Music Monday: October 11, 2021

Hi, everyone. Welcome back to the blog for this week’s Music Monday.

Music Monday

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

October 9 marked the 81st birth anniversary for John Lennon. Today’s song, which featured Ringo Starr on drums and Billy Preston on piano, always reduces me to tears but I also think it was one of the best of Lennon’s solo years. Sending “limitless undying love” across the universe to this beautiful soul who gave us all so much and only wanted love & peace in return.

I was the Dreamweaver
But now I’m reborn
I was the walrus
But now I’m John
And so dear friends
You’ll just have to carry on
The dream is over
“.

John Lennon

John Lennon circa 1973. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

John Lennon: “God” (1970, written by John Lennon).

Stay well.

Let’s Take A Moment Day 532

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.

In August 1970 James Taylor released today’s song as a single from his second album, Sweet Baby James. By Halloween the track reached the #3 spot in the country. He wrote it when he was just 21 years old in response to the death of a friend & other life events. It was one of those songs where the lyrics led to rumors and conjecture.

For instance, many people believed the friend referenced in the song-Suzanne-died in a plane crash because of the line “sweet dreams and flying machines in pieces on the ground”. In reality she died by suicide and The Flying Machine was the name of Taylor’s band that broke up. I absolutely adore the eloquence and imagery of the lyrics and the title he chose. And his vocal is just the perfect mix of somber and reflective. It is just a great record.

Over the next fifty years Taylor would establish himself as one of the most popular, prolific & beloved artists of his time. But it was this track that would get him noticed as an emerging singer/songwriter in a decade where they became invaluable contributors to music’s diverse & masterful landscape.

Been walking my mind to an easy time
My back turned towards the sun
Lord knows, when the cold wind blows
It’ll turn your head around
“.

JT

James Taylor’s second album released in February 1970. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

James Taylor: “Fire & Rain” (1970, written by James Taylor).

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 531

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.

On August 25, 1970 a young up and coming singer from England made his debut in America when he played his first show at The Troubadour in West Hollywood, CA. It was such a success that within 14 months he had released four studio albums including 1971’s Mad Men Across The Water. It was the first of many incredibly successful years in Elton John’s monumental career.

Levon sells cartoon balloons in town
His family business thrives
Jesus blows up balloons all day
Sits on the porch swing watching them fly
“.

elton and bernie

Left: Elton John (L) and Bernie Taupin (R) circa 1971. Right: Taupin (L) and John (R) circa 2016. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Elton John: “Levon” (1971, 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 524

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.

On Day 389 I shared a clip of Derek & The Dominos on “The Johnny Cash Show” which aired in January 1971. It was filmed two months earlier and featured the host & his guests singing a completely sublime version of “Matchbox” together with the song’s writer, Carl Perkins. But before that glorious moment, the group performed today’s pick from their only album released in November 1970. The studio sessions for that record, Layla & Other Assorted Love Songs began 51 years ago on August 22, 1970.

Eric Clapton first met the other Dominos-pianist & singer Bobby Whitlock, bassist Carl Radle and drummer Jim Gordon-in 1969. They were part of the band for the American duo Delaney & Bonnie who toured with Blind Faith that year. After the break-up of his group Clapton continued playing with the duo & their band which was rebilled as Delaney & Bonnie and Friends. Even George Harrison joined then for a few shows. But in the spring of 1970 Delaney started firing members of the group who demanded raises including the future Dominos. .

They reunited with Clapton during the studio sessions for Harrison’s All Things Must Pass album. After that Clapton & Whitlock began serious talks about forming a band and recruited Radle & Gordon as the rhythm section. The group flew to Florida to work with engineer Tom Dowd who Clapton knew from his time in Cream. Dowd took the band to see The Allman Brothers in concert, leading to Clapton’s meeting with Duane Allman. He ended up working with the group in the studio & played on all but three of the tracks on the Layla album. It was released three months later and it is one of my favorite records of all time.

And I wonder does she know
When she left me it hurt me so
I need your love baby please don’t make me wait
Tell me it’s not too late
“.

eric & bobby

Gordon and Radle

Top: Bobby Whitlock on piano and Eric Clapton on guitar during Derek & The Dominos appearance on “The Johnny Cash Show” in January 1971. Bottom: The rhythm section of the band: drummer Jim Gordon and bassist Carl Radle. (Images found online.  Original sources unknown.)

Derek & The Dominos: “It’s Too Late” (Performed live on “The Johnny Cash Show”, taped November 1970. Airdate January 1971. Originally released in 1970, written by Chuck Willis).

