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Taking It To The STREETS – Street Songs

March 27, 1987, U2 performed from the roof of a store in downtown LA to make the video for ‘Where The Streets Have No Name’, attracting thousands of spectators and bringing traffic to a standstill. The police eventually stopped the shoot.  The song title lends the theme for this week’s playlist, songs with “Street” or “Streets” in the title.

Some classic “Street/s” songs include “52nd Street,” “Baker Street,” “Mean Street,” “Mercy Street,” “Sentimental Street,” “Shakedown Street,”
“Street Fighting Man,” “Dancing In The Streets,” and “Takin’ It To The Streets.”

A few songs on the list have “Street” in their title but not in the song lyrics, such as “Positively 4th Street” and “The 59th Street Bridge Song.”  And a few songs don’t have “Street” in the title but it figures prominently in the song lyrics, so they were included, such as “Peace Frog” and “Here I Go Again.”

Re-watching the U2 video of “Where The Streets Have No Name,” I’m struck with the thought that it has to be among the best impromptu free public performances ever recorded.  And how young they all were!

Some other great live video performances of songs on the list follow:

Bruce Springsteen performing “Backstreets” in 1975, a young bearded Bruce still not yet the rock superstar he was to become, with a very R&B vibe from the band.

And then a performance sometime in the 80s, a very polished Bruce and the E Street Band, more what we think of as classic Springsteen, among the best live rock performers:

Simon & Garfunkel’s song “59th Street Bridge Song” here from the Concert in Central Park, which I prefer to the original recording:

Billy Joel here tickling the ivories with some masterful jazz piano on “Big Man On Mulberry Street”

Interetingly when I first listened to my addition of Whitesnake’s “Here I Go Again” on this playlist, I was dumbfounded as I sang along and got the lyrics wrong.  I was signing “Like a drifter I was born to walk alone” but the song lyrics were “Like a hobo I was born to walk alone.”  Had I been singing the song wrong for 35 years?  The answer is no.  I was listening to the original version off the album “Saints & Sinners” released in 1982. The version most of us are familiar with was released in 1987 and became their first big hit on the radio and MTV, featuring American actress and model Tawny Kitaen cartwheeling across the hoods of two Jaguars.  A star of TV and film, including “Malibu,” “California Girls,” and “Bachelor Party,” she performed in two other Whitesnake videos “Still Of The Night” and “Is This Love” as well at Ratt’s video “Back For More.”  In the more widely known version, the lyrics were changed from “hobo” to “drifter” as the band felt “hobo” sounded too much like “homo.”  Here Tawny graces those Jags in “Here I Go Again”:

The Rolling Stones live performance of “Street Fighting Man” in 1969, with Mick Jagger and company performing with a little attitude:

And then performing at Madison Square Garden in 2003, Mick appears much more animated, really strutting his stuff:

Here Van Halen demonstrate why they were among the kings of hard rock in the late 70s and early 80s, with a young Eddie’s wailing guitar and David Lee’s onstage antics in “Mean Street”

And Sting sounding almost Harry Connick-ish or lounge singer-eque with “Moon Over Bourbon Street”:

And now for the playlist.  I hope these songs have you dancing in the streets!

I hope that this music and my blog truly serve as a “revival: a new presentation of something old,” a springboard to return to the music of your youth, or perhaps to find artists you want to discover anew.  Rediscover the passion of music in your life.

Live in the moment.

Enjoy the moment.

Love the moment.

Listen to the MUSIC!

You’ve Got A FRIEND – Friend Songs Celebrating Friendship

A few days ago marked the birthday of one of my best friends.  Though she lives half a continent away, there is great comfort and reassurance in my mind and heart that we are close no matter the time and distance. 

True friends are always together in spirit. 
― L.M. Montgomery, “Anne of Green Gables”

And when we do get together, we pick up right where we left off, as if no time has passed.  I’m transported back to college with her or a few of my other close friends, hanging out in our dorm rooms or walking across the green, to the river or Bema.

