Thursday, September 30, 2010

Kung Fu Fighting - Carl Douglas

OK, more one-hit wonders (this is BAD!): This Jamaican session singer for Pye records collaborated with Vivian Hawke on this '74 mega-hit (#1 Billboard Pop and Soul). It was supposed to be the B-side to another song and thus was recorded in only the 10 min. left of studio time! 1st Jamaican singer to have a US #1 hit. #100 on "VH1's 100 Greatest One-Hit Wonders". Used in "Wayne's World 2" in '94. Artist? Song?

Yesterday's answer: "Russians" by Sting. incredible tune - his best in my book.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Russians - Sting

OK, back to the 80's: This '85 song was on the artist's first solo album released during the Cold War. It opens with a radio broadcast by Igor Kirillov and a clock ticks throughout the song. Based upon the Romance Melody from Sergei Prokofiev's "Lieutenant Kije Suite". Masterful word play: "How can I save my little boy from Oppenheimer's deadly toy?" - "Little Boy" was the A-bomb dropped on Hiroshima on 8/6/45 and masterminded by Oppenheimer. Song? Artist?

Yesterday's answer: "The Wedding Song (There Is Love)". Hard to think of Noel Paul Stookey as a "one-hit-wonder" but this was his only solo hit. At my oldest daughter's wedding 3 yrs. ago in Jackson Hole we had a wonderful solo classical guitarist playing during the ceremony. He played this - not a dry eye in the house! For years I had a heckuva hard time figuring out the correct guitar fingering until I saw Paul doing it on stage - he plays it on a LUTE - no wonder!!!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Wedding Song (There Is Love) - Noel Paul Stookey

OK, more one-hit wonders (easy!): Noel Paul Stookey wrote and performed this modern classic for the nuptials of Peter Yarrow and Mary Beth McCarthy in 1969 as his wedding gift to them. "Into every songwriter's life comes a song, the source of which cannot be explained by personal experience..." He created the Public Domain Foundation to help struggling musicians and assigned the royalties from the song to it - over $2M so far - he has never made a cent from the song! A celebration of love and the presence of God in a union. #24 on Billboard in '71.

Yesterday's answer: "The Three Bells" aka "(Little) Jimmy Brown" by The Browns. They disbanded in '67 as their popularity faded. Great harmonies. See enclosed recent feature from NPR.

Monday, September 27, 2010

"The Three Bells" - The Browns

OK, more 50's (a toughie): This sibling country/folk trio from Pine Bluff, Arkansas helped create and define the "Nashville Chrome" sound. Their biggest hit was an English adaptation of a '45 Gilles/Herrand French tune, "Les Trois Cloches" (hint, hint!), a '52-'53 hit for Edith Piaf. Grammy-nominated in '59 - #1 Billboard Hot 100 and Country and #10 R&B. Song? Alternate title(s)? Group?

Yesterday's answer: "Let's Go Trippin'" by Dick Dale and The Del-Tones. The title comes from Dick's fans' mantra on the way to seeing him live, "let's go trippin' to see Dick Dale!". Heard him on NPR on Sat.

Let's Go Trippin' - Dick Dale and The Del-Tones

OK, more 60's: "The Father Of The Surf Guitar" and his band released this classic in '61, 2 mo. before The Beach Boys released their seminal "Surfin' ". The song is considered the beginning of the 60's surf music craze. He patterned his signature staccato after Gene Krupa's drumming with generous reverb. He played LOUD! Leo Fender gave him a prototype Strat which he played lefty but strung right-handed. He literally burned 49 Fender amps until Leo fitted them with 85W output transformers and added a single Lansing JBL D130F 15" speaker in what was to become the Fender Showman. Covered by Carl Wilson on The Beach Boys' "Surfin' U.S.A." and "Beach Boys Concert" albums. Artist and band? Song?

Yesterday's answer: "On the Road Again" by Canned Heat. Ultra-cool cats! The band took their name from a 1928 Tommy Johnson blues tune. Ardent students of the genre - Alan "Blind Owl" Wilson, Bob "The Bear" Hite, Henry "The Sunflower" Vestine, Larry "The Mole" Taylor and Adolfo "Fito" de la Parra.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

On The Road Again - Canned Heat

OK, more 60's: Alan "Blind Owl" Wilson penned this '68 release inspired by a Chicago bluesman Floyd Jones' '53 tune of the same name. In turn, based on Tommy Johnson's '28 "Big Road Blues". #16 US, #8 UK. Wilson added an Indian tambura drone for a psychedelic hypnotic effect. He re-tuned his harmonica 1/2 step up on the 6th hole for the song. Covered by Pete Townshend. Part of the "Bucket List" soundtrack ('07). Group? Song?

