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Step back to 1978 – Part 2

February 17th, 2011 5 comments

In the belated second part of the 1978 instalment in this series (in which I revisit songs that have the capacity to take me back to the time when they were hits), the 12-year-old version of Any Major Dude shows himself to be an eclectic sort. In the first part, which covered the first three months of 1978, we became reacquainted with Blondie’s X-Offender and songs by the likes of Uriah Heep, Bonnie Tyler, Tom Robinson Band, Sex Pistols, Wings  and The Stranglers. Here we revisit Blondie, Sham 69, Boomtown Rats, a couple of Italians, and some prog-rockers.

Blondie – (I’m Always Touched By Your) Presence Dear.mp3
Blondie – Denis.mp3

In the first part of 1978 I described how it was the image of Debbie Harry that made me buy X-Offender unheard. I loved the song, and when on a trip to Amsterdam I bought the Presence Dear single (with the pictured cover) I became even more smitten. Deborah looks positively post-coital on the cover, though I don’t think that at the time I quite realised that. Her smile was appealing though. On the same trip I bought a fold-out Blondie fan magazine thing; a rather odd thing, because there wasn’t a big poster on the reverse side of all the photos and articles. And these were in Dutch, which I could more or less translate into German. Not that the text fascinated me much; far more agreeable were the pictures – and in particular a nude shot of the lovely Ms Harry (I have tried to locate in, unsuccessfully). Needless to say, it went up my wall; on the concealed side where I guessed – possibly incorrectly – my mother would not look.

I’m not sure about the release dates of Blondie singles. Most references date the release of Denis before Presence Dear. Perhaps the Dutch did things differently, or maybe they released Denis long before it came out in Germany. Anyhow, I bought the single soon after our return from the Amsterdam trip. By now I was so much a Blondie fan that I insisted our new kitten be named Denis. The song is one of those Blondie covers which the band chose astutely; that is, the originals tended to be not very well known. The original of Denis, by Randy & the Rainbows, was discussed in The Originals Vol. 1. Other Blondie covers treated in the series are Hanging On The Telephone and The Tide Is High. My unconditional love for Blondie reached an end a year later with Heart Of Glass, a discofied number which in a fit of misplaced self-righteousness I regarded as a sell-out.

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Sham 69 – Angels With Dirty Faces.mp3
Coming late into my barely pubescent punk career, this is still a favourite. I bought this single before it was a hit in Britain. It entered the UK charts in mid-May; I bought it in late April, even if I did so unheard and only because the cover suggested that this was a punk song (I might have listened to it on headphones in department store’s record bar though). I was so taken with the song that I bought a big yellow badge with some sort of reflector pattern and in red the name Sham 69, “the people you don’t wanna know”. It was the most disco item I have ever owned, but at the time the irony of that passed me by completely. I’ve often wondered about the name Sham 69. For many years I had no clue, and the idea that it refers to a faked position in the mutual administration of oral sex just made no sense. Apparently it’s lifted from a graffito that said, “Walton and Hersham ’69”, a reference to the band’s local football club winning an amateur league in 1969.

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Genesis – Follow You, Follow Me.mp3
In the mid-80s I left my record collection back home while living in London for three years. When I returned I found that almost all of my many singles and several LPs disappeared. I suspect they were stolen by a particular someone (ironically with the initials CD) and sold on to feed whatever partying habit he was maintaining. Among the few records he did not take were this and the late Gerry Rafferty’s Baker Street (which might have featured here, but I’ve heard it too often since to let it transport me to April ’78). The Genesis single was the first the group released after Peter Gabriel and Steve Hackett’s departure and the first with Phil Collins at lead vocals. At that point we had no idea just how unloved Collins would become among right-thinking people. There isn’t much Genesis v.2 has done that I approve of, and a lot I positively despise (I Can’t Dance and its supposedly satirical video above all), but I do like Follow You, Follow Me, especially Tony Banks’ keyboards.

