The Music Lives On

Posted February 16, 2021

Just as life must go on, so too should the music. If you, dear reader, are an established Villager, then you know the music we speak of is that of our Village Nights. Well, more like the “spirit” of those Village Nights. For the safety of our beloved community, we’ve obviously paused Village Nights until Madame Coronavirus ceases her uninvited hogging of the stage. However, if anything, this year has certainly taught us how to create and successfully execute a Plan B modus operandi. This time around, that alternative planning has happily led us to consider Spotify.com. Our Spotify playlists feature musicians who got their start right here in Greenwich Village.  Just to give you an idea, here’s a list of some of those folks and a bit about the singer(s) behind the songs.

The Rockin’ ‘n’ Rollin’ Rolling Stones:
All one need do is Google a search query regarding iconic musicians who’ve graced Greenwich Village with their music, and countless names will result. It was and remains a real hot spot for those just starting out in the music “biz” or those returning to share new sounds. One such little-known British rock band to make their debut here was the Rolling Stones. In 1964, they arrived in NYC on their very first American tour. It wasn’t long after the conclusion of this tour and their return to the UK whereupon Keith Richards (band guitarist) was quoted as saying, “Nobody realizes how America blew our minds and the Beatles’ too.  Can’t even describe what America meant to us.” As they made a rocking impression on us, so too, it appears, did we make one on them.

The Folksy Joan Baez:
If ever there was an interesting character to have been a part of the Village’s musical heritage, it’s Joan Baez. She lives life by her own standards, unafraid of consistently involving herself in the socio-political and environmental movements of the 1960s and ‘70s. The lyrics she wrote usually voiced – sometimes subversively and sometimes bluntly – the foundational beliefs of the fights she fought during those decades.  Moreover, Baez was the leg-up which brought Bob Dylan’s voice and songs to light. Actually, she and Dylan were often visitors to Washington Square, sometimes calling our hotel their home base and sometimes not. Baez recounts one of her stays “over Washington Square” in her song, “Diamonds and Rust” – a song which narrates her memories of one of her many Village visits with Bob Dylan by her side.

The Blues King that was Albert King:
Albert King was a man of passion and entrepreneurial spirit. Calling his story a classic “rags to riches” tale is actually a discredit to the impressive accomplishments made by the man. His life began in the nation’s south which, at the time, of course remained a haven for culturally backwards ways of thinking. However, this became no deterrent to the upward momentum that King’s life took from thereon. To give you an example, some of his most crowning achievements include the following:

  1. Inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in 1983
  2. Posthumous inducting into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2013
  3. Ranked #13 on Rolling Stone Magazine’s 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time in 2011.

Albert King was a usual guest at the Washington Square Hotel, and his voice is one sure to be a usual player on our soon-to-be Spotify playlists.

There are a lot of other notable names we’d love to elaborate upon the history of here. However, instead of listing them all out in one spot, we’re going to suggest you check-out a couple of our other blogs where you can dive further into our proud musical history. First up, check out “6 Entertainers You Didn’t Know Were Discovered in Greenwich Village” (March 13th, 2018). Second, click on over to “From the 17th to the 21stCentury:  Greenwich Village Remains a Diamond in The Rough” (March 15th, 2018).

It’s interesting to consider how so much of what is happening today is stuff we wish would just disappear into the past already. However, such will never be the case with good music. Music that transfixes the soul. Song will always survive as a silver lining when skies get a bit gloomy and grey. The music will always – must always – live on.