Friday, April 29, 2016

In Concert: The Who

The Who’s Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend, image from chelmsfordweeklynews.co.uk

Venue: Sprint Center; Kansas City, MO

The Players: Pete Townshend (guitar, vocals), Roger Daltrey (vocals, guitar, harmonica), Simon Townshend (guitar, mandolin, backing vocals), Pino Palladino (bass), Zak Starkey (drums), Loren Gold (keyboards, backing vocals), John Corey (keyboards, backing vocals), Frank Simes (musical director, keyboards, backing vocals, assorted instruments)

Opening Act: Slydigs

“We’re late. Thanks for waiting.” It was the perfect opening line from Pete Townshend to open the Kansas City show which had been postponed twice. Judging from the full house, no one seemed to mind the wait.

Only Townshend and singer Roger Daltrey remain from the original incarnation of the Who, although Pino Palladino and Zak Starkey have been long-time band replacements for John Entwistle and Keith Moon respectively. Daltrey doesn’t have the voice he once did, but still could hit the classic scream on “Won’t Get Fooled Again” and belted out the powerful “Love Reign O’er Me.” He and Townshend engaged the audience in plenty of stage banter and broke out their trademark moves of mike swinging and windmilling on the guitar.

My favorite moment was “The Rock,” a largely unknown instrumental accompanied by a powerful video showcasing world history moments during the history of the Who. The song was part of a trifecta of tunes from 1973’s Quadrophenia (the others being “I’m One” and “Love Reign O’er Me.” There was also a four-song set from 1969’s Tommy amongst a largely hits-based set list. See full list below.

The Set List:

1. I Can’t Explain
2. Who Are You
3. The Seeker
4. The Kids Are Alright
5. I Can See for Miles
6. My Generation
7. 5:15
8. Pictures of Lily
9. Behind Blue Eyes
10. Bargain
11. Join Together
12. You Better You Bet
13. I’m One
14. The Rock
15. Love Reign O’er Me
16. Eminence Front
17. Amazing Journey
18. Sparks
19. Pinball Wizard
20. See Me Feel Me
21. Baba O’Riley
22. Won’t Get Fooled Again


Resources and Related Links:

Sunday, April 24, 2016

4/24/1926: Irving Berlin’s “Always” charts for the first of 9 times

image from songbook1.wordpress.com


George Olsen with Fran Frey, Bob Rice, & Edward Joyce “Always”


Writer(s): Irving Berlin (see lyrics here)

First charted: 4/24/1926

Peak: 13 US, 13 GA (Click for codes to singles charts.)

Sales (in millions): 1.0 US (sheet music sales)

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


Review: Writer Irving Berlin gave the rights to this song to his new wife, Ellis MacKay as a wedding gift, TY-31 which led to substantial royalies. WK Not that she needed the money – she was from a wealthy family, which meant her romance with Berlin was splashed all over tabloid headings. JA-9 Her father, Clarence MacKay, disinherited her and had nothing to do with her for years, but they eventually reconciled. TY-31

The legendary Groucho Marx claimed this song was intended for the Marx brothers’ movie The Cocoanuts WK However, the song was either cut or was never actually meant for the movie. WK Instead, “Always” got its introduction on vaudeville, thanks to Gladys Clark and Henry Bergman. It was an immediate hit, leading to multiple commercial recordings. George Olsen was the first to hit the charts with it, taking it to #1, as did Vincent Lopez. Henry Burr (#3), Nick Lucas (#4), and Lewis James (#12) also charted with it in 1926.

It resurfaced in 1942 as the theme music for the movie The Pride of the Yankees WK and again in 1944 when Deanna Durbin sang it in the film Christmas Holiday. JA-10 In 1945, the song showed up in Blithe Spirit, a movie based on a Noel Coward play. WK This gave the song a new chart life as Gordon Jenkins (#16), Paul Lavalle (#29), Sammy Kaye (#10), and Guy Lombardo (#10) all hit the charts with it in 1944-45.

