Music Monday: March 28, 2022

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

Music Monday

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

We have another triple play this week to honor three of the biggest legends in music celebrating birthdays this month.

March 25 marked the 80th birth anniversary for the eternal Queen Of Soul, Aretha Franklin. Born in 1942 in Memphis, TN she remains the greatest female vocalist in the universe. It has been nearly four years since she died and just look at where we are without her.

Aretha

Aretha Franklin circa 1968. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

As if the gift of royalty was not enough to receive on March 25, that day also marked birthday #75 for Sir Elton John. Born in Pinner, UK in 1947 his voice is the one I discovered first out of the three artists featured today. I found him even before I found Springsteen. From the first moment I heard “Daniel”, I was captivated by John’s beautiful evocative voice & the music he created with the poetry of his sublime unbelievably talented collaborator, Bernie Taupin. These two men have been part of the soundtrack of my life ever since. It makes complete sense to me that while I was doing my Song Of The Day feature during 17 months of the pandemic, John appeared more than any other solo artist with 16 entries. He was second only to The Beatles who had 18 songs (Springsteen appeared 14 times, Clapton had 12 entries including two collaborations (but not counting his group entries) and Elvis had 11 songs, in case you were wondering).

Elton

Elton John circa 1970. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

The first album I ever bought was John’s 1974 compilation album, “Greatest Hits”. I thought my heart would break when he announced his retirement a few years ago. Apparently the entire planet needed more time to adjust to that news as well because thanks to the pandemic, his farewell tour has been extended. But if anyone deserves to be a happily retired father & husband left to raise his beautiful family in the peace of a life without work, it is John. He deserves every happiness he has given the world. And we all know that figure is immeasurable. Today’s pick for him is one of the most elegant & beautiful tracks from his extraordinary catalog.

This week Eric Clapton will celebrate his 77th birthday. Born March 30, 1945 in Ripley, UK, my life was altered forever the second I heard the opening riff of today’s song. And I have listened to music for decades since that moment & I still have not had anything hit me quite like that. Behold the power of Slowhand.

Clapton

Eric Clapton circa 1975. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Aretha Franklin: “(Sweet Sweet Baby) Since You’ve Been Gone” (1968, written by Aretha Franklin & Ted White).

Elton John: “I Need You To Turn To” (1970, written by Elton John and Bernie Taupin).

Eric Clapton / Derek & The Dominos: “Layla” (1970, written by Eric Clapton and Jim Gordon).

Stay safe & well.

Music Monday: March 21, 2022

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

Music Monday

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

We all have songs that take us back to some of the best memories of our lives. Moments when we were truly complete & happy. When for a short time a million years ago we had a real life, a whole life, a beautiful life. Those memories may sometimes feel like a dream that could not have possibly happened. But it did. And the songs we remember from those times bear witness to those memories & remain a testament to that period of time. Today’s song is one of my most beloved rides back to my Camelot.

The track is from 1972 but more than 30 years later I heard a fabulous cover of it in the 2003 movie, “Stuck On You”. That version introduced me to a musician I was thrilled to discover, Pete Yorn. But even his extraordinary take on this song cannot match the emotional comfort I get from the original, even all these years later.

Got on board a westbound 747
Didn’t think before deciding what to do
Oh, that talk of opportunities, TV breaks and movies
Rang true, sure rang true
“.

Albert Hammond 1972

albert-hammond-new

Top: Albert Hammond circa 1972. Bottom: Hammond circa 2015. (Images found online.  Original sources unknown.)

Albert Hammond: “It Never Rains In Southern California” (1972, written by Albert Hammond and Mike Hazelwood).

Stay safe & well.

Music Monday: March 14, 2022

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

Music Monday

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

On March 15, 1975 one of my all time favorite bands hit the top spot in the country with today’s song. From their gloriously titled 1974 album, What Were Once Vices Are Now Habits and written by guitarist Patrick Simmons, the ode to his favorite New Orleans sound & the Mississippi River was a surprise B-side hit that gave the group the first #1 song of their career. They did a really wonderful 2020 version of this tune with fans participating via video clips during lockdown as part of the band’s “Live In Isolation” series. But the original track still gets me every time, especially the sublime viola arrangement.

Well I built me a raft and she’s ready for floatin’
Ol’ Mississippi, she’s callin’ my name
Catfish are jumpin’, that paddle wheel thumpin’
Black water keeps rollin’ on past just the same

Doobies 1974

Doobie 2020

Top: The Doobie Brothers circa 1974 (L-R): Michael Hossack, Patrick Simmons, Tom Johnston, Tiran Porter and Jeff Baxter. Bottom: The 2020 version of the band (L-R): Michael McDonald, Simmons, Johnston and John McFee. (Images found online.  Original sources unknown.)

The Doobie Brothers: “Black Water” (1974, written by Patrick Simmons).

Stay safe & well.

Music Monday: March 7, 2022

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

Music Monday

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Last month singer/songwriter/pianist Gary Brooker died at the age of 76 in England. If you do not know his name, I am quite sure you knew his voice. He was the co-founder & lead singer of Procol Harum, so it is his glorious vocal that is front & center on their iconic 1967 hit. I have adored this song forever and it is featured in three of my favorite movies of all time: “The Big Chill”, “The Commitments” and “Pirate Radio” as the last song on the airwaves of “The Boat That Rocked”.

Brooker was also one of the composers of today’s phenomenal song, but he also played with several other artists, most notably for George Harrison (on 1971’s All Things Must Pass), Ringo Starr, Eric Clapton and Bill Wyman. Brooker also appeared in the 1996 film adaptation of “Evita”. But for me, nothing else he ever did would compare to his pensive melodic delivery of some of the greatest sing along lyrics ever written or recorded.

The room was humming harder
As the ceiling flew away
When we called out for another drink
The waiter brought a tray
“.

1967 Procol

with Ringo

Top: Gary Brooker (pictured front left) with Procol Harum in 1967. Bottom: (Pictured left) with Ringo Starr circa 1999. (Images found online.  Original sources unknown.)

Procol Harum: A Whiter Shade of Pale (1967, written by Gary Brooker, Matthew Fisher and Keith Reid).

Stay safe & well.