Let’s Take A Moment Day 120

Hi everyone.  Hope you are all well and continue to stay that way during this global health crisis we are facing.  But in addition to protecting your physical wellness, what are you doing to stay mentally healthy today?

Thoreau music quote

 

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

I know we are in a serious situation, but I need a break from the gloom, doom and bullying by way of hoarding. Music has always been my refuge and watching those beautiful Italians singing to each other from their balconies reaffirmed my belief that music is the answer. So until the old normal returns, I am going to share a song I listen to that helps me escape the current state of things, if only for a few minutes each day.  And if this helps anyone else, even better.

We are now at the four month mark of the pandemic.  Four months!!!  One hundred & twenty days.  And some states-namely California, Florida & Texas-are seeing a staggering increase in new cases that are breaking the records set only three months ago.  It is just too much to bear.  I am clinging tighter than ever to what makes me happy as opposed to what is going in the world right now.  And what makes me the happiest is music.

It has always been in my life and I have loved it since I was a young child.  But my intense love affair with it began the first time I heard the “Born To Run” album in its entirety.  I was compelled to buy it after hearing two songs on the radio.  One was “Backstreets” and the other is today’s pick.  I only heard half of this one that day but it was enough to show me it was a party set to music.  I may not have been invited to it, but I was welcomed in and asked to stay.  I learned about the history of the incredible band and how “The Big Man”, Clarence Clemons, came to join them.

Once I started going to Springsteen’s concerts, I discovered this was one of the highlights of the show and it led to the band’s introductions.  It also became a moment of reverence and reflection after Clemons passed away in 2011 to keep his memory and his presence very much a part of the band he meant so much to.  And to the legions of fans like me who would never forget how he & Springsteen encouraged all the women in the audience to wave back when he sang the line, “All the little pretties raise their hands”.  Sometimes it leaves such a lump in my throat when I realize I will never see that moment again in person, but I am so incredibly grateful I had the chance to do so many, many times.  And out of all the times I did see it, in addition to the hundreds of clips of this song recorded live that are all over YouTube, one of my favorite performances of this song was when he & The E Street Band performed it live at Springsteen’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s induction ceremony on March 15, 1999 at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, New York.  Until I attended The E Street Band’s induction ceremony in 2014, that is.

In his speech honoring his band, Springsteen expressed his regret in not insisting his band get inducted with him in 1999.  He told the story of how he and friend/E Street guitarist Steven Van Zandt fought about this but Springsteen, blaming his ego, felt he earned the right to be honored and inducted on his own.  So in 1999 the band stood by him as if nothing happened which showed incredible professionalism, loyalty and friendship on their part.  But with the deaths of band keyboardist Danny Federici in 2008 and then Clemons, Springsteen was heartbroken that they did not live to see that honor (Federici’s children and Clemons’ widow accepted on their behalfs).  With all the lessons Springsteen has taught me through his music, that was one of the saddest.  But today’s song is still one of my all time favorites.  I still feel welcome at the party.  I will always love how much history I have with it and how it taught me decades after first hearing it that we all must learn to live with regret, even those crowned The Boss.

When that change was made uptown
And the Big Man joined the band
From the coastline to the city
All the little pretties raise their hands
I’m gonna sit back right easy and laugh
When Scooter and the Big Man bust this city in half.”

BTR

Born To Run album photos by Eric Meola.  (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

 

Bruce Springsteen:  “Tenth Avenue Freeze Out” (1975, written by Bruce Springsteen).

I do not own the rights to anything.  I am just sharing what I love and how I am coping with you.

Stay well.

Let’s Take A Moment Day 119

Hi everyone.  Hope you are all well and continue to stay that way during this global health crisis we are facing.  But in addition to protecting your physical wellness, what are you doing to stay mentally healthy today?

Thoreau music quote

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

I know we are in a serious situation, but I need a break from the gloom, doom and bullying by way of hoarding. Music has always been my refuge and watching those beautiful Italians singing to each other from their balconies reaffirmed my belief that music is the answer. So until the old normal returns, I am going to share a song I listen to that helps me escape the current state of things, if only for a few minutes each day.  And if this helps anyone else, even better.

This weekend the music world celebrated two milestones:  On July 12 Christine McVie turned 77 years young while July 11 marked the 45th anniversary of Fleetwood Mac’s 1975 self titled album.

