Music Monday: June 20, 2022

Hi, everyone. Welcome to another edition of Music Monday.

Music Monday

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Sir James Paul McCartney celebrated his 80th birthday over the weekend. Born June 18, 1942 in Liverpool, England, the man who would become one fourth of the band that changed music forever & one-half of one of the greatest songwriting teams ever has spent six decades making music. There is not much for me to add to a legacy like that.

Today’s song has been my #1 favorite of McCartney’s since I first heard it during one of my most beloved scenes from the “Let It Be” movie. But once I discovered the “naked” version of this song, it took the top spot on that list.

The wild and windy night
That the rain washed away
Has left a pool of tears
Crying for the day
“.

Paul 1964

Paul and Linda

Paul M

Top: McCartney in his Beatles days circa 1964. Middle Paul & his first wife, Linda, in the 1970’s. McCartney (L) on stage in NJ last week with one of that state’s favorite sons, Bruce Springsteen (R). (Images found online.  Original sources unknown.)

The Beatles: “The Long & Winding Road” (1970 original, 2003 reissue, written by John Lennon & Paul McCartney).

Stay safe & well.

Music Monday: April 18, 2022

Hi, everyone. Welcome to this week’s edition of Music Monday.

Music Monday

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

On April 18, 1970 today’s song hit the #1 spot in the country for the second week in a row. It is the title song from The Beatles last album which remains my favorite of theirs to this day. I was lucky enough to see the movie by the same name dozens of time one summer when it was on a loop on a movie channel. I was too young to realize The Fab Four were fighting but not to realize I was witnessing the greatest band of all time rehearsing some of their final songs in a studio together. And that rooftop scene needs no further accolades from me. The performance speaks for itself over five decades later.

I still have yet to see Peter Jackson’s “Get Back” documentary released nearly six months ago for a more in-depth take on that movie. That is not because I do not think it will be a great watch. I have no doubt it is stunning. It is about The Beatles, after all. I am procrastinating because I am worried it might take away some of the magic from my first look at that moment in time. It was such a turning point in my life to see the band that changed everything so up close & personal, sharing their process with the world. It left an indelible mark on my life & the direction of my musical choices every day since.

As the band’s final album was growing in popularity in the world, the news that The Beatles broke up the same month also altered the landscape of the universe. The phenomenal ride those four lads from Liverpool took us on had ended. That devastating news in early 1970 changed the world as much as their first appearance did on that glorious Sunday night just six years earlier on “The Ed Sullivan Show” in February 1964.

And when the brokenhearted people
Living in the world agree
There will be an answer
Let it be
“.

Beatles

 

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

The Beatles: “Let It Be” (1970, written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney).

Stay safe & well.

Music Monday: April 4, 2022

Hi, everyone. Welcome to this week’s edition of Music Monday.

Music Monday

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Saturday marked the 83rd birth anniversary for one of the great musical loves of my life. Marvin Gaye was born April 2, 1939 in Washington, D.C. and became one of the most definitive soul voices in music history. Below is the tribute post I wrote for him on my blog from April 2, 2020.

Today’s marks what would have been Marvin Gaye’s birthday.  He sang some of the greatest songs to come out of the Motor City including today’s pick.  It was his first career number one record, and for a while it was the best selling hit on the Motown label, spending seven weeks in the top spot.

I can still remember the first time I heard this song.  I was sitting in the back seat of my parent’s car and from the second it came on the radio, I felt something inside of me tremble.  Like a part of me I did not even know I had suddenly woke up and made its presence known.  It was strong, and steady and felt so familiar yet so new at the same time.  It was as if I suddenly had an internal voice that was singing all on its own without any help from my real voice. Years later I would hear the phrase “soul music” and I realized that is why they call it that-because it is music that hits you in the deepest place.  And that is what I felt in the car that day.

marvin-gaye-1964

Marvin Gaye circa 1964. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Gaye had one of the greatest voices ever, not just in the soul genre.  He was also a talented musician playing piano, synthesizers and drums.  Despite being a solo artist he performed several duets during his career, most notably with Tammi Terrell.  He also wrote and/or co-wrote several hits for other artists including Martha & the Vandellas (“Dancing In The Street”), the Marvelettes (“Beechwood 4-5789″) and the Originals (“Baby, I’m For Real”).  He wrote many of his own songs as well, and as the turbulence of the 1960’s became too hard for him to ignore, he channeled his feelings into songs about the war (“What’s Going On”), social injustice (“Inner City Blues (Make Me Wanna Holler)”) and the state of the environment (“Mercy Mercy Me”), amongst others.  

