Let’s Take A Moment Day 190

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?

Fall

(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.

Today marks the first official day of autumn. Welcome, you beautiful new season!!! There are a number of songs that celebrate the glory of fall. The most well known one is probably the jazz standard written by Joseph Kosma and Johnny Mercer, “Autumn Leaves”. It has been recorded by hundreds of artists including Nat King Cole (1955), Frank Sinatra (1957), Miles Davis (1963), Chet Baker (1974), Jerry Lee Lewis (1980), Eric Clapton (2010) and Bob Dylan (2015).

However, on Day 168 I wrote about how Van Morrison has written several of my favorite fall tunes. He was a native of Belfast, Ireland until he moved to New York in the late 1960’s with his band, Them. He settled in Cambridge, MA after marrying his first wife who was an American citizen. Morrison was so enthralled by the colors of autumn in New England it led to him writing the many songs I love about this glorious time of year. My top choice is today’s pick. It is an exquisite evocative serenade to this most sublime season.

I saw you standing with the wind and the rain in your face
And you were thinking ’bout the wisdom of the leaves and their grace
When the leaves come falling down
In September when the leaves, come falling down
“.

van morrison

Van Morrison circa 1973. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Van Morrison: “When The Leaves Come Falling Down” (1999, written by Van Morrison).

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 137

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.

Only two famous musicians are known to have played with both The Beatles as a group and then with all four members individually.  The first is my great love Eric Clapton, who played lead guitar on “While My Guitar Gently Weeps”, although he went uncredited on The White Album.  He then went on to play with Lennon in The Dirty Mac (along with Keith Richards on bass and Mitch Mitchell, the drummer from The Jimi Hendrix Experience) and on several songs by Lennon’s Plastic Ono Band.  Clapton played with Paul on his 2001 song, “Freedom” & at The Concert For George.  Clapton co-wrote “Badge” for Cream with George, played on his 1970 album, “All Things Must Pass” and appeared at The Concert For Bangladesh in 1971 with him as well.  Ringo was also at The Concert For Bangladesh and Clapton wrote music & played guitar for Ringo’s 1976 album, “Ringo’s Rotogravure” and 1983’s “Old Wave” amongst others.  Clapton also played with Ringo in person at The Prince’s Trust Concert in 1987 as well as The Concert For George in 2002.

The other musician to boast the same accomplishment with The Beatles was Billy Preston.  He was nicknamed “The Fifth Beatle” after playing organ for them on “Abbey Road” (on “I Want You (She’s So Heavy”) & “Something”), then he played electric piano on the “Let It Be” album and in the movie during the rooftop concert scene for “Get Back” & “Don’t Let Me Down”.  After the band broke up Preston played on John’s song “God”, on George’s album “All Things Must Pass” and at The Concert For Bangladesh.  Preston also played on a few of Ringo’s solo albums (1973’s self titled record & 2005’s “Choose Love”), in his All-Starr Band & at The Concert For George (where he sang a rousing version of “My Sweet Lord”) and played with Paul at this show as well.  And for added interest, Preston played Sgt. Pepper in the 1978 film of the same name where he sang his own version of “Get Back”.

He was hailed as a self-taught child prodigy who played with Mahalia Jackson & Nat King Cole by the ages of 10 and 11, respectively.  By the age of 16 he met The Beatles in Hamburg, Germany when he was playing with Little Richard’s band.  Later that year he played for Sam Cooke and five years later, he joined Ray Charles’ band.  He has played on several albums for The Rolling Stones and Eric Clapton while working on songs by artists like Luther Vandross, Patti LaBelle & The Band.  Preston also worked as the musical director for David Brenner’s short lived late night show, Nightlife, from 1986-1987.  He co-wrote today’s song with songwriter Bruce Fisher and both men also penned the Joe Cocker hit, “You Are So Beautiful” (there are rumors that Dennis Wilson of The Beach Boys had a hand in writing it as well but allegedly his brother Brian Wilson said that was not the case).  Preston died too young at the age of 59 in 2006 but left a legacy of great performances that showcase just how gifted he was.

Billy Preston in 2002 at The Concert For George (L) and as Sgy. Pepper (R) in the 1978 movie of the same name.  (Images found online.  Original sources unknown.)

Billy Preston:  “Nothing From Nothing” (1974, written by Billy Preston and Bruce Fisher).

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 2019: Day 1

Happy December, everybody!!!

December

(Original source unknown.)

