Song of the Day: Fred Neil, “Everybody’s Talkin’ (Echoes)”

Singer-songwriter Fred Neil was born on this day in 1936. While not generally known as a performer, he was best known for the songs he wroter for others, including the Jefferson Airplane, The Lovin’ Spoonful, Buddy Holly, and others. His best-known song is "Everybody’s Talkin’ (Echoes)," which was a hit for Harry Nilsson in 1969. Neil recorded it in 1966, but his didn’t chart.

Song of the Day: Harry James & His Orchestra, “Two O’Clock Jump”

Trumpeter, composer, and orchestra leader Harry James was born on this day in 1916. He was married to Betty Grable for a time, and was in several movies, including 1943’s Best Foot Forward with Lucille Ball, 1944’s Two Girls And A Sailor with Van Johnson, June Allyson, and Gloria DeHaven, and 1950’s I’ll Get By with June Haver, William Lundigan, and Ms. DeHaven. "Two O’Clock Jump" was based on Count Basie’s "One O’Clock Jump" and is from 1939.

Song of the Day: Les Baxter, “Quiet Village”

American exotica musician, orchestra leader and composer Les Baxter was born on this day in 1922. I wrote the following on exotica back in 2021:

[Orchestra leader Martin] Denny describes exotica as "a combination of the South Pacific and the Orient…what a lot of people imagined the islands to be like…it’s pure fantasy though." It’s intended for the listener to feel like they’ve been taken someplace exotic, usually someplace in the South Pacific, but really anywhere, from the top of Mount Everest to the jungles of Brazil and everywhere in between. In modern parlance, it’s lounge music, made for sitting around sipping Mai Tais as it plays on your hi-fi.

This is Baxter’s original recording of "Quiet Village" from 1952.

Song of the Day: Lightnin’ Slim, “Mean Ole Lonesome Train”

Blues guitarist and singer Otis Hicks, also known as Lightnin’ Slim, was born on this day in 1912. He often played with his brother-in-law Slim Harpo and harmonicist Lazy Lester. He started recording in Excello Records in the mid-’50’s, then quit for a time in the ’60’s and was working in a foundry near Detroit when he was rediscovered. I’m not sure when this was recorded, but it was probably from his early days on Excello.

Song Lyric Sunday: The Fantastic Baggys, “Summer Means Fun”

Jim designated today as "surf." Now, I love surf, but the kind I love is instrumental surf (think "Wipeout" by The Surfaris and "Misirlou" by Dick Dale & The Del-tones, for starters). As far as surf tunes with lyrics, I know The Beach Boys and Jan & Dean (and probably a few more, but it’s late and I spent a good portion of the day doing my taxes, so I’m not exactly in a great frame of mine), and I figured many of y’all would be going with those bands. So, I Ducked "vocal surf" and found this page, listing several bands that did surf with vocals, and I found this one by The Fantastic Baggys, "Summer Means Fun."

About The Fantastic Baggys, from Wikipedia:

The Fantastic Baggys were an American surf and hot rod group, created by P.F. Sloan and Steve Barri. The studio group released several unsuccessful singles. They released one album internationally, Tell ‘Em I’m Surfin’ (1964) on Imperial Records, and several singles and albums only in South Africa, where they proved to be briefly popular.

They provided Jan and Dean with several songs to record, including "Summer Means Fun" and "From All over The World".

Surfin’ every day down at Malibu
‘Neath the warm California sun
No more books, no more homework to do now
‘Cause summer means fun

Summer means fun
(Fun fun, summer means fun) summer means fun
(& the girls are 2 to 1) the girls are 2 to 1
(Lots of fun for everyone) yes, summer means fun
(Fun fun, summer means fun now)

Drive-in movies every night
Stayin’ out till half past 1
Sleep in late & live it light now
‘Cause summer means fun


So everybody, grab your baggies & bikinis
‘Cause it’s only just begun
We’re gonna have a ball until the fall now
‘Cause summer means fun

(repeat chorus & fade)

Source: Sonic Hits

And that’s Song Lyric Sunday (and Song of the Day) for March 12, 2023.