Saturday, December 30, 1972

Will the Circle Be Unbroken charted

First posted 11/21/2008; updated 9/27/2019.

Will the Circle Be Unbroken

Nitty Gritty Dirt Band


Charted: Dec. 30, 1972


Peak: #68 US


Sales (in millions): 0.5 US


Genre: country


Quotable: “An all-star country project that worked and transcended its country and rock origins.” – Bruce Eder, All Music Guide


Tracks: (Click for codes to singles charts.)

RA = Roy Acuff, MC = Maybelle Carter, VC = Vassar Clements, JM = Jimmy Martin, BBO = Bashful Brother Oswald, ES = Earl Scruggs, MT = Merle Travis, DW = Doc Watson

Disc 1:

  1. Grand Ole Opry Song [w/ JM] (Hylo Brown) [2:59] (8/4/73, #97 CW)
  2. Keep on the Sunny Side [w/ MC, DW, and ES] ( Ada Blenkhorn/J. Howard Entwisle/A.P. Carter/Gary Garett) [3:35]
  3. Nashville Blues [w/ ES] (Earl Scruggs) [3:10]
  4. You Are My Flower [w/ ES] (A.P. Carter) [3:35]
  5. The Precious Jewel [w/ RA] (Roy Acuff) [3:30]
  6. Dark As a Dungeon [w/ MT] (Merle Travis) [2:45]
  7. Tennessee Stud [w/ DW] (Jimmie Driftwood) [4:22]
  8. Black Mountain Rag [w/ DW] (traditional) [2:10]
  9. Wreck on the Highway [w/ RA] (Dorsey Dixon) [3:24]
  10. The End of the World [w/ ES] (Fred Rose) [3:53]
  11. I Saw the Light [w/ RA, ES, DW, VC, & JM] () [Hank Williams] (11/27/71, #56 CW)
  12. Sunny Side of the Mountain [w/ JM & VC] (Bryon Gregory/Harry McAuliffe) [2:14]
  13. Nine Pound Hammer [w/ MT] (Merle Travis) [2:14]
  14. Losin’ You Might Be the Best Thing Yet [w/ JM] (Edria A. Humphrey/Jimmy Martin) [2:44]
  15. Honky Tonkin’ (Hank Williams) [2:19]
  16. You Don’t Know My Mind [w/ JM] (Jimmie Skinner) [2:45]
  17. My Walkin’ Shoes [w/ JM] (Jimmy Martin/Paul Williams) [2:02]

Disc 2:

  1. Lonesome Fiddle Blues [w/ VC] (Vassar Clements) [2:41]
  2. Cannonball Rag [w/ MT] (Kennedy Jones/Merle Travis) [1:15]
  3. Avalanche (Millie Clements) [2:50]
  4. Flint Hill Special [w/ ES] (Earl Scruggs) [2:12]
  5. Togary Mountain (Walter McEuen) [2:25]
  6. Earl’s Breakdown [w/ ES] (Earl Scruggs) [2:34]
  7. Orange Blossom Special [w/ VC] (Ervin T. Rouse) [2:14]
  8. Wabash Cannonball [w/ ES] (A.P. Carter) [2:00]
  9. Lost Highway (Leon Payne) [3:37]
  10. Doc Watson & Merle Travis First Meeting (Dialogue) [1:52]
  11. Way Downtown [w/ DW] (traditional/Doc Watson) [3:30]
  12. Down Yonder [w/ DW and VC] (L. Wolfe Gilbert/arranged by Doc Watson) [1:48]
  13. Pins and Needles in My Heart [w/ RA] (Floyd Jenkins) []
  14. Honky Tonk Blues (Hank Williams) [2:22]
  15. Sailin’ on to Hawaii [w/ BBO & ES] (Beecher Kirby) [2:00]
  16. I’m Thinking Tonight of My Blue Eyes [w/ MC, ES, MT, and VC] (A.P. Carter) [4:25]
  17. I Am a Pilgrim [w/ MT] (traditional) [2:55]
  18. Wildwood Flower [w/ MC and ES] (3:34) []
  19. Soldier’s Joy [w/ ES] (John McEuen/Earl Scruggs) [2:05]
  20. Will the Circle Be Unbroken [w/ MC, ES, MT, JM, VC, RA] (A.P. Carter) [4:50]
  21. Both Sides Now (Joni Mitchell) [2:19]

Review:

“With all due respect to the Byrds and the Flying Burrito Brothers, it took the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band with this album to come up with a merger of rock and country music that worked for both sides and everyone involved.” AMG “Previously known for their country-rock and jug band music,” NRR the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band “was a young…band with a hippie look;” WK Roy Acuff described them as “a bunch of long-haired West Coast boys.” AZ

They wanted “to tie together two generations of musicians.” WK “The idea seemed nearly as foreign as Martians setting down in Tennessee, but the Dirt Band were Colorado hippies steeped in the genre, so there was no disputing the authenticity of the music, or its earthy appeal.” AZ “With the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band serving as catalyst and intersecting point for all of the talent involved,” AMG the album “was an all-star country project that worked (and transcended its country and rock origins).” AMG

