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Quick Station Stop – Holding Hands with My Faves

Quirky T has noticed that her favorite musicians have made references to holding hands in their songs. The lyrics evoke images of comfort. So here is The Guitar Train’s list of songs by her favorite musicians which mention holding hands.

  1. The Beatles – “I Want To Hold Your Hand”
  2. Paul McCartney – “Put It There”
  3. Phil Collins – “Come With Me”
  4. Gloria Estefan – “I See Your Smile”
  5. Huey Lewis and the News – “Do You Believe in Love”

And here’s a bonus song from another band I liked:

Hootie and the Blowfish – “Hold My Hand”

Guitar Train passengers, what songs by your favorite musicians mention hand holding as a source of comfort?

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The Guitar Train Takes a New Route

I have never been into spring cleaning. For some reason this spring, I am really into it for the first time. I want everything in my house (especially the basement) and my life to be very organized. The clutter and huge to do lists are stressing me.

One of the biggest causes of stress is the amount of books I have in my home which I have never read. There are about 50 books I have bought in the past several years that I have not yet found time to read. I can understand putting off reading the books I have which are classics and I feel that I am supposed to read. They feel like homework assignments. I also understand not having read the books I have a passing interest in the topic or the author. I can’t understand the large number of Beatles, Genesis, New York Giants, and the New York Yankees books which I have yet to read. These topics are my passions, so why am I putting off reading these books? I am pretty sure they’ll be good reads. On the topic of The Beatles, I have “Tune In: Volume 1” by Mark Lewisohn, “The Beatles” by Hunter Davies, and “The Beatles, The Bible, and Bodega Bay” by Ken Mansfield.

There are two books I am hesitant to read because once I have read them, I will never be able to read a new book from that author again. Sue Grafton, who wrote the so-called alphabet of murder mysteries, is one of my favorite authors. Sadly she passed away in December 2017. I have yet to read her books “X” and “Y is for Yesterday”. She passed away before she finished writing the “Z” book in the Kinsey Millhone detective series. I will probably read her last two books as I did the last book in the Harry Potter series – slowly, savoring every word, knowing it’s the end.

 

On the other hand, there’s a certain liberation in knowing going into something that it is finite. I just began reading the Kurt Wallender detective mysteries written by Henning Mankell. Since the author has passed away, I know there are only a certain amount of books in the series and then I have done my “job” of reading them.

So for the next few months, I will be binge reading the books I already own at home. I will not take any more books out of the library which has been the biggest deterrent to reading the books I have at home. The list of books I want to borrow from the library is in the hundreds. I know this project will take several months since I can’t binge read as fast as I can binge watch TV shows and movies. I really wish binge reading was as fast as binge watching. I will also not be stressed by the 300 shows and movies I have waiting for me on my Netflix queue (including two TV versions of the Kurt Wallender books once I finish reading them). So I’m steering the Guitar Train to binge reading for as long as I have books to read.

 

Guitar Train passengers, which books do you have at home you’ve put off reading (and enjoying)?

Bad News for Huey Lewis

Huey Lewis poster 2014

Quirky T was very saddened to find out that Huey Lewis has lost his hearing. As a result, he cannot perform and had to cancel all his band’s 2018 concerts. I feel so bad for what he is going through personally and professionally. I pray that the hearing loss is not permanent and he can return to singing and performing very soon.

cu Huey Lewis Sports poster

I am extremely lucky to have seen Huey Lewis and the News in concert four times between 2009 and 2014. I have been a fan since their 1983 album, “Sports”. I had to wait 26 years until I first saw them in concert. After that first concert, I tried to see them every chance I could. Luckily that was not hard to do since they tour every year, mostly in the summer months. I’m so happy that I saw them multiple times because I would really be regretting it now if I had missed my opportunities. I feel so bad for all the fans who have tickets to the upcoming cancelled concerts and now won’t have the amazing concert experiences I had. Hopefully, the majority of them have seen the band before and have great memories.

 

This sad news has made me realize how lucky I am to have seen all my favorite musicians in concert (except The Beatles). It makes me want to take advantage of any future concert opportunities I have. That includes seeing Phil Collins in his limited physical capacity. I really appreciate Farewell and Final Tours now because at least those artists could decide on their own when to stop performing and let their fans know it’s the last chance to see them in concert.

