Let’s Take A Moment Day 65

i 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?

Peanuts music

(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.

Five years ago today, my world changed irrevocably when the man I love said goodbye.  On May 20, 2015 David Letterman retired from his late night show and I have not been the same since.  What follows is the tribute I wrote for him 5 years ago.

I am finally ready to address the end of “Late Night With David Letterman”.  Yes, I am aware his show ended almost a month ago, but since I am still processing his decision to retire it should be no surprise I cannot handle the finality of the situation.

DL

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Here is a not so fun fact about me:  I get very attached to things and people and change is very difficult for me.  I am not sure why since I am as spontaneous as they come.  Perhaps it is part of my Pisces swimming in two different directions personality, if I believed in such things.

But Dave is a hard one for me to say goodbye to.  You see, he was my roommate (figuratively speaking)…..my first roommate by which the rest would be judged and fail to compare with.  When I moved out to my own place I had a job working 4-12 in a call center (say it with me:  EW!!!).  So I got home around 12:30am and I was totally alone.  No friends to see or even to call since they were asleep to accommodate their 9-5 lives.  I had my prime time shows taped on my VCR, but since it was the summer they were repeats.  I loved living in my own place but I had not counted on the loneliness my different schedule would bring.  I loved being up in the middle of the night when I lived at home and when I was in the dorm at college, so this was unfamiliar territory for me.  To coin a phrase, I wasn’t in Kansas anymore.

So I started off on my own yellow brick road.  In my world that meant turning to one of my consistence forms of comfort since I was a child:  the television (my version of Toto).  And there was David Letterman-my Scarecrow, from 12:30 AM to 2AM.  These were the glorious days before infomercials, so there were actual programs on for the whole night.  Dave was followed by three episodes of one of the greatest shows ever-“The Mary Tyler Moore Show” (the Tin Man)-from 2AM-3:30AM and two episodes of “The Bob Newhart Show” (the Lion-in the Chicago show, not the Vermont show)-from 3:30AM-4:30AM, after which time I was ready for bed.

But I digress.

Dave was like that one friend in college who pulled all nighters with me and introduced me to a whole new world I not only loved, but one in which I belonged.  It was sarcastic (Question:  If Abraham Lincoln were alive today, what would he be doing?  Answer:  Clawing at the inside of his coffin trying to get out), and silly (Dave going into a “Lamps Only” store and asking if they sold t-shirts), had experiments with Chris Elliot and skits with Larry “Bud” Melman (a/k/a Calvert Grant DeForest), not to mention great music, courtesy of Paul Schaeffer and the Band and a slew of phenomenal musical guests.

The first part of Dave’s career-the NBC years- also brought:  Stupid Pet Tricks, Rocket Chair Races and of course, the Velcro wallthe Alka-Seltzer suit, the sponge suit, the Magnet suit and the Rice Krispies suit.  We also watched Dave throw things off the roof of a five story tower, crush things with a steamroller, play the “Will It Float” game and of course introduce us to many gifted comics as well as his nightly Top 10 list.

will it float

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

The move to CBS gave new life to his career (and to the legendary Ed Sullivan Theater) thanks to an 11:30 PM time slot.  During these years we also saw the more poignant moments:  Dave’s first night back after the September 11 attacks with Dan Rather, Dave’s return after his open heart surgery with the Dr.’s and nurses who were at his side, talking to Warren Zevon about his impending death, Dave becoming a father and his subsequent marriage to his son’s mother and visiting his own mother’s home for periodic segments.  It was difficult to watch him try so hard to be Oprah’s friend (she already has Gayle & her dogs), but then he was right back to his zany self musing about the meaning of “sod busting” with Paul after he and the band played “Wildfire” during a commercial break.  And true to form, Dave finally brought on Michael Martin Murphey to perform the song as a great climax to the running joke.

One of my favorite memories was a joke by Pee Wee Herman.  It may not be your taste, but it made me roll!!!

My favorite guest:  Richard Simmons.  His interaction with Dave was too hilarious for words so watch for yourself here.

Over the years my life and my schedule changed.  I lost the Tin Man and the Lion along the way, but Dave remained a constant in my life.  There were times I could only watch his monologues (or would only watch them, if only to avoid sitting through interviews with “reality stars”).  But except for his health related absences, Dave was a fixture in my life for decades.  I will and do miss him very much.  😦

It’s been a year of very sad TV goodbyes but I think I will miss Dave most of all.

Ciao, Scarecrow.

David Letterman and Michael Martin Murphey (Images found online.  Original sources unknown.)

Michael Martin Murphey:  “Wildfire” as performed on “Late Show With David Letterman” in 2007 (originally released in 1975, written by Michael Martin Murphey and Larry Cansler, ).

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 45

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?

Peanuts music

(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.

