Let’s Take A Moment Day 102

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.

If you ask most people who the greatest band of all time is. many will tell you The Beatles.  However, the question as to who comes in second would spark a debate by fans and music scholars alike since there are so many to consider.  But not for me.  Only one answer is clear.  It is The Funk Brothers.

They were a group of blues and jazz musicians who became the house band at the Motown label for 14 years, from 1959 until 1972.  Look at those dates again carefully because what they reveal is every song recorded for the label in the 1960’s had The Funk Brothers on it.  That is every song by Marvin Gaye, The Temptations, The Four Tops, The Marvelettes, The Supremes, Smokey Robinson & The Miracles, Martha & The Vandellas, Stevie Wonder, Mary Wells, Gladys Knight & The Pips, Junior Walker & The All Stars and every other act on the label during that time.  That is an absolutely staggering accomplishment.

The Funk Brothers story was told in the 2002 documentary, “Standing In The Shadows Of Motown”.  During the opening credits it is revealed they played on more number one hit records than Elvis, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and The Beach Boys combined.   Even the word genius does not seem to adequately describe that achievement.  And the only reason why their streak ended is because Berry Gordy moved the label’s base of operation from Detroit to Los Angeles without including the band in the relocation.  And prior to that they were never given the proper recognition they deserved during Motown’s heyday.

The film identified 13 men as Funk Brothers.  Remember the Apostles were 13 when they were with Jesus.  Coincidence or the second coming?  You decide.  Outside of the Motown label they played on The Contours “Do You Love Me”, Jackie Wilson’s “Higher and Higher” and on the song “Boom Boom” by one of the greatest blues singers to ever pick up a guitar, John Lee Hooker.

Of course, the songwriters and performers were needed to deliver the sound created by The Funk Brothers, but without their incredibly talented and intense consistent playing the songs would have never soared like they did.  For example, today’s song was written by the same two men who wrote Gaye’s smash “I Heard It Through The Grapevine” and I find it nothing short of hypnotic.  There is a lead guitar riff played quickly and sporadically throughout the song that just reaches inside me and leaves me gasping for air despite it being all around me.  It is just that intense.

A couple of my musical heroes list Motown/Funk Brothers songs as ones they cannot live without.  For Eric Clapton it is “I Was Made To Love Her” by Stevie Wonder.  For Bruce Springsteen it is two (because he is just that cool):  “What’s Going On” by Marvin Gaye & “Baby I Need Your Lovin'” by The Four Tops.  Covers of Motor City songs were made by The Beatles (“You Really Got A Hold On Me”) Rod Stewart (“I Know I’m Losing You”), The Rolling Stones (“Going To A Go-Go”) and countless others.  Motown’s influence, lead by the music of The Funk Brothers, is so far reaching it would be nearly impossible to comprehend.  But without it, the landscape of music would be devoid of soul.  I may bow at other altars of music, but I am brought to my knees in the church of the Brothers Funk.  Can I get an amen?

Stevie Wonder in the Motown studio with some of The Funk Brothers circa 1967 and the movie poster for 2002’s “Standing In The Shadows Of Motown” (Images found online.  Original sources unknown.)

Marvin Gaye featuring the music of The Funk Brothers:  “That’s The Way Love Is” ( 1969, written by Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong).

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 92

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.

When Bruce Springsteen released his live album, “1975-1985”, the last song on the three CD set was “Jersey Girl”.  I would have sworn on everything I had that he wrote it.  But when I checked the credits, there appeared a different name:  Tom Waits.  I was shocked it was not a Springsteen original and curious to learn as much as I could about the songwriter.  Like The Boss, Waits was inspired by Bob Dylan.  Waits first album (“Closing Time”) came out in 1973 to critical acclaim and garnered him an underground following.  He collaborated with his then girlfriend Bette Midler on the 1977 song, “I Never Talk To Strangers”.  By 1980 he moved from a jazz sound to one featuring blues, rock and experimental/alternative sounds.  His 1985 release, “Rain Dogs” includes the song “Downtown Train” which was a hit for Rod Stewart in 1989.

