Posts Tagged ‘The beatles’

She’s Leaving Home

Saturday, November 7th, 2015

Lennon & McCartney

Question: How wise is it to create an alternate version of a Beatles song?

Answer: Not very wise at all.

So the idea of doing a cover of Lennon and McCartney’s absolutely fabulous song, She’s Leaving Home, was met with some trepidation by yours truly. You can’t improve upon those guys; you can only do it differently. Joe Cocker had some success with Beatles covers because his whiskey voice was so different than John and Paul’s. There have been a rare few covers that have been successful, but “rare” is the operative word here.

Many elements on our end seemed right, however. The dramatic idea of a little brother singing this song about his older sister struck both Noah and me as an interesting way to further dramatize the song. His voice and the quality of his acting raised the hopes of speculation. And then, of course, the classical nature of the song thrust me into a more classical approach to the orchestration.

What we ended up with, I believe, is valid. Valid, because it’s different. We’re not in any way trying to improve upon the Beatles. Only a fool would try to do that. That would be like the modern equivalent of trying to improve Mr. Beethoven.

So we approached the song more theatrically. Julia Wade and I played the parents of a daughter who runs away from home one morning and Noah, her little brother, watches it all go down.

Noah was great at living the moment. He has an older sister whom he adores. It would not be a great stretch of the actor’s imagination. I think he nailed it. Hope you agree.

Lennon26mccartney

She’s Leaving Home

Music and Lyrics by John Lennon and Paul McCartney

Italics = The parents

Wednesday morning at five o’clock

As the day begins

Silently closing her bedroom door

Leaving the note that she hoped would say more

She goes downstairs to the kitchen

Clutching her handkerchief

Quietly turning the backdoor key

Stepping outside she is free

 

She

We gave her most of our lives

Is leaving

Sacrificed most of our lives

Home

We gave her everything money could buy

She’s leaving home

After living alone

For so many years

Bye, bye

 

Father snores as his wife gets in

To her dressing gown

Picks up the letter that’s lying there

Standing alone at the top of the stairs

She breaks down

And cries to her husband

“Daddy, our baby’s gone”

“Why would she treat us so thoughtlessly

How could she do this to me?”

 

She

We never thought of ourselves

Is leaving

Never a thought for ourselves

Home

We’ve struggled hard all our lives to get by

She’s leaving home

After living alone

For so many years

She’s leaving home

Bye, bye

 

Friday morning at nine o’clock

She is far away

Waiting to keep the appointment she made

Meeting a man from the motor trade

 

She

What did we do that was wrong

Is leaving

We didn’t know it was wrong

Home

Fun is the one thing that money can’t buy

Something inside

That was always denied

For so many years

She’s leaving home

Bye, bye

Bye bye

Bye, bye

Teaser – Julia Wade’s New CD, Silk Road

Thursday, November 8th, 2012

We’re now in the final throes of recording and mixing Julia Wade’s new CD, Silk Road – Inspirational Journeys Across Planet Earth.  Some of the material of this new work was actually started nearly two years ago and then the project was tabled when we developed her Solos CD as a farewell gift to the Christian Science community when she finished her tenure as Soloist in Boston.

But we knew we had something really interesting going in Silk Road and we couldn’t wait to get beck to it.

The CD is due to hit the streets in early December and will be our major impetus throughout the holiday season.  She has just two more vocals to complete, all the orchestrations are completed and by the end of this next week I’ll be half way through the mixing.

It’s simply a most special project.  You’ll say, “Aren’t they all?” and I must answer, “Of course, but this one’s, for both of us, particularly transforming.”

Silk Road marks Julia’s arrival at the threshold of a new evolution in her music.  Her departure from her past carries forth her commitment to inspire through song not only on a sacred level, but also with an in depth look at the issues of our world at large and the individual human condition.

So it’s an album of songs that will continue to inspire her growing fan base with fresh new looks at spiritual reach through songs like Thinking Made It So and Julie Gold’s When He Walks With Me, but it also ventures into new territory dealing with the issues of our world today.

For the first time she now tries her hand at lyric writing and scores instantly with her own thoughts on What Peace Looks Like from the perspective of three children of the world from Uganda, the Sudan, and the ghettos of Kingston, Jamaica.  The title song, Silk Road, promises a comparison of the ancient Silk Roads spanning China, Tibet and Europe with the modern day impact of the Internet.