The project, named after an Ada R. Habershon song famously re-arranged by A.P. Carter, “brought together a stellar group of musical giants of country music” NRR who were “much older and more famous from the forties, fifties and sixties, primarily as old-time country and bluegrass players.” WK Among them were Acuff, Mother Maybelle Carter, Vassar Clements, Jimmy Martin, Earl Scruggs, Merle Travis, and Doc Watson. They “had become known to their generation through the Grand Ole Opry. However, with the rise of rock-and-roll, the emergence of the commercial country’s slick ‘Nashville Sound,’ and changing tastes in music, their popularity had waned somewhat from their glory years.” WK The result was “an unprecedented collaboration” NRR that “introduced acoustic country music to a new generation of audiences and revived the careers of several of the guest performers.” NRR

“The recordings, made in Nashville, showcased traditional songs and country music classics.” NRR “Aside from the sheer joy of the performances (listen to Jimmy Martin’s ‘whoop’ on Sunny Side of the Mountain), there's great fun in hearing Roy Acuff give the boys a lesson in doing a song right the first time (and using the word hell before launching into a religious number). And Mother Maybelle wafts through like a benevolent ghost, or at least a patron saint.” AZ

“This was the first real country album that a lot of rock listeners under the age of 30 ever heard. Thus, it opened up pathways and dialogue in all directions, across several generations and cultural barriers; the dialogue between Doc Watson and Merle Travis alone was almost worth the price of admission.” AMG

“Every track on the album was recorded on the first or second take straight to two-track masters, so the takes are raw and unprocessed. Additionally, another tape ran continuously throughout the entire week-long recording session, and captured the dialog between the players. On the final album many of the tracks begin with the musicians discussing how to do the song or who should come in where, and provides a rare insight into the workmanship and approach that these highly-regarded musicians used to make their music, and how they decided to work together.” WK

“This was also one of rock’s very few multi-disc sets to be fully justified in its length and content; at a time when unnecessary double-LPs were all the rage, the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and company gave a triple album that, if anything, left audiences asking for more.” AMG The band answered the call with Will the Circle Be Unbroken, Vol. 2 and Will the Circle Be Unbroken, Vol. 3. They “are not as widely acclaimed as the first,” WK although the Country Music Association did award Vol. 2 as Album of the Year in 1989.

“The Grand Ole Opry Song”
This “set the tone for the album, showing that this band – for all of their origins in rock and popular music – was willing to meet country music on its terms, rather than as a vehicle for embellishment as rock music.” AMG

“Keep on the Sunny Side”
Written in 1899 by Ada Blenkhorn and J. Howard Entwisle, it was popularized by the Carter Family through a 1928 recording.

“You Are My Flower”
The Carter Family recorded it in 1939. Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs took it to #12 on the country charts in 1964.

“Dark As a Dungeon”
Written by Merle Travis in 1946, this song about being a coal miner in a shaft mine gained popularity when Johnny Cash featured it on his live At Folsom Prison album. NPR selected the original version as one of the most important 300 American works of the 21st century.

“Tennessee Stud”
In 1959, Jimmie Driftwood wrote and recorded this song about a man and his horse and their travels. Eddy Arnold had a top five country hit with it that same year. Chet Atkins, Johnny Cash, Chris LeDoux, and Jerry Reed also recorded the song.

“Black Mountain Rag”
This 1964 song by Doc Watson was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2006.

“Wreck on the Highway”
Dorsey Dixon wrote this now-classic bluegrass song about a fatal car crash in 1937. Five years later, Roy Acuff & His Smoky Mountain Boys recorded what became the best-known version. The husband-and-wife duo of Wilma Lee and Stoney Cooper had a top-ten country hit with it in 1961. It was also recorded by Hank Locklin, the Louvin Bothers, and as a duet between George Jones and Gene Pitney.

“The End of the Road”
Jimmie Davis, Sons of the Pioneers, Red Foley, and Les Paul with Mary Ford recorded the song in 1941, 1957, 1961, and 1962 respectively.

“I Saw the Light”
Hank Williams wrote this country gospel song in April 1947, but didn’t release it until September 1948. In the interim, Clyde Grubb and Roy Acuff released versions of it. Chet Atkins with Jerry Reed, Pat Boone, Johnny Cash with Carl Perkins and Jerry Lee Lewis, Floyd Cramer, Crystal Gayle, Merle Haggard, Emmylou Harris, Bill Monroe, Willie Nelson with Leon Russell, Aaron Neville, Earl Scruggs, and Ernest Tubb also covered the song. The version on Will the Circle Be Unbroken was an all-star jam featuring Acuff, Scruggs, Watson, Clements, and Martin. It was the first single from the album.

“Sunny Side of the Mountain”
Hank “The Singing Ranger” first recorded the song in 1944. Later versions were recorded by Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper, Lester Flatt, Jimmy Martin, Johnny Paycheck, the Stanley Brothers.

“Nine-Pound Hammer”
The song share verses with “Take This Hammer,” a prison/railroad work song which dates back to a 1915 manuscript by Newman Ivey White. In the 1920s. Most versions of the song also contain references to legendary spike driver John Henry. The first version of “Nine-Pound Hammer” dates to 1925 when folklorist Dorothy Scarborough transcribed it in her book On the Trail of Negro Folk Songs. Al Hopkins and His Buckle Busters made the first commercial recording of the song. Mississippi John Hurt recorded his version of “John Henry” in 1928 and the Lomaxes famous field recordings include several variations of the song. Lead Belly recorded it as “Take This Hammer” in 1940 and Merle Travis recorded it in 1946 as “Nine Pound Hammer Is Too Heavy,” adapting it to be about coal mining.

