Let’s Take A Moment Day 453

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?

June 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 the best lines I ever heard in my life was from a 2000 “Will & Grace” episode (S3 E4 “Girl Trouble”) by The Queen of the Quips, Karen Walker. When she noticed Grace wearing a beret, Karen set her straight:

“Grace, I thought we talked about the beret. Patty Hearst couldn’t even pull one off and she had money and a gun”. EPIC!!!

Fifteen years earlier, today’s song was released by Prince extolling his love for that particular head wear. It was from his seventh studio album, which was the follow up to his smash, Purple Rain. With more of a psychedelic pop sound than its predecessor, Around The World In A Day was another #1 album for the superstar with today’s track as the lead off single.

Prince Rogers Nelson was born 63 years ago on June 7, 1958 in Minnesota. His unique name came from his father’s jazz combo, the Prince Rogers Trio. He was always Prince to me, even when he was re-crowned “The Artist Formerly known As” in 1993 when he changed his name to a symbol because of an ongoing feud with his record company.

His music was an inventive and unique hybrid of soul, funk, rock, R&B, classical, pop, jazz & more setting him apart from everyone else when he broke through the music scene in the 1980’s. His sophisticated coiffed appearance, his progressive lyrics & videos combined with his dynamic stage shows helped elevate his legendary status, cementing his role as one of the most influential artists of all time. His death five yeasts ago was an absolute shock to fans & the industry alike and left a hole in music that has yet to be filled. And probably never will.

The rain sounds so cool when it hits the barn roof
And the horses wonder who you are
Thunder drowns out what the lightning sees
You feel like a movie star
“.

Prince

Prince circa 2005. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Prince & The Revolution: “Raspberry Beret” (1985, written by Prince).

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 213

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.

Today in 1958 Jackie Wilson recorded one of his signature songs. It was another tune co-written by future Motown founder Berry Gordy Jr who also co-wrote “Reet Petite”, “To Be Loved” & “We Have Love” for Wilson the year before. The proceeds earned from these songs helped Gordy start Tamla Records in 1959 which became the iconic Motown label in April 1960. The success of today’s tune also helped establish Wilson as one of the premier R&B singers not only the 1950’s & 1960’s but of all time.

He was born Jack Leroy Wilson Jr. in Detroit, Michigan in 1934. He began singing in church when he was a child which led to him joining a gospel group in his teens. He learned to box during a couple of stints in detention for bad behavior and competed in the local boxing circuit before he quit to marry at 17 because he was going to become a father. He joined several groups (including one with his cousin, future Four Tops lead singer Levi Stubbs) until Wilson signed a solo record deal with Decca Records subsidiary label, Brunswick, in 1957. “Reet Petite” was his first release which helped launch his career through its moderate success. Between his four octave tenor range and his dynamic dance moves on stage, Wilson earned the nickname “Mr. Excitement” and enjoyed over a decade of success throughout his career.

Unfortunately the rest of his story is not as happy. Wilson was besieged with problems in his personal life including getting shot by a girlfriend, several arrests and legal issues, financial losses & IRS liens due to an embezzling manager as well as multiple children from in & out of his two marriages. He also lost a son, Jackie Jr in 1970 when the 16 year old was shot to death. That sent Wilson into a depressive state which included drug use. In 1975 he suffered a heart attack onstage which left him in a semi-comatose state. He remained in a nursing home until his death from pneumonia in 1984. Wilson left a legacy on music, fans and the performers he influenced especially Van Morrison, Bruce Springsteen, Prince, and Michael Jackson among many others. My mother was a big fan of his & she and my dad were lucky enough to see Wilson perform around 1960 at the acclaimed Apollo Theatre in Harlem. Swoon.

Just give me another chance for our romance
Come on and tell me that one day you’ll return
‘Cause, every day that you’ve been gone away
You know my heart does nothing but burn, crying
“.

Wilson and Elvis

Elvis Presley (L) with Jackie Wilson (R) circa 1959. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Jackie Wilson: “Lonely Teardrops” (As performed on “American Bandstand” in March 1959. Originally released in 1958, written by Berry Gordy Jr, Gwen Gordy & Roquel “Billy” Davis as “Tyran Carlo”).

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 141

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?

Charlie Brown No Music No Life

(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 date in 1984 Prince’s album, “Purple Rain” hit #1.  Remarkably it held that spot for 24 straight weeks until Jan 18, 1985.  Released less than two months earlier on June 25 and a month before the release of the movie by the same name on July 27, it was his first album to hit the top spot.  It was also the first time Prince credited his band, The Revolution, with assisting in the composing, arrangement and  production of a record.

The movie went on to gross 72 million dollars.  The first single from the album, “When Doves Cry”, went to #1 for five weeks straight (July 7-Aug. 10) and became the biggest song of 1984.  (Not so fun fact:  That song kept Bruce Springsteen’s single, “Dancing In The Dark” out of the top spot, leaving it in the #2 spot for three weeks before it fell to #3 on July 28.  Poor Bruce 😦  But his “Born In The USA” album would knock “Purple Rain” out of the #1 spot on Jan 19, 1985, ending its 24 week reign in that position).

By September 1984 the next single, “Let’s Go Crazy” hit #1 for two consecutive weeks.  Ultimately two more singles would be released:  the title track which peaked at #2 (and is my favorite song for a multitude of reasons but especially because of the exquisite string arrangement) and “I Would Die 4 U” which made it to #8.  The soundtrack was so popular even Sophia from “The Golden Girls” was heard singing along to the title track in the show’s first season.  I love that Prince and that show are their own pop culture reference!!!

Some of you might remember that it was this album that eventually lead to the formation of the PMRC (Parents Music Resource Center) in 1985 by Tipper Gore and friends.  That was due to the sexually charged lyrics on the song, “Darling Nikki” that Gore heard when her 11 year old daughter was playing this record.  The group demanded that any music with questionable lyrics or subject matters (i.e. sex, drugs, violence and references to the occult) be sold with warning labels on them.  But even with the controversy (or perhaps because of it), the record would go on to sell over 25 million copies.  For most music lovers and Prince fans around the world, this album remains his masterpiece and I agree.  No offense towards him intended, but does anyone else but me believe he got the idea for the song from hearing the line in America’s “Ventura Highway” that goes:  “Sorry boy, but I’ve been hit by purple rain”?  🙂

I never meant to cause you any sorrow
I never meant to cause you any pain
I only wanted to one time to see you laughing
I only wanted to see you
Laughing in the purple rain“.

Prince
 (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Prince:  “Purple Rain” (1984, written by Prince).

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

Stay well.