BlogCast: Tom’s Top 20 Countdown “2” Christmas: Song 4

Throughout 2017… as has been the case from time immemorial… too many of the good people of our world have been and still are being treated badly. And if there never, before, was a more perfect example of an understatement, you’ve just finished reading it.

As a human being and a humane blogger, who hardly ever holds his political and social commentary “cards” close to his chest… hardly ever pastes on a “poker face”… rather than giving into the temptation to elaborate further re our world in turmoil… in this rare instance, I’ll be “folding”. Even more amazingly… I’ll even be attempting to turn my frown upside down. So, just what is it that just might get me… hopefully you, too… smiling?

Today’s BlogCast feature track… that good ol’, hold nothing back, feel good, sing-along, toe-tapping, hand clapping music… namely… Chicago’s performance of Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree.

The only thing “bad” about this track is its too short runtime. But that problem can easily be overcome.

Since one can never smile too much, I’m also providing you… my listeners / readers… the opportunity to keep (y)our mood soaring and flying high. How so?

By following the links and giving a listen to five other recording artists who’ve turned in some great performances. Listen to one or to ‘em all… that’s for you to decide. Personally, I’ll be running down the entire…

 

Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree Menu

Brenda Lee (B.L. was the original vocalist to commit this tune to vinyl)
LeAnn Rimes (Country Music Superstar turns in her fine rendition)
Brian Setzer Orchestra (Ex Stray Cats rocker turned Big Band Cool Cat)
Fab Forever (Beatles Tribute Band performs their I Saw Her Standing There mashup)
Fab Four (Beatles Tribute Band performs their Got To Get You Into My Life mashup)

BONUS TRACK (A Feel Good Non-Holiday Tune)

Sir Paul McCartney (P.M.’s Got To Get You Into My Life, KICK ASS LIVE Performance)

 

I now thank you for your listenership and cordially invite you back for the remainder of my Top 20 Countdown “2” Christmas… where I’ll be presenting select holiday classics… one-a-day… from now until we reach #1 on the 25th.

You’re also cordially invited to click back here for my regular monthly BlogCast… one that typically features anywhere from 3 to 5 songs that, when segued, transform everything into an appealing theme… this program slated to hit the www “airwaves” on Sunday, December 24, 2017.

Till next time…

 

Keep on Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree!

Or anywhere else you may opt to Partay!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

 

FYI, my past musical presentations are archived within my BlogCast and music categories.

If you’ve enjoyed this post, don’t forget to like, follow, share and comment.

 

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November BlogCast ~ Feast Your Ears on 5 Fab-4 Covers!

Welcome to my Thanksgiving Day BlogCast. My thanks to The Northmen for their too brief rendition / arrangement of Over the River and Through the Woods. Now, admittedly, while I am musically knowledgeable, finding other tunes tailor-made for this American holiday did prove to be a bit of a challenge. I realized that I was rapidly getting lost… deep in “those woods” as it were… and would need to come up with a new BlogCast theme.

So, free associating my thoughts wound up going along these lines…

Hmmm… Thanksgiving… what am I thankful for? Well I am thankful to my late, loving parents for having gone into debt to purchase a piano and pay for my music lessons and… hmmm… I am thankful that I had been born at just the right time to have eye and ear witnessed the birth of the Beatles and… hmmm… that band did provide the soundtrack to nearly my entire life and… hmmm… I do include dozens of Beatles songs in my keyboard repertoire and… well… that’s when everything suddenly fell into place!

Why not devote my entire monthly show to the Fab Four? However…

I then realized that this, too, could prove problematic. You see, mainly due to copyright issues, Beatles videos are too frequently yanked from YouTube. Yet, not being one to give up easily, I did find a cool way to circumvent this issue… namely… feature both big name and not so famous musicians’ superb covers of Beatles tracks.

About the only other comment I can add, here, is that the songwriting genius of John Lennon, Paul McCartney and George Harrison, as presented below, is not only timeless, it also leaves their compositions wide open to interpretation by a diverse community of musicians… all of which you will notice immediately as you click onto each of those play buttons.

So… the time has arrived to feast your ears and eyes on these music videos and have a Happy Turkey Day!

 

Stevie Wonder ~ We Can Work It Out

(Oh, BTW… Paul McCartney is in the audience)

Annarin ~ Revolution

Amy Winehouse ~ All My Lovin’

Santana ~ While My Guitar Gently Weeps

Phil Collins / George Martin ~ Golden Slumbers / Carry That Weight / The End

 

If you LIKE what you heard here this day, click back here for my next BlogCast on Sunday, December 24, 2017.

Past programs are archived in my BlogCast and Music categories.

