“…All my life I’ve wanted to see the day when men would conquer space and explore the planets—and I wanted to take part in it. I don’t have to tell you how that feels…”

From Robert Heinlein’s “Rocketship Galileo” p.23



Escaping from earth will not always be automatically expensive; contrary to the impression created by a Saturn launch, the energy needed to reach space is remarkably small…..Commercial space flight is now beginning to be technologically feasible and will soon become economically viable.”

Sir Arthur C. Clarke

From the Foreword to Dan Linehan’s “SpaceShipOne: An Illustrated History”



“Tourism is the first market for the new spaceflight industry, as thousands of people with the dream to see the earth from space for themselves sign up for rides on suborbital spaceships, which will become increasingly affordable.”

From the book “Rocketeers” by Michael Belfiore



Space travel was exciting to any kid growing up in the late 50’s and early 60’s, and Microsoft Co-founder, Paul Allen was no exception. Like millions of American kids, Allen followed the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo missions, and recalled the excitement he felt when the television cart was wheeled into his classroom so that he and fellow students could view the historic events on a black and white TV. Science fiction books fascinated him, like Robert Heinlein’s “Rocketship Galileo” which told the story of a group of kids who built their own spaceship; and a visit to the 1962 Seattle World’s Fair offered a simulated rocket journey into space in the world’s first “Spacearium.” 

As a kid, Allen built dozens of model rockets and even tried his hand at building a homemade rocket of his own out of an old lawn chair (it melted:-).  And he was awed by science fiction stories that made the big screen, among them 2001: A Space Odyssey, which he saw at Seattle’s local Cinerama theater.


So when brilliant inventor Burt Rutan introduced the idea of a low cost suborbital spacecraft, Paul Allen was very, very interested.


The relationship between the billionaire and the inventor began with a different business venture, but by the Spring of 2000, when Burt Rutan felt that his idea was ready for funding, he asked for a meeting with Paul Allen and told him about the spaceship he was designing. Allen responded with a handshake and an enthusiastic—“Let’s do it.”



“”I always had in the back of my mind, would I ever have the opportunity to do something in a space-related initiative? Allen recalled. “And so when the SpaceShipOne opportunity came up, I was very excited to pursue it.”

From Dan Linehan’s “SpaceShipOne: An Illustrated History”(p. 19)



And the rest is history. The Allen-funded SpaceShipOne soared into space, and on October 4th, 2004, it became the first privately funded spaceship to make it into suborbital space twice in two weeks with an equivalent weight of 3 people, thereby winning the Ansari X-prize. It also thereby effectively jumpstarted the commercial space travel industry, something which had previously been thought so impossible that it had a “giggle factor.”


On that October 4th date, back in mission control, as SpaceShipOne was still floating in space, Paul Allen shook another hand—the hand of billionaire Richard Branson—who purchased the rights to Allen’s spaceship development program for his own commercial “spaceline,” Virgin Galactic.  The handshake symbolized the next great step in the commercial space travel industry—as “Rocketeers” author Michael Belfiore commented, “That moment marked the end of the beginning of the commercial space age.”


And on July 28, 2008, just a couple of weeks ago, the reality of private space travel—of ordinary people becoming astronauts and sailing off into space—just got closer with the unveiling of Virgin Galactic’s mothership, Eve, otherwise known as WhiteKnightTwo.  The WhiteKnightTwo, a beautifully designed carrier aircraft, will be launching rocket SpaceShipTwo and thousands of private astronauts into suborbital space in the near future.


In fact, if you have a couple hundred thousand dollars (or A LOT of Virgin Atlantic frequent flier miles)*, and a dream to be an astronaut, you can sign up to be a passenger on a Virgin Galactic spaceflight right now:





and for “Virgin Atlantic Frequent Fliers”*


Apparently, a large number of people have already signed up.






It’s all pretty exciting when you think about it, and it had me wondering what space travel might look like, say, 50 years from now.  So just for fun, I thought I’d write a story about an astronaut from the year 2058, who is also, since spaceships are so common at that time, basically just an ordinary businessman on his way home from work.


Just one more thought… case you hadn’t guessed, this story is NOT real. And one more thing—if you see Microsoft Co-founder,  Paul Allen’s name (and related stuff) pop up in the story, remember that this IS the Six Degrees of Paul Allen site…….. 🙂






Businessman Bo Nunez stepped inside the gleaming spaceship and trudged wearily down the narrow aisle leading to the first class section of the 8 pm Virgin Galactic Transport Shuttle. It had been a long day.


He looked forward to getting home. Although the commute to his condo on the Rutan Community Moon Colony was a long one—roughly an hour’s journey—he did not regret the purchase of his new dream home there last year in 2057.  The price was admittedly astronomical, but it was a nice little community—the amenities were unparalleled, and the views—well, the views were literally out of this world.


He sank down into his plush leather seat, buckled his seat belt and settled in for the ride home. Donning headphones, he began to listen to a song he designed last night on his computer with the help of the latest Drumcore software. He had become a pro at mixing tracks—and by blending a little U2, Blues and drum solos from his favorite artists, he had come up with a pretty decent song. In fact, the recording would have been perfect were it not for the vocalist. He chuckled as he heard his own voice. “OK, so I guess I won’t quit my day job,” he laughed.