“Honky Tonkin’”
Hank Williams wrote and recorded the song in 1947 and had a #14 country hit with it. In 1982, his son, Hank Williams Jr., took it to #1. Waylon Jennings, Sissy Spaceck, The The, and Townes Van Zandt have also recorded the song.

“Orange Blossom Special”
Ervin T. Rouse wrote this song about the passenger train of the same name in 1938 and recorded it with Gordon Rouse a year later. The song, which has been called “the fiddle player’s national anthem,” was popularized by Bill Monroe in 1942 and was a #3 hit for Johnny Cash in 1965. It was also recorded by Chet Atkins, Charlie Daniels, Doug Kershaw, Charlie McCoy, and Billy Vaughn.

“Wabash Cannonball”
This train song originated in 1888, but was claimed by A.P. Carter when it entered the public domain in 1928. His group, the Carter Family, recorded it in 1932. Roy Acuff released it in 1938 and it hit #12 on the pop charts. Acuff’s version is in the Grammy Hall of Fame and National Recording Registry.

“Lost Highway”
Leon Payne wrote and recorded the song in 1948, but it was Hank Williams version which became popular, hitting #12 on the country charts. Don Gibson also had a minor hit with the song in 1967.

“Down Yonder”
Written in 1921, this became a top-ten song for the Peerless Quartet and Ernest Hare with Billy Jones. In 1934, Gid Tanner & His Skillet Lickers brought it back to the top 10 as an instrumental bluegrass song. In 1951, the song was revived again with a top-five version by Del Wood followed by top-20 versions by Joe “Fingers” Carr, Freddy Martin, Ethele Smith, Champ Butler, and Lawrence “Piano” Cook. In the UK, Johnny & the Hurricanes took their version to the top 10. Willie Nelson revisted the song just a few years later on his classic Red Headed Stranger album.

“Pins and Needles in My Heart”
Bob Atcher first charted with this song in 1943, taking it to #19 on the pop charts.

“Honky Tonk Blues”
Hank Williams wrote the song in 1951 and took it to #2 on the country charts the next year.

“I’m Thinking Tonight of My Blue Eyes”
The Carter Family had a top-ten pop hit with their 1929 version. Gene Autry took it to #3 on the country charts in 1944.

“I Am a Pilgrim”
This traditional song first appeared as a hym in the 1860s. The Norfolk Jubilee Quarte recorded it in 1924. It was also recorded by the Golden Gate Jubilee Quartet (1939), Merle Travis (1947), Bill Monroe (1958), and Doc Watson with Merle Watson (1970).

“Wildwood Flower”
The Carter Family took the song to #3 on the pop charts in 1928. Hank Thompson recorded the song with Merle Travis in 1955 and had a top-five country hit with it.

“Soldier’s Joy”
This song, dating back as early as the 1760s, is one of the top ten most-played old time fiddle tunes. Gid Tanner & His Skillet Lickers recorded it in 1929 and Hawshaw Hawkins hit #15 on the country charts with the song in 1959.

“Will the Circle Be Unbroken”
This hymn by Ada R. Habershon and Charles H. Gabriel focused on the death, funeral, and mourning of the narrator’s mother. A.P. Carter adapted the song and The Carter Family recorded it in 1935. Their version was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame. Multiple versions of the song have been recorded by Roy Acuff, Gregg Allman, Joan Baez, The Band, Johnny Cash, Bob Dylan, John Lee Hooker, Jerry Lee Lewis, Bill Monroe, and The Staple Singers.

“Both Sides Now”
Joni Mitchell wrote it in 1967. Judy Collins had a top 10 pop hit with her recording of it; her versions was also elected to the Grammy Hall of Fame.

Reissue:
“Originally appearing in 1972 as a three LP album, Will the Circle Be Unbroken was remastered and re-released in 2002 as a two compact disc set,” WK including “four bonus tracks, though only Foggy Mountain Breakdown is a proper song; two of the others [Warming Up for the Opry and Sunny Side] consist of warmups and studio chat, while Remember Me (featuring Doc Watson) is just a fragment.” AMG


Review Source(s):


Awards:


Friday, October 27, 1972

Stevie Wonder’s Talking Book released

First posted 6/20/2008; updated 11/8/2020.

Talking Book

Stevie Wonder


Released: October 27, 1972


Peak: 3 US, 13 RB, 16 UK, 12 CN, 34 AU


Sales (in millions): 1.0 US, 0.1 UK, 5.5 world (includes US and UK)


Genre: R&B


Tracks:

Song Title (Writers) [time] (date of single release, chart peaks) Click for codes to singles charts.

  1. You Are the Sunshine of My Life [2:58] (3/17/73, 1 US, 1 CB, 1 HR, 1 AC, 3 RB, 8 CL, 7 UK, 5 CN)
  2. Maybe Your Baby [6:51]
  3. You and I (We Can Conquer the World) [4:39]
  4. Tuesday Heartbreak [3:02]
  5. You’ve Got It Bad Girl (Wonder, Yvonne Wright) [4:56]
  6. Superstition [4:26] (11/11/72, 1 US, 1 CB, 1 HR, 38 AC, 1 RB, 4 CL, 11 UK, 6 CN)
  7. Big Brother [3:34]
  8. Blame It on the Sun (Wonder, Syreeta Wright) [3:26]
  9. Lookin’ for Another Love(Wonder, Syreeta Wright) [4:44]
  10. I Believe When I Fall in Love It Will Be Forever [4:34]

All songs by Wonder unless noted otherwise.


