Let’s Take A Moment Day 349

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?

Feb 2021 Blog

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

I know we are still facing a serious situation but a new year gives us hope for the new days, seasons, opportunities & moments ahead. Still, music is something that will never change for me. It is my refuge, the most comforting part of my life & the one thing I consistently count on. So until a more normal semblance of life 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 stories of bands throughout history seem to follow one of two paths: They fight with each other and when they fail to achieve success they break up. Or, they fight with each other, achieve great success and break up. In both instances they may reunite again after some time passed but not always. Rarely does a band stay together for too long and it is almost unheard of that one stays together for nearly six decades. That esteemed privilege belongs to The Rolling Stones.

Of course, there have been many changes to the band in those 60 years. Personnel changes, personal changes, musical direction changes, addiction issues, legal issues and so on. And the very first storm they weathered was the loss of the man who founded the band, Brian Jones.

He was born 79 years ago today on Feb 28, 1942 in England. Both of his parents played the piano and passed their love of music on to their son. Jones played in a few groups before placing an ad in 1962 for a blues band. Mick Jagger answered it & brought Keith Richards along for a rehearsal where he joined the group as well, forming the nucleus of the band Jones would name after the Muddy Waters song, “Rollin’ Stone”.

Their success began with today’s song, a cover of a Bobby Womack song which was the group’s first #1 hit in the UK in 1964. Despite the success of the record the group’s manager & producer encouraged the band to write their own songs like The Beatles were doing. Once the Jagger & Richards songwriting team started to see success, the group started moving away from the blues to more of a rock sound.

Thus began problems between Jones & the rest of the band, which when combined with his drug arrests, paternity issues, alleged mood swings and other issues led to him being fired from The Stones in June 1969. A month later, he was found dead in his swimming pool at the age of 27, drowned presumably as an involuntary result of substance abuse. A very sad ending for a man who gave us The Rolling Stones.

Well, she used to run around with every man in town
She spent all my money, playing her high class game
She put me out, it was a pity how I cried
Tables turn and now her turn to cry
“.

Stones 1964

The Rolling Stones circa 1964 (L-R): Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Charlie Watts, Bill Wyman and Brian Jones. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

The Rolling Stones: “It’s All Over Now” (1964. written by Bobby Womack & Shirley Womack).

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 348

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?

Feb 2021 Blog

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

I know we are still facing a serious situation but a new year gives us hope for the new days, seasons, opportunities & moments ahead. Still, music is something that will never change for me. It is my refuge, the most comforting part of my life & the one thing I consistently count on. So until a more normal semblance of life 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 swore off musical documentaries a while back, but in November I stumbled upon “Janis: Little Girl Blue” on Hulu. I decided to watch it despite only liking a few of Janis Joplin’s songs as I found others a bit too overpowering for me. The film was well done and I learned a few things I did not know about her life, mostly that she did not fit in with her peers, especially at school. She seemed to be a bit of a loner even after music became what drew people to her and vice versa.

Fifty years ago today-February 27, 1971-her second & final solo album Pearl hit the #1 spot on the albums chart for the first of nine weeks. Today’s track is from her debut record released in 1969. The film ended with this song and man, I was in awe. It is gorgeous. The arrangement, especially the guitar & the strings, combined with Joplin’s interpretation of the lyrics, is just heartbreaking and entrancing at the same time. Had I decided not to watch the film I probably never would have discovered this diamond of a tune. It is a Rogers & Hart song that dates back to 1935 from the musical, “Jumbo”. This track has been recorded dozens of times by a variety of artists from Rosemary Clooney to Sam Cooke to The Carpenters and more. But only one person sang it with the feeling and intensity Joplin did.

And I know how you feel
And I know you ain’t got no reason to go on
And I know you feel that you must be through
Oh honey, go on and sit right back down
“.

Janis-Joplin

Janis Joplin circa 1970. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Janis Joplin: “Little Girl Blue” (1969, written by Lorenz Hart and Richard Rodgers).

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 347

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?

Feb 2021 Blog

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

I know we are still facing a serious situation but a new year gives us hope for the new days, seasons, opportunities & moments ahead. Still, music is something that will never change for me. It is my refuge, the most comforting part of my life & the one thing I consistently count on. So until a more normal semblance of life 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.

Today is the 89th birth anniversary for The Man In Black, Johnny Cash, He was born February 26, 1932 in Arkansas. He grew up listening to gospel music, learned to play guitar before he was a teenager & formed his first band while he was in the U.S. Air Force in the early 1950’s. Today’s song was released in May 1956, over a year before his first album came out in October 1957.

