July 31, 1971 James Taylor’s You’ve Got A Friend hits #1!
recorded last week
James Taylor! Talk about a “voice like butter!” His is probably the most honest, simple and beautiful voice in pop music. My two favorite JT songs are You’ve Got a Friend and Shower the People. My two favorite singers who cover JT songs are Javier Colon who sings the hell out of his stuff and another buddy of mine James Gedeon. If you close your eyes when he’s singing you would think it’s JT. Go find James Gedeon on youtube!
Well today was crazy! I was watching all this great young talent and thinking to myself that these kids are going to be the next Britney and Christina and Justin Timberlake who all came out of the Disney camp. And I’m watching their parents beaming. There is nothing like watching your kid perform and loving what they are doing and I realize how lucky Claudia and I are with our two sons. Speaking of the boys, Casey came down from San Fran to visit us. We just got back from dinner and Claudia got to spend the whole day with him so you know mommy had a good day.
I would have liked to have Casey to sing on this song today, but I recorded these next few songs last week in NY. No piano in this hotel. You would think there’d be one little piano in some corner but no. Although they got a nice pool and cabana thing going on.
I love the message in this tune. Very uplifting. As I get older I prefer songs that make you feel good, and You’ve Got A Friend makes me feel good!
July 14, 1987 Steve Miller receives a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame!
I’ve known this song The Joker since I’m a teen, but it took my son Dylan saying, “Dad this would be a good song for you to sing” for me to play it and now it’s usually my number two song in the Skip Brevis Band set list.
It has an intro that my audience immediately recognizes and it always gets the thumbs up. I think most great songs have to win you over in the first four bars. And when I plan a set list for myself and other artists I try to pick songs that win right away. Audiences don’t seem to have the patience to wait for a song to get good. Neither do I.
When I was working with Javier Colon (a phenomenal singer) we both made a set list that had the audience excited in the beginning of every song, and having that kind of set list guaranteed a successful tour. On Monday I have to prepare a set list for a teen pop artist and I’ve been playing each of her songs in a different order to get some sense of what’s most recognizable and what’s exciting. Most important is what song you open with and what song you close with.
It’s the same sensibility I have when preparing a show for a jazz artist singing all standards.
Steve Miller wins big with The Joker no matter where it gets placed in the set list. It’s just that kind of a song!
June 9, 1984 Cyndi Lauper’s Time After Time started a two week run at #1.
the MMRF Gala
My favorite version of this song is the Javier Colon version. He sang this song and Adam Levine picked him on The Voice. No damn wonder he won that first season. He was fierce! I met Jav on the Stevie Wonder gig last year for the MMRF Annual Fall Gala. First of all, he’s the nicest guy and second, he sings his ass off. We did Sir Duke and he tore it up, singing all the horn lines and riffing with Stevie.
Then in January he called me to music consult on his tour. I spent a fun four days with him and his band at the Ridgefield Playhouse. His show and tour were fantastic. Near end of his set he sang Time After Time by himself, solo guitar, and the place would go wild. It was great working with him.
Now Cyndi Lauper is no joke. She can sing! Listen to her on We Are the World. Fierce. Her voice cuts right through all those singers. And it has such character, just like her looks and personality.
A complete package. Love ya Cyndi and love this song.