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El Pasador – Amada mia, amore mia.mp3
At this point I must emphasise that the songs featured in this series are those that take me back, when I hear them, to the time when they were hits. Many of them I had on record, others I recorded off the radio. Most I still rather like. And then there are songs like this, the single of which I decidedly did not own (I mean, look at the guy’s comedy moustache!). But it was everywhere in the first half of 1978. I never owned the record, and much as I was a student of popular music, I never even knew the name of the performer until I came across the song by pure coincident a few years ago. And yet, when I hear it (preferably not too often), I can smell the corridor of my school, and taste the sickly sweet cold drinks the machine in the hall dispensed in flimsy plastic cups. I can feel the heat of the slightly more agreeable hot chocolate dispensed in the same flimsy plastic cups (the same machine also offered clear broth; surely nobody ever bought that). A Schlager herbert by the name of Roland Kaiser, who had a bit of a line in covering Mediterranean hits, made a German version of this, incoporating the Italian title in a feeble seduction routine. Some people thought it was very amusing; to me there was no mirth to be derived from Schlager singers; not until the following year when I was faintly amused, for a moment, by a song about drinking in suburban Berlin.

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La Bionda – One For You, One For Me.mp3
Likewise, One For You, One For Me wasn’t really my bag either. Though when the Italo-disco track was performed on the Musikladen TV show, I thought it was rather sexy, what with the cover girl cut-out’s nipple caps and the dancer’s very transparent blouse. Remember, I was 12; I would have considered surrealist art depicting deboned chicken breasts sublimely sexy. Surely the Zappa-lite on guitar and that absurd drummer should’ve persuaded me that there are sights that involuntarily and sometimes abruptly unsettle the libido.  I cannot say that my opinion of the song has improved greatly, though if it played at a retro party, I’d get up and boogie. The opening piano riff is actually pretty good. The La Bionda brothers, Michelangelo and Carmelo, apparently specialised in folk and prog-rock before jumping aboard the disco gravy train.

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Jethro Tull – Moths.mp3
I might have been on the cutting scene of punk, but I also took an apparent interest in prog rock. Hell, I had two Barclay James Harvest albums by then. I liked neither of them (except for their song Hymn), but pretended that they were spiritually enriching. But I did love Manfred Mann’s Earth Band’s Davy’s On The Road Again. Anyway, at around this time my older brother by six years began to introduce me to the music he listened to, mostly prog rock stuff (plus, I remember, Them and Donovan). When you’re 12, six years is a massive age difference, of course. Plus he was a DJ for the church youth group. And he had a party cellar populated by people with moustaches and girls with make-up who all smoked (Marlboro packets look really good when stuck on the ceiling next to each other) and probably drunk too. And perhaps had sex (even the lovely Sandra!). So when so cool a role model introduces you to the wonders of Jethro Tull’s Aqualung, and soon after you happen upon the brand new single by that group, you obviously buy it, unheard, to impress the old guy. Happily, the song was quite nice. Anderson looked a bit like the British TV character Catweazle, and I supposed that he might sound like Catweazle in the programme’s original English dub.

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Goldie – Making Up Again.mp3
More rock stuff, so these chaps are not to be confused with the British artist of dental misfortune and Strictly Come Dancing appearance. In fact, I don’t know much about this Goldie lot at all. I know they were label mates of Uriah Heep on the Bronze label, and that they were English (from Northumberland, a bastion of rock). Their founder, Dave Black, toured with David Bowie in 1976, which would have given the group some cool factor which their sole hit must have quickly negated. Their look, seriously rivalling that of REO Speedwagon, can’t have helped either. Making Up Again, a UK Top 10 hit, sounds like a song which Boston refused as being too soft. I may sound like I’m mocking it, but I actually rather like the song.