His work is some of the best ever recorded in country music history and he lived an early life strife with tragedy, addiction & hard times, including a divorce from his first wife & mother to his four daughters. But love turned his life around when he married his fellow singer, longtime friend and eventual love interest June Carter in 1968. Their son was born two years later and the couple continued working together for the next three decades.

Cash was always very vocal of how Carter’s love changed him, although he still fought his addiction with several stints in rehab during their marriage. But despite the tough outlaw image he earned over the years, he never shied away from admitting how much love & happiness he found with his wife. They were married 35 years before Carter died in 2003. Cash followed her four months later. They remain one of the greatest love stories in music history, country or otherwise.

I find it very, very easy to be true
I find myself alone when each day is through
Yes, I’ll admit that I’m a fool for you
Because you’re mine, I walk the line
“.

Johnny and June circa 1968

Johnny Cash with the love of his life, June Carter Cash, circa 1968. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Johnny Cash: “I Walk The Line” (1956, written by Johnny Cash).

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 346

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?

Feb 2021 Blog

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

I know we are still facing a serious situation but a new year gives us hope for the new days, seasons, opportunities & moments ahead. Still, music is something that will never change for me. It is my refuge, the most comforting part of my life & the one thing I consistently count on. So until a more normal semblance of life 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 February 26, 1966 Rubber Soul became The Beatles seventh #1 album in the US. It gave us classics like “In My Life”, “Michelle” & “Girl”, to name a few. But today’s song, which was written by George Harrison, is my favorite from that record. He was born 78 years ago today in Liverpool, England. Happy birthday to my favorite Beatle.

Carve your number on my wall and
Maybe you will get a call from me
If I needed someone
“.

Rubber Soul 1965

The Beatles in 1965 during the photo shoot for Rubber Soul (L-R): George Harrison, John Lennon, Ringo Starr and Paul McCartney. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

The Beatles: “If I Needed Someone” (1965, written by George Harrison).

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 345

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?

Feb 2021 Blog

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

I know we are still facing a serious situation but a new year gives us hope for the new days, seasons, opportunities & moments ahead. Still, music is something that will never change for me. It is my refuge, the most comforting part of my life & the one thing I consistently count on. So until a more normal semblance of life 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 February 24, 1998 a a ceremony took place at Buckingham Palace where Elton John was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II. It may only be a title but it is one of the highest ones an individual may earn in Great Britain. It is bestowed upon people known for extraordinary public service. The fact that musical artists are recognized in this category speaks volumes for how the U.K. values the arts. And John has been outstanding in that regard for over fifty years. My love for this man and his astonishing lyricist Bernie Taupin knows no bounds. I think today’s track is one of the most beautiful songs from their extraordinary catalog.

Did you paint your smile on when I said I knew
That my reason for living was for loving you
We’re related in feeling, but you’re high above
You’re pure and you’re gentle, with the grace of a dove
“.

Elton and Bernie

Bernie and Elton

Top: Bernie Taupin (L) and Elton John (R), circa 1970. Bottom: Taupin (L) and John circa 2019. (Images found online.  Original sources unknown.)

Elton John: “I Need You To Turn To” (1970, written by Elton John and 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 344

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?

Feb 2021 Blog

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

I know we are still facing a serious situation but a new year gives us hope for the new days, seasons, opportunities & moments ahead. Still, music is something that will never change for me. It is my refuge, the most comforting part of my life & the one thing I consistently count on. So until a more normal semblance of life 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 February 26, 1985 my great musical love & New Jersey’s favorite rocker Bruce Springsteen won his first Grammy Award for Best Male Vocal Performance for the original recording of today’s song. It was the first single from his ginormous 1984 album, Born In The USA.. The title track was misinterpreted as an American anthem when in reality it was a protest song about what happened to the men & women when they returned home after their service in the Vietnam War. The video for the track made it appear like a song of US pride as well. The Boss was decked out in red (bandana), white (t-shirt) & blue (jean jacket) while he pumped his fist in the air each time he sang the chorus.

The dark message of today’s original track was also disguised by the video. The fast tempo song, performed on a stage with a slick set design and Springsteen’s dance moves with a pre-“Friends” Courtney Cox, looked like nothing but pure fun. In reality the song was a bleak tale of self-loathing where the singer wanted to change everything about himself & his surroundings and basically run away from who he thought he was. He felt there was something more to life, yet did not know of a way to start the change. But it was a hit record anyway and one of the highlights of Springsteen’s live shows to this day as he still invites someone on stage to dance with him during the coda.

