Let’s Take A Moment Day 468

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.

In 1973 while John Lennon & Yoko Ono were living in NYC, their marriage hit a rough spot. They separated for 18 months & he relocated across the country to California. Ono often referred to that time as Lennon’s “lost weekend”. But despite the state of his marriage, Lennon was incredibly busy making music during those months. He recorded two solo albums-1974’s Walls And Bridges and 1975’s Rock & Roll. He also worked with Elton John on his cover of “Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds” & Lennon’s song, “Whatever Gets You Through The Night” (Day 246). He & Ono reconnected backstage at John’s concert in November 1974, but Lennon was not done making great music.

He collaborated with David Bowie on a cover of “Across The Universe” and today’s song. Lennon co-wrote the track, played guitar & did the backing vocals as well. It was released on June 28, 1975 and by September of that year it hit the top spot in the country for two different weeks. It was Bowie’s first #1 hit in the United States.

In October 1975 Lennon turned 35 and became a father for the second time. The following year, he received his green card after years of fighting with the U.S. government for it. He finally became a permanent resident of NYC, where Bowie had moved to the year before. They remained friends until Lennon’s death in 1980.

Fame what you like is in the limo
Fame what you get is no tomorrow
Fame what you need you have to borrow
Fame”.

Bowie Lennon

L-R: David Bowie, Yoko Ono & John Lennon backstage at the Grammys in 1975. Photo by @kwamebphoto. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

David Bowie (featuring John Lennon): “Fame” (1975, written by Carlos Alomar, David Bowie and John Lennon).

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 319

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.

When Fiorello La Guardia became NYC’s mayor in 1933, one of his first acts was to ban burlesque shows in the city. This caused Hurtig and Seamon’s New Burlesque Theater to close its doors after nearly twenty years in business. While this was obviously a bad thing for that show, it turned out to be one of the greatest blessings in musical history. A year later, on January 26, 1934, that venue was reborn as The Apollo Theatre.

From its first amateur night to the features of major musical performers, The Apollo stage has hosted the best artists in swing, bebop, jazz, gospel, blues, R&B and soul. In the 1930’s Billie Holiday, Lena Horne & the Count Basie Orchestra made their debuts there. The next decade featured Amateur Night winners like Sarah Vaughn and Ruth Brown. In the 1950’s James Brown was discovered the same way and “Showtime At The Apollo” began. That decade also saw the premiers of jazz greats Miles Davis, John Coltrane and Thelonius Monk.

The 1960’s featured numerous shows by Stax & Motown artists. In 1972 John Lennon & Yoko Ono took part in a benefit concert there to help families of the inmates who were shot during the Attica Prison riots in 1971 (Admit it-now you hear Al Pacino in your head screaming “Attica!” “Attica!” from the movie, “Dog Day Afternoon”, right?)

The Apollo closed briefly in the late 1970’s but reopened in 1981. That decade brought about the debut of the television show, “Showtime at the Apollo”. For 87 years the theater located on W 125th Street in Harlem has been a beacon for legendary music & comedians. My parents are part of that history as they were there at a show in the 1960’s to see one of my mother’s favorite singers, Jackie Wilson. Today’s song is one of the biggest hits of his career and always reminds me of how lucky my parents were to see this man live during the height of his fame.

And in a great example of symmetry, I saw my own musical hero Bruce Springsteen play this song in concert several times (one of his best versions was with an all star band at The Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame’s 25th anniversary concert in 2009). Dolly Parton did a gospel inspired country version of it as well in 1977. But today’s track features an electrifying horn arrangement & music by The Funk Brothers so that makes it the premiere version of this incredible song.

Now once I was downhearted
Disappointment was my closest friend
But then you came and he soon departed
And you know he never showed his face again
“.

Jackie Wilson

“Mr. Excitement” Jackie Wilson circa 1960. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Aretha at Apollo

The marquee’s announcement of The Queen Of Soul’s return to The Apollo Theater in New York City on June 3, 1971. (Tyrone Dukes/The New York Times).  (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Jackie Wilson: “(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher & Higher” (1967, written by Gary Jackson, Raynard Miner, and Carl Smith).

