Today’s Top 40: a Closer Look at the Stories Behind Today’s Top Songs…Song #38.

The songs listed in this post were found using the Top 40 charts of the following music organizations: CHUM-FM, CFNY-FM, KEXP-FM, Billboard Magazine, Spotify and BBC Radio 1. All six songs listed below occupied position #38 on their respective music lists from this past week. So, let’s take a quick look at the first five songs and then, a bit of a longer look at the song in today’s spotlight…”2Step” by Ed Sheeren ft. Lil Baby.

Father Time by Kendrick Lamar ft. Sampha (Spotify).

Kendrick Lamar occupied this spot last week with his song, “N95”. This week, “Father Time” moved into the Top 40 on Spotify. This gives Lamar a total of six songs on the chart at the same time. As I said last week, if you like insightful social commentary in a Hip Hop format then, Kendrick Lamar is your go-to guy.

Cold Heart by Dua Lipa ft. Sir Elton John (Billboard Magazine).

This song has been on the charts for several months now. It famously samples Sir Elton’s “Rocketman” song from the 1970s but, surprisingly, it is Dua Lipa who sings the “Rocketman” sampled lyrics while Elton John sings original content around the sample. Overall, as my girls would say, this song has that collab.vibe. This is a good Pop tune that I am sure you have heard on the radio if you are a radio listener these days.

Superposition by Young the Giant (CFNY-FM).

I am a big fan of Young the Giant and would have really liked to have made them the feature of this post. They roared out of the gate with their debut album back in 2010 that featured a couple of great songs that I actually spent my own money to download called “Cough Syrup” and “My Body”. Young the Giant are an American alternative music band that produces very danceable songs with catchy hooks and choruses. The song “Superposition” draws upon the world of Science and, in particular, Astronomy to express feelings of love. The line, “In any universe you are my dark star” is making the young adults of our world swoon today.

Balling by Vibe Chemistry ft. The DnB All-stars (BBC Radio 1).

I found this entry to be very interesting. For starters, Vibe Chemistry is not a band but an actual person. In this case, he is a DJ from London who is promoting a club scene built around drumming and bass work (which is where the “DnB” comes from). The “all-stars” that appear with Vibe Chemistry on this song are four rising stars in the world of UK Hip Hop. The song, “Balling” is not a good song, as it is replete with misogynistic references and violent Thug Life imagery, which does nothing for me. However, what makes this song interesting is the work of a young London-area rapper named Songer. In the video that accompanies this song, Songer is the only white rapper among the other all-stars. But, his skin colour is not what sets him apart. Songer might be the very best rapper I have ever heard! He raps at Olympian speed, clearly enunciating each word and with feeling. Up until now, I always considered Eminem to be my favourite rapper but Songer might just be better. His presence in the video for this song is my only reason for recommending it to you. But, recommend it, I do.

Sunday by Sea Lemon (KEXP-FM).

This is the debut single from Seattle-based singer/songwriter Natalie Lew. It is a sweet-voiced bit of Indie Pop that will fill your ears with all sorts of light and airy sounds. The song is about the anxiety that we all experienced over the course of the pandemic as we were forced to separate from those family and close friends that we loved but needed to stay away from in order to keep them safe.

2Step by Ed Sheeran ft. Lil Baby (CHUM-FM).

Kyiv, Ukraine.

Our feature song today is “2Step” by Ed Sheeran ft. Lil Baby. The song covers familiar ground for Sheeren in that it is about the romantic pleasure of holding someone you love close to you while dancing. While not a newlywed anymore, Ed Sheeren is certainly still very much in love with his wife and has written several songs that all cover themes of Sheeren being dazzled by the beauty of the woman he is with and how wonderful it feels to love someone like her and, in turn, be loved back in equal measure. What makes this song noteworthy is the music video that accompanies the song. It was shot on location in Kyiv, Ukraine, just prior to the start of the Russian invasion. In the video, you can see how lovely and cosmopolitan Kyiv looked before the bombs fell. While the song has nothing to do with the war, the mere fact that a love song was shot there lends added poignancy because, as we know, lots of loving relationships were lost and many young lovers, like the ones Sheeren is singing about in “2Step”, were forced to separate and may never dance romantically in Kviv again. Whether the timing of this video being shot when it was is mere coincidence or savvy marketing on Sheeran’s part is unknown by me but, regardless, the video possesses an emotional element that is hard to ignore.

