Today would have been my mom’s birthday and I heard that Burt Bacharach died. He was one of my mom’s favorite artists.
While we were baking together or cleaning the house, wearing the apron I still have hanging up in the kitchen, she’d sing along with an album or the radio, which REALLY REALLY embarrassed me — I thought she was so annoying, but I miss hearing her voice now. She could carry a tune and I cannot, even though I had voice lessons…oh well, not one my skills, I guess.
So much awesome music like “Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head” and “Do You Know the Way to San Jose” and “Alfie.
Rest in peace, Burt.
Here are some of my mom’s favorites:
One of my favorite singers, Cilla Black and one of Burt Bacharach’s best-loved songs, too.
UPDATE: Another lovely Australian, Olivia Newton John, passed away Monday, August 8, 2022. How sad!
Judith Durham, Australia’s folk music icon, died yesterday at the age of seventy-nine. Sources report cause of death was a long battle with chronic lung disease.
Judith’s bandmates Bruce Woodley, Keith Potger, and Athol Guy said their lives had been changed forever by losing their treasured lifelong friend and shining star.
I’m reminded of Karen Carpenter, another iconic singer. There are only a few voices that possess such pure, magical, soulful qualities.
If you’ve never heard of The Seekers, here’s some of their biggest hits…
From The Seekers Farewell Tour 2013, I’ll Never Find Another You. Listening to it, I think her voice is even more beautiful than in the original, if that’s even possible.
Have you heard of the 1966 film, Georgy Girl, with Lynn Redgrave, Charlotte Rampling, and James Mason? It’s absolutely worth watching. I might watch it tonight as an homage to Judith Durham.
Back in 1967, when The Seekers returned home to Australia for a visit, little did they know that their free concert at the Myer Music Bowl in their home town of Melbourne would break attendance records for the Southern hemisphere and TV ratings records for Australia.
The group sang live on the day, but because no promo video existed for the original (1966) hit version of the song, it is this which was used for the audio.
A World of Our Own:
Red Rubber Ball:
An earlier version of this song, Judith Durham’s voice is EVERYTHING:
Warning: This is a longer-than-normal read. There’s no way I could edit out more or the story wouldn’t make sense.
Sometimes I love the internet SO much.
I live a sort of quiet, uneventful life; mostly concerned with animals and my son and now his babies; not really any major excitement unless you count meeting the Dalai Lama as excitement, or being in a few films and doing a little modeling back in the day…seeing a coyote or a wolf counts as excitement in my world; as does experiencing a mountain etched against the sky or finding a special rock or seashell on a hike.
But there’s one certain time that I broke out of the mold. I guess I’m unpredictable. An enigma, you might say.
I suppose it all started when I was a young teenager and crushed SO HARD on Jim Morrison that I would use the old computer paper that my brother brought home –reams of it–to hand write story after story about how Jim and I would meet, fall in love, and marry. There was no reality to my desires; I was immersed in total limerence and fantasy.
Moving from the east to the west coast was a total culture shock I don’t think I ever recovered from.
On this particular day, I don’t have a memory about how I managed to get out of the house to attend this concert, but I did.
Here’s the backstory–two of them; intertwined:
On of my Twitter friends attempted to divert all of our stressed out political chatter to something more benign and queried,
“What was your favorite concert that you attended?”
My response was concerts with the Doors and Guns N’ Roses; one I saw in high school and GnR more recently.
I couldn’t remember exactly what year it was, so I Googled Doors concert San Diego and discovered it was August 22, 1970, which means I had just turned sixteen and when school started in September, I would be a senior. (I used to be very smart. That was a long time ago and I’m not so very smart anymore.)
The articles that popped up about the concert totally blew my mind. I wonder why I have no recollection of the concert, what happened, or later reading about it! (I was not into drugs, so that’s not the reason why I don’t remember.)
But not yet. This is a twisty windy story.
Before I share the info, the other piece of this story is that I hadn’t even remembered anything about that Doors concert until I attended the 2017 Womens’ March.
I was there with friends, caught up in the passion of the movement, and then, right in front of me, in the middle of the street on Harbor Drive, was a very familiar face that I hadn’t seen in thirty-plus years. In actual fact, we hadn’t seen each other since my son’s first birthday party in 1982. A LONG TIME AGO.
