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.

Bruce by Terry O'Neil 1975

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
“.

BTR collage

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
“.

Allman and Dominos

Layla album

clapton allman

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.

Welcome, October!

“I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers” – Lucy Maud Montgomery, Anne Of Green Gables.

October quote

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

This month has always held so much wonder and promise for me.  Most kids look forward to Halloween and I was not any different.  And when I was older I remember getting lost in the beautiful changing colors of the leaves as I walked home from school after sports practice or a club meeting.  And because it would start to get dark early I would also get to see even more pretty vibrant colors in the sky as the sun went down.

sky

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

With each step I took all I could hear was the sound of the fallen leaves as they crunched under my feet.  As I passed by the houses on each block I walked down I could see people inside as they turned their inside lights on while the smell of wood burning fireplaces filled the cool refreshing autumn air that caressed my face.  Every one of my senses was completely enveloped by all the season had to offer.  And I loved every second of it.

btr

(Born To Run cover photo by Eric Meola.)

October was the month I bought Born To Run & became part of Bruce Springsteen’s world.  It was the month I learned how to decorate for Halloween first with my mother when I was a child  and later on my own.  It was the month I looked forward to the night my dad would bring home a big orange pumpkin & watch him first draw then carve a big smiling face on it.  And the sweet aroma of it warming from the candle he would place inside of it is something I find unbelievably nostalgic as I carry on that tradition in my own home each year.

carved pumpkin

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

October is the month that took me to Vermont for the first time after years of putting it off.   It introduced me to so many wonderful things including green pumpkins, rustic & elegant antiques & junk stores, white gourds & goat’s milk everything.  It remains the best trip of my life.  And I swoon over each one of my cozy sweaters & blankets as I pull them out of their storage containers each year.  The first time I put the heat on in my home & in my car is when I know the month is in full swing & suddenly all is right in my world.

green

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

This glorious month has taken on other meanings over the years, some very good & others incredibly sad.  But no other month of the year brings back the amount of happy memories as this one does.  And no other month holds the same promise for more magic to occur.  Wishing you all the happiest October of your lives!

Stay well.

Music Monday: September 27, 2021

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

Music Monday

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

September 29 will mark my mother’s 82nd birth anniversary. Both of my parents loved music, but since I spent more time with my mother during my early years while my dad was at work it was her influence that molded how I would listen to music for the rest of my life.

For one thing, I definitely share her high tolerance for repetition. If she liked a song, she would listen to it over and over again until she switched it out for the next 45 in her collection. There were about a dozen singles she was crazy about, and until this day I can still recall every single word of each one, no matter how much times passes in between hearing them. I still consider most of them some my favorites as well. Their hold on me is eternal.

I remember being in the car with her when one of those songs came on the radio. Even though we had arrived home & had that record there, my mother purposely drove around the block a couple of times so we could hear the entire song. Then the deejay announced he wanted to listen to the tune one more time so he played it again. My mother was thrilled & drove us around the block a few more times while we sang along with the track a second time. It is one of my most treasured memories.

Screenshot July 2011

My mother, Theresa, December 1968.

Second, she had great taste in music for the most part (we will just ignore her dark period as a fan of The Fifth Dimension. At least I discovered Burt Bacharach & Hal David through them). She loved Elvis Presley, Jackie Wilson & Motown, to name a few. If not for her buying a four album K-Tel compilation set of The Motor City’s greatest hits I cannot even imagine if I would have known who The Temptations, The Four Tops, The Miracles or Stevie Wonder were.

Every year as we got close to Halloween she would pull out her “Monster Mash” single and we would dance around while I tried on my costume to make sure it was perfect for the big day. Then we would put the decorations up to bring a more festive vibe to our home. Only Christmas had more preparation to it with tons of holiday music to match. I ache for those days.

It is always so hard for me to choose one song in her memory because there were just so many she loved. But I am able to narrow the list down with the help of Bruce Springsteen. As a fan of Elvis & Wilson himself, I have been at several of The Boss’s shows where he covered their songs as encores. Each time I could not help but think how perfect it was that my great musical love was singings songs by my mother’s great musical loves. And even though she was not there with me physically, I just knew she was loving those moments as much as I was. Music is very much a part of the circle of life.

Like a river flows
Surely to the sea
Darling so it goes
Some things are meant to be
“.

elvis-presley

Elvis Presley circa 1959. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Elvis Presley: “Can’t Help Falling In Love” (1961, written by Hugo Peretti, Luigi Creatore and George David Weiss).

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

Stay well.

Happy birthday, Bossman!

Today Bruce Springsteen turns 72 years young. Born September 23, 1949 in Long Branch, NJ and raised in nearby Freehold, the world was introduced to this genius in the making courtesy of his first album, Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J., released in January 1973. The rest, as they say, is rock & roll history,

Boss 2

Bruce Springsteen poses on the Sunset Strip in front of a billboard for Born To Run in 1975. Photo by Terry O’Neill.

