Let’s Take A Moment Day 250

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.

One of the things I have always enjoyed in music are the collaborations. Whether they take place on stage at the Grammy Awards or as a special guest appearance at a concert or on a record, I really look forward to hearing what two (or more) different artists will create. In 1981 there were several that I truly adored: James Taylor and J.D. Souther on “Her Town Too”, Gary U.S Bonds and Bruce Springsteen on “This Little Girl”, Stevie Nicks and Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers on “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around” and Nicks again with Don Henley on “Leather & Lace”.

The first two songs were Top 20 hits and both of Nicks’ records hit the Top Ten, so all four of those tracks were well received. But there was another musical partnership that year that barely made it into the Top 30 here in America. But on November 21, 1981 it hit the #1 spot on the UK chart. It was written and performed by two rock powerhouses-David Bowie and Queen-and between Bowie’s & Mercury’s vocals, the intensity of the band’s playing and the compelling thought-provoking lyrics, it was a one of a kind monstrous combination. Even the video was unique as it did not feature either artist. Instead, it was a collage of news clips from some of history’s toughest eras intertwined with scenes from black & white horror movies.

The song came together when Bowie joined Queen in the studio to record back-up vocals for a different song. Both artists were working on other tunes they could not finish. They put them together during an inspired jam session resulting in today’s magnificent track. I do not know why it was not a bigger hit here, but to me this song stands out as one of the best moments in musical history.

‘Cause love’s such an old fashioned word,
And love dares you to care for the people on the
Edge of the night, and love dares you to
Change our way of caring about ourselves”.

bowie and queen

Queen circa 1985 (L-R): Brian May, Freddie Mercury, John Deacon & Roger Taylor. Far right: David Bowie circa 1972, (Images found online.  Original sources unknown.)

Queen & David Bowie: “Under Pressure” (1981, written by David Bowie & Queen: John Deacon, Brian May, Freddie Mercury & Roger 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 233

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.

There were several words in the English language that scared me while I was growing up. The top two were “new wave”. They taught me that MTV was a double edged sword. Suddenly there were videos featuring that genre that were just not my thing at all. I did not get the sound of it, the feel of it or the look of it. But like most things, there were a couple of exceptions to those feelings including The Cars (Day 183), Blondie (Day 116), The Talking Heads and Squeeze. But while there were several songs from the first three artists I enjoyed, the last band had only one song I loved and that is today’s pick.

The rest of the songs I heard by Squeeze had the elements I was not fond of at all. But I did appreciate the talent of the band beginning with the nucleus of guitarists and songwriters Glenn Tilbrook and Chris Difford, who is celebrating his 66th birthday today. The song I adore features lead vocals led by Paul Carrack (the voice behind Ace and Mike & The Mechanics along with his solo records) with Tilbrook featured in the second verse with some help from one of the record’s producers, Elvis Costello. But with Carrack at the helm the song takes on a more R&B feel which is what usually pulls my soul in. The lyrics by Difford tell an interesting story of someone flirting with infidelity while the music by Tilbrook has a unique mesmerizing pull to it. The track never made it to the top 40 of the US charts but was featured prominently on FM radio and the performance video received heavy rotation in MTV’s early days. I think it is an absolutely spectacular record and it remains one of my all time favorite songs to this day.

I bought a novel, some perfume, a fortune all for you
But it’s not my conscience that hates to be untrue
I asked of my reflection, tell me, what is there to do?

squeeze carack

Squeeze 2018

Top: Squeeze circa 1981 (L-R): John Bentley (bass), Chris Difford (rhythm guitar, songwriter & backing vocals), Gilson Lavis (drums), Glenn Tilbrook (lead guitar, songwriter & vocals) & Paul Carrack (keyboards and vocals). Bottom (L-R): Tilbrook & Difford circa 2018. (Images found online.  Original sources unknown.)
Squeeze: Tempted(1981, written by Chris Difford and Glenn Tilbrook).

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 169

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?

Bruce 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.

I have loved “Saturday Night Live” since I was too young to see it.  But that did not stop me from doing so by secretly watching it in my room or on the weekends when I was out of the house babysitting.  By the fall of 1981, Lorne Michaels departed as producer and a whole new group of performers replaced the “Not Ready For Prime Time Players”.  The new producer, Dick Ebersol, attempted to reclaim some of the show’s old magic by hiring the first head writer for the show, Michael O’Donoghue.  His first tenure with the show was from 1975-1977 but his second one in 1981 was even shorter because of alleged problems with the cast due to his temper (by the mid 1980’s he re-established his writing talent as a co-writer of the screenplay for SNL alumni Bill Murray’s 1988 movie, “Scrooged”).

But while he was at SNL the second time O’Donoghue wrote today’s song.  It was performed by then cast member, Christine Ebersole, in a skit with her sitting in a bar.  No comedy, just her singing this incredible song with a piano accompaniment.  I remember watching that night, listening to her voice and being completely floored by her performance and the song itself.  She went on to do a lot of other things, including plays & guest TV appearances.  In 2005 I was lucky to see her on Broadway when she played M’Lynn in “Steel Magnolias”.  She was also in one of my favorite “Will & Grace” episodes from 2001 as a rival to Karen (season 3 episode 19).

Another woman heard this song and decided to record it.  Since that women is Dolly Parton (Truvy in the 1989 “Steel Magnolias” movie) you know her version is nothing short of fabulous.  It was a top ten hit for her in 1982 and features a wonderful sax arrangement.  I have struggled for months to pick just one of her incredible songs to share, and even though she did not write this one herself, I still think it is one of her best.  And SNL may have its ups and downs, but it is moments like the one created for today’s song that keeps me tuned in week after week because I know the magic of that show is just one surprising skit away.

And it’s gettin’ near to closing
And the seconds pass like years
Lots of friends to share the laughter
Not a one to share the tears“.

Christine Ebersole on SNL in 1981 and Dolly Parton as Truvy in “Steel Magnolias” from 1989.  (Images found online.  Original sources unknown.)

Dolly Parton:  “Single Women” (1982, written by Michael O’Donoghue).

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 68

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.

The birth of MTV introduced us all to the very talented singer/songwriter/guitarist Billy Squier.  His 1981 album “Don’t Say No” produced four big songs:  “The Stroke”, “My Kinda Lover”, “Lonely Is The Night” and today’s hit which is my absolute favorite.  And who else remembers his sing along holiday video, “Christmas Is The Time To Say I Love You“?  Sadly the same way MTV helped make his career it also broke it.  The video for his 1984 release “Rock Me Tonite” was viewed by many as a sell out to his rock roots, not to mention being criticized for what was perceived as a homosexual message (remember this was almost 40 years ago).  Over the years Squier has toured with Ringo Starr & His All-Starr Band while many hip-hop artists have sampled his music.  And most importantly, who can forget Chazz Michael Michaels’ “tsunami of swagger” to “The Stroke” in 2007’s masterpiece “Blades of Glory”?  🙂

Billy Squier

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Billy Squier:  “In The Dark” (1981, written by Billy Squier).

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

Stay well.