Jay Pritchett (Ed O’Neill’s character on “Modern Family”) described Waits’ rough gravelly voice as ugly and beautiful at the same time.  To me it is just beautiful, like a rusty patina on an old metal sign.  It adds such a strong tone to today’s song which is another one of those hauntingly beautiful numbers thanks to that voice, an absolutely resplendent string arrangement and his talent for storytelling using colorful, expressive & detailed lyrics.  I am grateful to Springsteen for so many things, and introducing me to this poet of a man is one of them.

And it’s a battered old suitcase to a hotel someplace
And a wound that will never heal
No prima donna, the perfume is on
An old shirt that is stained with blood and whiskey
And goodnight to the street sweepers
The night watchman flame keepers and goodnight, Mathilda too.”

Tom Waits

Tom Waits circa 1985.  (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Tom Waits:  “Tom Traubert’s Blues” (1976, written by Tom Waits).

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 75

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.

I have adored Rod Stewart since the first time I heard “Maggie May”.  I even love his earlier stuff when he was with Jeff Beck and then The Faces.  Stewart was another artist who reinvented himself once music videos were introduced.  It would be extremely hard for me to narrow down only one song of his as my favorite.  I chose today’s song not only because it is a great one but because I also love the video.  I think it is just gorgeous.  From the imagery to the sepia tone color to the couple “moving across the water” as they reach out for each other, it is just sublime.  And so is Stewart’s vocal.  It was written by Robbie Robertson of The Band who released his own version in 1987, but I think Stewart’s arrangement highlights the beauty of the lyrics better:

Can you see what I see
Can you cut behind the mystery
I will meet you by the witness tree
Leave the whole world behind.”

Rod

     Rod Stewart in his video for “Broken Arrow” in 1991.  (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Rod Stewart:  “Broken Arrow” (1991, written by Robbie Robertson).

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 15

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.

Today’s song has been covered by a variety of artists such as Johnny Cash, Bonnie Raitt, Paul Young & Rod Stewart.  But my absolute favorite one is by the woman who defined the cool rock chick persona in the 1970’s with her unmistakable powerful gorgeous passionate voice.  But her talent and love of singing was too big to be confined to one genre.  In her 45 year career she has sold over 100 million records which included country, mexican, big band, broadway and pop songs.  She has also collaborated with many artists, most notably with Dolly Parton and Emmylou Harris on the country “Trio” albums and Aaron Neville on hits like “Don’t Know Much”, “All My Life” and “When Something Is Wrong With My Baby”.  Her contribution to music is immeasurable and despite her retirement from performing in 2011 she remains one of the greatest female singers of all time.

Linda

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Linda Ronstadt:  “Love Has No Pride” (1973, written by Eric Kaz & Libby Titus).

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

Stay well.

Happy New Decade!!!

Hello, Friends.  Happy New Year’s Eve.  It is hard to believe we are on the verge of a brand new year and decade!!!  Doesn’t all that Y2K stuff seem so recent and not at all like it was 20 years ago???

Happy new year wishes0.jpg

I want to thank you all for your support again this year.  I truly appreciate your love, kindness, comments and input.  This ride would not be half as much fun without all of you and that interaction.

What do you want for the new year?  The new decade?  It is so hard to think in terms of a whole year, let alone 10 of them, at least it is for me.  I want what I always want-health, happiness, love and peace for me and the ones I love & a Springsteen tour.  I also want to worry less about what will be.  To just take the moments as they come instead of getting lost in my spiraling thoughts about what might happen and what I should do to prevent what might occur, as if I have that type of control over time and space.

Rather, I want to have more faith that I am where I am supposed to be like it or not.  And that my life is what it is whether I am happy about that or not.  And maybe, just maybe, if I spend more time doing what I enjoy and love that the rest will fall into place.  And if it doesn’t, I was still able to enjoy the time in between.  I completely get the whole free will thing and how my actions have the power to change things.  But the pragmatic side of me knows that life happens so you can only do what you can do and leave the rest in the hands of fate.  As the Doors said, “The future’s uncertain and the end is always near”.  And many times the end may just be the end of the chapter, but not the book.  One may hope, right?

