25 Days Of Christmas Music 2022: Day 1

Happy December, everybody!!!

December

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

We have officially arrived at the Christmas season so what better way to celebrate this festive time of year than with a daily countdown of great holiday songs to usher in the big day. All are welcome even if you are not a fan of this genre or you do not observe the holiday. Great music of any kind should be enjoyed by all.

We begin with an iconic artist who held his final U.S. concert last month at Dodger Stadium in California. It was also livestreamed so anyone who wanted to could watch the show that closed the American leg of his “Farewell Yellow Brick Road” tour. From the first time I heard “Daniel” I was completely enamoured with Sir Elton Hercules John and his impossibly prolific, eloquent & poignant lyricist, Bernie Taupin. It was one of the first records I ever bought for myself and John’s 1974 “Greatest Hits” compilation was the first album I ever owned. I have loved, adored and worshiped him for my entire life.

He has been a vital part of music and culture from day one. His artistry, his philanthropy, his 1997 Princess Diana tribute song, his foray into songs for film & Broadway and his own 2019 biopic, “Rocketman”, confirmed his legendary status while continuing his reign as one of the greatest artists of all time.

Even though my reverence for John knows no bounds, I have not been able to bring myself to watch his last concert yet. As happy as I am for him that he has found such happiness and contentment in his personal life with his husband and two sons, the idea of never attending another one of his shows just crushes my heart. It is a chapter I just do not want to close. But John deserves every blessing in life for his mere existence in this world for all the sublime music he has bestowed upon the world for over 50 years. His melodies & Taupin’s lyrics are love, light, hope & joy defined.

EJ 1975

ej 1975 B

EJ 2022

ej 2022 B

Top: Two images from Elton John’s 1975 concert at Dodger Stadium. Bottom: John’s last show in America at the same stadium in November 2022. The last photo shows John on stage the night of the show when he was joined on stage by his two sons and husband, David Furnish. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Elton John: “Step Into Christmas” (1973,written by Elton John and Bernie Taupin).

What are some of your favorite Christmas songs?

Until next time, happy listening!!!

Music Monday: May 2, 2022

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

Music Monday

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

May 6th marks my Dad’s 83rd birth anniversary. Both of my parents loved music & filled my childhood with some of the best. But as I got older my father did not always agree or understand the singer’s I fell in love with. In fact, he was not a fan of today’s artist until he heard “Someone Saved My Life Tonight” & today’s track. Then my father was a fan for life. And he was sitting right next to me the first time I heard today’s song live. I am so grateful for that experience & cherish that memory. Music is yet another powerful tie that binds our past, present & beyond.

Army picture

Elton 1975

Top: My father, Phil, in his army photo circa 1957. Bottom: Elton John at Dodger Stadium, 1975.

(Images found online.  Original sources unknown.)

Elton John: “Bennie & The Jets” (1973, written by Elton John and Bernie Taupin).

Stay safe & well.

Music Monday: March 28, 2022

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

Music Monday

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

We have another triple play this week to honor three of the biggest legends in music celebrating birthdays this month.

March 25 marked the 80th birth anniversary for the eternal Queen Of Soul, Aretha Franklin. Born in 1942 in Memphis, TN she remains the greatest female vocalist in the universe. It has been nearly four years since she died and just look at where we are without her.

Aretha

Aretha Franklin circa 1968. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

As if the gift of royalty was not enough to receive on March 25, that day also marked birthday #75 for Sir Elton John. Born in Pinner, UK in 1947 his voice is the one I discovered first out of the three artists featured today. I found him even before I found Springsteen. From the first moment I heard “Daniel”, I was captivated by John’s beautiful evocative voice & the music he created with the poetry of his sublime unbelievably talented collaborator, Bernie Taupin. These two men have been part of the soundtrack of my life ever since. It makes complete sense to me that while I was doing my Song Of The Day feature during 17 months of the pandemic, John appeared more than any other solo artist with 16 entries. He was second only to The Beatles who had 18 songs (Springsteen appeared 14 times, Clapton had 12 entries including two collaborations (but not counting his group entries) and Elvis had 11 songs, in case you were wondering).

