Music Monday: January 30, 2023

Hi, everyone. Welcome to another edition of Music Monday.

Bruce quote 2023

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

“A long long time ago, I can still remember
How that music used to make me smile
And I knew if I had my chance
That I could make those people dance
And maybe they’d be happy for a while

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

So bye-bye, Miss American Pie
Drove my Chevy to the levee
But the levee was dry
Them good old boys were drinking whiskey and rye
Singing, “This’ll be the day that I die
This will be the day that I die”

Did you write the Book of Love?
And do you have faith in God above?
If the Bible tells you so
Do you believe in rock ‘n’ roll?
Can music save your mortal soul?
And can you teach me how to dance real slow?

Well I know that you’re in love with him
‘Cause I saw you dancing in the gym
You both kicked off your shoes
Then I dig those rhythm and blues

I was a lonely teenage broncin’ buck
With a pink carnation and a pickup truck
But I knew I was out of luck
The day the music died

I started singing bye-bye, Miss American Pie
Drove my Chevy to the levee
But the levee was dry
Them good old boys were drinking whiskey and rye
Singing, “This’ll be the day that I die
This will be the day that I die”

Now for ten years we’ve been on our own
And moss grows fat on a rolling stone
But that’s not how it used to be
When the jester sang for the King and Queen
In a coat he borrowed from James Dean
And a voice that came from you and me

Oh and while the King was looking down
The jester stole his thorny crown
The courtroom was adjourned
No verdict was returned

And while Lenin read a book of Marx
The Quartet practiced in the park
And we sang dirges in the dark
The day the music died

We were singing, bye-bye Miss American Pie
Drove my Chevy to the levee
But the levee was dry
Them good old boys were drinking whiskey and rye
Singing, “This’ll be the day that I die
This will be the day that I die”

Helter skelter in the summer swelter
The birds flew off with a fallout shelter
Eight miles high and falling fast
It landed foul on the grass, the players tried for a forward pass
With the jester on the sidelines in a cast

Now the halftime air was sweet perfume
While the sergeants played a marching tune
We all got up to dance
Oh, but we never got the chance

‘Cause the players tried to take the field
The marching band refused to yield
Do you recall what was revealed
The day the music died?

We started singing bye-bye, Miss American Pie
Drove my Chevy to the levee but the levee was dry
Them good old boys were drinking whiskey and rye
And singing, “This’ll be the day that I die
This will be the day that I die”

Oh, and there we were all in one place
A generation lost in space
With no time left to start again
So come on, Jack be nimble, Jack be quick
Jack Flash sat on a candlestick
‘Cause fire is the devil’s only friend

Oh, and as I watched him on the stage
My hands were clenched in fists of rage
No angel born in Hell
Could break that Satan’s spell

And as the flames climbed high into the night
To light the sacrificial rite
I saw Satan laughing with delight
The day the music died

He was singing bye-bye, Miss American Pie
Drove my Chevy to the levee but the levee was dry
Them good old boys were drinking whiskey and rye
And singing, “This’ll be the day that I die
This will be the day that I die”

I met a girl who sang the blues
And I asked her for some happy news
But she just smiled and turned away
I went down to the sacred store
Where I’d heard the music years before
But the man there said the music wouldn’t play

And in the streets, the children screamed
The lovers cried and the poets dreamed
But not a word was spoken
The church bells all were broken

And the three men I admire most
The Father, Son, and the Holy Ghost
They caught the last train for the coast
The day the music died

And they were singing bye-bye, Miss American Pie
Drove my Chevy to the levee but the levee was dry
And them good old boys were drinking whiskey and rye
Singing, “This’ll be the day that I die
This will be the day that I die”

They were singing bye-bye, Miss American Pie
Drove my Chevy to the levee but the levee was dry
Them good old boys were drinking whiskey and rye
Singing, “This’ll be the day that I die”.

Remembering Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens & Jiles Perry (J.P.) Richardson, a/k/a “The Big Bopper” and their pilot as we approach the 64th anniversary of their deaths in a plane crash on “the day the music died”, February 3, 1959.

This poster from the 1959 tour advertises the three performers appearances in Fort Dodge, Iowa four days before they died in a plane crash near Clear Lake, Iowa. This is the only surviving poster from the show. It was previously on display at The Met in NYC.

.(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

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

Stay safe & well.

Music Monday: January 23, 2023

Hi, everyone. Welcome to another edition of Music Monday.