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 267

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?

Dec 8

(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.

On December 1, 1971 John Lennon released today’s song in the U.S. Ten years earlier on December 6, 1961 Brian Epstein became The Beatles’ manager. What transpired in the decade between those two milestones is how Lennon went from a mop-top Beatle to a man who celebrated his honeymoon with Yoko Ono by having two bed-ins for peace for a world torn apart by the Vietnam War (by 2020’s standards consider it the first virtual protest). If nothing else took place in that decade, Lennon’s presence in it still would have changed the world.

In October we celebrated his 80th birth anniversary. Today marks 40 years since we lost him. To think four decades have passed is unfathomable. But the fact that his music is still being played and revered today is proof of his status as a legend. The words he wrote almost 50 years ago have as much meaning today as they ever have. Happy Christmas, John.

A very Merry Christmas
And a Happy New Year
Let’s hope it’s a good one
Without any fear
“.

bed in John

John Lennon & Yoko Ono during one of their bed-ins for peace in 1969. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

John Lennon & Yoko Ono and The Plastic Ono Band with The Harlem Community Choir: “Happy Xmas (War Is Over)” (1971, written by John Lennon & Yoko Ono).

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 246

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.

On November 16, 1974 John Lennon hit the top of the charts with the first single from his “Walls and Bridges” album. The song was released in September of that year and Lennon’s friend, Elton John, provided harmony vocals & the piano track for the record. It was his way of thanking Lennon for playing guitar & singing back-up vocals on John’s cover of “Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds” recorded several months earlier (Lennon was credited as “Dr. Winston O’Boogie” on the cover to keep legal issues from the record company at bay).

John was so sure Lennon’s tune would become a #1 record John bet Lennon that if that happened, he would have to join John onstage at his concert at Madison Square Garden on November 28. Lennon agreed because he did not think the song would do that well. But between the upbeat get-you-up-on-your-feet tempo, Lennon’s incredible vocal with sing-along lyrics, John’s boogie- woogie playing style & a horn section that just owned every note they played, this song could not miss.

Once the song made it to the top of the chart, John reminded Lennon of the bet & he was almost physically sick the night of the show because he was terrified to take the stage. It had been a while since he played in a venue that large (The Beatles had stopped touring in 1966 & Lennon was playing smaller places as a solo artist). But all went well & the two men performed three songs together: the “Lucy” cover, today’s pick and a Beatles tune, “I Saw Her Standing There” (the live recording was released as the B-side to John’s single, “Philadelphia Freedom” in February 1975).

The original track featured Paul McCartney on lead vocal, so when Lennon introduced it to the audience, he said it was a song from “an old estranged fiance of mine, old Paul”. And the ecstatic crowd, who cut short their Thanksgiving feast to be at the John concert that night, heard the number one song in the country by Lennon as well as two Beatles songs. If there was ever a concert I wish I could have attended, this is one of them. And one of my favorite rock & roll stories ever.

I also believe this was the last time Lennon was ever on stage, or at least in an arena of this size. He was separated from his wife, Yoko Ono, for about 18 months at the time of this show. John invited her to the concert where she and Lennon reunited backstage afterwards. She gave birth to their son, Sean Ono Lennon, on Lennon’s birthday the next year. John was named Sean’s godfather.and Lennon became a stay at home dad to his son until he went back into the studio five years later to record “Double Fantasy”. It was released 40 years ago today on November 17, 1980.

In March 1982, John recorded “Empty Garden” in honor of Lennon. John performed the song in Madison Square Garden in August of that year and invited his godson and his mother on stage in tribute to Lennon.

Whatever gets you through your life
It’s all right, it’s all right
Do it wrong, or do it right
It’s all right, it’s all right

Don’t need a watch to waste your time
Oh no, oh no
“.

elton john john lennon

Elton & John

Elton and John backstage

Elton Sean circa 1982

Top two pictures: Elton John (left) and John Lennon (R) on stage at Madison Square Garden on November 28, 1974. Third picture: Lennon backstage with John & his band the same night (Lennon is third from left, standing with John to his right). Last picture (L_R): Sean Ono Lennon (age 6) & Yoko Ono join John on stage at his concert at the Garden in August 1982 after he performed his tribute song to Lennon, “Empty Garden”, (Images found online.  Original sources unknown.)

