1960

The Year 1960

It was a big year for animated TV series and the debut of the ‘Flintstones‘ which ran until 1966, for me and my family there were many hours spent watching and this one too Mr. Magoo!

Following the year theme, I’ll sneak another in before I change it up again. Leaving the 1950’s behind ushered in something very different in the age of music but it didn’t happen overnight. You have to look for the most part, beyond the Billboard Hot 100 to see anything actually ‘new’ from the year before. That said there were still many great songs produced they were just by a lot of the same people from the late 1950’s. Elvis returned from Military Service and placed two top 10 hits on the year end chart. Others to have multiple hits on the Year-End Billboard Hot 100 were the Everly Brothers (4), Connie Francis (4), Brenda Lee (4), and Paul Anka (3). Rock and Roll took a bit of a beating as the “Payola” (or pay for play) investigations were in full swing and Alan Freed was the highest profile target. It was fairly common practice for DJ’s and other radio personnel to collect under the table payments to favor playing certain songs. So Rock and Roll began to get a bad name. In truth styles were changing, hits were a bit more ballad like or even getting a bit bland to say the least, hence the need to dig a bit deeper to see what was percolating.

John Wayne ‘The Alamo’ 1960 
because this is cooler than a Summer Place

Case in point, “Theme from A Summer Place” written by Mack Discant and Max Steiner, performed by Percy Faith & His Orchestra. This #1 hit of the year from the movie “A Summer Place” is lovely but let’s be honest it’s a bit of a yawner. So deeper we shall go!

One song that was a lot more exciting was recorded by “Little Ann” Bullock. It was written by Ike Turner to be sung by a male lead from a male perspective, but Art Lassiter left the band so back-up singer Ann Bullock filled in on lead vocals at the recording session. “A Fool in Love” was sent to the record companies by Ike Turner as more of a ‘Demo’ looking for a male voice to re-record the song, after getting turned down several times Juggy Murray, the President of Sue Records said to keep it just the way it is; it reached #2 on the R&B chart and #27 on The Hot 100 in the fall of 1960.

The persona we now know as Tina Turner was born. Try as they might some songs are just not reproducible as is the case with many of her performances, so I suggest just stop as it will never get any better than Tina’s original “A Fool in Love”.

A cover version of a song originally released in 1959 would set off a trend in the 60’s that lasted for years. First performed by Hank Ballard and the Midnighters “The Twist” written by Hank Ballard was re-done by of course  Chubby Checker. Talk about a song and artist being at the right place at the right time, twice! Via success on Dick Clark’s ‘American Bandstand‘ it hit #1 September 19, 1960 then again January 13, 1962.

This song got some good airplay late 1960 and it did chart if ever so briefly, but not until January 1961 where it hit #85 on the Billboard Hot 100. I mention “Sugar Bee” (1960) written by Eddie Shuler and performed by Cleveland Crochet (and Band) because apart from being an awesome song it was the first ‘Cajun’ song to break the top 100. It would influence several artists and opened many listeners ears to a new sound, covered 20 times including Sir Douglas Quintet (1964), Mitch Ryder (1969) and Canned Heat (1970).

Released in 1960 under the name June Alexander (June being short for Junior believe it or not-as simply ‘Jr.’ thankfully won that battle) , “Sally Sue Brown“.  Written by Arthur Alexander it would not chart and was relatively unknown outside of his native Alabama, so why blog about such a song you might ask? As an example of just how regional music was back then, based on that song being played almost exclusively by Alabama radio stations he came to the attention of some of the other ‘locals’ in the Alabama music business and he would go on to record a year later with Rick Hall at the legendary Fame Recording Studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama. Again big deal you say, lots of people recorded there but no one else has been covered by all ‘four horses of the modern music apocalypse’ – Ok I just made that up 😉 The Rolling Stones, The Beatles, Bob Dylan and Elvis Presley. The Beatles would do “Anna (Go to Him) ” in 1963, the Stones would do “You Better Move On” (1964) and Bob Dylan did “Sally Sue Brown” (1988). All three songs were written by Alexander so this alone sets him apart as unique. Elvis did “Burning Love” in 1972 and although written by Dennis Linde, Arthur Alexander was the first to record the song in 1971. Here are the original versions of the the other two songs, “Anna (Go to Him)” in 1962, “You Better Move On” (1961). In total 23 of his songs have been covered by the likes of Pearl Jam, Van Morrison, The Guess Who, Ry Cooder, Robert Plant, Dr. Hook and Nick Lowe, so yeah he’s kind of a big deal…quietly beginning in 1960!

