25 Days Of Christmas Music 2022: Day 21

Hello, everyone. Welcome back to the countdown.

Day 21 2022

A sweet vintage Christmas card image from Pinterest. (Original source unknown.)

Today’s song is from Elvis’ Christmas Album, released 65 years ago in 1957.

In 2022 it remains the world’s best-selling holiday record with sales of 20 million dollars.

All hail The King.

(Image found online. Original source unknown.)

Elvis Presley: “Santa Claus Is Back In Town” (1957, written by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller).

What are some of your favorite Christmas songs?

Until next time, happy listening!!!

25 Days Of Christmas Music 2022: Day 12

Hello, everyone. Welcome back to the countdown.

Day 12 2022

A picture of an adorable vintage Christmas figurine found on Pinterest. (Image found online. Original source unknown.)

Today we honor the legendary entertainer who put New Jersey on the world’s musical map nearly 60 years before Bruce Springsteen’s “Greetings From Asbury Park, N.J.” reaffirmed the state’s place of honor. Francis Albert Sinatra was born December 12, 1915 in Hoboken, NJ. His career as a vocalist began when he was a teenager but his first album was not released until 1946. Five years earlier he made his film debut as a big band singer in 1941’s Las Vegas Nights. He went from being the heart’s desire of bobby soxers across the country to becoming a member of The Rat Pack, “The Chairman Of The Board” and “Ol’ Blue Eyes” in a career that spanned over five decades before his death in 1998.

For my maternal grandmother Sinatra was all those things and the definition of Christmas. Every December of my young childhood, his Christmas music began the festive season. It was as comforting to me as the smell of the real tree she had in her apartment every year. She listened to other Italian singers each holiday season as well (most notably fellow Rat Packer Dean Martin), but Frank was the one who started all the fun. My grandmother’s collection incliuded his first holiday album, “Christmas Songs by Sinatra” from 1946, his second one, “A Jolly Christmas from Frank Sinatra” from 1957 and the one he made with his three children, “The Sinatra Family Wish You a Merry Christmas” from 1968.

Today’s song is from his second holiday record and has been one of my favorites for as long as I can remember. Sinatra helped write this track as well and it is one of the few songs that is not played to death each December. On the contrary, it is not played nearly enough.

Then comes that big night
Giving the tree the trim
You’ll hear voices by starlight
Singing a yuletide hymn
“.

Sinatra album

Sinatra studio

Top: Sinatra’s 1957 Christmas album. Bottom: The Chairman Of The Board in the recording studio circa 1960. (Images found online. Original sources unknown.)

Frank Sinatra: “Mistletoe and Holly” (1957, written by Hank Sanicola, Frank Sinatra and Dok Stanford).

What are some of your favorite Christmas songs?

Until next time, happy listening!!!

Music Monday: November 7, 2022

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

Music Monday

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

The last surviving architect of the music we call rock & roll passed away last month. Jerry Lee Lewis died at age 87 on October 28, 2022 at his home in Nesbit, Mississippi. Incredibly big sigh.

He and his fellow innovators appeared at a time when music needed a new sound and they did not disappoint. That new genre exploded on the scene in the 1950’s and made the world take notice. And not too many of us ever looked back.

Lewis was part musician, part stage performer, part wild man and part rebel all wrapped into one volatile package. He would switch between a boogie-woogie player to a piano thumping wild man so many times during one song it was like watching two performers at once.

Rest in peace to the musician nicknamed “The Killer”, the original & true piano man, someone who lived as fiercely as he played, who helped make Sun Records the legend it became, who was one fourth of its Million Dollar Quartet and gave us all another reason to call music the answer to whatever ails us.

Come over baby whole lot of shakin’ goin’ on
Yes, I said come over baby baby you can’t go wrong
We ain’t fakin’
Whole lot of shakin’ goin’ on
“.

Jerry Lee Lewis

million dollar quartet B

Top: Jerry Lee Lewis circa 1965. Bottom: Sun Records’ Million Dollar Quartet (L-R): Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley (seated), Carl Perkins and Lewis in the studio circa 1956. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Jerry Lee Lewis: “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On” (1957, written by James Faye “Roy” Hall and Dave “Curlee” Williams).