Not a word passes between us, not because we have nothing to say, but because we don’t have to say anything.
– Khaled Hosseini – “The Kite Runner”

We didn’t talk about anything heavy or light. We were just there together. And that was enough. – Stephen Chbosky – “The Perks of Being a Wallflower”

Or having dinner at the Hop, swimming in the Connecticut River, dancing at a frat party, having fun at a formal, having margaritas and fries at Bentleys, skipping class and having drinks on the terrace at the Hanover Inn, or just chatting late into the night.

We cannot tell the precise moment when friendship is formed. As in filling a vessel drop by drop, there is, at last, a drop which makes it run over; so, in a series of kindnesses there is at last one which makes the heart run over.
– Ray Bradbury – “Fahrenheit 451”

I’m lucky enough to have a few close friends that, despite my foibles and flaws, I’ve managed to hang onto over the many years.  Who would have known that a love for The Hobbit in 5th grade at a new school would translate to making a best friend who would accompany me through junior high, high school, college, and medical school?  Or that a freshman trip hiking through the mountains of New Hampshire would be a source of two great friends?

“Why did you do all this for me?” he asked. “I don’t deserve it. I’ve never done anything for you.” “You have been my friend,” replied Charlotte. “That in itself is a tremendous thing.” – E.B. White – “Charlotte’s Web”

A friend is someone who knows all about you and still loves you. – Elbert Hubbard

Some friends are forever.  My wife has a best friend since she was 2 years old.  What a treasure.  It is truly a blessing to have such lifelong friends, through thick and thin, always there, wherever there is, to share life with. 

Close friends contribute to our personal growth.  They also contribute to our personal pleasure, making the music sound sweeter, the wine taste richer, the laughter ring louder because they are there. – Judith Viorst

Other friends have a role to play, but often in a more temporary fashion.  A best friend in childhood, who every day playing Legos together, building forts, riding bikes, playing sports together, whatever – never got old.  But alas divergent high school and college paths led to a gradual fading of our bond.  But what memories remain!

Wasn’t friendship its own miracle, the finding of another person who made the entire lonely world seem somehow less lonely? – Hanya Yanagihara “A Little Life”

Or a friend in college who spend almost every waking moment in my presence, like twins, or a shadow, sharing casual chats and deep conversation, music, working out, many a football road trip, continuing our friendship through graduate school and beyond.  But alas the distance, life circumstances and changes brought such friendships to a close.  While sad, such a friendship is no less important.  It can be invaluable in shaping that portion of our lives, filling our days with fun times and wonderful moments shared together, though providing only a temporary companion on our life journey.  We should embrace such friendships, and be ok with letting them go as well, as for whatever reason they were not meant to last.  Such friendships have been great, intense, rewarding, albeit briefer relationships for which I continue to be grateful.

A fellow Dartmouth graduate, Theodore Geisel, aka Dr. Seuss offered insightful advice:

Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.
– Dr. Seuss

And I think of the times when my friends were there for me in dark moments, in the death of my father and brother, or when spending time with them in their times of trial and tribulation, in the passing of a parent, or other tragedies that life threw their way.  Such shared moments of comfort, compassion and love are worth more than gold.

When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives mean the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand. The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing, not curing, not healing and face with us the reality of our powerlessness, that is a friend who cares. – Henri Nouwen – “Out of Solitude: Three Meditations on the Christian Life”

And yet again from Geisel:

Sometimes you will never know the value of something until it becomes a memory. – Dr. Seuss

And so as we continue our life journeys, we remember and cherish our friends, whether relationships short or long, and the value they have provided and memories they have made, but more, the place in our heart they hold.

“People have forgotten this truth,” the fox said. “But you mustn’t forget it. You become responsible forever for what you’ve tamed. You’re responsible for your rose.” – Antoine de Saint-Exupery – “The Little Prince”

Our friends come to mind in memories of mutual moments shared in the past, or in a song, a scent, a place, an activity.  If not physically, they are always near in mind and heart.  And often that is enough.

