Let’s Take A Moment Day 294

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 this day in 1967 the world was introduced to the genius & the beauty of Jim Morrison courtesy of The Doors. On January 4, 1967 their self-titled debut album was released. It contained a few of the songs they would become famous for including “Break On Through (To The Other Side)”, “The Crystal Ship”, “The End” & today’s track. The album also contained a cover of an old blues song written by Willie Dixon & Howlin’ Wolf, “Back Door Man”. The Doors’ love for this genre of music would play a significant role in their career, especially in their live performances.

Today’s tune was the band’s first #1 song (their second was “Hello I Love You” in 1968). It was an edited version of the album’s nearly seven minute track that stayed at the top of the chart for three weeks in the summer of 1967. That September The Doors made their only appearance on “The Ed Sullivan Show” to perform today’s pick which led to the host banning them for life after failing to follow the censor’s request to change a line of the song (See Day 145). But the band’s phenomenal success continued and soon they were featured on other variety shows on network television. Even as we approach the 50 year mark of Morrison’s death this July, the legacy he left behind in less than five years with The Doors continues in earnest. And Happy Birthday to Robby Krieger who turns 75 on January 8.

You know that it would be untrue
You know that I would be a liar
If I was to say to you
Girl, we couldn’t get much higher
“.

the-doors album

The Doors

Top: The Doors debut album from 1967. Bottom: The Doors 1967 publicity photo (L-R(: Jim Morrison, John Densmore, Robby Krieger & Ray Manzarek. (Images found online.  Original sources unknown.)

The Doors: “Light My Fire” (1967, written by The Doors: John Densmore, Robby Krieger, Ray Manzarek and Jim Morrison).

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 260

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?

kurt v

(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 is a celebration for two men from one of my favorite bands ever created, The Doors. December 1 marks drummer John Densmore’s 76th birthday and December 8 is the 77th birth anniversary of lead singer Jim Morrison. I grew up listening to their music, read everything I could about them, worshiped Morrison’s deep eloquent poetry, swooned over every picture I saw of him and continue to mourn his loss to this day. But it is what he created with the other three members of The Doors that I adore the most. Their sound was completely unique & unforgettable. Led by Morrison’s lyrics & incredible baritone voice, Ray Manzarek’s prowess on keyboards and his ability to supply the group with a bass line from that instrument, Robby Krieger’s subtle yet skilled sorely underrated guitar arrangements & contributions to songwriting combined with Densmore’s strong solid & concise beat made them the unstoppable force they were & the legendary band they became.

The group made a legal agreement in the 1960’s that required a unanimous decision on anything regarding their music & likeness. It created tension and court proceedings over the years as Densmore & The Estate of Jim Morrison sued Manzarek & Krieger to prevent The Doors name, logo & music from being used commercially. As a fan it has been hard to watch them in this type of venue but on another level I am happy I will not be hearing their music in any ads. According to Densmore’s 2013 book, “The Doors Unhinged”, the impetus for one lawsuit was Cadillac’s offer of 15 million dollars in 2003 for the use of “Break On Through (To The Other Side)”. A similar offer by Buick in the late 1960’s to use “Light My Fire” was vetoed by Morrison who was vehemently opposed to licensing the band’s music. The other suit prevented Manzarek & Krieger from using the group’s name & logo to tour as “Doors of the 21st Century”. The original agreement was upheld in both instances. Densmore has stated he made peace with his bandmates prior to Manzarek’s death in 2013.

The Doors made a few appearances on various TV shows in the late 1960’s but the only one that most people are aware of is their September 1967 turn on “The Ed Sullivan Show” because of the controversy they created (see Day 145). But later that year they sang “Moonlight Drive” & “Light My Fire” on “The Jonathan Winters Show” and in December 1968, the band performed “Wild Child” and today’s song on “The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour”.

This video is one of my top five finds ever on YouTube. It may be from 52 years ago, but the quality is remarkably great. Between the way it was preserved and whatever assistance it received from current digital technology, the result is a concisely clear picture with great color & lighting. The sound is superb so you can clearly hear the band, the string players & the horn section at their best. And Morrison’s voice is clear, strong, confident, deep and absolutely beautiful. But it is the rare opportunity to see him perform that makes me unbelievably happy and ready to swoon for infinity plus eternity. He manages a hint of a smile about a minute in to the song, he is playing a maraca (yes, the word is singular since he is only using one), he is in his trademark leather pants and he does a breathtaking hair flip at the end. Every band in music history had a front man, but there was only one James Douglas “Mr. Mojo Risin” Morrison.

Can’t you see that I am not afraid?
What was that promise that you made?
Why won’t you tell me what she said?
What was that promise that you made?

Doors

The Doors circa 1970 (L-R): Jim Morrison, Ray Manzarek, John Densmore and Robby Krieger. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

The Doors: “Touch Me” (Live performance from “The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour”, broadcast in December 1968 when the song was originally released. Written by Robby Krieger).

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 196

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?

Jane Austen Music 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.

Today in 1968 The Beatles song, “Hey Jude”, hit the #1 spot in America where it stayed for nine consecutive weeks. Their success in this country began with their first appearance on “The Ed Sullivan Show” on February 9, 1964. Coincidentally, today marks the 119th birth anniversary of the host of that show. Edward Vincent Sullivan, who was born in Harlem, NY today in 1901, is undoubtedly best known for that Sunday night variety show which ran for an astonishing 23 years from 1948 until 1971. It remains the longest running variety show in US broadcast history.

