Archive for Music

You Can’t Beat Haydn…

Once upon a time, in what seems like a galaxy faraway, I was living the perfect life. Perfect wife. Three perfect children. East Coast boarding schools. A mountain house near Sun Valley. A large manicured lawn. My own tennis court. A large clear-redwood deck. Flying for Pan Am. Commuting to Europe. A month on.  A month off. Berlin-based. In and out of European capitals. A classic high-ceilinged Alt-Bau apartment on the edge of the Grunewald. Training for marathons.

And then one day the perfect life ended… I came down with a neuromuscular disease. Symptoms included double vision, drooping eyelids, legs too weak to climb into a van, and jaw muscles too weak to bite into an apple. Then my sick pay ran out, income went to half, Pan Am went bankrupt, income went to zero, and I lost most of my pension. read more

Tony B and Lady G: Music Masters Squared

The human brain may be the most astonishing byproduct of the great miracle of creation. It has enabled the specie to unpack secrets of the galaxy, travel to the moon and back, write War and Peace, paint the Mona Lisa and compose the Ninth Symphony. But, human life is finite, and the brain often fades before the rest of the organism lets go.

In 2001, at age 74, Tony Bennett released the first of a series of duet albums. It was called Playin’ with my Friends: Bennett Sings the Blues. The following year he teamed up with k.d. lang for A Wonderful World, the first of six duet albums with fellow artists collaborating on songs from the American songbook. Duets: An American Classic (2006), Duets II (2011), Cheek to Cheek with Lady Gaga (2014), Tony Bennett Celebrates 90 (2016), and Love for Sale, the second album with Lady Gaga (2021). Cheek to Cheek debuted at #1 on the Billboard 200. Love for Sale, released on September 30, 2021 came in at #8. Here’s the astonishing part. read more

Who Knows Where the Time Goes?

Sometimes good fortune feels like destiny. Stars align and something magical occurs. In the spring of 2001, before 9/11 and 20 years before Covid-19, Marilynn and I rode our bikes from Bordeaux through the Dordogne in southwestern France. No itinerary, just three weeks alone rolling through the countryside. 

We had grown up together, married other people, and were back together after a 40-year break. I had traveled a lot in those 40 years. She had done some but wanted to do more. I asked if she would be willing to try it on a bicycle. She was game and we were off on the first of our ten self-supported bike trips. read more

Gypsies in the Palace…

It’s easier to keep them out than get rid of them. Once they’re in it’s more difficult. I’m talking about slugs…of course. You can pour salt on them and watch them slowly shrivel or use a beer trap, crushed eggshells, or seaweed, but at some point you have to scrape ‘em up and dump ‘em in the trash. That time is now.

We should have seen it coming… King Lear in golf duds, Old King Don making his last stand. Since November 3rd he’s been hunkered down in the East Wing, pouting, glued to Fox News, refusing to concede, and determined to stay in the peoples house with the aid of his spoiled children and Rudy the Troll. It’s pathetic, but it’ll be over in 70 days – maybe sooner. Remember he has Ratcliffe as DNI, Pompeo at State, a fresh team of loyalists in the Pentagon, and access to the nuclear codes. Stand back and standby. read more

She Lived Her Dream…

Night before last, in the uncanny way of the unconscious, I woke up thinking about a woman I hadn’t seen in 50 years. In the morning, I Googled her name and was directed to her obituary. It wasn’t that she was a great beauty or broke my heart, but the news is haunting me. We knew each other for a short time when we were starting to grow into the people we would become. Then, we went our separate ways.

Judith Devereux Fayard and I met in Manhattan in 1967. We were both new to the city. She transferred from Time/Life job in Los Angeles to one in New Yorkand I left a law firm in LA to be a Pan Am pilot at JFK. I knew her as Judy then, but prefer to think of her now as Judith, the whip smart Catholic-school girl from Mobile who became a Parisian journalist/editor celebrated for her no-nonsense editorial chops and chic fashion sense. read more