I cannot express how important that album, along with 1977’s smash, Rumours, was to me.  Aside from phenomenal music, to see two strong talented female songwriters in one band was inspiring.  At that time in my life I was lost in a sea of male singers (not a complaint, just a fact) or all male groups until I discovered the women of Fleetwood Mac, McVie and Stevie Nicks.

Between her enormous solo career & theatrical stage performances, Nicks had become a focal point of the group, appearing to outshine McVie.  But one listen to any of her songs, from “Over My Head”, “Don’t Stop”, “You Make Loving Fun” or her keyboard prowess on any number by the band it was clear McVie shone bright all on her own.  In fact, eight of the sixteen songs on the band’s 1988 Greatest Hits album are hers.  And her deep contralto voice makes it as easily recognizable as Nick’s.

She also enjoyed some solo success with 1984’s “Got A Hold On Me” but after the band’s induction into the Rock & Roll HOF in 1998 McVie decided to retire from the band after 28 years.  She did, however, continue to work in studio sessions for them.  By 2014 she rejoined the group where she remains today.  In 2017 she released an album with bandmate Lindsey Buckingham.  I love nearly all of Christine McVie’s songs but today’s is my favorite.

Baby, baby, hope you’re going to stay away
‘Cause I’m getting weaker, weaker, everyday
I guess I’m not as strong as I used to be
And if you use me again it’ll be the end of me.”

fleetwood_mac
Fleetwood Mac circa 1977 (L-R):  Mick Fleetwood (drums, John McVie (bass, seated) Christine McVie (piano/keyboards), Lindsey Buckingham ( guitar) & Stevie Nicks (vocals).  (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Fleetwood Mac featuring Christine McVie:  “Say You Love Me” (1975, written by Christine McVie).

I do not own the rights to anything.  I am just sharing what I love and how I am coping with you.

Stay well.

Let’s Take A Moment Day 118

Hi everyone.  Hope you are all well and continue to stay that way during this global health crisis we are facing.  But in addition to protecting your physical wellness, what are you doing to stay mentally healthy today?

Thoreau music quote

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

I know we are in a serious situation, but I need a break from the gloom, doom and bullying by way of hoarding. Music has always been my refuge and watching those beautiful Italians singing to each other from their balconies reaffirmed my belief that music is the answer. So until the old normal returns, I am going to share a song I listen to that helps me escape the current state of things, if only for a few minutes each day.  And if this helps anyone else, even better.

My obsession with music is rivaled only by another vice:  my TV addiction.  It has entertained me, fed my dreams and kept me company nearly every day of my life.  It has also made me a pop culture queen which sometimes mystifies the people around me.

Case in point:  Many years ago I dated a guy from England.  He was adorable and the accent reminded me of Eric Clapton.  On our first date, he asked me who my first crush was.

“That’s easy”, I said.  “David Starsky.”

My date’s response:  “Was he a kid from your neighborhood or someone you went to school with?”

I found it both endearing and terrifying that he did not know who David Starsky was.  He and his partner, Ken “Hutch” Hutchinson, were my favorite cops until Idris Elba’s John Luther showed up (as that is a BBC show, S&H remain my favorite cops from the US).  It was 1970’s TV at its best:  cool cops with street smarts and hearts of gold, the coolest sidekick (Huggy Bear) & car that, despite how flashy it was, never hurt their various undercover personas, plus it was backed by the winning production team of Aaron Spelling and Leonard Goldberg.  For four seasons I swooned and swooned over the two of them, with Starsky having a slight advantage thanks to his curly dark hair.  Until today’s song came out.  Checkmate, Hutch.

Thanks to all the S&H fans around the globe, this song went to number one for four weeks in the U.K. and for one week here in the US in 1977.  Does it have lyrics like the poetry found in every Springsteen song?  No.  Does it have any fierce guitar riffs by Clapton?  No.  Moreover, Soul’s voice cannot rival the passion of Otis Redding’s or the polish of Tony Bennett’s.  And the song never won any awards.  But you know what?  I ADORE it.  And I make no apologies for that by me now or for my younger self who fell in love with the two coolest cops to ever wear Nike sneakers.

Starsky and Hutch forever!!!

The future isn’t just one night
It’s written in the moonlight
Painted on the stars
We can’t change ours.”

S and H

zebra 3

David Soul (Hutch) & Paul Michael Glaser (Starsky, top) and the coolest cop car ever.  (Images found online.  Original sources unknown.)

David Soul:  “Don’t Give Up On Us” (1977, written by Tony Macaulay).

