Let’s Take A Moment Day 320

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?

Shakespeare music

(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.

Today marks the 52nd anniversary of The Beatles impromptu & now famous rooftop concert featured in the documentary, “Let It Be”. On January 30, 1969 The Fab Four went to the top of the Apple Records building in London to play a handful of songs before the police brought the miraculous event to a close. What initially gave their fans hope that the group was testing the waters to start touring again soon became the heartbreaking reality that this was The Beatles final public performance as they disbanded in April of the following year.

Can you imagine leaving your office for lunch on an otherwise ordinary day, go walking down the street to get something to eat and suddenly hear the most famous group in the world playing music from a few blocks away? In today’s clip you can see some of those lucky people standing next to the makeshift stage while others gathered on the street below. The only thing missing is a shot of Billy Preston playing those funky keyboard parts. But you can clearly hear him playing with everything he had on the songs the group performed that day including “I Dig A Pony”, “I’ve Got A Feeling”, “One After 909”, “Get Back” and today’s song. Eventually they would all be released on the “Let It Be” album.

I saw the documentary when I was barely a teenager & the thing I remember so vividly about it, aside from the remarkable music, was how different they all looked from the images I had in my head of their mop-top days. The decade changed them and not just because it was the decade of change. They were four young men from a small town in England who played in a band & ended up changing the course of music history. They conquered the world while it was changing and while they were changing. They were growing up, falling in love, starting families all while navigating the enormous price of fame. They were trying to find happiness & eventually discovered they could not achieve that together.

As much as it might have hurt to see them going their separate ways, it was heartwarming to hear how happy John Lennon was, especially on today’s song. The raw passion of his intense vocal was an announcement of his finding love “for the first time” and how it changed him from the inside out. He & his bandmates deserved that & so much more for everything they did for us.

I’m in love for the first time
Don’t you know it’s gonna last
It’s a love that lasts forever
It’s a love that had no past
“.

The-Beatles-Rooftop-500

The Beatles on the roof (L-R)” Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, John Lennon and George Harrison. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

The Beatles: “Don’t Let Me Down” (Live rooftop performance recorded January 30, 1969. Released in 1970, written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney).

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 263

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 this day in 1971 Sly & The Family Stone hit the #1 spot with today ‘s song where it would stay for three weeks. It spent five weeks at the top of the R&B chart as well. It was released Nov 9, 1971 and by December 4 it was the number one record in the country. Unfortunately, it was to be the group’s third & final top selling hit. But what a way to go out.

This tune was a departure for the group because this was more of a solo effort for Stone. He not only wrote, produced, arranged and sang today’s song but he also played bass guitar, electric guitar and programmed the drum box. Two of his musician friends joined him on the track-Billy Preston on electric piano & Bobby Womack on rhythm guitar-and Stone’s sister, Rose, sang the refrain. So despite its title, this song was not a “family affair” by group standards. But it was still a fabulous record and a testament to Stone’s immense talent.

One child grows up to be
Somebody that just loves to learn
And another child grows up to be
Somebody you’d just love to burn
“.

Sly and family

Rose Stone (L) and Sly Stone (Right, front) with The Family Stone circa 1971. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Sly & The Family Stone: “Family Affair” (1971, written by Sly Stone).

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 252

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.

A few days before starting my last year of junior high, I went shopping with a friend to buy a new pair of shoes for the school year. My dad gave me the money to buy them and decided I was now old enough to go on my own for this yearly tradition. As my friend and I were walking through the mall, I spotted a newly opened record store. I think you know what happened next.

I went in “just to look” & inhale the fabulous rows upon rows of vinyl records in a store five times the size of the one I usually shopped in near my house. My friend grew concerned, however, when she noticed my glassy eyed stare as I flipped through the H bin and found, in all of its magnificent glory, George Harrison’s 1970 three album boxed set solo masterpiece, “All Things Must Pass”. This record had eluded me for years because each time I went to buy it either it was sold out or too expensive. And the only way I could buy it that day was to use my shoe money. My friend reminded me of the wrath and possible body cast that I would get from my father if I made such a reckless choice. But to me it was a no brainer and clearly worth the risk, so I bought the album. I could figure a way out of the hole I dug myself into later. For now, I was on a high that even my friend’s look of sheer horror could not shake me from.

She still had to buy her own shoes so off to that store we went. As I sat next to her while she tried on multiple pairs, I got lost in the reverie of my first boxed set as I read through the song listings and the liner notes. But my friend kept asking my opinion on her options so I left my happy place to offer my help. I liked her final choice and decided when I came back, I would buy the same pair. I also decided I should try them on then & there so it would save me some time on my next trip. But they did not have any size that fit me as that summer my feet turned into cruise ships. The clerk told me he could order a bigger size and it would take about a week to come in. The music gods had smiled on me. My dad would tell me to hold onto the money to pick up the shoes when they came in and with a steady babysitting gig I could earn back the cash I had spent on the album. Win win.

