Let’s Take A Moment Day 458

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.

When I saw the “No Nukes” movie I discovered one of Bruce Springsteen’s favorite songs because he did a cover of it for the concert. The original version was a #1 song for two weeks in the summer of 1961 by singer Gary U.S. Bonds. He was born Gary Anderson on June 6, 1939 in Florida and began singing in church as a child. When he was about 20 years old he signed with Legrand Records and worked closely with producer Frank Guida. He co-wrote today’s song with two other people & Bonds provided the vocal arrangement.

He had two other hits in the early 1960’s-“New Orleans” and “School Is Out”-before his career plateaued as a result of the British Invasion. But Springsteen & his best friend/guitarist Steven Van Zandt remained huge fans and got the chance to work with Bonds in 1980. The following year his album Dedication was released & revived his career.

It contained the Top 20 hit, “This Little Girl”, a song Springsteen wrote to be included on The River album, but he decided Bonds would be a better fit for the track. The Boss wrote two other songs for the album, Van Zandt contributed one as well and the rest of The E Street Band performed all the music for the project. And all that happened because Springsteen heard today’s song when he was 11 years old & it stayed with him for the rest of his life. I can totally relate.

I never had it so good
Yeah and I know you never could
Until you get hip with that jive
And take a band like the Church Street Five
“.

Bonds 1960

Dedication

Top: Gary U.S. Bonds circa 1960. Bottom: His 1981 album, Dedication. (Images found online.  Original sources unknown.)

Gary U.S. Bonds: “Quarter To Three” (1961, written by Gary Anderson, Gene Barge, Frank J. Guida and Joseph F. Royster.

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 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.

25 Days Of Christmas Songs: Day 3

Hello, Vixens!!!  Welcome back to the countdown.

tree

(original source unknown)

Several musical genres define the 1960’s:  Rock & Roll, Motown, The Beatles, The British Invasion, the San Francisco sound and the Wall of Sound-a technique which layered music tracks for a song to give the music a deeper sound.  Introduced to the world courtesy of songwriter and producer Phil Spector, the sound would become synonymous with his premier girl groups like the Teddy Bears, the Crystals and the Ronettes whose song “Be My Baby” stands as a definitive example of the unique sound Spector created.

He worked with men too, most notably the Righteous Brothers on “You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling“, the Walker Brothers on “The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine Anymore” and the Beatles (he was responsible for finishing the “Let It Be” album after the group broke up).  He also co-produced four of John Lennon’s solo albums & three of George Harrison’s, as well as several of their singles.  Bruce Springsteen channeled the Wall of Sound sound on his epic “Born To Run” album while his bandmate/best friend Steven Van Zandt regularly features Spector produced records on his “Underground Garage” radio show.

Spector album

(original source unknown)

In 1963 Spector released an album of holiday songs which were given the Wall of Sound treatment.  Entitled “A Christmas Gift for You from Phil Spector” , it featured primarily all women, two of whom are my favorite female singers of all time:  Darlene Love & Ronnie Spector.  So to avoid making a difficult choice, I am including a song from each to share with you today.  Enjoy!!!

Darlene Love:  “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)“.

Darlene Love

Darlene Love circa 1963 (original source unknown)

The Ronettes “Sleigh Ride“.

Ronettes

The Ronettes circa 1963 (original source unknown)

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

What are some of your favorite Christmas songs?

Until next time, fellow Vixens, happy listening!!!

Christmas Song Countdown #13

Hello, Vixens!!!  Welcome back to the countdown!!!

picture-wreath

Courtesy of Widadesign.com 

 

Today’s singer has been performing for decades, and is probably the greatest and most famous back up singer that ever was.  She has worked with the likes of Elvis Presley, Sam Cooke, Bruce Springsteen, Steven Van Zandt and Aretha Franklin, whom she channels in today’s song.

A phenomenal singer in her own right, she will probably always be best remembered for her work with Phil Spector’s groundbreaking “Wall of Sound” recordings in the 1960’s; namely ”He’s a Rebel,” ”(Today I Met) the Boy I’m Gonna Marry,” and today’s featured song which she performed regularly on David Letterman’s show during the Christmas season.

She was one of the main singers spotlighted in the 2014 Best Documentary Oscar winning film, “20 Feet From Stardom”.  She also played Danny Glover’s wife in all four “Lethal Weapon” movies and Judy Burrell on my soap “Another World” in 1993.

lethal-weapon

Danny Glover & Mel Gibson in Lethal Weapon” (Courtesy of IMDb)

 

If all that were not impressive enough, the New York Times paid her one of the greatest compliments ever when they said her voice is ”as embedded in the history of rock and roll as Eric Clapton’s guitar and Bob Dylan’s lyrics”.  Wow.  Who would not want to be remembered like that?

Darlene Love:  Christmas (Baby Please Come Home).

P.S.  An honorable mention to U2 for their version of today’s song.  Who does not want to imagine themselves as the reason for Bono’s pleading?  Or more to the point, who does not want to listen to Bono and the rest of U2, period???

u2-mojo-254-770

U2 by Mattia Zoppellaro for MOJO magazine

 

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

What are some of your favorite Christmas songs?

Until next time, fellow Vixens, happy listening!!!