He pulled his Kiha* out of his shirt pocket and gently set it down on the pull-down table in front of him. Immediately the surface of the table began to shimmer and ripple as if it were made of water. Multicolored tropical fish appeared to swim deep into the surface of the table and across the screen in 3D, as the scene reflected the underwater beauty of Bo’s favorite dive spot in Palau. This was clearly his favorite screen saver, this underwater video that Bo took last summer, and it always put him in a good mood after a hard day’s work.


“Hello, Bo” said a soft, pleasant voice coming from the table. “Where do you want to go today?”


“To the moon, Alice!” he thought, remembering the ancient Jackie Gleason reruns that were so popular in the 2040’s. But instead he smiled and said:


“How about checking today’s headlines?”


Immediately the surface of the table changed to reveal the top stories and photos of the day. One headline in particular caught his eye:


“The Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center Changes Its Name.”

AP Seattle, Washington


“The Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center has announced that it is changing its name and its focus due to the recent development of the Cancer/HIV vaccine.  Since the vaccine was discovered a few years ago, these diseases have been effectively made obsolete in the civilized world.


The newly renamed Fred Hutchinson Research Center will now merge with neighboring charitable organizations; The Allen Institute for Brain Science, founded by Microsoft Co-founder, Paul Allen and the Gates Foundation, founded by Microsoft’s Bill Gates and his wife Melinda, to refocus its efforts and collaborate its resources in order to bring the vaccine, along with other recent Allen Institute cures for MS, MD and Alzheimer’s Disease, and the latest spinal cord regeneration treatment, to underdeveloped countries.


“We are extremely pleased and honored to be a part of this wonderful project,” stated Jo Allen Patton, chairman of the Allen Family Foundation. “We are grateful to the remarkable men and women who have developed breakthrough medicines that are now capable of defeating these devastating diseases, and we hope to continue to provide the funding necessary to bring these cures to every person who needs them in every corner of the world.”


Nunez paused for a moment to absorb the information. “Another scientific breakthrough from the Allen District of Seattle! What a place it must be!


“And Paul Allen—I’ve heard of that guy,” he thought. “I wonder what he’s doing now?”


Curious, Nunez did an EVRI  search and discovered that at 105 years old the Microsoft Co-founder had just cut his 4th best-selling rock album.


“So he finally broke down and released another set of songs,” Nunez thought. He remembered what terrific hits the first three albums had become nearly 20 years ago, but he had heard that Allen hesitated to issue another album.  It was important to him that people remembered him for more than just his music.


Right under that headline was an article about Allen and Gates:


“Dynamic Duo Strikes Again


People Weekly


‘Holy smokes, Batman!’  The Dynamic Duo is at it again, battling the forces of evil.


No, we’re not talking about ancient comic book superheroes, but about an unbeatable team of philanthropists named Paul Allen and Bill Gates. Not quite a century ago, when the pair was barely out of their teens, they wrote a language that changed the world, and founded a company that is still one of the most successful organizations in the history of business.


And now they’ve joined forces again to take on a new villain—-disease.


Bill Gates and his wife Melinda have been in the disease vanquishing business since the turn of the century. Through their efforts with the Gates Foundation, the disease Malaria, a horrible scourge that plagued millions of people many years ago has long gone the way of Microsoft’s early competitors. But Gates has begun to tackle other dark forces and has taken on a new partner to do it—his old Microsoft partner, Paul Allen.


Allen has been on a disease fighting mission of his own for many years. The Allen Institute for Brain Science, a charitable organization that he founded in 2003, has made major breakthroughs recently in combating a number of debilitating illnesses that have plagued the world. The Allen Institute has historically ventured into a number of research projects such as the brain map and spinal cord map, and has published its findings for free, assisting researchers to find cures for diseases in their particular fields. Recognizing that this kind of information-sharing leads to scientific breakthroughs that benefit everyone, other researchers have followed suit, and the speed of progress in fighting these infirmities has taken off like lightning in recent years, most recently leading to cures.


The Gates’ will now join The Allen Family Foundation and the recently renamed Fred Hutchinson Research Center in bringing these cures for a number of diseases, among them Alzheimer’s, MD, Multiple Sclerosis and Lou Gehrig’s disease, as well as the recently discovered Cancer/HIV Vaccine and Spinal Regeneration and Regrowth treatments, to countries that currently do not have access to this kind of medicine.


May their battle against disease take them to the ends of the earth and to the farthest reaches of space; or, in the words of another Superhero,


‘To Infinity and Beyond!’ “




This was great news. Bo remembered a friend of his from years ago, a good friend whom he’d lost…….”I wish those cures had been around earlier,” he thought to himself.


He was deep in thought when the seat belt light clicked off and nudged him out of his reverie. Bo looked up from the screen on the table in front of him and gazed out the window. What a view! He could never get used to how beautiful the earth looked from up here.


Some of the passengers had taken off their seat belts and were floating around the room, laughing and doing somersaults, and noisily calling each other over to the many windows of the spacecraft to check out the spectacular scenery. When the cabin was full, this was considered bad manners—-this bouncing around the room, sometimes bumping into people who just wanted to get home. But tonight, perhaps because of the late flight, the cabin was nearly empty, and there was plenty of room to move around.


As many times as he had made this trip, Bo could not resist feeling completely thrilled by this part of the ride. The feeling of weightlessness made him feel, well, even a little giddy, like a kid riding on a roller coaster for the first time.


