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BATTLE OF THE BANDS: “Family Man”

Pretty standard stuff this week. I was researching singer Maggie Reilly (whose birthday is today; happy birthday to her) and saw where she had sung on a number of Mike Oldfield’s records, including "Family Man," which was released in 1981 and covered by Hall & Oates in 1982. I figured, why not put them back to back and see which people like better? So here we go…

Mike Oldfield featuring Maggie Reilly

Hall & Oates

There are our contestants. Now, here are the instructions, if you’re so inclined to participate:

  1. Listen to the two songs.
  2. Decide which song you like the best.
  3. Vote for your favorite by leaving me a comment with your choice. If you feel like telling us why, feel free.
  4. Then, visit the other participants and vote in their Battles:

I’ll tally the votes and announce the winner next Wednesday, September 22, so be sure and cast your vote, if you wish, by then.

The lines are now open. Good luck to Mike and Maggie and Daryl and John!

Song Lyric Sunday: Robbie Williams, “It’s De-Lovely”

Jim took a suggestion from Paula for this week’s prompt, which is "Delightful, Pleasant, Sweet." I have the perfect song for that…

"It’s De-Lovely" is a song Cole Porter wrote for his 1936 musical Red Hot And Blue, where it was first sung by Ethel Merman and Bob Hope. It was later used in Porter’s 1934 musical Anything Goes when it was filmed in 1956, where Mitzi Gaynor and Donald O’Connor performed it. Hal Linden and Barbara Lang did it for the 1962 revival of the show, and Robbie Williams, whose version I’m using, did it in the 2004 biopic De-Lovely, which starred Kevin Kline and Ashley Judd. Wikipedia lists others who have recorded it.

The reason I chose the Williams version was because the lyrics are in the video. If you prefer, you can see the lyrics on AZLyrics.

And that’s Song Lyric Sunday, and Song of the Day, for September 19, 2021.

Puzzles! #socs

Image by Gerhard G. from Pixabay

I traveled frequently in the job I held for 20 years starting in 1984, and when I was on planes, in airports, and in hotel rooms, before I carried a computer with me, I usually had several Dell crossword and pencil puzzle game magazines with me, as well as a deck of cards and a book or two. I was actually quite good at crosswords (here I’m talking about American crossword puzzles, not the British ones, which I never quite got the hang of), and could finish one of the puzzles that was in the in-flight magazine in the period of time between boarding the plane and it taking off. In pen. They weren’t all that difficult, so that was probably why.

One time, I was on a plane, working the crossword while waiting to take off, and all of a sudden I was aware that the woman seated beside me was watching me. "Excuse me," she said, "you’re really good at those." I thanked her, but of course I got really uncomfortable, like I was in a fishbowl all of a sudden. I’m not accustomed to being complimented on something I do just to kill time, and I was kind of worried that she was trying to hit on me. That confused me, because I’m built kind of like a bowling ball with legs, not exactly a babe magnet, and although I don’t wear a wedding ring (I outgrew it and had to have my sister-in-law, who’s a jeweler, cut it off before I lost the finger; she made it bigger, but then I outgrew that), most people can tell I’m married. I chatted with her a little bit, then went back to my puzzle. The next time I looked over, she was asleep. Crossword puzzles are not a spectator sport.

My current favorite puzzle is sudoku, which you see above. It’s a 9×9 grid that’s separated into nine 3×3 squares, and the idea is to fill in the blank squares so that every row, column, and 3×3 square has the numbers 1-9 in it. Gives me something to do while I’m lying in bed having the lymph pumped out of my leg…

Stream of Consciousness Saturday is brought to you by Linda Hill and this station. Now a word from Falstaff, America’s premium quality beer!

Song of the Day: Frankie Avalon, “Venus”

Singer, actor, and former teen idol Frankie Avalon turns 81 today. He had 31 charting singles in the ’50’s and early ’60’s as well as appearing beside Rick Nelson in Rio Bravo (1959), John Wayne in The Alamo (1960), Alan Ladd in Guns of the Timberland (1960), and, of course, Annette Funicello in Beach Party (1963) and several other films. He had two #1 hits in 1959, "Venus," which spent 5 weeks at #1, and "Why," which was the last #1 of the ’50’s. Here is an appearance on the Saturday Night Beech-Nut Show from March 14, 1959, where he receives the Gold record for "Venus" from Dick Clark.

Five For Friday: Ethel Smith

I’ve spoken of Garfield Goose & Friends on this blog several times now, but for those of you who haven’t been around that long, it was an afterschool kids’ show on WGN in Chicago hosted by a man named Frazier Thomas. Garfield and all the other characters on the show were puppets that were designed by Roy Brown. The premise of the show was that Garfield Goose was under the delusion that he was the King of the United States, and Frazier was his Prime Minister.

The cast of <em>Garfield Goose & Friends</em>. Source:WGN-TV

The theme song for the show was a sprightly organ piece which I later learned was "Monkey On A String" by Ethel Smith, known in her heyday as "Queen of the Hammond Organ." I looked into her background, and she was quite a popular performer in the ’40’s and ’50’s, recording 11 singles (which were 78 rpm records) and 27 albums and appearing in nine films. She specialized in Latin music, particularly from Brazil. Here are a few examples.

  1. "Monkey On A String": The aforementioned theme song for Garfield Goose, written by Dénes Ágay.

  2. "Tico Tico": This is from the 1944 movie Bathing Beauty. The song was written by Zequinha de Abreu. Released as a single, it reached #14 and sold over 2 million copies.

  3. "Perfidia": Written by Alberto Dominguez. Just a nice song.

  4. "Blame It On The Samba": Ethel played this in the 1948 movie Melody Time. From roughly the same time, this was an appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show where she, Ed, and musical director Ray Block do a little clowning around.

  5. "Os Pintinhos no Terreiro": Another song by Abreu, from the movie George White’s Scandals, accompanied by Gene Krupa.

She has a page on YouTube that has several of her albums as playlists, as well as a playlist that has pretty much all the music she has on YouTube.

Ethel Smith, your Five For Friday, September 17, 2021.