25 Days Of Christmas Music 2022: Day 12

Hello, everyone. Welcome back to the countdown.

Day 12 2022

A picture of an adorable vintage Christmas figurine found on Pinterest. (Image found online. Original source unknown.)

Today we honor the legendary entertainer who put New Jersey on the world’s musical map nearly 60 years before Bruce Springsteen’s “Greetings From Asbury Park, N.J.” reaffirmed the state’s place of honor. Francis Albert Sinatra was born December 12, 1915 in Hoboken, NJ. His career as a vocalist began when he was a teenager but his first album was not released until 1946. Five years earlier he made his film debut as a big band singer in 1941’s Las Vegas Nights. He went from being the heart’s desire of bobby soxers across the country to becoming a member of The Rat Pack, “The Chairman Of The Board” and “Ol’ Blue Eyes” in a career that spanned over five decades before his death in 1998.

For my maternal grandmother Sinatra was all those things and the definition of Christmas. Every December of my young childhood, his Christmas music began the festive season. It was as comforting to me as the smell of the real tree she had in her apartment every year. She listened to other Italian singers each holiday season as well (most notably fellow Rat Packer Dean Martin), but Frank was the one who started all the fun. My grandmother’s collection incliuded his first holiday album, “Christmas Songs by Sinatra” from 1946, his second one, “A Jolly Christmas from Frank Sinatra” from 1957 and the one he made with his three children, “The Sinatra Family Wish You a Merry Christmas” from 1968.

Today’s song is from his second holiday record and has been one of my favorites for as long as I can remember. Sinatra helped write this track as well and it is one of the few songs that is not played to death each December. On the contrary, it is not played nearly enough.

Then comes that big night
Giving the tree the trim
You’ll hear voices by starlight
Singing a yuletide hymn
“.

Sinatra album

Sinatra studio

Top: Sinatra’s 1957 Christmas album. Bottom: The Chairman Of The Board in the recording studio circa 1960. (Images found online. Original sources unknown.)

Frank Sinatra: “Mistletoe and Holly” (1957, written by Hank Sanicola, Frank Sinatra and Dok Stanford).

What are some of your favorite Christmas songs?

Until next time, happy listening!!!

Music Monday: February 21, 2022

Hi, everyone. Welcome to this week’s edition of Music Monday.

Music Monday

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

February 25th will mark the 79th birth anniversary of my favorite Beatle, George Harrison. Born in 1943 in Liverpool, England, he was the youngest of the group and quietly honed his skills as a songwriter and musician. By the time the band broke up in 1970, he was the first member to have a number one single when “My Sweet Lord” hit the top spot on the singles chart at the end of that year.

Harrison followed his spiritual conscience in both his music & his heart. That led to him organizing the first benefit show in 1971, “The Concert For Bangladesh”. After a successful solo career he became one fifth of the supergroup, “The Traveling Wilburys”, in 1988.

I love so much of Harrison’s music, but I have always felt that today’s pick is his most beautiful composition. He was inspired to write it after hearing James Taylor’s song, “Something In The Way She Moves”. Harrison borrowed the first line & the rest is history. Even Frank Sinatra, who supposedly was not a fan of the Beatles, called today’s track “the greatest love song of the past 50 years” when it was released in 1969. He also recorded his own version in 1970. But even The Chairman Of The Board’s rendition comes second to the original for me.

Something in the way she knows
And all I have to do is think of her
Something in the things she shows me
I don’t want to leave her now
You know I believe and how
“.

George

George Harrison circa 1969. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

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

Stay safe & well.

25 Days Of Christmas Music 2021: Day 21

Hello, everyone. Welcome back to the countdown.

Day 21

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

This year the iconic Tony Bennett announced his retirement at age 95 after a 70 year career. To say this news left an enormous hole in the hearts & minds of his fans, not to mention the music industry, is an understatement. Despite his age the magic of his glorious melodic expressive voice never waned. That fact rings true in today’s song which he recorded in 2008.

When Frank Sinatra called Bennett “the best singer in the business”, it put him at a place of honor that no one else could ever compare with. But even without The Chairman Of The Board’s declaration, one listen to any performance by Bennett proves his skill, talent & worth. We owe an incredible debt to him for what he gave us over the years not only in music but in artistry, humanity, history, pop culture and grace. Thank you for everything, Anthony Dominick Benedetto.

It’s that time of year
When the world falls in love
Every song you hear seems to say
Merry Christmas
“.