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 487

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.

After The Gold Rush is one of my favorite Neil Young albums. Released in 1970, it contains some of his best loved songs including the title track, “Only Love Can Break Your Heart” (Day 241), “Southern Man” and today’s song. It is a simple succinct sparse track that hit me inside in the way only Young can. There is such an elegant beauty yet undeniable sadness to his music I get lost in it. I find it brings me to a place of absolute joy & heartache all at once.

Now that you found yourself losing your mind
Are you here again
Finding that what you once thought was real
Is gone and changing
“.

N Young 1970

Neil Young circa 1970. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Neil Young: “I Believe In You” (1970, written by Neil Young).

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 444

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.

Last week we received the sad news that singer Billy Joe “B.J.” Thomas passed away at age 78. Whether you remember him from “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry”, “Hooked On A Feeling”, “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ On My Head”, “(Hey Won’t You Play) Another Somebody Done Somebody Wrong Song,” or other tunes, you know he was a fixture on AM radio in the early 1970’s before his foray into gospel music once he became sober in 1976.

But for me, today’s song is the one I remember best. It was on repeat in my house growing up as it was one of my mother’s favorites. I kept her worn out 45′ for sentimental reasons and I sing along when it is played on the 70’s channel because I can still recall every single word by heart.

It is a bittersweet memory that comes from those tunes that molded us when we were kids and transports us back to those days like a time machine. It may only last a few minutes, but what happens in that short amount of time is transformative. Rest in peace, BJ Thomas. Thanks for taking me home for a little while.

I just can’t help believing
When she slips her hand in my hand
And it feels so small and helpless
That my fingers fold around it like a glove
“.

BJ Thomas

BJ Thomas circa 1974. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

B.J. Thomas: “I Just Can’t Help Believing” (1970, written by Barry Mann & Cynthia Weil).

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 443

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.

Time for the first mid-week Motown break in June. Gladys Maria Knight was born 77 years ago on May 28, 1944 in the state named in her most famous song, Georgia. She started singing in her church choir when she was a child and never stopped. She & The Pips-her brother Merald “Bubba” Knight & their cousins William Guest and Edward Patten-enjoyed great success throughout their career which started in the 1950’s & lasted until Knight left to pursue a solo career in 1988. In addition to singing she has made countless appearances in films & on TV shows. Here is to 100 more birthdays for The Empress Of Soul & her remarkable voice.

You’re like a diamond
And she treats you like glass
Yet you beg her to love you
With me you don’t ask”.

gladys-knigh

Gladys Knight & The Pips circa 1972 (L-R): Edward Patten, Merald “Bubba” Knight, Gladys Knight and William Guest. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Gladys Knight & The Pips: “If I Were Your Woman” (1970, written by Gloria Jones, Clay McMurray and Pam Sawyer).

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 410

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.

On April 27, 1932 the man I had a standing date with every Sunday for most of my teenage years was born. Kemal Amin Kasem, known professionally as Casey Kasem, was born 89 years ago in Michigan. Not only was he the voice of Shaggy on Scooby-Doo and NBC announcements but he was also the DJ who hosted the weekly radio countdown program, American Top 40 (AT 40) for nearly three decades. And at the risk of sounding like a heathen, for years that show was more important to me than church. Music had become my faith my religion, my truth & my light. And Kasem led the way there each & every week.

His career in radio started when he became a sports announcer in high school. He continued on various radio programs when he was in college and for Armed Forces Radio while he was stationed in Korea during his time in the U.S. Army. Once he returned home he became a DJ for a station in Flint, Michigan. He bounced around several stations & states throughout the 1960’s and even took on small acting parts both on & off radio which led to his Scooby-Doo gig in 1969.

AT 40 started July 4, 1970. Kasem created the show with three other men as a means to boost Top 40 radio which was in decline then due to the emergence of album oriented rock (AOR) radio. Classic rock became my preferred choice of music by the time I was 12, but staying up to date with current songs & artists was important to me, too. Kasem offered behind the music information to listeners along with the chart progression of each song. Week after week, it was just Kasem & the records-no special guests or interviews needed. The music said everything that needed to be said. And in the rare moments that it didn’t, Kasem filled in the blanks.

Occasionally a song from outside the Top 40 was played, mostly in the form of the long distance dedication. For that Kasem would read a letter from a listener who would request a song for someone they were thinking of. I must admit I was not a fan of that part of the show. The message & the tunes were either too sappy or too maudlin for me. Plus they took precious time away from the real music on the chart. But when they were over, Kasem would recite one of his most famous lines: “And now, on with the countdown”.

