Let’s Take A Moment Day 187

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 is the 80th birthday for a man who has one of the most recognizable bass baritone voices in music, Bill Medley. Born William Thomas Medley in California on September 19, 1940, he started singing in the choir of his Presbyterian church. He was influenced by his parent’s love of swing music as well as artists like Little Richard, Bobby Bland, B.B. King and Ray Charles. Medley met tenor Bobby Hatfield in the early 1960’s when they were in a group called The Paramours. Medley wrote a song that he decided to record just with Hatfield, 1962’s “Little Latin Lupe Lu” for a girl Medley briefly dated. The two men chose the name of their duo after a group of black Marines referred to the duo’s singing voices as “righteous”.

The two men soon began to garner local exposure on the west coast. By the summer of 1964 they opened for The Beatles on their first U.S. tour, made an appearance on the TV show, “Shindig” and then opened for The Rolling Stones American tour in the fall. But it was the duo’s encounter with famed produced Phil Spector at a concert that same year that would change both their careers and their lives. He made a deal with the duo’s label, Moonglow Records, to let him release music under his company, Philles Records. The first song is today’s pick and catapulted the duo to worldwide success. Other hits followed including “(You’re My) Soul And Inspiration” and two others with only Hatfield on vocals, “Unchained Melody” (which remarkably enough was a B-side to “Hung On You”) and “Ebb Tide”.

By 1966 the duo signed with a new label, Verve/MGM, leading Spector to file a lawsuit against the men that was eventually settled. By 1968 the duo broke up but reunited in 1974 and released the top ten hit “Rock & Roll Heaven”. The hits waned after that but the duo’s sound remained part of the mainstream, including Medley’s duet with Jennifer Warnes, “(I’ve Had) The Time Of My Life” from the movie, “Dirty Dancing” and the feature of their song, “Unchained Melody”, in the 1990 film, “Ghost”. Hatfield died in 2003 and Medley recruited singer Bucky Heard to sing the duos songs with him beginning in 2016.

Medley wrote his autobiography, “The Time Of My Life: A Righteous Brother’s Memoir” in 2014.. He said in an interview that today’s song is the most played record in the history of American radio which BMI confirmed in 1999. It is also the best example of Spector’s iconic “Wall Of Sound” production technique. For me, it is simply a gorgeous track with two of the best vocals ever recorded.

Now there’s no welcome look in your eyes when I reach for you
And now you’re starting to criticize little things I do
It makes me just feel like crying
‘Cause baby, something beautiful’s dyin’
“.

Righteous 1

ther ighteous brothers

Bobby Hatfield (L) and Bill Medley (R) as The Righteous Brothers circa 1964 (top) and in 2003 at their induction into The Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame (bottom). ((Images found online.  Original sources unknown.)

The Righteous Brothers: “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin‘” (1964, written by Barry Mann, Phil Spector & Cynthia Weil).

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 178

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.

Today in 1966 The Beatles record, “Revolver” hit #1 on the Billboard 200 album chart. It was the second of their more ground breaking records and the follow up to the first one, 1965’s “Rubber Soul”. “Revolver” was released on August 5 of that year and contains classic tunes like “Eleanor Rigby”, “Got To Get You Into My Life” and “Yellow Submarine”. It also has two of their more beautiful gems, “Here, There & Everywhere” and “For No One”. But over the last decade, today’s pick has become the track I love most of all. It features John Lennon on lead vocal, mesmerizing guitar work by George Harrison and some of the most evocative lyrics associated with sleep I have ever heard. This may be redundant but that does not make it any less true: Nobody but nobody made music like The Fab Four.

Everybody seems to think I’m lazy
I don’t mind, I think they’re crazy
Running everywhere at such a speed
‘Til they find there’s no need (there’s no need)“.

Revolver

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

The Beatles: “I’m Only Sleeping” (1966, written by John Lennon & Paul McCartney).

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 175

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.

Today is the birth anniversary of Charles Hardin Holley, better known to us as Buddy Holly.  Born 84 years ago today in Lubbock, Texas, he grew up during the Depression playing the guitar with the rest of his musical family.  Another artist from the south who found his roots in country, gospel and R&B music, he was part of a bluegrass/country/rockabilly duo in high school with Bob Montgomery simply called “Buddy and Bob” (Montgomery wrote “Misty Blue” recorded by several artists including Dorothy Moore who turned it into a #3 hit in 1976).

The duo opened for Elvis Presley several times in 1955 and eventually Holly changed the direction of his sound to rock & roll.  He was discovered and signed by Decca Records soon after and the rest is musical history.  His style influenced everyone from The Beatles to Bob Dylan to Eric Clapton to The Hollies who, according to founding member Graham Nash, were named as a tribute to Holly,

There is no denying that his effect is far reaching and as influential as they come.  His sound helped define the foundation of rock & roll and his legacy continues to radiate in music today, more than 60 years after his death.  Happy birthday, Buddy Holly.

A-well rave on, it’s a crazy feelin’ and
I know, it’s got me reelin’
I’m so glad, that you’re revealin’
Your love for me“.

Holly
Buddy Holly circa 1956.  (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Buddy Holly:  “Rave On” ( 1958, written by Norman Petty, Bill Tightman and Joseph “Sonny” West).

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 172

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.

As much as I loved Bruce Springsteen, Eric Clapton, Otis Redding & The Beatles while I was a teenager, there were two other people that were equally important in the soundtrack of my life:  Elton John & Bernie Taupin.  In fact, I discovered them when I was even younger because the first album I ever bought in my life was “Elton John’s Greatest Hits”.  The second single I ever purchased was “Daniel” (the first was “Give Me Love (Give Me Peace On Earth)” by George Harrison).  Man, the roots of my love for GREAT music were sowed quite young, if I do say so myself!!!  But I digress.

I loved Elton so much I remember begging my parents to let me go see him in the movie, “Tommy”.  They agreed and he was fabulous, of course.  But I must confess I was much too young to see that film.  The music was great because, after all, it was mostly done by The Who, a great band in their own right.  But the subject matter was just too much for my tween mind to comprehend.  Two scenes in particular truly scared me.  The first was the scene with Sally Simpson, who snuck out of her house to go see Tommy in concert.  I was not a teenager yet but loved music enough to know I could not wait to go to my first concert, so I really identified with her character.  She not only made it there but she got all the way to the stage before being kicked off by Tommy’s evil step-father.  Her fall caused her to cut her face, after which she was left with an ugly disfiguring scar.  What happened next?  She married a singer who dressed up like Frankenstein.  The moral of the story I took from that scene:  When you are a pretty girl you want to marry a guy who looks like Tommy:  dreamy blue eyes, curly blond hair, in a word, gorgeous.  But when you turn into a disfigured soul the best you can hope for is a guy that looks like a monster.  Yes, it was a dark thought to have as a young girl, but it looked like a fairly straight line to me.  I wish I could have said the same about Sally’s horrendous scar.

The other scene that gave me nightmares to this day was the one with the faith healer who led the Marilyn Monroe cult.  That statue of her terrified me, especially the black slits for eyes.  And when her disciples came out wearing masks that looked like it I nearly cried.  I also remember pondering what she had to do with Nazis because (I thought) there were rows of them sitting in the church pews around Tommy and his mother.  They all had gray flannel suits on with what looked like Nazi stars on the lapels.  Even the faith healer held up what appeared to be a Nazi star with Monroe’s picture in the center of it and forced the attendees to look at it.  I wondered over and over to myself in the theatre, what the heck the connection was between Monroe and those despicable people?  I thought, was she German or brainwashed or just mean?  By the time her statue crashed to the floor after Tommy knocked it over I blocked that memory out of my mind and only relived it through the occasional bad dream.  Until quarantine, that is.

When I was looking for Elton’s performance to relive his great scene, YouTube recommended another scene from the movie, “Eyesight To The Blind”.  I could not recall that song from the film so I watched the clip.  Much to my absolute amazement, it was the Monroe scene.  I was thrilled to discover that the people I thought were Nazis sitting in the pews were not in fact from that army, just people wearing the same coats with buttons, not stars, on their lapels.  And while I am still not sure about the type of star the faith healer was holding, since it had a picture of Monroe in it my guess is it was innocuous.

What I also discovered, to my shock and horror, was that the cult was actually led by a preacher, not the faith healer.  And who was the preacher, you ask?  None other than my great musical love, Eric Clapton, who performed the song in the scene.  I had no recollection whatsoever that he was in that film.  If that is not a testament to how traumatized I was then a better one does not exist.  I did not discover Clapton until junior high when I read a book on The Beatles and he was referenced for his guitar work on “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” and on George Harrison’s first solo record.  To think I could have had an additional year or so with that beautiful man in my life just reopens the traumatic wounds left by that movie all over again.