That night I bathed in the glory of The Quiet Beatle, The Spiritual Beatle, The Youngest Beatle. Both versions of “Isn’t It A Pity” were glorious as was the title track, “Beware Of Darkness”, the cover of Dylan’s “If Not For You”, the track he wrote with Harrison, “I’d Have You Any Time” and today’s song. It was the album’s first single released 50 years ago today November 23, 1970. It featured an array of guest performers including former Beatle Ringo Starr on drums & percussion, Billy Preston on piano and five musicians on acoustic guitar in addition to Harrison: Eric Clapton, Peter Frampton and three members of the first band signed to The Beatles’ Apple label, Badfinger (Pete Ham, Tom Evans & Joey Molland). But it was Harrison’s vocal & slide guitar arrangement that put the song over the top. And the love for the tune was universal as it went to #1 in the US, the UK and 15 other countries. This was the record that told the world that as great as he was in The Beatles, Harrison was a star all on his own.

I really want to see you
Really want to be with you
Really want to see you Lord
But it takes so long, my Lord

All_Things_Must_Pass_BW

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

George Harrison: “My Sweet Lord” (1970, written by George Harrison).

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 133

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.

In 1962 trumpeter, songwriter, vocalist and bandleader Herb Alpert founded A&M Records with his business partner, Jerry Moss.  The name of the label came from the first letter of both men’s last names.  It took six years for the record company to have its first number one record when today’s song by Alpert hit the top spot in June 1968 for four straight weeks.  It was also his first number one song and the first for the songwriters, Burt Bacharach and Hal David.  After that the record company and all three men were off for a fabulous ride.  By 1972 the label was one of the most successful in the world.

It was sold in 1999, but during its 37 year run it was home to diverse artists such as Billy Preston, The Carpenters, Peter Frampton, Procol Harum, Cat Stevens (n/k/a Yusuf), Quincy Jones, Carole King, Barry White and a host of others.  But Alpert remains my favorite of them all thanks to his 1965 album, “Whipped Cream & Other Delights”, and today’s song thanks to his soft easy vocal and the absolutely lovely lyrics by Hal David.

My hands are shakin’ don’t let my heart keep breaking ’cause
I need your love, I want your love
Say you’re in love, in love with this guy
If not I’ll just die“.

Herb Alpert circa 1965 (R) and that year’s album cover for “Whipped Cream & Other Delights.  (Images found online.  Original sources unknown.)

Herb Alpert:  “This Guy’s In Love With You” (1968, written by Burt Bacharach and Hal David).

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 100

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?

Kerouac

(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.

Day 100.  It needs to be commemorated with a special performance of a phenomenal song.  That leads me to my favorite Beatle, George Harrison.  The year was 1968 and he had just written a staggering song that he felt needed the artistry of another guitarist to complete.  But there was a lot of resistance from the other Beatles as they were not known to have other famous musicians join them for recordings.  George persevered and in his infinite wisdom he asked his friend, Eric Clapton, to play lead guitar for today’s song.  That made him one of only two musicians to work with the Beatles in the studio (the other was Billy Preston who joined the band for the recording of the “Let It Be” album and is featured prominently on the song “Get Back”).  Clapton was a superstar in his own right thanks to the enormous popularity he achieved with the band, Cream.  Even today he is considered to be one of the best guitar players in the world. George’s song became a huge success and finally put him on a level of songwriting with Lennon & McCartney.

Thirty three years later, in November 2001, my favorite Beatle died of cancer at the young age of 58.  A year later, The Concert For George was held in England under the guidance of Harrison’s widow, Olivia and his son, Dhani, also a guitarist.  The musical director for the show was Clapton.  The show featured the two surviving Beatles, Paul McCartney & Ringo Starr, the surviving members of Harrison’s other band, The Traveling Wilburys (Bob Dylan, Jeff Lynne & Tom Petty), Preston and several other musicians who had worked with Harrison on his solo records.

All the music performed was written by Harrison and his son played with the band.  Today’s song features Clapton & McCartney sharing vocals with Clapton playing lead guitar just like he did in 1968.  He also used one of Harrison’s guitars in another sweet tribute to his friend.  I love Clapton and he did an astounding job with this song, giving it everything he has as he always does.  But for me, the best part of the performance is at the end when Harrison’s son pats Clapton on the back for a job well done.  Their exchange is really touching, which is exactly the emotion great music should evoke.

So, George Harrison my favorite Beatle, today’s song is in your honor.  Thank you for the great music, the lessons in spirituality and for helping me discover Clapton through your invitation for him to play on this song all those years ago.  You are loved and missed every single day.

Eric and Dhani
Eric Clapton (L) and George Harrison’s son, Dhani, at The Concert For George on November 29, 2002.  (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Eric Clapton & Paul McCartney:  “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” from The Concert For George, 2002 (written by George Harrison in 1968),

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

Stay well.