Let’s Take A Moment Day 467

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?

June 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 am a huge fan of anything weird and quirky, warm and funny, strange and cool. That is precisely why I fell head over heels in love with Showtime’s “The Chris Isaak Show” which ran from 2001-2004. I was already a fan of his music & his simply adorable dimpled face. And I always enjoyed seeing him on the late night talk show circuit because he was always so funny & entertaining. But he raised the bar even higher on his own show.

Isaak was born June 26, 1956 in California. He formed his first band after he graduated from college. In 1985 he signed a deal with Warner Brothers Records & released his critically acclaimed debut album, Silvertone. Today’s song is from his breakthrough album, Heart Shaped World, released June 13, 1989. It has been featured in countless movies & TV shows, but if you are a “Friends” fan, you will remember it playing the night of Ross & Rachel’s first official date. Before they were on a break.

Isaak has done some acting as well, including a guest spot on “Friends” and in the movies “Silence Of The Lambs”, “From The Earth To The Moon” and “That Thing You Do”, amongst others. Happy birthday, Chris Isaak. May you see 100 more.

The world was on fire and no one could save me but you
Strange what desire will make foolish people do
I never dreamed that I’d love somebody like you
And I never dreamed that I’d lose somebody like you
“.

Chris Isaak1990

Chris Isaak circa 1990. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Chris Isaak: “Wicked Game” (1989, written by Chris Isaak).

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 344

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.

On February 26, 1985 my great musical love & New Jersey’s favorite rocker Bruce Springsteen won his first Grammy Award for Best Male Vocal Performance for the original recording of today’s song. It was the first single from his ginormous 1984 album, Born In The USA.. The title track was misinterpreted as an American anthem when in reality it was a protest song about what happened to the men & women when they returned home after their service in the Vietnam War. The video for the track made it appear like a song of US pride as well. The Boss was decked out in red (bandana), white (t-shirt) & blue (jean jacket) while he pumped his fist in the air each time he sang the chorus.

The dark message of today’s original track was also disguised by the video. The fast tempo song, performed on a stage with a slick set design and Springsteen’s dance moves with a pre-“Friends” Courtney Cox, looked like nothing but pure fun. In reality the song was a bleak tale of self-loathing where the singer wanted to change everything about himself & his surroundings and basically run away from who he thought he was. He felt there was something more to life, yet did not know of a way to start the change. But it was a hit record anyway and one of the highlights of Springsteen’s live shows to this day as he still invites someone on stage to dance with him during the coda.

Another very talented singer & songwriter from New Jersey, Pete Yorn, was not a fan of Springsteen’s or his 1984 release because he was bothered by the popularity of the album & because he was into metal music at that time. But years later a friend suggested that Yorn listen to “New York City Serenade” from Springsteen’s second album, The Wild, The Innocent & The E Street Shuffle. Yorn was instantly entranced, became a fan of The Boss’ music. and eventually recorded his own version of that tune.

Yorn also recorded a cover of today’s song as a stripped down acoustic track. It was an excellent choice and adding a harmonica was inspired. Springsteen has reworked many of the tracks from Born In The USA in concert over the years and today’s song sounds like his touch which is a huge compliment to Yorn’s skill & talent. The slower tempo of his version gives the song a pensive tone which helps to underscore the dismal feeling of the lyrics. In doing so Yorn turned his cover of today’s track into one of the most heartbreakingly beautiful songs I ever heard, let alone a Springsteen cover.

Yorn has a really nice voice-evocative, steady and strong but not too overpowering as to drown out the message of the lyrics. What he has done with today’s song by highlighting those words gives it new significance, one that means more to me at this stage of my life than the original does. It is by far the best Springsteen cover I have ever heard.

The situation’s getting clearer, radio’s on and I’m moving around my place
Check my look in the mirror, wanna change my clothes, my hair, my face
Man, I ain’t getting nowhere, just living in a dump like this
There’s something happening somewhere, baby I just know that there is
“.

Bruce Courtney

Pete Yorn

Top: Courtney Cox (L) dances with The Boss (R) in the 1984 video for “Dancing In The Dark”. Bottom: Pete Yorn circa 2018. (Images found online.  Original sources unknown.)

Pete Yorn: “Dancing In The Dark” (2001, 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 138

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?

Charlie Brown No Music No Life

(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.

I WANT MY MTV!!!

It was 39 years ago today that this channel premiered and music was never the same again.  A station dedicated to letting the world see the music (and the people behind it) as well as hear it was revolutionary.  The rotation began with maybe 10 videos but that did not prevent me from watching it non-stop for hours at a time.  Music videos changed the game for fans and the industry alike.  But unlike streaming that has caused artists to lose control of their own copyrighted material in addition to their earnings, MTV was a money mother lode for anyone willing to climb on board the novel concept.

