Let’s Take A Moment Day 340

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?

Feb 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 try not to dwell on songs, singers or groups I do not like because even if I am not a fan, someone else is. I may pray for that someone else to acquire better taste in music, but I respect their right to be hopelessly misguided. Also, I realize how much work goes in to making a record from the singer to the songwriter, to the musicians, producers, engineers, record company people who release & market the song to the radio station people who will hopefully decide to play it. It is a long chain with many links. But I am human and sometimes I cannot help myself. For instance, I often write about how fabulous 1978 was for music. And it was. The year before, however, not as much.

It may have had some bright moments with #1 songs like “Got To Give It Up” by Marvin Gaye, “Dreams” by Fleetwood Mac (Day 325) and “Sir Duke” by Stevie Wonder. But the top spot in 1977 also featured irredeemably low moments like “Da Doo Ron Ron” by Shaun Cassidy, “Undercover Angel” by Alan O’Day and “Torn Between Two Lovers” by Mary MacGregor.

So when today’s song hit #1, it was significant for two reasons. The first is it knocked MacGregor’s tune out of the top spot which was the beginning of the end of that song’s central message: please be OK with me cheating on you. Now, I am not stupid, I know some people are unfaithful in relationships. However, I cannot believe it ever happened as that song suggests.

It was co-written by Peter Yarrow (of Peter, Paul & Mary) and I do not know where he got his intel on women, but I cannot imagine any one of them saying, “Let me hold you close and say these words as gently as I can” when those words were going to reveal she was hitting the sheets with someone else. The woman is going to want to be on the other side of the room while secretly wishing it was the other side of the planet. Not because she is afraid her guy will get physically abusive with her, rather to just give him the space he needs to process the heart shattering & ego destroying news.

And then for her to try to explain herself was just embarrassing. Women hate when men cheat and say “It didn’t mean anything” so how could a woman think a man needed to hear “No one else can have the part of me I gave to you”. All he hears is “There is another part you will never have because the other guy’s got that”. I remember so many older girls & young women I knew found this song empowering. They were happy the woman cheated on the man rather than the other way around. To me cheating on either side is wrong so holding this woman in high esteem was not something I was participating in. But the nerve she had to tell him “I couldn’t really blame you if you turned and walked away, but with everything I feel inside, I’m asking you to stay” Translation: I want to continue seeing you both, so deal with it. How many people of either gender would be okay with that arrangement?

The second reason why today’s song hitting the top spot was significant? It proved to be the only #1 song of Bruce Springsteen’s career to date. He released his original version in February 1973 as the first single from his debut album Greetings From Asbury Park NJ. Sadly, the track failed to chart. Three years later a group from England called Manfred Mann’s Earth Band recorded their cover of the song. On February 19, 1977 it hit #1 for one week in the U.S. So Bruce got a top selling song & MacGregor’s was on its way down. The universe always finds a way to correct itself.

Some silicone sister with her manager’s mister told me I got what it takes
She said I’ll turn you on sonny, to something strong play the song with the funky break,
And go-cart Mozart was checkin’ out the weather chart to see if it was safe outside
And little Early-Pearly came by Annie’s curly-wurly and asked me if I needed a ride
“.

Manfred

Manfred Mann’s Earth Band circa 1977. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Manfred Mann’s Earth Band: “Blinded By The Light” (1976, 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 331

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?

Feb 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.

When I remember the albums that changed my life while I was growing up, Born To Run, Layla & Other Assorted Love Songs, Elton John’s Greatest Hits & Let It Be are amongst the first ones I recall. But before I heard any of them, I was in love with another one that I did not even know existed. I only knew I was in love with songs like “I Feel The Earth Move” and “It’s Too Late” and the woman behind them when I was only a little kid. It was not until I heard today’s song that I finally sought out the album all three songs were a part of. It was Tapestry by Carole King, released 50 years ago today, Feb 10, 1971. It was not only transformative in teaching me about great music, it also taught me how talented one person-a woman-could be. She wrote & performed her own songs, arranged them and played her own accompaniment as well.

King, who was born Carol Joan Klein in NYC 79 years ago on February 9, 1942, started playing piano as a child. She learned from her mother who played as well. King met her songwriting partner & future husband, Gerry Goffin, when they were both students at Queens Community College and were married in 1959 when King was 17. Soon they became songwriters at the Brill Building & after the success of 1960’s “Will You Love Me Tomorrow” they were on their way. Ten years later King recorded her landmark album, released before she turned 30 years old. And by 1977, it had spent a record breaking 302 weeks on the Billboard albums chart.