I wish you all the best in 2020 and beyond.  May you all have health, happiness, love, luck and  great music always.  On that note (no pun intended), here are two songs perfect for today by two incredible artists that I absolutely adore.

The McGarrigle Christmas Hour Album & Rufus Wainwright (original dates & sources unknown).

Rufus Wainwright:  “What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve?”  (2005, written by Frank Loesser in 1947).

Rod

 

Rod Stewart:  “Auld Lang Syne” (2012, written by Robert Burns in 1788).

I do not own the rights to anything.  I am just sharing some things that I love with you  🙂

Until next time & next year, happy listening!!!

 

 

 

Auld Lang Syne

Hello, Everyone!!!  Happy New Year’s Eve!!!

goodbye-2018-welcome-2019-images.jpg

(Original source unknown).  

I wanted to end the year by thanking all of you for your support.  I love having this outlet to share my favorite things with you, and whether 2018 was a good year or bad one, it should still end on-you guessed it-a musical note.  C’mon, you had to see that coming!!!  But I know, ugh.  🙂

I am sharing two songs today.  My first pick was written in 1947 by Tony Award winner Frank Loesser, the songwriter who gave us the music to such Broadway plays as “How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying” (for which he won the 1962 Pulitzer Prize for Drama) and “Guys & Dolls”.  He also won an Academy Award for the song, “Baby, It’s Cold Outside”.  I wonder how all the people who ridiculed that fabulous song this year feel about that???  But I digress.

The premier version of this song is by the same woman I featured on Day 4 of this year’s Christmas Music Countdown.  She recorded hers in 1960 and it just oozes romance, hope and fun.  I also included the version released over 50 years later which features her original recording with this rocker turned crooner’s voice & a soft trumpet solo which gives it an interesting and sweet twist.

Side note:  I am not sure how I feel about these virtual duets anymore.  I know we all swooned when Natalie Cole was able to “sing” with her father on “Unforgettable”, and Lisa Marie with Elvis on “In The Ghetto” and Nona with Marvin Gaye on the National Anthem, but did Kenny G really need to add his horn to Satchmo’s on “What A Wonderful World”?  Or did Scarlett Johansson really need to add her voice to Dean Martin’s on “I’ll Be Home For Christmas”?  I think not.  Perhaps they should just be done by family members???  Maybe.  But again, I digress.

ella_800.jpg__800x587_q85_crop_subsampling-2_upscale

Ella Fitzgerald (original source unknown).  

rod

(Original source unknown).  

Ella Fitzgerald:  “What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve?” (1960).

Rod Stewart featuring Ella Fitzgerald & trumpeter Chris Botti:  “What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve?” (2012).

I also really like Harry Connick, Jr.’s 1993 version, too, so now you have all my favorites.

harry.jpg

(Original source unknown).  

The second song pick is from a man we lost much too soon, 11 years ago this month.  A consummate singer/songwriter, some of his well known songs include “Longer”, “Missing You”, “Leader of the Band” and “Believe In Me” to name a few.  But today’s song we hear every year on a loop during December on many of the 24/7 Christmas music stations as a nod to the holiday we celebrate a week later.  I admit I prefer his rocker side to the ballads he became more famous for (who can forget “Part of the Plan” from “Souvenirs” and “The Power of Gold” from “Twin Sons of Different Mothers” with Tim Weisberg???), but I will not pass up the chance to hear this man’s beautiful voice any time I can.

Same_Old_Lang_Syne_-_Dan_Fogelberg    (Original source unknown).  

Dan Fogelberg:  “Same Old Lang Syne” (1980).

I do not own the rights to anything.  I am just sharing some things that I love with you  🙂

Have a happy, safe, healthy & WONDERFUL 2019, Everyone!!!

Until next time, happy listening!!!

Valentine’s Day Music Countdown: Songs @ #7 & My Grammy Boycott

There are two songs tied for the #7 spot on the countdown, so we will look at them individually.  The first one comes from a man who is considered by some as not only the inventor of soul music, but the genre’s most distinctive voice as well:  Sam Cooke with “You Send Me“.

