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

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.


“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:


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


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 30, 2007

The Guardian – Top 100 Albums

First posted 11/30/2007; updated 8/5/2020.

The Guardian:

The Top 100 Albums

The Guardian is a UK newspaper which has published a few best-of lists over the years. Below are their top 100 albums, as determined by aggregating five album-focused lists published from 1997 to 2007. See links to those lists at bottom of page.

Also, check out annual picks for album of the year.

1. John Coltrane A Love Supreme (1965)
2. The Stone Roses The Stone Roses (1989)
3. Radiohead The Bends (1995)
4. Oasis Definitely Maybe (1994)
5. Pink Floyd Dark Side of the Moon (1973)
6. Marvin Gaye What’s Going On (1971)
7. Massive Attack Blue Lines (1991)
8. The Jimi Hendrix Experience Are You Experienced? (1967)
9. Bruce Springsteen Born to Run (1975)
10. Primal Scream Screamadelica (1991)

11. Jeff Buckley Grace (1994)
12. Fleetwood Mac Rumours (1977)
13. Patti Smith Horses (1975)
14. The Doors The Doors (1967)
15. Joy Division Closer (1980)
16. Pulp Different Class (1995)
17. Paul Simon Graceland (1986)
18. Public Enemy It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back (1988)
19. Dexy’s Midnight Runners Searching for the Young Soul Rebels (1980)
20. Nirvana Nevermind (1991)

21. The Beatles Revolver (1966)
22. The Beatles Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967)
23. The Beatles The Beatles (aka “The White Album”) (1968)
24. Oasis What’s the Story Morning Glory (1995)
25. R.E.M. Automatic for the People (1992)
26. The Sex Pistols Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols (1977)
27. David Bowie The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars (1972)
28. The Smiths The Queen Is Dead (1986)
29. The Beach Boys Pet Sounds (1966)
30. Velvet Underground & Nico Velvet Underground & Nico (1967)

31. U2 The Joshua Tree (1987)
32. Alanis Morissette Jagged Little Pill (1995)
33. The Clash London Calling (1979)
34. The Rolling Stones Exile on Main Street (1972)
35. Bob Dylan Blood on the Tracks (1975)
36. The Rolling Stones Let It Bleed (1969)
37. Lou Reed Transformer (1972)
38. Joni Mitchell Blue (1971)
39. Stevie Wonder Songs in the Key of Life (1976)
40. Led Zeppelin Led Zeppelin IV (1971)

41. The Pixies Doolittle (1989)
42. John Lennon Imagine (1971)
43. Neil Young After the Gold Rush (1970)
44. Frank Sinatra Songs for Swingin’ Lovers! (1956)
45. Prince Sign ‘O’ the Times (1987)
46. Miles Davis Kind of Blue (1959)
47. Portishead Dummy (1994)
48. Michael Jackson Thriller (1982)
49. Blur Parklife (1994)
50. Michael Jackson Off the Wall (1979)

51. Nick Drake Five Leaves Left (1969)
52. Talking Heads Fear of Music (1979)
53. Björk Debut (1993)
54. U2 Achtung Baby (1991)
55. Love Forever Changes (1967)
56. Television Marquee Moon (1977)
57. Various artists (Bee Gees et al) Saturday Night Fever (soundtrack, 1977)
58. Meat Loaf Bat Out of Hell (1977)
59. Rod Stewart Every Picture Tells a Story (1971)
60. The Verve A Northern Soul (1995)

61. Tricky Maxinquaye (1995)
62. Kate Bush Hounds of Love (1985)
63. Elton John Goodbye Yellow Brick Road (1973)
64. Prefab Sprout Steve McQueen (aka “Two Wheels Good”) (1985)
65. Radiohead OK Computer (1997)
66. Van Morrison Astral Weeks (1968)
67. The Beatles Abbey Road (1969)
68. Bob Dylan Highway 61 Revisited (1965)
69. Bob Dylan Blonde on Blonde (1966)
70. David Bowie Hunky Dory (1971)

71. The Jimi Hendrix Experience Electric Ladyland (1968)
72. Simon & Garfunkel Bridge Over Troubled Water (1970)
73. The Band The Band (1969)
74. The Prodigy Fat of the Land (1997)
75. The Verve Urban Hymns (1997)
76. Public Enemy Fear of a Black Planet (1990)
77. Queen A Night at the Opera (1975)
78. The Clash The Clash (1977)
79. Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band Trout Mask Replica (1969)
80. Bob Marley & The Wailers Exodus (1977)

81. Dire Straits Brothers in Arms (1985)
82. The Jam All Mod Cons (1978)
83. Bob Marley & the Wailers Legend (compilation: 1973-83, released 1984)
84. Dusty Springfield Dusty in Memphis (1969)
85. Joy Division Unknown Pleasures (1979)
86. Happy Mondays Pills ‘N’ Thrills and Bellyaches (1990)
87. Iggy & the Stooges Raw Power (1973)
88. The Specials The Specials (1979)
89. Led Zeppelin Led Zeppelin II (1969)
90. The Beach Boys Sunflower (1970)

91. Beck Odelay (1996)
92. The Smiths The Smiths (1984)
93. Velvet Underground Loaded (1970)
94. R.E.M. Out of Time (1991)
95. Eagles Hotel California (1976)
96. Madonna Like a Prayer (1989)
97. Guns N’ Roses Appetite for Destruction (1987)
98. Todd Rundgren Something/Anything? (1972)
99. Big Star Radio City (1974)
100. My Bloody Valentine Isn’t Anything (1988)

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


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 (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


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 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:

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Eagles return with Long Road Out of Eden, first studio album in 28 years

First posted 3/26/2008; updated 9/16/2020.