Tony

Tony Bennett circa 2010. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Tony Bennett: “The Christmas Waltz” (2008, written by Sammy Cahn and Jule Styne).

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!!!

25 Days Of Christmas Music 2021: Day 15

Hello, everyone. Welcome back to the countdown.

Day 15

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

December 12th marked the 106th birth anniversary of Francis Albert Sinatra. A singer, an actor, a member of Hollywood’s Rat Pack and an overall entertainer & artist, the man was a legend who continues to enthrall fans with his towering reputation and existence. No one had a life like Sinatra.

Today’s tune may technically be considered a children’s Christmas song and Sinatra’s fellow New Jersey-ite Bruce Springsteen may have a more popular version in the rock genre. But The Chairman Of The Board turned this classic into a sophisticated big band grown up track that endures nearly 75 years after its original recording in 1947. It is still Frank Sinatra’s world and we are all just living in it. How lucky are we?

He sees you when you’re sleeping
He knows when you’re awake
He knows if you’ve been bad or good
So be good for goodness sake
“.

Frank

Frank Sinatra circa 1955. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Frank Sinatra: “Santa Claus Is Comin’ To Town” (1947, written by John Frederick Coots and Haven Gillespie).

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!!!

Let’s Take A Moment Day 505

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.

Today the man born Anthony Dominick Benedetto turns 95 years young. The legendary performer better known by his stage name, Tony Bennett, was born on August 3, 1926 in Queens, NY. Frank Sinatra called him “the best singer in the business”. Pretty hard to argue with the Chairman Of The Board. Bennett released today’s song, his signature tune, in February of 1962. Nearly 60 years later, it remains as timeless as the singer himself. Here’s to 100 more birthdays for the great Tony Bennett.

The loveliness of Paris seems somehow sadly grey
The glory that was Rome is of another day
I’ve been terribly alone and forgotten in Manhattan
I’m going home to my city by the Bay
“.

Tony 1

Tony 2

Top: Tony Bennett circa 1964. Bottom: Bennett circa 2004. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Tony Bennett: “I Left My Heart In San Francisco” (1962, written by George C. Cory Jr. and Douglass Cross).

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 491

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?

Tom Petty music quote

(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.

On July 8, 1998 Frank Sinatra’s songs & movies were given new places of honor-The Smithsonian and Library of Congress. Today’s song was included in that group and it was played on two space missions: Apollo 10 and Apollo 11, which landed on the moon 52 years ago today on July 20, 1969. Sending a huge thank you out to all our rocket men & women-past, present & future-for having the courage & desire to take us all higher and higher.

Fly me to the moon
Let me play among the stars
Let me see what spring is like on
A-Jupiter and Mars”.

Sinatra

Apollo 11 Astronauts

Top:  Frank Sinatra album cover photograph circa 1960.  Bottom:  The three crew members of NASA’s Apollo 11, May 1969 (L-R):  Commander Neil Armstrong, Command Module Pilot Michael Collins and Lunar Module Pilot Edwin ‘Buzz’ Aldrin Jr. (Bottom Photo by Space Frontiers/Getty Images).  (Images found online.  Original sources unknown).    

Frank Sinatra: “Fly Me To The Moon” (1964, written by Bart Howard).

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 363

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.

If you remember any part of the 1980’s, then you know Quincy Jones was a huge part of music in that decade. He was the producer behind Michael Jackson’s biggest albums (Off The Wall, Bad, Thriller) & USA For Africa’s 1985 charity song, “We Are The World”, to name just a few of his accomplishments. Jones began his musical journey as a trumpeter when he was about ten years old. When he was 14 he met Ray Charles and the two remained friends & collaborators until Ray’s death in 2004.

Jones left a scholarship at Boston’s Berklee School of Music in the early 1950’s to work for bandleader Lionel Hampton. Jones would eventually work with everyone from Sarah Vaughn, Count Basie, Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra, Duke Ellington & so many others. And if all that was not cool enough, Jones married Peggy Lipton (Julie from “Mod Squad”) in 1974.

He turns 88 today, born on March 14, 1933 in Illinois. One of my favorite songs by him came out in 1989 and featured his buddy Ray Charles & Chaka Khan on vocals. Happy birthday, Quincy Jones.

We’ve been together
For so very long
I’d hate to break up
Break up my happy home”.

quincy-jones-and-ray-charles

chaka quincy

Top (l-R): Quincy Jones and Ray Charles circa 1988. Bottom (L-R): Chaka Khan and Jones circa 2010. (Images found online.  Original sources unknown.)

