Let’s Take A Moment Day 396

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.

One of my favorite movies of all time is “Breakfast at Tiffany’s“. I loved everything about it-the era it took place in, the beautiful city it was set in and, of course, Audrey Hepburn as Holly Golightly. Her facial & verbal expressions, her wardrobe, her apartment…..it was all fabulousness defined.. And how many times have we all wanted to run away & start our lives over again some place new, but she actually did it! Yes, it caught up with her but still, she did it!!!

I also loved the sweet look on the face of her neighbor, Paul (George Peppard) as he watched Holly playing guitar & singing from his apartment window. The lyrics of that song were written by Johnny Mercer & the music was by premier film composer Enrico Nicola Mancini, known professionally as Henry Mancini. It earned him the Oscar for Best Original Song in 1962. Born on April 16, 1924 in Ohio, he also wrote the theme to several movies including “The Pink Panther” series. His arrangement of the “Love Theme from Romeo and Juliet” (a/k/a “A Time For Us”) spent two weeks at #1 in the summer of 1969. Mancini also wrote the themes to a number of television shows including “Peter Gunn”, “Newhart”, “Hotel” & Remington Steele”.

Some of my favorite artists have performed their own exceptional renditions of today’s song including Rod Stewart, Pete Yorn, and my great musical loves Elton John and Eric Clapton (with Jeff Beck). But as much as I love those, it is the movie version I come back to whenever I need to relive the beauty & the magic of the film all over again.

Two drifters off to see the world
There’s such a lot of world to see
We’re after the same rainbow’s end
Waitin’ ’round the bend
“.

Breakfast-at-Tiffanys

George Peppard and Audrey Hepburn in a scene from 1961’s classic, “Breakfast At Tiffany’s”. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Audrey Hepburn: “Moon River” (1961, music written by Henry Mancini, lyrics by Johnny Mercer).

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 344

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?

Feb 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.

On February 26, 1985 my great musical love & New Jersey’s favorite rocker Bruce Springsteen won his first Grammy Award for Best Male Vocal Performance for the original recording of today’s song. It was the first single from his ginormous 1984 album, Born In The USA.. The title track was misinterpreted as an American anthem when in reality it was a protest song about what happened to the men & women when they returned home after their service in the Vietnam War. The video for the track made it appear like a song of US pride as well. The Boss was decked out in red (bandana), white (t-shirt) & blue (jean jacket) while he pumped his fist in the air each time he sang the chorus.

The dark message of today’s original track was also disguised by the video. The fast tempo song, performed on a stage with a slick set design and Springsteen’s dance moves with a pre-“Friends” Courtney Cox, looked like nothing but pure fun. In reality the song was a bleak tale of self-loathing where the singer wanted to change everything about himself & his surroundings and basically run away from who he thought he was. He felt there was something more to life, yet did not know of a way to start the change. But it was a hit record anyway and one of the highlights of Springsteen’s live shows to this day as he still invites someone on stage to dance with him during the coda.

Another very talented singer & songwriter from New Jersey, Pete Yorn, was not a fan of Springsteen’s or his 1984 release because he was bothered by the popularity of the album & because he was into metal music at that time. But years later a friend suggested that Yorn listen to “New York City Serenade” from Springsteen’s second album, The Wild, The Innocent & The E Street Shuffle. Yorn was instantly entranced, became a fan of The Boss’ music. and eventually recorded his own version of that tune.

Yorn also recorded a cover of today’s song as a stripped down acoustic track. It was an excellent choice and adding a harmonica was inspired. Springsteen has reworked many of the tracks from Born In The USA in concert over the years and today’s song sounds like his touch which is a huge compliment to Yorn’s skill & talent. The slower tempo of his version gives the song a pensive tone which helps to underscore the dismal feeling of the lyrics. In doing so Yorn turned his cover of today’s track into one of the most heartbreakingly beautiful songs I ever heard, let alone a Springsteen cover.

Yorn has a really nice voice-evocative, steady and strong but not too overpowering as to drown out the message of the lyrics. What he has done with today’s song by highlighting those words gives it new significance, one that means more to me at this stage of my life than the original does. It is by far the best Springsteen cover I have ever heard.

The situation’s getting clearer, radio’s on and I’m moving around my place
Check my look in the mirror, wanna change my clothes, my hair, my face
Man, I ain’t getting nowhere, just living in a dump like this
There’s something happening somewhere, baby I just know that there is
“.

Bruce Courtney

Pete Yorn

Top: Courtney Cox (L) dances with The Boss (R) in the 1984 video for “Dancing In The Dark”. Bottom: Pete Yorn circa 2018. (Images found online.  Original sources unknown.)

Pete Yorn: “Dancing In The Dark” (2001, written by Bruce Springsteen).

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 223

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 quote 2

(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.

There are songs from my childhood that have followed me my entire life. I may have lost track of them occasionally along the way but then they always find me and usually at the most unexpected times. I remember watching the 2003 movie, “Stuck On You” (Greg Kinnear was a RIOT!!!) and hearing the melody of today’s song. Immediately my memory started humming along with it and suddenly I was singing the chorus. The supreme version in the movie was by the sorely underrated musician Pete Yorn. The original was by Albert Hammond. (His son, Albert Hammond Jr., is the guitarist for The Strokes).

Today’s track may be what Hammond is best known for as a singer & songwriter but he also co-wrote other big hits including “The Air That I Breathe” by The Hollies (1974), “When I Need You” by Leo Sayer (1977), “To All The Girls I’ve Loved Before” by Willie Nelson & Julio Iglesias (1984), “One Moment In Time” by Whitney Houston (1988) and over a dozen others. Hammond is also credited as a co-writer for the song “Creep” by Radiohead (1992) because the band admitted they based that song on “The Air That I Breathe”. But no matter how many other tunes Hammond has helped create, it is today’s song, released October 21, 1972, that I will cherish forever. Swoon.

Will you tell the folks back home I nearly made it
Had offers but didn’t know which one to take
Please don’t tell ’em how you found me
Don’t tell ’em how you found me
Gimme a break, give me a break”.

Pete-Yorn

Albert Hammond

Top: Pete Yorn circa 2000. Bottom: Albert Hammond circa 1972. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Albert Hammond: “It Never Rains In Southern California” (1972, written by Albert Hammond & Mike Hazelwood).

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

Stay well.