Beyond the bathroom reading

Ace Frehley played at our local Memorial Day weekend festival on Friday night. I didn’t go. Didn’t want to stand for a few hours on a staggeringly hot evening. Besides, I’ve seen him twice already. Each time I was pleasantly surprised.

When KISS played in Milwaukee in 2000, Ace was a much better guitarist than I expected. “Astonishingly good,” I told a friend.

Likewise when I saw him at another summer festival in 2012. “Ace Frehley still one of the best guitarists I’ve seen live,” I posted to Facebook back then. That also was the night when Ace urged fans not to drink and drive, then laughed and said “This next song’s about alcohol.” His encore was “Cold Gin.”

A year earlier, in 2011, Rolling Stone put out “100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time,” a so-called “special collectors edition.” I picked it up, probably as vacation reading. It has long since made for excellent bathroom reading.

Over the years, I’ve been fortunate to see 14 of that group of 100 great guitarists. In order of their ranking on that Rolling Stone list, they are Eric Clapton, B.B. King, Chuck Berry, Derek Trucks, Neil Young, Buddy Guy, Angus Young, Brian May, Stephen Stills, Joe Walsh, Slash, Bonnie Raitt, Bruce Springsteen and Lindsey Buckingham.

Of that group of 14, Chuck Berry, Angus Young, Brian May, Bonnie Raitt and — believe it or not — Lindsey Buckingham wowed me most.

There are, of course, other guitarists I’ve really enjoyed seeing. Perhaps they’re among the next 100 greatest guitarists. Or not. Here are three.

Ace Frehley is one. David Lindley, who plays a bunch of stringed instruments in his world music-tinged shows, is another. Then there’s Steve Stevens, who’s best known as Billy Idol’s guitarist. But he also plays a mean Spanish and flamenco guitar. That was something to see and hear. Who’d have thought?

However, the only Steve Stevens cut I have is his 1998 version of “Do You Hear What I Hear,” the familiar holiday song. It starts out gently and pleasantly enough, but devolves into shredding. So we’ll pass on that.

We’ll leave you with something in Stevens’ adventurous spirit. I picked up this record at the wonderful Mill City Sound in Hopkins, Minnesota, last summer. It’s a highly recommended digging spot if you’re in the Minneapolis area.

“A Hard Day’s Night,” Sonny Curtis, from “Beatle Hits Flamenco Guitar Style,” 1964.

This is the same Sonny Curtis who was in the Crickets. The same Sonny Curtis who wrote “I Fought The Law.” The same Sonny Curtis who wrote “Love Is All Around,” the theme to “The Mary Tyler Moore Show.”

He was 27 when this, his first LP, was released in 1964. It’s a fun listen.

 

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Filed under May 2018, Sounds

That night in Appleton

right now appleton 1

This is a photo from a tremendous set by The Right Now from their show in Appleton, Wisconsin, last month. Somehow, the old country club overlooking the Fox River was still standing after The Right Now scorched it that night.

Here’s how we got started.

The Right Now is a seven-piece pop-soul group out of Chicago. Heavy Soul Brotha Dave tipped me to them way back in 2010. Their first LP, “Carry Me Home,” had just come out.

I first saw The Right Now when they played an outdoor show on a gorgeous summer night in my hometown of Wausau, Wisconsin. Although it seems like just yesterday, it was 2012. Their second LP, “Gets Over You” had just come out.

Fast forward to February 2017. The Right Now was just out with their third LP, “Starlight.” I’d not seen them live since that summer night in Wausau five years earlier, but I’d followed their career from a distance via Facebook.

By the time their publicist contacted me, I’d already bought my vinyl copy. Mine was Order No. 6. Sure, I said, I’ll write about it. Then I didn’t. They were getting better and more influential reviews than anything they might have gotten from this lightly traveled corner of the web.

Then, last April, a death in the family. David Grinslade, the partner of lead singer Stefanie Berecz and the father of their two children, died by suicide.

The Right Now, tightly knit after almost 10 years together, halted their Midwest tour in support of “Starlight.” They took some time off.

When The Right Now returned to the summer festival circuit a few weeks later, they had a dual purpose.

One was to promote the new record, of course, one they’d self-funded, self-produced and self-released over two years. (They proudly announced in July that “Starlight” was paid for within five months of its release.)

The other was to say “It’s OK not to be OK,” advocating for suicide prevention via outreach and mental health education in the wake of David’s death. They’re doing so by raising funds for Hope For The Day, a Chicago-based non-profit organization.

