Let’s Take A Moment Day 246

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.

On November 16, 1974 John Lennon hit the top of the charts with the first single from his “Walls and Bridges” album. The song was released in September of that year and Lennon’s friend, Elton John, provided harmony vocals & the piano track for the record. It was his way of thanking Lennon for playing guitar & singing back-up vocals on John’s cover of “Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds” recorded several months earlier (Lennon was credited as “Dr. Winston O’Boogie” on the cover to keep legal issues from the record company at bay).

John was so sure Lennon’s tune would become a #1 record John bet Lennon that if that happened, he would have to join John onstage at his concert at Madison Square Garden on November 28. Lennon agreed because he did not think the song would do that well. But between the upbeat get-you-up-on-your-feet tempo, Lennon’s incredible vocal with sing-along lyrics, John’s boogie- woogie playing style & a horn section that just owned every note they played, this song could not miss.

Once the song made it to the top of the chart, John reminded Lennon of the bet & he was almost physically sick the night of the show because he was terrified to take the stage. It had been a while since he played in a venue that large (The Beatles had stopped touring in 1966 & Lennon was playing smaller places as a solo artist). But all went well & the two men performed three songs together: the “Lucy” cover, today’s pick and a Beatles tune, “I Saw Her Standing There” (the live recording was released as the B-side to John’s single, “Philadelphia Freedom” in February 1975).

The original track featured Paul McCartney on lead vocal, so when Lennon introduced it to the audience, he said it was a song from “an old estranged fiance of mine, old Paul”. And the ecstatic crowd, who cut short their Thanksgiving feast to be at the John concert that night, heard the number one song in the country by Lennon as well as two Beatles songs. If there was ever a concert I wish I could have attended, this is one of them. And one of my favorite rock & roll stories ever.

I also believe this was the last time Lennon was ever on stage, or at least in an arena of this size. He was separated from his wife, Yoko Ono, for about 18 months at the time of this show. John invited her to the concert where she and Lennon reunited backstage afterwards. She gave birth to their son, Sean Ono Lennon, on Lennon’s birthday the next year. John was named Sean’s godfather.and Lennon became a stay at home dad to his son until he went back into the studio five years later to record “Double Fantasy”. It was released 40 years ago today on November 17, 1980.

In March 1982, John recorded “Empty Garden” in honor of Lennon. John performed the song in Madison Square Garden in August of that year and invited his godson and his mother on stage in tribute to Lennon.

Whatever gets you through your life
It’s all right, it’s all right
Do it wrong, or do it right
It’s all right, it’s all right

Don’t need a watch to waste your time
Oh no, oh no
“.

elton john john lennon

Elton & John

Elton and John backstage

Elton Sean circa 1982

Top two pictures: Elton John (left) and John Lennon (R) on stage at Madison Square Garden on November 28, 1974. Third picture: Lennon backstage with John & his band the same night (Lennon is third from left, standing with John to his right). Last picture (L_R): Sean Ono Lennon (age 6) & Yoko Ono join John on stage at his concert at the Garden in August 1982 after he performed his tribute song to Lennon, “Empty Garden”, (Images found online.  Original sources unknown.)

John Lennon featuring Elton John: “Whatever Gets You Through The Night” (1974, 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 237

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.

Time for another cautionary rock & roll tale. This one belongs to Gram Parsons who was born Ingram Cecil Connor III in Florida on Nov 5, 1946. He overcame a tough childhood (both parents were alcoholics, which led to his father’s suicide when Parsons was 12 & his mother’s from cirrhosis when he was in high school). He quit Harvard University in 1965 after one semester to pursue music, a talent he acquired when he learned how to play the piano as a child.

By the late 1960’s he met Chris Hillman of The Byrds & contributed to the band’s 1968 album, “Sweetheart Of The Rodeo”. It is considered to be one of the earliest country rock records due in large part to Parson’s influence of what he called “Cosmic American Music”. Then he & Hillman formed The Flying Burrito Brothers and continued with that sound.

It was also around this time that Parsons met The Rolling Stones and became fast friends with Keith Richards. The friendship centered around music and drugs, but the latter began to dominate Parsons life and career. By 1971 he had been dismissed from the Burrito Brothers & was all but kicked out of Richards house (and life) by his girlfriend and allegedly Mick Jagger as well. That is when Parsons started his solo work with a young female singer named Emmylou Harris, who provided harmony vocals for all his songs, including today’s pick.