I do not own the rights to anything.  I am just sharing what I love and how I am coping with you.

Stay well.

Let’s Take A Moment Day 117

Hi everyone.  Hope you are all well and continue to stay that way during this global health crisis we are facing.  But in addition to protecting your physical wellness, what are you doing to stay mentally healthy today?

Thoreau music quote

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

I know we are in a serious situation, but I need a break from the gloom, doom and bullying by way of hoarding. Music has always been my refuge and watching those beautiful Italians singing to each other from their balconies reaffirmed my belief that music is the answer. So until the old normal returns, I am going to share a song I listen to that helps me escape the current state of things, if only for a few minutes each day.  And if this helps anyone else, even better.

For as much as the Beatles influenced a generation, The Beatles themselves were inspired by their idols.  Chuck Berry, Carl Perkins, Little Richard and Elvis had a huge impact on the Fab Four.  So did Buddy Holly.  Even the name of The Beatles came from John Lennon thinking naming a band after an insect was the way to go following Holly’s lead in calling his band The Crickets.

Holly is long remembered for his all too brief but eternal contribution to the early days of rock & roll with songs like “That’ll Be The Day”, “Oh Boy”, “Rave On”, “It’s So Easy To Fall In Love” and others.  But in reality his death had as much of an impact on the world as his life did since he died so young and with two other singers, one even younger than Holly’s 22  years.  I often read articles where people speculate how different music might be today if Holly were alive.  But that is just a waste of time.  Holly fulfilled his destiny or he would be here.  It’s just that simple.  He was only meant to be here for the time we had him and not a minute more.  We may hate it, but that was the plan all along.  But what a legacy we have to enjoy from his brief tenure as rock & roll’s prince.

B Holly

Buddy Holly circa 1958.  (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Buddy Holly & The Crickets:  “Not Fade Away” (1957, written by Buddy Holly and Norman Petty).

I do not own the rights to anything.  I am just sharing what I love and how I am coping with you.

Stay well.

Let’s Take A Moment Day 116

Hi everyone.  Hope you are all well and continue to stay that way during this global health crisis we are facing.  But in addition to protecting your physical wellness, what are you doing to stay mentally healthy today?

Thoreau music quote

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

I know we are in a serious situation, but I need a break from the gloom, doom and bullying by way of hoarding. Music has always been my refuge and watching those beautiful Italians singing to each other from their balconies reaffirmed my belief that music is the answer. So until the old normal returns, I am going to share a song I listen to that helps me escape the current state of things, if only for a few minutes each day.  And if this helps anyone else, even better.

Between the 4th of July holiday and Ringo Starr’s 80th birthday, I missed another milestone celebration:  Debbie Harry’s 75th birthday on July 1.  Out of all the female “rock chicks” from the 1970’s/1980’s she was my absolute favorite.  I was not a real fan of punk or new wave music, but I really liked Blondie because Harry was just so cool.  As a principal songwriter & the front woman of a very popular band where she was the only female, living & hanging out in New York with people like David Bowie & Andy Warhol, being tough without losing any of her style or femininity and her incredible voice just made her a force to reckon with.  Women wanted to be like her, men wanted to date her and she wanted to sing.

She also started acting in the late 1980’s with roles in the TV show “Crime Story” and the film “Hairspray”.  Later on she appeared in two of my favorite films ever, “Cop Land” and “My Life Without Me”, the latter being a dramatic role which really showcased her talent.  Last year she wrote her autobiography entitled “Face It” which is a very good & surprisingly funny read.  She has had an incredible life and lived to tell about it, which in rock & roll is always a happy ending.

Blondie

Blondie in 1977. Left to right: Gary Valentine, Clem Burke, Debbie Harry, Chris Stein and Jimmy Destri.  (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Blondie:  “Dreaming” ( 1979, written by Debbie Harry and Chris Stein).

I do not own the rights to anything.  I am just sharing what I love and how I am coping with you.

Stay well.

Let’s Take A Moment Day 115

Hi everyone.  Hope you are all well and continue to stay that way during this global health crisis we are facing.  But in addition to protecting your physical wellness, what are you doing to stay mentally healthy today?

Thoreau music quote

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

I know we are in a serious situation, but I need a break from the gloom, doom and bullying by way of hoarding. Music has always been my refuge and watching those beautiful Italians singing to each other from their balconies reaffirmed my belief that music is the answer. So until the old normal returns, I am going to share a song I listen to that helps me escape the current state of things, if only for a few minutes each day.  And if this helps anyone else, even better.

