Wednesday, December 19, 2007

December 19, 1957: The Music Man opened on Broadway

Originally posted May 19, 2011. Last updated September 4, 2018.

The Music Man (cast/soundtrack)

Meredith Willson (composers)

Opened on Broadway: December 19, 1957

Cast Album Charted: February 24, 1958

Soundtrack Charted: August 11, 1962


Sales (in millions):
US: 1.0 C, 0.5 S
UK: --
IFPI: --
World (estimated): 1.5 C+S


Peak:
US: 112-C, 2 S
UK: 14 S
Canada: --
Australia: --

C cast album
S soundtrack

Quotable: --


Genre: show tunes


Album Tracks:

  1. Main Title/ Rock Island
  2. Iowa Stubborn
  3. Ya Got Trouble
  4. Piano Lesson If You Don’t Mind My Saying So s
  5. Goodnight, My Someone
  6. Ya Got Trouble s
  7. Seventy Six Trombones
  8. Sincere
  9. The Sadder But Wiser Girl for Me
  10. Pick-a-Little, Talk-a-Little
  11. Goodnight Ladies c
  12. Marian the Librarian
  13. My White Knight c
  14. Being in Love s
  15. Gary, Indiana s
  16. The Wells Fargo Wagon
  17. It’s You c
  18. Shipoopi *
  19. Lida Rose/ Will I Ever Tell You?
  20. Gary, Indiana
  21. Till There Was You
  22. Goodnight, My Someone s
  23. Seventy Six Trombones s
  24. Finale c

* Track comes right before “Till There Was You” on soundtrack.
c indicates song that appears only on cast album.
s indicates song that appears only on soundtrack.


Singles/Hit Songs *:

Till There Was You
- Anita Bryant (1959) #30
- Valjean (1962) #100

* As was common in the pre-rock era, multiple versions of a single song from a Broadway show would become hits. All chart positions are from the U.S. Billboard pop charts.

Review:

“The original Broadway cast of Meredith Willson’s most successful musical was headed by Robert Preston, who played the part of Harold Hill, a conman” R-C “intent on swindling the good people of River City, IA, by selling them on a fictitious boys' band.” R-S

“Willson concentrates on percussive effects and rapid-fire spiels for Preston, though the musical standout is Barbara Cook as Marian the Librarian. Highlights of this perennial hit show include Seventy-Six Trombones and Till There Was You.” R-S

“Coming along in the summer of 1962, four and a half years after the Broadway opening, the film version of The Music Man appeared in an era when Hollywood was more likely to be faithful to stage musicals, rather than dramatically altering them, as had been the practice in the past. R-S

The movie version “found Robert Preston re-creating his starring role as conman Professor Harold Hill…and some minor roles were also filled by the Broadway originals. More important, Meredith Willson’s score was rendered intact, the only change being a revision of the song My White Knight into Being in Love.” R-S

“The major casting change was the substitution of Shirley Jones, who had a box-office track record, for Barbara Cook, who did not, in the role of Marian the librarian. Cook may have been preferable, but Jones handled the part well, too.” R-S

“Musically, the big change had to do with scale; the Broadway pit orchestra and original cast were replaced by a vast Hollywood orchestra and chorus, and musical director Ray Heindorf made the most of the larger effects on songs like ‘Seventy Six Trombones’.” R-S

“Still, the music fan who already owned a copy of the original Broadway cast recording didn’t really need to plump for the original motion picture soundtrack, which didn’t keep the album from racing up the charts…as the film became one of the year’s top grossers. But it remains true; unless you are a Shirley Jones fan or want to hear future Andy Griffith Show co-star and film director Ronnie Howard sing Gary, Indiana with a lisp, stick to the Broadway version.” R-S


Review Sources:

Awards:


Saturday, December 1, 2007

Alicia Keys hit #1 with “No One”

Last updated 3/28/2020.

No One

Alicia Keys

Writer(s): Alicia Keys, Kerry Brothers Jr., George M. Harry (see lyrics here)


Released: September 11, 2007


First Charted: September 8, 2007


Peak: 15 US, 16 RR 9 AC, 9 A40, 110 RB, 6 UK, 2 CN, 3 AU (Click for codes to singles charts.)


Sales (in millions): 4.0 US, 0.6 UK, 5.6 world (includes US + UK)


Airplay/Streaming (in millions): 0.8 radio, 395.93 video, -- streaming

Awards:

About the Song:

Keys told Billboard magazine “This is one song that just wrote itself. A lot of the snogs didn’t happen like that. It was one of the last songs I wrote. I needed to say this. It’s full force, classical yet vintage, desperate yet triumphant. I want people to feel my soul.” BB100 She told MTV News Canada that the song is about “the way that so many things are around you all time to try to distract you” WK in relationships.

