Click on a book to learn more about it.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Duke Ellington: His Top 50 Songs

image from oakparkarms.com

The man who is called “perhaps the most important talent in American popular music history” by Pop Memories 1890-1954 was born on April 29, 1899. The jazz bandleader and pianist was born Edward Kennedy Ellington in Washington D.C. He died on may 24, 1974.

He was still in his teens when he formed his first band and by 1923 had headed to New York at the suggestion of Fats Waller. Ellington began a five-year association with the famed Cotton Club in 1927. PM Pop Memories described his work from the early 1930s as the time when his “unparalleled genius as a jazz band composer became unmistakable.” PM He charted more than 70 songs from 1927 to 1954 on the Billboard pop and R&B charts.

In celebration, here are his top 50 songs as determined by an aggregate of multiple best-of lists, sales figures, chart data, and awards. Songs which hit #1 on the Billboard pop charts (#1 HT) and R&B charts (#1 RB) are noted, as are seven songs which are ranked by Dave’s Music Database in the top 1000 songs of all time (DMDB 1000) and another 11 which are in the Grammy Hall of Fame (GHoF).

Mood Indigo

1. Mood Indigo (1931) DMDB 1000 GHoF
2. Sophisticated Lady (1933) DMDB 1000
3. Take the “A” Train (1941) DMDB 1000 GHoF
4. Three Little Words (with the Rhythm Boys, 1930) #1 HT DMDB 1000
5. It Don’t Mean a Thing if It Ain’t Got That Swing (with Ivie Anderson, 1932) DMDB 1000 GHoF
6. Don’t Get Around Much Anymore (Never No Lament) (1940) #1 RB DMDB 1000 GHoF
7. Cocktails for Two (1934) #1 HT DMDB 1000 GHoF
8. Stormy Weather (Keeps Rainin’ All the Time) (1933)
9. In the Shade of the Old Apple Tree (1933)
10. Diga-Diga-Doo (with Irving Mills, 1928)

Sophisticated Lady

11. Solitude (1934)
12. Caravan (1937) GHoF
13. I Let a Song Go Out of My Heart (1938) #1 HT
14. Do Nothin’ Till You Hear from Me (1940) #1 RB GHoF
15. Black and Tan Fantasy (1928) GHoF
16. In a Sentimental Mood (1935)
17. I’m Beginning to See the Light (with Joya Sherrill, 1945)
18. Limehouse Blues (1931)
19. Rose Room in Sunny Roseland (1932)
20. I Got It Bad and That Ain’t Good (with Ivie Anderson, 1941)

Take the “A” Train

21. Satin Doll (1953)
22. Moon Glow (1934)
23. Accent on Youth (1935)
24. Perdido (1942)
25. Blue Again (with Sid Garry, 1931)
26. Doin’ the New Low Down (with Irving Mills, 1928)
27. Sentimental Lady (1942) #1 RB
28. Main Stern (1942) #1 RB
29. Diminuendo and Crescendo in Blue (1956) GHoF
30. Rockin’ in Rhythm (1931)

Three Little Words

31. Cotton (with Ivie Anderson, 1935)
32. Ko-Ko (1940) GHoF
33. Love Is Like a Cigarette (with Ivie Anderson, 1936)
34. East St. Louis Toodle Oo (1927)
35. You, You, Darlin’ (with Herb Jeffries, 1940)
36. Ring Dem Bells (with Cootie Williams, 1930)
37. A Slip of the Lip Can Sink a Ship (with Ray Nance, 1942) #1 RB
38. The Saddest Tale (1934)
39. I’m Satisfied (with Ivie Anderson, 1933)
40. Drop Me Off at Harlem (1933)

It Don’t Mean a Thing if It Ain’t Got That Swing

41. Creole Rhapsody (instrumental, 1931)
42. Black Beauty (1928)
43. Black, Brown and Beige (1944) GHoF
44. The Blues I Love to Sing (with Adelaide Hall, 1927)
45. Merry-Go-Round (1935)
46. Lambeth Walk (1938)
47. I’m Just a Lucky So and So (with Al Hibbler, 1945)
48. Oh Babe! Maybe Someday (1936)
49. Scattin’ at the Kit-Kat (1937)
50. If You Were in My Place, What Would You Do? (with Ivie Anderson, 1938)


Awards:



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Friday, April 27, 2012

Simon & Garfunkel charted with “Mrs. Robinson”: April 27, 1968

image from htbackdrops.com

“Mrs. Robinson” and its resulting soundtrack kickstarted an industry. Previously, getting kids to plop down cash for the mood-setting music of a movie “was considered absurd.” TB Ironically, though, that song was the only new cut amongst a collection of previously released Simon & Garfunkel songs. Even then, the version of “Mrs. Robinson” which is best known is not the one from the movie, but the more-fleshed out radio version available on S&G’s Bookends album. TB

Director Mike Nichols tapped the famed folk duo to do music for his film The Graduate. The iconic film starred Dustin Hoffman as a young man seduced by his girlfriend’s mother (Mrs. Robinson – played by Anne Bancroft). However, while Paul Simon was working up new material, Nichols was temporarily filling those spots with the duo’s older songs. In the end, Nichols grew fond of the older material and only one new song made it into the film – “Mrs. Robinson.” BR1

The song began life as an instrumental and, at one time, was being written as “Mrs. Roosevelt”, seemingly about Eleanor Roosevelt. SF It was Art Garfunkel who suggested naming the song after Bancroft’s character. Simon then fleshed the song out to become an even broader commentary on American culture in the ‘60s, famously using baseball player Joe DiMaggio as a symbol of people searching for heroes. In a 1990 interview with SongTalk magazine, Simon said “it’s one of the most well-known lines that I’ve ever written.” SF

Interestingly, the song would seem to have been a perfect candidate to win an Oscar for Best Song from a Movie, but S&G never filled out the forms necessary to have the song considered. SF

Mrs. Robinson


Awards:



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Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Barbra Streisand's Top 50 Songs

image from sweetlyrics.com

In honor of Barbra Streisand’s birthday (born April 24, 1942), here are her top 50 songs of all time according to Dave’s Music Database. As always, the list is determined by aggregating multiple best-of lists and also factoring in sales figures, chart data, and awards.