Yesterday's answer: "Bop" by Dan Seals. Dang, what a smooth voice! One of his #1 hits was Cheryl Wheeler's "Addicted" - a masterpiece! Another one was "Everything That Glitters isn't Gold" - the PERFECT Country song - has all the elements: cowboys (and cowgirls!), pickup trucks, divorce, horses

Bop - Dan Seals

OK, a little crossover: This Texas-born lefty was 1/2 of England Dan and John Ford Coley in the 70's. He co-wrote his 1st solo #1 Country hit with Paul Davis and Jennifer Kimball (#42 on Billboard's Hot 100). Single Of The Year at the '86 CMA Awards. Over 20 Country chart singles with 11 reaching #1. The CMT video shows an old couple dancing at an armory with flashbacks to their younger days. Artist? Song?

Yesterday's answer: Queen's "We Are The Champions". Brian May's ethereal solo and simultaneous playing during the last chorus are some of my fave guitar licks ever.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

We Are The Champions - Queen

OK, back to the 70's": According to Freddie Mercury, "I was thinking about football (soccer) when I wrote it. I wanted a participation song, something that the fans could latch on to". This '77 Queen power ballad has become a staple in sports victories and has been extensively covered. The B-side was "We Will Rock You" and both are routinely played together. On numerous occasions Freddie had to defer to Roger Taylor to hit the high C during live performances. #4 US, #2 UK. Very respectable rendition by Adam Lambert and Kris Allen fronting for Queen during the Season 8 Idol finale.

Yesterday's answer: "Rehab" by Amy Winehouse. A little rough around the edges and self-destructive but, doggone it, KILLER contralto!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Rehab - Amy Winehouse

OK, back to the 00's (no excuses, Gina!): This British singer/songwriter wrote this '06 autobiographical song in 5 min. during a walk with her producer. It deals with her personal demons of drugs and alcohol and her refusal to seek help, as recommended by her then-agent Simon Fuller. Includes references to Ray Charles and Donny Hathaway, two of her influences. Won the Ivor Novello Award in '07 for Best Contemporary Song and Grammys in '08 for Song Of The Year, Record Of The Year and Female Pop Vocal Performance as well as Best New Artist. Artist? Song?

Yesterday's answer: "Patricia" by Perez Prado. The Beatles sang yeah, yeah, yeah; the Stones no, no, no; Billy Joel whoa, whoa, whoa but NOBODY did HUH!!! like Perez Prado! Played during the striptease scene in "La Dolce Vita", during the pool party scene in "Goodbye, Columbus" and when The Killer proposed to his 13 year-old cousin Myra Gale Brown in "Great Balls Of Fire".

Patricia - Perez Prado

OK, more 50's: This '58 Perez Prado/Marcus mambo was the last chart-topper on Billboard's Jockeys and Top 100 before they became Billboard's Hot 100. Spent a record 15 wks. at #1 and 21 weeks on the charts. #1 R&B, #1 Germany and #8 UK. Vocal hit for Perry Como in '59 and as a "twist" version in '62. Part of soundtracks of Fellini's '60 "La Dolce Vita" (striptease scene), "Goodbye, Columbus" (pool party scene) ('69) and "Great Balls Of Fire" (proposal scene) ('98).

Yesterday's answer: "In My Room". One of my Beach Boys faves. As you know, years later he spent 3 years locked up "in his room" in total seclusion. Fortunately for us he's back in the studio making great music once again.

Monday, September 20, 2010

In My Room

OK, more 60's: This angelic B. Wilson/G. Usher '63 composition was written in 1 hr. and, according to Audree Wilson (Mom!), "That's the most beautiful song you've ever written". Peaked at #6 for the Beach Boys and stayed on the charts for 11 weeks. #209 on Rolling Stone's "Greatest Songs Ever". Shades of Brian's early agoraphobia which severely worsened in subsequent years. Described as "an ode to cocooning or an antisocial, dysfunctional view of the world". When a young David Crosby first heard it he recalls saying, "I give up - I can't do that - I'll never be able to do that!". He sang it in '01 with Jimmy Webb and Carly Simon during a Brian Wilson tribute.

