Let’s Take A Moment Day 224

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 quote 2

(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 bands MTV reintroduced me to was The Kinks. I found Ray Davies antics in the videos to be quite entertaining while watching him as the main attraction in “Come Dancing” and “Predictable”. That prompted me to buy their 1981 album, “Give The People What They Want” with more great tunes like “Destroyer” and “Better Things” to enjoy. Forgetting that they started in the 1960’s I decided to go back and review their catalog of hits.

I was shocked to find out how many classic rock staples were theirs: “You Really Got Me”, “Tired Of Waiting For You”, “Lola”, “A Well Respected Man” and “Stop Your Sobbing”. It was quite an education for me to discover that despite The Kinks being in my peripheral view, I had been enjoying their music all along thanks to FM radio. Today’s track, released October 23, 1964 in the UK, features a heavy power chord riff, a captivating rhythm line & Davies’ unique phrasing of the lyrics. That makes it my absolute favorite Kinks tune ever, even if Ray Davies won a UK lawsuit against The Doors for using this as the basis for their song, “Hello, I Love You”. I think Jim, Ray, Robbie & John made their mark with the rest of their staggering music, don’t you? 🙂

I believe that you and me last forever
Oh yeah, all day and nighttime yours, leave me never
The only time I feel alright is by your side
Girl, I want to be with you all of the time
“.

The Kinks 1964

ray davies

Top: The Kinks circa 1964 (L-R): Pete Quaife (bass), Dave Davies (lead guitar), Ray Davies (lead vocals, rhythm guitar & songwriter) and Mick Avory (drums & percussion). Bottom: Ray Davies in 2017 after he was knighted by Prince Charles. (Images found online.  Original sources unknown.)

The Kinks: “All Day And All Of The Night” (1964, written by Ray Davies).  

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 183

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?

Jane Austen 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.

September 8 marked the 73rd birth anniversary of The Car’s co-founder, singer & bassist, Benjamin Orr. And while I do not normally like to acknowledge the date we lose an artist as I prefer to focus on their life & music, because today marks one year since fellow co-founder, lead singer & rhythm guitarist Ric Ocasek died, I decided a tribute to both was in order.

They met while each was playing music in different bands in the 1960’s in Cleveland after Ocasek dropped out of college. Orr eventually joined his band and soon the two men became a duo. They spent the next several years playing wherever they could until Ocasek moved to Massachusetts with his second wife around 1971. The next year he joined a folk duo, convinced Orr to join them to form the band, Milk Wood (after the Dylan Thomas play, “Under The Milkwood”). They released one record together in 1973 on Paramount Records, “How’s The Weather?” The album did not sell and the trio broke up. But Ocasek and Orr worked together on several projects, meeting the other three members of The Cars along the way: Greg Hawkes on keyboards, David Robinson on drums and Elliot Easton on lead guitar. Together they burst on to the music scene with their debut eponymous album in 1978

I enjoyed their sound enough to pay attention when their songs came on the radio, even though I was not a fan of new wave or synth-rock, as they became known for. The one song in particular that I could not get enough of was “Good Times Roll”. It had such a seductive opening guitar riff aided by a fabulous drum beat.and a funky synthesiser line. It remained my favorite song of the group’s until today’s song came out six years later.

Written by Ocasek but sung by Orr, I have swooned over this tune since my first listen to it. His vocal is subtle yet strong, direct yet in a private language only the person he is singing to would understand. And since 1984 was prime MTV territory, a very unique and somewhat heartbreaking video came out to accompany the song. It was directed by actor Timothy Hutton, featured a somber looking Orr, an 18 year old model named Paulina Porizkova and introduced her to her future husband, Ocasek.

The band broke up by the end of the 1980’s. Orr died of cancer in 2000. Ocasek’s song “Silver” from his 2005 album, “Nexterday”, is in honor of Orr. In 2018 the remaining band members reunited to perform at their induction into the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame. Ocasek died a year later. The Cars made many memorable songs and videos together, but this one will be my favorite forever.

You can’t go on
Thinking nothing’s wrong
Who’s gonna drive you home
Tonight

The_Cars

The Cars in 1984. L–R: Benjamin Orr, Greg Hawkes, David Robinson, Ric Ocasek, and Elliot Easton. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

The Cars: “Drive” ( 1984, written by Ric Ocasek).

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 138

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?

Charlie Brown No Music No Life

(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 WANT MY MTV!!!

It was 39 years ago today that this channel premiered and music was never the same again.  A station dedicated to letting the world see the music (and the people behind it) as well as hear it was revolutionary.  The rotation began with maybe 10 videos but that did not prevent me from watching it non-stop for hours at a time.  Music videos changed the game for fans and the industry alike.  But unlike streaming that has caused artists to lose control of their own copyrighted material in addition to their earnings, MTV was a money mother lode for anyone willing to climb on board the novel concept.

