Metallica Teaches a New Masterclass on How to Build & Sustain a Band

Since its launch in 2015, Mas­ter­class has not only expand­ed the vari­ety of its online course offer­ings but sought out ever-big­ger names for its teach­ers. Names don’t come much big­ger than Metal­li­ca in the world of heavy met­al, and indeed in the world of rock music in gen­er­al. Hence the broad title of the new Mas­ter­class “Metal­li­ca Teach­es Being a Band.” Hav­ing been a band for 40 years now, they pre­sum­ably know more than a lit­tle about every­thing involved in that enter­prise: not just record­ing hit albums like Mas­ter of Pup­pets and songs like “Enter Sand­man,” but also weath­er­ing dra­mat­ic changes in both the music busi­ness and pop­u­lar cul­ture while coop­er­at­ing for the good of the group.

Not that, to the men of Metal­li­ca, such coop­er­a­tion has always come nat­u­ral­ly. “There’ve been times when it’s been frac­tured and it looks like we were on the verge of break­ing up,” says gui­tarist Kirk Ham­mett in the trail­er for their Mas­ter­class above.

He joined the band in 1983, which means he has very near­ly as long a stand­ing in the band as its founders, lead vocalist/rhythm gui­tarist James Het­field and drum­mer Lars Ulrich. All of them, along with bassist Robert Tru­jil­lo, appear here as teach­ers to share their accu­mu­lat­ed wis­dom, have to do as it may with song­writ­ing, per­for­mance, inter­per­son­al com­mu­ni­ca­tion, or the man­age­ment of time and anger.

Like all Mas­ter­class­es, Metal­li­ca’s course is divid­ed into many eas­i­ly watch­able video lessons, most with a prac­ti­cal slant. Musi­cal­ly inclined view­ers, even those with no inter­est in becom­ing heavy-met­al icons, will ben­e­fit from learn­ing to work “From Riff to Song,” the prin­ci­ples of “Putting Togeth­er an Album,” and the art of “Nav­i­gat­ing Egos.” But for Metal­li­ca fans in par­tic­u­lar — whom, col­lec­tive­ly, the band con­sid­er their fifth mem­ber — few lessons in any Mas­ter­class could be as grip­ping as the decon­struc­tions of “Enter Sand­man,” “Mas­ter of Pup­pets,” and “One.” They do all this in a calmer, more reflec­tive psy­cho­log­i­cal place than the bit­ter, near-dys­func­tion­al one in which the 2004 doc­u­men­tary Metal­li­ca: Some Kind of Mon­ster found them — but not so calm and reflec­tive that they can’t fin­ish the course off with, as Ham­mett puts it, “a bad-ass per­for­mance.”

When you sign up to become a Mas­ter­class mem­ber ($180 per year), you will have access to Metal­li­ca’s course plus 100 oth­ers.

Note: If you sign up for a Mas­ter­Class course by click­ing on the affil­i­ate links in this post, Open Cul­ture will receive a small fee that helps sup­port our oper­a­tion.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Watch Metal­li­ca Play “Enter Sand­man” Before a Crowd of 1.6 Mil­lion in Moscow, Dur­ing the Final Days of the Sovi­et Union (1991)

Metal­li­ca Plays Antarc­ti­ca, Set­ting a World Record as the First Band to Play All 7 Con­ti­nents: Watch the Full Con­cert Online

Metal­li­ca Is Putting Free Con­certs Online: 6 Now Stream­ing, with More to Come

Who Invent­ed Heavy Met­al Music?: A Search for Ori­gins

Car­los San­tana & Tom Morel­lo Launch Online Cours­es on How to Play the Gui­tar

Her­bie Han­cock to Teach His First Online Course on Jazz

Based in Seoul, Col­in Mar­shall writes and broad­casts on cities, lan­guage, and cul­ture. His projects include the Sub­stack newslet­ter Books on Cities, the book The State­less City: a Walk through 21st-Cen­tu­ry Los Ange­les and the video series The City in Cin­e­ma. Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall or on Face­book.

