I saw the theme for today, “songs that begin with the first letter of your name,” and wondered if I could think of ten. Don’t worry, I did.
- Little Walter, “Juke” Little Walter was Muddy Waters’s harmonica player, and had a successful solo career. This was his first single on the Checker label (associated with Chicago’s Chess Records). This one hit the R&B chart in 1952 and stayed there for twenty weeks, and it’s considered a blues harmonica standard.
- Hank Williams, “Jambalaya (On The Bayou)” One of Hank’s best-known songs, this was also released in 1952 and features Chet Atkins on guitar.
- Looking Glass, “Jimmy Loves Mary Anne”” The follow-up single to “Brandy (You’re A Fine Girl),” this was the first track on their second and final album, 1973’s Subway Serenade. It spent almost as much time on the chart as did “Brandy” (15 weeks), but only reached #33 on the Hot 100 and #31 on the Cash Box survey. It reached #2 on WLS, which played it frequently.
- Steve Miller Band, “Jet Airliner” I was in the process of listening to Steve’s song “The Joker,” saw this one, and decided to use it instead. It reached #8 on the Hot 100 and #3 on Cash Box in 1977.
- Allman Brothers Band, “Jessica” From their 1973 album, it was written by Dickie Betts as a tribute to Django Reinhardt, as it was designed to be played using two fingers of the left hand (thus spake Wikipedia). The followup to “Ramblin’ Man,” it did nowhere near as well, only reaching #65 on the Hot 100 and #29 on the Easy Listening chart. Nevertheless, it’s a favorite of classic rock stations, because at seven minutes plus, it gives the DJ time to run to the bathroom.
- Rick Springfield, “Jessie’s Girl” Rick is a multitalented guy who was an actor as well as musician. In fact, this single came out about the same time that he first appeared on the soap opera General Hospital as Dr. Noah Drake. He took the acting job because RCA, his label at the time, didn’t expect his 1981 album Working Class Dog, from which this comes, to do all that well. It peaked at #1 for two weeks on the Hot 100 and earned him a Grammy for Best Male Vocal Performnce. Showed them, didn’t he?
- The Glenn Miller Orchestra with Marion Hutton, Tex Beneke, and The Modernaires, “Jukebox Saturday Night” When I lived at home, we had an album of greatest hits from the Swing Era that I liked to listen to, and this was one of them. This was a hit in 1942. Marion Hutton, incidentally, is the sister of actress Betty Hutton.
- Dolly Parton and Pentatonix, “Jolene” Sorry, Joey, but the song does start with the letter J and, besides, in the words of one of the commenters, it’s “the collab I never knew I wanted until now.” Seriously, it’s gorgeous. Pentatonix might be my favorite group since 1995, and their work on this track is superb.
- Chicago, “Just You ‘n’ Me” This was the second single from Chicago’s sixth album (you can guess the name, can’t you?) in 1973, and did better than “Feelin’ Stronger Every Day,” the first. James Pankow wrote it, Peter Cetera sings it, Terry Kath plays a phase-shifted guitar with wah-wah pedal, and Walt Parazaider has a remarkable soprano sax solo toward the end. Wikipedia informs me this was the last song WLS played as a rock station before going all-talk.
- Patsy Cline, “Just A Closer Walk With Thee” This is a traditional gospel song that might have been written before the Civil War and has been covered hundreds, maybe even thousands of times. That Patsy Cline sang it made my day.
You’ll note this is a diverse list, with rock, country, country rock, blues, and big band. Hope you enjoyed it. That’s Monday’s Music Moves Me for July 31, 2017.