Let’s Take A Moment Day 399

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?

May 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 Copacabana has been one of NYC’s premier nightclubs since it opened in 1940. It has existed in many different locations throughout the city, but the desire to headline there was always the same, especially for musical artists in the 1960’s. Sam Cooke’s 1964 show was released in a live album the same year. A record of Marvin Gaye’s 1966 performance was supposed to be issued that year but because he & Motown president Berry Gordy could not agree on how the record was to be produced, the project was abandoned until 2005 when it was finally released.

Both Gaye and Cooke’s appearances at the club were done in part to follow in the footsteps of one of their favorite singers, Jackie Wilson. He made his debut there on April 19, 1962. The performance was recorded & released the same year on the album, Jackie Wilson At The Copa. He performed today’s song that night as well as on “The Ed Sullivan Show” earlier that year. It was the follow-up single to 1958’s “Lonely Teardrops” (Day 213) and was a Top 20 hit in 1959. Wilson, with his four octave tenor voice & smooth dance moves, earned the nickname “Mr. Excitement”. One watch of today’s video clip is all you need to understand why.

The way you make me feel like I belong
The way you make me right when I am wrong
The way you sacrifice just for me
Just how lucky can a poor man be”

Jackie Wilson

Jackie Wilson circa 1960. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Jackie Wilson: “That’s Why (I Love You So)” (Live performance on “The Ed Sullivan Show” on January 21, 1962. Originally recorded in 1959, written by Tyran Carlo and Berry Gordy Jr.)

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 353

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.

By 1984 MTV was an enormous part of the music scene. Anyone who wrote it off as a fad at its inception in 1981 could no longer deny the massive medium it had become. Around that time some of the old school hold outs from earlier music decades decided to embrace the video era. But there was one participant who completely surprised me and that was Lou Reed.

The only thing I knew about him when I was in high school was that he was the voice behind 1972’s “Walk In The Wild Side”, an FM radio staple. But once I got to college, a friend introduced me to Reed’s ground breaking band, The Velvet Underground. They were considered a rock band with an avant-garde approach that put them in the middle of NYC’s subculture in the mid 1960’s. This was due in part to their sound, their manager, artist Andy Warhol & the band’s frequent collaborations with German singer Nico. Reed’s most famous songs with the band, “Sweet Jane” and “Rock and Roll” helped push him to try more creative sounds that he would continue to do in his solo career after he left the Underground in 1970.

Before the Underground, Reed co-wrote a song in protest of the popularity of dance songs called “The Ostrich”. Fast forward to April 1984 when he released the album, New Sensations. Not only did he make a video for today’s song, which was the album’s first single, but he also released a 7″ and 12″ single of the track as well. Despite the fact that it can easily pass as a dance song, I fell completely in love with it & the video from the first time I saw it on MTV. And the music by the man born Lewis Allen Reed 79 years ago on March 2, 1942 in Brooklyn, NY remains one of the coolest parts of my world.

You broke my heart and you made me cry
You said that I couldn’t dance
But now I’m back to let you know
That I can really make romance
“.

L Reed

Lou Reed circa 1990. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Lou Reed: “I Love You, Suzanne” (1984, written by Lou Reed.

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 319

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?

Shakespeare music

(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.

When Fiorello La Guardia became NYC’s mayor in 1933, one of his first acts was to ban burlesque shows in the city. This caused Hurtig and Seamon’s New Burlesque Theater to close its doors after nearly twenty years in business. While this was obviously a bad thing for that show, it turned out to be one of the greatest blessings in musical history. A year later, on January 26, 1934, that venue was reborn as The Apollo Theatre.

From its first amateur night to the features of major musical performers, The Apollo stage has hosted the best artists in swing, bebop, jazz, gospel, blues, R&B and soul. In the 1930’s Billie Holiday, Lena Horne & the Count Basie Orchestra made their debuts there. The next decade featured Amateur Night winners like Sarah Vaughn and Ruth Brown. In the 1950’s James Brown was discovered the same way and “Showtime At The Apollo” began. That decade also saw the premiers of jazz greats Miles Davis, John Coltrane and Thelonius Monk.

The 1960’s featured numerous shows by Stax & Motown artists. In 1972 John Lennon & Yoko Ono took part in a benefit concert there to help families of the inmates who were shot during the Attica Prison riots in 1971 (Admit it-now you hear Al Pacino in your head screaming “Attica!” “Attica!” from the movie, “Dog Day Afternoon”, right?)

The Apollo closed briefly in the late 1970’s but reopened in 1981. That decade brought about the debut of the television show, “Showtime at the Apollo”. For 87 years the theater located on W 125th Street in Harlem has been a beacon for legendary music & comedians. My parents are part of that history as they were there at a show in the 1960’s to see one of my mother’s favorite singers, Jackie Wilson. Today’s song is one of the biggest hits of his career and always reminds me of how lucky my parents were to see this man live during the height of his fame.

And in a great example of symmetry, I saw my own musical hero Bruce Springsteen play this song in concert several times (one of his best versions was with an all star band at The Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame’s 25th anniversary concert in 2009). Dolly Parton did a gospel inspired country version of it as well in 1977. But today’s track features an electrifying horn arrangement & music by The Funk Brothers so that makes it the premiere version of this incredible song.