Watch the New Trailer for a Kurt Vonnegut Documentary 40 Years In the Making

When Kurt Von­negut first arrived in Dres­den, a city as yet untouched by war, crammed into a box­car with dozens of oth­er POWs, the city looked to him like “Oz,” he wrote in his semi-auto­bi­o­graph­i­cal sixth nov­el Slaugh­ter­house-Five. After all, he says, “The only oth­er city I’d ever seen was Indi­anapo­lis, Indi­ana.” When Von­negut and his fel­low GIs emerged from the bow­els of the pork plant in which they’d wait­ed out the Allied bomb­ing of the city, they wit­nessed the after­math of Dresden’s destruc­tion. The city for­mer­ly known as “the Flo­rence of the Elbe” was “like the moon,” as Von­negut’s “unstuck” pro­tag­o­nist Bil­ly Pil­grim says in the nov­el: cratered, pit­ted, lev­eled…. But the smok­ing ruins were the least of it.

Von­negut and his fel­low pris­on­ers spent the next few days remov­ing and incin­er­at­ing thou­sands of bod­ies, an expe­ri­ence that would for­ev­er shape the writer and his sto­ries. Whether men­tioned explic­it­ly or not, Dres­den became a “death card,” writes Philip Bei­dler, that Von­negut plant­ed through­out his work. Death recurs with banal reg­u­lar­i­ty, the phrase “So it goes,” pep­pered (106 times) through­out Slaugh­ter­house-Five, which Von­negut cred­it­ed to the French nov­el­ist Celine, whose cyn­i­cism tipped over into hatred. Von­negut may have gone as far as gen­er­al­ized mis­an­thropy, but his dry, wise­crack­ing humor and his human­ism stayed intact, even if it had picked up a pas­sen­ger: the hor­ror of mass death that haunt­ed his imag­i­na­tion.

Von­negut, like Bil­ly Pil­grim, became “unstuck in time,” a con­di­tion we might see now as anal­o­gous to PTSD, his daugh­ter Nanette says. “He was writ­ing to save his own life,” as news from Viet­nam came in and Von­negut, a paci­fist, found him­self “los­ing his tem­per” at the tele­vi­sion. “He saw the num­bers, how many dead,” she adds, “that these kids were being conned, and sent to their deaths. And I think it prob­a­bly set a fire under him to have his say.” A new doc­u­men­tary on the writer titled Unstuck in Time shows how much impact his “say” had on the coun­try’s read­ers. Von­negut wrote unbri­dled satire, sci­ence fic­tion, and social com­men­tary, in thin books with irrev­er­ent doo­dles in the mar­gins. As direc­tor Robert Wei­de says in the trail­er above, hold­ing a copy of Break­fast of Cham­pi­ons, “what high school kid isn’t gonna gob­ble this up?”

Wei­de, like most lovers of Von­negut, dis­cov­ered him as a teenag­er. At 23, the bud­ding film­mak­er con­tact­ed his lit­er­ary hero about mak­ing a doc­u­men­tary. Over the course of the next twen­ty-five years, Wei­de– best known for his work with Lar­ry David on Curb Your Enthu­si­asm (and as a meme) — filmed and taped con­ver­sa­tions with Von­negut until the author’s death in 2007. The result­ing doc­u­men­tary promis­es a com­pre­hen­sive por­trait of the writer’s life, LitHub writes, from his “child­hood in Indi­anapo­lis to his expe­ri­ence as a pris­on­er of war to his rise to lit­er­ary star­dom to the fans left in the wake of his death, all through the lens of Von­negut and Weide’s close friend­ship.”

As the rela­tion­ship between film­mak­er and sub­ject became part of the film itself, co-direc­tor Don Argott joined the project “to doc­u­ment the meta ele­ment of this sto­ry,” says Wei­de, “as I con­tin­ued to focus on Vonnegut’s biog­ra­phy.” Forty years in the mak­ing, Unstuck in Time, evolved from a “fair­ly con­ven­tion­al author doc­u­men­tary” to what may stand as the most inti­mate por­trait of the author put on film. Per­haps some­day we’ll also see the pub­li­ca­tion of an 84-page scrap­book recent­ly sold at auc­tion, a col­lec­tion of Vonnegut’s wartime let­ters, news clip­pings, and pho­tographs of the ruined Ger­man city that he nev­er ful­ly left behind.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Kurt Von­negut Offers 8 Tips on How to Write Good Short Sto­ries (and Amus­ing­ly Graphs the Shapes Those Sto­ries Can Take)