There are sad stories in life and then there are ones too sad for words.  The only way to describe today’s singer, Jackson C. Frank, is as the second coming of Job.  When he was 11 years old he suffered burns to fifty percent of his body when a furnace exploded at his elementary school.  He lost many of his classmates including his girlfriend and was in the hospital for months.  This would set the stage for a multitude of physical and mental ailments that would plague him for the rest of his life.  A teacher gave him a guitar while he was recovering so Frank learned how to play and eventually write songs.

When he turned 21 in 1964, he received an insurance settlement for his injuries due to the fire and went to Europe to pursue a career in music.  There he met Paul Simon who produced Frank’s 1965 debut self-titled album which contained today’s song (Simon & Garfunkel would do their own version the same year but would not release it until 1997 on the boxed set, “Old Friends”).  Frank began to garner a small following due to his record but by 1966, his mental health began to unravel.  He was hospitalized in Europe before returning to America when his insurance money ran out.

Soon after he got married and had two children, a boy and a girl.  But when his son died from cystic fibrosis, Frank’s mental health deteriorated again and he was hospitalized a second time.  His wife left him, taking their daughter with her, and Frank became increasingly unstable and despondent.  His only album was reissued in 1978 but failed to change his situation.

His physical health began to decline due to complications of the injuries of the fire.  He lived with his parents for a while but eventually left the house when he was unsupervised to go to NYC to look up Simon.  Instead Frank ended up homeless and hospitalized several times, finally receiving a diagnosis as a paranoid schizophrenic.  One of the times he was living on the street some kids were playing with a pellet gun and accidentally blinded Frank in the left eye.  Eventually a fan found Frank, became his guardian and placed him in a supervised living center until he died of pneumonia at age 56 in 1999.

Rolling Stone Magazine called Frank one of the best forgotten songwriters of the 1960s.  His genre of music, folk, is just one I could not embrace.  I respect the musicianship but the sound never hit my soul like the other types of music I love did.  But then again I do not ever remember hearing this man before today’s song was featured in the third episode of season one of “This Is Us”.  That was more than 50 years after Frank recorded it and 17 years after he died.  I am forever thankful that I can know him through the rest of his music I found online, too, because it & he are too good to be forgotten.

I share his story because I firmly believe it is my responsibility as a music lover and fan to expose the songs I love to those who might not yet know them.  It is how they live on.  And because I think today’s song is just that special.

Jackson C Frank
Jackson C, Frank circa 1965.  (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Jackson C. Frank:  “Blues Run The Game”  (1965, written by Jackson C. Frank).

I do not own the rights to anything.  I am just sharing what I love and how I am coping with you.

Stay well.

Let’s Take A Moment Day 114

Hi everyone.  Hope you are all well and continue to stay that way during this global health crisis we are facing.  But in addition to protecting your physical wellness, what are you doing to stay mentally healthy today?

Thoreau music quote

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

I know we are in a serious situation, but I need a break from the gloom, doom and bullying by way of hoarding. Music has always been my refuge and watching those beautiful Italians singing to each other from their balconies reaffirmed my belief that music is the answer. So until the old normal returns, I am going to share a song I listen to that helps me escape the current state of things, if only for a few minutes each day.  And if this helps anyone else, even better.

Time for the first mid week Motown break for July.  And no better place to start than at the top.  Ladies & Gentleman, The Temptations.

The Temps

The Temptations (L-R):  David Ruffin, Otis Williams, Paul Williams, Melvin Franklin & Eddie Kendricks.  (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

The Temptations:  “Ain’t Too Proud To Beg” ( 1966, written by Norman Whitfield and Edward Holland Jr.).

I do not own the rights to anything.  I am just sharing what I love and how I am coping with you.

Stay well.

Let’s Take A Moment Day 113

Hi everyone.  Hope you are all well and continue to stay that way during this global health crisis we are facing.  But in addition to protecting your physical wellness, what are you doing to stay mentally healthy today?

Thoreau music quote

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

I know we are in a serious situation, but I need a break from the gloom, doom and bullying by way of hoarding. Music has always been my refuge and watching those beautiful Italians singing to each other from their balconies reaffirmed my belief that music is the answer. So until the old normal returns, I am going to share a song I listen to that helps me escape the current state of things, if only for a few minutes each day.  And if this helps anyone else, even better.

