Let’s Take A Moment Day 299

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?

Shakespeare music

(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.

Yesterday marked the 74th birth anniversary for a man who reinvented himself too many times to count throughout his extensive career. David Bowie, who was born David Jones in London on January 8, 1947, changed his name when he was 18 so as not to be confused with Davy Jones from The Monkees. Bowie’s nearly 50 year career took us from his debut album in 1967, to his time as a glam rocker via his alter ego Ziggy Stardust in the 1970’s, to “Let’s Dance” in the 1980’s to “Strangers When We Meet” in the 1990’s to “Slow Burn” in the 2000’s to his final album Blackstar in 2016. In between he took to acting on the Broadway stage (as Joseph Merrick in “The Elephant Man” from 1980-1981) and in films (in 1976’s “The Man Who Fell To Earth”, to The Goblin King in 1986’s “Labyrinth” and as Pontius Pilate in 1988’s “The Last Temptation Of Christ”, amongst others). In 1974 he relocated to the US, eventually making New York City his home. He became part of the city’s night life scene as a frequent patron of “Studio 54” and other high profile clubs. He also became a style icon by changing his look a number of times throughout his life.

Tomorrow, January 10, will mark five years since we lost this iconic superstar. Not too many performing artists who started out in the 1960’s went on to have the rich & diverse career Bowie enjoyed, which is another testament to his wealth of talent. So is today’s track which became one of his signature songs.

Am I sitting in a tin can
Far above the world
Planet Earth is blue
And there’s nothing I can do
“.

Bowie circa 2010

David Bowie circa 2005. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

David Bowie: “Space Oddity” (1969, written by David Bowie).

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 298

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?

Shakespeare music

(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 86th birth anniversary for the man crowned “The King”. But this month two other key events took place in history that helped Elvis Presley earn that title. January 5, 1923 is the day Sun Records founder Sam Phillips was born in Alabama. And January 2, 1950 is the day he opened the Memphis Recording Service in TN which became Sun Studio two years later. Not only did Elvis start there, but so did Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, Johnny Cash and Roy Orbison, amongst others. Is it any wonder why Memphis is the country music capital?

If you want to pinpoint the moment rock & roll changed American culture forever, look no further than “The Milton Berle Show” broadcast on June 5, 1956. Elvis sang today’s song that night which he would not record until a month later. It was during this appearance that he stood behind a microphone for the first time without his guitar (supposedly at Berle’s suggestion) leaving The King’s gyrating hips and pelvic thrusts in full view. This caused a nationwide swoon of nearly every young girl who was watching him. But their parents were watching, too, and many of them were not happy about what they saw. The complaints flooded in which is why when Elvis went on “The Ed Sullivan Show” in September & October that year and for his third and final time on January 6, 1957, he was censored. But anyone who saw Berle’s show knew why the girls in Sullivan’s audience were screaming. Life & music as the country & the world knew it was over. Elvis was now in the building.

So in honor of the day The King was born, let’s go back to where his reign began, on Berle’s show in 1956. Part of this clip is the one Mrs. Gump & Forrest watched from a store window in the film. She may have thought he was “not for children’s eyes” but anyone who understands music knows Elvis could do no wrong. All hail The King! And thank you, Sam Phillips, for showing him the door to the throne.

Yeah, they said you was high-classed
Well, that was just a lie
Yeah, you ain’t never caught a rabbit
And you ain’t no friend of mine
“.

Sam and Elvis

Sam Phillips (L) with Elvis Presley at Sun Records circa 1954. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Elvis Presley: “Hound Dog” (Live performance on “The Milton Berle Show” broadcast on June 5, 1956. Song recorded July 1956. Written by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller).

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 297

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?

Shakespeare music

(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.

We now join wannabe golfer Carl Spackler in his fantasy about playing in a fake Masters Tournament from 1980, already in progress:

What an incredible Cinderella story. This unknown comes outta nowhere to lead the pack at Augusta. He’s on his final hole. He’s about 455 yards away, he’s gonna hit about a two iron, I think …

Swat!

Boy, he got all of that. The crowd is standing on its feet here at Augusta. The normally reserved Augusta crowd is going wild … for this young Cinderella who’s come out of nowhere. He’s got about 350 yards left. He’s going to hit about a five iron, it looks like, don’t you think? He’s got a beautiful backswing … That’s …

Swat!