Why Should We Read Kurt Von­negut? An Ani­mat­ed Video Makes the Case

Watch a Sweet Film Adap­ta­tion of Kurt Vonnegut’s Sto­ry, “Long Walk to For­ev­er”

Josh Jones is a writer and musi­cian based in Durham, NC. Fol­low him at @jdmagness

When The Who Saved New York City After 9/11: Watch Their Cathartic Madison Square Garden Set (October 20, 2001)

A lit­tle more than a month after the ter­ror­ist attacks on 9/11, with the nation and world still reel­ing from that day, Madi­son Square Gar­den host­ed The Con­cert for New York City. A ben­e­fit con­cert of the first order, it was also a thank you to the sac­ri­fice of NYC’s fire and police depart­ments, which had lost many mem­bers dur­ing that day. (The for­mer had lost 343 fire­fight­ers.) But like a lot of things about that day twen­ty years lat­er, it has sort of van­ished down the cul­tur­al mem­o­ry hole.

How­ev­er, if you need remind­ing, the Who came out of retire­ment and deliv­ered what some con­sid­ered the set of the night. Tom Wat­son, writ­ing in Forbes mag­a­zine, called it “The Night The Who Saved New York.”

The con­cert was free to any fire­fight­er or police­man who came in uni­form. Wat­son describes the vibe thus:

“To say that occu­pan­cy laws were stretched that night is to under­sell the size of the place. Pic­ture a Knicks game, then dou­ble the crowd. From the start, the build­ing ran on a riv­er of emo­tion and beer, which, if you wore a uni­form — or your late loved one’s cap — was free. The thou­sands of cops in atten­dance stu­dious­ly ignored thou­sands of oth­er cops and fire­fight­ers light­ing up a lit­tle reefer. Large bot­tles of high proof spir­its were pro­duced. The Gar­den was the biggest Irish wake in his­to­ry.”

In a moment like this, a lot of the artists head­ed towards jin­go­ism. It was under­stand­able. Songs about Amer­i­ca (David Bowie), songs about New York City (Bil­ly Joel), songs about free­dom (Paul McCart­ney), songs about heroes (also Bowie). But, what the crowd want­ed that night was cathar­sis, and that’s what the Who brought.

The set is the Who at their most anthemic, but also the most rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the clas­sic rock radio these uni­formed men and women and their fam­i­lies grew up with: “Who Are You,” “Baba O’Reilly,” “Behind Blue Eyes,” and end­ing with “Won’t Get Fooled Again.” How­ev­er the line “meet the new boss, same as the old boss” is qui­et­ly delet­ed. Not this time, cyn­i­cism.

The con­cert was exact­ly what was need­ed for the grief of the com­mu­ni­ty. And death hangs over the whole event, as cam­era cut to fam­i­ly mem­bers hold­ing up pho­tos of lost loved ones, while the World Trade Cen­ter rub­ble still smol­dered.

And then there’s what nobody knew at the time: this would be bassist John Entwistle’s last gig before his fatal heart attack eight months lat­er. So many of the remain­ing first respon­ders would die from the tox­ic chem­i­cals breathed in on 9/11, and still they fight for some rec­om­pense from the gov­ern­ment that hon­ored them at first. May­or Giuliani…well, we know what hap­pened to him. And that ass whoopin’ we promised the Mid­dle East wound up kick­ing America’s econ­o­my in the butt instead.

Twen­ty years lat­er the per­for­mance still holds up, a moment in time just before we all got fooled again.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Kei­th Moon, Drum­mer of The Who, Pass­es Out at 1973 Con­cert; 19-Year-Old Fan Takes Over

Kei­th Moon’s Final Per­for­mance with The Who (1978)

What Made John Entwistle One of the Great Rock Bassists? Hear Iso­lat­ed Tracks from “Won’t Get Fooled Again,” “Baba O’Riley” & “Pin­ball Wiz­ard”

Ted Mills is a free­lance writer on the arts who cur­rent­ly hosts the Notes from the Shed pod­cast and is the pro­duc­er of KCR­W’s Curi­ous Coast. You can also fol­low him on Twit­ter at @tedmills, and/or watch his films here.