I adore several female artists and each has her own gifts. Aretha Franklin is the undisputable Queen of Soul, Linda Ronstadt’s voice has an undeniable power & range all its own and Joni Mitchell is an eloquent poet & story teller. But King has an unbelievable gift and uniqueness that separates her from a group even that distinguished. And the songs from her 1971 album are absolutely invaluable to music. Happy birthday, Carole King. And happy anniversary to the beautiful Tapestry.

“Traveling around sure gets me down and lonely
Nothing else to do but close my mind
I sure hope the road don’t come to own me
There’s so many dreams I’ve yet to find
“.

Tapestry

Carole King’s iconic 1971 album, Tapestry. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Carole King: “So Far Away” (1971, written by Carole King).

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 325

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?

Feb 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.

Beware of “Rumours”, unless they are the Fleetwood Mac kind. Then you cannot lose.

Celebrating 44 years of one of the best-selling albums of all time, released on February 4, 1977.

It’s only me, who wants to
Wrap around your dreams and
Have you any dreams you’d like to sell
Dreams of loneliness
“.

Like a heartbeat, drives you mad
In the stillness of remembering what you had
And what you lost
And what you had
“.

Rumours

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Fleetwood Mac: “Dreams” (1977, written by Stevie Nicks).

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 256

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?

kurt v

(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.

On November 26th Fleetwood Mac’s bassist John McVie became another member of this year’s 75th birthday club. He was born in London, England in 1945 has been in the band since 1967. The name of the group came from combining his nickname “Mac” (a variation on his last name) with Mick Fleetwood’s surname. And his methodical detailed playing combined with McVie’s tremendous bass line provided every one of the group’s songs with an unbelievably strong & precise rhythm section. But I think what they created together on today’s song is nothing short of outstanding.

If I could
Maybe I’d give you my world
How can I
When you won’t take it from me”.

FLEETWOOD-MAC

John McVie

Top: Fleetwood Mac circa 1975 (L-R): Mick Fleetwood, Stevie Nicks. John McVie, Christine McVie & Lindsey Buckingham). Bottom: John McVie circa 1979. (Images found online.  Original sources unknown.)

Fleetwood Mac: “Go Your Own Way” (1977, written by Lindsey Buckingham).

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 201

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?

Jane Austen 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.

Three days into October and already we have our first rock & roll birthday of the month. This one belongs to guitarist & singer Lindsey Buckingham, formerly of Fleetwood Mac, who turns 71 today. I have loved his music since I first discovered that band and the fact that he was oh-so-easy-on-the-eyes was just a plus. As the only guitarist & male vocalist for the band, it was his sound that made their music instantly recognizable throughout the 1970’s & 1980’s.

If you know the back story to the album, “Rumours” then you know he was romantically involved with bandmate Stevie Nicks until they began working on that record. They met in high school and he invited her to join the band he was in at the time. Five years later, they left the band and started dating. In 1973 they released a record together but it did not sell. However, Mick Fleetwood heard one of those songs and was intrigued by the guitar work. He eventually met Buckingham and in 1974 invited him to join Fleetwood Mac. But Buckingham said he & Nicks were a team so he would only take the job if she was hired, too. Fleetwood agreed and the team became part of the band. Nicks wrote the lyrics to her songs, but it was Buckingham who provided all the arrangements, so he was as responsible for the sound of her songs as she was.

While he was with the group Buckingham released his first solo record in 1981 and pursued a few more musical collaborations outside the band until he decided to leave the group in 1987. He reunited with them once in 1992 where they played “Don’t Stop” for Bill Clinton’s inauguration ceremony. But it was not until 1997 that Buckingham would rejoin the group as a full time member, restoring the band’s classic line-up. That year they released a live album, “The Dance”. It debuted at #1 on the album chart, sold one million copies in two months and eventually over six million copies worldwide.

Over the next 20 years he made music with the group while he continued to work on solo & outside projects. That included an album with Christine McVie in 2017. But in January of 2018 Nicks took issue with Buckingham’s alleged “disrespectful behavior towards her” whatever she perceived that to be & gave the band an ultimatum: she wanted him out or she would quit. He was let go, so he filed a lawsuit against the band that was eventually settled. Buckingham revealed in an interview soon after his dismissal that he received a note from McVie stating she did not want him out of the band.

