Let’s Take A Moment Day 469

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.

I have been lucky enough to see Ringo Starr twice in my life. The last time was at Jones Beach (Wantagh, NY) about a decade ago. One of the musicians in his “All Starr Band” that night was Todd Rundgren, who was born June 22, 1948 in Pennsylvania.

He started out playing in bands when he was 17 but his real success came as a solo artist & producer in the 1970’s. His hits include “Hello, It’s Me” (Day 388), “I Saw The Light” & today’s song. He has also made a name for himself as a producer of albums such as We’re An American Band by Grand Funk Railroad, War Babies by Hall & Oates and Bat Out Of Hell by Meat Loaf,

Rundgren will be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame’s Class Of 2021 later this year. Several artists have covered today’s track, but his original version still resonates with me.

It’s a strange sad affair
Sometimes seems like we just don’t care
Don’t waste time feeling hurt
We’ve been through hell together
“.

SONY DSC

Todd Rundgren on stage in Ringo Starr’s “All Starr Band” at Jones Beach in Wantagh, NY on June 22, 2012.  (Credit:  Me.) 

Todd Rundgren: “Can We Still Be Friends” (1978, written by Todd Rundgren).

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 435

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 blog 2021

(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.

Congratulations to Carole King who is finally being inducted into The Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame as a performer in the Class of 2021. She has only been waiting over two decades for this well deserved honor. To reiterate the rules of the HOF, an artist is eligible 25 years after their debut album is released. King’s first album, Writer, came out 51 years ago in May 1970 (Tapestry just celebrated its 50th anniversary as it was released February 1971). So King was eligible for The HOF in 1995. And what a prestigious class that was: The Allman Brothers, Neil Young, Al Green, Janis Joplin, Led Zeppelin, et al.

King was inducted in 1990 as a songwriter with her ex-husband, Gerry Goffin. But even if she did not get in as a performer with her first record, Tapestry should have made her a slam dunk for the Class of 1996. Then she would have been inducted with The Shirelles who turned her & Goffin’s song, “Will You Love Me Tomorrow” into a #1 hit in 1961. David Bowie and Gladys Knight & The Pips were also part of that year’s honored group.

Now King will be inducted alongside another fabulous female artist, Tina Turner, which is great. But their class includes two rappers and a 1980’s bubble gum pop girl band. UGH!!! BUBBLE GUM POP In the same institution as King, Turner, Elvis, The Beatles, Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton, etc. Ugh again. My heart.

So to celebrate King’s insanely long overdue honor and to commemorate the anniversary of her free concert in NYC’s Central Park on May 25, 1973, today’s song is from her 1971 masterpiece. Tapestry is probably the greatest record ever made by a female artist. All hail Carole King!!!

Sometimes I wonder
If I’m ever gonna make it
Home again it’s so far
And out of sight
“.

Carole King

Carole King, LA 1983. Photo by Jim Shea (Courtesy of caroleking.com). (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Carole King: “Home Again” (1971, written by Carole King).

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 424

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 blog 2021

(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.

Today’s song has one of the most recognizable opening guitar riffs in music history. And it was written & played by my great musical love, Eric Clapton, when he was in the band, Cream. But it was the group’s bassist, Jack Bruce, who wrote the majority of their music while the lyrics were written by poet & lyricist Pete Brown. Bruce, born 78 years ago on May 14, 1943 in Scotland, came from a musical family. When he was a teenager he attended the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama (n/k/a Royal Conservatoire of Scotland) on a scholarship to study musical composition & the cello.

By the mid 1960’s he met both Clapton & percussionist Ginger Baker and the three men formed Cream in 1966. Because all three came from other successful groups (Baker from The Graham Bond Organisation where he met Bruce who was in John Mayhall & The Bluesbreakers where he met Clapton who was in The Yardbirds), Cream was hailed as the first supergroup. They released four albums in the less than four years they were together, but their music changed live performances & improvisational jam sessions forever. It was also where Clapton developed his voice under the mentorship of Bruce.

The band broke up in 1969 as Clapton wanted to go in a different more streamlined form of music but also because the incessant fighting between Bruce & Baker got to be too much. They reunited in 1993 for their Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame induction ceremony & again in 2005 for seven shows-four at The Royal Albert Hall in England & three at Madison Square Garden in NYC. Bruce passed away in 2014 due to liver disease despite receiving a transplant about a decade earlier. Baker died in 2019, but both men remain musical legends for their time in Cream & their other contributions to rock history.

I’m with you my love
The light’s shining through on you
Yes, I’m with you my love
It’s the morning and just we two
“.

Cream 1967

Cream

Top: Cream circa 1968 (L-R): Jack Bruce, Ginger Baker and Eric Clapton. Bottom: Cream circa 1993: Clapton, Baker and Bruce. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Cream: “Sunshine Of Your Love” (1967, written by Pete Brown, Jack Bruce and Eric Clapton).