 

 

Tracking Down ALL The Beatles’ Studio Tracks

Lately, this 63-year-young, Beatles fan has been riding incredibly high upon a massive wave of feel good nostalgia… fueled, in part, by the fanfare surrounding the 50-year anniversary of the release of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.

However, in order to get to the root cause of my deep-seated feelings, we’d need to turn back the hands of time a bit further… to be exact… to arrive in my living room on Sunday, February 9, 1964, 8 p.m.

It had been at that merger of space/time, where/when I had been 1 amongst 73 million viewers in TV land tuned into the Ed Sullivan Show.

“Yeah! Yeah! Yeah!” That’s the night where the Fab Four had begun to weave their unique, brilliant British sound into the drab fabric of America’s formulaic, pop music scene… forever changing it for the better. Their first set opened with All My Lovin’… followed by Till There Was You and She Loves You. Their second set closed out that historic broadcast with I Saw Her Standing There and I Want To Hold Your Hand.

For this then 9-year-young lad, the Beatles could not have made the scene at a better time. After all, only a scant eleven weeks (+ some temporal “change”) had passed since the assassination of President, John F. Kennedy and we Americans were still deep in mourning… continued to feel haunted by November 22, 1963’s raw TV news coverage… all of that ghastly black and white imagery bleeding out from our TV screens… figuratively staining our living room carpets and searing sorrow into our gray matter.

But being ear-witnesses to John, Paul, George and Ringo’s upbeat, feel good music sure as hell had helped us with our healing process.

Now, to get back to Sgt. Pepper’s 50th anniversary and how I celebrated…

Somehow… just playing back that one, particular album didn’t seem to go far enough. Instead, I wound up tracking through, start to finish, the Fab Four’s full discography… the one, which encompasses the totality of their incredible studio output. If one opted to binge listen, that’d clock out at approximately 10 hours. I have done that before… but… this time around, I chose to spend a week to savor everything a bit more.

Now, if you don’t own this collection and would like to, the data I’m providing, below, will help you immensely. “Yeah! Yeah! Yeah!” I know it’s an old fashioned notion to actually own physical copies of anything… BUT… in an era fraught with talk about looming government censorship… well… need I say more?

My search to secure these precious albums began and ended in 1990. I had gotten into the CD revolution rather late in the game, but, once in the thick of things, I made it my top priority to assemble the Beatles’ complete body of work. At that juncture, the record stores (remember those?) were stocking the Fab Four’s CD’s, as presented in their U.K. released format, which was (still is) totally cool with me.

I’ve always felt that recording artists should maintain complete, creative control over presenting music in the order they see fit. In other words, not entrust that task to corporate bean counters, who don’t see the notes on the treble and bass clefs… only the dollar signs on their spreadsheets. And… to be sure… during the Beatles’ early years, stateside, Capitol Records had opted to carve up and repackage the Fab Four’s UK albums… resulting in play lists that would not necessarily have amused JPG&R. But I digress…

The following discography features all 13 of the Beatles’ UK released CDs, listed by catalogue number along with a linked album title (which will provide you a wealth of data re the musical content plus historical fun facts).

The 14th and 15th entries are for CDs that include songs, which had been originally been released as 45s, EPs… etc. The liner notes from both of these Past Masters compendia will further clarify…

“If you have the other 13 CDs, and these two, you have everything that the Beatles, the most successful artists in the history of recorded sound, commercially issued during their remarkable reign.”

Well… almost everything… re the 16th and 17th entries on my list, this data will help you find the two songs where Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr had laid down their tracks… added their talent to that of the late John Lennon’s solo work… resulting in the first two “new” Beatles songs released in 25 years: Free As A Bird and Real Love.

 

01 ~ CDP7 46435 2 ~ Please Please Me

02 ~ CDP7 46436 2 ~ With The Beatles

03 ~ CDP7 46437 2 ~ A Hard Day’s Night

04 ~ CDP7 46438 2 ~ Beatles For Sale

05 ~ CDP7 46439 2 ~ Help!

06 ~ CDP7 46440 2 ~ Rubber Soul

07 ~ CDP7 46441 2 ~ Revolver

08 ~ CDP7 46442 2 ~ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band

09 ~ CDP7 48062 2 ~ Magical Mystery Tour

10 ~ CDP7 46443 2 & CDP7 46444 2 The Beatles (a.k.a. The White Album) Disc 1 & 2

11 ~ CDP7 46445 2 ~ Yellow Submarine

12 ~ CDP7 46446 2 ~ Abbey Road

13 ~ CDP7 46447 2 ~ Let It Be

14 ~ CDP7 90043 2 ~ Past Masters Volume One

15 ~ CDP7 90044 2 ~ Past Masters Volume Two

 

16 ~ CDP 7243 8 34445 2 ~ Anthology Volume 1

17 ~ C2 7243 8 58544 2 2 ~ Real Love

 

June Blogcast ~ “Horny” Music

 

A key element in the success of any recording artist is in the divining and defining of one’s “sound”… i.e. developing a “sound”, which is so distinctive that, even if… oh… say… an on-the-air or club DJ were to fail to announce a band by name, nearly everyone could instantly identify it upon hearing only the song’s opening notes.