The Top 50 Barbra Streisand Songs:

The Way We Were

1. The Way We Were (1973)
2. Evergreen (Love Theme from ‘A Star Is Born’) (1976)
3. Woman in Love (1980)
4. People (1964)
5. You Don’t Bring Me Flowers (with Neil Diamond, 1978)
6. No More Tears (Enough Is Enough) (with Donna Summer, 1979)
7. Guilty (with Barry Gibb, 1980)
8. Happy Days Are Here Again (1963)
9. Memory (1982)
10. The Main Event/Fight (1979)

Evergreen

11. What Kind of Fool (with Barry Gibb, 1981)
12. Stoney End (1970)
13. I Finally Found Someone (with Bryan Adams, 1996)
14. My Heart Belongs to Me (1977)
15. Comin’ in and Out of Your Life (1981)
16. Till I Loved You (with Don Johnson, 1988)
17. Second Hand Rose (1965)
18. Don’t Rain on My Parade (1968)
19. Songbird (1978)
20. Tell Him (with Celine Dion, 1997)

Woman in Love

21. The Way He Makes Me Feel (1983)
22. Left in the Dark (1984)
23. Where You Lead (1971)
24. Love Theme from ‘Eyes of Laura Mars’ (Prisoner) (1978)
25. Sweet Inspiration/Where You Lead (live, 1972)
26. Kiss Me in the Rain (1980)
27. Funny Girl (1964)
28. Somewhere (1985)
29. Make No Mistake, He’s Mine (with Kim Carnes, 1984)
30. Promises (1981)

People

31. Time and Love (1971)
32. He Touched Me (1965)
33. All in Love Is Fair (1974)
34. Free Again (1966)
35. Flim Flam Man (1971)
36. Why Did I Choose You (1965)
37. Didn’t We (live, 1972)
38. Emotion (1985)
39. Places That Belong to You (1992)
40. Mother (1971)

You Don’t Bring Me Flowers

41. My Man (1965)
42. Sam, You Made the Pants Too Long (1966)
43. Our Corner of the Night (1968)
44. Where Am I Going? (1966)
45. Stout-Hearted Man (1967)
46. We’re Not Makin’ Love Anymore (1989)
47. My Father’s Song (1975)
48. Sing a SongMake Your Own Kind of Music (live, 1972)
49. Non…C’est Rien (1966)
50. All I Ask of You (1988)

No More Tears (Enough Is Enough)


Awards:


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Monday, April 23, 2012

“By the Light of the Silvery Moon” hit #1: April 23, 1910

Edward Madden crafted the words for “By the Light of the Silvery Moon” around Gus Edwards “somewhat dreamy music that lends itself to soft shoe.” RCG Its “moon-June-croon rhymes” are “clichĂ© by today’s standards,” RCG but were representative of the Tin Pan Alley era which dominated music in the early 1900s.

The song first surfaced on stage in a performance by Lillian Lorraine and was also a vaudeville hit by Georgie Price in the School Boys and Girls revue. JA In 1910, three versions of the song charted. The Peerless Quartet and Ada Jones each got to #2, but Billy Murray’s recording with the Haydn Quartet hit #1.

As big as their song was – it spent 9 weeks at the summit – it wasn’t the biggest hit for either Murray or the Haydn Quartet. In 1909, the Haydn Quartet peaked at #1 for eleven weeks with “Put on Your Old Grey Bonnett.” Murray’s biggest hit was just around the corner – just a couple months later, his take on “Casey Jones” with the American Quartet would also spend eleven weeks on top. PM

“Silvery Moon” proved to have stamina beyond that year, however. In 1942, the song enjoyed a revival with Ray Noble’s #12 version PM and the song resurfaced again in 1953 when Doris Day and Gordon MacRae sang it in a film of the same name. The song has also become a glee club and barbershop quartet standard. RCG

By the Light of the Silvery Moon


Awards:



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Sunday, April 22, 2012

The Biggest #1 Albums in U.K. Chart History

Image from scotduke.com

Originally posted on Facebook on 4/19/11.

This is a list of the #1 albums of all time according to the UK album charts. For albums logging the same number of weeks at #1, they are listed in order of highest ranking according to Dave’s Music Database. This list was originally posted on 4/19/2011 and updated on 2/24/2012.

115 weeks:

1. South Pacific (soundtrack, 1958)

70 weeks:

2. The Sound of Music (soundtrack, 1965)

48 weeks:

3. The King and I (soundtrack, 1956)

41 weeks:

4. Simon & Garfunkel…Bridge Over Troubled Water (1970)

30 weeks:

5. The Beatles…Please Please Me (1963)

27 weeks:

6. The Beatles…Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967)

22 weeks:

7. Adele…21 (2011)
8. Elvis Presley…G.I. Blues (1960)

21 weeks:

9. The Beatles…A Hard Day’s Night (1964)
10. The Beatles…With the Beatles (1963)

19 weeks:

11. My Fair Lady (cast album, 1956)

18 weeks:

12. Saturday Night Fever (soundtrack, 1977)
13. Elvis Presley…Blue Hawaii (soundtrack, 1961)

17 weeks:

14. The Beatles…Abbey Road (1969)
15. Carpenters…The Singles 1969-1973 (1973)

15 weeks:

16. Spice Girls…Spice (1996)
17. Phil Collins…But Seriously (1989)

14 weeks:

18. Dire Straits…Brothers in Arms (1985)
19. Cliff Richard & the Shadows…Summer Holiday (1963)

13 weeks:

20. Grease (soundtrack, 1978)
21. West Side Story (soundtrack, 1961)
22. Bob Dylan…John Wesley Harding (1967)

12 weeks:

23. Bob Marley & the Wailers…Legend (1984)
24. The Verve…Urban Hymns (1997)
25. The Rolling Stones…The Rolling Stones (released in U.S. as England’s Newest Hit Makers, 1964)
26. Simply Red…Stars (1991)
27. Adam & the Ants…Kings of the Wild Frontier (1981)
28. Kids from Fame…Kids from Fame (1982)

11 weeks:

29. Alanis Morissette…Jagged Little Pill (1995)
30. Shania Twain…Come on Over (1997)
31. Elton John…Greatest Hits (1974)
32. The Beatles…Beatles for Sale (1964)
33. Meat Loaf…Bat Out of Hell II: Back into Hell (1993)
34. Abba…Greatest Hits (1976)
35. Pal Joey (soundtrack, 1957)
36. various artists…20 All-Time Hits of the ‘50s (1999)

10 weeks:

37. Oasis…What’s the Story Morning Glory? (1995)
38. Abba…Arrival (1976)
39. James Blunt…Back to Bedlam (2004)
40. Eurythmics…Greatest Hits (1991)
41. Dido…Life for Rent (2003)
42. The Rolling Stones…No. 2 (released in U.S. as Now!, 1965)
43. The Corrs…Talk on Corners (1997)
44. The Beach Boys…20 Golden Greats (1976)

9 weeks:

45. The Beatles…The Beatles (aka The White Album, 1968)
46. The Beatles…Rubber Soul (1965)
47. Madonna…The Immaculate Collection (1990)
48. Abba…Gold: Greatest Hits (1993)
49. The Beatles…1 (2000)
50. The Beatles…Help! (1965)
51. Terence Trent D’Arby…Introducing the Hardline According to… (1987)
52. Travis…The Man Who (1999)
53. Abba…Super Trooper (1980)
54. Barbra Streisand…Love Songs (1982)
55. Boyzone…By Request (1999)
56. Stylistics…Best of (1975)
57. George Mitchell Minstrels…Black and White Minstrel Show (1961)


Saturday, April 21, 2012

Record Store Day: April 21, 2012

image from PopMatters.com

April 21, 2012 marks the celebration of the fifth annual Record Store Day. Independent record store employee Chris Brown conceived the idea in 2007 and the first one was held April 19, 2008. Approximately 300 stores participated. It has since been celebrated the third Saturday of every April.

According to the official website a participating store is defined as “a stand alone brick and mortar retailer whose main primary business focuses on a physical store location, whose product line consists of at least 50% music retail, whose company is not publicly traded and whose ownership is at least 70% located in the state of operation.”