Oh! He got all of that one! He’s gotta be pleased with that. The crowd is just on its feet here. He’s a Cinderella boy, tears in his eyes, I guess, as he lines up this last shot. He’s got about 195 yards left, and he’s got a, it looks like he’s got about an eight iron. This crowd has gone deadly silent. Cinderella story, out of nowhere, former greens keeper, now about to become the Masters champion.

Swat!

It looks like a mirac . . . It’s in the hole! IT’S IN THE HOLE!!!

If you can listen to today’s pick and not recite that monologue word for word in your head, then you did not have the full “Caddyshack” experience. That includes the theme song by Kenny Loggins, who turns 73 years old today. Born January 7, 1948 in Everett, WA, I love him for many things and that movie is near the top of the list. Also because he had Levittown NY’s pride & joy, Eddie Money, singing back-up on this record.

Caddyshack 1

kenny-loggins

Top: Bill Murray doing his best lip curl as Carl Spackler in 1980’s “Caddyshack”. Bottom: Kenny Loggins circa 2010. (Images found online.  Original sources unknown.)

Kenny Loggins: “I’m Alright (Theme from “Caddyshack)” (1980, written by Kenny Loggins).

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 296

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?

Shakespeare music

(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.

Time for the first mid-week Motown break of the year. That means it needs to be extra special. Queue Marvin Gaye. In 1972 he was getting ready to release the follow-up to his enormously successful album, What’s Going On. The new record was poised to contain socially relevant material like its predecessor. The first single & title track, “You’re The Man“, was released first but between its less than stellar performance on the pop charts (it was a top 10 hit on the R&B one) & the continued clashes with label owner Berry Gordy over the politically charged material, Gaye cancelled the new album’s release.

Many of the songs were eventually introduced decades after they were recorded, including today’s song which was part of his 1995 posthumous boxed set, “The Master, 1961-1984”. Then in March 2019 Motown & Universal Music released the lost album in its entirety to coincide with Gaye’s 80th birth anniversary on April 2.

Today’s track is both beautiful & heartbreaking and not just because it was lost for nearly 25 years. The song begins with a message from the singer to parents. When addressing the mother, he mentions children in the plural sense. But when speaking to the father, the word is singular as if Gaye was speaking directly to his own parent and we all know the tragic nature of that relationship. I cannot verify if Gaye changed the lyrics for himself or merely followed the original text. The song was written by two women so perhaps they made the distinction, but there is not a lot of information online for me to be sure. Performing artist Carleen Anderson (who happens to be James Brown’s goddaughter) released her own version of the tune in 1998 and followed Gaye’s lyrics. Whatever the truth is behind the song, it is one of his most stirring vocals.

The song opens with an intense guitar solo and its message, delivered in Gaye’s pleading vocal, is crystal clear: Everyone needs to be accepted for who they are & not be molded into someone’s idea of who they should be. A timeless message that holds true for every generation from a man who moved from his gospel roots to secular songs to become one of the most important voices for soul music & social conscience in history.

Father stop
Criticizing your son
Mother please
Leave your daughters alone
Don’t you see that’s what wrong
With the world today oh
Everybody wants somebody
To be their own piece of clay”.

Marvin

Marvin Gaye’s lost 1972 album, “You’re The Man”, was released in 2019. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Marvin Gaye: “Piece Of Clay” (1995, written by Gloria Jones and Pamela Sawyer).

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 295

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?

Shakespeare music

(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.

In the 2015 CNN mini-series, “The 1970’s”, the eighth episode explored the music of that decade. What they got wrong? I do not recall any mention of Eric Clapton at all. What they got right? The meaning of Bruce Springsteen’s song, “Born To Run”. The show called it “an anthem to save your soul”. Amen. But the first step to that phenomenal record was his debut album introduced to the world 48 years ago today.

Greetings From Asbury Park NJ was released on January 5, 1973. This record would change my world forever, even though I did not know it at the time. It was the way a 23 year old Springsteen, who lived one state over from me, was introduced to the music scene. And when our worlds collided once I discovered his 1975 masterpiece album, Born To Run (BTR), it did not take me long to backtrack and discover the record that started it all. The original version of “Blinded By The Light” is on it (three years before Manfred Mann’s Earth Band’s version was a hit in 1976) along with “Growing Up” featured in Adam Sandler’s 1999 movie “Big Daddy”, amongst others. But the song that spoke the loudest to me is today’s pick. It is a well told story of Bruce and a few of the colorful characters in his world. I think of it as the bluesy jazzy prequel to his rock opera “Backstreets” from BTR except while that song does not have a sax part in it at all, today’s track features The Big Man from beginning to end. (Speaking of Clarence Clemons, January 11th will mark his 79th birth anniversary. We miss you, Big Man!!!) .

