About Me

My photo
My most recent single release - "My True North" - is now available on Bandcamp. Open my profile and click on "audio clip".

Thursday, April 30, 2020

#57: The Mt. Rushmore Series

Which four songs written as tributes to others would you enshrine on your Mt. Rushmore? Mine are listed chronologically; put your four in whatever order you like.

1.) Goodbye Porkpie Hat: The first recording I ever heard of Charles Mingus's moving blues tribute to the great alto saxophonist Lester Young was a solo guitar rendition by John McLaughlin. Not long after, Jeff Beck blew me away with his version. Then Joni Mitchell collaborated with Mingus just before he died - adding her lyrics to his tune - prompting me to seek out the Mingus prototype. Don't ask which version is my favorite; listen to all four to understand how a well written song - in hands these talented - simply can't miss.

2.) Shine On, You Crazy Diamond: With that stunning title, Roger Waters, Rick Wright, and David Gilmour aptly immortalized the short, sad musical career of Pink Floyd's first guitarist, Syd Barrett.

3.) Here Today: Although I could do without the strings, Paul McCartney's homage to John Lennon - when stripped to its essence - is a moving, necessary, and painful reminder of what the world lost in December, 1980. RIP, John; I miss you.

4.) Angel: Sarah McLachlan's vocal on this song - an epitaph for Jonathan Melvoin, keyboardist in the band Smashing Pumpkins - moves me to tears every time I hear it.

A new friend inspired this iteration of my Mt. Rushmore series. In her words, she was my "muse de jour." Without the consistent energy I derive from readers like her and many of you, some reflections from the bell curve would never coalesce. So, thanks to all my muses out there. And, be sure to tell me which tributes would make your Mt. Rushmore; you know how much I love finding good music.               


  1. Thanks for the opening Pat, Love this one.
    Number 1 "Let There Be Drums", Sandy Nelson. Early teenage hormone theme song.
    Number 2 "Pipeline" by the Ventures. Perfect pre-Beatles cool for the guitar geek in me.
    Number 3 "Satisfaction", Rolling Stones. Well because no other song will ever sound as good inside your best friend's 58 Ford Thunderbird headed to nowhere in particular on a summer's day in 1965 when you're 17 yrs. old.
    Number 4 "Papa's Got a Brand New Bag", James Brown. To this day when I hear it I ask myself, "what is that?" It's a good thing. An understated pop rhythm masterpiece.

  2. Hey Steve; You're welcome; thanks for the comment. I love the first three but must come clean - the Sandy Nelson song is unfamiliar to me . The horror! Now, if you read this reply to your comment, please educate me: Who was each of your four choices written as a tribute for? I don't recall ever knowing a specific person Keef and Mick were paying tribute to with "Satisfaction" and the same goes for who James Brown had in mind when he wrote "Papa..." Did I miss those lessons in Music History 101?

  3. I must admit I misconstrued (flubbed up) the intent of the your invitation to create a Mt. Rushmore to a song memorializing a specific artist rather than a specific song . If you have the ability to delete, expunge or apply some sort of digital flame thrower to my post, you have my unequivocal permission to do so!

    1. Steve; No flame throwers or other weapons of mass destruction will be applied to your comment because all comments are always welcome. I sincerely wondered if you'd missed my intent or I'd missed a music lesson. And anyway you gave me a song to check out that I'd never heard so all is well in music land. Thanks for re-visiting and responding to my query. I always appreciate anyone who takes the time to read these musings from my addled brain, let alone re-visiting. You made my day!

  4. Another post re-read while cleaning out my email. I don't have four songs but Tears In Heaven by Eric Clapton makes me cry every time thinking about the son he lost. And maybe I would add the Beatles' Julia for John Lennon's mother.

    1. Missed this comment you made a month ago; I'm not notified when a comment gets made on an older post; another Blogger glitch. Anyway, these are two great choices! Who cares if it's only half a Mt. Rushmore? We'll pretend Thomas and Teddy never made the final cut.