Yesterday's answer: "Crossroads (Blues)". CLAPTON IS GOD!!! Robert Johnson was the 1st member of the "27 Club" - musicians that have died at age 27. Others include Hendrix, Joplin, Morrison, Pigpen (Grateful Dead), Brian Jones, Gram Parsons and Al Wilson (Canned Heat). Spooky!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Crossroads (Blues)

OK, more 30's: Delta bluesman Robert Johnson wrote and recorded this classic in '37, a year before his untimely death at age 27 (more about the "27 Club" later). Desperately trying to hitch a ride before nightfall - afraid of being lynched. Legend goes that Johnson sold his sold to the devil in exchange for his ability to play the blues - this was NOT mentioned in the song. Eric Clapton's '68 live recording with Cream has been termed "the greatest live rock solo ever". The song was inducted into the Grammy Hall Of Fame in '98. #409 on Rolling Stone's 500 Best Songs Ever and #10 on Guitar World's 100 Greatest Guitar Solos. " You can run, you can run, tell my friend-boy Willie Brown.You can run, you can run, tell my friend-boy Willie Brown.And I'm standing at the crossroads, believe I'm sinking down." CLAPTON IS GOD!!! Robert Johnson was the 1st member of the "27 Club" - musicians that have died at age 27. Others include Hendrix, Joplin, Morrison, Pigpen (Greatful Dead), Brian Jones, Gram Parsons and Al Wilson (Canned Heat). Spooky!

Yesterday's answer: "Breaking Up Is Hard To Do" by Neil Sedaka. I'm partial to the original version. I grew up listening to Neil Sedaka in perfect Spanish on WKBM in San Juan. He recorded every one of his songs also in Spanish. I didn't hear him in English until I moved to Philly in '73. Finally got to see him live in Vegas a few years ago - the old guy's still great! Can you believe that neither him nor Paul Anka are in the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame?!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Breaking Up Is Hard To Do

OK, more 60's: This '62 Sedaka/Greenfield composition was inspired by The Showmen's "It Will Stand". Described as "2 minutes and 16 seconds of pure pop magic", it topped the charts in the US and many other countries, including "Tu No Lo Sai" in Italy, sung by Neil himself. Considered Sedaka's signature song. He re-recorded it in '75 as a ballad and it peaked at #8 in '76, only the 2nd time an artist made the Top 10 with 2 different versions of a song (The Ventures' "Walk Don't Run"/"Walk Don't Run '64" was the other one). Covers by The Happenings, The Partridge Family and Lenny Welch also charted.

Yesterday's answer: "Kicks" by Paul Revere and The Raiders. They changed the lyrics to make the subject a girl. The Animals' "We Gotta Get Out Of This Place" was another early anti-drug song. The guitar work emulates Keith Richards' on "Satisfaction" and the bass line The Byrds' Chris Hillman.

Kicks - Paul Revere & the Raiders

OK, more 60's: This '66 Mann/Weil composition is considered the 1st anti-drug song of the rock era. Requested by Terry Melcher in an effort to help Gerry Goffin out of his addiction. Intended for and rejected by The Animals. A Boise, Idaho group originally named The Downbeats took it to #4 and is ranked #400 on Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Songs Of All Time. Covered by Del Shannon and by Mickey Dolenz and Peter Tork of The Monkees. Song? Group?

Yesterday's answer: "Me and Bobby McGee". Kris has written a wealth of tunes over the years - not the best voice but others do make his songs shine.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Me And Bobby McGee

OK, back to the 60's: This Kristofferson/Foster standard took its name from Foster's secretary and is loosely based on Fellini's "La Strada". First recorded by the late great Roger Miller in '69, peaking at #12 on the Country charts. Janis Joplin recorded it shortly before her death in '70 - it was her only Top 10 hit, topping the charts. Kristofferson, with whom she had had a brief affair, 1st heard her version on the day she died. Only the 2nd posthumous #1 hit in rock & roll history (the other one was Otis Redding's "Dock Of The Bay"). #148 on Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Songs Of All Time. Don McLean's lyrics on "American Pie", "I met a girl who sang the blues and I asked her for some happy news but she just smiled and turned away..." refer to Joplin and to this tune. KILLER versions by Crystal Bowersox during last season's American Idol and by winner Michael Grimm and Jewel during the recent "America's Got Talent" finale.

