Let’s Take A Moment Day 407

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?

May 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 owe you all another apology for skipping over another song I was sure I featured already. I think the oversight was because I shared the story of today’s band-Badfinger-on Day 63 when I chose Harry Nilsson’s version of their song, “Without You”. To recap that post, this was a band that saw the highest of highs & the lowest of lows.

The highs? They were the first group to be signed to The Beatles’ Apple Records label in 1968. Paul McCartney wrote & produced their first hit record (“Come and Get It”) while George Harrison produced today’s song and played slide guitar on it as well. Nilsson’s hit & today’s track were written by Badfinger’s frontman & lead guitarist, Pete Ham, who remained close with Harrison even after The Beatles broke up. The two musicians played together on Harrison’s “All Things Must Pass” album & his benefit concerts for Bangladesh in NYC in 1971.

The lows? Not one but two members of this incredible band died by suicide: Ham died three days before his 28th birthday in 1975, leaving behind his pregnant girlfriend and a stepson. His bandmate & co-writer of “Without You” Tom Evans, died in 1983 after fighting with another bandmate-Joey Molland-over the royalties of that song, which hit #1 for four straight weeks in 1972. Evans was survived by his wife and son. The band’s trouble with money began after their manager stole all their earnings and left them in financial ruin.

In the end, it was too much for Ham, who was born April 27, 1947 in Wales. We can blame the money issues & perhaps the subsequent legal fallout to the suicides, but a lack of mental stability also contributed to the choices both Ham & Evans made. They convinced themselves that what they lost was far more important than what they created.  That is only part of the damage depression can do.

Today’s song is heartbreakingly beautiful & I felt that way before I ever knew the band’s tragic story. It is a song of lost love & betrayal told in a succinct eloquent way. It is highlighted by Harrison’s stunning slide guitar arrangement, Leon Russell’s piano performance and Ham’s sophisticated vocal. His music is often credited as the start of the power pop ballad sound. Whatever category his music falls into, I am just thankful every day that this man & his talent are part of the musical universe.

I remember holding you
While you sleep
Every day I feel the tears
That you weep
“.

Harrison and Ham

Badfinger

Top: George Harrison and Pete Ham in the recording studio circa 1971. Bottom: Badfinger circa 1971 (L-R): Bassist Tom Evans, guitarist Pete Han, drummer Mike Gibbins and guitarist Joey Molland. (Images found online.  Original sources unknown.)

Badfinger: “Day After Day” (1971, written by Pete Ham).

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 220

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 quote 2

(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 need to correct a terrible oversight. It has taken me until Day 220 to feature today’s song. I could have sworn I chose this song in one of my initial posts since I love it so much but especially after finding out the singer passed away earlier this year on March 30. I posted a tribute on Instagram but was under the impression I already included it here. I did not. My sincerest apologies for making you wait over seven months for this piece of magic.

The first time I heard this song I was seven years old. My mother had just picked me up from school & brought me to the “beauty parlor” (as hair salons were called in those days) with her as she & her mom were getting their hair done. I was standing next to her telling her about my day when this song came on. I was immediately entranced by the hauntingly beautiful music & the dark sadness of the singer’s voice. I was completely lost in the enjoyment of this track as the singer sang “I know, I know, I know, I know, I know” when my grandmother started yelling about how annoying the song was & wondering if the record was skipping. It jolted me out of my reverie and I looked at her in disbelief. How could a song that was literally music to my ears hurt hers so? Why did she not get how simply gorgeous it was? I guess that was my first introduction to the proverbial generation gap. I never forgot that moment or that song. I think it is outstanding.

It is from Bill Withers 1971 debut album, “Just As I Am”. It was released when he was 33 years old working at an aircraft company in California. It includes two fabulous covers-The Beatles “Let It Be” & Harry Nilsson’s “Everybody’s Talking”. But it is today’s nearly perfect track that made people take notice of his talent. What a difference a two minute song made to his life and ours.

Wonder this time where she’s gone
Wonder if she’s gone to stay
Ain’t no sunshine when she’s gone
And this house just ain’t no home
Anytime she goes away
“.

Bill Withers 1971

Bill Withers circa 1971. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Bill Withers: “Ain’t No Sunshine” (1971, written by Bill Withers).

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 63

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.

There once was a band named Badfinger.  They were the first group to be signed to The Beatles’ Apple Records label in 1968.  Paul McCartney wrote & produced their first song “Come and Get It” which became a hit record.  Three more big songs followed:  “No Matter What”, “Day After Day” (which was produced by George Harrison) and “Baby Blue”.  All three of those songs were written by the band’s lead singer & guitarist, Pete Ham.  He remained close with Harrison even after The Beatles broke up, and the two musicians played together on Harrison’s “All Things Must Pass” album & his benefit concerts for Bangladesh in NYC in 1971.  Warner Brothers became Badfinger’s new label after Apple Records was dissolved following The Fab Four’s breakup so Badfinger did not miss any time recording new material.  All was going well for the band.

But then Badfinger’s manager stole all their money and left them in financial ruin.  Lawsuits & other serious issues followed.  The band tried desperately to overcome them and the pending insolvency.  In the end, all the problems became too overwhelming for Ham and he committed suicide three days before his 28th birthday in 1975.

He co-wrote today’s song with his bandmate, Tom Evans, who also died by suicide in 1983 after fighting with another bandmate, Joey Molland, over the royalties of this song.  Badfinger recorded it in 1970 but it was not a hit until about a year later after singer Harry Nilsson released his version.  By February 1972 it became the country’s number one song for four weeks in a row.  It seemed destined to be successful with its absolutely gorgeous arrangement highlighted with Nilsson’s incredibly stunning and powerful vocal.

Both songwriters had so much to live for aside from their music.  Yet, even after hearing the masterpiece their song became with Nilsson’s version, both men still convinced themselves that what they lost was far more important than what they created.  That is only part of the heartbreak of depression.

We have a plethora of horrible diseases in this world.  I pray that someday soon we eradicate all of them.  And that the cure for mental illness is close to the top of that list.

Badfinger circa 1970 L-R:  Joey Molland, Tom Evans, Pete Ham & Mike Gibbons.  Harry Nilsson circa 1973.  (Images found online.  Original sources unknown.)

Harry Nilsson:  “Without You” (1971, written by Pete Ham and Tom Evans).

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

Stay well.