Happy New Year

As we walk, rock and or roll into 2023, a bit of music never hurt anyone, and many songs have been written about the event. From old favorites to new these songs help us reflect on the year gone by and bring hope for the year ahead. I’ll keep this short post brief and get right to the music!

So we of course need to start with the oldest New Year song, a tradition since the late 1700’s in Scotland. The legendary Poet Robert Burns transcribed words he said he heard from an old man. It’s an amalgam of old poems and folk songs put to the tune of yet another old folk song which is listed on the Roud Folk Song Index as number 6294 out of over 25,000 songs.

“Auld Lang Syne” is roughly translated into several meanings, according to Wikipedia “into standard English as “old long since” or, more idiomatically, “long long ago”, “days gone by”, or “old times”. Consequently, “For auld lang syne”, as it appears in the first line of the chorus, might be loosely translated as “for the sake of old times”. Burns gave us a gift we give to ourselves and others every year and we still keep track of him as we mark Robbie Burns Day every January 25th.

The first recording was an instrumental by ‘Guy Lombardo and His Royal Canadians’ in 1939. For tivia sake, he is from the same place, London, Ontario where I grew up. Guy Lombardo, who was dubbed “Mr. New Year’s Eve” performed the first nationwide (heard in Canada as well) radio broadcast from the Roosevelt Grill in the Roosevelt Hotel in New York City from just after the stroke of midnight in 1929. In later years it was held at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel through to 1976. The song was heard on Radio and TV after the ball drops at Times Square for many years, and the recordings are still broadcasting every year. The first vocal recording of the song, not particularly surprising is by Bing Crosby in 1947. Sung by millions of people around the world there are well over 400 versions both vocal and instrumental. The Beach Boys (1964), Rachel Ann Morgan (1990).

Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve became the main broadcast replacement for Guy Lombardo, but the first edition, on the eve of 1972 was actually ‘Three Dog Night’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve 1973‘ with Dick Clark serving as the Times Square ‘Reporter’ and show Producer. The next year was hosted by George Carlin before Clark took over in 1975.

I’d have to say there does not seem to be a song that has replaced “Auld Lang Syne” as a popular sing-along, but certainly one that gets a lot of airplay is ” New Year’s Day” written by Bono (credited as all songs are to U2) and recorded by U2 (1983). Not purpose written as a song for the new year it’s actually inspired by the Polish Solidarity movement led in great part by Lech Wałęsa, coupled with words of love about his then new wife, Ali (Stewart) Hewson. Bedouin Soundclash (2006), Stella Starlight Trio (2012).

New Years Day” by Bon Jovi (2016), not as well known a song but about new beginnings.

New Years Day” by Slaid Cleaves (2004) gives us an Americana view.

A bit more recent “New Years Day” (2018) was recorded by Taylor Swift and written with  Jack Antonoff. Not exactly a happy go lucky let’s party in the New Year song but it’s quite deep and reflective. A very fine song. So far I’ve just found some YouTube covers.

Here are some more songs about the New Years Eve or the New Year in general; “What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve” written by Frank Loesser first recorded in 1947 by Margaret Whiting. Ella Fitzgerald (1960), Kacey Musgraves (2016), “New Year’s Eve” Tom Waits (2011), “New Year’s Resolution” Otis Redding & Carla Thomas (1968). The ultimate New Year’s party song “1999” written and performed by the late and great Prince from his 1982 album ‘1999’.

Happy New Year and all the best for 2023!

References; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Main_PageSecondhandsongs.com
https://www.songfacts.com/facts/bon-jovi/new-years-day

Many thanks as always for reading my blog!

Holidays #7

“It Came Upon the Midnight Clear”

The song first appeared in this instrumental medley of Christmas Hymns from 1917

The first clip to come up in a search of YouTube is this one by Frank Sinatra released in 1948.

The lyrics were written by Pastor Edmund Sears, he requested the poem be set to the hymn titled “Carol” by Richard Storrs Willis. The modern adaptation by Arthur Sullivan is based on this but follows the tune of “Noel”. This is another example of a Christmas song that does not mention Christmas. Thought to be inspired by a mood of melancholy over world strife and the end of the Mexican/American War in 1848, Sears poem and subsequent song has been recorded about 800 times including many instrumentals.

To quote the first song in this series “River” by Joni Mitchell

It’s coming on Christmas
They’re cutting down trees
They’re putting up reindeer
And singing songs of joy and peace

I will ‘wrap’ up this series with a couple more songs.

