Posts Tagged ‘birthday’


When Carlos Santana turned 60, I wrote a piece in my now long-abandoned Underplayed Vinyl series, albums I owned as LPs, which I used to play constantly, but because I didn’t have an easily accessible record player, they didn’t get much action.

The album in question that I posted about, 10 years ago to the day, was Abraxas, Santana, the group’s, second collection. “In 2003 [it] was ranked number 207 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 500 greatest albums of all time… Abraxas was deemed ‘culturally, historically, or artistically significant’ by the Library of Congress and was selected for preservation in their National Recording Registry in 2016.”

Like most of America, I discovered Santana at Woodstock. No, I didn’t go to the festival, but I saw the 1970 movie twice, in a row. Soul Sacrifice, complete with occasional feedback, was revelatory.

Carlos Santana and the various iterations of the group that bear his surname waxed and waned in popularity. For instance, the group was on recording hiatus for seven years in the 1990s.

In 1999, they released Supernatural, which debuted at number 19 on the Billboard 200, and 18 weeks later, topped the US charts. I bought it, of course, but I agree with some of the critics that found that the plethora of guest stars means there’s lacking a “consistent voice that holds the album together.” Yet it had good, and commercially successful, songs.

I’ve recently picked up Santana IV, the return of the core band from the first three albums.

The group Santana was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998.

LISTEN, in roughly chronological order; numbers represent the Billboard pop chart action.

Jingo, a/k/a Jin-Go-Lo-Ba, #56 in 1969 here or here
Evil Ways, #9 in 1970 here or here
Soul Sacrifice here or here, at Woodstock

Abraxas, full album, 1971 : here or here (includes Black Magic Woman, #4 in 1971; Oye Como Va, #13 in 1971)

No One to Depend On, #36 in 1972, here or here

Primera Invasion, 1981 here or here
Searchin’, 1981 here

Hold On, #15 in 1982, here or here

Smooth, featuring Rob Thomas, #1 for 12 weeks in 1999 here (single) or here (album)

While My Guitar Gently Weeps, featuring India.Arie and Yo-Yo Ma, 2010 here (video) or here (album cut)

Anywhere You Want to Go, 2016 here or here

On a Saturday morning, we were scheduled to go to the Wizard’s Wardrobe to do a little cleanup, then onto New Paltz to see one of my oldest friends.

My wife, announced that she was going to go to the store to pick up a few things. My heart sank, just a little bit. This would take her longer that she thought – it almost always does. This would make us late for appointment #1, which would make us tardy to appointment #2.

Then, abruptly, she decided to stay home and relax for a few moments before we had to go. I was pleased but shocked. And I had nothing to do with this. She was downstairs, and I was upstairs, and I had only responded to her initial decision with a neutral-sounding “O.K.”

Another story: I was relating something at work about someone who used to be there – for reasons of privacy, I won’t say who – but the problems we were seeing she related to problems she was seeing in her workplace. And it gave me a whole new perspective.

Another story: sometimes her husband is crazy, and she more or less accepts that. We were at the MacHaydn Theatre about 40 miles away. She was going to wait for a lot of the other cars to get out of the parking lot before she tried, even though she had had opportunities.

Well, I was having some sort of claustrophobic panic attack, and she accommodated my irrational need to get out of that parking space. She puts up with a lot.

The blurry picture, BTW, was taken by me on my tablet on May 15, our anniversary. Yes, I suck at this; tell me something I DON’T know. But most of the pictures of her in this blog were taken years ago, some before we even met.

Happy birthday, honey. I love you.

In the summer of 2016, when the family went to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, OH, one of the first of the player busts I looked at closely was that of one Orenthal James Simpson. He was one of the greatest players in the game, the first to rush for over 2000 yards in a season while playing in upstate New York’s only NFL team. He was good-looking and affable. He was mediocre at best behind the mic on Monday Night Football, but he was entertaining enough in those Naked Gun movies.

How did THIS guy go so wrong?

This past Oscar season, when I noted that I had seen O.J.: Made in America, more than one person said that they weren’t going to watch it because, they surmised, it would glorify the athlete. It was quite clear that they hadn’t viewed the film at all.

As the Boston Globe noted: “The movie turned out a lot better than expected: Wider, deeper, more thoughtful, and more thought-provoking. Not just a nostalgic rehash of tabloid titillation but a work that viewed the Simpson case through a telephoto lens of race, class, sport, celebrity, and injustice.”

I found the film oddly compelling. There was about 30 minutes in the second segment that didn’t even mention O.J. but talked about the Korean woman who shot a black person. And Rodney King, who was a black man beaten by members of the Los Angeles Police Department, and who, in a foretelling of 21st century events, were caught on camera. And Reginald Denny, the equally unfortunate white truck driver, who was beaten by rioters after those LAPD officers were acquitted.

