Oh, You Came to Town in Headlines and Eight Hundred Dollar Shoes…
Oh, You Came to Town in Headlines and Eight Hundred Dollar Shoes…
“I saw you cross the landing, descending marble stairs
Like Caesar crossed the Rubicon, you seemed to walk on air.
And it’s in your music and I read it in your book
The truth just flew off every page. Your songs have all the hooks
You’re seven wonders rolled in one. You shifted gears to cruise
Oh you came to town in headlines…and eight-hundred dollar shoes”
~ “Eight Hundred Dollar Shoes”
Elton John and Leon Russell (The Union – 2010)
It amazes me to hear the legends of popular music recognize those who inspired and helped them in the earliest days of their career, and few more so than Elton John and Leon Russell’s 2010 collaboration The Union.
The story takes us back to 1970, when the Elton John Band first arrived on U.S. soil. Leon Russell was not only one of the hottest tickets around, he was a huge favorite of the British rocker that has become one of the biggest acts in the history of pop music. Fortunately for the knight to be, Russell was picking up what he was putting down and it wasn’t long before the two found themselves touring together and forming a lifelong friendship.
The Union project was an idea of Elton’s to tip a hat to his hero and give Leon a proper good tour and record with the strength, scope and bravado that has become the career of Elton John. The result was an album that culled the talent, not only of these two veritable forces of nature but the voice of Neil Young, the production mastery of T-Bone Burnett and the vocal arrangements of the Beach Boys very own Brian Wilson to create what has been one of the best all around records I’ve heard in my adult life.
This tour de force included a collection of songs that the two wrote together along with John’s decades-long lyricist Bernie Taupin as well as Burnett and a few other guests. One song in particular was penned by John and Taupin as Elton’s homage to the aging Russell. “Eight Hundred Dollar Shoes” had such poignant lyrics as I opened this little missive with, and included a more somber imagery describing the scene that is left when the show was over that becomes so much more meaningful now that Leon Russell has, sadly, gone on to that great gig in the sky.
“The parking lights are flickering. Your poster’s fading fast. You’re being here just melts away, like ice cubes in a glass.”
Sleep well, Mr. Russell. Res Ipsa Loquitur
It’s Time That We Began to Laugh and Cry and Cry and Laugh About it all Again …
To have your music covered by the likes of Judy Collin, Joan Baez and James Taylor is a testament in and of itself, but Leonard Cohen was a musical legacy all his own. He turned to music when his aspirations of writing didn’t come to pass and was even “supposedly” unable to even sing. Nor did he believe that the piece of music he had written, known today as “Suzanne” was even a real song when he first played it for Collins, who subsequently turned it into a hit and introduced the world to this young and terribly talented songwriter.
Cohen would go onto to release 30 studio, live and compilation albums that spanned just shy of 50 years and included among them were favorites “Hallelujah,” which has been covered extensively over the years, most famously by the late Jeff Buckley on his 1994 lone studio release Grace and “So Long, Marianne,” written about his early ‘60s lover Marianne Ihlen who passed away just four months ago. Cohen’s farewell letter to her was read aloud at her funeral and prophetically stated…
“… our bodies are falling apart and I think I will follow you very soon. Know that I am so close behind you that if you stretch out your hand, I think you can reach mine. “
And so it was. So long, Leonard Cohen. Res Ipsa Loquitur
It’s a Cold and It’s a Broken Hallelujah…
It’s no secret that this year has been anything but kind to the legends of the musical world, and these two latest developments are no exception, but even beyond the names we all know we lose shining lights more and more every day.
Bob Landry never had a hit record, nor will his name ever grace the walls of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, but Bob loved music and he loved to beat a drum and he was a kind, talented and wonderful human being that was a beloved part of the SWLA music community. Even beating that drum until his final moments, Bob too, has taken his song to the beyond and a great many of us are terribly sad to see him go.
But what’s the take away here? What great point about art and music am I driving toward here? What thought do I have to bring this all home?
I simply don’t have one, except to urge you to find the people and the things you love and hold them close as long as you can. Don’t let the trivial and petty things of this world keep you from feeling the heartbeat of the ones who complete your life. Sadness in death is not reserved for those who make headlines. It touches every one of us in our time on this spinning marble, sometimes from afar and often directly to the core of our hearts. Invest your time and your passion into those people and things that makes this world a better place, that makes YOUR world a better place. Savor every moment knowing that when you do finally have to say goodbye, you can do so knowing that your life has been made all the better and your memories will be all that much richer for having done so.
I think it’s time to rest. I don’t know if there is anything left to say. The thing it speaks for itself. I suppose it’s time that I let it do just that.
Something Is Happening Here…
It seems that if it’s a show you want to see, then the Nugget is the place to be! GN Lake Charles is knocking it out of the park the next two weekends with FOUR huge show that I hope all of you are able to GO AND SEE!
Friday, November 18:
Saturday, November 19
Christmas with The Oak Ridge Boys
Friday, November 25 –
Saturday, November 26
They all promise to be magnificent performances that you do not want to miss, so I strongly encourage you to GO SEE THESE SHOWS!
JMLC Pet Sounds Giveaway!
We are winding down our JMLC Pet Sounds Giveaway and will be announcing our winner in our NEXT ISSUE, so you have one week remaining when this issue hits stands on 11/17 to get your name in the hat to win your very own vinyl copy of The Beach Boy’s Pet Sounds (courtesy of The Round About) and a hardbound edition of the new Brian Wilson book I Am Brian Wilson: A Memoir (courtesy of DeCapo Press) as we celebrate 50 years of this iconic record. All you have to do is correctly answer the following question and email your answer to JMLC@justinmorrisentertainment.com by midnight, Thanksgiving night (11/24).
“While Brian Wilson did use the legendary “Wrecking Crew” to provide his “orchestra” for this record, he brought in some other studio musicians as well, including one artist who as of today has released 70 albums under their own name, netted numerous Grammy awards and charted over 80 times, who is credited with offering guitar and/or banjo tracks to 5 of the 15 tracks on Pet Sounds. Who is this artist?”
We will draw from the correct answers and should we draw your name, you’ll take home this awesome Pet Sounds prize pack!
But We’re Alone Now and I’m Singing This Song To You…
A very special shout-out to the friends and family and band mates of Bob Landry. My love and thoughts are with you all and I hope that peace finds you soon. Bob was a fantastic guy and I’m sure going to miss seeing him at the shows. Much love to you all.
And on that note, I bid you all farewell. Remember to get your Pet Sounds Giveaway submissions in by midnight Thanksgiving night and we’ll announce our winner right here in our December 1 issue. Until then, I will SEE YOU AT THE SHOW!