Happy 80th birthday, Ringo Starr!!!  Thank you for all the music and for sharing your kind heart with the world for over 50 years.  I will be thinking thoughts of peace and love at noon today to share your vision for a better universe for all of us to share.  Blessings & hugs to you.  Please continue to stay safe & well.

Concert alert:  “Ringo’s Big Birthday Show” with Ringo Starr, Paul McCartney, Joe Walsh, Sheila E., Gary Clark Jr., Ben Harper, the All-Star Band and others takes place at 8 p.m. tonight (Tuesday, July 7) on YouTube.

Ringo

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

The Beatles featuring Ringo Starr:  “With A Little Help With My Friends” (1967, written by John Lennon & Paul McCartney).

I do not own the rights to anything.  I am just sharing what I love and how I am coping with you.

Stay well.

Let’s Take A Moment Day 112

Hi everyone.  Hope you are all well and continue to stay that way during this global health crisis we are facing.  But in addition to protecting your physical wellness, what are you doing to stay mentally healthy today?

Thoreau music quote

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

I know we are in a serious situation, but I need a break from the gloom, doom and bullying by way of hoarding. Music has always been my refuge and watching those beautiful Italians singing to each other from their balconies reaffirmed my belief that music is the answer. So until the old normal returns, I am going to share a song I listen to that helps me escape the current state of things, if only for a few minutes each day.  And if this helps anyone else, even better.

Elton John began releasing records in 1968.  Despite having several number one songs in America throughout the 1970’s & 1980’s, he did not have a solo number one record in the U.K. until June 23, 1990 when today’s song hit the top spot there (oddly enough in America this song only reached number 18).  A week later, John appeared at the outdoor concert in Knebworth, England to perform that song (along with “Sad Songs Say So Much”).  There were several artists appearing at the show that day, but when John sang it was alongside Mark Knopfler of Dire Straits and one of my great musical loves, Eric Clapton.  He and John have been friends for years and in 1992 they recorded “Runaway Train” together for the soundtrack of Lethal Weapon 3.

During John’s song at Knebworth, there is some playful joking going on between him & Clapton, and at the 2:55 mark of of the video, he succeeds at making John laugh.  And judging by the enormous grin on Clapton’s face he could not have been more pleased with himself.  It was one of those rare wonderful surprise moments that happen so unexpectedly in life, and luckily the cameras were rolling so fans like me could enjoy it 30 years later.  This is one of my all time favorite John songs, made soooo much better by this jocular interaction between two old friends.  I also cannot help but swoon big time over how beautiful Clapton looked (his very best, in my opinion) which was only heightened by his gorgeous pink Versace suit.  And luckily it did not clash with John’s bleach blond hair  🙂

Elton Eric

Elton John & Eric Clapton at Knebworth June 30, 1990.  Courtesy:  Getty Images.

Elton John (with Eric Clapton & Mark Knopfler):  “Sacrifice” (June 30, 1990 at The Knebworth Concert, Knebworth England.  Written by Elton John & Bernie Taupin).

I do not own the rights to anything.  I am just sharing what I love and how I am coping with you.

Stay well.

Let’s Take A Moment Day 111

Hi everyone.  Hope you are all well and continue to stay that way during this global health crisis we are facing.  But in addition to protecting your physical wellness, what are you doing to stay mentally healthy today?

Kerouac

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

I know we are in a serious situation, but I need a break from the gloom, doom and bullying by way of hoarding. Music has always been my refuge and watching those beautiful Italians singing to each other from their balconies reaffirmed my belief that music is the answer. So until the old normal returns, I am going to share a song I listen to that helps me escape the current state of things, if only for a few minutes each day.  And if this helps anyone else, even better.

I can never get enough of my favorite version of today’s song.  Not only is it sung by one of my top musical heroes, but he also put so much of himself into his interpretation while being respectful of the fact that he was singing our country’s National Anthem.  The list of people who have performed this song is too numerous to list, but only a handful of people have made it truly memorable.  I think today’s is simply outstanding.  I thought I would share it to close out the holiday weekend on a high soulful note.

marvin NBA game
  Marvin Gaye at the 1983 NBA All Star Game.  (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Marvin Gaye:  “The Star Spangled Banner” (as performed on February 13, 1983 at the NBA All Star Game in California.  Written by Francis Scott Key (lyrics in 1914) and John Stafford Smith (music circa 1773).

I do not own the rights to anything.  I am just sharing what I love and how I am coping with you.

Stay well.