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 5

Hello, everyone. Welcome back to the countdown.

skating

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Today’s song is a cover version that was introduced to me several years ago by one of my loyal readers and I have been enamored with it ever since. Joni Mitchell’s original, released 50 years ago on her acclaimed album Blue, is lovely as are several of the other covers I have heard by Linda Ronstadt, Sarah McLachlan and James Taylor, to name a few. But actor Robert Downey Jr.’s version is as my reader described “hauntingly beautiful”. With all due respect to Mitchell, I do not believe a better version of this song exists than his.

It’s coming on Christmas
They’re cutting down trees
They’re putting up reindeer
And singing songs of joy and peace
“.

Downey

Robert Downey Jr. circa 2000. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Robert Downey Jr.: “River” (2000, written by Joni Mitchell).

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 532

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.

In August 1970 James Taylor released today’s song as a single from his second album, Sweet Baby James. By Halloween the track reached the #3 spot in the country. He wrote it when he was just 21 years old in response to the death of a friend & other life events. It was one of those songs where the lyrics led to rumors and conjecture.

For instance, many people believed the friend referenced in the song-Suzanne-died in a plane crash because of the line “sweet dreams and flying machines in pieces on the ground”. In reality she died by suicide and The Flying Machine was the name of Taylor’s band that broke up. I absolutely adore the eloquence and imagery of the lyrics and the title he chose. And his vocal is just the perfect mix of somber and reflective. It is just a great record.

Over the next fifty years Taylor would establish himself as one of the most popular, prolific & beloved artists of his time. But it was this track that would get him noticed as an emerging singer/songwriter in a decade where they became invaluable contributors to music’s diverse & masterful landscape.

Been walking my mind to an easy time
My back turned towards the sun
Lord knows, when the cold wind blows
It’ll turn your head around
“.

JT

James Taylor’s second album released in February 1970. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

James Taylor: “Fire & Rain” (1970, written by James Taylor).

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 513

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.

Time for a mid-week Motown break. James Taylor had a Top 5 hit with today’s song in 1975. As much as I love him, in my heart, there is only one version of this song and it is by the beautiful unbelievably talented man that is my soul.

I close my eyes at night
And wonder what would I be without you in my life
Everything was just a bore
All the things I did seems I’d done them before
“.

mm_Marvin-Gaye-1024x725

Marvin Gaye circa 1965. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Marvin Gaye: “How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved by You)” (1966, written by Brian Holland, Lamont Dozier and Eddie Holland).

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 502

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.

1971 was without a doubt the greatest year of Carole King’s career. Not only was her monumental album, Tapestry, a huge smash but so was the first single. The double sided hit of “I Feel The Earth Move” & “It’s Too Late” (Day 460) was in the #1 spot for five weeks that summer.

Two weeks after that triumph, another one of her songs recorded by one of her friends hit the top of the chart as well.. On July 31, 1971 James Taylor had the #1 record in the country for one week with today’s track. King’s original recording is on her groundbreaking album, but it became one of Taylor’s signature songs. And that all started 50 years ago today.

You just call out my name
And you know, wherever I am
I’ll come running
To see you again
“.

King And Taylor

American singer-songwriters James Taylor and Carole King. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)

James and Carole 2010

 Top (L-R): James Taylor and Carole King circa 1970. Bottom (L-R): Taylor and King in 2010. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

James Taylor: “You’ve Got A Friend” (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 361

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.

Today we celebrate birthday #73 for James Vernon Taylor born March 12, 1948 in Massachusetts. A true American treasure, he has been entertaining audiences since his debut album was released in 1968. He recorded it in England as one of the first acts signed to The Beatles’ Apple Records label. One of the album’s songs, “Something In The Way She Moves” served as the inspiration (and first line) to George Harrison’s masterpiece, “Something”.

Taylor has made a career performing his own songs (“Carolina On MY Mind”, “Fire & Rain”, today’s song) as well as those from other artists (Carole King’s “You’ve Got A Friend”, Holland-Dozier-Holland’s “How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved by You)” & Sam Cooke & Herb Alpert’s “Wonderful World”). But whatever Taylor sings, he makes it his own with his signature soothing vocal & simple elegant musical arrangements. For over 50 years, he has been a permanent part of the landscape of American music. Happy birthday, Sweet Baby James.

Now the first of December was covered with snow
And so was the turnpike from Stockbridge to Boston
Though the Berkshires seemed dreamlike on account of that frosting
With ten miles behind me and ten thousand more to go
“.

