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 BublĂ© (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

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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!