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The Boomtown Rats – Like Clockwork.mp3
The kind reader may regard this writer as an individual of entirely sinless record, but there were times when he deserved punishment. One such merited punishment included, apart from a good thrashing, the confiscation of my record collection, for the crime of redistributing the familial wealth. The cruel penalty would prove, contrary to initial threats, transient (a little over a month, perhaps). In the interim, my dear grandmother financed my unabated record-purchasing addiction, and in a spirit of clandestine conspiracy let me keep new acquisitions at her place, to be played on her gleaming old music box. It was a gorgeous piece of furniture, with a mirrored liquor cabinet that smelt of brandy. To access the record player, you had to press a button, whereupon the middle front of the cabinet opened. The record player had known opera and classical music, Schlager and the dreadful German Volksmusik that always seemed to include too much yodelling. Now it could add the pub-rock of the Boomtown Rats to its playlist. The alarm clock bell at the end of the song is pretty good.

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The Motors – Airport.mp3
In those heady days of 1977/78 any rock act that wasn’t prog or glam was prone to be called punk. Pub rocker Elvis Costello was initially called punk, for pity’s sake. So were The Motors. Look at their picture on the sleeve for Airport. None of them is likely to kill their girlfriend in a crazed heroin rush. They look like the third-choice goalkeeper for Rochdale, a geography teacher at a secondary school in North Wales, a trainer in telesales for Tupperware products, and a university economics major dropout battling his way through by working as a bus conductor to finance the modern arts course he really wanted to do but his father vetoed. All noble conditions of existence, of course, but unequivocally not punk (though the bus conductor might join the other arts students in being punks when he re-enters academic pursuits). And Airport is much better than most punk records. It’s a splendid song. In his marvellous memoir of growing up with vinyl, Lost In Music, Giles Smith recalls how he and his mates would endeavour to time the high-pitched background cries of “airport”. I did the same, as did a fellow with whom I discussed Airport at, of all places, the Dead Sea.

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Intros Quiz – Love edition

February 14th, 2011 1 comment

It’s Valentine’s Day, so to spice up the romance, here’s an Intros Quiz which the Casanovas/Casanovettes among readers can employ as part of their Valentine’s Day Sex foreplay. And those who won’t get laid tonight, well, here’s something even more fun to do…

So, twenty intros to hit songs that feature the word “love” (as a noun or verb), all 5-7 seconds in length, all hits. The oldest dates from the late 1950s; the most recent from the first decade of the millennium.

The answers will be posted in the comments section by Thursday. If the pesky number 6 bugs you, go to the Contact Me tab above to request the answers, or  better, message me on Facebook. If you’re not my FB friend, click here to become one.

Intros Quiz – Love edition

The desperate reader in a last-minute need for a fine mix of lovey-dovey songs for VD may refer to Any Major Love Mix 2009 and  Any Major Love Mix 2009 Vol. 2, and two more posts about being in love: here and here. And if the dear reader has no use for music about being in love, there are many songs about love for all circumstances, including getting dumped or cheated on, bouncing back, being in an unrequited or impossible love etc.

Happy Valentine’s Day for those who care, and and a jolly Fuck the Commercialism for the rest…


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The Originals Vol. 40

February 10th, 2011 4 comments

In the overdue return of The Originals, we’ll visit three songs that became iconic in their interpretations from the 1960s, but had been standards since the early 1930s and, in one instance, 1940s. Blue Moon and At Last debuted in movies, while Dream A Little Dream Of Me, the oldest of the three songs, would end up lending its title to a 1989 flick (and an episode of Grey’s Anatomy). Speaking of At Last, I hear that Etta James is in very poor health. Don’t forget the index of The Originals to revisit older instalments in this series. By the way, the Blue Moon discussion here will be followed later this month by a 38-song swarm of the tune.

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Shirley Ross – The Bad In Every Man (1934).mp3
Glen Gray and his Casa Loma Orchestra – Blue Moon (1934).mp3
Connie Boswell – Blue Moon (1935).mp3
The Emanons – Blue Moon (1958).mp3
The Marcels – Blue Moon (1961).mp3

It took the great songwriters Lorenz Hart and Richard Rodgers four attempts to arrive at the version of the song most people will know from the versions by The Marcels, Elvis Presley, Mel Tormé (my favourite, from 1961) or from the film Grease.