Springsteen may not know me but he has been one of my closest friends for most of my life. Along the way he has introduced me to his family, his heroes, the members of The E Street Band & all the characters in his songs. And despite how life changing BTR has been in my life, the group from today’s song is the one I feel the closest to. Wild Billy, Killer Joe, G-Man, Crazy Janey, her mission man & Hazy Davy dancing “all night to a soul fairy band”…..who wouldn’t want to hang out with a group like that? I think of them as a cross between grown up versions of The Peanuts characters & a bunch of people living on their own version of The Island Of Misfit Toys. But instead of Charlie Brown’s teacher’s incoherent voice, we have Bruce telling us stories in an eloquent fascinating way with his guitar in tow. And I have the seat next to his every time. It stands as the original and best virtual hangout ever. 

Crazy Janey and her mission man were back in the alley trading hands
‘Long came Wild Billy with his friend G-Man all duded up for Saturday night
Well, Billy slammed on his coaster brakes and said, “Anybody wanna go on up to Greasy Lake?
It’s about a mile down on the dark side of route eighty-eight, I got a bottle of rose so let’s try it
We’ll pick up Hazy Davy and Killer Joe and I’ll take you all out to where the gypsy angels go”.

Greetings from Asbury Park

Bruce circa 1973

Top: Bruce Springsteen’s debut album. Bottom: Springsteen circa 1973. (Images found online.  Original sources unknown.)

Bruce Springsteen: “Spirit In The Night” (1973, 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 294

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?

Shakespeare music

(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 this day in 1967 the world was introduced to the genius & the beauty of Jim Morrison courtesy of The Doors. On January 4, 1967 their self-titled debut album was released. It contained a few of the songs they would become famous for including “Break On Through (To The Other Side)”, “The Crystal Ship”, “The End” & today’s track. The album also contained a cover of an old blues song written by Willie Dixon & Howlin’ Wolf, “Back Door Man”. The Doors’ love for this genre of music would play a significant role in their career, especially in their live performances.

Today’s tune was the band’s first #1 song (their second was “Hello I Love You” in 1968). It was an edited version of the album’s nearly seven minute track that stayed at the top of the chart for three weeks in the summer of 1967. That September The Doors made their only appearance on “The Ed Sullivan Show” to perform today’s pick which led to the host banning them for life after failing to follow the censor’s request to change a line of the song (See Day 145). But the band’s phenomenal success continued and soon they were featured on other variety shows on network television. Even as we approach the 50 year mark of Morrison’s death this July, the legacy he left behind in less than five years with The Doors continues in earnest. And Happy Birthday to Robby Krieger who turns 75 on January 8.

You know that it would be untrue
You know that I would be a liar
If I was to say to you
Girl, we couldn’t get much higher
“.

the-doors album

The Doors

Top: The Doors debut album from 1967. Bottom: The Doors 1967 publicity photo (L-R(: Jim Morrison, John Densmore, Robby Krieger & Ray Manzarek. (Images found online.  Original sources unknown.)

The Doors: “Light My Fire” (1967, written by The Doors: John Densmore, Robby Krieger, Ray Manzarek and Jim Morrison).

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 293

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?

Shakespeare music

(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 we celebrate the 76th birthday for one of the most prolific voices from the 1960’s Laurel Canyon music scene. Stephen Stills, a man Neil Young calls a genius, was born on January 3, 1945 in Dallas, TX. Best known as a member of the ground breaking groups-Buffalo Springfield, Crosby, Stills, Nash (CSN) and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young (CSN&Y)-Stills is also the writer behind one of the 60’s best protest anthems (“For What It’s Worth”) and the voice behind the song that celebrated the biggest concert the country had ever seen to that point (“Woodstock”). He is a two-time inductee into The Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame for his work with the aforementioned bands.