Stay safe and well.

Let’s Take A Moment Day 450

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?

June 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.

Jack “Jackie” Leroy Wilson Jr. was born 87 years ago on June 9, 1934 in Detroit, Michigan. His first solo single,1957’s “Reet Petite”, was co-written by Motown founder Berry Gordy. Today’s song was released six years later & was co-written by Wilson himself. He sang, he danced, he wrote songs & performed with everything he had. “Mr. Excitement”, as he was called, was the whole package.

‘Round and ’round we go
Where we stop nobody knows
Yeah the band is swinging on the stand
We’re moving in we’re moving out
“.

J Wilson

Jackie Wilson circa 1989. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Jackie Wilson: “Baby Workout” (Live performance on “The Ed Sullivan Show” broadcast March 31, 1963. Written by Alonzo Tucker and Jackie Wilson).

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 447

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?

June 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.

The beginning of the 1970’s marked the end of an incredible era of television. After a 23 year run, “The Ed Sullivan Show” came to an end on June 6, 1971. If you lived through any of those years or are remotely acquainted with pop culture, you know some of the highlights of the program: Elvis Presley’s hips being censored, The Beatles American debut in February 1964, The Rolling Stones being forced to change the lyrics to one of their songs and The Doors refusal to do the same thing are just a few.

The first show was broadcast on June 20, 1948 under its original name, Toast Of The Town, when Sullivan was 46 years old. It was renamed for the host in 1955. His progressive attitude welcomed & embraced the changes brought about over the next two decades and he took his audience along for that incredible ride. The list of guest stars was vast and varied, from not only musicians but to comedians, actors, dancers, jugglers, ventriloquists and many more. But for me it was the musical moments I cherished the most, as it was a chance to see the singers I grew up to love who predated me.

One of the performances I absolutely adore is from soul crooner Sam Cooke in 1957. Because his life was so tragically short and his death came in the middle of the 1960’s before concerts & studio sessions were routinely recorded, any appearance he made on film that was preserved is absolutely platinum. And Sullivan’s show is one of those gems. We get to see Cooke in his prime, as a talented beautiful charming suave happy young man.

Like Sullivan, Cooke was a pioneer. He helped introduce black music to white audiences and is considered by some critics to be the inventor of soul music. He recorded today’s song in tribute to one of his idols, Nat King Cole. And thanks to the genius of Ed Sullivan, we have this superb performance by Cooke to cherish forever. Ed Sullivan was the premiere starmaker.

I think of you every morning
I dream of you every, every, every, every night
And no I’m never lonely
Whenever you are in sight
“.

Ed and Sam

Ed Sullivan (far left) watches Sam Cooke (center) perform in 1957. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Sam Cooke: “(I Love You) For Sentimental Reasons” (Live performance on “The Ed Sullivan Show” broadcast on December 1, 1957 Originally released in 1957. Written by William “Pat” Best and Ivory “Deek” Watson).

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 401

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 we are going to ignore the fact that we have now passed Day 400 of the pandemic and instead focus on some early milestones in the life of The King, Elvis Presley. On April 21, 1956 “Heartbreak Hotel” became the #1 selling song in the country for eight consecutive weeks. A year later, today’s song hit the same spot for nine weeks, becoming his seventh #1 hit in the United States. Presley had four on the chart that year alone, which was the beginning of his royal reign.

Well please don’t ask me what’s on my mind
I’m a little mixed up but I feel fine
When I meet a girl that I love best
My heart beats so it scares me to death”.
.

Elvis

Elvis Presley circa 1957. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Elvis Presley: “All Shook Up” (1957, written by Otis Blackwell and Elvis Presley).

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 332

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?

Feb 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 this day in 1957 Patsy Cline released today’s song. It was her first hit & went on to become one of her signature tunes. She re-recorded the track in 1961 with Elvis Presley’s backup group, The Jordanaires. But as wonderful as that version is, I prefer the original. It has a slightly slower tempo, more like a shuffle & a simpler arrangement which showcases the strength & beauty of Cline’s voice even more.

