Empty Garden – From Elton (John) to (John) Lennon


Of all tribute songs written by a non-Beatle for John Lennon after his senseless killing in December 1980, nothing compares for me to Elton John’s Empty Garden (Hey Hey Johnny).

The song likens John to a worthy garden caretaker that some inconsequential person took away, “A gardener like that one no one can replace…It’s funny how an insect can damage so much grain…” The lyrics are Bernie Taupin’s, Elton’s lifetime collaborator, while the beautiful melody is, of course, his own.

From what I remember, Elton rarely played it live since the song’s release in his 1982 album Jump Up! because it was painful for him to be reminded of John Lennon’s death. Elton was a close friend to John; their relationship was secured by their musical collaboration in the mid-1970s. Elton and John appeared together in a concert and Elton is Sean’s godfather.

A harrowing live version of this song performed at the turn of the century at the Madison Square Garden is in this link. Elton at the beginning explains why he rarely performed the song live.

The lyrics are here:

What happened here
As the New York sunset disappeared
I found an empty garden among the flagstones there
Who lived here
He must have been a gardener that cared a lot
Who weeded out the tears and grew a good crop
And now it all looks strange
It’s funny how one insect can damage so much grain
And what’s it for
This little empty garden by the brownstone door
And in the cracks along the sidewalk nothing grows no more
Who lived here
He must have been a gardener that cared a lot
Who weeded out the tears and grew a good crop
And we are so amazed we’re crippled and we’re dazed
A gardener like that one no one can replace
And I’ve been knocking but no one answers
And I’ve been knocking most all the day
Oh and I’ve been calling oh hey hey Johnny
Can’t you come out to play
And through their tears
Some say he farmed his best in younger years
But he’d have said that roots grow stronger if only he could hear
Who lived there
He must have been a gardener that cared a lot
Who weeded out the tears and grew a good crop
Now we pray for rain, and with every drop that falls
We hear, we hear your name
Johnny can’t you come out to play in your empty garden

Saddest Beatles Songs

Image result for the beatles images
Source: https://www.google.com.ph/search?q=the+beatles+images&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjP__W4xMLZAhVCtpQKHScAAnAQ7AkIQQ&biw=1242&bih=557#imgrc=DgmFmmKExuMu9M:

http://www.myusyk.com [which cannot be anymore reached] came out five years ago with Top Ten Saddest Beatles Songs, which is quite a good list. Many may agree, but equally many may not. At any rate, the main contention would probably be about the ranking. That is what I also feel. Sad that the six-minuter youtube video is no longer accessible to launch the countdown. Anyway, here is the list with my own description of each song.

10. No Reply from Beatles for Sale is about a partner not being upfront

9. Norwegian Wood from Rubber Soul deals with a one-night affair that would not work

8. I’m A Loser from Beatles for Sale is putting a different face despite a regrettable loss

7. You’ve Got To Hide Your love Away from Help! is purportedly about gays

6. Yes It Is, b-side but compiled in Past Masters is a relationship in transition past a previous one

5. For No One from Revolver is about falling out of love

4. She’s Leaving Home from Sgt. Pepper deals with a daughter who elopes. Verdict “…Fun is something money can’t buy”

3. While My Guitar Gently Weeps from The Beatles aka White Album seems to be the singer silently weeping for everybody for not knowing how to unfold love, perversion, control. (probably!)

2. Eleanor Rigby from Revolver is a very lonely picture cast in a painting. Wow what a great poetry!

1. Yesterday from Help! is longing for a past that is forever gone

My own verdict? I don’t know the basis for the Top Ten whether or not it was the lyrics, song structure, melody, or intent of the writer, or all of the above. But I agree with the Top Two.

Now if you talk about the saddest song of The Beatles, for me it should be Eleanor Rigby. On the other hand, if you talk about the saddest Beatles love song, then it should be Yesterday. There is always something in The Beatles lyrics that hits you hard.