Total Running Time: 43:31

Rating:

4.654 out of 5.00 (average of 18 ratings)


Quotable: “In a career full of classics, Talking Book is Stevie’s most perfect album.” – Josh Tyrangiel and Alan Light, Time magazine


Awards:

About the Album:

Right from the way the title was written in braille on the cover of the album to the shape, placing and suggestions of individual tracks, Talking Book was Stevie Wonder’s most personal album. Talking Book established Wonder as the self-contained singer/songwriter. “When he reached the age of majority, former child prodigy Stevie Wonder renegotiated a contract with Motown Records that granted him creative independence…His first release under these terms, Music of My Mind, demonstrated that Wonder could work as a truly self-contained unit – writing and producing all the songs, and playing virtually all the instruments, entirely alone.” TL

He supported that album with a supporting slot for the Rolling Stones on the U.S. tour in 1972, which gave him a wider audience than ever before and fueled his two singles from Talking Book to the top of the charts. Wonder essentially “secured his position as the reigning genius of his era” TL and “expanded his compositional palate with 1972’s Talking Book to include societal ills as well as tender love songs, and so recorded the first smash album of his career. What had been hinted at on the intriguing project Music of My Mind was here focused into a laser beam of tight songwriting, warm electronic arrangements, and ebullient performances – altogether the most realistic vision of musical personality ever put to wax.” JB

The album kicks off with “a disarmingly simple love song,” JB the “candy-coated pop” TL of “You Are the Sunshine of My Life (but of course, it’s only the composition that’s simple).” JB It would become “one of the most covered (and ‘lounged’) songs ever,” SL-84 which could make it feel “nauseating or naively charming, or even nausteatingly charming.” SL-85

The song also showcased “a rare generosity in someone of Stevie’s star status” SL-84 in that the song’s first few vocal lines are given to singer Jim Gilstrap and backup singer Gloria Barley. The song was actually recorded during Music of My Mind, but held back because it was “deemed unsuitiable for the mood of that album.” SL-84 There was also speculation that the song was held off for awhile since Wonder had entered into a relationship with Barley although still married to Syreeta Wright. SL-85

The “theme of lost love” SL-85 echoes throughout the album, which isn’t surprising consider Wonder and Wright’s marriage dissolved after Wonder returned from the Stones’ tour. “The glorious closer I Believe (When I Fall in Love It Will Be ForeverJB is actually “an optimistic song” SL-86 and a pure revelatory experience. The song also proved its stamina when Mike + the Mechanics covered it for their 1995 album Beggar on a Beach of Gold and it showed up on the High Fidelity soundtrack in 2000.

That and You and I are marked by “soaring exuberance.” TL They “subtly illustrate that the conception of love can be stronger than the reality, while Tuesday Heartbreak speaks simply but powerfully: ‘I wanna be with you when the nighttime comes / I wanna be with you till the daytime comes.’” JB

“Stevie’s not always singing a tender ballad here – in fact, he flits from contentment to mistrust to promise to heartbreak within the course of the first four songs — but he never fails to render each song in the most vivid colors. In stark contrast to his early songs, which were clever but often relied on the Motown template of romantic metaphor, with Talking Book it became clear Stevie Wonder was beginning to speak his mind and use personal history for material (just as Marvin Gaye had with the social protest of 1971’s What’s Going On). The lyrics became less convoluted, while the emotional power gained in intensity.” JB

“The biggest hit from Talking Book wasn’t a love song at all; the funk landmark Superstition urges empowerment instead of hopelessness, set to a grooving beat that made it one of the biggest hits of his career.” JB In fact, it was his first #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 since 1963’s “Fingertips (Part 2).” It sported “a completely compulsive groove, a killer clav riff, and a hooky chorus line, all assembled in…an irresistible combustion.” SL-84

It’s followed by Big Brother. With its “overtly political stance” SL-85 it is “the first of his directly critical songs, excoriating politicians who posture to the underclass in order to gain the only thing they really need: votes.” JB

“With Talking Book, Stevie also found a proper balance between making an album entirely by himself and benefiting from the talents of others.” JB “Sax star David Sanborn makes an appearance, as does guitar superstar Jeff Beck, alongside Buzzy Feiten (former guitarist with Paul Butterfield’s band.” SL-85 The latter two “appeared on Lookin’ for Another Pure Love, Beck’s solo especially giving voice to the excruciating process of moving on from a broken relationship.” JB

Elsewhere, Wonder’s “wife Syreeta and her sister Yvonne Wright contributed three great lyrics, and Ray Parker, Jr. came by to record a guitar solo that brings together the lengthy jam Maybe Your Baby.” JB That song showcased heavy use of the synth on basslines. Author Steve Lodder speculates that “Prince was well aware of tracks like ‘Maybe Your Baby’ in his formative years.” SL-86

“Like no other Stevie Wonder LP before it, Talking Book is all of a piece, the first unified statement of his career. It’s certainly an exercise in indulgence but, imitating life, it veers breathtakingly from love to heartbreak and back with barely a pause.” JB “In a career full of classics, Talking Book is Stevie’s most perfect album.” TL

Resources and Related Links:

  • DMDB encyclopedia entry for Stevie Wonder
  • JB John Bush, All Music Guide
  • SL Steve Lodder (2005). Stevie Wonder: A Musical Guide to the Classic Albums. Backbeat Books: San Francisco, CA.
  • TL Josh Tyrangiel and Alan Light, Time Magazine’s “All-TIME 100 Albums” (11/13/06)

   

Saturday, July 8, 1972

Harry Von Tilzer: Top 30 Songs

First posted 12/8/2019.

Songwriter and vaudevillian performer Harry Von Tilzer was born Aaron Gumbinsky one hundred years ago today on 7/8/1872 in Detroit, Michigan. Also known as Harry Gumm. Died on 1/10/1946. For a complete list of this act’s DMDB honors, check out the DMDB Music Maker Encyclopedia entry.


Top 30 Songs

Dave’s Music Database lists are determined by song’s appearances on best-of lists as well as chart success, sales, radio airplay, streaming, and awards. Many of these songs have been recorded multiple times. Only the highest-ranked version in Dave’s Music Database is included in this list. The recording artist is noted in parentheses. Songs which hit #1 on Billboard’s pop charts are noted.

DMDB Top 1%:

1. Wait Till the Sun Shines, Nellie (Byron G. Harlan, 1906) #1
2. On a Sunday Afternoon (J.W. Myers, 1902) #1
3. A Bird in a Gilded Cage (Steve Porter, 1900) #1
4. Down Where the Wurzburger Flows (Arthur Collins & Byron Harlan, 1902) #1
5. I Want a Girl Just Like the Girl Who Married Dear Old Dad (Peerless Quartet, 1911)

DMDB Top 5%:

6. The Mansion of Aching Hearts (Harry MacDonough, 1902) #1
7. My Old New Hampsire Home (George J. Gaskin, 1898) #1
8. Alexander (Don’t You Love Your Baby No More?) (Billy Murray, 1904) #1
9. Under the Anheuser Busch (Billy Murray, 1904)
10. Coax Me (Arthur Collins & Byron Harlan, 1905)

11. All Alone (Ada Jones & Billy Murray, 1911)
12. You’ll Always Be the Same Sweet Girl (James Harrison & James Reed, 1915)
13. And the Green Grass Grew All Around (Walter Van Brunt, 1913)
14. I Love My Wife, But Oh You Kid! (Arthur Collins, 1909)
15. All Aboard for Dreamland (Byron G. Harlan, 1904) #1
16. The Cubanola Glide (Arthur Collins & Byron Harlan, 1910)
17. All Aboard for Blanket Bay (Ada Jones, 1911)

DMDB Top 10%:

18. I Remember You (Ada Jones, 1909)
19. They Always Pick on Me (Ada Jones, 1911)
20. Knock Wood (Ada Jones & Walter Van Brunt, 1911)
21. All She'd Say Was "Umh-Hum" (Van & Schenck, 1921)
22. On the Old Fall River Line (Arthur Collins & Byron Harlan, 1914)
23. Down Where the Cotton Blossoms Grow (Frank Stanley, 1902)

DMDB Top 20%:

24. When the Flowers Bloom in the Springtime, Molly Dear (Haydn Quartet, 1907)

Beyond the DMDB Top 20%:

25. Keep the Trench Fires Going for the Boys Out There (1918)
26. IDA-HO (1906)
27. Top O’ the Mornin’ (1907)
28. Summertime (1908)
29. Taffy (1908)
30. You Can Tango, You Can Fox-Trot, But Be Sure and Hesitate (1914)


Awards:



Tuesday, June 27, 1972

Led Zeppelin recorded for live box set, How the West Was Won (June 25 and 27)

June 1972: Led Zeppelin How the West Was Won box set recorded
First posted 11/16/2020.

How the West Was Won

Led Zeppelin


Released: May 27, 2003


Recorded: live June 25 and 27, 1972


Peak: 11 US, 5 UK, 11 CN, -- AU


Sales (in millions): 1.0 US, -- UK, 2.0 world (includes US and UK)


Genre: classic rock


Tracks:

Song Title [time] (date of single release, chart peaks for original studio releases) Click for codes to singles charts. The raised numbers after the song indicate the original studio album from which the album is taken.

Disc 1:

  1. LA Drone [0:14]
  2. Immigrant Song [3:42] (11/14/70, 16 US, 8 CB, 10 HR, 1 CL, 4 CN, 16 AU) 3
  3. Heartbreaker [7:25] (3/4/70, 65 US, 1 CL) 2
  4. Black Dog [5:41] (12/18/71, 15 US, 9 CB, 10 HR, 1 CL, 11 CN, 9 AU) 4
  5. Over the Hills and Far Away [5:08] (6/9/73, 51 US, 28 CB, 31 HR, 1 CL, 63 CN) 5
  6. Since I’ve Been Loving You [8:02] (9 CL) 3
  7. Stairway to Heaven [9:38] (11/24/07, 30 US, 1 CL, 37 UK, 17 CN) 4
  8. Going to California [5:37] (1 CL) 4
  9. That’s the Way [5:54] (11 CL) 3
  10. Bron-Yr-Aur Stomp [4:55] (13 CL) 3

Disc 2:

  1. Dazed and Confused / (1 CL) 1
    Walter’s Walk /
    The Crunge (18 CL) 5 [25:25]
  2. What Is and What Should Never Be [4:41] (3 CL) 2
  3. Dancing Days [3:42] (6 CL) 5
  4. Moby Dick [19:20] (14 CL) 2