While Keys sometimes had a tendency “towards bloat, overstuffing her songs and albums with not particularly original ideas; she’s pared down her vision since, becoming both more disciplined and more eccentric.” DS With “No One,” however, she created “perhaps the most straightforward, even basic pop this decade has seen, are so obvious as to convert even the most chart-skeptical.” DS

Popjustice called it one of her best singles to date. WK Digital Spy’s Alex Fletcher called it a “simplistic yet beautiful, fluttering, piano-tinkling ballad.” WK Paste’s David Mead said it “showcases a new depth and width to the tone of her voice.” WK

It was the most-listened-to song on American radio in 2008 with 3.08 billion listeners, SF as evidenced by the song topping multiple Billboard pop and R&B-oriented charts. For the week ending December 29, 2007, Keys became the first artist in the history of the R&B/hip-hop charts to have songs at #1 and #2 (“Like You’ll Never See Me Again”) without help from any duet partners or featured artists. SF The song did well internationally as well, hitting #1 in Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Hungary, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland, and Turkey. SF


Resources and Related Links:

Friday, November 23, 2007

“Great Balls of Fire” charted 50 years ago (11/23/1957)

Last updated 4/15/2020.

Great Balls of Fire

Jerry Lee Lewis

Writer(s): Otis Blackwell, Jack Hammer (see lyrics here)


First Charted: November 23, 1957


Peak: 2 US, 2 CB, 2 HR, 12 CW, 3 RB, 12 UK (Click for codes to singles charts.)


Sales (in millions): 1.0 US, -- UK, 5.0 world (includes US + UK)


Airplay/Streaming (in millions): 1.0 radio, 0.51 video, -- streaming

Awards:

About the Song:

Some of rock ‘n’ roll’s earliest architects walked a fine line between their religious Southern upbringings and the shockingly sexual and aggressive style that defined early rock music. With a musical prowess birthed as much from the black honky-tonks as the Assembly of God Church, CL Lewis concocted an uncomfortable blend of music inspired by God and the devil. His “onstage terrorization of the piano” FR earned him the nickname “The Killer.” It also got him booted out of Bible college. CL

Nowhere was Lewis’ musical dichotomy more on display than with “Great Balls of Fire.” Jerry Lee’s signature song was “full of Southern Baptist hellfire turned into a near-blasphemous ode to pure lust.” RS500 Lewis realized the shock in 1957 of such sexual innuendo coming from a Southern music man SF and initially refused to sing the song. RS500 He and Sun Records’ founder Sam Phillips delved into a theological argument which was eventually swayed Sam’s way by the ever-flowing liquor during the session. RS500

Sam Phillips turned to Otis Blackwell to pen the song as a follow-up to Lewis’ first hit, “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On.” Blackwell had a proven track record, having written “the biggest record of the rock ‘n’ roll era” with Elvis Presley’s “Don’t Be Cruel.” CL This poor kid from Brooklyn, New York, was the first black man to really tap into the Nashville sound, dominating the country and rock charts in the mid to late-‘50s. CL

As for Blackwell’s writing partner, Jack Hammer, there are contradictory stories. One account says his sole contribution is coming up with the title and selling it to Otis Blackwell, LW while another account says the name is a pseudonym for Blackwell. AMG


Resources and Related Links:

  • Jerry Lee Lewis’ DMDB Encyclopedia entry
  • AMG All Music Guide review by Cub Koda
  • CL Ace Collins (1996). The Stories Behind Country Music’s All-Time Greatest 100 Songs. New York, NY; The Berkley Publishing Group. Pages 114-6.
  • FR Paul Friedlander (1996). Rock and Roll: A Social History. Boulder, Colorado; Westview Press, Inc. Page 50.
  • LW Alan Lewens (2001). Popular Song – Soundtrack of the Century. Billboard Books: New York, NY. Page 118.
  • RS500 RollingStone.com (2011). “The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time
  • SF Songfacts

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Leona Lewis debuted at #1 in the UK with “Bleeding Love”

Last updated 3/28/2020.

Bleeding Love

Leona Lewis

Writer(s): - Jesse McCartney, Ryan Tedder (see lyrics here)


Released: October 19, 2007


First Charted: November 3, 2007


Peak: 14 US, 110 RR, 14 AC, 110 A40, 74 RB, 17 UK, 11 CN, 15 AU (Click for codes to singles charts.)


Sales (in millions): 4.7 US, 1.2 UK, 7.7 world (includes US + UK)


Airplay/Streaming (in millions): 0.7 radio, 192.77 video, -- streaming

Awards:

About the Song:

Leona Lewis rose to fame in the UK as the winner of the third TV season of The X Factor in 2006. She was awarded a recording contract with Sony BMG and released “A Moment Like This” as her debut single. The song also served as the first single for Kelly Clarkson in 2002 after she won the first TV season of American Idol.