Let’s listen to both again courtesy of youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Ntiz-Pmvy4 (Yesterday); (Eleanor Rigby) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7wssbIgRh0k

Breakfast at Tiffany’s – Audrey Hepburn Sings Moon River

For every report completed, one film. This time, my anticipated break is to watch Breakfast @Tiffany’s. Audrey Hepburn is a gem in Hollywood. Roman Holiday, Sabrina, The Nun’s Story, My Fair Lady, Charade are some of the films she is best remembered for.

In 1988, she became a special ambassador of the UNICEF FUND that helped children in Latin America and Africa, something that contemporary artists like Angelina Jolie, Madonna, Leo di Caprio also do.

Alice Cooper – Detroit Stories

You want a more accessible Alice Cooper? A dose of rock, blues, funk, shock rock and more. Or Alice Cooper sounding like Jim Morrison, or Iggy Pop? Listen to Detroit Stories, his tribute album to this hometown he’s been meaning to do. It would seem that Alice was able to absorb like a sponge all the kinds of music in Detroit during that seminal period of the early 70s.

Now it’s out or will be available soon.

Last year, Alice Cooper returned to his shock-rockin’ roots on the EP Breadcrumbs, a tribute to his fellow Detroit legends like Bob Seger, Suzi Quatro, the MC5, and Mitch Ryder & the Detroit Wheels. Now, on his 21st studio album, Detroit Stories, he and his longtime producer Bob Ezrin continue to draw inspiration from his hometown — the Rust Belt rock hub where the young Alice Cooper Band fit right in alongside the Motor City misfits of the late ‘60s/early ‘70s. (Yahoo! entertainment, Lyndsey parker)

Alice Cooper in the '70s. (Photo: Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
Alice Cooper in the ’70s. (Photo: Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

Amazon.com editorial review: Named for the city that launched the original Alice Cooper group on the road to success, “Detroit Stories” follows last year’s “Breadcrumbs” EP as a modern-day homage to the toughest and craziest Rock n Roll scene there ever was.

In 1970, fledgling producer Bob Ezrin walked into a farmhouse on the outskirts of Detroit to work with the Alice Cooper band. Abandoning flower power Los Angeles, because they were the opposite of the hippie peace and love ideal, Alice had brought his decidedly darker gang back to his birthplace to the legendary rock scene that gave birth to hard rock, garage rock, soul, funk, punk…and more.

Ezrin drilled the band for 10 hours a day to define their signature sound. Whenever they nailed a song, the inmates at the hospital for the criminally insane across the road cheered and thus the classic Alice Cooper sound was born.

“Los Angeles had its sound with The Doors, Love and Buffalo Springfield,” says Alice Cooper, “San Francisco had the Grateful Dead and Jefferson Airplane. New York had The Rascals and The Velvet Underground. But Detroit was the birthplace of angry hard rock. After not fitting in anywhere in the US (musically or image wise) Detroit was the only place that recognized the Alice Cooper guitar driven, hard rock sound and our crazy stage show. Detroit was a haven for the outcasts. And when they found out I was born in East Detroit… we were home.”

50 years later Alice and Ezrin gathered some legendary Detroit musicians in a Detroit studio to record Detroit Stories, Alice Cooper’s new album that celebrates that spirit for a new era. If 2019’s “Breadcrumbs” EP laid down the trail to the city, Detroit Stories drives like a muscle car right down Woodward Ave.

Discover Detroit Stories as they were meant to be told.

I love this song, Our Love Will Change The World. It’s like revisiting Millie and Billie in From The Inside (1978) where the couple belonged to isolated, dystopian state. This is a catchy tune with cynical lyrics.

I like this blues song:

I don’t know if this is part of the album, looks like it is. This was released nine months ago at the height of the pandemic – sort of a redemption song.



Willie Nelson covers Sinatra once again

His 2018 album My Way was the first recent effort of Willie Nelson to record his own versions of Frank Sinatra songs. That/s Life just released in the US marks his second. “Willie Nelson is no stranger to either Sinatra or the American songbook. He was an aspiring 22-year-old DJ when Sinatra delivered In The Wee Small Hours in 1955 (its sleeve design is echoed here), and a few years later, when Nelson was singing on Saturday nights at Houston’s Esquire ballroom, Sinatra numbers were surely in the repertoire.” (Uncut, April 2021)

Listening to Willie Nelson, all these songs seem so effortless for him to perform. Yes, they are pre-selected but I guess the formula is simply to be Willie Nelson: sing them his own way and make them his own. They fit him and his style anyway. Just listen to the title track.