There was also a group called the ‘Silver Beatles’ in 1960, formerly the ‘Quarrymen’. Stu Sutcliffe, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Johnny Hutch and George Harrison, recorded this song, perhaps at Paul McCartney’s house. “I’ll Follow the Sun” written by Paul McCartney is rough sounding but it’s amazing there is a recording at all. This was a song they would stick with and refine for release on ‘Beatles for Sale‘ in 1964.

On April 14, 1960 Barry Gordy Jr. incorporated the fledgling Tamla Records into a new name “Motown Record Corporation“. Their first ‘hit’ song was actually released under the old Tamla label in 1959. “Money (That’s What I Want)” written by Janie Bradford and Berry Gordy, performed by Barrett Strong. Re-released nationally under the Motown banner it would peak at #23 on the Hot 100 in April 1960 and surprisingly (not because it’s not a great song) still ended the year in the top 100, at #97. They wasted little time producing great music, “Shop Around” written by Smokey Robinson and Berry Gordy, the official name was ‘The Miracles featuring Bill “Smokey” Robinson’ later of course referred to as ‘Smokey Robinson and the Miracles’. It was released in the Detroit market Sept. 27, 1960, after national release Oct. 15 it began its climb up the charts and would peak on Billboard Hot 100 at #2 and #1 on the R&B Chart in February 1961. One of the smartest moves he (Berry Gordy) ever made was hiring Eddie Holland, who had such stage fright as a singer turned to writing and production, his brother Brian would join as a staff writer and later Lamont Dozier from another Gordy label. By 1961 this trio known as Holland–Dozier–Holland, would team up and write and produce not only some of the greatest Motown hits but the some of the best songs of all time. Here is a cover of “Money (That’s What I Want)” by The Beatles from 1963.

(H.BD.M.)

References: https://secondhandsongs.com/, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Main_Page images: https://www.itc.edu/about/history/itc-dialogue-workshop-2-1960/, https://beatles.fandom.com/wiki/The_Silver_Beetles

If you like my blog, please consider filling in the follow by email link at the top right hand of the page. Remember to confirm the subscription when you get the first email. Confidentiality is assured unless you are a close friend or family member then all bets are off. While I can compile data from my blog it’s not tracking in terms of anyone’s identity. For past blog posts click on the menu at the top right corner. Pass it along to a friend who might enjoy it as well! And many thanks as always for reading my blog!

Oscar Songs

Academy Award for Best Original Song

This award began with the seventh Oscar’s in 1934. The award goes to the composers and writers of the songs, not to the performer unless they contributed to the creation of the song. So typically for the performer there is only the exposure, adulation and people buying their music, but no statue. I discuss this in ‘From the Movies’ posts (parts 1 & 2) though not all of them Oscar winners so there are many more great songs to talk about.

The first winner was “The Continental” performed in the movie by Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers, Erik Rhodes and Lillian Miles. Con Conrad (music) and Herb Magidson (lyrics). From the Movie ‘The Gay Divorcee’, I’m guessing this title meant something different back in 1934. This song was first released on a record in 1934 by Will Osborne and His Orchestra with vocals by Will Osborne, it has been covered over 70 times. Frank Sinatra (1954).