Hope For The Day

Fast forward to last month’s show in Appleton. A most remarkable encore unfolded.

“Won’t you join us out in the lobby?” they asked from the stage. “We saw this beautiful grand piano out there.”

Brendan O’Connell, who plays guitar and keyboards, sat down at that grand piano. He started playing softly as a group of perhaps 50 people gathered, standing around the piano in a semicircle.

right now appleton 3

Stefanie stood to his left and started talking about David. When she said he’d died, roughly half the audience reflexively said “Awww” in sympathy. When she said he’d died by suicide, a few startled gasps punctuated a stunned silence.

Then, for the first time, they performed “Who Wrote The Book,” a new song written by Brendan, sung by Stefanie and drawn from the aftermath of David’s death.

“Stef gave me the idea for the title and, obviously, the sentiment of the song. After David died, she posted something on social media about how difficult it was to say goodbye,” Brendan told me.

It was a song so new that as Stefanie sang, she scrolled through the lyrics on a phone she’d set on the piano. Their intimate performance was breathtaking.

When they finished, Stefanie simply said “Thank you,” and the small group of listeners scattered in reverent silence. What a moment.

Now, we go forward. Looks like Appleton has embraced The Right Now, which is wonderful news for a friend of the band who lives a half-hour away.

They’ll return in June and again in August. The latter gig will be at Appleton’s Mile of Music festival. That’s a free four-day festival featuring 200 up-and-coming roots music performers and groups. They’re showcased at 70 venues over a mile-long stretch of downtown Appleton.

See you there.

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Filed under April 2018, Sounds

Getting Cozy at the club

Last month, I finished a three-year history project for which I live-tweeted, sort of, the Green Bay Packers’ back-to-back-to-back championship seasons of 1965, 1966 and 1967, day by day, exactly 50 years after it happened.

To do that, I went through the local paper on microfilm at the library. Along the way, I turned up all kinds of interesting material unrelated to my project. I started posting that stuff in a couple of Green Bay history groups on Facebook. It’s been fun, so I’m still doing it.

Which brings us to 50 years ago this weekend, the second weekend of March 1968.

Chicago sax man Cozy Eggleston and his swinging jazz combo played a four-night gig as the Club Coal Bin in downtown Green Bay had its grand opening. The club was in the basement of the Labor Temple. Its slogan, U.S.G.S.T., stood for “Us Swingers Gotta Stick Together.” The club apparently was trying to class up its act. It used to be the Coal Bin Bar, a strip joint. Six months earlier, it had featured Bobbie Page, “The Sex Bombshell” who was “known throughout Wisconsin and Iowa.”

Even though Cozy Eggleston had become the main attraction, it was unusual to see black performers at Green Bay nightclubs, even in 1968. Was he a big draw? No way of knowing, but he has an interesting story.

Cyril J. Eggleston was in his 20s when he joined the Army during World War II. He was a military policeman. He also started playing the sax. When he came home to Chicago after the war, he attended the Chicago Conservatory School of Music. After that, Cozy Eggleston gigged around Chicago, playing tenor sax with any number of jazz and R&B groups and at any number of long-gone nightclubs.

Cozy eventually formed a popular band featuring his wife Marie, whose stage name was Marie Stone. In 1949, while playing at the Manchester Grill on Chicago’s south side, she was described as a “blues singer, ace musician and the bombshell of the alto sax.” At the Club Evergreen in Chicago’s north side, they’d “leave the stand and come down to blow among the guests,” according to the Chicago Defender of Dec. 30, 1950. The photo at left is from a 1954 issue of Hue magazine, which was to sister publication Jet magazine as People magazine was to Time magazine.

On Saturday, Aug. 23, 1952, Cozy and his combo parlayed their popularity into a recording session for States Records, a Chicago label that specialized in black artists. They laid down a couple of instrumentals, “Big Heavy” and “Cozy’s Boogie.” Cozy and Marie played sax, with Jimmy Boyd on piano, Ellis Hunter on guitar, Curtis Ferguson on bass and Chuck Williams on drums.

States didn’t release the 7-inch until February 1954. When it finally came out, “Big Heavy” became the soundtrack to some of the East Coast’s biggest radio shows. It was the theme song for both George “Hound Dog” Lorenz on WKBW in Buffalo and Alan Freed on WINS in New York.

Fast forward to March 1968, when Cozy and his combo played the club in the basement of the Labor Temple in Green Bay. They were brought back two weeks later for a return engagement said to be “by popular demand.”

