Grammy Thoughts With A Valentine

Hello, Vixens!!!  Happy Monday!!!

Did any of you watch the 59th Annual Grammy Awards last night?  When I heard Justin Bieber was somehow nominated for Album of the Year (I know, WTH???) I debated a boycott of the show again like I did last year (read more about that here), but in the end I wanted to see a few of the performers (and Bieber cry and/or throw a tantrum when he lost) so I decided to watch it.  Besides, it is a great way to catch up on the new music worth hearing that I might have missed throughout the year.

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Here are my thoughts from the show.  I will start with the bad:

The politics.

I look forward to all the big awards show every year.  I love to watch what dresses the women will be wearing, how humble the acceptance speeches might be, the host, the presenters, the bad jokes-all of it.  But so far both the Golden Globes & the SAG Awards have turned into personal political platforms.  This is not something new.  For example, in 1973 Marlon Brando sent Sacheen Littlefeather to decline his Best Actor Oscar for “The Godfather” in  protest of the film industry’s treatment of American Indians.  But given the immaturity and over-inflated egos of many of today’s Top 40 singers, I knew last night would be worse.

 

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Tim McGraw & Faith Hill looking as great as ever at last night’s Grammy Awards

(original source unknown). 

 

To be clear, I believe and support the First Amendment with all my heart.  However, after such a long ugly race for the White House, all the protesting which sometimes turns violent (like on Inauguration Day) or laughable by people attending dressed as a sex organ, the ongoing disrespect for the office and the refusal of the people who supported the losing side to accept that it is over, I am exhausted by all of it.  I watch the awards shows to escape into the grown up equivalent of the land of make believe (Hollywood) so I am not interested in hearing personal political opinions during these presentations.  We are in the age of social media.  Take to Twitter, Instagram, Facebook or whatever source you enjoy and rant till your heart is content.  Let me and the rest of the audience enjoy our mini-escape into your world for one night.

The Newly Self Appointed Fertility Goddess (or the artist formerly known as Beyonce).

Talk about a completely ego driven performance-this was the worst I have seen.  Between her mother introducing the number, to the bizarre images and pre-recorded sounds and narrative, to the camera constantly cutting to her smiling husband to her daughter running around her, it was an absurd mess.  And shame on the powers that be at the Grammys for giving her nine full minutes to showcase that spectacle while cutting off people’s acceptance speeches.

Double dipping.

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Bruno Mars saluting Prince at the 59th Annual Grammy Awards (original source unknown)

 

I love Adele and was so happy to watch her perform the show’s opening number.  But since she was slated to perform the George Michael tribute, wasn’t there someone else who could have opened the show?  (And this has nothing to do with her do-over.  Mistakes happen and it proves her singing is real, not lip synced).  The same with the Prince tribute.  Was Bruno Mars the only person who wanted to participate, other than The Time?  It just can’t be.  And he had performed a song less than an hour earlier.  The Grammys did the same thing last year with Lady Gaga as the only person to salute David Bowie.  There is a wide range of musicians out there.  Tom Petty won the Music Cares Person of the Year Award and Sly Stone (of Sly & the Family Stone) won a Lifetime Achievement Award.  A performance by either one would have been welcome.  Let all the voices in music be heard.

The Bee Gees Salute.

I grew up listening to “How Do You Mend A Broken Heart” because it was one of my mother’s favorite songs.  To this day I know all the words and cannot help but sing along with it when it comes on the 70’s music channel.  The Bee Gees made some great  music before they went disco with “Saturday Night Fever”.  Yet every time there is a salute to their songs, it is usually focused on that record, much to my chagrin.  Add to that the salute was done by a bunch of previous Disney stars took it from bad to worse.  I am a Springsteen fan.  That is the music equivalent of being a Harvard graduate.  Disco is the music equivalent of getting a GED.  Does that visual make you feel my pain???

The Rap segment.

It was rap.  No further explanation needed.

Now for the good:

James Corden.

james-corden

James Corden in his underwear after the guys from Twenty One Pilots (below) accepted their award that way (original sources unknown)..

