Happy New Year… If You Want It

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There’s an especially soul-searching song, which gets frequently aired and streamed during each year-ending holiday season; aptly titled Happy Xmas.

In the time it takes for a scant, human inhalation and exhalation, John Lennon, Yoko Ono and the teamed Harlem Community / Children’s Choirs present the problem and offer up the (conditional) solution; all neatly, lyrically summed up within these scant seven words:

“War is over if you want it.” [full lyrics here]

John Lennon / Yoko Ono • c1971

As we know, all too well… wars, are not necessarily of the literal “rockets red glare”, “bombs bursting in air”, shoot ‘em out variety.

In words and deeds, such confrontations wind up “duking it out” as shouting matches taking place on metaphorical battlefields, alas, regrettably of human-UN-kind’s own making.

Let’s briefly flush and flesh them out…

  • Microbially: Humanity v. Corona-V
  • Ideologically: Progressives v. MAGA Maniacs
  • Environmentally: Cool Ecologists v. Hot Headed Deniers
  • Socioeconomically: Dirt Poor Impoverished v. Obscenely Wealthy
  • Racially/Culturally: People of Color v. White Supremacysts (not a typo)

This distills down to… whether or not humanity gets conquered. Without a concerted cooperative spirit, We WILL lose that war; what few “survivors” that may still exist becoming an endangered species, heading towards extinction. However, the dismal doomsday scenario need not play out IF:

  • Microbially: We stop fighting each other; let science referee us.
  • Ideologically: We tell Trumpers to shove Fascism up their asses.
  • Environmentally: We all concur it’s high time to clean up our act.
  • Socioeconomically: We finally put an end to class war / casteism.
  • Racially/Culturally: We evaluate others only as being good or bad

If that’s not a sufficiently convincing presentation… doubters must ask themselves:

  • Microbially: Do you really want to be conquered by a mindless microbe?
  • Ideologically: Does a Fascist’s asphyxiating choke hold really turn you on?
  • Environmentally: Do you really wanna get blown away by freakish storms?
  • Socioeconomically: Who are you to deny any human being a decent life?
  • Racially/Culturally: Can you not grasp how, deep down, we’re all the same?

You may have noticed the liberal usage of the word We. That’s because We is Key to establishing the very cooperative spirit necessary to motivate people.

To encourage humanity to take that first baby step upon the high road to a grown-up, civil society.

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Stay Publicly / Properly Masked!
Stay Safe at Home!
Stay Healthy!

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Sighs: Not a Good Sign

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It’s rarely a good sign when any new day begins with a long sigh; nonetheless…

Long sigh…

What other reaction can there be, when this involves this multiple choice question:

“Where were you on __________?”

  • a. 11/22/1963
  • b. 04/04/1968
  • c. 12/08/1980
  • d. 09/11/2001
  • e. 01/06/2021

All five of those torn off calendar pages represent my own and untold others’ profound, undying sorrow. These points in time distill down to…

  • Assassins’ premature burials of John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King.
  • Anarchists’ (fortunately thwarted) attempts to bury liberty & democracy.
  • An Asshat “offing” John Lennon (how could anyone blow away a Beatle?)

The deep-sixing of Kennedy’s New Frontier and King’s Dream, in part, wound up establishing a societal upheaval and a spiritual void that, to this very day, make al-Qaeda and Proud Boys terrorist recruiters’ jobs much easier.

As for the resultant societal chaos, it’s safe to say that were Lennon here today, he’d be reacting in his own inimitable way, in real time; on both social media and (especially) in the recording studio. One can only imagine all the music world lost due to his tragic untimely death.

Yet another long sigh…

It was with heavy heart that mere hours ago, at daybreak, I threw the curtains open and took a seat at my piano; wound up playing a musical tribute to John (both his compositions and collaborations with McCartney); namely, Imagine, Penny Lane, Love and In My Life.

Throughout that brief musical interlude, I could not help but entertain the notion that cult leaders (such as Osama bin Laden and Donald J. Trump) would’ve been laughed / booed off the world stage had King, Kennedy and Lennon lived out their natural lifespans; been on hand to lead the raucous chorus of chortles, guffaws, catcalls and jeers.

My far from final, long sigh…

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Stay Publicly / Properly Masked!
Stay Safe at Home!
Stay Healthy!

