Music Monday: March 6, 2023

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

Bruce quote 2023

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

This month marked what would have been the 73rd birthday for a women whose voice was gentle, clear and beautiful. Karen Carpenter was born on March 2, 1950 in New Haven, CT but moved to Downey, CA when she was a teenager . That is where she joined her brother, Richard, in his musical endeavors. That partnership eventually brought the siblings international fame as The Carpenters in the 1970’s for their soft rock, middle of the road sound, led by her smooth rich contralto voice.

Her distinctive range gave her the ability to hit every note gloriously, especially the low ones. She delivered each song perfectly in such an effortless way, which just underscored the true gift she was blessed with. It is hard to believe we have been without it for the last 30 years. She died on February 4, 1983, at the age of 32 as one of the first people to lose the fight against anorexia.

I have writen before that I wish life had given her more happiness than just that iconic voice. A rigorous touring schedule left her little time for much of a personalĀ or social life, while her divorce robbed her of her dreams to be a wife and mother, as she reportedly longed to be. Luckily her successful career came with many of its own rewards and her talent as a female drummer made her a hero & inspiration to little girls everywhere, including me.

Long ago and oh so far away
I fell in love with you before the second show
Your guitar it sounds so sweet and clear
But you’re not really here it’s just the radio

Richard and Karen Ckaren_carpenter3

Left: Richard and Karen circa 1970. Right: The siblings behind their instruments of choice-Karen on the drums and Richard at the piano, circa 1971. (Images found online.  Original sources unknown.)

The Carpenters: “Superstar” (1971, written by Bonnie Bramlett and Leon Russell).

Stay safe & well.


Let’s Take A Moment Day 248

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.

It’s funny how certain dates follow people throughout their lives. For example, on November 7, 1972 The Divine Miss M, Bette Midler’s debut album, was released. Not only did it get a Grammy nomination for Album of the Year but Midler won the Best New Artist Award for that record. On the same date in 1979, Midler’s movie, “The Rose” came out. It gave her a top five hit with the song of the same name (Day 50) and earned her an Oscar nomination for Best Actress.

I cannot remember the first time I saw Midler. I believe it was on a TV variety show before I saw an HBO special of hers based on her nightclub act from the 1970’s. But that is the one that stuck. I was completely taken with her voice, her fearless & commanding stage presence and her comedy. And as fabulous as the up-tempo songs were, it was the ballads that completely captivated me. When I heard her debut album, I fell in love with her cover of one of Leon Russell’s most beautiful songs. It was co-written by Bonnie Bramlett of “Delaney & Bonnie” fame who sang the original version in 1969 featuring Eric Clapton on guitar. Swoon.

This song was a hit for The Carpenters in 1971 and it was that interpretation that led to Chris Farley and David Spade’s unbridled emotional sing along in the 1995 movie, “Tommy Boy”. Karen Carpenter’s version is heartbreakingly beautiful without a doubt, but with the increased tempo of the chorus you are given a chance to breathe. Midler’s cover just crushes you from start to finish. It is not just her sadness that is palpable but her agony as well, especially by the end of the track. It is simply sublime.

Long ago, and, oh, so far away
I fell in love with you before the second show
Your guitar, it sounds so sweet and clear
But you’re not really here, it’s just the radio


(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Bette Midler: “Superstar” (1972, written by Bonnie Bramlett and Leon Russell).

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

Stay well.