Category: san francisco
San Francisco is an eclectic city. Proof of this concept is the breadth of differnt songs written about it. How can writing about the same thing spur such diverse output? In no particular order here are four songs about San Francisco.
Lights – Journey
The song is a ballad about Journey’s city of origin, San Francisco, although it was actually written in and originally intended to be about Los Angeles. It was one of Steve Perry’s first Journey songs, and was recorded soon after his joining the band. In an interview, Perry said, “I had the song written in Los Angeles almost completely except for the bridge and it was written about Los Angeles. It was ‘when the lights go down in the city and the sun shines on LA.’ I didn’t like the way it sounded at the time. And so I just had it sitting back in the corner. Then life changed my plans once again, and I was now facing joining Journey. I love San Francisco, the bay and the whole thing. ‘The bay’ fit so nice, ‘When the lights go down in the city and the sun shines on the bay.’ It was one of those early morning going across the bridge things when the sun was coming up and the lights were going down. It was perfect.”
Sitting on the Dock of the Bay – Otis Redding
In August 1967, while sitting on a rented houseboat in Sausalito, Redding started writing the lyrics to the song. He completed the writing with the help of Stax producer Steve Cropper, who was also guitarist in Booker T and the M.G.’s. The song incorporates mimicked seagull whistles and sounds of the waves crashing on the shore. Tragically, just three days after Redding and band mates finished the final refinements of the song, Redding, five band mates (James Alexander, Carl Cunningham, Jimmy Lee King, Phalon Jones, Ronnie Caldwell, and Matthew Kelly) and pilot Richard “Dick” Fraser died in a plane crash that landed in Lake Monona, Wisconsin. “(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay” became the first posthumous album to reach number one on the Billboard Music Charts.
We Built This City – Jefferson Starship
The lyrics describe a city built on rock n’ roll music. The lyrics explicitly mention the Golden Gate Bridge and refer to “the City by the Bay”, a common moniker for Starship’s hometown of San Francisco, California. However, the lyrics also refer to “the City That Never Sleeps”, a reference to New York City, and “The City That Rocks”, a reference to Cleveland, Ohio. Capitalizing on the ambiguity, several radio stations added descriptions of their own local areas when they broadcast the song, or even simply added their own ident in its place.
San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Flowers in Your Hair)
The Bee Gees wrote their song “Massachusetts” as a reaction to this song. The Bee Gees’ song is about someone who has been to San Francisco but is now homesick for Massachusetts.
John King’s assessment of 8 small parks in San Francisco looks pretty complete. When I was last in SF I played on some of the questionable playground equipment in South Park and figured it was a great find. Certainly a fun day with good friends. Fond memories.
“The problem with shining the spotlight on a handful of San Francisco parks is that too many remain in the dark.”
I love the typography and layout in this old school poster but, honestly, what bridge is this supposed to be? The placement and vantage point suggest it is meant to be the bay bridge but it looks like a big, white slab with dangly support cords.
Still, all this modernism just makes the over-all design that much more intriguing.
Three days from now:
The passage of Prop 1a is a great opportunity and for me somewhat surprising given this is the first time I’ve voted in a major election outside of California. (As is of course the disappointing passage of Prop 8). The California High Speed Rail Blog has published an excellent list of Next Steps concerning where to go from here to support the High Speed Rail system. In my mind the biggest thing on that list as far as forward thinking planning has to support of current infrastructure (point 6). However, supporting existing rail infrastructure alone is simply one piece of the puzzle. A drastic restructuring of zoning and city planning must simultaneously occur to not only ensure the success of the system but to restructure California to absorb the overwhelming population growth expected in the coming decades.
To be sure, California is going to grow larger and the High Speed Rail project is a landmark affirmation for focusing that growth in existing urban centers in the state. However, the cities themselves need to act resolutely to capitalize on the significant investment to enact change. While in the past several decades urban centers across the state have been financing transit infrastructure improvements — the latest and most notable being Los Angeles county’s Measure R; what has lagged in the state is significant rewriting of archaic (more…)
John King has an article about Jan Gehl, an urban designer who was brought in to consult with San Francisco about the Fisherman’s Wharf area. Not my favorite part of the city but I like his suggestions about how to improve the area. Perhaps if they’re implemented I’ll be more apt to visit the area.
Every city has its own topography and ambiance, says Jan Gehl, author of such urban design studies as 1971s “Life Between Buildings.” But he also says there are rules of thumb to keep in mind when crafting plans and reviving neighborhoods. Here are four:
Rein in the automobile. “For 50 years we were completely obsessed with making room for cars,” Gehl says. “We need to show respect for people who are moving about on foot or by bicycle.”
Accentuate the positive. “Celebrate the things that give a place its special character – views of mountains or water, historic buildings. If its nice for the locals, visitors will love to come there also.”
Emphasize the out-of-doors. “We do almost all our work indoors; we need to move in our leisure time. People want to walk, run, bicycle – or sit and enjoy the setting, have a cappuccino.”
Design for all ages. “Various groups in the population have various needs,” Gehl says. For instance, fold active playgrounds into a district – but put them where parents can relax with a glass of wine while children let off steam.
Seeing these pics just makes me long for San Francisco a little.
pretty f-ing amazing!
Was browsing through my archives since the website update and ended up on a random tumblr. Something about seeing a picture of a picnic in Delores Park (San Francisco) at the bottom of a tumblog really just smacks of home to me.
John King, architectural critic for the SF Chronicle and the only newspaper columnist in my google reader takes a trip to L.A. and reports back about some of the new buildings and communities that have recently opened [link]
“Next to the Cheesecake Factory stands a curvy diner with a 1950s look – the one nod to Southern Californias long love affair with automobiles. Except, of course, for the 3,500-car parking garage.”
[link] What would Los Angeles look like with trolley cars? What about a canal instead of Market street in San Francisco?
This makes me miss San Francisco