Welcome to my blog!

Welcome to my blog! My goal here is to get more personal – and simply share stuff with my friends, family, and patients!  You can expect some posts on the latest advances in cosmetic surgery (although it seems like there’ll be a fair amount of music-related posts – they’re too much fun to make!) I also expect that we’ll have more contests and free stuff, special events and even very special guests!

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Tell Me More and More (and Then Some)

Billie Holiday is tied with Ella Fitzgerald for my (and probably many others) favorite female vocalist.  What you may not be aware of is that Billie was also a composer who not only wrote this song, but others including God Bless the Child (who’s got his own), Lady Sings the Blues, and (Hush Now) Don’t Explain.  Nicknamed "Lady Day”, Holiday had a seminal influence on jazz music and pop singing. Her vocal style, strongly inspired by jazz instrumentalists, pioneered a new way of manipulating phrasing and tempo. She was known for her vocal delivery and improvisational skills. She is totally unique and instantly recognizable. I won’t even begin to get into her tragic childhood and life (for this, see her wikipedia article.) It is an understatement to say that she had a right to sing the blues.  One devastating example: Holiday's New York City Cabaret Card was revoked, preventing her working anywhere that sold alcohol for the last 12 years of her short life. Our loss. Another almost unbelievable example: as she lay dying (at age 44) in the hospital suffering from heart and liver problems, she was arrested and handcuffed for drug possession, her hospital room was raided, and [...]

Do You Know What It Means to Miss New Orleans? (with lyrics)

Well, as a matter of fact, I do find myself missing New Orleans, one of my favorite cities, at one of my favorite times of the year in the Big Easy: Jazz Fest!  For a nice summary of Jazz Fest history, read this summary in the New York Times from a couple of days ago. One of my most emotional times in New Orleans was attending the first jazz fest after hurricane Katrina in 2006. I described this moving experience here. This one is dedicated to the many friends and family with whom I’ve shared this unique experience over the years, including: Todd, Alfred, Will, Donna, Portia, Jonathan, David, Katrine and Jay (who, by the way, has the sweetest perfume store in the French Quarter: Madame Aucoin Perfume, around the corner from the Hotel Montelione.)  Let the good times roll! Dr. Weiss
Easter Parade Poster w/ Judy Garland and Fred Astaire

Easter Parade

Back by popular demand, I'm happy to share again what is becoming something of an annual Easter tradition - me playing the Easter Parade for my poodle Bisou!  I'm not sure if Bisou ever got a chance to watch the classic movie with Fred Astaire and Judy Garland, but she definitiely appreciated the music! I hope you enjoy! Dr. Weiss

Cars Hiss By My Window

On this day (April 19) in 1971 the Doors released their sixth studio album, L.A. Woman, which included this song, Cars Hiss By My Window. We were BIG Doors fans in my Philadelphia neighborhood! This is the song where I first learned to play the blues.  (I didn’t realize at the time that it was a very common but slightly altered  I/IV/V blues progression, borrowed from generations of black blues musicians, originating in the Deep South of the United States around the 1870s.) Another interesting thing I didn’t suspect at the time (pre-Google in our pockets!) were the other musical influences: for this recording, the Doors hired Elvis Presley's bassist Jerry Scheff and Leon Russell’s rhythm guitarist Marc Benno to round out their sound. The band began recording without much material and needed to compose many songs, including this one, on the spot in the studio!  Keyboardist Ray Manzarek recalled that "Jim said it was about living in Venice [Beach], in a hot room, with a hot girlfriend, and an open window, and a bad time…” Listening to this song, I can easily imagine the cars, waves, headlights and beaches of Venice. The ending’s pretty dark, but he was obviously [...]

Maybe I’m Amazed

On this day (April 17) in 1970, Paul McCartney released “Maybe I’m Amazed’ on his first solo album after the Beatles, simply entitled ‘McCartney’. I was a freshman in college, and at that time no one could get enough of McCartney’s voice, or his songs. He also played all the instruments himself -  guitars, bass, piano, organ and drums - onto just a four track tape machine! Despite the spare arrangement, it’s been regarded as one of McCartney's finest love songs, and McCartney once said "Maybe I'm Amazed" was "the song he would like to be remembered for in the future". I’m not sure I agree with Paul on that, but I’ve always enjoyed this song! McCartney dedicated this song to his wife, Linda. I’d like to dedicate this performance to my wife, Portia.
One Spirit

One Spirit – (Weiss piano version)