If I had a flower for every time I thought of you…I could walk through my garden forever. – Alfred Tennyson

And yet another Dartmouth attendee, Mr. Rodgers, an institution from many of our childhoods, offered as only he can:

When I say it’s you I like, I’m talking about that part of you that knows that life is far more than anything you can ever see or hear or touch. That deep part of you that allows you to stand for those things without which humankind cannot survive. Love that conquers hate, peace that rises triumphant over war, and justice that proves more powerful than greed. – Fred Rogers

Thus this theme of friendship inspired today’s playlist, songs with friend or friends in their title, though a few exceptions come with the theme songs to “Friends” and “Cheers,” two shows whose whole premise was based on the importance of friendship.  And again on this playlist as with others, Garth Brooks original of “Friend In Low Places,” absent on Spotify, is covered here.

One of my all-time faves Amy Grant delivers a beautiful vision of friendship:

When every moment gets too hard
End of the road can feel so far
No matter how much time we’re apart
I’m always near you

I’ll be the shelter in your rain
Help you to find your smile again
I’ll make you laugh at a broken heart
Wherever you are

Cause I’m never gonna walk away
If the walls come down someday
All alone and you feel afraid
I’ll be there when you call my name
You can always depend on me
I believe until forever ends
I will be your friend

So many people come and go
Nothing can change the you I know
You’ll never be just a face in the crowd
And time will show

Through the seasons and the years (and the years)
I will always hold you dear
Never you fear

Buzz, Woody, Jessie, and Andy show what friendship means to a child:

And Robin Williams’ Genie provides his version of friendship:

And how many of us wanted a group of friends like Rachael, Ross, Monica, Chandler, Joey, and Phoebe.  Friends to hang out with share life’s ups and downs, joys, trials and tribulations with?  People who’d be there for you, and you for them?

Or hanging out at the restaurant or bar with those close to us. I always felt a little sense of loss of not having the carefree young adulthood presented in “St. Elmo’s Fire” where Jules, Billy, Kevin, Kirby, Alec, Leslie, and Wendy all hung out in the evening at the restaurant/bar sharing a cup of friendship.

And similarly the crew of friends at the bar in Cheers:

I recently had the privilege of seeing James Taylor perform with Jackson Browne – they still are great entertainers, worth seeing if you have a chance.  Here JT is singing Carole King’s classic, with her accompanying him on piano in 1971:

When you’re down and troubled
And you need some lovin’ care
And nothin’, nothin’ is goin’ right
Close your eyes and think of me
And soon I will be there
To brighten up even your darkest night

You just call out my name
And you know, wherever I am
I’ll come runnin’
To see you again
Winter, spring, summer or fall
All you have to do is call
And I’ll be there
You’ve got a friend

If the sky above you
Grows dark and full of clouds
And that old north wind begins to blow
Keep your head together
And call my name out loud
Soon you’ll hear me knockin’ at your door

And I just love Sara Bareilles cover performed in tribute to Carole King at the Kennedy Center Honors.  If you have the opportunity, see “Beautiful: The Carole King Story” musical.  Beyond fantastic, it’s amazing how accomplished a songwriter she has been over the years, writing many songs for many other artists.:

As always, my favorite American Idol alum comes through with a wonderful song on friendship (if you have the opportunity, see Crystal live – she’s fantastic):

I know you’re out there somewhere
Even though we’re far apart
Yes, I can feel you with me
I carry you inside my heart
Like a moment in my light
You’re never really gone
And everything I do
You’re the melody when I sing this song

I said amen for my friends

And Michael W. Smith relates perfectly what it means to be a friend:

So many memories and so many miles
The road that stretches behind us
We’ve had some laughter and our share 
Of tears
But all these moments unite us

I’ll be your friend for a lifetime
Against the wind and the rain of every season
Won’t walk away in the hard times
I will be your friend
I’m saying I will be your friend

Sure as the river runs to the sea
High as the mountain that reaches
You were there by my side till the end
(And) helped me on my feet again

So in the valley walk on
Don’t have to face it alone
Cause in the hard times 
We keep growing strong
As we learn, as we live
That we live when we give

And now for the playlist.  I hope when listening to it you conjure up many fond memories of times spent with friends over the years.  Enjoy!

