Let Me Die In Your Arms

John Denver wrote this incredible love song titled ‘Annie’s Song’ for his then-wife at the time, Anne Martell Denver, after she and him had a major fight and brief separation.  Apparently, Denver wrote the song in 10 minutes while he was riding a ski lift up Ajax mountain in Aspen, Colorado, reflecting on how thankful he was that they didn’t break up.  As Denver was skiing down the mountain, he became totally immersed in the beauty of the colors and sounds that filled all senses and this caused him to reflect on all the joy that he found in his marriage and his relief that they had got back together.  John became hypersensitive to how beautiful everything was, with all of these things delighting him with happiness, and these overwhelming images flooded out of him one after the other merging into his time spent with Annie.  That song was the embodiment of the love that he felt at that time.

The song was released as a single from Denver’s album Back Home Again.  ‘Annie’s Song’ was his second number-one song in the United States, occupying that spot for two weeks in July 1974.  It also went to number one on the Easy Listening chart. Billboard ranked it as the No. 25 song for 1974.  The musicians that played with John Denver on his 1974 Back Home Again Tour included John Denver (guitar, vocals), Steve Weisberg (guitars, pedal steel, dobro), Dick Kniss (bass guitar), John Sommers (guitar, banjo, fiddle, mandolin), Hal Blaine (percussion) and Herb Lovelle (drums).  In their post-Wrecking Crew days in the mid-to-late 70s drummer Hal Blaine, Guitarist James Burton, and woodwind player Jim Horn toured and recorded with Denver.

John Denver was born Henry John Deutschendorf Jr. (which was not the best name for a recording artist) on December 31, 1943 in Roswell, NM.  His greatest commercial success was as a solo singer, starting in the 1970s.  He was one of the most popular acoustic artists of the decade and one of its best-selling artists.  After traveling and living in numerous locations while growing up in his military family, Denver began his music career in folk music groups in the late 1960s.  John Denver was one of the most successful singers and songwriters in the history of music.  Throughout his life, he recorded and released approximately 300 songs, about 200 of which he composed, with total record sales of over 33 million.  Denver’s music appeared on a variety of charts, including country music, the Billboard Hot 100, and adult contemporary, in all earning him twelve gold and four platinum albums with his signature songs being ‘Take Me Home, Country Roads’, ‘Annie’s Song’, ‘Rocky Mountain High’, ‘Thank God I’m a Country Boy’, and ‘Sunshine on My Shoulders’.  Although he composed and sang some of the most peaceful and beautiful songs of his generation, John Denver fought demons and an addiction to alcohol.

In the early 1970s, America longed for a simpler way of life, evidenced by the success of television series The Waltons and Little House On The Prairie.  At the heart of that era from a musical standpoint was the easy-going and gentle sound that Denver personified.  Whether it be love songs, nostalgia, or paying tribute to the area where he was from, Denver became one of the biggest-selling acts of his time, dominating Pop, AC, and Country playlists, while also becoming a huge TV and movie star.  He starred in the 1977 film Oh, God! opposite George Burns.

John and Annie Denver separated in 1979, and John left their home in Aspen and went to Switzerland for six days, however they reconciled and remained married until 1982 when their marriage eventually ended.  Annie was overwhelmed by John’s success, and this caused her to withdraw from John and left them unable to communicate with each other.  Their divorce was a messy, bitter, intense battle, they fought over the division of property during the divorce proceedings.  John Denver became so enraged with his estranged wife that he tried to choke her.  He was so angry that he took a chainsaw to their marital bed and sawed it in half.

Thankfully we have this beautiful song to remember the love that the iconic songwriter and his wife once had.  Denver married Australian actress Cassandra Delaney in 1988, after a two-year courtship.  Denver’s life ended suddenly when the plane he was flying, an experimental Rutan Long-EX, crashed into Monterey Bay near Pacific Grove, California, passing away on October 12, 1997 at the age of 53.  In 1996, John Denver was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame and in 2011, he was the first inductee into the Colorado Music Hall of Fame.

You fill up my senses
Like a night in a forest
Like the mountains in springtime
Like a walk in the rain
Like a storm in the desert
Like a sleepy blue ocean
You fill up my senses
Come fill me again

Come let me love you
Let me give my life to you
Let me drown in your laughter
Let me die in your arms
Let me lay down beside you
Let me always be with you
Come let me love you
Come love me again

You fill up my senses
Like a night in a forest
Like the mountains in springtime
Like a walk in the rain
Like a storm in the desert
Like a sleepy blue ocean
You fill up my senses
Come fill me again

Watch The Drops Of Rain

Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel were the most successful folk-rock duo of the 1960s, crafting a series of memorable hit albums and singles which featured their well-loved and familiar harmonies, and incorporated acoustic and electric guitars, along with Simon’s songwriting.  They were childhood friends, growing up together in Forest Hills, NY, and they began making records in 1957, calling themselves Tom & Jerry.  Their first single was ‘Hey Schoolgirl’, and it actually made it into the Top 50, but after a series of follow-ups that went nowhere, the duo split up, and Simon continued to struggle to make it in the music business as a songwriter and occasional performer, sometimes using the names of Jerry Landis or Tico & the Triumphs.  After graduating from Forest Hills High School, Simon majored in English at Queens College and graduated in 1963, while Garfunkel studied mathematics at Columbia University in Manhattan.