No one else’s music ever reached me the way his has. Since I discovered it when I was only 12 years old, I thought about him like my older brother who moved out before I was old enough to know him but he kept in touch by writing me these incredible poetic letters set to music. They were about life, heartbreak, betrayal, moments that “just don’t come”, mind-numbing thankless blue collar jobs that barely pay the bills and cashing in a few of your dreams when the promise of life skips over them, to name a few.

He also shared the happiness of the friends he met along the way including Crazy Janie & Her Mission Man, Mary who liked to dance when Roy Orbison songs played on the radio, Sandy on the boardwalk on the Fourth of July, the barefoot girl sitting on the hood of a Dodge drinking warm beer in the soft summer rain, all the people out in the streets and, of course, The Big Man. My unbelievably gifted brother made quite a life for himself and took me along for the ride. And they remain some of the greatest times of my life.

So happy birthday, you beautiful deep prolific talented man. May you see 100 more. You will have my heart always. And thanks for sharing it all with me.

Bruce

Bruce Springsteen in 1975 from his Born To Run photo shoot by photographer Eric Meola.

Bruce Springsteen: “Drive All Night” (1980, written by Bruce Springsteen).

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

Stay well.

Let’s Take A Moment Day 543

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?

blog Sept 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.

Today’s song is one of the best parts of Bruce Springsteen’s live shows. It is from his second album, The Wild, The Innocent And The E Street Shuffle. It was released in the same year his debut came out on January 5, 1973. Both records were critical favorites but neither sold well commercially until after the success of Springsteen’s paragon album, 1975’s Born To Run.

The first time I saw him live he changed the lyrics to today’s track. It was a little tongue in cheek moment to reflect the craziness of his soaring popularity after the ginormous hit of 1984’s Born In The USA.

The original lyric went like this:

Well tell him this is his last chance
To get his daughter in a fine romance
Because the record company Rosie
Just gave me a big advance
“.

The concert version went like this:

Well tell your parents
That I’m really clean
Because I’m on the cover
Of People Magazine”
.

And if that were not a great moment to witness at my first Bruce show all by itself, that beautiful man took it one step further. He put his head in a bucket of water and sprayed all of us lucky enough to be standing in front of the stage. I had been formally baptized into the religion known as The Boss. Can I get an amen?

Bruce 1973A

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

Bruce Springsteen: “Rosalita (Come Out Tonight)” (1973, written by Bruce Springsteen).

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 527

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.

Forty-six years ago today the most important record of my life came out. Born To Run was released on August 25, 1975. As I have written many times before, this album is my heart. Bruce Springsteen’s masterpiece changed the trajectory of my life. I loved music before I heard this record, without question. But I became consumed by it because of BTR.

The musicianship, the poetry, the pageantry of his storytelling, the characters and his cautionary tales about life, loss, betrayal & the inevitable roads life will sometimes take us down all led to a phenomenal place I now know as home. This record brought light to the darkest place I knew, hope to replace despair, joy to remove unimaginable sadness and peace for a shattered heart. There are no words adequate enough to thank someone for all of that. Not to mention how great it was to find another person who loved the magic of the night just as much as I did.

And you’re in love with all the wonder it brings
And every muscle in your body sings
As the highway ignites you work nine to five
And somehow you survive till the night
“.

BTR outake in color

A rare picture in color from the 1975 BTR sessions by photographer Eric Meola. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

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

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 514

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.

I am not sure if today’s song is considered PC or not anymore given the whole cancel culture climate we are in. I do not mean to offend if it is. I just hear it as a great track by one of my favorite bands. And in honor of Garth Hudson’s 84th birthday earlier this month I want to share it. He was born on August 2, 1937 in Windsor, Ontario, Canada and he was the only member of that fabulous band who did not contribute vocals. He was too busy as a multi-instrumentalist to add that to his resume. He contributed keyboards, saxophone and accordion playing to the group which helped define their sound from day one.

Robbie Robertson may have been the principal songwriter for The Band, but he alone could not have given life to those songs in the phenomenal way the five men did as an ensemble. He & Hudson, who has been working as a solo artist for the last two decades, are the only living members left from this incredible group. I think it is so sad the other three have missed so much. But together they reached the likes of Bob Dylan, Ringo Starr, Eric Clapton, Van Morrison, Bruce Springsteen, Neil Diamond, Neil Young, Elton John & many others who were completely inspired by what The Band created as a whole. That is one impressive fan base. Here’s to 100 more birthdays for Garth Hudson.

Now I don’t mind chopping wood
And I don’t care if the money’s no good
You take what you need
And you leave the rest
“.

Garth 1971

The Band 1970

Top: Garth Hudson circa 1971. Bottom: The Band circa 1970 (L-R): Rick Danko, Hudson, Levon Helm, Robbie Robertson and Richard Manuel. (Images found online.  Original sources unknown.)

The Band: “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down” (From the music documentary “The Last Waltz”, released April 26, 1978. Recorded live on November 25, 1976 at the Winterland Ballroom in San Francisco. Originally released in 1969, written by Robbie Robertson).

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

Stay well.