Groups breaking up and members being fired are all part of the rock & roll game. But honestly there should be a statute of limitations in place to prevent what happened to Buckingham because if you have been a part of a band for nearly 35 years, another member should not be allowed to have you fired due to a diva moment. Especially the member who made it possible for you to join the group in the first place. But at least Buckingham’s personal life is solid, as he has been happily married to the mother of his three grown children since 2000. And his talent as a musician is undeniable. As much as I love his contributions to “Rumours”, today’s song was my first introduction to Buckingham and it remains one of my favorites, on any day of the week.

But you know it’s true
You only want me when I get over you
First you love me, then you get on down the line
But I don’t mind, I don’t mind
“.

Fleetwood Mac Portrait

Lindsay

Top: Fleetwood Mac in 1975 (L-R): John McVie, Christine McVie, Stevie Nicks, Mick Fleetwood & Lindsey Buckingham. Bottom: Buckingham circa 2017. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Fleetwood Mac: “Monday Morning” (1975, written by Lindsey Buckingham).

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 119

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.

This weekend the music world celebrated two milestones:  On July 12 Christine McVie turned 77 years young while July 11 marked the 45th anniversary of Fleetwood Mac’s 1975 self titled album.

I cannot express how important that album, along with 1977’s smash, Rumours, was to me.  Aside from phenomenal music, to see two strong talented female songwriters in one band was inspiring.  At that time in my life I was lost in a sea of male singers (not a complaint, just a fact) or all male groups until I discovered the women of Fleetwood Mac, McVie and Stevie Nicks.

Between her enormous solo career & theatrical stage performances, Nicks had become a focal point of the group, appearing to outshine McVie.  But one listen to any of her songs, from “Over My Head”, “Don’t Stop”, “You Make Loving Fun” or her keyboard prowess on any number by the band it was clear McVie shone bright all on her own.  In fact, eight of the sixteen songs on the band’s 1988 Greatest Hits album are hers.  And her deep contralto voice makes it as easily recognizable as Nick’s.

She also enjoyed some solo success with 1984’s “Got A Hold On Me” but after the band’s induction into the Rock & Roll HOF in 1998 McVie decided to retire from the band after 28 years.  She did, however, continue to work in studio sessions for them.  By 2014 she rejoined the group where she remains today.  In 2017 she released an album with bandmate Lindsey Buckingham.  I love nearly all of Christine McVie’s songs but today’s is my favorite.

Baby, baby, hope you’re going to stay away
‘Cause I’m getting weaker, weaker, everyday
I guess I’m not as strong as I used to be
And if you use me again it’ll be the end of me.”

fleetwood_mac
Fleetwood Mac circa 1977 (L-R):  Mick Fleetwood (drums, John McVie (bass, seated) Christine McVie (piano/keyboards), Lindsey Buckingham ( guitar) & Stevie Nicks (vocals).  (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Fleetwood Mac featuring Christine McVie:  “Say You Love Me” (1975, written by Christine McVie).

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 32

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?

music heart

(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.

Today marks the 104th birth anniversary of my beloved grandmother Ida, or as I affectionately called her, Idie.  I think about her and miss her everyday, but even more so since we have been dealing with this pandemic.  She would not have handled the self-quarantine well at all.  She barely went two days in a row without going to bingo so not being allowed to play it for all this time would have undoubtedly put her in a straight jacket by now.  But still, I wish she was still here, for all the obvious reasons.  And so I could have seen the look on her face when she found out that my dream of spending my time listening to music and watching TV all day long not only came true, but is government mandated!!!  Ha!!!  Take that, Idie!!!  LOL.

While I was growing up, we always had music on in the house and usually it was from my records.  Idie learned to like many of the songs I played including “Dreams” by Fleetwood Mac and “Factory” by Bruce Springsteen.  But one hour a day, usually while we were cooking together, she made me turn off my albums so she could listen to the local country music radio station.  And that is how I discovered legends like Dolly Parton, Loretta Lynn, Don Williams, Merle Haggard and the singer of today’s song, Johnny Cash.

He was usually referred to by his nickname “the man in black” but since I first heard him on the radio, that did not really tell me anything other than his preferred garment color.  But his voice and his songs told me all I needed to know about him.  Yes, he was one of the greatest musical talents to ever exist but he was also my first introduction to a true crossover artist.