By the early ‘60s, both Simon and Garfunkel came under the influence of folk music, so they teamed up again, this time as a folk duo.  They signed with Columbia, and in 1964 they recorded an initially unsuccessful acoustic studio album as Simon & Garfunkel, titled Wednesday Morning, 3 AM.  They again went their separate ways, Simon moving to England, where he played the folk circuit and recorded an obscure solo album.  Simon toured England’s pubs and small folk clubs, and he met Kathy Chitty, who became the object of his affection.

The Simon & Garfunkel story could have ended there, except for a brainstorm of their producer, Tom Wilson (who also produced several of Bob Dylan’s early albums).  Folk-rock was taking off in 1965, and Wilson, who had helped Dylan electrify his sound, took the strongest track from S&G’s debut, ‘The Sound of Silence’, and embellished it with electric guitars, bass, and drums.  The Byrds, five ex-folkies who turned rockers, created a new hybrid sound that was immediately termed “folk-rock” with their hit cover of Bob Dylan’s ‘Mr. Tambourine Man’ and this is the format that Simon and Garfunkel decided to follow.  Their newly recorded song ‘The Sound of Silence’ got to number one in early 1966, and the album peaked at #30 on the Billboard album chart in 1966.  This gave the duo the impetus to reunite and make a serious go at a recording career, so Simon returned from the U.K. to the U.S.  In 1966 and 1967, they were regular visitors to the pop charts with some of the best folk-rock of the era, including ‘Homeward Bound’, ‘I Am a Rock’ and ‘A Hazy Shade of Winter’.

After Queens College Simon briefly attended Brooklyn Law School for one semester before he dropped out of New York law school, and went to England.  In 1964, 22 year old Paul Simon was in England, when he met an 18 year old girl who loved folk music.  This love brought Kathleen Mary “Kathy” Chitty to the Railway Inn folk club, in Brentwood, Essex, where she sold tickets.  During their relationship Paul wrote dozens of hits that were later performed with Art Garfunkel.  Kathy is mentioned by name twice in ‘America’ and the song ‘Homeward Bound’ is about returning from a gig in Widnes to see her in Essex.  However today I am writing about ‘Kathy’s Song’ which Paul wrote about missing her while he was in New York.

In 1964, the very first English folk club that Paul Simon played in, the Railway Inn Folk Club was where he met his then girlfriend Kathy Chitty.  ‘Kathy’s Song’ came out on the 1966 album Sounds Of Silence.  They met on 12th April, 1964 and it appeared to be love at first sight.  Later that year he invited her to the US where they toured around mainly by bus.  Kathy returned to England on her own with Simon returning to her some weeks later.  During this separation he wrote ‘America’, which was clearly a love song to Kathy and ‘Kathy’s Song’, which some people consider to be one of the most beautiful love songs ever written.

When he returned to London he recorded the album The Paul Simon Songbook which included ‘Kathy’s Song’, and it featured a photo of Simon and Kathy on the cover.  In the meantime, The Sound of Silence started to receive major air-play in America eventually becoming No 1 in the US charts in 1965.  Simon felt the need to return to the US to continue his career, but this meant splitting up with Kathy because she wanted no part of the crazy US music scene.  Kathy later married and brought up three children in a remote mountain village in North Wales where she still lives and is now a grandmother.

Simon married Peggy Harper in 1969, but they split after having one son, Ben, in 1975.  He then had a two-year marriage to Star Wars actress Carrie Fisher after proposing during a live New York Yankees baseball game in 1983.  He has three children, Adrian, Lulu and Gabriel, with Edie Brickell, the singer with the 1980s band the New Bohemians, after they married in 1992.

The personnel that played on the Sounds Of Silence album included Paul Simon singing lead vocals, and playing guitar, Art Garfunkel also sang lead vocals, Fred Carter Jr. a Nashville musician who was a member of the Hawks, Glen Campbell, and Joe South who wrote ‘Games People Play’ and ‘Rose Garden’ all played guitar, Larry Knechtel a member of the Wrecking Crew was on keyboards, Joe Osborn a Los Angeles and Nashville session musician played bass guitar and the infamous Hal Blaine played drums.  Simon won 12 Grammys both as a solo artist and with Simon and Garfunkel.  His biggest hits include ‘Mrs. Robinson’, ‘Bridge Over Troubled Water’ and ‘Graceland’.  In 1990, Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel were both inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

This song utilizes a metaphor of applying rain to represent Paul Simon’s feelings toward his girlfriend Kathy, who he was separated from at the time.  London is not the wettest city on earth, but it does rain rather frequently in Britain, and this is mostly due to the island being unfortunately located right in the path of the atmospheric jet stream, which would account for the association that Simon makes.  Paul goes on to say that he is still thinking about her even though they are many miles away and he mentions how this is affecting his ability to write songs.  All he can do is watch the rain and he feels like he is like the rain, but for the grace of Kathy he goes.