Hope you all had a happy Thanksgiving however you spent it.  I started mine in the usual way-by watching the parade.  I was absolutely thrilled to see Snoopy the Astronaut as the first balloon!!!  What an honor!!!

So now that we are officially in the Christmas season (and it really feels that way today here in New England because we are getting our first snowfall of the year…….YAY!!!) it is time for my 25 Days of Christmas music countdown!!!

Let’s begin with a classic by a classic.  Other than “White Christmas”, no other song defines the season like this one.  And this man’s version is the quintessential one at that.  He actually recorded this song a few times (1946, 1953) before, but the stereo version from 1961 is the one most of us know and love.  For a singer who began his career in jazz, it was his pop songs that turned him into a massive success that led to him starring in his own TV show beginning in 1956.

Nat King Cole.jpg Nat King Cole circa 1950’s (original source unknown).

Nat King Cole:  “The Christmas Song” (1961, written by Robert Wells & Mel Torme in 1945).

For an outstanding female take on this song, my pick is by a woman who became famous during the big band era.  Her smooth velvet-like voice was simply gorgeous and her take on the standards was like no one before her or since.  She recorded several Christmas classics, but this one is just magic to me.  And the fact that she is related to George Clooney only makes her more lovable (not to mention unbelievably lucky!!!)

Clooney

Rosemary Clooney circa 1950’s & in 1994 with nephew George Clooney on the set of ER. 
(KOBAL/REX/SHUTTERSTOCK; ALAMY)

Rosemary Clooney:  “The Christmas Song” (1978 and 1996, written by Robert Wells & Mel Torme in 1945).

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!!!

 

Auld Lang Syne

Hello, Everyone!!!  Happy New Year’s Eve!!!

goodbye-2018-welcome-2019-images.jpg

(Original source unknown).  

I wanted to end the year by thanking all of you for your support.  I love having this outlet to share my favorite things with you, and whether 2018 was a good year or bad one, it should still end on-you guessed it-a musical note.  C’mon, you had to see that coming!!!  But I know, ugh.  🙂

I am sharing two songs today.  My first pick was written in 1947 by Tony Award winner Frank Loesser, the songwriter who gave us the music to such Broadway plays as “How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying” (for which he won the 1962 Pulitzer Prize for Drama) and “Guys & Dolls”.  He also won an Academy Award for the song, “Baby, It’s Cold Outside”.  I wonder how all the people who ridiculed that fabulous song this year feel about that???  But I digress.

The premier version of this song is by the same woman I featured on Day 4 of this year’s Christmas Music Countdown.  She recorded hers in 1960 and it just oozes romance, hope and fun.  I also included the version released over 50 years later which features her original recording with this rocker turned crooner’s voice & a soft trumpet solo which gives it an interesting and sweet twist.

Side note:  I am not sure how I feel about these virtual duets anymore.  I know we all swooned when Natalie Cole was able to “sing” with her father on “Unforgettable”, and Lisa Marie with Elvis on “In The Ghetto” and Nona with Marvin Gaye on the National Anthem, but did Kenny G really need to add his horn to Satchmo’s on “What A Wonderful World”?  Or did Scarlett Johansson really need to add her voice to Dean Martin’s on “I’ll Be Home For Christmas”?  I think not.  Perhaps they should just be done by family members???  Maybe.  But again, I digress.

ella_800.jpg__800x587_q85_crop_subsampling-2_upscale

Ella Fitzgerald (original source unknown).  

rod

(Original source unknown).  

Ella Fitzgerald:  “What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve?” (1960).

Rod Stewart featuring Ella Fitzgerald & trumpeter Chris Botti:  “What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve?” (2012).

I also really like Harry Connick, Jr.’s 1993 version, too, so now you have all my favorites.

harry.jpg

(Original source unknown).  

The second song pick is from a man we lost much too soon, 11 years ago this month.  A consummate singer/songwriter, some of his well known songs include “Longer”, “Missing You”, “Leader of the Band” and “Believe In Me” to name a few.  But today’s song we hear every year on a loop during December on many of the 24/7 Christmas music stations as a nod to the holiday we celebrate a week later.  I admit I prefer his rocker side to the ballads he became more famous for (who can forget “Part of the Plan” from “Souvenirs” and “The Power of Gold” from “Twin Sons of Different Mothers” with Tim Weisberg???), but I will not pass up the chance to hear this man’s beautiful voice any time I can.

Same_Old_Lang_Syne_-_Dan_Fogelberg    (Original source unknown).  

Dan Fogelberg:  “Same Old Lang Syne” (1980).