Rodgers and Hart originally wrote the song, with different lyrics, for a 1933 MGM film titled Hollywood Party, to be sung by Jean Harlow. The song, going by the working title Prayer (Oh Lord, Make Me A Movie Star), was never recorded, nor did Harlow appear in the film.

The following year, the songwriters dug up the song when MGM needed a number for the film Manhattan Melodrama, starring Clark Gable, Myrna Loy and William Powell. It was that movie, incidentally, which the bank robber John Dillinger watched before stepping out of the Chicago cinema to meet his death at the enthusiastic hands of law enforcement. With new lyrics, the song now was called It’s Just That Kind Of Play – and was cut from the movie. However, later in the production, a song was needed for a nightclub scene. Rogers decided that the melody was still good, and Hart wrote a third set of lyrics, under the title The Bad In Every Man. This one made it into the film, sung by Shirley Ross (pictured right), who would go on to work and sing with Bob Hope on film a few times before retiring in 1945.

By now, MGM had appreciated the commercial potential for the melody, but wanted more romantic lyrics. Enter Lorenz Hart again, reluctantly providing a fourth set of words — those we are now familiar with. But even then, an introductory verse was excised, which proved a good decision. Blue Moon was first recorded on 16 November 1934 by Glen Gray and his Casa Loma Orchestra (named after the hotel where they once had a standing engagement), with the band’s saxophonist Kenny Sargent on vocals. Four days later, Frankie Trumbauer and his Orchestra recorded it, and from there on in, a host of performers and orchestras committed the song to record. The biggest hit of these was the version by Connie Boswell with the Victor Young Orchestra, recorded on 15 January 1935 as the theme for the radio show Hollywood Hotel (Boswell changed her first name to Connee only in the 1940s).

After a flurry of versions (including by Benny Goodman, Django Reinhardt and Al Bowlly), Blue Moon was intermittently recorded and also appeared in several movies, including as part of a Harpo interlude in the Marx Brothers’ 1939 film At The Circus. In the 1940s and ’50s it was mainly a jazz number, as an instrumental or in vocal versions, by the likes of Mel Tormé (who first recorded it in 1949), Ella Fitzgerald and Jo Stafford. Arguably it was Elvis Presley’s sombre 1956 version thast appeared on his debut LP that returned Blue Moon to the world of popular music (the single of it was released between Hound Dog and Blue Suede Shoes). Sam Cooke released his version in 1958, as a b-side. It became a huge hit in the version by the multiracial doo wop band The Marcels, whose recording is probably the best known of the song.

As so often with popular covers that became huge hits, The Marcels recorded Blue Moon in 1961 as an afterthought. Producer Stu Phillips needed another song, one of the band members knew Blue Moon and taught it to the others, and in a matter of two takes the track had been laid down. The bom-bapa-bom intro came from a song the Marcels had in their live repertoire, which in turn was borrowed and sped up from The Collegians’ song Zoom Zoom Zoom.  The Marcels were not the first to produce a doo wop version of Blue Moon, however: in 1956 The Emanons released a doo wop take on Josie Records.

The success of Blue Moon and follow-up single Heartaches (also a cover of a 1930s hit; they did a lot of that) led to extra touring for The Marcels. But in the South the band’s racial composition produced problems; those were the days when the dignified Nat ‘King’ Cole was prone to assault racists. Ultimately, the two white members of the quintet left the group.

When Rod Stewart recorded Blue Moon for his interminable series of American Songbook albums, he added something of as twist: a first verse in Rodgers and Hart’s original composition of Blue Moon which everybody else has ignored.

The Blue Moon Song Swarm planned for later this month will feature several of the versions mentioned above and listed below.