He sang everything from country songs to religious hymns, to Americana music (like “The Battle Hymn of The Republic”) to covers of  songs by rock artists like Bob Dylan (“It Ain’t Me Babe”), The Rolling Stones (“No Expectations”) and The Band (“The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down”).  He was also on TV and not just as a musical guest.  He appeared in an episode of  “Little House On The Prairie” as a bad guy turned good guy after meeting the pious people of Walnut Grove.  And he was mentioned in a few “Golden Girls” episodes.  My favorite one is a quip by Dorothy after she & Sophia walk in the house wearing dark clothes and Rose is, as usual, confused.

Rose:  “Why are you both wearing black?  Did you just come from a funeral?

Dorothy:  “No, Rose.  We were singing back up for Johnny Cash”.

He continued to make incredible music for the rest of his life, on his own and as a member of the supergroup, The Highwaymen.  He also covered more rock songs by Neil Young (“Heart of Gold”), Nine Inch Nails (“Hurt) and U2 (“One”).  And he continued to act, most notably on “Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman” with the great love of his life, June, by his side.  I grew up believing there wasn’t anything Cash could not sing or do.  He proved me right.  I am so thankful I discovered his music, all because my grandmother brought country songs into my world.  Thank you, Idie.  And happy birthday.  xoxox

Johnny Cash "Folsom Prison Blues" 7 inch Album Cover

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Johnny Cash:  “Folsom Prison Blues” (1955, written by Johnny Cash).

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 23

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?

music heart

(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.

How does a musical group measure success?  Is it by how many records they sell?  Or how many concerts they sell out?  Or perhaps by how many awards they have won?  It could be all three, or they could measure their success by how long they stay together.  But becoming a part of pop culture is a clear sign that regardless of the awards you’ve won or the number of records you’ve sold, you have cemented your place in history.

Case in point:  Fleetwood Mac releases their “Rumours” album in 1977.  It becomes a best selling record of that year, of that decade, of all time.  Every fan knows what member sings which song or wrote which song along with the lyrics to all those songs, having heard them 100’s of times at home or on the radio or in concert even.  The fans also know the background of the songs stem from the members of the group breaking up with their respective partners and having affairs with different people, including other members of the group.  That may make the album remarkable, but that still does not earn the group a place in pop culture.  That comes 25 years after the album’s release.  In March 2002 on an episode of Will & Grace”, Will finds out that both his parents are having affairs.  His reaction?

“Fantastic.  Everybody’s cheating on everybody.  Suddenly my parents are Fleetwood Mac!”

Place in pop culture solidified  🙂

Rumours

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Fleetwood Mac:  “The Chain” (1977, written by Fleetwood Mac:  Lindsey Buckingham,  Mick Fleetwood, Christine McVie, John McVie and Stevie Nicks).

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

Stay well.

10 Songs To Celebrate Or Condemn Valentine’s Day With – Your Choice

With Valentine’s Day approaching, I thought I would share a few of my favorite love songs.  No surprise there.  But this year, to change things up a bit, I thought I would also share some songs for those who are not fans of this holiday.  Let’s call those the anti-love songs, if you will.  After all, everyone deserves to be happy and to listen to great music, right???

Valentine

Found on Pinterest (original source unknown).  

Let’s start with the songs that celebrate the grand emotion.  Here are five of my favorites:

1. The Beatles:  “Something” (1969, written by George Harrison in 1969).

The Beatles changed the world and Lennon-McCartney songs were the nucleus of that success.  But this song written by George Harrison is the best love song the group ever made.  Period.

***Bonus:  Bruce Springsteen performed a gorgeous acoustic version of this song in 2001 days after George Harrison’s death.  A kind wonderful soul who was lucky enough to attend that show posted the audio portion of it on YouTube.  It is too beautiful not to share.

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

It’s Elvis, singing a beautiful love song.  What more could I possibly add???

3. Bruce Springsteen:  “Drive All Night” (1980, written by Bruce Springsteen circa 1977).

I swear I’ll drive all night again just to buy you some shoes
And to taste your tender charms
And I just want to sleep tonight again in your arms
Oh yeah, oh yeah.”