Another very talented singer & songwriter from New Jersey, Pete Yorn, was not a fan of Springsteen’s or his 1984 release because he was bothered by the popularity of the album & because he was into metal music at that time. But years later a friend suggested that Yorn listen to “New York City Serenade” from Springsteen’s second album, The Wild, The Innocent & The E Street Shuffle. Yorn was instantly entranced, became a fan of The Boss’ music. and eventually recorded his own version of that tune.

Yorn also recorded a cover of today’s song as a stripped down acoustic track. It was an excellent choice and adding a harmonica was inspired. Springsteen has reworked many of the tracks from Born In The USA in concert over the years and today’s song sounds like his touch which is a huge compliment to Yorn’s skill & talent. The slower tempo of his version gives the song a pensive tone which helps to underscore the dismal feeling of the lyrics. In doing so Yorn turned his cover of today’s track into one of the most heartbreakingly beautiful songs I ever heard, let alone a Springsteen cover.

Yorn has a really nice voice-evocative, steady and strong but not too overpowering as to drown out the message of the lyrics. What he has done with today’s song by highlighting those words gives it new significance, one that means more to me at this stage of my life than the original does. It is by far the best Springsteen cover I have ever heard.

The situation’s getting clearer, radio’s on and I’m moving around my place
Check my look in the mirror, wanna change my clothes, my hair, my face
Man, I ain’t getting nowhere, just living in a dump like this
There’s something happening somewhere, baby I just know that there is
“.

Bruce Courtney

Pete Yorn

Top: Courtney Cox (L) dances with The Boss (R) in the 1984 video for “Dancing In The Dark”. Bottom: Pete Yorn circa 2018. (Images found online.  Original sources unknown.)

Pete Yorn: “Dancing In The Dark” (2001, 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 343

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?

Feb 2021 Blog

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

I know we are still facing a serious situation but a new year gives us hope for the new days, seasons, opportunities & moments ahead. Still, music is something that will never change for me. It is my refuge, the most comforting part of my life & the one thing I consistently count on. So until a more normal semblance of life 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.

Detroit had Motown, Philadelphia had Philly Soul. That genre was not as big nor as successful as the Motor City’s sound but it was still a powerful force in music. The Stylistics, The Delfonics, Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes, The Spinners, Billy Paul, songwriters Ken Gamble & Leon Huff along with Thom Bell were just some of the artists that came out of this musical movement. It was a fusion of soul that had combined elements of sophisticated jazz, funk, big instrumental string & horn arrangements with a side of pop delivered in the vocal. I loved this music despite many music critics citing this sound as the basis from which the dreaded disco era emerged (sorry not a fan).

One of the groups I remember quite fondly was Blue Magic, specifically for today’s song. They formed in 1972 & were led by the beautiful falsetto voice of Ted Mills with harmony & backing vocals by Keith Beaton, Richard Pratt and brothers Vernon Sawyer and Wendell Sawyer. Together they turned today’s song from their debut album into a top ten hit in 1974, selling over a million copies. They had a good run of success for five years before their popularity waned thanks to the aforementioned disco years. They disbanded shortly thereafter but reformed in the 1990’s. There have been many personnel changes since then but they were still performing prior to the pandemic. But I will always love the original lineup the best for giving us today’s fabulous song. .

See the man with the broken heart, you’ll see that he is sad
He hurts so bad
See the girl who has lost the only love she ever had
There’s got to be no sadder show to see
No doubt about it satisfaction’s guaranteed
“.

Blue Magic

Blue Magic’s 1974 self-titled debut album. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Blue Magic: “Sideshow” (1974, written by Vinnie Barrett and Bobby Eli).

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 342

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?

Feb 2021 Blog

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

I know we are still facing a serious situation but a new year gives us hope for the new days, seasons, opportunities & moments ahead. Still, music is something that will never change for me. It is my refuge, the most comforting part of my life & the one thing I consistently count on. So until a more normal semblance of life 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.

Today’s song is a bonus Motown break in celebration of Smokey Robinson’s 81st birthday. Born February 19, 1940 in Detroit, MI, where he would become as important to the label as founder Berry Gordy was. Robinson did it all: sang, wrote songs, produced records, discovered talent & was part of The Miracles until he was singled out as the headliner. He had a successful solo career after he left the group in the early 1970’s because Robinson was a force all on his own. However, I do not think he ever sounded better than when he was with The Miracles. Happy birthday, Smokey & to fellow Miracle Robert Edward “Bobby” Rogers who shared the same birthday (February 19, 1940*March 3, 2013).

Just like Pagliacci did
I try to keep my sadness hid
Smiling in the crowd I try
But in my lonely room I cry
“.

Miracles

Smokey Robinson & The Miracles circa 1967 (L-R): Smokey Robinson, Bobby Rogers, Claudette Robinson, Ronnie White and Warren “Pete” Moore. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Smokey Robinson & The Miracles: “The Tears Of A Clown” (1967, written by Hank Cosby, William “Smokey” Robinson Jr, and Stevie Wonder).

