Let’s Take A Moment Day 416

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?

May blog 2021

(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 May 1975 Elton John released “Captain Fantastic & The Brown Dirt Cowboy”. More importantly, on May 6, 1939, my dad was born in NYC. His favorite song by John was on that album. Today’s track is dedicated to my dad with all my love on what would have been his 82nd birthday.

I’m strangled by your
Haunted social scene
Just a pawn outplayed
By a dominating queen
“.

elton john

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Elton John: “Someone Saved My Life Tonight” (1975, 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 415

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?

May blog 2021

(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 for May. Well actually, today’s song was not released on that label but rather on Casablanca Records in 1983. But it is by The Four Tops and as far as I am concerned, they will always be part of the Motor City sound. It was covered by Whitney Houston in 1996 but even she could not live up to the power of one of the greatest singers who ever graced this planet, Levi Stubbs.

It is a love song that if sung by anyone else could have crossed the line into schmaltzy. But in the hands of the esteemed & unbelievably gifted Stubbs, it comes across as a beautiful track. And when he hits the last note and the violins come in again for the last time, it is an absolutely glorious moment. But then again every second spent listening to his spectacular voice feels the same way.

I will never leave your side
I will never hurt your pride
When all the chips are down
I will always be around
“.

levi

four tops A

Top: Levy Stubbs circa 1965. Bottom: The Four Tops circa 1964. (Images found online.  Original sources unknown.)

The Four Tops: “I Believe In You And Me” (1983, written by Sandy Linzer and David Wolfert).

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 414

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?

May blog 2021

(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 remember The Godfather Of Soul. James Brown was born 88 years ago on on May 3, 1933 in South Carolina. Who was not completely fascinated watching this man’s cape routine? No one will ever say that he did not give his all every single time he took the stage, yet still left the crowd aching for more. He introduced the world to the glorious sound of funk music and raised the game for every artist who came after him. And that is exactly what innovators are supposed to do.

Come here mama
And dig this crazy scene
He’s not too fancy
But his line is pretty clean
“.

James Brown

James Brown circa 1958. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

James Brown: “Papa’s Got A Brand New Bag, Part 1″ (1965, written by James Brown).

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 413

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?

May blog 2021

(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 May 1974 Led Zeppelin established their own company, Swan Song Records. A month later, the self-titled debut album by Bad Company was released on that label. It hit #1 on the albums chart for one week in September of that year.

If there was anyone who had not already heard the unbelievably soulful powerful voice of lead singer Paul Rodgers when he was a member of Free, they were about to be completely enraptured by his talent & the musicianship of the band as a whole. Today’s song was the album & the label’s first single. It was released in August 1974 & became a Top Ten hit later that year.

Well it’s late and I want love
Love that’s gonna break me in two
Don’t hang me up in your doorway
Don’t hang me up like you do
“.

Led Z

Bad Company

Top: Led Zeppelin circa 1974 (L-R): John Paul Jones, Robert Plant, John Bonham and Jimmy Page. Bottom: Bad Company circa 1974: Boz Burrell, Mick Ralphs, Paul Rodgers and Simon Kirke. (Images found online.  Original sources unknown.)

Bad Company: “Can’t Get Enough” (1974, written by Mick Ralphs).

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 412

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?

May blog 2021

(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.

Back in 1910 a man named John Hammond was born. He worked at various music related jobs including critic, record producer and talent scout for Columbia Records. He was the one responsible for signing Aretha Franklin & Bob Dylan to the label in the early 1960’s. If that was all Hammond did in his life, what a contribution that was.

But then a decade later he met a guy named Bruce Springsteen & invited him to audition for the label as well. That took place on May 2, 1972. A fifteen minute meeting turned into a two hour session & the next day Springsteen recorded a fourteen song demo. Even after all that, it took five more weeks before the label signed him. But they did & Springsteen has spent his nearly five decade career with that record company which is now owned by Sony Music Entertainment.

His music has touched my heart a thousand different times in a thousand different ways. In the process, he became one of the greatest friends I have known in my life. His three to four hour live shows have been the highlight of every year I have been lucky enough to see him. And a few years ago he conquered Broadway with a stunning one-man show about the songs that shaped his career. All the roads of his career lead back to his meeting with John Hammond & that audition nearly 50 years ago today.

All my life I fought this fight
The fight that no man can ever win
Every day it just gets harder to live
The dream I’m believing in
“.

Bruce and John

Bruce Springsteen (L) and John Hammond (R) circa 1972. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Bruce Springsteen: “The Promise” (1999, 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 411

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?

May blog 2021

(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 was raised in a home with a very progressive grandmother. However, that did not mean she was open to everything. And while I was fully immersed in my teenage music addiction, she stepped in with the kiss of death: censorship.