One of the highlights of the day has become special vinyl and CD releases. In its first year, there were roughly ten special releases from artists such as R.E.M., Death Cab for Cutie, Vampire Weekend, and Jason Mraz. In 2009, the number grew to 85 special releases from artists including Bob Dylan, Tom Waits, The Stooges, and Leonard Cohen. More than 1000 stores participated. 2010 saw the participation of more than 1400 stores and more than 150 special releases from the likes of The Rolling Stones, Bruce Springsteen, John Lennon, and Gorillaz. In 2011, the Foo Fighters, Beastie Boys, Duran Duran, and Todd Rundgren were among the 150 exclusive releases.

The 2012 day celebates releases from Arctic Monkeys, The Black Keys, David Bowie, The Clash, Coldplay, Florence + the Machine, Metallica, Paul McCartney, Katy Perry, The White Stripes, and more than 100 others. See the full list here. The day’s official ambassador is Iggy Pop. Previous ambassadors were Ozzy Osbourne (2011), Josh Homme (2010), and Jesse Hughes (2009).

I capture the love of shopping in a record store in my latest PopMatters.com column, “Record Store Day: Spend Your Money on Music – It’s Better Than Therapy.”

TRAILER: SOUND IT OUT - A documentary by Jeanie Finlay from Jeanie Finlay on Vimeo.


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Thursday, April 19, 2012

Reading at Boozefish: How to Spot Music Geeks

April 19, 2012: Rachel Ellyn (aka The Disfunctional Diva) and I did a reading at Boozefish Wine Bar in the Westport area of Kansas City. My selections were from various pieces I’ve written about music, tied together around the theme “How to Spot Music Geeks.” Earlier in the week, I posted my planned reading, but it underwent some transformation by the time Thursday night rolled around so I thought I’d repost. You can see the original post here.

My name is Dave and I have a problem. I am a music geek. This is a terrible affliction which may render its victims unable to have a conversation without slipping in bits of music trivia. Today I feel it is my responsibility to teach you “How to Spot Music Geeks.” If you know the warning signs, maybe you can help a music geek become a semi-functional human being who is a somewhat productive member of society. Please help – before it’s too late.


1. Seek them out in their natural habitats.
Music geeks can be found at concert venues and bars featuring local bands. They often hang out in basements downloading songs on the computer. Depending on their station in life, it may be in their mother’s house – even if they’re well into their thirties.

Once upon a time, the best place to find music geeks was in a record store. Sadly, the digital age has shuttered many a store, but some do still exist. Even those which have closed, however, still hold fond memories for music geeks. My first reading is taken from my in-the-works music themed novel Music Lessons from The Pit. While The Pit is a fictional store, it is modeled after my own fond memories of shopping at used record stores. Read the excerpt at the Writ by Whit Facebook page or read the full chapter from which the excerpt is taken.

“My advice is, don’t spend money on therapy. Spend it in a record store.” – German film director Wim Wenders


2. They take their love of music to obsessive levels.
Everyone can relate to having a favorite group or song, but Music geeks don’t just love music; they love it obsessively so. As evidence of the extremes to which music geeks will go, check out the title piece from my collection of essays, No One Needs 21 Versions of “Purple Haze”. Read the excerpt at the Writ by Whit Facebook page or check out the original post on the DMDB blog.

“Music is my religion.” – Jimi Hendrix


3. Music geeks believe if it sells, it sucks.
This reading is an excerpt of an article I penned for my PopMatters.com column “Aural Fixation.” In the piece, entitled “Waxing Nostalgic: The Mantras of the Music Geek,” I recounted some of the discussion between three friends over dinner at Joe’s Crab Shack. Read the excerpt at the Writ by Whit Facebook page or check out the original article in its entirety at PopMatters.com.


4. They believe any advancement in technology is crap.
Within the “Waxing Nostalgic” piece, I also broke down the changes in music technology over roughly the last 60 years and showed how diehard music geeks have steadfastly resisted any changes to come along, preferring to faithfully stick to vinyl. Read the excerpt at the Writ by Whit Facebook page or check out the original article in its entirety at PopMatters.com.


5. They bore everyone around them with music trivia.
Think of music geeks as savants. They may lack the skills to carry on normal conversation or be functioning members of society, but they excel in one area – the ability to completely bore the average adult with incessant music trivia. The most severe cases even write entire books devoted to the stuff.

For my book The Top 100 Songs of the Rock Era, I actually used a very objective method for determining which songs were featured. I aggregated hundreds of best-of lists along with chart data, sales figures, and awards to determine the top songs of the last half of the 20th century. Read a few snippets on the Writ by Whit Facebook page.


There is hope, however.
Even the staunchest of music geeks is capable of reform. They can learn to recognize that anyone’s musical interests are valid. Read the excerpt on the Writ by Whit Facebook page or read the original post on the DMDB blog. Also available in No One Needs 21 Versions of “Purple Haze”.

“Without music life would be a mistake.” – Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche



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Goodbye, Dick Clark

image from evilbeetgossip.com

“America’s oldest teenager” will not be blowing out any more candles on birthday cakes. We’ll never ring in another new year with him. The man who helmed the original American Bandstand and gave us the famous catch phrase, “It’s got a good beat and you can dance to it” was stricken down at age 82. On Tuesday night, Dick Clark underwent an outpatient procedure at St. John’s Hospital in Santa Monica, California. He suffered a heart attack afterwards and could not be resuscitated. He is survived by three children and third wife, Kari Wigton, whom he married in 1977.

Clark’s career began in 1945 in the mail room at a radio station in Utica, New York when he was still in high school. In 1952, he went to Philadelphia to work for radio station WFIL and its affiliated television station. In 1956, he became the host of Bandstand, a Philadelphia dance show targeted to teens, and took it national the next year. It was a mainstay on ABC for thirty years becoming one of the most influential television shows in history as kids rushed home after school to see it every weekday afternoon. In its infancy, rock ‘n’ roll was perceived as a passing fancy; Clark legitimized it. The show marked the network television debuts of artists like Jerry Lee Lewis, The Doors, The Jackson Five, the Talking Heads, and Prince.

The Jackson 5 “I Want You Back”

While his clean-cut image and the sanitized American Bandstand had its critics, Clark was a defender of artistic freedom and condemned censorship. At a time when it was safer and more commercially viable to turn to white performers for cover versions of popular R&B hits by black artists, Clark played the original songs.

In 1972, Clark launched a tradition with his New Year’s Eve telecast. He also created the American Music Awards and hosted shows such as The $25,000 Pyramid and TV’s Bloopers and Practical Jokes. At one time during the 1980s, he had shows on all three networks. He suffered a stroke in 2004, but continued to be an iconic presence for events such as New Year’s Rockin’ Eve despite his impaired speech.



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Dick Clark interviews Madonna

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Record Store Day: Spend Your Money on Music - It's Better Than Therapy

Originally published in my "Aural Fixation" column on PopMatters.com on April 18, 2012. See original post here.

image from popmatters.com


My advice is, don’t spend money on therapy. Spend it in a record store. - German film director Wim Wenders


Over the last couple years, I’ve toiled away at a novel tied to the alternative/ college rock scene of the ‘80s. The focal point of the story is a record store, nicknamed The Pit, where the main characters worked and hung out during their college days. In 2007, Gil is headed back for a reunion – and a final goodbye – because the store is closing, unable to compete in the digital age. Each chapter is wrapped around a specific song and the memories it evokes. Overall, consider the book as sort of a High Fidelity meets The Big Chill.

