The Beatles motivated thousands of young people into becoming songwriters, and Chris is no exception, claiming a store of demos (boxes full of 'em) and stacks of songs. And Chris pays tribute to "The Activist of Music" with his release of THANK YOU FOR THE MUSIC.
Released for John Lennon's 20th Memorial (December 8, 2000), this EP by Chris has grabbed the attention of Beatle fans and Beatle associates worldwide. Produced by singer/songwriter Johnny J. Blair, the CD features vocal help from gospel artist Monette (Monkee Davy Jones' favorite gospel singer) and Sarah Keeley, formerly of the Christian pop group "The Frontline Continentals." THANK YOU FOR THE MUSIC premiered on KOL-The Voice of Israel in the Holy City of Jerusalem in December 2000 and was a #1 hit for Chris on the KAOS FM charts in Australia (KAOS FM is part of the Ison Live Radio global network and gets requests from as far away as England).
The other tracks include Chris' 1996 demo of ANGEL EYES, a tribute to a friend from Montoursville, PA who died aboard TWA Flight 800. According to a writer for GOLDMINE MAGAZINE, this song is the most Lennon-sounding composition on the project. Chris writes, "Angel Eyes was written for a girl named Monica Weaver who had died aboard TWA Flight 800. I had known her family for about twenty years...they always sat in the same church pew every Sunday morning. Monica has an older sister who has cerebral palsy and is bound to a wheelchair. Her younger brother had complications with his health when he was younger. Of the three, Monica was the healthiest. She was also very close to her mother. The family had been through a lot together in the past, but they have great faith which has gotten them through the toughest of times. Monica was also a musician and played the flute regularily at our church. The summer of '96, Monica was looking forward to going to Paris with her friends on a school trip. She would miss her mother's birthday but promised to buy her mother a gift from Paris. The week before she left, she and many others helped out with Vacation Bible School at our church. Then, a week later, she left for JFK Airport. I just remember walking into the church office one morning (I was coming in to do some work and her dad was also going to help me out that day) and seeing the church staff gathered around a radio in the office - and they told me what had happened. We waited to hear if there were survivors and kept in prayer that morning, but then we got word that no one survived the crash. That Sunday was her mom's birthday. I remember the pastor saying to her, 'I can't wish you a happy birthday, but God be with you on this day!' That morning was also a bit rough because the church showed video clips of Vacation Bible School and Monica was in most of the clips. Later that day, a rainbow appeared above the church and it hadn't rained in a week - we were in a dry spell. Her mother got her gift. They planned Monica's memorial service a week later (even though they hadn't found her body), and the pastor talked about how God helps in times like this and mentioned the rainbow, saying 'Coincidence? Or God-incidence!?' Her parents (being very strong in their faith) stood up in front of the congregation and shared their daughter's faith by reading some of her prayers that she wrote in her diary. Her boyfriend asked that the church play Clay Walker's 'Hypnotize The Moon' in her memory - a song that just fit who Monica was to most people. Later that week, The New York Times ran an article on Monica. Finally, after weeks went by, they recovered her body from the site (she was the last one to be recovered) and her family could lay her to rest. The school where I taught established the Monica Weaver Scholarship in her memory, which gives students who can't afford music/dance/art lessons a chance. Ten years ago, I performed at the Christmas Eve service of my old church, and Monica's mom (who is quite involved with music now - before, she only played the piano) was also there. I remember taking a breather during the middle of the service and stepping out into the hallway and running into her mom. She asked me if I could fix a key on her flute. I didn't know much about instrument repairs but still took a look at it - she was only minutes from performing a Christmas anthem. When I fixed the key, she thanked me and told me that it was Monica's flute and that she learned to play it soon after Monica died. This just touched my heart to hear this.
"I wrote three versions of ANGEL EYES. The one presented on this CD was the very first version - written and recorded only a few weeks after the tragedy. The recording was poor, and my producer wanted me to re-record it in the studio. I felt we should try to clean it up a bit and put it on as is...this recording was what I was feeling at the time, and probably what most of us around the world were feeling. The descending lines in the melody not only depict 'a pretty little angel falling from the sky' but were borrowed from my favorite Austrian Christmas piece, STILL, STILL, STILL."
