Bravo! Maestro!

I’ve been distracted by life’s soundtrack. There’s been the usual sour notes, off-key chords and discord. And there’s been, more and more, beautiful music  — symphonies of souls in tandem, fugues of faith, ballads of belief, happy harmonies.

Distracted…and meanwhile Johnny Maestro dies, at the age of 70, somewhere in Florida…far from the Brooklyn Bridge….

Yes, THAT Johnny Maestro, lead singer of The Brooklyn Bridge, which somehow scored a hit with the chest-puffed, beefed-up, melodramatic “The Worst That Could Happen” right smack in the midst of the FM-oriented, album-rock Beatles and Dylan and Gang musical revolution.

For the record, here’s that song:

But here’s my real point…I never knew that none-other-than a very young Johnny Maestro himself was the lead singer of one of the greatest doo-wop groups ever — The Crests! It’s Johnny Maestro singing lead on one of the greatest doo-wop songs ever.

All I have to say is rest in peace… and “Bravo! Maestro!”


Big star

Don’t know why, but I always pictured Alex Chilton as a lonely guy, sort of at loose ends, wandering through the world with the nagging feeling that he could of and should of been a contender. He was a huge success at AGE 15 when he was the lead singer with the Georgia garage band The Box Tops, who scored with “The Letter” and “Cry Like a Baby.” But then he faded into cult star status, putting out a series of highly regarded and commercially disastrous records with his band Big Star.

And now Alex Chilton is dead, not even 60 years old, which reminded me again that even though “The Letter” was part of that same amazing year when the Beatles unleashed “Sgt. Pepper” on an unsuspecting world, Chilton was a good ten years younger than the rock icons of that period — a sophomore in high school when his baby, she wrote him a letter and told him she couldn’t live without him  no more.

I’d like to think that now Alex Chilton truly is a Big Star, sparkling and shining and bursting with energy in the skies over Rock and Roll Heaven.

Check out these clips of The Box Tops and Big Star.


“If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant; if we did not sometimes taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome.”
Anne Bradstreet

For you, there’ll be no more crying
For you, the sun will be shining

Christine McVie

Happy birthday
Happy birthday, baby

The Crests

It’s birthday time again. Last spring something stirred in the earth, and soil warmed, and brown turned green, and something sacred filled the air with nature’s pure perfume….gathering shards of shattered faith, listening hard for the hum of hope, resting in the healing rays of freshening love. And now the thing’s in bloom.

It is a lesson to keep learning — then, now and ever, in times of dying and rebirth, of prayer and of despair, something wakens, bubbles from the depths, and drifts ashore to where we wait. We pick it up and hold it, and what we grasp is faith and hope. We feel it beating, hold it close and listen hard, and what we hear is the thrum of love. Springtime’s here. It’s birthday time again.

Another reason to R-E-S-P-E-C-T Sarah Palin

Her voice sounds like music to my ears. So why was I surprised by this latest revelation about the amazing Sarah Palin?

One of the all-time classic music videos shows a very young Aretha Franklin, circa late 1960s, as she sings “R-E-S-P-E-C-T.”  Watch — and enjoy — the video. But watch Aretha’s lips as she sings:

Yes! You noticed it too! Aretha’s not singing! She’s lip-synching to a recording!

And now the truth has been revealed. Aretha was interviewed the other night on Larry King’s show on CNN and admitted that she had a sudden case of laryngitis on the morning of this performance. So a phenomenal young singer, only about 10 years old, was recruited to sing the classic Otis Redding-penned song.

And, yes, the Queen of Soul revealed that the 10-year-old anonymous songstress was none other than our very own Sarah Palin!

What can I say except…

Sarah, thank you for putting your singing career on the back burner and putting America on the front burner.  Sarah, I believe I speak  not just for myself but for all Americans when I say: You will always have our R-E-S-P-E-C-T.

Little Sarah Palin

Some of you have asked if I was surprised when Sarah Palin became governor of Alaska and then ran for vice president of the United States and then became a Fox News commentator. Was I surprised? You betcha! I mean, who wouldn’t be surprised? After all, this is little Sarah Palin, the cute and spunky little girl with the big eyeglasses who sat next to me in my kindergarten class at P.S. 9 in my old hometown of Yonkers, New York.

Not only did Sarah sit next to me in her little desk  right alongside my own  little kindergarten desk. She also lay down next to me at nap time when our teacher, Miss  Crabtree, instructed us all to roll out our mats and take a 10-minute nap to rest up after our busy morning of learning the alphabet, learning to count, and learning to get along with all of the other kids.

You probably guessed, though, that Sarah didn’t nap. Sure, she rolled out her mat when Miss Crabtree told us to. But then Sarah just sprawled out on her back, eyes wide open, resting the back of her head on her arms, and just gazed up at the ceiling through those big designer eyeglasses, and smiled that big  smile we’ve all come to know and love.

It  occurs to me now that little Sarah Palin was smiling because she already knew that someday she would move to Alaska and become governor and then run for vice president and then become a Fox commentator and then maybe someday become the first woman president even though all of the so-called smart people thought the first woman president would be Hillary Clinton.

I’m thinking that I actually played a role in a somewhat historic event…It may well be that the first time Sarah ever winked that  famous wink, she winked at me! Except she was probably thinking about the great life she had ahead of her — while I thought she was flirting!

Long story short, after nap time it was finger painting time, so we all put on our painting smocks and stepped up to our easels. Miss Crabtree looked at Sarah’s finger painting creation — the entire sheet was covered with gray paint — and asked Sarah was it was called. I’ll never forget Sarah’s reply: “Gee whiz, Miss Crabtree, can’t you tell”! It’s a close-up of a gray elephant!!”

That’s when Sarah winked at me. I melted faster than a glacier in the Bering Sea.

My own big sheet of paper was slathered with red paint.  Miss Crabtree asked, “Nicky, what’s the name of your painting?” I replied, “Red.”

But what it was really called, although I was just too shy to say it, was “Valentine for Little Sarah Palin.”

Little Sarah Palin… Politically precocious. My first crush. Killer wink.