Gordon Matthew Thomas Sumner was born in October of 1951 and grew up in Newcastle upon Tyne, England. Following work as a bus conductor, a construction laborer, and a tax officer, he attended a teachers college and in the mid 1970s taught elementary school children. During weekends, evenings and breaks from teaching Gordon would play in jazz bands. While performing he’d wear a black and yellow sweater with hooped stripes. Some thought the sweater made him look like a bee. Soon he would be nicknamed “Sting”.
The rest — as they say — is history. An international sensation he’s received sixteen Grammy Awards, a Golden Globe, an Emmy Award, and several Oscar nominations. He is a member of both the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Songwriters Hall of Fame. Sting is one of my favorites.
It is good that war is so terrible, lest we become too fond of it. ~~ General Robert E. Lee ~~
Time for another Music Monday and since this is the holiday season this latest installment will be all about… what else? Christmas!
Even in the depths of bitter war Christmas can bring its indelible influence and for a short time, peace on earth, goodwill toward men can rise above the carnage. Probably no better example is the legendary Christmas Truce of 1914. It was a brief pause in a violent and desperate fight between British and German soldiers on the Western Front during what was called by earlier generations the Great War… more commonly known today as World War One.
This true event made world-wide news and was later memorialized in a ballad as seen through the eyes of a fictional British officer Francis Tolliver. The song was written by American folk singer and story-teller John McCutcheon. My favorite version is performed by the Scottish-Canadian tenor John McDermott. Continue reading →
It’s break time. Time for a respite from all the opinion, perspective, the politics, questions and issues of life. Time, just to relax… to reflect. What better way to do that, than through music? Let’s call it “Music Monday!”
Music has always been a big part of my life and in so many ways. Anyone who knows me well… knows that.
I grew up on the rock music of the 60’s and 70’s but, as I’ve “matured” I’ve grown to have an eclectic taste in music. I enjoy most everything ranging from Sinatra to The Doobie Brothers to Diana Krall to Delbert McClinton, Acoustic Alchemy, Tim McGraw, Enya, and everything in-between. (I know… “Delbert Who?”) The list is a mile long and what I choose to listen to, probably just like you, depends on my mood at the time. Rock, Country, Jazz, Blues etc. etc. Bring it on! Thank God for iTunes and iPods. I mean really… who needs music radio?
Someone said, music is an expression of the human condition… the reflection a soul. It is Art! For me, much like film, music can bring us relief and escape from the struggles of the world, even if just for a few moments. Music is my muse and I love it. I can’t imagine my world without it.
It was two weeks ago today, the morning of November 3rd. Walking through a Walmart and what did I hear? The all-too familiar strains of …
Just hear those sleigh bells jingling,
Ring ting tingling too
Come on, it’s lovely weather
For a sleigh ride together with you
That’s right… sing along with me! It was the song Sleigh Ride. Christmas music a full 52 days before the blessed day. And it’s been running non-stop ever since at the world’s largest retailer! People tell me they heard it in other stores the same week as well. Here at my local Starbucks — as I write this — you’ll hear an occasional Christmas song, that’s all. Much better than wall-to-wall Walmart.
Now we’ll be hearing two months of Christmas music. Last year I noted it was still playing in stores well beyond January 1st. And what for?
To celebrate the birth of Christ? I don’t think so…. Obviously it’s for the proverbial almighty dollar. The only ring ting tingling dancin’ in the retailer’s heads is the ka-ching of their cash registers. While a tingling feeling fondles the back of their neck with the thought of big profits and hopes for a banner shopping season! Retailers, wanting to spread the good cheer, dear reader want you — Walmart shoppers et al — to begin thinking of the holidays and start the spending early. As if we need reminded of any of it. Continue reading →
I’ve never seen the stage play but I loved the movie “Annie”. I’m not much “into” musicals, but a few stand out. A few I could watch again and again. In Annie I especially enjoyed Carol Burnett’s portrayal of Agatha Hannigan, the drunk, cruel, caretaker at Annie’s orphanage who all the girls feared. I love Carole Burnett.
Annie’s story is based on the popular comic strip character Little Orphan Annie from a bygone era and articulates an optimistic view of life through the theme just hang on, until tomorrow. Times weren’t easy in those days for Annie.
Anyway, how can any of us forget Annie’s rendition of that classic song Tomorrow? To my way of thinking, despite the setting and the uncertain future Annie faced, the song evokes the spirit of optimism. Sing the first few lines along with me … Continue reading →