This song, penned by Cooke but credited to his brother LC Cook to keep record executives from taking the profits, hit #1 in December 1957,  ending Elvis Presley’s 7 week run in the top spot with “Jailhouse Rock”.

Crooning is what Cooke does throughout this song, using his smooth sophisticated voice’s range to lure the listener into his story of how his feelings came to be (and he even uses the M word):

“At first I thought it was infatuation
But oh, it’s lasted so long
Now I find myself wanting
To marry you and take you home

Cooke’s roots began in gospel music, but with the success of this song he became fully emerged in secular music. Then he used what he learned to help some other singers crossover from the gospel genre as well, including Lou Rawls who returned the favor by singing on Cooke’s song “Bring It On Home To Me“.

Singing, songwriting and producing records were not the only parts of the business Cooke was interested in. He was one of the first performers to take both artistic & financial control of his career and eventually started his own publishing company and record label.  He also has the distinction of writing a song that went on to become an anthem for the Civil Rights movement, “A Change Is Gonna Come“.  It has been covered by both black and white artists from Otis Redding, Al Green, Aretha Franklin and Bob Dylan, who inspired Cooke with his song  “Blowin’ In The Wind“.

1964 started on a somber note with the country still mourning the assassination of President Kennedy.  Unfortunately, the year also ended the same way as the country mourned Cooke’s tragic death on Dec 11 at the age of 33 after being shot at a Los Angeles motel.  His murder was eventually ruled a justifiable homicide.  The events of that night have been revisited several times over the last five decades to bring his friends and family a better understanding as to what actually transpired the night Cooke was shot.  Whatever it was does not change the outcome because there was nothing justifiable about the loss of this soul music renegade.  It was a heartbreaking ending to a stellar career.

Sam Cooke was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame at its first ceremony in 1986 and Rolling Stone Magazine ranked him 4th on its list of the “100 Greatest Singers”.  His music has been featured in several movies over the years, but is most recognizable from “Animal House” (who can forget John Belushi’s character Bluto eating his way down the cafeteria line to “(What A) Wonderful World“) and “Innerspace” (Martin Short & Dennis Quaid dancing to “Twistin’ The Night Away“).

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The other song sharing the #7 spot on the countdown is by a man referred to as one of the greatest singers of all time, and I cannot express it any better than that.  The singer is Van “The Man” Morrison with his song “Have I Told You Lately“.

If you cannot tell, I love words, and this song has some of the most beautiful ones ever set to music:

“Fill my heart with gladness
take away my sadness
ease my troubles
that’s what you do”

“You fill my heart with laughter
Somehow, you make it better
Ease my troubles, that’s what you do”

“There’s a love that’s divine
and it’s yours and it’s mine
and it shines like the sun”

Just stunning.  And the music and delivery are perfect, too, completing the holy trinity hallmarks of a great song.

Even Rod Stewart became choked up with emotion and when he sang his cover of the song on “MTV’s Unplugged” in 1993.

There really is not a genre of music Morrison has not explored with his voice, and that coupled with his immense talent has influenced performers like the Counting Crows, Bob Seger, U2, Bruce Springsteen and The Band.  In fact, that was a bit of a mutual admiration thing as evidenced by Morrison’s part in their swan song movie, “The Last Waltz“.   My favorite performance of his in that movie?  Caravan.

It was one of the members of The Band, guitarist and songwriter Robbie Robertson, who inducted Morrison into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1993.  In his induction speech, Robertson said of Morrison:  “…in the tradition of the great Irish poets and the great soul singers, he is the Caruso of rock and roll”.  Compliments do not get much better than that.  And Rolling Stone Magazine ranked Morrison 24th  on its list of the “100 Greatest Singers”.

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SIDE BAR:  Today is the 2015 Grammy Awards and for the first time in more than three decades I will neither be watching the show nor saving it to my DVR.  The only performances I would want to see from the broadcast are Hozier’s with Annie Lennox and Tony Bennett’s, but I can just look them up on YouTube tomorrow.