But today for some reason, he was overwhelmed by the feeling.  Maybe it was the stress of the day or the good news he’d just read. Or maybe he had just taken it all for granted for too long. Whatever the reason, today he couldn’t resist taking off his seat belt and joining the floaters.  As he released the latch of his seat belt and floated away from the restraint, suddenly Bo Nunez forgot the seriousness of the day he had just had. He forgot his age, his business, his life back on earth. For this moment, none of those things mattered. He was 10 years old again—free—and if he wanted to jump off of his first class leather seat and bounce around the walls of this luxury craft in his business suit, he could care less how it looked to anyone else.


The seat belt sign came on again, much too soon it seemed, and he belted himself in once more for the lightening-fast ride home. He was breathless, elated from his venture climbing around the cabin and he felt a little like a school kid who had misbehaved in class and had gotten away with it.  By the time the Virgin Galactic Shuttle descended upon the Lunar Spaceport and touched down on the surface of the moon, Bo Nunez was in a very, very good mood.




Just for fun…so that means that none of this is real. But impossible? Maybe not …… J




Check out these links…….

Dan Linehan’s SpaceShipOne: an Illustrated History:

Michael Belfiore’s “Rocketeers”


“Rocketship Galileo” Robert Heinlein

Other References:
Remarks upon winning the Robert J. Collier Trophy from Allen’s website

Other Links:

Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo Ready for Trips into Space::

Upcoming conference on what’s next in the tourism industry:


Paul Allen’s SpaceShipOne:


Condos on the moon in 50 years?

(What about 15?)


Institutes mentioned as they are in 2008: 

The Allen Institute for Brain Science:


Allen Institute Spinal Cord Map:


Allen Institute Brain Atlas:


The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation:


Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center:


 Other Stuff Mentioned:









The Paul Allen Band:




*(BTW, I have no idea what they’re up to—just took a guess….:-)


Microsoft’s “Surface” 



SpaceShipOne and SpaceShipTwo Videos and more:


 Inside SpaceShipTwo

 From the Discovery Channel and Paul Allen’s Vulcan Productions “Black Sky”   (Mike Melville)

 SpaceShipTwo Demo

SpaceShipOne winning the X-Prize (Brian Binnie)

 Space Travel future

 Virgin Galactic SpacePort

 Virgin Galactic video narrated by Richard Branson

 Animation of Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo from a year ago

 Private industry moves to take over space race

Honeymoon in Space, Anyone? 🙂


Paul Allen wants a space ship for Christmas—a full size, fully operational space ship of his very own. He also wants a machine that can make stuffed animals come alive.

Check out this article:

 ‘Dear Santa’: Kids ask for their heart’s desire” See.. the article:
December 24, 2007) — “Whittling down a wish list can be tough for a wide-eyed child at Christmas.
But some kids aren’t that picky.“Dear Santa, You can bring me whatever you want, because I like everything,” writes 5-year-old Sophia Triassi of Greece………..…..Some letter writers showed their artistic side by offering illustrations of their Christmas wish. Take Paul Allen of Geneseo, Livingston County, for instance. “For Christmas I want a reel spas ship — like the one on the back — and a machine that can turn stuff anmls too life,” writes Paul, 8, a second-grader at Geneseo Elementary School. Paul’s mom, Deb Allen, says Paul has acquired an interest in Star Trek during the past year.“I dunno if he thinks he’s gonna get one with warp drive,” says Allen of Geneseo. “He insists it’s gonna be full-size. I said, ‘Now, where are you gonna store this? Santa’s not gonna fit that under the tree.’ He said, ‘He can put it in the front yard, that’s OK.'”  

Of course, the person who asked Santa for a full-sized space ship is Paul Allen, a second-grader from Geneseo Elementary School, not Microsoft Co-founder, Paul Allen.  The latter wouldn’t put a space ship on his Christmas list because he already has one.


In fact, Santa Claus may have a hard time this year trying to find the perfect gift for the Microsoft co-founder, because there aren’t many things in the world that this Paul Allen doesn’t already own.


 Can you imagine having the Microsoft Co-founder on your Christmas list?

What do you get a guy who already has everything?

To begin with, it’s a good bet that whatever most people could afford is probably a lot less than what Allen spends just filling up his Megayacht, Octopus. A mere tank of gas for his 414 ft yacht will set you back at least $150 thousand dollars.


And I’m thinking that he probably already has enough ties.

So what are some other options? Sports, maybe?…..Let’s see, he already has a football team and a basketball team—what about a Soccer team?

Nope, he just bought one of those a few months ago.  

And the “Pharoah of the Pacific Northwest” doesn’t need anymore real estate.  

He’s got a killer art collection…..

See…. ….and a really nice guitar—well, actually, quite a few really nice guitars.. See…  

And though a model airplane might make a good gift, Allen already has a few of those. His collection of World War II planes is just as nice as you can get —especially when you consider that the planes he owns are also full size and fully operational. See…


So there isn’t much that you could get Paul Allen that he doesn’t already own. 

But I have an idea about what might be the perfect gift for him—something he really, really wants. 

 If you happen to have a few billion dollars to spare and are an ace at bidding at auctions, Paul Allen could really use a few wireless airwaves. See, there’s this FCC auction coming up next month, and the new 700 MHz band airwaves would match perfectly with the licenses he bought just about 5 years ago……

Check it out—   

Just an idea… J

But to be serious for just a moment, I do hope that you all have a wonderful, blessed, and happy Christmas!!!