Elton

Elton John circa 1970. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

The first album I ever bought was John’s 1974 compilation album, “Greatest Hits”. I thought my heart would break when he announced his retirement a few years ago. Apparently the entire planet needed more time to adjust to that news as well because thanks to the pandemic, his farewell tour has been extended. But if anyone deserves to be a happily retired father & husband left to raise his beautiful family in the peace of a life without work, it is John. He deserves every happiness he has given the world. And we all know that figure is immeasurable. Today’s pick for him is one of the most elegant & beautiful tracks from his extraordinary catalog.

This week Eric Clapton will celebrate his 77th birthday. Born March 30, 1945 in Ripley, UK, my life was altered forever the second I heard the opening riff of today’s song. And I have listened to music for decades since that moment & I still have not had anything hit me quite like that. Behold the power of Slowhand.

Clapton

Eric Clapton circa 1975. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Aretha Franklin: “(Sweet Sweet Baby) Since You’ve Been Gone” (1968, written by Aretha Franklin & Ted White).

Elton John: “I Need You To Turn To” (1970, written by Elton John and Bernie Taupin).

Eric Clapton / Derek & The Dominos: “Layla” (1970, written by Eric Clapton and Jim Gordon).

Stay safe & 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 500

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.

July 13th marked the 36th anniversary of the Live Aid benefit concerts. Elton John performed today’s song at the event’s UK show with George Michael and it was a great success. As much as I appreciated that version, nothing compares to the original for me.

I can’t find the right romantic line
But see me once and see the way I feel
Don’t discard me just because you think I mean you harm
But these cuts I have they need love to help them heal
“.

live aid

Elton John performing at Live Aid, July 1985. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Elton John: “Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me” (1974, 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 432

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 blog 2021

(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 1994 Elton John was inducted into The Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame. In his acceptance speech, he admitted he was not very good with words.

“I had someone to write my words for me and without him, the journey would not have been possible. I kind of feel cheating standing up here accepting because without Bernie, there wouldn’t of been any Elton John at all. And I would like him to come up and I would like to give this to him”. At that point Bernie Taupin joined him on stage, the two friends embraced and Taupin said one word: “Music”.

Today that legendary lyricist & poet who co-wrote all those beautiful & spectacular songs with John celebrates his 71st birthday. He helped create the soundtrack to my life & millions of others as well. Together they are one of the greatest & most important songwriting teams of all time, right up there with Lennon & McCartney, Bacharach & David and Leiber & Stoller.

Taupin was born May 22, 1950 in England. He grew up on a farm and wanted to become a journalist given his love for writing. When he was 17 years old, he answered an ad placed by a record company executive who was looking for new talent. Elton John, known then by his given name of Reginald Dwight, responded to the same one. That is how the two men met & began working as a team. Taupin wrote the words and gave them to John who set them to music.

They have countless hits together but it took them 53 years to finally win any awards for their exquisite work. In 2020 they received both a Golden Globe & an Academy Award for Best Original Song for “(I’m Gonna) Love Me Again” from the movie based on John’s life, “Rocketman”.

Taupin became a US citizen in 1990. He has been married to his fourth wife since 2004. They have two daughters together and live in California. I fell in love with him & John the first time I heard “Daniel” (Day 375) and I am filled with an abundance of gratitude everyday for these two immensely gifted extraordinary men.

Today’s song was released 49 years ago on May 6, 1972. It was my favorite from the first album I ever bought, Elton John’s Greatest Hits. Happy birthday, Bernie Taupin. May you see 100 more. Thank you for your words & your heart.

And all this science
I don’t understand
It’s just my job
Five days a week
“.