I hear the drizzle of the rain
Like a memory it falls
Soft and warm continuing
Tapping on my roof and walls

And from the shelter of my mind
Through the window of my eyes
I gaze beyond the rain-drenched streets
To England where my heart lies

My mind’s distracted and diffused
My thoughts are many miles away
They lie with you when you’re asleep
And kiss you when you start your day

And as a song I was writing is left undone
I don’t know why I spend my time
Writing songs I can’t believe
With words that tear and strain to rhyme

And so you see I have come to doubt
All that I once held as true
I stand alone without beliefs
The only truth I know is you

And as I watch the drops of rain
Weave their weary paths and die
I know that I am like the rain
There but for the grace of you go I

Things Inside My Head

Bowie said that the song ‘Janine’ was written about his association with George Tremlett, an English author, bookshop owner, former politician and a freelance British music journalist, who wrote The David Bowie story and David Bowie: Living on the Brink and who also interviewed Bowie in late 1969 and the girl that he used to go out with that seems to be just a little too much.  It’s how David thought that he should see her.  ‘Janine’ is also thought to have been influenced by Lindsay Kemp, a British dancer and choreographer who acted as a mentor and collaborator to David Bowie.  ‘Janine’ came out on Bowie’s second studio album, Man of Words/Man of Music in 1969 by Mercury, which was later retitled reissued in 1972 by RCA Records as Space Oddity.  ‘Janine’ captures a new Bowie who doesn’t quite know who he is yet, sort of like he is jumbled up and fighting for control.  This underrated song has since been mainly forgotten lapsing into obscurity.

David Bowie is often referred to as being a musical chameleon, adapting himself according to fashion and trends.  David Bowie formed his first band at age 15, playing rock-and-roll jams at weddings and belonging to a couple bands after that, including one R&B group called the Buzz.  By the age of 20, Bowie released his first album, David Bowie, which was a kind of pop meets psychedelia experiment that didn’t chart.  David Bowie finally got real press coverage when he released Space Oddity on July 11, 1969, five days ahead of the Apollo 11 launch.

David Bowie sang vocals, played acoustic & 12-string guitars, stylophone a digital version of the kazoo, kalimba a thumb piano, Rosedale organ and he did arrangements on Space Oddity working with Mick Wayne who was in the group Junior’s Eyes on guitar, Tim Renwick who was in The Sutherland Brothers and Quiver on guitar, flute, recorder, Keith Christmas who toured with and supported The Who, King Crimson, Ten Years After, Frank Zappa and The Kinks on acoustic guitar, Rick Wakeman best known for being in the progressive rock band Yes on Mellotron, electric harpsichord, Tony Visconti one of the most influential producers of the glam rock era on bass, flute, recorder, arranger & producer, Herbie Flowers a member of T. Rex on bass, Terry Cox who was in Pentangle, Duffy’s Nucleus and Humblebums on drums, Paul Buckmaster who also collaborated with Elton John and Harry Nilsson on cello and Benny Marshall & Friends who worked with Uriah Heep and Mott the Hoople on harmonica.

‘Janine’ is one of the fun songs on this album being a rocker hidden within a folk song that has an almost country-rock groove.  Tony Visconti said that he liked ‘Janine’ best of all the Space Oddity tracks.  ‘Janine’ also appears on the 2000 live album Bowie At The Beeb – The Best Of The BBC Radio Sessions 68-72.  I was not able to find out who this girl Janine is, but I did find a connection with David Bowie and a Janine.  Australian entrepreneur and Boost Juice founder and Shark Tank judge Janine Allis worked on Bowie’s yacht Deneb Star in the ‘80s when she was 21, cleaning up after Bowie and his guests, while cruising the Mediterranean.  Deneb is the brightest star in the constellation of Cygnus, the swan and it is one of the most distant stars you’ll ever see without the aid of a telescope.

‘Janine’ is bouncy puppy love folk-rock song, with lyrics that examine a love affair which include undercurrents of violence and this need to shield one’s true identity for self-protection. Bowie proclaims that if Janine takes an axe to him, she won’t kill him, but instead she would be killing another man entirely.  ‘Janine’ discusses a lovelorn romance that a man has with a woman who he is very attracted to, but he doesn’t have the guts to show her the whole truth.  She wants to know what is on the inside of him, what makes him tick, but he’s worried that if she does get inside of his head, he will need to push her away, so he tries to keep their relationship at a distance.  This girl scares him, because the feelings that he has for her are too intense.  He doesn’t want her to know his true self, therefore he has to keep a veil of deception or wear a mask to hide them, and this allows him to pretend that he is actually another person.  Whenever she tries to discover his dark side, he must keep her in her place, not allowing her to destroy his walls and see what he is hiding.  Janine wants to break his walls, to see what is hiding behind the mask, but she will never get to know him.

Oh my love, Janine
I’m helpless for your smile
Like a Polish wander
I travel ever onwards to your land
And were it not just for the jewels, I’d close your hand

Your strange demand
To collocate my mind
Scares me into gloom
You’re too intense
I’ll have to keep you in your place
I’ve no defense
I’ve got to keep my veil on my face

Janine, Janine, you’d like to know me well
But I’ve got things inside my head
That even I can’t face

Janine, Janine, you’d like to crash my walls
But if you take an axe to me
You’ll kill another man
Not me at all

You’re fey, Janine
A tripper to the last
But if I catch you standing on my toes
I’ll have a right to shout you down
For you’re a lazy stream
In which my thoughts would drown

So stay, Janine
And we can glide along
I’ve caught your wings for laughs
I’m not obliged to read you statements of the year
So take your glasses off
And don’t act so sincere

Janine, Janine, you’d like to know me well
But I’ve got things inside my head
That even I can’t face

Janine, Janine, you’d like to crash my walls
But if you take an axe to me
You’ll kill another man
Not me at all
Yeah
Oh ah
Ooooo
Oh Janine
Hey Janine
Oh Janine
Ah ho
Oh Janine
Ho how
Janine
Ah Janine yeah
Janine Janine Janine
Yeah yeah

Try And Understand

‘Bella Linda’ is a cover of an Italian hit by Lucio Battisti and Giulio Rapetti Mogol, ‘Balla Linda’ which appeared on the 1969 Grass Roots third album Lovin’ Things and this song reached #28 in the U.S.  The Grass Roots started with P.F. Sloan & Steve Barri, two talented songwriters from Los Angeles.  Sloan and Bari were both from New York, however their families both moved to Los Angeles.  Sloan was born Phil Schlein in 1945, and Steve Barri was born Steve Lipkin in 1942.  Sloan started writing and recording songs for small labels and Barri got a job in a music store, where he heard lots of records and learned some guitar chords.  They worked for Dunhill Records, a new label headed by Lou Adler who was a record producer, A&R man, record company executive, music publisher, budding movie producer and sometimes he worked as a personal manager.

Lou was in charge of Trousdale Music and he formed Dunhill Records with Jay Lasker, who was running Vee Jay Records.  Almost overnight, Dunhill became very popular and ABC purchased it.  It was renamed ABC Dunhill, and Lou had the Midas touch at Dunhill, as everything he got involved with turned to gold.  Adler was at the top of the charts seven times with ‘Surf City’ by Jan & Dean, ‘Memphis’ and ‘Poor Side of Town’ by Johnny Rivers, ‘California Dreamin’’ and ‘Monday Monday’ by the Mamas and the Papas, ‘San Francisco’ by Scott McKenzie and ‘Eve of Destruction’ by Barry McGuire which was a protest song that was written by P. F. Sloan in mid-1964.  This single was certified a million-seller in just four weeks.  They also cut records for Peter Allen, Gladys Knight & the Pips, Johnny Rivers, Barry Mann, P. F. Sloan, The Turtles, Carole King and many others.  Lou Adler also co-produced the 1967 Monterey Pop Festival.

Sloan and Bari created The Fantastic Baggys, an American surf and hot rod studio group in 1964 which was unsuccessful. Adler signed P. F. Sloane to Dunhill Productions, and Dunhill gave Sloan and Bari the task of putting together a collection of songs so the record label could have some impact on the budding folk rock trend going on in 1965.  The duo wrote ‘Where Were You When I Needed You’ which both Sloan & Barri took part in recording along with some seasoned studio musicians at Dunhill.  The record received positive feedback, so they searched to find a band to become The Grass Roots.  An audition was held at the Whisky-A-Go-Go in San Francisco.

The San Francisco group called the Bedouins was comprised of  Denny Ellis on rhythm guitar, Willie Fulton on vocals and lead guitar, Joel Larson on drums and David Stensen on bass.  They had all grown up in the San Francisco music scene, but they were all under the age of 18, so their mothers had to sign their recording contracts.  The group went to Los Angeles and their first single became a regional hit.  In 1966, drummer Joel Larson left The Grass Roots and joined the Gene Clark Group, but in 1971 he returned after having worked with Gene Clark, The Turtles, The Merry-Go-Round and Lee Michaels and he stayed with them through the end of their heyday in 1975.  Dunhill received an impressive demo tape from a local Los Angeles based quartet called the 13th Floor who wrote their own compositions as well as playing cover tunes and they offered them the opportunity to take over the Grass Roots name and work directly with Sloan and Barri.  Dunhill secured their name The Grass Roots, which had previously been used by Arthur Lee of Love.