“The Wassail Song” which literally means to sing is perhaps better known as “Here we Come A Caroling”. It’s another song that does not mention Christmas specifically. As with many songs it is derived from old English folks songs and it made it’s was to the US, according to Wikipedia it was first recorded in 1934. The first known recording to survive is “Wassail Song” by Robert Shaw and His RCA Victor Chorale.

“Deck the Halls”

As with the previous song this was traditionally sung by choirs around the New Year rather than Christmas specifically. Based on a traditional Welsh melody the lyrics were written by Thomas Oliphant. Part of the motivation for “Caroling” was to sing for charity at the doors of the more wealthy citizens. These carols were very popular parlour songs as well and are still often performed by choirs and ensembles. However with “Deck the Halls” we have many memorable solo versions such as Bing Crosby and Nat King Cole.

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Happy Hanukkah or however you celebrate.

Holidays #6

Happy Holiday

This song was written by Irving Berlin and used in the 1942 movie Holiday Inn. The movie covers a number of Holidays and includes the now iconic “White Christmas” and “Easter Parade”. The song to represent New Years was “Happy Holiday” and it was performed by Bing Crosby and Marjorie Reynolds. Martha Mears voice was used (dubbed in) instead as it was for many an actress such as Rita Hayworth, Lucille Ball, Hedy Lamarr, Claudette Colbert and over two dozen more.

The song is played in the mix of Christmas themed songs as it fits the festive mood for the more generic playlist. Berlin had been tasked with writing a song for each holiday of the year and includes “Be Careful it’s My Heart” for Valentines Day.

As Holiday songs go it has not been covered as often and secondhdandsongs.com lists 57 versions, which for any other song is a lot, but for songs of the Season, many have over 1000 versions each so this one may not enter the the top 25. Still a lovely sentiment and it along with the rest of the songs from the movie shows the brilliance of Irving Berlin.

The song did not take off and garner covers right away such as the three in 1942 (now 2163 and counting) versions of “White Christmas”. It was 13 years later that it appeared on a Christmas themed record Happy Holiday by Jo Stafford (1955).

Kat Edmonson included the song on her 2021 album Holiday Swingin’! – A Kat Edmonson Christmas Vol. 1

Holidays #5

“Sleigh Ride”

Another song that does not mention Christmas but the theme obviously fits. Written by Leroy Anderson in the summer of 1946 it was first recorded by The Boston Pops Orchestra in 1949.

This happens to be the second most recorded song to originate from 1949 with 779 versions and at #1 is the very Christmassy “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer” with 834 versions which was written by the “King of Christmas Songs” Johnny Marks. Another non-Christmas song from 1949 that is popular this time of year is “Baby it’s Cold Outside” that has been covered 474 times.

A search of Youtube has the rendition by Ella Fitzgerald next on the list, the greats Johnny Mathis and Andy Williams know how to do Holiday songs as well as anyone. High on the search list was this surprising 1987 version from the soft rock superstars Russell Hitchcock (and to economize on names), he teamed up with Graham Russell to form Air Supply.

Holidays #4

“Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow”

This is the first recording and for some still the favorite. Sung by Vaughn Monroe and the Norton Sisters. It was written by the legendary lyricist Sammy Cahn who wrote so many great songs such as “Come Fly with Me” and “Time After Time”, he also wrote other Holiday songs such as Frank Sinatra’s “Pocketful of Miracles” and “The Christmas Blues”. This song he wrote with the equally legendary composer and musician Jule Styne. The pair wrote dozens of hit songs and were the favorite writers for Frank Sinatra among others. You will know many of Styne’s songs such as “People” by Barbra Streisand or “Everything’s Coming up Roses” by Ethel Merman. The pair also wrote “The Christmas Waltz” for Sinatra and it has since been covered 227 times.

As in my past examples this song does not mention Christmas but as it was released in November of 1945 it became a #1 hit song by December. It is one of the songs that is popular in the Southern Hemisphere during the months of July and August.

Franks Sinatra had a hit with his rendition in 1950.

Gotta love me some Dean Martin!

Jessica Simpson knows how to cover a Holiday song

Holidays #3

“Jingle Bells” the oldest surviving recording is by the Edison Male Quartet in this medley from 1898.

Jingle Bells” was not a Christmas song! It was written in the mid-19th century by James Pierpont, who was living in the Southern US at the time and missing the snowy winters of his home in New England. Seems it was a popular Parlour song and played around the Thanksgiving holiday. It notes the beginning of winter, and as time went on the two holidays and subsequently the music, just got linked together.

As Christmas and Holiday songs dominate the most recorded songs of all time list it is no surprise this is the 9th most covered song with 1569 versions. The second recording was twenty seven years later in 1925 by the Shannon Quartet.

The upbeat recording by Bing Crosby and The Andrew Sisters from 1945 remains one of the most popular versions still today.

The amazing Katharine McPhee

Michael Bublé featuring The Puppini Sisters in the style of Bing and The Andrew Sisters.

Happy Hanukkah!

Holidays #2

“Winter Wonderland”

This song was written as a poem by Richard (Dick) Smith as he admired the freshly fallen snow in his hometown of Honesdale Pennsylvania. Smith had Tuberculous, but before he succumbed to the disease in 1934 he showed the poem to his friend Felix Bernard who composed the music. The most popular version was the cover by Guy Lombardo which came out just a week after the original (above) on the competing Decca Records. Over the years it has been recorded by just about every major name from the 1930’s through to today’s stars such as Norah Jones and Thomas Rhett. It is the tenth most recorded song of all time with 1560 versions, just ahead of “Over the Rainbow” that currently has 1490 renditions.

There is no mention of Christmas at all in the song but of course it is full of the imagery of freshly fallen snow, sleigh bells and young love. The fictitious Parson Brown becomes a Circus Clown in the more children friendly version.

Here are some of the more popular versions, both Bennett and Love have charted with this song.

Personally I have to go with this swinging version by Ella Fitzgerald but I am sure you have your favorite(s).

References: 1,2,3

Holidays #1

“River”

As I mentioned in my last post to begin my series on Holiday/Christmas Songs I am starting with the more unconventional. Joni Mitchell’s “River” has been adopted as a Seasonal/Christmas song. Mitchell wrote the song with inspiration from her breakup with Graham Nash. Yes, it starts with a little “Jingle Bells” on the piano and references Christmas but not in a celebratory way. It’s essentially about missing someone and wanting to escape or “skate away” from the lonely feelings. There are many such songs that reflect the reality that not everyone is completely happy, just because the calendar shows it’s Christmastime. Those feeling lonely or missing a loved one, or anyone for that matter may find solace in this song. Typical of Joni Mitchell’s work it is deeply personal and at the same time relatable to millions of others in their own private struggles.

The song was not released as a single and is from her 1971 masterpiece Blue. As with many of her songs it went somewhat unnoticed and under appreciated for many years. It was first covered in 1974 by a friend and fellow Folk Singer Dave Van Ronk who was part of the Greenwich Village scene with Mitchell, Dylan, Phil Ochs and others. Mitchell has been quoted as saying his version of “Both Sides Now” is her favorite. It was then covered a few more times and never reached the charts but the first connection to a Christmas theme for the song was a version by Canadian Opera Singer Riki Turofsky where it appeared on her 1994 album A River So Long as it was paired with another non-Christmas song, this time written by Harry Nilsson titled “Remember (Christmas)” from his Son of Schmilsson released in 1972, it has been covered 20 times and it’s first Christmas theme appearance was on a Compilation album Cabaret Noël – A Broadway Cares Christmas in 1993. “Remember / Toyland” by K.T. Sullivan.

However, most of the credit for the connection seems to come from the appearance of “River” on Songs of the Season, a 1997 release by British Jazz guitarist Peter White. The album contained among other songs, “Jingle Bells”, “Silent Night” and “White Christmas”. Next it was on a Christmas Compilation assembled as a freebie insert by the renowned Dutch literary magazine De Gids in 1998. From there on it just grew from more ‘seasonal’ cover versions and appearances on more Christmas Albums, a bit of radio airplay and choirs including it in their Holliday repertoire. You will now hear it from your favorite streaming service when you request “Christmas Songs”.

Ellie Goulding covered this song and her 2019 Youtube release reached #1 on the UK Singles Chart. There are over 300 documented covers and according to secondhandsongs.com she is #14 on the list of of most covered singer songwriters with almost 2400 versions (of all her songs) being recorded. Needless to say that JoniMitchell.com is focused solely on her songs and they list 900 versions making it her second most covered song after “Both Sides Now” with 1573 covers.