About this time, Cozy produced and released a soul-jazz LP, “Grand Slam,” on their Co-Egg label. I’ve seen it dated from 1967 to 1969. DownBeat columnist John Corbett, in his book “Vinyl Freak: Love Letters to a Dying Medium,” calls this record “an all-out soul blue flame” and a “classic.” It features Cozy, Marie, Karl Johnson on the Hammond organ and Ken Sampson on drums. You can find most of its seven cuts on YouTube.

In 1990, Cozy produced and released “Whammin & Slammin,” on his Co-Egg label, revisiting six of the seven cuts on “Grand Slam” and adds what Discogs calls some “leftover recordings.” Chicago Tribune reviewer John Litweiler called it “straight-ahead organ-sax band entertainment” from Cozy, whom they called “one of Gene Ammons’ many musical offspring.” It features a cover of the Beatles’ “Eleanor Rigby” done as a fast waltz. Can’t find any of this one on YouTube, though.

Cozy Eggleston, who was 48 when he played that basement club in Green Bay in March 1968, kept playing for years. He also played the Chicago Jazz Festival and the Chicago Park District’s Summer Jazz Series. He was a member of the Chicago Federation of Musicians Local 10-208 for 67 years.

Cozy Eggleston died in Chicago in December 2012. He was 92. He left a large family that included two sons, two daughters, 10 grandchildren, 22 great-grandchildren and one great-great grandchild.

 

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Filed under March 2018, Sounds

Turn it up to 11

This last week of February marks 11 years since the debut of this humble blog.

As I write this, I’m listening to “Testify!” the WFMU radio show hosted by my friend Larry Grogan, whom I know well but have never met in real life. He, of course, is the proprietor of the mighty Funky 16 Corners blog and streaming radio empire.

As I look for songs to share with this post, I see all the cool covers downloaded the other day and recommended by my friend Jameson Harvey, whom I also have never met in real life. He, of course, is the proprietor of the fine Flea Market Funk blog.

As I consider the 11-year journey, a shout-out to the fellow bloggers I’ve had the pleasure to meet in real life, my friends Jim Bartlett from The Hits Just Keep On Comin’, Greg Erickson from Echoes in the Wind and Joe Accardi from Life Out Of Tunes.

Thought about something from “11” by the Smithereens. Nah, everyone knows that.

Thought about something we could turn up to 11. Nah, not the weekend yet.

Thought about an 11-minute song. Don’t have one.

So let’s just enjoy Garland Jeffreys covering the Beatles.

“Help,” Garland Jeffreys, from “14 Steps To Harlem,” 2017.

 

 

 

 

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Filed under February 2018, Sounds

She slipped away

We were more a small family than co-workers. We were young, all in our 20s, some of us barely in our 20s. There were eight, maybe 12 of us in all.

We’d work like mad at the Grand Avenue Pizza Hut on Friday and Saturday nights, then get together after work to decompress until the wee hours of the morning. Between work and play, we spent a lot of time together. We grew close.

That’s how Susan and I came to be a couple. We’re at upper left in the photo above. It’s from 1976 or 1977.

We were friends first, and then she and I eventually paired off.

Susan didn’t like to go out. I think we had one date that could be called a conventional date. Which was fine. She was more comfortable with joining our Pizza Hut pals at their places or with the two of us hanging out in the living room at her house, watching the late-late Saturday night horror movies.

We were together for a short time. She was the first to realize that we were better as friends than as a couple. So she broke it off. That stung, but we remained friends, still working side by side at the Pizza Hut.

We were tight, our Pizza Hut family. Kerry, the guy with the black hair and mustache on the bottom of the picture, was the wise big brother I never had. Kerry was in his mid-20s, a soft-spoken Navy vet who mentored me — five years younger — on a lot of aspects of life.

Mary, the young woman on the other side of me in that picture, was the spitfire big sister I never had.

I messaged Mary this morning with the news that Susan has died. Complications of ALS, which neither of us knew she had. Gone too soon.

[We also lost Kerry too soon, 10 years ago now.]

Susan and I saw each other only once later in life, at our 30-year high school class reunion in 2005. It was awkward. I’d heard she was reluctant to go. We said hi, but she seemed surprised that I would be there. Truth be told, I was surprised she was there. She hadn’t been one for class reunions.

Perhaps they were out of her comfort zone. Susan’s obituary suggests she spent her life after the Pizza Hut much as she spent it with us, more comfortable at home, and with her family. Which, again, is fine.