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 383

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.

From the minute music became important to me, I was interested in the details. I would read the songwriting credits on the records, the liner notes of every album & magazine interviews with my musical heroes to discover who inspired them while they were growing up. As I got older I realized my heroes had contemporary favorites as well and occasionally they would collaborate with them on recordings or at live shows.

However, it was not until I was listening to Bruce Springsteen’s speech to induct Jackson Browne into The Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame in 2004 that I realized how much Springsteen, one of music’s most eloquent & revered poets, admired Browne’s song writing skills. Springsteen spoke extensively about the beauty, intensity & sadness of Browne’s lyrics and how one song even moved Springsteen to tears. He listed about half a dozen other songs as examples of Browne’s gift which Springsteen said were the ones he wished he had written. Then he quoted a couple of lines from today’s song which is my absolute favorite track by Browne of all time.

I’m gonna find myself a girl
Who can show me what laughter means
And we’ll fill in the missing colors
In each other’s paint-by-number dreams
“.

Bruce Jackson

J Browne

Top (L-R): Bruce Springsteen and Jackson Brown circa 1987. Bottom: Browne circa 2015. (Images found online.  Original sources unknown.)

Jackson Browne: “The Pretender” (1976, written by Jackson Browne).

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 355

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?

March 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 March 5, 1965 “For Your Love” was released in the UK by The Yardbirds. Ironically it was that track that led to Eric Clapton’s departure from the band which he originally joined because of their blues infused music, not the pop inspired sound of that track. It was during his tenure with that group that motivated a fan to write the now famous “Clapton is god” mural.

From there he joined the super group Cream where he rose to international stardom & continued his guitar hero status. The band broke up in 1968 & Clapton played in a few other bands before starting his solo career in 1970. That led to his third induction into The Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame twenty-one years ago today, March 6, 2000. Clapton is the only musical artist that has this distinction. As one of my great musical loves, I am not surprised at all. I remain in awe of his talent.

Her life was like a desert flower burning in the sun
Until I found the way to love
it’s harder said than done“.

Eric

“Slowhand” himself Eric Clapton circa 1974. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Eric Clapton: “Let It Rain” (1970, written by Delaney Bramlett and Eric Clapton).

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 163

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.

Time for another mid-week Motown break.  When two of The Miracles, Ronald White and Smokey Robinson, co-wrote “My Girl”, the latter did it with another Miracles group member in mind, Claudette Rogers.  She joined the group in 1957 after her brother & group founding member, Emerson “Sonny” Rogers, was drafted.  The song was originally meant for The Miracles to record in 1964, but The Temptations wanted to have their newest member, David Ruffin, sing it instead.  Robinson gave in, and the song not only became The Temps first #1 hit but their signature tune as well.  However, Robinson got the girl, at least for a while.  He & Claudette were married in 1959 and divorced in 1986.  The have two children together, a son and a daughter.

In 1987, the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame made one of the most bizarre and controversial decisions ever (or at least until 2010 when they let Abba in) by inducting only Smokey Robinson into the HOF without any of The Miracles.  However that situation was corrected in 2012 when The Miracles, including Claudette, were inducted by Robinson himself.

I don’t like you, but I love you
Seems that I’m always thinking of you
Oh, oh, oh, you treat me badly
I love you madly, you really got a hold on me“.

The Miracles

The Miracles in 1962, clockwise from top left: Bobby Rogers, Marv Tarplin, Ronald White, Claudette Robinson, and Smokey Robinson.  (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

The Miracles:  “You’ve Really Got A Hold On Me” (1962, written by William “Smokey” Robinson Jr.).

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 105

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?

Kerouac

(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.

Blue eyed soul is a weakness of mine, but given my love for all things Motown that is certainly not surprising.  There are several singers who do it exceedingly well and today’s song showcases one of the best.  Daryl Hall & John Oates have had a phenomenal run as one of the most successful duos in music history, and part of that success is due to Hall’s soulful voice.  There are so many of their songs that showcase his incredible gift, but my favorite is the song that first introduced them to audiences back in 1975.

Hall and Oates

Daryl Hall (L) and John Oates (R) at the 2014 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony in Brooklyn, NY.  (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Hall & Oates:  “Sara Smile” ( 1975, written by Daryl Hall & John Oates).

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 71

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.

Sam Cooke was not just a soul singer.  He was also an early activist in the civil rights movement and fought against segregation, especially at musical venues.  Perhaps his boldest statement in his quest for equality came in one of his most important songs written in early 1964.  He was inspired to write it after he, his wife and his band were refused rooms at a hotel in Louisiana and his subsequent arrest for disturbing the peace after Cooke demanded an answer from a manager as to why his reservations were not being honored.