Bernie and Elton 1975

Oscar

Top (L-R): Bernie Taupin and Elton John circa 1975 with a few of the gold records they earned over the years. Bottom: John and Taupin in 2020 after winning the Oscar for “(I’m Gonna) Love Me Again” from the movie “Rocketman”. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Elton John: “Rocket Man” (1972, 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 416

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 blog 2021

(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 May 1975 Elton John released “Captain Fantastic & The Brown Dirt Cowboy”. More importantly, on May 6, 1939, my dad was born in NYC. His favorite song by John was on that album. Today’s track is dedicated to my dad with all my love on what would have been his 82nd birthday.

I’m strangled by your
Haunted social scene
Just a pawn outplayed
By a dominating queen
“.

elton john

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Elton John: “Someone Saved My Life Tonight” (1975, 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 390

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 10, 1970 the self titled album by Elton John was released. It was his first for North American audiences and his second in the UK. Some of its tracks included “Take Me To The Pilot”, “Border Song” and his first hit record which went on to become one of his most beloved & enduring songs. It is also unbelievably beautiful, especially the lyrics and the string & harp arrangements.

The birth of that record is a spotlight in the movie of John’s life, 2019’s “Rocketman”. When John participated in “Carpool Karaoke“, he told host James Corden that today’s tune was the one that made John believe he & lyricist Bernie Taupin had taken a huge step forward in their songwriting partnership. I also believe that was the understatement of the decade.

I sat on the roof and kicked off the moss
Well a few of the verses, well they’ve got me quite cross
But the sun’s been quite kind
While I wrote this song
“.

Bernie and Elton 1975

bernie elton 2020

Top (L-R): Bernie Taupin and Elton John circa 1975 with a few of the gold records they earned over the years. Bottom (L-R): Taupin and John in 2020 at the Golden Globe Awards celebrating their win for Best Original Song for the 2019 film “Rocketman”. (Images found online.  Original sources unknown.)

Elton John: “Your Song” (1970, 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 375

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?

March 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.

Yesterday marked another birthday for one of music’s elite, this one belonging to one of the earliest & greatest loves in my musical world. Reginald Kenneth Dwight, n/k/a Sir Elton John, was born 74 years ago on March 25,1947 in England. He acquired his stage name by combining the names of two musicians from his first band, Bluesology, Elton Dean and Long John Baldry.

Today’s song was a #2 hit in the US in 1973. It was the one that started it all for me & Elton. It was the second 45 I ever bought in my life and I cherish it to this day. It is why I fell in love with his voice, his sound and the words by his exquisitely gifted friend & lyricist, Bernie Taupin. The last time I heard it performed live was when Elton made his record setting 60th appearance at Madison Square Garden-on March 25, 2007-which was also his 60th birthday. It remains one of my favorite songs ever, not just by those two incredible songwriters, but of all time. Elton John’s voice is one of the best parts of my life.

They say Spain is pretty though I’ve never been
And Daniel says it’s the best place that he’s ever seen
He should know, he’s been there enough
Oh I miss Daniel, oh I miss him so much”.

Elton

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

Elton John: “Daniel” (1973, 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 345

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?

Feb 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 February 24, 1998 a a ceremony took place at Buckingham Palace where Elton John was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II. It may only be a title but it is one of the highest ones an individual may earn in Great Britain. It is bestowed upon people known for extraordinary public service. The fact that musical artists are recognized in this category speaks volumes for how the U.K. values the arts. And John has been outstanding in that regard for over fifty years. My love for this man and his astonishing lyricist Bernie Taupin knows no bounds. I think today’s track is one of the most beautiful songs from their extraordinary catalog.

Did you paint your smile on when I said I knew
That my reason for living was for loving you
We’re related in feeling, but you’re high above
You’re pure and you’re gentle, with the grace of a dove
“.

Elton and Bernie

Bernie and Elton

Top: Bernie Taupin (L) and Elton John (R), circa 1970. Bottom: Taupin (L) and John circa 2019. (Images found online.  Original sources unknown.)

Elton John: “I Need You To Turn To” (1970, 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.