Quincy Jones featuring Ray Charles & Chaka Khan: “I’ll Be Good To You” (1989, written by George Johnson, Louis Johnson and Sonora Sam).

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 271

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?

Sinatra Dec 11

(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 is the 105th birth anniversary for The Chairman Of The Board. Francis Albert Sinatra was born on December 12, 1915 in New Jersey. I may worship Bruce Springsteen, but I completely acknowledge Sinatra as the premiere Jersey legend. The big as life singer, actor & Rat Pack member was a star right from his first job singing live on the radio in 1938 and rode the wave of that success until his death 60 years later in 1998. He remains an iconic figure not just in entertainment but in pop culture as a whole.

His music was a staple during the Christmas season of my young childhood courtesy of my maternal grandmother. Yet today’s song is not one I remember hearing then. I stumbled upon a more contemporary rendition last month which led me to Sinatra’s. His version reconnected me to those early holidays and to my grandma decades after we shared our last Christmas together. The flood of memories music ignites in us, especially this time of year, is another example of its immense power in our lives. And a bonus to this wondrous season.

Frosted window panes
Candles gleaming inside
Painted candy canes on the tree
Santa’s on his way
“.

Sinatra

The Sinatra Family (L-R): Tina, Frank, Nancy & Frank Jr. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Frank Sinatra: “The Christmas Waltz” (1968, written by Sammy Cahn & Jule Styne).

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 199

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.

Fifty one years ago today-October 1, 1969-The Beatles released “Abbey Road” here in the US. Five days later, today’s song came out as the first single backed with “Come Together”. One look at the cover of the album with three of The Fab Four sporting long hair and beards and you could hardly believe that only five years had passed since they first arrived in America in their matching suits and mop-top haircuts. The 1960’s swept over them and the world at an unbelievably rapid pace.

The music the group created continued to evolve as well. But John Lennon & Paul McCartney, still being credited as a writing team, were moving in opposite directions. The diversity they showed on “The White Album”-Lennon writing about a “Revolution” along with more introspective pieces like “Julia” & “Dear Prudence” while McCartney told stories about “Rocky Raccoon”, “Mother Nature’s Son” and “Wild Honey Pie”-continued on “Abbey Road” as well. Lennon wrote “Come Together” & “I Want You (She’s So Heavy)” while McCartney sang about “Maxwell’s Silver Hammer” and a few other characters until closing out the album with his famous medley.

The other thing that was clear on this album was George Harrison’s momentum from “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” helped him deliver not one but two of the best songs the group ever recorded, “Here Comes The Sun” and today’s track. Ringo Starr started the song off with an incredible drum roll and continued his exquisite playing throughout it which only added to the beauty of this tune. Harrison had already begun stockpiling songs for his first solo record but the two he contributed to “Abbey Road” removed any doubt as to his premier songwriting ability. The stage was being set for his debut album, the “Concert For Bangladesh” and all the other gems he brought us in the 1970’s and beyond. But it was today’s song that Frank Sinatra called “the greatest love song of the past 50 years” and neither Lennon nor McCartney could ever take that prestigious honor away from Harrison. This is without a doubt my favorite Beatles song of all time.

Something in the way she knows
And all I have to do is think of her
Something in the things she shows me
I don’t want to leave her now
You know I believe and how
“.

Abbey Road

The “Abbey Road” album cover. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

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

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 194

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.

Today marks the 122nd birth anniversary of George Gershwin. He wrote some of the most beautiful standards out there, and Broadway musicals were never the same after his genius touch. My absolute favorite tune of his is “Someone To Watch Over Me” (see Day 42). But I love today’s song as well, which was first sung by Ginger Rogers in the 1930 stage musical, “Girl Crazy” and in the 1943 film version by Judy Garland.

Since then it has been covered by a number of artists including John Coltrane, Sam Cooke, Frank Sinatra, Linda Ronstadt, Elton John and Barry Manilow, amongst others. But when it comes to singing Gershwin tunes, I do not think anyone compares to Lady Ella.

I was a fool to fall, and get that way
Hi-ho, alas, and also lack-a-day
Although I can’t dismiss
The memory of his kiss
I guess he’s not for me
“.

Ella Marilyn

george gershwin

Top: Ella Fitzgerald & Marilyn Monroe circa 1955. Bottom: George Gershwin circa 1930. (Images found online.  Original sources unknown.)

Ella Fitzgerald: “But Not For Me” ( 1959, written by George Gershwin and Ira Gershwin).

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

Stay well.