Bruce quote 2023

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

One of the newest members of The Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame celebrated birthday #77 last week. Dolly Parton was born January 19, 1946 in Sevier County, Tennessee. She joined fellow country superstars Hank Williams and Johnny Cash who were also recognized for their contributions to music history without being defined by one genre.

The Rock Hall’s introduction of Parton-“In a career spanning six decades, she has recorded more than 50 studio albums and, by her own estimation, written nearly 3,000 songs”-limit her talents to musician, singer and songwriter. Those are certainly impressive roots but only the first part of her story. She is so much more than just three things. She is a wife (who has spent many years honoring her husband’s wish for privacy), an actress (9 to 5 and Steel Magnolias are my favorites), an author, a businesswoman, a humantitarian (her Imagination Library is such an incredible mission) plus she has her own resort & theme park, Dollywood. She seems to grow in popularity every day, hitting three billion worldwide streams in 2021, according to her website. That is a massive reach but not surprising for a woman who has written some incredible songs, including today’s.

It was released nearly 50 years ago in October 1973, yet it is still one of the defining songs of Parton’s career. And it shows us all that a throw down is not always the way to go when confronting someone trying to hurt you. Maybe, just maybe, an honest conversation reminding them that even if they can cause you pain, perhaps they will choose not to.

I had to have this talk with you
My happiness depends on you
And whatever you decide to do
Jolene”.

Dolly Parton circa 2019. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Dolly Parton: “Jolene” (1973, written by Dolly Parton).

Stay safe & well.

Music Monday: January 16, 2023

Hi, everyone. Welcome to another edition of Music Monday.

Bruce quote 2023

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

I just finished the Showtime mini-series, George & Tammy, based on the true story of star crossed lovers & country music royalty, George Jones & Tammy Wynette. From several reviews I have read online, both Michael Shannon & Jessica Chastain portrayed the title characters incredibly well. I am not familiar enough with the original artists to comment on that one way or the other. But I have loved Chastain since her performance as Celia Rae Foote in the 2011 film, The Help. I also thought the actress captured the spirit of the title character in The Eyes Of Tammy Faye beautifully in her Oscar winning turn as the former first lady of the PTL.

I was not familiar with any of Shannon’s work prior to this series, but was very impressed by both his performance as an actor and a singer in his turn as Jones. He and Wynette were not artists I listened to. Their brand of music was a little too country for me-the heavy twang guitar, the almost overwhelming background singers or the songs about the struggles to raise a family or to find love after a D-I-V-O-R-C-E just did not speak to me. I knew they were both successful artists but I had no idea about the extent of their fame until I saw this series.

Their relationship had been compared to the story in the film A Star Is Born because Wynette was on her way up when she met Jones, a singer she idolized but whose drinking put his once illustrious career on a down turn. At the start of the series an on-screen note named him “the undisputed king of country music” in the late 1960’s who was slipping due to his heavy drinking. But with his third wife-Wynette-he had several career resurges with their numerous hit duets along with prolific periods on his own. That included today’s song, which was a #1 country hit in 1974 and his 1980 smash, “He Stopped Loving Her Today”. In my reasearch on Jones during the series, I also learned that his first #1 country hit, “White Lightning” from 1959, was written by J.P. Richardson, better known as The Big Bopper.

Jones & Wynette’s story is quite sad without question and not just because they were divorced in 1975 after only six years of marriage. They both struggled with addiction issues, multiple marriages & neglected children. Yet it appears the great love and passion they had for each other continued even after their subsequent marriages. The series was based on the book written by their daughter, Georgette, so perhaps there is a bit of a slant here as her perspective is skewered as most children’s perceptions of their parents romantic bond usually is. Plus her own relationship with her father was spotty at best until Wynette passed away in 1998 and Jones became sober for good in 1999. He died in 2013.

I am very late to this party but I must admit I have been obsessed with today’s song since I heard it in Episode 4. Shannon & Chastain did their own vocals throughout the series and his performance, especially on this track, was fantastically on point. It is a sad love song and was a perfect fit for the scene it appeared in. George & Tammy had just spent their first night together after she moved to a new home on the heels of an especially violent bender Jones was on. She had also started divorce proceedings and George found the papers. That ended their reunion and he left her house despondent, heartbroken and angry.

After apparently drowning his sorrows with a few drinks, George ends up at the recording studio where members of his team watch him deliver the vocal for this track. Ironically it was co-written by the man who would become Tammy’s fifth husband, George Richey (played by the utterly delightful & versatile Steve Zahn in the miniseries). It tells the story of a broken marriage & the no longer happy house the couple once shared, now empty of their love but spilling over in heart-wrenching memories of their better days. Interspersed with George singing in the studio are clips of Tammy taking pills & then lying in a hospital bed after an alleged possibly accidental suicide attempt.

