Thank You, Charlie Brown and Vince Guaraldi

I know I have posted many times in the past about my love of music, and how certain music can instantly transport me to special places and moments from my life. That is especially true this time of year – no other music connects with me like “holiday music” does. And if there ever were a soundtrack to a holiday, it is certainly this one:

Charlie Brown Christmas albumclick image above to hear “Christmastime is Here” by the Vince Guaraldi Trio  

As children, my little brother, little sister and I eagerly awaited this annual holiday special on TV – I can still see us all in a row, sprawled on the floor in front of the TV, waiting for Charlie Brown to uncover the true meaning of Christmas. This animated special is as much a part of MY Christmas traditions as the baby Jesus in a manger (no disrespect intended). It is music that defines a holiday, and the season, for me. Whenever I hear this music, I feel happy and excited and loved. That’s how Christmas “feels” to me – joyful, full of happiness and love.

I’m not totally sure, but I seem to remember reading/hearing that this was the top-selling Christmas album of all time. I can believe it – I myself have it on two CD’s and cassette (I know!)

This TV special soundtrack introduced me to one of my all-time, FAVORITE holiday songs – “Skating” by Vince Guaraldi…

Charlie Brown skating scene click image above to hear “Skating” by the Vince Guaraldi Trio  

So yeah, while there are no angels on high or shepherds jubilee-ing, no trio of ships sailing in or even a drummer boy rum-pum-pum-pumming, these are the songs that are Christmas to me. I cannot imagine anyone not having seen this special but, if you haven’t, PLEASE watch it and listen… You will be happy you did!

charlie brown linus christmasTo enjoy the ENTIRE “A Charlie Brown Christmas” by the Vince Guaraldi Trio, please click image above 

Till There Was MSW

I have pretty varied taste in music. I mean, with the exception of Zydeco, Bluegrass and Rap (sorry, you three genres), I like virtually every kind of music. EDM (electric dance music) is probably my favorite genre, but I have a soft spot in my heart for torch songs and schmaltzy show tunes. Today I was treated to a great clip on Facebook by a very talented friend playing one of my all-time favorite love songs on the piano. The song is “Till There Was You” from the 1957 musical, The Music Man. My friend Guy’s piano rendition was amazing but I first remember this song from an album my Mom played when I was young – she used to sing along to it as it circled on the record player in my parents’ living room. I didn’t really even understand the words then, but I knew it made my Mom happy to hear it, so I was happy, too.

As I got older – and gay-er, LOL! – I came to appreciate the emotion “schmaltzy show tunes” can evoke, and the truth that comes in two and a half minute doses. Here is the song my Mom used to sing and hum along with, performed by a group she loved as a twenty-seven-year-old housewife and mother.

I’ll be honest – I recognize that the song is kinda’ corny and “drippy” but, sometimes, sweet, sappy songs say it all, and say it best. I’d like to thank Guy for reminding me of this song today and thank him for his beautiful rendition.

I’d like to dedicate this sweet song to my amazing husband, Martin, because – as the lyrics say, “There was love, all around, but I never heard it singing, No I never heard it at all, Till there was you!” I love you, MSW. 

wedding bands

Men. Sex. Music. Sexy Man Music.

I love many things – my sweet Martin, Grumpy Cat memes, chocolate covered anything, movies that make me cry – lots of things. However, something I really love is music.

I love all kinds of music. Sure, I have a few favorite songs (Vogue, Last Dance, Turn the Beat Around, What Are You Doing the Rest of Your Life – I know, so cliche, right?) but generally I like most any type of musical genre. So today, as I was thinking about music, a weird question popped into my head. I asked myself, “What songs, sung by men, celebrate our testosterone-based sexiness?” What songs have male artists recorded that celebrate male sexuality? I mean, female artists like Beyonce or Alicia Keyes step out on stage and ooze sexiness before they sing a note, and it seems like every one of their songs celebrate female sexuality. Who do we have in our corner?

I flipped through the files in my musical memory and honestly?  The short list I came up with was kinda’ disappointing… First up, LMFAO…

LMFAO

click image above to hear LMFAO’s “I’m Sexy and I Know it”

So LMFAO. First off, if you have to ask what LMFAO even means you probably shouldn’t be reading this post. Anyway, the two lead singers for LMFAO are OK-looking guys but are kinda’ “tools” in my opinion. The confidence they exude is admirable; they’d be fun to hang out with and do Jello shooters but are they sexy? Methinks not. And that song? I mean, haven’t we all heard it about one hundred million times? Every time it comes on the radio now I wanna’ ram an ice pick in my ears.

Then I remembered the Right Said Fred guys. I mean, these dudes are sexy, right?

Right Said Fred

click image above to hear Right Said Fred’s “I’m Too Sexy”

Right Said Fred’s “I’m Too Sexy” video looks like a parody now but, when it came out, I think they were absolutely serious (about thinking they were too sexy). I mean, that awesome lip-syncing, that $247.00 production budget, those wife-beater tees and that borrowed sports car? No doubt – they were sexy (and they knew it, at least in their own minds, LOL!)

So I had to go back a bit further, trying to remember a song that celebrated men as sexual beings sung by a man or men. The Village People? Too obvious. Then I remembered Paul Lekakis…

Paul Lekakis

click image above to hear Paul Lekakis’ “Boom Boom Boom (Let’s Go back to my Room)”

One-hit dance wonder Paul Lekakis invited listeners back to his room for a little boom-boom-boom. I mean, watch the video – those sexy dance moves, those skin-tight white capri pants, those tousled bangs – could a man BE more sexy?

Sigh. I have to confess, the songs I could conjure up from memory made me a little sad – and embarrassed – at the male effort to promote our sexiness through song. We looked pathetic and silly, not powerful and hormonally-charged.

Then I remembered Rockin’ Rod Stewart…

Rod Stewart

click image above to hear Rod Stewart ask “Da Ya Think I’m Sexy”

It was 1978. The era of hair bands, animal print leggings (on men!) and pouty lips. Rod Stewart was KING in all these categories and turned the flirtations of a female around in this song and made men everywhere feel ridiculously sexy. I remember this song playing over and over in the clubs. It usually involved a silly dance called “The Rock” and always included fist pumping the air at the end. Rod Stewart made me feel sexy and empowered.  Rockin’ Rod made me believe people thought I was sexy. He was awesome…

Paul, Fred duo, LMFAO? You would do well to take a few notes from the man that started it all.