Let’s Take A Moment Day 525

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?

Aug 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.

This weekend we lost a pioneer in two musical genres. Isaac Donald “Don” Everly died August 21 at the age of 84. Born February 1, 1937 in Kentucky he and his younger brother, Phil (January 19, 1939 – January 3, 2014), were a trailblazing duo in both country music & the birth of the rock & roll era who used harmonizing vocals to create their signature sound. Don sang lead and Phil provided the harmony.

The two men started singing with their parents on their father’s radio show on KMA in Iowa in the 1940’s as The Everly Family. They moved to TN in the early 1950’s where the brothers pursued music full time once Don graduated from high school in 1955. They were soon discovered by guitarist Chet Atkins who helped introduce them to Acuff Rose publishers & the songwriting team of Boudleaux Bryant.

They wrote the brothers’ first hits in 1957, “Bye Bye Love” (a cross over hit on both the country & rock & roll charts) & “Wake Up Little Susie”. The duo was also the first to record the Boudleaux Bryant song “Love Hurts” in 1960 before it became a hit for Roy Orbison a year later. The boys did write some of their own songs including “Cathy’s Clown” (1960, written by Don) & “When Will I be Loved” (1960, written by Phil).

The brothers success led to their 1960 contract with Warner Brothers Records for one million dollars. At that time it was an unprecedented amount of money for a rock & roll act and would keep the boys with the label for ten years. But the unrelenting work schedule took its toll on the duo. So did contract disputes, sibling rivalry, drug use and more which led their official break up in 1973. They did reunite a decade later but their relationship remained strained.

Some of the biggest names in music were fans of The Everly Brothers. In his 1976 Wings song “Let ‘Em In”, Paul McCartney mentioned the duo by their first names (“…Martin Luther, Phil and Don”). George Harrison recorded a demo of today’s song that was included on his 2012 posthumous album, Early Takes: Volume. His friend & Traveling Wilbury bandmate Bob Dylan covered today’s song for his 1970 album, Self-Portrait. Both Everly Brothers sang on the track “Graceland” by another of their admirers, Paul Simon. In 1986 they were a part of the inaugural class inducted into The Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame by Neil Young.

Today’s song was based on a French recording of “Je t’appartiens” from 1955. It was a Top Ten hit for the brothers in 1959. As much fun as their faster songs are, I think it is the ballads that show off their vocal harmonies best. Rest in peace, Don Everly.

Each time we meet love
I find complete love
Without your sweet love
What would life be
“.

Don and Phil

Don (L) and Phil Everly circa 1957. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

The Everly Brothers: “Let It Be Me” (1959, written by Gilbert Bécaud (music), Manny Curtis (English lyrics) and Pierre Delanoë (French lyrics).

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 427

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.

Bobby Darin was born 85 years ago in NYC on May 14, 1936 as Walden Robert Cassotto. He grew up playing several instruments & developing his voice to prepare himself for a career in music. He started writing songs in 1955 at the Brill Building and eventually caught the attention of powerhouse music executive Ahmet Ertegun. By 1958 Darin had his first hit with “Splish Splash” and he was off.

His music evolved over the years taking him from the bubble gum pop sound of his first hit to his cover of Tim Hardin’s “If I Were A Carpenter” (Day 125) in 1966. He also starred in films & several TV specials & became half of one of the first supercouples when he married actress Sandra Dee in 1960. Darin died much too young at age 37 in 1973 but he left behind a legacy as a performer in all genres of entertainment because he did it all unbelievably well.

Someday I don’t know how
I hope she’ll hear my plea
Some way I don’t know how
She’ll bring her love to me
“.

Bobby-Darin-1962

Bobby Darin circa 1962. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Bobby Darin: “Dream Lover” (1959, written by Bobby Darin).

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 399

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.

The Copacabana has been one of NYC’s premier nightclubs since it opened in 1940. It has existed in many different locations throughout the city, but the desire to headline there was always the same, especially for musical artists in the 1960’s. Sam Cooke’s 1964 show was released in a live album the same year. A record of Marvin Gaye’s 1966 performance was supposed to be issued that year but because he & Motown president Berry Gordy could not agree on how the record was to be produced, the project was abandoned until 2005 when it was finally released.

Both Gaye and Cooke’s appearances at the club were done in part to follow in the footsteps of one of their favorite singers, Jackie Wilson. He made his debut there on April 19, 1962. The performance was recorded & released the same year on the album, Jackie Wilson At The Copa. He performed today’s song that night as well as on “The Ed Sullivan Show” earlier that year. It was the follow-up single to 1958’s “Lonely Teardrops” (Day 213) and was a Top 20 hit in 1959. Wilson, with his four octave tenor voice & smooth dance moves, earned the nickname “Mr. Excitement”. One watch of today’s video clip is all you need to understand why.

The way you make me feel like I belong
The way you make me right when I am wrong
The way you sacrifice just for me
Just how lucky can a poor man be”

Jackie Wilson

Jackie Wilson circa 1960. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Jackie Wilson: “That’s Why (I Love You So)” (Live performance on “The Ed Sullivan Show” on January 21, 1962. Originally recorded in 1959, written by Tyran Carlo and Berry Gordy Jr.)

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 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 194

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 marks the 122nd birth anniversary of George Gershwin. He wrote some of the most beautiful standards out there, and Broadway musicals were never the same after his genius touch. My absolute favorite tune of his is “Someone To Watch Over Me” (see Day 42). But I love today’s song as well, which was first sung by Ginger Rogers in the 1930 stage musical, “Girl Crazy” and in the 1943 film version by Judy Garland.

Since then it has been covered by a number of artists including John Coltrane, Sam Cooke, Frank Sinatra, Linda Ronstadt, Elton John and Barry Manilow, amongst others. But when it comes to singing Gershwin tunes, I do not think anyone compares to Lady Ella.

I was a fool to fall, and get that way
Hi-ho, alas, and also lack-a-day
Although I can’t dismiss
The memory of his kiss
I guess he’s not for me
“.

Ella Marilyn

george gershwin

Top: Ella Fitzgerald & Marilyn Monroe circa 1955. Bottom: George Gershwin circa 1930. (Images found online.  Original sources unknown.)

Ella Fitzgerald: “But Not For Me” ( 1959, written by George Gershwin and Ira Gershwin).

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 106

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?

Kerouac

(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.

One of my favorite parts of the movie, “Ray”, was seeing him in the studio or on stage creating the iconic music he became known for.  Two scenes in particular were just mesmerizing to me.  The first one takes place in the studio during the recording of “Night Time Is The Right Time” and then turns into a live performance of the song.  But then when Charles tries to leave the stage the promoter tells him he has 20 minutes left to play per the contract.  Charles gets back behind the piano, gives the band & his singers a quick directive and then starts playing today’s song.  And it is nothing short of  improvisational heaven.  Right in front of our eyes, Charles wrote one of the greatest songs of his career.  My guess is that helped him earn his nickname, which was revealed on his 1961 album, “The Genius Sings the Blues”.  June 10th marked 16 years since we lost this great talent, and I feel incredibly blessed I got to witness his magic firsthand.

Ray Charles
 (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Ray Charles:  “What’d I Say Pts. 1 & 2” (1959, written by Ray Charles).

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

Stay well.