Posts Tagged ‘birthday’

pettyUsually, music brings me joy. But sometimes it feeds into my melancholy. As I was reading about how Tom Petty’s death is still a hard reminder for aging rockers about the downside of life on the road, I was reminded of that phenomenon.

Back in 2015, he acknowledged that he was a heroin addict in the ’90s, “something he had sliced out of Peter Bogdanovich’s four-hour documentary, 2007’s ‘Runnin’ Down a Dream.'”

How does a 50-year-old become a junkie? He talked about it to Warren Zanes in a biography, unauthorized only because Petty didn’t want to dictate what Zanes could or could not write

Addiction happened “when the pain becomes too much and you live in a world, in a culture, where people have reached in the direction of heroin to stop the pain. He’s a rock and roller. He had had encounters with people who did heroin, and he hit a point in his life when he did not know what to do with the pain he was feeling.”

Then in 2017, “Tom Petty was rushed to a hospital… in full cardiac arrest… Weeks later, the Los Angeles County Medical Examiner-Coroner’s report confirmed what many family members, friends and fans feared: Petty had accidentally overdosed.

“Among the combination of sedatives, anti-depressants and painkillers found in Petty’s system was the opioid fentanyl, the same drug on which Prince overdosed in 2016. According to his wife, Dana, Petty endured the pain of a fractured hip throughout a 40th-anniversary tour with his longtime band, the Heartbreakers.”

Here are three songs:

Gainesville, a new song with the Heartbreakers about his hometown area, about which he had mixed feelings.

Free Fallin’, the first song on my favorite Tom Petty album, the “solo” disc Full Moon Fever (1989)

Possibly my favorite. The End of the Line. I love the “happy accident” that was the Traveling Wilburys. On this track, Jeff Lynne, George Harrison, and Roy Orbison sing the choruses, and Petty sings the verses. In the video, Roy is recently deceased, as only his framed picture in a rocking chair appears. George, of course, died in 2001. With Petty gone, the song makes me wistful.

white albumI distinctly remember the first time I heard the “white album” by The Beatles. In November 1968, a bunch of our merry band, dubbed Holiday Unlimited – “a splendid time is guaranteed for all” – were in the basement of the Unitarian Universalist Church in Binghamton, NY.

Our friend Steve, the only UU among us, “sponsored” our gathering as an LRY (Liberal Religious Youth) event. we listened to each of the four sides, with only a brief bathroom breaks.

We were gobsmacked. The sounds were all over the place. But I must have liked it, because I got it for Christmas (or maybe my next birthday), but I had to replace one of the discs because the intro to Birthday skipped.

The album The Beatles, generally referred to as the “white album,” is being reissued in several formats, including a limited 6 CD + 1 Blu-ray audio Super Deluxe box set.

It includes the much-sought-after Esher Demos, recorded at “George Harrison’s bungalow in Esher, London, fresh from the band’s fabled Rishikesh trip,” plus three sessions discs and a slip-sleeved 164-page hardbound book. “The book also includes new introductions by Paul McCartney and Giles Martin and in-depth track-by-track details and session notes.”

The Deluxe 3 CD set which includes the Esher demos, has a 24-page booklet abridged from the Super Deluxe book. There are also a couple different LP versions. I may purchase the 3 CDs at about $30, because the super deluxe set, at $150 may be too rich for my blood.

Paul McCartney goes through The White album track by track.

I’m now convinced that people will still be talking about Beatles’ music fifty years from now. Part of the reason is the sheer volume of their music being released decades after their breakup. I have approximately three dozen albums that are strictly Beatles covers. The band remains a regular topic on the Quora website.

YouTube automatically rolled to Ticket to Ride by the Beatles. the music is as seminal as ever and the video is a hoot. Minimal attempts to feign playing their instruments, the wry look at 1:40 from John.

Here’s The Story Behind John Lennon’s Walrus. It reminded me of a little joke my junior high school friend Ray made, musing on whether Lennon meant “standing in the English rain” or perhaps the “English reign,” meaning the Queen.

Today is Sean Lennon’s 43rd birthday, which is really hard to fathom; I saw him in concert about a decade ago. It would also have been John Lennon’s 78th birthday.
***
Geoff Emerick, recorded the Beatles in their prime, dies at 72

Jackson BrowneI’ve been following the career of Clyde Jackson Browne – Clyde? – for so long that it seems he’s always been around. Yet I’ve written about him relatively infrequently. And usually in relation to others, though I did a meme about him way back on 10 October 2005.

10/10? That’s one of the problems for me, that he has the same birthday, eight years later, as John Lennon, about whom I’ve written a LOT. His first claim to fame was that he wrote the bulk of Take It Easy, along with Glenn Frey, which became the Eagles’ first big hit.

The page noting his 2004 induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: “He emerged in the early Seventies as a soul-baring young folksinger whose songs dealt with riddles of romance and existence. In his middle period, he became a more extroverted rock and roller.

“Later work grew more topical in nature as Browne sang of political and social realities within and beyond our borders. ‘In a way, I don’t choose what I write about—my subjects kind of choose me,’ this vanguard singer/songwriter explained in 1993. “It’s a healing thing, a way of confronting what’s important in my life at the time.'”