The winner in 1936 is a song I guarantee you have heard before “The Way You Look Tonight” Written by Dorothy Fields and Jerome Kern, performed in the movie ‘Swing Time’ by Fred Astaire. The first recording is actually from someone born and raised in my hometown of London, Ontario,  Guy Lombardo and His Royal Canadians which predates the movie release by about a month, the vocals are by his brother Carmen Lombardo. Next was ‘Fred Astaire with Johnny Green and His Orchestra‘. This song is of course not only beautiful, amazing and a classic but one of the lynch pins of The Great American Songbook. Covered over 450 times (even as recently as last year) by artists such as; Teddy Wilson and His Orchestra with the legend Billie Holiday (1936), Tony Bennett (1958), Connie Francis (1963),  Frank Sinatra (1964), and perhaps the most well know cover of late Michael Bublé (2003).

“Over the Rainbow” (1939) written by Harold Arlen (music) and Yip Harburg (lyrics), performed of course by Judy Garland. As this is the third time I’ve mentioned this song I’ll keep it short, Covered over 1000 times and one that you just can’t hear too many times ‘Israel Kamakawiwo’ole‘ (1990).

The 1963 movie ‘Papa’s Delicate Condition’ produced the song “Call Me Irresponsible” written by the amazing and prolific Jimmy Van Heusen (music) and the winner of four Oscars, Sammy Cahn (lyrics). Performed in the movie by Jackie Gleason. Covered first by Frank Sinatra in 1963.

Jumping ahead to the more recent, from the movie ‘Selma’ (2014) was the song “Glory” written by Rhymefest, Common and John Legend, performed by Common and John Legend. Evvie McKinney from the talent show ‘The Four’ in 2018. This song also won a BET Award, Golden Globe and a Grammy Award.

It is not uncommon for an animated movie song to win this category as was the case with last years winner from ‘Coco’.  “Remember Me” written by Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez. Performed by various characters in the movie but on the soundtrack is a pop version from Miguel and Natalia Lafourcade.

This years winner is …

References: https://secondhandsongs.com/https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Main_Page

If you like my blog, please consider filling in the follow by email link at the top right hand of the page. Remember to confirm the subscription when you get the first email. Confidentiality is assured unless you are a close friend or family member then all bets are off. While I can compile data from my blog it’s not tracking in terms of anyone’s identity. For past blog posts click on the menu at the top right corner. Pass it along to a friend who might enjoy it as well! And many thanks as always for reading my blog!

1959

The Year 1959

That’s 60 years ago if you’re counting. A five cent piece was actually made of nickel hence the nickname, and you could actually buy things with it, now it’s mostly steel and only 2% nickel and not worth the metal its made from. Among other events that year, Fidel Castro arrived in Havana, February 3 was “the day the music died” and the Barbie doll was born on March 9th. Call it reflection, self indulgence or a bit of both, here is a look at some of the popular songs from the year that myself and many others in my life were born.

Don’t Take Your Guns to Town” written and performed by Johnny Cash. While released in December of 1958 this was a chart topper from 1959 hitting #1 on Feb. 23 and finished the year ranked #6 on the Billboard Hot 100 Country Songs.  U2 (2001).

Bobby Darin was the only artist to have two songs finish the year in the top 10 of Billboard’s Hot 100. I blogged the #1 song (‘Grammys’ Johnny Horton’s “Battle of New Orleans”). He hit #6 with “Dream Lover“, and at #2 was his version of “Mack the Knife“. This song has an interesting background, it was adapted from “Moritat von Mackie Messer” (sung by Kurt Gerron .39 mark in the clip-from a 1928 stage production) music written by Kurt Weill and Lyrics written by Bertolt Brecht, it’s from their music drama “Die Dreigroschenoper” known in English as “The Threepenny Opera”. Darin’s recording is based on the English lyrics by Marc Blitzstein who translated the whole play. Before Darin did the song, new ad-libbed lyrics were added in 1955 by Louis Armstrong, for example; in honour of “Lotte Lenya” (original star of both the German and English plays) who was present during his recording session for this first version of the song based on the English lyrics. Darin’s rendition one of over 340, includes this addition as well as some of his own words with references to other ‘real life’ people.