The happy couple: Ed Sheeran and Cherry Seaborn.

Ed Sheeran is arguably one of the biggest music stars in the whole world at the moment. He reminds me a lot of The Weeknd in the way that between his solo songs and his collaborations, he seems to be everywhere all of the time on the radio. This has actually been the case for a number of years now. Here is some mind boggling data for you…starting with his debut album in 2011, every single album Ed Sheeran has released has gone to #1 on the charts. As far as singles go, he has had eleven #1 hit songs: “Sing”, “Thinking Out Loud”, “Shape of You”, “Castle On The Hill”, “Perfect”, “I Don’t Care”, “Beautiful People”, “Take Me Back To London”, “Bad Habits” and “Shiver”. In total, his singles have recorded sales of 20 million and have been certified a ridiculous 73 times platinum!!! But, just as much as Ed Sheeran has enjoyed success as a solo artist, he has been just as productive while engaging in musical collaborations with other artists. In those situations, he has enjoyed many number #1 hits including: “River” (with Eminem), “Sausage Rolls for Everyone” (with Ladbaby and Sir Elton John), “Bam Bam” (with Camilla Cabello) and “Merry Christmas” (with Sir Elton John).

One of the most remarkable aspects to Ed Sheeran’s musical journey is how close it came to not happening at all. As a child, Sheeran was not a popular child. He was often bullied because of his appearance due to his mop of shocking orange hair, his glasses, as well as a purple birthmark that covered much of the side of his face. As he grew into his teens, he was able to have facial surgery to remove/cover up the birthmark, giving his face a more normal complexion. However, according to Sheeran, that surgery came with a potentially life-altering consequence…it caused Sheeran to develop a severe stutter. His family took him to speech therapists who, in turn, tried many different strategies but nothing seemed to work. That was, until the day his father read about something called music therapy. This school of thought was centered upon the realization that many people who suffered from stuttering could speak very clearly and easily if, instead of talking conversationally they, instead, communicated through song. So, Ed Sheeran’s father bought him the Eminem album called “The Real Slim Shady”. Young Ed Sheeran memorized Enimen’s rap lyrics and found that he could sing them clearly. Because Sheeran could now sing out his thoughts and feelings, his self-confidence soared. *This makes his collaboration with Eminem all the more special for Sheeran when it happened. It was a way for him to express his gratitude to a man who, quite literally, changed the course of his life with his music.

In the time that has followed, Ed Sheeran has continued to receive speech therapy and is now able to communicate conversationally in ways that allow him to address audiences and tell stories about his life and his music. Sheeran continues to work with organizations that help people who stutter; especially, children. We all have gifts to share but far too often we, as a society, get too distracted by the packaging on the outside. It is a shame that so many never get to realize their potential because of how they are judged and viewed by others. Ed Sheeran is a very lucky and talented man. We are all the richer for him having found his way in this world.

So, without further delay, here is the dramatic music video that was shot in Kviv, Ukraine for the song, “2Step”, featuring rapper Lil Baby. Enjoy.

The link to the video for the song, “2Step” by Ed Sheeran and Lil Baby can be found here.

The link to the official website for Ed Sheeran can be found here.

The link to the official website for Lil Baby can be found here.

The link to the Ukraine Disaster Relief Appeal mentioned by Ed Sheehan in the “2Step” video can be found here.

***As always, a reminder that all original content in this post is the sole property of the author. No portion of this post can be reblogged, copied or shared in any form without the express written consent of the author. ©2022 Tommacinneswriter.com

RS: The Top 500 Songs in Modern Music History…Song #111: Rocketman (I Think It’s Gonna Be A Long, Long Time) by Elton John.