Yesterday's answer: "Don't Cry For Me, Argentina" from "Evita". Surprisingly Laura Branigan never recorded it. Madonna took it to #8 and even Zamfir (!) covered it. In my book this is one of The Grammy's greatest moments - not a dry eye in the house!!!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

"Don't Cry For Me, Argentina"

OK, more B'way: This '78 Andrew Lloyd Webber/Tim Rice showstopper topped the UK charts for Julie Covington. Regret and defiance in the face of imminent death. The working title was "It's Only Your Love Returning". Became Patti LuPone's signature song after her tearful rendition at the '80 Grammys for which she received a resounding standing O. A staple of Laura Branigan's concert repertoire even though she never recorded it. Madonna took it to #8 and even Zamfir (!) covered it. Song? Musical?

Yesterday's answer: "Hippy Hippy Shake" by Chan Romero.
THAT'S when The Beatles were The Beatles!!! Gotta love Austin Powers - yeah, Baby, yeah! "In his time he was the coolest secret agent alive. Unfortunately, this is not his time".

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

"Fortune Teller" by Bobby (Boby) Curtola.

From my good friend Dr. Dan Rogers: Oooh! Oooh! I've got one for you, Poldo, or anybody else. I thought of this guy when I received an email from a friend in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, where this singer lives. He was backed by the Martels when he got his biggest hit at #41 in the US, year 1962. But many people (like me) know him better by his "hit" "Makin' Love" that made the charts in Canada but not in the US, even though it got air play. He made the country charts in about 1990. Name of the singer and his (sort of) hit?

Answer: Bobby (aka Boby) Curtola's "Fortune Teller". Dang, that was a toughie! His "Indian Giver" (NOT to be confused with 1910 Fruitgum Company's) did get some airplay on the Armed Forces Radio Network when I lived in P.R. and he also covered Bobby Vee's "Walkin' With My Angel". Last time I saw him up there in Saskatoon he had a very black pompadour 'do and was still singing the old stuff. He actually had a decent voice; wonder why he didn't make it bigger?

"Hippy Hippy Shake" by Chan Romero.

OK, more 50's: This singer/composer was the 1st Latino rocker to be inducted into the Rockabilly Hall Of Fame (2007). He penned his big hit in '59 after listening to Ritchie Valens' "Come On, Let's Go". The Swinging Blue Jeans took it to the Top 5 UK and #21 US. Featured on The Beatles' "Live At The BBC". Covered by The Georgia Satellites in '88. Part of the "Cocktail" and "Austin Powers" (yeah, Baby, yeah!) soundtracks. Artist? Song?

Yesterday's answer: Gustav Mahler, Symphony Number 8 in E-flat.

Monday, September 13, 2010

"Symphony No. 8 in E-flat Major" by Gustav Mahler.

OK, 100 yrs. ago last Sun.: This majestic 1906 choral work is dubbed "The Symphony Of A Thousand" as it demands a vast orchestral and vocal ensemble. It premiered in Munich on 9/12/1910. It speaks of redemption through the power of love and of the composer's confidence in the human spirit. The last of his works premiered during his lifetime. Unconventional as it is divided into 2 parts instead of movements: Part I comes from the text of a 9th century Christian hymn, "Veni Creator Spiritus" and Part II from the closing scene of Goethe's "Faust". Composer? Symphony?

Yesterday's answer:
Symphony No.47 in G major: III. Menuet e Trio al roverso. "Palindrome Symphony" by Haydn.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Haydn's Symphony No. 47 in G major "The Palindrome".

OK, more Papa (not you, Alberto, nor Hemingway, Doc, Roach, John's or Murphy's!): This 1772 Haydn symphony is unique in that it contains a "minuetto al roverso" - in both the minuet and the trio the orchestra plays the music twice forward AND TWICE BACKWARDS to arrive at the beginning! A favorite of Mozart's. Symphony? Symphony's "nickname"?

Yesterday's answer: "The Worst That Could Happen" by The Brooklyn Bridge. In case the voice sounds familiar, remember Johnny Maestro fronting for The Crests on "Sixteen Candles".

Saturday, September 11, 2010

"The Worst That Could Happen" by Johnny Maestro and The Brooklyn Bridge.

