Let’s Take A Moment Day 144

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?

Charlie Brown No Music No Life

(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.

When Stevie Nicks was recording her first solo album in 1981, she used many well established singers and musicians to help her pull the project together.  Some of the players included guitarist Davey Johnstone from Elton John’s band, pianist Roy Bittan from Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band and bassist Donald “Duck” Dunn from Booker T & The MG’s, among others.  The record also included not one but two duets.  The first one, “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around”, was recorded with Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers and is a great collaboration.  Nicks wrote the other one for country superstar Waylon Jennings & his wife, Jessi Colter, but they did not end up including it on their album.  I am glad Nicks decided to record herself with Don Henley because I have been swooning over it ever since the first time I heard it.  I was lucky enough to see them perform it together when they toured the northeast many years ago, which was a real treat.  It is one of my favorite duets ever due in large part to the oh so pretty lyrics.

You in the moonlight, with your sleepy eyes
Could you ever love a man like me
And you were right when I walked into your house
I knew I’d never want to leave“.

Leather and Lace

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Stevie Nicks featuring Don Henley:  “Leather and Lace” (1981, written by Stevie Nicks).

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 143

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?

Charlie Brown No Music No Life

(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.

The Left Banke was one of those groups that burst onto the scene in the mid-1960’s and left an indelible mark on music despite their brief stay.  Best known for two songs, the exquisite “Pretty Ballerina” and today’s pick, the success of same came quickly for the band leading to tension amongst the group members and eventually disbandment.  While they were together, they helped coin a new phrase, baroque rock, which critics felt best described their unique sound and string arrangements.  Today’s song was also done by the Four Tops which is also wonderful.  But the Left Banke’s version, led by the vocals of Steve Martin Caro  who sadly died earlier this year at the age of 71, is in my opinion absolutely gorgeous.

Your name and mine 
inside a heart upon a wall
Still finds a way to haunt me 
though they’re so small“.

Left Bank

The LEft Bank circa 1965.  (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

The Left Banke:  “Walk Away Renee” (1966, written by Michael Brown, Bob Calilli, and Tony Sansone).

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 142

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?

Charlie Brown No Music No Life

(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.

One of my favorite years for music was 1978.  New albums like Bruce Springsteen’s “Darkness On The Edge Of Town”, Eric Clapton’s “Backless”, Van Morrison’s “Wavelength”, Neil Young’s “Comes A Time”, Blondie’s “Parallel Lines”, Tom Waits’ “Blue Valentine” , Boston’s “Don’t Look Back”, “Easter” by The Patti Smith Group and The Rolling Stones’ “Some Girls” were released.  And it is from the Stones record that we arrive at today’s song which hit #1 on this day in 1978.

It only stayed in the top spot for a week, but as the lead single from the record, it helped the album get to #1 as well for two weeks that summer.  The song features a greats  sax solo and one of the best bass lines I ever heard.  And despite  the fact that  I am not much of a dancer, I could not help moving along with the infectious beat of the record.  The band was divided over whether or not it was an actual disco song, but eventually they released their first extended 12″ inch remix soon after the record topped the charts.  I prefer the original mix of this song, which is one of my favorites ever by this band.

Some Girls

   (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

The Rolling Stones:  “Miss You” (1978, written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards).

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 141

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?

Charlie Brown No Music No Life

(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.

On this date in 1984 Prince’s album, “Purple Rain” hit #1.  Remarkably it held that spot for 24 straight weeks until Jan 18, 1985.  Released less than two months earlier on June 25 and a month before the release of the movie by the same name on July 27, it was his first album to hit the top spot.  It was also the first time Prince credited his band, The Revolution, with assisting in the composing, arrangement and  production of a record.

The movie went on to gross 72 million dollars.  The first single from the album, “When Doves Cry”, went to #1 for five weeks straight (July 7-Aug. 10) and became the biggest song of 1984.  (Not so fun fact:  That song kept Bruce Springsteen’s single, “Dancing In The Dark” out of the top spot, leaving it in the #2 spot for three weeks before it fell to #3 on July 28.  Poor Bruce 😦  But his “Born In The USA” album would knock “Purple Rain” out of the #1 spot on Jan 19, 1985, ending its 24 week reign in that position).