John Lennon featuring Elton John: “Whatever Gets You Through The Night” (1974, written by John Lennon).

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 216

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 quote 2

(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’s song was written by singer Rick Nelson about his rather unhappy experience at an oldies show that took place in October 1971. He was on the bill along with superstars Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley & others. Ozzie & Harriet’s heartthrob son, who was 31 years old at the time & stopped going by “Ricky” since his 21st birthday in 1961, understandably “didn’t look the same” as the lyrics go. He began his set by performing two of his older hits which the crowd enjoyed. But their mood changed during his country cover of The Rolling Stones hit, “Honky Tonk Women”. Suddenly the audience started to boo, offending Nelson so much he walked off the stage and refused to return, not even for the all-star finale.

Eventually another story emerged that the crowd’s reaction was not directed at him but rather at police officers attempting to remove an over inebriated man from the arena. But the experience rattled Nelson so much he wrote about it in what became his last top ten hit ever in 1972. I grew up singing this with my mother because she adored it and played the single to death. I knew all the lyrics to the track but would not come to understand them until years later as they were basically written in code. For instance, two of The Beatles attended the show (as fans, not performers) so Nelson mentioned them with the lines “Yoko brought a Walrus” (about John Lennon and his wife Yoko) and “Mr. Hughes hid in Dylan’s shoes wearing his disguise” (about George Harrison, as Hughes was supposedly Harrison’s alias and he was rumored to be making an album of all Bob Dylan songs at that time).

As for himself, Nelson wrote, “I said hello to Mary Lou, she belongs to me” in reference to his 1961 hit song “Hello Mary Lou” which he performed that night. The next line, “But when I sang a song about a honky tonk, it was time to leave” referred to him ending his set due to the crowd’s sour reaction to his cover song. By the last verse, Nelson mentioned one of the show headliners but not by his name (Berry),, but rather by using references to his most famous song: “…out stepped Johnny B. Goode, playing guitar like a-ringin’ a bell and lookin’ like he should“. The final line, “But if memories were all I sang, I’d rather drive a truck” was supposedly a reference to Elvis Presley who did just that while he was trying to get a record deal and not receiving too much recognition for either vocation. The song was Nelson’s final hit record. He died in 1985 in a plane crash at the very young age of 45, nine years before his mother.

In the years before MTV, many music artists appeared on variety shows to promote their songs. If they could not attend due to scheduling conflicts or tour dates, they would pre-tape their performance to be shown in place of a live one. I was fortunate to find the clip of Nelson singing today’s song with his band that I saw as a kid. It brought back unbelievably poignant memories. Music & YouTube are the closest things to time travel we will probably ever see in our lifetimes. 🙂

“But it’s all right now, I learned my lesson well
You see, you can’t please everyone, so you got to please yourself”.

Ozzie-Nelson-Harriet-Hilliard-David-Ricky-The

Rick 1

Top: The Nelsons circa 1955 (L-R): Ozzie, Harriet, Ricky & David. Bottom: Rick Nelson in 1972 in a still from today’s video. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Rick Nelson: “Garden Party” (1972, written by Rick Nelson).

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 Music 2019: Day 8

Welcome back to the countdown!!!

I found another gorgeous vintage image on Pinterest, and the fact that it is in black & white makes me love it even more.

day 8

Found on Pinterest & TuckDB Postcards (original source unknown).  

I miss this man so much, and it has been that way for 39 years.  I wonder what he would be doing now if he were still here.  Would he still be touring like his old band mate, Paul?  Or would he be thinking about a global “Peace & Love” moment every year on his birthday like his other band mate, Ringo?  Or would he be retired living the life of a house husband like he did in the mid 1970’s?  My guess is a combination of all three.  But he would be here.  And that would have made all the difference.  Incredibly big sigh.