At first it was newer artists that appeared frequently on the channel, but eventually everyone jumped on the bandwagon.  Some ran with the concept-Hall & Oates, Huey Lewis & The News, Billy Squier, Michael Jackson-to name a few.  Soon even my heroes were embracing the genre.  Remember a pre-“Friends” Courtney Cox’s fancy footwork with Bruce Springsteen in the “Dancing In The Dark” video?  Or watching Eric Clapton’s beautiful hands play fiery solos on his Strat while singing “Pretending” in the pouring rain?  Or an elegantly dressed Marvin Gaye extolling the benefits of “Sexual Healing”?  Videos from other 1970’s artists followed including Elton John, Rod Stewart, Steve Winwood and a host of others who welcomed and embraced the new MTV audience.

Vintage clips of great musical moments were featured like the Beatles first appearance on “The Ed Sullivan Show”, performances from the 1967 Monterrey Pop Festival and the 1969 Woodstock concerts as well as the live broadcast of 1985’s “Live Aid” show from both America & the U.K.  Suddenly our living rooms were front row seats to the best music had to offer.  And thanks to directors from the TV & movie industries getting in on the trend (“Dressed To Kill” director Brian De Palma was the man behind Springsteen’s first clip), by the end of the decade and into the 1990’s videos became an art form.  The “Unplugged” series introduced us to the more intimate side of live performances.  Other music stations including VH1, BET and FUSE followed, but none compared to the original and its level of cool.

If there is one song that defined the early years of the MTV phenomenon, it is today’s.  While the references to homosexuals are outdated & considered offensive in this era of acceptance, and the once ground breaking channel is merely a reality show based venue in these days of YouTube and Instagram stories, this song still has the power to instantly transport those of us who were there at the beginning to the excitement of the new medium.  And to the poor choice some people made to wear sweatbands in their videos.

Now that ain’t workin’ that’s the way you do it
You play the guitar on the MTV
That ain’t workin’ that’s the way you do it
Money for nothing and your chicks for free“.

The MTV moon man logo circa 1981 (R) and John Illsley (bass guitarist)  and Mark Knopfler (lead guitarist) of Dire Straits circa 1985.  (Images found online.  Original sources unknown.)

Dire Straits:  “Money For Nothing” (1985, written by Mark Knopfler and Sting a/k/a Gordon Sumner).

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 89

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.

As my rock heroes get older, I have noticed a growing and somewhat disturbing trend for them to tell their stories in a documentary.  My guess is if they do it while they are alive they will be able to control the narrative.  I get that.  Does the movie reveal things you never knew?  Yes.  For example, in “Eric Clapton:  Life In 12 Bars”, I learned that when he and his band, Cream, came to America in 1967 to record it was in the hallowed halls of Atlantic Records.  He saw people like Otis Redding and Aretha Franklin coming and going.  In fact, he sat in on a rehearsal session with her and her band.  I never knew that (and, oh my God, wow!!!  Just imagining the three of them in the same building at once…swoon!).  I enjoyed discovering that.  And the audio and pictures of Clapton with Duane Allman & Jimi Hendrix are gold. 

I did not need to see, however, all the clips of him drinking so excessively and taking drugs.  His battles with addiction are well documented (his 2007 book, “Clapton: The Autobiography” came out the same year his ex-wife Pattie Boyd released hers).  Message received.  He was an addict.  But he has been sober 33 years which is basically a footnote at the end of the movie.  Watching a man I worship, love & admire in such a painful self-destructive place that he snorted cocaine from a switch blade was not only unnecessary, it seemed purely exploitive.  The director, a friend of Clapton’s, already included a number of clips of him using the drug without the knife.  She made no mention of the movies he’s been in (“Tommy”, “Hail! Hail! Rock ‘n’ Roll”, “Blues Brothers 2000”) & basically skipped over his career in the 1980’s, too.  I was hoping to see behind the scenes clips of him making videos (he was a staple on MTV & VH1), or at the Live Aid show or anything else from such a prolific decade of his.  I still recommend it if you have not seen it since this is Clapton, after all.  But just know it is a very hard watch which Clapton himself has stated in several interviews about the film.

To cheer myself up (and to stop from shaking), I went back to watch a doc I missed, 2013’s “History of The Eagles”.  I loved this band growing up and Don Henley’s solo records in the 1980’s.  I knew all about the friction between him and bandmate Glenn Frey so I was prepared for that but otherwise I looked forward to the band’s story.  Or maybe not.  Working under the philosophy that a band is not a democracy but rather an entity requiring leadership, Henley & Frey ran the show.  Period.  And when they were not fighting.  I realize both men had successful solo careers so perhaps maybe that lead to their decision, but those careers sprang from years with a hugely successful band of more than two members.  And both men require co-writers with a lot, if not all of their songs, so they are not doing it all alone.  I know egos go hand in hand with many rock stars, but seeing how arrogant Henley & Frey were towards their bandmates or just in general, particularly Henley, this film neither cheered nor soothed me.  It just made me mad.