Sony Revamps Its Publishing Company as the Power of Songwriters Rises

Michael Jackson, The Beatles, Lady Gaga, and Kanye West’s songwriting home gets a new name and “revitalized” mission

By Samantha Hissong

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - JANUARY 23: Jon Platt attends the 2020 Billboard Power List Event at NeueHouse Hollywood on January 23, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Timothy Norris/Getty Images for Billboard)
Sony Music Publishing Chairman/CEO Jon Platt
Timothy Norris/Getty Images

The growth of streaming has brushed the dust off a historically overlooked sector in music: Publishing companies are no longer looked at as the awkward stepchildren of the industry. The fight for songwriters’ fair compensation and the now-undeniable popularity of catalog sales have put all eyes on publishers. So, it was inevitable that Sony Music Group would take a closer look at its publishing arm and give the sector a facelift that corresponds with the times.

On Wednesday, the company representing artists like Cardi B, Lady Gaga, Kanye West, and Ed Sheeran announced that Sony/ATV had been renamed to Sony Music Publishing, and its mission had been “revitalized.” There’s also a new logo, which was designed to look like “an abstraction of sound waves — with resonance and vibrations that express infinitely expanding opportunities for songwriters” — according to a press release.

This isn’t the first appearance of the Sony Music Publishing name. It only changed to Sony/ATV in 1995, when Michael Jackson brought over ATV Music in a joint venture deal. (Jackson bought ATV Music in 1985, giving him reign over Northern Songs, which controlled all of John Lennon and Paul McCartney’s Beatles publishing.) Sony acquired the Michael Jackson estate’s 50 percent share of Sony/ATV in 2016, but the name didn’t immediately reflect that change. Now, a little more than 25 years after the absorption of ATV, it does.

“Since its inception, Sony Music Publishing has supported the careers of songwriters and continues to defend their rights,” Chairman/CEO Jon Platt said in a statement. “Returning to the Sony Music Publishing name reconnects us to our legacy and further unifies our mission and culture with the Sony Corporation. Our new brand embodies a modern vision to be an authentic reflection of the music and songwriters we represent.”

Sony Music Group Chairman Rob Stringer added that “Jon and the company are charting a new course for the business and an exciting path forward for its songwriters and its people.” When Rolling Stone asked a Sony representative for specifics surrounding any possible new initiatives, hires, and/or department expansions, the rep would only say that the company is “continuing to grow into emerging markets and expand services for its songwriters — especially as they relate to royalties and how they are paid.”

This language echoes decisions Platt made in the months immediately following his move from Warner/Chappell to Sony/ATV in 2019. That’s when the company claimed to significantly upgrade its payment systems, launching new tools like the “Cash Out” service, which allowed writers to withdraw royalties before they were due. Sony also introduced real-time foreign royalty payments, which expedite earnings from overseas to be paid out in the same period that they are collected. (Traditionally, there is a 9-12 month lag for songwriters to receive these international earnings.)

In the last month, Sony’s publishing arm created a new “catalogue development” role, bringing former Warner Records executive Liz Lewis on board as a senior vice president in the space, as well as hiring a new international vice president of human resources, Sonia Grant-Yendell. It’s likely that announcements of these natures — and more — will only continue to roll in.

Source: https://www.rollingstone.com/pro/news/sony-publishing-songwriters-rights-1126042/

Tinted Windows – Back With You

Been listening this morning to The Departure’s Dirty Words and, now, Tinted Windows eponymous album. Both albums from the 2000s. Tinted Windows come straight from mid-1990s Brit Pop and whatever was left of grunge then and bathed with early 80s post-punk and mid-1980s pop rock. What a lovely blend I am enjoying here!

Soon enough, I hope, I plan to listen to many more albums from the new wave era made accessible through digital sharing.