Creed Bratton played lead guitar, Rick Coonce played drums, Warren Entner sang and played rhythm guitar and Kenny Fukomoto sang and played bass for the newly formed Grass Roots.  Fukomoto was drafted into the army, so he was replaced by Rob Grill who was a bass player and sang.  They had a big hit with ‘Let’s Live For Today’ which climbed to #8 on the charts.  In 1968, they released the single ‘Midnight Confessions’ which shot up to #5 on the charts.  This marked the highest chart position the group had achieved.  Lead guitarist Bratton left in 1969 and he was replaced by keyboardist and vocalist Dennis Provisor.

In 1966, Sloan & Barri wrote ‘Secret Agent Man’ for Johnny Rivers which peaked at No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100.  Sloan left Dunhill to pursue a solo career while Barri shifted to an emphasis on production.  In 1970, Jimmy Webb wrote a song titled ‘P.F. Sloan’ because Sloan had helped him get started in the songwriting business.  Phil Sloan died on November 15, 2015 at the age of 70 after contracting pancreatic cancer.  Barri ran the entire A&R department at Dunhill and he was involved in signing Steppenwolf, Three Dog Night, Steely Dan, Jim Croce, The James Gang, Jimmy Buffett, Rufus (featuring Chaka Khan) and others.  Barri was personally involved in the writing/production of hit songs and albums for many of the acts he signed, as well as hits for Tommy Roe, Mama Cass Elliott, The Four Tops, The Turtles, Herman’s Hermits, B.B. King and others.  After leaving Dunhill Barri worked with Warner Bros. Records, Motown Records, Capitol Records, JVC Records and Gold Circle Entertainment/Samson Music.

In 1969, ‘Bella Linda’ continued to cement the Grass Roots standing as hit makers.  They were a main staple on the radio across the country.  The girl Linda in this song is neither beautiful, intelligent nor bewitching, but there is something about her that makes the singer not want her to leave him.  They have had some bad times and he has made her cry, mostly because he was thoughtless about her emotions.  He would like Linda to try and understand that he will never change, and know that if she goes away, he will die.

Bella Linda, try and understand
Bella Linda, I’m doin’ all I can
Bella Linda, I’m only what I am

It’s so hard for me to say
The things I really feel
If I could I’d chase away
The pain your eyes reveal
The pain your eyes reveal
From foolish things I’ve done
The times that I let you down
And I’ll never change, believe me I try
If you go away, you know that I’ll die
Oh I love you, please don’t say goodbye

Bella Linda, try and understand
Bella Linda, I’m doin’ all I can
Bella Linda, I’m only what I am

We’ve had bad times
Through the years
And though I’ve made you cry
Think of me through tender tears
And try to close your eyes
And try to close your eyes
To thoughtless things I do
The dreams that don’t come true
‘Cause I’ll never change, believe me I try
If you go away, you know that I’ll die
Oh I need you, please don’t say goodbye

Bella Linda, try and understand
Bella Linda, I’m doin’ all I can
Bella Linda, I’m only what I am

Bella Linda, try and understand
Bella Linda, I’m doin’ all I can
Bella Linda, I’m only what I am

Bella Linda

Never Seems To Be Quite Enough

‘Jackie Blue’ is a song recorded by the Ozark Mountain Daredevils from their second album It’ll Shine When It Shines, which was released in 1974, however the single was not released till February 1975.  ‘Jackie Blue’ became the band’s second Top 40 hit, reaching #3 on the Billboard Hot 100 and it spent two weeks at #1 on the Cashbox Singles Chart.  Drummer Larry Lee wrote ‘Jackie Blue’ when he was inspired by a male drug dealer that he had known.  Their producer Glyn Johns protested, insisting that Jackie Blue had to be a girl and that is when fellow band member Steve Cash got involved and contributed a couple of verses for this song.  This song is about a woman who is in pursuit of happiness, but she never gives anything a long enough time to make her happy.  She gets bored easily and there “never seems to be quite enough” to satisfy her.

The Ozark Mountain Daredevils got started in 1971 in Springfield, Missouri, the sextet included musicians Larry Lee, Steve Cash, Michael Supe Granda, John Dillon, Buddy Brayfield, and Randle Chowning playing gigs in bars and on porches and since then the group has made 8 studio albums, 6 live albums, 2 compilation albums and sold over two million records.  They called themselves the Family Tree, then Burlap Socks, and then the Emergency Band.  Finally John Dillon came up with the name Cosmic Corncob & His Amazing Ozark Mountain Daredevils, as a nod to Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen which made everyone laugh, but nobody wanted to be part of a Cosmic Corncob group, so they shortened it to The Ozark Mountain Daredevils.  Rolling Stone Magazine described the band’s music as “a mixture of Country, Appalachian, Southern, and Rock & Roll”, but they have also been described as a ragtag collection of hippies, bohemians, and musicians of no fixed ambition.

They got a recording contract with A&M Records after Glyn Johns heard them and became intrigued by their harmonies, having recently produced the Eagles’ album, Desperado.   The group enjoyed success primarily on FM radio from 1973 until 1978, but they endured countless personnel changes loosing Lee and Chowning by the end of the 80s, however they ended up getting Buddy Emmons on steel guitar and Rune Walle on mandolin.  Bassist and founding member Michael “Supe” Granda and founding vocalist John Dillon along with fellow co-founder Steve Cash are still in the group.  Other members of the modern lineup include Bill Jones, Ruell Chappell, Ron Gremp, Dave Painter, Kelly Brown and Nick Sibley.

Ooh, Jackie Blue
Lives her life from inside of her room
Hides a smile when she’s wearin’ a frown
Ooh, Jackie you’re not so down

You like your life in a free-form style
You’ll take an inch but you’d love a mile
There never seems to be quite enough
Floating around to fill your lovin’ cup

Ooh, Jackie Blue
What’s a game girl, if you never lose?
Ask a winner and you’ll probably find
Ooh, Jackie they’ve lost at sometime

Don’t try to tell me that you’re not aware
Of what you’re doing and that you don’t care
You say it’s easy, just a natural thing
Like playing music, but you never sing

Ooh, Jackie Blue
Making wishes that never come true
Going places that you’ve never been
Ooh, Jackie Blue, you’re going again

Ooh, Jackie Blue
Lives a dream that can never come true
Making love is like sifting through sand
Ooh, Jackie, it slips through your hand

Every day, in your indigo eyes
I watch the sunset but I don’t see it rise
Moonlight and stars in your strawberry wine
You’d take the world but you won’t take the time

Ooh-hoo-hoo, Jackie Blue
Lives her life from inside of a room
Makes you think that her life is a drag
Ooh Jackie, what fun you have had

Ooh, Jackie
Ooh, Jackie
Ooh, Jackie
Ooh, Jackie
Hey, hey, hey, hey

All That Remain

‘Visions of Johanna’ is a Bob Dylan song from his 1966 album Blonde on Blonde.  Several critics have acclaimed ‘Visions of Johanna’ as one of Dylan’s highest achievements in writing, praising the allusiveness and subtlety of the language.  Rolling Stone included ‘Visions of Johanna’ on their list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time and Mojo magazine named this song as one of their 100 Greatest Psychedelic Classics.  Dylan is difficult to understand and with a lot of his songs, and many times it seems like he is just writing obscure words down to fill up a page, but the art that he created will spark thoughts and inspire people for generations.  We can’t all listen to Dylan’s music and be able to take away some deep, profound, interpretive meaning from it, but for those people who keep their eyes wide open, they may discover a worthwhile purpose in what he was saying, or maybe it is all nonsense just for fun, but it is sheer poetry.  When listening to Dylan, it is best if you don’t think twice, it’s alright.  You don’t need to try and interpret the meaning of this song to understand and appreciate the dreamlike mood, and the beauty of his rhyming lines.

Dylan went to Nashville for this recording while he was touring with the Hawks who had their old backup drummer, Sandy Konikoff with them, as he was taking over for Levon Helm.  Dylan had Al Kooper (known for organizing Blood, Sweat & Tears) playing a Hammond organ and Joe South (the guy who sang ‘Games People Play’) on bass.  Robbie Robertson played lead electric guitar, while the Nashville drummer Kenny Buttrey mixed in a steady snare drum with tolling cymbal taps that fit in nicely with Dylan’s harmonica.

Dylan wrote this song while he was dating folk singer Joan Baez, so could Joan Baez be the Johanna in this song?  Dylan sings this song as if he in a fever dream, exploring his surrender to a mystical netherworld.  The emotions he conjures up and sustains during this song are nothing short of stunning.  Rolling Stone magazine said, “An extended, impressionistic account of a woozy New York City night, rich in pictorial detail and erotic longing, the five long verses zigzag between Dylan’s acute dissection of one woman, the tangible and available Louise, and his longing for an absent ideal.  Johanna may not even be real.  But she is an addiction.”  Dylan loses his grip on reality near the end of this song, and as his world slowly disintegrates, his “visions of Johanna are all that remain.”

