Let’s Take A Moment Day 316

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.

Today in 1973 Elton John’s sixth studio album, Don’t Shoot Me, I’m Only The Piano Player, was released. It contained his first US #1 record “Crocodile Rock” and the heartbreaking tale of “Daniel”, which is the first record I ever bought of John’s. I played that 45 for hours at a time and did not come close to tiring of it. But one day I did get curious about the B side so I gave that a listen. And it was one of the best discoveries of my young life to that point.

I found a beautiful moving song that instantly became my new favorite by John and his magnificent lyricist, Bernie Taupin. It dates back to 1968 when it was released as a single in the UK by another artist. It is on John’s 1969 UK debut album, Empty Sky, which did not get released in the US until 1975. That version features a different arrangement with John playing a harpsichord and an organ. Today’s rendition features him on the piano & was slated to be included on the LP released 48 years ago today. Somehow it did not make the final cut. It finally appeared on John’s 1992 Rare Masters release.

If you have followed John as long as I have you know he was one of the first artists to lead the fight for AIDS research which continues to this day with his AIDS Foundation Academy Award Party started in 1993. But back in 1984 when a 13 year old boy from Indiana named Ryan White was one of the first children diagnosed with the disease after a blood transfusion, John reached out to him & became his friend. When White died from the illness in 1990, John performed today’s pick at the funeral.

He had a record on the US Hot 100 charts for 31 consecutive years from 1969 to 2000 and even though today’s track is not included in that staggering statistic, I think it is one of the most beautiful songs of his career. I cannot imagine a day of my life without the music of Elton John & Bernie Taupin.

For this dark and lonely room
Projects a shadow cast in gloom
And my eyes are mirrors
Of the world outside
“.

Taupin and John 1968

Bernie Taupin (L) and Elton John (R) circa 1969. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Elton John: “Skyline Pigeon” (1968, 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 260

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.

Today is a celebration for two men from one of my favorite bands ever created, The Doors. December 1 marks drummer John Densmore’s 76th birthday and December 8 is the 77th birth anniversary of lead singer Jim Morrison. I grew up listening to their music, read everything I could about them, worshiped Morrison’s deep eloquent poetry, swooned over every picture I saw of him and continue to mourn his loss to this day. But it is what he created with the other three members of The Doors that I adore the most. Their sound was completely unique & unforgettable. Led by Morrison’s lyrics & incredible baritone voice, Ray Manzarek’s prowess on keyboards and his ability to supply the group with a bass line from that instrument, Robby Krieger’s subtle yet skilled sorely underrated guitar arrangements & contributions to songwriting combined with Densmore’s strong solid & concise beat made them the unstoppable force they were & the legendary band they became.

The group made a legal agreement in the 1960’s that required a unanimous decision on anything regarding their music & likeness. It created tension and court proceedings over the years as Densmore & The Estate of Jim Morrison sued Manzarek & Krieger to prevent The Doors name, logo & music from being used commercially. As a fan it has been hard to watch them in this type of venue but on another level I am happy I will not be hearing their music in any ads. According to Densmore’s 2013 book, “The Doors Unhinged”, the impetus for one lawsuit was Cadillac’s offer of 15 million dollars in 2003 for the use of “Break On Through (To The Other Side)”. A similar offer by Buick in the late 1960’s to use “Light My Fire” was vetoed by Morrison who was vehemently opposed to licensing the band’s music. The other suit prevented Manzarek & Krieger from using the group’s name & logo to tour as “Doors of the 21st Century”. The original agreement was upheld in both instances. Densmore has stated he made peace with his bandmates prior to Manzarek’s death in 2013.

The Doors made a few appearances on various TV shows in the late 1960’s but the only one that most people are aware of is their September 1967 turn on “The Ed Sullivan Show” because of the controversy they created (see Day 145). But later that year they sang “Moonlight Drive” & “Light My Fire” on “The Jonathan Winters Show” and in December 1968, the band performed “Wild Child” and today’s song on “The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour”.

This video is one of my top five finds ever on YouTube. It may be from 52 years ago, but the quality is remarkably great. Between the way it was preserved and whatever assistance it received from current digital technology, the result is a concisely clear picture with great color & lighting. The sound is superb so you can clearly hear the band, the string players & the horn section at their best. And Morrison’s voice is clear, strong, confident, deep and absolutely beautiful. But it is the rare opportunity to see him perform that makes me unbelievably happy and ready to swoon for infinity plus eternity. He manages a hint of a smile about a minute in to the song, he is playing a maraca (yes, the word is singular since he is only using one), he is in his trademark leather pants and he does a breathtaking hair flip at the end. Every band in music history had a front man, but there was only one James Douglas “Mr. Mojo Risin” Morrison.