 

Hopefully, this isn’t the end of performing and making music for Huey Lewis. I’ll be praying and waiting for his joyful return.

 

Guitar Train passengers, who are you very grateful to have seen in concert?

Quirky T is Excited about Opening Day

New York Yankees logo

Today is opening day of the Major League Baseball season. I am so excited about the upcoming New York Yankees season. They surprisingly were one win away from going to the World Series last year. With a young, talented team, I’m excited to see how far they can go this season. Interesting note, the Yankees have won the World Series in 1938, 1958, 1978, and 1998. I can see a pattern where this should be the year for their 28th World Series Championship.

Yankee Stadium

Yankee Stadium

To get on the right musical track for the new Yankees season, here are songs which remind me of going to Yankee Stadium for games.

  1. “YMCA”
  2. “Cotton-Eyed Joe”
  3. “New York, New York”

 

The Yankees grounds crew does a choreographed dance to “YMCA” by the Village People while they rake the infield dirt during the 5th inning. They have been doing this for decades now and it is still a highlight.

 

Not so much of a highlight is the playing of “Cotton-Eyed Joe” in the 8th inning while someone in a straw hat dances in a booth in the stadium. I was never fond of that song and I don’t think it fits in the Bronx, New York. The song has an interesting history, though, which can be read on Wikipedia.

Frank Sinatra framed photo

photo at Yankee Stadium

 

 

Leaving Yankee Stadium with other jubilant Yankees fans after another win with everyone singing along to Frank Sinatra’s, “New York, New York” is one of the best experiences. Fortunately, it is an experience I’ve had repeatedly over the past 22 years. I look forward to more wins this season.

 

Guitar Train passengers, what songs do you associate with your favorite sports teams?

Quirky T Examines Representative Love Songs

Starship T-shirt

 

Quirky T has some post Valentine’s Day musical observations. Where I work love songs are played constantly since a high percentage of pop songs from the 80’s to today are love songs. My workplace playlist regularly plays Billy Joel, Richard Marx, Peter Cetera, and Elton John so love songs are highly represented on a daily basis. The plus side of the daily repetition is I enjoy these artists. On an almost daily basis, I can also hear two (love) songs from one of my faves, Huey Lewis (“Do You Believe in Love?” and “Happy to be Stuck with You”). I can also hear a favorite (love) song from my favorite movie – The Proclaimers “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)” from “Benny and Joon”. So the only way I realized that the music selection had changed to a Valentine theme a few days before the holiday was when I heard Nat King Cole’s “When I Fall in Love”. It definitely stuck out among the more modern music. It’s interesting that even though mostly every song being played was a love song, the music programmers thought they had to dig deep decades before the 80’s to find true love songs. It got me excited that maybe next I would hear some Frank Sinatra or Dean Martin. I didn’t. Nat King Cole was the anomaly. The other “Valentine’s songs” were from the 80’s to today and included Starship’s “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now.”

Cloud 9 CD cover

I found it interesting when all the possible love songs in the world are narrowed down to just three songs to represent this incredibly large and diverse genre. A store sold musical balloons for Valentine’s Day with only a choice of three songs – “Got My Mind Set on You” the George Harrison version,   “You’re the One that I Want” from the movie “Grease”, and “Hooked on a Feeling”. Of course I prefer the George Harrison song but I don’t think it’s his most romantic song. “Something” and “Old Brown Shoe” come to mind before that cover song. The song from “Grease” is fun but problematic when you consider the scene from the movie where the song appears. Danny makes positive changes to his life to impress Sandy such as giving up smoking and exercising. While Sandy takes up smoking and dressing slutty to attract Danny. So who really is the one that they want? The one who they really are or the one that they become to impress each other? “Hooked on a Feeling” is not the most romantic song as it is more about lust than romantic, lasting love. Plus, whenever I hear that song, I think of the dancing baby on the TV show “Ally McBeal”.

