Happy 75th Birthday Golden Gate Bridge and Thank You for your Inspiration in Music, Film, and the Arts

Posted by Billyjam, May 27, 2012 12:23pm | Post a Comment

This Memorial Day Weekend in the Bay Area there are lots of fun events happening such as the annual San Francisco Carnaval celebrations in the Mission District, but the main event everyone seems to be talking about is the Golden Gate Bridge's 75th Year Anniversary, which culminates this evening (8pm to 10pm) with a big fireworks show over the iconic span that links Marin and San Francisco.

Yep, it's party time for sure in the Bay... especially in SF. Stretching along the San Francisco waterfront, from Fort Point to Pier 39, the main locations of the celebrations are at Crissy Field and the Marina Green with activities and events happening at the Presidio, Fort Mason Center, Ghirardelli Square, San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park, Fisherman's Wharf, and Pier 39. [Drivers note that not only will the Golden Gate Bridge itself be closed for two hours starting at 8pm this evening, but also the Marin Headlands will be completely closed off by CHP and park police. Traffic (especially on the Marin side) will be disrupted from approximately 6pm onwards.]

Tony Bennett "I Left My Heart In San Francisco"

Ocean Colour Scene "Golden Gate Bridge"

Mac Dre "California Livin'"

This past week, while hiking over in the Marin Headlands where I saw several oil painters painstakingly capturing the bridge and even more photographers with long lenses intently snapping pictures of the span, I was thinking that the Golden Gate has to be the most painted and photographed bridge in the world. Equally popular are movies and television shows filmed in San Francisco that feature scenes or shots of the Golden Gate Bridge ranging from such classics as the 1955 film It Came From Beneath The Sea and Hitchcock's Vertigo to more recent films such as last year's Rise of The Planet of the Apes (even if many of the Bridge scenes were CGI enhanced). Scroll down to see trailers from these latter two films.

The Golden Gate Bridge has provided inspiration for authors and poets and, over the years, numerous LP/CD covers have been graced with shots of the bridge.  There have also been countless songs written and recorded that are either dedicated to or include references to the bridge ranging from Tony Bennett's ever popular "I Left My Heart In San Francisco" to Jessie Colin Young's 1973 album Song For Juli album to Mac Dre's single & album track "California Livin'" (with that famous line "never on time, always late on the Bay Bridge or the Golden Gate"), and the British group Ocean Colour Scene's "Golden Gate Bridge" (live version above and original studio version on their 2003 album North Atlantic Drift).

And with this weekend's 75 year anniversary celebrations many musicians were inspired to write all new compositions. Most interesting of these is Grateful Dead drummer Mickey Hart who tonight at 9:30pm at Crissy Fields will perform his unique musical piece, appropriately titled Bridgette, that will "sonify" the Golden Gate's span by taking seismic data and "sonifying" it or translating vibratory information into sounds that are audible to the human ear.

This Hart accomplished, with help of folks at San Francisco's Exploratorium,  via use of extra sensitive microphones and pressure-sensitive pads and embedding these audio sound bites into a model of the bridge (also named Bridgette) made of steel and 23 feet in its span. "I always imagined it [Golden Gate Bridge] as a giant wind harp, swaying in the breeze. And I always wanted to hear what it sounded like... When I touch it, pluck it, tap it, swing it, sway it, the sound of the real bridge will come out," the musician told the Marin Independent Journal in an interview this past week.  Hart will perform Bridgette during the 9:30 p.m. finale of the Golden Gate Bridge Festival tonight at San Francisco's Crissy Field - but plan on getting there much earlier if you are going.

Trailer for  Rise of The Planet of the Apes (2011) (last quarter minute has GG Bridge shots)

Trailer for Hitchcock's Vertigo (1958)

Relevant Tags

Mac Dre (35), Golden Gate Bridge (3), Grateful Dead (20), Ocean Colour Scene (1), Tony Bennett (3), Mickey Hart (2)