Can’t you see that I am not afraid?
What was that promise that you made?
Why won’t you tell me what she said?
What was that promise that you made?

Doors

The Doors circa 1970 (L-R): Jim Morrison, Ray Manzarek, John Densmore and Robby Krieger. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

The Doors: “Touch Me” (Live performance from “The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour”, broadcast in December 1968 when the song was originally released. Written by Robby Krieger).

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 244

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.

Here’s a song to help you through those days when even the shadows refuse to stick around.

I’ll wait in this place where the sun never shines
Wait in this place where the shadows run from themselves
“.

Cream 1967

Cream circa 1967 (L-R): Jack Bruce (bass), Ginger Baker (drums & percussion) & Eric Clapton (guitars). (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Cream: “White Room” (1968, written by Peter Brown (lyrics) and Jack Bruce (music).

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 210

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.

On December 11, 1968 “The Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus” concert was filmed as an all-star BBC television special to promote their album “Beggars Banquet”. The guests the group welcomed included fellow UK bands The Who & Jethro Tull, singer Marianne Faithful & blues musician Taj Mahal. But the really big draw in this sea of talent was a one time only performance by super group The Dirty Mac. The quartet consisted of John Lennon (from The Beatles) on rhythm guitar & vocals, Eric Clapton (from Cream) on lead guitar, Keith Richards (from The Rolling Stones) on bass & Mitch Mitchell (from The Jimi Hendrix Experience) on drums. They performed one song from The Beatles’ “White Album”. It was, without a doubt, an unbelievably magnificent performance.

That historic moment & the rest of the film did not make its premiere until October 12, 1996 (the album came out two days later). The reason for the nearly three decade delay? The Rolling Stones were unhappy with their playing & felt particularly upstaged by The Who. But that concert was the last time Brian Jones performed in public with the Stones, so for fans of the group that in and of itself makes the film worth its weight in gold. And the other acts are very good, too. But there is no denying the fact that the real star of the show & the movie is The Dirty Mac.

At the 1:03 mark of the video, Lennon, Clapton & Richards do a synchronized slide that is just too fabulous for words. And each individual performance is dazzling on its own: Lennon’s vocal is strong & raw, Clapton’s playing is incredible & the rhythm section holds it all together in their powerful hands. Plus, seeing three of them at the height of their fame while they were still so young (read: under 30) is like traveling back in time. Lennon looks exactly like his “White Album” 8×10 glossy, Clapton sans facial hair looks like a teenager you would pass in the hall of any high school in America (and sports a rarely seen onstage smile at the 2:11 mark followed by an up close glimpse of his unbelievably beautiful talented hands @ the 2:52 mark) while Richards is nearly unrecognizable in his pretty pre-drug using days. And an added bonus is that even though Lennon’s constant companion at the time, Yoko Ono, appeared on stage with the group, she quietly slipped into a black sack as “performance art” without uttering one of her infamous screams.

The concert was released 16 years ago this month on DVD and I consider it one of the most precious things I own. A “lost” film from this time period of music is an incredible gift, and one with Lennon on stage is particularly magical. To see him with a group other than The Beatles performing one of their songs before they broke up is a reminder of how much he still had to give to the world with them and on his own in the last decade of his life.

My mother was of the sky
My father was of the earth
But I am of the universe
And you know what it’s worth”.

Dirty Mac

The Dirty Mac at their one time only performance in December 1968 (L-R): Eric Clapton, John Lennon, Mitch Mitchell & Keith Richards. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

The Dirty Mac: “Yer Blues” (As performed at “The Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus” concert, December 1968. Written by John Lennon & 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 181

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 another rock & roll birthday, this one belonging to one of the most unique and powerful voices ever heard. As the lead singer of Blood, Sweat & Tears for four years, David Clayton-Thomas helped define the band’s sound, which in turn led to their massive success in the early 1970’s. Born 79 years ago in England but raised in Canada, he became the lead singer for the band in 1968. Their first album together contained the hits “God Bless The Child”, “And When I Die”, Spinning Wheel” (which he wrote) and today’s song. I absolutely adore the horns on this track, especially the trumpet arrangement. It is just spectacular. Clayton-Thomas left the band in 1972 to pursue a solo career and continued to make music that was heavily influenced by blues, jazz and R&B. But it was his time with BS&T that turned him into one of the most celebrated voices of the 20th century.

You touched my very soul
You always showed me that
Loving you was where it’s at
You made me so very happy
“.

david 2

David Clayton-Thomas circa 1975. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Blood, Sweat & Tears: “You’ve Made Me So Very Happy” ( 1968, written by Berry Gordy, Jr., Brenda Holloway, Patrice Holloway and Frank 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 100

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.