OK, more 60's: This Jimmy Webb classic was 1st recorded in '67 by The Fifth Dimension for their "The Magic Garden" album. The former lead singer for The Crests fronted an 11-piece group made up of members of the Del-Satins and The Rhythm Heritage and took it to #3 in '69. Along with "MacArthur Park" and "By The Time I Get To Phoenix", it is about Webb's involvement with a 'Susan'. Webb also recorded it for his "Ten Easy Pieces" compilation. Song? Group?

Yesterday's answer: "At The Hop" by Danny and The Juniors. Pretty well forgotten until "resurrected" by Sha Na Na at Woodstock - they went on just before Hendrix!

"Jurame" por Maria Grever.

OKEY, mas boleros: Esta compositora mejicana (1884-1951) estudio bajo Claude Debussy y Franz Lenhard. Compuso mas de 800 canciones. Su primer exito, cuando aun relativemente desconocida, fue grabado en el 1926 por el gran Jose Mojica. Compuso tambien "Munequita Linda", "Cuando Vuelva a Tu Lado", "Alma Mia" y "Vida Mia". Compositora? Primer exito?

Respuesta: "Jurame" por Maria Grever.

"At The Hop" by Danny and The Juniors.

OK, more 50's: This Singer/Medora/White '57 composition was 1st recorded by Philly-based doo-wop group the Juvenairs as "Do the Bop". Dick Clark suggested a title change and the band also changed its name before appearing on his show. #1 Pop and R&B. Highlights the popular dances of the day. Covered by Sha Na Na in Woodstock and by Flash Cadillac & The Continental Kids in "American Graffiti". Group? Song?

Yesterday's answer: "Eye In The Sky" by the Alan Parsons Project. Always loved that song - came out around the time Lauren was born. Alan Parsons collaborated in engineering The Beatles' "Abbey Road". Hard to think of the Alan Parsons Project without thinking of Austin Powers! Dr. Evil: The key to this project is the giant laser, which was invented by the noted Cambridge physicist, Dr. Parsons. So therefore, it is fitting to call it: "The Alan Parsons Project".[Scott snickers]Dr. Evil: What?Scott: The Alan Parson...s Project was a progressive rock band from 1982. Why don't you just name it Operation Wang Chung, ass?

Friday, September 10, 2010

"Eye In The Sky"

OK, more 80's: This Orwellian '82 Eric Woolfson composition was The Alan Parsons Project's only Top 10 hit, peaking at #3. Woolfson was a gambler and was bothered by the "Big Brother" hidden closed-circuit cameras in casinos. Sound engineer Alan Parsons "hated" the song at first - took some convincing for him to record it. Preceded seamlessly in the album by the instrumental "Sirius".

Yesterday's answer: Paul Simon's "I Am A Rock". "I Am A Rock". One of Paul's best! Young Jesuit scholastics in the 60's loved to make us analyze it during English class.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

"I Am A Rock"

OK, more 60's: Paul Simon wrote and recorded this classic while sick in London in early '65 as past of "The Paul Simon Songbook". Following the success of the electric version of "Sound Of Silence", he re-recorded with Art Garfunkel as folk-rock on 12/14/65 for their 2nd studio album. Peaked at #3. About a man who's been deeply hurt and becomes a recluse, locking himself from everything and everyone.

Yesterday's answer: "Free Falling" by Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers. There are those who believe that Petty and Dylan are one same person. Hmmm...we'll never know. Think about it - nobody has ever seen them together, one is as good-looking as the other, pretty well the same voice, they alternate recordings - they ARE one and the same person (just like Michael an LaToya!)!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

"Free Falling"

OK, more 80's: Tom Petty and Jeff Lynne wrote and recorded this '89 folk-rock classic in 2 days with Lynne on backup vocals. Petty's longest-charting song, peaking at #7 and spending 33 wks. on Billboard's Hot 100. About the "L.A. culture" of casually using others for one's personal gain without remorse. #177 on Rolling Stones' Greatest Songs Of All Time. Closed their set at the 2008 Super Bowl.

Yesterday's answer: "You Light Up My Life" by Debby Boone. The proverbial one-hit wonder. She pretty well faded into obscurity afterwards. '77 was a tough competition year for Oscar songs - she beat out "Saturday Night Fever" tracks. Leann Rimes' cover went to #34 on the Country charts in '97.