The Human Brain: A Free Online Course from MIT

From MIT comes The Human Brain, a series of 18 lec­tures pre­sent­ed by Pro­fes­sor Nan­cy Kan­wish­er. They’re from a course that “sur­veys the core per­cep­tu­al and cog­ni­tive abil­i­ties of the human mind and asks how they are imple­ment­ed in the brain. Key themes include the rep­re­sen­ta­tions, devel­op­ment, and degree of func­tion­al speci­fici­ty of these com­po­nents of mind and brain. The course will take stu­dents straight to the cut­ting edge of the field, empow­er­ing them to under­stand and crit­i­cal­ly eval­u­ate empir­i­cal arti­cles in the cur­rent lit­er­a­ture.”

Watch all of the lec­tures above, and find them added to our list of Free Biol­o­gy Cours­es, a sub­set of our col­lec­tion 1,700 Free Online Cours­es from Top Uni­ver­si­ties.

If you would like to sign up for Open Culture’s free email newslet­ter, please find it here. Or fol­low our posts on Threads, Face­book, BlueSky or Mastodon.

If you would like to sup­port the mis­sion of Open Cul­ture, con­sid­er mak­ing a dona­tion to our site. It’s hard to rely 100% on ads, and your con­tri­bu­tions will help us con­tin­ue pro­vid­ing the best free cul­tur­al and edu­ca­tion­al mate­ri­als to learn­ers every­where. You can con­tribute through Pay­Pal, Patre­on, and Ven­mo (@openculture). Thanks!

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Play a Kandinsky: A New Simulation Lets You Experience Kandinsky’s Synesthesia & the Sounds He May Have Heard When Painting “Yellow-Red-Blue”

Wass­i­ly Kandin­sky could hear col­ors. Maybe you can too, but since stud­ies so far have sug­gest­ed that the under­ly­ing con­di­tion exists in less than five per­cent of the pop­u­la­tion, the odds are against it. Known as synes­the­sia, it involves one kind of sense per­cep­tion being tied up with anoth­er: let­ters and num­bers come with col­ors, sequences take on three-dimen­sion­al forms, sounds have tac­tile feel­ings. These unusu­al sen­so­ry con­nec­tions can pre­sum­ably encour­age unusu­al kinds of think­ing; per­haps unsur­pris­ing­ly, synes­thet­ic expe­ri­ences have been report­ed by a vari­ety of cre­ators, from Bil­ly Joel and David Hock­ney to Vladimir Nabokov and Niko­la Tes­la.

Few, how­ev­er, have described synes­the­sia as elo­quent­ly as Kandin­sky did. “Col­or is the key­board,” he once said. “The eye is the ham­mer. The soul is the piano with its many strings. The artist is the hand that pur­pose­ly sets the soul vibrat­ing by means of this or that key.”

That quote must have shaped the mis­sion of Play a Kandin­sky, a col­lab­o­ra­tion between Google Arts and Cul­ture and the Cen­tre Pom­pi­dou. Enlist­ing the com­po­si­tion­al ser­vices of exper­i­men­tal musi­cians Antoine Bertin and NSDOS, it gives even us non-synes­thetes a chance to expe­ri­ence the inter­sec­tion of sound and not just col­or but shape as well, in some­thing of the same man­ner as the pio­neer­ing abstract painter must have.

As explained in the Lis­ten­ing In video above, Kandin­sky heard yel­low as a trum­pet, red as a vio­lin, and blue as an organ. An image of suf­fi­cient chro­mat­ic and for­mal vari­ety must have set off a sym­pho­ny in his head, much like the one Play a Kandin­sky gives us a chance to con­duct. As an inter­face it uses his 1925 paint­ing Yel­low-Red-Blue, each ele­ment of which, when clicked, adds anoth­er synes­thet­ic lay­er of sound to the mix. These visu­al-son­ic cor­re­spon­dences are based on Kandin­sky’s own col­or the­o­ries as well as the music he would have heard, all processed with the for­mi­da­ble machine-learn­ing resources at Google’s com­mand. “What was he try­ing to make us feel with this paint­ing?” Play a Kandin­sky asks. But of course he did­n’t have just one set of emo­tions in mind for his view­ers, and mak­ing that pos­si­ble was per­haps the most endur­ing achieve­ment of his jour­ney into abstrac­tion.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

