Music Monday: February 28, 2022

Hi, everyone. Welcome to this week’s edition of Music Monday.

Music Monday

 (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

As we say goodbye to February 2022, let’s focus on the milestone birthdays celebrated this month for two of music’s most incredible talents. Singer/songwriter extraordinaire Carole King turned 80 on February 9 (born in 1942) and blue-eyed soul Doobie Brother Michael McDonald turned 70th on February 12 (born in 1952). Plus, February 26th marked the 90th birth anniversary for The Man In Black, Johnny Cash (born in 1932). It is impossible for me to pick just one of these icons to spotlight today, so I am going to do things a little differently this week and feature one track from each. You’re welcome.

Cash circa 1965

Johnny Cash circa 1965. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

All three artists hold special places in my heart & mind. The first concert I ever attended was The Doobie Brothers. I liked them before McDonald joined them, but with him their sound evolved into rock & soul fusion which I absolutely adored. King is the genius behind the best album by a female artist, not to mention the composer of so many hits I have lost track. Cash was one of my first introductions to classic country music courtesy of my grandmother’s love of the genre. These are some of the greatest moments in my varied & extensive musical history. And I am thankful for this soundtrack in my life single day.

King circa 1990.

Carole King circa 1990. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

For McDonald I was going to choose my favorite from his early Doobie Brother years-“It Keeps You Running“-but then I remembered the title track from his 1990 album which still makes me swoon more than 30 years later. I chose a song from King’s 1971 opus because those were the best of her career in my world. As for Cash, he could sing anything. And he did. But one of his signature songs is always my pick to start a listening party by him because they bring back some of the fondest memories of my life. But any track from any one of these icons would obviously be welcome. Their talent & music speaks for itself. Enjoy.

Mcdonald circa 2000

Michael McDonald circa 2000. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Johnny Cash: “Ring Of Fire” (1963, written by June Carter and Merle Kilgore).

Carole King: “Tapestry” (1971, written by Carole King).

Michael McDonald: “Take It To Heart” (1990, written by Michael McDonald and Diane Warren).

Stay safe & well.

25 Days Of Christmas Music 2021: Day 12

Hello, everyone. Welcome back to the countdown.

13

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

This song is a yearly tradition I learned from David Letterman. He reintroduced this woman’s tremendously versatile incredibly powerful voice to his audience in the 1980’s & continued to do so every year until he retired in 2015. It created a ripple effect that finally helped this singer get the recognition she so greatly deserved. And that is just one of the many debts I owe that witty sarcastic smart wonderful funny talented adorable man.

Pretty lights on the tree
I’m watching them shine
You should be here with me
Baby please come home
“.

dave

Darlene Love with David Letterman circa 2010. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Darlene Love: “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)” (1963, written by Jeff Barry, Ellie Greenwich and Phil Spector).

I do not own the rights to anything.  I am just sharing some things that I love with you  

What are some of your favorite Christmas songs?

Until next time, happy listening!!!

Let’s Take A Moment Day 493

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?

Tom Petty music quote

(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.

Sam Cooke released the single “Chain Gang” on July 26, 1960.  It reached the #2 spot in the country later that year, the second time he was in the Top Five following the success of his #1 hit from 1957, “You Send Me” (Day 261).  Three years later he was in the Top Ten with today’s song. 

Cooke had so many things going for him:  his silky smooth voice, his suave debonair good looks and his ease & confidence in front of an audience to name a few.  But another important talent that set Cooke apart from other performers of his day was his songwriting ability.  He was succinct, eloquent & expressive with both his words & music.  Today’s track is no exception.  It also contains a bit of levity which only adds to its charm.    

“Another fella told me he had a sister who looked just fine 
Instead of being my deliverance 
She had a strange resemblance 
To a cat named Frankenstein”.

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

Sam Cooke: “Another Saturday Night” (1963, 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 470

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.

Most people like or at least know a lot of music from what their parents listened to. I am no different. Mine introduced me to a lot and the majority of it I still listen to today. But one of the genres my dad really liked was one I never got into. Every Sunday night when we were driving home from visiting family, he would put on WCBS-FM 101.1 to listen to “Don K. Reed’s Doo-Wop Shop”. I admired the talent & harmony of the vocal groups but that was about it. The music just did not reach me.

However, what I did enjoy each week were the songs the station played prior to Reed’s show. Because it was an oldies channel, I would hear anyone from Chuck Berry to Little Richard to Buddy Holly or even The Beatles’ early hits. But every now and then I would hear today’s song & I just melted. It was such a sad slow tale of a guy who left a happy situation for a new love interest.

The affair basically destroyed him as the new woman left him soon after they got together. The singer sounded so despondent yet very different from the voices I normally heard on that station. It just got to me. The song was originally a big band standard in 1945. But nearly 20 years later, it hit the #4 spot in the country at the end of 1963. It was the biggest hit singer Lenny Welch ever had. And I think it is wonderful.

You love me
Then you snub me
But what can I do
I’m still in love with you
“.

lenny-welch-feature

Lenny Welch circa 1962. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Lenny Welch: “Since I Fell For You” (1963, written by Buddy Johnson).

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 352

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?

March 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.

Time for our first mid-week Motown break for March. Today’s song was a #4 hit in 1963 for Martha & The Vandellas and then a #5 hit in 1975 for Linda Ronstadt. But like most Holland-Dozier-Holland composed gems, it shines in any decade.

Sometimes I stare in space
Tears all over my face
I can’t explain it, don’t understand it
I’ain’t never felt like this before
“.

Martha R

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Martha & The Vandellas: “Heatwave” (1963, written by Brian Holland, Lamont Dozier and Eddie Holland).