Long Road Out of Eden


Released: October 30, 2007

Peak: 11 US, 11 UK, 2 CN, 16 AU

Sales (in millions): 7.0 US *, 0.6 UK, 8.2 world (includes US and UK)

Genre: heritage rock

* Actual sales were 3.5 million, but because it was a double album, it was certified for twice that.

Tracks, Disc 1:

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

  1. No More Walks in the Wood
  2. How Long (8/16/07, 10 AC, 23 CW, 76 CN)
  3. Busy Being Fabulous (2/9/08, 12 AC, 28 CW)
  4. What Do I Do with My Heart (2008, 13 AC)
  5. Guilty of the Crime
  6. I Don’t Want to Hear Anymore (2009, 23 AC)
  7. Waiting in the Weeds
  8. No More Cloudy Days (7/9/05, 3 AC)
  9. Fast Company
  10. Do Something
  11. You Are Not Alone

Tracks, Disc 2:

  • Long Road Out of Eden
  • I Dreamed There Was No War
  • Somebody
  • Frail Grasp on the Big Picture
  • Last Good Time in Town
  • I Love to Watch a Woman Dance
  • Business As Usual
  • Center of the Universe
  • It’s Your World Now

    Total Running Time: 90:53

    The Players:

    • Glenn Frey (vocals, guitar, keyboards)
    • Don Henley (vocals, drums)
    • Timothy B. Schmit (bass, vocals)
    • Joe Walsh (guitar, vocals, keyboards)
  • Rating:

    3.960 out of 5.00 (average of 15 ratings)

    Quotable: “An album meticulously crafted to fit within the band’s legacy without tarnishing it” – Stephen Thomas Erlewine, All Music Guide

    About the Album:

    After 1979’s The Long Run and a live album the next year, the Eagles disappeared for 14 years. They were widely embraced when they returned 14 years later with 1994’s mostly live album Hell Freezes Over. They cashed in on that reunion, “driving up ticket prices into the stratosphere as they played gigs on a semi-regular basis well into the new millennium.” AMG They released a box set, which contained their 1999 Millenium Concert, a 2005 DVD of yet another tour outing, and a 2003 2-disc compilation.

    However, it wasn’t until 2007 that they released a full-fledged studio album. “It could be that they were running out some contractual clause somewhere, it could be that they were waiting for the money to be right, or the music to be right.” AMG

    When they finally did come out with Long Road Out of Eden, they did so with little fanfare, “indulging in few interviews and bypassing conventional retail outlets in favor of an exclusive release” AMG in which the album was only available in North America through their website or Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club stores. AMG Billboard magazine controversially reversed a policy under which such exclusive releases were inelligible to chart, allowing the album to debut at #1.

    As for the actual material, it is “crafted to evoke the spirit and feel of the Eagles’ biggest hits…The J.D. Souther-written How Long recalls ‘Take It Easy,’ the stiff funk of Frail Grasp on the Big Picture echoes back to the clenched riffs of ‘Life in the Fast Lane,’ and while perhaps these aren’t exact replicas, there’s no denying it’s possible to hear echoes of everything from ‘Lyin’ Eyes’ and ‘Desperado’ to ‘Life in the Fast Lane,’ and Timothy B. Schmit turns Paul Carrack’s I Don’t Want to Hear Anymore into a soft rock gem to stand alongside his own ‘I Can’t Tell You Why.’” AMG

    “These tunes…but sonically… play as companions to Henley’s brooding end-of-the-‘80s hit The End of the Innocence, both in their heavy-handed sobriety and deliberate pace and their big-budget production.” AMG “The Eagles…sound utterly disconnected from modern times, no matter how hard Don Henley strives to say something, anything about the wretched state of the world on Long Road Out of Eden, ‘Frail Grasp on the Big Picture,’ and Business as Usual.” AMG However, “it’s all executed well and the doggedly out-of-fashion sonics only make the songs more reminiscent of the Eagles’ older records, especially if their solo work from the ‘80s is part of the equation.” AMG “It often manages to avoid sounding crass, as the songs are usually strong and the sound is right, capturing the group’s peaceful, easy harmonies and Joe Walsh’s guitar growl in equal measure.” AMG

    On the second disc, “Walsh spends seven minutes grooving on Last Good Time in Town as if he were a Southwestern Jimmy Buffett with a worldbeat penchant, Glenn Frey sings Jack Tempchin and John Brannen’s Somebody as if it were a sedated, cheerful ‘Smuggler’s Blues,’ and the whole thing feels polished with outdated synthesizers.” AMG

    If disc 2 “seem a bit like the Eagles’ lost album from the Reagan years, the first disc recalls their mellow country-rock records of the ‘70s – that is, if Joe Walsh had been around to sing Frankie Miller’s blues-rocker Guilty of the Crime to balance out Henley and Frey’s Busy Being Fabulous and What Do I Do with My Heart, a counterpoint that serves the band well.” AMG

    “That first disc is the stronger of the two, but the two discs do fit together well, as they wind up touching upon all of the band’s different eras…it’s an album meticulously crafted to fit within the band’s legacy without tarnishing it.” AMG

    Resources and Related Links: