Today’s post will continue what has become an annual tradition for Ted Tocks Covers. I will share the top 10 original posts for 2021. It promises to be an interesting look back on a challenging year.
Sadly, I began my recap for 2020 the same way. The only change is substituting 2020 with 2021.
What I’ve learned.
Anywhere from 15-20% of the population are infinitely selfish morons. You can’t fix stupid. Somehow, we are forced to co-exist. To some degree they have revealed themselves, so at least I can maintain a wide berth. Fortunately, this means 80-85% are reasonably well-adjusted human beings.
Oh well! The music got us through to some extent.
Speaking of which, let’s move on to the music.
10. It’s a Good Life If You Don’t Weaken – There are a handful of occasions that Ted Tocks Covers features every year. One of them commemorates the date of Gord Downie’s passing. This post takes a brief look at some of the meaning behind the song and concludes with a heartfelt cover by Gord’s ‘brothers’ from The Tragically Hip along with Feist. It was a special performance because The Hip knew Gord would have approved. Nothing else matters to them. This rendition was the crowning moment of the evening as the band celebrated the honour of receiving the 2021 Humanitarian Award from Music Canada. As with so many songs written by Gord there are layers of depth to the lyrics. I dove in to explore.
9. Every Time I See Your Picture – So often the most meaningful posts I write feature songs with personal meaning or share an element of special relationships. This is not my story, but it speaks to the bond our wonderful friend Laura has with her beautiful horse Hope. Through this song the cherished memories remain. So does the message. Have only positive expectations. A powerful song which for the purposes of this feature helped to convey the depth of the personal connection between the two.
8. Running on Empty – This song by Jackson Browne has always had a special meaning to me. Within this post I was able to share a deeper personal connection to the song while telling an inspirational story of love, determination and devotion. Sometimes you get to a place where you think you have nothing more to give. That’s when you keep on going. Thank you to Jackson Browne, Grandpa Bob and Jesse’s Journey. #DefeatDuchenne #NoBadDays.
7. Baker Street – This post featured Gerry Rafferty and the classic song from his career defining album ‘City to City’. The signature saxophone solo by Raphael Ravenscroft took ‘Baker Street’ to another level, but there was a mild controversy. It all goes back to an old blues sax riff from an obscure album. A fascinating story that fortunately ended on a rational level. We are left to enjoy the music.
6. Sloop John B. – Speaking of fascinating. I love writing about songs that take me on wild explorations. Writing about ‘Sloop John B.’ did that and then some. It began as a look into what is best known as a classic song by The Beach Boys, but I was soon whisked away to a Bahamian port in Nassau. This is where the legend began. This song is so steeped in history a book could be written. Naturally, I went down the rabbit hole and did my best to briefly tell the tale. Since writing this feature, I have. not heard the song in the same way. It just gets better each time. One more perk to writing Ted Tocks Covers. My appreciation for music and the artists who write the songs just keeps getting deeper.
5. Bottomless Lake – From deep we go to ‘bottomless’. The Top 10 for 2021 features a top 5 shared by two artists/acts that hold a special place in my heart. The first is John Prine who sits in the 2, 4 and 5 position. Every time I get a chance, I like to state unequivocally that John Prine fans are the best people on the internet. Whenever I feature John Prine, I share the post with a few Facebook fan pages. The response is always immediate and heartwarming. We are sharing the love of someone with a special place in our hearts. ‘Bottomless Lake’ is a farcical take on a family vacation gone horribly wrong. As always John had a moral. Both hilarious and insightful. Classic John!
4. Hello in There/I Remember Everything – Much like Gord Downie in #10, I will aim to feature John Prine each year on his birthday and memorialize him on the sad date of his passing. The latter served as the catalyst for this feature. Like many, I suppose I am still coming to grips with it all. Listening to John Prine’s music certainly helps. Writing about it and sharing the stories with his fans on occasion helps even more. John wrote ‘Hello in There’ in his early 20s. The maturity and depth of character is astounding. He channels an emotional maturity of someone more than twice his age. This is why he is treasured. ‘I Remember Everything’ is a bonus. It exists as his final recording. Celebrated by his many fans as a gift for their loyalty. If John says he remembers everything, I believe him.
3. Where Have All the Good Times Gone – Another 2021 discovery was an online connection with a fan group that loves The Kinks. It is called www.kindakinks.net. When I wrote this post I shared it with site founder Dave, and the engagement was immediate. I love The Kinks. I am comforted to know that my passion is shared globally. ‘Where Have All the Good Times Gone’? I am not sure, but if you need a lift, just throw on an album by The Kinks. The good memories will return.
2. Saddle in the Rain – One more example of John Prine and his lyrical prowess. He explores the complexity of human relationships. This is a fun look back at a transitional period in his career. This post is made even more special due to the cover version created by his friend Amanda Shires, who much like John, channels her gift as a musician for good. There are a lot of good people out there. We need to remember this fact.
- Living on a Thin Line – I referred to the loyalty of The Kinks fan groups in #3. The popularity of this post caught me completely off guard. Not only was it far and away the #1 original post of 2021, but it was the #2 post for the year, and it resides as the #5 post ever, over the four-year duration of Ted Tocks Covers. Part of the attraction to this Dave Davies penned song is related to its association with an episode of the HBO series ‘The Sopranos’. Much like ‘Where Have All the Good Times Gone’ which was written by brother Ray, ‘Living on a Thin Line’ longs for better days. This song may hold more meaning today than the day it was written because during COVID- 19 way too many are ‘living on a thin line’. As always, if we can turn to music during a difficult time, it will help us get through, because as I always say #MusicisLife.
Just a few observations before I head into 2022. I have no idea what’s ahead so I will enter with my head on a swivel and my eyes wide open.
- The top five countries for Ted Tocks Covers readership are #5. Germany #4. Ireland #3. Australia #2. Canada and #1. United States. I love the range of readership.
- During 2021, Ted Tocks Covers was read by at least one person in 106 countries worldwide. This blows my mind.
- My post about ‘Keep Me in Your Heart’ by Warren Zevon was the #1 post in 2021 by far. It is the second most read post of all time next to ‘He Was in Heaven Before He Died’ by John Prine. Two of my top four favourite songwriters. Love it.
- Two songs by Canadian artists rounded out the year’s top five. They were ‘I Go Blind’ by 54-40 and ‘Scared’ by The Tragically Hip. ‘Don’t Pay the Ferryman’ by Chris De Burgh.
These are just some interesting observations that all tolled adds up to 2021 being the best year ever for Ted Tocks Covers. Over the course of the year the feature has averaged close to 50 page views a day. This is a number I hope to achieve in 2022.
This continues to reinforce the message that I often share. Music is a universal language. It is magic. In the words of Tom Petty:
“Music is probably the one real magic I have encountered in my life. There’s not some trick involved with it. It’s pure and it’s real. It moves, it heals, it communicates and does all these incredible things.”
A perfect summation by one of my favourites.
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I will close the same way that I did last year.
Happy 2022! Cherish every moment.
Thank you for continuing to read Ted Tocks Covers. I will be in touch. You can count on that. Lots of great stories to come in 2022.
Stay safe and have a grateful day!