The year end #1 Country song was from the very popular family group “The Browns“.  This time based on a French song, “Les trois cloches” by Edith Piaf & Les compagnons de la chanson (1946) written by Jean Villard. Translated into English by Berthold Reisfeld and first recorded by The Melody Maids in 1948. Edith Piaf would record an English version in 1950. All leading up to the sixth English version from The Browns (Jim Ed, Maxine, and Bonnie) , “The Three Bells“. This song also ended the year #7 on the Billboard Hot 100.

So what does one of Garth Brooks biggest hits have to do with 1959? Nope, he was born in 1962. The song “Mr. Blue” performed by ‘The Fleetwoods’ hit #1 in November and ended the year at #10. It was written by Dewayne Blackwell who just happened to write “Friends in Low Places” along with Earl Bud Lee. First released in 1989 by David Chamberlain, but Brooks was the first to record it as a Demo in 1988 and would re-record it for his debut Album “No Fences”. It was of course a smash hit going to #1 and won ‘Single of the Year’ in 1990 at both the ACM and CMA awards. Brooks also covered “Mr. Blue” on that album and Bob Dylan did it as well (Basement Tapes) though I can’t find a decent video of either version. Mike Preston also had a #12 hit in the UK with this song in 1959.

Caterina Valente (Jan. 14, 1931) a French born Italian, was a huge international singing sensation and in 1959 she was nominated for a Grammy in the ‘Best Vocal Performance, Female’ category for this song “La Strada Dell’Amore” written by Hans Bradtke and English by Jack Reardon. Recorded originally in German, Valente was fluent in 6 languages and sang in at least another 6. Her flawless vocals in all languages were equally matched by her remarkable guitar playing. Here is a clip from the Mike Douglas show. Known for her comedic timing as well she was a frequent guest with Bing Crosby, Dean Martin, Perry Como and Danny Kaye. She also acted in several movies and was an accomplished dancer. I don’t think there’s been anyone as talented. Coincidentally I ran across this, she released it in the US on Decca Records in 1959, a version of “Mack the Knife”, or “Complainte de Mackie” recorded in German (originally in 1956).

North American Song Awards and Charts were much more ‘international’ in this time, with many foreign language songs and artists offering a diversity that is somewhat lost today.

This was a big year for Jazz music with pieces like “Take Five” written by Paul Desmond and performed by The Dave Brubeck Quartet from the Album ‘Time Out’. This song was shortened for a single release, and would not chart until it’s re-release in 1961 where it hit #25 on Billboard’s Hot 100 and #5 on the Easy Listening Chart, also #6 in the UK on the Record Retailer chart. This would go on to become the biggest selling Jazz single of all time.

Other great Jazz releases from 1959; Miles Davis “So What” from what many consider to be Davis’s and possibly Jazz Music’s greatest Album “Kind of Blue” I have this album and I can tell you it’s remarkable. Ornette Coleman who wrote “Lonely Woman” from the album, ‘The Shape of Jazz to Come’ developed a unique sound with a plastic saxophone. He was quite innovative and set off a new movement of ‘avant-garde jazz’ which is related to ‘free jazz’. Now that I’ve mentioned it; Ornette couldn’t afford a proper sax at one time, hence the plastic horn, he also played the violin and trumpet-no plastic there I’m pretty sure. The always amazing Ella Fitzgerald would win the Grammy for ‘Best Jazz Performance – Soloist’ for the Album ‘Ella Swings Lightly’ with songs like a cover of “Blues in the Night” Music written by Harold Arlen and the Lyrics written by Johnny Mercer. Originally written for the movie “Blues in the Night” (1941) performance by William Gillespie. Covered over 200 times according to SecondHandSongs.com. While not released until January 1960, another Saxophonist John Coltrane would record the iconic Album ‘Giant Steps’ between two sessions in May and December of 1959.

