George Michael and The Year The Music Died

 

quote-you-ll-never-find-peace-of-mind-until-you-listen-to-your-heart-george-michael-19-84-19I was so blown away by the sad news of George Michael’s death that it was difficult to put it into words at first. Another one gone from the soundtrack of my life.  So many of the greats left us in 2016 and it really did feel like una tras otra.

I was living in Sacramento when Wham! first hit the airwaves and MTV.  While I thought they were handsome,  what really captivated me was George Michael’s voice.   I had all of the Wham! cassettes and forgot all about them once George Michael went solo.  Such a stellar, spectacular voice — I have always gravitated toward the singers, lead and background.  To hear George Michael’s music was to hear flawless vocal arrangements in his songs.    On many of the songs, I know the background vocals just as well as I do the lead ones.  George Michael’s voice seemed to get better with time — he never lost the power of that voice, no matter the scandals, no matter the substance abuse, no matter the age — he was blessed vocally as well as being a great songwriter.   Another thing I really enjoyed was listening to him cover songs, all kinds of songs, his vocal range could reach the notes to cover Freddie Mercury, as he did with “Somebody to Love” – not easy to match.   Or his distinctive version of The Police classic, “Roxanne” – we saw Sting in concert a few years ago and he still raved over it and said it was the “grown-up” version of the song.   Like all of the great vocalists, George Michael could unleash the power of his voice and then bring it back down to the basics.  Sooo glad that his music will live on forever and very sad that I will not be able to see him perform live — there’s always YouTube.  One of the best singers I have ever heard and right up there in my Top 5 favorites of all time y todavía guapísimo.  Rest In Peace George Michael.

My absolute favorite George Michael song, “Kissing A Fool” with the lyrics as I asked my godson STE2 to learn this for me, no excuses papa! LOL

I was in Denver, stuck in a blizzard and completely snowed-in and I saw this performance by George Michael on MTV and kept saying the f-word in amazement when I was able to hear/see this powerful version of Freedom 90.  This is the best version of the song in my opinion, love how they WORK it vocally.

I am a huge Queen and Freddie Mercury fan and I remember watching George Michael sing this song on the tribute show and praying that he wouldn’t eff it up and was floored when he, of course,  killed it on “Somebody To Love”

My sister and I went crazy over George Michael’s CD of cover songs, so many good songs!  But this one knocked us out as we were also huge fans of The Police.  This jazzy slower version shows how George Michael could work different music styles.

Sooooo many musical giants left, Bowie, Prince, Merle, Emilio, Sharon Jones, Juanga, Maurice White, Glenn Frey, Leonard Cohen, George Martin, and more. I will feature a few of my favorites below…

JUAN GABRIEL:   The ultimate showman, he always left it all on the stage, one of Mexico’s most prolific composers ever and there are so many songs but my favorites remain the “rancheras” with mariachi, I would always yell back comments when he would perform live, ask Natalie LOL.  His phrasing is incredible, watch and wonder when the man breathes.  Of course, his mannerisms are hilarious and second to none.

 

EMILIO NAVAIRA:  I started off my radio career playing Tejano music and I remember first hearing EMILIO Navaira as part of David Lee Garza y Los Musicales, loooove them.   I was on-air when Emilio went solo and he had the voice, the looks, and Raulito (his brother, who sings some of the best “segunda” ever) and this was filmed right at the peak of his fame…love his version of the classic “La Rama Del Mesquite”.  Love the energy of Tejano music!

SHARON JONES:  I have always loved Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings…her powerful voice blends well with Daryl Hall on “Do What You Want, Be What You Want”

MAURICE WHITE:  One of the greatest bands of all time, the elements of Earth, Wind, and Fire led by the great Maurice White.  We Torres5 were heavily into this band.  Thanks to our cousin Yolanda, who had this album.  Many many many hours were spent listening to this record in the ‘girls room’ and, once we bought other EWF albums, they did not leave the turntable for months on end.   This was the first song I remember hearing from EWF and I still say it’s one of the most hopeful and positive songs ever.

GLENN FREY:  Loooove the Eagles and especially loved to listen to Glenn Frey’s badass lyrics and personality.  I loved watching them in the older years because NO one harmonized like they did and they sounded great after all of these years.

Advertisements

How Do You Eat An Elephant?

eat-an-elephant

This question was posed to me after Jorge, one of my BFFs, responded to one of my previous blog entries on turning thought into action. “…so the question is, “how do u eat an elephant?” answer: one pinche bite at a time, y con ganas!! i love this, what, idiom or expression. this is how i choose to do life; one glorious, delicious bite at a time y tranquilito” (JC 2016).

Now that I’ve made the conscious decision to see my life through MY eyes instead of through someone else’s eyes, I feel like half of my brain has opened up. Letting go of this drama has been profound for me, it’s like there is so much for me to do, and I feel like I am 5 years behind in my goals and in my life. Starting from zero is not fun from a financial standpoint but, on every other level, it’s exciting to know that I get to take time to think about my next move, to make and work my plans.

In speaking with my sisters today, they reminded me that everything is happening now for a reason: had I been tethered to a person or a company, I might not have been able to take the time to work out my life in this fashion.  It is so fitting that the ultimate comfort zone and my ultimate safe place has always been here for me, The Ranch.  I foolishly spent too much time running from it, running from myself, running from my familia, running, always running…

For now, I’m doing things like packing up all of my stuff, which is spread out in all kinds of different places, and consolidating it all into one place.  From there, I will start purging things that I no longer use or need like clothes, housewares, furniture, you name it.   I’m also on a mission to lose this ever-present lonja, I know that working out will make a positive difference for me, especially as it has everything to do with getting rid of extra weight and purging all of the negative body image thoughts that I am ready to do away with.

decluttermind

Key to my tackling all of my new projects and goals has to be time-management, breaking these projects down into monthly, weekly, and daily goals…that way, it’s much more easier for me to embrace change as I create the life that I want.  It will not be easy.  I may not be hoarder-status but I am a pack-rat and it’s very difficult for me to throw things out.  Working out and taking care of myself has not been the priority for a very long time.   A big part of this will be channelling my InnerChingona:  the only way to keep myself calm and focused as I deal with all of the negative and destructive words that were thrown at me, that defeated me for so long, and to get into shape and break that cycle.

For many many many years, I had no trust for things that did not happen ‘right now’, I moved waaaay too fast and felt that I had to catch that crazy ride of life.   Now, I have so much faith in taking time with the important things in life.  My plans will be formulated ‘de a poquito/a little at a time’, change takes time, and I must take life one “pinche bite at a time…pero con ganas!”

motivational-fitness-quote