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Unsung Hero (BlogCast)

02/11/21 Update: Throughout most of George Harrison’s career, he had been known as “The Quiet Beatle”. Seeing how his videos have been getting yanked from this BlogCast, how I’ve had to seek replacements to restore 3 out of the 4 clips below, he has certainly been living up to that reputation. My best advice to my listeners / readers is to click fast while they last…

Scant months after the spring 1970, Beatles disbandment, George Harrison released his solo album, All Things Must Pass, ATMP (on this very day, fifty years ago).

My local FM station’s late afternoon DJ, Jim Curtis, immediately opted to air it, in it’s entirety, and, upon my ear-witnessing that bygone broadcast, four things became abundantly clear:

  • John, Paul, George and Ringo, recording / performing, individually, could now offer their mourning fans four times the musical output; a consolation prize that was truly groovy (slang-wise and in the vinyl sense, too).
  • For far too long, songsmith Harrison’s talents had been underappreciated and inordinately eclipsed by the Lennon / McCartney songwriting team.
  • Had the Beatles continued recording together, all 18 of those ATMP tracks could’ve fit in, perfectly, on their albums. Alas, one can only imagine how John, Paul and Ringo’s instrumental and vocal interpretations would’ve enhanced / changed the final mix.
  • I needed to get this musical masterpiece into my life / record library, ASAP (and did so scant days later).

Upon spinning this album in its entirety, late last evening, I decided to blog about it on its golden anniversary; to feature, in Side 1 thru 4 numerical order, each lead off track. It’ll be up to you whether you listen to all four songs in their entirety OR choose just one or two, OR merely sample ’em, etc.

Seeing how Harrison’s songs amply speak for themselves, my commentary will be minimal.

I’d Have You Anytime

This Harrison / Dylan collaboration, at face value, serves as a let’s take our friendship to the next level appeal to that special someone. Yet, the lyrics could also be interpreted as George’s clever way of re-introducing himself; his own appeal to fans to accept him in his new soloist role.

What Is Life

Could this track be considered the sequel to Lennon / McCartney’s All You Need Is Love? The resounding chorus, “Tell me, what is my life without your love; Tell me, who am I without you, by my side” doth ring true.

Beware of Darkness

The couplet, “Watch out now, take care, beware of greedy leaders; They take you where you should not go”, admonishes average Janes and Joes to never empower ideologues who are little more than PTDs (Politically Transmitted Diseases).

I Dig Love

We get a glimpse of Harrison’s less serious side. His whimsical, lyrical reversal, “I Love Dig”, doth prove so Lennonesque, too. Obviously, George spending all those years with John served him well. Even better, this track ends this post on an upbeat, playful note.

If you’d like to track thru past BlogCasts, they’re all neatly archived within both my BlogCast and Music categories. Check ’em out at your convenience.

Stay Publicly Masked!
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Stay Healthy!

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It Was 80 Years Ago Today!

Musical Selection from George Harrison’s 1970, Triple Disc L.P. “All Things Must Pass”

I oft wish that that wretched prez, Richard M. Nixon, had had it his way; i.e., had successfully deported John Lennon. Say what?

Yeah, yeah, yeah, YEAH!

I mean, had John departed gun sick America and returned to the U.K. it’s highly unlikely he’d have ever crossed paths with his assassin back on December 8, 1980.

John might’ve even still been with us on this very day; his special day, October 9th, to be celebrating his 80th birthday, no doubt, in grand style.

My being one who believes in life, eternal, I know that as I type and as you read these words, Lennon has got to be having the time of his afterlife; standing center stage while plucking the strings of his electrified harp; perhaps even participating in an endless jam session with Jimi Hendrix, Chuck Berry and, naturally, his ex-bandmate, George Harrison (who, btw, is responsible for our above clip’s musical selection)!

Happy 80th John! Your music rocked our world; made it a far better, more joyous place to live in.

I’ll keep you in my thoughts come sundown, as I play “Imagine” on my keyboard; imagine all that could’ve been had that ill-fated, dark, December night never gone down.

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Build The Soundtrack To Survive The Pandemic

In younger days, I discovered a surefire Rx to chase away the blues / blahs / doldrums / emotional storm clouds… whatever ya wanna call ‘em. And no, I’m not talking about OTC meds / controlled substances / illicit street drugs… whatever ya wanna call ‘em.