But at least I got to see Elton in all his glory, from his size 1000 Dr. Martens to his diamond studded glasses to his hat with a pinball in place of a pouf.  And those fabulous looks of disdain on his face when he could not keep up with Tommy’s pinball prowess.  How do you think he does it?  I don’t know.

He’s a pinball wizard
There has to be a twist
A pinball wizard’s
Got such a supple wrist

EJ 1
Elton John as The Pinball Wizard in “Tommy”.  (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Elton John:  “Pinball Wizard” (1975, written by Pete Townsend).

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 154

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.

Today in 1974 Eric Clapton’s “461 Ocean Boulevard” became the #1 album in the country and stayed there for four consecutive weeks (August 17-September 13).  By September 14 the record’s single, which is today’s feature, became the #1 song in the country for one week.  Surprisingly, this cover of Bob Marley’s original song is Clapton’s only #1 single and it does not contain one of his signature guitar solos.  But I love it & him regardless.  Let’s face it-he could stand on a stage clearing his throat while tuning his guitar and I’d swoon.  But luckily he does so much more than that.

Clapton’s musical odyssey includes playing with The Rolling Stones (with them as a group and with Keith Richards and Ron Wood individually), Chuck Berry, Carl Perkins, Jimi Hendrix, B.B. King, Bob Dylan, Buddy Guy, David Sanborn, The Band, Duane Allman (most notably on the “Layla” song and album), Freddie King, Delaney & Bonnie and Friends, Wynton Marsalis, Stephen Stills, Howlin’ Wolf, Dave Mason, Solomon Burke, Leon Russell, The Who (Clapton was The Preacher in the film, “Tommy”), Jeff Beck, Billy Preston, brothers Jimmy Vaughan & Stevie Ray Vaughan, Rod Stewart, Elton John, Phil Collins, Tina Turner, Roger Waters, J.J. Cale, Robert Cray, Derek Trucks, Mark Knopfler, Luther Allison, Otis Rush, Doyle Bramhall, Daryl Hall and The Beatles, both as a group and with each member on solo projects.  Clapton was also a member of The Yardbirds, John Mayall & The Bluesbreakers, Cream, Blind Faith and Derek & The Dominos.  That is one staggering resume.  But even without that history behind him, I think he is one of the preeminent musicians of our time, especially live.  And one of my great musical loves.

EC 1

  Eric Clapton circa 1990.  (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Eric Clapton:  “I Shot The Sheriff”  (1974, written by Bob Marley).

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 152

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.

It happened fifty-five years ago today on August 15, 1965.  The Beatles performed a concert at Shea Stadium in Queens, NY.  It was a Sunday night just like their appearance on “The Ed Sullivan Show” over a year earlier.  The Fab Four accomplished so many great things as a band, and becoming the first ones to ever play a stadium venue was just one more unbelievable achievement to add to their resume.  If you asked any of the 56,000 fans in attendance, the staff or security guards who worked this show I doubt any of them could name the songs the group played since the screams by hysterical heart sick girls were so loud they drowned out the music.  Luckily the show was well documented and a film about the show by BBC Television came out the following year.  August 11 also marked the anniversary releases of two of the group’s movies, “A Hard Day’s Night” in 1964 and “Help” in 1965.  The band performed both movie title songs at Shea along with 10 other songs.  Today’s pick is one of my top choices from the show.

Baby says she’s mine, you know
She tells me all the time, you know
She said so
I’m in love with her and I feel fine“.

Beatles Shea
The Beatles on stage at Shea Stadium August 15, 1965.  (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

The Beatles:  “I Feel Fine” (1964, written by John Lennon & Paul McCartney).

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 147

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.

Today Veronica “Ronnie” Spector turns 77 years young.  But to anyone who remembers her vocals with her group, The Ronettes, or on Eddie Money’s 1986 song “Take Me Home Tonight”, she will always be the epitome of a girl group singer.  As far as that genre goes, it is hard to get much better than The Ronettes.  Their sound, their harmonies, their looks including those beehives hairdos were just the definition of cool (now you know who Amy Winehouse patterned her look after).  I think if you were a girl coming of age in the 1960’s and you liked music, that group was where it was at.  Hits like “Baby, I Love You”, “Walking In The Rain”, “I Can Hear music” and today’s song showcase only a percentage of their incredible vocal abilities.

