I am now appreciating the amazing jazz I wasn't hearing in the Sixties when I was listening to The Beatles, Doors, Rascals, Rolling Stones, Beach Boys, Temptations, Jefferson Airplane, Moody Blues, Buffalo Springfield, Buckinghams and the like. It is mind-blowing, revelatory music.
Tonight I have been cleaning and playing lots of 45 rpm records I got at Salvation Army and St. Vincent de Paul thrift shops. My astonishing discovery tonight was coloratura soprano Erna Sack. Sack can hit C above high C. Oh, my goodness, gracious.
Another new artist was Gia Miaone. She was Louis Prima's fifth and last wife. Listening to them sing together was a musical treat that put a smile on my face.
Earlier this evening I spun records by Brian Hyland, the Bee Gees, John Travolta, George Harrison, Paul McCartney, Fats Domino, Xavier Cugat, Queen, Glenn Campbell, the Carter Family, Janis Ian, Heart, Nillson, Wham, Cher, Libnda Ronstadt, J. D. Souther, Tom Jones, Jay and the Americans, Connie Francis, the Turtles, Neil Sedaka and Elvis.
Right now I'm listening to the plaintive cowboy harmonies of the Sons of the Pioneers.
Ok, I have to admit it. I was a Yoko hater. Never much liked that she inculcated herself onto some of my musical hero's albums.
But, last night I watched the documentary on Lennon's and Ono's time in New York City. It was fascinating and revealing.
There is an interesting quote in which John says that he heard the B-52's on the radio and that it sounded like Yoko, that they were using her voice. He went on to say that maybe it was time for the public to catch up to her musical art. He was right.
I listened to "Double Fantasy" again today after maybe 20 years. Yoko's contributions are strong and unique. Now that I know the background to the songs, I appreciate the album all the more. Together the interplay of the two songwriters' works tells the story of their lives at that time and just before - the good and the bad. The album is such a raw and truthful story of love, betrayal and redemption.
Good artists are usually ahead of their audience. So, Yoko, please accept my belated apology for ignorantly dissing your music and your life. You are your own artist.
And it is so very, sadly prescient that the last lines of the album are "Hard times are over."
Tonight I am tipping a glass in loving memory of John Lennon, who was there for nearly every chapter in my life.
On August 8th in 1980, when John Lennon was murdered, I was producing a two-hour live show on CNN, called "Take Two". We, of course, devoted the entire program that day to the news of his killing, his life and his music.
A year later, on the anniversary of his death, I produced a half-hour tribute that aired on WTBS. My budget was zero, so I literally had to beg, borrow or steal any and every piece of footage I could get my hands on. This program is raw, as these were pre-digital days, and the source tapes I used were of poor quality. You can watch the program on Vimeo at http://vimeo.com/4597917. This file was digitized from an old VHS tape copy.
I had to put the show together quickly with whatever I had at hand, so I tried to tell a story using just John's words. To this day, I miss the man and his music.
So, bless you John Lennon and thanks for all the grooves. There has never been anyone better. Your music lives on and your legacy grows