JT

James Taylor’s 1970 album. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

James Taylor: “Sweet Baby James” (1970, written by James Taylor).

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 336

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.

In November 1974 Linda Ronstadt released her fifth solo album which finally proved to be her breakthrough record, It hit the #1 position on the album chart today in 1975, the same day the first single, “You’re No Good” (Day 122) hit the top spot as well. The LP also included future hits like “When Will I Be Loved”, “Willin'”, “You Can Close Your Eyes” & “It Doesn’t Matter Anymore”. The title track was never released as a single but I think it is absolutely stunning.

It was written by Anna McGarrigle, a Canadian singer who was in a folk duo with her sister Kate McGarrigle until her death in 2010 (Kate’s son is singer Rufus Wainwright featured on Day 212). The lyrics are heartbreakingly beautiful as is the arrangement. Ronstadt’s vocal is strong, sorrowful & touching and is amplified by an incredible backing vocal by singer Maria Muldaur. (She had a top ten hit of her own in 1974 with “Midnight At The Oasis”). Ronstadt has given life to songs by songwriters ranging from J.D. Souther, James Taylor, Warren Zevon & Eric Kaz, to name a few. But what she did with today’s song is in a category all its own.

Some say the heart is just like a wheel
When you bend it, you can’t mend it
But my love for you is like a sinking ship
And my heart is on that ship out in mid-ocean
“.

Heart Like A Wheel

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Linda Ronstadt: “Heart Like A Wheel” (1974, written by Anna McGarrigle).

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 322

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 1, 1949 the 45 RPM record was introduced by RCA. The round seven inch disc played at a faster speed than its 12 inch 33-1/3 LP counter part that was launched the year before by CBS. The smaller disc format became known as a “single” and provided better sound quality than the LP. The 45’s I owned when I was young were my most treasured possessions & probably qualify as the first official items I collected.

Fast forward to February 1, 1972. Neil Young releases his fourth studio LP, Harvest. It went on to become the best selling one of 1972 and it hit the #1 album spot for two weeks in March 1972. One of those weeks the first single, “Heart Of Gold” featured here on Day 24, also went to the number one spot.

Today’s song was the second single from the album. It hit the Top 40 in the US the same year & like the first one, it featured Linda Ronstadt & James Taylor on backing vocals. He also played the banjo on this track as well. Young was my introduction to acoustic music & to this day I see him as one of the most gifted artists in that regard.

Love lost such a cost
Give me things that don’t get lost
Like a coin that won’t get tossed
Rolling home to you
“.

N Young

Neil Young circa 1970. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Neil Young: “Old Man” (1972, written by Neil Young).

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 250

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.

One of the things I have always enjoyed in music are the collaborations. Whether they take place on stage at the Grammy Awards or as a special guest appearance at a concert or on a record, I really look forward to hearing what two (or more) different artists will create. In 1981 there were several that I truly adored: James Taylor and J.D. Souther on “Her Town Too”, Gary U.S Bonds and Bruce Springsteen on “This Little Girl”, Stevie Nicks and Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers on “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around” and Nicks again with Don Henley on “Leather & Lace”.

The first two songs were Top 20 hits and both of Nicks’ records hit the Top Ten, so all four of those tracks were well received. But there was another musical partnership that year that barely made it into the Top 30 here in America. But on November 21, 1981 it hit the #1 spot on the UK chart. It was written and performed by two rock powerhouses-David Bowie and Queen-and between Bowie’s & Mercury’s vocals, the intensity of the band’s playing and the compelling thought-provoking lyrics, it was a one of a kind monstrous combination. Even the video was unique as it did not feature either artist. Instead, it was a collage of news clips from some of history’s toughest eras intertwined with scenes from black & white horror movies.

The song came together when Bowie joined Queen in the studio to record back-up vocals for a different song. Both artists were working on other tunes they could not finish. They put them together during an inspired jam session resulting in today’s magnificent track. I do not know why it was not a bigger hit here, but to me this song stands out as one of the best moments in musical history.

‘Cause love’s such an old fashioned word,
And love dares you to care for the people on the
Edge of the night, and love dares you to
Change our way of caring about ourselves”.

bowie and queen

Queen circa 1985 (L-R): Brian May, Freddie Mercury, John Deacon & Roger Taylor. Far right: David Bowie circa 1972, (Images found online.  Original sources unknown.)

Queen & David Bowie: “Under Pressure” (1981, written by David Bowie & Queen: John Deacon, Brian May, Freddie Mercury & Roger Taylor).

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

Stay well.