This list of songs is inspired by a list published by radio station, KEXP, from Seattle in 2010, as well as, the latest poll taken in 2021 by Rolling Stone Magazine. For the most part, I will faithfully countdown from their lists, from Song #500 to Song #1. So, when you see the song title listed as something like: “KEXP: Song #XXX”….it means that I am working off of the official KEXP list. “RS: Song XXX” means the song is coming from the Rolling Stone list. If I post the song title as being: “KTOM: Song #xxx”….it means I have gone rogue and am inserting a song choice from my own personal list of tunes I really like. In either case, you are going to get to hear a great song and learn the story behind it. Finally, I am not a music critic nor a musician. I am a music fan and an armchair storyteller. Enough said! Let’s get on to today’s song.

RS: The Top 500 Songs in Modern Music History.

Song #111: Rocketman (I Think It’s Going To Be A Long, Long Time) by Elton John.

In the mid 1950s, science fiction writer, Ray Bradbury, released a book called, “The Illustrated Man”. In that book, there was a central character who was covered in tattoos. Each tattoo told a different story. One of the stories in Bradbury’s anthology was called, “The Rocket Man”. In that story, being an astronaut had changed from the early days of space travel, when astronauts were viewed as heroes, to being more of a job along the lines of an airplane pilot. The plot revolved around a career astronaut who was growing tired of making his journeys into space but, continued to do so because of his son, who looked up to him with hero-worshipping eyes. The boy dreams of travelling among the stars, like his Dad until, one day, when the father makes that one last flight and dies in an accident in Space. This causes the boy to live a life haunted by the very stars he once sought to visit.

The Bradbury story of “The Rocketman” inspired a band named Pearls Before Swine to record a song of their own called, “Rocketman”. This song came out not long after David Bowie had released, “Space Oddity” so, it was a heady time for space-inspired music in the UK. The legend of the Elton John version of “Rocketman” is that, around the time “Space Oddity” and the Pearls Before Swine version of “Rocketman” came out, Bernie Taupin one night witnessed a shooting star. This caused him to gaze toward the Heavens in wonder and set his mind to work. Taupin freely admits that he was directly influenced by Bradbury, Bowie and PBS and that the song he came to write was merely his own interpretation on the topic. In fact, since the Taupin/Elton John version was published, many listeners believe that they were not talking about space travel, specifically but, in reality, they were using the loneliness of space travel as a metaphor for the rock n’ roll lifestyle that they were starting to experience in their own lives.

“Rocketman (I Think It’s Going To Be A Long, Long Time)” by Sir Elton John came from his fifth studio album called, “Honky Chateau” which was, really, only his second album of note. His previous album, “Madman Across the Water” was the album that really brought them both into the national spotlight and started them down the road to stardom. So, it was not surprising that both Taupin and Elton John would be finding that their lives were changing and that this process would find itself written down in song. So, as much as “Rocketman (I Think It’s Going To Be A Long, Long Time” is a nick of two previously recorded songs, the duo managed to make it uniquely their own, at the same time. It is a song that has gone on to be a fan favourite and one that is consistently rated as a classic among all of the great tunes under the Elton John name.

I am a big fan of this song. He and Taupin wrote such great “story” songs during this period in their careers! “Someone Saved My Life Tonight”, “Tiny Dancer”, “Levon”, “Philadelphia Freedom”, “Island Girl” and so many more, all came from a period of 5-7 years. But, as prolific as Taupin and Elton John were back in the 1970s, the better tribute is the enduring legacy of such hits. Even today, in 2022 as I write this post, “Rocketman (I Think It’s Going To Be A Long, Long Time)” remains a vital song, as seen in how it is sampled for inclusion in the Elton John/Dua Lipa collaboration called, “Cold, Cold Heart”, which the three ladies I live with all think is a smashing version of the classic song.