Also recorded by: Frankie Trumbauer & his Orchestra (1934), Benny Goodman with Helen Ward (1935), Ray Noble with Al Bowlly (1935), Django Reinhardt (1935), Belle Baker (1935), Greta Keller (1935), Coleman Hawkins (1935), Tommy Dorsey & his Orchestra  (1939), Gene Krupa (1939), Charlie and his Orchestra (1943), The Cozy Cole All Stars (1944), Vaughn Monroe (1945), Georgie Auld & his Orchestra (1946), Mel Tormé (1949), Billy Eckstine (1949), Billie Holiday (1952), Eri Chiemi (1952), Jo Stafford (1952), Dizzy Gillespie (1954), Oscar Peterson Trio (1954), Blossom Dearie (1955), Louis Armstrong (1955), Art Tatum (1955), Ella Fitzgerald (1956), Julie London (1958), Sam Cooke (1958), Russell Garcia & Roy Eldridge (1958), Mel Tormé (1960), Bert Kaempfert Orchester (1960), Billy Taylor (1960), Conway Twitty (1960), Frank Sinatra (1961), Art Blakey Jazz Messengers (1962), The Ventures (1961), Cliff Richard & The Shadows (1961), Bobby Vinton (1963), Dean Martin (1964), Liza Minnelli (1964), Amalia Rodrigues (1965), Thyfonerne (as Desert Walk, 1965), The Supremes (1967), Bob Dylan (1970), Lee Perry’s Upsetters (1971), Sha Na Na (1971), Tony Bennett & Ella Fitzgerald (1973), Showaddywaddy (1974), Mud (1974), Spooky & Sue  (1975), Gene Summers (1975), Robert de Niro & Mary Kay (1977), Cornell Campbell (1979), César Camargo Mariano (1983), Elkie Brooks (1984), New Edition (1986), Cowboy Junkies (1988), Herb Ellis & Red Mitchell (1989), Mark Isham with by Tanita Tikaram (1990), Isabelle Aubret (1991), Daniel Ash (1991), Message (1993), Chris Isaak (1994), Bengt Hallberg (1994),Tommy Emmanuel (1995), Mina (1995), The Mavericks (1995), Estrada Brothers (1996), Less Than Jake (1996), Da Vinci’s Notebook (1997), The Huntingtons (1997), MxPx (1997), Vidal Brothers (as part of medley, 1997), Course of Empire (1998), Samantha Mumba (2002), John Alford (2002), Tommy Emmanuel CGP (2005), Rod Stewart featuring Eric Clapton (2004), My Morning Jacket (2006), Orange and Lemons (2006), Ann Hampton Callaway (2006), Helmut Lotti (2007), Joe Robinson (2007) a.o.

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Glenn Miller Orchestra – At Last (1942).mp3
Ray Anthony with Tom Mercer – At Last (1952).mp3
Nat ‘King’ Cole – At Last (1957).mp3
Etta James – At Last (1960).mp3
Stevie Wonder – At Last (1969).mp3

When Beyoncé Knowles was invited to sing At Last — Barack and Michelle’s special song — at one of the many Obama inauguration events in January 2009, Etta James was not best pleased. The veteran soul singer stated her dislike for the younger singer, who had portrayed Etta in the film about the Chess label, Cadillac Records. “That woman; singing my song, she gonna get her ass whupped,” James declared (she later relegated her outburst to the status of a “joke”).

It is her song, of course, certainly in the form covered so competently by Beyoncé. But many people recorded it before her, and it was a hit at least twice. The first incarnation came in the 1941 movie Orchestra Wives, in which it was performed by Glenn Miller and his Orchestra, who also recorded the first version to be released on record on 20 May 1942. Doing vocal duties were Ray Eberle and Pat Friday. A month later, Miller fired Eberle for being late for a gig; the hapless singer had been stuck in traffic. Written by Mack Gordon and Harry Warren (they also wrote Chattanooga Choo Choo, and Warren wrote hits such as That’s Amoré and I Only Have Eyes For You), At Last — with I’ve Got A Gal In Kalamazoo on the flip side (and, it seems, nominal A-side) — was a #9 hit for Miller.