I do not own the rights to anything.  I am just sharing some things that I love with you  🙂

Have a happy, safe, healthy & WONDERFUL 2019, Everyone!!!

Until next time, happy listening!!!

25 Days Of Christmas Music: Day 25

Merry Christmas, Vixens!!!  Buon Natale to my fellow Italians!!!  Welcome back to the countdown.

joy-to-the-world-lightbox

 

(Original source unknown)

Let me begin by thanking all of you for your support not only over this last month, but throughout the year.  Having the chance to do what I love is a blessing in more ways than one.  This outlet centers me and keeps me focused on what is important when the ballast of every day living threatens to take over more often than it should.  I wish you all a very Merry Christmas, Happy Holiday & a Happy (& Blessed) New Year.

I will leave you with the final song of the Christmas music countdown along with a bonus song to begin 2018 as I take a break to recharge my batteries and relax for the last week of the year.

For the final Christmas song, I chose one by a singer who defines the Christmas season with his classic version of “The Christmas Song“.  With today’s pick, he sings a song celebrating the arrival of earth’s King.  In par with yesterday’s song, this tune celebrates the religious holiday as it is based on two Bible passages:  Genesis 3:17-18 and Psalm 98, 96:11-12.

nat king cole

Nat King Cole (original source unknown)

Nat King Cole:  “Joy To The World

For the new year, my hope and wish is the same every year.  Maybe one day, peace will be a reality.  Here’s to 2018!!!

kenny-loggins-richard-marx

Richard Marx (L) & Kenny Loggins (R) (original source unknown)

Richard Marx & Kenny Loggins:  “Let There Be Peace On Earth

I do not own the rights to anything.  I am just sharing some things that I love with you   🙂

Until next time, fellow Vixens, happy listening!!!

peace

(original source unknown)

Christmas Song Of The Day #14

Hello, Vixens!!!  Happy Christmas Eve eve!!!  I hope at this point you have put the to-do list away and you are doing nothing more than enjoying this festive season with those you love.  I am sure you have done more than enough to make the holiday special so stop chasing perfect because it does not exist…..except in music, of course!!!  LOL!!!

images[3]

Source:  apartmentsilike.wordpress.com

When I was looking for a video of this song on YouTube I came across this clip which is a real gem.  It features three of my all-time favorite people:  Nat King Cole, Danny Kaye & Mary Tyler Moore.  What a find!!!

The description states it is from Danny Kaye’s Christmas Special in 1963.  I have not had the time to research it more, but that will not stop me from sharing it with all of you because I love it SO MUCH!!!

The three of these people have a place in Christmas history on their own:  Cole’s recording of “The Christmas Song” is undoubtedly the most popular & most well-known version of that song, Kaye was one of the stars of the movie “White Christmas” and Moore celebrated the holiday on “The Dick Van Dyke Show” & her own show.

We have been singing this song for years, and hopefully in 2016 it will finally come true for all of us, wherever we call home.  Here is “Let There Be Peace On Earth“.

Please remember I do not own the rights to anything.  I am just sharing some of my favorite music with you.

Enjoy!!!

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Source:  pinterest.com (Original source unknown)

 

 

 

 

My Top 20 Christmas Songs

Music is such a special part of my life, and Christmas songs are no different.  There have been so many great versions of almost every song, it was hard to narrow it down to just 20.  But with 10 days to go before the big day, I thought I would share my list with all of you.

Each song includes a link to a YouTube video.  I do not own the rights to anything, nor am I associated with any of the channels/videos that I chose.  I just picked ones that showcased either the artists and/or the song enough to give you the best feel for the tune (in my humble opinion).

All opinions are my own.

What are some of your favorite Christmas songs?  Tell me in the comments below.

Enjoy!!!

1)  Merry Christmas Baby by Bruce Springsteen ( written by Lou Baxter and Johnny Moore).

It’s Bruce.  To say this is perfect would only be redundant.

2)  Christmas Time is Here by the Peanuts ( written by Lee Mendelson and Vince Guaraldi).

The Peanuts were my best friends when I was a kid, and today they are just as special to me.  “A Charlie Brown Christmas” is the main reason why.  If all I did for the holiday season was watch this special, my Christmas would still be perfect.

3)  White Christmas by Otis Redding (written by Irving Berlin).

Yes, I know all about the popularity of Bing Crosby’s version.  However, in my humble opinion, Redding brings such a stunning soulful element to his version of this song I really cannot listen to any other one. And if it was good enough for the “Love Actually” soundtrack, it is good enough for me.