I hope that this music and my blog truly serve as a “revival: a new presentation of something old,” a springboard to return to the music of your youth, or perhaps to find artists you want to discover anew.  Rediscover the passion of music in your life.

Live in the moment

Enjoy the moment

Love the moment

Listen to the MUSIC!

8 Days A Week – Days of the week Playlist

On January 29, 1979, 16-year-old Brenda Spencer killed two people and wounded nine others when she fired a .22 caliber rifle from her house across the street onto the entrance of San Diego’s Grover Cleveland Elementary School.  When asked why she did it, she answered “I don’t like Mondays.”  The Boomtown Rats went on to write and record a song based on the event.  The song reached No.1 on the UK charts, though only rose to No.73 on the US charts.  Bob Geldoff, of the Boomtown Rats and organizer of Live Aid concert for Ethiopian famine relief in 1985 (see information about Live Aid in my bio “About”), performs the song at the concert:

In 2010 Bob performed the song with Jon Bon Jovi, also worth a watch.

“Ticking,” a song chronicling a fictional shooting, though loosely inspired by the Whitman “Texas Tower Sniper” shooting and gun violence in America, was released 5 years earlier by Elton John.  The song is off the album “Caribou,” which is more famous for the Elton hit “Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me,” later recorded with George Michael.  He and Bernie wrote it as a statement against violence in America.

“I Don’t Like Mondays” contributes the theme for this week’s playlist – songs including days of the week in their title.  Saturday and Sunday by far inspire the most songs, each with 18 entries on the playlist. 

This is off one of my favorite U2 albums, “Under A Blood Red Sky” live at Red Rocks:

Maroon 5’s Sunday Morning is so good:

And the song has some great covers. So how intimidating to sing the song with Adam Levine as your judge?!?

The George Twins?

Jayesslee Cover (this version is for my friend Melissa):

This one too by Madelyn Grant, Mel:

And I love this version by Algyle, as a cross between Harry Connick Jr. and Michael Buble

Post Modern Jukebox

For those not familial with Post Modern Jukebox, here is one of their classic performances, with some American Idol alums Hailey Reinhardt and Casey Abrams, Morgan James of Broadway fame, and singer and burlesque performer Ariana Savalas, daughter of Telly Savalas.  They are definitely a group seeing in person, though be aware their personnel is constantly changing.

Back to the playlist.  The middle of the week gets slighted by artists, with Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday each having only 3 songs each.  Though Tuesday outshines its mid-week partners with such classic “day” songs as “Tuesday Afternoon,” “Ruby Tuesday,” and “Tuesday’s Gone.”   

Sounds of the 60’s with the Rolling Stones and “Ruby Tuesday.”  Who knew that your fourth grade recorder practice could translate to a career in rock!

So tripping to the 70’s with the Moody Blues “Tuesday Afternoon” off of “Days of Future Past,” one of the first true “concept albums” from this progressive rock band that fused rock with classical music.

And then the Lynyrd Skynyrd’s Southern rock ballad anthem “Tuesday’s Gone.”  They named the band in mocking tribute to their PE teacher at Robert E. Lee High School, who strictly enforced the high school policy against long hair.  So they dropped out of school, grew their hair, and the rest is history:

Monday and Friday have 11 and 9 entries, respectively.  Monday outshines it’s end of the week partner for quality songs.  The beginning of the week offers hits “Monday, Monday,” “Manic Monday,” “Rainy Days and Mondays,” “New Moon on Monday,” “Come Monday,” and “I Don’t Like Monday,” whereas Friday’s hits, though big, are fewer, with “Friday I’m In Love,” “Friday Night,” “Last Friday Night,” and “Black Friday.”