In February 2007, One Republic’s Ryan Tedder teamed with singer/songwriter Jesse McCartney to write “Bleeding Love” for McCartney’s third album, Departure. He said he was “thinking about being in love so much that it hurts. I was away from my girlfriend for four months at the time and I really wanted to [quit] and fly home.” WK

One account suggested that McCartney’s record company rejected the song, but another story says record executive Clive Davis specifically wanted the song for Lewis. SF In any event, when Tedder heard Lewis, he said hers was “one of the best voices I’ve ever heard.” WK In her hands, the song transformed to a tale of a woman who is emotionally hurt by her lover, but accepts the pain and continues to love him. WK

She recorded the song and released it in October 2007 as the first single from her debut album, Spirit. It debuted at #1 in the UK WK selling 218,000 copies – more than any debut week since “A Moment Like This.” SF It went on to be the UK’s best-selling single of 2007 WK and iTunes’ most downloaded single of 2008. SF It also hit #1 in 35 countries, WK including the United States in April 2008. The song was nominated for Grammys for Record of the Year and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance.

BBC America thought it sounded like dated filler from a long-lost, late ‘90s Mariah Carey album, WK but About.com praised Lewis for “her stunning voice that is equal parts Mariah Carey, Whitney Houston, and her own restrained gracefulness.” AB’00 Digital Spy called it a “brilliantly smart pop record.” WK Billboard’s Chuck Taylor called it “a colossal and timeless debut” WK and Metromix Atlanta called it “the most seductive diva anthem of the decade.” MX


Resources and Related Links:

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Elvis Presley hit #1 with “Jailhouse Rock” 50 years ago (10/21/1957)

Last updated 4/13/2020.

Jailhouse Rock

Elvis Presley

Writer(s): Jerry Leiber, Mike Stoller (see lyrics here)


Released: September 24, 1957


First Charted: September 30, 1957


Peak: 17 US, 13 CB, 2 HR, 11 CW, 15 RB, 14 UK, 11 CN, 3 AU (Click for codes to singles charts.)


Sales (in millions): 4.0 US, 0.79 UK, 9.0 world (includes US + UK)


Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 237.8 video, -- streaming

Awards:

About the Song:

As bad as Elvis movies could be, the songs that soundtracked them were often worse. Still, Elvis had “his celluloid moments” and perhaps never better than in Jailhouse Rock. HL Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, “the first important non-performing songwriters of the rock era,” TBpenned the prison songs for The King’s third movie. It was their first movie score, SF but the pair were known for their R&B hits, one of which was the jail-themed “Riot in Cell Block #9” by the Coasters. CR They’d also written a couple of Presley hits already – most notably “Hound Dog”, first recorded by Big Mama Thornton. RS500

Leiber and Stoller’s score “was perfect” but nothing could match the energetic title song. HL Inspired by “Comeback” by Memphis Slim, KL “Jailhouse Rock” sported a tongue-in-cheek nature on par with the Coasters’ material. However, Elvis ignored the lyrical jokes, such as the gay-prisoner-themed line about one inmate telling another “You’re the cutest jailbird I ever did see” and “sang it as straight rock & roll.” RS500

As for the dance routine involving dancing convicts in their cells, it was choreographed by Elvis himself, BR1 making it his only full-fledged example of such work in one of his movies. HL It is often cited as an early influence on the development of music video. JA

The song was a huge hit, topping the U.S. pop, R&B, and country charts. It was the first #1 debut in the UK charts. While common today, it was considered impossible at the time. HL It returned to the peak in January 2005 when released to commemorate Presley’s 70th birthday, making it the oldest single top ever top that chart and one of three to top that chart twice. The other two, also released posthumously, were Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” and George Harrison’s “My Sweet Lord.” SF


Resources and Related Links:

  • Elvis Presley’s DMDB Encyclopedia entry
  • Jerry Leiber’s DMDB Encyclopedia entry
  • Mike Stoller’s DMDB Encyclopedia entry
  • BR1 Fred Bronson (2003). The Billboard Book of Number One Hits (5th edition). New York, NY: Billboard Books. Page 29.
  • CR Toby Creswell (2005). 1001 Songs: The Great Songs of All Time. Thunder’s Mouth Press: New York, NY. Page 706.
  • HL Michael Heatley and Spencer Leigh (1998). Behind the Song: The Stories of 100 Great Pop & Rock Classics. London, England: Blandford Books. Pages 88-9.
  • JA David A. Jasen (2002). A Century of American Popular Music: 2000 Best-Loved and Remembered Songs (1899-1999). Routledge: Taylor & Francis, Inc. Page 108.
  • KL Jon Kutner and Spencer Leigh (2005). 1000 UK Number One Hits: The Stories Behind Every Number One Single Since 1952. London, Great Britain: Omnibus Press. Page 147.
  • RS500 RollingStone.com (4/7/2011). “The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time
  • SF Songfacts
  • TB Thunder Bay Press (2006). Singles: Six Decades of Hot Hits & Classic Cuts. Outline Press Ltd.: San Diego, CA. Page 31.
  • WHC Joel Whitburn (1999). A Century of Pop Music. Menomonee Falls, WI; Record Research, Inc.