What album would you choose? — Writing from the Heart with Brian

Want a distraction from all the crappy headlines of the day?

I ran across this post by Brian that posed a very interesting question. While this isn’t the first time I’ve heard it, it’s the first time I actually decided on an answer, which I posted in his comments. Spend a little time ruminating on it, and let him know what you think. Thanks for the diversion, Brian, I enjoyed it. Larry

The winds coming off the Pacific Ocean gently rustle the leaves of a nearby tree and mix with the sound of the waves hitting the shoreline to create a relaxing symphony of sounds. I could easily fall asleep thinking of the image, but a perplexing question has taken over my thoughts. I can’t stop thinking […]

What album would you choose? — Writing from the Heart with Brian

A Great Time to Rock

Like many people, I got introduced to the rock band Pink Floyd through their album, The Dark Side of the Moon.

Produced by the brilliant Alan Parsons, this is their masterpiece; every track, a standout. Insightful and incisive lyrics by Roger Waters (who since became one of my favorite songwriters), guitarist David Gilmour’s superb vocals, and flawless playing by the whole band from beginning to end. It remains a classic.

And, needless to say, it sold. It spent an astonishing fifteen years on the Billboard Top 200 album chart.

And (brace yourselves, Boomers) this year will mark the 50-year anniversary of its release.

I know, right? O…M…G!

But wait, there’s more.

In 1973, I was just becoming a serious rock and roll aficionado. I mean, I’d heard some before then, but wasn’t really a devoted follower yet. But all that changed in ’73.

And I think a big reason for that is all the great music that came out that year. Here are just a few albums, besides Dark Side, turning 50 in 2023:

Billion Dollar Babies, Alice Cooper; The Captain and Me, The Doobie Brothers; Brothers and Sisters, The Allman Brothers Band; The Smoker You Drink, the Player You Get, Joe Walsh; Don’t Shoot Me, I’m Only the Piano Player and Goodbye, Yellow Brick Road, Elton John; Innervisions, Stevie Wonder; Desperado, Eagles; Piano Man, Billy Joel; Houses of the Holy, Led Zeppelin; Tres Hombres, ZZ Top; Band On the Run, Paul McCartney and Wings; Full Sail, Loggins and Messina.

I mean, holy crap! And that’s just some of them!

I turned 14 in 1973, and I’m convinced I grew up in the greatest era in rock history. So much creativity, poetic expression and first-class musicianship in that time. And so much legendary showmanship in the live performances. I mostly missed those, though; the only two concerts I attended as a teen were Cat Stevens and a triple billing of the Allman Brothers, Joe Walsh and the Marshall Tucker Band. But the music was memorable; even now, it’s my go-to music. Takes me back, I guess.

So, maybe I’m a bit biased. Who cares? You like your music, I like mine. The main thing is, keep listening.

To paraphrase Neil Young, “Keep on rockin’ in the new year…” 🎵🎵

A Glaring Omission

How in the world did I miss this?

I was looking back at the posts I wrote about my favorite Christmas songs, and it suddenly occurred to me:

Two songs from the best Christmas television special ever were not included.

SMF! (Smacking My Forehead)

A Charlie Brown Christmas, first broadcast on CBS in December, 1965, became an instant classic, due in no small part to the inspired choice of a soundtrack courtesy of the Vince Guaraldi Trio. Whoever decided jazz was the appropriate background music for a kid’s Christmas show was a visionary.

And two songs from that show stand out, in particular:

Christmas Time is Here, the opening number, is a soft and gentle remembrance of some of the things that make the season so beloved, sung by a chorus of children. It’s beautiful in its simplicity; the words and music stay with you, and bring a smile to your face every time. It warms you like a big, cozy blanket.

“Oh, that we could always see such spirit through the year.” Couldn’t agree more.

Then, there’s Linus and Lucy, the peppy instrumental that gets all the kids at the Christmas pageant up and dancing, with Schroeder pounding his piano with abandon, Pig-Pen keeping time on the acoustic bass, and Snoopy alternately playing and dancing joyfully with his guitar.

Come on: tell me this isn’t what you think of anytime you hear this tune.

These songs definitely belong on my list of Christmas favorites; I can’t believe I omitted them!

Oh well, here they are. Enjoy.

And enjoy the holidays, as well.

The Artful Dodger

I’m getting excited.

Elton John, my rock and roll hero for nearly 50 years, is performing Sunday night, November 20, from Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles.

Why is that a big deal, you say? Glad you asked.

One, this concert is his final North American appearance on his Farewell Yellow Brick Road tour, which concludes next year. His last stop in the USA, over 50 years after his epic American debut at the Troubadour Club (also in L.A.). The L.A. Times music critic, Robert Hilburn, attended that show and predicted in his review, “He’s going to be one of rock’s biggest and most important stars.”

Boy, was he ever right.

Two, this event will be livestreamed on the Disney+ streaming service, beginning at 7:30 P.M., Pacific Standard Time, with “Countdown to Elton Live” from Dodger Stadium, with the concert scheduled to start about 25 minutes later.

Dodger Stadium, in case you didn’t know, holds an important place in Elton’s history, as well as the stadium’s.

He performed two sold out shows there in October, 1975. The last act to perform in Dodger Stadium prior to that was…the Beatles, in 1966.

In 1975, Elton John was the biggest thing in rock music. His two latest albums, Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy and Rock of the Westies, BOTH entered the Billboard Top 200 chart at Number One, the first time any artist had accomplished that. (Twice that year, he had four albums in the Top 200!) He sold out shows everywhere; over 100,000 people saw him over the two Dodger Stadium shows. He ruled the airwaves; you could hardly turn on the radio without hearing at least one of his hits.

Elton was at his zenith that weekend in Dodger Stadium, the biggest name in the world. Man, what that must have felt like.

And now, as he concludes a lifetime of touring, he returns to that summit one more time.

And he’s invited us all to join him. It’s gonna be an amazing experience, a helluva show.

I absolutely can…not…wait!