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Reelin’ in the Years – 1992

It’s 1992 and I’m 30 years old. Bye bye youth. Hello, old age. That’s sort of how I felt. Also, that I had to smarten up and start being mature because, well, 30 is 30.

What a joke. I still had so much to learn.

Image – Wikipedia

At the beginning of the Ph.D. program in Ottawa, I’m wondering how to focus my thesis. I remember buying a huge thesaurus that, for the time, was really quite good. I felt armed and ready to go. Well, almost.

Romantically, the summer of ’92 saw me at the climax of a platonic but powerful long-distance relationship. Something like the Tristan and Isolde romance that Joseph Campbell talks about. Courtly, archetypally inspired love nurtured through old-fashioned, snail mail letters. We were engaged to be wed for a short while but, just before my studies began, it all ended with the stroke of a pen.

Tristan and Isolde

Tristan and Isolde (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Before it was over, I was happy. Admittedly, I wondered how it could work with her being in another country.

But when you’re in love, especially that kind of romantic archetypal love, practicalities come second. You just love to dream about your beloved as thoughts reach across the sky like rainbows and your souls feel almost cosmically connected.

So I was thinking it’s sort of ironic that my favorite tune for 1991 was “One” and for 1992 “The One.” The first is about agape or brotherly and sisterly love, the second is about eros or romantic love. I believe both types of love could be aligned and are not mutually exclusive. And some advanced mystical saints actually combine them in their devotion to the deity.

For me, this is one of Elton’s last good tunes before “The Circle of Life” (2004) and “The Captain and the Kid” (2006). So I dedicate it to a lost love that wasn’t meant to be but which brings sublime memories of my first entirely spiritual romance sans borders.

And all I ever needed was the one
Like freedom fields where wild horses run
When stars collide like you and I
No shadows block the sun
You’re all I’ve ever needed
Baby you’re the one

Reelin’ in ALL the Years

 Sir Elton John to retire from touring after almost 50 years (pinknews.co.uk)

 Elton John adds one last Michigan concert to his farewell tour (mlive.com)

 Hearts that are Puzzled (wateringcanblog.com)

 This romantic teen movie is breaking boundaries by having 15 different actors play a single love interest (businessinsider.com)

 We asked and you answered: Here are your top stories about falling in (and out) of love in the office (businessinsider.com)

 Why Do We Fall in Love? Science Can Explain (greatist.com)

 Beware, online daters: Looking for love, you could end scammed instead (bostonherald.com)

 The 7 most romantic places in the world, according to Hollywood movies – from Manhattan to Berlin (businessinsider.com)

 Top 5 Modern Romance Novels Adapted Into Movies (ltdcommodities.com)


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Reelin’ in the Years – 1972

The original David Bowie album came out in 1969 but “Space Oddity” is often compared to Elton John’s “Rocket Man” of 1972 – Image: badgreeb RECORDS via Flickr

It’s 1972 and I’ve completed ten full solar orbits on spaceship Earth.

I just realized that I overlooked David Bowie’s influential song “Space Oddity” for 1969. When I was seven in ’69, “Space Oddity” was too far out for me. I didn’t discover that until high school.

“Rocket Man” (1972) by Elton John is another story.

Elton hit the scene with a big splash. Suddenly we had a superstar who rivaled the Beatles in popularity and talent. And he was just one guy. Actually, that’s not quite right. Lyricist Bernie Taupin adds a lot to the picture. And Elton’s backup musicians make the perfect 70s band.

Publicity photo of Elton John and Bernie Taupin.

Publicity photo of Elton John and Bernie Taupin. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Some felt that Elton was just a flash in the pan. Well, they got the flash part right. But Elton has weathered ups and downs and is still in the spotlight.

He just hasn’t gone away. Always adding his two bits on some controversial topic, be it Billy Joel’s lack of productivity, his own dislike of religion… Whatever.

Elton is touring again. His Farewell Yellow Brick Road show is being billed as his last-ever tour.

“Rocket Man” is usually seen as Elton’s take on Bowie’s “Space Oddity” theme. Of course, Bowie did it first. But I like both songs. “Rocket Man” is a bit more human and ironically, down-to-earth. I have related to this song in different ways through life’s changes. I got it at 10 years old. And it holds up now.

Elton and Taupin wrote songs accessible to fans of all ages. Isn’t that what superstars do?