A Monday 60’s classic by the Mama and the Papas, “Monday Monday:”

And and fast forward to the 80’s for this pop hit, “Manic Monday:”

And while I didn’t see Steely Dan until a few years ago, just before Walter Becker died, they hadn’t lost a note – their instrumentation and vocals were spot-on.  So good:

Also included are a few songs that prominently feature days of the week throughout the song, with

“You May Be Right:”

“Friday night I crashed your party. 
Saturday I said ‘I’m sorry.’
Sunday came and trashed me out again…”

Off of “Glass Houses” that landed him his first No.1 hit with “It’s Still Rock & Roll To Me,” the song was a big hit in the 80’s:

“Lady Madonna”

“Friday night arrives without a suitcase
Sunday morning creeping like a nun
Monday’s child has learned to tie his bootlace
See how they run…”

I think John is having fun with nonsensical lyrics as he did in “I Am The Walrus,” to confound the students assigned by his former grade school teacher to interpret lyrics of Beatles songs:

“Happy Days”

“Sunday Monday happy days
Tuesday Wednesday happy days
Thursday Friday happy days
Saturday what a day
Rockin’ all week for you…”

Such a great show for it’s time:

So on to the playlist.  I think this is a fun one to listen to.  Enjoy!

I hope that this music and my blog truly serve as a “revival: a new presentation of something old,” a springboard to return to the music of your youth, or perhaps to find artists you want to discover anew.  Rediscover the passion of music in your life.

Live in the moment.

Enjoy the moment.

Love the moment.

Listen to the MUSIC!

Show Me The WAY & Which WAY Will You Go – “Way” Songs

On January 23, 1969, The Beatles recorded “Get Back,” featuring Billy Preston on keyboards.  It is the only Beatles song where a non-Beatle musician is given credit on the recording.  Billy Preston was highlighted in my October 15 blog post “Cover Me.”  A great sessions keyboardist, in addition to The Beatles, he played with the likes of Little Richard, Sam Cooke, Ray Charles, the Everly Brothers, the Rolling Stones, Eric Clapton, and George Harrison.  He also had hits with “Nothing From Nothing” and “With You I’m Born Again,” in addition to writing “You Are So Beautiful.”

Also on this day in 1971 George Harrison became the first Beatle with a No. 1 UK single, with “My Sweet Lord.”  I stumbled upon this great performance with Billy Preston on keyboards and vocals, Eric Clapton and George’s son Dhani on guitar, with Ringo and Paul playing along as well.  What a gem.

And on this day in 1988 Michael Jackson went to No. 1 on the US singles chart with “The Way You Make Me Feel,” which provides the theme for this week’s blog and playlist, songs featuring the word “Way.”  This playlist includes many great classic rock songs.

Some songs featured include:

Santana, performing “Evil Ways” at Woodstock in 1969:

“Can’t Find My Way Home” originally released in 1969 by Blind Faith, supergroup featuring Eric Clapton and Ginger Baker from Cream, and Steve Winwood of Spencer Davis Group and Traffic fame.  They only released one album, and this song stands as one of the finest rock balads of the 60s.  Clapton and Winwood are featured here performing some 40 years later, along with Derek Trucks, among the greatest slide guitarists in the world.  While Winwood is most renowned for his keyboard prowess, he is quite the accomplished guitarist as well.

Aerosmith’s “Walk This Way,” released in 1975, among their signature anthems, along with “Dream On” and “Sweet Emotion.”

“Show Me The Way” showcases Peter Frampton’s talk box skills in 1975.  While not the only artist to use the talk box, he was the most prolific, and perhaps the most skilled.  “Baby I Love Your Way” appears on the playlist as well.  Also check out “Do You Feel Like We Do,” perhaps the epitome of talk box guitar. 

Other artists have used the talk box effectively, most notably Joe Walsh, also appearing on this playlist with “Rocky Mountain Way” (1973), and David Gilmour (Pink Floyd) with “Pigs (Three Different Ones)”

“Feeling That Way” (1978), a look into the 70s, with long hair and bell bottoms, great vocals, harmonies, guitar, Journey in their groove…

Fast forward a few years, transitioning into the 80s with “Any Way You Want It” (1980)

And then fully transitioned into the 80s feel, look, and sound with “Separate Ways” (1983):

Appearing even more that the 3 Journey nods is Phil Collins, who appears to have found his way, despite his song title to the contrary with “Can’t Find My Way.” He also has 3 more solo entries including “That’s Just The Way It Is,” “Something Happened On The Way To Heaven,” and “Find A Way To My Heart” as well as a “pseudo” way entry with Genesis in “Throwing It All Away“. This is a powerful video of Phil’s:

Worthy covers of classic rock songs include Run DMC’s cover of Aerosmith’s “Walk This Way” released in 1986.

