I’ve been working with instrumentals a lot the last couple of weeks, and found a source of lists of the top sellers over the last 100 years or so. I decided to create a playlist by picking songs at random off of the lists for the ’50’s, ’60’s, and ’70’s, for your listening enjoyment.
The numbers in parentheses following the song names are the year the song was released and its peak position on the Billboard charts.
- Richard Hayman, "Ruby" (1953, #3): Hayman was the chief music arranger for The Boston Pops for over 50 years and was the "pops" conductor for the Detroit, St. Louis, and Grand Rapids (Michigan) Symphonies.
- The Islanders, "The Enchanted Sea" (1959, #15): An example of exotica, which I went into in some depth a couple of weeks ago.
- Victor Young, "Around The World" (1957, #13): Theme song from the 1956 film Around The World In 80 Days. Young wrote the musiuc for the movie.
- Billy Joe & The Checkmates, "Percolator (Twist)" (1962, #10): Wikipedia tells us that Billy Joe Hunter was a pseudonym for Doré Records founder Lew Bedell, and says this about the song: "n 1961, Bedell suggested to session leader Ernie Freeman that he and fellow musicians – including drummer Earl Palmer, guitarist René Hall, bassist Red Callender and marimba player Julius Wechter – record a version of a Maxwell House advertising jingle. The record, "Percolator (Twist)", was credited to Billy Joe & the Checkmates and rose to no.10 on the Billboard Hot 100 in early 1962." I knew it sounded familiar.
- Booker T. & The M.G.’s, "Hang ‘Em High" (1969, #9): Theme song from the 1968 movie that starred Clint Eastwood and Inger Stevens. The music was written by Dominic Frontiere, and Booker and the MG’s made it a hit arguably better than the version used in the movie.
- Louis Prima, "Wonderland By Night" (1961, #15): From his 1960 album Wonderland By Night (Pretty Music – Prima Style, Vol. 2).
- Mason Williams, "Classical Gas" (1968, #2): Probably his best-known song, it got a lot of guitar players interested in classical guitar.
- Mike Oldfield, "Tubular Bells" (1974, #7): A selection from the beginning of Oldfield’s 1973 album Tubular Bells, this was later used as the theme music for the 1973 film The Exorcist.
- Meco, "Star Wars Theme" (1977, #1): A "space disco" version of the John Williams theme, from the album Star Wars And Other Galactic Funk. Both the song and the album went Platinum.
- Barry DeVorzon & Perry Botkin Jr., "Nadia’s Theme (The Young And The Restless)" (1976, #8): Originally from the soundtrack for the 1971 film Bless The Beasts And The Children, where it was named "Cotton’s Dream," it was the original theme for the soap opera The Young And The Restless, which debuted in 1973. Cinematographer Robert Riger set slow-motion images of 14-year-old Romanian gymnast Nadia Comăneci to the song for ABC’s Wide World Of Sports, and DeVorzon and Botkin decided to rename the song in her honor.
I’m the guest conductor for MMMM this month, but as I can’t embed the Linky because I don’t give WordPress enough money, visit one of the permanent hosts (Cathy, Alana, or Stacy; links to them are in the footer) to see the other participants.
And that’s Monday’s Music Moves Me for May 17, 2021.