Mars ain’t the kind of place to raise your kids
In fact it’s cold as hell

Reelin’ in ALL the Years

 Observatory Spots Elon Musk’s Tesla Roadster Zooming Through Space (Video) (space.com)

 Watch the live feed from SpaceX’s Roadster-driving Starman in space (feedproxy.google.com)

 Katherine Jenkins – she’s gone up an octave (slippedisc.com)

 Super realistic animation shows Falcon Heavy launching Tesla Roaster into space (mashable.com)

 Watch Japan’s ice skating team dance to Ryuichi Sakamoto (thefader.com)

 A car ad in space finally brought the country together (businessinsider.com)

 Elon Musk’s Roadster Launch Sparks Sales of Hot Wheels Toy Tesla (space.com)

 Where Is Elon Musk’s Space Tesla Actually Going? (theatlantic.com)

 SpaceX poised to launch ‘world’s most powerful rocket’ (vanguardngr.com)

 David Bowie book club launched by his son, Duncan Jones (telegraph.co.uk)

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Elton John’s – The One (1992)

I think this is one of the last really good Elton John songs. It’s not quite as memorable, say, as “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down On Me” but as the image in the video suggests, that sun is still shining and hasn’t set yet.

Digital recording was still fairly new when this cd came out in ’92. I remember noticing how clear the piano sounded, how great the arrangement was. But above that, it’s a really nice melody. And the lyrics are fabulous. In a way, it’s too bad the creator of this video has streaming lyrics. I think that takes away from this. I much prefer to just read the lyrics in their entirety, alone, rather than have them pasted over a video. But that’s just me.

So if you prefer, just listen to the tune, and then check the cosmic lyrics later..

“The One”

I saw you dancing out the ocean
Running fast along the sand
A spirit born of earth and water
Fire flying from your hands

In the instant that you love someone
In the second that the hammer hits
Reality runs up your spine
And the pieces finally fit

And all I ever needed was the one
Like freedom fields where wild horses run
When stars collide like you and I
No shadows block the sun
You’re all I’ve ever needed
Baby you’re the one

There are caravans we follow
Drunken nights in dark hotels
When chances breathe between the silence
Where sex and love no longer gel

For each man in his time is Cain
Until he walks along the beach
And sees his future in the water
A long lost heart within his reach


I was in love with someone back then, when this song came out. It was one of those long distance things, with furtive letter-writing (this was before email). I took a little trip to her country, soon after we became engaged but something happened. Today, we’re still connected in a spiritual way and both know that things worked out right.

Still, the song stands. Falling in love is a wonderful thing. Even if it doesn’t always last forever.


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Elton John – The Diving Board full album on YouTube

I actually heard this through my public library but just discovered it’s on YouTube.

Elton was a pop phenomenon when I was the ripe young age where pop music meant everything. I was pretty “into” some of his tunes. My aunt is an accomplished pianist (finishing second in a piano competition to none other than Glenn Gould). And I remember in Elton’s heyday her saying that he was probably just a “flash in the pan.” Well, I think time proved her wrong on that one.

Elton can really tickle the ivories, as we hear in this album. And the lyrics of Bernie Taupin, with whom he’s co-written for decades, are just as poignant, at times, as some of the best (Rocket Man, Daniel, Don’t Let the Sun Go Down On Me, Your Song). But this isn’t classic Elton John imo. It’s a nice, soothing, somewhat repetitive album. Like one big song with a few variations.

While listening it felt like I was watching the glowing embers of a once raging fire. Nothing wrong with that. But I wouldn’t pay money for it (other than what was already paid through city taxes). And I probably won’t listen to it again, except maybe for one tune about waking up in Paris.

Elton recently said he just wants to make “beautiful” music now that he’s getting older. I can understand that. But it’s not really me. I don’t think we have to fall into a schmaltzy rut just because we’re older. The other extreme to Elton’s view, of course, is the late David Bowie (whom I also adore). On Bowie’s last lp there were songs like “‘Tis a Pity She Was A Whore” and so on.

Anyhow, I digress. Listen for yourself and make up your own mind. Music is a very personal thing. This is just my reaction to Elton John, a once gifted superstar, now an Americana crooner.


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Wee small hours

I think I like the poster for this tune best of all. This song came out in ’55, well before I was born. But my parents had lps from this era. And the basement in our house had a swanky old bar that would have fit right in…

The thing I like about Sinatra’s singing, and about all great singers, is that it almost sounds like he’s talking when he sings. Nothing’s put on. It just comes so naturally. And unlike pop stars who sometimes sing a bit flat or sharp – to include Elton John and the Beatles – he’s got perfect pitch. And timing… well, timing is everything and love him or not, Sinatra’s got it.