His own version is powerful with a great production behind it, but still done mostly in Cooke’s hallmark polished sound.  It was just the natural state of his beautiful voice.  When Otis Redding recorded it in 1965, in his trademark achingly impassioned voice, it gave the song and its message even more meaning.  It was my favorite version until September 2, 1995.  On that day Al Green sang it at the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame Concert.  He did not just sing it, he sang the hell out of it and gave 10,000% of himself while doing so.  The band behind him-Booker T & The MG’s along with guitarist G.E. Smith and friends-did not miss a beat while clearly enjoying the performance as much as the crowd did.  Despite Green’s appearance coming fairly early on in the show, he brought the house down.  But what else should we expect when The Reverend takes his rightful place at the pulpit?

Al Green

Al Green at the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame Concert in 1995 (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Al Green:  “A Change Is Gonna Come” (As performed live at the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame Concert in Cleveland, Ohio in 1995.  Written by Sam Cooke).

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 35

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?

music heart

(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.

From the time I was a small child I have had nightmares.  Sometimes they were so bad they would wake me up and then I was too scared to go back to sleep.  When I was really young and lived in the city, I would look out the window for a while before I felt comfortable enough to go back to bed.  There were two things I always saw:  one was a building several blocks away that had a flashing red light on the roof.  It became a beacon of safety for me.  As long as the light was blinking I was OK.  The other thing I saw was a giant movie screen at a local drive-in movie theatre.  Sometimes I could even see the images on the screen.  It was like my own private viewing.  Then we moved to the suburbs so when I was a teenager and needed something to soothe me back to sleep, I would turn on the small black & white television I had in my room.  Thus began my great and long standing vice of going to sleep with the TV on that continues to this day, although now it is usually watching Hulu on my laptop, but you get the general idea.

I loved being awake when no one else was.  It was like I had the whole world to myself.  I might have been physically alone while the rest of the house was asleep, but I felt secure in my little world of the TV and me.  It had been my haven since I was young, introducing me first to heroes like Mr. Rogers and the Peanuts, and later on to the soap opera families I came to love.  But when I was growing up there were usually only movies on during the late nights so that is what I watched.  Some of them were good, some of them were bad and a few of them were outstanding.  One of the ones from the latter category was Harold & Maude.  My world took a 180 degree turn the first time I saw that film.  It was an unbelievably great quirky movie.  It also had a soundtrack that was spectacular, and not just because it featured Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto 1.  I first heard that during fifth grade thanks to my teacher, Mr. Larsen.  He played classical music everyday during our history lesson.  I will love him forever for that.  But I digress.

The rest of the soundtrack introduced me to singer/songwriter Cat Stevens (n/k/a Yusuf), who wrote and performed all the other music for the film.  I was blown away by the simple elegance of his storytelling.  Each song was so on point with the scene it was played in.  “If You Want To Sing Out” played while Harold & Maude were frolicking together, while “Trouble” played when Maude was rushed to the hospital.  A few of the songs were borrowed from Stevens 1970 album, “Tea For The Tillerman”, which unbelievably turns 50 this year.

I adore Cat Stevens.  I missed him when he left music and turned his back on that part of his life which meant so much to me and millions of other fans.  But for over a decade now he has started to embrace singing and performing again.  I remember being awake after a nightmare in 2007 and found this beautiful man singing at a Live Earth Day Concert in Hamburg.  We had come full circle.

I discovered he had released an album a year earlier and was slowly reintroducing himself back to audiences.  In 2014, I had the honor of watching his induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame where he performed today’s song, “Father & Son” and “Peace Train”.  Later that year, I traveled to Pennsylvania to see him in concert for that year’s release, “Tell ‘Em I’m Gone” featuring the gorgeous “Dying To Live”.  And over the last month he has been posting messages of hope on his Facebook page to help those struggling with the self quarantine and the pandemic.  I know what music was like without this man, and I am incredibly grateful he came back, and for all the great songs he has given us, including today’s, from the Tillerman album.

You know I’ve seen a lot of what the world can do
And it’s breaking my heart in two.”

SONY DSC
Cat Stevens (n/k/a Yusuf ) at the 2014 Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame Induction Ceremony.

Cat 1

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Cat Stevens (n/k/a) Yusuf:  “Wild World” (1970, written by Cat Stevens).

I do not own the rights to anything except the 2014 HOF picture.  Everything else is just me sharing what I love and how I am coping with you.

Stay well.

Let’s Take A Moment Day 16

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?

music heart

(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 2018, today’s song was one of six to to be be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame’s newest category honoring outstanding singles.  It was released 51 years earlier and worldwide it sold over 10 million copies.  There is not much more to add to that because it is truly one of the greatest songs ever recorded, with some of the best sing-a-long lyrics ever put down on paper:    

And so it was that later
as the miller told his tale
that her face, at first just ghostly,
turned a whiter shade of pale.”

Procul Harum

Procul Harum circa 1967 (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Procol Harum:  “A Whiter Shade Of Pale” (1967, written by Gary Brooker, Keith Reid and Matthew Fisher).

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

Stay well.