Undoubtedly, the trailblazing Beatles’ album, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band1… with it’s opening, horn section enhanced title track… had inspired other musicians to be as musically adventurous as they had been… in this case… to go onward to fearlessly front the brassy bands from that same 60s and 70s epoch… e.g. Chicago, Blood, Sweat & Tears, Ides of March and Lighthouse.

On a technical note, YouTube advertisements frequently ruin my segues… but if you’re sufficiently adventurous and resolute… i.e., (time permitting) track through these selections more than once… there may be occasions when they’ll play minus the commercials. At the risk of “tooting my own horn”, that Chicago and BS&T segue… in particular… really does sound fabulous. If you luck out and time it out right, you can simultaneously play… mix together… these two tracks’ concluding and opening crescendos.

And that having been said… the time has arrived for me to clam up and allow these four bands to amply speak for themselves… little doubt… after a few words from our sponsors…

 

Chicago ~ Make Me Smile

Blood, Sweat & Tears ~ Spinning Wheel

Ides of March ~ Vehicle

Lighthouse ~ Pretty Lady

If you like what you heard on this day, I invite you back to give a listen to my next BlogCast… slated to hit the www on Saturday, July 1, 2017.

If you’d like to experience past BlogCasts, they are neatly filed away within my BlogCast and Music Categories.

 

 

 

1Released in the UK 50 years ago on May 26, 1967 and in the U.S. on June 1, 1967

Six (or less) Degrees of Separation

To brag in a blog? Ugh, that’s neither my style nor intent. I only risk being perceived that way to illustrate my point. That duly noted, let’s get this blog rollin’.

I’ve recently reached that contemplative stage in my life… i.e., have become keenly aware that the temporal road behind me is far longer than what lays ahead.

Lately, my mood can best be described as that “feeling of insignificance in our universe”. Well… that is until this morning when I clicked onto a thought provoking post authored by a talented, WordPress writer, whom I follow and who follows me.

To summarize her blog, she spoke of the Six Degrees of Separation… how, this past November, she had become (justifiably) thrilled by the realization she’d just met a person who had met rock ‘n’ roll legend, Paul McCartney… i.e., she’s One Degree of Separation from having met Sir Paul.

Had she blogged further on this subject, I’m certain she’d have also mentioned that, via Two, Three (and more) Degrees of Separation, she has also met the thousands of musicians and celebrities who McCartney has met ever since his early Beatles days.

This got me to thinking. Could lil’ ol’ lowly me ever make a similar claim?

Turns out I can. Eighteen long springs ago, after I had mailed a sample of my humorous writing to the NYC based, CBS TV program, Late Show with David Letterman… I wound up conversing with one of that talk show’s writers (he had actually phoned me). That means there’s One Degree of Separation from my having met Letterman… and Two Degrees of Separation from my having met the nearly 20,000 celebs and musicians who had appeared on Dave’s show during his 33 year long reign as Late Night / Late Show host.

And since 1 of Letterman’s 20,000 guests was Paul McCartney… well… this means I’ve also met my new blogging friend, whom I cannot thank enough.1 She helped remind me that, indirectly, humankind is all interconnected. Even though the saying, “What a small world” does come to mind, we are all still part of something much bigger and that does help me put my “feeling of insignificance” into a more proper perspective.

 

1Five Degrees of Separation… if I’ve calculated correctly.

 

 

I Want To Hold Your Hand

 

One of my fondest, most cherished moments (from my much younger days) centers on the elation I felt when I had held hands with a girl for the very first time. What had made everything so extra special was Cynthia and I had reached out to one another at the exact, same moment in time… leaving little doubt in our minds that our budding affection for one another was genuine and mutual.

Genuine and mutual. Within interpersonal relationships, it does not get much better than that. This is simply the way it is supposed to be. To bring everything up to date / up to speed, such feelings are what make the entire LGBTQ and Heterosexual world go round.

Even so, there’d appear to be a distinct deficit of genuine and mutual affection regarding one particular couple, Donald and his third wife, Melania.

While, at this juncture, I would not even hazard a guess as to what feelings she does (or does not) harbor for her husband… it is, indeed, revealing that, during their May 2017 Middle East sojourn, she has totally and repeatedly rebuffed his attempts to hold her hand in public.

