Welcome to my music blog - The Soundtrack of My Life!

Many of you have asked me “What’s with all the music, Dr. Weiss?” Well, as I’ve told some of you:

I personally call every surgery patient on the evening of surgery just to make sure they are doing well and have no questions that need answering. Occasionally, I would be at the piano and play a song that we had listened to that day. I gradually realized that I wanted to go through all the music that I had played during my life and at least start making a list of the songs that I had recently played.

Well, there are now about 600 songs on the list and I realized that it in a way it represented the ‘soundtrack of my life’! And that’s how I got the idea to record these songs and share them with my patients, friends and family. After I record them they will reside here, for easy access.

Music is truth. It’s honest. It’s really the first social media, where in a way, people could share their souls directly. And isn’t that what the purpose of social media is and why it’s so popular - trying to share who you really are, as completely and directly as possible?

Finally, it has been (and will continue to be) a genuine pleasure sharing these different songs with you and I really appreciate all of your positive feedback!!

Categories

If Ever I Would Leave You

November 26, 2019

On This Day in (November 26) 1933 Robert Goulet  born.  Cast as Sir Lancelot and originating the role in the 1960 Broadway musical Camelot starring opposite established Broadway stars Richard Burton and Julie Andrews, he achieved instant recognition with his performance and interpretation of the song "If Ever I Would Leave You", which became his signature song. His debut in Camelot marked the beginning of a stage, screen, and recording career. A Grammy Award and Tony Award winner, his career spanned almost six decades. Goulet’s version of the popular Lerner and Lowe classic “If Ever I Would Leave You”  was somehow indelibly stamped into my young teen brain during Goulet’s heyday. From my vantage point (as a pre-teen in the early ‘60s) Robert Goulet was the epitome of the perfect role model: handsome, talented, amazing voice, always gets the girl, etc. I remember listening endlessly to the Camelot original cast recording on my parents ‘hi-fi’. He also was pretty lucky in getting to popularize this powerful song. We also have to thank lyricist Alan Jay Lerner and composer Frederick Lowe not only for Camelot, but also the broadway classics My Fair Lady, Gigi and others. Thanks, guys! I hope you [...]

In The Still of the Night

November 18, 2019

"In the Still of the Night" is a popular song written  (words and music) by Cole Porter for the MGM film Rosalie sung by Nelson Eddy and published in 1937. A little about Cole Porter:  It’s no surprise that his talent manifested early in life. He grew up privileged and even brought an upright piano with him to school. He became class valedictorian and was rewarded by his grandfather with a tour of France, Switzerland and Germany. Entering Yale College in 1909, Porter majored in English, minored in music, and also studied French. In his senior year, he was elected president of the Yale Glee Club and was its principal soloist. Porter wrote 300 songs while at Yale! I’ve always like this song and the way Porter evokes a feeling of mysteriousness with the alteration of major and minor chords. Notable cover versions of this song: Tommy Dorsey, Django Reinhardt, Charlie Parker, Perry Como, Ella Fitzgerald, Doris Day, Johnny Mathis, Bing Crosby, Billy Eckstine and Quincy Jones, Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis, Jr., Eartha Kitt, Eddie Fisher, Rosemary Clooney, Neville Brothers, Michael Nesmith,  Neil Diamond, Aaron Neville, and Carly Simon. His other numerous hit songs include "Night and Day", "Begin the [...]

We Can Work It Out

November 8, 2019

OK, two of my favorites, The Beatles and Stevie Wonder. What geniuses!!  What’s so special about this Rick Weiss cover of Stevie Wonder’s cover of the Beatles ‘We Can Work It Out’ ? Besides the song’s compelling melody  and timeless universal lyrics such as these: Try to see it my way. We can work it out. You can get it wrong and still you think that it's alright. And my personal favorite: Life is very short, and there's no time for fussing and fighting, my friend. My version of this song was ‘inspired’ by Stevie Wonder’s take on this song. I’ve always known there was something particularly special (aside from being, well, Stevie’s version) about his version, but it’s taken me many years (actually, until tonight) to understand the major but subtle changes he made in one of the main rhythm hooks of the song - the ‘We Can Work It Out’ part. I sensed that Stevie had made some kind of change but I didn’t know what. Listen closely. In Stevie’s version (or rather, in my interpretation of Stevie’s), those five syllables are of equal length and start a half a beat earlier. In the well-known Beatles version (which [...]

