AMERICA – Rich Paschall

Since this was posted last year, Jason Scheff left the band and was replaced by another Peter Cetera sound alike, Jeff Coffey. Jeff has received high praise for his work as one of the lead singers of the band.

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With the fiftieth anniversary of the band looming on the horizon, Chicago has no intention of giving up.  Things have changed over the years, but remarkably, the sound remains as vibrant as ever.  Terry Kath, keyboards and bass, died of an accidental gun shot wound in 1978.  Peter Cetera left the band in 1985 for a solo career.  Original drummer Danny Seraphine was dismissed in 1990.  There are two sides (or more) to that story.  Original sax player Walt Parazaider, oldest of the group, does not make all the shows and is increasingly covered by Ray Hermann.  The current lineup as been together quite a while and their most recent album is a winner.  Chicago was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2016.

A view from Chicago, the band

Chicago has been around a long time. No, I don’t mean the city, I mean the band. In 1967, five guys from DePaul…

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THE SUMMER WIND

You might need more Summer music for your road trip, so it was time to grab this list and bring it to you.

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SONGS THAT COME BLOWING IN, by Rich Paschall


If you visited this space last Sunday, you saw the top Songs of Summer as given by the musical genius, Brian Wilson.  Those may have been songs that evoked thoughts of summer for Brian, but some were a real stretch of the imagination to me.  I promised you songs that are really about summer.

swan 93

Summertime by George Gershwin is arguably the most beloved summertime song ever. Great singers from Billie Holiday through Janis Joplin recorded magical versions of the song. Originally written by Gershwin for the 1935 modern opera, Porgy and Bess, rock and opera stars alike have recorded it. I’m sure you’ve heard it and probably have a favorite version.

When the Beach Boys put out a new album for their 50th anniversary, they served up a perfect piece of nostalgia with Summer’s Gone, written by Brian Wilson. He took lead on the record and in performance.  Unfortunately…

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ROAD TRIP

If you are hitting the road on the way to your favorite destination, you will probably need some highway music. Here are my favorites once again.

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Music For The Highway, by Rich Paschall

When I first became friends with my favorite French guy, who was here on a business internship, we took some road trips to see America.  We would gathered up our favorite CDs for the highway and head off in musical style.  In subsequent years he has returned for even more adventure.  You probably plug your phone into a USB port and listen to a playlist.  I guess we are just old-fashioned.

72-Road-Oct-Home_01

Among my friend’s favorite American songs was a tune by America (the band), A Horse With No Name.  He knew it well before he arrived here and I happened to own America’s Greatest Hits.  I thought it interesting a young French guy knew this 1970s song.  We had an odd collection between the two of us each time we headed out, but America was always included.  Certain songs now go with those great highway…

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SUMMER SONGS – RICHARD PASCHALL

It’s time to make your summer playlist. Here are some suggestions. Sing along.

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The Top 10 of a Musical Genius

From the time the Beach Boys hit the surf and the top of the charts in the 1960’s, Brian Wilson has been considered a musical genius. His prolific song-writing propelled the careers of the original “Boys.” Their music remains wildly popular to this day.

Wilson was not just trying to crank out rock and rolls songs for public consumption. He was trying to create a new sound, the “California” sound of blended harmonies and instruments. His obsessive work in the studio while seeking a certain type of perfection, was both his strength and ultimately his weakness.

Today Brian is again touring, writing and producing. His opinions on music are held in high esteem by song writers everywhere.  Many, including Paul McCartney, Bono, James Webb (American songwriter), and Rolling Stone Magazine, consider Wilson’s “God Only Knows” among the best songs of all time.

So when Brian offers…

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SINGERS ON DEMAND

You may need a lot of music for your holiday weekend, so I thought it was a good time to share some artists and songs.

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My You Tube favorites, by Rich Paschall


In the past singers gained popularity through radio play and variety shows on radio and television.  Now music is on streaming services and video sites.  The most popular video site, of course, is You Tube.  Many artists will use other social media outlets and personal websites to promote their You Tube videos which in turn popularize their songs, both cover versions of well-known artists as well as original works.

Since there is a lot of crap on You Tube, I have decided to come to your musical, if not indeed your emotional, rescue and let you know my top 10 favorites.  I follow them all through subscriptions on You Tube so I can see when new work comes along.  You can do the same.  Signing up on You Tube is free.  You can even start your own channel and sing out too.

The following…

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WHAT THE WORLD NEEDS NOW

With all the division brought on by the current political environment, it seems like a good time to share some music of Peace and Love. OK, sing along!

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Peace and Love Songs, by Rich Paschall


With all the hate, violence and anger in the world it seems like a good time to reach for some peace and love.  There was a time when music spoke to the social conscience of society.  In the late 1960s and the 1970’s in particular, the force of music moved our hearts and our society away from war and civil disruption and toward a calmer more loving society, at least on the surface anyway.  The rallies, the marches and the songs all spoke, or should I say sang out, to the need we had then to stop the violence.