I prefer Shannon’s interpretation even if I had not heard it first simply because it does not include the heavy country elements of the original. But Jones’ version is music history and is a sad footnote & reminder of what he and Wynette had and lost. It is country heartache at its best.

I have nothing here to sell you
Just some things that I will tell you
Some things I know
Will chill you to the bone
“.

George and Rammy series

Tammy

album

Top: Showtime’s promotional photo for its latest mini-series, “George & Tammy”. Middle: The real Tammy Wynette (L) and George Jones (R) circa 1972. Bottom: Jones’ 1974 album, The Grand Tour. (Images found online.  Original sources unknown.)

George Jones: “The Grand Tour” (1974, written by George Richey, Carmol Taylor and Norris Denton “Norro” Wilson).

Michael Shannon: “The Grand Tour” (2022, written by George Richey, Carmol Taylor and Norris Denton “Norro” Wilson).

Stay safe & well.

Music Monday: January 9, 2023

Hi, everyone. Welcome to another edition of Music Monday.

Bruce quote 2023

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

It is only the second week of the new year and already we have a triple play. And the first milestone is closest to my heart because this artist holds mine in both of his hands. Fifty years ago on January 5, 1973 Bruce Springsteen released his debut album, Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J. The nine tracks from this record is how the musical legacy for The Boss began and it was quite stunning. Several of the songs have become well loved classics including “Blinded By The Light” (which was a #1 hit for Manfred Man’s Earth Band in February 1977), “For You”, “Growin’ Up” and today’s song, my favorite cut from the record. Fifty years later, this man is getting ready to tour again since the pandemic shut everything down. But he spent that time making new music, co-writing a book and hosting a couple of podcasts, amongst other things. And he continues to be the constant in my life.

Kenny Loggins was born January 7, 1948 making this birthday #75. I fell in love with him as a solo performer before discovering his impressive work with Jim Messina (from Buffalo Springfield & Poco). Today’s song is from their first album, Sittin’ In, which was released in 1971. Loggins was also co-writer of The Doobie Brothers hit, “What A Fool Believes” in addition to a lot of movie music from films like Caddyshack, Footloose & Top Gun. And in my favorite episode of “Dharma & Greg”, Loggins not only performed “Danny’s Song” but flexed his comedic muscles when he participated in the hilarious quirky one-of-a-kind wedding between Abby & Larry.

Yesterday marked the 88th birth anniversary for the man the world crowned The King. Elvis Aaron Presley was born January 8, 1935 in Tupelo, Mississippi. Roughly two decades later, he changed the face of music, the landscape of pop culture, the word censorship in the television medium, the image of what a U.S soldier looked like and basically put the world on a whole new path. It was the one less traveled and it made all the difference. All hail The King.

Greetings 1

Greetings 2

Loggins_Messina_sittingin

Elvis

Top two pictures: The front and back covers, respectfully, of Bruce Springsteen’s 1973 debut album. Middle: Loggins & Messina’s 1971 debut album. Bottom: Elvis Presley from his 1968 televised comeback special. (Images found online.  Original sources unknown.)

Bruce Springsteen: “Spirit In The Night” (1973, written by Bruce Springsteen).

Loggins & Messina: “House At Pooh Corner” (1971, written by Kenny Loggins).

Elvis Presley: “Love Me Tender” (1956, written by George R. Poulton, Vera Matson, Elvis Presley & (uncredited) Ken Darby).

Stay safe.

Music Monday: January 2, 2023

Hi, everyone. Welcome to another edition of Music Monday.

Bruce quote 2023

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Happy 2023, everyone. To paraphrase John Lennon, let’s hope this new year is a good one. I do not like to have expectations, but I have always thought of 23 as a good number. It has always been one of my favorites, it belonged to my most loved NY Islander (Bobby Nystrom), it was Jack Shephard’s number on “Lost” and he saved the island (if you have never seen the show you need to binge it NOW-it is unbelievably fabulous).

One of the best parts of a new year is the feeling of a clean slate in front of us. The chance to write or tell any story we wish within the parameters of what life has in store for us. Whatever new chapter we are starting to write for ourselves this year, it will start the same way as the others-with a blank page.

Found someone who can comfort me
But there are always exceptions
And she’s good at appearing sane
But I just want you to know
“.

Traffic

Traffic’s 1970 album. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Traffic: “Empty Pages” (written by Jim Capaldi and Steve Winwood).

Stay safe and well.