This song may be number 82 on Rolling Stone’s “100 Greatest Bruce Springsteen Songs of All Time”, but it is in my top five.  I sa-woon every single time I hear this unbelievably beautiful soul filled song full of pure unadulterated love and passion.  A classic and one of the highlights of his 2016 “The River” revisited tour.

4. Blood Sweat & Tears:  “You’ve Made Me So Very Happy” (1969, written by Brenda Holloway, Patrice Holloway, Frank Wilson & Berry Gordy in 1967).

David Clayton Thomas has one of the best voices to come out of any era, and one of the most underrated ones as well.  I have no clue why that is.  But between his powerhouse vocals to the booming brass accompaniment, this song is one for the ages.

5. Loggins & Messins:  “A Love Song” (1973, written by Kenny Loggins & Dona Lyn George in 1973).

A sweet pure simple song about love and sharing what;s really important (“I want to rock you in my arms all night long…….I want to show you the peaceful feeling of my home“).

Now, here are five of my favorite anti-love songs:

Anti val

Found on Pinterest (original source unknown).  

1. The J. Geils Band:  “Love Stinks

The title and the use of gas masks in the video say it all.  And so does Adam Sandler’s anger ridden performance of this song in “The Wedding Singer“.  

2. Elton John:  “Someone Saved My Life Tonight” (1975, written by Elton John & Bernie Taupin in 1974).

A man attempts suicide to avoid marriage.  What else is there to add???

3. Fleetwood Mac:  “Go Your Own Way” (1976, written by Lindsey Buckingham in 1976).  The first single off the now classic “Rumors” album and the one that details Buckingham’s anger toward his ex-girlfriend Stevie Nicks by announcing to the whole world on a record and in every concert performance what she wanted instead of him (“‘Packing up, Shacking up is all you want to do“).   Ouch.

4. Amy Winehouse:  “Back To Black” (2007, written by Amy Winehouse & Mark Ronson in 2006).

Break ups are hard enough, but when your ex leaves you for his ex, it cuts especially deep.

5. Nazareth:  “Love Hurts” (1974, written by Boudleaux Bryant circa 1960).

The Everly Brothers may have recorded this song first, but Nazareth turned it into a top ten hit, with Dan McCafferty’s vocal making you ache with every note.

Love hurts
Love scars
Love wounds and mars
Any heart not tough or strong enough
To take a lot of pain.”

What are some of your favorite love or anti-love songs?

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

Until next time, happy listening!!!

My Top 10 Halloween Songs

Happy Halloween, everyone!!!

mantel

Courtesy of Pinterest & ehomedecors.com (original source unknown)

You know for me it is all about the music, so I could not let this holiday pass without honoring it with my favorite songs (in no particular order), which are guaranteed to put you in a  Halloween mood.

1.  “I Put A Spell On You” (1956, written by Jalacy “Screamin’ Jay” Hawkins).

 

bette

(Original source unknown)

The songwriter’s own version from 1956 is a powerful number all on its own.  But, there are several unbelievably intense & stunning covers you cannot miss by Nina Simone (1965), Annie Lennox (2014), Them featuring Van Morrison (1966), Creedence Clearwater Revival (1968), Chaka Khan (2019) and of course, Winifred Sanderson a/k/a  Bette Midler (1993) from the film “Hocus Pocus”.

2.  “Sympathy for the Devil” – The Rolling Stones (1968, written by Mick Jagger & Keith Richards).

Rolling Stones

(Original source unknown)

From the opening beats of the congas combined with Jagger’s first scream, the Stones pull you into this masterpiece and refuse to let you go.  And honestly, you would not want to leave anyway.  There are several covers out there by respectable artists, but compared to the original they really are not even worth mentioning.

3.  “The Devil Went Down to Georgia” – The Charlie Daniels Band (1979, written by the Charlie Daniels Band). 

charlie daniels

(Original source unknown)

A fantastically fun song.  But how can a song about the devil be fun, you ask?  Just include a contest with a human, a ,smoking hot fiddle player and lyrics like “Chicken in a bread pan pickin’ out dough, Granny, does your dog bite? No child, no!” and you are all set.  Personal note:  This song is featured in one of my favorite episodes of “The Drew Carey Show” (season 2, episode 5:  “The Devil, You Say”) guest starring Grant Shaud (“Murphy Brown’s” Miles Silverberg) convinced he is the prince of darkness in the living flesh.  Watch it if you can find it.  I couldn’t. 