It’s coming on Christmas
They’re cutting down trees
They’re putting up reindeer
And singing songs of joy and peace
Oh, I wish I had a river
I could skate away on …

References: 1, 2, 3, 4,

Holiday #6

“I’ve Got My Love to Keep Me Warm”

As I “wrap up” my miniseries on Billie Holiday I will finish with the only song she recorded that is associated with Christmas. That is to say it is not a Christmas song at all, however since it’s debut in the Musical, On the Avenue in 1937 the song has snuggled it’s way onto Christmas Albums by many an artist. It was first performed in the movie by Dick Powell and Alice Faye, the first record was by Ray Noble, which was released January 27, 1937 so chronologically it came out before the February 4, movie debut.

Billie was one of at least 10 artists to cover this song in it’s first year of release, and her version is often mentioned when referring to the more memorable renditions of the song. Written by Irving Berlin, the lyrics reference, wind, snow, cold, icicles and the month of December. At the time it was being recorded by Billie and many others it was a song about love and warmth, not a Holiday or Christmas song.

Here is a clip from the movie.

I am sure many of us are having our fill of Holiday and Christmas songs and for many December 26 brings some welcome relief in more ways than one. However tis’ the Season and so I thought to kick off my contribution I would give a little background on some of the songs such as this one that were not purpose designed. Many of the songs around Christmas and the Holidays have some interesting origins. For more on that story you can check out my upcoming Holidays #1 post.

If you have read some of my past posts you know how I love to connect the dots. I will leave you an interesting link between “I’ve Got My Love to Keep Me Warm” and Christmas Songs.

First, here is the legendary Jazz Guitarist Django Reinhardt and his oft partner the equally legendary Jazz Violinist Stéphane Grappelli with their instrumental version from 1938.

Again from 1938 we have Reinhardt but this time featuring the Violin stylings of the amazing Michel Warlop with “Christmas Swing”. In this case…perhaps all roads lead to Reinhardt.

references: 1, 2, 3,

 Happy Canada Day and Independence Day! (2022)

 
 
When it comes to music there is a lot we here in Canada share with our American cousins to the south. There is also much we don’t directly share but have eagerly adopted such as Blues, Jazz, R&R and of course R&B/Hip Hop. When comparing things between the two countries the multiple of ten times often comes up, as the US has approximately 331 million people and Canada has 38 million, which is closer to 8.7 but we tend to round numbers. So given the disparity in population, despite the great music from Canada the US has always and continues to have considerable influence. If you are a Country Singer and or Songwriter sooner or later, you end up in Nashville. If you really want to know about the Blues, you must travel even further south.
 
Perhaps we Canadians have a bit of an identity complex when it comes to music, and for than matter a few other things, as there is no denying we have adopted a lot of music/musical styles from the US. Having said that we have some unique and original music in Canada such as several forms originating from our only officially French speaking province of Quebec, First Nations and Métis peoples. And although Newfoundland has Irish, Celtic and British roots you won’t find music quite like it anywhere else.
 
Without dropping some more statistics we here in Canada think we pull our own weight in terms of representation of most any musical genre compared to the US. As most of my regular readers will know I am stuck in the past, but despite by anachronistic musical tastes I can read a music chart from 2021 and 2022. Enough so that I see names like Drake, Shawn Mendes, Justin Bieber, and The Weeknd among the top artists in the USA/ World. Many will recognize names like Alessia Cara, Jessie Reyez and Ruth B, Daniel Caesar with producer extraordinaire Jordan Evans and speaking of producers there is a long list here as well. 
 
In past posts I talked about the iconic names known internationally to come out of Canada like Celine Dion, Leonard Cohen, Anne Murray, Joni Mitchell, Alanis Morissette, Gordon Lightfoot, Rush, Shania Twain, Michael Bublé, Neil Young, Bryan Adams, Nickelback and going back a bit, Paul Anka. Many of these artists are still touring and making great music. Along the way I have likely missed mention of Avril Lavigne and Carly Rae Jepsen as well as dozens more, my point being Canada is not in the back seat when it comes to recognizable names. 
 
In truth, in popular music there’s no competing with the USA. However, it seems (from what I have read) that music is becoming much more international, in large part due to the accessibility via streaming and that silly app that sounds like a clock. Now, there is an argument that streaming has stifled the emerging artist and the traditional methods of touring small venues had all but dried up even before the global crisis. Having said that local music scenes continue to find a way to survive. But back to my point, if you are asked to name the most iconic names in music, your list will include Beyoncé, Bob Dylan, Bruno Mars, Lady Gaga, Taylor Swift, Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, Post Malone, Madonna, Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, or Kanye West, all from the USA. 
 
