Let’s Take A Moment Day 213

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 quote 2

(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.

Today in 1958 Jackie Wilson recorded one of his signature songs. It was another tune co-written by future Motown founder Berry Gordy Jr who also co-wrote “Reet Petite”, “To Be Loved” & “We Have Love” for Wilson the year before. The proceeds earned from these songs helped Gordy start Tamla Records in 1959 which became the iconic Motown label in April 1960. The success of today’s tune also helped establish Wilson as one of the premier R&B singers not only the 1950’s & 1960’s but of all time.

He was born Jack Leroy Wilson Jr. in Detroit, Michigan in 1934. He began singing in church when he was a child which led to him joining a gospel group in his teens. He learned to box during a couple of stints in detention for bad behavior and competed in the local boxing circuit before he quit to marry at 17 because he was going to become a father. He joined several groups (including one with his cousin, future Four Tops lead singer Levi Stubbs) until Wilson signed a solo record deal with Decca Records subsidiary label, Brunswick, in 1957. “Reet Petite” was his first release which helped launch his career through its moderate success. Between his four octave tenor range and his dynamic dance moves on stage, Wilson earned the nickname “Mr. Excitement” and enjoyed over a decade of success throughout his career.

Unfortunately the rest of his story is not as happy. Wilson was besieged with problems in his personal life including getting shot by a girlfriend, several arrests and legal issues, financial losses & IRS liens due to an embezzling manager as well as multiple children from in & out of his two marriages. He also lost a son, Jackie Jr in 1970 when the 16 year old was shot to death. That sent Wilson into a depressive state which included drug use. In 1975 he suffered a heart attack onstage which left him in a semi-comatose state. He remained in a nursing home until his death from pneumonia in 1984. Wilson left a legacy on music, fans and the performers he influenced especially Van Morrison, Bruce Springsteen, Prince, and Michael Jackson among many others. My mother was a big fan of his & she and my dad were lucky enough to see Wilson perform around 1960 at the acclaimed Apollo Theatre in Harlem. Swoon.

Just give me another chance for our romance
Come on and tell me that one day you’ll return
‘Cause, every day that you’ve been gone away
You know my heart does nothing but burn, crying
“.

Wilson and Elvis

Elvis Presley (L) with Jackie Wilson (R) circa 1959. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Jackie Wilson: “Lonely Teardrops” (As performed on “American Bandstand” in March 1959. Originally released in 1958, written by Berry Gordy Jr, Gwen Gordy & Roquel “Billy” Davis as “Tyran Carlo”).

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 206

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?

Jane Austen 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.

Today in 1987 one of my favorite musical documentaries was released. “Hail! Hail! Rock ‘n’ Roll” took an in-depth behind the scenes look into the life & career of “The Father Of Rock & Roll”, Chuck Berry. The film ended with clips from two all-star concerts that took place in honor of Berry’s 60th birthday in 1986 featuring Etta James, Eric Clapton, Linda Ronstadt and Julian Lennon. The show was organized by band leader Keith Richards with help from guitarist Robert Cray and Berry’s longtime pianist, Johnnie Johnson. The music was without a doubt phenomenal but the glimpses into Berry’s personal life including scenes with his father (who died the year the film came out), other family members and longtime friends gave more weight to Berry’s life. His 94th birth anniversary is in about a week-October 18, to be exact-so today is a celebration of that as well as the movie’s anniversary.

He was born in 1926 & raised in St. Louis, Missouri by his Baptist church deacon father & public school principal mother. Music was an early hobby for Berry who performed at his high school when he was around 15. But when he was arrested for armed robbery just before his 18th birthday, he was sent to a reformatory school until he was 21. It was there he started singing in a quartet.

Berry got married in 1948, became a father in 1950 and soon after began playing in local clubs with various bands for extra money while he worked regular jobs during the day. By 1953 he began working with Johnson’s trio, performing R&B and country music. Two years later he met blues great Muddy Waters who encouraged Berry to reach out to Chess Records president Leonard Chess. That led to Berry’s first recording for the label (and his first million seller), “Maybellene”, in 1955. Thus a legend was born.

One of my favorite scenes in the movie is when Clapton & Richards are rehearsing today’s song with Berry and he is having trouble remembering the lyrics. It is from his second studio album for Chess Records, “One Dozen Berrys” released in 1958. The record includes three hits: “Sweet Little Sixteen”, “Rock & Roll Music” & “Reelin’ & Rockin'”. But ever since I saw the documentary, today’s track is the one I enjoy the most.

