You hear the phrase “living the dream” all the time but how many cases do you actually see where it happens? Was Amy Winehouse or Kurt Cobain living the dream? Michael Jackson? Perhaps one invented by Luis Buñuel.
I've been involved in two pursuits during my life that you can get away with in public which gave me immense pleasure. One was golf. The other was music. I see a lot of old golfers on TV who appear to be living the dream. I dare you to deny that Arnold Palmer's smile is as authentic as his four wins at The Masters. With musicians, it's not always the case. Sometimes you get surprised, though.
My idea of the perfect retirement was to have enough money to play some nice golf courses a couple of days a week and have a nice studio room at home where I could jam with friends another couple of days or nights a week.
Of course, the old koan crops up: “If you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans.” So even though these plans didn't work out for me, I am happy when I see them work out for others; especially others who have given me so much pleasure over the years, either with their golf swing or their songs.
I ran across a TV show on Palladia this week called “Live from Daryl's House.” Not only can you find it on the web here, but you can pick and choose any one section from the show without watching the entire thing. This is very useful if you're looking for one song in particular. In fact, this show began as a webcast back in 2007. But don't expect to find a lot of renditions of Hall and Oates standards.
What makes this experience unique (and a hat tip to Daryl Hall for this) is that Hall has not only been listening to a lot of new artists, but he's been learning their songs, too. So when he invites them to his house outside of Amenia, New York, to jam with his house band, don't expect to hear "Your Kiss Is on My List" done by each performer. You're much more likely to hear songs you've never heard before, but songs which Darryl Hall has obviously heard a lot. This makes these invitees very comfortable and almost insures a great session. Look at how much fun Cee-Lo Green is having listening to Hall sing a verse of "Fuck You." On the other hand, watch a girl called Rumer sing "Sara Smile" -- Sarah being her real birth name. This song has always been special to me because my only child is named Sarah. I get really tired of having people assume she was named after either this song or that Jefferson Starship song. Her name came from a far more mystical place and I'm forced to tell that entire story each time this comes up.
Each show is mostly jam sessions, but there is also a segment where each invitee gives a brief bio as well as a segment where they all have a meal and drinks together. It feels a lot like home.
I won't list everyone who's been on the show; you can look at the website for that. But it just thrills my heart to see folks my age living the dream. The joy on their faces is inspirational. You see it on golfers on the Senior Tour, like Fuzzy Zoeller or Hale Irwin. You see it on James Taylor's face when he plays. And you see it on Daryl Hall's face as clearly as any face I've ever seen.
By the way, Daryl also wrote a song I dearly love called "Everytime You Go Away," which singer Paul Young turned into a number-one hit in 1985. He does a version of this with Travis McCoy from Gym Class Heroes that will knock your socks off. Otis Redding was never more soulful.