4.  “Werewolves of London” – Warren Zevon (1978, written by Warren Zevon, LeRoy Marinell & Waddy Wachtel).

warren zevon

(Original source unknown)

Zevon referred to this as a novelty song, and if that is so, it is undoubtedly one of the best of all time.  How could it not be with an opening line like “I saw a werewolf with a Chinese menu in his hand”.  Wouldn’t that make a great costume???!!!  Adam Sandler did a more than respectable cover of this song on the 2004 Zevon tribute album, “Eat Every Sandwich”.  And you thought Sandler only sang about Hanukah!!!

5.  “Spooky” –Atlanta Rhythm Section (1979, written by Mike Shapiro and Harry Middlebrooks Jr,)

ARS 1

(Original source unknown)

I adored this band from the first time I heard “So Into You” but fell in L-O-V-E with them thanks to “Imaginary Lover“.  It still makes me swoon.  But I digress.  Two members of the group, Dean Daughtry and James B. Cobb, Jr-who were previously members of the band which first recorded this song, the Classics IV-decided to record another version with their new group.  Two other versions you cannot miss are by Joan Osborne   (1998) and Dusty Springfield (1970).

6.  “Season of the Witch” – Donovan (1966, written by Donovan and Shawn Phillips).

scary stories

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I am not a fan of folk Donavan, but psychedelic rock Donavan is a different story.  The music is undeniably from the late 1960’s but his vocals transcend the era.  There is some weight and a whole lot of feeling behind them that keeps up with the music perfectly so as not to be outdone.  If you can forgive the one dated reference to beatniks, you can enjoy this song anytime, but it is perfect for this time of year.  Al Kooper & Stephen Stills’ cover is a guitar & brass spin on the original and is absolutely worth a listen.  And if you are planning to see the movie “Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark”  you will hear a new version of the song by Lana Del Ray which is very well done.

7.  “Black Magic Woman” – Fleetwood Mac (1968, written by Peter Green).

Peter Green

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If you are a fan of this band you know they formed years before Lindsay Buckingham & Stevie Nicks joined them.  Peter Green was one of the founding members of the group  and wrote and recorded this song with them in 1968.  Prior to Fleetwood Mac he was a member of John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers, joining them to fill the void left by Eric Clapton’s departure.  This song became more famous when it was covered by  Santana  in 1970 which featured Gregg Rolie on vocals.  He went on to join Journey, leading to him being inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame with each band.

8.  “Superstition” – Stevie Wonder (1972, written by Stevie Wonder).

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The lyrics may evoke fear and trepidation, but the music is nothing but mesmerizing, from the opening drum beats to the synthesizer bass to the tenor sax and more.  It is a banquet of sounds that, as the line goes, keeps you in a daydream.   For an equally funky version, give Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble’s version from 1986 a listen.  It does not disappoint.  Wonder even participated in the video for Vaughn’s version by appearing at the end and singing a line from the song……..with a black cat in his arms.  Fabulous.

9.  “(Don’t Fear) The Reaper” – Denmark & Winter  (2016, written by Buck Dharma).

denmark

(Original source unknown)

Of course, Blue Oyster Cult’s 1976 original version is a classic, and that was years before the SNL cowbell skit.  But the indie band’s evocative stripped down version with its slower pace brings this song to a whole new level of intensity and beauty.

10.   Monster Mash” – Bobby “Boris” Pickett and the Crypt-Kickers (1962, written by Bobby Pickett & Lenny Capizzi). 

MonsterMash

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How can this not be on the list???  It is the embodiment of the holiday AND it has Darlene Love on backing vocals!!!  I grew up listening to this song every Halloween season thanks to my mom.  She would play it over and over again while we danced around the living room.  That is how I learned you are never too old for this holiday.  Two cover versions that are almost as popular as the original are by Vincent Price (1977) and Alvin & the Chipmunks ( 1994).     

Honorable mention:  “Psycho Killer” – The Talking Heads (1977, written by the Talking Heads).

Once the little hairs on the back of your neck relax after taking in the title of this song, the rest of your body becomes entranced by the remarkable baseline underscoring Byrne’s vocals in English and French punctuated by his fa-fa-fa’s.  Just genius.

What songs do you love for Halloween?

I hope your holiday is filled with more treats than tricks!!!

i got a rock.jpg(Courtesy of Charles M. Schulz/United Feature Syndicate)   

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

Until next time, happy listening!!!