And then there are the songs of love … (more…)

The Bridge

Wednesday, November 7th, 2012

As a writer, which includes this blog and all my musical composition, I consider myself a bridge.  What is a bridge?  Google defines: “A structure that allows people or vehicles to cross an obstacle such as a river or canal …”

I’m interested in the obstacles that we all face in this partly human experience on Planet Earth and the crossing thereof.  The verb definition is most interesting to me: “To connect or reduce the distance between”.  That’s my goal – to reduce the distance between this human existence (mortality) and my spiritual completeness (spirituality).  To reduce it to nothing.

Many writers just write about the human experience.  The New York Times best-seller list is fill of these author’s works.

Many others write about their visions of the spiritual world and work with mostly immaculate ideas.

Both have their relevance and necessity.

I choose to work the middle ground.  It is my interest to both discover and then provide a bridge from one world to the next.  No matter how lofty my thought, no matter how impeccably I sometimes see the pure, spiritual Peter Link, I still find myself under the covers in bed the next morning waking up to life on Planet Earth.  As long as I keep doing this, I’m going to keep trying to find that bridge – and I’m going to keep writing about it.

And so my songs do not illuminate only pure and perfect worlds.  I write about the obstacles that we all face in getting there.  I try to write about the human condition approaching the divine.  That’s what fascinates me because that’s where I’m at.  I sometimes sense the divine in my life; I am sometimes touched by the divine, but I just don’t live there consistently quite yet.  After all, I live in New York City, two blocks from Times Square – a very complex and wide variety of existence.

I also live in my studio, in a most wondrously creative world surrounded by complex material technology that helps me immeasurably to express my thoughts, discoveries and feelings.  It is definitely a mixture of the material and the spiritual and in every working hour I’m looking for that bridge.  There are rough moments when I think I’m running out of time.  And then there are timeless moments when there is no time and I’m lost (strange word) in the wondrous world of creativity.

I like to tell the truth as I see it.  It’s my particular corner on life.  Perhaps it can illuminate a thought or two for you?  Perhaps it will ruffle your feathers.

And make you think … (more…)

The Decline of Lyrical Craftsmanship – Part 1

Sunday, February 5th, 2012

Stephen Sondheim, one of our great present day lyricists, likes to say that lyric writing is puzzle solving.  The puzzle is how are ya’ gonna get all them words to fit together into that pretty little melody and still make sense.  I’ve now spent almost a half-century trying to solve these puzzles, and though I’ve certainly gotten better at it, it’s still a laborious but fascinating process.

However, as I’ve been improving in the craft, I’ve watched the noble art of the craft plummet into the depths of despair.  Perhaps I’m being a bit dramatic here, but often, when I’m reading or hearing many of today’s lyrics, I find myself groaning over the cheesiness of the content and the hollow and paltry result of the lack of craft.

OK, you say, give it to us, Pete.  Do your thing.

So glad you asked…

Rhyming
I come from the world of the theater where rhymes had to rhyme (“shoe” does not rhyme with “blues” nor does “time” rhyme with “fine”) and if your rhymes ‘cheated’, you would be severely reprimanded by the critics.  I studied under the tutelage of Alan Lerner, one of our masters, (Brigadoon, My Fair Lady, Camelot) and he wrote perfect lyrics that rhymed, scanned to perfection and are still today treasures of the American Songbook (If Ever I Would Leave You, The Heather On The Hill, I’ve Grown Accustomed To Her Face, and on and on).  He would work, not hours, but weeks on one song lyric and, when presented, it would be a flawless piece of masterwork. (more…)

The Ira Awards Part 3

Friday, November 6th, 2009
James Taylor

James Taylor

If you were to ask me, “Who has been your favorite pop star throughout your life?” I’d have to answer that it is a tie between The Beatles and James Taylor.  Perhaps that dates me; perhaps, on the other hand, it doesn’t.  Both have had such musically triumphant careers and both are sure to be long lasting.

Also both churned out mountains of great music and for me that’s the bottom line.  The Beatles were perhaps more eclectic, but Sweet Baby James was, well, just so sweeeet!

As a lyricist, James can be somewhat impressionistic like Paul and Joni, but also could just nail it down with the best of them.  He wrote this song for a musical, “Working”, and as a story-telling song, it’s one of the best.  It wins my Ira Award for Best Song for a Musical Written by a Pop Star.