And, in holiday tradition, here are a few interesting sites that I’ve come across this year—which will hopefully give you some Christmas cheer: 

If you want to track where Santa is headed right now, check out this site….

 Norad Tracks Santa 

And if you’d like to listen to a terrific radio station online, try

(My favorite Christmas “station” is “The Nutcracker”)

If you’d like to go caroling, but can’t remember the words to your favorite Christmas songs, here’s a helpful site:

And for a lovely last minute Christmas card:  

If you’d like to read a few classic Christmas stories, check out ebooks:

A Christmas Carol


‘Twas the Night Before Christmas


For how to say “Merry Christmas” around the globe: For the First Christmas Story:  And for the story behind the story:   

And finally, here are a few great Holiday Videos:

It’s a Wonderful Life (Ending)

2 Josh Groban songs:

Polar Express “Believe”



What Christmas is all about: A Charlie Brown Christmas


Music History 104

We’ve finally come to the end of our Music History lesson.  In a way it’s kind of sad, because I’ve had a lot of fun with these posts, and there is so much more great music out there, you know? But we’ve got to move on to the link between Microsoft Co-founder, Paul Allen and architect Frank Gehry (which has a lot to do with music, BTW…..but I’m getting ahead of myself….)


So…..for now we’ll finish  up Music History with a few artists who are truly in a league of their own…..

The Blues…..

Muddy Waters—   1960 Montreaux festival with Buddy Guy on Guitar  (Hoochie Coochie Man). 


The Blues had a baby, and they called it “rock n roll.” (Muddy Waters). 

McKinley Morganfield (April 4, 1915 to April 30th 1983), the “father of Chicago Blues,” better known as Muddy Waters, was one of the greatest blues artists of all time.  His music had a profound impact on the music that followed, especially rock n roll.  In 2004, Rolling Stones magazine listed him as #17 of the 100 greatest artists of all time.

 Mick Jagger’s Rolling Stones named their band after one of Muddy Waters’ songs, “Rollin’ Stone.”   See… (1960 Muddy Waters’ song, Rollin’ Stone), and in 1981 at the Checkerboard Lounge in Chicago, Mick Jagger and the Stones performed onstage with Muddy Waters himself.  Watch this video of Hoochie Coochie Man….  

( Jet Magazine, Oct. 1997;;; )

Link to Paul Allen:

There are several links between Muddy Waters and Paul Allen, including a link through  Allen’s friend, Robbie Robertson (1)…………who performed with Waters (2) at The Band’s farewell concert in 1976. The concert was filmed by Allen’s friend,  Martin Scorsese (1)…………who turned the video of the concert into a movie entitled “The Last Waltz.” (See Music History 103). 

 The Blues Brothers 

“Soul Man”  


The Blues Brothers’ Soul Man was first performed on an episode of Saturday Night Live in 1978. The song would soon be released as a single, reaching the top twenty in March of 1979. (From Wikipedia ).  Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi expanded their Blues Brothers comedy routine to include an album entitled “Briefcase Full of Blues” in 1978, (   and later made a movie together called “The Blues Brothers” in 1980.

Only two years later, tragedy struck. “Jake Blues'” John Belushi died, devastating his partner and good friend, Dan Aykroyd. With help from friends and the beautiful Donna Dixon, an actress who would later become his wife, Aykroyd recovered, and the Blues Brothers eventually regrouped. Several years later Aykroyd wrote a sequel to the original movie entitled  “The Blues Brothers 2000.”

In 1992, Aykroyd teamed up with Isaac Tigrett, founder of the Hard Rock Café, to open up the first House of Blues in Harvard Square.  Soon the business expanded to include a chain of restaurants located in several major cities in the U.S.  The most recent House of Blues opened up a few weeks ago in Dallas. Dan Aykroyd himself performed at the grand opening—and was also present at the earlier groundbreaking ceremony where he mixed real Mississippi mud into the building’s foundation to symbolize the restaurant’s connection with the heart and soul of Southern Blues music.*1    HOB Dallas    Groundbreaking for the Dallas House of Blues 

 Link to Paul Allen: 

“Elwood Blues” Dan Aykroyd and Paul Allen are good friends.  In fact, Allen’s 50th birthday party was held at Aykroyd’s Sunset Strip House of Blues on January 24 th, 2003.** The date was especially poignant, as January 24th was the late Blues Brother John Belushi’s actual birthday (Allen’s is the 21st). But Allen was the man of the hour that evening. The birthday party was low key despite the number of celebrity friends in attendance like Gina Gershon and Martin Scorsese, and the celebration included a video montage of Allen’s friends and associates, who shared memories and expressed their good wishes towards Allen.  