It was written around 1960 with the original version credited to The Everly Brothers in 1961 followed by Roy Orbison’s rendition later the same year. But for the younger crowd, the more well known version of this song was released in 1974 by the band, Nazareth. That was my favorite rendition until I heard Parsons’. Since it is basically a duet with Harris, it highlights the sadness of the lyrics as if they were singing about their own heartbreak to each other. The slower tempo and stripped down musical arrangement only adds to the desolate feeling of the song. It is truly beautiful.

So is the version Richards performed with Norah Jones at the 2004 tribute concert for his old friend, who covered “Wild Horses” with the Burrito Brothers in 1970 for their second album. Parsons died in 1973 from a drug overdose at the age of 26. His second and final solo album, “Grievous Angel”, was released a year after he died and features today’s track.

Some fools think
Of happiness, blissfulness, togetherness
Some fools fool themselves, I guess
They’re not foolin’ me
“.

Gram Parsons

Harris and Parsons

Top: Gram Parsons circa 1972. Bottom: Emmylou Harris & Parsons circa 1972. (Images found online.  Original sources unknown.)

Gram Parsons featuring Emmylou Harris: “Love Hurts” (1974, written by Boudleaux Bryant).

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 217

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.

Today we celebrate the birthday of a brother. A Doobie Brother. Patrick Simmons was born 72 years ago today in 1948. He has been the only consistent member of the band since they first formed in California fifty years ago in 1970. He is a singer, songwriter & guitarist who wrote today’s song. It was the band’s first #1 record, hitting the top of the chart in March 1975. The song is from the band’s 1974 album which has one of the best titles for a record I ever heard, “What Were Once Vices Are Now Habits”.

They performed today’s pick back in April in their “Live In Isolation” series and the ending chorus featured clips of fans singing along with them from home videos. It was a fabulous way to connect with their audience. So many of us are missing live music, one of the great casualties of this virus. But the Brothers made it happen. They hold a special place in my heart as theirs was the first concert I ever attended. I adore their music and remain completely in love with 1978’s “Minute By Minute” album to this day.

The Doobie Brothers are part of the Class of 2020 R&R HOF Inductees that did not get their official ceremony in May since it was cancelled because of the pandemic. But they should have been inducted decades ago. The band’s first album came out in 1971, making them eligible for the HOF in 1996. That is according to the Hall’s rule which makes an artist first eligible 25 years after the release of their debut album. Do the math, everyone. The Doobie Brothers have waited nearly twice that long.

The band’s page on the Hall’s website even acknowledges this (“They have been a mainstay in the rock & roll landscape for nearly five decades”) yet offers no apology nor explanation for the delay. But do not get me started on that place since John Coltrane, Bad Company, Warren Zevon, Pat Benatar, Jim Croce & Tina Turner (as a solo artist) are also still waiting to get in. But Abba was inducted 10 years ago. Completely ridiculous.

Simmons is being inducted with fellow Brothers Tom Johnston, John McFee, John Hartman, Michael Hossack (1946-2012), Tiran Porter, Keith Knudsen (1948-2005), Jeff “Skunk” Baxter and Michael McDonald, who rejoined the group last year (yay!!!). The live ceremony has been revamped to “an exclusive special” to air on HBO & HBO MAX on November 7. In any case it will be a nice belated birthday gift for Simmons.

Well, I built me a raft and she’s ready for floatin’
Ol’ Mississippi, she’s callin’ my name
Catfish are jumpin’, that paddle wheel thumpin’
Black water keeps rollin’ on past just the same
“.

Doobies minute picture 1978

Top: The Doobie Brothers in 1978 (L-R, top to bottom): John Hartman, Patrick Simmons, Michael McDonald, Keith Knudsen, Jeff Skunk” Baxter & Tiran Porter. Bottom: The Brothers circa 2020: Simmons, Tom Johnston, John McFee & McDonald. (Images found online.  Original sources unknown.)

Doobie-Brothers-Clay-Patrick-McBride

The Doobie Brothers: “Black Water” (1974, written by Patrick Simmons).

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 155

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?

Charlie Brown No Music No Life

(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.

One of the things I really love about Carole King ‘s “Tapestry” album is how she used woodwind instruments on a few of her songs.  There is the beautiful flute solo at the end of “So Far Away” and the gorgeous sax solos on “It’s Too Late” & “Way Over Yonder”.  The man behind those performances was Curtis Amy, who was primarily known as a saxophone player.  You may not recognize his name but you most likely heard his work.  If you are a fan of The Doors, you heard his solo on “Touch Me“, especially towards the end of the song.  He also worked as the musical director for Ray Charles’ orchestra and played on songs by Dizzy Gillespie, Lou Rawls, Smokey Robinson, Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell, amongst others.  Amy also released nine of his own albums in the 1960’s.  His wife, Merry Clayton, is a singer & actress.  She sang backing vocals on “Tapestry” (most notably on “Way Over Yonder”) but her voice is best known from being featured in “Gimme Shelter” by The Rolling Stones.  She also had a major role in the movie, “Maid To Order” as Audrey James, the head housekeeper.