No H8 No H8

It’s a much different society today and I am not sure the rallies for peace and songs about love will move us in the right direction.  It doesn’t hurt to try, however, so I bring you some moments of peace.  You will be…

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A LIFE TOO SHORT

By now, he may have been a huge international star.  There may have been concert tours and record deals.  There may have been television appearances and interviews.  His good looks and winning smile may have captivated generations.  All that was not to be.  It was on this date ten years ago that the young singing star, enjoying what was the beginning of a storybook success story, died in a Paris hospital waiting for a lung transplant.  Once you have seen the young man perform, you will immediately recognize the tragedy of this tale. You may then understand why fighting the battle Gregory was forced to fight is one of the saddest tragedies our youth can face. When I wrote this originally, Gregory was new to me.  I had just discovered his story and the odyssey launched by his dream to sing.  Now at the 10th Anniversary of his passing, I would like to introduce you, or reintroduce you, to this talented Frenchman: 

Grégory was not even two years old when he was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis. That is a genetic disease of the lungs primarily, also the liver and intestines. Its name comes from the scarring and cyst formations in the pancreas. CF can rob you of your breath and then your life.

While he did consider sports journalism as a career path, Grégory decided to pursue a singing career. Perhaps some would see that as a futile choice for a boy suffering with cystic fibrosis, but it was his real passion. In 2003 he was involved in musical comedy theater, but his big break came in 2004 when he joined in the competition on Star Academy. That would be the French version of the Idol programs in the UK and America. While on the show he got the chance to sing with Yannik Noah, former tennis star and father of a well-known Chicago basketball player. Grégory won the competition in a final landslide vote an American politician can really appreciate. It launched him on a red-hot career.

Grègory had become himself, the person he wanted to be. Appropriately his first album was Je deviens moi (I become me). Television shows, personal appearances and even a concert tour followed the release of his first single and its radio popularity. A live album and DVD of his concerts was an immediate hit in Europe. Music videos of his popular singles were released and can be found on You Tube. He sang mostly in his native French, but also English and Italian. His good looks, great vocal range, albums, dvd, and European popularity would make it seem like he had it all, but he was being robbed. CF was taking his breath away. In 2007 Grégory said his doctor ordered him to take a few weeks off to recuperate. He died waiting for a lung transplant. (He was 23.)

The story would just be ultra sad if we ended it there, but it did not end. Besides the outpouring of emotion in France, a posthumous album earned money for the Association Grégory Lemarchal to aid those with the disease. His sister published a photo book “Mon frère, l’artiste” of her pictures of her brother with the proceeds going to the cause. His mother wanted to put Grégory’s earnings after his death into helping those with CF, so that others would not suffer like her son did. Millions and millions have been raised, and yet young people are still dying.

If you know someone who is suffering or has passed you may want to consider helping here: http://www.cff.org/ Charitable giving is down but the need remains. It is tragic to lose anyone so young. Grégory’s short but successful career helps to shine a light on that.
I learned of his songs five years after his death, but like many, I wonder how great a career he might have had. I also wonder if the bright future of many others can be saved.

From Olympia 06, the only live album and DVD.  This tour was cut short, as was Gregory’s life. It is not high quality but the entire concert is here and begins with Je deviens moi.

SOME GRAND MUSIC

Although he lives in the Chicago area, there does not seem to be much opportunity to see Steve Grand here. Last year I caught a rare live performance at a local club.

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Just Steve and the Piano, Rich Paschall

Perhaps if you are lucky, you get to meet one of the celebrities you write about. Maybe it is easier in a big city where celebrities will often pass through.  Even then, meeting them at the venue or bumping into them on the street would seem rather remote.  I guess it happens.

Steve Grand lived in the Chicago area and actually worked in the neighborhood.  No, I had never met him.  Before his break-out album, All-American Boy, I had never heard of him so if I passed him on the street, I would not have known anyway.  If you have been following this space, you may have noticed the articlepresented here on his music.  You certainly would have remembered the publicity photo.

All-American Boy All-American Boy

In a city like Chicago you might think there would be plenty of opportunities to see a…

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CHRISTMAS SONGS TO RETIRE

For three weeks in a row we have presented our favorite Christmas songs on SERENDIPITY, but here are a few we should really eliminate from airplay.

Strike them from the playlist, PLEASE! by Rich Paschall There are plenty of “Novelty” Christmas songs. As a matter of fact there are far too many. Some are amusing to the point of being…

Source: CHRISTMAS SONGS TO RETIRE

What Hasn’t Been Said About Christmas?

What’s Not Been Said of Christmas Day?

christmas paint

christmas paint (Photo credit: cassie_bedfordgolf)

What’s not been said of Christmas Day?
It’s a wonderful day.
It’s been said in many thoughts
And in so many ways.

Almost every sentiment has been said.
The feelings have been spelled out clear.
It would seem we’ve said it all
As that magical day draws near.

We’ve talked about the season’s warmth and charm.
We’ve sung of jingle bells and snow.
Our hearts have prepared the spirit of joy
As we hang our mistletoe.

Everywhere we go decorations hang.
It has become quite a sight.
The carols are sung of the happy time
We’ll have that most holy night.

What’s not been said of Christmas Day?
The thought comes as the day draws near.
We’ve said things we can not say
Through the rest of the year,
Through the rest of the year.

Copyright Michael F. Teolis and Richard Paschall