Ain’t it just like the night to play tricks when you’re tryin’ to be so quiet?
We sit here stranded, though we’re all doin’ our best to deny it
And Louise holds a handful of rain, temptin’ you to defy it
Lights flicker from the opposite loft
In this room the heat pipes just cough
The country music station plays soft
But there’s nothing, really nothing to turn off
Just Louise and her lover so entwined
And these visions of Johanna that conquer my mind

In the empty lot where the ladies play blindman’s bluff with the key chain
And the all-night girls they whisper of escapades out on the “D” train
We can hear the night watchman click his flashlight
Ask himself if it’s him or them that’s insane
Louise, she’s all right, she’s just near
She’s delicate and seems like the mirror
But she just makes it all too concise and too clear
That Johanna’s not here
The ghost of ‘lectricity howls in the bones of her face
Where these visions of Johanna have now taken my place

Now, little boy lost, he takes himself so seriously
He brags of his misery, he likes to live dangerously
And when bringing her name up
He speaks of a farewell kiss to me
He’s sure got a lotta gall to be so useless and all
Muttering small talk at the wall while I’m in the hall
How can I explain?
It’s so hard to get on
And these visions of Johanna, they kept me up past the dawn

Inside the museums, infinity goes up on trial
Voices echo this is what salvation must be like after a while
But Mona Lisa musta had the highway blues
You can tell by the way she smiles
See the primitive wallflower freeze
When the jelly-faced women all sneeze
Hear the one with the mustache say, “Jeez, I can’t find my knees”
Oh, jewels and binoculars hang from the head of the mule
But these visions of Johanna, they make it all seem so cruel

The peddler now speaks to the countess who’s pretending to care for him
Sayin’, “Name me someone that’s not a parasite and I’ll go out and say a prayer for him”
But like Louise always says
“Ya can’t look at much, can ya man?”
As she, herself, prepares for him
And Madonna, she still has not showed
We see this empty cage now corrode
Where her cape of the stage once had flowed
The fiddler, he now steps to the road
He writes ev’rything’s been returned which was owed
On the back of the fish truck that loads
While my conscience explodes
The harmonicas play the skeleton keys and the rain
And these visions of Johanna are now all that remain

Better Off Alone

Stephen Ray Perry who was still in Journey started his solo career and he wrote the song ‘Oh Sherrie’ along with Bill Cuomo, Randy Goodrum and Craig Krampf which reached #3 on the Billboard Hot 100.  Journey took a brief break from touring and recording, when Perry issued his first solo album in 1984, Street Talk, which unsurprisingly sounded almost identical to Journey and spawned a sizable hit single with ‘Oh Sherrie’ as well as another minor hit, ‘Foolish Heart’.  This song was written as a tribute to his girlfriend, Sherrie Swafford who played the object of his affection in the video as well and it celebrated the joys and pains of being in love. The relationship didn’t last, as the pressures of touring finally ended their romance. Perry has never married, but the song stands alongside Journey’s best hits as an anthem of the ‘80s. ‘Oh Sherrie’ and ‘Don’t Stop Believin’’ are two of the final four musical numbers in the Broadway play Rock of Ages.  Sherrie and Steve still remain friends and she is an esthetician specializing in the beautification of the skin, she teaches yoga, she has also never married and she has no children.

The original members of Journey came together in San Francisco in 1973 under the direction of former Santana manager Herbie Herbert.  They were originally called the Golden Gate Rhythm Section and they worked as a backup group for established Bay Area artists.  The band included Santana alumni Neal Schon on lead guitar and Gregg Rolie on keyboards and lead vocals who also worked in The Storm and Abraxas Pool.  Former Steve Miller Band bassist Ross Valory and rhythm guitarist George Tickner, who both played together in Frumious Bandersnatch.  Prairie Prince of The Tubes served as drummer.  The band stopped working as a backup group and they developed a distinctive jazz-influenced progressive rock sound.  After an unsuccessful radio contest to name the group, roadie John Villanueva suggested the name JOURNEY.

Their first album was released in 1975 and after several personnel changes, Steve Perry signed on as lead vocalist, launching the band’s greatest period of commercial success from the late 1970s through the mid-1980s.  Steve Perry was born in 1949, and he played in several bands before joining Journey in 1977. As the group’s lead singer, Perry became one of the era’s most famous singers.  Perry left Journey in 1987, and except for a brief reunion, he remains a solo artist.

When Steve Perry was around 10 years old, he decided that he wanted to be a singer after listening to Sam Cooke on the radio. While attending high school in Lemoore, California, Perry played drums in the marching band.  By the age of 18, Perry wanted to try fulfilling his rock & roll dreams, so he relocated to Los Angeles.  He tried college for a while, performing in the choir, but eventually abandoned school for his musical dreams. The singer paid his bills by lending his vocals to radio and TV advertisements, as well as working as an engineer at Crystal Studios.  In addition to singing, Perry was also a drummer and involved in several different bands during the ‘60s and ‘70s, including such obscure local acts as the Nocturns, Dollar Bills, Sullies, Ice, Pieces, and Alien Project, the latter of which was on the verge of signing a recording contract when the group’s bassist died in a car accident, they suddenly disbanded.

In 1977, Journey was looking for a new lead singer and they found Steve Perry, then a 28-year-old veteran of many unsigned bands.  Perry and the band’s lead guitarist and co-founder, Neal Schon, began writing concise, uplifting hard rock songs that showcased Mr. Perry’s clean, powerful alto, as operatic an instrument as pop has ever seen.  With Perry on board, the band moved more toward mainstream rock, and began to see some chart success with the first album with Perry, 1978’s Infinity.  Many people still remember Steve as the face of the band.  By the early 1980s, Journey had emerged as one of rock’s top acts.  On Feb. 1, 1987, Perry performed one last show with Journey, in Anchorage and then he went home.

