B.B. King’s first guitar

B.B. King died Friday at the age of 89. My mom, who passed away years ago, once told me when we went to one of his New York concerts that he was already old when she was a teen.

When you think of the blues, he’s one of the first people who come to mind. I saw him perform live more time than I saw any other performer.

So, how did he get started?

And I can’t post on B.B. King without this.

So long, Lucille.

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The Christmas Song

And the version by the guy who wrote it:

I remember reading a letter to the New York Times, where a guy said he was somewhere in New York City while a bunch of carolers were flittering around and they started singing “The Christmas Song.” Some old guy came up to them and asked if he could join in, and they said “sure.”. The older people in the crowd immediately recognized the guy as Mel Torme. The carolers, who were young, had no idea who it was. So he sings in that distinctive Mel Torme voice and then goes on his way. The letter writer walked up to one of the carolers and asked if he knew that the guy they were singing with was the guy who wrote the song. The caroler said no, but offered that he had a decent voice.

Nixon resigns: Aug. 9, 1974

This was the scene 40 years ago today:

The country was in chaos. This was a devastating speech, given by a man who had lost everything. And it was a very moving speech. I don’t know how anyone could watch it then and not cry, no matter how much they hated Richard Milhous Nixon and everything he stood for. He is the father of today’s dysfunctional Republican Party, and he showed you could win elections by cobbling together the racists of the old confederacy and the money men of the North and West.

Not to mention George McGovern was a completely incompetent candidate for the Democrats.

The overwhelmingly stupid thing about Watergate was that Nixon’s people never had to break into the Democratic headquarters in the complex to find out what McGovern was up to. The Democrats had totally blown themselves up in 1972 and there was no way in hell Nixon wasn’t going to win in a landslide.

But the thugs and criminals did their job, and the administration covered it up, and Nixon lied about it.

Want to know what’s more astounding about this? Nixon wasn’t impeached. He resigned before it happened. The last president who was impeached was Bill Clinton, and what he was impeached for, on a scale of impeachable offenses, didn’t even touch the top inch of the ice burg of corruption that was the centerpiece of the Nixon presidency.

Still, Nixon was the most fascinating president of my lifetime. I’ve read biographies and autobiographies about him, trying to make sense of how he got to this point in 1974. And at the end of it all, Nixon is immortalized in this song.

 Even Richard Nixon has got soul.