The Evo­lu­tion of Kandinsky’s Paint­ing: A Jour­ney from Real­ism to Vibrant Abstrac­tion Over 46 Years

Wass­i­ly Kandin­sky Syncs His Abstract Art to Mussorgsky’s Music in a His­toric Bauhaus The­atre Pro­duc­tion (1928)

Time Trav­el Back to 1926 and Watch Wass­i­ly Kandin­sky Make Art in Some Rare Vin­tage Video

An Artist with Synes­the­sia Turns Jazz & Rock Clas­sics Into Col­or­ful Abstract Paint­ings

Artist Turns Famous Paint­ings, from Raphael to Mon­et to Licht­en­stein, Into Inno­v­a­tive Sound­scapes

Based in Seoul, Col­in Mar­shall writes and broad­casts on cities, lan­guage, and cul­ture. His projects include the Sub­stack newslet­ter Books on Cities, the book The State­less City: a Walk through 21st-Cen­tu­ry Los Ange­les and the video series The City in Cin­e­ma. Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall or on Face­book.

Scenes of New York City in 1945 Colorized & Revived with Artificial Intelligence

Are you irked when a movie or video you’re attempt­ing to enjoy is con­stant­ly inter­rupt­ed by the com­men­tary of a chat­ty fel­low audi­ence mem­ber?

If so, don’t watch archivist Rick Prelinger’s 2017 assem­blage, Lost Land­scapes of New York, in the com­pa­ny of a New York­er.

Unlike Open Cul­ture favorite NASS’s five minute sam­ple of Lost Land­scapes of New York, above, which adds col­or and ambi­ent audio to the unvar­nished found footage,  Prelinger — described by the New York Times’ Manohla Dar­gis as a “col­lec­tor extraordinaire…one of the great, under­sung his­to­ri­ans of 20th cen­tu­ry cin­e­ma” — rel­ish­es such mouthi­ness from the audi­ence. His black and white com­pi­la­tions are most­ly silent.

If you are a New York­er, view that as an invi­ta­tion here.

For every­one else, on behalf of New York­ers every­where, we con­cede that our con­fi­dent utter­ances may indeed dri­ve you out of your gourd…

Tourists with just one vis­it to their name can be for­giv­en for flaunt­ing their per­son­al brush­es with such hall of famers as the Brook­lyn Bridge and the Wash­ing­ton Square Arch, but there’s no com­pet­ing with long time res­i­dents’ inti­mate knowl­edge of the city’s geog­ra­phy.

It’s snob­bery of a type, but have pity on us long time res­i­dents, who know we will be viewed as sub­or­di­nates by those who were born with­in the five Bor­oughs.

(We sub­mit that there are lay­ers to this…a native of, say, the Hoosier State, who can remem­ber the orig­i­nal Penn Sta­tion should be con­sid­ered to have at least as much street cred as a mil­len­ni­al whose  birth in Brook­lyn, Harlem or the West Vil­lage con­fers native New York­er sta­tus.)

How­ev­er you slice it, con­sid­er this fair warn­ing that some of us, view­ing Lost Land­scapes of New York in your com­pa­ny, will not be able to stop our­selves from tri­umphant­ly crow­ing, “That’s 8th between 43rd and 44th!”

Again, it’s some­thing Prelinger courts in local live screen­ings of his Lost Land­scapes series

The phe­nom­e­non is not lim­it­ed to New York.

Be the set­ting San Fran­cis­co, Los Ange­les, or Detroit, he views audi­ence out­bursts as the sound­tracks to his most­ly silent, non-nar­ra­tive pas­tich­es drawn from his vast archive of vin­tage home movies, gov­ern­ment-pro­duced films, and back­ground footage shot with an eye toward com­posit­ing into a fea­ture film.