So why the shameless plug? Well, Saturday, 21 April marks the celebration of Record Store Day. The idea was launched in 2007 to celebrate independently owned record stores in the United States and internationally. Celebrated the third Saturday of April, some stores have turned the day into an elaborate festival. There are special promotional releases – on both vinyl and compact disc – made available in conjunction with the day.

It’s with a certain degree of guilt which I confess my own shortcomings in supporting independent record stores over the last decade. I’ve become a digital download junkie. Any number of arguments can be made for or against this change in music technology. Downloading is more convenient, but lacks the sound quality of physical releases. Record stores can still offer a physical product and its packaging, but digital is much cheaper – even free, depending on one’s proclivity towards law-breaking.

For me, however, the change in technology has largely left me longing for the days when I made at least a weekly trek to my local used record shop. I also lived in a large enough metropolitan area to make a pilgrimage to the artsy, downtown area which sported half a dozen such establishments. I experienced the dual thrill of hitting the shops seeking out specific releases and hoping to stumble across hidden gems.

When I reflect on the stores I enjoyed the most, it’s about more than just what was on the shelves. I think of the musty/dusty smell of such places, the crates stuffed full with albums, the unforgettable personalities who staff the place. I think of, well, I’ll let my story tell the tale.


Excerpt from my novel in progress, Music Lessons from The Pit

Chelsea Drive, the road that separated my dorm from the rest of campus, also served as the town’s primary artery. I’d only been in college two weeks and had yet to explore anything much beyond the campus. Lo and behold, there were actual non-collegiate-affiliated businesses mere blocks away. I spotted a tea house and could sense the artsy vibe wafting onto the sidewalk. Actually, I think it was the smell of cinnamon.

Next door was a battered green awning with “4 the Record” in white lettering. It sheltered a large display window in which album covers were propped up on the window seat inside. Naturally blockbusters like The Police’s Synchronicity Michael Jackson’s Thriller, and the Flashdance soundtrack were featured, but there were also left-of-center features like Elvis Costello’s Punch the Clock and the Talking Heads’ Speaking in Tongues.

I tugged at the handle of the wooden door plastered with D.I.Y. flyers for bands coming to local clubs. A slight mustiness greeted me. It was as welcoming as the scent of cinnamon from the tea shop. Few things authenticate a used record store more than that smell.

A much abused hardwood floor with a noticeable warp splayed out toward shelves of cassettes and crates of records. Posters and album covers decorated the brick walls. Occasionally the corner of a poster drooped where the old masking tape had given out.

To my left was the front counter. Atop it was an old cash register, a plastic cup with incense for sale, and a sprawled open textbook. Huddled behind the book sat a thin-faced, sullen-looking guy hidden behind a pair of round, John Lennon-esque sunglasses hanging on the bridge of his nose.

The purple tint of his shades was the only bit of color about the guy. He wore dark jeans and a long-sleeved grey button shirt over a black tee. It was the quintessential, although ironic, “I’m Independent” uniform of the outsider.

The music pumping from the speakers had a “I think I’ve heard this before” kind of sound – but I couldn’t place it. I was curious enough to disrupt Mr. Black’s studies to inquire. “What’s this playing?”

He peered above his rims with an air of disgust that a nuisance customer would dare to be musically illiterate. “London Calling, by the Clash,” he sputtered.

After what I’m pretty sure was a roll of his eyes, they dropped back behind his purple shield, commanding me to go away. “Cool,” I said. “Thanks.”

Back home, my high school buddy, Rich, and I played the roles of faithful suburbanites and did most of our music shopping at the local mall. Occasionally we’d trek downtown to the handful of used-record stores within walking distance of each other. This store, however, had a charm beyond any other shop I’d seen. It wasn’t just that flipping through the old records left a coating of dust on one’s hands comparable to the residue from eating a bag of Cheetos.

The back corner had a sunken seating area, like those homes with a couple steps leading down into the living room. It was decorated with second-hand furniture that looked like it had been passed over at a garage sale. A pair of unmatched couches fervently competed for ugliest fabric. A slightly lopsided brown leather recliner leaned against one wall, propped up to keep the back of the chair from collapsing. It all wrapped around a battered wooden coffee table that looked so heavy it had seemingly been carved out of a tree trunk which had grown up right through the floor of the store.


Music Exchange - Kansas City. One of the real stores where I often hung out.
Image from cratekings.com

There wasn’t an actual store in my past called “4 the Record” or “The Pit”. In fact, I went to college in a town too small to support a “real” music store. Our only option for buying music was via the dreaded Wal-Mart. However, the fictional Pit taps into my memories of Mom-and-Pop music stores I’ve visited over the years. So, in celebration of Record Store Day, I fondly recall not just the music I’ve acquired in such stores, but the cherished memories which were created, real and imagined.


For more of my writing, check out WritbyWhit.com or my Amazon store.


Sunday, April 15, 2012

Dave’s Music Database: April 19 Reading

Dave Whitaker of Dave’s Music Database

Thursday, April 19, 2012, 7:00pm: I will be reading selections from my music books The Top 100 Songs of the Rock Era and No One Needs 21 Versions of “Purple Haze” at Boozefish, a wine bar in Kansas City. For those in the Kansas City area, drop by! Here are the details as posted in the original Facebook invitation. For those who can’t attend or those who want a sneak preview, I am offering up a glimpse of the performance here. Enjoy!

My name is Dave and I have a problem. I am a music geek. This is a terrible affliction which may render its victims unable to have a conversation without slipping in bits of music trivia. We embarrassingly dress like we still think we’re teenagers – jeans and rock T-shirts – even if we’re well into our forties. We can be found at bars, concert venues, or in basements huddled in front of computer screens downloading songs. Today I feel it is my responsibility to teach you “How to Spot the Music Geek.” If you know the warning signs, maybe you can help a music geek become a semi-functional human being who is a somewhat productive member of society. Please help – before it’s too late.


1. Ways to Spot a Music Geek: Seek them out in their natural habitats.

Once upon a time, record stores were the easiest place to find music geeks. Sadly, many music stores have closed. My in-the-works music-themed novel tentatively titled Music Lessons from The Pit is tied around the closing of a music store. In 2007, “The Pit” could no longer compete in the digital age. As a last hurrah, the main character (Gil) and his college friends from the ‘80s are reuniting to celebrate their favorite hangout from 25 years ago. While driving there he plays songs from the era which bring back old memories. Think of this book as a sort of High Fidelity meets The Big Chill. The chapter, “Blue Monday”, introduces the reader to “The Pit.” Read it here.

“My advice is, don’t spend money on therapy. Spend it in a record store.” – German film director Wim Wenders


2. Ways to Spot a Music Geek: They often huddle in groups.

Music geeks often travel in packs, largely because of their inability to form normal relationships with everyday human beings. My second reading focuses on a dinner I had with three friends. I turned it into an article for my Aural Fixation column for PopMatters.com. Read it here.


3. Ways to Spot a Music Geek: They cannot go five minutes without inserting music trivia into conversation.

Think of music geeks as savants. They may lack the skills to carry on normal conversation or be functioning members of society, but they excel in one area – the ability to completely bore the average adult with incessant music trivia. The most severe cases even write entire books devoted to the stuff. It should be noted that music geeks don’t necessarily have any actual music talent.