At Last became a hit again ten years later, for Ray Anthony with Tom Mercer on vocals. This version is typical 1950s easy listening fare, done much better in 1957 by Nat ‘King’ Cole (who tended to do music much better than most people).

In 1960 Etta James recorded the song, with Phil and Leonard Chess producing with a view to accomplishing crossover success (the same year she contributed backing vocals on labelmate Chuck Berry’s Back In The USA). Her version, released on Chess subsidiary Argo, was a #2 R&B hit in 1961, but crossover success was limited, reaching only #47 in the pop charts. Over the years it did manage to cross over, being especially popular at weddings. As a result, it has been covered prodigiously, by soul singers (such as the wonderful Laura Lee and, in a gloriously upbeat version, Stevie Wonder), folk legends (Joni Mitchell) and difficult listening merchants (Céline Dion, Michael F. Bolton and Kenny G) alike.

Also recorded by: Connie Haines (1942), Geraldo and his Orchestra (1942), Miles Davis (1953), Chet Baker (1953), The Four Freshmen (1960), Baby Face Willette (1961), Lloyd Price (1961), Urbie Green (1961), Ben E. King (1962), Shirley Scott (1962), Brenda Lee (1963), Judy Garland (1964), Mary Wells (1964), Doris Day (1965), Baby Washington (1968), Stevie Wonder (1969), Laura Lee (1972), Randy Crawford (1977), The Fatback Band (1978), Ella Fitzgerald (1983), Lou Rawls & Dianne Reeves (1989), Phoebe Snow (1991), Diane Schuur & B.B. King (1994), Michelle Willson (1994), Stevie Nicks (1999), Günther Neefs (1999), Joni Mitchell (2000), Eva Cassidy (2000), Monica Mancini (2000), David McLeod (2000), Mary Coughlan (2002), Celine Dion (2002), Mary Coughlan (2002), Julia DeMato (2003), Cyndi Lauper (2003), Christina Aguilera (2003), Lavelle White (2003), Julia DeMato (2003), Michael Bolton (2004), The Frank Collett Trio (2005), Kenny G. feat Arturo Sandoval (2005), Michael Feinstein & George Shearing (2005), Raul Malo (2006), Aretha Franklin (2007), Ida Sand (2007), Beyoncé (2008), Kevin Michael (2009), Jaimee Paul (2009), Lynda Carter (2009), Daphne Loves Derby (2009), Stephanie Lapointe (2009), Stacey Solomon (2010), Liza Minnelli (2010), Brandy (2010), Paloma Faith (2010), a.o

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Ozzie Nelson and his Orchestra – Dream A Little Dream Of Me (1931).mp3
Doris Day – Dream A Little Dream Of Me (1957).mp3
Mama Cass – Dream A Little Dream Of Me (1968).mp3
The Beautiful South – Les Yeux Ouverts (1995).mp3

Dream A Little Dream Of Me is one of those songs where one cannot pinpoint a definitive performance or hit version. To some, it’s Mama Cass’ song. Others will remember it as Frankie Laine’s or Ella Fitzgerald’s song. Sign me up to the former group.

Written by Fabian Andre and Wilbur Schwandt — there are claims that one Milton Adolphus wrote it —with lyrics by Gus Kahn (whose My Baby Just Cares For Me we encountered in The Originals Vol. 24), it was first recorded on 16 February 1931 by Ozzie Nelson and his Orchestra, with Ozzie on vocals and Jack Teagarden on trombone, beating Wayne King’s orchestra by two days.  Ozzie, who had a radio and then TV show with his wife Harriet Hilliard and two sons — the late rock & roll singer Ricky Nelson and the TV producer David, who died in January — got his break in 1930 when as an unknown he won a popularity poll by the New York Daily News. Realising that kiosk vendors claimed for unsold newspapers with only the torn-off front page, Ozzie and pals picked up the discarded newspapers and filled in the poll forms in their favour. The ruse worked, and throughout the 1930s, Ozzie and his orchestra enjoyed a fine run of success — even if their version of Dream A Little Dream Of Me was not a hit.

