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.

Music Monday: January 31, 2022

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

Music Monday

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

February 3 will mark the 63rd anniversary of “The Day The Music Died”. On that day in 1959 three musical artists-Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens & Jiles Perry (J.P.) Richardson, a/k/a “The Big Bopper”-along with their pilot were killed in a plane crash in Clear Lake, Iowa. All three performed as part of The Winter Dance Party Tour just hours before. The cause of the crash was never determined but it remains one of the biggest tragedies to ever occur in music history.

Many people were affected by this devastating event but only one put it into words in such an eloquent stirring way set to music. It was released 12 years after the crash in to a world that looked completely different than it did on that winter’s night in 1959. Yet it struck a nerve with nearly everyone who heard it and gave the singer & the three musicians who died over a decade earlier a perfect narrative to mark their places in history.

“But February made me shiver
With every paper I’d deliver
Bad news on the doorstep
I couldn’t take one more step

I can’t remember if I cried
When I read about his widowed bride
But something touched me deep inside
The day the music died
“.

three singers

Don

Top (L-R): Jiles Perry (J.P.) Richardson, a/k/a “The Big Bopper”, Buddy Holly & Ritchie Valens. Bottom: Don Mclean’s 1971 album. (Images found online.  Original sources unknown.)

Don McLean: “American Pie” (1971, written by Don McLean).

Stay safe & well.

25 Days Of Christmas Music 2021: Day 23

Hello, everyone. Welcome back to the countdown.

silver bells

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

I try to present a variety of songs & artists every year on this countdown to make it as fun and diverse as possible. However, I do struggle each December to pick just one song by Elvis Presley. He recorded so many holiday tunes and each one was absolutely glorious. This year was a little easier because this track was one of the first seasonal songs I heard on the radio this year. As soon as I did I realized it was the feature for 2021. All hail The King, especially at Christmas time.

City sidewalks busy sidewalks
Dressed in holiday style
In the air there’s a
Feeling of Christmas”.

Elvis

Santa meets Elvis circa 1958. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Elvis Presley: “Silver Bells” (1971, written by Ray Evans and Jay Livingston).

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!!!

25 Days Of Christmas Music 2021: Day 8

Hello, everyone. Welcome back to the countdown.

Day 8

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Today’s song was released 50 years ago on December 1, 1971. We lost the enigmatic singer behind it 41 years ago today. His death remains one of the saddest moments of my life. But this track along with the rest of his legendary catalog helps me & the rest of his fans across the universe remember how alive his spirit and his heart remain in our world. Merry Christmas, John.

So this is Christmas 
And what have you done
Another year over
A new one just begun
“.

John

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

John Lennon & Yoko Ono and The Plastic Ono Band with The Harlem Community Choir: “Happy Xmas (War Is Over)” (1971, written by John Lennon & Yoko Ono).

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 544

9 11

(Photo by Thomas E. Franklin 09/11/2001)

Imagine there’s no heaven
It’s easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky

Imagine all the people
Livin’ for today

Imagine there’s no countries
It isn’t hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too

Imagine all the people
Livin’ life in peace

You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will be as one

Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man

Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world

You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will live as one
“.

John Lennon, “Imagine”, 09/09/1971.

John_Lennon_Imagine_1971

John Lennon circa 1971 in his white room. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

John Lennon: “Imagine” (1971, written by John Lennon).

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 522

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.

Robert Anthony Plant was born 73 years ago on August 20, 1948 in Staffordshire, England. His love for music, specifically blues music, developed early. By age 16 he started pursuing his dream of singing professionally and joined several bands trying to find the right one. In 1968 a guitarist looking for a lead vocalist heard Plant sing and that is how he and Jimmy Page joined forces.

They began writing songs together, formed Led Zeppelin along with John Paul Jones and John Bonham and released the band’s debut album on Atlantic Records in January 1969. Plant went on to an incredibly successful solo career after the band broke up in 1980. He is regarded to be one of the greatest singers of all time in rock music. Happy birthday, Robert Plant. Here’s to 100 more.

There’s a sign on the wall but she wants to be sure
‘Cause you know sometimes words have two meanings
In a tree by the brook there’s a songbird who sings
Sometimes all of our thoughts are misgiven
“.

