Monster Mash – Favorite Halloween Song

It wouldn’t be Halloween if I didn’t hear Bobby Boris Pickett’s 1962 classic song Monster Mash playing on the radio. Listen here in stereophonic! This song was #1 on the charts in 1962 for two weeks, and played at my first Halloween Sock Hop at school in the 1970’s.

Ann Singing Hey Jude With Paul McCartney in Vancouver

Ann singing Hey Jude with Paul McCartney

BC Place wrapped in British Flag


In a knock one off my bucket list moment, there I was, almost a year ago, being summoned by Paul to sing “Hey Jude” with him as one of the “ladies”.

Paul was the bassist in The Beatles, who performed on The Ed Sullivan show in New York on my 2nd birthday on Feb 9, 1964.

The band gobsmacked North America with their music, songs, and being themselves, and became one of the best rock groups of all time.

The first time Paul performed in Vancouver, was with The Beatles at the former Empire Stadium in August 1964.

And 48 years later, in 2012, he finally returned to Vancouver to sing Hey Jude with me.

I Want to Hold Your Hand was the first Beatles’ song I heard. My mom and I would sing it while holding hands on our way to the grocery store. I was 4.

The first dance I learned was the twist, inspired by their song Twist and Shout. I remember twisting my hips from side to side when the song played on the radio. I was 5.

Paul McCartney's childhood home in Liverpool

Paul McCartney’s childhood home

My husband is a huge Beatle fan, so in 1984, we visited Liverpool, birthplace of The Beatles. Our tour stopped at the childhood homes of George, Ringo, John and Paul, and the barber shop in the song Penny Lane and went to Strawberry Fields.

We crossed the famous crosswalk in Abbey Road in London, went to EMI House where the Beatles recorded, and sat on the steps of Paul’s MPL Studios like a couple of apple scruffs waiting to see Paul, to no avail.

Ann crossing Abbey Road, London

Ann crossing Abbey Road, London

In 1987, Paul announced a concert at The Kingdome in Seattle, and my husband and me, and another couple drove to Seattle to see him. Paul’s charisma shrinks the crowd, and draws you closer to him, turning a football field into an intimate club. The place radiated with love for the man. It was the best concert I had seen… up to that point.

When Paul announced his Vancouver concert in 2012, I was fortunate to get 4 floor seats for my husband, myself, and two of our sons; our other son was away playing hockey.

As we drove into downtown Vancouver on the night of the concert, the outside of the beautiful BC Place Stadium was wrapped in a Union Jack of moving colored lights, with tens of thousands of fans inside, who had waited patiently for years for Paul’s return.

The 71 year-old rocker dazzled us with a non-stop, 3 hour parade of timeless classics. He poured out his musical love to the crowd, filling the air with the soundtrack of our lives.

From the first song, Paul made a personal connection with us. Then, after he sang a beautiful acoustic version of Blackbird, he said “put up your hand if you’ve tried to play Blackbird with it’s difficult chord changes”, and 20,000 people put up their hand. I felt like he was talking to me, having spent hours trying to make the difficult chord changes for that song on my guitar.

Then the highlight of the night was when he asked me to sing “Hey Jude”, as one of the ladies. He said I sounded “so sweet”, and gave me a hug from the stage (see attached you tube video). My youngest son filmed the video, and he pans the camera to his Dad on the left, who is in a trance like state as Paul has asked him to sing “Hey Jude” with the “fellas”, as Paul calls them.
At the end of the second encore to wrap up the show, Paul sings “The End”:

AND IN THE END
THE LOVE YOU TAKE
IS EQUAL TO
THE LOVE YOU MAKE.

A fan posted about “The End” “To make a 2 minute song with 4 lines in it and having the most powerful message in those four lines you have to be the best band in the world!”

That four line song became an anthem to a generation, and that 3 hour concert, which left the audience in awe, had to be the best concert in the world.

photo credit – Union Jack News

The Power of Music

Sometimes there is no cure for a person’s illness, and we are can only find ways to treat them with kindness and compassion to ease their suffering.  A  few years ago, as my mom’s illness progressed, she went to a hospice for comfort care.

She always loved music, so we continued to play music for her while she was there.

It transported her to a happier time, when she was free from illness.

One day she had a wonderful visitor knocked on her door.

I was sitting by her bedside and I noticed he was carrying a guitar.  He asked if mom would like him to sing for her. “Would she ever!” I replied. ‘She would love it!’

Music had been a constant source of joy throughout mom’s life.

She was no longer able to sing, or even speak or open her eyes, but she could gesture and squeeze my hand to show she understood me.  They say hearing is one of the last senses to go before death.

The soft spoken man settled into the love seat beside her bed, and began singing a gentle serenade of sweetness.  I felt her grip tighten on my hand, and for that moment, she forgot her suffering, and surrendered to the divine sound.

It was like the voice of an angel had transcended all barriers, with an elixir of peace and love.

His kindness came at the perfect time – she passed away two days later. He had made her happy, and it made me happy to knowing her soul had heard such sweet kindness.

 

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photo credit: cams-not-in-lux via photopin cc

Make Me a Channel of Your Peace

Make Me a Channel of Your Peace Songs from our youth can remain in our hearts for life, like the soundtrack to our memories.  A hymn based on the prayer of Saint Francis Assisi, that I learned in cathecism at age 7,  has stuck in my mind ever since.  In 1967, Sebastian Temple adapted it to music, in a song titled: “Make Me a Channel of Your Peace”.  (see youtube video below).

Since then, it has been recited in various versions on numerous occasions, notably:

Mother Teresa recited it in her morning prayers at her Missionaries of Charity, and in 1979, when she received the Nobel Peace prize, she asked for the prayer to be said.

It appears in the book: “Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions”, by the Alcoholics Anonymous organization.

Margaret Thatcher paraphrased the prayer after she was elected Prime Minister in Britain in 1979.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Nobel Peace Prize winner said it was “an integral part” of his devotions.

The hymn was a part of the funeral for the dear Diana, Princess of Wales on 6 September 1997. Sinéad O’Connor’s version was on the Princess Diana Tribute album.

In October 1995, President Bill Clinton quoted it to Pope John Paul II before he addressed the United Nations.

There have been many musical adaptations of the prayer, including one by Sarah McLachlan.

Here are the lyrics:

Make me a channel of your peace:

Where there is hatred, let me bring your love,

Where there is injury, your pardon, Lord,

And where there’s doubt true faith in you.

 

Make me a channel of your peace:

Where there’s despair in life, let me bring hope,

Where there is darkness, only light,

And where there’s sadness, ever joy.

 

O Master, grant that I may never seek

So much to be consoled as to console;

To be understood as to understand,

To be loved, as to love with all my soul!

 

Make me a channel of your peace:

It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,

In giving of ourselves that we receive,

And in dying that we are born to eternal life.

 

^ Renoux, Christian. “The Origin of the Peace Prayer of St. Francis”.

 photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/h-k-