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We’re pretty sure “XO,” Beyoncé’s love letter from Coney Island, is going to cause a spike in Coney tourism next season. The full-length version of the new music video shot here in August is now up on her Vevo amid rumors it will be released as a single. According to Billboard, the new self-titled album has become the fastest-selling album ever worldwide in the iTunes Store.

In the Terry Richardson-directed vid, Queen Bey and her crew have a blast riding the landmark Cyclone and Wonder Wheel and the old-school Eldorado “Bump Your Ass off” Bumper Cars. They dance on the Eldorado’s Skee-Ball lanes too! There are gorgeous aerial shots of the parks and beach, and the lights of the Parachute Jump. Amid scenes of Beyoncé being swarmed by fans, you’ll catch a glimpse of Boardwalk legend Tony Disco, 79, as well as a little boy boogying on the Bowery. A week after the shoot, the crew went back to capture the famous “25¢ to Fall in LOVE” dancing doll “Miss Coney Island” (seen at 2:20).

Beyoncé

Beyoncé and XO video director Terry Richardson riding Spook-A-Rama, Coney Island. August 29, 2013. Photo via beyonce-legion.com

When Beyoncé’s album surprise-debuted on Friday with a 30-second preview of the video, some tweeters said Coney looked huge and extravagant and nothing like it does in real life. One called it “the Beyoncé effect.” For those of us who have sand in our shoes, Coney Island is larger than life and extremely fun. This special place is also forever photogenic and a magnet for videographers. Beyoncé’s “XO” is arguably the first music video that shows both the new and the old Coney Island. Some of our fave vids of the past portray a gritty and deserted Coney Island during the off-season like The Heavy’s dark and seedy “Sixteen,” shot in late 2008 or 2009.

Here’s what some twitterers had to say about “XO” and “the Beyoncé effect” in Coney Island. What do you think?

https://twitter.com/S_Evangelina/status/411966459028324353

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August 30, 2013: Beyoncé Shoots New Music Video in Coney Island

July 28, 2013: Video of the Day: Twistin Gorilla with the Pontani Sisters

January 30, 2011: Music Video: The Clash Overpowered by Funk in Coney Island

January 8, 2011: Music Video: Strange Powers by the Magnetic Fields

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The news that Nashville-based string band Old Crow Medicine Show is coming to Brooklyn’s Barclays Center on March 7 reminded us how much we like their carnival-themed music vid for “Wagon Wheel.” Played more than 20 million times on YouTube since its debut in 2006, the video has the band on the bally stage of an old-timey carny girl show, with the girls shimmying up to the musicians as the ticket-seller counts his cash and the Rock-O-Plane whirls on the midway. It was shot in Smyrna, Tennessee, next to Snyder & Metts Amusements, which was owned by Hill Snyder and is now part of carnival history, says a poster on Matt’s Carnival Warehouse.

The band members have roots in Virginia and upstate New York, where fiddle player and vocalist Ketch Secor wrote “Wagon Wheel” as a teen. The song took its inspiration from bootleg tapes of Bob Dylan’s “Rock Me Mama” to which Secor added lyrics about hitchhiking to North Carolina.

According to music writer Peter Cooper, when Secor sought to copyright the song with Dylan for use on an album, he learned that Dylan credited the “Rock me, mama” chorus to bluesman Arthur “Big Boy” Crudup, and Crudup probably borrowed his idea from an early 20th century recording by Big Bill Broonzy. “That song drags a heavy chain,” Secor told Cooper. “In a way, it’s taken something like 85 years to get completed.” Released in 2004, the song went platinum this year and the band was inducted into the Grand Ole Opry.

Tickets for the March 7, 2014 concert at Barclays go on sale Friday, October 18, with pre-sale to fans via OCMS’s website now available. The band’s 2014 tour dates in support of the Avett Brothers also include Boston, Pittsburgh and Fairfax, VA. On December 30 and New Year’s Eve, OCMS will play Nashville’s legendary Ryman Auditorium.

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June 10, 2012: Music Video: Sixteen by The Heavy

January 13, 2012: Music Video: Alan Jackson’s So You Don’t Have to Love Me Anymore

January 8, 2011: Music Video: Strange Powers by the Magnetic Fields

December 7, 2010: New Music Video: Little Silver’s Where We Met

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Beyoncé

Beyoncé riding the Coney Island Cyclone. August 29, 2013. Photo via beyonce-legion.com

Thursday morning’s awesome rumor turned out to be true! Woke up to a phone call from a TV reporter asking if we knew anything about Beyoncé shooting a music video on the Coney Island Cyclone today. A few hours later the chatter on twitter was that she was arriving at 4PM. Uh, make that 5.

Beyoncé and her crew conquered the Cyclone roller coaster before moving on to Coney’s legendary “Bump Your Ass Off” Eldorado Auto Skooters and Arcade. A bit later she was surrounded by adoring fans on the Boardwalk. In Wonder Wheel Park, Beyoncé went for a whirl on the landmark Wheel and the classic Spook-A-Rama dark ride with the music video’s director Terry Richardson.

