknowledged to be among the most important German composers of the 20th century and was one of the earliest to use electronic music in a classical context.


  • Frank Zappa, The Who, Pink Floyd. Jefferson Airplane and Bjork have acknowledged him as an influence.
  • The Beatles were also influenced in their musical experimentation at the time of Sgt Pepper (1967) by his use of electronic music, most notably displayed in "A Day in the Life" (1967) and "Revolution 9" (1968).
  • They could have used a better pic of him on Sgt Pepper, if you ask me. The hand with the shadow makes him look like The Joker . . . 

  • Stockhausen’s music was not without its critics, most notably within the ranks of his own peers of classical composers. When Sir Thomas Beecham was asked "Have you heard any Stockhausen?", he is alleged to have replied, "No, but I believe I have trodden in some" 


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W C Fields

  • William Claude Dukenfield (1880[1] – 1946), better known as W. C. Fields, was an American comedian, actor, juggler and writer. Fields' comic persona was a lover of alcohol who disliked dogs and children. It was often said that his real life personality and character were no different.
  • Some W C Fieldisms . . .
"I was in love with a beautiful blonde once, dear. She drove me to drink. That's the one thing I am indebted to her for." 
(From the film Never Give a Sucker an Even Break)

"Once, on a trek through Afghanistan, we lost our corkscrew...and were forced to live on food and water for several days!" 
(From the film My Little Chickadee)

“Women are like elephants, to me: I like to look at 'em, but I wouldn't want to own one.”

The oft-repeated anecdote that Fields refused to drink water "because fish fuck in it" is unsubstantiated.
  • Between 1936 and 1939, ill-health and on-set temperamental episodes meant that he made no films in that period. Radio work led to his becoming part of the Edgar Bergen radio show. Bergen performed as a ventriloquist with his dummy Charlie McCarthy, with Fields taking part with weekly insult-comedy routines.  Fields would make fun of Charlie about his being made of wood, Charlie made fun of Fields’ drinking:
Fields: "Tell me, Charles, is it true your father was a gate-leg table?"
McCarthy: "If it is, your father was under it!"

McCarthy: "Is it true, Mr. Fields, that when you stood on the corner of Hollywood and Vine, 43 cars waited for your nose to change to green?"

Bergen: "Why, Bill, I thought you didn't like children."
Fields: "Oh, not at all, Edgar, I love children. I can remember when, with my own little unsteady legs, I toddled from room to room..."
McCarthy: "When was that, last night?


  • Fields was hostile to religion, so much so that his Will left small amounts for family members and friends with the $800,000 remainder of his estate being left to establish “The W. C. Fields College for White Orphan Boys and Girls Where No Religion of Any Kind is Ever to be Taught.”
  • The ‘whites only’ clause was completely out of character for a man who treated blacks as equals and stood up for racial equality long before it was popular. Even after his change to his Will as above he paid off a $4000 mortgage on the house of his black cook. He also once ordered from his premises a man who used the word “nigger” within earshot of his staff.
  • There is evidence that Fields’ Will had originally provided that the orphans gift was to be for white and coloured orphans but that Fields changed it either when he heard that the Pullman Porters Union had formally voted to exclude whites, and/or when he was the subject of insolence (or perceived insolence) from a black servant he employed.
  • The Will was successfully challenged by his ex-wife, family and mistress with all of them sharing in the estate. As regards the orphan provision, Judge McKay threw it out, stating “Mr. Fields, in his lifetime, could have discriminated against other races but he cannot in death call upon the state to undertake the administration of his affairs and supervise a corporation which overrides the constitutionality of equality of rights common to all races.”
  • When close to death he was visited by a friend who found him sitting in the garden with a matini, reading the Bible. Quizzed by the friend, who knew of Field’s anti-religion beliefs, Fields answered that he was “looking for loopholes.”
  • The ultimate irony about Fields is that he died on a day that he had always declared that he despised. He died on Christmas Day in 1946.




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