In a con­ver­sa­tion with The Essay Review’s Lucy Schiller, he remarked:

I’ve dis­cov­ered that home movies become some­thing else when blown up to the­ater-screen size. The change of scale pro­vokes a role change in the audi­ence, who with­out nec­es­sar­i­ly expect­ing it become more than sim­ple com­men­ta­tors. They turn into ethno­g­ra­phers, notic­ing and often remark­ing on every vis­i­ble detail of kin­ship, word and ges­ture and every inter­per­son­al exchange. They also respond as cul­tur­al geo­g­ra­phers, call­ing out streets and neigh­bor­hoods and build­ings, read­ing signs aloud, repeat­ing trade­names and brands and mark­ing extinct details in the cityscape. If I could cap­ture them (and I gen­er­al­ly can­not, because it is hard to intel­li­gi­bly record the voic­es of hun­dreds of peo­ple in one room), it would play back like an urban research project dis­trib­uted through a crowd of inves­ti­ga­tors. Each suc­cess­ful iden­ti­fi­ca­tion, each nam­ing achieved, is an endor­phin trig­ger.

Prelinger is hap­py to play fast and loose with chrono­log­i­cal order, scram­bling peri­od fash­ions, and col­or and black-and-white stock. This crazy quilt approach is in step with his resis­tance to con­struct­ing nar­ra­tives (“the curse of con­tem­po­rary doc­u­men­tary”) and admi­ra­tion for the way enthu­si­as­tic ama­teurs’ footage ren­ders “caste dis­tinc­tions between ani­mals and humans, between places and their inhab­i­tants” moot:

I am much less inter­est­ed in the minu­ti­ae of local his­to­ry than I am in the process of day­light­ing it, in the rela­tion­ship of his­to­ry and con­tem­po­rary life.

His approach allows those of us who live or have lived here to rev­el in New York City’s long stand­ing capac­i­ty for rein­ven­tion.

Like the anony­mous tide of human­i­ty bustling along our side­walks (and dart­ing into traf­fic, mid-block), the mar­quees, restau­rant names and words on the deliv­ery trucks aren’t fixed. We claim to hate it, but philoso­phers might sug­gest it’s what keeps us engaged.

You won’t find many street ven­dors hawk­ing frumpy cot­ton undies these days, but there are plen­ty of cor­ners where you can buy fruit and veg… and iPhone cas­es, ear­buds, and COVID-19 era face masks.

As excit­ing as it is to suc­cess­ful­ly peg the quin­tes­sen­tial­ly New York things that remain, there’s an equal thrill to rec­og­niz­ing and shout­ing out the things that don’t, espe­cial­ly if there’s a sig­nif­i­cant per­son­al con­nec­tion.

It makes us feel like we’re notable, con­tribut­ing in some way.

You con­tribute, too, by watch­ing Lost Land­scapes of New York (2017) here, while simul­tanous­ly keep­ing your eyes peeled for grat­i­fy­ing­ly well attend­ed, high­ly par­tic­i­pat­ed live screen­ings.

If vin­tage ama­teur footage you’re in pos­ses­sion of is gath­er­ing dust, con­sid­er donat­ing it to expand Prelinger’s archive, already some 60,000 films strong.

Watch Prelinger’s Lost Land­scapes com­pi­la­tions of oth­er cities here and here (see episode 7 of his San Fran­cis­co series above).

Explore his mas­sive archive on the Inter­net Archive.

And if you want to prac­tice sound­ing like a “real New York­er,” head back up to the top of the page, skip to the end, and inform every­one with­in earshot that that build­ing is the old James A. Far­ley Post Office at 32nd and 8th:

“Now it’s Moyni­han Train Hall! It opened on Jan­u­ary 1! It’s part of Penn Sta­tion! Don’t for­get to look up inside the 33rd street entrance, or you’ll miss Kehinde Wiley’s incred­i­ble stained-glass ceil­ing! And if you want a snack for the ride, you should hit H‑Mart on 32nd just east of Gree­ley Square!”

Relat­ed Con­tent:

See New York City in the 1930s and Now: A Side-by-Side Com­par­i­son of the Same Streets & Land­marks

Immac­u­late­ly Restored Film Lets You Revis­it Life in New York City in 1911

An Online Gallery of Over 900,000 Breath­tak­ing Pho­tos of His­toric New York City

Ayun Hal­l­i­day is an author, illus­tra­tor, the­ater mak­er and Chief Pri­ma­tol­o­gist of the East Vil­lage Inky zine.  Fol­low her @AyunHalliday.