There is also a music link between Dan Aykroyd and Paul Allen. To begin with, Aykroyd and Allen have performed together onstage several times.  See…

Additionally, Allen and his band, Grown Men, have performed at the grand opening of several of  Aykroyd’s House of Blues, including the restaurant that opened in
Las Vegas in 1999. See… ( & (,

In fact, just a few weeks ago at the opening of the Dallas House of Blues, a guy billed as “Northwest Guitar-Slinger, Paul Allen,” performed opening night with “Terry Davidson and the Octopus Show Band.”   The “Guitar-Slinger” was none other than Microsoft Co-founder, Paul Allen!  Terry Davidson, who lead the band that performed with Allen that night, is one of the original “Grown Men,” and, as the name implies, he and the rest of the band have the enviable task of hanging out on Paul Allen’s 414 ft. megayacht “Octopus” to jam with Allen aboard ship (and practice for those public performances). Keep a look out for Allen and his guitar—let me know if you see The “Northwest Guitar-Slinger ” strike somewhere else, o.k.? 🙂


Rock N’ Roll


 Here is a group that just keeps getting better as time goes on…. 

U2 from the 80’s

Trip Through Your Wires

90’s =

Mysterious Ways

And the 2000’s =



From Wikipedia: U2  is a rock band from Dublin, Ireland. Formed in 1976, the band consists of Bono (vocals and guitar), The Edge (vocals and guitar), Adam Clayton (bass guitar) and Larry Mullen Jr. (drums and percussion). U2 has consistently been one of the most popular rock groups in the world since the mid-80’s, selling upwards of 170 million albums worldwide. The artists have won 22 Grammys–more than any other rock group. (

Here’s a terrific bio of U2’s Bono:

 Link to Paul Allen: 

Allen was the one who introduced U2’s Bono to his friend Bill Gates, years before Bono and the Gates’ shared the cover of Time as Persons of the Year in 2005. See….,9171,1140301,00.html    And U2 has been a frequent visitor aboard Allen’s yacht, Octopus… See..  

Here are Allen and Bono at the 20th Annual Rock n Roll Induction Ceremony: —————————————————————  

Finally, there is the incomparable Jimi Hendrix *4 …

Hendrix’ Voodoo Chile (Short improvisation that actually sounds more like Voodoo Child (Slight Return) performed by guitar master, Buddy Guy) &search = 


Voodoo Chile” by The Jimi Hendrix Experience, is from the album, Electric Ladyland.  The song was recorded on May 2, 1968, and performers included Mitch Mitchell, Steve Winwood of Traffic and Jack Casady of Jefferson Airplane.   From Wikipedia; “The song, basically a 15-minute blues jam, evolved into the final product over the course of an hour. After many of the late night Electric Ladyland recording sessions, Hendrix and the band went to one of the New York City clubs to jam with whoever was there. One such jam at The Scene Club included Steve Winwood and Jack Casady.  Noel Redding was not present as he had stormed out of the Record Plant studio earlier that evening. They spent the night playing “Voodoo Chile”, and when the club closed, Hendrix invited everyone back to the studio. At about 7 a.m . the next morning they began to formally record “Voodoo Chile”. It took only three takes and the final 15 minute version was Hendrix’s longest studio recording. The second take failed since one guitar string snapped.”  (Excerpt taken from Wikipedia             

Link to Paul Allen: 

On November 24th, 2002, the night of Jimi Hendrix’ 60th Anniversary party, Buddy Guy, Buddy Miles, Billy Cox, Kenny Olson from Kid Rock and a number of celebrated musicians played Hendrix songs to a packed house in Seattle. During the concert, Paul Allen was invited to come up on stage to perform with the group.  The musicians, including Allen, then embarked on a musical jam session that meandered improvisationally between Hendrix’ Voodoo Chile and Voodoo Child (Slight Return).   

Purple Haze  (Jimi Hendrix)  

Listed as #14 of the 40 songs that changed the world in the most recent issue of Rolling Stone magazine, Purple Haze was recorded in August of 1967 by The Jimi Hendrix Experience. The song appeared on Hendrix’ 1967 album, “Are You Experienced?”          Jimi Hendrix, who performed the song, is widely considered to be one of the greatest guitarists of all time.  

From Rolling Stone Magazine*2::      “The electric guitar demanded a Picasso of its own…..More than thirty five years after his death, Hendrix is still the high-water mark of rock guitarists. And if the Beatles’ take on psychedelia was about an enhanced understanding of the world, Hendrix’ version was about exploring his stoned and beautiful internal landscape with playing that was more eloquent than words could be.”*  


 “Purple Haze is often cited as one of Jimi Hendrix’s greatest songs, and first international hit. For many, it is his signature work. Purple Haze became Hendrix’ second single after his manager Chas Chandler heard him playing the riff backstage and quickly arranged for him to record and release the song……….The Rolling Stone magazine placed the song at No. 17 in their “500 Greatest Songs of All Time”…..

 There are several theories about the origin of the name of the song, “Purple Haze.” One theory, according to Wikipedia, is that the song refers to Hendrix’ experiences with LSD.  But Hendrix himself denied that the song was about drugs. Instead he said that it was drawn from a dream he had where he was walking under the ocean, surrounded by a purple haze.  At another point, Hendrix said he took the phrase “purple haze” from a science fiction novel written by Philip Jos Farmer called “Night of Light.” (The phrase that appears in Farmer’s book is “purplish haze.”) Hendrix also told fans that the song was about love, and said that the line “whatever it is, that girl put a spell on me” was the key to the meaning of the lyrics. (Excerpts and information taken from Wikipedia   

Link to Paul Allen:   

 It was rumored that Allen played a “spectacular cover of Jimi Hendrix’s ” Purple Haze,'” during the party he threw at his Beverly Hills home in March of this year on behalf of the Southern California Committee for the Olympic Games, a group that wants to bring the 2016 Olympics to L.A.*4  That was one of his most recent links to the song, but it was not the first. When Allen was about thirteen, his parents went away for a vacation and he and his sister stayed with a girl whose mother lived up the street. When she put on the Hendrix album, Allen, who was used to his parents classical and jazz records, was immediately touched. “It was like listening to music from another planet,” he told Jeff Goodell of Rolling Stones Magazine in a 2000 interview.  