Disc 3:

  1. Whole Lotta Love / (11/15/69, 4 US, 2 CB, 4 HR, 1 CL, 21 UK, 2 CN, 1 AU) 2
    Boogie Chillun/Let’s Have a Party/Hello Mary Lou/Going Down Slow [23:07]
  2. Rock and Roll [3:56] (3/11/72, 47 US, 42 CB, 38 HR, 1 CL, 38 CN, 51 AU) 4
  3. The Ocean [4:21] (2 CL) 5
  4. Bring It on Home/Bring It on Back [9:30] (9 CL)

1 Led Zeppelin I (1969)
2 Led Zeppelin II (1969)
3 Led Zeppelin III (1970)
4 Led Zeppelin IV (1971)
5 Houses of the Holy (1973)


Total Running Time: 150:27


The Players:

  • Robert Plant (vocals, harmonica)
  • Jimmy Page (guitar, mandolin, backing vocals)
  • John Paul Jones (bass, keyboards, mandolin, backing vocals)
  • John Bonham (drums, percussion, backing vocals)

Rating:

4.221 out of 5.00 (average of 16 ratings)


Quotable: “For anybody who really loves hard rock & roll, it doesn’t get much better than this.” – Stephen Thomas Erlewine, All Music Guide


Awards:

About the Album:

This recording was made from two live shows in California in 1972 – one at the L.A. Forum on June 25 and the other from the Long Beach Arena two days later. The two shows were bootlegged for years, but this was the first chance fans had to heard official soundboard recordings of the concerts. WK

“The end result is worth the wait.” AMG Jimmy Page, the band’s guitarist and the album’s producer, “has assembled a killer live album that captures the full, majestic sweep of Zeppelin.” AMG Page says in the liner notes that he considered the band to be at their artistic peak at this time. “For anybody who really loves hard rock & roll, it doesn’t get much better than this.” AMG This is an “absolutely essential” AMG “priceless souvenir.” AMG

Throughout the album, “songs that have grown familiar through years of play seem fresh and new because of these vigorous, muscular performances.” AMG The long numbers – Dazed and Confused, Whole Lotta Love, and Moby Dick – “are alternatingly fascinating and indulgent, yet even when they meander there is a real sense of grandeur, achieving a cinematic scale attempted by few of their peers.” AMG

However, “the real power of the band comes through on the shorter songs, where etheir sound is distilled to its essence.” AMG “Witness how Black Dog goes straight for the gut here, while the studio version escalates into a veritable guitar army – it’s the same song, but the song has not remained the same.” AMG

How the West Was Won debuted at #1 on the Billboard album chart, demonstrating the lasting power of Led Zeppelin that a three-decades old recordings could still reach the pinnacle.

It also showed how much Led Zep fans wanted a good, official live album from the band. The Song Remains the Same was a live soundtrack released while the band was still active, but “it was a choppy, uneven performance, lacking the majesty of the group at its peak.” AMG In 1997, a double-disc album of BBC sessions from 1969 was released, but it wasn’t recorded in front of a live audience.

Resources and Related Links:

Saturday, June 24, 1972

Eagles chart with debut album

First posted 3/26/2008; updated 10/17/2020.

Eagles

Eagles


Charted: June 24, 1972


Peak: 22 US, -- UK, 13 CN, -- AU


Sales (in millions): 1.92 US, 0.06 UK, 3.0 world (includes US and UK)


Genre: country rock


Tracks: Click for codes to singles charts.

  1. Take It Easy (6/3/72, 12 US, 1 CL, 12 AC, 8 CN, 49 AU)
  2. Witchy Woman (9/9/72, 9 US, 5 CL, 8 CN, 81 AU)
  3. Chug All Night
  4. Most of Us Are Sad
  5. Nightingale
  6. Train Leaves Here This Morning
  7. Take the Devil
  8. Early Bird
  9. Peaceful, Easy Feeling (12/30/72, 22 US, 5 CL, 20 AC, 35 CN)
  10. Tryin’


Total Running Time: 36:43


The Players:

  • Glenn Frey (vocals, guitar)
  • Don Henley (vocals, drums)
  • Bernie Leadon (guitar, vocals, banjo)
  • Randy Meisner (bass, vocals)

Rating:

3.681 out of 5.00 (average of 19 ratings)


Awards:

About the Album:

“Balance is the key element of the Eagles’ self-titled debut album, a collection that contains elements of rock & roll, folk, and country, overlaid by vocal harmonies alternately suggestive of doo wop, the Beach Boys, and the Everly Brothers.” AMG

“If the group kicks up its heels on rockers like Chug All Night, Nightingale, and Tryin’, it is equally convincing on ballads like Most of Us Are Sad and Train Leaves Here This Morning.” AMG

“The album is also balanced among its members, who trade off on lead vocal chores and divide the songwriting such that Glenn Frey, Bernie Leadon, and Randy Meisner all get three writing or co-writing credits. Fourth member Don Henley, with only one co-writing credit and two lead vocals, falls a little behind, while Jackson Browne, Gene Clark, and Jack Tempchin also figure in the writing credits.” AMG

“The album’s overall balance is worth keeping in mind because it produced three Top 40 hit singles…that do not reflect that balance. Take It Easy and Peaceful Easy Feeling are similar-sounding mid-tempo folk-rock tunes sung by Frey that express the same sort of laid-back philosophy, as indicated by the word ‘easy’ in both titles, while Witchy Woman, a Henley vocal and co-composition, initiates the band’s career-long examination of supernaturally evil females.” AMG

“These are the songs one remembers from Eagles, and they look forward to the eventual dominance of the band by Frey and Henley. But the complete album from which they come belongs as much to Leadon’s country-steeped playing and singing and to Meisner’s melodic rock & roll feel, which, on the release date, made it seem a more varied and consistent effort than it did later, when the singles had become overly familiar.” AMG

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Wednesday, June 7, 1972

Grease opened on Broadway

First posted 2/24/2008; last updated 11/23/2020.