Think about this:  The Rolling Stones were The Ronettes opening act on their 1964 U.K. tour and the women were the only girl group who toured with The Beatles in 1966.  How incredible is that?!?  Ironically enough it was the success of those bands and the rest of the British Invasion that led to the decline of The Ronettes’ popularity.  They only recorded one album together, 1964’s “Presenting the Fabulous Ronettes Featuring Veronicabefore they broke up in 1967, relying on only hit singles for much of their success.  But they had a great run and girls like me still believe in their songs and in the power of big hair.

So won’t you say you love me
I’ll make you so proud of me
We’ll make ’em turn their heads
Every place we go“.

The Ronettes
The Ronettes circa 1967 (l–r):  Nedra Talley and her cousins, sisters Ronnie Spector f/k/a Veronica Bennett and Estelle Bennett (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

The Ronettes:  “Be My Baby” (1963, written by Jeff Barry, Elle Greenwich and Phil Spector).

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 146

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.

The first song that introduced me to The Electric Light Orchestra (ELO) was 1977’s “Telephone Line”.  When I bought the single, I was completely over the moon by the fact that instead of it being the typical black color, it was a lovely shade of green.  It was like having my very own piece of the Emerald City.  So cool.  After that I learned everything I could about the band that incorporated string arrangements and classical music into their songs.  That led me to their 1974 album, “Eldorado” which has a picture of Dorothy’s ruby red slippers with sparks shooting out at the bad witch’s hands.  Even cooler.  It also has today’s song on it which I adore.

I also adore Jeff Lynne, one of ELO’s founding members who was not only heavily influenced by the Fab Four, he is also responsible for giving the world a virtual Beatles reunion in 1994.  It was Lynne who took previously recorded vocals by John Lennon and overdubbed them with the three surviving members voices to give us “Free As A Bird” and “Real Love”.  For that alone we should all bow at Lynne’s feet.  He also co-founded  The Traveling Wilburys super group with George Harrison.  Let’s also remember that ELO’s music is so good it was one of the only bright spots of the movie, “Xanadu” (along with Gene Kelly’s dance moves, of course).  Lynne may be a multi-talented artist, but given my reverence for words, to me he will always be a man who has written some truly beautiful lyrics.

Bank job in the city
Robin Hood and William Tell
And Ivanhoe and Lancelot
They don’t envy me
Sitting ’til the sun goes down
In dreams the world keeps going ’round and ’round“.

The oh so cool green  “Telephone Line” single & ELO circa 1977 (R)  Jeff Lynne is fourth man from left.  (Images found online.  Original sources unknown.)

Electric Light Orchestra:  “Can”t Get It Out Of My Head” (1974, written by Jeff Lynne).

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 138

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.

I WANT MY MTV!!!

It was 39 years ago today that this channel premiered and music was never the same again.  A station dedicated to letting the world see the music (and the people behind it) as well as hear it was revolutionary.  The rotation began with maybe 10 videos but that did not prevent me from watching it non-stop for hours at a time.  Music videos changed the game for fans and the industry alike.  But unlike streaming that has caused artists to lose control of their own copyrighted material in addition to their earnings, MTV was a money mother lode for anyone willing to climb on board the novel concept.

At first it was newer artists that appeared frequently on the channel, but eventually everyone jumped on the bandwagon.  Some ran with the concept-Hall & Oates, Huey Lewis & The News, Billy Squier, Michael Jackson-to name a few.  Soon even my heroes were embracing the genre.  Remember a pre-“Friends” Courtney Cox’s fancy footwork with Bruce Springsteen in the “Dancing In The Dark” video?  Or watching Eric Clapton’s beautiful hands play fiery solos on his Strat while singing “Pretending” in the pouring rain?  Or an elegantly dressed Marvin Gaye extolling the benefits of “Sexual Healing”?  Videos from other 1970’s artists followed including Elton John, Rod Stewart, Steve Winwood and a host of others who welcomed and embraced the new MTV audience.

