Beyond their performances, the human musicians.

Music has strong associations for me with times, places, and seasons of my life. ASE readers have inspired me to extend my thinking about the musicians of my formative years. Here are some suggestions…

I grew up with James Taylor’s music.  Recently he and Malcolm Gladwell (of Blink and Outliers renown) sat down together over two weeks and Gladwell interviewed Taylor.  The result is a podcast in which Taylor reveals his early life, his gifts, and his challenges. Available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Stitcher.  James Taylor Comes Clean, with Malcolm Gladwell.

James Taylor offers his audio memoir of his first, formative, challenging 21 years – on Audible.  One hour and 33 minutes.  Break Shot: My First 21 Years by James Taylor


Miracle and Wonder, Conversations with Paul Simon. By Malcolm GladwellBruce Headlam, narrated by Malcolm GladwellBruce HeadlamPaul Simon.  5 hrs and 6 mins,  Release date: 11-16-21.  On Audible.


Jackson Browne personifies laid-back California, classic rock for me.  Here is the man behind the music. Available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Stitcher.

Jackson Browne


Cat Stevens/Yusuf songs were a musical staple for me:  Oh, Very Young, Moonshadow, Wild World….  He has recently released a 50th Anniversary re-issue of Teaser and the Firecat.  One of our daughters received a turntable for Christmas, and Teaser and the Firecat was near the top of her LP wish list.  I think this indicates a trend and not just my early musical brainwashing of our girls.  Note: I did immerse them in the Travelling Willburys on the ride to school.  Tea for the Tillerman 2


And then there is Sir Paul McCartney doing carpool Karaoke in Liverpool.  Penny Lane, anyone?  Over 62 million views, 23 minutes. Paul McCartney, Carpool Karaoke.


The Beatles Get Back, is a documentary that pulls together a treasure trove of film footage from the three weeks in 1970 when the band created their last album, Let It Be.  After a few years of distance from each other, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr wrote and rehearsed 14 new songs over an intense 21 days.  Far from the stage, this is the Beatles in their free form, creative process. There is laughter and inside joking along with the intensity of world-class musicians in the creative zone.  This is the last time the Beatles ‘come together’. The documentary has three episodes of 2-3 hours, each covering a week of the creation of the album.  The total experience almost eight hours long.

The Beatles: Get Back Documentary on Disney+




What did Sir Elton John do when his final worldwide tour was canceled because of COVID?  After a career of more than 50 years and thirty albums, he went home to his family – and created more music – collaborating with up-and-coming artists.


On Elton John’s Rocket Hour on Apple Music, he avoided lock-down isolation by inviting talented musicians to collaborate with him over ZOOM and in ‘COVID safe’ studio sessions behind glass screens.  How great is it that this superstar has reached out to work with other artists?


Elton John, The Lockdown Sessions.








Elton John with…

Stream The Lockdown Sessions on:

Apple Music

Amazon Music


1971 The Year that music changed everything is a new ‘docu-series’ on Apple TV+. For those of us who remember the 60’s and 70’s – this is hard to resist.

“An immersive, deep-dive rich with archival footage and interviews, “1971: The Year That Music Changed Everything,” will show how the musical icons of the time were influenced by the changing tides of history; and, in turn, how they used their music to inspire hope, change and the culture around them. The docuseries will examine the most iconic artists and songs that we still listen to 50 years later, including The Rolling Stones, Aretha Franklin, Bob Marley, Marvin Gaye, The Who, Joni Mitchell, Lou Reed and more.”  ~Apple TV+

There are eight episodes of 1971 The Year that music changed everything streaming on Season 1 on Apple TV+.




Miss Americana is a documentary which begins with Taylor Swift describing what it felt like to be at SONY Records at age 12 and being ‘the person’ everyone wanted her to be – to keep attracting praise and attention. She grows up.  1 hour and 25 minutes on Netflix.  Miss Americana




Todd Haynes Velvet Underground Documentary gets a 98% rating on Rotten Tomatoes and reviews praise its in-depth interviews and previously un-seen film footage of this band which brought a new sound to rock ‘n’ roll.   Trailer for The Velvet Underground.

The Velvet Underground on Apple+