Dave's Music Database books

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

“As Time Goes By” immortalized by Casablanca: November 26, 1942

image from nickpickflicks.com


Dooley Wilson “As Time Goes By”


Writer(s): Herman Hupfield (see lyrics here)

Released: 11/26/1942, First charted: --

Peak: -- US, -- UK (Click for codes to singles charts.)

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

Radio Airplay (in millions): -- Video Airplay (in millions): --


Review: Herman Hupfield was a 26-year-old Tin Pan Alley writer when he composed this unforgettable ballad in 1931. NPR’99 Originally the song was sung by Frances Williams JA-13 in the Broadway musical Everybody’s Welcome. MM-150 Rudy Vallee (#15) and Jacques Renard (#13) each charted with versions in 1931. PM-472

The song took on a new life more than a decade later in the film Casablanca in 1942. Dooley Wilson played the song in a North African bar in the war-time Humphrey Bogart-Ingrid Bergman war-time classic. The song was “too sentimental…and…too backward-looking” DS but perfect “for its moment, both in the narrative of Casablanca, where its misty truisms of love and loyalty thaw Bogart’s iced-over soul, and in the larger narrative of America herself..meet[ing] the challenge of producing the materials and manpower to win two wars at the two ends of the earth.” DS

Because of a musicians’ strike, Wilson couldn’t release his recording, but Vallee and Renard’s versions were re-released, hitting #1 and #3 respectively. PM-472 The song was a hit again in 1952 with Ray Anthony’s #10 version. Wilson performed the song again on screen in 1972 in the movie Play It Again, Sam. The song also showed up in What’s Up Doe?, Blue Skies Again, and Round Midnight. SHOF

In 1994, British television sit-com used the song as its title and theme song. JA-13 A rendition by Jimmy Durante was featured in the Tom Hanks-Meg Ryan film Sleepless in Seattle. Other versions were recorded and performed by Louis Armstrong, Tony Bennett, Rosemary Clooney, Bing Crosby, Bob Dylan, Billie Holiday, Harry Nilsson, Carly Simon, Frank Sinatra, Rod Stewart, and Barbra Streisand. The song came in at #2 on the American Film Institute’s 2004 list of the top 100 movie songs of all time.


Resources and Related Links:

Note: Footnotes (raised letter codes) refer to sources frequently cited on the blog. Numbers following the letter code indicate page numbers. If the raised letter code is a link, it will go directly to the correct page instead of the home page of a website. You can find the sources and corresponding footnotes on the “Lists” page in the “Song Resources” section.


Award(s):


Monday, November 24, 2014

Roy Acuff charted with “Wabash Cannonball”: November 24, 1938

image from classictrainsongs.com


Roy Acuff “Wabash Cannonball”


Writer(s): A.P. Carter (see lyrics here)

First charted: 11/24/1938

Peak: 12 US (Click for codes to singles charts.)

Sales (in millions): 2.0 US, 10.0 world (includes US)

Radio Airplay (in millions): -- Video Airplay (in millions): --


Review: This is “a genuine knight-of-the-road ballad with a touch of the Paul Bunyan flavor,” TR-367 “perhaps the greatest of all train songs.” SS-67 The song originated in the 1880s, In 1882, J.A. Roff wrote words and music for “The Great Rock Island Route!,” a song about a mythical train which traveled coast to coast. It became an anthem for hoboes. In Southern America in the late 19th century, the railroad offered a different form of work for those wishing to escape the farms and served up a touch of romanticism for those who wanted to live a less conventional life, riding the rails and going wherever the trains would take them.

William Kindt adapted Roff’s piece in 1905 under the title “Wabash Cannonball.” There were several Wabash Railroad passenger trains dating back to the 1880s while the term “cannonball” was used to reference a fast train. When the song entered the public domain in 1928, it was reworked and claimed by A.P. Carter whose group, the Carter Family, recorded the song the next year, but didn’t release it until 1932. In the meantime an unissued version was recorded by Clark & Edans in 1928 and Tennessee singer and guitarist recorded and released the song in 1929.

Roy Acuff, who was billed as “the King of Country Music,” SS-68 recorded the song in 1936 with Dynamite Hatcher on vocals, but didn’t release it until 1938. NRR He didn’t record it with his vocal until 1947, although he performed it regularly on the Grand Ole Opry, SS-67 where he first appeared in 1938 and was its top star by 1942. NRR His “voice was pure country and he was one of the first to carry the title ‘hillbilly’ proudly.” CL He embraced the plain and simple values of poor, rural Americans and gained an audience via his recordings, tours, and movie appearances. NRR In 1962, he was the first living artist elected into the Country Music Hall of Fame. NRR


Resources and Related Links:

Note: Footnotes (raised letter codes) refer to sources frequently cited on the blog. Numbers following the letter code indicate page numbers. If the raised letter code is a link, it will go directly to the correct page instead of the home page of a website. You can find the sources and corresponding footnotes on the “Lists” page in the “Song Resources” section.


Award(s):


Thursday, November 20, 2014

“They Didn’t Believe Me” hit #1: November 20, 1915

image from Wikimedia.org


Harry MacDonough & Olive Kline “They Didn’t Believe Me”


Writer(s): Herbert Reynolds/ Jerome Kern (see lyrics here)

First charted: 11/13/1915

Peak: 17 US, -- UK (Click for codes to singles charts.)

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

Radio Airplay (in millions): -- Video Airplay (in millions): --


Review: Jerome Kern, best known for the landmark musical Show Boat, was “one of the most important pioneering composers of American Popular Song.” PS Born in New York City in 1885, Kern was the son of an upper-middle class family. He got a Master of Music degree at Germany’s Heidleberg University and started writing for Broadway shows by the time he was 19. PS

Over the next eight years, he wrote about 100 songs for roughly thirty Broadway musicals and wrote three full, unsuccessful musical scores. SS-353 He hit paydirt in 1914 with The Girl from Utah after several failed stage productions. He wrote eight songs for the adaptation of an English opera, one of which was “They Didn’t Believe Me.” It was Kern’s first hit song and “may well be his best,” PS marking his “graduation to the status of major composer from that of a ‘mere’ pop tunesmith.” SS-353

David Ewen said this song “stands out with beacon-like brilliance. Kern no longer submitted meekly to the song conventions of the day, but bent them to his own creative needs.” SS-353 The song is “a model for the “thirty-two bar Tin Pan Alley ballad that became standard for the time. While not exactly slangy it is written in a conversational tone, [such as] ‘And I’m cert’nly goin’ to tell them;’ it is almost spoken yet remains sung.” RCG

The song became a #1 song in 1915 in the hands of Harry MacDonough and Olive Kline. In 1916, Grace Kerns & Reed Miller took it to #8 and Walter Van Brunt & Gladys Rice reached #9. Morton Downey had a #15 hit with it in 1934. PM-594 Dinah Shore sang it in the 1946 Kern biopic Till the Clouds Roll By and Mario Lanza and Kathryn Grayson tackled it in the 1949 movie, That Midnight Kiss. PS Bing Crosby, Tommy Dorsey, Johnny Mercer, and Barbra Streisand were among the others who recorded the song. RCG


Resources and Related Links:

Note: Footnotes (raised letter codes) refer to sources frequently cited on the blog. Numbers following the letter code indicate page numbers. If the raised letter code is a link, it will go directly to the correct page instead of the home page of a website. You can find the sources and corresponding footnotes on the “Lists” page in the “Song Resources” section.


Award(s):