Let’s Take A Moment Day 320

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 marks the 52nd anniversary of The Beatles impromptu & now famous rooftop concert featured in the documentary, “Let It Be”. On January 30, 1969 The Fab Four went to the top of the Apple Records building in London to play a handful of songs before the police brought the miraculous event to a close. What initially gave their fans hope that the group was testing the waters to start touring again soon became the heartbreaking reality that this was The Beatles final public performance as they disbanded in April of the following year.

Can you imagine leaving your office for lunch on an otherwise ordinary day, go walking down the street to get something to eat and suddenly hear the most famous group in the world playing music from a few blocks away? In today’s clip you can see some of those lucky people standing next to the makeshift stage while others gathered on the street below. The only thing missing is a shot of Billy Preston playing those funky keyboard parts. But you can clearly hear him playing with everything he had on the songs the group performed that day including “I Dig A Pony”, “I’ve Got A Feeling”, “One After 909”, “Get Back” and today’s song. Eventually they would all be released on the “Let It Be” album.

I saw the documentary when I was barely a teenager & the thing I remember so vividly about it, aside from the remarkable music, was how different they all looked from the images I had in my head of their mop-top days. The decade changed them and not just because it was the decade of change. They were four young men from a small town in England who played in a band & ended up changing the course of music history. They conquered the world while it was changing and while they were changing. They were growing up, falling in love, starting families all while navigating the enormous price of fame. They were trying to find happiness & eventually discovered they could not achieve that together.

As much as it might have hurt to see them going their separate ways, it was heartwarming to hear how happy John Lennon was, especially on today’s song. The raw passion of his intense vocal was an announcement of his finding love “for the first time” and how it changed him from the inside out. He & his bandmates deserved that & so much more for everything they did for us.

I’m in love for the first time
Don’t you know it’s gonna last
It’s a love that lasts forever
It’s a love that had no past
“.

The-Beatles-Rooftop-500

The Beatles on the roof (L-R)” Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, John Lennon and George Harrison. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

The Beatles: “Don’t Let Me Down” (Live rooftop performance recorded January 30, 1969. Released in 1970, written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney).

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 137

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?

Thoreau music 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.

Only two famous musicians are known to have played with both The Beatles as a group and then with all four members individually.  The first is my great love Eric Clapton, who played lead guitar on “While My Guitar Gently Weeps”, although he went uncredited on The White Album.  He then went on to play with Lennon in The Dirty Mac (along with Keith Richards on bass and Mitch Mitchell, the drummer from The Jimi Hendrix Experience) and on several songs by Lennon’s Plastic Ono Band.  Clapton played with Paul on his 2001 song, “Freedom” & at The Concert For George.  Clapton co-wrote “Badge” for Cream with George, played on his 1970 album, “All Things Must Pass” and appeared at The Concert For Bangladesh in 1971 with him as well.  Ringo was also at The Concert For Bangladesh and Clapton wrote music & played guitar for Ringo’s 1976 album, “Ringo’s Rotogravure” and 1983’s “Old Wave” amongst others.  Clapton also played with Ringo in person at The Prince’s Trust Concert in 1987 as well as The Concert For George in 2002.

The other musician to boast the same accomplishment with The Beatles was Billy Preston.  He was nicknamed “The Fifth Beatle” after playing organ for them on “Abbey Road” (on “I Want You (She’s So Heavy”) & “Something”), then he played electric piano on the “Let It Be” album and in the movie during the rooftop concert scene for “Get Back” & “Don’t Let Me Down”.  After the band broke up Preston played on John’s song “God”, on George’s album “All Things Must Pass” and at The Concert For Bangladesh.  Preston also played on a few of Ringo’s solo albums (1973’s self titled record & 2005’s “Choose Love”), in his All-Starr Band & at The Concert For George (where he sang a rousing version of “My Sweet Lord”) and played with Paul at this show as well.  And for added interest, Preston played Sgt. Pepper in the 1978 film of the same name where he sang his own version of “Get Back”.

He was hailed as a self-taught child prodigy who played with Mahalia Jackson & Nat King Cole by the ages of 10 and 11, respectively.  By the age of 16 he met The Beatles in Hamburg, Germany when he was playing with Little Richard’s band.  Later that year he played for Sam Cooke and five years later, he joined Ray Charles’ band.  He has played on several albums for The Rolling Stones and Eric Clapton while working on songs by artists like Luther Vandross, Patti LaBelle & The Band.  Preston also worked as the musical director for David Brenner’s short lived late night show, Nightlife, from 1986-1987.  He co-wrote today’s song with songwriter Bruce Fisher and both men also penned the Joe Cocker hit, “You Are So Beautiful” (there are rumors that Dennis Wilson of The Beach Boys had a hand in writing it as well but allegedly his brother Brian Wilson said that was not the case).  Preston died too young at the age of 59 in 2006 but left a legacy of great performances that showcase just how gifted he was.

Billy Preston in 2002 at The Concert For George (L) and as Sgy. Pepper (R) in the 1978 movie of the same name.  (Images found online.  Original sources unknown.)

Billy Preston:  “Nothing From Nothing” (1974, written by Billy Preston and Bruce Fisher).

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

Stay well.