Let’s Take A Moment Day 130

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 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.

If I had to pick a secondary soundtrack to my teenage years, Steely Dan would be at the top of that list.  I enjoyed their music a lot, but they always seemed to be in my peripheral view rather than my focus.  I am not sure why, perhaps because I was in sensory overload with my primary focus on Bruce Springsteen, Eric Clapton, Elton & Bernie, Motown/soul music and The Beatles.  But there was no mistaking Steely Dan’s musical talent and knack for songwriting.

The band was founded in 1972 by Walter Becker (backing vocals & guitars) and Donald Fagen (lead vocals & keyboards).  Their 1972 debut album, “Can’t Buy A Thrill”, produced three of their most well known songs, “Do It Again”, “Reelin’ In The Years” and today’s song, which unlike most of the band’s tunes, did not feature Fagen on lead vocal but rather David Palmer who was in the group from 1972-1973.  Other hits from the group include “My Old School”, “Rikki Don’t Lose That Number” (their highest charting song which hit #4 in 1974), “Aja”, “Peg”, “Deacon Blues”, “Josie” and “Hey Nineteen”.  By 1974 after the release of their third album, “Pretzel Logic” Fagen & Becker decided to stop touring and continue exclusively as a studio band until 1981 when they took a 20 year hiatus from recording.

Over the years a few well known musicians were in the band including two future Doobie Brothers, Jeff “Skunk” Baxter & Michael McDonald.  Guest musicians included Marc Knopfler of Dire Straits, Steve Porcaro of Toto, Larry Carlton & Rick Derringer on guitar, David Sanborn on saxophone and Jim Gordon on drums.  Becker passed away in 2017, leaving Fagen as the sole surviving core member.  But what a legacy of music both men gave us.

Steely Dan’s 1972 debut album and core members Walter Becker (L) and Donald Fagen (R).  (Images found online.  Original sources unknown.)

Steely Dan:  “Dirty Work” (1972, written by Donald Fagan and Walter Becker).

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 81

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.

For those of you who do not know the history of George Harrison and Eric Clapton, allow me to fill you in.  The two met in the mid 1960’s while Harrison was a Beatle and Clapton was in the Yardbirds.  They became closer friends as the decade progressed.  Clapton went on to join the band Cream in 1966, and wrote the song “Badge” with Harrison.  Then Clapton played lead guitar on”While My Guitar Gently Weeps” that Harrison wrote for The White Album.  The two men stayed friends after the Beatles broke up, and Clapton played at Harrison’s Concert for Bangladesh in NYC in August 1971.

While all this friendship and music was going on, Clapton began to have very strong feelings for Harrison’s wife, Pattie Boyd.  According to her autobiography and statements made over the years by Clapton, she spurned his advances in 1970 leading him to write many songs about her while he was a member of the band, Derek & The Dominos.  He said it also led to his heroin addiction that he would not recover from until 1974.  That is when he tried to win Boyd over again, and since she & Harrison were having marital problems, she left him for Clapton.  They were married in 1979 and Harrison harbored no ill will toward the new couple and the three remained friends.  Say it with me:  wow.

Clapton & Boyd’s love story was short-lived, however, and the two divorced in 1988.  But Boyd cemented her place in rock history as one incredible muse.  She inspired Harrison to write several love songs while he was with The Beatles including “Something”, “If I Needed Someone” and “For You Blue”.  Clapton wrote “Layla”, “Wonderful Tonight” and today’s song for her.  Let’s say it again:  wow.   I love all the music included here, but Clapton’s vocal expression of romantic pain & agony in today’s song is remarkable.  Plus I really adore the song’s title, which Clapton said came from Boyd asking him to buy a certain pair of blue jeans for her from America when he went there for a tour.  Whether you like Clapton or not, you have to admit it is one hell of a story.  And he is one hell of a musician.

Top:  Derek & The Dominos ((L–R: Jim Gordon (drums), Carl Radle (bass), Bobby Whitlock (keyboards & vocals) & Eric Clapton (guitar & vocals).  Bottom:  Clapton circa 1975.  Right:  Pattie Boyd & George Harrison circa 1966.  (Images found online.  Original sources unknown.)

Derek and the Dominos:  “Bell Bottom Blues” (1970, written by Eric Clapton and Bobby Whitlock).

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

Stay well.