If I had to pinpoint how rock & roll music officially began, my timeline would be this:

1908:  The year American bandleader & swing/big band/R&B musician Louis Jordan is born.

1916:  The year American rockabilly songwriter Claude Demetrius is born.

1926:  The year American guitarist Charles Edward Anderson Berry is born.  The world would come to know him as Chuck Berry.  Soon he learns to “play a guitar just like a-ringin’ a bell and, oh my, that little country boy could play”.

1946:  Demetrius writes a song (co-written with Jordan’s wife, Fleecie Moore) called “Ain’t That Just Like A Woman” which Jordan records and turns into an R&B hit the same year.

1958:  Berry writes and records his semi-autobiographical groundbreaking hit, “Johnny B. Goode”.  The song begins with a note for note replica of the introduction to Jordan’s 1946 song, written by Demetrius.  A new sound is born from combining music from the swing/big band/R&B/rockabilly genres and Berry is christened “The Father of Rock & Roll”.

Young impressionable youths like John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Ringo Starr, Bob Dylan, Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Jimi Hendrix and many others are entranced by what Berry does with a guitar.  Fast forward to 1963 & 1964 where The Beatles record Berry covers “Roll Over Beethoven” & “Rock & Roll Music ” and stop by America for that Sunday night show at the same theatre David Letterman was in and there you have it.

Yes, Elvis (who covered a few of Berry’s songs, including today’s), Jerry Lee Lewis, Little Richard, Carl Perkins and many other early architects of this new sound were coming up around the same time as Berry.  However, his musicianship, his stage dance moves (most notably the “duck walk”) and his songwriting talent made him a triple threat and set him apart from the others.  Elvis will always be the King, but Berry was and remains The Master.

Today’s song also has the distinction of being part of NASA’s Voyager Space Mission as one of the pieces of music from Earth.  And honestly, can you imagine Marty McFly sliding across the floor to any other song in “Back To The Future” than this one?

Chuck-Berry-Johnny-B-Goode

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Chuck Berry:  “Johnny B. Goode” (1958, written by Chuck Berry).

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

Stay well.

Goodbye To Late Night As I Knew It…..

Well Vixens, I am finally ready to address the end of “Late Night With David Letterman”.  Yes, I am aware his show ended almost a month ago, but since I am still processing his decision to retire it should be no surprise I cannot handle the finality of the situation.  😦

caption: LATE SHOW WITH DAVID LETTERMAN: CBS LATE SHOW host David Letterman. 6/18/2002    copyright: Photo:JOHN P. FILO /CBS ©2003 CBS Worldwide Inc. All Rights Reserved

caption: LATE SHOW WITH DAVID LETTERMAN: CBS LATE SHOW host David Letterman. 6/18/2002
copyright: Photo:JOHN P. FILO /CBS
©2003 CBS Worldwide Inc. All Rights Reserved

Here is a not so fun fact about me:  I get very attached to things and people and change is very difficult for me.  I am not sure why since I am as spontaneous as they come.  Perhaps it is part of my Pisces swimming in two different directions personality, if I believed in such things.

But Dave is a hard one for me to say goodbye to.  You see, he was my roommate (figuratively speaking)…..my first roommate by which the rest would be judged and fail to compare with.  When I moved out to my own place I had a job working 4-12 in a call center (say it with me:  EW!!!).  So I got home around 12:30am and I was totally alone.  No friends to see or even to call since they were asleep to accommodate their 9-5 lives.  I had my prime time shows taped on my VCR, but since it was the summer they were repeats.  I loved living in my own place but I had not counted on the loneliness my different schedule would bring.  I loved being up in the middle of the night when I lived at home and when I was in the dorm at college, so this was unfamiliar territory for me.  To coin a phrase, I wasn’t in Kansas anymore.

So I started off on my own yellow brick road.  In my world that meant turning to one of my consistence forms of comfort since I was a child:  the television (my version of Toto).  And there was David Letterman-my Scarecrow, from 12:30am to 2am.  These were the glorious days before infomercials, so there were actual programs on for the whole night.  Dave was followed by three episodes of one of the greatest shows ever-“The Mary Tyler Moore Show” (the Tin Man)-from 2am-3:30am and two episodes of “The Bob Newhart Show” (the Lion in the Chicago show, not the Vermont show)-from 3:30am-4:30am, after which time I was ready for bed.

But I digress.

Dave was like that one friend in college who pulled all nighters with me and introduced me to a whole new world I not only loved, but one in which I belonged.  It was sarcastic (Question:  If Abraham Lincoln were alive today, what would he be doing?  Answer:  Clawing at the inside of his coffin trying to get out), and silly (Dave going into a “Lamps Only” store and asking if they sold t-shirts), had experiments with Chris Elliot and skits with Larry “Bud” Melman (a/k/a Calvert Grant DeForest), not to mention great music, courtesy of Paul Schaeffer and the Band and a slew of phenomenal musical guests.

