You went from purple wings to the real thing at last

I am stunned. The world is stunned. Prince. Dead at 57.

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From Elton himself (on Instagram):

“This is truly devastating news.

The greatest performer I have ever seen. A true genius. Musically way ahead of any of us. Sang with him twice on stage. What an honour.

Rest in peace you purple warrior.”

Alas, I was never fortunate enough to see Prince perform live.  The closest I came was his Super Bowl halftime performance (in Miami, not very far from me)…which imho was the best Super Bowl halftime ever. And leave it to South Florida, it rained one of those infamous and torrential downpours during his performance, but that did not faze Prince…Honestly, he was so magical one might have thought he made the rain happen himself.

Now, I don’t know every Prince album and song like I know a certain someone else’s. Not even close. But his music was a big part of my life in the 1980s, and I can honestly say that I never turned off a Prince song when it came on the radio.

My favorite song of his is “When Doves Cry” (and I have a fondness for “Raspberry Beret”).  And in the coming weeks, I hope to discover more.  I suspect there’s a lot out there that I will love.

From the beginning, it was clear the Prince was not only unabashedly unique, but he made it cool for anyone to be different, to be whoever you are, no apologies necessary; he was a true ground breaker in every sense of the words; and he was oh so very sexy. Plus he rocked – no, he owned – the color purple.

So pardon me, Bernie, as I borrow some of your recent words to make sense of Prince’s untimely and way too early passing. As always, thank you for the inspiration.

You were a light for the living
And you spoke of peace and love
With two wings and your old Gibson
You brought blessings from above
You were here and you were gone
Just a heartbeat from the past
But you went from purple wings
To the real thing at last

RIP Prince Rogers Nelson.

 

Happy 69th Birthday, Sir Elton!

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I remember when I was young
Listening to Elton was so much fun
With Greatest Hits I got my start
Soon all his music had a place in my heart

But the biggest kick I ever got
Was growing up with our “Lion King” of rock
While others came and went through the years
He’s still standing making all of us cheer

Well, the Rocket Man rocking is something shocking
When your feet just can’t keep still
I never knew me a better time and I guess I never will
Oh lawdy Mama those concert nights
With Elton and the Band up in lights
The Rocket Man rocking is out of sight

The years went by and his music’s still alive
Elton’s still touring, giving fans such a ride
And now he’s got a beautiful family
David, Elijah and Zachary

But nothing will ever kill the thrills we got
Burning up to our “Lion King”of rock
Learning fast as the years went past
That our Rocket Man was (thankfully) made to last

Well, the Rocket Man rocking is something shocking
When your feet just can’t keep still
I never knew me a better time and I guess I never will
Oh lawdy Mama those concert nights
With Elton and the Band up in lights
The Rocket Man rocking is out of sight

I remember when I was young
Listening to Elton was so much fun
For forty years I have followed him
And that’s the story of the Captain and the Kim

 

(Apologies to Bernie for borrowing your words and song structure, but I wanted to wish Elton a Happy Birthday in my own way).

 

When stars collide like you and I(BM)…

If you were kind enough to read my last post, you’ll know that two of my favorite things – IBM and Sir Elton John – came together at InterConnect 2016 on February 24.

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As expected, it was an amazing concert.  Everyone I talked with was absolutely ecstatic, and Sir Elton told us that we were “something else.”  That of all the times he’d played the MGM Grand Arena, we were “the best.”  (Yes, he used those exact words).

Anyway, there’s this notion in the world of Elton fandom of something known as “EJ Magic” – when two things seem to serendipitously come together because of Elton (directly or indirectly).  Perhaps it’s an unexpected front row seat; or it could be a new best friend you meet through your Elton kinship; that you just happened to be in West Hollywood for a “pop-up” concert; or maybe even a chance meeting with a band member.

I experienced my own form of EJ Magic around the InterConnect concert. Perhaps not in the classic sense, but one that struck me anyway. Let me explain.

Before the concert, I asked my Facebook friends to send some EJ Magic my way in the chance that I would possibly get to meet him.  And so many did, thank you.