Susan and I weren’t together long enough to have a song that was ours. But this one was part of the soundtrack provided by the jukebox as we worked together at the Grand Avenue Pizza Hut in Wausau, Wisconsin.

“More Than A Feeling,” Boston, from “Boston,” 1976.

Hearing this song always takes me straight back to that time.

So many people have come and gone / Their faces fade as the years go by

Yet I still recall as I wander on / As clear as the sun in the summer sky

I heard it while working out last night, before I read the news about Susan.

I hide in my music, forget the day / And dream of a girl I used to know

I closed my eyes and she slipped away / She slipped away

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Filed under February 2018

Gone in threes: 2017

They go in threes. They always go in threes.

In 2017, it hit home. My dad, at 91. My friend Dave, one of my mentors in the news biz, at 80. Plus the one that came out of nowhere.

Adventurers: Bruce Brown (“The Endless Summer” surf documentary), Jack O’Neill (invented surfers’ neoprene wetsuit), Robert M. Persig (“Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance”)

Allman brothers: Gregg Allman (keyboards and vocals), Johnny Sandlin (engineer and producer), Butch Trucks (drums)

Angels among us: Jeanne Brousse (French resistance fighter who helped rescue Jews in Nazi-occupied France), Micheline Dumont-Ugeux (Belgian resistance fighter who helped hundreds of Allied troops evade capture by the Nazis), Kazimierz Piechowski (Auschwitz prisoner who led a daring escape in 1942)

At John Lennon’s side: Magic Alex Mardas (John’s friend and electronics guru),Pete Shotton (John’s close childhood friend and one of the Quarrymen, which evolved into the Beatles), Walter Smith (Liverpool tailor who made the Beatles’ first suits)

Badasses: Loren Janes (Steve McQueen’s stunt double in the “Bullitt” chase, and more), Haruo Nakajima (the original Godzilla), Harry Dean Stanton (pretty much everything he did)

Beatlemania: Alan Aldridge (edited “The Beatles Illustrated Lyrics”), Rex Makin (attorney who coined the phrase “Beatlemania”), Jack Mendelsohn (co-wrote “Yellow Submarine” film)

Beyond The Outer Limits: Dominic Frontiere (composer), Don Gordon, Martin Landau (2 episodes each)

Big in France: Johnny Hallyday, Jerry Lewis, Jeanne Moreau

Blues men: Lonnie Brooks, James Cotton, Sonny Knight

Bond, James Bond: Roger Moore, Clifton James, Daliah Lavi

Calling Mr. Anderson: John B. Anderson (independent presidential candidate in 1980), Richard Anderson (actor), Sam Shepard (Mr. Anderson in “In Dubious Battle,” his second-to-last film) 

Country singers: Troy Gentry, Mel Tillis, Don Williams

Covered: Don Hunstein (Columbia Records photographer, “The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan,”), Bob Seidemann (photographer, “Blind Faith,” “Late for the Sky,” “On the Beach”), Chris Whorf (art designer, Casablanca, Warner Bros., Dot, Stax labels)

Creative types: Gilbert Baker (gay pride rainbow flag), Joe Harris (“Underdog,” “Tennessee Tuxedo,” Trix rabbit), Joseph Schmitt (helped create NASA’s first spacesuits)

Distinctive voices: Dick Enberg (‘Oh, my!”), June Foray (“The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show”), Dick Orkin (radio’s “Chicken Man”)

Divas: Barbara Smith Conrad, Carol Neblett, Roberta Peters

Double duty: Bernie Casey (NFL player turned actor), Gene Conley (played in MLB and NBA, won one World Series and three NBA championships), Rick Hader (high school teacher who became Myron Noodleman, Clown Prince of Baseball)

Elvis’ Memphis Mafia: Marty Lacker, Red West, Sonny West

Family ties: Dorothy Mengering (David Letterman’s mom), Barbara Sinatra (Frank’s widow), Roger Smith (Ann-Margret’s husband)

First ladies: Clare Hollingworth (scooped the world on the start of World War II in 1939), Sheila Michaels (created the Ms. pronoun), Lillian Ross (New Yorker writer who helped create literary journalism)

Gone too soon: Erica Garner, 27 (social justice activist); Tim Piazza, 19 (Penn State hazing victim); Otto Warmbier, 22 (North Korean prisoner)

Happier days: Erin Moran (series star), Rance Howard (3 episodes), Dick Gautier (1 episode)