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This man is hilarious.  And after seeing the skit with his parents, it is clear where he got it from.  From his opening show rap, to the impromptu “Carpool Karaoke” (led by the great Neil Diamond, who should have had a full performance slot on the show), to Corden appearing in his underwear to mirror the guys from Twenty One Pilots to dressing up to act like a presenter, he was great for the entire show.  I must remember to DVR his show more often.

 

David Bowie.

bowie-the-independent

Courtesy of The Independent (original source unknown)

 

The rock star won 5 posthumous awards for “Blackstar”:  Best Rock Song, Best Alternative Music Album, Best Rock Performance, Best Recording Package & Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical.  Well done, Major Tom.  Wish you were able to accept them in person.

 

The Beatles.

ron-hoard

Ron Howard, Ringo Starr & Paul McCartney (original source unknown).

 

Best Music Film was awarded to Ron Hoard for his labor of love, “The Beatles:  Eight Days A Week–The Touring Years”.  I still have not seen it but it is next on my list.  Don’t judge-Springsteen’s autobiography took up a lot of my time last year  🙂

 

Sturgill Simpson.

sturgill_simpson_photo_2016

Original source unknown 

 

His album “A Sailor’s Guide to Earth” (love that title) won Best Country Album and it was well deserved.  He performed one of the songs from it, “All Around You” with the Dap- Kings and it was one of my favorite moments of the night.

 

Maren Morris.

maren-morris

Courtesy of Billboard 

 

Wow, this girl is incredible.  Her voice, her lyrics, her stage presence-she has it all.  Her nominations included Best Country Album (for “Hero”), Best Country Song (for “My Church“, a song I should have written) and Best Country Solo Performance for the same tune which she won over the likes of Carrie Underwood, Keith Urban and Miranda Lanbert. Last night she performed a different song from the record – “Once” – with Alicia Keys and it was sensational.  A few online stories that I read about Morris said she was turned down by both American Idol and The Voice.  I do not watch reality shows because I do not think there is anything real about them, and this just proves my point.  I think this girl has a huge career in front of her.

Adele.

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Courtesy of Billboard.com (original source unknown)

 

Fantastic as always, even with the do-over.  Five well deserved Grammys.

But I thought her fawning over Beyonce was way too much.  If Adele did not want to go up against Beyonce, she could have taken her album out of the running.  I am so sick of hearing about how white the Grammys are every time a black person loses to a white one.   Where was the white uproar when Kanye West hijacked the stage at the 2009 VMA’s and embarrassed the hell out of Taylor Swift because he did not think she deserved to win?  Or when 50 Cent walked across the Grammy stage in 2004 cursing because he did not win Best New Artist?

This year another rapper, Frank Ocean, not only boycotted the show but refused to put his two albums in the running for any nominations (as if they would automatically be nominated) because he thought Kendrick Lamar’s album deserved to win the Best Album Award last year over Taylor Swift’s.  This bad sportsmanship and sense of entitlement is beyond rude.  I don’t know about anyone else,  but I am really tired of hearing about the race card.  Why is that more important than the gender card?  I am a woman living in a country where a black man became president before a woman ever became vice-president. Women still earn less than men do at the same jobs.  As far as I am concerned, the gender issue needs to finally be addressed.

This post was about the Grammys, right?  🙂

I do not own the rights to anything.  All opinions are my own.

In honor of Valentine’s Day tomorrow, here is one of my favorite love songs ever (set to an adorable little video).  Enjoy!!!

Bruce Springsteen:  Should I Fall Behind.

love

(original source unknown)

 

Until next time, fellow Vixens, keep digging!!!

 

 

 

So Long, January!!!

Hello, Vixens!!!  How crazy is it that we arrived at the end of January so quickly?  What did you take away from the first month of the year?