The Story of the Edsel, Ford’s Infamously Failed Car Brand of the 1950s

For 60 years now, the name Edsel has been syn­ony­mous with fail­ure. In a way, this vin­di­cates the posi­tion of Hen­ry Ford II, who opposed label­ing a brand of cars with the name of his father Edsel Ford. The son of Ford Motor Com­pa­ny founder Hen­ry Ford, Edsel Ford died young in 1943, and thus did­n’t live to see “E Day,” the roll­out of his name­sake line of auto­mo­biles. It hap­pened on Sep­tem­ber 4, 1957, the cul­mi­na­tion of two years of research and devel­op­ment on what was for most of that time called the “E car,” the let­ter hav­ing been cho­sen to indi­cate the pro­jec­t’s exper­i­men­tal nature. Alas, all sev­en of Edsel’s first mod­els struck the Amer­i­can pub­lic as too con­ven­tion­al to stand out — and at the same time, too odd to buy.

You can hear the sto­ry of Edsel in the two videos above, one from trans­porta­tion enthu­si­ast Ruairidh MacVeigh and anoth­er from Reg­u­lar Car Reviews. Both offer expla­na­tions of how the brand’s cars were con­ceived, and what went wrong enough in their exe­cu­tion to make them a laugh­ing stock still today. No Edsel post­mortem can fail to con­sid­er the name itself, a choice made in des­per­a­tion after the rejec­tion of more than 6,000 oth­er pos­si­bil­i­ties pre­sent­ed by the adver­tis­ing firm of Foote, Cone & Beld­ing.

Its man­ag­er of mar­ket­ing research also unof­fi­cial­ly sought the coun­sel of mod­ernist poet Mar­i­anne Moore, whose sug­ges­tions includ­ed “Utopi­an Turtle­top,” “Resilient Bul­let,” “Mon­goose Civique,” and “The Impec­ca­ble.”

Anoth­er fac­tor cit­ed as a cause of Edsel’s dis­ap­point­ing sales is its cars’ sig­na­ture ver­ti­cal grille, derid­ed ear­ly on for its shape resem­bling a horse col­lar — among oth­er, less men­tion­able things. Such aes­thet­ic mis­steps may not have sunk the brand on their own, but they cer­tain­ly did­n’t coun­ter­act the effects of oth­er, more mun­dane con­di­tions. These includ­ed per­sis­tent assem­bly-line prob­lems (with­out a ded­i­cat­ed fac­to­ry, Edsels tend­ed occa­sion­al­ly to come out with parts improp­er­ly installed or absent) and a 1957 eco­nom­ic reces­sion that made upper-mid­dle-tier auto­mo­biles of this kind unap­peal­ing to the Amer­i­can dri­ver. Even the top-rat­ed CBS tele­vi­sion spe­cial The Edsel Show — despite its per­for­mances from the likes of Bing Cros­by, Frank Sina­tra, Rose­mary Clooney, and Louis Arm­strong — drummed up lit­tle pub­lic enthu­si­asm.

Edsel last­ed only from 1958 to 1960, in which time Ford man­u­fac­tured 118,287 of its cars in total. Six decades after the mark’s retire­ment, few­er than 10,000 Edsel cars sur­vive — most of them as sought-after col­lec­tor’s items. For Edsels now have their appre­ci­a­tors, as evi­denced by the video above from pro­fes­sion­al mid-cen­tu­ry Amer­i­cana enthu­si­ast Charles Phoenix, who mar­vels over every fea­ture of a 1958 Cita­tion, Edsel’s top-of-the-line mod­el, from its Tele­touch push-but­ton gear selec­tor to its cus­tomiz­able speed-warn­ing indi­ca­tor. (Seat­belts came stan­dard, despite being option­al extras on oth­er cars of the day.) Cur­rent Edsel own­ers also include lifestyle guru Martha Stew­art, who showed off her mint 1958 Roundup in a recent video with Jay Leno — though she seems rather proud­er of also own­ing Edsel Ford’s house.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

The Muse­um of Fail­ure: A Liv­ing Shrine to New Coke, the Ford Edsel, Google Glass & Oth­er Epic Cor­po­rate Fails

A Fly­ing Car Took to the Skies Back in 1949: See the Tay­lor Aero­car in Action

A Hulk­ing 1959 Chevy Bel Air Gets Oblit­er­at­ed by a Mid-Size 2009 Chevy Mal­ibu in a Crash Test

The Hertel­la Cof­fee Machine Mount­ed on a Volk­swa­gen Dash­board (1959): The Most Euro­pean Car Acces­so­ry Ever Made

178,000 Images Doc­u­ment­ing the His­to­ry of the Car Now Avail­able on a New Stan­ford Web Site

Based in Seoul, Col­in Mar­shall writes and broad­casts on cities, lan­guage, and cul­ture. His projects include the Sub­stack newslet­ter Books on Cities, the book The State­less City: a Walk through 21st-Cen­tu­ry Los Ange­les and the video series The City in Cin­e­ma. Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall or on Face­book.