Thanks For The Memory

November 7, 2019

"Thanks for the Memory" (1938) is a popular song composed by Ralph Rainger with lyrics by Leo Robin. It was introduced in the 1938 film The Big Broadcast of 1938 by Bob Hope and Shirley Ross. In the film, Ross and Hope's characters are a divorced couple who encounter each other aboard a ship. Near the film's end, they poignantly sing one of the many versions of this song, recalling the ups and downs of their relationship (then they decide to get back together). The song won the Academy Award for Best Original Song, and became Hope's signature tune, with many different lyrics adapted to any situation. In the movie the song had three verses (I guess it had to be longer as background for one of the main scenes), the published song had two verses, but, for your listening pleasure, I cut the song down to only one verse. I guess the song was pretty popular, judging from versions by: Bing Crosby, Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan, Frank Sinatra, Rosemary Clooney, Rod Stewart and others. This performance is dedicated to my friend and patient Judianne. Enjoy, Dr. Weiss Some information from Wikipedia. Bosendorfer piano sound - For this recording I’m [...]

A musical house call

November 4, 2019

South of the Border: A musical house call The other evening I was visiting with my good friend and patient Stephen.  We enjoy sharing music together. “South of the Border" is a popular song describing a trip to Mexico, written by Jimmy Kennedy and Michael Carr and published in 1939 for the film of the same name starring country star Gene Autry. Great song! Such imagery and pathos! I would add that I’m always humbled by the fact that, besides being a great crooner, Stephen is one of the greatest chemists of his generation, and (among many other things) was the head scientist in charge of making sure that the thrusters worked for the first NASA landing on the moon!  At 99 and still going strong, Stephen is an example for all of us. Enjoy, Dr. Weiss PS Be sure to listen for our vocal duet at the 2 minute mark!
Composer and songwriter Boris Fomin as a young man.

Those Were The Days

October 24, 2019

On this day (October 25) in 1948, the Russian composer of “Those Were The Days”, Boris Fomin passed away at the age of 48 from tuberculosis. The popular recorded version of the song was credited to American Gene Raskin, who put a new English lyric to Fomin’s Russian romance song which he had grown up hearing. It deals with reminiscence upon youth and romantic idealism. Mary Hopkin's 1968 debut single of "Those Were the Days", which was produced by Paul McCartney, became a number one hit on the UK Singles Chart. It was one of the first songs released on the Beatles’ Apple label. McCartney heard Raskin’s version in a London club and later said "I thought it was very catchy, it had something, it was a good treatment of nostalgia... (Hopkin) picked it up very easily, as if she'd known it for years."  Paul played acoustic guitar and possibly percussion on Hopkin’s version.  McCartney also recorded Hopkin singing "Those Were The Days" in other languages for release in their respective countries: In Spain, Qué tiempo tan feliz In West Germany, An jenem Tag In Italy, Quelli erano giorni In France, Le temps des fleurs Boris Fomin didn’t do quite [...]