I took in my new place surroundings and pondered my decorating scheme, which I have yet to act on LOL!!!  But I did get some great inspiration (thank you Kathleen at Faded Charm), explored some more local sights, got back into my groove of “estate saling” (although I have not had a chance to really dig for a treasure yet but I am hopeful it will happen soon!!!), figured out some shortcuts to a few of my regular places (work, grocery store, antiques stores) and decided I have to get out more despite all that I have to do at home.  So I got my library card, joined a church and a book club.  For our meeting next month, we are reading “Everything I Never Told You” by Celeste Ng.  Have any of you read this yet?

book

January also brought the first snowstorm of my CT residency.  To mark the occasion with more than just snow boots, I made home made chicken soup, which turned out pretty well for my first attempt at it.  I do not use salt at all due to its negative health benefits, so once I got the seasonings to a correct balance (pepper, oregano & basil), it was not bad if I do say so myself.  It was so hearty I did not even add noodles!!!

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But most of all for me, January was an unbelievably sad month for the music industry.  Losing an icon like David Bowie was an incredible blow, and we will not see a visionary artist like him again in our lifetime.  For a career to span as many decades as his and encompass as many musical genres as his did only underscores that point.  He left us with a parting gift, “Black Star“*** which is as classic and bold as we remember Bowie to be.

But in the end he was also a beloved man who was taken from his wife and family way too soon, and that is the worst part of the story.  Hopefully 2016 will be the year we finally see cancer obliterated from our world.

Bowie

Source:  YouTube (original source unknown)

Bowie’s loss was followed by those of Glenn Frey of the Eagles; R&B singers Otis Clay and Nicholas Caldwell, who was a member of the group, “The Whispers“; Rene Angelil, who brought us the voice of Celine DionPaul Kantner of Jefferson Airplane/Starship fame and one of his co-founders of Airplane, Signe Toly Anderson, who died on the same day.  What she and Kantner did in their band changed the landscape of music forever.  In the mid 1960’s, rock and roll bands were a boy’s only game:  The Beatles, the Rolling Stones, the Who, the Moody Blues, the list goes on and on.  But when Airplane was being formed, another co-founder Marty Balin along with Kantner, knew how important a female voice & presence was.  Anderson provided that until she left the band in 1966 to have a baby.  But the precedent was set and it was a vital turning point in rock and roll and music overall.  Think about who soon followed:  Janis Joplin, Grace Slick, Carole King, Deborah Harry, et al.  Thank God for Balin’s & Kantner’s vision.

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Paul Kantner & Signe Toly Anderson, second and third from the left.  Source:  Tumbler (original source unknown).

And today marks what would have been the 70th birthday of Terry Kath, a founding member, guitarist, songwriter and vocalist for the band Chicago.  Kath was the unbelievably gorgeous voice behind classics such as “Colour My World” and “Make Me Smile“.  He was compared to Jimi Hendrix for his musical ability and to Ray Charles for his vocal style.  He died from an accidental gunshot infliction a week before his 32nd birthday in 1978.  He will be inducted posthumously into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame with the rest of Chicago at the induction ceremony in April.

Kath

Source:  premierguitar.com

But things are starting to turn around.  Reports are circulating that Paul Rodgers, who’s latest solo release*** includes fabulous covers of classic songs like “Walk On By” and “I’ve Been Loving You Too Long”, and Bad Company are working on a new record together, which I PRAY is true!!!  What a band!!!  Swoon!!!  But best of all Bruce Springsteen’s “The River” tour is in full swing to promote “The Ties That Bind:  The River Collection“***.  All is right in my world when the Boss is on the road and headed my way (next month in Hartford!!!)  Double swoon!!!

I do not own the rights to any of the music I am sharing with you, but the starred links*** are my affiliate links. I only share what I love and am grateful for the support 🙂

So, how was your first month of the year?

Until next time, fellow Vixens, happy digging!!!

“And The Stars Look Very Different Today…”

Not even two weeks into the new year and we already have a devastating loss in the world of music.  David Bowie, the 1970’s rock icon who transformed himself over and over throughout his illustrious career, died after an 18 month battle with cancer on January 10.  He was 69 years old.