In the end, “Rocketman (I Think It’s Going To Be A Long, Long Time)” is a song that hints at the perils of a life that can only be experienced alone; whether it be on the brightest of stages or among the shiniest of stars. It takes a brave heart to endure either. Without further delay, here is Sir Elton John with the classic song, “Rocketman (I Think It’s Going To Be A Long, Long TIme)”. Enjoy.

The link to the video for the song, “Rocketman (I Think It’s Gonna Be A Long, Long Time” by Elton John, can be found here.

The link to the official website for Elton John, can be found here.

The link to the video for the song, “Rocketman” by Pearls Before Swine, can be found here.

The link to the official website for Pearls Before Swine, can be found here.

The link to the video for the song, “Cold, Cold Heart” by Dua Lipa ft. Elton John, can be found here.

The link to the official website for Dua Lipa can be found here.

The link to the official website for Rolling Stone Magazine, can be found here.

RS: The Top 500 Songs in Modern Music History…Song #2: Your Song by Elton John.

This list of songs is inspired by a list published by radio station, KEXP, from Seattle in 2010, as well as, the latest poll taken in 2021 by Rolling Stone Magazine. For the most part, I will faithfully countdown from their lists, from Song #500 to Song #1. So, when you see the song title listed as something like: “KEXP: Song #XXX”….it means that I am working off of the official KEXP list. “RS: Song XXX” means the song is coming from the Rolling Stone list. If I post the song title as being: “KTOM: Song #xxx”….it means I have gone rogue and am inserting a song choice from my own personal list of tunes I really like. In either case, you are going to get to hear a great song and learn the story behind it. Finally, I am not a music critic nor a musician. I am a music fan and an armchair storyteller. Enough said! Let’s get on to today’s song.

RS: The Top 500 Songs in Modern Music History.

Song #2: Your Song by Elton John.

Welcome to the second-last post in this series. 498 music posts are done and in the books. Thank you to everyone who has managed to follow me through this adventure so far. I have appreciated your presence more than you can imagine. Therefore, this post…..Music Post #499 is for you.

All of you.

My Facebook family and friends, my pals from the world of Twitter and, finally, those WordPress Blogging Community writers who discovered this countdown in mid-stream and who have been joining on in ever-increasing numbers as we have neared the end. All of you have contributed much to this countdown, with your opinions on the songs and artists, your concert memories, your personal connections and memories and so much more. I honestly can’t be sure that I would have had the staying power to have completed all 500 posts if I only had had myself for company. So, thanks.

Months and months ago, I made some editorial decisions regarding how I wanted to use the final slots in the Top Ten.

One of those decisions was that I wanted to involve you in this process so, as you already know, I instituted an Honourable Mention category. That suggestion originally came from my buddy, Allister Matheson. It was a suggestion that I liked right from the very first time I read it. What I liked best about it was that it brought you all into the process, too. Because of this, we have all gotten to have a sneak peek into what makes music special for you. It has been a complete honour to have been able to share your stories about the special songs in your life. Thank you for trusting me with your memories. By the way, if you want to know why I invited you to participate in the Honourable Mention category in the first place, it was because you were one of the people who participated in this countdown with me the most. You Honourable Mention folks were the Top 24 most engaged readers of my posts. Your interest in this project is humbling. I am grateful, in reply.

Secondly, a long time ago, I made the decision to cut off the Honourable Mention songs at Song #2….today’s song. I did this because I felt all along that whatever ended up in Slot #1 deserved our full attention. The spotlight will be shining in only one direction tomorrow and that will be on Song #1.