Gaye took some time off in the late 1970’s for personal reasons including his exit from the Motown label.  He signed with CBS Records and came back stronger than ever in 1982 with his album “Midnight Love” which included another number one hit, “Sexual Healing”.  That song earned him his first two Grammy Awards after over 20 years as a recording artist.  Also in 1983, he sang an incredibly soulful rendition of “The Star Spangled Banner” at the NBA All Star Game.  While he was in the middle of his enormous comeback tour, I was lucky enough to see him give a magnetic performance at Radio City Music Hall.  It was one of the greatest nights of my life.

So many singers have died tragically young either by drugs, plane crashes, car accidents or suicide.  But Gaye was the third of my musical heroes to be shot to death-first Sam Cooke (one of Gaye’s idols) in 1964 and then John Lennon in 1980.  In those two tragedies both men died by a stranger’s hand.  Gaye was killed by his own father on April 1, 1984. I have never fully recovered from the senselessness of that act.  I wonder almost daily what else this unbelievably talented man would have accomplished in his career.

People say believe half of what you see, son
And none of what you hear
But I can’t help bein’ confused
If it’s true please tell me dear
“.

Marvin

Gaye circa 1971. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Marvin Gaye: “I Heard It Through The Grapevine” (1968, written by Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong).

Stay safe & well.

Music Monday: February 7, 2022

Hi, everyone. Welcome to this week’s edition of Music Monday.

Music Monday

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

On February 7. 1964 The Beatles arrived in America for the very first time. Two days later they made their historic appearance on “The Ed Sullivan Show”. After their first song that night, as I have written before, the world changed into a brand new color called John, Paul, George & Ringo. The rest of the hues, along with music, life & Sunday nights from that point on, would never be the same ever again. And for this I and the 73 million viewers who tuned in that night are eternally grateful. Today’s song is from The Fab Four’s first movie, released five months after that landmark evening.

It’s been a hard day’s night
And I’ve been workin’ like a dog
It’s been a hard day’s night
I should be sleepin’ like a log
“.

Feb 7

The Beatles arriving in New York during their first trip to America on February 7, 1964. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

The Beatles: “A Hard Day’s Night” (1964, written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney).

Stay safe and well.

25 Days Of Christmas Music 2021: Day 8

Hello, everyone. Welcome back to the countdown.

Day 8

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Today’s song was released 50 years ago on December 1, 1971. We lost the enigmatic singer behind it 41 years ago today. His death remains one of the saddest moments of my life. But this track along with the rest of his legendary catalog helps me & the rest of his fans across the universe remember how alive his spirit and his heart remain in our world. Merry Christmas, John.

So this is Christmas 
And what have you done
Another year over
A new one just begun
“.

John

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

John Lennon & Yoko Ono and The Plastic Ono Band with The Harlem Community Choir: “Happy Xmas (War Is Over)” (1971, written by John Lennon & Yoko Ono).

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!!!

Music Monday: October 11, 2021

Hi, everyone. Welcome back to the blog for this week’s Music Monday.

Music Monday

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

October 9 marked the 81st birth anniversary for John Lennon. Today’s song, which featured Ringo Starr on drums and Billy Preston on piano, always reduces me to tears but I also think it was one of the best of Lennon’s solo years. Sending “limitless undying love” across the universe to this beautiful soul who gave us all so much and only wanted love & peace in return.

I was the Dreamweaver
But now I’m reborn
I was the walrus
But now I’m John
And so dear friends
You’ll just have to carry on
The dream is over
“.

John Lennon

John Lennon circa 1973. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

John Lennon: “God” (1970, written by John Lennon).

Stay well.

Let’s Take A Moment Day 517

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.

On this day last year (Day 152), we celebrated the 55th anniversary of The Beatles’ Shea Stadium concert which took place August 15, 1965. That means today marks 56 years since that momentous occasion. So we will celebrate again.

The clips from the show are rarely up on YouTube because of copyright laws (BBC Television owns the film rights to the concert they released a year later). So even though today’s song was on the set list that night over five decades ago, the video I chose is of the group performing it in their movie, “Help“.

It was released four days before their historic concert and a year after their first big screen smash, “A Hard Day’s Night“. What a bland uninspired and sad color this world would be without John, Paul, George & Ringo in it, Thank you for everything, boys, especially the first play at Shea.

She said that living with me
Is bringing her down yeah
For she would never be free
When I was around
“.

Beatles Shea

The Fab Four on stage at Shea Stadium on August 15, 1965 (L-R): Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Ringo Starr and John Lennon. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

The Beatles: “Ticket To Ride” (1965, written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney).