Sullivan was raised in Port Chester, NY and began his career writing about sports for a local paper while he was still in high school. His career in print media continued after he graduated, first as a sports reporter then as that department’s editor for The Evening Graphic in 1927. Two years later he was given the slot as Broadway columnist to replace departing writer Walter Winchell. But then Sullivan moved to The New York Daily News which was a tabloid paper at the time. He wrote a column, “Little Old New York”, which was still focused on Broadway happenings but also included celebrity & local gossip. By 1933 he appeared in a film he wrote, “Mr. Broadway”, where he went to several NYC hotspots to meet various entertainers and celebrities. This led to his 1941 variety radio show, “Summer Silver Theater”, because throughout his years as a writer, Sullivan was also active as a producer and director in that medium & vaudeville shows. By 1948 Sullivan was hired by CBS to host “Toast Of The Town”, the weekly variety program that would go on to turn him into the legendary host he became.

In an interview about The Doors 1967 appearance on that show, Ray Manzarek said Sullivan “was like Barnum & Bailey. He presented the greatest show on television. You could see everybody……..you would always see a rock & roll band”. Well, it was not just that type of music you would see on that ground breaking program. Nearly every genre of musical artist appeared on the show: Motown, soul, R&B, country, Americana, jazz, standards, big band, swing, classical & anything else you can imagine. YouTube has a station devoted to hundreds of the Sullivan show performances, and not just the musical ones. You can see comediennes, skits, acrobatic acts and many others. There is even a clip from 1970 where Coretta Scott King introduces two of her husband’s taped speeches, “I Have A Dream” & his last public one in Memphis where he spoke about threats against him before he uttered these heartbreaking words: “Like anybody I would like to live a long life”. That is just one example of how diverse and progressive Sullivan’s show was.

It featured women entertainers when they were still considered homemakers only. It presented all types of music during the changing times of the turbulent 1960’s and people of all different races who were only looked at for their ability to captivate the audience and nothing more. That was all Sullivan, who never saw race or gender at a time when the world was focused on it. He only saw variety and shared it with the world. No wonder he was dubbed “The Starmaker”.

Initially I thought I would never be able to choose one performance from the Sullivan show to commemorate his birth anniversary given how many there are to pick from. But then I saw the clip of today’s song and suddenly the choice was clear. My parents loved The Bee Gees and I inherited that feeling for all their older music (read: their music BEFORE the infamous disco era). My mother’s favorite song of theirs was “How Do You Mend A Broken Heart” but the group did not perform that one on the Sullivan show. So I chose one of the songs they did sing in 1968. It features Barry on vocals alone sans beard, Maurice on bass, Robin on piano and about a dozen string players. And since tomorrow, September 29, marks what would have been my mothers 81st birthday, I thought this beautiful song was a great way to honor her, too.

You think that I don’t even mean
A single word I say
It’s only words and words are all I have
To take your heart away
“.

Ed and The Beatles 1964

Bee Gees

Top (L-R): Ringo Starr, George Harrison, Ed Sullivan, John Lennon & Paul McCartney from their appearance in February 1964. Bottom (L-R): Robin Gibb (piano), Vince Melouney (guitar), Colin Petersen (drums), Maurice Gibb (Bass) and center, Barry Gibb (vocals) at their March 1968 performance. (Images found online.  Original sources unknown.)

The Bee Gees: “Words” (Performed live on “The Ed Sullivan Show” on March 17, 1968. Written by Barry, Maurice & Robin Gibb).

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 145

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.

In September 1967 The Doors were invited to perform two songs on “The Ed Sullivan Show“.  The first one they sang was “People Are Strange” and just watching Jim Morrison swagger up to the microphone is EVERYTHING!!!  SA-WOON!!!.  The second song they performed was “Light My Fire” which was a number one hit for three weeks that summer (July 29-August 18).  Sounds simple enough, right?  Wrong.  About 30 minutes before airtime a network producer from the show met with the band backstage and told them they had to change the lyric “Girl, we couldn’t get much higher” because it could be inferred as a drug reference which was not in line with Sullivan’s family oriented program.  (The show also made The Rolling Stones change “Let’s Spend The Night Together” to “Let’s Spend Some Time Together” when they were on the program earlier that year).  None of The Doors wanted to do that but keyboard player Ray Manzarek told the producer they would.  However, as soon as he left the room Morrison supposedly said, “We are not changing a word” & Manzarek said, “Exactly, man.  Let’s not change the word.”  Once on stage, the band performed the song as written leading to Sullivan banning The Doors for life from his show.  And that, boys and girls, is what we call rock & roll.

Love me one time
I could not speak
Love me one time
Yeah, my knees got weak
But love me two times, girl
Last me all through the week“.

Doors

The Doors circa 1968:  (L-R):  Robby Krieger, Ray Manzarek, John Densmore & Jim Morrison.  (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

The Doors:  “Love Me Two Times” (1967, written by The Doors:  Jim Morrison, John Densmore, Robby Krieger & Ray Manzarek).

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 53

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.

“The future’s uncertain and the end is always near.”  If that does not sum up the essence of life, especially in the year 2020, I can’t think of another line that does.  And that is just one example of the magnificence of Jim Morrison.  To me, he was the greatest frontmen of all time:  sexy, beautiful, strong, commanding, brilliant, defiant, poetic and was inspired by two of the best:  Elvis Presley and Frank Sinatra.  Morrison also wore leather pants like no one else.

He co-founded The Doors in 1965 with keyboardist extraordinaire Ray Manzarek.  The band released its first album in 1967 and made five more before Morrison’s death in July 1971.  I hate that his story had the tragic rock star ending where he died before the age of 30, but there is no rewriting history.  Luckily, Morrison & the Doors are part of the classic rock landscape making them one of the most phenomenal bands of all time.  Out of all the  staggering music they gave us, this is the song I love the most.

The Doors

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

The Doors:  “Roadhouse Blues” (1970, written by Jim Morrison, John Densmore, Robby Krieger & Ray Manzarek).

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

Stay well.