I stop to see a weepin’ willow
Cryin’ on his pillow
Maybe he’s cryin’ for me
“.

Patsy

Patsy Cline circa 1961. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Patsy Cline: “Walkin’ After Midnight” (1957, written by Alan Block and Donn Hecht).

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 275

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?

Dec 16

(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.

On October 15, 1957 Elvis Presley released his first Christmas record, Elvis’ Christmas Album. It contained two covers pertaining to the colors of the season-“Blue Christmas” (first recorded in 1948 by country singer & actor Doye O’Dell) & “White Christmas” along with Gene Autry’s “Here Comes Santa Claus”, amongst other holiday songs. But it is the first track of the album-another homage to Santa Claus-they gets my heart going. Written by the legendary songwriting team of of Jerry Leiber & Mike Stoller (the geniuses behind “Hound Dog”, “Jailhouse Rock” and a slew of others), it is a rocking, bluesy, fiery tune that features a great Fats Domino-like piano arrangement (played to the heavens by Elvis’ longtime band member Dudley Brooks), killer back-up vocals by The Jordanaires and a tempo so strong you can almost visualize The King’s hips vibrating in front of you. The song is just magic.

Two months later on December 16, the album hit the #1 spot in the country. Elvis put one more Christmas record out during his career (1971’s Elvis Sings The Wonderful World Of Christmas followed by several posthumous holiday releases), but for me and a lot of other fans it is this album, which was at the top of the charts 63 years ago today, that all the other ones would have to measure up to. As of this date, it remains the best selling holiday album of all time. All hail The King.

Well, it’s Christmas time pretty baby
And the snow is on the ground
Well, you be a real good little girl
Santa Claus is back in town
“.

Elvis

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Elvis Presley: “Santa Claus Is Back In Town” (1957, 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 261

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?

kurt v

(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.

On November 3, 1957 Sam Cooke appeared on “The Ed Sullivan Show” to perform today’s tune. But the program was a live broadcast and it was behind on time so they accidently cut the singer off mid-song to end the show at the correct time. Sullivan’s staff was inundated with complaints so he invited Cooke to appear on the show again a month later. When he came back on December 1, he performed the song in its entirety in his smooth effortless stunning way. He also received an on-air apology from Sullivan.

The next day, the record hit the #1 spot on the Hot 100 & the R&B charts. December 11 will be the 56th anniversary of Cooke’s death and while I usually refrain from underscoring those dates, the timing of his mark in history with today’s enduring classic highlights the fact that his sound, his music and his grace is absolutely timeless.

At first I thought it was infatuation
But oh, it’s lasted so long
Now I find myself wanting
To marry you and take you home
“.

sam cooke circa 1955

Sam Cooke circa 1955. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Sam Cooke: “You Send Me” (Live performance on “The Ed Sullivan Show”, broadcast December 1, 1957. Originally released September 1957. 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 117

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?

Thoreau music quote

(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.

For as much as the Beatles influenced a generation, The Beatles themselves were inspired by their idols.  Chuck Berry, Carl Perkins, Little Richard and Elvis had a huge impact on the Fab Four.  So did Buddy Holly.  Even the name of The Beatles came from John Lennon thinking naming a band after an insect was the way to go following Holly’s lead in calling his band The Crickets.

Holly is long remembered for his all too brief but eternal contribution to the early days of rock & roll with songs like “That’ll Be The Day”, “Oh Boy”, “Rave On”, “It’s So Easy To Fall In Love” and others.  But in reality his death had as much of an impact on the world as his life did since he died so young and with two other singers, one even younger than Holly’s 22  years.  I often read articles where people speculate how different music might be today if Holly were alive.  But that is just a waste of time.  Holly fulfilled his destiny or he would be here.  It’s just that simple.  He was only meant to be here for the time we had him and not a minute more.  We may hate it, but that was the plan all along.  But what a legacy we have to enjoy from his brief tenure as rock & roll’s prince.

B Holly

Buddy Holly circa 1958.  (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Buddy Holly & The Crickets:  “Not Fade Away” (1957, written by Buddy Holly and Norman Petty).

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

Stay well.