4)  Winter Wonderland by Ray Charles (written by Felix Bernard).

Charles’ take on this is as unique and gorgeous as his version of “America The Beautiful”.  Truly a holiday gem.

5)  Holly Jolly Christmas by Burl Ives (written by Johnny Marks).

Who does not want a singing snowman???  Burl Ives is one of the reasons why I still tune in to watch “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer” even now.

6)  Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) by Darlene Love (written by Phil Spector, Ellie Greenwich & Jeff Barry).

Love has performed this song on Letterman’s show since 1993.  You have to watch both the studio version and the live version to truly appreciate this song and Love’s voice.

http://youtu.be/4EvZOXEoJ84 (studio version)

http://youtu.be/m7M6wRPuD2w (2013 Letterman performance)

7)  Hark! The Herald Angels Sing (written by Charles Wesley).

Between the Peanuts characters singing it at the end of “A Charlie Brown Christmas” and it being the song that celebrated George Bailey’s worth in “It’s A Wonderful Life”, it is impossible for me to hear any version of this song and not get verklempt.  A multitude of singers have covered this song but Martina McBride, Neil Diamond & Frank Sinatra’s versions are among my favorites.

8)  Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas by Judy Garland (written by Hugh Martin & Ralph Blane).

Tony Bennett called Garland the greatest singer he ever heard.  I am in no position to argue with a man of his talent and taste.

9)  Blue Christmas by Elvis Presley (written by Billy Hayes and Jay W. Johnson).

It’s ELVIS!!!

10)  O Come All Ye Faithful by Nat King Cole (written by John Francis Wade).

Most people associate him with the most famous version of “The Christmas Song”, but it is this Christmas classic that I love the most of Cole’s holiday recordings.

11)  The Christmas Song by Tony Bennett (written by Mel Torme & Robert Wells).

Tony Bennett is a legend.  If you do not have any of his music in your collection, you are doing yourself a disservice.

12)  It’s a Marshmallow World by Dean Martin (written in 1949 by Carl Sigman and Peter DeRose).

I think Frank Sinatra would even agree that Martin was probably the coolest member of the Rat Pack.

13)  Celebrate Me Home by Kenny Loggins (written by Bob James and Kenny Loggins).

Not a cover of a Christmas classic, but a song of Loggins’ very own is now a holiday staple.

14)  What Christmas Means To Me by Stevie Wonder (written by Anna Gordy Gaye (yes, Marvin Gaye’s first wife) & George Gordy).

Another original Christmas tune that has become a staple of the holiday.  And who can forget Will Ferrell’s “Elf” jumping on the mattresses with his little brother while this song was playing?

15)  Silver Bells by Rosemary Clooney & Bing Crosby (written by Jay Livingston & Ray Evans).

Before her nephew George was probably even born, Rosemary Clooney was Hollywood’s “it” girl.  Anything she sang was perfection and pairing her voice with Bing Crosby’s turned a song into a spectacular event.

16)  Happy Christmas (War is Over) by John Lennon (written by John Lennon & Yoko Ono).

From the man who told us “love is the answer”, peace was the gift he wanted for the world, and not just at Christmas.

17)  The Most Wonderful Time of the Year by Andy Williams (written by Eddie Pola and George Wyle).

I’ll admit this song now reminds me of back to school shopping thanks to a fabulous campaign several years ago by Staples, but it is a holiday classic nonetheless.

18)  The Little Drummer Boy/Peace On Earth by Bing Crosby & David Bowie (Drummer Boy written by Harry Simeone, Henry Onorati & Katherine Kennicott Davis, and the Peace on Earth music & lyrics written by Ian Fraser, Larry Grossman and Alan Kohan expressly for the recording by Crosby and Bowie).

In theory this was an odd pairing, but in principle their voices worked so well together it is hard to imagine this season without this song.  But I still wonder what would have happened if Bowie had shown up at Crosby’s house dressed as Ziggy Stardust???  (LOL)

19) O Holy Night by Eric Cartman (written by Adolphe-Charles Adam).

South Park is one of my all time favorite shows, and this clip illustrates just one of the reasons why.  Any reverence I had for this song is gone thanks to Trey Parker and Matt Stone, but I would not have it any other way!!!

20)  Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer by Elmo and Patsy (written by Randy Brooks).

This brings back memories of me and my cousins signing this song to my grandmother, who I miss everyday, not just at Christmas.  But this makes me feel a little closer to her.