Finally, many months ago I knew I wanted to reserve a song slot for all of you, as my way of expressing my gratitude. Thus, I organized this space so that the first 498 song posts were dedicated spaces that focused directly on the music and the artists who created it. But, I always intended to reserve Song #2 for you. Because of that decision, I have known for a very long time that “Your Song” by Sir Elton John, was going to be the second last song in our countdown. Sir Elton John’s first big hit….a song about friendship and a shared love of music, seemed like the appropriate choice. It is the song I dedicate to all of you

“Your Song” came from his self-titled debut album and, along with “Take Me To The Pilot”, were the big hits from it. Like so many songs of late in our countdown, Sir Elton was not the first to record and release this song, even though it was written by Bernie Taupin and arranged by him. For awhile, Sir Elton John went on tour with the band, Three Dog Night. He was the opening act. After hearing him trot out the songs that he had at his disposal, Three Dog Night asked to record “Your Song”. Sir Elton took their interest as a compliment and allowed them to do so. But, knowing that this talented young man was about to release his first album, Three Dog Night kept their version of “Your Song” under wraps until Sir Elton was able to release it himself. Kudos to Three Dog Night for being decent fellows.

In interviews, as well as, in the movie about Sir Elton John’s life, “Rocketman”, Bernie Taupin claims to have written the lyrics to “Your Song” while visiting his friend, “Reginald Dwight” at his mother’s flat. Taupin was upstairs listening to his friend play away on the piano that stood the dining/living room of the flat. To Taupin, Reggie’s playing at the piano confirmed for him that he was a star in the making. The emotions woven into the song come across as being between two lovers but, as we know, Taupin and Sir Elton John were like brothers, not lovers so, the affection that oozes through the song is heartfelt but meant as being from one true friend to another. “Your Song” was one of the very first collaborative experiences the two had…..the first of a very great many, as it turned out. John Lennon was quoted as saying how happy he was to have heard this song on the radio because, in his mind, it was the freshest sound in the UK at the time and a worthy successor to the songs The Beatles had put out.

Is “Your Song” the second best song of all time? Probably not but, it is a great song just the same. It is a song about friendship and camaraderie. Furthermore, it is a song that captures how I feel about this journey of ours and that I got to share it all with you. Here are some stats for you:

498 Music countdown posts, along with 24 Honourable Mention posts.

Not counting my replies, you folks have made approximately 1500 comments….and, not just short, one-word comments, either. Many of you typed whole paragraphs for comments! But, even more importantly, many of you spoke from the heart. That pleased me more than anything because it indicated to me that you all felt safe and comfortable doing so. That was the social environment I was hoping to create. I am glad that you felt at home here.

Not counting my own input, there have been approximately 4500 “Likes” and “Loves” clicked on Facebook and Twitter and on WordPress. There have been several dozen “Wows”, too. Thanks for them all.

Finally, I want to go back to the very beginning….in fact, even before the beginning. This whole countdown journey started with a Facebook post that stated I was growing dull-witted living the pandemic lockdown life and that I needed to focus on something or else I was going to lose my mind. Well, as it turned out, that post (birthday posts, excepted) was the single most popular post ever during my time on Facebook, when it comes to comments. I got dozens and dozens and dozens of enthusiastic comments; all of them wishing me well, all of them voicing confidence in my ability to pull it off and, finally, many of them pledging interactive support should I actually decide to begin. Thanks for such a wonderful show of faith. It was the boost I needed to actually have the nerve to start this project. It has been the fuel that has kept me going when I was only at Song #334 or #278 and still had such a long way to go. It is what has brought me to this point in the project….with all of you by my side.

But, we don’t have a long way to go anymore, do we? Today is Post #499 and tomorrow, we arrive at our destination with the final song. Until then, please accept my thanks, one last time and have a listen to a special song that was selected for you a long time ago. Here is “Your Song” by Sir Elton John. Enjoy.

And, thank you.

This has been wonderful. ❤

The link to the video for the song, “Your Song” by Sir Elton John, can be found here.

The link to the official website for Sir Elton John, can be found here.

The link to the official website for Rolling Stone magazine, can be found here.

KTOM: The Top 500 Songs in Modern Music History…Honourable Mention Song #8: Don’t Try To Lay No Boogie Woogie On The King Of Rock n’ Roll by Long John Baldry (as Nominated by Linda Spoelstra).

