Dave Letterman’s awkward Morning Show

It all started with a very awkward morning show.  It gives hope to us all. You have an idea. It doesn’t work out but you keep working on it and 35 years later you have an insanely amazing body of work. Yes indeed, the longest journey begins with a very silly first step. It was a thrill watching the journey. I already miss you, Dave.

 

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Get Out

Well David Letterman’s run is over but you can always get out to support the many wide-range of artists, Dave helped support throughout the reign of his show.  Here are a number of artists that are playing this week in LA and also played Dave’s show.

Saturday

Laura Jane Grace (of Against Me!) : Masonic Lodge at The Hollywood Forever Cemetery 

Jay Leno Geffen Playhouse

Sunday

The Tubes Topanga Days
Here’s Fee Waybill talking. I love the no budget cable access feel of this show.

Train, The Fray and Matt Nathanson Hollywood Bowl

X Saint Rocke

Tuesday The Forum

U2

U2 on Late Show with David Letterman

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Paul Shaffer

Paul Shaffer

Part of the success of David Letterman belongs to his music director, Paul Shaffer.  Every comedic duo needs a straight man and Paul is that rare cat (as Paul may refer himself) that besides being an amazing musician, is also a great student of comedy.  He could parody Ed McMahon’s laugh or mimic Jack Benny’s reaction and it just added to the fun of the show.

Fun Fact: Paul Shaffer co-wrote The Weather Girls “It’s Raining Men”

One more fun fact: Paul Shaffer plays the keyboard solo (a salute to Del Shannon’s “Runaway”) in Scandal’s “Goodbye To You” The solo starts at 1:55

Here is a salute to the comedic duo of Letterman and Shaffer

Pedestrian Theme Songs

Paul asks Julia Roberts a question:

Dave and Paul visit London

Paul and his memory of Cher

The actual story of Paul Shaffer “Behind The Music” with surprising assistance from Eddie Vedder and Lou Reed.

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New Music Tuesday

Since it’s Letterman week, let’s highlight those artists that have performed on the show and have new/old music coming out this week.

At Your Service (2 CD Set)At Your Service
Sammy Hagar & The Circle
Live performance from Sammy Hagar, Michael Anthony, Jason Bonham, & Vic Johnson jamming on 19 Classic Rock tracks.

Sammy “Best Teeth In Rock and Roll” Hagar performs “High Hopes”

Live +Jeff Beck “Live +

From March 1999 Jeff performs “Mama Said”

Crystal Visions (Limited Edition Crystal Clear Vinyl)Stevie Nicks “Crystal Visions” (Limited Edition Crystal Clear Vinyl).

Dave was a little obsessed with Stevie Nicks in 1986.  I love everything about these clips and it’s one of the running gags where Dave is allowed to get a little mischievous and hilarity ensues.

 

 

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David Letterman: Punk Rocker

David Letterman Comdy's Punk Rocker

David Letterman: Comdy’s Punk Rocker

To this viewer, there was nothing more original than Late Night With David Letterman.  The Late Show was a well deserved 22 year victory lap for David Letterman.  Everything I learned from comedy appreciated about comedy came from Letterman’s perspective.  It’s probably why I’m a little more cynical and jaded than I should be.  It’s probably why I never attempted the field of comedy because I knew that Letterman and his staff of writers looked at the world with such a unique view of the way pop culture was consumed that any attempt on my part would just be plagiarism.  David kept changing the rules of comedy.  It really was punk rock.

One example is The Top Ten list.  He saw this trend toward lazy journalism 30 years ago and turned it upside down.  The best example is the very first top ten list from September 18, 1985.  Top ten words that almost rhyme with “peas”:

And since this is a music focused blog (and since I am lazy), here are a ten rock stars presenting top ten lists:

1) Mick Jagger “Top 10 things I learned after 50 years in rock n’ roll”

2) Ways The Country Would Be Different If Britney Spears were President

3) Eminem‘s Top Ten Advice For The Kids

4) Top 10 things that sound cool when said by Snoop Dogg

5) Lil Wayne Top Ten Reasons I’m Looking Forward to The Grammy Awards

6) Top Ten Reasons It’s fun To Be Justin Bieber

7) Michael Bublè “Top Ten Least Popular Musical Standards”

8) Top Ten rejected Josh Groban songs

9) Christina Aguilera “Top Ten lists for aspiring singers”

10) Top Ten Things U2 has learned over the years

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June Carter Cash

June Carter Cash passed away 12 years ago on this day May 15, 2003. She was a daughter from the first family of Country Music, The Carter Family and of course famously married Johnny Cash. She was ranked No. 31 in CMT’s 40 Greatest Women in Country Music. She did so much to promote country music and its legacy that I am certain the circle will go unbroken. You are missed.

June Carter Cash

June Carter

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Lana and Frances and Courtney

In the June 2014 issue of the The Guardian Lana del Rey, 28, was quoted as saying ,”I wish I was already dead,” after being asked about her heroes Kurt Cobain and Amy Winehouse, who both died at age 27.

Not surprisingly, Frances Bean Cobain, daughter of Kurt Cobain had some comments for her via Twitter.

Lana responded:

@alka_seltzer666 it’s all good. He was asking me a lot a out your dad I said I liked him because he was talented not because he died young-
— LanaDelRey (@Lana Del Rey)

@alka_seltzer666 the other half of what I said wasn’t really related to the people he mentioned/ I don’t find that part of music glam either
— LanaDelRey (@Lana Del Rey)

All must be good between Lana and Frances because Frances’ mom, Courtney Love is opening up for Lana at her show on Monday at The Hollywood Bowl.