When it comes to lists and birthplace, I often see names like Rihanna, who is Barbadian, Nicki Minaj (Trinidad and Tobago) and Drake, The Weeknd and Joni Mitchell, listed as American artists. While some have become US citizens many origins get lost in the big American pie. The same can be said in other parts of the entertainment industry with many actors like Jim Carrey, Stana Katic, Rachel McAdams, the two Ryan’s (Reynolds and Gosling), Kiefer Sutherland, William Shatner, all born in Canada. I don’t have room to list the great actors to come from the USA.
 
We do share much more however, as there are dozens of well known songs and groups that have a US and Canada mix. Many iconic songs were written by Canadian Robbie Robertson while in The Band, and we also have; Arcade Fire, The Mamas and The Papas, The Lovin’ Spoonful, Blood Sweat and Tears and anything that Neil Young has been in like Buffalo Springfield and CSNY. The LA based Rock band Steppenwolf was founded by Canadian artists Jerry Edmonton, Goldy McJohn and German-Canadian John Kay, they would add American guitarist Michael Monarch and bass player Rushton Moreve.
 
Here are a few songs that you may not know have a Canada/US connection and as I am wont to do, let’s go back in time a bit first.
 
“Red River Valley” is listed as a Traditional song and has been a hit for several Country artists over the years, although first recorded by American singers, Canadian Folklorist Edith Folke has uncovered evidence the origins can be traced to Western Canada before 1896. This predates recordings by a couple of artists I have mentioned in past posts, Carl T Sprague (as “Cowboy Love Song“) and Bascom Lamar Lunsford (as “Sherman Valley”) both recorded it in 1925. There are many different lyrics that follow the same theme and certainly the melody. More modern versions, if I can use that term, follow the name, “Red River Valley” as first recorded by Hugh Cross and Riley Puckett in 1927. Google search will give you this wonderful version from Marty Robbins, released in 1961. Including instrumentals there are 225 recordings of this song.
 
I have mentioned Shelton Brooks before, he is Canadian born and is of African descent. His family moved to Detroit when he was quite young. A talented musician and singer best remembered for writing the song “Some of these Days” (covered over 300 times) first recorded by Sophie Tucker in 1910, released in 1911 on cylinder and she did it again in 1927, released on 78 rpm. Serena Ryder (2006).
 
Bob Nolan (Clarence Roberts Noble) moved from his birthplace (April 13, 1908) of Winnipeg Manitoba to New Brunswick with his mother sometime after his parents’ divorce. After a couple more moves at age 13, he ended up in Tucson, Arizona to live with his father. Nolan would write “Tumbling Tumbleweeds“, first released in 1934 by The Sons of the Pioneers, a group he co-founded with Americans Leonard Slye (Roy Rogers) and Tim Spencer. In high school Nolan would write a poem, later it became a favorite Cowboy song titled “Cool Water” first recorded by Bob Atcher in 1940, followed by The Sons of the Pioneers in 1941. Nolans songs have been covered by Dan Blocker (Hoss on Bonanza), Patsy Montana, Pete Seeger, Tex Ritter, Johnny Cash, and a boodle of Hanks: Williams, Shizzoe,Thompson and in 1938, Hank the Yodelling Cowboy, also known as Hank Snow.
 
At age 17, Montreal born Alex Kramer’s first gig was playing piano at a silent movie theatre in 1920. He would later travel the US as a Vaudeville and Nightclub performer. His sideline as a Vocal Coach would lead to him marry one of his American students, Joan Whitney. The pair would write several notable songs such as “High on a Windy Hill” which was a hit for Gene Krupa (vocals by Howard Du Lany) in 1940, they also wrote “Candy” with Mack David (Baby It’s You). “Candy” has been recorded over 70 times but the original by Jo Stafford and Johnny Mercer remains the standout. Other artists that recorded their songs are Doris Day, Nat King Cole, Vic Damone, and the Andrews Sisters. They also co-wrote Jimmy Dorsey’s #1 hit song “My Sister and I” (vocals by Bob Eberly) with another well known composer, Hy Zaret who co-wrote “Unchained Melody”.
 
