Monday’s Music Moves Me: Start At The Bottom, 1961

I remember picking up the WLS Silver Dollar Survey every Friday from a record shop on Morse Avenue. Most of my attention was on the Top 10, but I’d always try and catch the song at #40, which was usually a new song. More often than not, it never got very far, unless it was from a band like The Beatles (and their songs usually broke in higher than that). So, here’s what I’m going to do: I’m going to play the #40 song from the WLS Silver Dollar Survey for the last survey of each month in 1961 (and thanks to my friends at Oldiesloon for curating the surveys). You can see where I’m going with this, can’t you?

  • January 28: The Diamonds, “Daddy Cool” This one didn’t even chart for this Canadian quartet. Seventeen years later, Mary and I were married on this day.
  • February 25: Bobby Darin, “Lazy River” Only reached #14 nationally, but went to #2 in the UK.
  • March 25: Jerry Lee Lewis, “What’d I Say” Jerry Lee’s cover of Ray Charles’s #1 hit only reached #30 on the Hot 100 and #27 on the Country chart, but went to #10 in the UK. This was on my fifth birthday.
  • April 29: Gene Pitney, “Louisiana Mama” A song that didn’t chart nationally. Gene would have to wait until later in 1961 for chart success.
  • May 27: The Brothers Four, “Frogg” Reached #32 on the Hot 100. The Brothers were unable to repeat the success they had with “Greenfields” the year before.
  • June 24: The Drifters, “Please Stay” While this didn’t reach the Top 10, it reached #14 on the Hot 100 and #13 on the R&B chart, so it was a minor hit for them. This was an early hit for songwriter Burt Bacharach, and Dionne Warwick sang backup.
  • July 29: Johnny Crawford, “Daydreams” Only reached #70 for Johnny, who excelled as Mark McCain on The Rifleman with Chuck Connors.
  • August 26: Jose Jimenez, “Astronaut (Part 1)” Political correctness hadn’t yet caught on in 1961, and Bill Dana’s “Jose Jimenez” schtick was a huge hit. This peaked at #19 and launched (sorry) his career.
  • September 30: Duane Eddy, “My Blue Heaven” From his album The Twang’s The Thang, it only reached #50 nationwide.
  • October 28: Faron Young, “Back Track” Country star Faron Young had a hit on the country chart with this, which reached #8 there, but it didn’t cross over so well, only reahing #89 on the pop chart.
  • November 25: Johnny Hallyday, “One More Time” I’ve seen his name around, but this was the first I heard him. Hallyday was a French rock singer. This doesn’t seem to have gone anywhere in this country, and I can’t find it anywhere…
  • December 30: Bob Conrad, “Love You” You know Bob Conrad as Robert Conrad, who starred in The Wild Wild West and Baa Baa Black Sheep (also known as Black Sheep Squadron) and a series of commercials for Eveready batteries. As you can see, this is from a collection of songs sung by actors that also included a song by Dwayne Hickman, better known as Dobie Gillis. Can’t find any information on his singing career, but he was hardly a “golden throat.”

Next time I do this (probably in two weeks), I’ll try and follow the songs through their lives on the Silver Dollar Survey. I sorta ran out of time this week…

That’s Monday’s Music Moves Me for January 14, 2019.

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.

Monday’s Music Moves Me: Happy Birthday, Elvis!

Can you believe it? Tomorrow would be Elvis Presley’s 84th birthday… To celebrate, our mystery conductor has asked us to play an Elvis song followed by songs by artists who were active when he was. Since that includes half of the ’50’s, all of the ’60’s, and most of the ’70’s, that gives me a lot of leeway… but I stuck with artists who were from the ’50’s and early ’60’s. Elvis was first recorded on Sam Phillips’s Sun Records label, along with a few other names you’ll recognize, so the first half of the list are the Sun artists.