Plant 1974

Plant 2004

Top: Robert Plant circa 1974. Bottom: Plant circa 2004. (Images found online.  Original sources unknown.)

Led Zeppelin: “Stairway To Heaven” (1971, written by Jimmy Page and Robert Plant).

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 512

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.

I may hate the Bee Gees for all of eternity for their disco foray, but before those unfortunate years, they made some very good music together. And today’s track is the one that put them on the map here in America. It was released in May 1971 and by August 7th of that year, it had become the #1 song in the country. It stayed in that position for four consecutive weeks giving the group their first number one record in the United States. The harmony of the brothers’ voices, the slow gorgeous string & trumpet arrangements and the melancholy feel of a sad love song made this track unbelievably beautiful.

My mother was insanely in love with this tune. I do not believe there was a moment in my childhood that I did not hear this song at least ten times a day. It is the one song I most closely identify her with. Even when I hear the extraordinarily great cover by soul legend Al Green, my first thought is about my mother. I can still recall the look of pure joy on her face whenever she listened to this track. Those were some of best moments of my life. And for the same reasons this song breaks my heart every time I hear it as well. I guess that is the definition of bittersweet, as are the lyrics.

I can still feel the breeze that rustles through the trees
And misty memories of days gone by
We could never see tomorrow
No one said a word about the sorrow
“.

Bee Gees circa 1970

The Bee Gees circa 1970 (L-R): Barry, Robin and Maurice Gibb. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

The Bee Gees: “How Do You Mend A Broken Heart” (1971, written by Barry Gibb and Robin Gibb).

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

Stay well.

Let’s Take A Moment Day 503

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.

Forty years ago today TV became all about the music. MTV premiered on Aug 1, 1981 and suddenly our homes were the best seats in the house for great music. Of course, there were plenty of terrible songs with terrible videos to go around as well but by the end of the decade, the music video was mostly a masterful work of art.

One of my favorite things about MTV was the “Unplugged” series which made its debut in 1989. There is such an elegance to acoustic music & the powers that be at the video channel saw that and turned it into an award winning franchise. Many artists had huge live records courtesy of these shows, especially Eric Clapton. His 1992 album won 3 Grammy Awards and became the best selling album of his career.

Many of my other favorite artists participated in the series, too, including Bruce Springsteen, Neil Young, Tony Bennett and Rod Stewart. His 1993 Unplugged…And Seated album produced several hits including today’s song. It was originally released 50 years ago on his 1971 album Every Picture Tells A Story. His old “Faces’ bandmate, Ron Wood, played on that album with him & was seated to Stewart’s right during the MTV performance. It was a great testament to both music & friendship all wrapped up into one fabulous show.

If I gave you time to change my mind
I’d find a way just to leave the past behind
Knowing that you lied straight faced while I cried
Still I look to find a reason to believe”.

Unplugged

Rod Stewart’s 1993 album, Unplugged…And Seated. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Rod Stewart: “Reason To Believe” (recorded live during “Unplugged…And Seated, February 1993 & released May 1993. Originally recorded in 1971. Written by Tim Hardin).

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 502

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.

1971 was without a doubt the greatest year of Carole King’s career. Not only was her monumental album, Tapestry, a huge smash but so was the first single. The double sided hit of “I Feel The Earth Move” & “It’s Too Late” (Day 460) was in the #1 spot for five weeks that summer.

Two weeks after that triumph, another one of her songs recorded by one of her friends hit the top of the chart as well.. On July 31, 1971 James Taylor had the #1 record in the country for one week with today’s track. King’s original recording is on her groundbreaking album, but it became one of Taylor’s signature songs. And that all started 50 years ago today.

You just call out my name
And you know, wherever I am
I’ll come running
To see you again
“.

King And Taylor

American singer-songwriters James Taylor and Carole King. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)

James and Carole 2010

 Top (L-R): James Taylor and Carole King circa 1970. Bottom (L-R): Taylor and King in 2010. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

James Taylor: “You’ve Got A Friend” (1971, written by Carole King).

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

Stay well.