Let’s Take A Moment Day 396

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.

One of my favorite movies of all time is “Breakfast at Tiffany’s“. I loved everything about it-the era it took place in, the beautiful city it was set in and, of course, Audrey Hepburn as Holly Golightly. Her facial & verbal expressions, her wardrobe, her apartment…..it was all fabulousness defined.. And how many times have we all wanted to run away & start our lives over again some place new, but she actually did it! Yes, it caught up with her but still, she did it!!!

I also loved the sweet look on the face of her neighbor, Paul (George Peppard) as he watched Holly playing guitar & singing from his apartment window. The lyrics of that song were written by Johnny Mercer & the music was by premier film composer Enrico Nicola Mancini, known professionally as Henry Mancini. It earned him the Oscar for Best Original Song in 1962. Born on April 16, 1924 in Ohio, he also wrote the theme to several movies including “The Pink Panther” series. His arrangement of the “Love Theme from Romeo and Juliet” (a/k/a “A Time For Us”) spent two weeks at #1 in the summer of 1969. Mancini also wrote the themes to a number of television shows including “Peter Gunn”, “Newhart”, “Hotel” & Remington Steele”.

Some of my favorite artists have performed their own exceptional renditions of today’s song including Rod Stewart, Pete Yorn, and my great musical loves Elton John and Eric Clapton (with Jeff Beck). But as much as I love those, it is the movie version I come back to whenever I need to relive the beauty & the magic of the film all over again.

Two drifters off to see the world
There’s such a lot of world to see
We’re after the same rainbow’s end
Waitin’ ’round the bend
“.

Breakfast-at-Tiffanys

George Peppard and Audrey Hepburn in a scene from 1961’s classic, “Breakfast At Tiffany’s”. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Audrey Hepburn: “Moon River” (1961, music written by Henry Mancini, lyrics by Johnny Mercer).

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 160

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?

Bruce 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.

There was no way to grow up in the 1970’s, love music as much as I do and not possibly know most of Led Zeppelin’s songs.  They are regarded by many fans and music critics as one of the greatest bands, if not the greatest, of all time.  Whenever there is a countdown or a list of the top rock songs of all time, “Stairway To Heaven” is always number one.  And lead vocalist, Robert Plant, is usually hailed as the best singer of all time.  Plant turned 72 years young on August 20, and after the band broke up in 1980, he continued his career singing with many other artists.  He collaborated with Jeff Beck in The Honeydrippers (they did a cover of “Sea Of Love”, a hit in 1959 by Phil Phillips, who died in March at the age of 94), country/bluegrass star Alison Krauss and indie singer Patty Griffin, amongst others.

I have enjoyed all of Plant’s music over the years.  But if I had to choose my favorite song of his it would be from his Zeppelin years.  He co-wrote it as a tribute to his son who died in 1977 and it appears on the band’s final album, “In Through The Out Door”.

Yours is the cloth, mine is the hand that sews time
His is the force that lies within
Ours is the fire, all the warmth we can find
He is a feather in the wind“.

Robert Plant and Led Zeppelin circa 1979 (L-R:  Jimmy Page, John Bonham, Plant and John Paul Jones.   (Images found online.  Original sources unknown.)

Led Zeppelin:  “All My Love” (1979, written by John Paul Jones and Robert Plant).

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 75

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.

I have adored Rod Stewart since the first time I heard “Maggie May”.  I even love his earlier stuff when he was with Jeff Beck and then The Faces.  Stewart was another artist who reinvented himself once music videos were introduced.  It would be extremely hard for me to narrow down only one song of his as my favorite.  I chose today’s song not only because it is a great one but because I also love the video.  I think it is just gorgeous.  From the imagery to the sepia tone color to the couple “moving across the water” as they reach out for each other, it is just sublime.  And so is Stewart’s vocal.  It was written by Robbie Robertson of The Band who released his own version in 1987, but I think Stewart’s arrangement highlights the beauty of the lyrics better:

Can you see what I see
Can you cut behind the mystery
I will meet you by the witness tree
Leave the whole world behind.”

Rod

     Rod Stewart in his video for “Broken Arrow” in 1991.  (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Rod Stewart:  “Broken Arrow” (1991, written by Robbie Robertson).

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 13

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.

My elementary school gym teacher was very progressive for her time.  She realized that dance and choreographed routines were excellent forms of exercise.  Every spring she had us perform to two different songs.  Today’s pick was one of them and from the first time I heard it I adored it.  This song had come in and out of my life for years until I heard it at the end of a “Mad Men” episode in 2013 when I finally added it to my Spotify & YT favorites list so I would not lose track of it again.

Although the version we used in gym class was the instrumental one, the song was recorded with its full lyrics in 1968 by Italian crooner Al Martino (also known as  Johnny Fontane in “The Godfather” movies).  I was also very surprised to learn rock guitarist Jeff Beck did his own version of this song using only  the lyrics from the chorus interspersed between his guitar solos.  But to me, the best version is by this French conductor.