Well, as it turns out, I didn’t get to meet him, but I do believe I experienced a dose of EJ Magic nonetheless.

Here’s why:

So many people at IBM tried very hard to make the meeting with Elton happen for me, I was really touched.  I was offered a VP’s photo op pass (but they couldn’t be exchanged); by final count, I could have ended up with 4 wristbands that got me on the floor. I ended up with 3rd row seats right in front of Elton’s piano bench (the second best seats I’ve ever had at an EJ concert); someone even saved a souvenir photo op pass and hand delivered it to the front desk at my hotel (in the middle of the night, I might add).  And so many emails were sent on my behalf.  And that’s what I know about.

Let’s just say, I got teary eyed when I picked up the souvenir at the front desk the next morning.  Maybe a little because I was that close to meeting him (hey, I’m only human), but mostly because I realized how many really good, really nice, really thoughtful IBMers there are out there.

I don’t want to embarrass anyone by calling out their names, but you know who you are and I just wanted to thank you.  I also wanted you to know how much it means to me that you tried…and that through your thoughtfulness, I feel a renewed fondness for this great company that we all work for.

And that little reminder – that I work with such special people and for such a special company – is my “EJ Magic.”

A while ago, I wrote about why I’ve stayed with IBM for 33+ years, and I failed to mention perhaps the biggest reason, which is the people of IBM.  Truly.  IBMers are the best. Even Sir Elton said so!

 

Piano man makes his stand in the auditorium (at IBM InterConnect)

Ok, let’s just put it out on the table: I am a huge Elton John fan. (Many would say that is an understatement). I’ve been an EJ fan since 1974 and an IBMer since 1982.  Never in my wildest dreams did I think the twain should meet, but if you haven’t heard by now, Sir Elton will be rocking the house tonight at IBM InterConnect 2016.

I know.

Am I excited?  Let’s just say that for the first time ever for an IBM business trip, I packed my feather boas.

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Tonight will be the 50+ time I’ve seen him live.  (Over the span of 40 years, that’s really not that outrageous.  Really.  It will be #64 for a friend of mine who will be singing and dancing with me tonight).  It never gets old, believe me.

For those of you who will experience Sir Elton live for the first time, trust me, you are in for a real treat.  My advice: Get up and dance as much as you feel, as much as you want.  He really loves it when people are dancing and enjoying the show.  Besides, how can you not be up when he sings “I’m Still Standing?”

People often ask me why I’ve stayed an Elton John fan for so long.  Simply put, I’d have to say it’s because he and his music have grown up as I have grown up. And that his music is still as relevant to me today as it was 40 years ago.  In fact, I have a blog, The Captain and the Kim, dedicated to describing what his music has meant to me over the years.

Some fun facts about Sir Elton that you may not know:

  • He was born Reginald Kenneth Dwight on March 25, 1947 in Pinner, England. When he changed his name, he chose a stage name that paid tribute to vocalist Long John Baldry and saxophonist Elton Dean. (His middle name is Hercules).
  • He taught himself to play piano at age 3.
  • Elton has been writing music with his lyricist Bernie Taupin for almost 50 years.  They both answered the same newspaper ad.  It was kismet.  Through all these years, they have never written together in the same room.
  • In his five-decade career, he has sold more than 250 million records, making him one of the most successful artists of all time.
  • He has more than 50 Top 40 hits, including seven consecutive No. 1 U.S. albums, 50+ Top 40 singles, and nine No. 1 hits.  His latest album, Wonderful Crazy Night, entered the Billboard Top 200 at #6.
  • In 2008, Billboard magazine released a list of the top 100 most-frequently-charting artists in the history of the Billboard Hot 100. Elton was listed at #3, behind only Madonna and The Beatles
  • He has won five Grammy awards, an Academy Award, a Golden Globe Award and a Tony Award.
  • His tribute to Princess Diana (Candle in the Wind) is the second-highest selling single of all time. (Bing Crosby’s White Christmas is #1).

