Let’s Take A Moment Day 199

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.

Fifty one years ago today-October 1, 1969-The Beatles released “Abbey Road” here in the US. Five days later, today’s song came out as the first single backed with “Come Together”. One look at the cover of the album with three of The Fab Four sporting long hair and beards and you could hardly believe that only five years had passed since they first arrived in America in their matching suits and mop-top haircuts. The 1960’s swept over them and the world at an unbelievably rapid pace.

The music the group created continued to evolve as well. But John Lennon & Paul McCartney, still being credited as a writing team, were moving in opposite directions. The diversity they showed on “The White Album”-Lennon writing about a “Revolution” along with more introspective pieces like “Julia” & “Dear Prudence” while McCartney told stories about “Rocky Raccoon”, “Mother Nature’s Son” and “Wild Honey Pie”-continued on “Abbey Road” as well. Lennon wrote “Come Together” & “I Want You (She’s So Heavy)” while McCartney sang about “Maxwell’s Silver Hammer” and a few other characters until closing out the album with his famous medley.

The other thing that was clear on this album was George Harrison’s momentum from “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” helped him deliver not one but two of the best songs the group ever recorded, “Here Comes The Sun” and today’s track. Ringo Starr started the song off with an incredible drum roll and continued his exquisite playing throughout it which only added to the beauty of this tune. Harrison had already begun stockpiling songs for his first solo record but the two he contributed to “Abbey Road” removed any doubt as to his premier songwriting ability. The stage was being set for his debut album, the “Concert For Bangladesh” and all the other gems he brought us in the 1970’s and beyond. But it was today’s song that Frank Sinatra called “the greatest love song of the past 50 years” and neither Lennon nor McCartney could ever take that prestigious honor away from Harrison. This is without a doubt my favorite Beatles song of all time.

Something in the way she knows
And all I have to do is think of her
Something in the things she shows me
I don’t want to leave her now
You know I believe and how
“.

Abbey Road

The “Abbey Road” album cover. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

The Beatles: “Something” (1969, written by George Harrison).

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 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.

Let’s Take A Moment Day 100

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.

Day 100.  It needs to be commemorated with a special performance of a phenomenal song.  That leads me to my favorite Beatle, George Harrison.  The year was 1968 and he had just written a staggering song that he felt needed the artistry of another guitarist to complete.  But there was a lot of resistance from the other Beatles as they were not known to have other famous musicians join them for recordings.  George persevered and in his infinite wisdom he asked his friend, Eric Clapton, to play lead guitar for today’s song.  That made him one of only two musicians to work with the Beatles in the studio (the other was Billy Preston who joined the band for the recording of the “Let It Be” album and is featured prominently on the song “Get Back”).  Clapton was a superstar in his own right thanks to the enormous popularity he achieved with the band, Cream.  Even today he is considered to be one of the best guitar players in the world. George’s song became a huge success and finally put him on a level of songwriting with Lennon & McCartney.

Thirty three years later, in November 2001, my favorite Beatle died of cancer at the young age of 58.  A year later, The Concert For George was held in England under the guidance of Harrison’s widow, Olivia and his son, Dhani, also a guitarist.  The musical director for the show was Clapton.  The show featured the two surviving Beatles, Paul McCartney & Ringo Starr, the surviving members of Harrison’s other band, The Traveling Wilburys (Bob Dylan, Jeff Lynne & Tom Petty), Preston and several other musicians who had worked with Harrison on his solo records.

All the music performed was written by Harrison and his son played with the band.  Today’s song features Clapton & McCartney sharing vocals with Clapton playing lead guitar just like he did in 1968.  He also used one of Harrison’s guitars in another sweet tribute to his friend.  I love Clapton and he did an astounding job with this song, giving it everything he has as he always does.  But for me, the best part of the performance is at the end when Harrison’s son pats Clapton on the back for a job well done.  Their exchange is really touching, which is exactly the emotion great music should evoke.

So, George Harrison my favorite Beatle, today’s song is in your honor.  Thank you for the great music, the lessons in spirituality and for helping me discover Clapton through your invitation for him to play on this song all those years ago.  You are loved and missed every single day.

Eric and Dhani
Eric Clapton (L) and George Harrison’s son, Dhani, at The Concert For George on November 29, 2002.  (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Eric Clapton & Paul McCartney:  “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” from The Concert For George, 2002 (written by George Harrison in 1968),

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 81

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.

For those of you who do not know the history of George Harrison and Eric Clapton, allow me to fill you in.  The two met in the mid 1960’s while Harrison was a Beatle and Clapton was in the Yardbirds.  They became closer friends as the decade progressed.  Clapton went on to join the band Cream in 1966, and wrote the song “Badge” with Harrison.  Clapton also played lead guitar on”While My Guitar Gently Weeps” that Harrison wrote for “The White Album”.  The two men stayed friends after the Beatles broke up, and Clapton played at Harrison’s Concert for Bangladesh in NYC in August 1971.

While all this friendship and music was going on, Clapton began to have very strong feelings for Harrison’s wife, Pattie Boyd.  According to her autobiography and his, along with statements he has made over the years, she spurned his advances in 1970 leading him to write many songs about her on the album, “Layla & Other Assorted Love Songs”, while he was a member of the band, Derek & The Dominos.  He said it also led to his heroin addiction that he would not recover from until approximately 1973.  A year later Boyd finally decided to leave Harrison because of his repeated infidelities & go to Clapton.  They were married in 1979 and Harrison harbored no ill will toward the new couple and the three remained friends.  Say it with me:  wow.

Clapton & Boyd’s love story was short-lived, however, and the two divorced in 1989.  But Boyd cemented her place in rock history as one incredible muse.  She inspired Harrison to write several love songs while he was with The Beatles including “Something”, “If I Needed Someone” and “For You Blue”.  Clapton wrote “Layla”, “Wonderful Tonight” and today’s song for her.  Let’s say it again:  wow.   I love all the music included here, but Clapton’s vocal expression of romantic pain & agony in today’s song is remarkable.  Plus I really adore the song’s title, which Clapton said came from Boyd asking him to buy a certain pair of blue jeans for her from America when he went there for a tour.  Whether you like Clapton or not, you have to admit it is one hell of a story.  And he is one hell of a musician.  Wait, how could you NOT like Clapton???

Bell bottom blues, you made me cry
I don’t want to lose this feeling
And if I could choose a place to die
It would be in your arms“.

Top:  Derek & The Dominos ((L–R: Jim Gordon (drums), Carl Radle (bass), Bobby Whitlock (keyboards & vocals) & Eric Clapton (guitar & vocals).  Bottom:  Clapton circa 1975.  Right:  Pattie Boyd & George Harrison circa 1966.  (Images found online.  Original sources unknown.)

Derek and the Dominos:  “Bell Bottom Blues” (1970, written by Eric Clapton and Bobby Whitlock).

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

Stay well.