Richard Penniman, better known as Little Richard, was born in Macon, Georgia 90 years ago today. One of the true pioneers of Rock & Roll, he was a huge influence on Paul McCartney, who sang "Long Tall Sally" on The Beatles’ 1964 EP of the same name (the song was later included on the Capitol LP The Beatles’ Second Album). Little Richard’s original was releaed in March 1956 (like I was) and reached #1 on the R&B chart and #6 on the pop chart in the US, the first of his songs to reach the Top Ten on the Hot 100, and it also reached #3 in the UK. The video continues with "Tutti Fruity," which was released in October 1955 and reached #2 on the R&B chart, #18 on the pop chart in the US, and #29 in the UK.
When I was in high school, every December I was asked for a list of the albums I wanted as Christmas gifts. After I provided Mom with the list, she would give it to her husband Jack (they didn’t marry until after I graduated high school, as he had to be released from his vows as a Jesuit, so he wasn’t yet her husband, but it’s easier to call him that), who would then take the list to Lawry’s Records or Rose Records in downtown Chicago and get the records for me. He would then bring them home, not knowing what he had purchased other than they were on the list.
After working out this week’s theme, I know exactly how he must have felt.
Jim decided that this week’s theme would be "indie pop or indie rock." And of course, my first thought was "what the f— is ‘indie rock’ or ‘indie pop’?"
So I go to The Blogger’s Best Friend ™, and of course, reading the description left me even more confused than I already was. So, I took a different approach: I opened Spotify and found a playlist called "Indie Mix" and played a game of "eeny, meeny, miney, mo" and came up with the song "The Mall & Misery" by a band called Broken Bells. The aforementioned Blogger’s Best Friend tells me this about Broken Bells:
Broken Bells is an American indie rock band composed of artist-producer Brian Burton (better known as Danger Mouse) and James Mercer, the lead vocalist and guitarist for the indie rock band The Shins. Broken Bells compose and create as a duo, but are joined by Dan Elkan and Jon Sortland when performing live. The previous live band included Conor Oberst and the Mystic Valley Band sidemen Nate Walcott and Nik Freitas, and Jonathan Hischke and Dan Elkan, both ex-members of Hella. Following their 2010 self-titled debut album, the duo released an EP, Meyrin Fields, in 2011 and their second studio album, After the Disco, in 2014.
"The Mall & Misery" is the tenth track from their 2010 eponymous debut album.
The lyrics were in the description box…
use your intuition it’s all you’ve got
keys are rare and there’s a thousand locks
stand in your way
so goes the gold age… your tired life
digging for a way you cast a spell
carve a path from all the things they sell
but they don’t let go
just thought you should know… either way
i know what I know would not fill a thimble
so let my mind go straight down the runway
does one want to get more used to the mall and misery
the debt mounts
the cost to be alive
your eyes are burning from the biting cold
if only to learn what you’ve never been told
that there’s a real world
and somewhere a good girl… lives and breathes
powdered hope in my callow mind
an idea stolen by the morning tide
now there’s a dark time
and this is your dark rhyme… to fill your heart
God bless my stepfather. I don’t know how he did it.
That’s Song Lyric Sunday (and Song of the Day) for December 4, 2022.
Singer Andy Williams was born on this day in 1927. Andy released 43 albums in his career, 15 of which were certified Gold and three of which were certified Platinum. He was active in the music business for over 70 years before his death in 2012. “It’s The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year” is from the 1963 album The Andy Williams Christmas Album, which was certified Platinum and reached #1 on the Billboard Christmas Albums chart.
On a personal note…
This album was on heavy rotation at the Holton/Christian household from the day the tree was brought into the house and decorated until the day the decorations went back in the attic and the tree was removed. This and Bing Crosby’s Christmas album were two of my mother’s favorites and it’s hard to imagine Christmas without them. I’ll say it again: Music is memories.
Jazz pianist and composer Wynton Kelly was born on this day in 1931. In his short life, he played with Dinah Washington, Dizzy Gillespie, John Coltrane, Cannonball Adderley, Hank Mobley, Wes Montgomery, Sonny Rollins, Miles Davis, Betty Carter, Billie Holiday, and Abbey Lincoln. He died in 1971 at the age of 39 of an epileptic seizure he suffered in a hotel room in Toronto. He’s accompanied in this performance of “The Theme” by Paul Chambers on bass and Jimmy Cobb on drums, and Coltrane plays very briefly at the beginning and end. This was filmed in Germany in March, 1960.
R&B singer Billy Paul was born Paul Williams on this day in 1934. He’s best known fo his 1972 hit "Me And Mrs. Jones," which reached #1 on the Hot 100 and the R&B charts. He had several more hits on the R&B chart before passing in 2016.