Monday’s Music Moves Me: Hand Claps and Finger Snaps

Michele from Angels Bark, this month’s guest conductor, gave us the theme of “songs with hand claps and/or finger snaps.” I came up with eleven (11) this week. Here they are.

  1. Tennessee Ernie Ford, “Sixteen Tons” One of the true classics in popular music, accompanied only by a small group and Ernie’s finger snaps. The song was written by Merle Travis. It was released on October 17, 1955 and by October 28 had sold 400,000 copies.
  2. Miss Peggy Lee, “Fever” The song was written by Eddie Cooley and Otis Blackwell (as John Davenport). First performed by Little Willie John in 1956 (whose arrangement also included finger snaps), Miss Peggy rewrote the lyrics and sang it as a “torchy lounge” song, accompanied only by Joe Mondragon on bass, Shelley Manne on a small drum kit (played with his fingers), and finger snaps provided either by herself, session guitarist Howard Roberts, or producer Dave Cavanaugh. It reached #5 in the US and the UK and #8 in Australia.
  3. Butterfield Blues Band, “One More Heartache” From the 1967 album The Resurrection of Pigboy Crabshaw. The handclapping is mostly at the beginning, but sets the mood of the song up well.
  4. Gipsy Kings, “Volare” Domenico Modugno’s song, which came in third at the 1958 Eurovision Song Contest. The Gipsy Kings gave it a flamenco beat, complete with palmas (hand clapping) toward the end. There are a few YouTube videos which demonstrate the art of palmas. Trust me, it’s much harder than it looks.
  5. The Routers, “Let’s Go” You hear the hand clapping (clap clap clap-clap-clap clap-clap-clap-clap, “let’s go!”) at the start of John Fogerty’s “Centerfield” and at athletic events all over the globe. It made it to #19 on the Hot 100 in 1962.
  6. Dan Hicks & His Hot Licks, “You Got To Believe” The first track from Dan’s 1972 Striking It Rich LP features finger-snapping most likely by Naomi Ruth Eisenberg and Maryann Price, the backup singers.
  7. Neil Diamond, “Cherry Cherry” This started out as a demo by songwriter Diamond and turned out to be his first Top 10 hit, reaching #6. I had forgotten this had hand clapping in it; it was provided by producers (and songwriters) Jeff Barry and Ellie Greenwich.
  8. Eddie Rabbitt, “I Love A Rainy Night” This song features both snaps and claps (snaps on the 1 and 3, claps on the 2 and 4) provided by percussionist Farrell Morris, who evidently mixed two tracks of each. Released in November 1980, it reached #1 on the Hot 100, Adult Contemporary, and Hot Country Singles charts in 1981. It replaced Dolly Parton’s “9 to 5” at the top of the Hot 100, the last time there were two consecutive country #1’s on the chart.
  9. Archie Bell & The Drells, “Tighten Up” From 1968, Archie and The Drells (from Houston, Texas) took this to #1 on the Hot 100 and R&B charts. It’s ranked at #265 on Rolling Stone’s list of “500 Greatest Songs of All Time” and was one of the earliest funk hits. It also joined Sly & The Family Stone’s 1968 hit “Dance To The Music,” The Beginning of the End’s 1971 hit “Funky Nassau,” and the next song as being songs where, at some point (sometimes several), the instruments (except usually the drummer) stop and come in one at a time. The clapping comes at several places, when the horns come in.
  10. The Capitols, “Cool Jerk” From 1966, when it went to #2 on the R&B singles chart and #7 on the Hot 100. Wikipedia tells us that the song was originally named “Pimp Jerk,” but they changed it because they were worried radio stations wouldn’t play it.
  11. Ramsey Lewis Trio, “The ‘In’ Crowd” Chicago’s own Ramsey Lewis recorded this in 1965 with bassist Eldee Young and drummer Isaac “Red” Holt for the album of the same name. It was recorded live at the Bohemian Caverns nightclub in Washington, DC, and the crowd adds the hand clapping. The song reached #2 on the R&B chart and #5 on the Hot 100; the album reached #1 on the R&B album chart and #2 on the Hot 200 albums and took the 1966 Grammy for Best Instrumental Jazz Performance by an Individual or Group. Young and Holt left the following year to form The Young-Holt Trio and later Young-Holt Unlimited; they were replaced by bassist Cleveland Eaton and drummer Maurice White (one of the founders of Earth Wind & Fire).

And that’s Monday’s Music Moves Me for October 8, 2018.