Since the group’s formation in 1973, Journey has earned 19 Top 40 singles and 25 Gold and Platinum albums and they have been called one of the greatest classic rock bands of all time.  The band released 23 albums and 43 singles since 1975 and has reached worldwide album sales totaling more than 75 million.  The group received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2005 and was inducted into the San Francisco Music Hall of Fame in 2003.  Journey was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2017.

Charles Randolph Goodrum (July 7, 1947) is an American songwriter, pianist, and producer that is a Grammy award-nominated writer was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2000.  Goodrum has written #1 songs in each of the four decades since his first #1 hit, 1978’s ‘You Needed Me’ sung by Anne Murray.  Goodrum co-wrote ‘A Lesson in Leavin’, with Brent Maher which became a #1 country hit in 1980 for Dottie West and a #2 hit for Jo Dee Messina in 1999. His music has been recorded by Gladys Knight, Reba McEntire, Ray Charles, Michael McDonald, Al Jarreau, Chet Atkins, Natalie Cole, The Commodores, Kansas, Dusty Springfield, Vince Gill, Trisha Yearwood, Michael Bolton, Isaac Hayes, Tammy Wynette and many others.  Goodrum played keyboards on the album Street Talk and he co-wrote eight of the songs, including ‘Foolish Heart’.

Bill Cuomo graduated from University of California at Los Angeles in 1972, and he began making demo recordings in Los Angeles, earning a reputation as a very capable piano player and an idea guy.  He soon began branching into major records, arranging, writing, and eventually producing and engineering.  He worked with Mac Davis in 1974, but left a year later to join Bonaroo where he had his first radio hit with his song, ‘Sally Ann’.  Cuomo’s big breakthrough came with Kim Carnes cover of the Jackie DeShannon song ‘Bette Davis Eyes’, where he came up with new chords to put around the melody line and lyrics working with Carnes and her producer Val Garay.  It went to #1 for 9 weeks, #1 in 26 countries, and sold fourteen million singles, winning the Grammy for Record of The Year in 1981 and it became the third best-selling song of the 1980’s.  He also worked with Smokey Robinson, the Little River Band, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Johnny and Donnie Van Zant, Mark Knopfler, Alabama, Faith Hill, Trace Adkins, Kathy Mattea, John Berry, Restless Heart, John Michael Montgomery and Steve Wariner.

Craig Krampf is an American musician and songwriter. The majority of his notable credits are as a studio drummer.  Since the 1970s, he has played on albums by other artists ranging from Steve Perry to Alabama to Kim Carnes to Flo and Eddie to Alice Cooper to Melissa Etheridge.  Craig has become one of the busiest session drummers in Los Angeles, working on such projects as Santana, Jane Wiedlin, The Motels and Dwight Twilley.  Craig Krampf was the drummer in Alien Project, the group that Steve Perry was in.

Perry surrounded himself with very talented musicians and songwriters for his Street Talk album, including guitarist Waddy Wachtel and drummer Larrie Londin.  Waddy Wachtel has worked with Linda Ronstadt, Stevie Nicks, The Rolling Stones, Jon Bon Jovi, James Taylor, Iggy Pop, Warren Zevon, and Jackson Browne.  Larrie Londin who is one of the most in demand session drummers of Nashville and in his career he has worked with Boots Randolph, Chet Atkins. Jerry Reed, Glen Campbell, Perry Como, Elvis Presley, Mac Davis, Trini Lopez, Johnny Mathis, Roy Clark, Eddy Arnold, Isaac Hayes, Howard Roberts, Olivia Newton-John, Mel Tilles and Bobby Goldsboro to name a few.

You should’ve been gone
Knowing how I made you feel
And I should’ve been gone
After all your words of steel
Oh I must’ve been a dreamer (must’ve been a dreamer, oh)
And I must’ve been someone else (someone else)
And we should’ve been over (over by now)

Oh Sherrie, our love
Holds on, holds on
Oh Sherrie, our love
Holds on, holds on

But I want to let go
You’ll go on hurtin’ me
You’d be better off alone
If I’m not who you thought I’d be

But you know that there’s a fever
Oh, that you’ll never find nowhere else
Can’t you feel it burnin’, on and on

Oh Sherrie, our love
Holds on, holds on
Oh Sherrie, our love
Holds on, holds on
Oh Sherrie

But I should’ve been gone
Long ago, far away
And you should’ve been gone
Now I know just why you stay

Oh Sherrie, our love
Holds on, holds on
Oh Sherrie, our love
Holds on, holds on

Oh Sherrie, our love
Holds on, holds on

Hold on, oh Sherrie