Happy birthday, Bossman!

Today we wish the man known as “The Boss” the happiest of birthdays.

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Bruce Springsteen circa 1973. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Born September 23, 1949, Bruce Frederick Joseph Springsteen has been an integral part of the American music canvas for nearly 50 years. In the last one alone he has announced a new tour, sold his song catalog for an astonishing but incredibly well deserved 500 million dollars, released a film featuring his perfomances at the 1979 “No Nukes” concerts and was featured in a book based on his 2021 podcast with former president Barack Obama, Renegades: Born in the USA. He also became a grandfather. And that is just one 12 month stretch in Springsteen’s extraordinary life & career.

I am thankful every day for this man, his art, his poetry, his music, his heart, his soul and his mind. It has been an extraordinary privledge and experience to be part of his audience all these years, to be part of his narrative and to cheer for him at a show. He has won almost every award and honor there is yet he continues to give us everything he has during his marathon concerts. As Bono so eloquently put it when he inducted Springsteen into the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame, “He’s not the Boss-he works for us!”

Happy birthday, Bruce. Thanks for every note and every word. Cent’anni.

Now promise me baby you won’t let them find us
Hold me in your arms, let’s let our love blind us
Cover me, shut the door and cover me
I’m looking for a lover who will come on in and cover me
“.

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Bruce Springsteen performing at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, MA on 09/14/2016 (yes, I was there!!!). (Image courtesy of me!)

Bruce Springsteen: “Cover Me” (1980, written by Bruce Springsteen).

Stay safe & well.

Music Monday: Sept 12, 2022

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

Music Monday

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Before we get to our song, let me pay tribute to four women who are quite dear to me. On September 14, 1985 my Girls, the world’s Girls, “The Golden Girls” debuted on NBC. And they have not left the airwaves in the last 37 years, living on in syndication & fans’ hearts all around the world. I love them for more reasons than I can ever count, but especially for how current they were on music. They made references to Bruce Springsteen, Johnny Cash and Prince, to name a few. Just one more reason why they were four of the coolest bad-ass chicks on the planet. Long live The Golden Girls! And a ginormous thank you to show creator Susan Harris & all the people behind the cameras who brought the show to life.

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The Golden Girls on their couch (L-R): Bea Arthur, Rue McClanahan, Betty White and Estelle Getty. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

For as happy as the above anniversary makes me, it also reminds me that when I was watching that show the first time around, most of my life was still ahead of me. That is not the case now. And it forces me to take pause and reflect. Not only on what I have to be grateful for but also for those I have lost. And that makes me feel very sad.

Add to that the 21st anniversary of 9/11 yesterday, the fact that Great Britain is now in a mourning period for a Queen they celebrated for 50 years but more importantly, a family lost a mother, a grandmother and a great grandmother, plus the world continues to fight a pandemic after two & a half very long years. The passage of time just keeps reminding me not all changes are happy ones. Many transitions were and continue to be difficult.

Sometimes I just need to face that. So for today, I am going to let myself feel down. And hope tomorrow this weight will feel a little lighter. As always music is the way I cope, whatever mood I am in. Today, that mood is blue. Whatever color day you are having (Blanche Devereaux referred to some of her off days as “magenta”), I hope you enjoy today’s song. I do not know when or where I first heard it but I love it. Especially on days when the colors win.

You know my heart keeps tellin’ me
You’re not a kid at thirty-three
You play around you lose your wife
You play too long you lose your life
“.

Good_Time_Charlie's_Got_the_Blues_-_Danny_O'Keefe

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Danny O’Keefe: “Good Time Charlie’s Got The Blues” (1972, written by Danny O’Keefe).

Stay safe and well.

Music Monday: August 29, 2022

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

Music Monday

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Happy almost 77th birthday to Sir George Ivan Morrison OBE. Born August 31, 1945 in Northern Ireland. he started performing and singing as a teenager, inspired by his father’s country, gospel & blues records. By 1964 Morrison formed the band Them who saw success with songs like “Gloria” and “Here Comes The Night”. In 1967 Van The Man went solo with his fusion of rock, blues and jazz music. That inspired and incredible sound combined with his voice & poetry gave way to songs like no others, especially on albums like Astral Weeks (1968), Moondance (1970) and Saint Dominic’s Preview (1972), just to name a few.

