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.

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.

All Hail The King!!!

Photo courtesy of fineartamerica.com

Today Vixens we celebrate the 80th birthday of the King of Rock and Roll, Elvis.  This man did it all:  sang, danced and acted (what is referred to today as a triple threat).  But what we are indebted to him for most of all is bringing rock and roll music-complete with country, R&B & gospel roots plus the songwriting geniuses of Jerry Leiber & Mike Stoller-into mainstream America.

There is nothing I can write about this man that has not already been written, so I will not bore you with words other than these:  Thank you, Elvis Aaron Presley, for the enormous gift you gave and left us.  We are deeply indebted and grateful.

Here is a link to a YouTube montage clip of His Royalty performing one of those Leiber & Stoller gems, “Hound Dog“.  Pay homage to the King!!!

Enjoy, Vixens!!!