Throughout the Woodstock music festival, which celebrates its 50th anniversary later this month, concert-goers scaled 70ft sound towers to get a better look at what was happening on stage.
Depending on your view, this was either “insanely dangerous”, as production coordinator John Morris described it in Woodstock: An Oral History – the towers weren’t set up to hold all that extra weight and one fallen structure could have killed “hundreds of people” – or an expression of the joyful sense of freedom that pervaded the four-day event in August 1969.
For photographer Elliott Landy, who captured the climbers during his in-depth coverage of Woodstock, the ascent of the sound towers, though dangerous, has a broader meaning.
‘It really symbolises the nature of the 60s,” he says, “which was that people were trying to get higher’.
Sometimes science means getting a bunch of finches sloshed. Or at least giving them blood alcohol levels of around .08 percent, which is pretty crazy by bird standards.
In a study published last week in PLOS ONE, researchers from the Oregon Health and Science University tempted zebra finches with spiked juice — but not because they wanted to help the lab animals ring in the new year in style.
The researchers study birdsong to learn more about human speech. Birds learn to sing in much the same way that humans learn to talk (in fact, a recent study found that birdsong and speech even rely on the same genes).
It’s much easier to keep a bird in a cage and study its brain than it is to do the same with a human toddler, so birds give scientists some of our best insights into the brain mechanisms that make speech possible.
If you’ve ever talked to someone under the influence of alcohol, you know that it makes speech more difficult. But there hasn’t been much research on vocal impairment caused by alcohol — mostly because scientists have so few non-human lab animals capable of “speech” to work with.
“At first we were thinking that they wouldn’t drink on their own because, you know, a lot of animals just won’t touch the stuff,” researcher Christopher Olson told NPR, “But they seem to tolerate it pretty well and be somewhat willing to consume it.”
And once the birds were buzzed, they started to slur their songs.
“The most pronounced effects were decreased amplitude and increased entropy,” the researchers wrote in the study.
So in other words, their songs got quieter and less organized.
Neil Young and Graham Nash in New York City in 1970
Photograph: Joel Bernstein
For the first time, the Morrison Hotel Gallery is hosting an exhibition in all three of their locations – Long May You Run, a retrospective of Neil Young, charts his rise from Buffalo Springfield to refusing to settle down in his 70s.
Neil Young in a limo with a Gretch White Falcon in June 1970
Photograph: Joel Bernstein
And sitting on a car in 2016
Photograph: Danny Clinch
See more on Neil Young via Neil Young: an artist through the years – in pictures | Music | The Guardian
In this photo from April of 1948 we see engineer Myron Holbert, who’s showing off the Seeburg Select-O-Matic jukebox.
The machine held a relatively enormous library of music — 200 selections!
And although the jukebox became a symbol of the postwar teen music explosion, it predates the 1950s.
In fact, it was during the 1930s that America saw an incredible rise in the number of jukeboxes filling dance halls and diners.
Source: This Was a Jukebox in 1948
The most commonly sung song for English-speakers on New Year’s eve, “Auld Lang Syne” is an old Scottish song that was first published by the poet Robert Burns in the 1796 edition of the book, Scots Musical Museum.
Burns transcribed it (and made some refinements to the lyrics) after he heard it sung by an old man from the Ayrshire area of Scotland, Burns’s homeland.
It is often remarked that “Auld Lang Syne” is one of the most popular songs that nobody knows the lyrics to. “Auld Lang Syne” literally translates as “old long since” and means “times gone by.”
The song asks whether old friends and times will be forgotten and promises to remember people of the past with fondness, “For auld lang syne, we’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet.
“The lesser known verses continue this theme, lamenting how friends who once used to “run about the braes,/ And pou’d the gowans fine” (run about the hills and pulled up the daisies) and “paidl’d in the burn/Frae morning sun till dine” (paddled in the stream from morning to dusk) have become divided by time and distance—”seas between us braid hae roar’d” (broad seas have roared between us).
Yet there is always time for old friends to get together—if not in person then in memory—and “tak a right guid-willie waught” (a good-will drink).