By September 1984 the next single, “Let’s Go Crazy” hit #1 for two consecutive weeks.  Ultimately two more singles would be released:  the title track which peaked at #2 (and is my favorite song for a multitude of reasons but especially because of the exquisite string arrangement) and “I Would Die 4 U” which made it to #8.  The soundtrack was so popular even Sophia from “The Golden Girls” was heard singing along to the title track in the show’s first season.  I love that Prince and that show are their own pop culture reference!!!

Some of you might remember that it was this album that eventually lead to the formation of the PMRC (Parents Music Resource Center) in 1985 by Tipper Gore and friends.  That was due to the sexually charged lyrics on the song, “Darling Nikki” that Gore heard when her 11 year old daughter was playing this record.  The group demanded that any music with questionable lyrics or subject matters (i.e. sex, drugs, violence and references to the occult) be sold with warning labels on them.  But even with the controversy (or perhaps because of it), the record would go on to sell over 25 million copies.  For most music lovers and Prince fans around the world, this album remains his masterpiece and I agree.  No offense towards him intended, but does anyone else but me believe he got the idea for the song from hearing the line in America’s “Ventura Highway” that goes:  “Sorry boy, but I’ve been hit by purple rain”?  🙂

I never meant to cause you any sorrow
I never meant to cause you any pain
I only wanted to one time to see you laughing
I only wanted to see you
Laughing in the purple rain“.

Prince
 (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Prince:  “Purple Rain” (1984, written by Prince).

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 140

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?

Charlie Brown No Music No Life

(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.

Our first birthday of the new month belongs to the one and only Tony Bennett who turns 94 today.  Born and raised in Astoria, New York he started singing early in life but did not start his professional career until he served in the army for two years at the end of WWII.  According to his website the first time he sang in a nightclub was in 1946.  In 1949 Bob Hope saw Bennett perform and invited him to Paramount Studios.  The website also states it was Hope who came up with Bennett’s stage name because Hope did not like the one Bennett used at that time, which was Joe Bari.  Bennett’s first hit came in 1951 with “Because Of You” which means he has been recording songs for 69 years in seven different decades.  That is astonishing.

With that many years of music to choose from, you might think it was a daunting task for me to pick only one to share.  But it really wasn’t as today’s song is timeless like Bennett himself.  This tune began as an instrumental in 1936 but by 1954 lyrics were added to the beautiful music.  That same year Nat King Cole did an absolutely stunning version of his own with Bennett recording his in 1959.  That is a great rending as well, but I really love the updated one he did in 1965 which was included on his record, “The Movie Song Album”, released the following year.  The production is prettier and includes a truly gorgeous string arrangement.  Add to that Bennett’s nearly perfect voice and it is just my absolute favorite performance of this song ever.

Continued health, love, happiness and success to you, Anthony Dominick Benedetto.  You are an absolute gift to anyone who has ever heard you sing and to music & life itself.

Tony

 (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Tony Bennett:  “Smile” (1965, written by Charlie Chaplin (music, 1936) and Geoffrey Parsons and John Turner (lyrics, 1954).

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 139

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?

Charlie Brown No Music No Life

(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.

When Art Garfunkel was putting together his first solo album, 1973’s “Angel Clare”, he recorded music by acclaimed songwriters such as Van Morrison, Randy Newman and Paul Williams.  But when it came to choosing the first single, he picked today’s song, which was one of two tracks written by one of my all time favorite songwriters ever, Jimmy Webb.  He, of course, is the genius behind “By The Time I Get To Phoenix” & “Wichita Lineman” (Day 69) (both made into hit songs by Glen Campbell in 1967 & 1968, respectively), “The Worst That Could Happen” (a hit for Johnny Maestro & The Brooklyn Bridge in 1968) and other gems.  “Lineman” is my favorite tune of his, but I think today’s song is one of the best love songs I have ever heard.