The first part of Dave’s career-the NBC years- also brought:  Stupid Pet Tricks, Rocket Chair Races and of course, the Velcro wall, the Alka-Seltzer suit, the sponge suit, the Magnet suit and the Rice Krispies suit.  We also watched Dave throw things off the roof of a five story tower, crush things with a steamroller, play the “Will It Float” game and of course introduce us to many gifted comics as well as his nightly Top 10 list.

The move to CBS gave new life to his career (and to the legendary Ed Sullivan Theater) thanks to an 11:30pm time slot.  During these years we also saw the more poignant moments:  Dave’s first night back after the September 11 attacks with Dan Rather, Dave’s return after his open heart surgery with the Dr.’s and nurses who were at his side, talking to Warren Zevon about his impending death, Dave becoming a father and his subsequent marriage to his son’s mother and visiting his own mother’s home for periodic segments.  It was difficult to watch him try so hard to be Oprah’s friend (she already has Gayle & her dogs), but then he was right back to his zany self musing about the meaning of “sod busting” with Paul after he and the band played “Wildfire” during a commercial break.  And true to form, Dave finally brought on Michael Martin Murphey to perform the song as a great climax to the running joke.

One of my favorite memories was a joke by Pee Wee Herman.  It may not be your taste, but it made me roll!!!

My favorite guest:  Richard Simmons.  His interaction with Dave was too hilarious for words so watch for yourself here.

richard-simmons-tank-tops-body-oil-on-david-letterman-late-show7[1]

Photo courtesy of CBS.

Over the years my life and my schedule changed.  I lost the Tin Man and the Lion along the way, but Dave remained a constant in my life.  There were times I could only watch his monologues (or would only watch them, if only to avoid sitting through interviews with “reality stars”).  But except for his health related absences, Dave was a fixture in my life for decades.  I will and do miss him very much.  😦

It’s been a year of very sad TV goodbyes but I think I will miss Dave most of all.

Ciao, Scarecrow.

Valentine’s Day Music Countdown: Song #9

Song #9, like #10 before it, is also a soulful upbeat love song, but this one has the distinction of actually being the #1 hit song on Valentine’s Day in 1972.  It is “Let’s Stay Together” by another one of my all time favorite soul singers, Al Green. 

I had the honor of seeing Green in concert almost a decade ago, and he is every bit the phenomenal performer live that he is on TV when he is blowing the roof off of the Ed Sullivan Theatre during one of his numerous yearly performances on “The Late Show With David Letterman” (just one more reason to be despondent over Letterman’s impending retirement). 

Green’s remarkable voice exudes the exquisite beauty and polish of Sam Cooke, the passion and raw emotion of Otis Redding and the power and sophistication of Jackie Wilson all rolled into one.  Add to that equation one of the most sublime falsetto voices ever heard and there you have the genius of this utterly superb performer.   

He wrote the lyrics to “Let’s Stay Together” and the music was written by Al Jackson, Jr. (drummer for Booker T & the MG’s) and producer Willie Mitchell.  The words are so simple, yet so powerful and direct.   I do not know about Green’s mindset today, but when he wrote these lyrics he clearly was a man devoid of any intimacy issues:

“Let me say that since, baby, since we’ve been together
  Loving you forever is what I need
  Oh let me be the one you come running to

   I’ll never be untrue”………Simply beautiful.

Rolling Stone ranked this song #60 on their list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.   In 1995 Green was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame by Natalie Cole.

In 1976 he became a reverend and nearly every Sunday he can be found giving the sermon at the Full Gospel Tabernacle Church in Memphis, TN. The services are open to the public and even though I have seen Green live, seeing him at the pulpit of his own church is on my bucket list.

Enjoy!!!

My Top 20 Christmas Songs

Music is such a special part of my life, and Christmas songs are no different.  There have been so many great versions of almost every song, it was hard to narrow it down to just 20.  But with 10 days to go before the big day, I thought I would share my list with all of you.

Each song includes a link to a YouTube video.  I do not own the rights to anything, nor am I associated with any of the channels/videos that I chose.  I just picked ones that showcased either the artists and/or the song enough to give you the best feel for the tune (in my humble opinion).

All opinions are my own.

What are some of your favorite Christmas songs?  Tell me in the comments below.

Enjoy!!!

1)  Merry Christmas Baby by Bruce Springsteen ( written by Lou Baxter and Johnny Moore).

It’s Bruce.  To say this is perfect would only be redundant.

2)  Christmas Time is Here by the Peanuts ( written by Lee Mendelson and Vince Guaraldi).

The Peanuts were my best friends when I was a kid, and today they are just as special to me.  “A Charlie Brown Christmas” is the main reason why.  If all I did for the holiday season was watch this special, my Christmas would still be perfect.

