I love it when musicians forgo just playing for profit and make a statement with their music. Perhaps our best example of this is the work of Joni Mitchell. She has donated much of the profits from her music to her many causes that she believed in over the years. Also deserving credit was Dionne Warwick donating the three million dollar profits from her 1985 single That’s What Friends Are For to the AIDS cause. Let’s start things off this week with a new release from just such an artist, saxophonist, songwriter, and vocalist Michael J Thomas. Several of his songs have been played on this program including his Billboard number one’s Baby Coffee and I’ll Never Love Again plus his recent huge hit with the memorable title Sippin' The Yak.
On June 10th he released a powerful cover of a cold war anthem originally done by Tears for Fears in 1985 titled Everybody Wants To Rule The World. It was time for a reminder of the insanity that the ambitions that misdirected dictators throughout the history of mankind inflict on humans and the pain, suffering, and havoc that they cause. In conjunction with this release Michael J. Thomas created a forceful, compelling newsreel style video that can be seen on YouTube with visualizations of the destruction that the ongoing military invasion by the Russian dictator is inflicting on Ukraine without regard to humanity.
Michael J. Thomas is donating all proceeds from this song to benefit The Relief Fund For Ukrainian Musicians. The song will soon be part of a new album titled Outside The Door. Singing the lead vocal and also with saxophone solos, I am playing Michael J. Thomas with Everybody Wants To Rule The World.
While I primarily play Smooth Jazz, you may have noticed from time to time, I play a variety of music I like. To close this week’s show, I would like to feature one of the true greats. I think it’s going to be a long, long time until we see another songwriter and performer like Elton John.
The British pianist and vocalist is currently on his farewell tour of concerts that will put a final wrap on his 50 plus year career. He has created some of the most memorable and enduring music in history. Elton’s final tour will last into July of 2023. It has been wonderful to have his music on our radios and in our ears since the late 1960s.
Sir Elton was knighted in 1998. He has scored over 70 top 40 hits, including nine No. 1s. He has won five Grammy awards, as well as a Tony award. He has sold over 300 million records worldwide and has played over 4,000 shows in 80 countries. His vocal of “Can You Feel The Love Tonight” in “The Lion King” motion picture has serenaded millions of children, and will continue to entertain future generations of little ones. In addition it is romantic and has been chosen by many to play at their weddings. In 1995 it was a double Academy Award winner for Elton for best original song and best pop vocal performance. I am playing Elton John performing Can You Feel The Love Tonight.
Elton John will soon be gone from the stage, but we remain blessed that his music’s will remain available and never forgotten.
For our closing song, I have Candle In The Wind, a song originally written by Elton John in honor and memory of Marilyn Monroe. In 1997 the lyrics were rewritten days before the funeral of Princess Diana and performed by Elton at her funeral. This version of Candle In The Wind sold 33 million copies and is one of the best selling singles of all time.
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