I yelled her name, she turned around, and we screamed and hugged each other. Apparently, I looked familiar, too. Always with the curly hair, lol.
Right then and there in the middle of the street with 25,00+ people milling around us, we caught each other up on the highlights of those lost decades.
That’s when she reminded me of something she could never forget; the day we went to the Doors concert together, and in total conflict to my normal personality, I jumped on the stage to try and touch/kiss/marry Jim Morrison.
I had totally forgotten.
There were no cell phones back then and hardly anybody brought a camera, so there was no documentation. Until now!
Crabby Appleton opened the show. (I kinda remember that.) The Doors setlist:
Back Door Man
Break On Through
When The Music’s Over
Little Red Rooster
Unknown Track (Poem)
The Celebration Of The Lizard
Light My Fire
Post-concert article by unknown author:
“…The venue was the San Diego Sports Arena, used mainly for basketball and hockey games. ‘Festival Seating’ was in effect: no reserved seats, and no seats at all on the floor. Acoustics were poor.
Prior to the Doors coming out, a local DJ appeared on stage, and told the crowd how glad the Doors were to be back with ‘their people’. This was a reference to the fact that Morrison’s obscenity trial (stemming from a charge of indecent exposure at a Miami concert) had required them to spend a lot of time in Florida.
The DJ also read something that was getting quoted a lot around that time, due to demands from George Wallace and other conservatives for ‘law and order’ to suppress student protest and social unrest:
“The streets of our cities are in turmoil. The universities are filled with students rebelling and rioting. Communists are seeking to destroy our country. Russia is threatening us with her might and the Republic is in danger. Yes, danger from within and without. We need law and order! Yes, without law and order our nation cannot survive.”
This was attributed to Adolf Hitler, though in fact he probably never said it. Whatever its source, it served well as a statement of the sort of counter-cultural, anti-establishment militancy that seemed obligatory at every rock concert around that time.
Soon after that, The Doors came out. As Robbie Krieger launched into the opening riff of Roadhouse Blues, the spotlight fell on Morrison, who stood on the right side of the stage (the audience’s left) a bit apart from the rest of the band. He was dressed only in a white t-shirt and blue jeans. He had a full beard. As the song intro continued, Morrison remained stock still, eyes closed, his only movement being to wind the microphone cord, looping it over his left shoulder. This seemed to go on for quite some time; he must have wound at least 30 feet of cord.
******As he did so a girl from the crowd leapt onstage and wrapped her arms around him, only to be quickly taken off by a roadie. (This would happen several times more).
In the middle of Back Door Man or Soul Kitchen, Morrison ad-libbed something like “San Diego baby, gonna catch ya, gonna clean ya, gonna cook ya, gonna eat cha!”.
He drank frequently on stage, and I doubt it was water. At one point Morrison wandered to the side of the stage where amps were stacked, and placed his mike into the speaker cones, producing squeals of feedback. Also he came downstage and pointed the mike at several members of the audience, each of whom merely gave out inarticulate yells. When Morrison asked the crowd “What do you guys want to hear?”, the response came back: ‘Light My Fire!’
The San Diego gig was the Door’s fourth from last before Morrison died.”
And YES, in case you haven’t figured it out, I was one of those girls!!!! I don’t think I actually got close enough to touch him, but there it is; proof in black and white.
If my attorney dad had read those articles and put two and two together, I would have had a barrage of a trial-worthy interrogatory and would need to think fast. Thank goodness there were no pics of me! (No cell phones/a blessing??)
I can’t figure out how or where I conjured up the chutzpah to jump on the stage-but it happened. Was it a premeditated decision or one I made just prior to the actual act? I don’t have any answers.
It was a moment in time memorialized in a few old newspaper articles.
Here’s a couple videos; not great quality, but there’s more on YouTube.
This Frank Sinatra tune floated in and out of my head along with the symphony of wind chimes as I took a break from a very hard garden project to sit on the deck and quench my thirst with my favorite (daytime) beverage, cold ginger and peppermint tea.
My view from the deck. Lawn is suffering a bit in this heat.
Like the song, our fickle summer wind blows from the west most of the time; I’m a couple miles from the Pacific Ocean.