And I remember staring at that image in Canton, only a month after watching that movie, and I was literally shaking my head, less in disbelief than in sorrow.

Orenthal James Simpson is 70, and in jail, though, I understand, eligible for parole in October 2017 for his part in a robbery.

I always had mixed feelings about Arnold Schwarzenegger. On one hand, the whole Mr. Universe thing mystified me, yet he was obviously very good at it.

He came to the United States, knowing relatively little English, and become an actor. Many people said he would have to change his name, because “no one” would be able to pronounce it; he ignored them.

Arnold Schwarzenegger had an incredibly successful movie career. I have seen exactly zero of his films in the cinema, though I’ve bumped into some iteration of The Terminator and Kindergarten Cop while flipping through the TV channels. BTW, here are HIS favorite films.

He was clearly a Republican, yet married a Democrat, and a Kennedy, no less, in Maria Shriver. And then, for reasons I considered bogus, tied to Enron manipulation, the governor of California was recalled. Ahnuld decided to run for the office, and he actually WON, joining the tradition of Golden State performer-politicians such as George Murphy, Sonny Bono, and Clint Eastwood. Oh, and Ronald Reagan.

By most accounts, he wasn’t bad at the job, so much so that a contingent of folks wanted to change the Constitution so that the Austrian-born Schwarzenegger could potentially run for President.

As it states in a 2015 Rolling Stone interview, “The guy has spent his life turning naysayers into spectators, skeptics into constituents. ‘I’ve always been underestimated, and that’s always worked to my advantage,’ he says. ‘It’s the most wonderful thing, to be underestimated.'”

Schwarzenegger had two boys and two girls with Shriver. “In 2011, it came to light that [he] had fathered a fifth child, Joseph, now a teenager, with the family’s housekeeper.” Shriver divorced him.

He agreed to become the host of the Celebrity Apprentice in 2016, formerly run by someone who was successfully running for another job. After that short-term gig, Arnold has been active in criticizing the United States’ departure from the Paris Climate agreement.

As Schwarzenegger said to University of Houston graduates in May 2017, he didn’t make it all on his own, and that it’s important for them to recognize the help they got and then give back to others.

The simple bodybuilder Arnold Schwarzenegger is actually a complex fellow. Happy natal day to him.

Yeah, I know about those earlier iterations of Fleetwood Mac, going back into the late 1960s, fronted by Mick Fleetwood and John McVie. I alluded to the group’s evolution in a post from three years ago.

Still, most of my favorite songs were from the version represented in the 1975 eponymous album (not be confused with the 1968 album of the same name), when Lindsay Buckingham and Stevie Nicks joined Christine McVie and the two guys for whom the band is named.

In no hard order except the first two. Chart action refers to the Billboard pop charts in the US. Links to all:

20. Save Me (Behind the Mask), #33 in 1990
19. What Makes You Think You’re the One (Tusk – T), 1979 – some referred to Tusk as the band’s “white album”. It was a double LP, the band was fractured, and some of the songs were kind of weird
18. Dreams (Rumours – R), #1 in 1977. It’s difficult for someone not living through it to understand how dominant Rumours was. 19 weeks at #1.
17. Skies the Limit (Behind the Mask), 1990 – Buckingham was gone at this point; he would return. Rick Vito and Billy Burdette were in the band
16. Everywhere (Tango in the Night – TitN), #14 in 1988

15. Over My Head (FM), #20 in 1976
14. Little Lies (TitN), #4 in 1987
13. You Make Loving Fun (R), #9 in 1977
12. Tusk (T), #8 in 1979 – there’s a live version with the USC marching band that’s even sillier
11. Say You Love Me (FM), #11 in 1976 – this first part of the list is heavy with Christine McVie songs, I just noticed; always thought she was the glue of the group

10. Monday Morning (FM), B-side of Say You Love Me – I have an irrational affection for pop songs about days of the week, from Ruby Tuesday to Monday, Monday
9. Oh Well (Then Play On), 1970 – from the Peter Green days
8. Landslide (FM), 1977
7. I’m So Afraid (FM), B-side of Over My Head – and I believe Lindsay is
6. Gypsy (Mirage – M), #12 in 1982

5. Rhiannon (FM), #11 in 1976
4. Hold Me (M) , #4 in 1982
3. Don’t Stop (R), #3 for two weeks in 1977 – the inauguration song for one William Jefferson Clinton
2. Go Your Own Way (R), #10 in 1977 – a great breakup song
1. The Chain (R), 1977 – written by all five members; given all the romantic and musical breakups over the years, SOMETHING must be holding them together

Happy birthday, Mick Fleetwood.

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