Diana Ross mourns Supremes co-founder Mary Wilson

Diana Ross, who began singing with Mary Wilson when the two were teenagers, is mourning her Supremes co-founder, who died Monday night at age 76.

Members of Motown singing group The Supremes are Mary Wilson, from left, Diana Ross and Florence Ballard.

“I just woke up to this news, my condolences to you Mary’s family. I am reminded that each day is a gift,” Ross tweeted, adding that she has “so many wonderful memories of our time together” and knows “‘The Supremes’ will live on, in our hearts.” 

At 15, Wilson was a founding member of the hit-making group that started as a quartet called The Primettes – formed with her Detroit housing project neighbor Ross, Betty McGlown and Florence Ballard. 

A slew of entertainers joined Ross on Tuesday in remembering Wilson and sharing prayers for her family. 

Motown founder Berry Gordy, whom The Primettes successfully lobbied to sign them to his label after he said they needed to change their name, said in a statement to USA TODAY that he was “extremely shocked and saddened to hear” of Wilson’s passing. 

“I was always proud of Mary,” he added. “She was quite a star in her own right and over the years continued to work hard to boost the legacy of the Supremes. Mary Wilson was extremely special to me. She was a trailblazer, a diva and will be deeply missed.” 


“Pose” star Billy Porter wrote on Instagram that Wilson’s “legacy speaks for itself.”

“Queer Eye” star Karamo Brown, who competed against Wilson in the 2019 season of “Dancing With the Stars,” called her “one of the sweetest, most vibrant, talented women I had ever met.”

“RIP Mary Wilson! Godspeed,” tweeted Viola Davis. 

Neil deGrasse Tyson shared a photo of himself and Wilson, mourning the co-founder of a group “whose songs lifted so many of us up, in an era when we were reaching for a voice of our own in an unwelcoming world.”

Source: https://www.usatoday.com/story/entertainment/celebrities/2021/02/09/mary-wilson-supremes-co-founder-dead-76-celebrities-mourn/4448909001/?utm_source=usatoday-Entertainment&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=baseline&utm_term=hero

George Harrison’s 10 favourite Beatles songs

Perhaps this article should have been more appropriately called George’s favorite non-Harrison Beatles songs. But thanks to Far Out Magazine for this well-researched material. See link below for the article.

George Harrison album 'Gone Troppo' is an underrated classic
(Credit: Alamy)

Here’s the list

  • ‘Every Little Thing’ (George  describes it as “a good one”)
  • ‘This Boy’ (George:  It’s a good song though. A good song)
  • ‘She Came In Through the Bathroom Window’ (George:  A very good song of Paul’s with great lyrics)
  • ‘Because’ (George: .Because is one of the most beautiful things we’ve ever done)
  • ‘Golden Slumbers’ (George: Another very melodic song of Paul’s)
  • ‘Norwegian Wood’ (George “felt where it was coming from”)
  • ‘I Want You She’s So Heavy’ (George: This is good because the riff he sings is basically a blues…the middle bit is great)
  • ‘In My Life’ (Far Out: In My Life was one of the only Beatles songs that George Harrison played on his now-legendary 1974 tour with Ravi Shankar…so it’s safe to say it had a place in his heart forever)
  • ‘Eleanor Rigby’ (George he preferred the “inventive” songs like this)
  • ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’ (George considered this as one of those tracks that “he really enjoyed”)

Looking at this list, I reckon there are five Lennon songs, three McCartney songs, and two Lennon-McCartney collaboration (In My Life & Eleanor Rigby)

Album-wise, George had Rubber Soul in mind as the band’s best: He did… once clearly describe his favourite Beatles album, “Rubber Soul was my favourite album,” he once revealed. “Even at that time, I think that it was the best one we made,” he added when reflecting on the iconic record in the ’90s. He wistfully recalled: “The most important thing about it was that we were suddenly hearing sounds we weren’t able to hear before. Also, we were being more influenced by other people’s music and everything was blossoming at that time—including us.”

Source: https://faroutmagazine.co.uk/george-harrison-favourite-songs-by-the-beatles/