“I thought I found a gal I could trust… what a bust… this is how the story ends…”

—In the Wee Small Hours


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Elton John – I’ve seen the saucers

I’ve tried playing this song on the piano and it’s not easy. I don’t know if it was just the sheet music but it was in one of those strange keys that compelled me to play it a semitone higher. For a long time now I’ve felt that this is one of the better Elton John songs. It just needs a bit of polish and maybe a better arrangement.



Mikes 100+ Essential Pop from the 50s to Now!

Black soul singer Isaac Hayes performs at the ...

Isaac Hayes performs at the International Amphitheater in Chicago via Wikipedia

Back in the saddle. Actually, it’s back on a chair. This is the first time in a while I’ve really sat down in front of my laptop for more than a few minutes. The culprit? A bad cold leading into the Christmas rush, and a bona fide fever just after it.

During my malaise I started reminiscing about all the great music I’ve loved as a kid to now. I was born in ’62 but had a lot of older brothers and sisters. So I know 50s stuff too. That’s why this retrospective goes from the 50s to now. It’s not what you’d hear in the TimeLife ads. Well, maybe some of it, for sure. But it’s more about what touched me personally. That’s why it’s called Mike’s 100+ Essential Pop from the 50s to Now!

I started the list hoping to keep it to 100. But there just had to be some overflow. The Beatles, Stones, Elvis, Elton John, Bowie, Dylan and Neil Young are purposely played down, because, hey, we all know they’re great, and I was hoping to bring out some golden oldies that otherwise might have been forgotten.

Many more tunes could be added… actually, I’ll have to add some more because I don’t think there’s anything in here much past the 90’s, with the exception of TobyMac. And I do like some new stuff. Problem is, I usually hear it on the car radio and miss the song title and artist name… ah getting old, to think all pop radio was once on the tip of my tongue… 🙂

Mike’s 100+ Essential Pop from the 50s to Now! (mindless computers! add 100 after 99…)