I think I need to stop watching documentaries on musicians.

Today’s song is still my favorite solo number from Henley, but true to form I could not find the studio version on YouTube.  It is 2020, we are in the throes of a pandemic where so many of the elite are offering free streaming services or virtual tours, and Henley still refuses to post his videos.  It goes back to a grudge he (and many in the industry) had against the free uploads not paying artists their royalties.  I completely agree that any artist should be paid for their copyright.  But in the last decade, many artists started their own official YT channels to counteract the illegal uploads including Clapton, Bruce Springsteen, the estate of Marvin Gaye and so many others.  Henley has a channel, too, but mostly of live performances.  I do not believe their are any legal issues with his video copyrights, but perhaps there are which is why they cannot be uploaded.  But I am only speculating.  As a fan I find it frustrating, especially because there is such a pretty video for it which I hate not being able to see.  But this live version is the best I could do.

henley

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Don Henley:  “The Heart Of The Matter” (1989, written by Mike Campbell, Don Henley & J.D. Souther).

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 84

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.

Original MTV VJ Nina Blackwood has said that John Waite wrote today’s song about her.  I do not know if that is true, but we really should thank whomever he wrote it about because that heartache gave us one of the best broken heart songs out there.  And one of the best videos of 1984,

And there’s a storm that’s raging
Through my frozen heart tonight
And I ain’t missing you at all
Since you’ve been gone away
I ain’t missing you
No matter what my friends say.”

John_Waite_-_Missing_You

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

John Waite:  “Missing You” (1984, written by John Waite, Mark Leonard and Charles Sandford).

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 74

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.

When Steve Winwood released his 1986 album, “Back In The High Life”, he won a whole new audience thanks to his visibility on MTV.  The record’s first single, “Higher Love”, went to the top of the charts.  I for one was already a fan of this unbelievably talented man.  I discovered him thanks to FM radio where songs from his first three bands were in constant rotation:  “Gimme Some Lovin” from The Spencer Davis Group (a band he joined when he was only 14 years old); “Dear Mr. Fantasy” & “The Low Spark of High Heeled Boys” with Traffic and then Blind Faith which teamed him up with powerhouses Eric Clapton on guitar and Ginger Baker on percussion.  I also adored two of Winwood’s previous solo albums, “Arc Of A Diver” (with that fabulous title track and his first solo hit, “While You See A Chance”) and “Talking Back To The Night”.

Winwood was first introduced to music from his father, a semi-professional musician in his own right.  And a few years ago, Winwood’s very gifted daughter, Lilly, reworked “Higher Love” into a beautiful ballad that her father joined her on which was used in a really touching Hershey’s commercial.  Winwood is probably one of the earliest singers to incorporate blue-eyed soul into his music, which was a cross between rock, soul, R&B, jazz and pop.  I am a huge fan of his and really enjoy his music, but I am madly in love with today’s song.  It is profound and beautiful in so many ways. It’s a prayer for all of us who are lost that we may find our way home to wherever and whatever that is.

And I ain’t done nothing wrong but I can’t find my way home“.

If Clapton is god, then Winwood is lord and saviour.

Blind_Faith_(1969)

Blind Faith circa 1969 L-R:  Steve Winwood, Ric Grech, Ginger Baker and Eric Clapton.  (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Steve Winwood

 Steve Winwood circa 1986.  (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Blind Faith:  “Can’t Find My Way Home” (1969, written by Stevie Winwood).

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 68

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.

The birth of MTV introduced us all to the very talented singer/songwriter/guitarist Billy Squier.  His 1981 album “Don’t Say No” produced four big songs:  “The Stroke”, “My Kinda Lover”, “Lonely Is The Night” and today’s hit which is my absolute favorite.  And who else remembers his sing along holiday video, “Christmas Is The Time To Say I Love You“?  Sadly the same way MTV helped make his career it also broke it.  The video for his 1984 release “Rock Me Tonite” was viewed by many as a sell out to his rock roots, not to mention being criticized for what was perceived as a homosexual message (remember this was almost 40 years ago).  Over the years Squier has toured with Ringo Starr & His All-Starr Band while many hip-hop artists have sampled his music.  And most importantly, who can forget Chazz Michael Michaels’ “tsunami of swagger” to “The Stroke” in 2007’s masterpiece “Blades of Glory”?  🙂

Billy Squier

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Billy Squier:  “In The Dark” (1981, written by Billy Squier).

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

Stay well.