Vintage clips of great musical moments were featured like the Beatles first appearance on “The Ed Sullivan Show”, performances from the 1967 Monterrey Pop Festival and the 1969 Woodstock concerts as well as the live broadcast of 1985’s “Live Aid” show from both America & the U.K.  Suddenly our living rooms were front row seats to the best music had to offer.  And thanks to directors from the TV & movie industries getting in on the trend (“Dressed To Kill” director Brian De Palma was the man behind Springsteen’s first clip), by the end of the decade and into the 1990’s videos became an art form.  The “Unplugged” series introduced us to the more intimate side of live performances.  Other music stations including VH1, BET and FUSE followed, but none compared to the original and its level of cool.

If there is one song that defined the early years of the MTV phenomenon, it is today’s.  While the references to homosexuals are outdated & considered offensive in this era of acceptance, and the once ground breaking channel is merely a reality show based venue in these days of YouTube and Instagram stories, this song still has the power to instantly transport those of us who were there at the beginning to the excitement of the new medium.  And to the poor choice some people made to wear sweatbands in their videos.

Now that ain’t workin’ that’s the way you do it
You play the guitar on the MTV
That ain’t workin’ that’s the way you do it
Money for nothing and your chicks for free“.

The MTV moon man logo circa 1981 (R) and John Illsley (bass guitarist)  and Mark Knopfler (lead guitarist) of Dire Straits circa 1985.  (Images found online.  Original sources unknown.)

Dire Straits:  “Money For Nothing” (1985, written by Mark Knopfler and Sting a/k/a Gordon Sumner).

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 137

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?

Thoreau 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.

Only two famous musicians are known to have played with both The Beatles as a group and then with all four members individually.  The first is my great love Eric Clapton, who played lead guitar on “While My Guitar Gently Weeps”, although he went uncredited on The White Album.  He then went on to play with Lennon in The Dirty Mac (along with Keith Richards on bass and Mitch Mitchell, the drummer from The Jimi Hendrix Experience) and on several songs by Lennon’s Plastic Ono Band.  Clapton played with Paul on his 2001 song, “Freedom” & at The Concert For George.  Clapton co-wrote “Badge” for Cream with George, played on his 1970 album, “All Things Must Pass” and appeared at The Concert For Bangladesh in 1971 with him as well.  Ringo was also at The Concert For Bangladesh and Clapton wrote music & played guitar for Ringo’s 1976 album, “Ringo’s Rotogravure” and 1983’s “Old Wave” amongst others.  Clapton also played with Ringo in person at The Prince’s Trust Concert in 1987 as well as The Concert For George in 2002.

The other musician to boast the same accomplishment with The Beatles was Billy Preston.  He was nicknamed “The Fifth Beatle” after playing organ for them on “Abbey Road” (on “I Want You (She’s So Heavy”) & “Something”), then he played electric piano on the “Let It Be” album and in the movie during the rooftop concert scene for “Get Back” & “Don’t Let Me Down”.  After the band broke up Preston played on John’s song “God”, on George’s album “All Things Must Pass” and at The Concert For Bangladesh.  Preston also played on a few of Ringo’s solo albums (1973’s self titled record & 2005’s “Choose Love”), in his All-Starr Band & at The Concert For George (where he sang a rousing version of “My Sweet Lord”) and played with Paul at this show as well.  And for added interest, Preston played Sgt. Pepper in the 1978 film of the same name where he sang his own version of “Get Back”.

He was hailed as a self-taught child prodigy who played with Mahalia Jackson & Nat King Cole by the ages of 10 and 11, respectively.  By the age of 16 he met The Beatles in Hamburg, Germany when he was playing with Little Richard’s band.  Later that year he played for Sam Cooke and five years later, he joined Ray Charles’ band.  He has played on several albums for The Rolling Stones and Eric Clapton while working on songs by artists like Luther Vandross, Patti LaBelle & The Band.  Preston also worked as the musical director for David Brenner’s short lived late night show, Nightlife, from 1986-1987.  He co-wrote today’s song with songwriter Bruce Fisher and both men also penned the Joe Cocker hit, “You Are So Beautiful” (there are rumors that Dennis Wilson of The Beach Boys had a hand in writing it as well but allegedly his brother Brian Wilson said that was not the case).  Preston died too young at the age of 59 in 2006 but left a legacy of great performances that showcase just how gifted he was.

Billy Preston in 2002 at The Concert For George (L) and as Sgy. Pepper (R) in the 1978 movie of the same name.  (Images found online.  Original sources unknown.)

Billy Preston:  “Nothing From Nothing” (1974, written by Billy Preston and Bruce 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.