Stills has released a number of solo records throughout his career with notable songs like “Love The One You’re With”, “Sit Yourself Down” & “Treetop Flyer”. He is also noted for his guitar work and his multi-instrumental skills. He has worked with an array of artists including Ringo Starr, Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, Richie Havens, Jerry Garcia, & Joni Mitchell, amongst others.

His work with CSN stands out the most for me. “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes”, written about his one time girlfriend Judy Collins, is a musical odyssey. Just when you thought it could not get any better Stills closed out the song by singing in Spanish. But my favorite track of his is today’s, a stunningly beautiful ballad of lost love & heartbreak, with lyrics that define the word poetic.

Wordlessly watching, he waits by the window and wonders
At the empty place inside
Heartlessly helping himself to her bad dreams, he worries
Did he hear a goodbye
Or even hello
“.

CSN album

Stills & Young

Top: CSN’s 1969 debut album. Bottom: Stills (L) & Neil Young circa 2000. (Images found online.  Original sources unknown.)

Crosby, Stills & Nash: “Helplessly Hoping” (1969, written by Stephen Stills).

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 292

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?

Shakespeare music

(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.

It was 50 years ago today that George Harrison had the #1 album on the US chart with his first release after the breakup of The Fab Four. All Things Must Pass hit the top spot on January 2, 1971 and stayed in that position for seven consecutive weeks. It was poetic justice for him to achieve this honor as a solo artist after years of his songwriting contributions being limited on The Beatles’ records. I adore the entire album but I especially love his vocal on today’s song which is a Bob Dylan cover.

Aside from what this album did for Harrison, it was career changing for his friend & fellow guitar master, Eric Clapton, as well. It was during the recording sessions for this album that led to the formation of Derek & The Dominos. Say it with me: Layla. Without that band, that song does not exist. Harrison’s chart topping album was a gift that just kept giving.

If not for you
The winter would hold no spring
Couldn’t hear a robin sing
I just wouldn’t have a clue, if not for you
“.

All_Things_Must_Pass_BW

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

George Harrison: “If Not For You” (1970, written by Bob Dylan).

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 291

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?

2021

(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.

Happy New Year, everyone. Thanks for spending the last one with me. Glad to have you along for the new one ahead. I wish you all love, peace, health, happiness, grace, safety & great music in 2021.

It’s a new dawn
It’s a new day
It’s a new life for me
And I’m feeling good
“.

Nina Simone

Nina Simone’s 1965 album features today’s song. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Nina Simone: “Feeling Good” (1965, written by Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley).

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 290

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?

New Year's Eve

(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.

Here we are-New Year’s Eve of 2020. How far away this day seemed over nine months ago when we were plunged into quarantine here in the United States after watching what the pandemic did to Italy and other countries first. And the year just went downhill from there. But as much as I do welcome a new one after the bad one we had, I cannot help but feel thankful for the gifts of 2020. For all the craziness we faced, we also received the chance to slow down. A year ago life for many of us was more or less a to do list. Once all the ballast of everyday life was gone, we were given the gift of just being present. Life became about the basics: home, family, staying safe, having enough food & supplies to stay comfortable & helping each other, especially those who were the most vulnerable. We also revisited our ideas about what work was essential and what was not, who the real everyday heroes truly are and how much we all owe them.

Of course it has not been easy and many things we took for granted will hopefully be cherished once they resume, And even though we finally arrived at this last day, things will not suddenly be OK once the clock strikes midnight. We are still dealing with a lot and that will not change in a split second. But it will be a new day in a new month of a new year. In year’s prior that always made me feel invigorated with a clean slate ahead of me. I do not expect that to change this year. New days, new seasons, new opportunities, new moments. That is what I look forward to the most every year starting on this night.

So that is why I chose today’s song by Eric Clapton. It was recorded in 1970 but not released until his 1988 boxed set collection, “Crossroads”. He has done a few different versions of this J.J. Cale song over the years but today’s is absolutely the best one. Clapton singing & playing guitar is perfection, but add horns to the mix and even God calls it heaven.

We’re gonna cause talk and suspicion
We’re gonna give an exhibition
We’re gonna find out what it is all about
After midnight, we’re gonna let it all hang down
“.

Eric_Clapton_Album_Cover

Eric Clapton’s 1970 Self Titled Debut Album. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Eric Clapton: “After Midnight” (1970, written by J.J. Cale).

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

Stay well.