(more…)

The Ira Awards Part 2

Wednesday, November 4th, 2009

Welcome to Part 2 of the Ira Awards!  If you have no earthly idea of what the Ira Awards are, then go to Part 1 and find out.  Besides, who would start anything with Part 2?

Joni Mitchell-Self Portrait

Joni Mitchell-Self Portrait

If you’ve already read Part 1, then welcome back!  Tonight let’s start with Joni.  In Part 1 I opened with the expression “A poem doth not a lyric make”.  Joni Mitchell, in my book, comes the closest to writing poetry that works as lyrics.  It is her genius to do so.  Even though she can make it work sometimes, I still wouldn’t try it if I were you.  Joni Mitchells only come along once in a lifetime.

Joni writes a lot like Paul Simon – she paints an impressionistic picture.  She is a poet at work on a lyrical canvas.  She sometimes tells a story, but that story often just has splotches of through line and she leaves it up to the listener to fill in the blanks.  She is also, you may already know, an accomplished painter whose work often graces her album covers.

(more…)

Evolution of a Category: Inspirational Music
– part 1

Wednesday, July 29th, 2009

BeatlesA 2 Part Series – Part 1

The Internet, especially when it comes to music, is an ever-changing world. Watchfire Music, in order to be a leader in the Inspirational category, must also be an ever-changing company.

Lately, and once again, we’ve been putting this “Inspirational” term under the microscope and studying and discussing how its definition might evolve. Once again, we’ve been asking ourselves, “Just what is Inspirational music?”

And once again we’re secure in a reshaping of that definition to include within our borders a widening of the umbrella.

The impulse came to me in many different ways because of my day to day dealings and discussions with artists and their new music. Here are some of the reasons why we have widened the umbrella.

In looking back over my own life in music I asked myself what were some of my most inspirational moments. I’ll never forget rushing one day on the way out the door late to an important meeting and being frozen to the floor by the DJ’s announcement of a new Beatles’ single and then standing helplessly before my radio as it played “Hey Jude” knowing full well that I was going to miss the meeting deadline, but not caring. The song was that overpowering, the moment just that riveting. Then, instead of rushing off to the meeting, I rushed to the record store to buy the single. (more…)

Michael Jackson

Monday, June 29th, 2009

God stands at his conveyor belt.  The unborn babies come down the belt one by one as God stands with his hypodermic needle injecting life into the babys’ butts.  He knows he has to push the plunger each time only down to the red line, but even God gets tired of this routine, loses concentration and consequently sometimes his thumb slips and He mistakenly pushes the plunger all the way down past the red line.  “Oops”, He says, “there’s another performer!” And he tosses that baby over into another bin.

Michael Jackson

Michael Jackson

Michael Jackson was one of these. In fact, you might say that with Michael you had the one where God’s thumb slipped the most.  For about a decade he was arguably the most talented man on the planet and definitely the world’s greatest performer.

In my lifetime I would place Michael right up there in the top 5 with The Beatles, Judy Garland, Stevie Wonder and Frank Sinatra.  We watched Thriller until many of us knew all the steps.  We totally rocked out to Don’t Stop Till You Get Enough, I’m Bad, and Billie Jean, and my favorite will always be Man In The Mirror.  That music stop into the big key change will ever be the epitome of great pop music.  Michael was a great rocker, but the King Of Pop.

On top of it all he was a great innovative dancer, right up there with Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly.  It wasn’t just Thriller that thrilled.  Every time I ever saw Michael dance, my jaw would drop at this wondrous human being.  The rhythm that poured from his body and his music was way beyond the rest of us mere mortals.

I was a fan.  I was in awe of his talent.  I loved him for being a super human performer and then I came crashing down just like the rest of you as he went over some mad crazy edge in his life and lost his balance.  I laughed at him and dissed him and pitied him and finally shook my head and walked away from him as he became more and more confused with his own identity.

He never really had a boyhood — he was always out there entertaining us – and so in his adulthood he turned to playing with boys, hanging out with them and God knows what else.

He was a consummate performer, always trying to make the song, the step, the move new, better, best and he often succeeded.  So it was only natural that he try to remake himself and his look new, better, best.  For a minute there, when he had his long hair and his glove and his white socks, he succeeded again.  But he couldn’t stop tinkering and for some reason thought he might try to make his make-up permanent.  He was great, but he wasn’t God, and he found that out the hard way – losing his nose in the process.

(more…)


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