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Richard Young/REX (100574d) David Bowie DAVID BOWIE AT THE CANNES FILM FESTIVAL - 1983

        Photo by Richard Young 1983

Born David Robert Jones in London on January 8, 1947, he changed his last name to avoid confusion with the other Davey Jones in The Monkees.  Bowie’s  musical career began with his break through album “Space Oddity” in 1969 and he spent the 1970’s establishing himself as a glam rock, art rock musician like no other with songs like “Changes“, “Golden Years“, “Rebel Rebel” and “Suffragette City“.  He easily segued from his Ziggy Stardust persona of the 70’s to the suave, well dressed gentleman in a string of 1980’s videos for hits like “Modern Love“, “Let’s Dance“, “China Girl” and “Blue Jean“.

Not only did Bowie do great work as a solo artist, but his collaborations were stunning as well.  Aside from his ground-breaking work with the likes of Lou Reed, Brian Eno and Iggy Pop, Bowie also worked with John Lennon on “Fame“,  covered the Motown classic “Dancing In The Streets” with Mick Jagger, joined Bing Crosby for a wonderful collaboration of “The Little Drummer Boy/Peace On Earth” and teamed up with rock group Queen for “Under Pressure“, to name a few.  These collaborations showed how innovative, versatile and truly unique Bowie’s musical genius was.

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Source:  ultimateclassicrock.com

Bowie also had several acting roles, most notably in the movies (he played Pontius Pilate in Martin Scorsese’s film “The Last Temptation Of Christ” as well as roles in “The Man Who Fell To Earth” and “The Linguini Incident“) and on the Broadway stage (he played the title role in “The Elephant Man” in 1980-1981).  He received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and in 1996 he was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame by David Byrne of The Talking Heads.  On January 8 2016, on what was Bowie’s 69th birthday, his last recording “Blackstar” was released.

My two best memories of Bowie after his collaborations are when the TV series “Without A Trace” used “Space Oddity” in Anthony LaPaglia’s signature episode entitled “John Michaels“.  The second was Bowie’s performance at the Concert For NYC in 2001.  He was humble and grateful to the men and women who kept his adopted home of Manhattan safe and showed that with a stand out performance of “Heroes”.  I cannot seem to find that performance online, so here is that song from his “Live By Request” show a year later in 2002.

Rest in peace, David Bowie.  “And may God’s love be with you”.

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Source:  livinglifeboomerstyle.com

Please note that I do not own the rights to anything.  I am just sharing some of my favorite music with you.

My Top 20 Christmas Songs

Music is such a special part of my life, and Christmas songs are no different.  There have been so many great versions of almost every song, it was hard to narrow it down to just 20.  But with 10 days to go before the big day, I thought I would share my list with all of you.

Each song includes a link to a YouTube video.  I do not own the rights to anything, nor am I associated with any of the channels/videos that I chose.  I just picked ones that showcased either the artists and/or the song enough to give you the best feel for the tune (in my humble opinion).

All opinions are my own.

What are some of your favorite Christmas songs?  Tell me in the comments below.

Enjoy!!!

1)  Merry Christmas Baby by Bruce Springsteen ( written by Lou Baxter and Johnny Moore).

It’s Bruce.  To say this is perfect would only be redundant.

2)  Christmas Time is Here by the Peanuts ( written by Lee Mendelson and Vince Guaraldi).

The Peanuts were my best friends when I was a kid, and today they are just as special to me.  “A Charlie Brown Christmas” is the main reason why.  If all I did for the holiday season was watch this special, my Christmas would still be perfect.

3)  White Christmas by Otis Redding (written by Irving Berlin).

Yes, I know all about the popularity of Bing Crosby’s version.  However, in my humble opinion, Redding brings such a stunning soulful element to his version of this song I really cannot listen to any other one. And if it was good enough for the “Love Actually” soundtrack, it is good enough for me.

4)  Winter Wonderland by Ray Charles (written by Felix Bernard).

Charles’ take on this is as unique and gorgeous as his version of “America The Beautiful”.  Truly a holiday gem.

5)  Holly Jolly Christmas by Burl Ives (written by Johnny Marks).

Who does not want a singing snowman???  Burl Ives is one of the reasons why I still tune in to watch “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer” even now.