Hallmark, the greeting card company, actually sold vinyl 45 records with their Valentine greeting cards. The three records chosen were Bruno Mars’ “Just the Way You Are”/”Marry You”,  Aretha Frankin’s “Respect”/”Think”, and INXS’ “Need You Tonight”/”Never Tear Us Apart”. Again, I am not sure these are the best love songs to represent all love songs. Even being limited to just Atlantic Records recording artists would yield a huge amount of love songs. (For example, my favorite Phil Collins who released a compilation actually called “Love Songs”). The Bruno Mars songs are appropriate, romantic, and current. The Aretha Franklin songs are more warnings to men than love songs. “Need You Tonight” like “Hooked on a Feeling” is more about lust than love. While “Never Tear Us Apart” seems romantically appropriate. I’m surprised that INXS was included with the amazing Bruno Mars and the legendary Aretha Franklin. If not for the quirky fact that my workplace actually plays those two INXS songs on an almost daily basis, I probably wouldn’t have heard those songs since they came out thirty years ago.

 

Songs do send messages so the musical balloons or records with the greeting cards given to a sweetheart on Valentine’s Day could be a way of sending a message that may not be as romantic as the occasion calls for. Of course it’s hard to narrow down a huge genre to less than 10 representative songs. I just found it interesting which songs were chosen to represent that love.

 

Guitar Train passengers, what three songs would you choose to represent Valentine’s Day?

 

How Much Do You Want To Know?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

Recently, Quirky T bought two musical memoirs to read aboard The Guitar Train. I have finished reading Phil Collins’ 2016 autobiography, “Not Dead Yet” and am partway through his Genesis bandmate, Mike Rutherford’s, “The Living Years”. The minute I heard Phil Collins was writing a memoir, I knew I had to read it. While looking online for the release date, I came across Mike Rutherford’s book. It was published in 2014. It is interestingly labeled as “the first Genesis memoir” which seems an odd way to promote it. It’s not as if the former bandmates are in a huge feud and one wanted to get his side of the story out before another did. I ordered this first Genesis autobiography but I read it after Phil Collins’.

My interest in reading these books is for the information on what led the musicians to write the songs I love. I’m not very interested in their family lives and I’m definitely not interested in the details of their excessive drinking and drug use. Decades ago, when I first became a Beatles fan, I had to read every book I could find about them. I had to know as much as possible. I needed to know the chronology of their musical journey as well as if they were married and how many children they had. That might be a Beatles fan thing where these are basic facts that every true Beatles fan is supposed to know. I don’t feel that way about my other favorite musicians and bands – Gloria Estefan, Phil Collins, Genesis, Huey Lewis and the News, and Jon Secada. I know about Gloria Estefan’s family life because it is simple- she married the only man she ever dated, has a son and a daughter and is still married to the same man. I only know about Phil Collins’ personal life because it is complicated and very public. So much of his autobiography reflected that. I didn’t realize the incredible backlash he felt when he ended his second marriage. He felt that people who paid to see him in concert were against him. That surprised me because they were fans and I couldn’t imagine a musician feeling like his own fans didn’t like him and still having to perform for them. I wasn’t aware of all this when I saw him in concert but I wouldn’t have held it against him because I like to hear both sides of the story.

I have never had a thought about Mike Rutherford’s personal life. His memoir is interesting because he contrasts his rock and roll life with the strict military life of his father. It is also interesting to read his point of view on Genesis events I had read about in Phil Collins’ memoir. Again, no feud between them. In fact, the end of Genesis had no drama at all. Phil wrote that he was nervous in 1996 about telling Tony Banks and Mike Rutherford that he was leaving the group because “these are my oldest musical friends. Two of my oldest friends, full stop.” When told the news, Tony replied, “Well, it’s a sad day.” Mike said, “We understand. We’re just surprised you stayed this long.” I haven’t finished reading Mike Rutherford’s book yet because like Phil Collins’ book, I want to read it slowly to extend my last new connection to Genesis since there’s no new music or tour coming from them.

 

On the topic of tours, I have seen some videos of Phil Collins’ recent tour in Europe. The videos sadden me because of Phil’s physical state. He only sits on a stool and sings. No more drumming. He looks old and frail just like he did when he promoted “Not Dead Yet” on TV talk shows. I feel so badly that he is in pain and not physically what he once was. I don’t know if I’d be able to go to his concert and really enjoy it. I’d be thinking about how vibrant he was and sad about what he is.