Some surprises to me at least that made the year end Billboard Top 100 songs! Morgen by Ivo Robic, Petite Fleur by Chris Barber’s Jazz Band w/Monty Sunshine on clarinet and Battle Hymn Of The Republic by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.

Jiles Perry “J. P.” Richardson Jr. better known as the Big Bopper, “Chantilly Lace“. He performed this in 1959 at the last concert he, Buddy Holly and Ritchie Valens would perform at the ‘Winter Dance Party’ in Clear Lake Iowa.

Ritchie Valens, “Hurry Up” released posthumously in October 1959, written by Shari (Sharon) Sheeley, Eddie Cochran’s fiance who survived the 1960 car accident where he died from his injuries and singer Gene Vincent was seriously hurt.

It Doesn’t Matter Anymore” written by Paul Anka and performed by Buddy Holly. He sang this song at his last stage appearance. It was released less than a month before his death in a plane crash that killed the pilot and his two performance friends near Clear Lake on February 3, 1959.
I’ll blog more about this when I do Buddy Holly. Thanks to Don McLean’s American Pie (1971) this event has been dubbed “the day the music died”.

A playlist of all the videos.

References: https://secondhandsongs.com/https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Main_Pagehttps://www.allaboutjazz.com/1959-the-most-creative-year-in-jazz-various-artists-by-nathan-holaway.php,

If you like my blog, please consider filling in the follow by email link at the top right hand of the page. Remember to confirm the subscription when you get the first email. Confidentiality is assured unless you are a close friend or family member then all bets are off. While I can compile data from my blog it’s not tracking in terms of anyone’s identity. For past blog posts click on the menu at the top right corner. Pass it along to a friend who might enjoy it as well! And many thanks as always for reading my blog!

Love Songs

Love Songs

Well it’s a bit obvious being Valentine’s Day why I choose this topic. Yet another area where I could blog exclusively and not put a dent in. The list of love songs can take on many forms and definitions; love of someone or something, love of the place of your birth, (for the country fans) the love of your pick-up truck or your dog…and many other sources.

There’s more than just a smattering of songs about love already in my blog such as Beautiful by Gordon Lightfoot, as it’s the most written about topic. Here are some songs that are popularly known as great ‘romantic’ love songs and I’ve tossed in a couple that you may not have heard, all leaning to the positive side, as opposed to angst and heartbreak. One of my favorites I just posted in the ‘Grammys’, “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face“.

Something” written by George Harrison, recorded by the Beatles on ‘Abbey Road’ (1969). Covered at least 364 time according to Secondhandsongs.com
Elvis Presley (officially 1973 though there are earlier recordings)
Della Reese with an great rendition (1970). Frank Sinatra (1971).

“The Glory of Love” written by Billy Hill and first recorded by Willie Bryant in 1936, the next to do this song a couple months later was Benny Goodman who had a number one hit. As was the style back then a considerable instrumental lead into the vocals by Helen Ward. Covered over 120 times. My favorite cover is from the amazingly talented Dean Martin. A cover by Otis Redding, this man had soul. Bette Midler from the ‘Beaches’ soundtrack. And the writer of some of the worlds best love songs, Paul McCartney. Not to be confused with the similarly named “Glory of Love” performed by Peter Cetera (Chicago) and written by David Foster, Peter Cetera and Diane Nini.

“How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved by You)” written by the dynamic trio; Brian Holland, Lamont Dozier and Eddie Holland, performed by Marvin Gaye (1964). Covered well over 100 times. A great jazz version by Leslie Uggams (1966) more familiar these days as ‘Blind Al‘ from the ‘Deadpool’ movies. Perhaps the best known version is by James Taylor (1975) with some great harmony from Carly Simon.

Love Story” written and performed by Taylor Swift (2008). Cover by Marcela Mangabeira (2010).

Endless Love” written by Lionel Richie and performed with Diana Ross (1981) is ranked as BillBoard’s top love song; it hit #1 across four different charts in the US, and number one in Canada, South Africa and Australia. Cover by Luther Vandross and Mariah Carey.