Allen’s love of Hendrix’ music has lasted a lifetime.  In fact, it sparked a fast friendship in the 1990’s with another avid Hendrix fan, tennis star Monica Seles.   Allen and Seles became very close friends in the mid-90’s in part because of their shared passion for Hendrix. Allen went to Seles’ tennis matches and Seles sat next to him at Blazer games.   There were even rumors of a serious romance between the two for a time—Seles was Allen’s date at the masked ball in Venice in 1997, dressed as Marie Antoinette..

  Jimi Hendrix was much more than a musician to Monica Seles.  The young tennis phenomenon had been viciously attacked—stabbed on the court by a fan of her opponent, Stefi Graff, and the assault left Seles physically and emotionally scarred.   (The inspiring story of her comeback can be found in her 1996 autobiography, “From Fear to Victory.”)  Seles told fans that it was Jimi Hendrix’ music that had consoled and inspired her through her recovery. In fact, she was so moved by his music that while she was Nike’s spokesperson she named a line of tennis shoes “Air Haze” after Hendrix’ song, Purple Haze. The shoes had a guitar outline in the outsole and grooves in the midsole representing guitar picks.*3  

Paul Allen was moved by Hendrix’ music as well, to the point that it inspired him to build a place that Hendrix dreamed about— a gathering place where people of all ages, interests and backgrounds could come together to experience music. What is that place?  It is the answer to the one degree link between Frank Gehry and Paul Allen—the place where architecture is frozen music, the place that links nearly everyone whom we’ve talked about on this blog since May 1st to Paul Allen, mostly within one degree…..  

Stay tuned……


*1,+06:00+PM  opening of HOB

** 2003 was also officially “The Year of the Blues.” see..   *2 Rolling Stones Magazine, The Fortieth Anniversary issue May 3-17th, 2007     *3 Without hoopla, Seles gains final.(Sports)
Source: The Washington Times
Date: 9/7/1996
Author: Young, Josh
 *4 Going for the Gold, Variety March 2007

*4 See the official Jimi Hendrix website for some great concerts, Hendrix history and interviews …

Music History 103

Let’s continue on with our music history lesson— with some great songs from the 70’s and beyond and their links to Microsoft Co-founder, Paul Allen…..  


The Band and Eric Clapton—Further On Up the Road (from The Last Waltz)      



Musician Robbie Robertson performs this terrific song in concert with Eric Clapton and the rest of The Band on the video soundtrack of “The Last Waltz.” “The Band” members included Robertson, Richard Manuel, Garth Hudson, Rick Danko and Levon Helm.  The Band had a farewell concert after 16 years of touring on Thanksgiving Day, November 25th , 1976 at Winterland Ballroom in San Franciso.   The rock group was joined by more than a dozen special guests, including Eric Clapton, Neil Diamond, Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, Van Morrison, Ringo Starr, Muddy Waters and Neil Young. The concert was filmed by Martin Scorsese and made into a documentary in 1978, which was released on DVD in 2002. The film has been hailed as one of the greatest concert films ever made.   (Wikipedia The Last Waltz ) 

From Wikipedia: “As Clapton was taking his first solo on “Further On Up the Road”, his guitar strap came loose. Clapton said “Hold on,” but Robertson picked up the solo without missing a beat….” (You can see it on this video—watch what happens around 54 seconds into the song:-). 

Link to Paul Allen: 

Robbie Robertson has been a good friend of Paul Allen’s for years. Robertson often performs with Allen for fun at various parties and in various places, including aboard Paul Allen’s yacht, Octopus. See…   

Sweet Home Alabama (Lynyrd Skynyrd)  


“Sweet Home Alabama ” is a song by Southern rock band Lynryd Skynyrd that first appeared in  1974 on their second album, “Second Helping.”  “Sweet Home Alabama” was written as an answer to the songs “Southern Man” and “Alabama” by Neil Young, which were critical of the South.  “We thought Neil was shooting all the ducks in order to kill one or two,” said Ronnie Van Zant at the time (Dupree 1974). Van Zant’s musical response, however, was equally controversial, with references to Alabama Governor George Wallace and the Watergate scandal. Despite (or perhaps because of) the debate, the song has become one of the most popular examples of Southern rock.  It reached the top ten of the US charts in 1974 and was the band’s second hit single.” (Excerpt taken from Wikipedia ) 

Link to Paul Allen: 

Allen invited Lynyrd Skynyrd to his 1998 luxurious Alaska party aboard the Crystal Harmony along with 400 other celebrity guests, and even spent a few evenings jamming with them (and a few other musicians) onstage.   



Who is that girl? Eurythmics =   


“Who’s That Girl?” was a song recorded by the extremely popular 80’s group, the Eurythmics, comprised of Annie Lennox and Dave Stewart.  According to Wikipedia, Stewart’s former wife, Siobhan Fahey, and two other members of her music group, Bananarama, make cameo appearances in the original MTV video for this song. ( 

Link to Paul Allen: 

Eurythmic’s Dave Stewart is one of Paul Allen’s best friends, who also often performs with him onstage or in Allen’s recording studios. He and Allen co-founded the
Covent Garden creative arts hotspot, the Hospital.