His fame and influence range from The Doors, Bruce Springsteen, The Band, U2, John Mellencamp, The Counting Crows, David Gray, Ray Lamontagne and so many others. After over six decades of performing, Morrison is still making new music. Earlier this year he released What’s It Gonna Take?, his 43rd studio album.

The hard part for me when listening to his music is choosing which record to start with, mainly because I will usually stay with that album for days or possibly weeks at a time. It is nearly impossible to absorb every nuance of Morrison’s voice in ten sittings, let alone one. Even all these years after first discovering this man’s music, it still surprises me with something I missed before. Today’s song, the title track from his 1973 album, falls into that category every time I hear it. It may not be as popular as some of his other songs, but for me it is one of the best vocals of his acclaimed career.

Put your money where your mouth is
Then we can get something going
In order to win you must be prepared to lose sometime
And leave one or two cards showing
“.

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Van Morrison circa 2010. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Van Morrison: “Hard Nose the Highway” (1973, written by Van Morrison).

Stay safe & well.

Music Monday: August 22, 2022

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

Music Monday

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Bruce Springsteen released his exquisite life changing career altering third album 47 years ago. Born To Run made its debut on August 25, 1975 and became one of classic rock’s greatest moments. I have written numerous times that this is the record that changed the trajectory of my life. And I know I am not alone in that as many fans attest to the same miracle. But it changed things for The Boss as well. It was the first commercially successful album of his career. It put him on the rock & roll map as well as on the covers of Newsweek and Time magazines in the same week of October 1975, just two months after the album’s debut.

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(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Earlier this year Springsteen announced a new tour for 2023. So many tracks from BTR are highlights of the live shows, with “Thunder Road” and “Backstreets” as staples, “Tenth Avenue Freeze Out” as the number where he introduces the band and today’s track as one of the encores. And my favorite song of all time, not just from this record, “Jungleland” is saved as a special track he pulls out occasionally on stage (but more often now that Soozie Tyrell and her violin have become a permanent part of The E Street Band). The group, music, life & Springsteen have changed exponentially since BTR came out in 1975. But the poetry, the music, the power, the energy, the vibe but most importantly the promise of this incredible album still holds true: Music is the answer, no matter what the question. And Springsteen tells us that in the opening track: “What else can we do now except roll down the window and let the wind blow back your hair”.

Thank you, Bruce, for so much, but especially for the exquisite wonder of album number three of your illustrious career.

The amusement park rises bold and stark
Kids are huddled on the beach in a mist
I wanna die with you out on the streets tonight
In an everlasting kiss
“.

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The “Born To Run” album cover photograph by Eric Meola.

Bruce Springsteen: “Born To Run” (1975, written by Bruce Springsteen).

Stay safe & well.

Music Monday: June 20, 2022

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

Music Monday

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Sir James Paul McCartney celebrated his 80th birthday over the weekend. Born June 18, 1942 in Liverpool, England, the man who would become one fourth of the band that changed music forever & one-half of one of the greatest songwriting teams ever has spent six decades making music. There is not much for me to add to a legacy like that.

Today’s song has been my #1 favorite of McCartney’s since I first heard it during one of my most beloved scenes from the “Let It Be” movie. But once I discovered the “naked” version of this song, it took the top spot on that list.

The wild and windy night
That the rain washed away
Has left a pool of tears
Crying for the day
“.

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Top: McCartney in his Beatles days circa 1964. Middle Paul & his first wife, Linda, in the 1970’s. McCartney (L) on stage in NJ last week with one of that state’s favorite sons, Bruce Springsteen (R). (Images found online.  Original sources unknown.)

The Beatles: “The Long & Winding Road” (1970 original, 2003 reissue, written by John Lennon & Paul McCartney).

Stay safe & well.