“I haven’t understood a bar of music in my life, but I have felt it.” – Igor Stravinksy

Here’s what I say in the introduction of my book, The Top 100 Songs of the Rock Era.

I couldn’t find middle C on a piano if my life depended on it. In instrumental music in 5th grade, I failed to grasp that the intent was not to saw away at all the violin strings at once. Even the recorder exceeded my abilities. Some people are born to play an instrument. Others are born to play the radio. I had no hope of ever joining a band, but would become adept at babbling about bands more than any normal human being would ever care to know.

For that book, I actually used a very objective method for determining which songs were featured. I aggregated hundreds of best-of lists along with chart data, sales figures, and awards to determine the top songs of the last half of the 20th century. As a sample, read here to see what I said about The Rolling Stones’ “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction.”


4. Ways to Spot a Music Geek: Plain and simple, they love music.

This is the most universal aspect of the music geek. We can all relate to having a favorite song or favorite group. It’s just that the music geek takes it to dangerous levels. For example, check out the title essay of my collection No One Needs 21 Versions of “Purple Haze”.

“Music is my religion.” – Jimi Hendrix


5. Ways to Spot a Music Geek: They can be pretentious snobs.

One of the lessons I’ve learned over the years is to try not to attack someone’s musical tastes. Frankly, I think it is more dangerous than discussing religion, politics, and sex. Music is ingrained in who we are and to criticize one’s music is to criticize that person’s very soul. In that spirit, I wrote “The Styx Defense,” which is also featured in No One Needs 21 Versions of “Purple Haze”. Read here.

“Without music life would be a mistake.” – Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche



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Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The movie Singin’ in the Rain was released: April 11, 1952

Singin’ in the Rain was an Oscar-nominated film from 1952 which starred Gene Kelly, Donald O’Connor, and Debbie Reynolds. Kelly and Stanley Donen directed the musical and Kelly also oversaw choreography. The comedic film follows the three main stars during Hollywood’s days of switching over from silent films to “talkies.”

Kelly plays silent film star Don Lockwood. He and co-star Lina Lamont (played by Jean Hagen) are a famous on-screen romantic couple and the studio has even promoted the idea that they are linked off-screen as well, even though Lockwood can barely tolerate her. When faced with the transition from silent film to talkies, Lamont’s shrill voice just won’t work and Lockwood faces career jeopardy.

Lockwood’s best friend, Cosmo Brown (played by O’Connor), suggests dubbing Lamont’s voice with that of aspiring actress Kathy Selden (played by Reynolds). Lockwood falls in love with her, which poses problems since Lamont is convinced her relationship with Lockwood goes beyond the screen.

The film wasn’t a big hit upon its initial release, but has achieved legendary status. It topped the AFI’s list of top musicals of all time and the AFI also ranked it as the fifth best American film ever made. Interestingly, while Kelly’s performance in the movie – especially the title cut – has become one of the most iconic images in movie history, he wasn’t originally cast for the role. Initially Howard Keel was slated to portray the character as an actor in Westerns, but the role become more one of a vaudeville performer.

Singin’ in the Rain


Awards:
  • National Film Registry
  • Oscars – nominated for best picture
  • BAFTA – nominated for best picture
  • Directors Guild of America – Stanley Donen and Gene Kelly nominated for best director
  • Golden Globes – Donald O’Connor won for best actor
  • Golden Globes – nominated for best musical or comedy



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Tuesday, April 10, 2012

“Shine on, Harvest Moon” hit #1: April 10, 1909

Click on above image to download song from Archive.org.

Nora Bayes was a Broadway and vaudevillian performer in the early 1900s. In 1908, she married Jack Norworth, a singer, songwriter, and dancer. The pair toured and composed together. The duo’s collaboration, “Shine on, Harvest Moon,” resulted in what may be “the most recognized of the many ‘moon’ ballads.” RCG It was “decidedly old-fashioned and a product of twentieth century innocence.” RCG The duo introduced the song in Florenz Ziegfeld’s Follies of 1908. The couple didn’t last, divorcing in 1913 (the second of five marriages for Bayes!), SF but the song survived. Both performed it the rest of their lives and it became Bayes’ signature song. RCG

It became a favorite for player pianos and barbershop quartets RCG and “remains a perennial among amateur singers everywhere.” JA It had an impressive chart life with seven takes on the song peaking in the top 20 over the next quarter century. The first, and most successful, was a duet between Harry MacDonough and Miss Walton (believed to be Elise Stevenson) in 1909. They took the song to #1 for 9 weeks. Three other versions of the song charted that year. Ada Jones and Billy Murray also took it to #1 while the duo of Frank Stanley and Henry Burr hit #2 and Bob Roberts’ version went to #6. The following year, Arthur Pryor also went top 5 with the song.

“Shine on, Harvest Moon”
by Harry MacDonough & Elise Stevenson

“Harvest Moon” was revived by Ruth Etting in Ziegfeld Follies of 1931. JA Ethel Waters took the song back to the top ten that same year. Two years later, Kate Smith took the song back to the top 20. Over the years, the song has also been sung by Judy Garland, Vera Lynn, Glenn Miller, and Liza Minnelli. RCG At age 8, Britney Spears sang it for her Mickey Mouse Club audition. WK

It has also appeared in at least a dozen films, most notably an eponymously titled 1944 biopic starring Ann Sheridan and Dennis Morgan as Bayes and Norworth. RCG A 1938 Roy Rogers western was named after the song and Laurel & Hardy performed it in their 1939 film The Flying Deuces. It was also used in A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (1945) and Pennies from Heaven (1978). WK


Awards:



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Monday, April 9, 2012

The Top Songs by Decade, 1900-present

Dave’s Music Database has compiled the best songs of all-time into a variety of lists over the years. Check out the full array of DMDB best-of lists here. This page captures the songs by decade from 1900 to present. Only the top tens are presented here, but the links below each list go to a top 100 list.


The Top 100 Songs of the 21st Century So Far

1. Hey Ya!...OutKast (2003)
2. We Belong Together…Mariah Carey (2005)
3. Lose Yourself…Eminem (2002)
4. Umbrella…Rihanna with Jay-Z (2007)
5. Crazy in Love… BeyoncĂ© with Jay-Z (2003)
6. Crazy…Gnarls Barkley (2006)
7. Yeah!...Usher with Lil’ Jon & Ludacris (2004)
8. I Gotta Feeling…Black Eyed Peas (2009)
9. Gold Digger…Kanye West with Jamie Foxx (2005)
10. I Hope You Dance…Lee Ann Womack (2000)

See the full list here.

Hey Ya!


The Top 100 Songs from 1990-1999

1. I Will Always Love You…Whitney Houston (1992)
2. Smells Like Teen Spirit…Nirvana (1991)
3. Candle in the Wind 1997…Elton John (1997)
4. Losing My Religion…R.E.M. (1991)
5. My Heart Will Go On…Celine Dion (1997)
6. Everything I Do, I Do It for You…Bryan Adams (1991)
7. Nothing Compares 2 U…Sinead O’Connor (1990)
8. Macarena (Bayside Boys Mix)…Los Del Rio (1995)
9. I’ll Make Love to You…Boyz II Men (1994)
10. Wonderwall…Oasis (1995)

See the full list here.