Monday’s Music Moves Me is sponsored by X-Mas Dolly, Callie, Cathy, Alana, Michelle and Stacy, so be sure and visit them, where you can also find the Linky for the other participants.

14 thoughts on “Monday’s Music Moves Me: Hand Claps and Finger Snaps

  1. Forgive me, but I am yelling hot DAMN (excuse my language) your list was so good. Hey, no worries, I loved Cool Jerk, Tighten Up and The “In” Crowd growing up, too, guess that’s why I ended up becoming a Monday music blogger even before Cathy lured me into Music Moves Me! I don’t regret at all growing up at a time when people really cared about album covers and liners. Or instrumentals. In some ways, I miss those days.


  2. Dang John, you have an awesome playlist here! Tennessee Ernie Ford’s “16 Tons” is a killer classic! What a perfect song for the theme! I never gave that one a thought.
    We only had two in common (Eddie Rabbitt’s “I Love a Rainy Night” — OMG I LOVE LOVE LOVE that song!…and Peggy Lee’s “Fever”).

    I was struck by how many I recognized as soon as they started playing but I never in a million years would’ve been able to name the songs or the artists: “Tighten Up”, “Cool Jerk” and “The In Crowd”. And “Cherry Cherry” too. All are excellent songs. This here is one playlist that I’ll be coming back to, to plug in, drift to another time period and disappear for a while!

    And you featured some very cool album cover art with a few of these song selections: I love the Butterfield Blues Band album cover as well as Archie Bell & the Drells album cover.

    Cool all the way around…just like you! ❤

    Thanks for playing along with my theme. I hope you enjoyed it.

    Michele at Angels Bark


    1. I’m not responsible for the cover art; the people who made the videos are. And yes, it is cool. Bands actually paid attention to cover art when most music was on vinyl. Now that most people download it, they could care less about it. Hell, the whole album jacket (liner notes, song listings, personnel, lyrics, etc.) was a whole event. I used to sit for hours reading it and digesting it. Now, who cares? I miss those days.

      “Tighten Up,” “Cool Jerk,” and “The In Crowd” are three favorites of mine. Look up “cool” in the dictionary, there’s a picture of Ramsey Lewis. Ditto other guys from Chicago like Herbie Hancock and Jerry Butler. I was about the only kid in grammar school who liked “Tighten Up” and about the only one who even knew “Cool Jerk.” Even then I had weird tastes in music.

      This was a lot of fun. Wait’ll you see what I have in store for the 22nd (it’s all written and ready to go).

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ooh I can’t wait! I know you’re going to rock that theme! You’re very knowledgeable about instruments I think.
        And I so agree with you about the album art and the liner notes and photos and band comments and all that other cool stuff that we’d be surprised with when we took off the plastic wrap and opened the album cover… I miss those days too!
        You know me: i wanna turn the calendar back!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I used to listen to Tennessee Ernie Ford when I was just a young one. I had also forgotten about I Love a Rainy Night. . Great selection for a challenging week.



    1. I was reading last night that “Sixteen Tons” is considered one of the first rock records. Sounds nothing like rock, but it’s the attitude, I think. Ernie was really into the Everly Brothers. They were on his show a lot. Maybe one day some vintage TV station will dig up the kinescopes of his show and play them. What an amazing voice…


  4. Hi John… guess who? Yep, I’m back! Gonna try to stop by and say hello to as many as I can in a half hour. That’s my limit for now. Tennessee Ernie Ford… my mama use to watch his show all the time. hahaha Great tune! Hope all is well with you. hugs


    1. Hey! Glad you’re back (sort of)! Cathy’s done a good job holding down the fort. I was just telling Mary B that it’d be great to see the old Tennessee Ernie Ford shows. There are a lot of clips with him with the Everly Brothers on YouTube.


  5. Nice choices. I almost chose I Love a Rainy Night. I had forgotten about Cherry, Cherry. Have a nice week!


  6. John,

    Hmm, you and I only picked only one song that matched which I’m surprised to see. I figured between you and Michele that you guys that I’d match most of your choices but you both came up with some song selections that I didn’t add to my playlist. “16 Tons” is a good ole classic and I almost used it but didn’t. We matched with the tune “Fever”. That’s my favorite Peggy Lee song. Thanks for joining the 4M crew on the dance floor!


    1. Interesting that Michele and I only matched twice, too. I think we’re all going out of our way not to pick songs we think everyone else does, which is not in and of itself a bad thing by any measure. Glad you enjoyed it!

      Liked by 1 person

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