25 Days Of Christmas Music 2021: Day 22

Hello, everyone. Welcome back to the countdown.

Day 22

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Today’s song is one of the defining songs of the Christmas season. No matter how many other renditions there are of this tune, none can compare to this man’s most popular interpretation recorded in 1961. What would this holiday even look like without Nat King Cole?

And so I’m offering this simple phrase
To kids from one to ninety-two
Although it’s been said many times, many ways
Merry Christmas to you
“.

NatKingCole

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

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

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!!!

Let’s Take A Moment Day 366

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.

Today’s song was a #1 hit in 1950. The initial version won the Academy Award for Best Original Song for the same year after it was featured in the movie “Captain Carey, U.S.A.”. With all due respect to the film rendition, it could not come close to the version by Nathaniel Adams Cole, who was born March 17, 1919 in Alabama. No one but no one sang a song like him, better known by his stage name, Nat King Cole. Happy birthday to him and Happy St. Patrick’s Day to all of you.

Many dreams have been brought to your doorstep
They just lie there and they die there
Are you warm, are you real, Mona Lisa,
Or just a cold and lonely, lovely work of art
“.

Nat King Cole

Nat King Cole circa 1950. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Nat King Cole: “Mona Lisa” (1950, written by Ray Evans and Jay Livingston).

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 281

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?

Dec 22

(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’s song has the distinction of being featured at the end of two Christmas classics: “It’s A Wonderful Life” & “A Charlie Brown Christmas”. And today’s singer’s rendition is one of the best out there. He may be known as the premier voice of the season for his iconic version of “The Christmas Song” , but nearly every holiday song Nat King Cole recorded in his lifetime is a treasure. He was one of the earliest entertainers who used his talents as a singer, songwriter & musician and turned it into a brand. His TV show was one of the first of its kind in entertainment and he was the first black artist to host his own series. His sound infused jazz & pop while his appeal as an artist helped him cross over into film & Broadway as well. All of that made him one of the most successful, original, charismatic artists of all time. And a staple every Christmas season.

Mild He lays His glory by
Born that man no more may die
Born to raise the sons of earth
Born to give them second birth
“.

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Nat King Cole circa 1958. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Nat King Cole: “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing” (1960, based on a 1739 Christmas carol with various writers including Charles Wesley and George Whitefield).

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 273

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?

Dec 14

(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.

On this day 52 years ago-December 14, 1968-Marvin Gaye hit the #1 spot in the country with one of his career defining tracks (and one of my favorite songs of all time), “I Heard It Through The Grapevine”. That record was featured on Day 17 so I will use another song from Gaye’s catalog to celebrate this milestone. Today’s pick was recorded live at New York’s acclaimed Apollo Theater in 1963 and remained unreleased for nearly four decades until it was part of the 2001 compilation, “A Motown Christmas, Volume 2”. It is a smooth soulful slightly jazz infused track sung in a way only Gaye could. It is a song that defines the season and until I hear the most famous version of it by Nat King Cole each year, it does not feel like Christmas at all. But now Gaye’s is a must for me as well because one, it is Marvin Gaye and two, it is fabulous. But also, to have something new from a man who died nearly 20 years before this version was released is a gift in and of itself. And for that endowment to be one from the beginning of his career before life, loss & a decade of turmoil took its toll on him is just too momentous for words.

Holiday music contains a core amount of songs, but you can listen to one of them a dozen different ways from the plethora of covers that are out there and it is like hearing a different tune each time. Today’s song has been covered hundreds of times and many artists did it justice. But Gaye’s version is right up there with Cole’s for me and that speaks volume.

And so I’m offering this simple phrase
To kids from one to ninety-two
Although it’s been said many times, many ways
Merry Christmas to you
“.

Marvin-Gaye

Marvin Gaye circa 1978. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Marvin Gaye: “The Christmas Song” (Live performance at The Apollo Theatre in 1963. Written by Mel Tormé and Bob Wells).

 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 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.

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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!!!

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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!!!

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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)