Hasta la bye bye: Roger Ailes (Fox News), Hootie Johnson (kept women out of Augusta National Golf Club), Manuel Noriega

Hosts with the most: Chuck Barris (“The Gong Show”), Monty Hall (“Let’s Make A Deal”) Robert Osborne (Turner Classic Movies)

Inspirations: Blanche Blackwell (James Bond author Ian Fleming), Bruce Langhorne (Bob Dylan’s “Mr. Tambourine Man”), Anita Pallenberg (Rolling Stones’ Brian Jones and Keith Richards)

In this corner: Lou Duva (handler), Jake LaMotta, Ferdie Pacheco (“The Fight Doctor”)

I saw them live: J. Geils (Jan. 30, 1982), Malcolm Young (May 11, 2001), Don Rickles (September 2004)

I saw them live, too: Charles Bradley (Dec. 3, 2008), Chuck Berry (May 31, 2009), Pat DiNizio (April 10, 2016)

It’s the Bat-Signal! Adam West, Dina Merrill (Calamity Jan), Francine York (Lydia Limpet)

Jazz men: Larry Coryell, Al Jarreau, Grady Tate

Last laughs: Shelley Berman, Bill Dana, Ken Shapiro (“The Groove Tube”)

Last Laugh-In: Chris Bearde (writer), Chelsea Brown, Patti Deutsch

Legends: Glen Campbell, Fats Domino, Tom Petty

Loose balls, or remembering the ABA: Steve “Snapper” Jones, Skeeter Swift, Fatty Taylor

Mannix boys: Mike Connors (series star), Jack Bannon (4 episodes), John Hillerman (3 episodes)

Mary Tyler and more: Mary Tyler Moore, Rose Marie, Gwendolyn Gillen (designed Minneapolis’ Mary Richards sculpture)

Motown songwriters: Warren “Pete” Moore (the Miracles), Sylvia Moy (Stevie Wonder), Leon Ware (Isley Brothers, Michael Jackson, Marvin Gaye)

My baseball cards from 1968: Ruben Amaro, Bill Hands, Paul Schaal

My favorite roles: Joseph Bologna (King Kaiser, “My Favorite Year”), Stephen Furst (Flounder, “Animal House”), Bill Paxton (Chet, “Weird Science”)

My football cards from 1968: Ken Gray, Tommy Nobis, Wayne Walker

Nightclub singers: Buddy Greco, Della Reese, Keely Smith

Notorious: Clifford Irving (Howard Hughes literary hoax), Christine Keeler (Britain’s Profumo affair), Charles Manson (Tate-LaBianca murders)

Producers: David Axelrod (Lou Rawls, Cannonball Adderley), Paul O’Neill (Trans-Siberian Orchestra), George Young (Easybeats, Flash and the Pan, AC/DC)

Record players: George Avakian (Columbia Records, championed LPs and live records), Ilene Berns (ran Bang Records), Nigel Grainge (founded Ensign Records)

Resist: Dick Gregory (comedian and activist), Willie Evans (University of Buffalo football star whose team boycotted 1958 Tangerine Bowl over Tampa stadium’s ban on black players), Liu Xiaobo (imprisoned Chinese Nobel Peace Prize laureate)

See you in court: Ed Garvey (NFL Players Association executive director), Norma McCorvey (“Jane Roe” of Roe v. Wade abortion rights case), Edith Windsor (fought for federal recognition of same-sex married couples)

See you in court, too: Harvey Atkin (“Law & Order” judge), Barbara Hale (“Perry Mason”), Joseph Wapner (“The People’s Court”)

Soldiering on: Jim Nabors (“Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C.”), Stanley Weston (created G.I. Joe), Jerry Yellin (fighter pilot in last World War II combat mission)

Soul brothers: Wayne Cochran, Bunny Sigler, Bobby Taylor (singer and producer also brought the Jackson 5 to Motown)

Space, the final frontier: Gene Cernan (last man to have walked on the moon, Apollo 17, 1972), Dick Gordon (flew Apollo 12 to the moon, 1969), Bruce McCandless (first untethered free flight in space from Challenger, 1984)

Standing tall: Orsten Artis (co-captain of Texas Western’s 1965-66 team, first with all black starters to become NCAA champions), Sid Catlett (starred for DeMatha Catholic of Maryland in legendary 1965 high school basketball game vs. Lew Alcindor’s Power Memorial team from New York), Connie Hawkins (New York playground legend, ABL, Harlem Globetrotters, ABA and NBA)