At first it was newer artists that appeared frequently on the channel, but eventually everyone jumped on the bandwagon.  Some ran with the concept-Hall & Oates, Huey Lewis & The News, Billy Squier, Michael Jackson-to name a few.  Soon even my heroes were embracing the genre.  Remember a pre-“Friends” Courtney Cox’s fancy footwork with Bruce Springsteen in the “Dancing In The Dark” video?  Or watching Eric Clapton’s beautiful hands play fiery solos on his Strat while singing “Pretending” in the pouring rain?  Or an elegantly dressed Marvin Gaye extolling the benefits of “Sexual Healing”?  Videos from other 1970’s artists followed including Elton John, Rod Stewart, Steve Winwood and a host of others who welcomed and embraced the new MTV audience.

Vintage clips of great musical moments were featured like the Beatles first appearance on “The Ed Sullivan Show”, performances from the 1967 Monterrey Pop Festival and the 1969 Woodstock concerts as well as the live broadcast of 1985’s “Live Aid” show from both America & the U.K.  Suddenly our living rooms were front row seats to the best music had to offer.  And thanks to directors from the TV & movie industries getting in on the trend (“Dressed To Kill” director Brian De Palma was the man behind Springsteen’s first clip), by the end of the decade and into the 1990’s videos became an art form.  The “Unplugged” series introduced us to the more intimate side of live performances.  Other music stations including VH1, BET and FUSE followed, but none compared to the original and its level of cool.

If there is one song that defined the early years of the MTV phenomenon, it is today’s.  While the references to homosexuals are outdated & considered offensive in this era of acceptance, and the once ground breaking channel is merely a reality show based venue in these days of YouTube and Instagram stories, this song still has the power to instantly transport those of us who were there at the beginning to the excitement of the new medium.  And to the poor choice some people made to wear sweatbands in their videos.

Now that ain’t workin’ that’s the way you do it
You play the guitar on the MTV
That ain’t workin’ that’s the way you do it
Money for nothing and your chicks for free“.

The MTV moon man logo circa 1981 (R) and John Illsley (bass guitarist)  and Mark Knopfler (lead guitarist) of Dire Straits circa 1985.  (Images found online.  Original sources unknown.)

Dire Straits:  “Money For Nothing” (1985, written by Mark Knopfler and Sting a/k/a Gordon Sumner).

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 104

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?

Kerouac

(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.

In September 1998 I watched the pilot episode of “Will & Grace”.  As much as I liked the two title characters, I fell head over heels in love with their friends, Jack & Karen, played by Sean Hayes and Megan Mullally.  Their chemistry was remarkable and their onscreen antics were like none I had ever seen before on network television.  For the eight years of the show’s original run, I followed Mullally on the talk show circuit where I discovered her beautiful singing voice.  She has put out a number of CD’s over the years and one included one of my favorite songs by Tom Waits (see Day 92).  I saw her perform it on “The Late Show With David Letterman” in 2002 and she was fabulous.  The last verse has some of the most beautiful lyrics I have ever heard:

“In a land there’s a town, and in that town there’s a house
And in that house there’s a woman
And in that woman there’s a heart I love
I’m gonna take it with me when I go.”

Megan

(Image courtesy of meganmullally.net.)

Megan Mullally:  “Take It With Me” (2002, written by Tom Waits and Kathleen Brennan).

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 95

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?

Kerouac

(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.

One of the biggest stars to shine during the 1980’s was Phil Collins.  He was everywhere-on the charts, working with other artists (my favorite collab was as a co-producer on Eric Clapton’s 1985 album, “Behind The Sun”) and playing both Live Aid shows by taking the Concorde from one continent to another.  But my favorite P.C. moment of the decade is today’s song, which was also a hit in 1965 for The Mindbenders.  But I believe it was Collins version that inspired the string arrangement used on “Friends” when Chandler was escorted down the aisle by his parents at his wedding to Monica.

When I’m feeling blue, all I have to do
Is take a look at you, then I’m not so blue
When you’re close to me, I can feel your heart beat
I can hear you breathing in my ear
Wouldn’t you agree, baby you and me got a groovy kind of love.”

Phil Collins

Phil Collins circa 1985.  (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Phil Collins:  “Groovy Kind Of Love” (1988, written by Carole Bayer Sager and Toni Wine).   

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

Stay well.

25 Days Of Christmas Songs: Day 2

Hello, Vixens!!!  Welcome back to the countdown.

picture-wreath

(original source unknown)

Most performers who decide to record a Christmas song will cover a cherished favorite.  This is a perfectly accepted practice given the enormous catalog of songs to choose from and the sentimentality of the season.

But every so often an artist will break away from the norm and write an original holiday song.  This artist’s 2004 album “Christmas” features five original holiday songs but three of them do not feature Christmas anywhere in their titles.

I love this singer, although he is actually more of a crooner.   He is also an actor (roles as a swat commander in “Silence of the Lambs”, a fan of Phoebe’s in “Friends:  The One After The Superbowl” & Ed White in “From The Earth To The Moon” to name a few) and three of his own cable shows.  I have been a fan of his from day one (I could not resist his voice, his gorgeous blue eyes or his dimples) thanks to songs like “Baby Did A Bad Bad Thing“, “Wicked Game” and his cover of “Only The Lonely” which would without question have made Roy Orbison very proud.

Chris Isaak (1)

Chris Isaak (courtesy Jonathan Exley)

Chris Isaak  “Washington Square

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, fellow Vixens, happy listening!!!