The song seems to have maintained a presence in many concert repertoires. Kate Smith is said to have used the song, which she recorded in 1931, as a signature tune.  But it made a big comeback with the versions by Laine and Fitzgerald only in 1950. It made the rounds in the jazz and easy listening circles, but it required the death of one of its co-writers to cross over into pop.

Michelle Phillips of the Mamas and the Papas grew up knowing Fabian André as a family friend. When he died in 1967, after falling down an elevator shaft, she (or possibly Cass Elliott) proposed that the band record the song Michelle remembered from her childhood. A decision was made that Cass should sing it solo, and when the song was released as a single, it was credited in the US to Mama Cass with the Mamas and the Papas (elsewhere just to Mama Cass). A re-recorded version also appeared on Cass’ debut album, not coincidentally titled Dream A Little Dream.  Do check out Doris Day’s version; aside from Cass’ gorgeous interpretation it is my favourite.

Also recorded by: Wayne King and his Orchestra (1931), Kate Smith (1931), Nat ‘King’ Cole Trio (ca 1948), Ella Fitzgerald (1950), Frankie Laine (1950), Louis Armstrong & Ella Fitzgerald With Sy Oliver and His Orchestra (1950), Jack Owens (1950), Joe Newman Octet (1955), Doris Day (1957), Bing Crosby (1957), Dean Martin (1959), Tony Martin (1960), Joni James (1962), Enoch Light (1967), Tony Mottola with The Groovies (1968), Anita Harris (1968), Sylvie Vartan (as Nostalgy and Les Yeux Ouverts, 1969), Henry Mancini (1969), Mills Brothers (1969), Mickey Thomas & Mel Tormé (1989), Enzo Enzo (as Les yeux ouverts, 1990), Laura Fygi (1991), Micky Dolenz (1991), Maria Muldaur and Friends (1992), Gerry Mulligan Quartet (1994), The Beautiful South (two versions in 1995), Terry Hall & Salad (1995), Chicago (1995), Sharon, Lois & Bram (1995), Flying Pickets (1996), Candye Kane (1998), Denny Doherty (1999), Ephemera (2000), Gene Nery (2000), Tony Bennett & k.d. lang (2002), Molly Ryan (2002), Rozz Williams (2003), My Morning Jacket (2004), Anne Murray (2004), Béraud and the Birds (2004), Bucky Pizzarelli & Frank Vignola (2005), Dala (2005), Arielle Dombasle (2006), Diana Krall (2007), Blind Guardian (2007), Claw Boys Claw (2008), Jimmy Demers (2008), Max Raabe and the Palast Orchester (2008), Helen Schneider (2008), Mark Weber (2008), Matthieu Boré (2009), Nicole Atkins (2009), Erasure (2009), Michael Bublé (2010), OC Times (2010), Glee (sung by Arti, 2010) a.o.

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In Memoriam – January 2011

February 3rd, 2011 5 comments

With the death of Charlie Louvin, one of the longest-running performers in music has passed on. With his brother Ira, he started performing in the 1940s as the Louvin Brothers. The country and gospel act was massively influential. Elvis Presley was a huge fan (the brothers were his mom’s favourites). Ira, a racist drunk, died in a car crash in 1965; Charlie continued to record and perform for the next 45 years. Alas, the Louvin Brothers are often remembered only for the cover art of their 1960 album Satan Is Real (the story of which is HERE).

The Cheers’ Black Denim Trousers And Motorcycle Boots was one of the first hits for songwriters legends Jerry Leiber & Mike Stoller; the motor crash song became a hit shortly after Jamers Dean’s death in 1955.

Two motor accidents claimed musicians this month. R&B keyboard man Greg Johnson reportedly stepped in front of a car in bad weather and was fatally hit, and Alex Kirst of grunge band Nymphs and later a session drummer for Iggy Pop was killed in a hit and run, apparently while walking to a shop for cigarettes.