  1. Elvis Presley, “Mystery Train” As long as we have a mystery comnductor… From 1955, recorded on a 78 rpm record. Reached #10 on the country chart.
  2. Carl Perkins, “Matchbox” Recorded in 1956 as the B side to “Your True Love,” which went to #13 on the country chart. One of his more popular tunes.
  3. Johnny Cash, “Cry, Cry, Cry” The Man In Black’s first single, it reached #14 on the country chart in 1955.
  4. Jerry Lee Lewis, “Breathless” From 1958, it reached #7 on the pop chart, #4 on the country chart, and #3 on the R&B chart.
  5. Roy Orbison, “Ooby Dooby” The original from 1956, it didn’t crack the Top 40. Creedence Clearwater Revival covered it practically note-for-note on Cosmo’s Factory.
  6. Little Richard, “Keep A-Knockin'” from 1958, went to #13 on the pop chart and #1 on the R&B chart.
  7. Chet Atkins, “Canned Heat” I included this because around the same time Elvis came to RCA Records, Chet was put in charge of the Nashville studios.
  8. Fats Domino, “Blue Monday” Reached #9 on the Hot 100 and #1 on the R&B chart in 1956. Fats was also a Sam Phillips discovery.
  9. Ricky Nelson, “Hello Mary Lou” Evidently Ozzie Nelson had more than a little trouble with his son mimicking the King. From 1961, it only reached #9, but James Burton’s guitar solo influenced many guitar players. Burton later played with Elvis as a member of the TCB Band.
  10. Bill Haley & The Comets, “Rockin’ Thru The Rye” Only reached #78 on the Hot 100, but reached #3 in the UK, and probably had Harry Lauder spinning in his grave.

And that’s Monday’s Music Moves Me for January 7, 2019.

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.

Monday’s Music Moves Me: Happy 2019!

Well, the 2018 Xmas Music Xtravaganza is done and dusted, and all we have to look forward to is

So, let’s ring in the New Year with a few songs! Yes, I know, we have 17 hours from the time this post gets published, but we can celebrate it, anyway.

  1. Barry Manilow, “It’s Just Another New Year’s Eve” I participate in Song Lyric Sunday each week, and a couple of songs from yesterday’s seemed appropriate. This one was from Felicia Denise’s blog. Bless him, Barry Manilow is still going strong, despite his lack of any hit records, and this song captures the spirit of New Year’s Eve perfectly.
  2. George Harrison, “Ding Dong Ding Dong” Miss Jade posted this yesterday. Not a song I was familiar with, but it’s George Harrison and he wrote it for New Year’s for his Dark Horse album.
  3. Ella Fitzgerald, “What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve?” A classic New Year’s Eve song from a classic jazz singer.
  4. ABBA, “Happy New Year” Amid all the merry-making and partying on New Year’s Eve is a sort of wistful feeling, a looking back as you look forward. That’s what’s so wonderful about this song: like Barry Manilow’s song, this one captures the wistfulness and reflective mood.
  5. Charlie Robison, “New Year’s Day” Found this among all the other New Year’s songs and enjoyed it, so I added it to the list.
  6. Charles Brown, “Bringing In A Brand New Year” A little New Year’s blues from Tony Russell “Charles” Brown. This is the 1961 original that features him on the Hammond organ.
  7. Bing Crosby, “Let’s Start The New Year Right” A song by Irving Berlin from the movie Holiday Inn. Bing is joined by his brother Bob and Bob’s orchestra on this one. This is a 1942 recording; you’ll notice that the record is marked “12 Sides.” This was from the days when an album was an actual album, like a photo album, where each page was a record sleeve. The most common number of records in an album was 6, which is 12 sides (i.e. songs), which might be why, when the long-playing records became popular, they had 12 songs on them.
  8. The McGuire Sisters, “Happy New Year” The McGuire Sisters were a popular trio of singing sisters (like the Lennons) who retired from singing abruptly in 1968 after it was revealed that sister Phyllis had been in a long-term relationship with Chicago mob boss Sam “Momo” Giancana. A shame, but what can you do?
  9. Guy Lombardo & His Orchestra, “Auld Lang Syne” Guy died in 1977, but his version of this Robert Burns classic is still played in New York and many other places at the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Day. He recorded it several times; this is the 1947 version.
  10. WBBM Channel 2 – New Year’s Eve: Chicago Style (Part 2, 1979/1980) Just felt to share this bit of nostalgia, the New Year’s 1980 celebation from Chicago. Reporting from the corner of State and Randolph, not far from the iconic Chicago Theater, is longtime WBBM announcer and meteorologist John Coughlin, and on the stage is Mayor Jane Byrne, who had been elected the previous March. There are also scenes from Arnie Morton’s restaurant, with WBBM reporter Bob Wallace (who I used to sell clothes to) reporting on the fact that people go nuts when there’s a camera on them, and the Empire Room at the Palmer House, where reporter Warner Saunders is frustrated that everyone’s resolution is to quit smoking. Ever wanted to tell people who ask “what’s your New Year’s resolution?” that you’re going to start smoking?

And that’s Monday’s Music Moves Me for New Year’s Eve 2018. Happy New Year!

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.

Monday’s Music Moves Me: Xmas Music Xtravaganza 2018, Part IV!

Normally, I would use this post to play religious music to celebrate the Birth of the Savior, but somehow I’m really not in the mood for that this year. I was telling Cathy the other week that the non-religious aspect of Christmas was best typified by music, laughter, and food. So, here’s some music, laughter, and food.