The song has been covered by a diverse array of artists, including country versions by Patsy Cline and Kenny Rogers, MM-150 as well as recordings from Tony Bennett, Leonard Cohen, Phil Collins, Billy Corgan (from Smashing Pumpkins), Ella Fitzgerald, Benny Goodman, Billie Holiday, the Ink Spots, Paul McCartney, and the Supremes. WK


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, April 21, 2016

4/21/1951: Les Paul & Mary Ford hit #1 with “How High the Moon”

image from 45cat.com


Les Paul & Mary Ford “How High the Moon”


Writer(s): Morgan Lewis/Nancy Hamilton (see lyrics here)

First charted: 3/31/1951

Peak: 19 US, 3 HP, 12 CB (Click for codes to singles charts.)

Sales (in millions): 1.0 US

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


Review: Hamilton and Lewis wrote the Broadway revues One for the Money, Two for the Show, Three to Get Ready, and New Faces. They also collaborated on the Oscar-winning documentary film, Helen Keller – Her Life. SHOF Without question, though, their most noable accomplishment was “How High the Moon.” SHOF

Lewis was known for witty songs which lacked social significance, but when Two for the Show needed a romantic ballad, he adjusted. SB Alfred Drake and Frances Comstock sang it in the 1940 revue and it went on to be a chart hit for Benny Goodman and His Orchestra with Helen Forrest on vocal (#6). It was also a hit for Mitchell Ayres (#18, 1940) and Stan Kenton (#20, 1948) and was covered by Count Basie, Nat “King” Cole, Duke Ellington, Anita O’Day, Billy Taylor, and Mel Tormé.

The most noted version, however, was by guitarist Les Paul and his singing wife Mary Ford. They developed a reputation in the pre-rock era for “pretty, perky renditions of classic pop tunes.” TM “How High the Moon” was originally “a slow fox-trot, a song of longing where the moon is just a distant prop for melancholy.” TM However, Paul sped it up and infused it with guitar power chords which established a template for rock and roll. TM Bill Haley borrowed the song’s opening descending chord pattern for “Rock Around the Clock.” TM The Beatles’ Paul McCartney said, “We used to start our gigs with the opening riffs from ‘How High the Moon.’” TM

He also, without the benefit of audiotape, merged 21 different tracks of vocal and guitar parts – and no drums SA – into “a bubbly blast of pop immortality.” TM His pioneering over-dubbing and multi-tracking techniques are still used today. NRR The result was a #1 hit which became “a jazz and nightclub favorite” JA-79 and “the bebop national anthem.” SA


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):


Goodbye Sweet Prince: His Top 50 Songs / Top 20 by Other Artists

image from noise11.com

The world was shocked by the news of Prince's death today at the age of 57. As his fans await details on what led to the tragedy, they celebrate his massive talent and contribution to music. The DMDB updates its list of his top songs as a performer and a writer. This was originally presented on the DMDB Facebook page on January 1, 2013, as a top 25 list and later expanded to a top 50 list for the blog. That version also included a list of the top 20 songs he wrote for others.

Top 50 Songs Performed by Prince

1. When Doves Cry (1984)
2. Purple Rain (1984)
3. Kiss (1986)
4. Little Red Corvette (1982)
5. 1999 (1982)
6. Sign ‘O’ the Times (1987)
7. Let’s Go Crazy (1984)
8. Raspberry Beret (1985)
9. Cream (1991)
10. The Most Beautiful Girl in the World (1994)

11. U Got the Look (with Sheena Easton, 1987)
12. Batdance (1989)
13. I Wanna Be Your Lover (1979)
14. I Could Never Take the Place of Your Man (1987)
15. Alphabet Street (1988)
16. I Would Die 4 U (1984)
17. Gett Off (1991)
18. When You Were Mine (1980)
19. Diamonds and Pearls (1991)
20. Thieves in the Temple (1990)

21. Delirious (1982)
22. Pop Life (1985)
23. If I Was Your Girlfriend (1987)
24. 7 (1992)
25. Controversy (1981)

26. Money Don’t Matter 2 Night (1991)
27. Take Me with U (with Appolonia, 1985)
28. Partyman (1989)
29. Mountains (1986)
30. My Name Is Prince (1992)