Perhaps, this casts a different light upon their relationship? Might the reason for her continuing to reside in NYC rather than moving to DC transcend the official account… namely, they’re trying to prevent an interruption in their 11-year-old son Baron’s schooling?

Now, as for Donald’s feelings for his wife? First impressions would be that he has none to give and is a sexist pig, to boot. Folks, it’s not much of a stretch to say so… especially considering that infamous, 2005 Access Hollywood video, which exposed that deplorable, bus ride bull session… one where Donald boasted to Billy Bush how he abuses and objectifies women.

Only decorum prevents my providing a link to a transcript or the actual vid. But, for the benefit of the seven people out of seven billion who are still unfamiliar with the more graphic content, let’s just say that Donald’s concept of an “ideal” first contact with a woman involves touching… in his case… grabbing… which far, Far, FAR exceeds holding hands.

If such braggadocio is consistent to that control freak’s actual behavior, would it be going out on a limb to compare his concept of marriage to… oh… say… a business transaction with a “Stepford Wife” / “trophy wife”… a silent, business partner? Would we even be shocked to learn he may even be sweetening the deal, lucratively… i.e. provided wife number 3 agrees to the terms of their contract and not divorce him for another 4 to 8 years? After all, to be appealing to his Bible thumping, archconservative base, he must always appear to be a happily married, family man… right?

Under such circumstances, Melania would be living existing within a loveless, strained relationship and not wanting to hold hands with him would be a totally appropriate, consistent to her values reaction. Might there even be a few contractual terms (naturally, in fine print), which say she’s not obligated to engage in any public displays of affection?

Of course, she’d need to take other practicalities into account, too… public health safety issues for one. Look at it from her POV. Would you even want to hold his small hand when you have no idea of what, exactly, it may’ve been holding mere moments ago?

Lessons From Kent State University

For anyone old enough to have lived through the turbulent 1960s and 70s, the Kent State massacre was one of American History’s darkest, most tragic, “where were you when” moments.

For me, that “when” was early evening on this very day, May 4, 1970. That’s when, as a 16-year-young high school sophomore, I first became aware of how 29 American soldiers (members of the Ohio National Guard) had fired off approximately 67 rounds in the short span of one minute (or less) to kill 4 American students and wound 9 others.

That death toll and casualty list had been the end result of a demonstration by Kent State University college students pissed off by President Richard M. Nixon’s escalation of the Vietnam War… i.e., his invasion of neighboring Cambodia. It was during their antiwar rally that things got ugly… protestors wound up setting fire to the campus’ ROTC building and repeatedly pegging rocks at the armed troops.

Basically, what we had here was the troops overreacting… using bullets to defend themselves against stones and assessing a higher value to that charred real estate than to their own compatriots’ precious lives.

It’d be hard not to conclude that the very presence of these troops had needlessly escalated an already overly tense situation. Even Nixon’s own President’s Commission on Campus Unrest concluded (and I concur MOST EMPHATICALLY)

“The indiscriminate firing of rifles into a crowd of students and the deaths that followed were unnecessary, unwarranted, and inexcusable.”

Students suspected of arson and assault could’ve later been arrested, charged, arraigned, tried and, if found guilty, been duly punished. In a situation such as this, troops are NEVER supposed to act in the roles of judges, juries and executioners!

Also worthy of mention is that both warring factions on this Kent State campus battlefield could’ve benefited immensely from the following wisdom.

William Shakespeare’s “Henry IV” character, Fallstaff, said…

“The better part of Valour, is Discretion; in the which better part, I haue saued my life” (oft paraphrased… “Discretion is the better part of valor.”)

Sun Tzu, author of “Art of War” opined along similar lines, thusly…

“The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting” and “The greatest victory is that which requires no battle.”

The sagaciousness of some superb song composers also comes to mind…

Check out a couple of lyrical couplets…

From Stephen Stills’ “For What It’s Worth”

“There’s battle lines being drawn,

Nobody’s right if everybody’s wrong.”

From John Lennon/Paul McCartney’s “Revolution”

“But when you talk about destruction…

Don’t you know that you can count me out.”

Were not all of the above wordsmiths emphasizing the need for orderly conduct by all parties involved in any dispute… were they not all on the same page as the U.S. Constitution’s 1st Amendment (note the qualifying word, “peaceably”)?

“Congress shall make no law… abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

Fast forwarding to our troubled present-day world… political and social unrest has only grown worse… especially since the installation of #45.

Now, more than ever, all protest movements must always be conducted peaceably. Nobody should ever give that Oval Office entity even the slightest excuse to overreact… to roll out the tanks… to order Americans troops to open fire on American citizens in a way that is equal to… or exceeds the actions taken by the Ohio National Guard in Kent State…

On this very day… May 4, 1970.