And Big Mountain’s cover of Frampton’s “Baby I Love Your Way” released in 1994.

“Just The Way It Is, Baby,” the Rembrants’ other big hit appears here.  Yes, they have other songs besides “I’ll Be There For You,” the theme song from the hit TV show “Friends.”  

From my country counterpart “Way” playlist, this song and video are too beautiful to keep from sharing.  Included are clips from the 1999 movie “Notting Hill” with Julia Roberts and Hugh Grant.

A good movie with a great soundtrack, it includes songs “She” by Elvis Costello, “Aint No Sunshine” by Bill Withers, “How Can You Mend A Broken Heart” by Al Green, “Gimme Some Lovin’” by The Spencer Davis Group, “No Matter What” by Boyzone, and “I Do (Cherish You)” by 98 Degrees, among others.

I’ll close the blog with the song I closed the playlist with, “The Way You Look Tonight” by Steve Tyrell.  For the longest time this version from “Father Of The Bride” of the classic song made famous by Frank Sinatra, but is now available on Spotify.  I love the raspiness of his voice, and it brings back memories of the scene from the movie I love so much, with Steve Martin looking at his newly married daughter, and then to his wife, to the lyrics of “Oh but you’re lovely, with your smile so warm and your cheeks so soft, there is nothing for me but to love you, just the way you look tonight,” it just melts my heart.

So I hope you enjoy the playlists.  To quote the Psychedelic Furs, I hope you “Love My WAY.”

I hope that this music and my blog truly serve as a “revival: a new presentation of something old,” a springboard to return to the music of your youth, or perhaps to find artists you want to discover anew.  Rediscover the passion of music in your life.

Live in the moment.

Enjoy the moment.

Love the moment.

Listen to the MUSIC!

Keep The FAITH – “Faith” Songs on Christmas Day!

On December 25, 1954 Bing Crosby’s “White Christmas” entered the Billboard Pop chart for the 11th time.  His rendition has sold over 100 million copies word wide.

It was the largest selling single in music history until it was surpassed by Elton John’s “Candle In The Wind 1997” tribute to Princess Diana.

On this day in 1995, actor, singer, and TV host Dean Martin died.  This song, made more famous by the movie “Moonstruck,” reminds me of many a Christmas dinner with my Italian family:

On the same day in 2008 actress, singer and cabaret star Eartha Kitt died.  In addition to being the first “Catwoman” opposite Adam West, she is perhaps best known for the Christmas song “Santa Baby”:

And on December 25, 2016 we lost George Michael.  First catapulted to fame with Wham, with songs like “Wake Me Up Before You Go Go,” “Everything She Wants,” “Heartbeat,” “Freedom,” “Credit Card Baby,” “Careless Whisper,” he then experienced significant solo success, including songs like “I Want Your Sex” and “Faith,” the latter the theme for today’s blog, songs with the word “Faith” in the title (by sheer coincidence, he is walking along side Elton John on the way to Princess Diana’s funeral in the “Candle In The Wind/Goodbye English Rose” video above).  George, though later coming out as gay, was a heartthrob to almost every girl in the ‘80s:

In a fashion fitting for Christmas, Trans Siberian Orchestra starts off the playlist with Faith Noel.

I wish everyone a Christmas season and year filled with peace, love, joy, and hope.

I hope that this music and my blog truly serve as a “revival: a new presentation of something old,” a springboard to return to the music of your youth, or perhaps to find artists you want to discover anew.  Rediscover the passion of music in your life.

Live in the moment.

Enjoy the moment.

Love the moment.

Listen to the MUSIC!

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