Now back to tonight’s concert at IBM InterConnect. I’ve been musing for some time about finding connections between Elton and IBM, so bear with me here…

  • He’s still standing, as is IBM.
  • He’s had 7 consecutive #1 albums (US), and IBM has had 23 consecutive years of being #1 in patents.
  • IBM’s got Watson, and he had Watford (the Hornets football club).
  • IBM is Big Blue, and he has many songs with “blue” in the title that could easily be transformed:
    • (Big) Blue Eyes
    • I Guess That’s Why They Call It The (Big) Blues
    • (Big) Blues for Baby and Me
    • (Big) Blues Never Fade Away
    • (Big) Blue Wonderful

Anyway, I can’t wait until tonight. It should be a Wonderful, Crazy Night* tonight for all. The only thing that would make it better would be if somehow, some way I got to meet him, but that won’t happen.  Maybe next time.  :-)

And do let me know what you think about the concert tonight.  I’d love to hear from you.

Pics to follow.

*That’s the name of his brand new album, which he calls “joyous.”  Check it out! You won’t be disappointed.  And I’m hoping he plays a tune or two from WCN tonight.

First Impressions

Finally, the day – February 5, 2016 – has arrived! The release of the much awaited Wonderful Crazy Night, the latest creation by Sir Elton, Bernie and the Band, is here!

I ended up taking a vacation day today so that I could 1) Get a CD since I didn’t have much faith in eltonjohn.com getting my order to me on release day; and 2) Spend a quality “first time” with the new album.

True to form, eltonjohn.com did NOT deliver (why, oh why, didn’t I go through Amazon)? No big deal, another sale for EJ, this time from Target.

But…lest I diminish the moment, let me get on with it.

WonderfulCrazyCover

As I write this, I have listened to the album 5 times through, and a few of the songs several times over. (My first listen – as I have been doing for 40 years now, with every new EJ album release – has to be by myself, with headphones on and an excited heart. Today was no exception).

In one word, WOW.

In four words, I need a cigarette.

In five first impressions:

  1. I liked every song from the very first listen.  Honestly, this is the first album for which I can say that. Usually, there are one or two that require a few listens to catch my ear, but not WCN.  I love them all!
  2. Any song that starts with Elton almost whispering Bernie’s beautiful words “Every breath is a prayer of some kind, I breathe in, I breathe out, I just breathe” is going to be a winner in my book. [Side note: This is my favorite track so far].
  3. Elton humming on “I’ve Got 2 Wings” is reminiscent of something he could have done in the 1970s. [Side note: Love it!]
  4. I didn’t realize how excited I would be to hear the Band play on this album.  While I was listening, I found myself thinking “Nice riff, Davey!” or “You go, Nigel!” or “Is that Ray or John on the tambourine?” I am thrilled.
  5. Were those really horns I heard on “A Good Heart?” Yes!

In a nutshell, Wonderful Crazy Night was well worth the wait. I am a very happy, nay, joyous, Kimoreena right now.

Thank you, Elton, Bernie, Davey, Nigel, Ray, John, Kim, Matt and T-Bone, thank you. What a treasure you have created.

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(Of course, there will be more blogging about specific songs from the album, about nuances in Bernie’s lyrics that haven’t yet caught my attention, of musicality that touches my mind and heart…but I want to take it all in for a while longer).

P.S. Even my husband likes it! And he really doesn’t like the post-1970s catalog.  He said there are a few songs he’ll give another listen to.  Things are definitely “looking up!”

 

 

 

 

 

A first Elton John experience

Guest blog by Mallory Springfield

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Sunday, October 5, 2014

What can I say about seeing Elton John for the first time other than….AMAZING.

My fiance and I were more than thrilled to see the legendary EJ in concert (especially in LA)! We were going over which songs we knew, which ones we hoped he would play, etc. On top of getting to see him live we were extremely fortunate to have such great floor seats (thanks to Kim)!

Both Scott and I had seen famous musicians in the past but there was NO ONE who compared to seeing Elton live. From the minute he walked through the fog in his sparkly suit, we were star struck. For the next 3+ hours we danced and sang along to one of the greatest legends of all times.

