Let’s Take A Moment Day 300

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?

Shakespeare music

(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.

Day 300. I never imagined when I started down this road it would last this long. But then again I never lived through a global pandemic before so I did not exactly have a point of reference. Or a clue as to how much life would really change as a result of it. But this has been anything but a chore so I will keep going.

When famed Beatles record producer Sir George Martin died in 2016, Paul McCartney is reported to have said, “If anyone earned the title of the fifth Beatle it was George.” And if anyone had the right to bestow that title on someone, it was one of The Fab Four. Martin was born on January 3, 1926 in London, England. He was the man who signed The Beatles to EMI Records in 1962 and helped mold the band’s sound in the recording studio with his skills as an arranger & producer. He wore a few other hats throughout his career including musician, composer, engineer & conductor.

Martin’s influence was clear from the group’s first US album, Introducing… The Beatles, released 57 years ago today, January 10, 1964. A month later, they arrived in America for their first appearance on “The Ed Sullivan Show”. If there ever was a moment that changed the course of music history in America, it was that Beatles’ Sunday night performance on February 9, 1964. Less than a year later-January 9, 1965-The Fab Four’s popularity showed no signs of slowing down when their album Beatles 65 soared from #98 to #1 in only one week.

The rest of The Beatles story is very well documented from their 1965 concert at Shea Stadium, their final concert a year later in Candlestick Park in San Francisco, their two movie features (“A Hard Day’s Night” & “Help”) to their groundbreaking albums including Rubber Soul, Revolver, Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band, Magical Mystery Tour, The White Album & Abbey Road. Every album by the band with the exception of “Let It Be” was produced by Martin. The last one started with him in charge but then the project was put on hold for the band to record “Abbey Road“. They then returned to the Let It Be tapes to finish it but between all the fights amongst the band members including John Lennon’s departure at the beginning of 1970, the tapes were shelved. Eventually they were placed in the hands of Phil Spector who put his Wall Of Sound spin on them to give us the finished product in May 1970.

Martin continued his esteemed career in music after his seminal work with The Beatles. His more notable projects include his work on two James Bond soundtracks (“Goldfinger” in 1964 & “Live And Let Die” in 1973), producing several albums for the band America, collaborating with Pete Townsend on the musical arrangements for The Who’s 1993 Broadway production of “Tommy” & producing Elton John’s 1997 Princess Diana tribute recording of “Candle In The Wind”. Martin worked with his son, Giles Martin-also a composer, producer & multi-instrumentalist-on the arrangement of the music for the 2006 Cirque du Soleil show, “Love” based on The Fab Four’s music. The Beatles would not have been The Beatles without George Martin.

And anytime you feel the pain
Hey Jude, refrain
Don’t carry the world
Upon your shoulders
“.

Martin and The Beatles

The Beatles in the Studio with producer George Martin circa 1967 (John Lennon, Ringo Starr, George Martin (center) George Harrison and Paul McCartney. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

The Beatles: “Hey Jude” (Live performance from “Frost On Sunday” broadcast in the UK on September 8, 1968. Rebroadcast in the US on “The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour” on October 6, 1968. 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 260

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?

kurt v

(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 a celebration for two men from one of my favorite bands ever created, The Doors. December 1 marks drummer John Densmore’s 76th birthday and December 8 is the 77th birth anniversary of lead singer Jim Morrison. I grew up listening to their music, read everything I could about them, worshiped Morrison’s deep eloquent poetry, swooned over every picture I saw of him and continue to mourn his loss to this day. But it is what he created with the other three members of The Doors that I adore the most. Their sound was completely unique & unforgettable. Led by Morrison’s lyrics & incredible baritone voice, Ray Manzarek’s prowess on keyboards and his ability to supply the group with a bass line from that instrument, Robby Krieger’s subtle yet skilled sorely underrated guitar arrangements & contributions to songwriting combined with Densmore’s strong solid & concise beat made them the unstoppable force they were & the legendary band they became.

The group made a legal agreement in the 1960’s that required a unanimous decision on anything regarding their music & likeness. It created tension and court proceedings over the years as Densmore & The Estate of Jim Morrison sued Manzarek & Krieger to prevent The Doors name, logo & music from being used commercially. As a fan it has been hard to watch them in this type of venue but on another level I am happy I will not be hearing their music in any ads. According to Densmore’s 2013 book, “The Doors Unhinged”, the impetus for one lawsuit was Cadillac’s offer of 15 million dollars in 2003 for the use of “Break On Through (To The Other Side)”. A similar offer by Buick in the late 1960’s to use “Light My Fire” was vetoed by Morrison who was vehemently opposed to licensing the band’s music. The other suit prevented Manzarek & Krieger from using the group’s name & logo to tour as “Doors of the 21st Century”. The original agreement was upheld in both instances. Densmore has stated he made peace with his bandmates prior to Manzarek’s death in 2013.

The Doors made a few appearances on various TV shows in the late 1960’s but the only one that most people are aware of is their September 1967 turn on “The Ed Sullivan Show” because of the controversy they created (see Day 145). But later that year they sang “Moonlight Drive” & “Light My Fire” on “The Jonathan Winters Show” and in December 1968, the band performed “Wild Child” and today’s song on “The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour”.

This video is one of my top five finds ever on YouTube. It may be from 52 years ago, but the quality is remarkably great. Between the way it was preserved and whatever assistance it received from current digital technology, the result is a concisely clear picture with great color & lighting. The sound is superb so you can clearly hear the band, the string players & the horn section at their best. And Morrison’s voice is clear, strong, confident, deep and absolutely beautiful. But it is the rare opportunity to see him perform that makes me unbelievably happy and ready to swoon for infinity plus eternity. He manages a hint of a smile about a minute in to the song, he is playing a maraca (yes, the word is singular since he is only using one), he is in his trademark leather pants and he does a breathtaking hair flip at the end. Every band in music history had a front man, but there was only one James Douglas “Mr. Mojo Risin” Morrison.

Can’t you see that I am not afraid?
What was that promise that you made?
Why won’t you tell me what she said?
What was that promise that you made?

Doors

The Doors circa 1970 (L-R): Jim Morrison, Ray Manzarek, John Densmore and Robby Krieger. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

The Doors: “Touch Me” (Live performance from “The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour”, broadcast in December 1968 when the song was originally released. Written by Robby Krieger).

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

Stay well.