By 9:30PM, they were heading back for another go at Eldorado, where the music part of the video was being shot and no phone calls or photos were allowed, said a friend who was an extra. The famed disco palace of bumper cars was closed all day for the shoot.

The music video is said to be for a new song called “XO,” which is expected to be released in about 3 months.

Beyoncé

Beyoncé and photographer Terry Richardson riding Spook-A-Rama, Coney Island. August 29, 2013. Photo via beyonce-legion.com

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Related posts on ATZ...

June 10, 2012: Music Video: Sixteen by The Heavy

January 13, 2012: Music Video: Alan Jackson’s So You Don’t Have to Love Me Anymore

January 30, 2011: Music Video: The Clash Overpowered by Funk in Coney Island

January 8, 2011: Music Video: Strange Powers by the Magnetic Fields

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If chanteuse Carol Lipnik had a sideshow bannerline it would say “The queen of Coney Island phantasmagoria” (Lucid Culture) and “A Coney Island of the Ear” (New York Times) in addition to “My Life as a Singing Mermaid.” On March 17, Lipnik will appear in concert at Joe’s Pub at the Public Theater with keyboardist Dred Scott. She calls her band Spookarama after the dark ride at Deno’s Wonder Wheel Park. Her multi-octave voice and Scott’s wurlitzer do indeed make you feel as if you’ve stepped inside an old-timey spook house or are careening down the drop of a roller coaster. In this Q & A, ATZ asked Carol about her association with Coney Island.

ATZ: We were surprised to realize the lyrics of “List of Attractions,” one of the songs that you’ll be singing at Joe’s Pub, really are a list of long-vanished Coney attractions. The House Of Too Much Trouble, Wormwood’s Monkey Theater, The Cave Of Winds, The Haunted Swing, and so on. How did you come to write the song?

Carol LipnikCL: Growing up in Coney Island during its decline I quickly understood that it was a place filled with historical ghosts. I loved wandering the boardwalk and the amusement park area, especially off-season. Staring up at the decaying rides I felt Coney Island to be a place where the presence of things that were there were more there than the things that remained there. There was something so compelling to me in this wabi-sabi dreamland decay of sadness and hysteria. I can remember how the abandoned Thunderbolt Coaster became covered with vines and full of birds, and how the Parachute Jump’s cables whipped in the wind, and still to this day the hollow constant moaning of the wind through The Astro Tower like a giant flute. In my researches I found the names of past attractions to be so enigmatic that I got the idea to string them all together as a long list which when sung would tell much of the story – you fill in the imagery!

ATZ: These are all long ago attractions, but if you could bring three of them back, which ones would you choose and why?

CL: The Haunted Swing seems really fun – I believe it was a ride where the actual swing was stationary and the room swung around! Trip To The Moon a la George Melies film world would be so fun! The Cabaret De La Mort – Zombie burlesque anyone? Disaster Illusion rides like The End Of The World and The Fall Of Pompeii (maybe with a Global Warming slant?)

ATZ: When you say “Growing up in Coney Island…” Did you live in Coney Island as a child or do you mean you came here often as a child growing up?

CL: I grew up in Coney Island on Neptune Avenue — in Trump Village. Also, by the way, my uncle had a wonderful Jewish Delicatessen on Mermaid Avenue called Rosenberg’s that was all black and white art deco and mirrors. He made his own mayonnaise for potato salads and coleslaw, his own stuffed derma, and he was very strict about serving sandwiches properly — no white bread or mayo with the pastrami! He loved it and he held out till he finally got burned out.

ATZ: Why did you name your band Spookarama?

CL: The Spook-A-Rama dark ride pretty much summoned up my experience of Coney Island and what I was trying to project with my songs — a shamanic trip through a slapstick/vaudeville/cartoon/demonic/maniacal/ carnival world which turns out to be a distant cousin to the Tibetan Buddhist practice of Chöd where initiates wander through fearful haunted dark places and co-exist with all these odd monster spirits. A place I frequent in my head and in my music. Also, I had a big crush on the Cyclops who’s reappeared last year from the storage bin and hoping he’s OK since Sandy. I’m hoping Spook-A-Rama will pull thru after Sandy. I saw them drying the paper mache monsters. How are they?

ATZ: The Cyclops has miraculously survived but many of the other props were badly damaged by the flood. Some will be restored for use as static figures. The interior of the ride is currently being rebuilt with new props and is expected to open this spring.

Carol Lipnik and Spookarama at Joe’s Pub at The Public Theater, 425 Lafayette Street, NYC, March 17 at 7pm (doors open at 6:30), $15 cover.