Garfunkel’s rendering was a top ten hit in 1973 and it was featured prominently on the show “Nip/Tuck” during season two’s Ava Moore storyline.  Webb did his own version of this song as a duet with Linda Ronstadt on 2010’s “Just Across The River” with only an acoustic guitar added to their voices and it is absolutely lovely.  Former Doobie Brother Michael McDonald and his wife, Amy Holland, recorded their own version as part of a soundtrack to the ABC soap opera, “One Life To Live” in 1994 and it is spectacular.  But Garfunkel’s vocal performance and the gorgeous arrangement make this version my absolute favorite.

But the ending always comes at last
Endings always come too fast
They come too fast
But they pass too slow
I love you and that’s all I know.”

Art Garfunkel’s 1973 debut album (L) & Jimmy Webb’s 2010 record (R) both contain versions of today’s songs.  (Images found online.  Original sources unknown.)

Art Garfunkel:  “All I Know” (1973, written by Jimmy Webb).

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 138

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?

Charlie Brown No Music No Life

(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 WANT MY MTV!!!

It was 39 years ago today that this channel premiered and music was never the same again.  A station dedicated to letting the world see the music (and the people behind it) as well as hear it was revolutionary.  The rotation began with maybe 10 videos but that did not prevent me from watching it non-stop for hours at a time.  Music videos changed the game for fans and the industry alike.  But unlike streaming that has caused artists to lose control of their own copyrighted material in addition to their earnings, MTV was a money mother lode for anyone willing to climb on board the novel concept.

At first it was newer artists that appeared frequently on the channel, but eventually everyone jumped on the bandwagon.  Some ran with the concept-Hall & Oates, Huey Lewis & The News, Billy Squier, Michael Jackson-to name a few.  Soon even my heroes were embracing the genre.  Remember a pre-“Friends” Courtney Cox’s fancy footwork with Bruce Springsteen in the “Dancing In The Dark” video?  Or watching Eric Clapton’s beautiful hands play fiery solos on his Strat while singing “Pretending” in the pouring rain?  Or an elegantly dressed Marvin Gaye extolling the benefits of “Sexual Healing”?  Videos from other 1970’s artists followed including Elton John, Rod Stewart, Steve Winwood and a host of others who welcomed and embraced the new MTV audience.

Vintage clips of great musical moments were featured like the Beatles first appearance on “The Ed Sullivan Show”, performances from the 1967 Monterrey Pop Festival and the 1969 Woodstock concerts as well as the live broadcast of 1985’s “Live Aid” show from both America & the U.K.  Suddenly our living rooms were front row seats to the best music had to offer.  And thanks to directors from the TV & movie industries getting in on the trend (“Dressed To Kill” director Brian De Palma was the man behind Springsteen’s first clip), by the end of the decade and into the 1990’s videos became an art form.  The “Unplugged” series introduced us to the more intimate side of live performances.  Other music stations including VH1, BET and FUSE followed, but none compared to the original and its level of cool.

If there is one song that defined the early years of the MTV phenomenon, it is today’s.  While the references to homosexuals are outdated & considered offensive in this era of acceptance, and the once ground breaking channel is merely a reality show based venue in these days of YouTube and Instagram stories, this song still has the power to instantly transport those of us who were there at the beginning to the excitement of the new medium.  And to the poor choice some people made to wear sweatbands in their videos.

Now that ain’t workin’ that’s the way you do it
You play the guitar on the MTV
That ain’t workin’ that’s the way you do it
Money for nothing and your chicks for free“.

The MTV moon man logo circa 1981 (R) and John Illsley (bass guitarist)  and Mark Knopfler (lead guitarist) of Dire Straits circa 1985.  (Images found online.  Original sources unknown.)

Dire Straits:  “Money For Nothing” (1985, written by Mark Knopfler and Sting a/k/a Gordon Sumner).

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

Stay well.