BlogCast: Tom’s Top 20 Countdown “2” Christmas: Song 18

 

My timing is no accident. I cannot think of a more appropriate moment for a playback of Maroon 5’s fine cover of the John Lennon composition: Happy Xmas (War is Over). After all… it was on this very day, back in 1980, that a stalker / assassin opened fire to slaughter the totally unsuspecting Lennon.

One thing was certain… that year, there’d be no Happy Xmas for Lennon’s family, friends and fans. And when we consider how such a freethinker… a mega talented vocalist, lyricist, musician had been so abruptly, tragically silenced, well…

It’s safe to say that there are still millions of us, who loved all the good he stood for… who have yet to fully recover from our decades-old communal mourning.

I know I haven’t… my eyes did well up, briefly, a couple of times this day… first while playing “Imagine” on my piano at dawn and, later on, in the typing of this blog. Folks, it’s just that my memories of learning of John’s death still play out so vividly in my mind. Long sigh… moving on…

Lennon’s key Happy Xmas lyric, here, does remind us that “War is over if you want it”… yet… even though so many of us do want all war to end… the powers-that-be who are supposed to represent our wishes refuse to do so. The no-win war on terror rages on and on… and… ever since Inauguration Day ’17… the entire world has become threatened… more than ever before… by the prospects of nuclear war… i.e., because two bellicose, crybaby so-called leaders cannot manage to scrape up two sane braincells (between them) to rub together.

I could go on, but will reserve any further commentary for another blog… another day. Hopefully we’ll all survive long enough to witness its arrival.

For the moment, let’s focus more upon some fun, feel good stuff re the above vid. Particularly noteworthy is spotting America’s last, truly legitimate President of the United States, Barack Obama, seated in the audience along with his lovely family.

No Christmas would be complete without giving a listen to John Lennon’s original version of Happy Xmas (War is Over). And for any of you who’ll be attending parties and would like to try singing along, check out this Karaoke arrangement.

I invite you to stay with me throughout this entire holiday season. My plan is to get as many of us into the holiday spirit as is possible. Towards that future, I’ll continue presenting faves from my Christmas music library… classics all… counting ‘em down one-a-day… from now until the 25th. You can expect some of my future tracks to contain spiritual content and social commentary… others will be secular. And yes… a few will even be downright silly.

 

Till the next time we meet… let me echo Mr. Lennon’s lyrical sentiments as I… as we… wish you all…

 

A very Merry Christmas
And a happy new year
Let’s hope it’s a good one
Without any fear!

Hope you’ll be stopping by, daily, to hear out my entire

Top 20 Countdown “2” Christmas,

as well as give a listen to my regular monthly BlogCast,

slated for Sunday, December 24, 2017.

 

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

If you 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.

 

 

The New “Ballad” of John and Yoko… Imagine That!

 

Preface…

Over the course of the past four plus decades, we’ve been hearing how the musical output from John Lennon and Paul McCartney, inarguably one of songwriting history’s most prolific teams, did not always involve 50/50 contributions to each and every finished composition.

Over the course of the past several days, we’re now finding out how the late Lennon’s widow, Yoko Ono, had made significant contributions to the classic rock song, Imagine… that she’s finally getting credit where credit is due… where credit has been long overdue. Oh, btw, that’s the way John had eventually realized it should be.

Their story has inspired my tribute to both of them… as follows…

 

 

The New “Ballad” of John and Yoko

 

 

So long, long ago; many scores, many years

John and Yoko, united, explored new frontiers

Noteworthy notions sprung forth from these two balladeers

The world they imagined spanned all hemispheres

 

In our world bankrupt of ethics; in deep, deep arrears

Ono, Lennon, faced down the facades and veneers

Confronted flawed biases, unfounded fears

Their sequenced bass, treble dots still, indeed, please our ears

 

Ideas beautiful, brainy, fleshed out their careers

Ideals heartfelt and heady, meshed like cogs of two gears

They transcended space/time, it strongly appears

Their shared vision enlightens, endures and endears

 

Yoko Ono, John Lennon, can be called pioneers

Imagine, their song, evokes tears, on two tiers

Their apt message and melody sure perseveres

To REALLY listen to them, could, too, make them two seers

 

 

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

 

Wishing For A Merry Christmas

On this special day, I wish all who are celebrating the healthiest, happiest Christmas possible.

In many areas of our troubled world, such a wish can be a tall order considering all the serious work that has yet to be done towards that end beginning.

I now yield my blog podium over to the following recording artists and videographers who’ll add their commentary to mine.

 

Perry Como ~ Christmas Dream

John Lennon & Yoko Ono ~ Happy Xmas (War is Over)

(Be sure not to miss the Mahatma Gandhi quotation as the video ends)

Mannheim Steamroller ~ Stille Nacht

 

 

 

99 Word Blog (#041) Ikatyas & Ifal Imagine Lennon’s World

 

On this fifteenth anniversary of 9/11, it’s tough to imagine a more unifying message than John Lennon’s Imagine… hard to imagine better messengers than Ikatyas & Ifal.

Accompanying songstress Ikatyas and guitarist Ifal… playing out like an unseen second instrument… is their palpable, heartwarming feeling of love. Their very visages contemporize and amplify Lennon’s sentiments… build strongly upon his rock solid cornerstone.

My interpretation… hopefully yours, too…

We must not prejudge everybody based on the bad actions of a few. Whenever folks act badly, it’s up to society to act humanely… if humanly possible help such troubled people reform.

 

Four-Play (Week #12) A Salute To 71

 

Welcome to my twelfth Internet Blogcast. This week’s program could also be subtitled “Senior Moments”… a nod to the facts that my four featured tracks were transcending the musical charts’ stratosphere during my high school senior year… AND that, at present, I’m considered (by our ageist society) to be a senior citizen.

For you hippies who just happened to be stumbling down life’s highway along with me… oh… say… c1971… this music will stir a few fond where-were-you-when moments… perhaps the lyrics / stringed instruments might even tug a heartstring or two?

For those who are younger (perhaps hippie wannabes?)… be adventurous and give these classics a listen anyway… they really are that good!

Turning now to routine Blogcast housekeeping duties…

Beneath the applicable song titles, below, you’ll find links to three must see / must hear cover versions.

And while we’re on the subject… I’ve gotta give a shout out to the talented YouTube videographers and performers… the sensory stirring sights and sounds you bring to my Blogcast are akin to the cosmic Big Bang redux.

For any of my listeners who may’ve missed previous shows and/or would like to hear encore performances they’re all neatly archived in my music category.

Well, at this point, here’s where I’d usually say…

“Blog response will be akin to Arbitron / Nielsen “radio ratings”… so… if you’ve enjoyed what you’ve heard, click that “Like” Star. Of course, comments are always welcome, too!”

However… since my ratings, to date, do not warrant my continuing, meet me back here… same time… same “station”… for my last Blogcast… you never can tell what you’ll be hearing seven days from now.

Long sigh… that’s about all I’ve got. Since the music speaks for itself… that’s my cue to shut up and deliver the goods…

Who ~ Behind Blue Eyes

Cover Performed by Grace Doty

Moody Blues ~ The Story In Your Eyes

Led Zeppelin ~ Stairway To Heaven

Cover Performed by Jess Greenberg

Cover Performed by Chloé

John Lennon ~ Imagine