  1. Johnny B. Goode – Chuck Berry
  2. She’s Got the Devil in her Heart – Beatles
  3. Ruby Tuesday – Rolling Stones
  4. Light my fire – Doors
  5. Sonny – Hose Feliciano
  6. People are Strange – Doors
  7. Baby Love – Dianna Ross and the Supremes
  8. Walking After Midnight – Patsy Cline
  9. Move it on Over – Hank Williams
  10. Rock around the Clock – Bill Hailey and the Comets
  11. Hound Dog – Elvis
  12. Roll over Beethoven – Chuck Berry
  13. Rock and Roll Music – Chuck Berry
  14. Mr. Tambourine man, Byrds
  15. So Happy Together, Turtles
  16. Mellow Yellow – Donavan
  17. Eight Days a Week – Beatles
  18. White Rabbit – Jefferson Airplane
  19. It’s Nature’s Way of telling you – Spirit
  20. Lovely to See you Again – Moody Blues
  21. Story in your eyes – Moody Blues
  22. Tuesday Afternoon – Moody Blues
  23. Dear Diary – Moody Blues
  24. Paved Paradise – Joni Mitchell
  25. We are Stardust – CSNY
  26. The Times they are a Changin – Dylan
  27. The Weight – The Band
  28. The Night they Drove Old Dixie Down – The Band
  29. No time left for you – Guess Who
  30. I can see clearly now the rain has gone – Johnny Nash
  31. Raindrops keep falling on my head – B. J. Thomas
  32. Alone again, naturally – Gilbert O’Sullivan
  33. Little Boxes – Pete Seeger
  34. Like a Rolling Stone – Dylan
  35. Hotel California – Eagles
  36. I’m not in Love – 10cc
  37. Rich Girl – Hall and Oats
  38. Yellow Submarine – Beatles
  39. Silly Love Songs – Wings
  40. Listen to what the Man said – Wings
  41. Live and Let Die – Wings
  42. Let em in – Wings
  43. Band on the run – Wings
  44. Singalong Junk – Paul McCartney
  45. Your love is Lifting me Higher – Rita Coolidge
  46. Octopus’ Garden – Beatles
  47. Rocket Man – Elton John
  48. Daniel – Elton John
  49. 21st Century Schizoid Man – King Crimson
  50. Communication Breakdown – Zep
  51. Whole lotta love – Zep
  52. We Won’t Get Fooled Again – Who
  53. Baba O’Riley – Who
  54. Who are You – Who
  55. Midnight Train to Georgian – GNPips
  56. Rikki don’t lose that number – Steely Dan
  57. Lowdown – Boz Scaggs
  58. Feels So Good – Chuck Mangione
  59. Breezin’ – George Benson
  60. Touch – John Klemmer
  61. Piano Man – Billy Joel
  62. Captain Jack – Billy Joel
  63. Moving up – Billy Joel
  64. Vienna Waits for You – Billy Joel
  65. Too late – Carole King
  66. You’ve Got a Friend – Carole King
  67. So far away – Carole King
  68. Fire and Rain – James Taylor
  69. Wandering – James Taylor
  70. How Sweet it is – James Taylor
  71. Home by another way – James Taylor
  72. Saturday in the Park – Chicago
  73. Let it Be – Beatles
  74. Stairway to Heaven – Rolling Stones
  75. Time Keeps on Slippin – Steve Miller
  76. The Joker – Steve Miller
  77. Leroy Brown – Jim Croce
  78. Time in a Bottle – Jim Croce
  79. Peace Train – Cat Stevens
  80. Arc of a diver – Steve Winwood
  81. Man in the Mirror – Michael Jackson
  82. Fame – Bowie
  83. Micro Kid – Level 42
  84. Sweet Dreams – Eurythmics
  85. People are People – Depeche Mode
  86. Staying Alive – BeeGees
  87. I will survive – Donna Summer
  88. Hearts of Fire – EWF
  89. Theme from 2001 – Deodato
  90. You Oughta Know – Alanis Morissette
  91. Salisbury Hill – Peter Gabriel
  92. Planet Claire – B52s
  93. Roundabout – Yes
  94. Close to the Edge – Yes
  95. I get up I get down – Yes
  96. I know what I like (in your wardrobe) – Genesis
  97. Justified and Ancient – KLF
  98. Space Oddity – Bowie
  99. Starman – Bowie
  100. No more blue horizons – China Crisis
  101. Cisco Kid – War
  102. Papa was a rolling stone – Temptations
  103. I’m a Stranger Here – 5 Man Electrical Band
  104. Signs – 5 Man Electrical Band
  105. You’re so vain – Carly Simon
  106. Tell Me Why – Neil Young
  107. I feel the Earth Move – Carole King
  108. One of these nights – Eagles
  109. If – Bread
  110. Diary – Bread
  111. School – Supertramp
  112. Bloody Well Right – Supertramp
  113. Girlfriend – Supertramp
  114. Goodbye Stranger – Supertramp
  115. Give a little bit – Supertramp
  116. Take the Long Way Home – Supertramp
  117. Asylum – Supertramp
  118. Sweet City Woman – Stampeders
  119. Painted Ladies and a bottle of wine – Ian Thomas
  120. The Sound of Silence – Simon and Garfunkel
  121. Cecelia – Simon and Garfunkel
  122. Bridge over troubled water – Simon and Garfunkel
  123. Kodachrome – Paul Simon
  124. Snowbird – Ann Murray
  125. If you could read my mind – Lightfoot
  126. In the early morning rain – Lightfoot
  127. Love will keep us together – Captain and Tenille
  128. Dreams – Fleetwood Mac
  129. Avalon – Roxy
  130. I Zimbra – Talking Heads
  131. Once in a Lifetime – Talking Heads
  132. Message in a bottle – Police
  133. Mysterious Ways – U2
  134. One – U2
  135. Wildflower – Skylark
  136. Spinning Wheel – Blood, Sweat and Tears
  137. Toby Mac – Lose my soul
  138. Living in this world – Guru (Jazzmatazz)
  139. Never Stop – Brand New Heavies
  140. Minute by Minute – Doobies
  141. Black Water – Doobies
  142. Heaven is 10 zillion light years away – Stevie Wonder
  143. Superstition – Stevie Wonder
  144. Brain Damage – Pink Floyd
  145. The Wall – Pink Floyd
  146. Dr. Tarr and Professor Fether – Alan Parsons Project
  147. I wouldn’t want to be like you – Alan Parsons Project
  148. What’s the Buzz – Jesus Christ Superstar
  149. Herod’s Song – Jesus Christ Superstar
  150. Shanghai Noodle Factory – Traffic
  151. Mr. Fantasy – Traffic
  152. Paperback Writer – Beatles
  153. Watching the Wheels – Lennon
  154. Happy Xmas (War is Over) – Lennon and Ono
  155. You can’t always get what you want – Stones
  156. While You See a Chance– Winwood
  157. Lucky Man – ELP
  158. Little Wonder – Bowie
  159. Redemption Song – Bob Marley
  160. Coming in from the cold – Bob Marley
  161. Theme from Shaft – Isaac Hayes
  162. Something in the Air – Thunderclap Newman
  163. Isn’t it a Pity – George Harrison
  164. Your Song – Elton John
  165. Michelle Branch and Santana – Game of Love
  166. Don’t Worry – Appleton
  167. All you need is love – Beatles