The first four videos here come from a time when being Scandinavian at Christmastime (or any other time of the year) was hilarious. The first two videos are by comedian Harry Stewart, singing as his comic persona Yogi Yorgesson, “I Yust Go Nuts At Christmas” and “Yingle Bells,” from 1949. Then, Stan Boreson does the classic “Vinter Undervear.” The first time I heard it was on a “Dr. Demento” show one Sunday as I was driving from Wausau to Marshfield, Wisconsin, which, appropriately enough, is a big Scandinavian area. The fourth video is “O Lutefisk,” written originally by Red Stangeland, with an extra verse done by Terry R. Shaw, who performs it here. Lutefisk is a Scandinavian delicacy, dried fish that’s soaked in lye until it has the consistency of jelly, then either fried or baked and served with boiled potatoes. A friend of mine who’s from Minnesota and is Norwegian on his mother’s side (who told me about the song) tells me it’s nowhere near as bad as it sounds.

Next to music, I love old cartoons, and I decided I’d toss a few of them in this year. There’s a strong musical component to all of them, so they fit the day. I’ll warn you, because these were made in the early part of the last century, they are occasionally not politically correct. First is a Disney “Silly Symphony” from 1932, “Santa’s Workshop,” featuring an especially-jolly Santa and his elves preparing for the night before Christmas. Next is a Max Fleischer cartoon from 1936, “Christmas Comes But Once A Year,” in which Grampy saves the day at an orphanage after the toys received by the children all fall apart. It starts sad, but ends quite merrily. Ditto “The Shanty Where Santy Claus Lives” (1933), in which a poor boy is shown the time of his life by the wonderful Mr. Claus. Next, another “Silly Symphony” from 1933, “The Night Before Christmas,” sees the return of Santa, this time to the home of 7 or 8 kids, who slumber on while Santa and his toys prepare a fantastic display for them. Finally, we have yet another telling of the story of “Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer,” this one a Jam Handy Picture from 1948. (Wikipedia tells us, “Henry Jamison ‘Jam’ Handy (March 6, 1886 – November 13, 1983) was an American Olympic breaststroke swimmer, water polo player, and leader in the field of commercial audio and visual communications. Handy was noted for the number of training films that he produced over the years.”)

Finally, an actual Christmas song, “Riu Riu Chiu,” a Spanish villancico performed by Peter Tork, Michael Nesmith, Davy Jones, and Mickey Dolenz, i.e. The Monkees. Originally four guys thrown together for a comedy series, they created some fantastic music, surprising everyone but them.

Merry Christmas! That’s Monday’s Music Moves Me for Christmas Eve, 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.

Monday’s Music Moves Me: Xmas Music Xtravaganza 2018, Part III!

We’re up to week 3 of this year’s Xmas Music Xtravaganza, so let’s get right to it!

  1. Los Straitjackets, “Linus and Lucy” Maybe my favorite version of this, by Los Straitjackets, who do this a la surf.
  2. Fats Domino, “Frosty The Snowman” Eugenia suggested this one, and when I heard it I just had to put it in the list. Thanks, Eugenia!
  3. Seymour Swine and The Sqeelers, “Blue Christmas” For Birgit, who said “you ought to include Porky Pig singing ‘Blue Christmas’.” I aim to please.
  4. Ray Stevens, “Santa Claus Is Watchin’ You” He’s ever’where! He’s ever’where!
  5. Thurl Ravenscroft, “You’re A Mean One, Mr. Grinch” The voice of Tony The Tiger (spokestiger for Kellogg’s Sugar Frosted Flakes: “They’re GR-R-REAT!) does an extended version of this, from the TV special How The Grinch Stole Christmas.
  6. Joe Diffie, “Leroy The Redneck Reindeer” Jeff Foxworthy defines being a redneck as “having an elegant lack of sophistication.” So does this video.
  7. The Barking Dogs, “Jingle Bells” This came out in the late ’60’s or early ’70’s and it still cracks me up.
  8. Mel Blanc, “Yah Das Ist Ein Christmas Tree” If you’ve ever been at a German restaurant and they’ve brought out the Schnitzelbank, you’ll understand this one.
  9. Stan Freberg, “Nuttin’ For Christmas” Stan Freberg did some of the funnier radio bits in the ’50’s and ’60’s, when radio was still a thing.
  10. Jimmy Buffett, “Mele Kalikimaka” For Lloyd, Pat, Liana and the rest of my Hawai’ian friends.

And that’s Monday’s Music Moves Me for December 17, 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.