This list of songs is inspired by a list published by radio station, KEXP, from Seattle in 2010, as well as, the latest poll taken in 2021 by Rolling Stone Magazine. For the most part, I will faithfully countdown from their lists, from Song #500 to Song #1. So, when you see the song title listed as something like: “KEXP: Song #XXX”….it means that I am working off of the official KEXP list. “RS: Song XXX” means the song is coming from the Rolling Stone list. If I post the song title as being: “KTOM: Song #xxx”….it means I have gone rogue and am inserting a song choice from my own personal list of tunes I really like. In either case, you are going to get to hear a great song and learn the story behind it. Finally, I am not a music critic nor a musician. I am a music fan and an armchair storyteller. Enough said! Let’s get on to today’s song.

KTOM: The Top 500 Songs in Modern Music History.

Honourable Mention Song #8: Don’t Try To Lay No Boogie Woogie On The King Of Rock n’ Roll by Long John Baldry (as Nominated by Linda Spoelstra.

There is an old joke, with multiple variations, the core of which goes something like this: “I don’t always listen to Rock n’ Roll but, when I do, so do the neighbours!”

Well, allow me to introduce you to my pal, Linda Spoelstra. I know Linda as a fellow staff member at a school I helped to open in the year 2000. It was the same opening staff where I met my future wife, Keri, and where I met my friend, Jeanette Sage, too. *(Jeanette’s HM post was from a few days ago….you can read it here). It was quite a great staff to work with and, from that shared experience, there have been many friendships that began in 2000 and which have continued to this day. Which brings me back to Linda. When Keri and I were first getting to know Linda, she hosted several staff get-togethers at her home which was in the middle of a town that was bursting with growth in the form of sub-divisions. Unbeknownst to us, prior to moving into that home, Linda and her husband, Ben, owned a farm house in the middle of nowhere; surrounded by the empty fields and treed plots of land so coveted by builders. Linda used to host get-togethers at the farmhouse, too. However, unlike the ones she held in-town, the ones held at the farmhouse were blow-out parties, where the music was cranked, the liquor flowed and the smells coming from the kitchen weren’t necessarily of the baking variety. When I put out the call for Honourable Mention songs, Linda sent me nine choices! With each song choice, she had a brief description of what the song meant to her. In almost all cases, her descriptions revolved around parties and good times shared with friends. As it should be, right?

Of the great songs nominated by Linda, I opted to tell the story of Long John Baldry. Long John Baldry is one of those legendary figures in Rock history who, while never being an A-list star, himself, was, never-the-less, an extremely influential figure in helping Rock n’ Roll develop as a genre. In essence, his story is the story of the birth of Rock n’ Roll in England. The Rolling Stones, The Beatles, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, The Kinks, Elton John, Rod Stewart and the Faces, all flow from the grace and mentorship of Long John Baldry and the others who brought Blues to England. Here is an abridged version of that story.

Back in the late 1950s, a man named Alexis Korner met another man named Clive Davies. They were both interested in Jazz and in American-style Blues. At that time in England, there was none of this style of music being played on the BBC so, the two men decided to open a Jazz and Blues Club and, as well, to form a musical collective called Alexis Korner’s Blues Incorporated. At this club, travelling Blues men from the US could find a receptive audience to play for. In between visits by the likes of Muddy waters and Sister Rosetta Tharpe, the Blues Incorporated band would act as the house band and play each night. Blues Incorporated was meant to be a home base for like-minded musicians who had a love of the Blues and of Jazz. People like Charlie Watts were regulars there. In time, Davies and Korner hired a singer to front the house band. He was known as Long John Baldry. Alex Korner’s Blues Incorporated proceeded to act as an incubator, of sorts, for a rising crop of Blues enthusiasts such as Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Brian Jones, Rod Stewart, Ronnie Woods and many more.

