Let’s Take A Moment Day 306

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.

On January 13, 1973 Eric Clapton’s Rainbow Concert took place at the Rainbow Theater in London. The two all star shows were set up to put Clapton in front of an audience after an 18 month period in which he was in isolation fighting depression & drug addiction. The concerts were organized by Clapton’s friend Pete Townsend of The Who and featured two of Clapton’s Blind Faith bandmates Steve Winwood and Ric Grech, The Faces’ Ron Wood and Traffic’s Jim Capaldi and Rebop Kwaku Baah.

An album of the show’s highlights was released that fall and the whole experience put Clapton’s career back on track. He started working on a new record which was released a year later, 461 Ocean Boulevard. But a lot of the music he worked on was not used on the record and did not get released until 2013’s album, Give Me Strength: the ‘74/’75 studio Recordings. Today’s song was included on that record but it was also released on his 1988 boxed set “Crossroads“. It has been one of my favorite Clapton tracks since the first time I heard it.

Someone like you
Could make me change my ways
Someone like you
Could turn the nights into days
“.

Eric 1991

Eric Clapton circa 1991. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Eric Clapton: “Someone Like You” (1988, written by Arthur Louis).

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 300

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.

Day 300. I never imagined when I started down this road it would last this long. But then again I never lived through a global pandemic before so I did not exactly have a point of reference. Or a clue as to how much life would really change as a result of it. But this has been anything but a chore so I will keep going.

When famed Beatles record producer Sir George Martin died in 2016, Paul McCartney is reported to have said, “If anyone earned the title of the fifth Beatle it was George.” And if anyone had the right to bestow that title on someone, it was one of The Fab Four. Martin was born on January 3, 1926 in London, England. He was the man who signed The Beatles to EMI Records in 1962 and helped mold the band’s sound in the recording studio with his skills as an arranger & producer. He wore a few other hats throughout his career including musician, composer, engineer & conductor.

Martin’s influence was clear from the group’s first US album, Introducing… The Beatles, released 57 years ago today, January 10, 1964. A month later, they arrived in America for their first appearance on “The Ed Sullivan Show”. If there ever was a moment that changed the course of music history in America, it was that Beatles’ Sunday night performance on February 9, 1964. Less than a year later-January 9, 1965-The Fab Four’s popularity showed no signs of slowing down when their album Beatles 65 soared from #98 to #1 in only one week.

The rest of The Beatles story is very well documented from their 1965 concert at Shea Stadium, their final concert a year later in Candlestick Park in San Francisco, their two movie features (“A Hard Day’s Night” & “Help”) to their groundbreaking albums including Rubber Soul, Revolver, Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band, Magical Mystery Tour, The White Album & Abbey Road. Every album by the band with the exception of “Let It Be” was produced by Martin. The last one started with him in charge but then the project was put on hold for the band to record “Abbey Road“. They then returned to the Let It Be tapes to finish it but between all the fights amongst the band members including John Lennon’s departure at the beginning of 1970, the tapes were shelved. Eventually they were placed in the hands of Phil Spector who put his Wall Of Sound spin on them to give us the finished product in May 1970.

Martin continued his esteemed career in music after his seminal work with The Beatles. His more notable projects include his work on two James Bond soundtracks (“Goldfinger” in 1964 & “Live And Let Die” in 1973), producing several albums for the band America, collaborating with Pete Townsend on the musical arrangements for The Who’s 1993 Broadway production of “Tommy” & producing Elton John’s 1997 Princess Diana tribute recording of “Candle In The Wind”. Martin worked with his son, Giles Martin-also a composer, producer & multi-instrumentalist-on the arrangement of the music for the 2006 Cirque du Soleil show, “Love” based on The Fab Four’s music. The Beatles would not have been The Beatles without George Martin.

And anytime you feel the pain
Hey Jude, refrain
Don’t carry the world
Upon your shoulders
“.

Martin and The Beatles

The Beatles in the Studio with producer George Martin circa 1967 (John Lennon, Ringo Starr, George Martin (center) George Harrison and Paul McCartney. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

The Beatles: “Hey Jude” (Live performance from “Frost On Sunday” broadcast in the UK on September 8, 1968. Rebroadcast in the US on “The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour” on October 6, 1968. Written by John Lennon & Paul McCartney).