But I am happy to see super-talented singer/songwriter/musician Ryan Adams up for best rock song (“Gimme Something Good”) and Best Rock Album (for his self-titled release).  Tom Petty and U2 are also nominated in the latter category but I do not think either of them will be there to accept if they win, if that award is even broadcast.

Same holds true for the Best American Roots Performance, which is usually announced before the telecast.  Gregg Allman & Taj Mahal are nominated for their collaboration on “Statesboro Blues”, from “All My Friends: Celebrating The Songs & Voice Of Gregg Allman”.  Keb’ Mo’ Featuring The California Feetwarmers is nominated in the same category for “The Old Me Better” from the album “BluesAmericana”, which is also up for Best Americana Album.

“Twenty Feet From Stardom” is nominated for Best Music Film, and if you like music, this is a must see.  If you never saw “Standing In The Shadows of Motown” either, add that to your Netflix queue NOW.  The history and performances are way too good to miss.

I do like Sam Smith-this decade’s Rick Ashley-who is up for a slew of awards including Record, Song & Album of the Year, but not enough to sit through the boring list of  performers (and speaking of boring, weren’t we all just forced to sit through a very over-hyped lackluster Katy Perry half-time show?)  Shouldn’t her involvement tonight be limited to presenter only?

Let’s make it a rule-rather, a law-that a bubble gum pop princess who is too busy with her make up commercials to learn how to sing well should only be allowed to play one event per month.  Same rule should apply to anything-but-reality people and hosts (yes, Adam Levine, this includes you and your face stubble.  Don Johnson called and said it’s over, move on already!!!).

I am actually refusing to watch this year (read:  BOYCOTT) because the industry is continuing to change for the worse. Between Miley Cyrus even being nominated (and for her entire album no less-UGH) to that irritating trite Meghan Trainor “Bass” song (isn’t it perfect to become part of a new Big Mouth Billy Bass singing fish in the not so distant future?  How they got the rights to songs such as “All Shook Up”, “Don’t Be Cruel” and “Take Me To The River” in the past is beyond me).

I am a music purist so for me the rules are simple:  If you make bad music PLEASE STOP NOW before someone gets hurt (do you hear me Miley, Meghan, Gwen, Katy, Maroon 5 and the Black Eyed Peas, whether as a group or individually, for starters).  If you make good music please don’t sell out to hear it in a TV commercial.  It demeans us all.  I do not want nor do I expect to hear decent music used in commercials with the exception of car ads.  Those seem to leave the songs virtually intact with some redeeming qualities to them.

A good example from this year:  Bobby Day & the Satellites’ “Beep Beep Beep” used in a Kia Sorento spot.  Some bad examples:  The Who’s “I’m Free” in a local cable commercial ad & the Kinks selling yogurt with “All Day & All Of The Night”. The worst use of a phenomenal song to sell ANYTHING:  The Allman Brothers’ exquisite “Midnight Rider” as part of the Geico campaign (one more reason why that that dippy little gecko needs to disappear!!!).

But to be honest, the biggest reason why I will not watch the Grammy Awards is because I prefer to remember Sir Paul McCartney, a freaking Beatle for God’s sake, the way he was……before he chose to collaborate with the ego-maniacal Kanye West (or did West kidnap McCartney and torture him until he said Uncle?  That would make this easier to swallow, not to mention understandable).

Whatever possessed Sir Paul to even appear at the same award show as West is belittling enough to us Beatles fans, but actually working with that poor sport brat is so over the line it has now been eradicated.  I did not think anything could top the colossal lack of judgement U2 showed several years back when they decided to let no talent No Doubt open for them for a leg of the tour.  I am still wearing black and taking mood stabilizers from that debacle.  But this Sir Paul misstep may require me to go on a 72 hour suicide watch with round the clock doses of ECT treatments.

But it does make me profoundly sad that the longest tradition of my life is coming to an end after 30 years.  Music is so important to me & continues to be that.  It is a part of me, like a dear old friend.  I have looked forward to the Grammy Awards ever since I was a kid.  I loved getting the chance to finally see my favorite singers on TV (as this was the pre-music video & pre-internet age-yes, I know I am old!!!) and the outfits they wore, what collaborations they would participate in and what songs they would perform.