Watch Django Reinhardt & Stéphane Grappelli Play Masterfully Together in Vivid Color (1938)

Few jazz gui­tarists today could claim to be entire­ly free of the influ­ence of Djan­go Rein­hardt. This despite the fact that he lost the use of two fin­gers — which ulti­mate­ly encour­aged him to devel­op a dis­tinc­tive play­ing style — and that he died 68 years ago. The unfor­tu­nate abbre­vi­a­tion of Rein­hardt’s life means that he nev­er built a sub­stan­tial body of solo work, though he did play on many record­ed dates that include per­for­mances along­side Cole­man Hawkins and Ben­ny Carter. It also means that he left even less in the way of footage, though we do get a crisp and illu­mi­nat­ing view of him and his gui­tar in the 1938 doc­u­men­tary short “Jazz ‘Hot,’ ” pre­vi­ous­ly fea­tured here on Open Cul­ture.

“Jazz ‘Hot’ ” also fea­tures vio­lin-play­ing from Stéphane Grap­pel­li, who found­ed the group Quin­tette du Hot Club de France with Rein­hardt in 1934. As they deep­ened their knowl­edge of jazz, the two influ­enced each oth­er so thor­ough­ly as to devel­op their own style of music.

Grap­pel­li lived long enough to play with the likes of Jean-Luc Pon­ty, Paul Simon, Yo Yo Ma, and even Pink Floyd. Still, more than a few jazz fans would sure­ly claim that none of his pro­fes­sion­al col­lab­o­ra­tors was more impor­tant to his musi­cal for­ma­tion than Rein­hardt. Now you can see them play­ing togeth­er in col­or, and fair­ly real­is­tic col­or at that, in the clip at the top of the post.

The orig­i­nal black-and-white footage (which appears just above) was col­orized with DeOld­ify, a deep learn­ing-based appli­ca­tion devel­oped to restore pho­tographs and motion pic­tures from bygone times. Per­haps you’ve seen the pre­vi­ous DeOld­ify col­oriza­tion projects we’ve fea­tured here, which run the gamut from musi­cal num­bers in Stormy Weath­er and Hel­lza­pop­pin’ to scenes of 1920s Berlin and even an 1896 snow­ball fight in Lyon. Grant­ed access to a time machine, more than a few jazz-lovers would no doubt choose to go back to the Paris of the 1930s to see the Quin­tette du Hot Club de France in action. Tech­nol­o­gy has yet to make that a viable propo­si­tion, but it’s giv­en us a next-best-thing that no appre­ci­a­tor of jazz gui­tar — or jazz vio­lin — could fail to enjoy.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Jazz ‘Hot’: The Rare 1938 Short Film With Jazz Leg­end Djan­go Rein­hardt

How Djan­go Rein­hardt, After Los­ing Two Fin­gers, Devel­oped An Inno­v­a­tive Style & Inspired Black Sab­bath Gui­tarist Toni Iom­mi to Do the Same

Djan­go Rein­hardt Demon­strates His Gui­tar Genius in Rare Footage From the 1930s, 40s & 50s

Hear Lost Record­ing of Pink Floyd Play­ing with Jazz Vio­lin­ist Stéphane Grap­pel­li on “Wish You Were Here”

One of the Great­est Dances Sequences Ever Cap­tured on Film Gets Restored in Col­or by AI: Watch the Clas­sic Scene from Stormy Weath­er

Based in Seoul, Col­in Mar­shall writes and broad­casts on cities, lan­guage, and cul­ture. His projects include the Sub­stack newslet­ter Books on Cities, the book The State­less City: a Walk through 21st-Cen­tu­ry Los Ange­les and the video series The City in Cin­e­ma. Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall or on Face­book.

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