"You Light Up My Life"

OK, more 70's: This '77 Joe Brooks composition was written as the theme for his movie of the same name. First recorded by jingle singer Kasey Cisyk and lip-synched in the film by Didi Conn. Debby Boone's single stayed at #1 for a record-setting 10 wks. Most successful single of the 70's. Grammys for Song Of The Year and Best New Artist (Boone). Oscar & Golden Globe for Best Original Song.
Yesterday's answer: Frank Sinatra's "Strangers In The Night". Pretty doggone romantic! Scooby Doo did indeed get his name from the scat.

Monday, September 6, 2010

"Strangers In The Night"

OK, more Ol' Blue Eyes: This '66 Robic/Singleton/Snyder/Kaempfert composition was Sinatra's comeback hit - his 1st in 11 yrs. The album was his most commercially successful recording. #1 US and UK. Recorded in 2 takes with Glen Campbell on rhythm guitar. Won 4 Grammys in '67, including Record Of The Year and Best Male Pop Performance. The scat improv at the end inspired the name of a cartoon canine.

Yesterday's answer: "Oh, Pretty Woman" by The Big O. Of course, the 1990 Gere/Roberts movie was inspired by it. Some say it's the best song of the rock era.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

"Oh Pretty Woman"

OK, more 60's: This '64 Orbison/Dees classic was inspired by Roy's wife Claudette. Trademark guitar work by Wayne Moss. Spent 3 wks. at #1. Posthumous Grammy in '91 for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance on HBO's "Roy Orbison & Friends". Grammy Hall of Fame in '99. #222 on Rolling Stone's Best Song of All-Time. Killer instrumental cover by The Ventures on "Knock Me Out".

Yesterday's answer: "At Seventeen" by Janis Ian. I saw her in '76 at the Academy Of Music in Philly (Leon Redbone opened for her). AMAZING!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

"At Seventeen"

OK, more 70's: This '75 Janis Ian composition about alienation while growing up was her most successful recording and her 1st hit since "Society's Child" in '66. Based on an article she read in the NYT about a disillusioned debutante. The light samba rhythm came to her 1st but it took 3 mo. to pen down the lyrics. She 1st played it on the Tonight Show. #1 Adult Contemporary and #3 Pop Singles. Grammy for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance in '76. She played it on the 1st episode of SNL in '75. Received the Grammy Hall Of Fame Award in '08, Ian's 2nd after "Society's Child".

Yesterday's answer: "Back On The Chain Gang" by The Pretenders. Ooh, aah, ooh, aah! Love 'em both. Sam Cooke was WAY ahead of his time!

"Back On The Chain Gang"

OK, back to the 80's: This '82 composition was originally about Ray Davies, with whom Chrissie Hynde had a daughter but was re-dedicated to James Honeyman-Scott, The Pretenders' guitarist who died that year at 26 from a drug overdose. The single was released 2 yrs. before the album. The Pretenders' only US Top 5 hit, peaking at #5. The chant evokes a similar one in a Sam Cooke classic. Selena's '94 Spanish cover spent 7 wks. at #1 on the Latin charts.

Yesterday's answer: "Classical Gas" by Mason Williams. From Dan Rogers: I don't know if that was any better than "Frog Sucker," though, but it didn't get the Smothers Brothers Show in as much trouble. Do you like the original recording more than the more recent one recorded with Mannheim Steamroller? From me: BINGO! LOL! The working title was "Classical Gasoline" but the music publicist pared it down. One of those guitar "rites of passage" from the sixties - you HAD to be able to play "Classical Gas" if you were worth anything. Being a purist (not that anybody has ever accused me of being a pain in the behind or anything!) I much prefer the original version. BTW, is the "Frog Sucker" related to the "chupacabra" (goat sucker)?

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

"Classical Gas" by Mason Williams.

OK, more 60's: This guitarist was working as head writer for "The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour" in '68 when he wrote and recorded this piece for guitar and orchestra. The original title was abbreviated by the publisher. It debuted on the show. Peaked at #2. Re-recorded on solo guitar in '70 and with Mannheim Steamroller in '87. Won 3 Grammys in '69. Special Citation by BMI in '98 as the top instrumental airplay tune of all time. Artist? Composition?

Yesterday's answer: "Wild World". One of Cat's best. I am SO glad Cat's (Yusuf) is back making music - he sounds the same! When I moved to Philly I took with me an old Vicente Tatay Spanish guitar - it "died" during the first winter there. I bought an Ovation Glen Campbell Acoustic Balladeer (all the rage at the time) and this was one of the first songs I played on it.