Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Harrison's Gretsches

OK, more Fabdom: George Harrison's first Gretsch Country Gentleman was destroyed when it fell from his car. When did his second one make its last "public" appearance and who owns it now? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VjEUwZ21wts Answer: Olivia gave it to Ringo upon George's death and he still has it. Last seen in "Help" doing "You're Gonna Lose That Girl". The GREAT Gretsch sound! I string mine with Pyramid Gold lights - nothing else will do! http://www.youtube.com/​watch?v=VjEUwZ21wts

Saturday, May 5, 2012

"Pomp and Circumstance"

OK, time to don your caps and gowns: The title of this British romantic composer's 1901 march comes from Act III, Scene III of Shakespeare's "Othello". It was dedicated to his friend Alfred E. Rodewald and the members of the Liverpool Orchestral Society. The Trio section, "Land of Hope and Glory" debuted in the U.S. as the processional at Yale's 1905 commencement when the composer was awarded an Honorary Doctorate in Music. It has since become a standard in U.S. high-school and university graduations. Work? Composer? Answer: "Pomp and Circumstance Military March No. 1 in D" by Sir Edward Elgar. In Puerto Rico, the "Triumphal March" from Verdi's "Aida" is the standard processional music. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=moL4MkJ-aLk

Monday, January 2, 2012

"Alone Again (Naturally)" by Gilbert O'Sullivan.

OK, back to the 70's: This Beatles-influenced Irish singer singer/songwriter/pianist's given name was Raymond Edward; his stage name was adapted to resemble that of a popular 19th century operettist duo. His only U.S. #1 hit was a 1972 poignant and introspective quasi-autobiographic account of contemplating suicide after being left at the altar as well as the death of his parents. It topped the charts for 6 weeks, received 3 Grammy nominations and Casey Kasem ranked it as the 5th most popular song of the 70's. The memorable nylon-string guitar solo comes from English session musician Big Jim Sullivan. Artist? Song?


Comment: This beautiful pop ballad first hit the U.S. market in Philly and was still hot when I arrived there during the summer of '73.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

"It Doesn't Matter Anymore".

OK, back to the 50's: A 17 year-old Paul Anka wrote this 1958 pop classic for his touring mate Buddy Holly at his request. Backed by Dick Jacobs' Orchestra, it was one of Holly's 1st recordings with strings - Jacobs wrote the orchestral arrangement 3 hours before the recording session! Anka donated his composer royalties to Buddy's family after his untimely death. It topped the charts in the UK, becoming the first posthumous #1 hit in UK history. It was Holly's last U.S. Top 20 hit, peaking posthumously at #13. Linda Ronstadt charted with it in '74 and it was also masterfully covered by the late great Eva Cassidy.


Comment: Jacobs' pizzicato arrangement for Holly is so different from Anka's original tempo - Ronstadt's and Cassidy's versions are much truer to the original composition. Great tune!

Friday, December 23, 2011

"The Hot Canary" by Florian ZaBach.

OK, more 50's one-hit wonders: This Chicago-born jazz violinist's only hit came in 1951 with a Paul Nero composition. Played on a 1732 Guarnieri del Gesu from Cremona, it made the Top 15 on the Pop charts and sold over one million copies. Artist? Hit?


One of my Dad's faves. A regular on the old Bogen hi-fi.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Christmas Songs by Jewish Composers.

OK, in the true spirit of the Season: Twelve of the Top 25 Christmas Songs were written by our Jewish brothers. Name them.....

Answer: Winter Wonderland, The Christmas Song, Sleigh Ride, Santa Claus Is Coming To Town, Let It Snow, White Christmas, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, It's The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year, Rockin' Around The Christmas Tree, Silver Bells, I'll Be Home For Christmas, A Holly Jolly Christmas.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

"Behind Closed Doors"

OK, back to the 70's: This 1973 Kenny O'Dell classic love ballad was Charlie Rich's first #1 Country hit as well as a solid crossover, peaking at #15 on the Pop charts. Country Song and Single Of The Year as well as a Grammy for Best Male Country Vocal Performance. #9 on CMT's 100 Greatest Songs in Country Music.