Two musicians connected to Australia’s Little River Band died within a day of one another. Sherbet’s guitarist Harvey James was a member of the group that would become the Little River Band, and Steve Prestwich joined the band briefly after Cold Chisel broke up.

Finally, Bobby Poe’s 1964 hit with The Chartbusters included in this collection inspired Tom Hanks to make the movie That Thing You Do.

As always, songs listed with entries are in a downloadable file at the bottom of the post.

Gil Garfield, 77, member of ’50s rock & roll trio The Cheers, on January 1
The Cheers – Black Denim Trousers And Motorcycle Boots (1955)

Charles Fambrough, 60, jazz bassist and composer, on January 1
Charles Fambrough – It’s Not Easy Havin’ Fun (1997)

Verne Langdon, 69, musician and record producer, on January 1

Gerry Rafferty, 63, Scottish singer-songwriter and former member of Stealers Wheel, on January 4
Gerry Rafferty – Stealin’ Time (1978)
Stealers Wheel – Late Again (1972)

Mick Karn, 52, bassist of British new wave band Japan, on January 4
Japan – Quiet Life (12″ version, 1979)

Gustavo Kupinski, 36, guitarist with Argentinian rock band Los Piojos, in a car crash on January 4
Los Piojos – Tan solo (1999)

Grady Chapman, 81, lead singer with doo-wop band The Robins, on January 4
The Robins – Since I First Met You (1957)

Bobby Robinson, 93, record producer of acts such as Elmore James, Wilbert Harrison, King Curtis, Gladys Knight a.o., on January 7
The Shirelles – Dedicated To The One I Love (1959)
Lee Dorsey – Ya Ya (1962)

Phil Kennemore, 57, bassist of American heavy metal band Y&T, on January 7

Margaret Whiting, 86, jazz/pop singer, on January 10
Mel Tormé & Margaret Whiting – Make Someone Happy (1961)

Alex Kirst, 47, drummer of alternative rock band The Nymphs and for Iggy Pop, in a hit-and-run on January 13
The Nymphs – Sad And Damned (1991)

Tommy Crain, 59, guitarist of The Charlie Daniels Band, on January 13.
Charlie Daniels Band – The Devil Went Down To Georgia (as guitarist and co-writer, 1979)

Trish Keenan, 42, singer of British electronica group Broadcast, on January 14
Broadcast – The Book Lover (1997)

Harvey James, 58, guitarist of Australian pop group Sherbet, on January 15
Sherbet – Howzat (1976)

Steve Prestwich, 56, drummer of Australian rock band Cold Chisel and briefly the Little River Band, on January 16
Cold Chisel – Forever Now (1982)

Don Kirshner, 76, record producer, song publisher, TV host and impressario, on January 17

Greg Johnson, 58, R&B keyboard player, played with Joe Cocker, in motor accident, on January 20
Joe Cocker – Unchain My Heart (as keyboardist, 1987)

Bobby Poe, 77, singer, songwriter and promoter, on January 22
Wanda Jackson – Let’s Have A Party (as backing musician, 1960)
The Chartbusters – She’s The One (as member, 1964)

Buddy Charleton, 72, influential pedal steel guitarist and backing musician for Ernest Tubb, on January 25

Charlie Louvin, 83, country singer; half of The Louvin Brothers, on January 26
The Louvin Brothers – I’ll Be All Smiles Tonight (1956)

Gladys Horton, 66, lead singer of Motown band The Marvelettes, on January 26
The Marvelettes – Playboy (1962)

Henrik Ostergaard, 47, singer of San Francisco rock group Dirty Looks (not to be confused with the 1980s New York band), on January 27
Dirty Looks – C’mon Frenchie (1989)

John Barry, 77, British film score composer (Out Of Africa, James Bond), on January 30
John Barry – The Persuaders Theme (1971)

Doc Williams, 96, bluegrass musician and member of the Kansas Klodhoppers, on January 31.

DOWNLOAD IN MEMORIAM JANUARY 2011

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