31. I Hate U (1995)
32. The Arms of Orion (with Sheena Easton, 1989)
33. Betcha by Golly Wow! (1996)
34. Sexy M.F. (1992)
35. Nothing Compares 2 U (1993)
36. Let’s Pretend We’re Married (1982)
37. Hot Thing (1987)
38. America (1985)
39. Anotherloverholenyohead (1986)
40. Pink Cashmere (1993)

41. Darling Nikki (1984)
42. Letitgo (1994)
43. New Power Generation (1990)
44. Black Sweat (2006)
45. The Morning Papers (1992)
46. Adore (1987)
47. Soft and Wet (1978)
48. Uptown (1980)
49. The Beautiful Ones (1984)
50. Gold (1995)

Top Songs Written by Prince and Performed by Others

1. Nothing Compares 2 U…Sinead O’Connor (1990)
2. I Feel for You…Chaka Khan (1984)
3. Manic Monday…Bangles (1986)
4. Stand Back…Stevie Nicks (written with Nicks, 1983)
5. Pray…MC Hammer (samples “When Doves Cry”, 1990)
6. The Glamorous Life…Sheila E (1984)
7. Love, Thy Will Be Done…Martika (written with Martika, 1991)
8. Jerk Out…The Time (written with Morris Day, Jimmy Jam, & Terry Lewis, 1990)
9. Sugar Walls…Sheena Easton (1984)
10. Round and Round…Tevin Campbell (1990)

11. Kiss…Art of Noise with Tom Jones (1988)
12. Jungle Love…The Time (written with Morris Day, 1984)
13. A Love Bizarre…Sheila E (written with Sheila E, 1985)
14. The Belle of St. Mark…Sheila E (1984)
15. The Bird…Time (written with Morris Day & Jesse Johnson, 1984)
16. How Come You Don’t Call Me Anymore…Alica Keys (2002)
17. ’03 Bonnie & Clyde…Jay-Z with Beyonce (samples “If I Was Your Girlfriend, 2002)
18. Darling Nikki…Foo Fighters (2003)
19. The Screams of Passion…The Family (1985)
20. Born 2 B.R.E.E.D….Monie Love (written with Love & Levi Seacer Jr., 1993)


Awards:


Resources and Related Links:

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

4/13/1918: “Darktown Strutters’ Ball” hits #1

image from cartoonresearch.com


Arthur Collins & Byron Harlan “Darktown Strutters’ Ball”


Writer(s): Shelton Brooks (see lyrics here)

First charted: 3/30/1918

Peak: 11 US, 12 GA (Click for codes to singles charts.)

Sales (in millions): 3.0 (sheet music sales)

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


Review: Shelton Brooks, who also wrote Sophie Tucker’s “Some of These Days,” was inspired to write “Ball” by a 1915 social gathering during the Panama Pacific International Exposition he attended in San Francisco. SS-734 Tucker would then introduce the song on vaudeville. SS-734 In 1917, the Original Dixieland Jazz Band recorded an instrumental version, “whose recording was never imitated.” JA-44 Their version charted at #2 and, in 2006, was named to the Grammy Hall of Fame.

The next year, however, the song had its greatest success when the “masters of minstrel/blackface-styled romps, Arthur Collins and Byron Harlan” SS-734 “unveiled [the song] in all its rowdy glory.” SS-734 Collins and Harlan paired up in 1901 and charted eighty-nine times over the next seventeen years. “Ball” was their 88th chart hit and the last of their dozen trips to #1. PM-95 Individually, Collins racked up another 47 solo hits of which 11 hit #1 PM-90 and Harlan charted 54 times, also hitting the peak 11 times. PM-194 All told, they compiled 34 #1 hits collectively and independently.

