Let’s Take A Moment Day 540

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?

blog Sept 2021

(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 released in January 1959. A month later on February 3, 1959 the singer was killed in a plane crash at the age of 22. Charles Hardin “Buddy” Holley was born on September 7, 1936 making today his 85th birth anniversary.

The Prince of Rock & Roll from Lubbock, TX left behind a legacy that included his contribution to the foundation of the genre along with his affect on the most influential band of all time, The Beatles. And of course, Holly is forever linked in history with the two musicians who died in the crash with him, J.P. Richardson (a/k/a “The Big Bopper”) and Ritchie Valens, who would have celebrated a milestone birthday himself this year-his 80th on May 15 (see Day 425).

The track I chose to commemorate this landmark date was a Top 20 hit for Holly in 1959. I love his version as well as Linda Ronstadt’s cover from 1974. However, it was not until I researched it for this post that I discovered it was written by Paul Anka. He wrote the song specifically for Holly after the two men met touring Australia together in 1958. Anka also relinquished his royalties to the song to Holly’s widow after his death. Despite a second marriage in which she had three children Maria Elena Holly, 88, continues to keep her first husband’s music alive through The Buddy Holly Educational Foundation. Long live rock & roll.

Do you remember baby last September
How you held me tight each and every night
Well oops-a-daisy how you drove me crazy
But I guess it doesn’t matter anymore
“.

holly

wedding

Top: Buddy Holly circa 1957. Bottom: Holly & his wife, María Elena, on their wedding day in 1958. (Images found online.  Original sources unknown.)

Buddy Holly: “It Doesn’t Matter Anymore” (1959, written by Paul Anka).

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 523

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?

Aug 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.

Before “Saturday Night Live” premiered in the fall of 1975, there was another 90 minute entertainment program that kept people up past the 11PM news on the weekend. The musical performance television show “The Midnight Special” premiered on August 19, 1972. Six months later it started its run as a regular weekly series which would last until May 1981. It was supposed to air immediately after Friday night’s broadcast of “The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson“. But for some unknown reason on the east coast where I lived it did not begin until an hour later.

During its nine year run, The Special brought us live stage performances from an array of the biggest musical artists of the decade with a different host each week (except for 1975 when the powers that be made the misguided decision to appoint Helen Reddy as the permanent host for one year). Despite that unfortunate turn, The Special was must see TV for music fans around the country.

It was the brain child of producer Burt Sugarman and even led to another series several months later, “Don’Kirschner’s Rock Concert”. But The Special was the first late night show to present the occasional stand up comedian along with musical guests from the top of the charts in rock, pop, soul, R&B, country, folk and more. And since the show aired on NBC, they hired one of their most popular radio station disc jockeys-Wolfman Jack-to serve as the show’s announcer (in between pedaling a product for one of the sponsors, Clearasil).

Every week when I would see the commercials for the upcoming show, I imagined how great it would be to watch it once I was old enough. But that happened sooner than expected the week Paul Anka was announced as the guest host. My mother really wanted to see him and she asked me to stay up with her to keep her company. I was beyond thrilled. But as the night went on, it did not turn out to be the bonding experience I imagined. Our entire conversation leading up to the show went like this:

My Mom: “I am so tired! Why is it called The Midnight Special when it does not come on until 1:30 in the morning?”

Me: “I can’t believe I get to stay up passed 1:30 in the morning to watch The Midnight Special! I am not even tired!”

I may not remember all the songs Anka & the other guests sang during the show but I do remember I became part of a very special club on that early Saturday morning. Decades later before YouTube was a phenomenon, I saw an infomercial for a DVD package with highlights from The Special. One of the clips in the ad was by the group behind today’s song. It was a Top Five hit in 1974 & they performed it on the show the same year. I always liked this track but really fell in love with it a few years ago after it was used in one of the best holiday commercials I ever saw. I love that The Midnight Special is part of my story & this record’s history as well.

“Hail (Hail) nothin’ the matter with your head
Baby find it come on and find it
Hail, with it, baby cause you’re fine
And you’re mine and you look so divine
“.

midnight

wolfman

Top: The show’s logo in the early years. Bottom: Wolfman Jack was the announcer & a frequent guest host for the musical show. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Redbone: “Come and Get Your Love” (Live performance on “The Midnight Special”, 1974, Originally released January 1974, written by Lolly Vegas).

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

Stay well.

Goodbye To Two Legends…..

Last week we said two very sad goodbyes, one in music and the other in TV.

