Let’s Take A Moment Day 165

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.

When I was growing up my dad used to listen to a doo wop show on the radio which introduced me to the voices of that genre.  One of my favorites belongs to Dion DiMucci.  Originally he was the lead singer of Dion & The Belmonts in the 1950’s who gave us songs like “I Wonder Why”, “A Teenager In Love” and “Where or When”.  They appeared on the 1959 Winter Dance Party Tour that proved to be the final appearances for Buddy Holly, Richie Valens & The Big Bopper, J.P. Richardson.  DiMucci was offered a seat on the plane that killed the three artists but declined due to the cost of the ticket, which was $36.

By 1960 he wanted to record more rock & roll oriented songs, so he parted ways with The Belmonts to start a solo career.  His hits included “Donna The Prima Donna”, “The Wanderer”, and “Runaround Sue”.  With music changing in the late 1960’s, DiMucci reinvented himself with the release of the introspective, “Abraham, Martin & John”.  DiMucci, who hails from my old stomping grounds of The Bronx, NY has also influenced one of my great musical loves, Bruce Springsteen.  He has had DiMucci on stage with him several times for collaborations on both of their songs and in 1992, DiMucci recorded a remarkable acapella version of Springsteen’s “Should I Fall Behind”.  Earlier this year DiMucci released a new album, “Blues With Friends” featuring Springsteen, his wife Patti Scialfa, fellow E Street bandmate Steven Van Zandt and several other artists.  I love when my musical worlds come together.

I heard this song on the radio last weekend and it brought back a thousand memories.  DiMucci recorded it in 1963 with The Del-Satins providing backup vocals.  It is not as popular as the other tunes written by the legendary songwriting team of Leiber & Stoller (“Kansas City”, “Hound Dog”, “Searchin'”), but it is one of my top picks from their fabulous catalog.  And my absolute favorite Dion song.

Well, my buddy come to see me to give me a tip, tip, tip
I said now listen here friend, I tell ya I’m hip, hip, hip
Why don’t ya mind your own business, close your lip, lip, lip
I know when my girl’s gimme me the slip, slip, slip“.

Dion DiMucci circa 1960 (L) and today (R).  (Images found online.  Original sources unknown.)

Dion:  “Drip Drop” (1963, written by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller).

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

Stay well.

Valentine’s Day Music Countdown: Song #12…..And A Sad Anniversary

Before we get to today’s countdown song, let’s take a minute to observe the 56th anniversary of the day the music died. On February 3 1959, a plane crash near Clear Lake, Iowa claimed the lives of musicians Buddy Holly, J.P. Richardson a/k/a the Big Bopper and Richie Valens.  Holly was 22, Richardson was 28 and Valens was just 17 years old.  They were all part of a three week long American city tour called the Winter Dance Party.

What a lot of people do not know is that country music legend Waylon Jennings, who was a member of Holly’s new band after he parted ways with the Crickets, was supposed to be on the flight but gave up his seat to Richardson because he had the flu.

If you saw the movie based on Valens’ life story, “La Bamba”, you know that Valens won his seat in a coin toss from another of Holly’s band members.  One more member of the tour, Dion Dimucci (of Dion & the Belmonts), decided he could not afford the ticket for the flight so he passed on a seat.

The crash was so devastating to the music industry and fans alike it was dubbed “the day the music died” then and in Don McClean’s song “American Pie” which was released over a decade after the crash.  Ironically, the song was number one in 1972 on the anniversary of the crash.

The musical influence of Holly and Valens never waned, and both were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1986 and 2001, respectively.  As of 2015, J.P. Richardson has not been elected to the HOF.

For countdown song #12, we visit one of my favorite periods of music ever-the Motown era.  So many of my favorite singers have come from the Motown years:  Marvin Gaye, David Ruffin, Stevie Wonder and Levi Stubbs.  In fact, it is Mr. Stubbs’ group-the  Four Tops-that sang my #12 favorite love song.  “I Believe in You & Me“, written by David Wolfert and Sandy Linzer, was released in 1982.

It is unequivocally one of the highlights of Stubbs’ career, showcasing not only the range of his voice but its passion as well.  His delivery is clear, smooth and so heartfelt it saves the borderline syrupy sentiment of some of the lyrics to ones that are just moving and hopeful.  Even the esteemed Whitney Houston could not deliver her 1996 cover of this song any where close to the beauty of Stubbs’ original.  We lost his voice in 2008, and music in general has never quite sounded the same to me since.

The lyrics refer to love as a miracle, and the older I get and the more I realize how hard true love is to find, I believe romantic love may really be a wonder after all.