Let’s Take A Moment Day 351

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.

The Carpenters have the distinction of being one of the greatest duos of all time thanks to the talents of siblings Richard and Karen Carpenter. Their sound was distinctive thanks to Richard’s knack for song writing, his ear for pop melodies punctuated by layered arrangements that highlighted the absolute beauty of his sister’s voice. Karen was born on March 2, 1950 in New Haven, CT. Her family relocated to Downey, CA in 1963 to help Richard, a musician from childhood, pursue a career in music.

Karen went through a few instruments before deciding on the drums, making her one of the first female percussionists to rise to prominence. By 1965 they were playing as a jazz trio with an upright bass player. After he departed the siblings continued together. In 1969 they signed to A&M Records after label co-founder Herb Alpert heard their demo. Karen was 19 years old and it was her vocal tracks that would help make the duo achieve the international success that followed.

It began with a cover of The Beatles song, “Ticket To Ride” followed by the song that launched their career, “Close To You”, written by the iconic songwriting team of Burt Bacharach and Hal David. It went to #1 for four consecutive weeks in the summer of 1970. After that a slew of hits followed, including today’s song, which was a #2 hit in 1971.

Alpert was the one who convinced the duo to record their first #1 song. In a 2011 interview he gave to “CBS Sunday Morning” he spoke about Karen, who died in 1983 from complications related to an eating disorder. He said, “She never realized how great she was. She never really accepted the fact that she really had it”. Alpert also got choked up thinking of her, because even though nearly 30 years had passed since Karen’s death, he still found her loss incomprehensible. I think that pretty much sums up how all her fans feel.

What I’ve got they used to call the blues
Nothin’ is really wrong
Feelin’ like I don’t belong
“.

Carpenters-Horizon-Cover

Karen and Richard Carpenter circa 1971. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

The Carpenters: “Rainy Days & Mondays” (1971, written by Roger Nichols and Paul Williams).

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 248

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.

It’s funny how certain dates follow people throughout their lives. For example, on November 7, 1972 The Divine Miss M, Bette Midler’s debut album, was released. Not only did it get a Grammy nomination for Album of the Year but Midler won the Best New Artist Award for that record. On the same date in 1979, Midler’s movie, “The Rose” came out. It gave her a top five hit with the song of the same name (Day 50) and earned her an Oscar nomination for Best Actress.

I cannot remember the first time I saw Midler. I believe it was on a TV variety show before I saw an HBO special of hers based on her nightclub act from the 1970’s. But that is the one that stuck. I was completely taken with her voice, her fearless & commanding stage presence and her comedy. And as fabulous as the up-tempo songs were, it was the ballads that completely captivated me. When I heard her debut album, I fell in love with her cover of one of Leon Russell’s most beautiful songs. It was co-written by Bonnie Bramlett of “Delaney & Bonnie” fame who sang the original version in 1969 featuring Eric Clapton on guitar. Swoon.

This song was a hit for The Carpenters in 1971 and it was that interpretation that led to Chris Farley and David Spade’s unbridled emotional sing along in the 1995 movie, “Tommy Boy”. Karen Carpenter’s version is heartbreakingly beautiful without a doubt, but with the increased tempo of the chorus you are given a chance to breathe. Midler’s cover just crushes you from start to finish. It is not just her sadness that is palpable but her agony as well, especially by the end of the track. It is simply sublime.

Long ago, and, oh, so far away
I fell in love with you before the second show
Your guitar, it sounds so sweet and clear
But you’re not really here, it’s just the radio
“.

Bette

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Bette Midler: “Superstar” (1972, written by Bonnie Bramlett and Leon Russell).

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

Stay well.

25 Days Of Christmas Music: Day 16

Hello, Vixens!!!  Welcome back to the countdown.

christmas_village_streetview_640

(Original source unknown.)

Tall, dark, handsome & sexy are a few ways to describe this artist.  Unbelievably talented is another.  He paints, sculpts, writes, arranges, produces & performs great music for himself & other artists.  He also plays one mean trumpet.  He co-wrote “Wonderful World” which was initially made famous by Sam Cooke, sang one of my all time favorite Burt Bacharach songs ever (“This Guy’s In Love With You“) which hit #1 in 1968 and was the A of A&M Records which signed the The Carpenters in 1969.

This man had several hits in the 1960’s with his band, the Tijuana Brass (“A Taste Of Honey“, “Whipped Cream” and “Spanish Flea“, which is also known as “The Bachelor’s Theme” from The Dating Game).  On his own he hit #1 again in 1979 with “Rise” (also known to “General Hospital” fans as the song that was playing in Luke’s disco when he raped Laura) and #5 in 1987 with “Diamonds“, with one of his A&M singers, Janet Jackson, on vocals.

He has won all the awards, done all the shows and continues to make great music.  This year he treated us to two releases:  “Music Volume 1” came out in July with some really great new music as well as a lovely cover of the Beatles’ “Michelle” and an absolutely beautiful version of John Lennon’s “Imagine

“A Christmas Wish” came out in the fall, and all of the songs are wonderful.  But I really like this one since it was originally recorded in 1970 by his old friends, The Carpenters.  I think it shows this man’s heart, loyalty and love of a good song.

kc1971alpert

Richard & Karen Carpenter with Herb Alpert circa 1971 (original source unknown)

Herb Alpert:  “Merry Christmas, Darling

The Carpenters:  “Merry Christmas, Darling” (original 1970)

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, fellow Vixens, happy listening!!!