One specific example of this environment and how it helped an entire generation of stars to find their feet can be seen in the movie, “Rocketman”, which was based on the life and career of Sir Elton John. In that movie, we meet a boy named Reginald Dwight, who discovers he has a talent for piano playing and for song composition at a young age. He plays all through his childhood and then, as a teen ager, he starts hanging out at clubs where Blues and early Rock n’ Roll is played. Eventually, he works up the courage to ask the man who seems to be in charge if he can play the piano for them. Once given a shot, he wows the crowd. Reginald is asked to come back regularly. In time, he joins a group of other young players and they form a band called Bluesology. This band gets a regular job backing some of the travelling US Blues acts that pass through. One of which, in the movie, were The Isley Brothers (who sang the song, “Shout: Pts. 1 & 2” among many other hits). It was The Isley Brothers who helped Reggie admit that he was actually Gay and that a relationship he had with a woman he was dating was actually toxic and needed to end. This act of Coming Out and ending his relationship and a host of family drama caused Reginald to become suicidal. One night, after talking a few too many pills, Reginald was found by his songwriting partner, Bernie Taupin, and one other man…..the “man in charge” from the club…..none other than Long John Baldry. Reginald Dwight rebounded from that incident, changed his name to Elton John and wrote a song of gratitude to Baldry called, “Someone Saved My Life Tonight” *(which you can listen to, here). The person in the song named “Sugar Bear” is Baldry.

Long John Baldry took Elton John and his Bluesology band under his wing and toured with them until such time as Elton felt the need to go solo. Such was life for Long John Baldry. He mentored many young future stars such as Elton John and Rod Stewart and, in return, those men came back to help him when it came time for Baldry to release an album of his own, filled with traditional, Bluesy standards; some from America and some from his own pen. The song, “Don’t Try To Lay No Boogie Woogie On The King Of Rock n’ Roll” comes form an album called, “It Ain’t Easy”. Rod Stewart produced one side of the album and Elton John produced the other side. The song, “No Boogie Woogie”, for short, is actually two songs in one. The first song is a three-minute spoken word account of Baldry getting arrested for playing The Blues out on a public street and having to appear in court to justify his actions before a Magistrate. In the tradition of all good, boozy storytellers, this is a classic tale that is accompanied by a soundscape of Blues. Just as the story ends, an entire carnival of music erupts and a rollicking, reeling, joyous cacophony of music begins and the second half of the song roars into action. It is not a famous song, by any stretch but, “Don’t Try To Lay No Boogie Woogie On The King Of Rock n’ Roll” will give you an excellent sense of the type of music that attracted John Lennon and Eric Clapton and Ginger Baker and Ronnie Woods and their friends to the Rock n’ Roll life. It is awesome. I can see why Linda Spoelstra and her husband, Ben, would have been prone to playing such music at their farmhouse; speakers placed outside, volume cranked, booze flowing, stars twinkling in the night sky, friends all gathered safely in and having a fantastic time. Those must have been the days, indeed.

The ironic thing about Long John Baldry is that he left England in the mid-1970s and moved to Canada, becoming a Canadian citizen and living here until his death in 2005. While he spent much of his Canadian life in British Columbia, Baldry did send time in Ontario, too. I am sure that his he had been happening by, just when Linda was having one of her famous farmhouse blow-outs, that Baldry would have felt right at home and, I’m sure, Linda and Ben would have welcomed him straight on in. Such is the power of The Blues and of Rock n’ Roll…..and, good speakers….and good booze……and good friends, too.

Thanks, Linda, for nominating such a terrific song. As well, thanks for sharing all of your concert stories along the way. Your input added much to this musical countdown journey of ours and was gratefully appreciated. But now, the time for talking isomer. Here is the legendary Long John Baldry with the classic tune, “Don’t Try To Lay No Boogie Woogie On The King Of Rock n’ Roll”. Enjoy. In fact, I dare you not to.

The link to the video for the song, “Don’t Try To Lay No Boogie Woogie On The King Of Rock n’ Roll” by Long John Baldry, can be found here.

