Song of the Day: Ella Fitzgerald, “Night And Day”

Composer and songwriter Cole Porter was born on this day in 1891. Many of the songs he wrote have become standards, gaining popularity via the stage and film. The Library of Congress has an extensive collection of his music manuscripts, lyric sheets, and published music, including scores of stage musicals and movies. Ella Fitzgerald recorded Ella Fitzgerald Sings The Cole Porter Songbook in 1956, the first of a number of "songbook" collections. This is "Day And Night" from that collection, written in 1932 for his musical Gay Divorce.

Writers Workshop: That Sharp Guy…

We had a TV weather man named Guy Sharpe when we first moved to Atlanta. I, and probably half the guys in Atlanta, called him "That sharp guy, Guy Sharpe." By the time we got here, he was a little older than he is here and working at a different station. I read the other day that he passed away at 75 back in 2004. Apparently, he was a pretty heavy smoker and had emphysema, lung cancer, and congestive heart failure. He had a great voice, though, probably from all that smoking.

When I was living at home, my mom had a knife sharpener. It was an electric contraption that had a round whetstone in it. There was a button that started the whetstone spinning, then you ran the knife through one of the two sides. It made all kinds of noise, but it got the knives nice and sharp. It worked on scissors, too, though we never used it on those, because every time we needed scissors, we couldn’t find any.

By the way, you can get a knife sharpener at The Sharper Image, though it’s not electric. $80? Ain’t cheap, either. For that price, it should come with someone to sharpen your knives for you.

As long as I’m on the subject, I was watching The Andy Griffith Show last night or the night before, and there was a guy who came around offering to sharpen knives, scissors, hedge clippers, axe heads, anything that had an edge on it. You don’t see that any more. I remember (vaguely) a man making the rounds of the neighborhood asking if we wanted anything sharpened. This woud have been in the early ’60’s.

Anyway, Tex, my stepfather, used to keep the knives really sharp. He did a lot of cooking, especially on his Weber kettle. He’d cook Thanksgiving and Christmas turkeys on that. He’d be out there, even if it was snowing or colder than a snowman’s rear end. It always came out perfect. I never could duplicate his results.

My grandfather had a pencil sharpener that had a spring-loaded arm that would hold the pencil while you sharpened it. I always thought that was kind of ingenious. You don’t see things like that any more…

Song of the Day: Nancy Sinatra, “Sugar Town”

A very happy birthday to the lovely Nancy Sinatra, who turns 83 today. I had almost forgotten that she did this song, but I remember Dad walking around and singing the chorus, not realizing the song was "Sugar Town" and not "Sugar Fly." Or maybe he did and just liked his words better. Anyway,the song reached #5 in the US and Canada (#1 on the Adult Contemporary chart in the US), #8 in the UK, and #14 in Australia in 1966. This is a performance on The Ed Sullivan Show from October 1966.

Song of the Day: Tom Jones, “Thunderball”

A happy 83rd birthday to singer Tom Jones! He had 19 Top 40 hits in the US and 36 in the UK, appeared in Las Vegas from 1967 thru 2011, and since 2012 has been a judge and coach on The Voice UK. He sang the theme song for the 1965 James Bond movie Thunderball. Here, he performs it on a 1965 episode of The Ed Sullivan Show. The song reached #25 in the US, #10 in Canada, and #35 in the UK.