Words of Love” written and performed by Buddy Holly (1957). A future blog subject with a simple little tune. Covered by Jimmy Gilmer (1964). The Beatles (1964).

Because You Loved Me” performed by Celine Dion (1996)  and written by Diane Warren, another blog worthy artist that has had 32 songs on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, nine of them number-one songs. I believe she has the record for most #1 songs recorded by different artists. Siti Nurhaliza.

“You Make Loving Fun” written by Christine McVie, another amazing songwriter, Fleetwood Mac (1977). Cyndi Lauper (1984) with a dance version.
Jewel (1998).

My Love” written by Paul and Linda McCartney (1973) Just a simple and beautiful song. Covered over 80 times. The legendary Tony Bennett (1973).

The Look of Love” performed by the “The Sound” a well deserved nickname for saxophonist Stan Getz. Written by Burt Bacharach as an instrumental, his oft colaborator Hal David added lyrics and produced this from Dusty Springfield (1967) . Covered close to 400 times. Diana Krall (2001). Shelby Lynn (2008), I own this album “Just a Little Lovin” a nice departure from her usual Country music style.

It’s Your Love” performed by Tim McGraw and Faith Hill. Written by Stephony Smith a jingle writer turned country hit machine. This song was a huge smash in 1997 and won four awards at the Academy of Country Music Awards. A cover by ‘She Moves‘ (1998).

Sweet Lovin’ Baby” written and performed by Laura Nyro. Here is one I can guarantee most will not have heard, and it requires some intense listening because it’s not your average love song. Laura Nyro (Laura Nigro, October 18, 1947 – April 8, 1997) from the Bronx. She has written songs you may know; “Wedding Bell Blues” #1  (1969) and “Stoned Soul Picnic” #3 (1968) for the 5th Dimension, “And When I Die” (Nyro was just 17 when she wrote this and sold it to Peter, Paul and Mary for $5000) #1 in Canada, #2 in the US for ‘Blood, Sweat and Tears’ (1969). “Eli’s Comin’” #10 (1969) ‘Three Dog Night’. “Stoney End” #2 in the US, #5 in Canada for Barbra Streisand (1970). “Sweet Blindness” another not your average love song. Her R&R Hall of Fame Induction.
Apart from Elton John once saying “I idolized her” the following are some of the artists that have acknowledged her influence on them; Elvis Costello, Rosanne Cash, Joni Mitchell, Carole King, Alice Cooper, Cyndi Lauper, Steely Dan and Kate Bush. Todd Rundgren was quoted as saying, once I heard her “I stopped writing songs like the ‘Who’ and started writing like Laura”. ”

For my money this is one of the best love songs ever, followers will be not be surprised, sung by Elvis Presley.  “Love Me Tender” (1956) lyrics written by Ken Darby. Perhaps not the only song but the most famous to be based on the tune “Aura Lee” written by George Poulton and W.W. Fosdick (1861). Here is the first recording from the “Shelton Brothers” in 1938. Covered close to 400 times under both titles. Used in the 1936 movie “Come and Get It” sung by Frances Farmer.
Love Me Tender” from the lovely voice of Keely Smith.
A playlist of all the songs.

I think these songs are for everyone, whether you have a “Valentine” or not, Happy Valentines Day to all! … I’m lucky to have ‘my girls’ 💘.

References: https://secondhandsongs.com/https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Main_Page
https://www.billboard.com/articles/list/6792625/top-50-love-songs-of-all-time
http://dsoworks.com/all-posts/aura-lea-becametheme-variations/

If you like my blog, please consider filling in the follow by email link at the top right hand of the page. Remember to confirm the subscription when you get the first email. Confidentiality is assured unless you are a close friend or family member then all bets are off. While I can compile data from my blog it’s not tracking in terms of anyone’s identity. For past blog posts click on the menu at the top right corner. Pass it along to a friend who might enjoy it as well! And many thanks as always for reading my blog!