The show ran until 1988 at which time Kasem signed a multi-million dollar deal to host a new show, Casey’s Top 40. Shadoe Stevens took over AT 40 which was cancelled in 1995. Kasem still owned the rights to the show’s name and revived it in 1998. He stayed until 2003 when Ryan Seacrest took over. It continues today, although the way sales are calculated now is as different as the industry is in this era of downloads & streaming services. But for me, nothing beat buying a new 45 record & finding out if I helped that song move up on the charts.

So in honor of Kasem & what he created, today I chose a song from the year the countdown started, 1970. I have already featured seven #1 songs from that year so I found one that hit the #2 spot to highlight. It is by the band Creedence Clearwater Revival (CCR) which was another group I enjoyed a lot, yet were on my periphery.

Their fifth album, Cosmo’s Factory, was released July 8, 1970 & included several of CCR’s well known songs: “Looking Out My Back Door”, “Run Through The Jungle”, “Up Around The Bend”, their cover of Marvin Gaye’s hit “I Heard It Through The Grapevine”, “Travelin’ Band” and its B side which is today’s song. And thanks to a local radio station which recently started playing classic AT 40 episodes every Sunday night, I still get to keep my weekly date with Kasem. He changed radio forever in the 1970’s & 1980’s & kept us all “reaching for the stars”.

Heard the singers playin’
How we cheered for more
The crowd had rushed together
Tryin’ to keep warm
“. .

Casey

CCR

Top: Casey Kasem at the mic circa 1970. Bottom: CCR’s 1970 album. (Images found online.  Original sources unknown.)

Creedence Clearwater Revival: “Who’ll Stop The Rain” (1970. written by John Fogerty).

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 408

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 in 1969 the band we would all come to know & love simply as “Chicago” released their first album. Chicago Transit Authority, the group’s self-titled debut record, introduced the world to what they described as a “rock & roll band with horns” on April 28, 1969. Their seven man sound became synonymous with the 1970’s and, thanks to a total of three lead singers taking turns at the mic, each song had its own unique style.

The album’s first three singles “Questions 67 & 68”, “Beginnings” and today’s track did not have any chart success upon initial release. But all three became Top 40 hits over the next two years when they were reissued, including today’s pick which was a Top Ten hit in 1970.

And I was walking down the street one day
Being pushed and shoved by people
Trying to beat the clock
Oh no I just don’t know
“.

CTA

The 1969 self-titled debut album by Chicago Transit Authority. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Chicago Transit Authority: “Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is” (1969, written by Robert Lamm).

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 397

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 marks the 105th birth anniversary of my beloved grandmother, Ida. It closely coincides with birthday #86 for legendary artist Loretta Lynn, who I discovered thanks to my grandmother’s love of country music. Lynn was born April 14, 1935 in Kentucky. The day before her 35th birthday, on April 13, 1970, she broke through the Grand Ole Opry’s glass ceiling when she became the first woman to earn a gold album with Don’t Come Home A-Drinkin’ (With Lovin’ On Your Mind). By October of the same year, she released yet another career defining album, Coal Miner’s Daughter. The title song was the story of her life which she turned into an autobiography in 1976 and then a movie in 1980.

My grandmother taught me many lessons about life while I was growing up intertwined with stories of her childhood living in New York City. And being a one dimensional tween at the time, that is how I saw her life-as a child and as my grandmother, giving no thought whatsoever about all the years she lived in between. But then one day we were watching one of the daytime talk shows where Lynn was discussing her book. She talked about how young she was when she got married, how naïve she was and how lonely she would get waiting for her husband to come home from work before she had her children to take care of.

A big reason why my grandmother liked Lynn was because she related to her early story as my grandmother was a young bride once, too (she got married when she was 18), even if I could not picture it at the time. Here were two women born twenty years apart in two different worlds who shared a similar background told in a song. The power of music will never cease to amaze me. Happy birthday, Loretta Lynn & happy heavenly birthday to my dear Idie.

Well a lot of things have changed since a way back then
And it’s so good to be back home again
Not much left but the floor, nothing lives here anymore
Except the memory of a coal miner’s daughter
“.

Loretta Lynn

Loretta Lynn circa 1974. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Loretta Lynn: “Coal Miner’s Daughter” (1970, written by Loretta Lynn).

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

Stay well.