Grease

Warren Casey & Jim Jacobs (composers)

The Albums: This page offers an overview of the Grease Broadway show as well as the two major albums it birthed:

You can click on one of the links above to go directly to that part of the page or simply read on for a more complete background of Grease.


About the Broadway Show:

Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey’s show was named after the working-class youth subculture known as greasers. It “was an affectionate little musical about the teenage lifestyle of the late 1950s — when rock and roll was aborning, the cool boys sported heavily gelled hair and motorcycle jackets, and their girls favored beehive hairdos and pedal pushers.” CA Set at the fictional Rydell High School in 1959, the story follows a group of adolescents navigating issues such as peer pressure, friendship, love, sex, teen pregnancy, and rebellion. “Grease skillfully walks the line between parody and homage.” CA

Jacobs explained that the basic plot in which the female lead transforms from a sensitive character into a more rebellious one was a “subversion of common tropes of 1950s cinema” W-C in which the tough male lead would become a more sympathetic character.

The show was first performed in Chicago in the Kingston Mines nightclub in 1971. On February 14, 1972, it opened Off-Broadway at the Eden Theatre in New York. On June 7, 1972, it moved to Broadway, first at the Broadhurst Theatre and then the Royale Theatre, where it ran until January 27, 1980. W-C Its 3,388-performance run there was the longest in history, until it was surpassed in 1983 by A Chorus Line. W-C

Grease

cast album


Opened on Broadway: June 7, 1972


Peak: -- US, -- UK, -- CN, -- AU


Sales (in millions): -- US, 0.3 UK, 0.3 world (includes US and UK)


Genre: show tunes

Tracks:

  1. Alma Mater
  2. Alma Mater (Parody)
  3. Summer Nights
  4. Those Magic Changes
  5. Freddy, My Love
  6. Greased Lightnin’
  7. Mooning
  8. Look at Me, I’m Sandra Dee
  9. We Go Together
  10. It’s Raining on Prom Night
  11. Born to Hand Jive
  12. Beauty School Dropout
  13. Alone at a Drive-In Movie
  14. Rock ‘N’ Roll Party Queen
  15. There Are Worse Things I Could Do
  16. Look at Me, I’m Sandra Dee (Reprise)
  17. All Choked Up
  18. We Go Together (Reprise)

All songs written by Warren Casey and Jim Jacobs.


Total Running Time: 46:38

Rating:

3.663 out of 5.00
(average of 4 ratings)

About the Cast Album:

A cast recording was made in 1972 which featured the original Broadway cast. “Barry Bostwick is terrific as lead greaser Danny, and Carole Demas sounds just right as Danny’s sweet girlfriend, Sandy. Among the other standouts in the cast are Katie Hanley, Walter Bobbie, and Kathi Moss.” CA

“The melodies, rhythms, harmonies, and arrangements of the songs are clever knockoffs of popular ’50s hits, very catchy and buoyed by some clever lyrics. (Example, from Freddy, My Love: ‘I treasure every giftie / The ring was really nifty / You said it cost you fifty / So you’re thrifty / I don’t mind.’).” CA

“Other highlights include Summer Nights, which amusingly presents a boy’s and a girl’s different descriptions of their summer romance; the infectious Those Magic Changes, sung by a kid who’s thrown himself wholeheartedly into guitar lessons; It’s Raining on Prom Night, an oddly touching, funny lament over a lost high-school love (sample lyric: ‘I don’t even have my corsage, oh gee / It fell down a sewer with my sister’s I.D.’),” CA and “We Go Together, ”a bouncy anthem of teenage unity.” CA

“The score does contain one serious number, and it’s a good one: There Are Worse Things I Could Do, sung by Rizzo, whose outward toughness masks her vulnerability. Adrienne Barbeau gives the song a moving, well sung performance.” CA

“This is a show for people who lived through the ‘50s and would now like to remember it only for its high school fashions, teenage emotional concerns, and bouncy rock & roll tunes.” WR

Grease

soundtrack


Released: April 14, 1978


Peak: 112 US, 113 UK, 17 CN, 114 AU


Sales (in millions): 14.0 US, 2.37 UK, 40.4 world (includes US and UK)


Genre: show tunes

Tracks:

Song Title (Writers) (PERFORMERS) (date of single release, chart peaks) Click for codes to singles charts.

