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?
(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 my rock heroes get older, I have noticed a growing and somewhat disturbing trend for them to tell their stories in a documentary. My guess is if they do it while they are alive they will be able to control the narrative. I get that. Does the movie reveal things you never knew? Yes. For example, in “Eric Clapton: Life In 12 Bars”, I learned that when he and his band, Cream, came to America in 1967 to record it was in the hallowed halls of Atlantic Records. He saw people like Otis Redding and Aretha Franklin coming and going. In fact, he sat in on a rehearsal session with her and her band. I never knew that (and, oh my God, wow!!! Just imagining the three of them in the same building at once…swoon!). I enjoyed discovering that. And the audio and pictures of Clapton with Duane Allman & Jimi Hendrix are gold.
I did not need to see, however, all the clips of him drinking so excessively and taking drugs. His battles with addiction are well documented (his 2007 book, “Clapton: The Autobiography” came out the same year his ex-wife Pattie Boyd released hers). Message received. He was an addict. But he has been sober 33 years which is basically a footnote at the end of the movie. Watching a man I worship, love & admire in such a painful self-destructive place that he snorted cocaine from a switch blade was not only unnecessary, it seemed purely exploitive. The director, a friend of Clapton’s, already included a number of clips of him using the drug without the knife. She made no mention of the movies he’s been in (“Tommy”, “Hail! Hail! Rock ‘n’ Roll”, “Blues Brothers 2000”) & basically skipped over his career in the 1980’s, too. I was hoping to see behind the scenes clips of him making videos (he was a staple on MTV & VH1), or at the Live Aid show or anything else from such a prolific decade of his. I still recommend it if you have not seen it since this is Clapton, after all. But just know it is a very hard watch which Clapton himself has stated in several interviews about the film.
To cheer myself up (and to stop from shaking), I went back to watch a doc I missed, 2013’s “History of The Eagles”. I loved this band growing up and Don Henley’s solo records in the 1980’s. I knew all about the friction between him and bandmate Glenn Frey so I was prepared for that but otherwise I looked forward to the band’s story. Or maybe not. Working under the philosophy that a band is not a democracy but rather an entity requiring leadership, Henley & Frey ran the show. Period. But only when they were not fighting each other. I realize both men had successful solo careers so perhaps maybe that led to their decision, but those careers sprang from years with a hugely successful band of more than two members. And both men require co-writers with a lot, if not all of their songs, so they are not doing it all alone. I know egos go hand in hand with many rock stars, but seeing how arrogant Henley & Frey were towards their bandmates or just in general, particularly Henley, this film neither cheered nor soothed me. It just made me mad.
I think I need to stop watching documentaries on musicians.
Today’s song is still my favorite solo number from Henley, but true to form I could not find the studio version on YouTube. It is 2020, we are in the throes of a pandemic where so many of the elite are offering free streaming services or virtual tours, and Henley still refuses to post his videos. It goes back to a grudge he (and many in the industry) had against the free uploads not paying artists their royalties. I completely agree that any artist should be paid for their copyright. But in the last decade, many artists started their own official YT channels to counteract the illegal uploads including Clapton, Bruce Springsteen, the estate of Marvin Gaye and so many others. Henley has a channel, too, but mostly of live performances. I do not believe their are any legal issues with his video copyrights, but perhaps there are which is why they cannot be uploaded. But I am only speculating. As a fan I find it frustrating, especially because there is such a pretty video for it which I hate not being able to see. But this live version is the best I could do.
(Image found online. Original source unknown.)
Don Henley: “The Heart Of The Matter” (1989, written by Mike Campbell, Don Henley & J.D. Souther).
I do not own the rights to anything. I am just sharing what I love and how I am coping with you.