Celebrating Up-Tempo Blues Music

The record producer Sam Phillips is quoted in Memphis Mayhem as saying that “Rock and roll is the blues with a mania. Tempo is the main difference.”

Musical tourism in Memphis was a $4 billion annual industry prior to Covid-19 and is likely to be even bigger once the pandemic subsides. Memphis has seen such troubles before. Yellow fever epidemics after the Civil War caused wealthy whites to flee in large numbers, leaving the city open for the rise of the South’s first millionaire: an African-American businessman named Robert Church. The two local heroes on which the local music tourism depends, however, consist of W. C. Handy, the father of the blues; and Elvis Presley coming along 45 years later. It was in Sam Phillips’ legendary Sun Studios on a hot July evening in 1954 that Presley recorded “It’s All Right Mama” and rock and roll took off. For a decade starting in the 1960s, Memphis became the 3rd largest center for recording music in America. No wonder Dusty Springfield came to town to record Dusty in Memphis; you had to be there!

Released today: episode #47 of “Dan Hill’s EQ Spotlight,” featuring David Less, the author of Memphis Mayhem: A Story of the Music That Shook Up the WorldCheck out the audio link below to get oriented or click on the image below to go directly to the new episode.

David Less has studied Memphis music for over 40 years, including work done for the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Smithsonian Institution, and the Gibson Guitar Foundation. He’s been published in Rolling Stone and DownBeat, among other places.

News Items

On May 7, 2021, Omnivore Recordings is releasing Boogie Shoes: Live on Beale Street. The CD/LP features Memphis legend Alex Chilton (The Box Tops, Big Star) backed by the Hi Rhythm Section that backed Al Green, Ike & Tina Turner and others. The liner notes come from David Less. To learn more, visit the OmnivoreRecordings.com web site.

Logo of Faces and Places Tours has an image of the Statue of Liberty
Circle October 7-9, 2021 on your calendar, please! Those are the dates for the inaugural Faces & Places tour to be held in Memphis. This highly customized, unique tour will be a mashup of history, biography, music, and EQ insights that will offer attendees a transformative experience in the city of Memphis. David Less will be one of two guests that all tour participants will meet in person during the tour. To learn more details, contact dhill@sensorylogic.com – thanks.

Of Changes & Values

From David Bowie to Tupac Shakur and others, songs about CHANGES abound. More prosaically, however, change proves hard to pull off. Since individual behavior changes must also happen for larger, company-wide initiatives to succeed, let’s turn the focus to individual change. Sustained personal change depends on tapping into deep-seated, inner motivations, which brings us to a person’s values system. 

Forget hackneyed corporate vision statements. What’s your own vision statement? If you had to choose, what five values might you select as most important to you? And if you created a bucket list of things you want to accomplish, personally and professionally, what 12 items might be on that list and why? In other words, how might those items or goals reflect your values and help you change and develop as a person, closer toward what you consider your ideal self?

Inspiring Sticky Change

Released today: episode #32 of “Dan Hill’s EQ Spotlight,” featuring Ellen Van Oosten, co-author of Helping People Change: Coaching with Compassion for Lifelong Learning and Growth. Listen to the clip below and click on the image to get to the new episode.

Photo of Ellen Van Oosten and her book Helping People Change for Dan Hill's EQ Spotlight Podcast.

Van Oosten is an Associate Professor of Organizational Behavior and the Faculty Director of Executive Education at the Weatherhead School of Management, Case Western Reserve University. She is also the Director of the university’s Coaching Research Lab. This episode investigates not only what one wants to do in life, but also what one wants to be? To sustain change, be positive. Hunt for gold, not dirt, Oosten writes, and identify heroes from various stages of your life in order to help focus your dreams.

Dan Hill, PhD, is the president of Sensory Logic, Inc.

Adele Feels Mortified at Grammys

Adele’s rendition of “Hello” to open the 59th Grammys show was a little shaky at first, a case of performance nerves. But the fear combined with sadness and disgust as Adele heard from her seat at the Staples Center that she had won for Song of the Year was different. I know what Adele was feeling at that moment as the left corner of her mouth pulled wide in fear, and simultaneously downward in a display of sadness and disgust. On the other hand, I can’t say for sure what she was thinking.

But given how the Grammys imitate the Oscars in favoring one big annual winner, Adele may well have known what might follow.  She might, and did, go on to be declared the winner for Record of the Year before capping off her triumph with Album of the Year.

Adele is far, far more a singer than a (fake) actress. She shows how she authentically feels. Bowing to a gracious Beyonce seated in the front row before her, Adele was, as everyone could witness, remarkably candid.  Claiming “I can’t possibly accept” the Album of the Year award, Adele then called Beyonce’s more stunning Lemonade album “monumental.”  I only wish the Recording Academy’s voters had felt so equally shaken in denying Beyonce the evening’s big prize.

After a history of 62 Grammy nominations and only one big win, she had to be feeling personal disappointment.

For her part, Beyonce went from a wince, to a concerned, worry wrinkle between her eyebrows upon experiencing Adele’s raw feelings, to a tear in her eyes by the end of Adele’s respectful speech. Those signs of sadness by Beyonce were completely and poignantly understandable. After a history of 62 Grammy nominations and only one big win, she had to be feeling personal disappointment. And in the bigger picture, Beyonce stayed in the realm of sadness rather than anger or disgust in knowing that the Recording Academy has in the past five years overlooked Frank Ocean, Kendrick Lamar and herself in awarding the top prize to a slew of white musical acts: Mumford & Sons, Daft Punk, Beck, Taylor Swift, and now Adele.

It became a real show-stopper within the staged show: a gracious Beyonce and a fervent, distraught Adele making more than just eye contact. A beautiful demonstration of empathy, mutual respect and support united the two women, even as the stage behind the British diva filled with songwriters and producers from Adele’s nearly all white, male team.