Nobody can ever compare to Frank’s lyrical interpretation.
The summer wind came blowin’ in from across the sea
It lingered there, to touch your hair and walk with me
All summer long we sang a song and then we strolled that golden sand
Two sweethearts and the summer wind
Like painted kites, those days and nights they went flyin’ by
The world was new beneath a blue umbrella sky
Then softer than a piper man, one day it called to you
I lost you, I lost you to the summer wind
The autumn wind, and the winter winds they have come and gone
And still the days, those lonely days, they go on and on
And guess who sighs his lullabies through nights that never end
My fickle friend, the summer wind
The summer wind
Warm summer wind
The summer wind
Songwriters: Hans Bradtke / Henry Mayer / Johnny Mercer
I just saw an old video of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers and it reminded me of something from my past.
Sometimes, when my son was around eight or ten years old (early 1990s), I’d bring him along with me to the gym and he’d go (reluctantly) to the babysitting room for an hour or so. It was mostly other doubledigiters so he didn’t have a real problem with it, and eventually became friendly with a boy about the same age.
Their friendship progressed beyond the gym to birthdays and sleepovers. For a while, these two boys were inseparable.
One day, out of the blue, and I’m a bit fuzzy on the details, the boy’s dad asked if I could give him a ride to LAX. It’s a ninety minute drive and I’m not sure why I said yes ‘cos I seriously HATE to drive, especially if it involves LA traffic, but I loaded the boys and the dad (along with his guitar) in my car.
I can’t pinpoint the exact moment when I learned that his dad was Ron Blair of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, but I was suitably impressed and starstruck. All I do remember is that he was always quiet but courteous and appreciated the airport ride. He looked EVERY bit a rock and roll superstar.
A couple weeks pre-Covid, a friend invited me to a fundraiser for the local food bank. It was an outdoor venue with a lot of musical guests. The headliner’s name was a familiar one. Lo and behold, it was Ron Blair, who now lives in my little town.
We chatted a bit; I can’t honestly say that he remembered me, but he did remember my son which was cool.
Still quiet, still friendly, and amazingly talented.
We’ve all aged and I’m obviously way too old to be a groupie (sigh), but I do remember THOSE good old days, haha.
My brain just recollected something else…meeting my son’s friend’s maternal grandmother, Mother Antonia. She was infamous for having renounced all her wealth to become a Roman Catholic American religious sister and activist who chose to reside and care for inmates at the notorious maximum-security La Mesa Prison in Tijuana, Mexico. As a result of her work, she founded a new religious institute called the Eudist Servants of the 11th Hour. (Wiki)
Before her death in 2013, she was on TV quite a bit advocating on behalf of the prisoners.
Tear gas, rubber bullets, martial law, curfews, civil unrest, racism, police brutality–exactly HOW many planets are in retrograde now?? ‘cos something’s going on and it’s beyond the plot of any science fiction story. We’re living in a neverending episode of the Twilight Zone.
Add to that list, Ebola, earthquakes, a possible supervolcano in Yellowstone, the pandemic, record unemployment, food lines…WTF.
What I find to be quite troublesome is the way #blacklivesmatter and the ensuing outrage about yet another senseless murder is the number of people in my little SoCal beach town that are right wing racists who hide behind their so-called “christian” facade. It’s absolutely DISGUSTING and there’s always just the tiniest little hint of anti-Semitism in their rants and comments. That orange puppet really brought out true colors in people, didnt he? The mask has slipped. It’s ugly and depressing, and I’ve lived here for 35 years.
This is a fun little graphic:
I haven’t yet attended a march or a gathering, but I probably will. We need to do something, stand up, show up, become part of what’s happening and not allow hatred to continue.
And then I started thinking about other types of beautiful music, like A little Night Music by Mozart (Eine Kleine Nachtmusik), Eine kleine Nachtmusik (Serenade No. 13 for strings in G major), K. 525, is a 1787 composition for a chamber ensemble by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. The German title means “a little serenade,” though it is often rendered more literally but less accurately as “a little night music.” The work is written for an ensemble of two violins, viola, and cello with optional double bass, but is often performed by string orchestras.
And finally, some Rumi:
Close the door of words that the window of your heart may open. To see what cannot be seen turn your eyes inward and listen, in silence.