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January 9, 2013: Victrola Vault: In Summertime Down By the Sea (1904)

November 21, 2012: Coney Island Post-Sandy: Flooded Spook-A-Rama to Get New Stunts

January 8, 2011: Music Video: Strange Powers by the Magnetic Fields

November 27, 2010: Video: The Museum of Wax by Charles Ludlam

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Temps in the mid-50s in January coupled with the news that 2012 was the hottest ever in the US has put us in the mood for a little summertime music. “In Summertime Down by the Sea” was sung by the successful early recording artist Dan W. Quinn in 1904, when Dreamland was brand-new and Luna Park was just one year old. “The splendid new summer song. Don’t fail to get it for your act,” said an ad in The New York Dramatic Mirror.

In summertime down by the sea
The only real place boys for me
Take a ride on a trolley get there before dark
Take your sweetheart to Dreamland or to Luna Park
In summertime down by the sea
The place where we all like to be…

The Columbia black wax cylinder record is played on a 1901 Columbia Model AB Graphophone. Both are from the collection of Victrolaman, whose 1920s recording of the Mills Brothers “Coney Island Washboard Roundelay” was previously featured on ATZ. Victrolaman’s YouTube channel features recorded sound from the 1890s up to the mid-1930s played on the original gramophones & phonographs of that era.

In Summertime Down by the Sea

In Summertime Down by the Sea. The Lester S. Levy Collection of Sheet Music, Special Collections at the Milton S. Eisenhower Library of The Johns Hopkins University

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December 8, 2012: Sunday Matinee: Princess Rajah’s Chair Dance (1904)

February 7, 2011: Music Video: Coney Island Washboard Roundelay on Ukelele

April 17, 2010: Our Fave Coney Island Song: Joe McGinty’s Million Dollar Mermaid

December 15, 2009: Victrola Vault: Mills Brothers “Coney Island Washboard Roundelay”

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Alan Jackson

Video Shoot in Coney Island: Alan Jackson in front of Paul's Daughter, Coney Island Boardwalk. December 2, 2011. Photo © Eric Kowalsky. All Rights Reserved

Coney Island remains a popular spot for video and film shoots, even after the amusement parks have closed for the season. On Friday, Nashville came to Coney when country music singer-songwriter Alan Jackson strummed his guitar on the Boardwalk in front of Paul’s Daughter. Thanks to Coney Island photographer Eric Kowalsky for being on the scene and getting these great photos of the video shoot.

The name of the song Jackson was singing is privileged info, but we guess it’s from his upcoming album set for release in the Spring of 2012. The backdrop of the shuttered store and closed-down rides made us wonder if the tune is about the end of summer or perhaps the end of a love affair, as country songs often are. Jackson’s last video “Long Way to Go,” released this summer, is up for Great American Country’s Top 50 Videos of 2011. You can watch it on his YouTube channel.

Alan Jackson

Alan Jackson in front of Paul's Daughter, Coney Island. December 2, 2011. Photo © Eric Kowalsky. All Rights Reserved

If the video crew had come a month ago, before Paul’s Daughter’s signage was removed to make way for the new “vision” for the Boardwalk, they could have used a masterpiece of Americana as a backdrop, not just the few signs left behind. The restaurant formerly known as Gregory & Paul’s and its frequently photographed signage were featured in the 1999 music video “Summer Girls” by LFO. It’s sad to see Coney’s hand-painted signage, which has a quirky character and an authentic patina, being forced out by the powers that be. Will the Coney Island Boardwalk remain a magnet for video and film shoots when it’s mostly shiny and new and neon?

UPDATE January 14, 2012…

The video for Alan Jackson’s new single was released yesterday and it’s a beauty! Music Video: Alan Jackson’s So You Don’t Have to Love Me Anymore

Alan Jackson Music Video Shoot, Coney Island Boardwalk. December 2, 2011. Photo © Eric Kowalsky. All Rights Reserved

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January 13, 2012: Music Video: Alan Jackson’s So You Don’t Have to Love Me Anymore

January 8, 2011: Music Video: Strange Powers by the Magnetic Fields

December 16, 2010: Blast from the Past: LFO’s Summer Girls Music Video

November 30, 2010: Video: The Wanted’s Lose My Mind at Coney Island’s Wonder Wheel Park

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Released in the spring, the Garland Jeffreys album “The King of In Between” has been called “as uncannily fresh and forceful as the songs on his debut record, from 1973″ by the New Yorker. You’ll see why in this video of Garland Jeffreys and the Coney Island Playboys’ live performance of “Coney Island Winter” on “The Late Show with David Letterman” on Friday night.

The Brooklyn-born singer songwriter grew up in Sheepshead Bay, Brighton Beach and Coney Island, and riffs on the “Twenty-two stops to the city” from his boyhood turf in “Coney Island Winter.” You can read the lyrics in “Hail, Hail Garland Jeffreys! Coney Island Has a New Anthem,” (ATZ, March 15, 2011). We’d love to see a live performance on the Boardwalk!

Garland Jeffreys last New York area shows of the year are coming up at the Highline Ballroom on October 14 and At the Tabernacle in Mt Tabor, NJ on October 22. Says Jeffreys on his Facebook page: “And then comes Nashville, Chicago, Austin, Houston, Montreal, Toronto, Los Angeles, and more !!!!”

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