Posted in Christmas, music

What’s in a Christmas Song?

Once again the airwaves are filling up with the sounds of Christmas.  Which is fine with me, since I love Christmas and actually listen to the music all year long.

There is one song, however, that I have grown immensely tired of hearing.  No, it’s not Mariah’s song.  Yet.  It’s “Baby, It’s Cold Outside”.  Controversy aside, I’m simply bored with it.  I don’t care who sings it, I’m done with it.  And it has nothing to do with its “controversy”.

No disrespect to John Legend and Kelly Clarkson’s lyrical remake this year, which I won’t get into because that topic has grown tiresome also.  But whether you change the lyrics or not, it’s still a 70-year-old worn out song.  You can argue over the meaning of the lyrics until the end of time, it’s not going to change the fact that, in the end, it’s just another classic Christmas song.  One that has grown old with the ages.  Take it or leave it.

For me, “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” has gone out to pasture.

Posted in 80's, music

Still the Boss at 70

In honor of his 70th birthday, I wanted to pay tribute to Bruce Springsteen by listing my top 20 favorite Springsteen songs.  I couldn’t do just 10.  There were too many.  And I actually could have done way more than 20 but I figured 20 was a good number.  It was difficult to narrow them down but I managed to do so.

Here goes:

  1. “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town” – Don’t get on me about this one.  In my opinion, it’s the best version there is.  I love to hear it any time of year.  In fact, I just had the opportunity to hear it the other day on E Street Radio when they were playing a live concert from 9/20/78 that was done in Passaic, NJ and Bruce sang the song for the audience as a “surprise”.  I was in my glory!  Bruce and Christmas.  You can’t go wrong.
  1. “Light of Day” – It may be a more obscure Bruce song, one many may not know about.  If you’ve ever seen the Michael J. Fox/Joan Jett movie of the same name, you’ll know the song.  They sing the song in the movie.
  1. and 17.  “Human Touch” and “Better Days” – Both resonate for me because they were songs I played when I was with my first boyfriend.  He bought me the cassettes.
  1. “Rosalita”  – I remember seeing a video of a live performance of this song on a compilation VHS tape I had of Springsteen videos.  I thought it was comical when the girls kept sneaking up on the stage.
  1. “Fire” – It’s just a good song.  Even the Pointer Sisters sang it well.
  1. “Blinded By The Light” – Another underrated one.  And Bruce’s only #1.  Only as a songwriter.
  1. “Growin’ Up” – You can hear this at the end of “Big Daddy” and well done on Broadway.
  1. “Streets of Philadelphia” – From the movie of the same name.  Tom Hanks.  Bruce.  Can’t get any better than that.
  1. “The Rising” – Bruce knew we’d need this song and album after 9/11
  1. “Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out” – There is a private joke in my family about this song.  All because of E Street Radio and how during a recent vacation, whenever we turned on E Street Radio, this song seemed to be playing.  But it would be a different version.  One time you may get a live version done on December 6, 1980 in England, another time it may be from July 17, 2016 at Gillette.  You never knew.  A great song.  Especially since it pays great tribute to Clarence Clemons.
  1. “Tunnel of Love” – It’s such a picturesque song.  I had to analyze it in my junior year creative writing class.  The whole album means a great deal to me.  The “Tunne of Love Express Tour” was the first time I saw Bruce live.
  1. “Hungry Heart” – To me Bruce’s first commercial success.  Can be heard in “Risky Business”.
  1. “Badlands” – Just a great opening to the “Darkness” album
  1. “The Promised Land” – Another great one from “Darkness”
  1. “The River” – The song that really made me recognize Bruce as a storyteller.
  1. “Thunder Road” – Who wouldn’t want to ride out tonight to case the promised land? Especially while listening to Bruce.
  1. “Dancing In The Dark” – Bruce’s highest charting song.  And the world’s introduction to Courtney Cox.
  1. “Born In The USA” – My first real exposure to Bruce where I actually began paying attention.  The song reveals the plight of the Vietnam vet and what they experienced, especially upon returning home. It is a great song to listen to while on the Music Express at the amusement park.  I know because I have. The song is incredible.  The entire album is phenomenal.

1.”Born To Run” – I cannot say enough about this song.  It is my all-time favorite song EVER, by ANY artist.  There is nothing that surpasses it.  Nothing ever will.  If I am alone in the car (or anywhere for that matter) and this song is playing (either on the radio, CD, whatever), that volume is going up FULL CRANK and I am belting it out!  AND. I. DO. NOT. CARE!  This is the album that put Bruce on the map.  It is extremely well-done and considering the amount of time I’ve heard they put into recording it, it should be.

 

Posted in Entertainment, music

Why Did The Beatles Cross The Road?

A great Throwback Thursday edition…

Last night, August 7, I was sitting in a music studio during my daughter’s piano lesson.

While the teacher went over all the scales, notes, rests, measures, and other musical jargon with my daughter, I began to focus on the huge “Abbey Road” poster hanging above the piano.  Of course I’ve seen the image before.  It’s obviously iconic.  I’ve even noticed the poster in the studio before.  But tonight I really noticed it.