Peter Gabriel—

Steam (in concert) =  


Musician Peter Gabriel was born Feb. 13, 1950 in Chobham, Surrey, England.   He first became famous as the lead vocalist and flautist of the rock group Genesis. After leaving Genesis, Gabriel went onto a successful solo career.  More recently he has focused on producing and promoting world music and pioneering digital distribution methods for music.  He has also been involved a number of humanitarian efforts, including the founding of the human rights organization, Witness.   See… (Excerpt from Wikipedia 

Link to Paul Allen: 

In addition to a long-term friendship that has included collaboration on multimedia projects in the 90’s, Peter Gabriel was also a guest at Paul Allen’s lavish 1998 Alaskan party aboard the Crystal Harmony. Later on, Gabriel could not resist Allen’s invitation to come aboard one of his yachts (Meduse) for a jam session in Allen’s onboard recording studio during a trip down the Amazon. 


 Kiss From A Rose (Seal)


“Kiss from a Rose” is a song from Seal’s second eponymous album, “Seal.” The song was featured on the 1995 “Batman Forever” soundtrack.  It was originally planned to accompany a love scene between Bruce Wayne and the character Chase Meridian but ended up placed at the end of the film…………… “Kiss from a Rose” is considered one of the most popular waltzes from the 1990s. ( From Wikipedia)

 Link to Paul Allen: 

Paul Allen and his band were billed to open for Seal at the new WAMU Theater in Qwest Field Events Center in
Seattle last November. Qwest is the home of the Seattle Seahawks, owned by Allen.   See..

Unfortunately, Allen had come down with a bad case of bronchitis that night, leaving his band to perform the opening act without him. So what do you call your band when you’re listed as Paul Allen’s band and Paul Allen doesn’t show up? The Predicaments, of course, which is how Allen’s band introduced themselves that night!  These guys seem to have a great sense of humor, and a great sense of fun when it comes to jamming together, whether they do it at Allen’s home studio, his reportedly gorgeous Octopus (yacht) studio, or in front of an audience.  

It’s that sense of fun that you can sometimes hear in Paul Allen’s original songs. One example is the freewheeling improvisation in “Said and Done,” a song written by Allen and recorded on his 1999 Grown Men album.  See… . Although the lyrics are not exactly cheerful, the melody rocks with free-spirited fun—-you get the impression that these guys are having a really, really good time, and that makes the song fun to hear.   

2000+ Jazz


All at Sea (Jamie Cullum)



Jamie Cullum is a 26-year-old Grammy award winning British jazz musician. His third album, Twentysomething, which was released in May of 2003, became the #1 selling studio album by a jazz artist in the
United Kingdom, selling over 2 million copies around the world.

See… and


Link to Paul Allen:


Jamie Cullum performed “Everlasting Love” for the “Brigid Jones: The Edge of Reason” soundtrack in 2004.

(1) Rene Zellweger starred in the lead role in that movie. She also starred as “Barbara Novak” in the movie “Down with Love” with (2) Ewan McGregor’s “Catcher Block.”   Ewan McGregor starred as Obi-Wan Kenobi in “Star Wars III : Revenge of the Sith” directed by (4) Paul Allen’s friend, (3) George Lucas.  See…|1&axs=0|52951275%2c52950158%2c52950157%2c52950156&id=52950157


 Don’t Know Why (Nora Jones)


Norah Jones, born Geethali Norah Jones Shankar on March 30, 1979 in Brooklyn, New York, is the daughter of renowned musician and friend of Beatles’ George Harrison, Ravi Shankar. Her music career was launched with the massively successful 2002 debut album entitled “Come Away with Me.” The album sold over twenty million copies worldwide and received 6 Grammy Awards, including “Best New Artist.”Jones also won 3 more Grammy’s in 2005. She made a cameo appearance in the movie, “Two Week’s Notice” in 2002 and recently starred in “My Blueberry Nights” which was the opening film for the 2007 Cannes Film Festival. See..   (Excerpts from Wikipedia


 Link to Paul Allen:


Grammy winning Nora Jones is the daughter of (1) Ravi Shankar, who was nominated for an Oscar for his original score in the 1982 movie, Gandhi. (2) Candace Bergen also starred in that movie as Margaret Bourke White. 
Bergen was a guest at (3) Paul Allen’s Alaskan party aboard the Crystal Harmony luxury liner in 1998.

And finally, there are a few groups through the years that seem to be in a category of their own.  So stay tuned for the final chapter of Music History 101…… 


* See 

Music History 102 

Today may be one of those rare days that Microsoft Co-founder, Paul Allen is NOT thinking about music. 

Since his Portland Trailblazers won the NBA lottery last Tuesday, entitling the team to the #1 draft pick,*   Allen has probably been a little distracted, lost in thought, a million miles away from those posh Cannes parties he’s been attending lately. 

No doubt he is wondering how in the world he will be able to keep up with all of those post-game parties if his Seattle Seahawks go to the SuperBowl again AND the Blazers make it to the NBA Finals all within the next year……

 But I’m sure he’ll muddle through somehow…. And we were, after all, right in the middle of a music history lesson, on our way to linking Paul Allen with architect Frank Gehry, so we just can’t stop now, you know?