6)  Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) by Darlene Love (written by Phil Spector, Ellie Greenwich & Jeff Barry).

Love has performed this song on Letterman’s show since 1993.  You have to watch both the studio version and the live version to truly appreciate this song and Love’s voice.

http://youtu.be/4EvZOXEoJ84 (studio version)

http://youtu.be/m7M6wRPuD2w (2013 Letterman performance)

7)  Hark! The Herald Angels Sing (written by Charles Wesley).

Between the Peanuts characters singing it at the end of “A Charlie Brown Christmas” and it being the song that celebrated George Bailey’s worth in “It’s A Wonderful Life”, it is impossible for me to hear any version of this song and not get verklempt.  A multitude of singers have covered this song but Martina McBride, Neil Diamond & Frank Sinatra’s versions are among my favorites.

8)  Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas by Judy Garland (written by Hugh Martin & Ralph Blane).

Tony Bennett called Garland the greatest singer he ever heard.  I am in no position to argue with a man of his talent and taste.

9)  Blue Christmas by Elvis Presley (written by Billy Hayes and Jay W. Johnson).

It’s ELVIS!!!

10)  O Come All Ye Faithful by Nat King Cole (written by John Francis Wade).

Most people associate him with the most famous version of “The Christmas Song”, but it is this Christmas classic that I love the most of Cole’s holiday recordings.

11)  The Christmas Song by Tony Bennett (written by Mel Torme & Robert Wells).

Tony Bennett is a legend.  If you do not have any of his music in your collection, you are doing yourself a disservice.

12)  It’s a Marshmallow World by Dean Martin (written in 1949 by Carl Sigman and Peter DeRose).

I think Frank Sinatra would even agree that Martin was probably the coolest member of the Rat Pack.

13)  Celebrate Me Home by Kenny Loggins (written by Bob James and Kenny Loggins).

Not a cover of a Christmas classic, but a song of Loggins’ very own is now a holiday staple.

14)  What Christmas Means To Me by Stevie Wonder (written by Anna Gordy Gaye (yes, Marvin Gaye’s first wife) & George Gordy).

Another original Christmas tune that has become a staple of the holiday.  And who can forget Will Ferrell’s “Elf” jumping on the mattresses with his little brother while this song was playing?

15)  Silver Bells by Rosemary Clooney & Bing Crosby (written by Jay Livingston & Ray Evans).

Before her nephew George was probably even born, Rosemary Clooney was Hollywood’s “it” girl.  Anything she sang was perfection and pairing her voice with Bing Crosby’s turned a song into a spectacular event.

16)  Happy Christmas (War is Over) by John Lennon (written by John Lennon & Yoko Ono).

From the man who told us “love is the answer”, peace was the gift he wanted for the world, and not just at Christmas.

17)  The Most Wonderful Time of the Year by Andy Williams (written by Eddie Pola and George Wyle).

I’ll admit this song now reminds me of back to school shopping thanks to a fabulous campaign several years ago by Staples, but it is a holiday classic nonetheless.

18)  The Little Drummer Boy/Peace On Earth by Bing Crosby & David Bowie (Drummer Boy written by Harry Simeone, Henry Onorati & Katherine Kennicott Davis, and the Peace on Earth music & lyrics written by Ian Fraser, Larry Grossman and Alan Kohan expressly for the recording by Crosby and Bowie).

In theory this was an odd pairing, but in principle their voices worked so well together it is hard to imagine this season without this song.  But I still wonder what would have happened if Bowie had shown up at Crosby’s house dressed as Ziggy Stardust???  (LOL)

19) O Holy Night by Eric Cartman (written by Adolphe-Charles Adam).

South Park is one of my all time favorite shows, and this clip illustrates just one of the reasons why.  Any reverence I had for this song is gone thanks to Trey Parker and Matt Stone, but I would not have it any other way!!!

20)  Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer by Elmo and Patsy (written by Randy Brooks).

This brings back memories of me and my cousins signing this song to my grandmother, who I miss everyday, not just at Christmas.  But this makes me feel a little closer to her.