I Will Always Love You


The Top 100 Songs from 1980-1989

1. Every Breath You Take…The Police (1983)
2. Billie Jean…Michael Jackson (1983)
3. Sweet Child O’ Mine…Guns N’ Roses (1988)
4. When Doves Cry…Prince (1984)
5. We Are the World…U.S.A. for Africa (1985)
6. I Love Rock and Roll…Joan Jett & the Blackhearts (1981)
7. With or Without You…U2 (1987)
8. Beat It…Michael Jackson (1983)
9. Endless Love…Lionel Richie & Diana Ross (1981)
10. Always on My Mind…Willie Nelson (1982)

See the full list here.

Every Breath You Take


The Top 100 Songs from 1970-1979

1. Imagine…John Lennon (1971)
2. Bridge Over Troubled Water…Simon & Garfunkel (1970)
3. Hotel California…Eagles (1977)
4. Bohemian Rhapsody…Queen (1975)
5. American Pie…Don McLean (1971)
6. Layla…Derek & the Dominos (1971)
7. Stairway to Heaven…Led Zeppelin (1971)
8. Let It Be…The Beatles (1970)
9. What’s Going On…Marvin Gaye (1971)
10. Stayin’ Alive…Bee Gees (1977)

See the full list here.

Imagine


The Top 100 Songs from 1960-1969

1. Hey Jude…The Beatles (1968)
2. (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction…The Rolling Stones (1965)
3. I Heard It Through the Grapevine…Marvin Gaye (1968)
4. Good Vibrations…The Beach Boys (1966)
5. (Sittin’ on) The Dock of the Bay…Otis Redding (1968)
6. Respect…Aretha Franklin (1967)
7. Yesterday…The Beatles (1965)
8. I Want to Hold Your Hand…The Beatles (1963)
9. Oh, Pretty Woman…Roy Orbison (1964)
10. Like a Rolling Stone…Bob Dylan (1965)

See the full list here.

Like a Rolling Stone


The Top 100 Songs from 1950-1959

1. We’re Gonna) Rock Around the Clock…Bill Haley & His Comets (1954)
2. Don’t Be Cruel…Elvis Presley (1956)
3. Hound Dog…Elvis Presley (1956)
4. Mack the Knife…Bobby Darin (1959)
5. Heartbreak Hotel…Elvis Presley (1956)
6. Johnny B. Goode…Chuck Berry (1958)
7. Jailhouse Rock…Elvis Presley (1957)
8. Earth Angel (Will You Be Mine)…The Penguins (1954)
9. Tennessee Waltz…Patti Page (1950)
10. That’ll Be the Day…Buddy Holly & the Crickets (1957)

See the full list here.

Rock Around the Clock


The Top 100 Songs from 1940-1949

1. White Christmas...Bing Crosby with the Ken Darby Singers (1942)
2. Star Dust...Artie Shaw (1941)
3. Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer...Gene Autry (1949)
4. Paper Doll...The Mills Brothers (1943)
5. Body and Soul...Coleman Hawkins (1940)
6. Near You...Francis Craig with Bob Lamm (1947)
7. The Christmas Song...Nat “King” Cole (1946)
8. I’ll Never Smile Again...Tommy Dorsey with Frank Sinatra & The Pied Pipers (1940)
9. Buttons and Bows...Dinah Shore and Her Harper Valley Boys (1948)
10. Frenesi...Artie Shaw (1940)

See the full list here.

White Christmas


The Top 100 Songs from 1930-1939

1. Over the Rainbow...Judy Garland (1939)
2. In the Mood...Glenn Miller (1939)
3. Silent Night...Bing Crosby (1935)
4. Night and Day...Fred Astaire with Leo Reisman (1932)
5. Begin the Beguine...Artie Shaw (1938)
6. If I Didn’t Care...The Ink Spots (1939)
7. Cheek to Cheek...Fred Astaire with Ginger Rogers & Leo Reisman (1935)
8. As Time Goes By...Rudy Vallee (1931)
9. Tea for Two...Art Tatum (1939)
10. A-Tisket, A-Tasket...Ella Fitzgerald with Chick Webb (1938)

See the full list here.

Over the Rainbow


The Top 100 Songs from 1920-1929

1. My Blue Heaven...Gene Austin (1927)
2. The Prisoner’s Song...Vernon Dalhart (1925)
3. Swanee...Al Jolson (1920)
4. Ain’t Misbehavin’...Thomas “Fats” Waller (1929)
5. Dardanella...Ben Selvin (1920)
6. April Showers...Al Jolson (1922)
7. Whispering...Paul Whiteman (1920)
8. St. Louis Blues...W.C. Handy (1923)
9. I Can’t Give You Anything But Love...Cliff Edwards (1928)
10. It Had to Be You...Isham Jones (1924)

See the full list here.

My Blue Heaven


The Top 100 Songs from 1910-1919

1. Alexander’s Ragtime Band...Arthur Collins & Byron Harlan (1911)
2. Let Me Call You Sweetheart...Peerless Quartet (1911)
3. Over There...American Quartet (1917)
4. Casey Jones...American Quartet with Billy Murray (1910)
5. You Made Me Love You, I Didn’t Want to Do It...Al Jolson (1913)
6. Moonlight Bay...American Quartet (1912)
7. Till We Meet Again...Henry Burr & Albert Campbell (1919)
8. Rock-a-Bye Your Baby with a Dixie Melody...Al Jolson (1918)
9. For Me and My Gal...Van & Schenck (1917)
10. Down by the Old Mill Stream...Harry MacDonough (1911)

See the full list here.

Alexander’s Ragtime Band


The Top 100 Songs from 1900-1909

1. You’re a Grand Old Flag (aka “The Grand Old Rag”)…Billy Murray (1906)
2. Sweet Adeline (You’re the Flower of My Heart)…Haydn Quartet (1904)
3. Take Me Out to the Ball Game…Haydn Quartet (1908)
4. I Wonder Who’s Kissing Her Now…Henry Burr (1909)
5. School Days (When We Were a Couple of Kids)…Byron Harlan (1907)
6. My Gal Sal…Byron Harlan (1907)
7. Give My Regards to Broadway…Billy Murray (1905)
8. The Glow-Worm…Victor Orchestra (1908)
9. Shine on, Harvest Moon…Harry MacDonough with Miss Walton (1909)
10. In the Good Old Summer Time…J.W. Myers (1902)

See the full list here.

