Monday music: “Running on Empty”

One of the songs that definitely made up a big part of the soundtrack of my youth is Jackson Browne’s “Running on Empty.” Released in 1978 when I was nine years old, it’s probably Browne’s most popular song, and it’s one I associate with being a kid in the best way. Here’s both the original studio version and a nifty live version from 1979.

Monday music: “Hey Jude”

From the 1997 Music for Montserrat concert, we’ve got “Hey Jude” performed by Paul McCartney and Elton John both on vocals and piano, Sting on vocals, Mark Knopfler and Eric Clapton on guitar, Phil Collins on drums, Ray Cooper on percussion, and many more besides, including a gospel choir and an orchestra. Pretty dang fabulous…

Monday music: “Hay Una Mujer Desaparecida”

Ronnie Gilbert was one of the Weavers, the great folk quartet from the 1940s and 1950s, who were blacklisted during the 1950s, but enjoyed a renaissance in the 1960s when Peter, Paul, and Mary covered their song “If I Had a Hammer.”

Holly Near is a folksinger and activist who dedicated an album to Gilbert and then later met her. The pair of them did a lot of touring together, and one of their best songs is one that they sang on a Weavers documentary from 1980, Wasn’t That a Time? and would regularly perform live: a song about women missing and killed by fascist regimes in Chile: “Hay Una Mujer Desaparecida.”

Monday music: “Fast Car”

Back in 1988, I attended one of the concerts in the Amnesty International Human Rights Now! tour featuring Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band, Peter Gabriel, Sting, Youssou N’Dour, and Tracy Chapman. Where the former four acts all came out with bands, Chapman was just herself and an acoustic guitar. She held Giants Stadium in the palm of her hand all by herself, doing some killer renditions of her songs, including her first big hit, “Fast Car.” A phenomenal singer/songwriter, here’s her studio original and a live version that gives you an idea how gripping her performance in 1988 was.

Monday music: “I’m Still Standing”

In 1983, we spent a month in California, travelling to Los Angeles, Anaheim, Big Sur, San Luis Obispo, the Redwood Forest, and San Francisco. It was a great trip. The two songs that comprise the soundtrack of that trip were two songs that were big hits in the summer of ’83: “Electric Avenue” by Eddy Grant and this great song by Elton John. Here’s the original, as well as a nifty live version from the Prince’s Trust concert in 1986, where he was accompanied by a band including Eric Clapton and Mark Knopfler on guitar, Howard Jones on keyboards, Phil Collins on drums, Ray Cooper on percussion, and more…..