I vaguely recalled hearing stories about Paul.  And wasn’t he barefoot?  From where I sat it looked like he probably was.  Or were those just light colored shoes?  Maybe I was just bored with listening to the lesson but I let my mind wander even more.

Why were they walking in the order they were?  Did Ringo really want to walk behind John?  Wasn’t Paul concerned with possibly stepping on the backs of Ringo’s shoes with his bare feet?  Did the photographer call out John for walking too fast and having to make the others hurry to catch up?  Why were they wearing the clothes they were wearing?  Whose decision was it to have them walk across the street?  Had they each made their own decision on what to wear or was it a managerial decision? Other than the Abbey Road studio being on the same street, why this street?  Why a street at all?  Who owned the VW?  What was each one thinking as they crossed the street?  In scrutinizing the photo from where I was sitting, they didn’t look very happy.  Then again, I knew “Abbey Road” was recorded near the end. So maybe that was it.

When I arrived home like any curious bugger would, I jumped online and found an article written in 2016 about the story behind the album’s artwork.  Ironically, the photo for “Abbey Road” was one of six shot by photographer Lain Macmillan at 10 in the morning on August 8, 1969.  Fifty years ago this very day.

I read on about how traffic had been stopped for ten minutes while this photographer stood on a stepladder to get shots.  Of course I’d heard the stories about Paul being “dead” and many had a theory that the Paul in the photo really wasn’t Paul.  There’s a VW allegedly depicting a license plate that read “28IF” indicating to some theorists that Paul would have been 28 “if he lived” (but who can read the plate?).  Interesting but kind of far-fetched.  Also many believe that the members are wearing the clothes they are wearing as a representation of Paul being “dead”:  John is in white representing Jesus, Ringo, in black, is the undertaker, Paul is barefoot and allegedly walking with his eyes closed (who can tell?) because he’s “dead”.  He’s also holding a cigarette in his right hand, although he is left-handed.  But who holds a cigarette in their hand at all if they’re dead?  Finally, George is all in denim because he’s the gravedigger.  It’s an interesting theory and it very well may have been the band’s way at playing one final game with their fans before their split.  But even Paul has dismissed it.  Or was it really Paul?

Anyway, here we are on August 8, 2019 to celebrate fifty years of one of the most iconic album covers of our time.  May it still intrigue music lovers fifty years from now and leave them wondering as much as it has made me wonder.

 

 

Posted in 80's, Entertainment, music

It Was Our “Woodstock”

A throwback moment to celebrate the 34th anniversary of the greatest musical moment from my generation:  Live Aid.

 

July 13, 1985.  Thirty-four years and many musical memories ago.  I’m so glad I was alive to be a part of that event.

No, I wasn’t there in Philly.  Nor in England.  I didn’t get to ride the Concorde with Phil Collins.  But I had dragged my 14-year-old ass out of bed at 5:30 a.m. on a summer weekend so I could tune into the concert of the decade.  Maybe even the century.

It started around noon UK time, which put us at 6-ish.  They were broadcasting the entire thing on the radio so I had my cassettes and tape recorder ready to go.

Then there was JFK Stadium in Philadelphia.  To be there must’ve been something else.  I longed to see Powerstation and Madonna.  Waiting to see Duran Duran perform that evening was like torture.  I remember getting to see the last few hours of the show broadcast on TV.  Another thing to thank Dick Clark for.

Thirty years later I still have some of the cassettes that I recorded.  I have the “Live Aid” book.  I’ll have to scan through that later and continue with my walk down memory lane.

Such nostalgia for such an innocent time in my life…

 

Posted in 80's, music

The 80’s Revisited

I always knew it would happen one day.  Or at least hoped.  The day my child said she wished she had been around in the 80’s so she could’ve experienced the music.

My thirteen-year-old recently came across the Jennifer Garner flick “13 Going on 30” on Netflix and was immediately taken in by the 80’s theme of the film.  Especially the music.  “Head Over Heels”, “Jessie’s Girl” and particularly “Thriller”.

“Why couldn’t I have been around in the 80’s?” she whined.

“Just because you weren’t doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy that music now,” I reminded her.

The other day we were returning from running errands and sat in the car listening to the last strains of Wham!’s  “Careless Whisper”.

“I love this song,” she said.  “Who sings it?”

“George Michael,” I told her.

“Who?”

“Wham!  George Michael.  You know, ‘Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go’.  You know that song,” I reminded her.

“Oh yeah.”

We continued talking about Wham! and 80’s music as we entered the house.  I relayed my teen love for Duran Duran to her.

“You know, the group who sings ‘Hungry Like the Wolf’.”

“Oh, yeah.  I like that song.”

“Yeah.  You know what the lead singer’s name is?”

“What?”

“Simon.  Want to know what his last name is?”

“What?”

“LeBon.”

She laughed.  “What a funny name!”

I smiled.  “Yeah, that’s what the rest of the band thought too when they first met him.”

I went on to tell her how there were three members in the band with the last name of Taylor but they weren’t related.

“Really?  How can they not be related?”  my daughter asked.

“Because in England the surname Taylor is like the surname Smith in America.”

She also thought it was cool that John’s real name was Nigel, because that’s the first name of one of The Muppets.  Which is another thing from the 80’s that she loves.

But that’s another 80’s story for another time.