 

The two memoirs did not give me huge insight on the inspirations behind their songwriting. That is especially true in the case of the Phil Collins led Genesis since they wrote all their songs together and did not claim individual songwriting credit. Phil wrote in his book, “The three of us have a chat and come to an agreement that anything we’ve finished writing as an individual, we’ll keep for ourselves for future solo projects. Any incomplete but promising ideas, we’ll bring in and put to the band committee.” Phil also debunks the belief that he is responsible for Genesis transitioning from a progressive rock bank to a pop singles band. Writing about the time after Peter Gabriel left Genesis, Phil says, “I’d rather be in an instrumental band than take over the microphone. Tony and Mike have long had aspirations to be songwriters – that is, songs with lyrics, lyrics that need to be sung. More than that: they wanted to write hit songs, singles that will reach the pop charts. It’s a development of some irony that it takes almost ten years of their songwriting skills to “mature” and come up with hit singles – exactly coinciding with the another emerging reality: I’m becoming the singer-by-default.”

 

As a far as the inspirations behind Phil Collins’ solo songs, I already knew that two of his angriest songs (which are two of my favorite songs) “I Don’t Care Anymore” and “Do You Know, Do You Care” came as a result of the bitter divorce from his first wife. He describes himself as “someone who writes from the heart and not the head”.

I guess an autobiography is not the format for writing in depth about a songwriter’s musical inspirations. Of course that type of in depth book has been written about the Beatles’ songs. The best book I read on that topic is Hunter Davis’ “The Beatles Lyrics”. Regardless, the two memoirs by Genesis bandmates were good reads and recommended for their fans.

 

Guitar Train passengers, how much do you want to know about your favorite musicians? Do you want personal details or strictly music related details? For which songwriters would you like to read an in depth explanation of the inspirations for their songs?

Quirky T’s Favorite Christmas Songs (Updated)

Quirky T has previously stopped The Guitar Train to listen to her favorite secular Christmas songs. Here is the new updated list of those fun songs.

  1. “Jingle Bells” – Barbra Streisand
  2. “A Marshmallow World” – Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin
  3. “Shake Hands With Santa Claus” – Louis Prima
  4. “Sleigh Ride” – The Ronettes
  5. “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” – Bruce Springsteen
  6. “Come On Christmas, Christmas Come On” – Ringo Starr

No Christmas season would be complete without hearing Barbra Streisand’s highly caffeinated version of “Jingle Bells”. It’s as if before the recording of this song, she was told, “Okay, we only have the recording studio for two minutes. As soon as you finish drinking your extra large espresso, we’ll start.” The result must be heard to be enjoyed. It brings me joy every time I hear it.

Christmas with The Rat Pack

“A Marshmallow World” from the CD “Christmas with The Rat Pack” portrays a lovely winter setting that makes me happy. I wish it would snow enough to re-enact this song.

Mob Hits Christmas

I put Louis Prima in the same category as Lou Monte. Louis Prima’s novelty songs are fun like Lou Monte’s songs. “Shake Hands with Santa Claus” is just a fun, upbeat song. It can be found on the CD “Mob Hits Christmas” which sadly doesn’t contain Lou Monte’s “Dominick the Donkey (The Italian Christmas Donkey)”, another classic Christmas novelty song. That song is on the first “Mob Hits” CD which was released before the “Mob Hits Christmas” CD.

There are many versions of the song “Sleigh Ride” but by far my favorite is by The Ronettes. Their version is fast and fun. It cuts out the slow, boring verses and ends with you wanting to hear more.

I haven’t heard every single Bruce Springsteen song but from the ones I have heard, he seems to be quite a serious person. What I love about his version of “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” is he seems to be having so much fun. It’s just a happy, energetic rocking song.

Ringo Starr’s Christmas song is a new addition to this list. Ringo released a whole album of Christmas songs called “I Wanna Be Santa Claus” in 1999. “Come On Christmas, Christmas Come On” is my favorite song from that album. It is a high energy song which I listen to over and over. As I mentioned in last month’s Guitar Train stop, I wish Ringo had played this song at his concert which I was lucky enough to attend.

Guitar Train passengers, what are your favorite secular Christmas songs and why?

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