When You Wish Upon a Star

October 19, 2019

'When You Wish Upon a Star' is a song written by Leigh Harline with lyrics by Ned Washington (who also wrote the lyrics to 'Stella by Starlight', 'On Green Dolphin Street' and 'The Nearness of You') for Walt Disney's 1940 adaptation of Pinocchio. It won an Academy Award for Best Original Music Score and Best Original Song. The American Film Institute ranked 'When You Wish Upon a Star' seventh in their 100 Greatest Songs in Film History! The piece has also become a jazz standard. It has been performed by artists including Linda Ronstadt, Louis Armstrong, Dave Brubeck Quartet, Glenn Miller, Joe Pass, Wynton Marsalis, Bill Evans, and many others. This is one of those songs that took me several weeks to want to record, because it gave me so much joy to play! This performance is dedicated to Denis R and Therese L. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do. Dr. Weiss Bosendorfer piano sound - For this recording I’m playing a Yamaha Clavinova – which has the same keyboard action as a traditional acoustic piano, but there are no strings. Pressing a key activates (in this case) a sound which was sampled from a Bösendorfer Imperial Concert Grand piano. [...]
Country music star WIllie Nelson playing his guitar.

Crazy

October 16, 2019

On This Day (October 16, 1961) 58 years ago Patsy Cline released her version of the Willie Nelson penned song ‘Crazy’ for which she has since been associated.  Cline's version is No. 85 on Rolling Stone's list of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. The fact that it has been covered by so many others speaks to its universal appeal. It’s hard to think of a more representative classic country song that illustrates the overall power, emotion and simplicity of these songs.  When I was recording this one I must have played it dozens of times after the recorded first take because of the pleasure I felt in listening to the chord progressions, versions of which we’ve heard so many times before.  This song is like a musical security blanket. Dedicated to Ken Burns for his work on the documentary ‘Country Music’ airing on PBS.  If you haven’t seen it yet, it’s really amazing. For instance, did you know that Minnie Pearl from the Grand Ol’ Oprey - the woman with the price tag on her hat - was putting us on all that time? She was the opposite of the hillbilly backwoods persona that she displayed onstage! Enjoy, [...]

I Can’t Give You Anything But Love

October 7, 2019

”I Can't Give You Anything but Love, Baby" is an American popular song and jazz standard by Jimmy McHugh (music) and Dorothy Fields (lyrics). [Two other songs that they wrote together: "I'm in the Mood for Love” and "On the Sunny Side of the Street”.]  The idea behind the song came during a stroll Fields and McHugh were taking one evening down Fifth Avenue; they saw a young couple window-shopping at Tiffany's. McHugh and Fields understood that the couple did not have the resources to buy jewelry from Tiffany's, but nevertheless they drew closer to them. It was then they heard the man say, "Gee, honey I'd like to get you a sparkler like that, but right now, i can't give you nothin' but love!" Immediately upon hearing this, they  came up with "I Can't Give You Anything but Love, Baby" within an hour! In the 100-most recorded songs from 1890 to 1954, "I Can't Give You Anything But Love, Baby" (1928) is No. 24! The most recent popular recording is by Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga in their 2014  collaborative jazz album Cheek to Cheek. Once again, I’ve distilled the essence of the song into less than 60 seconds.  [...]

Shallow

September 27, 2019

Shallow On this day one year ago 'Shallow' (the theme song from the 2018 film 'A Star is Born') was released. It was written and performed by Lady Gaga (with Andrew Wyatt, Anthony Rossomando and Mark Ronson) and won an Academy Award and a Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song. And it’s so much fun to play! Initially, I didn’t ‘get’ the Instrumental Bridge. It just didn’t sound right to me because I was not used to hearing these chord changes. Now it’s one of my favorite sections of the song! What do you think? I also thought that I would draw a parallel between 'Shallow' and 'Evergreen', the theme song for the 1976 film 'A Star Is Born', that was written and performed by Barbra Streisand - also winning an Academy Award and a Golden Globe!! Two talented women winning the same awards for writing and singing theme songs for versions of the same movie over 40 years apart! Amazing!! Enjoy, Dr. Weiss Related post: Evergreen (Theme song from 'A Star Is Born' 1976) Bosendorfer piano sound - For this recording I’m playing a Yamaha Clavinova – which has the same keyboard action as a traditional acoustic piano, but there are no strings. Pressing a key activates [...]