My favorite Grammy moment ever?  Aretha Franklin’s performance of “Nessun Dorma” in 1998.  Unbelievably gorgeous. Some of my favorite collaborations (“London Calling”  with Bruce Springsteen & friends; “The A-Team” by Ed Sheeran & Elton John; “Across The Universe” introduced by the sinfully gorgeous Anthony Lapaglia) and salutes to some of those who died (Solomon Burke, Warren Zevon &  Levon Helm’s tributes).

Here’s to hoping the 2016 Grammy Awards are something worth tuning in for.

Enjoy!!!

Valentine’s Day Music Countdown: Song #10

The next song on my list is dedicated to my mother who was a big fan of the singer in the #10 spot on my countdown.  His dance moves on stage earned him the nickname “Mr. Excitement” by some and “the black Elvis” by others. But make no mistake:  This man had a voice like no one else before or after him.  The singer?  Jackie Wilson.  The song?  “(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher & Higher”.

Reaching #6 on the charts in 1967 & written by Gary Jackson and Carl Smith, rumor has it that Wilson recorded the vocal track for this song in one take.  If that is true, it is an incredible testament to his magnificent voice and talent.  He had an astonishing 47 R&B hit songs from 1958 to 1973.  They ran the gamut from ballads to dance tunes to true soul numbers. He was so popular overseas in 1963 that the Beatles opened for one of Wilson’s shows.

“Higher & Higher” is as close to perfect as a song gets, from its perfectly delivered lyrics, to its great impossible-to-sit-still-to-so-get-up-and-move beat, to the incredibly pristine horn arrangements, to the fantastic bass line, to the polish of the entire production. There are not too many love songs like this one, probably because there are not too many performers like Wilson.

His exuberant stage performances were copied by the likes of James Brown, Michael Jackson and Bruno Mars, to name a few.  But no matter how great his dance moves were, nothing compared with the range, power, intensity and considerable passion of Wilson’s voice.

Sadly, that voice was silenced in 1984 when Wilson was just 49 years old.  He became incapacitated after suffering a heart attack on stage in 1975 and spent his remaining years in a nursing home.  As was unfortunately common practice in the early days of Rock & Roll, Wilson died virtually penniless due to the machinations of his record company and manager.  The end of Wilson’s story is one of the saddest in music history.

He was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1987 by Peter Wolf of the J. Geils Band.

Notable covers of “Higher & Higher” have been done by Dolly Parton, Rita Coolidge, and Rod Stewart.  But my favorite cover is by one of my heroes (and future husband, if God is listening), Bruce Springsteen.  He started playing this song live with more and more frequency in the last decade, usually as one of his encores.  He and the E Street Band gave it everything they had in this clip from one of their shows in 2009.

Enjoy!!!

Valentine’s Day Music Countdown: Song #11

The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame describes the singer at #11 as having a forlorn, crying vocal style.  I describe him as unbelievably great.   My pick at #11 is “When A Man Loves A Woman” by Percy Sledge.

The passion in Sledge’s voice coupled with the power of it and the delivery of the lyrics exudes pure unadulterated soul on every level.  Sledge’s roots are in gospel and that is evident in every note he sings.

This phenomenal song hit #1 in May 1966 for two weeks on the Hot 100 chart and four weeks on the R&B chart.  It also hit #1 on the pop charts again in 1991 when Michael Bolton recorded his own version of the song.

Sadly, the song’s lyrics and music were actually written by Sledge but in what can only be called terribly misguided judgment, he gave the writing credits to two members of his band-Cameron Lewis and Andrew Wright-because they put together the song’s arrangement.  Sledge had several other hits throughout his career, but none of those songs came close to the beauty or the power of this one.

Sledge was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2005 by one of his biggest fans, Rod Stewart.

The clip of the song I have included is a live performance by Sledge.  I found it on YouTube but I do not know what show it is from.  But what I do know is that the man who introduced Sledge is none other than soul legend Otis Redding.  If any of you know what show it is from, please share it in the comments below.

Enjoy!!!