You’re a Grand Old Flag

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Kate Smith charted with “God Bless America”: April 8, 1939

Irving Berlin originally wrote this song in 1918 while he served in the Army, intending it for a 1918 revue called Yip, Yip, Yaphank. WK However, Berlin shelved the song, considering it inappropriate for the comedic musical. SF

Two decades later, Kate Smith, a popular soprano and “one of the most-listened-to of all radio singers,” PM asked Berlin to write something new for her radio show on Armistice Day. TY When he couldn’t come up with anything new which he considered satisfactory, he revived “God Bless America,” TY updating the lyrics to make it a peace song SF taking the form of a prayer. WK

Smith performed what would become her signature song NRR for the first time on in November 1938. With the United States on the verge of war, the song tapped into the country’s sense of patriotism. Not only did both political parties use it at the 1939 nominating conventions, TY but many have advocated making this the national anthem instead of the harder-to-sing “Star Spangled Banner.” LSC In a national poll in the late ‘50s, “God Bless America” ranked second only to the national anthem as the country’s favorite patriotic song. TY The song also inspired Woody Guthrie to write “This Land Is Your Land” as a response; he considered Berlin’s tune “unrealistic and complacent.” WK

Because Berlin considered it inappropriate to capitalize on patriotism, he directed all proceeds to the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts. As of 1981, that had amounted to more than a million dollars. TY Berlin considered it one of his five best songs – the others being “Always,” “Easter Parade,” “There’s No Business Like Show Business,” and “White Christmas.” TY

God Bless America


Awards:



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Saturday, April 7, 2012

South Pacific opened on Broadway: April 7, 1949

First posted April 7, 2012. Updated February 28, 2013.


Opened on Broadway: 4 April 1949, Charted: 21 May 1949 C, Released: 19 May 1958 S
Tracks: (Click for codes to singles charts.) Overture / Dites-Moi / A Cockeyed Optimist / Twin Soliloquies / Some Enchanted Evening (#1 US, Perry Como, 1949) / Bloody Mary / My Girl Back Home ** / There Is Nothin’ Like a Dame / Bali Ha’i (#5 US, Perry Como, 1949) / I’m Gonna Wash That Man Right Outa My Hair / A Wonderful Guy (#12 US, Margaret Whiting, 1949) / Younger Than Springtime (#30 US, Gordon MacRae, 1949) / Happy Talk / Honey Bun / You’ve Got to Be Carefully Taught / This Nearly Was Mine / Finale: Dites-Mo (Reprise)

* In the pre-rock era, it was common for multiple versions of a song to chart. The charted versions of the songs above are NOT from the actual cast album or soundtrack, but are the most successful versions recorded by other artists as singles.

** Added to soundtrack and CD reissues of the cast album.

Sales (in millions): 8.0 S, 3.0 C US, 1.8 S UK, 9.8 S, 3.0 C world (includes US and UK)

Peak: 131-S, 169-C US, 1115-S UK

Rating: (C + S)

C cast album
S soundtrack


Review: Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II’s fourth musical, South Pacific, is considered “one of the greatest Broadway musicals” W-C and “one of the most beloved musicals ever to hit the stage.” AZ It was a massive hit, running 1,925 performances on Broadway AMG-C and another 802 in London. MK Its nearly five-year Broadway run was “longer than any musical before it except Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Oklahoma!.” AMG-C “The appeal is simple: a collection of stunning compositions…and characters with a simple though cohesive through-line.” AZ

At the time, a critic for the New York Daily Mirror wrote that it was “likely to establish a new trend in musicals” W-C and that “every number is so outstanding that it is difficult to decide which will be the most popular.” W-C The New York World-Telegram review said it was “the ultimate modern blending of music and popular theatre to date, with the finest kind of balance between story and song, and hilarity and heartbreak.” W-C

Some Enchanted Evening

Joshua Logan, a stage and film director and also a World War II veteran, read James Michener’s 1947 novel Tales of the South Pacific and decided to adapt it for the stage; he wound up as the musical’s director and producer. Rodgers & Hammerstein were tapped to write.” W-C Initially, “the musical was to center on the story ‘Fo’ Dolla’, about a love affair between a Polynesian girl and a stuffy American officer.” MK As Rogers recounted, however, he and Hammerstein decided that it “would look too much like a rehash of Madame ButterflyMK and opted to make it secondary to “another story from the book, ‘Our Heroine,’ about a nurse from Arkansas who falls in love” MK with “an expatriate French plantation owner with a dark past.” W-C To add “comic leavening” MK alongside these “wartime romances complicated by racial issues,” AMG-C R&H added a third story, “A Boar’s Tooth,” MK about “Luther Billis, a womanizing sailor.” W-C

A Wonderful Guy

“The dashing former Metropolitan Opera bass Ezio Pinza” AZ was tapped to play the role of Emile deBecque, the French plantation owner.” W-C Of his eventual South Pacific performance, The New York Times’ Brooks Atkinson said, “Mr. Pinza’s bass voice is the most beautiful that has been heard on a Broadway stage for an eon or two.”

Filling the role of “the heartily feminine American nurse” AZ is “the lovely, girlish Mary Martin” AZ who was “a musical comedy star…[and] a Broadway favorite” MK noted for performances in Peter Pan and Annie Get Your Gun. AZ The New York Post’s Richard Watts, Jr. said this of her performance in South Pacific: “Nothing I have ever seen her do prepared me for the loveliness, humor, gift for joyous characterization, and sheer lovableness of her portrayal of Nellie Forbush…Hers is a completely irresistible performance.” W-C

Bali Ha’i

“The issue of racial prejudice is sensitively and candidly explored in several plot threads.” W-C “Nellie struggles to accept Emile’s mixed-race children. Another American serviceman, Lieutenant Cable, struggles with the prejudice that he would face if he were to marry an Asian woman.” W-C The song You’ve Got to Be Carefully Taught “attacks the issue with a vehemence never before (and seldom since) seen on the stage.” MK It was initially “criticized as too controversial for the musical stage and called indecent and pro-communist.” W-C

“Critical response to the Broadway opening, April 7, 1949, at the Majestic Theater, was probably as uniformly ecstatic as for any show in history.” MK “Acclaim heaped up: nine Tony awards, including Musical, Book, Score, and Direction, along with acting kudos for Martin, Pinza, Myron McCormick (who played Billis) and Juanita Hall (Bloody Mary). Nine Donaldson awards. The New York Drama Critics Circle award for Best Musical. And the 1950 Pulitzer Prize for Drama.” MK

The accompanying cast album tapped Pinza and Martin and other cast members. It proved immensely successful, spending 69 weeks atop the Billboard charts – the most weeks spent at #1 in the chart’s history. When the soundtrack to the 1958 film was released, it accomplished a similar feat by becoming the most successful #1 album in the history of the U.K. charts – with 115 weeks on top. Collectively, the cast album and soundtrack have sold nearly 13 million worldwide.


Resources and Related Links:


Award(s):


Friday, April 6, 2012

Henry Burr, the #1 ballad singer of the pioneer era, died: April 6, 1941


Joel Whitburn’s Pop Memories 1890-1954 called Henry Burr “the #1 ballad singer of recorded music’s 1890-1930 pioneer era.” PM He was born Harry H. McClaskey on January 15, 1882, in New Brunswick, Canada. He often recorded under the pseudonymn “Irving Gillette.” From 1903 to 1928, he charted 116 songs as a solo artist and another 48 in a popular duo with Albert Campbell. He also worked with the Columbia Male Quartet (1904-07), Peerless Quartet (1907-28), Columbia Stellar Quartet (1915-?), and the Sterling Trio (1916-22). Burr sang on 31 songs which hit #1 (noted below) and 13 which make the DMDB’s top 1000 song of all time (also noted below). He is estimated to have sung on some 12,000 recordings – far more than any other vocalist in history. PM Here are his top 100 songs of all time as ranked by the DMDB:

Let Me Call You Sweetheart

1. Let Me Call You Sweetheart ( Peerless Quartet, 1911) #1 DMDB 1000
2. I Wonder Who’s Kissing Her Now (1909) #1 DMDB 1000
3. Till We Meet Again (with Arthur Campbell, 1919) #1 DMDB 1000
4. Beautiful Ohio (1919) #1 DMDB 1000
5. I Didn’t Raise My Boy to Be a Soldier ( Peerless Quartet, 1915) #1 DMDB 1000
6. In the Shade of the Old Apple Tree (as Irving Gillette, 1905) #1 DMDB 1000
7. Just a Baby’s Prayer at Twilight (1918) #1 DMDB 1000
8. Way Down Yonder in New Orleans ( Peerless Quartet, 1922) DMDB 1000
9. My Buddy (1922) #1 DMDB 1000
10. Sweet Adeline (You’re the Flower of My Heart) (Columbia Male Quartet, 1904) #1

I Wonder Who’s Kissing Her Now

11. M-O-T-H-E-R (A Word That Means the World to Me) (1916) #1 DMDB 1000
12. Over There ( Peerless Quartet, 1917) #1
13. For Me and My Gal (with Albert Campbell, 1917)
14. Always (1926)
15. When I Lost You (1913) #1 DMDB 1000
16. Love Me and the World Is Mine (1906) #1 DMDB 1000
17. Meet Me Tonight in Dreamland (1910) #1 DMDB 1000
18. I’m Forever Blowing Bubbles (with Albert Campbell, 1919) #1
19. Dardanella (with Albert Campbell, 1920)
20. I’ll Be with You in Apple Blossom Time (with Albert Campbell, 1920)

Till We Meet Again

21. After You’ve Gone (with Albert Campbell, 1918)
22. Peg O’ My Heart (1913)
23. I Want a Girl Just Like the One Who Married Dear Old Dad ( Peerless Quartet, 1911)
24. Oh What a Pal Was Mary (1919) #1
25. The Missouri Waltz (Hush-a-Bye Ma Baby) (with Albert Campbell, 1917)
26. What’ll I Do? (with Marcia Freer, 1924)
27. Goodbye Broadway, Hello France! ( Peerless Quartet, 1917)
28. Swanee ( Peerless Quartet, 1920)
29. By the Light of the Silvery Moon ( Peerless Quartet, 1910)
30. The Trail of the Lonesome Pine (with Albert Campbell, 1913) #1

Beautiful Ohio

31. Last Night Was the End of the World (1913) #1
32. I’m on My Way to Mandalay (with Albert Campbell & Will Oakland, 1914) #1
33. Smiles (with Albert Campbell, 1918)
34. Rose of Washington Square (1920)
35. Goodbye, My Lady Love (1904)
36. Honey Boy (Columbia Male Quartet, 1907)
37. Feather Your Nest (with Albert Campbell, 1921)
38. There’s a Quaker Down in Quaker Town (with Albert Campbell, 1916) #1
39. Hindustna (with Albert Campbell, 1919)
40. My Hawaiian Sunshine (with Albert Campbell, 1917)

I Didn’t Raise My Boy to Be a Soldier
(performed by Marilyn Horne)

41. Goodbye, Good Luck, God Bless You Is All That I Can Say (1916) #1
42. Hawaiian Butterfly (Sterling Trio, 1917)
43. Come Down, Ma Evening Star (1903) #1
44. The Ghost of the Violin ( Peerless Quartet, 1913)
45. Silver Bell ( Peerless Quartet, 1910)
46. I’m Sorry I Made You Cry (1918) #1
47. There’s a Girl in the Heart of Maryland with a Heart That Belongs to Me (with Edgar Stoddard, 1913)
48. When I Was Twenty-One and You Were Sweet Sixteen (with Albert Campbell, 1912) #1
49. When You’re a Long, Long Way from Home (1914)
50. The Song That Stole My Heart Away (1914) #1

51. My Sunny Tennessee ( Peerless Quartet, 1922)
52. Close to My Heart (with Albert Campbell, 1915) #1
53. Are You from Heaven? (1918)
54. To the End of the World with You (1909) #1
55. Sailing Down the Chesapeake Bay (with Albert Campbell, 1913)
56. My Bird of Paradise ( Peerless Quartet, 1915) #1
57. If I Had My Way ( Peerless Quartet, 1914)
58. I’m Going to Follow the Boys (with Elizabeth Spencer, 1918)
59. That’s How I Need You (1912)
60. Daddy, You’ve Been a Mother to Me (1920)

In the Shade of the Old Apple Tree

61. At the Devil’s Ball ( Peerless Quartet, 1913)
62. I Don’t Know Where I’m Going But I’m on My Way ( Peerless Quartet, 1918) #1
63. When My Baby Smiles at Me (1920)
64. Wonderful One (1924)
65. All Aboard for Dixieland ( Peerless Quartet with Ada Jones, 1914)
66. Faded Love Letters of Mine (1923)
67. It’s Tulip Time in Holland (1915)
68. When I Leave the World Behind (1923)
69. Long Boy (Goodbye, Ma! Goodbye, Pa! Goodbye, Mule) ( Peerless Quartet with Byron Harlan, 1918)
70. I May Be Gone for a Long, Long Time ( Peerless Quartet, 1917)

Just a Baby’s Prayer at Twilight

71. When My Ship Comes In (with Albert Campbell, 1915)
72. Goodbye, Boys ( Peerless Quartet, 1913)
73. Won’t You Come Over to My House? (1907)
74. Memories (as Hary McClaskey, 1916)
75. Baby Shoes (1916)
76. There’s a Little Lane without a Turning on the Way to Home Sweet Home (1915)
77. Where the River Shannon Flows (1910)
78. Don’t Take My Darling Boy Away ( Peerless Quartet, 1915)
79. Somewhere in France Is the Lily (1918)
80. Good Night, Little Girl, Good Night (1906)

Way Down Yonder in New Orleans

81. Don’t Blame It All on Broadway ( Peerless Quartet, 1914)
82. Kentucky Days ( Peerless Quartet, 1912)
83. The Rosary (1903)
84. This Is the Life ( Peerless Quartet, 1914)
85. Joan of Arc, They Are Calling You (1917)
86. All That I Ask of You Is Love (1910)
87. I’m on My Way to Dublin Bay ( Peerless Quartet, 1915)
88. Just a Girl That Men Forget (1923)
89. Oh How I Wish I Could Sleep Until My Daddy Comes Home (1919)
90. That Wonderful Mother of Mine (1919)

My Buddy

91. My Little Girl (with Albert Campbell, 1915)
92. Tip Top Tipperary Mary ( Peerless Quartet, 1915)
93. When the Angelus Is Ringing ( Peerless Quartet, 1914)
94. You Planted a Rose in the Garden of Love (1914)
95. America, Here’s My Boy ( Peerless Quartet with Gene Greene, 1917)
96. On Mobile Bay (with Albert Campbell, 1911)
97. Jimmy Valentine ( Peerless Quartet, 1911)
98. He’s a Rag Picker ( Peerless Quartet, 1915)
99. Blue Bell (1904)
100. Just Like Washington Crossed the Delaware, General Pershing Will Cross the Rhine ( Peerless Quartet, 1918)

M-O-T-H-E-R (A Word That Means the World to Me)


Awards:


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