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 341

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?

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

I know we are still facing a serious situation but a new year gives us hope for the new days, seasons, opportunities & moments ahead. Still, music is something that will never change for me. It is my refuge, the most comforting part of my life & the one thing I consistently count on. So until a more normal semblance of life 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 February 20, 1950 Steely Dan co-founder, guitarist & songwriter Walter Becker was born in Queens, NY. He started the band with keyboardist & songwriter Donald Fagen after the two men met when they were both students at Bard College in Annandale-On-Hudson, NY. On that same date in 1974, the group released their third studio album, Pretzel Logic. Let’s just take a minute to bask in the brilliance of that title, shall we?

You tell yourself you’re not my kind
But you don’t even know your mind
And you could have a change of heart
“.

Walter Becker (L) and Donald Fagen (R) of Steely Dan circa 1974. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Steely Dan: “Rikki Don’t Lose That Number” (1974, written by Walter Becker and Donald Fagen).

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 340

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?

Feb 2021 Blog

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

I know we are still facing a serious situation but a new year gives us hope for the new days, seasons, opportunities & moments ahead. Still, music is something that will never change for me. It is my refuge, the most comforting part of my life & the one thing I consistently count on. So until a more normal semblance of life 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 try not to dwell on songs, singers or groups I do not like because even if I am not a fan, someone else is. I may pray for that someone else to acquire better taste in music, but I respect their right to be hopelessly misguided. Also, I realize how much work goes in to making a record from the singer to the songwriter, to the musicians, producers, engineers, record company people who release & market the song to the radio station people who will hopefully decide to play it. It is a long chain with many links. But I am human and sometimes I cannot help myself. For instance, I often write about how fabulous 1978 was for music. And it was. The year before, however, not as much.

It may have had some bright moments with #1 songs like “Got To Give It Up” by Marvin Gaye, “Dreams” by Fleetwood Mac (Day 325) and “Sir Duke” by Stevie Wonder. But the top spot in 1977 also featured irredeemably low moments like “Da Doo Ron Ron” by Shaun Cassidy, “Undercover Angel” by Alan O’Day and “Torn Between Two Lovers” by Mary MacGregor.

So when today’s song hit #1, it was significant for two reasons. The first is it knocked MacGregor’s tune out of the top spot which was the beginning of the end of that song’s central message: please be OK with me cheating on you. Now, I am not stupid, I know some people are unfaithful in relationships. However, I cannot believe it ever happened as that song suggests.

It was co-written by Peter Yarrow (of Peter, Paul & Mary) and I do not know where he got his intel on women, but I cannot imagine any one of them saying, “Let me hold you close and say these words as gently as I can” when those words were going to reveal she was hitting the sheets with someone else. The woman is going to want to be on the other side of the room while secretly wishing it was the other side of the planet. Not because she is afraid her guy will get physically abusive with her, rather to just give him the space he needs to process the heart shattering & ego destroying news.

And then for her to try to explain herself was just embarrassing. Women hate when men cheat and say “It didn’t mean anything” so how could a woman think a man needed to hear “No one else can have the part of me I gave to you”. All he hears is “There is another part you will never have because the other guy’s got that”. I remember so many older girls & young women I knew found this song empowering. They were happy the woman cheated on the man rather than the other way around. To me cheating on either side is wrong so holding this woman in high esteem was not something I was participating in. But the nerve she had to tell him “I couldn’t really blame you if you turned and walked away, but with everything I feel inside, I’m asking you to stay” Translation: I want to continue seeing you both, so deal with it. How many people of either gender would be okay with that arrangement?

The second reason why today’s song hitting the top spot was significant? It proved to be the only #1 song of Bruce Springsteen’s career to date. He released his original version in February 1973 as the first single from his debut album Greetings From Asbury Park NJ. Sadly, the track failed to chart. Three years later a group from England called Manfred Mann’s Earth Band recorded their cover of the song. On February 19, 1977 it hit #1 for one week in the U.S. So Bruce got a top selling song & MacGregor’s was on its way down. The universe always finds a way to correct itself.

Some silicone sister with her manager’s mister told me I got what it takes
She said I’ll turn you on sonny, to something strong play the song with the funky break,
And go-cart Mozart was checkin’ out the weather chart to see if it was safe outside
And little Early-Pearly came by Annie’s curly-wurly and asked me if I needed a ride
“.

Manfred

Manfred Mann’s Earth Band circa 1977. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Manfred Mann’s Earth Band: “Blinded By The Light” (1976, 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.