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 172

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?

Bruce 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.

As much as I loved Bruce Springsteen, Eric Clapton, Otis Redding & The Beatles while I was a teenager, there were two other people that were equally important in the soundtrack of my life:  Elton John & Bernie Taupin.  In fact, I discovered them when I was even younger because the first album I ever bought in my life was “Elton John’s Greatest Hits”.  The second single I ever purchased was “Daniel” (the first was “Give Me Love (Give Me Peace On Earth)” by George Harrison).  Man, the roots of my love for GREAT music were sowed quite young, if I do say so myself!!!  But I digress.

I loved Elton so much I remember begging my parents to let me go see him in the movie, “Tommy”.  They agreed and he was fabulous, of course.  But I must confess I was much too young to see that film.  The music was great because, after all, it was mostly done by The Who, a great band in their own right.  But the subject matter was just too much for my tween mind to comprehend.  Two scenes in particular truly scared me.  The first was the scene with Sally Simpson, who snuck out of her house to go see Tommy in concert.  I was not a teenager yet but loved music enough to know I could not wait to go to my first concert, so I really identified with her character.  She not only made it there but she got all the way to the stage before being kicked off by Tommy’s evil step-father.  Her fall caused her to cut her face, after which she was left with an ugly disfiguring scar.  What happened next?  She married a singer who dressed up like Frankenstein.  The moral of the story I took from that scene:  When you are a pretty girl you want to marry a guy who looks like Tommy:  dreamy blue eyes, curly blond hair, in a word, gorgeous.  But when you turn into a disfigured soul the best you can hope for is a guy that looks like a monster.  Yes, it was a dark thought to have as a young girl, but it looked like a fairly straight line to me.  I wish I could have said the same about Sally’s horrendous scar.

The other scene that gave me nightmares to this day was the one with the faith healer who led the Marilyn Monroe cult.  That statue of her terrified me, especially the black slits for eyes.  And when her disciples came out wearing masks that looked like it I nearly cried.  I also remember pondering what she had to do with Nazis because (I thought) there were rows of them sitting in the church pews around Tommy and his mother.  They all had gray flannel suits on with what looked like Nazi stars on the lapels.  Even the faith healer held up what appeared to be a Nazi star with Monroe’s picture in the center of it and forced the attendees to look at it.  I wondered over and over to myself in the theatre, what the heck the connection was between Monroe and those despicable people?  I thought, was she German or brainwashed or just mean?  By the time her statue crashed to the floor after Tommy knocked it over I blocked that memory out of my mind and only relived it through the occasional bad dream.  Until quarantine, that is.

When I was looking for Elton’s performance to relive his great scene, YouTube recommended another scene from the movie, “Eyesight To The Blind”.  I could not recall that song from the film so I watched the clip.  Much to my absolute amazement, it was the Monroe scene.  I was thrilled to discover that the people I thought were Nazis sitting in the pews were not in fact from that army, just people wearing the same coats with buttons, not stars, on their lapels.  And while I am still not sure about the type of star the faith healer was holding, since it had a picture of Monroe in it my guess is it was innocuous.

What I also discovered, to my shock and horror, was that the cult was actually led by a preacher, not the faith healer.  And who was the preacher, you ask?  None other than my great musical love, Eric Clapton, who performed the song in the scene.  I had no recollection whatsoever that he was in that film.  If that is not a testament to how traumatized I was then a better one does not exist.  I did not discover Clapton until junior high when I read a book on The Beatles and he was referenced for his guitar work on “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” and on George Harrison’s first solo record.  To think I could have had an additional year or so with that beautiful man in my life just reopens the traumatic wounds left by that movie all over again.

But at least I got to see Elton in all his glory, from his size 1000 Dr. Martens to his diamond studded glasses to his hat with a pinball in place of a pouf.  And those fabulous looks of disdain on his face when he could not keep up with Tommy’s pinball prowess.  How do you think he does it?  I don’t know.

He’s a pinball wizard
There has to be a twist
A pinball wizard’s
Got such a supple wrist

EJ 1
Elton John as The Pinball Wizard in “Tommy”.  (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Elton John:  “Pinball Wizard” (1975, written by Pete Townsend).

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

Stay well.