Here are interviews: The Nation (2014) and Forbes (2017).

In 2015, Rolling Stone listed him as the 37th greatest songwriter of all time in its list of “100 Greatest Songwriters of All Time”. I’ve never seen him live, save for a massive concert in June 1982. I do have a half dozen of his albums on vinyl, including the first one, whatever it’s called, and four on CD.

Listen to:

Very Best of Jackson Browne

Opening Farewell – Bonnie Raitt & Jackson Browne live

Kisses Sweeter Than Wine – Bonnie Raitt & Jackson Browne, from a Pete Seeger tribute album

Take It Easy – live with James Taylor

First Girl I Loved, from an Elektra Records tribute album, this track covering Judy Collins

I Love L.A. – Randy Newman’s 2013 induction into the Rock Hall, with Newman, Jackson Browne, Tom Petty, John Fogerty

Coverville 1236: Cover Stories for Steve Miller, Randy Bachman and Jackson Browne

NSFW section

A Piece of the Pie -JB’s live attempt of a Randy Newman song that namechecks him, which Newman explains here

You @$$#013 You

There was an August 2018 article with Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta dancing together, celebrating the 40th anniversary of the movie Grease. The stars have been great friends in the intervening four decades.

It’s weird that, for some reason, I never saw Grease in the movie theater, and it was a massive success. In fact, I’m not sure to this day that I’ve ever seen it in its entirety, though my daughter has watched the film on video

And it wasn’t just the movie that might have drawn me in, it was the music, with three Top 5 singles by Travolta and Newton-John in 1978. I have seen a high school production of the musical i the past couple years.

I’d forgotten that she was born in Cambridge, England. I did recall she was raised in Melbourne, Australia. She was a country artist early on, had some massive “middle of the road” hits before Grease.

But in 1980/1981, she transformed her career. Just as Sandy in Grease changed from goody-goody to being clad in spandex, Newton-John was inspired to do the same metaphorically. As a result, she had her largest hits in the US, Magic, and Physical.

I believe that, for the time, it was constitutionally illegal not to play Physical on the hour, unless you were on one of the two Utah radio stations that banned the single from their playlists. It was ranked by Billboard as the biggest song of the decade.

Her breast cancer had been in remission from 1992 until its metastasis was discovered in 2017. She’s become an advocate for better eating, animal rights, and the environment.

Yes, I have my one Olivia Newton-John greatest hits album, which I play every September. She shares a birthday with my late father.

Listen to:

If Not for You, #25 pop in 1971

Honestly Love You, #1 pop for two weeks, #6 country in 1974

Have You Never Been Mellow, #1 pop, #3 country in 1975

You’re The One That I Want, with John Travolta, #1 pop in 1978
Summer Nights, with Travolta and cast of Grease, #5 pop in 1978

Magic, #1 pop for four weeks in 1980

Physical, #1 pop for ten weeks, #28 R&B in 1981

John_RitterThere was a popular sitcom in the US on ABC-TV called Three’s Company, which aired from 1977 to 1984. From the IMBD description: “Janet [Joyce DeWitt] and Chrissy [Suzanne Somers] get Jack [John Ritter] as a roommate for their Santa Monica apartment. Jack can cook (he’s studying to be a chef) and, when called to do so, pretends he’s gay to legitimize the arrangement.”

I found the premise more than annoying, and I seldom watched the program, certainly not intentionally. But when I came across it, I agreed with what the late Don Knotts, a co-star on the show, said in 2002, that John Ritter was the “greatest physical comedian on the planet.”

I’d seen him guest star on a variety of shows, most notably The Waltons, MASH, and Dan August before his breakthrough role.

I did watch, on purpose, 8 Simple Rules… for Dating My Teenage Daughter, starting in 2002, with John Ritter as Paul, Katey Sagal as his wife Cate, and Kaley Cuoco, later of The Big Bang Theory, as teenager Bridget. It was a pleasant enough diversion.

Then John Ritter, born September 17, 1948, died from an aortic dissection on September 11, 2003. It was/is a shock when a seemingly healthy guy not quite 55 dies suddenly. They wrote “Paul’s” death into the series, and it was one of the most painful things I’d ever watched on TV. The show continued for another year and a half, bringing in other characters played by James Garner and David Spade, and the producers created a decent, but very different show.

John Ritter’s parents were legendary country singer/actor Tex Ritter and actress Dorothy Fay. As a child, I used to listen to Tex on the radio late at night on WWVA, Wheeling, WV.

He had three children with his first wife, actress Nancy Morgan: Jason (b 1980), Carly (b 1982), and Tyler (b 1985) Jason I recognize from playing a teacher named Mark on the TV show Parenthood, but mostly from being the voice of Dipper on the animated series Gravity Falls.

He had one child with his second wife, actress Amy Yasbeck: Stella (b 1998). John Ritter died on Stella’s fifth birthday, and one day before the death of country music legend Johnny Cash. Coincidentally, Tex Ritter had written several songs for Johnny during the 1950s and 1960s.

For ABC Wednesday

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