King co-wrote today’s song as a tribute to Amy’s sound.  As someone who loves woodwinds in music of any kind, I feel very blessed to have been introduced to his talent.  And today’s song earned King a nomination for Best Female Pop Performance at 1975’s Grammy Awards.  She lost to “I Honestly Love You” by Olivia Newton John.  I honestly cannot believe that.

When the jazzman’s testifyin’ a faithless man believes
He can sing you into paradise or bring you to your knees
It’s a gospel kind of feelin’, a touch of Georgia slide,
A song of pure revival and a style that’s sanctified“.

carole king

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Carole King:  “Jazzman” (1974, written by Carole King, music and David Palmer, lyrics).

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 146

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?

Charlie Brown No Music No Life

(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.

The first song that introduced me to The Electric Light Orchestra (ELO) was 1977’s “Telephone Line”.  When I bought the single, I was completely over the moon by the fact that instead of it being the typical black color, it was a lovely shade of green.  It was like having my very own piece of the Emerald City.  So cool.  After that I learned everything I could about the band that incorporated string arrangements and classical music into their songs.  That led me to their 1974 album, “Eldorado” which has a picture of Dorothy’s ruby red slippers with sparks shooting out at the bad witch’s hands.  Even cooler.  It also has today’s song on it which I adore.

I also adore Jeff Lynne, one of ELO’s founding members who was not only heavily influenced by the Fab Four, he is also responsible for giving the world a virtual Beatles reunion in 1994.  It was Lynne who took previously recorded vocals by John Lennon and overdubbed them with the three surviving members voices to give us “Free As A Bird” and “Real Love”.  For that alone we should all bow at Lynne’s feet.  He also co-founded  The Traveling Wilburys super group with George Harrison.  Let’s also remember that ELO’s music is so good it was one of the only bright spots of the movie, “Xanadu” (along with Gene Kelly’s dance moves, of course).  Lynne may be a multi-talented artist, but given my reverence for words, to me he will always be a man who has written some truly beautiful lyrics.

Bank job in the city
Robin Hood and William Tell
And Ivanhoe and Lancelot
They don’t envy me
Sitting ’til the sun goes down
In dreams the world keeps going ’round and ’round“.

The oh so cool green  “Telephone Line” single & ELO circa 1977 (R)  Jeff Lynne is fourth man from left.  (Images found online.  Original sources unknown.)

Electric Light Orchestra:  “Can”t Get It Out Of My Head” (1974, written by Jeff Lynne).

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 137

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 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.

Only two famous musicians are known to have played with both The Beatles as a group and then with all four members individually.  The first is my great love Eric Clapton, who played lead guitar on “While My Guitar Gently Weeps”, although he went uncredited on The White Album.  He then went on to play with Lennon in The Dirty Mac (along with Keith Richards on bass and Mitch Mitchell, the drummer from The Jimi Hendrix Experience) and on several songs by Lennon’s Plastic Ono Band.  Clapton played with Paul on his 2001 song, “Freedom” & at The Concert For George.  Clapton co-wrote “Badge” for Cream with George, played on his 1970 album, “All Things Must Pass” and appeared at The Concert For Bangladesh in 1971 with him as well.  Ringo was also at The Concert For Bangladesh and Clapton wrote music & played guitar for Ringo’s 1976 album, “Ringo’s Rotogravure” and 1983’s “Old Wave” amongst others.  Clapton also played with Ringo in person at The Prince’s Trust Concert in 1987 as well as The Concert For George in 2002.

The other musician to boast the same accomplishment with The Beatles was Billy Preston.  He was nicknamed “The Fifth Beatle” after playing organ for them on “Abbey Road” (on “I Want You (She’s So Heavy”) & “Something”), then he played electric piano on the “Let It Be” album and in the movie during the rooftop concert scene for “Get Back” & “Don’t Let Me Down”.  After the band broke up Preston played on John’s song “God”, on George’s album “All Things Must Pass” and at The Concert For Bangladesh.  Preston also played on a few of Ringo’s solo albums (1973’s self titled record & 2005’s “Choose Love”), in his All-Starr Band & at The Concert For George (where he sang a rousing version of “My Sweet Lord”) and played with Paul at this show as well.  And for added interest, Preston played Sgt. Pepper in the 1978 film of the same name where he sang his own version of “Get Back”.