Of course, lyrically speaking, John Lennon and Paul McCartney euphemistically called ‘em “friends” while Keith Richards and Mick Jagger opted for “little helpers”… but… lest I dig myself too deeply into the pit of digression… allow me to refocus…

What my “drugs” of choice actually involve are musical selections, which contain as many of the following active ingredients as possible: [1] whimsical or meaningful lyrics [2] compelling arrangements, [3] intricate chord progressions, [4] shifting key signatures.

Well… we’re in luck! The Welsh/Brit band Badfinger’s, Carry On Till Tomorrow has all four bases covered. They recorded it back in 1970, under the auspices of producer Sir Paul McCartney, no less! And song composers Tom Evans and Pete Ham’s minor chords, notwithstanding, their guitar driven musical arrangement, interwoven with lyrical rays of hope, drive it all home. Oh, btw, of the Four Stanzas my fave is the 3rd… but more about that in a moment.

Granted, my affinity for Carry On is not without good reason. I first heard it over my staticky FM car radio’s tinny speakers on Friday 11/09/1973, right after my early a.m. spin-out on an icy freeway overpass… one where I had narrowly averted a head-on collision with a semi-tractor-trailer. Winding up with nary a scratch on my body, my Chevy Nova’s body and any of the other motorists’ corporeal or vehicular bodies… well… to this very day… I still believe everyone’s unscathed condition had involved a miracle. I must’ve had an unseen co-pilot tug at my panic frozen hands… just in the nick of time… to steer everyone out of harm’s way. By the by, to date, this has been the closest I’ve ever come to death.

Just as I was drifting back into the slow flow of traffic on this stormy day, Carry On Till Tomorrow was carrying on, against the backdrop of the rising sun, breaking through the overcast and transforming the adjacent, freeway shoulders’ thigh high weeds into golden fields. WOW! In real time and nearly on cue, I was living out the 3rd stanza’s lyrics… check ’em out and try not to ditto my “WOW!”

“Drifting on the wings of freedom, leave this stormy day
And we’ll ride to tomorrow’s golden fields
For my life’s too short for waiting when I see the rising sun
Then I know again that I must carry on”

While the music continued melding with the meteorology, I offered, upward, my undying gratitude for all the tomorrows I was certain that (t)his miracle had just granted me.

My listening to this track, anew, earlier today, has reminded me of my long ago spiritual experience. Carry On Till Tomorrow is far more than a Tom Evans / Pete Ham song title. Even sans the miracle, this composition can stand alone as a motivational selection. I mean, the words “carry on” are right in the song title and get sung nearly 30 times… in just under 5 minutes.

I’ve now, officially, added this anthem to my playlist, which I’ve dubbed: The Soundtrack To Survive the Pandemic. Even if you’re not into tunes originating from this dinosaur’s musical epoch, don’t dismiss the overall concept. I highly recommend that you track down whatever anthems mean the most to you and create your own, unique version of The Soundtrack To Survive the Pandemic. Rallying around such music can be your morale booster. My version certainly is a mood elevator!

Danny McEvoy’s 03/31/2015 following cover will breathe new life into this rock classic, advance composers Tom Evans and Pete Ham’s half century old masterpiece into the new millennium and end this post… save to say…

Stay Safe – Stay Home – Stay Healthy… and Carry On Till Tomorrow… and Tomorrow… and Tomorrow… and Tomorrow… and Tomorrow… and Tomorrow… and Tomorrow… and Tomorrow… and Tomorrow… and Tomorrow… et cetera…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Holiday Music That Could End the War of Notions / Nations

To view this clip… adorned with dazzling human diversity… to listen to Choir! Choir! Choir!’s full-bodied voices raised in pitch perfect, joyous harmony… can make believers of us all.

To say the least, with messengers such as these fine folks… and all who are destined to travel upon their same path… John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s Happy Xmas (War Is Over) message of hope will continue reverberating planet-wide… on and on and on… into eternity.

Be you a December holiday celebrant or not, may Lennon and Ono’s dream for a better world and better tomorrows be yours.

 

 

 

 

 

Hear Today (and Forevermore)… Vid(s) of the Day

 

The invention of gun powder and inhalation of nicotine…

Imagine that!