Courtney always has to get at word in, which of course she did when she heard Lana was doing a cover of Nirvana’s “Heart Shaped Box”

Maybe they’ll do a duet of the song.  It any case it should be an evening not to miss.  I think many Angelenos agree as this sold out show is getting top dollar on Stubhub.  Go if you can!

Courtney Love and Lana Del Rey

Courtney Love and Lana Del Rey

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American Idol

American Idol’s May 23, 2006 showdown won by Taylor Hicks over Katherine McPhee had over 36 million viewers and 63.4 million votes for the contest (that’s more than we have voted for a US President, people!)

It holds the distinction of having the longest winning streak in the Nielsen annual television ratings.  It became the highest-rated of all television programs in the United States overall for an unprecedented seven consecutive years.

The 2014 final had 10.5 million viewers.   Still decent numbers for most shows but not for Idol.  This week it was announced that 2016 will be the final year for American Idol.

I got caught up in Idol fever for a while but I lost interest when the talent was not able to artistically survive outside the safety net of the television show.

There were of course a number of exceptions, as some used this opportunity to springboard into Movies, TV, Broadway, an actual music career and in Clay Aikens case, a run for Congress in 2014.  In fact, if you combine all the awards from American Idol, they just miss out on earning an EGOT

Emmy: American Idol show has won 9 times but never for  Outstanding Reality Competition Program. It has been nominated in that category for nine years but never won

Grammy– 13 wins from Kelly Clarkson (3) and Carrie Underwood (7) and one each from Fantasia Barrino for “Bittersweet”, Jennifer Hudson (Best R&B Album) and Mandisa (Best Contemporary Christian Music Album)

Oscar – Jennifer Hudson Best Supporting Actress in Dreamgirls (2007)

Tony – Nothing so far but Constantine Maroulis was nominated for Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical: Rock of Ages.

The fun though was discovering the diamonds in the rough and seeing them flourish.  Here are the three top moments that still give me chills.

Kelly Clarkson “The British guy didn’t make me cry”

Former Disney Cruise ship performer Jennifer Hudson

I think Carrie Underwood got the chance to fly after this audition.

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New Music Tuesday

Hello Old Friend(s).  Artists that have been making music for awhile, return to remind me why I loved them in the first place

The Traveling Kind follows up Emmylou Harris and Rodney Crowell‘s first duet album, 2013’s Old Yellow Moon, which won a Grammy for Best Americana Album

The Traveling Kind

The ten songs on this Leonard Cohen record are rarities recorded on his recent “Old Ideas World Tour.  Can’t Forget gives listeners a glimpse into Cohen’s rehearsal process.  The so-called ‘concerts before the concert.

Can't Forget: A Souvenir of the Grand Tour

You know the songs.  J.D. Souther has written or co-written many of the Eagles hits including “Heartache Tonight,” “Victim of Love,” “New Kid in Town,” “Best of my Love,” Don Henley’s “The Heart of the Matter,”, Linda Ronstadt has recorded many of his songs and The Dixie Chicks’ recorded  “I’ll Take Care of You,”.  It’s no wonder he’s in the Songwriter’s Hall Of Fame.  J.D only recently started to record his own material after a long hiatus so it’s great to hear new music from the master craftsman.

 

Tenderness

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Baltimore

PrincePrince Wrote a Song in Honor Of Baltimore  did a wonderful thing for the people and city of Baltimore by performing a “Rally 4 Peace” concert at Baltimore’s Royal Farms Arena last night, May 10.  A portion of the proceeds will benefit Baltimore-based youth charities.

He has also created a moving song entitled “Baltimore”

“Does anybody hear us pray?/For Michael Brown or Freddie Gray/Peace is more than the absence of war,” 

Prince is also encouraging the public to make donations to The Baltimore Justice Fund.  Their mission is to end racial discrimination, create schools that are welcoming and safe, reduce the impact of drug addiction and eliminate police brutality in Baltimore.

In an era when it is so easy to distribute music instantaneously, I find it hard to fathom that more artists don’t take a stand on issues of the day.  I hope artists stop thinking about the bottom line and start creating music around issues that mean something to themselves and their community.  Music can affect change.  Here are three additional favorite songs of mine that helped created awareness and start dialogues in communities across the nation.

“American Skin (41 shots)- Bruce Springsteen

This song was written 14 years ago.  Unfortunately it could have been written yesterday as it’s just as relevent today. ” Lena gets her son ready for school She says, “On these streets, Charles
You’ve got to understand the rules If an officer stops you, promise me you’ll always be polite
And that you’ll never ever run away. Promise Mama you’ll keep your hands in sight”

“Changes”-2Pac It’s too bad 2Pac didn’t live to see the black President he said we were not ready for but is call for peace still holds true. “And still I see no changes. Can’t a brother get a little peace?There’s war on the streets and the war in the Middle East. Instead of war on poverty,
they got a war on drugs so the police can bother me.”

“This Land Is Your Land”- Woody Guthrie Mistakenly thought of as a patriotic song. Guthrie wrote this in response to the song Irving Berlin’s “God Bless America. ‘In the squares of the city, In the shadow of a steeple;By the relief office, I’d seen my people. As they stood there hungry, I stood there asking,Is this land made for you and me?”

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