The link to the official website for Long John Baldry, can be found here.

RS: The Top 500 Songs in Modern Music History…Song #165: Candle in the Wind by Sir Elton John.

This list of songs is inspired by a list published by radio station, KEXP, from Seattle in 2010, as well as, the latest poll taken in 2021 by Rolling Stone Magazine. For the most part, I will faithfully countdown from their lists, from Song #500 to Song #1. So, when you see the song title listed as something like: “KEXP: Song #XXX”….it means that I am working off of the official KEXP list. “RS: Song XXX” means the song is coming from the Rolling Stone list. If I post the song title as being: “KTOM: Song #xxx”….it means I have gone rogue and am inserting a song choice from my own personal list of tunes I really like. In either case, you are going to get to hear a great song and learn the story behind it. Finally, I am not a music critic nor a musician. I am a music fan and an armchair storyteller. Enough said! Let’s get on to today’s song.

RS: The Top 500 Songs in Modern Music History.

Song #165: Candle in the Wind by Elton John.

“Candle in the Wind” was written by Bernie Taupin, with Elton John supplying the musical score. The song was from Elton John’s biggest selling album ever….”Goodbye Yellow Brick Road”, which also contained the hits, “Benny and the Jets”, “Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting”, “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road”, along with “Candle in the Wind”. All four of those songs were Top Ten hits and helped to establish Elton John as a star, not just in England but, around the world. The album, “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” sold over twenty million copies worldwide. *(For comparison sake, in the last post, I mentioned that the very successful duo of Hal & Oates sold twenty million copies of their albums for the entire career! Sir Elton John matched that with a single album!)

The song, “Candle in the Wind” tells the story of Marilyn Monroe but, having said that, it is not really about Marilyn Monroe at all. Let me explain. In interviews, Bernie Taupin has said that “Candle in the Wind” is about our tendency to mythologize celebrities; especially, those who die too soon, at the height of their fame. Taupin says that Marilyn Monroe may have been the subject of the song but, “Candle in the Wind” could just as easily have been about James Dean or Jim Morrison, as it was about Marilyn.

As most of you are aware, in 1997, Sir Elton John and Bernie Taupin tweaked the lyrics to this song so that the subject of the song became Princess Diana or, “England’s Rose”, as they ended up calling her. Elton John performed the song at her funeral and is on record as stating that he was never more emotional or nervous while seated at his piano as he was that day. The updated version of “Candle in the Wind” was titled, “Candle in the Wind-97”. All proceeds from the sale of this song went to a charity established in Princess Diana’s name, called “The Princess’ Trust”. It is estimated that this song generated revenues of over $60 million dollars. The trust fund has since handed out all of its’ funds and is now closed. Consequently, a “gentleman’s agreement” has been reached between Elton John and broadcasters all over the world, to retire the memorial version of this song and revert to only playing the original, Marilyn Monroe-centric version of “Candle in the Wind”.

Needless to say, those who live in the public live a life that very few of us can imagine. It is not surprising to me that it took someone like Sir Elton John, who is also living life in the spotlight’s glare, to create a song that so accurately captures the essence of celebrity worship. It also, says a lot about Elton John and Bernie Taupin that they were drawn so easily toward Eminem when he released his song about celebrity obsession, “Stan”, (that I profiled in a much earlier post, here) and which Elton John sang with him on stage at the Grammy Awards, way back when. Whether your are a Marilyn Monroe, a Princess Diana or even, an Amy Winehouse, when the shiny ones die early, we grieve harder and longer. Our inability to let go and continue to move forward and to grow is what “Candle in the Wind” is really all about. Without further delay, here is the original version of “Candle in the Wind” by Sir Elton John. Enjoy.

The link to the video for the song, “Candle in the Wind” by Sir Elton John, can be found here.

The link to the video for the song, “Candle in the Wind-97”, by Sir Elton John can be found here.

The link to the official website for Sir Elton John, can be found here.

The link to the official website for Rolling Stone Magazine, can be found here.