One of the things I will remember the most from that night is his fans. I have never seen such loyal and excited people! I overheard people talking about how far they came from or how many times they have seen him perform.

Seeing Elton perform was truly unforgettable. Not just his singing but his entire performance from lights, stage design, and more. Im very grateful for the chance to see the world-renowned singer, songwriter and performer Elton John!

 

Editor’s Note: I was supposed to be at this concert, too, but the airlines did not cooperate. To be honest, I was a little nervous about what Scott and Mallory would think, but I am so happy they enjoyed the experience. Hopefully, their first won’t be their last…

 

 

In the heart of every girl, there’s always room for valentines…

Yesterday was Valentines Day, and I found myself trying to figure out what my favorite Elton John love songs are.  It came to me that I don’t think there are as many love songs (in the classic sense of the term) as you might think (especially with a portfolio as long and robust as the boys’).  So many of Bernie’s lyrics are truly story telling, picture painting – a “mini movie,” as Elton has oft described them.

In the spirit of Valentines Day

In the spirit of Valentines Day

What do you think constitutes a love song? There are so many different kinds of love. I am drawn to songs that portray the realities of love, even a love that has not ended well. (I love books and movies that make me cry, too – can you spot a trend)?

Most of us have had several experiences with love, each one providing a different stroke, color or texture to the portrait of who we are.

If I were to rank my top 10 Elton John/Bernie Taupin love songs, today it would be:

  1. Original Sin: Beyond control, passionate love (“I can’t eat, can’t sleep, still I hunger for you when you look at me. That face, those eyes, all the sinful pleasures deep inside“)
  2. Amoreena: Innocent love (“Lately I’ve been thinking how much I miss my lady, Amoreena’s in the cornfield brightening the daybreak, living like a lusty flower, running through the grass for hours, rolling through the hay like a puppy child“)
  3. Pinky: A first real love (“You don’t want to tell me but somehow you’ve guessed that I know, oh when dawn came this morning you discovered a feeling that burned like a flame in your soul“)
  4. Come Down in Time: Unrequited love (“There are women and women and some hold you tight, while some leave you counting the stars in the night“)
  5. The Greatest Discovery: Brotherly love (“And all you ever learned from them, until you grew much older, did not compare with when they said, this is your brand new brother“)
  6. The One: Relieved that I finally found my one love (“In the instant that you love someone, in the second that the hammer hits, Reality runs up your spine and the pieces finally fit”)
  7. Blues for Baby and Me: Rebellious love (“I called you my child, said honey now this is our game, there’s two of us to play it and I’m happy to be home again“)
  8. Tonight: This is how it really is love (“Tonight, just let the curtains close in silence…Tonight, why not approach with less defiance the man who’d love to see you smile, who’d love to see you smile…Tonight“)
  9. The Last Song: Love that sets you free (“I can’t believe you love me, I never thought you’d come, I guess I misjudged love between a father and his son“)
  10. I Must Have Lost it on the WindGrateful for love, in all its shapes and forms (“And from one you learn something, and another you learn nothing, and there’s one who might teach you everything“)

[Side note: I’ve blogged about all of the Top 10 except The One.  Hmmmm…]

Honorable mentions go to:

And probably quite a few more that should’ve made one of these two lists! (Ok, so I guess there are certainly more “love songs” than I originally surmised.  And I’m sure if you asked me tomorrow, my Top 10 list would be different).

And then there is Believe – probably in the Top 10 for a lot of you.  Can I be honest? This is one song that, dare I say (as I brace myself for the arrows), I really don’t like that much. I always felt like the music didn’t fit the words (that it was a bit too much like a funeral dirge and that the lyrics were too simplistic for such lofty thoughts).  With that said, though, it is amazing live, so it has grown on me.

What are YOUR favorite Elton John/Bernie Taupin love songs? I’d really like to know which ones hold a special place in your heart.  And Happy (belated) Valentines Day to you, too!

 

 

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