One of his biggest fans, John Lennon, said, “If you tried to give rock and roll another name, you might call it ‘Chuck Berry’.” Amen. Hail! Hail! Chuck Berry!!!

When I see those big brown eyes that’s when I take my queue
It don’t take me but a few minutes to get a message through
I talked to you, and you talked to me and we talked to one another
It don’t take us but a few minutes to understand each other
“.

Hail Hail

A concert scene from the movie featuring (L-R): Check Berry, Keith Richards & Eric Clapton performing “Wee Wee Hours”. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Chuck Berry: “It Don’t Take But A Few Minutes” (1958, written by Chuck Berry).

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 175

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?

Bruce 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.

Today is the birth anniversary of Charles Hardin Holley, better known to us as Buddy Holly.  Born 84 years ago today in Lubbock, Texas, he grew up during the Depression playing the guitar with the rest of his musical family.  Another artist from the south who found his roots in country, gospel and R&B music, he was part of a bluegrass/country/rockabilly duo in high school with Bob Montgomery simply called “Buddy and Bob” (Montgomery wrote “Misty Blue” recorded by several artists including Dorothy Moore who turned it into a #3 hit in 1976).

The duo opened for Elvis Presley several times in 1955 and eventually Holly changed the direction of his sound to rock & roll.  He was discovered and signed by Decca Records soon after and the rest is musical history.  His style influenced everyone from The Beatles to Bob Dylan to Eric Clapton to The Hollies who, according to founding member Graham Nash, were named as a tribute to Holly,

There is no denying that his effect is far reaching and as influential as they come.  His sound helped define the foundation of rock & roll and his legacy continues to radiate in music today, more than 60 years after his death.  Happy birthday, Buddy Holly.

A-well rave on, it’s a crazy feelin’ and
I know, it’s got me reelin’
I’m so glad, that you’re revealin’
Your love for me“.

Holly
Buddy Holly circa 1956.  (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Buddy Holly:  “Rave On” ( 1958, written by Norman Petty, Bill Tightman and Joseph “Sonny” West).

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 45

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?

Peanuts 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.

If I had to pinpoint how rock & roll music officially began, my timeline would be this:

1908:  The year American bandleader & swing/big band/R&B musician Louis Jordan is born.

1916:  The year American rockabilly songwriter Claude Demetrius is born.

1926:  The year American guitarist Charles Edward Anderson Berry is born.  The world would come to know him as Chuck Berry.  Soon he learns to “play a guitar just like a-ringin’ a bell and, oh my, that little country boy could play”.

1946:  Demetrius writes a song (co-written with Jordan’s wife, Fleecie Moore) called “Ain’t That Just Like A Woman” which Jordan records and turns into an R&B hit the same year.

1958:  Berry writes and records his semi-autobiographical groundbreaking hit, “Johnny B. Goode”.  The song begins with a note for note replica of the introduction to Jordan’s 1946 song, written by Demetrius.  A new sound is born from combining music from the swing/big band/R&B/rockabilly genres and Berry is christened “The Father of Rock & Roll”.

Young impressionable youths like John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Ringo Starr, Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton, Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Jimi Hendrix and many others are entranced by what Berry does with a guitar.  Fast forward to 1963 & 1964 where The Beatles record Berry covers “Roll Over Beethoven” & “Rock & Roll Music ” and stop by America for that Sunday night show at the same theatre David Letterman was in and there you have it.

Yes, Elvis (who covered a few of Berry’s songs, including today’s), Jerry Lee Lewis, Little Richard, Carl Perkins and many other early architects of this new sound were coming up around the same time as Berry.  However, his musicianship, his stage dance moves (most notably the “duck walk”) and his songwriting talent made him a triple threat and set him apart from the others.  Elvis will always be the King, but Berry was and remains The Master.

Today’s song also has the distinction of being part of NASA’s Voyager Space Mission as one of the pieces of music from Earth.  And honestly, can you imagine Marty McFly sliding across the floor to any other song in “Back To The Future” than this one?

Chuck-Berry-Johnny-B-Goode

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Chuck Berry:  “Johnny B. Goode” (1958, written by Chuck Berry).

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

Stay well.