Now once I was downhearted
Disappointment was my closest friend
But then you came and he soon departed
And you know he never showed his face again
“.

Jackie Wilson

“Mr. Excitement” Jackie Wilson circa 1960. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Aretha at Apollo

The marquee’s announcement of The Queen Of Soul’s return to The Apollo Theater in New York City on June 3, 1971. (Tyrone Dukes/The New York Times).  (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Jackie Wilson: “(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher & Higher” (1967, written by Gary Jackson, Raynard Miner, and Carl Smith).

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 87

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.

Today’s song probably should have been posted on Day 1.  Yet, here on Day 87 it seems more fitting than ever.  For anyone looking for a new mantra, here you go.  From one of NYC’s biggest fans.

Nobody told me there’d be days like these
Nobody told me there’d be days like these
Strange days indeed
Strange days indeed.”

John-Lennon
(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

John Lennon:  “Nobody Told Me” (1984, written by John Lennon).

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 50

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.

Bette Midler is so accomplished she is capable of singing anything.  But when she performs a ballad, she is glorious.  Along with cleaning up parts of NYC with her New York Restoration Project and sending Johnny Carson’s show off into that good night, I think this is one of The Divine Miss M’s best moments.

When the night has been too lonely and the road has been too long
And you think that love is only for the lucky and the strong
Just remember in the winter, far beneath the bitter snows
Lies the seed, that with the sun’s love in the spring becomes the rose.”

 

Bette-Midler1
(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Bette Midler:  “The Rose” (1979, written by Amanda McBroom).

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

Stay well.

“Imagine All The People Living Life In Peace…..”

“You may say I’m a dreamer,

But I’m not the only one.

I hope some day you’ll join us

And the world will live as one.”

Imagine by John Lennon (1971)

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Source:  BBC.CO.UK

Thirty five years ago the world was shocked to learn John Lennon was killed outside the entrance to his home in the Dakota Building in New York City.  Part of why the news was so startling was not only because Lennon was a Beatle, but because after all his fame, music and notoriety, he was an icon of peace.  And his killer was a mentally ill man who was able to get his hands on a gun despite his unbalanced status.

A few days after Lennon’s death, one of the New York papers ran a drawing of a smoking gun with the caption-“And when the broken hearted people living in the world agree there will be an answer”-from “Let It Be”.  That was December 1980.

Less than four months later, another mentally ill individual attempted to assassinate President Reagan and permanently disabled Press Secretary James Brady in the process.   That event led to one of the country’s first gun laws with the passing of the Brady Bill.

Nearly three years ago, 20 children and 6 adults were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.  Twenty-two years ago yesterday 6 people were killed in the Long Island (NY) Railroad massacre.

image[2]

Source:  Newsday

In the years since places like Columbine, Aurora, Virginia Tech, Casas Adobes, Northern Arizona University, Texas Southern University, Umpqua Community College, Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, UC Santa Barbara and too many others have experienced mass shootings.  While some are acts of terrorism, like the ones in San Bernardino last week along with the those in Paris last month, the majority of the shootings which occur in this country are not.

Wherever you stand on the gun issue, we all must be able to agree that when a church, an elementary school, a college campus or a movie theatre becomes a  shooting gallery, something has to change.  Something that keeps the guns out of the hands of those too ill to understand the effects of their actions, while allowing those who are of sound mind and body the right to keep and bear arms.  Because these mass shootings cannot continue to be routine events.  They cannot and should not be our legacy.

We have got to be better than this.

Just imagine for a moment that we are.

Peace.

“We All Shine On” for John Lennon’s 75th Birthday

Hello, Vixens.  Did you read about the large people peace sign Yoko Ono organized in Central Park earlier this week?  It was done in honor of John Lennon’s 75th birthday, which we celebrate today.

Central Park Peace Sign PIX 11

                                                                      Photo courtesy of PIX-11.

That gesture reminded all of us how Lennon lived his life, using his celebrity and music not to push a clothing line or cologne spray, but to ask the world to consider peace over war.  Light over dark.  Love over hate.  It is easy to see the roots of his masterpiece “Imagine” in that thinking.

john_lennon_peace_sign

                                                                  Photo author unknown.

His childhood in England, his life as a Beatle, his marriage to Yoko Ono, his solo career and his years in his beloved adopted home of NYC shaped the life he shared with us in song.  He was intelligent (“Across The Universe“), rebellious (“Revolution“), introspective (“In My Life“), romantic (“Jealous Guy“), a rocker (“Whatever Gets You Through The Night“), a proud father (“Beautiful Boy“).  And so very much more.

beatles-bruce-mcbroom                                                                                    Photo by Bruce McBroom

He reminded us “we all shine on” in “Instant Karma“, that “love is the answer” in “Mind Games” & “All You Need Is Love” and took us on imaginative colorful road trips during “I’m Only Sleeping“, “Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds” and “A Day In The Life“.   But by far the best vision he gave us was one in which we all lived as one in “Imagine”.

Happy birthday, John Lennon.  You are loved.  And missed.

John Lennon

                                                                         Photo by Bob Gruen.

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