Music Monday: May 30, 2022

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

Memorial Day 2022

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Today we pause to honor those who made the greatest sacrifice for our country, our privilege & our way of life. But let us not forget their family, friends and those they fought beside who were left behind as well. They live with that loss every day, not just on Memorial Day. It makes the phrase, “we don’t know them all, but we owe them all” resonate with even more meaning. Thank you to all the heroes & those who will carry them in their hearts and minds always.

When Bruce Springsteen released his 1984 career changing album, I remember reading a review that said in one verse from the title track, The Boss probably gave us the best definition of war ever put into words. And it is not defined by location, generation or ideology. It is defined by duty, sacrifice, bravery, honor and loss. And giving everything you have in the name of freedom.

I had a brother at Khe Sanh
Fighting off the Viet Cong
They’re still there
He’s all gone
“.

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(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Bruce Springsteen: “Born In The U.S.A.” (1984, written by Bruce Springsteen).

Stay safe & well.

Music Monday: December 27, 2021

Hi, everyone. Welcome to the last edition of Music Monday for the year.

Music Monday

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Before we get to the final song of 2021, I want to thank all of you for joining me, especially this year. We are still dealing with so much, so to have this outlet available to come to for a much needed break from all that has been a tremendous relief. I enjoy sharing my love of music & my thoughts and stories with you. There is more to come in 2022 so please stay tuned. And I wish us all love, peace, health, happiness & more in 2022. Now for the finale.

Unless you slept through the last two weeks, then you know the big news in the music industry & the universe as a whole was Bruce Springsteen’s 500 million dollar deal. That is the price Sony Music paid for his entire catalog, i.e. every song he has ever written.

In 2014 Forbes Magazine estimated Springsteen’s salary at $81 million dollars per year thanks to his sold out marathon shows. His net worth before the sale of his catalog was estimated to be $650 million dollars. With his current deal, that gives him an amassed wealth of over a billion dollars. That is staggering but unbelievably well deserved for the man we call The Boss.

His first album was released 49 years ago in January 1973. For at least half that amount of time he has performed his three hour plus concerts all around the world. He learned to work hard from his blue collar upbringing. That work ethic combined with his talent for poetry, storytelling, showmanship & music helped him complete the holy trifecta of music after Elvis Presley & Bob Dylan.

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Bruce Springsteen in Los Angeles in 1975. Photo by Terry O’Neil.

As thrilled as I am that Bruce has earned this type of wealth for his words & music, a part of me never thought I would hear his music used in ads. He was just that protective of his work. But we all know that will be part of what Sony will do to earn back the cost & profit on this deal. However, given the long & continuing relationship Springsteen has with his record company (Sony is the parent company of Columbia Records) and their reverence for his breathtaking talent, I am hopeful the songs will be sourced in a refined manner.

Of course, this deal will also make the Boss’s music more available for shows & movies, too. In the few times I have heard them that way (“Copland” is my favorite since it features several songs from The River, including my top pick, “Drive All Night”) it has been an unbelievable & quite unexpected treat. Bruce continues to be the gift that just keeps giving in my life.

In honor of Springsteen’s mammoth deal, I am using this last Music Monday of 2021 to feature the most exquisite piece of music I have ever heard. From the first moment I listened to this track as a 12 year old girl, I have ached from the beauty of it. Bruce Springsteen is my heart and this song is how that happened.

The midnight gang’s assembled
And picked a rendezvous for the night
They’ll meet ‘neath that giant Exxon sign
That brings this fair city light
“.

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A collage of pictures from the 1975 “Born To Run” photo shoot. All images by Eric Meola.

Bruce Springsteen: “Jungleland” (1975, written by Bruce Springsteen).

Stay well.

25 Days Of Christmas Music 2021: Day 20

Hello, everyone. Welcome back to the countdown.

Day 20

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Blues musician & singer Charles Brown had the distinction of being part of two original Christmas songs during his career. In 1947 he played piano & sang the lead vocal on “Merry Christmas Baby” when he was a member of Johnny Moore’s Three Blazers. Moore wrote the song with Lou Baxter and later it was covered by many other performers including Chuck Berry in 1958, Otis Redding circa 1965 and Bruce Springsteen in 1986 (featured here on Day 6).