Two albums prompted this course of action. The first was by my great musical love, Eric Clapton. The first time I put “Slowhand” on the stereo, she questioned why I would listen to someone exalting the benefits of “Cocaine”. I thought telling her he did not write the song would be enough to ease her mind. It only begged the question “Was he too high to write it?”

I skipped to the next song which was “Wonderful Tonight”. No problem. But when I was singing along to track three (“Lay Down Sally”), once again she became irritated. She demanded I turn off a song that was clearly “suggestive”. And let me just add that when your 65 year old grandmother uses a word like that, it conjures up images that are horrifying. From that point on, I listened to Clapton in my room alone.

Not long after that debacle I was starting to explore Neil Young’s rock side so I borrowed a copy of his second solo album from a friend. Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere. which was released 52 years ago today on May 1, 1969 featured the song, “Down By The River”. Admittedly, I found the subject matter disturbing. A man singing about killing the woman he loved was not the stuff songs were made of in my world. But I got completely swept up in Young’s mesmerizing guitar riffs until my grandmother’s screams snapped me out of my musical reverie.

A conversation about whether or not I was using drugs ensued followed by who was more disturbed-a person who expressed such a terrifying thought in a song or the person (read: me) who listened to it. Thinking I was helping the situation, I pointed out to my grandmother that when Young referred to shooting his “baby”, it was not his child but rather his girlfriend. It did not take long for me to see that only made things a million times worse.

Threats of taking my records away & removing the stereo from the house were mentioned as was a lecture from my father when he got home about how my musical choices could be harmful to my five year old brother. The phrase “Too bad military schools do not accept girls” was also batted around. My grandmother monitored my listening choices for the next several weeks which consisted mostly of my Bruce Springsteen records that she enjoyed as much as I did. Soon life took over and another crisis emerged so my indiscretion eventually became old news.

But my love for Neil Young never subsided and today’s song from that same album became my favorite track from the record. And at least this tune does not conjure up memories of the brief period in my life when my house turned into a deleted scene from the movie “Footloose”.

Ten silver saxes
A bass with a bow
The drummer relaxes
And waits between shows
“.

Neil Young

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Neil Young: “Cinnamon Girl” (1969, written by Neil Young).

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 410

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?

May 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 April 27, 1932 the man I had a standing date with every Sunday for most of my teenage years was born. Kemal Amin Kasem, known professionally as Casey Kasem, was born 89 years ago in Michigan. Not only was he the voice of Shaggy on Scooby-Doo and NBC announcements but he was also the DJ who hosted the weekly radio countdown program, American Top 40 (AT 40) for nearly three decades. And at the risk of sounding like a heathen, for years that show was more important to me than church. Music had become my faith my religion, my truth & my light. And Kasem led the way there each & every week.

His career in radio started when he became a sports announcer in high school. He continued on various radio programs when he was in college and for Armed Forces Radio while he was stationed in Korea during his time in the U.S. Army. Once he returned home he became a DJ for a station in Flint, Michigan. He bounced around several stations & states throughout the 1960’s and even took on small acting parts both on & off radio which led to his Scooby-Doo gig in 1969.

AT 40 started July 4, 1970. Kasem created the show with three other men as a means to boost Top 40 radio which was in decline then due to the emergence of album oriented rock (AOR) radio. Classic rock became my preferred choice of music by the time I was 12, but staying up to date with current songs & artists was important to me, too. Kasem offered behind the music information to listeners along with the chart progression of each song. Week after week, it was just Kasem & the records-no special guests or interviews needed. The music said everything that needed to be said. And in the rare moments that it didn’t, Kasem filled in the blanks.

Occasionally a song from outside the Top 40 was played, mostly in the form of the long distance dedication. For that Kasem would read a letter from a listener who would request a song for someone they were thinking of. I must admit I was not a fan of that part of the show. The message & the tunes were either too sappy or too maudlin for me. Plus they took precious time away from the real music on the chart. But when they were over, Kasem would recite one of his most famous lines: “And now, on with the countdown”.

The show ran until 1988 at which time Kasem signed a multi-million dollar deal to host a new show, Casey’s Top 40. Shadoe Stevens took over AT 40 which was cancelled in 1995. Kasem still owned the rights to the show’s name and revived it in 1998. He stayed until 2003 when Ryan Seacrest took over. It continues today, although the way sales are calculated now is as different as the industry is in this era of downloads & streaming services. But for me, nothing beat buying a new 45 record & finding out if I helped that song move up on the charts.

So in honor of Kasem & what he created, today I chose a song from the year the countdown started, 1970. I have already featured seven #1 songs from that year so I found one that hit the #2 spot to highlight. It is by the band Creedence Clearwater Revival (CCR) which was another group I enjoyed a lot, yet were on my periphery.