Grammys

Grammy Awards

Originally referred to as the Gramophone award, the idea was for the Music Industry to have it’s own awards like the Oscars and the Emmys. A good choice to honour the Gramophone in the name and trophy. Sixty years later one would hope they could be a bit better at avoiding controversy but dealing with the ego’s and eccentricities of the music business can’t be easy and it’s good advertising I suppose.
The big four categories are open to music from any genre and therefore the most competitive; Record of the Year, Song of the Year, Album of the Year and Best New Artist. Far as I know the only person to win all four in one year is Christopher Cross in 1980. Adele has won all four but spread out over three different years. The most Grammys have been awarded to Hungarian born Conductor Georg Solti at 31, many during his tenure at the Chicago Symphony.  Alison Krauss is the leading female winner at 27, U2 has the group category at 22.
I have made many references to Grammy award winners in past posts and I suspect that will continue. It is not the end all and be all in my opinion for music greatness but does show achievement and in the case of multiple wins particularly over time, enduring talent and popularity. I’ve talked about this already but here are a few more ‘Song Of the Year’ Grammy winners that were actually ‘covers’ of someone else’s song.

Beginning with just the second year (1960). “Battle of New Orleans” written by Jimmie Driftwood who first recorded the song in 1957 and released it in 1958. The Grammy went to a version by Johnny Horton (1959).

What Kind of Fool Am I” performed by Anthony Newley (1961), he co-wrote this song with Leslie Bricusse. The Grammy in 1963 went to a version from the amazingly talented Sammy Davis Jr.

“Hello, Dolly!” written by Jerry Herman was originally from the musical of the same name in January of 1964. Performed by Carol Channing in the role of Dolly Gallagher Levi. So to say this is a cover bends the rules a bit as the version from ‘Louis Armstrong and The All Stars‘ is actually the first record of the song. This issue from the legendary Louis ArmStrong was recorded to promote the musical at the request of the songs publisher.  It was released as a single in 1964 and went straight to #1 knocking the Beatles off their string of number one hits on the Billboard Hot 100.

“The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face” written by Ewan MacColl, recorded by his soon to be wife Peggy Seeger in 1957. The Grammy in 1973 was won of course by Robert Flack. Remarkably Flack would repeat in 1974 with another cover song “Killing Me Softly with His Song” written by Charles Fox and Norman Gimbel that was first recorded by Lori Lieberman (1972). Roberta Flack (1973). Sadly authorship of this song was much disputed with Lieberman saying it was from a poem she wrote about Don McLean, far as I know she’s never received any credit with the songwriters saying her recollection of McLean came to her after they wrote it; without McLean never entering their minds.

Jackie DeShannon

“Bette Davis Eyes” was written by Donna Weiss and Jackie DeShannon. DeShannon recorded the song in 1975 and it went pretty much unnoticed until 1981 when covered by Kim Carnes who won the Grammy in 1982.

A fitting honouree last year was  Dolly Parton, who has won 10 Grammys and a staggering 47 nominations. This year it is Aerosmith, the rock legends are celebrating 50 years as they formed in 1970 and since sold over 150 million ablums.

References: https://secondhandsongs.com/https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Main_Page

If you like my blog, please consider filling in the follow by email link at the top right hand of the page. Remember to confirm the subscription when you get the first email. Confidentiality is assured unless you are a close friend or family member then all bets are off. While I can compile data from my blog it’s not tracking in terms of anyone’s identity. For past blog posts click on the menu at the top right corner. Pass it along to a friend who might enjoy it as well! And many thanks as always for reading my blog!

