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.


Saturday, December 3, 2011

"Day After Day (It's Slippin' Away)".

OK, more 60's one-hit wonders: Based upon concerns about overpopulation and dire earthquake predictions in California, this 1969 "novelty" Calypso tune was the only hit for a Cali-based rock band. A collaboration between Jerry Riopelle, Thomas Reynolds (later of Hamilton, Joe Frank and Reynolds) and Davenport, IA native Stuart Margolis (as in "The Rockford Files"). Song? Group?


Friday, December 2, 2011

"Baby (You've Got What It Takes)".

OK, back to the 60's: This 1960 Otis/Stein/Benton soul ballad was first recorded and popularized as a duet by Brook Benton and Dinah Washington. It made the Top 5 on the Pop charts and topped the R&B charts, becoming one of the most popular R&B ballads of the 60's. Covered by Michael Buble and by Anne Murray. It is NOT to be confused with a similarly-titled 1959 Marv Johnson release. Song? For extra credit, name the Marv Johnson tune. But wait, there's more! For FURTHER extra credit, whom was it attributed to and who REALLY wrote it?


Yesterday's answer: "Orange Colored Sky".


Thursday, December 1, 2011

"Orange Colored Sky"

OK, back to the 50's: This 1950 Milton DeLugg/Willie Stein standard was popularized by Nat "King" Cole accompanied by The Stan Kenton Orchestra, peaking at #11. It was one of the first tunes to become a hit from TV exposure. Masterfully covered by Lady Gaga on last week's "A Very Gaga Thanksgiving".