Their fifth album, Cosmo’s Factory, was released July 8, 1970 & included several of CCR’s well known songs: “Looking Out My Back Door”, “Run Through The Jungle”, “Up Around The Bend”, their cover of Marvin Gaye’s hit “I Heard It Through The Grapevine”, “Travelin’ Band” and its B side which is today’s song. And thanks to a local radio station which recently started playing classic AT 40 episodes every Sunday night, I still get to keep my weekly date with Kasem. He changed radio forever in the 1970’s & 1980’s & kept us all “reaching for the stars”.

Heard the singers playin’
How we cheered for more
The crowd had rushed together
Tryin’ to keep warm
“. .

Casey

CCR

Top: Casey Kasem at the mic circa 1970. Bottom: CCR’s 1970 album. (Images found online.  Original sources unknown.)

Creedence Clearwater Revival: “Who’ll Stop The Rain” (1970. written by John Fogerty).

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 409

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?

May 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 April 26, 1962 Sam Cooke went into the studio to record a couple of tunes he wrote himself that would go on to become two of his best known songs. Fellow R&B singer Lou Rawls provided the backing vocals on both tracks which were released less than two weeks later on May 8, 1962. The A side of the record, “Having A Party”, became a Top 20 hit that year.

Today’s song was the B side & reached #13 that year as well. Two of The Beatles-John Lennon and Paul McCartney-covered it during their solo careers and so did nearly two dozen other artists including Van Morrison, Aretha Franklin & Otis Redding, amongst others. But Cooke’s original version, based on a 1959 gospel record, was a throw back to his group in the same genre, The Soul Stirrers.

I know I laughed
When you left
But now I know
I only hurt myself”.

Sam Cooke

Sam Cooke circa 1960. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Sam Cooke: “Bring It On Home To Me” (1962, written by Sam Cooke).

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 408

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?

May 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 in 1969 the band we would all come to know & love simply as “Chicago” released their first album. Chicago Transit Authority, the group’s self-titled debut record, introduced the world to what they described as a “rock & roll band with horns” on April 28, 1969. Their seven man sound became synonymous with the 1970’s and, thanks to a total of three lead singers taking turns at the mic, each song had its own unique style.

The album’s first three singles “Questions 67 & 68”, “Beginnings” and today’s track did not have any chart success upon initial release. But all three became Top 40 hits over the next two years when they were reissued, including today’s pick which was a Top Ten hit in 1970.

And I was walking down the street one day
Being pushed and shoved by people
Trying to beat the clock
Oh no I just don’t know
“.

CTA

The 1969 self-titled debut album by Chicago Transit Authority. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Chicago Transit Authority: “Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is” (1969, written by Robert Lamm).

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 407

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?

May 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 owe you all another apology for skipping over another song I was sure I featured already. I think the oversight was because I shared the story of today’s band-Badfinger-on Day 63 when I chose Harry Nilsson’s version of their song, “Without You”. To recap that post, this was a band that saw the highest of highs & the lowest of lows.

The highs? They were the first group to be signed to The Beatles’ Apple Records label in 1968. Paul McCartney wrote & produced their first hit record (“Come and Get It”) while George Harrison produced today’s song and played slide guitar on it as well. Nilsson’s hit & today’s track were written by Badfinger’s frontman & lead guitarist, Pete Ham, who remained close with Harrison even after The Beatles broke up. The two musicians played together on Harrison’s “All Things Must Pass” album & his benefit concerts for Bangladesh in NYC in 1971.

The lows? Not one but two members of this incredible band died by suicide: Ham died three days before his 28th birthday in 1975, leaving behind his pregnant girlfriend and a stepson. His bandmate & co-writer of “Without You” Tom Evans, died in 1983 after fighting with another bandmate-Joey Molland-over the royalties of that song, which hit #1 for four straight weeks in 1972. Evans was survived by his wife and son. The band’s trouble with money began after their manager stole all their earnings and left them in financial ruin.

In the end, it was too much for Ham, who was born April 27, 1947 in Wales. We can blame the money issues & perhaps the subsequent legal fallout to the suicides, but a lack of mental stability also contributed to the choices both Ham & Evans made. They convinced themselves that what they lost was far more important than what they created.  That is only part of the damage depression can do.

Today’s song is heartbreakingly beautiful & I felt that way before I ever knew the band’s tragic story. It is a song of lost love & betrayal told in a succinct eloquent way. It is highlighted by Harrison’s stunning slide guitar arrangement, Leon Russell’s piano performance and Ham’s sophisticated vocal. His music is often credited as the start of the power pop ballad sound. Whatever category his music falls into, I am just thankful every day that this man & his talent are part of the musical universe.

I remember holding you
While you sleep
Every day I feel the tears
That you weep
“.

Harrison and Ham

Badfinger

Top: George Harrison and Pete Ham in the recording studio circa 1971. Bottom: Badfinger circa 1971 (L-R): Bassist Tom Evans, guitarist Pete Han, drummer Mike Gibbins and guitarist Joey Molland. (Images found online.  Original sources unknown.)

Badfinger: “Day After Day” (1971, written by Pete Ham).

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

Stay well.