25 Days Of Christmas Music 2022: Day 8

Hello, everyone. Welcome back to the countdown.

Day 8A

A sweet vintage Christmas card image found on Pinterest. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

“So this is Christmas
And what have you done
Another year over
And a new one just begun
And so this is Christmas
I hope you have fun
The near and the dear ones
The old and the young

A very Merry Christmas
And a Happy New Year
Let’s hope it’s a good one
Without any fear

And so this is Christmas
For weak and for strong
For rich and the poor ones
The war is so long
And so happy Christmas
For black and for white
For yellow and red ones
Let’s stop all the fight

A very Merry Christmas
And a Happy New Year
Let’s hope it’s a good one
Without any fear

So this is Christmas
And what have we done
Another year over
And a new one just begun
And so happy Christmas
We hope you have fun
The near and the dear ones
The old and the young

A very Merry Christmas
And a Happy New Year
Let’s hope it’s a good one
Without any fear

War is over if you want it
War is over
Now”.

Merry Christmas, John. You are missed. Every. Single. Second.

John_Lennon_1969_(cropped)

John Lennon circa 1969. (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).

What are some of your favorite Christmas songs?

Until next time, happy listening!!!

25 Days Of Christmas Music 2022: Day 2

Hello, everyone. Welcome back to the countdown.

day 1

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Yesterday’s song was by Elton John who is retiring from the road. Well, as one legend leaves the live stage, another one has returned to it in an incredibly triumphant way. Joni Mitchell performed at the Newport Folk Festival this summer after years of recovery from a medical event. It was a glorious moment for her and those of us who have followed her career and believed in her words, music, talent and artistry.

I learned she was slowly making her way back over the last few years by hosting “Joni Jams” in the living room of her home to play with many of her famous friends. Now Mitchell has announced some show dates for 2023. And on the subject of Elton John again, he hosted an episode of his Rocket Hour show last month right from Mitchell’s house. It is an absolutely delightful interview in which John pointed out “music brought her back to life”. Amen. Say it with me: Music is the answer.

Today’s pick is one of Mitchell’s most beloved and most covered tracks. I love the original version she recorded for her 1971 album, Blue. It was reissued last year for its 50th anniversary and went to #1. My absolute favorite cover of this track was recorded by actor Robert Downey Jr. in 2000 for his role as Larry Paul on “Ally McBeal”. It has a cello arrangement that is absolutely exquisite. In the spirit of this giving season, I am presenting both for your enjoyment.

Welcome back, Joni Mitchell. We missed you.

It’s coming on Christmas
They’re cutting down trees
They’re putting up reindeer
And singing songs of joy and peace
“.

Joni

robert downey jr

Top: Joni Mitchell on stage at the Newport Folk Festival in July 2022. Bottom: Robert Downey Jr. circa 2000. (Images found online.  Original sources unknown.)

Joni Mitchell: “River” (1971, written by Joni Mitchell).

Robert Downey Jr.: “River” (2000, written by Joni Mitchell).

What are some of your favorite Christmas songs?

Until next time, happy listening!!!

Music Monday: October 10, 2022

Hi, everyone. Welcome to another edition of Music Monday.

Music Monday

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Yesterday marked the 82nd birth anniversary for John Winston Ono Lennon. Born October 9, 1940 in Liverpool, England his short 40 years on this earth were marked by incredibly low lows (the death of his mother when he was 15, the death of his friend & bandmate Stuart Sutcliff who died from a brain anuerysm at age 21 in 1962, the death of The Beatles manager Brian Epstein from an overdose in 1967) and the highest of highs (his remarkable gift & talent helped him change music, culture and the world, he remains one of the top songwriters of all time, he found his great love, he had two sons).

Lennon used his celebrity for causes he believed in, most notably his quest to bring love and peace to the world being ravaged by war in the late 1960’s. He challenged the standards set by society in 1975 when he decided to put his carereer on hold to be a stay at home father & husband. And he knew when it was time to bring his musical talent back to the masses five years later.

Sending “limitless undying love” across the universe today and always to John Lennon.

I was trying to catch your eyes
Thought that you was trying to hide
I was swallowing my pain
I was swallowing my pain
“.

Lennon

John Lennon circa 1974. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

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

Stay safe and well.

Music Monday: October 3, 2022

Hi, everyone. Welcome to October and another edition of Music Monday.

Music Monday

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Yesterday marked birthday number 77 for the man who gave us one of the greatest musical anthems of all time. Don McLean, the singer & songwriter behind the 1971 smash, “American Pie”, was born October 2, 1945 in New Rochelle, New York. He developed a love for music early in his life and by his teenage years he was learning to play guitar while finding his voice. After the enormous success of his biggest hit, McLean earned his indelible place in music history. Today he is performing on his 50th anniversary tour and paying tribute to Veterans along the way (see his website for more details).

I am a big fan of so much of his music. from songs he has written himself (“And I Love You So”, “Castles In The Air” and “Vincent”) to the incredible covers he has done (“Crying” and “Since I Fell For You”). But it is today’s song, also from the “American Pie” album released 51 years ago this month, that is my absolute favorite. It may not have the pagentry or imagery of his most recognized track, but it is yet another moving tale told through McLean’s gift for introspective poetry. I list it in the “it-is-so-beautiful-it-hurts” category because my heart just aches every time I hear it. But in such an undeniably good way.

From the gentle piano arranmgement to the pensive yet ultimately hopeful lyrics to the understated but moving vocal performance, McLean delivers a tale of finding out he ended up exactly where he was supposed to be all along, despite how many wrong turns he thought he made. And we are all so incredibly lucky that his road met ours and took us on the path that included such an immense talent as his. Happy birthday, Don McLean.

“But I’m all tied up on the inside
No one knows quite what I’ve got
And I know that on the outside
What I used to be I’m not anymore”.

You know I’ve heard about people like me
But I never made the connection
They walk one road to set them free
And find they’ve gone the wrong direction
“.

Don McLean circa 1971

Don McLean circa 1971. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

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

Stay safe and well.

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.