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 511

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.

Less than a year after the release of George Harrison’s 1970 masterpiece, All Things Must Pass, he became the first artist to organize & perform at a charity concert (in relatable terms it was like a miniature version of Live Aid), On August 1, 1971, The Concert For Bangladesh was held at Madison Square Garden in NYC.

Harrison had become good friends with musician Ravi Shankar after The Beatles first trip to India in the mid 1960’s. The Quiet Beatle became fascinated and enveloped not just by the music & the culture of that country but the spiritual mysticism of it as well. So when Shankar told Harrison about the suffering of the refugees from the Bangladesh Liberation War, he wanted to help.

There were actually two concerts held that day-an afternoon show as well as an evening performance. Many of Harrison’s friends joined him to aid the cause including Ringo Starr, Eric Clapton, Leon Russell, Billy Preston & Bob Dylan. John Lennon & Paul McCartney were invited, and there were rumors Lennon agreed to play, but ultimately neither he nor McCartney appeared.

Harrison performed today’s song with Starr on drums, Clapton on guitar & Russell on piano & vocals. It is one of my favorites from All Things but there is something incredibly special about the live version. Harrison’s voice is strong with a slight grit to it, yet powerful & it blended incredibly well with Russell’s. Both are highlighted by the group of soul singers who were part of the show as well. It is one fabulous performance.

Watch out now
Take care, beware the thoughts that linger
Winding up inside your head
The hopelessness around you
In the dead of night
Beware of sadness
“.

rehearsal

(L-R): George Harrison, Eric Clapton and Leon Russell at rehearsals for The Concert For Bangladesh, 1971. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

George Harrison with Leon Russell: “Beware Of Darkness” (Recorded live at The Concert For Bangladesh on August I, 1971. Originally released in 1970. Written by George Harrison).

I do not own the rights to anything.  I am just sharing what I love and how I am coping with you.7

Stay well.

Let’s Take A Moment Day 510

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.

On this day in 1969 The Beatles took the iconic photograph that would become the cover of their final studio album. It was August 8, 1969 when The Fab Four walked in stride at the crosswalk outside Abbey Road studios, which they used as the title to their last record, released the following month.

Around the same time three years earlier, the group released Revolver. It was hailed as an innovative gem & marked significant growth in the four men as musicians and songwriters. George Harrison bemoaned one of the trappings of success with his song “Taxman”. John Lennon added a psychedelic feel to “Tomorrow Never Knows” while allowing Harrison a chance to experiment with a backwards lead guitar part on the glorious “I’m Only Sleeping” (Day 178).

But for me it was two of McCartney’s songs that I found most beautiful. The first, “Here There and Everywhere” was said to be inspired by Brian Wilson’s “God Only Knows”. And today’s track featured one of my favorite instruments ever, the French horn, which I fell in love with because of this song. It was yet another example of how The Beatles took some very scenic routes to make their legendary music.

And in her eyes you see nothing
No sign of love behind the tears
Cried for no one
A love that should have lasted years
“.

Abbey

Revolver_(album_cover)

Top: An unused picture from the Abbey Road photo shoot with The Beatles walking in reverse from the photo which was chosen for the record. Bottom: The group’s 1966 release. (Images found online.  Original sources unknown.)

The Beatles: “For No One” (1966, written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney).

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 492

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.

John Lennon & Paul McCartney met as teenagers 64 years ago in Liverpool, England in July 1957. Both were from the same city, both had already lost their mothers, both wanted to play music & eventually both were in the same band. They became songwriting partners, their group morphed into The Beatles which turned into that whole redefining music & culture thing and they all became legends. But that is where the similarities ended.

One listen to the songs they co-wrote together and it was obvious which one was the primary songwriter. And it had nothing to do with who was on lead vocal. Lennon’s music was deeper, spiritual, insightful & intellectual. McCartney had his moments with that approach as well, as evidenced on songs like “Let It Be” and “Hey Jude” to name two.

But McCartney was a master at catchy tunes, pop lyrics & storytelling. If there was one album that showcased both men’s’ distinct qualities, it was 1968’s showpiece, The White Album. And like most of The Beatles records, I found myself completely enthralled with Lennon’s songs, especially today’s pick.

The sun is up the sky is blue
It’s beautiful and so are you
Dear Prudence
Won’t you come out to play
“.

The Beatles

The Beatles circa 1969 (L-R): John Lennon, George Harrison, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

The Beatles: “Dear Prudence” (1968, written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney).

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

Stay well.