Rather than focusing on the loss, I want to remember him and celebrate all that was gained from his incredible life.  And that is evident in his music.  He is still a staple on classic rock radio, but this time of year this song is everywhere.  Many artists have covered it, but nothing compares to the original.  Or to the man himself.  Happy Christmas, John Lennon.  I miss you.  But I’m not the only one.

Happy_Xmas_(War_is_Over)

Courtesy of Apple Records & Iain Macmillan. 

John Lennon & Yoko Ono with the Plastic Ono Band the Harlem Community Choir:  “Happy Christmas (War Is Over)” (1971, lyrics written by John Lennon & Yoko Ono in 1971).

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, happy listening!!!

25 Days Of Christmas Music 2018: Day 8

Hi, Everybody!!!  Welcome back to the countdown.

I love simple, natural, elegant, neutral holiday displays like this one.  I think it is so pretty.  What do you think?

day 8.jpg

Found on Pinterest/homedit page.

Every year on this day I remember the man who died 38 years ago today.  It was a devastating loss to the world but for a few days at least, people were united in their shared grief.  The petty annoyances and ballast of everyday living were temporarily put aside as the world reflected on the loss of a good man, a husband, a father and the loss of innocence his death brought to so many.  But together those who mourned survived, observed a 10 minute moment of silence to honor the man they loved and lost and went on with their lives with a hole in their hearts that never quite healed.

But let me be clear-I want to celebrate this man more than acknowledge his death.  He stood for many things, but the two things I remember most about him were his music and his desire for a peaceful world.  He wrote about it in his songs, campaigned for it in his actions, spoke about it whenever he could and lived his life reflecting this desire.

And his one musical contribution to the Christmas season is a testament to what he wanted for the world and each one of us as individuals.  So maybe as you listen to this beautiful song, you can think of the ways to achieve peace for yourself, whether that means mending a broken relationship, or ending a destructive one once and for all, choosing to forget the materialism this season can bring and choose to reflect on the things you have that cannot be bought, to choose to spend the holidays your way instead of being guilted into a family holiday that brings you nothing but stress (remember, there are 364 other days you can spend with your loved ones), or to not feel bad if you do not have the big warm family gathering we see all over TV this season.  Peace is about what brings you happiness and joy, what calms your soul and fills your heart.  And no one can define that for you except you.  So let this be the year you bring peace to your world.

John-Lennon-Happy-XmasRough-127822

John Lennon & Yoko Ono with the Plastic Ono Band the Harlem Community Choir:  “Happy Christmas (War Is Over)” (1971).

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, happy listening!!!

“We All Shine On” for John Lennon’s 75th Birthday

Hello, Vixens.  Did you read about the large people peace sign Yoko Ono organized in Central Park earlier this week?  It was done in honor of John Lennon’s 75th birthday, which we celebrate today.

Central Park Peace Sign PIX 11

                                                                      Photo courtesy of PIX-11.

That gesture reminded all of us how Lennon lived his life, using his celebrity and music not to push a clothing line or cologne spray, but to ask the world to consider peace over war.  Light over dark.  Love over hate.  It is easy to see the roots of his masterpiece “Imagine” in that thinking.

john_lennon_peace_sign

                                                                  Photo author unknown.

His childhood in England, his life as a Beatle, his marriage to Yoko Ono, his solo career and his years in his beloved adopted home of NYC shaped the life he shared with us in song.  He was intelligent (“Across The Universe“), rebellious (“Revolution“), introspective (“In My Life“), romantic (“Jealous Guy“), a rocker (“Whatever Gets You Through The Night“), a proud father (“Beautiful Boy“).  And so very much more.

beatles-bruce-mcbroom                                                                                    Photo by Bruce McBroom

He reminded us “we all shine on” in “Instant Karma“, that “love is the answer” in “Mind Games” & “All You Need Is Love” and took us on imaginative colorful road trips during “I’m Only Sleeping“, “Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds” and “A Day In The Life“.   But by far the best vision he gave us was one in which we all lived as one in “Imagine”.

Happy birthday, John Lennon.  You are loved.  And missed.

John Lennon

                                                                         Photo by Bob Gruen.

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