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 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 316

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 in 1973 Elton John’s sixth studio album, Don’t Shoot Me, I’m Only The Piano Player, was released. It contained his first US #1 record “Crocodile Rock” and the heartbreaking tale of “Daniel”, which is the first record I ever bought of John’s. I played that 45 for hours at a time and did not come close to tiring of it. But one day I did get curious about the B side so I gave that a listen. And it was one of the best discoveries of my young life to that point.

I found a beautiful moving song that instantly became my new favorite by John and his magnificent lyricist, Bernie Taupin. It dates back to 1968 when it was released as a single in the UK by another artist. It is on John’s 1969 UK debut album, Empty Sky, which did not get released in the US until 1975. That version features a different arrangement with John playing a harpsichord and an organ. Today’s rendition features him on the piano & was slated to be included on the LP released 48 years ago today. Somehow it did not make the final cut. It finally appeared on John’s 1992 Rare Masters release.

If you have followed John as long as I have you know he was one of the first artists to lead the fight for AIDS research which continues to this day with his AIDS Foundation Academy Award Party started in 1993. But back in 1984 when a 13 year old boy from Indiana named Ryan White was one of the first children diagnosed with the disease after a blood transfusion, John reached out to him & became his friend. When White died from the illness in 1990, John performed today’s pick at the funeral.

He had a record on the US Hot 100 charts for 31 consecutive years from 1969 to 2000 and even though today’s track is not included in that staggering statistic, I think it is one of the most beautiful songs of his career. I cannot imagine a day of my life without the music of Elton John & Bernie Taupin.

For this dark and lonely room
Projects a shadow cast in gloom
And my eyes are mirrors
Of the world outside
“.

Taupin and John 1968

Bernie Taupin (L) and Elton John (R) circa 1969. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Elton John: “Skyline Pigeon” (1968, 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 172

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?

Bruce 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.

As much as I loved Bruce Springsteen, Eric Clapton, Otis Redding & The Beatles while I was a teenager, there were two other people that were equally important in the soundtrack of my life:  Elton John & Bernie Taupin.  In fact, I discovered them when I was even younger because the first album I ever bought in my life was “Elton John’s Greatest Hits”.  The second single I ever purchased was “Daniel” (the first was “Give Me Love (Give Me Peace On Earth)” by George Harrison).  Man, the roots of my love for GREAT music were sowed quite young, if I do say so myself!!!  But I digress.

I loved Elton so much I remember begging my parents to let me go see him in the movie, “Tommy”.  They agreed and he was fabulous, of course.  But I must confess I was much too young to see that film.  The music was great because, after all, it was mostly done by The Who, a great band in their own right.  But the subject matter was just too much for my tween mind to comprehend.  Two scenes in particular truly scared me.  The first was the scene with Sally Simpson, who snuck out of her house to go see Tommy in concert.  I was not a teenager yet but loved music enough to know I could not wait to go to my first concert, so I really identified with her character.  She not only made it there but she got all the way to the stage before being kicked off by Tommy’s evil step-father.  Her fall caused her to cut her face, after which she was left with an ugly disfiguring scar.  What happened next?  She married a singer who dressed up like Frankenstein.  The moral of the story I took from that scene:  When you are a pretty girl you want to marry a guy who looks like Tommy:  dreamy blue eyes, curly blond hair, in a word, gorgeous.  But when you turn into a disfigured soul the best you can hope for is a guy that looks like a monster.  Yes, it was a dark thought to have as a young girl, but it looked like a fairly straight line to me.  I wish I could have said the same about Sally’s horrendous scar.

The other scene that gave me nightmares to this day was the one with the faith healer who led the Marilyn Monroe cult.  That statue of her terrified me, especially the black slits for eyes.  And when her disciples came out wearing masks that looked like it I nearly cried.  I also remember pondering what she had to do with Nazis because (I thought) there were rows of them sitting in the church pews around Tommy and his mother.  They all had gray flannel suits on with what looked like Nazi stars on the lapels.  Even the faith healer held up what appeared to be a Nazi star with Monroe’s picture in the center of it and forced the attendees to look at it.  I wondered over and over to myself in the theatre, what the heck the connection was between Monroe and those despicable people?  I thought, was she German or brainwashed or just mean?  By the time her statue crashed to the floor after Tommy knocked it over I blocked that memory out of my mind and only relived it through the occasional bad dream.  Until quarantine, that is.

When I was looking for Elton’s performance to relive his great scene, YouTube recommended another scene from the movie, “Eyesight To The Blind”.  I could not recall that song from the film so I watched the clip.  Much to my absolute amazement, it was the Monroe scene.  I was thrilled to discover that the people I thought were Nazis sitting in the pews were not in fact from that army, just people wearing the same coats with buttons, not stars, on their lapels.  And while I am still not sure about the type of star the faith healer was holding, since it had a picture of Monroe in it my guess is it was innocuous.

What I also discovered, to my shock and horror, was that the cult was actually led by a preacher, not the faith healer.  And who was the preacher, you ask?  None other than my great musical love, Eric Clapton, who performed the song in the scene.  I had no recollection whatsoever that he was in that film.  If that is not a testament to how traumatized I was then a better one does not exist.  I did not discover Clapton until junior high when I read a book on The Beatles and he was referenced for his guitar work on “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” and on George Harrison’s first solo record.  To think I could have had an additional year or so with that beautiful man in my life just reopens the traumatic wounds left by that movie all over again.

But at least I got to see Elton in all his glory, from his size 1000 Dr. Martens to his diamond studded glasses to his hat with a pinball in place of a pouf.  And those fabulous looks of disdain on his face when he could not keep up with Tommy’s pinball prowess.  How do you think he does it?  I don’t know.

He’s a pinball wizard
There has to be a twist
A pinball wizard’s
Got such a supple wrist

EJ 1
Elton John as The Pinball Wizard in “Tommy”.  (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Elton John:  “Pinball Wizard” (1975, written by Pete Townsend).

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

Stay well.