 So let’s get on with it—Music History 102, post 1965 songs…. 


The Sixties were a time of enormous cultural change, and nowhere was this transformation reflected more profoundly than in the world of music:   Rolling Stones’ Keith Richards, in a recent interview with Rolling Stone Magazine’s Anthony DeCurtis, said this about the 60’s—- “It was pretty crazy; you kind of made them up as you went along, really. Somewhere in 1963, 64, 65 our generation came of age, so to speak.   In England, there was a definite feeling that either this place is going to go right down the tube, or something has to be regenerated…
England was bloody boring, and something had to happen.   Rock & roll happened, basically.”*1

According to Beatles’ Paul McCartney (again speaking to Rolling Stone’s Anthony DeCurtis) — “Times were a-changing, as Mr. Dylan said. We were just following our instincts, but there was a big spurt of energy.   The ideas were coming fast and thick. All sorts of new ideas—artistic, political, musical.  We started writing stuff that was different because we were talking and thinking and feeling different.”*1


The mid-60’s were a pivotal time for rock n roll music, which evolved dramatically between 1964 and the years that followed: 

Per Sir Paul McCartney,  

“So much had happened so quickly, certainly since the Beatles had come to America in 1964.   Essentially those three years (between 64 and 67) were the difference between “I Want to Hold Your Hand” and Sgt. Pepper.”……”It was pretty far out.  We’d kind of gotten used to part of that just by being the Beatles. Even “I Want to Hold Your Hand” had driven people crazy.  “Twist and Shout” had grooved them.   But now you were taking it to this other level.  You were getting into their hearts and their minds, inside the center of their brains….”*1  


The Beatles–  I Wanna Hold Your Hand     Twist and Shout— Shea Stadium 1965   The Making of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band  

 So let’s start out by linking one of the iconic groups of 60’s rock—The Beatles.   

Link to Paul Allen:   

 Among other things, Beatles’ Paul McCartney was a guest at Paul Allen’s lavish
St. Petersburg party in 2001.

Another group that defined 60’s music was the Rolling Stones. 

Rolling Stones—“Gimme Shelter” 


“Gimme Shelter” was the lead track from the Rolling Stones’ 1969 album, “Let it Bleed.”  A commentary on the Vietnam War, the song’s title was also used for a 1970 movie about the Rolling Stones’ Altamont Speedway Concert in which a fellow performer, Jefferson Airplane’s Marty Balin was knocked out by a Hell’s Angel, and another man was stabbed to death during the performance.  See…     Said lead Stones’ singer, Mick Jagger about the song itself, “That’s a kind of end-of-the-world song, really. It’s apocalypse…” (From 

 Link to Paul Allen:

Mick Jagger has several ties to Paul Allen  (See… “Fifteen Minutes of Fame, Part Two”    The most recent connection was at Allen’s Beverly Hills party for the Southern California Committee for the Olympic Games in March of this year, where Jagger was one of the guests. See …. “Going for the Gold”  

And finally, here are a few other great songs from this era and their links to Microsoft Co-founder, Paul Allen….. 

Mustang Sally (Wilson Pickett)      


 Mustang Sally is a rhythm and blues song written and performed by Mack Rice and best known through a cover by Wilson Pickett. According to music historian, Tom Shannon, Mack started the song as a joke in 1965 when Della Reese‘s band leader wanted a new Ford Mustang . Mack called the early version “Mustang Mama,” but changed it after Aretha Franklin suggested “Mustang Sally”. Rice’s version made it to #15 on the R&B Charts. Pickett’s version made it to #23 in 1966. (Excerpt from Wikipedia. See… )   

 Link to Paul Allen:

Paul Allen, CEO of Charter Communications, one of the nation’s top cable companies, performed a rendition of this Wilson Pickett song before a crowd of his peers at a party he threw aboard his megayacht Octopus in New Orleans during the 2004 Annual Cable Industry convention.   


Layla (Eric Clapton)   


Layla, written by Eric Clapton in 1970 and originally performed by Derek and the Dominos, is considered one of rock music’s definitive love songs.  There is an interesting story behind the song:   Eric Clapton fell in love with Patti Boyd, the wife of Beatles’ George Harrison. Eric and George were close friends who collaborated on a number of songs, including “While My Guitar Gently Weeps,” and Cream’s “Badge.”  But after a number of years, Eric broke down and expressed his feelings to Patti–to no avail. Boyd would not leave her husband George, the man who wrote the song “Something” for her.  Later when people asked Eric about the song, he said that “Layla” was about a woman whom he felt deeply about who turned him down.” Clapton took the name Layla from a Persian love story called “Layla and Mashoun.”  Several years later, the Harrison couple did divorce, and in a secret ceremony in
Tucson, Arizona in 1979, Patti Boyd finally married Eric Clapton.

  Link to Paul Allen:

Among other connections to Paul Allen, Eric Clapton also was featured in the discography for PBS’ “The Blues,” produced by Allen’s Vulcan Productions.   ————————————————– 

 Less than 10 years and too, too many good songs…….so hang on—we’ll continue our music history lesson in the next post…



*O.k., so maybe he IS the luckiest guy on the planet….. *    *1 Rolling Stones Magazine, The Fortieth Anniversary issueMay 3-17th, 2007