Music Monday: January 31, 2022

Hi, everyone. Welcome to this week’s edition of Music Monday.

Music Monday

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

February 3 will mark the 63rd anniversary of “The Day The Music Died”. On that day in 1959 three musical artists-Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens & Jiles Perry (J.P.) Richardson, a/k/a “The Big Bopper”-along with their pilot were killed in a plane crash in Clear Lake, Iowa. All three performed as part of The Winter Dance Party Tour just hours before. The cause of the crash was never determined but it remains one of the biggest tragedies to ever occur in music history.

Many people were affected by this devastating event but only one put it into words in such an eloquent stirring way set to music. It was released 12 years after the crash in to a world that looked completely different than it did on that winter’s night in 1959. Yet it struck a nerve with nearly everyone who heard it and gave the singer & the three musicians who died over a decade earlier a perfect narrative to mark their places in history.

“But February made me shiver
With every paper I’d deliver
Bad news on the doorstep
I couldn’t take one more step

I can’t remember if I cried
When I read about his widowed bride
But something touched me deep inside
The day the music died
“.

three singers

Don

Top (L-R): Jiles Perry (J.P.) Richardson, a/k/a “The Big Bopper”, Buddy Holly & Ritchie Valens. Bottom: Don Mclean’s 1971 album. (Images found online.  Original sources unknown.)

Don McLean: “American Pie” (1971, written by Don McLean).

Stay safe & well.

Music Monday: January 24, 2022

Hi, everyone. Welcome to this week’s edition of Music Monday.

Music Monday

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Saturday marked the 91st birth anniversary of an extraordinary soul pioneer. Sam Cooke was born January 22, 1931 in Clarksdale, Mississippi. Raised in Chicago, his first foray into music was in church courtesy of his father, a Baptist minister. When he was 15 Cooke began singing with a gospel group, The Soul Stirrers. In 1958 he released his first album of secular music, a mix of standards, Broadway tunes and one original track, the magnificent “You Send Me”.

Over the next six years Cooke would write & record many other songs, including “Cupid”, “Chain Gang”, “Another Saturday Night”, Wonderful World” and the civil rights inspired “A Change Is Gonna Come”. He also became an important member in the early days of that movement along side Muhammad Ali & Martin Luther King Jr. Cooke took an even bigger role in his career by starting his own record label (SAR Records) and publishing company (KAGS Music) to preserve his artistic legacy. Losing him in 1964 at age 33 was an unmitigated tragedy & one of music’s saddest moments. But more than six decades after his first hit record, Cooke remains one of the most important & enduring figures in music history. And rightfully so.

All of his songs are are wonderful beyond words but today’s song from his tenure with The Soul Stirrers is from my top five. His strong beautiful soulful and evocative vocal is stunning. I could listen to him sing the word “mile” for days and days and still not hear it enough. A suave elegant gifted performer with an unbelievable stage presence, Cooke defined the soul genre with every note he sang.

When I’ve gone the last mile of the way
I shall rest at the close of day
For I know there are joys awaiting
When I’ve gone the last mile of the way”.

Sam-Muhammed-singing_Abkco-Records-credit-scaled-1

Muhammad Ali (left) in the studio with Sam Cooke (right) circa 1964. Courtesy of officialsamcooke.com. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

The Soul Stirrers: “The Last Mile Of The Way” (Recorded between 1950-1957. Written by Johnson Oatman, Jr.).

Stay safe & well.

Music Monday: January 17, 2022

Hi, everyone. Welcome to this week’s edition of Music Monday.

Music Monday

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

The Temptations’ David Ruffin was born January 18, 1941 in Mississippi. He had one of the best voices in Motown, right on par with Levi Stubbs and Marvin Gaye who was a huge fan of Ruffin’s as well. His group member Eddie Kendricks did a great job on his falsetto led songs. But to me, the achingly impassioned vocal Ruffin delivered on each of his tracks got me. Every. Single. Time. And the strings on this song elevate it to a level of perfection that just makes me swoon.

Girl, I can’t believe my ears
Are you really telling my goodbye?
See, you’ve taken away my reason for livin’
And you won’t even tell me why
“.

Temps

The Temptations circa 1965 (L-R): David Ruffin, Melvin Franklin, Paul Williams, Otis Williams and Eddie Kendricks. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

The Temptations: “I Could Never Love Another (After Lovin’ You)” (1968, written by Norman Whitfield, Barrett Strong and Rodger Penzabene).

Stay well.

Music Monday: January 10, 2022

Hi, everyone. Welcome to this week’s edition of Music Monday.

Music Monday

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

A new video for today’s song premiered last month. When the track was originally released in November 1970, it hit the #1 spot in the country by the end of that year where it stayed for four consecutive weeks. The groundbreaking album that song was on became #1 in America on January 2, 1971. All Things Must Pass was George Harrison’s masterpiece and proved he was so much more than The Quiet Beatle. Over 50 years later we are still celebrating the brilliance of this album and its first hit.

I really want to see you
Really want to be with you
Really want to see you, Lord
But it takes so long, my Lord
“.

All_Things_Must_Pass_BW

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

George Harrison: “My Sweet Lord” (1970, written by George Harrison).

Stay safe & well.

Music Monday: January 3, 2022

Hi, everyone. Happy New Year! Welcome to the first edition of Music Monday for 2022.

Music Monday

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

My clean slate began with a grievous wound: the death of a dear cherished friend, Betty White. I am so happy she is home but utterly heartbroken that she left. And only three weeks before her 100th birthday.

What is there left to say about a queen, an artist, an animal advocate, a badass broad who took bites out of life where the rest of us barely nibbled? Nothing I can think of but this: I know she had a big, beautiful, incredible, rich, long life but my God, what are we going to do without her? Rest in love & peace you sweet wonderful funny friend to all.

Betty edited

Copyright 2011 by Michele Antonio.

In season four of “The Golden Girls”, “the happiest most fulfilling day” for White’s character, Rose Nylund, was when she received permission to start an unauthorized chapter of The Elvis Presley Hunk-A-Hunk-A-Burning-Love Fan Club. How fitting since today’s song is by The King himself.

His life & legacy is another one where there is not much I or anyone else can add to. January 8 will mark the 87th birth anniversary of The King, Elvis Aaron Presley. He was and remains one of the true inventors of rock & roll in this & every other lifetime. He is music royalty & of course, one of the greatest artists of all time. Today’s song is in my Top Five of his recordings and it always will be. Hail to The King.

Oh, let our love survive
I’ll dry the tears from your eyes
Let’s don’t let a good thing die
When honey you know I’ve never lied to you
“.

Elvis

The King circa 1958. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Elvis Presley: “Suspicious Minds” (1969, written by Mark James).

Stay well.