  1. Grease (Barry Gibb) (FRANKIE VALLI) (5/27/78, 1 US, 3 UK, 13 AC, 40 RB, sales: 1.0 m)
  2. Summer Nights (OLIVIA NEWTON-JOHN / JOHN TRAVOLTA / CAST) (8/5/78, 5 US, 1 UK, 21 AC, sales: 0.5 m)
  3. Hopelessly Devoted to You (John Farrar) (OLIVIA NEWTON-JOHN) (7/8/78, 3 US, 2 UK, 7 AC, 20 CW, sales: 0.5 m)
  4. You’re the One That I Want (John Farrar) (OLIVIA NEWTON-JOHN / JOHN TRAVOLTA) (4/1/78, 1 US, 1 UK, 23 AC, sales: 1.0 m)
  5. Sandy(Louis St. Louis, Scott Simon) (JOHN TRAVOLTA) (10/7/78, 2 UK)
  6. Beauty School Dropout (FRANKIE AVALON)
  7. Look at Me, I’m Sandra Dee (STOCKARD CHANNING)
  8. Greased Lightnin’ (JOHN TRAVOLTA) (9/30/78, 47 US, 11 UK)
  9. It’s Raining on Prom Night (CINDY BULLENS)
  10. Alone at a Drive-in Movie (BILL OAKES)
  11. Blue Moon (Richard Rodgers, Lorenz Hart) (SHA NA NA)
  12. Rock & Roll Is Here to Stay (David White) (SHA NA NA)
  13. Those Magic Changes (SHA NA NA)
  14. Hound Dog (Jerry Leiber, Mike Stoller) (SHA NA NA)
  15. Born to Hand Jive (SHA NA NA)
  16. Tears on My Pillow (Sylvester Bradford, Al Lewis) (SHA NA NA)
  17. Mooning (LOUIS SAINT LOUIS / CINDY BULLENS)
  18. Freddy, My Love (CINDY BULLENS)
  19. Rock & Roll Party Queen (LOUIS SAINT LOUIS)
  20. Look at Me, I’m Sandra Dee (OLIVIA NEWTON-JOHN)
  21. We Go Together (OLIVIA NEWTON-JOHN / JOHN TRAVOLTA)
  22. Love Is a Many Splendored Thing (Samm Fain, Paul Francis Webster) (BILL OAKES)
  23. Grease (Reprise) (Barry Gibb) (FRANKIE VALLI)

Songs are written by Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey unless noted otherwise.


Total Running Time: 61:14

Rating:

4.300 out of 5.00
(average of 14 ratings)


Awards:

About the Soundtrack:

“Grease will always be the word for hopelessly devoted generations of girls who wore out their record players partying with their own Pink Ladies to this soundtrack.” ZS The “high-camp classic” ZS whisked listeners away “to the ‘50s teeny-bopper days” ZS by boasting “summer-loving hits that will be on karaoke playlists until the end of time.” ZS

“The movie is a 1970s take on 1950s musicals, providing all the kitsch anyone could hope for.” AZGrease was a huge success as a Broadway musical prior to hitting the big screen in 1978. That was the version that transformed Grease into a phenomenon – it was a runaway box office success, and then became a TV, cable, and video favorite.” STE The soundtrack, the sixth best-selling of all time, W-S “rivaled its film counterpart as a pop culture perennial, and it’s not hard to see why – its good-natured pastiche of doo wop and early rock & roll is infectious and charming, due in no small part to John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John’s charismatic, engaging performances.” STE

They actually only appear on 7 of the 24 tracks on the album, but “they sing the majority of the originals… which were the reason why the film and soundtrack became blockbusters.” STE The pair duet on You’re the One That I Want and sing with the cast on Summer Nights. Both sangs hit #1 in the UK and rank in the 20 best-selling singles of all-time in the UK. W-S

Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta took solo turns on Hopelessly Devoted to You and Sandy respectively. They were also hugely successful in the UK, both hitting #2. The former was a #3 hit in the US as well.

Songs by other cast members include Look at Me, I’m Sandra Dee, in which “actress Stockard Channing struts her, um, versatility.” AZ The rest of the soundtrack is filled out by “workmanlike performances” STE of 1950s’ chestnuts from Sha Na Na. While they are “over-represented,” AZ the soundtrack’s original songs, which “hold up better than the ‘50s tunes,” STE “are so giddily enjoyable…that everything works.” STE

Most of the songs from the original show are retained, but the hits which propelled the soundtrack into the stratosphere were largely new editions. That includes a pair of John Farrar contributions, including “You’re the One That I Want” and “Hopelessly Devoted to You.” The soundtrack also includes some rock and roll chestnuts such as Hound Dog, Blue Moon, and Tears on My Pillow performed by Sha Na Na.

The title song was sung by ‘50s heartthrob Frankie Valli and penned by Barry Gibb of the Bee Gees, fresh from his success from Saturday Night Fever. In that movie, Travolta became an internationally-known star strutting his disco white-suit-wearing stuff while dancing to four chart-topping songs penned by Gibb. In Grease, Travolta strutted his jeans-and-T-shirt-wearing stuff while dancing with Olivia Newton-John – and four more top-five US hits.

This soundtrack bears several interesting connections to that one. Only three weeks after Fever ended its six-month residency at the top of the US charts, the Grease soundtrack moved in for a summer-long stay. Fever was the best-selling album of 1977; Grease held the title for 1978. Both rank in the all-time top 100 worldwide best-selling albums with estimates as high as 40 million. Both soundtracks are also in the DMDB’s list of the top 50 soundtracks and rank amongst the biggest #1 albums in U.S. and U.K. chart history. Both albums are also in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame/NARM’s Definitive Albums list.

“The sleek pop production the movie’s soundtrack boasts and the cast’s enthusiastic performances go a long way in making this Grease the definitive Grease.” STE “This has become a touchstone in American culture.” AZ


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