Eagles

Eagles

What to talk about with such a well know band leads me to default to my original mission of cover songs. According to Secondhandsongs.com the Eagles have had 36 of their roughly 50 original songs (7 studio albums) covered and they themselves covered 14 songs. As solo artists their ‘originals covered by’/ songs they covered; Don Henley 14/17, Glenn Frey 6/24, Randy Meisner 2/9, Joe Walsh 6/25 and Timothy B. Schmit 4/5. So that’s a very impressive collective body of work. The “Eagles”, formed in 1971 as most will know out of Frey and Henley backing Linda Ronstadt, Bernie Leadon and Randy Meisner (among others) would later join and appear (live only once) and also on her Album, “Linda Ronstadt“. With Ronstadt’s blessing and support the four ventured out alone and shortly thereafter made a sojourn into the Mojave Desert, much peyote and tequila later they emerged the “Eagles”. They of course could have had a couple shots and simply walked outside and looked in a tree but hey where’s the fun in that?

Over time rifts were created and members have left, with the untimely passing of Glenn Frey and new ones added, they’re heading to New Zealand to continue their tour again in a few weeks, The current Eagles – Don Henley, Joe Walsh and Timothy B. Schmit, with Deacon Frey and Vince Gill, one of the world’s top selling bands will know doubt continue to play to sell-out crowds.

They came to attention with the release of their first single “Take it Easy” written by Glenn Frey and Jackson Brown, which along with “Witchy Woman” written by Don Henley and Bernie Leadon and “Peaceful Easy Feeling” written by Jack Tempchin, were all top 25 hits and included in their debut ‘Eagles’ in 1972. Jackson Brown would soon cover “Take it Easy” (1973).
Witchy Woman” by Tonic Sol-Fa (2001). “Peaceful Easy Feeling” by Jack Tempchin the songs author.

Their second most covered song at just under 120 versions is “Desperado” written by Glenn Frey and Don Henley (1973). It’s hard to top such a brilliantly done song, but the definitive version even according the the band themselves is from Linda Ronstadt (1973). The themed ‘Outlaw’ album of the same name I think has a relationship (I need to explore) to the emergence of ‘Outlaw Country’ as the terminology albeit not necessarily the music style, dates back to about this same time. Certainly the connection between crime, being ‘wanted’ by the law, villains and the like in song has a very long history. Themed records themselves or the widely defined ‘concept’ album has its roots traceable to at least the 1940’s.

Hotel California” (1977) written by Don Felder, Glenn Frey and Don Henley. Covered at least 120 times, this title track reached #1 in Canada and the US, top ten around the world and was a multi million seller. One of those “do you remember where you were ?” songs for me, my good friend at the time, Jim had me over to listen to the whole album and I can picture it still. This song; both strange and beautiful with an amazing chord sequence and guitar mastery rightfully won the Grammy for ‘Record of Year’ (1978) and it’s ranked by Rolling Stone at #49 on its list of “The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time”, and on the R&R Hall of Fames list of the 500 songs that shaped Rock and Roll. As much as thirty years later this song had been downloaded into the millions of times and of late (as much as any music gets actually bought these days) it’s regularly streamed. To say it’s full of metaphors and social commentary states the obvious and this is another song that’s been way over analyzed and distected.
Covers of this song while numerous are not particularly noteworthy as this is a very difficult one to tackle. Versions translated into Spanish, Japanese, Finnish, Italian, German, French and Czech, also a number of instrumentals. Alabama 3, Nancy Sinatra, and the most impressive cover I listened to Passenger (2017).

With such a wealth of original material to choose from, even the most talented can’t resist a good cover. “Ol’ ’55” written by the brilliant Tom Waits (1973) is supremely done in this 1974 version. Also appearing on their ‘Best of’ Compilation is “Midnight Flyer” (1974) written by Paul Craft. Here is the original, ‘Osborne Brothers‘ (1972). Choosing a Bluegrass song was intended to demonstrate their diversity as well as exhibit the brilliant banjo playing of Bernie Leadon.

Just to show that not all their best songs came from the early days JD Souther who was (admittedly) an influence on the Eagles wrote a great song in 1972 called “How Long”. The Eagles (2007).

A playlist of all the videos.

References: https://secondhandsongs.com/https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Main_Page images; https://www.billboard.com/articles/columns/rock/6851078/eagles,

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