Deadly chemical compounds aided and abetted the Grim Reaper in his undying quest to prematurely rob music lovers… spanning cultures, ideologies, generations and geopolitical boundaries… of two of the most accomplished and acclaimed singers / songwriters / instrumentalists, who ever breathed in the oxygen.

Our lead Vid of the Day features YouTuber Paola Quezada’s visual montage tribute to John Lennon and George Harrison. As most of us already know, Lennon was shot to death by a mentally disturbed “fan” in NYC 39 December 8’s ago AND Harrison likely smoked himself into a November 29, 2001 early grave. The music accompanying the pix, of course, is none other than Harrison’s tribute to John… All Those Years Ago

Bonus Vid of the Day…

No tribute to Lennon would be complete sans YouTuber Jarle’s photo montage set to Paul McCartney’s musical memorial service for John, titled: Here Today

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mr Suburbia’s Existence (Sunday Song Series)

Our Sunday Song Series, week #58, featured recording artists are a band of English indie rockers, known as the Kaiser Chiefs. Today, within the context of their composition Sunday Morning, they’ll be lyrically portraying the tedious, so-called life of Mr. Suburbia. Check out this sample couplet…

What I do is not life and death
By Sunday I’ve got nothing left

Hmm… seeing how Mr. S is apparently bogged down by a going-nowhere-fast / life-is-a-drag existence, he does sound a bit like John Lennon’s lyrical Nowhere Man. Might the two song characters be genetically and/or occupationally related?

To digress briefly… it is odd (tragic, too) how “fast” and “drag” are both applicable words in describing each man’s lot.

Anyway… you can read more about our featured musicians and their music over at Wikipedia.

Thank you for stopping by for a listen. You’re all invited back for our next venture into Sunday titled songs… seven days from now. Till then, I wish you all an immensely enjoyable, full life in the week ahead… and beyond…

 

 

 

 

 

 

Imagine Lennon at Age 78 ~ Vid of the Day (10/16/19)

Within storytellers Jack Barth and Richard Curtis’ Yesterday world, to 99.9999% of all Earthlings, the Beatles never even existed. One of the few storyline exceptions, is their protagonist, the struggling for success singer / songwriter / guitarist Jack Malik (actor Himesh Patel).

Our Vid of the Day showcases one of my favorite scenes, where Jack seeks out and finds John Lennon (actor Robert Carlyle). Obviously, within this alternate reality setting, Lennon had never been famous, ergo, he’d never been shot to death by a deranged fan.

ASIDE: Within my own yesterday world (12-08-1980), I’d been bowled over by a stampeding rhinovirus… had been barely awake while watching Monday Night Football with my dad. Oh, how I wish TV sportscaster Howard Cosell’s News Flash re the Lennon assassination had only been a feverish, delirium induced nightmare. But, to get back to Yesterday, i.e., the film…

It’s how Carlyle’s Lennon captures the real Lennon’s persona, his wit and wisdom, which breathes believability and life into this scene’s conversation, one where John offers Jack the following sage counsel…

“You want a good life? It’s not complicated. Tell the girl you love
that you love her. And tell the truth to everyone, whenever you can.”

I could never top this, save to say, I’d have been more gender inclusive…

“You want a good life? It’s not complicated.” Profess your love to
the one you love. “And tell the truth to everyone, whenever you can.”

 

 

 

 

 

When Will Dreamers’ Dreams Come True? (Vid of the Day)

Imagine has got to be one of the most powerful and empowering pleas for world peace and unity since Dr. Martin Luther King’s I Have a Dream speech. Our above clip helps visualize Yoko Ono and John Lennon’s message… King’s too!

On a more musical note, Lennon’s rationale for recording Imagine in the C-Major key signature, had to have been intentional. What better way to make it more player friendly for cover musicians?* After all, the more performers, the better the odds at spreading a message that’s so instrumental to humanity’s survival.

So easy to play… so easy to sing… so easy to comprehend sentiments!

What’s not so easy is getting all seven plus billion Earthly souls to wake up and team up… to make Ono / Lennon’s lyrical and King’s oratorical dreams come true.

 

 

* TESTIMONIAL: As a keyboard novice, I managed to master Imagine quite quickly… with nary a glimpse at any sheet music.