Brown co-wrote today’s song with Gene Redd in 1960 which was also the same year Brown released it as a single. It is sometimes referred to as “Bells Will Be Ringing” and has been covered by several artists over the last sixty years. But I think the soulfulness of the original beats any other rendition that came after it.

Won’t you tell me you’ll never more roam
Christmas and New Year’s will find you home
There’ll be no more sorrow no grief and pain
‘Cause I’ll be happy happy once again
“.

Charles Brown

Charles Brown circa 1955. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Charles Brown: “Please Come Home for Christmas” (1960, written by Charles Brown and Gene Redd).

I do not own the rights to anything.  I am just sharing some things that I love with you  

What are some of your favorite Christmas songs?

Until next time, happy listening!!!

Music Monday: November 29, 2021

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

Music Monday

(Images found online.  Original sources unknown.)

Before we get to this week’s song, I wanted to let you know that beginning December 1, I will once again feature my 25 Days Of Christmas Music series. I would love for you to join me. And please share your favorite holiday tunes in the comments. Thanks to suggestions by so many of you in the past I have discovered new seasonal music I might not have found on my own. I hope I will do the same for you this year.

On November 9, 1970 Derek & The Dominos released Layla & Other Assorted Love Songs. I adore this album for so many reasons: the one-two punch of Eric Clapton’s virtuoso playing matched note for note with Duane Allman’s, some of Clapton’s best singing & writing were on these tracks, the band as a whole was unbelievably gifted, they did a beautiful cover of Jimi Hendrix’s “Little Wing” & several blues classics plus the power & beauty of the title track helps it remain an iconic staple in rock music history.

Several artists supposedly based a few of their songs on today’s tune. Two of my favorites are Dolly Parton’s “It’s All Wrong But It’s All Right” and Bruce Springsteen’s “Fade Away”. But even without those tributes, this song is still one of my all time favorites. Clapton’s expression of pain & angst is palpable in every word he sang and the band stayed with him every step of the way.

He has continued to perform this song throughout his career during his live shows and many versions are incredibly good (most notably the “24 Nights” version). But the original just knocks me out every time I hear it. Derek & The Dominos only made one record together but without it the landscape of rock music would look & sound unbelievably different. Bravo to a great album.

“It’s all wrong but it’s alright
The way that you treat me baby
Once I was strong but I lost the fight
You won’t find a better loser
“.

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Top: Duane Allman with Derek & The Dominos in 1970 (L-R): drummer Jim Gordon, bassist Carl Radle, pianist Bobby Whitlock & Eric Clapton (center). Middle: The cover of the “Layla” album. Bottom: Clapton and Allman in 1970. (Images found online.  Original sources unknown.)

Derek & The Dominos: “Bell Bottom Blues” (1970, written by Eric Clapton and Bobby Whitlock).

Stay well.

Music Monday: October 18, 2021

Hi, everyone. Welcome back to the blog for this week’s Music Monday.

Music Monday

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

On October 17, 1980 Bruce Springsteen released “The River”. As a fan of The Boss I adore all his music but this one holds a particularly special place in my heart. The first time I saw him sing, it was the title track from this double album. I was completely mesmerized by watching him & hearing the heartbreaking lyrics to that incredible song. It solidified my love & admiration for this incredible man for life.

I saw him perform that track in the film “No Nukes” based on the concerts of the same name which took place the year before. Next month all 13 songs from Springsteen’s appearances from the two day benefit concerts in 1979 will finally be released. In honor of this occasion, today’s song is one of the tunes he & The E Street Band performed during those shows. It is the first track from his 1975 paragon of perfection, “Born To Run”. From the moment I heard these lines, I knew my life would never be the same.

What else can we do now
Except roll down the window
And let the wind
Blow back your hair
“.

No Nukes picture

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Bruce Springsteen: “Thunder Road” (1975, written by Bruce Springsteen).

Stay well.