IN CYPRESS GARDENS (the off-WHITE piano mix) best demonstrates Lennon's recording style (post Beatles/early 70s). Lennon loved to record with an out-of-tune piano (i.e. "Love," "Mother," "Imagine," "Real Love" piano demo version, etc.). So, Chris compressed the piano on this recording and added minor percussion and minor reverb on the vocal to give CYPRESS GARDENS more of a Lennonistic sound. We then added an orchestral part to give it more of a hungarian sound.
The Songs APPLE CIDER KISSES and COULD IT BE FOREVER? have received much attention and airplay worldwide from Yugoslavia to England to the U.S.
COULD IT BE FOREVER? (which was well-received when it was premiered at a Beatlefest---and is sure to be a hit at weddings) is based on two of The Monkees' most beautiful recordings "(I'll) Love You Forever" and "We Were Made For Each Other," sung by frontman Davy Jones; as well as based on George Harrison's "Something." Upon hearing Chris' demo of COULD IT BE FOREVER?, producer Blair (a frequent collaborator with Davy Jones) remarked "It's LOVE YOU FOREVER Part 3." Jones (whose own legacy owes a debt to The Beatles) gave a favorable response upon hearing COULD IT BE---a blessing to Chris, being a long-time fan of Jones' music inside and outside The Monkees. COULD IT BE FOREVER? was released for Valentine's Day 2002 on the KAOS FM charts in Australia - becoming another #1 hit for Chris downunder.
APPLE CIDER KISSES was first released in 1999. Chris writes, "I was in my car on my way to New York one October day when I heard this song 'She's In Love With The Boy' by Trisha Yearwood. I loved the story behind the song. Then, the DJ played 'Passionate Kisses' by Mary Chapin Carpenter. Afterwards, the DJ said 'you know we have a lot of kissing songs out there..."Butterfly Kisses," "Passionate Kisses"...why don't they do one called "Apple Cider Kisses," because apple cider really makes you pucker!' I loved the title, and on my way home that night the song started to come together in my head. I got home, cut a demo, and sent it to my producer. Originally it was a country song, but we added so much to the song that it became British-pop-sounding." Chris was invited to the radio station as a special guest for their Saturday Night Dance show in which they premiered the song just weeks later. One fan's mother told Chris that her teenage daughter just loved it - and her daughter played it so much that she eventually got sick of it! She also told Chris that the first time her daughter played it for her, she broke down into tears. She thought it was such a touching song.
GO ONLINE AND CHECK OUT THESE REVIEWS!!!
There was a CD review featured in the March 23, 2001 issue of GOLDMINE! Magazine (the Lennon issue). This review can now be found on the late Al Aronowitz's (aka THE BLACK-LISTED JOURNALIST, who introduced Bob Dylan to The Beatles) webpage at column 58: http://www.bigmagic.com/pages/blackj/column58o4.html
Chris' "Tribute to George Harrison" story (including the making of THANK YOU FOR THE MUSIC) can also be found on his webpage at column 67: http://www.bigmagic.com/pages/blackj/column67e.html
Dan Wooding of Assist News Services had interviewed Chris on the making of THANK YOU FOR THE MUSIC. This interview can be found at http://www.assist-ministries.com/strategic/s0105055.htm
Chris writes, "Music has always been my passion! I've been doing this for twenty-six years, which says a lot being that I'm only thirty years old. Music has been my life. Not long after Lennon's death (at the age of five), I began my study of music with a guitar my Mother had bought me and encouraged me to play. The Beatles really inspired me and helped me grow in my love for music (which is why I pay tribute to my hero of rock 'n roll, Mr. John Lennon). I always had a dream that someday I would be able to share my music with the world. This CD comes not only twenty years after Lennon's death, but it's twenty years of my life and everything I listened to put into one 5-song CD. With this limited edition release, I've included five songs that are very personal to me...songs that I poured my soul into. I think of this CD as my MASTERPIECE. Pet Sounds became Brian Wilson's masterpiece and THANK YOU FOR THE MUSIC will remain mine. I hope you enjoy this release and feel the love I poured into it...the love of music."
THIS CD IS A DEFINITE MUST FOR ALL BEATLE FANS AND MUSIC LOVERS!!!