In keeping with the continuing ’On This Day’ theme, today’s my birthday (April 15), so today I’d like to share with you a piano version of the song that I wrote which inspired me to found One World Sight Project, Inc., a 501.c.3 charity devoted to raising funds to cure needless blindness around the world.  This song is dedicated to the tens of millions of needlessly blind people in the world who could be permanently cured with a simple 20 minute cataract operation that in many cases costs as little as $20! This performance is dedicated to Stevie Wonder, Nelson Mandela, Bob Welsh MD, and  David Paton MD, who have all helped with their personal encouragement, advice and support.  You can visit One World Sight Project at http://www.endblindness.org  I hope you like it. Dr. Weiss PS Here is a vocal version of One Spirit - sung, arranged and performed by my good friend Jimmy Hopper (I also call him “the voice!”) Thanks again, Jimmy. https://www.drweiss.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/One-Spirit.mp3

The White Cliffs of Dover

The White Cliffs of Dover “(There'll Be Bluebirds Over) The White Cliffs of Dover" is one of the most popular World War II songs, composed in 1941 by Walter Kent to lyrics by Nat Burton. I’ve always loved this emotional song. The song was written about a year after the Royal Air Force and German aircraft had been fighting over southern England, including the white cliffs of Dover, in the Battle of Britain. Nazi Germany had conquered much of Europe and in 1941 was still bombing Britain. With neither America nor the Soviet Union having yet joined the war, Britain was the only major power fighting the Axis powers in Europe. The American lyricist, Nat Burton, wrote his lyric unaware that the bluebird is not indigenous to Britain and asked Kent to set it to music. The lyrics looked towards a time when the war would be over and peace would rule over the iconic white cliffs, Britain's symbolic border with the European mainland. My father always told me that it is hard to describe the overall feeling of what it was like during World War II.  I still can’t imagine how it felt for the English fighting the Germans alone [...]
A painted image of the composer Bach

Inventio IV

On This Day (March 31) in 1685 Johann Sebastian Bach, one of the greatest composers of all time, was born in present-day Germany.  Mozart, Beethoven, Chopin, Haydn and Schumann were all fans and were strongly influenced by Bach. Bach’s Inventions (and Sinfonias), 30 short keyboard compositions in all, were originally written as musical exercises for his students, to help them learn how to play two voices clearly. A bit more about Bach. One of his most enduring legacies was a collection of two sets of preludes and fugues in all 24 major and minor keys, which he called the Well-Tempered Clavier. This collection is regarded as being among the most important works in the history of classical music, sometimes called the Old Testament of keyboard music.  Although I had seen the phrase ‘well-tempered’ I really never knew what it meant. Well-tempered refers to the employment of a tuning system that would work equally well in all keys—a circumstance rare in Bach’s day. In 1722, the scale in use today (equal temperament, where the octave is split into 12 equal steps that we call semi-tones) had not yet been codified.  There were unequal intervals between the notes within an octave. What [...]
A yellowish moon hangs over a dark ocean

Moonlight Sonata

Moonlight Sonata (the Piano Sonata No. 14 in C# minor “Quasi una fantasia”, Op, 27, No. 2) is a piano sonata by Ludwig van Beethoven completed in 1801. The piece is one of Beethoven's most popular compositions for the piano. The name "Moonlight Sonata" comes from remarks made by a music critic 5 years after Beethoven's death, that likened the effect of the first movement to that of moonlight shining upon Lake Lucerne. I can see that. Well put! Berlioz said that it "is one of those poems that human language does not know how to qualify". This sonata was very popular even in Beethoven's day, to the point of exasperating the composer himself, who once remarked, "Surely I've written better things." I guess even back in the day, musicians could never tell which of their songs would be hits! This performance of the first movement of Moonlight Sonata is dedicated to the over 40 people who have requested it, including Lisa M. Thanks. I really enjoy playing it! Dr. Weiss
Ludwin van Beethoven

Adieu to the Piano

On this day (March 26) in 1827, Ludvig van Beethoven, one of our great classical composers, died in his apartment in Vienna at the age of 56 during a thunderstorm (and there reportedly was a peal of thunder at the moment of death!) I didn’t realize that Beethoven apparently had a sense of humor. His last recorded words were "Pity, pity—too late!", as the dying composer was told of a gift of twelve bottles of wine from his publisher. Adieux to the Piano was one of the greatly popular parlor pieces for the piano during much of the 19th and 20th centuries. Although attributed to Beethoven, there is some controversy. During the 19th century unscrupulous publishers (so the music business is the same more than 200 years later!) would frequently attempt to improve sales of their works by slapping Beethoven's name onto them. However, it is listed in the library of congress by Beethoven. In any case, there is a simple meditative peacefulness to this song, and it’s fun to play! Beethoven also wrote the popular "Moonlight Sonata", which clocks in at around 4 minutes (I play it a little faster than usual.)  It's a fun piece and I'd love to share that with [...]