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 330

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.

Once upon a time on a Sunday night 57 years ago-February 9, 1964-The Beatles were announced as first time guests on “The Ed Sullivan Show” to perform a total of five songs. Today’s pick was the first one they played at approximately 8:12PM. A minute later the world changed into a brand new color called John, Paul, George & Ringo. The rest of the hues, along with music, life & Sunday nights from that point on would never be the same ever again. And for this I and the 73 million viewers who tuned in that night are eternally grateful. The end.

I’ll pretend that I’m kissing the lips I am missing
And hope that my dreams will come true
And then while I’m away, I’ll write home everyday
And I’ll send all my loving to you
“.

Beatles-ed-sullivan

The Fab Four on “The Ed Sullivan Show” on February 9, 1964. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

The Beatles: “All My Loving” (1963, written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney).

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 328

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 February 1, 1964 today’s song hits #1 on the U.S, charts where it will stay for seven weeks.

On February 7, 1964, The Beatles arrive in America at Kennedy Airport in New York. The British Invasion officially begins.

“You know it’s up to you,
I think it’s only fair,
Pride can hurt you, too,
Apologize to her”.

Feb 7

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

The Beatles: “She Loves You” (1963, written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney).

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 317

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 another mid-week Motown break & unbelievably our last one for January 2021 already. I tend to see Marvin Gaye’s career with the label in three parts: his early years working with the songwriting team of Holland-Dozier-Holland (“How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You)”, “Little Darling (I Need You)”, “You’re A Wonderful One”), the later years featuring the songs written by Barrett Strong and Norman Whitfield (“I Heard It Through The Grapevine”, “That’s The Way Love Is”, “Too Busy Thinking About My Baby”) & his social awareness period (“What’s Going On”, “Mercy Mercy Me”, “Inner City Blues (Make Me Wanna Holler)”. Today’s song is my favorite from the early years.

Up early in the morning with her on my mind
Took to find it out all night I been cryin’
But I believe a woman’s a man’s best friend
I’m gonna stick by her till the very end”
.

Marvin

holland_dozier

Top: Marvin Gaye circa 1964. Bottom (L-R): The legendary songwriting team at Hitsville USA circa 1964: Lamont Dozier, Eddie Holland and Brian Holland. (Images found online.  Original sources unknown.)

Marvin Gaye: “Can I Get A Witness” (1963, written by Brian Holland, Lamont Dozier and Eddie Holland).

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 278

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 19

(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.

Six days before Christmas in 2014, I was still struggling with David Letterman’s decision to retire from “The Late Show” the following year when the moment I knew was coming arrived: The last appearance from Darlene Love to sing today’s song. It was a long standing holiday tradition dating back to 1986 (then on “Late Night With David Letterman” on NBC) for Love to come on and tear the roof of the place with her mighty voice every December. It was as much a part of my Christmas traditions as watching The Peanuts dance during the rehearsals for their holiday play. So the end of this era was going to hurt big time.

But Letterman was always a class act on his show and this night was no exception. He pulled out all the stops and had the entire stage set up for Love’s song. There was a huge gorgeous tree & other sparkly decorations, a full band complete with horns, strings & ten back up singers with everyone dressed in their holiday best. Paul Shaffer played a decorated grand piano which Love stood upon to sing the second half of the song as well as the encore. The performance closed out that night’s episode as a reign of faux snow fell down on everyone present. It was one of the show’s truly bittersweet moments for everyone involved including broken-hearted fans like me. And I remember that moment & how great it felt to be a member of Dave’s world every time I hear this song. U2 does a great version, too, but even Bono’s unbelievable voice is no match for the power of Love.

They’re singing Deck The Halls
But it’s not like Christmas at all
I remember when you were here
And all the fun we had last year
“.

darlene-love-letterman

Darlene Love (center on top of the piano) from her final appearance on Letterman’s show in 2014. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Darlene Love: “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)” (Live performance from “The Late Show With David Letterman” on December 19, 2014. Originally released in 1963, written by Jeff Barry, Ellie Greenwich & Phil Spector).

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 273

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 14

(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 this day 52 years ago-December 14, 1968-Marvin Gaye hit the #1 spot in the country with one of his career defining tracks (and one of my favorite songs of all time), “I Heard It Through The Grapevine”. That record was featured on Day 17 so I will use another song from Gaye’s catalog to celebrate this milestone. Today’s pick was recorded live at New York’s acclaimed Apollo Theater in 1963 and remained unreleased for nearly four decades until it was part of the 2001 compilation, “A Motown Christmas, Volume 2”. It is a smooth soulful slightly jazz infused track sung in a way only Gaye could. It is a song that defines the season and until I hear the most famous version of it by Nat King Cole each year, it does not feel like Christmas at all. But now Gaye’s is a must for me as well because one, it is Marvin Gaye and two, it is fabulous. But also, to have something new from a man who died nearly 20 years before this version was released is a gift in and of itself. And for that endowment to be one from the beginning of his career before life, loss & a decade of turmoil took its toll on him is just too momentous for words.

Holiday music contains a core amount of songs, but you can listen to one of them a dozen different ways from the plethora of covers that are out there and it is like hearing a different tune each time. Today’s song has been covered hundreds of times and many artists did it justice. But Gaye’s version is right up there with Cole’s for me and that speaks volume.

And so I’m offering this simple phrase
To kids from one to ninety-two
Although it’s been said many times, many ways
Merry Christmas to you
“.

Marvin-Gaye

Marvin Gaye circa 1978. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Marvin Gaye: “The Christmas Song” (Live performance at The Apollo Theatre in 1963. Written by Mel Tormé and Bob Wells).

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

Stay well.