3)  White Christmas by Otis Redding (written by Irving Berlin).

Yes, I know all about the popularity of Bing Crosby’s version.  However, in my humble opinion, Redding brings such a stunning soulful element to his version of this song I really cannot listen to any other one. And if it was good enough for the “Love Actually” soundtrack, it is good enough for me.

4)  Winter Wonderland by Ray Charles (written by Felix Bernard).

Charles’ take on this is as unique and gorgeous as his version of “America The Beautiful”.  Truly a holiday gem.

5)  Holly Jolly Christmas by Burl Ives (written by Johnny Marks).

Who does not want a singing snowman???  Burl Ives is one of the reasons why I still tune in to watch “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer” even now.

6)  Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) by Darlene Love (written by Phil Spector, Ellie Greenwich & Jeff Barry).

Love has performed this song on Letterman’s show since 1993.  You have to watch both the studio version and the live version to truly appreciate this song and Love’s voice.

http://youtu.be/4EvZOXEoJ84 (studio version)

http://youtu.be/m7M6wRPuD2w (2013 Letterman performance)

7)  Hark! The Herald Angels Sing (written by Charles Wesley).

Between the Peanuts characters singing it at the end of “A Charlie Brown Christmas” and it being the song that celebrated George Bailey’s worth in “It’s A Wonderful Life”, it is impossible for me to hear any version of this song and not get verklempt.  A multitude of singers have covered this song but Martina McBride, Neil Diamond & Frank Sinatra’s versions are among my favorites.

8)  Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas by Judy Garland (written by Hugh Martin & Ralph Blane).

Tony Bennett called Garland the greatest singer he ever heard.  I am in no position to argue with a man of his talent and taste.

9)  Blue Christmas by Elvis Presley (written by Billy Hayes and Jay W. Johnson).

It’s ELVIS!!!

10)  O Come All Ye Faithful by Nat King Cole (written by John Francis Wade).

Most people associate him with the most famous version of “The Christmas Song”, but it is this Christmas classic that I love the most of Cole’s holiday recordings.

11)  The Christmas Song by Tony Bennett (written by Mel Torme & Robert Wells).

Tony Bennett is a legend.  If you do not have any of his music in your collection, you are doing yourself a disservice.

12)  It’s a Marshmallow World by Dean Martin (written in 1949 by Carl Sigman and Peter DeRose).

I think Frank Sinatra would even agree that Martin was probably the coolest member of the Rat Pack.

13)  Celebrate Me Home by Kenny Loggins (written by Bob James and Kenny Loggins).

Not a cover of a Christmas classic, but a song of Loggins’ very own is now a holiday staple.

14)  What Christmas Means To Me by Stevie Wonder (written by Anna Gordy Gaye (yes, Marvin Gaye’s first wife) & George Gordy).

Another original Christmas tune that has become a staple of the holiday.  And who can forget Will Ferrell’s “Elf” jumping on the mattresses with his little brother while this song was playing?

15)  Silver Bells by Rosemary Clooney & Bing Crosby (written by Jay Livingston & Ray Evans).

Before her nephew George was probably even born, Rosemary Clooney was Hollywood’s “it” girl.  Anything she sang was perfection and pairing her voice with Bing Crosby’s turned a song into a spectacular event.

16)  Happy Christmas (War is Over) by John Lennon (written by John Lennon & Yoko Ono).

From the man who told us “love is the answer”, peace was the gift he wanted for the world, and not just at Christmas.

17)  The Most Wonderful Time of the Year by Andy Williams (written by Eddie Pola and George Wyle).

I’ll admit this song now reminds me of back to school shopping thanks to a fabulous campaign several years ago by Staples, but it is a holiday classic nonetheless.

18)  The Little Drummer Boy/Peace On Earth by Bing Crosby & David Bowie (Drummer Boy written by Harry Simeone, Henry Onorati & Katherine Kennicott Davis, and the Peace on Earth music & lyrics written by Ian Fraser, Larry Grossman and Alan Kohan expressly for the recording by Crosby and Bowie).

In theory this was an odd pairing, but in principle their voices worked so well together it is hard to imagine this season without this song.  But I still wonder what would have happened if Bowie had shown up at Crosby’s house dressed as Ziggy Stardust???  (LOL)

19) O Holy Night by Eric Cartman (written by Adolphe-Charles Adam).

South Park is one of my all time favorite shows, and this clip illustrates just one of the reasons why.  Any reverence I had for this song is gone thanks to Trey Parker and Matt Stone, but I would not have it any other way!!!

20)  Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer by Elmo and Patsy (written by Randy Brooks).

This brings back memories of me and my cousins signing this song to my grandmother, who I miss everyday, not just at Christmas.  But this makes me feel a little closer to her.