Song of the Day: Keenan Wynn and James Whitmore, “Brush Up Your Shakespeare”

Actor Keenan Wynn, who appeared in hundreds of TV and film roles over the years, was born on this day in 1916. He was the son of vaudeville comedian Ed Wynn, who encourage Keenan to become an actor. Born Francis Xavier Aloysius James Jeremiah Keenan Wynn, he took his stage name from his maternal grandfather, Frank Keenan. While he was rarely the star, he often merited prominent billing. "Brush Up Your Shakespeare" is from the 1953 MGM movie Kiss Me Kate, which starred Kathryn Grayson and Howard Keel. He’s the guy with the mustache…

Song of the Day: Julie Andrews, “Le Jazz Hot”

Producer/director Blake Edwards would be 99 years old today. He produced and/or directed over 60 movies and over 30 TV series in his career, with a strong working relationship with composer Henry Mancini. They worked together in 1982 on Victor/Victoria which starred his wife Julie Andrews, James Garner, Robert Preston, John Rhys-Davies, Alex Karras, and Lesley-Anne Warren. "Le Jazz Hot" was written by Mancini with lyrics by Leslie Bricusse, and they won the Academy Award for Best Original Song Score And Its Adaptation or Adaptation Score.

Song Lyric Sunday: “Rocket 88”

Jim’s prompt for today is "Automobile, Car, Jalopy, Vehicle," suggested by Melanie B Cee. I picked a song that many believe was the first rock & roll record.

"Rocket 88" was credited to "Jackie Brenston & His Delta Rhythm Cats," who were actually Ike Turner & His Kings of Rhythm. Brenston was Ike’s saxophone player and is listed as the author of the song; he said it wasn’t particularly original, that it was basically Jimmy Liggins’s "Cadillac Boogie" from a few years earlier. The record came out in April 1951 and by June it had reached the top of Billboard‘s Best-Selling R&B Records chart, and by the end of June it had reached the top of the Most Played Juke Box R&B Records chart.

The "Rocket 88" was a car manufactured by Oldsmobile. A number of Oldsmobiles were issued under the "88" banner. The last of the 88’s was the Delta 88, which was made up until 1999.

The lyrics, from Genius:

You women have heard of jalopies
You’ve heard the noise they make
But let me re-introduce my new Rocket ’88
Yes, it’s straight, just won’t wait
Everybody likes my Rocket ’88
Baby, we’ll ride in style
Movin’ all along

V-8 motor and this modern design
Black convertible top and the gals don’t mind
Sportin’ with me, ridin’ all around town for joy
Blow your horn, baby, blow

Step in my Rocket and don’t be late
Baby, we’re pullin’ out about a half-past eight
Goin’ ’round the corner and get a beer
Everybody in my car is gonna take a little nip
Move on out, oozin’ and cruisin’ along

And that’s Song Lyric Sunday (and Song of the Day) for July 25, 2021.

Song of the Day: Lynda Carter, “Toto (Don’t It Feel Like Paradise)”

The happiest of birthdays to the lovely actress Lynda Carter, who played Wonder Woman on the series of the same name from 1975 through 1979. She is also a singer and songwriter who started professionally with a band called The Relatives, whose drummer was Gary Burghoff, who played Radar O’Reilly in both the movie and TV versions of M*A*S*H. Lynda’s first album, Portrait, was released in 1978, and included "Toto (Don’t It Feel Like Paradise)," which she wrote with C. Siller and Bill Cuomo. She performed it on the episode of Wonder Woman titled "Amazon Hot Wax."

Song of the Day: Tony Joe White, “Polk Salad Annie”

Singer/songwriter Tony Joe Jwhite, aka The "Swamp Fox," was born on this day in 1943. Best known for songs he wrote for Brook Benton ("A Rainy Night In Georgia"), Dusty Springfield ("Willie And Laura Mae Jones"), and Tina Turner ("Foreign Affair," "Steamy Windows"), he had one Top 40 hit, 1969’s "Polk Salad Annie." It reached #8 in the US and #10 in Canada. This is from a live performance from 1980.