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, 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 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 [...]
Evergreen ’Evergreen' (also called 'Love Theme from A Star is Born') is the theme song from the 1976 film A Star is Born starring Barbra Streisand and Kris Kristofferson. It was composed and performed by Barbra Streisand with lyrics by Paul Williams. As composers, Streisand and Williams earned an Academy Award for Best Original Song. She was the first woman ever to be so honored as a composer. At the 49th Academy Awards the song won the Academy Award for Best Original Song and Streisand became the only woman in history to win the Academy Award for Best Actress and the Academy Award for Best Original Song. It also won a Grammy for Song of the Year! Enjoy, Dr. Weiss Related post: Shallow (Theme from 'A Star is Born' 2018) 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. Try listening to it with a good set of headphones! It sounds better than any piano I've ever owned!!
On This Day (September 23) in 1949 Bruce Springsteen was born in New Jersey. ‘Thunder Road’ is one of Bruce Springsteen's most performed songs, audience favorite, and the opening track on his 1975 breakthrough album Born to Run. It is ranked as one of Springsteen's greatest songs, and often appears on lists of the top rock songs of all time. (In fact, in 2004, it was ranked #1 on the list of the "885 All-Time Greatest Songs" compiled by the University of Pennsylvania's public radio station!) The song's title comes from the Robert Mitchum film noir about a bootlegger entitled ’Thunder Road’. Springsteen declared that he was somehow inspired by the movie despite not having seen it. As he once said: "I never saw the movie, I only saw the poster in the lobby of the theater." (I only recently learned that “The Ballad of Thunder Road”, the theme song for the 1957 movie, was performed and co-written by actor Robert Mitchum!) Where I grew up (in Northeast Philadelphia) we were all early Springsteen fanatics from when he released his first album, Greetings From Asbury Park, in January 1973 - earlier than he broke nationally. The Jersey shore was just an hour [...]
On this day (September 19) in 1974 Bob Dylan recorded 'Simple Twist of Fate' in New York City. It’s been reinterpreted by artists as varied as Jerry Garcia and Diana Krall. I’ve always been attracted to this song. Perhaps one reason is that Dylan's lyric notebook reveals that it was originally titled "4th Street Affair” referring to a time when he lived in an apartment on West 4th Street in Greenwich Village. I lived around the corner on Cornelia Street in the early ’70’s while I was at NYU. In my opinion, this is an example of one of the ways Dylan changed song writing by throwing out conventions. Even without the need for any words, chorus or bridge, he had (has) me with the just the song name and the simple repetitive 5-chord progression that is evocative of nostalgia of the title ‘Simple Twist of Fate’ . I’ve included the first 4 verses that seemingly describe a fleeting one night affair. I look at this song as kind of a minimalist musical mantra, another example of Dylan’s genius. This performance is dedicated to my patient Barbara M. Enjoy, Dr. Weiss Related Posts: Forever Young If Dogs Run Free Bosendorfer [...]
OK, here’s an oldie but goody. Who doesn’t know and love this song! In 1872, Home on the Range was composed by Daniel E. Kelley with the lyrics by Brewster M. Higley. It was originally distributed as a poem, "My Western Home", but is now regarded as the unofficial anthem of the American West. Home on the Range was adopted by ranchers, cowboys, and other western settlers throughout the past few generations. Of interest, Home on the Range originally didn’t have even include the words “on the range”, but over as time went on, the phrase was adopted into the song title. Notable versions include ones by Bing Crosby, Ken Maynard, Frank Sinatra, Pete Seeger, Gene Autry, and Burl Ives, among others. So sit back, relax, and enjoy this western original. 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. Try listening to it with a good set of headphones! It sounds better than any piano I've ever owned!!
The Weiss Cosmetic & Laser Procedures team saw Jackson Browne at the Pacific Amphitheater last night, which got me to thinking about this version of the classic Jackson Browne piano ballad ‘Rosie’, from his seminal album “Running on Empty.” I’ve always loved to play this song. Browne explained that Rosie actually was a true story. The song’s lyrics are seemingly about a lonely groupie getting an entrance ticket from the sound man, who she later abandons for the drummer coming off stage. “This is a true story about a guy I knew who used to sit right over there and he mixed the monitors onstage,” Browne said in 1978. There is another somewhat hidden meaning to the song, one which I shall let those who are interested discover with a tool called Google, which was decades away when this song came out. Enjoy. Dr. Weiss Another New Music Post: Liebestraum (A Dream of Love) No. 3 Theme 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 [...]
Liebesträum (German for Dreams of Love) is a set of three solo piano works by Franz Liszt, published in 1850. This is the hauntingly beautiful theme for the third of these piano solos. The poems on which the songs are based depict three different forms of love; exalted love (saintly or religious love), erotic love, and unconditional mature love (the subject of the current theme.) Liebestraum No. 3 is the last of the three that Liszt wrote, and the most popular. What’s really interesting and somewhat unusual about this section of the piano piece is that the melody frequently changes between the hands. See if you can follow my fingers as the melody alternates between my right and left hands. Particularly starting at around the 1 minute mark, I am constantly amazed at how the melody seems to be kind of drifting up between my hands even as I’m playing it! To quote Gary Myers (a great artist from the NY state finger lake region who has graciously allowed me to use his beautiful painting of the same name to match the mood of the piece) talking about his painting (but his impressions also apply to the music) : “ [...]
On This Day (August 9) in 1995 Jerry Garcia passed away (8 days after his 53rd birthday) from a heart attack. For me, this is when the final spirit of the sixties really ended (along with John Lennon’s death years earlier). As one of its founders, Garcia performed with the Grateful Dead for their entire 30-year career (1965–1995). He was renowned for his musical and technical ability, particularly his ability to play a variety of instruments, and his ability to sustain long improvisations with The Grateful Dead. Regarding his soloing style, I thought this was interesting (and useful, to a soloist): When asked to describe his approach to soloing, Garcia commented: "It keeps on changing. I still basically revolve around the melody and the way it's broken up into phrases as I perceive them. With most solos, I tend to play something that phrases the way the melody does; my phrases may be more dense or have different value, but they'll occur in the same places in the song.” Garcia first met lyricist and poet Robert Hunter in 1961, who would become a long-time friend and lyricist for the Grateful Dead, officially a non-performing band member. Of note, Hunter was [...]