He was hailed as a self-taught child prodigy who played with Mahalia Jackson & Nat King Cole by the ages of 10 and 11, respectively.  By the age of 16 he met The Beatles in Hamburg, Germany when he was playing with Little Richard’s band.  Later that year he played for Sam Cooke and five years later, he joined Ray Charles’ band.  He has played on several albums for The Rolling Stones and Eric Clapton while working on songs by artists like Luther Vandross, Patti LaBelle & The Band.  Preston also worked as the musical director for David Brenner’s short lived late night show, Nightlife, from 1986-1987.  He co-wrote today’s song with songwriter Bruce Fisher and both men also penned the Joe Cocker hit, “You Are So Beautiful” (there are rumors that Dennis Wilson of The Beach Boys had a hand in writing it as well but allegedly his brother Brian Wilson said that was not the case).  Preston died too young at the age of 59 in 2006 but left a legacy of great performances that showcase just how gifted he was.

Billy Preston in 2002 at The Concert For George (L) and as Sgy. Pepper (R) in the 1978 movie of the same name.  (Images found online.  Original sources unknown.)

Billy Preston:  “Nothing From Nothing” (1974, written by Billy Preston and Bruce Fisher).

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 123

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 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.

When I was 11 years old, I learned the lyrics to a song from the radio.  I only heard it once yet I knew the words to the chorus after one listen.  Yes, I had a good memory but most of the credit was due to the unique and catchy lyrics.  Even more impressive was the fact that the part of the song I learned was in French and before that I could not recall ever speaking one word in that language.  So the next time the song came on the radio, I sang along.  And my mother thought it was adorable.  Until a week later when her cousin told her what the words in french meant.

Voulez-vous coucher avec moi, ce soir?  Translation:  Do you want to sleep with me?

Even more shocking is the fact that this song was co-written by Kenny Nolan who had a hit in 1976 called “I Like Dreaming”.  How he got to that god-awful song from today’s is beyond me.  But thanks to his collaboration on today’s pick I discovered Patti LaBelle, her glorious voice and outrageous wardrobe.  Oh, and a song I was banned from ever singing again for all of eternity.  Which only made me love it that much more.  🙂

LaBelle

LaBelle circa 1975 (L-R):  Nona Hendrix, Patti LaBelle & Sarah Dash.  (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

LaBelle:  “Lady Marmalade” (1974, written by Bob Crewe and Kenny Nolan).

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 122

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 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.

Yesterday, July 15, marked another rock & roll birthday as Linda Ronstadt celebrated her 74th.  Her voice was one from two female singers that have followed me throughout my entire life-the other belonging to Aretha Franklin.  While no one can match The Queen of Soul, Ronstadt comes closer than anyone.  Her strong powerful voice, her multi-octave range, her musical diversity and her string of hits from the 1960’s through the 1990’s is what gives her that unique status.

And when I was obsessed with all things radio in 1978, she was featured in one of my favorite movies of all time, “FM” (think of a slightly darker “WKRP In Cincinnati” without Loni Anderson or that catchy theme song).  Ronstadt sang three songs in the film, “Tumbling Dice”, “Poor Poor Pitiful Me” & “Love Me Tender” during a concert that was broadcast live over the radio station featured in the movie.  It was a terrific scene because she is a great singer who gave us a fabulous catalog of music to enjoy forever.  She is also the one who introduced The Eagles to the world as they originally began their careers as members of her back-up band.  But they were on their own by the time she took today’s song to number one in February 1975.

Linda Ronstadt            Linda Ronstadt circa 1972.  (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Linda Ronstadt:  “You’re No Good” (1974, written by Clint Ballard Jr.).

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 121

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 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.

It is hard to believe today’s singer passed away 17 years ago this month at the extremely young age of 58.  Barry Eugene Carter, better known to fans around the world as Barry White, is another example of someone being saved by music.  He went to jail for four months when he was 16 for stealing.  It was there he heard Elvis Presley singing “It’s Now or Never” on the radio which White took as an inspirational message to straighten out his life.  As if we needed another reason to worship Elvis.

In their obituary of White, the New York Times said his “deep voice and lushly orchestrated songs added up to soundtracks for seduction”.  Between today’s song, “You’re the First, the Last, My Everything” and “It’s Ecstasy When You Lay Down Next to Me”, White found his musical niche and ran with it.  And it was fantastic.  So was every episode of “Ally McBeal” that featured White’s songs, especially the one where White himself appeared in April 1999.  Watching the entire cast dance in front of him was one of the highlight’s of that show for me and anyone else who adores the magic of this Icon of Love.

Barry White

  Barry White circa 2000.  (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Barry White:  “Can’t Get Enough Of Your Love, Babe” (1974, written by Barry White).

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

Stay well.