Sunny pop vocals: Clem Curtis (“Baby Now That I’ve Found You,” Foundations), Gary DeCarlo (“Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye,” Steam), Sonny Geraci (“Time Won’t Let Me,” the Outsiders, and “Precious and Few,” Climax)

The in crowd: Hugh Hefner (Playboy), Mario Maglieri (Whisky A Go-Go, Rainbow Bar & Grill), Harold Pendleton (Marquee Club booker, British festivals)

This film is played at concert volume: Jim Burns (co-creator of MTV’s “Unplugged”), Jonathan Demme (”Stop Making Sense”), Murray Lerner (“Festival,” followed by others)

Trailblazers: Mamie “Peanut” Johnson (first female Negro League pitcher),Luis Olmo (first Puerto Rican MLB position player), Perry Wallace (first black SEC basketball player at Vanderbilt),

Wrestlers: Bobby “The Brain” Heenan, Ivan Koloff, George “The Animal” Steele

Writers: Jimmy Breslin, Frank Deford, Nat Hentoff

Gone In Threes, the band

Singers, the men: David Cassidy (Partridge Family), Bobby Freeman, Cuba Gooding Sr. (The Main Ingredient)

Singers, the ladies: Valerie Carter, Maggie Roche (the Roches), Joni Sledge (Sister Sledge)

On guitar: Tommy Allsup (the Crickets), Walter Becker (Steely Dan), Allan Holdsworth

On bass: Lyle Ritz (Wrecking Crew), Pete Overend Watts (Mott the Hoople), John Wetton (Asia, King Crimson)

On drums: Grant Hart (Husker Du), Sib Hashian (Boston), Clyde Stubblefield (James Brown)

On the keys: Goldy McJohn (Steppenwolf), Walter “Junie” Morrison (Ohio Players, Parliament-Funkadelic), Marvell Thomas (Stax session man)

Special mention

The shocker: There always is one death that takes your breath away. Even in a year in which my dad died, it was not my dad. No, in 2017, that one was my friend Meat. Two years younger than I, he died while working out at the Y. Brian and I went to high school and college together, then worked together in the news biz. Gone is my strongest connection to back home, the guy who kept in touch with everyone and kept me updated on folks I didn’t know as well as he did.

Noteworthy

— This is not intended to be an inclusive list of all who passed in 2017. This is my highly subjective list. Yours will be different.

— Each year, I use three prime sources for this list.

First, the Wikipedia contributors who compile month-by-month lists of prominent deaths. That’s where we start.

Second, our friend Gunther at Any Major Dude, who compiles lists of notable music deaths each month, along with a year-end roundup. Each of those is more thorough than this roundup. Highly recommended.

Third, the folks at Mojo magazine, whose “Real Gone” and “They Also Served” features are wonderful.

This year, two additional sources: Ultimate Classic Rock and the Washington Post.

Previous “Gone in threes” entries

2016 * 2015 * 2014 * 2013 * 2012 * 2011 * 2010

Before “Gone in threes,” there was …

2009 * 2008

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Filed under January 2018

The three always under the tree

Christmas Day is here!

It’s been a nice morning, and I hope it’s been one for you, too.

These three songs always make my Christmas.

An 11-year-old Michael Jackson will forever convey the excitement of Christmas morning. That Christmas songs could sound like this was a revelation to 13-year-old me.

“One more time, yeah! Santa Claus is comin’ to town. Oh, yeah!”

“Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town,” the Jackson 5, 1970, from “A Motown Christmas,” 1973. Also available digitally.

A holiday toast!

“Christmas bells, those Christmas bells
“Ringing through the land
“Bringing peace to all the world
“And good will to man”

“Snoopy’s Christmas,” the Royal Guardsmen, from “Snoopy and His Friends,” 1967. Also available digitally.

A Christmas wish.

A very Merry Christmas
And a happy new year
Let’s hope it’s a good one
Without any fear

“Happy Xmas (War Is Over),” John Lennon and Yoko Ono, the Plastic Ono Band and the Harlem Community Choir, released as a single, 1971.

I’d always had it on “Shaved Fish,” the 1975 compilation LP from Lennon and the Plastic Ono Band. Until this year, that is. Found this while record digging. Delighted to have it.

It’s also available digitally, of course.

Merry Christmas, mein friends!

Enjoy your holidays, everyone!

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Filed under Christmas music, December 2017, Uncategorized