Day 100.  It needs to be commemorated with a special performance of a phenomenal song.  That leads me to my favorite Beatle, George Harrison.  The year was 1968 and he had just written a staggering song that he felt needed the artistry of another guitarist to complete.  But there was a lot of resistance from the other Beatles as they were not known to have other famous musicians join them for recordings.  George persevered and in his infinite wisdom he asked his friend, Eric Clapton, to play lead guitar for today’s song.  That made him one of only two musicians to work with the Beatles in the studio (the other was Billy Preston who joined the band for the recording of the “Let It Be” album and is featured prominently on the song “Get Back”).  Clapton was a superstar in his own right thanks to the enormous popularity he achieved with the band, Cream.  Even today he is considered to be one of the best guitar players in the world. George’s song became a huge success and finally put him on a level of songwriting with Lennon & McCartney.

Thirty three years later, in November 2001, my favorite Beatle died of cancer at the young age of 58.  A year later, The Concert For George was held in England under the guidance of Harrison’s widow, Olivia and his son, Dhani, also a guitarist.  The musical director for the show was Clapton.  The show featured the two surviving Beatles, Paul McCartney & Ringo Starr, the surviving members of Harrison’s other band, The Traveling Wilburys (Bob Dylan, Jeff Lynne & Tom Petty), Preston and several other musicians who had worked with Harrison on his solo records.

All the music performed was written by Harrison and his son played with the band.  Today’s song features Clapton & McCartney sharing vocals with Clapton playing lead guitar just like he did in 1968.  He also used one of Harrison’s guitars in another sweet tribute to his friend.  I love Clapton and he did an astounding job with this song, giving it everything he has as he always does.  But for me, the best part of the performance is at the end when Harrison’s son pats Clapton on the back for a job well done.  Their exchange is really touching, which is exactly the emotion great music should evoke.

So, George Harrison my favorite Beatle, today’s song is in your honor.  Thank you for the great music, the lessons in spirituality and for helping me discover Clapton through your invitation for him to play on this song all those years ago.  You are loved and missed every single day.

Eric and Dhani
Eric Clapton (L) and George Harrison’s son, Dhani, at The Concert For George on November 29, 2002.  (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Eric Clapton & Paul McCartney:  “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” from The Concert For George, 2002 (written by George Harrison in 1968),

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 69

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.

I love the show “Newsradio”.  It is hard for me not to love a show with Phil Hartman in the cast.  In one of my favorite episodes Matthew (Andy Dick’s character) bets Joe (Joe Rogan’s character) that the next song that comes on the radio will be a “really good song”.  When it starts to play, Matthew tries to act like he loves the tune but after Joe stares him down, Matthew states “You win.  It sucks!”  Then the camera cuts to Dave’s (Dave Foley’s character) office who hears the same song playing and states “I love that song”.  Well, I am with Dave.  I think it is one of Glen Campbell’s best performances to a mesmerizing production & arrangement by Al De Lory.  I also think it is one of Jimmy Webb’s finest compositions thanks to one of the most stunning lines I have ever heard:

And I need you more than want you,
And I want you for all time

Swoon.

Jimmy Webb & Glen Campbell circa 1990’s (Images found online.  Original sources unknown.)

Glen Campbell:  “Wichita Lineman” (1968, written by Jimmy Webb).

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 60

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.

There are still people who have not forgiven Bob Dylan for switching from his original folk sound to electric music in the mid 1960’s.  But if he had not made that change, he would not have needed back-up players and then we might have never been introduced to The Band.  And that would have been a terrible misfortune because they were a remarkable group of musicians.  They were credited as the inventors of a new sound called country soul, but most people just called them fabulous.  And I am one of them.

The Band

The Band circa 1976  (left to right:  Levon Helm, Garth Hudson, Robbie Robertson, Rick Danko & Richard Manuel.  (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

The Band:  “The Weight” (1968, written by Robbie Robertson).

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 57

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.

Sad love songs are a staple of most genres of music.  The loss of love and the broken heart that follows has been documented by practically anyone who has ever sung or written a song.  The ones that are done well are sad, or moving, or heartbreakingly beautiful.  Today’s song is all those things.  It is also a simple honest eloquent evocative tale of woe done with a fantastic passionate vocal, gorgeous string arrangement, powerful horns and superb musicianship.  It is one of the best broken heart songs out there.

These eyes watched you bring my world to an end
This heart could not accept and pretend

the guess who A

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

The Guess Who:  “These Eyes” (1968, written by Randy Bachman and Burton Cummings).

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

Stay well.