I have blogged about Buffy (Beverly) Sainte-Marie, who was born in Canada February 20, 1941, She is described as an Indigenous Canadian-American singer-songwriter and musician. Her other endeavors include social activism, educator, and visual artist. She has done much to help preserve first nations culture in Canada and the US. Oh, and she is also a composer, and has an Oscar to prove it. I was fortunate enough to see her perform at the Aeolian Hall in London, Ontario in November of last year. She is still in top form and it was an incredible experience. Here is a clip from her 2018 show.
 
Singer Bobby Curtola of “Fortune Teller” fame was born in Port Arthur Ontario but perhaps his most lasting legacy to Canada and the US is the jingle he wrote, composed and sang, “Things go better with Coca-Cola” in 1964.
 
Speaking of teen idols, again I have mentioned Paul Anka before and the fact that he wrote the theme song for The Johnny Carson show, but he also penned one of Buddy Holly’s most enduring songs “It Doesn’t Matter Anymore“. It became a hit soon after Holly died in the plane crash of 1959. Covered to great success by Linda Ronstadt in 1974 and Serena Ryder in 2006.  
 
Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In” was the smash hit from the musical Hair. It spent six weeks at #1 in 1969. The lyrics were written by two Americans, James Rado and Gerome Ragni, and Canadian Galt MacDermot composed the music. It’s perhaps best known by the 1969 release by The 5th Dimension in 1969 in the medley format, “Aquarius” is the main song with “Let the Sunshine In” as an add on which has only been recorded once as a stand alone song.  Including instrumentals there are 180 versions of the song. The Original Cast recording of Aquarius is listed as Warren Burton and Company in 1967, first released recording was credited to the guy who actually sang the song in the play, Ronald (Ronnie) Dyson and Company.
 
An American band known as Blood, Sweat and Tears lost their lead singer Al Kooper so thanks to Folk music star Judy Collins they hired Canadian David Clayton Thomas. Their self-titled record released late 1968 contained the hit songs’ “Spinning Wheel”, “And When I Die” and “You Made Me So Very Happy”. It topped Billboards’ album chart for 7 of it’s of 109 weeks. The album won an unprecedented five Grammy awards in 1969/70. They were the first artists to have three U.S. gold singles on the same album. 
 
Montreal born Andy Kim moved to New York and the Brill Building to pursue a career in music. He had a hit covering the Ronettes song “Baby I Love You” in 1969.  Kim, along with American songwriting legend Jeff Barry wrote “Sugar, Sugar” that same year which was a hit for Don Kirshner’s studio creation of The Archies. The song featured Kim and Toni Wine backing up Ron Dante (The Cuff Links) on lead vocals. The song would hit #1 for four weeks and was the Song of the Year for Billboard Magazine for 1969. You will also know him from a song he wrote himself, “Rock Me Gently” which was a #1 Billboard hit in 1974.
 
Eddie Schwartz is a Toronto songwriter who wrote “The Doctor“, a #1 hit on the Mainstream Rock chart for the Doobie Brothers. He wrote “Hit Me with Your Best Shot” for Pat Benatar and many other songs recorded by International artists. The song title was featured on the Jeopardy clue title board the other day.
 
Well, that’s a good bit of the older stuff, there are many more American-Canadian collaborations in bands, songwriting and producing but perhaps another day.
 
Trivia
 
Eddie Schwartz’ song “Don’t Shed a Tear” (with Rob Friedman) would become a hit for British singer songwriter Paul Carrack known for his lead vocals on “How Long” (Ace), “Tempted” (Squeeze) and “In the Living Years” (Mike + the Mechanics). In 1987 my wife and I were at Paul Carracks debut for the album One Good Reason in Toronto, I think it was the El Mocambo but not sure on that point. Anyway, when Carrack started into “Don’t Shed a Tear” the guy beside me happened to be the above mentioned Eddie Schwartz and he said “I wrote that song”, oh the brushes with fame I’ve had! Schwartz has had hit songs recorded by Donna Summer, Meatloaf and many more. Also, of note that evening, at least it was for me! Carrack’s voice started to crack, and he said just one word, “Nick” and without missing a beat, his bass player, the one and only Nick Lowe started into “Half a Boy and Half a Man” and the place nearly fell apart. Clearly full of Nick Lowe nerds like myself. He was a big supporter of Carrack and they have played together for years, the two shared back-up bands on several albums and tours. Look for Paul Carrack as the keyboard player in the video clip from 1984. Still going strong in 2022 Nick Lowe is making a tour stop opening for his protégé, Elvis Costello in Toronto in August, yes I will be there!
 

Boodle: Old Cowboy saying for a crowd of people.

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