How will the music world recover from the loss of the King of the Blues, Riley B “B.B.” King?  “The Thrill Is Gone” virtuoso passed away on May 14 at the age of 89.  Not since Les Paul has one man done so much for the guitar, and with that guitar-affectionately named “Lucille”-King gave us some of the greatest jazz/blues/rock & roll music the world ever saw.

kin2-011[1]

Photo courtesy of the American Academy of Achievement.

He bought his first guitar while he was growing up in Mississippi  and began his career in 1947 on Beale Street in Memphis.  The rest of the story is history, complete with 15 Grammy Awards, inductions into various halls of fame (including the Rock & Roll HOF in 1987 by Sting) and the Presidential Medal of Freedom, amongst others.  Still King never forgot his roots, performing in his home town of Indianola, MS every year for the last three decades.  That town is also home to the B.B. King Museum and Delta Interpretive Center.

Performers from Buddy Guy to the Rolling Stones to Eric Clapton to Tracy Chapman and many others have been influenced by King, and he worked with them and many others because his appeal appeared to have no limits.  One of my favorite collaborations of King’s was with U2 in 1988, “When Love Comes To Town” .

Thank you for the music, Mr. King.  Rest in peace.

****************************************************************************************************************

The second goodbye goes to AMC’s masterpiece, Mad Men.  In a word, I am verklempt.

The 17 month hiatus between seasons four and five was bad enough, but now the break is final.  Sigh.

Mad-Men[1]

Photo courtesy of AMC.

It was hard enough saying goodbye to NBC’s “Parenthood” earlier this year (read about that here).  But now this?  Whatever will I do without my weekly Don Draper fix (a/k/a the scrumptious Jon Hamm)?  Or Betty and Joan’s gorgeous dresses to swoon over?  What about Roger Sterling’s one liners?  I gave up smoking over 5 years ago but each time one of the characters lit up a cigarette, I inhaled with them vicariously.  And I am no longer embarrassed to order an Old Fashioned when I go out since Don & Roger enjoyed them as well.

And like the “Parenthood” finale, the end of the “Mad Men” series forced fans to deal with a death also-that of Betty Draper’s (the beautiful & talented January Jones).  No, it did not happen on screen, but it was imminent from her lung cancer diagnosis in the penultimate episode.  It was widely rumored on the internet that one character would have to suffer the consequences of all that smoking, but I was hoping it would be Peter Campbell.  I know he did not smoke but he could have contracted the illness from the second hand effects (he was my least favorite character-can you tell?).

I just felt like the Draper kids had already been through so much as a result of their absentee father, their mother’s dysfunction, the death of Grandpa Gene, their parent’s divorce, the loss of their maid/nanny Carla and their subsequent move from the only home they knew to their step-father’s mansion.  I wanted a better end to the kids story, not more grief.  And the loss of their mother was one they were all too young to deal with.  But Betty’s handling of her doom, and the letter she wrote to Sally about the funeral arrangements in the second to last episode?  January Jones’ voice was so melancholy yet so resigned as she was heard reading the note that I was absolutely inconsolable.  Kudos to her and her on-screen daughter Kiernan Shipka for the way they handled that & every scene of this story line-hell, in the entire series.

Other than that I was quite satisfied with the ending, despite how much I was dreading the show’s run coming to a close.  Peggy found love as did Roger, and with a woman his own age-go figure.  I was in such a “Mad Men” haze since AMC ran the entire series-all 7 seasons-from last Wednesday night leading up to the finale Sunday night.  I was happy to relive as much of it as I could because in addition to the great acting, great writing and great directing, I will miss the spectacular music featured in each episode.  Even the send off song the network used in promoting the end of the series-Paul Anka’s “The Times Of Your Life“-was perfect.

But my favorite song heard in the series was an instrumental of “Love Is Blue” by Paul Mauriat and his Orchestra.  Written by French composers André Popp and Pierre Cour, Mauriat’s version was released in 1967 and became an international smash.  By early 1968 it hit #1 on the US charts for five weeks.  I am ashamed to admit it, but this fantastic piece of music fell off my radar for many years until I heard it again at the end of episode 5 of season 6, “The Flood”.  (If you prefer a more rock and roll version, check out Jeff Beck’s cover here.)

So goodbye, Mad Men.  I cannot say I will miss you most of all since my favorite TV shows are dropping like flies this year, but this loss definitely hurts my heart so.  And getting the chance to live through the decade of 1961-1971 through you and with you was a fascinating ride.  Thanks for seven remarkable seasons.  Uh oh, I am getting verklempt again.  Talk amongst yourselves.  I’ll give you a topic:  Jon Hamm was neither a john nor a ham.  Discuss.