Paul_Mauriat_Love_Is_Blue

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Paul Mauriat:  “Love Is Blue” (1968, music written by Andre Popp with french lyrics by Pierre Cour and English lyrics by Bryan Blackburn).

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

Stay well.

 

Goodbye To Two Legends…..

Last week we said two very sad goodbyes, one in music and the other in TV.

How will the music world recover from the loss of the King of the Blues, Riley B “B.B.” King?  “The Thrill Is Gone” virtuoso passed away on May 14 at the age of 89.  Not since Les Paul has one man done so much for the guitar, and with that guitar-affectionately named “Lucille”-King gave us some of the greatest jazz/blues/rock & roll music the world ever saw.

kin2-011[1]

Photo courtesy of the American Academy of Achievement.

He bought his first guitar while he was growing up in Mississippi  and began his career in 1947 on Beale Street in Memphis.  The rest of the story is history, complete with 15 Grammy Awards, inductions into various halls of fame (including the Rock & Roll HOF in 1987 by Sting) and the Presidential Medal of Freedom, amongst others.  Still King never forgot his roots, performing in his home town of Indianola, MS every year for the last three decades.  That town is also home to the B.B. King Museum and Delta Interpretive Center.

Performers from Buddy Guy to the Rolling Stones to Eric Clapton to Tracy Chapman and many others have been influenced by King, and he worked with them and many others because his appeal appeared to have no limits.  One of my favorite collaborations of King’s was with U2 in 1988, “When Love Comes To Town” .

Thank you for the music, Mr. King.  Rest in peace.

****************************************************************************************************************

The second goodbye goes to AMC’s masterpiece, Mad Men.  In a word, I am verklempt.

The 17 month hiatus between seasons four and five was bad enough, but now the break is final.  Sigh.

Mad-Men[1]

Photo courtesy of AMC.

It was hard enough saying goodbye to NBC’s “Parenthood” earlier this year (read about that here).  But now this?  Whatever will I do without my weekly Don Draper fix (a/k/a the scrumptious Jon Hamm)?  Or Betty and Joan’s gorgeous dresses to swoon over?  What about Roger Sterling’s one liners?  I gave up smoking over 5 years ago but each time one of the characters lit up a cigarette, I inhaled with them vicariously.  And I am no longer embarrassed to order an Old Fashioned when I go out since Don & Roger enjoyed them as well.

And like the “Parenthood” finale, the end of the “Mad Men” series forced fans to deal with a death also-that of Betty Draper’s (the beautiful & talented January Jones).  No, it did not happen on screen, but it was imminent from her lung cancer diagnosis in the penultimate episode.  It was widely rumored on the internet that one character would have to suffer the consequences of all that smoking, but I was hoping it would be Peter Campbell.  I know he did not smoke but he could have contracted the illness from the second hand effects (he was my least favorite character-can you tell?).

I just felt like the Draper kids had already been through so much as a result of their absentee father, their mother’s dysfunction, the death of Grandpa Gene, their parent’s divorce, the loss of their maid/nanny Carla and their subsequent move from the only home they knew to their step-father’s mansion.  I wanted a better end to the kids story, not more grief.  And the loss of their mother was one they were all too young to deal with.  But Betty’s handling of her doom, and the letter she wrote to Sally about the funeral arrangements in the second to last episode?  January Jones’ voice was so melancholy yet so resigned as she was heard reading the note that I was absolutely inconsolable.  Kudos to her and her on-screen daughter Kiernan Shipka for the way they handled that & every scene of this story line-hell, in the entire series.

Other than that I was quite satisfied with the ending, despite how much I was dreading the show’s run coming to a close.  Peggy found love as did Roger, and with a woman his own age-go figure.  I was in such a “Mad Men” haze since AMC ran the entire series-all 7 seasons-from last Wednesday night leading up to the finale Sunday night.  I was happy to relive as much of it as I could because in addition to the great acting, great writing and great directing, I will miss the spectacular music featured in each episode.  Even the send off song the network used in promoting the end of the series-Paul Anka’s “The Times Of Your Life“-was perfect.

But my favorite song heard in the series was an instrumental of “Love Is Blue” by Paul Mauriat and his Orchestra.  Written by French composers André Popp and Pierre Cour, Mauriat’s version was released in 1967 and became an international smash.  By early 1968 it hit #1 on the US charts for five weeks.  I am ashamed to admit it, but this fantastic piece of music fell off my radar for many years until I heard it again at the end of episode 5 of season 6, “The Flood”.  (If you prefer a more rock and roll version, check out Jeff Beck’s cover here.)

So goodbye, Mad Men.  I cannot say I will miss you most of all since my favorite TV shows are dropping like flies this year, but this loss definitely hurts my heart so.  And getting the chance to live through the decade of 1961-1971 through you and with you was a fascinating ride.  Thanks for seven remarkable seasons.  Uh oh, I am getting verklempt again.  Talk amongst yourselves.  I’ll give you a topic:  Jon Hamm was neither a john nor a ham.  Discuss.