Others to chart with the song include Alan Dale and Connie Haines (#29, 1948), the Jaudas’ Society Orchestra (#9, 1918), Ted Lewis (#12, 1927), Lou Monte (#7, 1954), and the Six Brown Brothers (#10, 1917) PM-499 Others to record the song included Ray Anthony, the Boswell Sisters, Larry Clinton, Jimmy Dorsey, Arthur Fields, Phil Harris, Pee Wee Hunt, Fats Waller, and Chick Webb. WK

The song was featured in the movie The Abominable Dr. Phibes (1971), sung by Paul Frees during a murder scene. Robert Redford sang it in The Natural (1984) and Kristin Scott Thomas sang it in The English Patient (1996). WK The song has also been used in TV shoes, including Tom and Jerry (“Saturday Evening Puss,” 1950), M*A*S*H (premiere episode in 1971), and The Simpsons (“Old Money”). WK In 1972, “Strutters’ Ball” was one of ten songs named to the Songwriters Hall of Fame as an historic standard. SS-734


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):


Saturday, April 9, 2016

4/9/1927: “Blue Skies” charts for the first of 9 times

image from crystream.com.au


Ben Selvin “Blue Skies”


Writer(s): Irving Berlin (see lyrics here)

First charted: 4/9/1927

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

Sales (in millions): 1.0 (sheet music sales)

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


Review: Belle Baker first sang “Blue Skies” in the 1926 musical Betsy. JA-25 While the rest of the musical was scored by Rodgers and Hart, this song by Irving Berlin was added – depending on the account, at the request of either Baker JA-25 or the producer, Florenz Ziegfeld. TY-38 The number was so successful, it received 24 encores. RCG

The song was well received on the charts as well, with six versions charting in 1927 alone. Ben Selvin had the #1 hit, but Vaughn Deleath (#15), Vincent Lopez (#9), Johnny Marvin & Ed Smalle (#9), George Olsen (#2), Harry Richman (#13) also found success with the song. It topped sheet music sales for a year. MM-152 Frances Langford regularly sang it for World War II troops as a way to celebrate the good feelings soldiers had upon returning home. RCG Count Basie (#8, 1946), Benny Goodman (#9, 1946), and Johnny Long (#22, 1941) would find successs with the song in later years. Tommy Dorsey, Ella Fitzgerald, Michael Jackson, Glenn Miller, Willie Nelson, and Frank Sinatra have also recorded it. MM-152

It also became a staple in movies, notably sung by Al Jolson in the first sound film, 1927’s The Jazz Singer, TY-38 by Ethel Merman and Alice Faye in the 1938 film Alexander’s Ragtime Band, and Bing Crosby in 1946’s Blue Skies as well as 1954’s White Christmas. JA-25

Berlin captured the nature of love with the suggestion that it “can turn gray skies to blue.” TY-38 He also made clever use of the word blue by beginning each of the three main sections with references to blue – blue skies, bluebirds, and blue days. TY-38 The song’s structure “shifts from a bluesy chorus to an upbeat verse making it a mainstay of jazz artists.” 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):


Tuesday, April 5, 2016

4/5/1930: Ted Lewis charts with “On the Sunny Side of the Street”

image from viersaxen.nl


Ted Lewis “On the Sunny Side of the Street”


Writer(s): Jimmy McHugh/ Dorothy Fields (see lyrics here)

First charted: 4/5/1930

Peak: 2 US, 12 GA (Click for codes to singles charts.)

Sales (in millions): --

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


Review: This “cabaret and jazz standard” JA-152 and “metaphor for optimism” TY-56 was credited to composer Jimmy McHugh and lyricist Dorothy Fields although there have been claims that Fats Waller actually composed the song, but sold the rights. WK

In his book American Popular Song, author Alec Wilder calls the song “one of the jazz musicians’ favorites…Singers, as well, love it as much for its extremely fine lyric.” SB In The NPR Curious Listener’s Guide to Popular Standards, Max Morath expresses a similar sentiment, saying the song “works both sides of the street, vocal and instrumental, with equal charm. Dorothy Field’s sassy lyrics (‘…leave your worries on your doorstep…’) invite singers to go for it.” MM-178

“On the Sunny Side of the Street” was introduced in 1930’s Lew Leslie’s International Revue, SB sung by Harry Richman and Gertrude Lawrence. WK The Broadway show flopped, closing after only 95 performances, but the song endured. SB Richman took it to #13. Ted Lewis also charted with it (#2) the same month the Broadway show debuted. SB

The song resurfaced on the charts in 1945 with versions by Tommy Dorsey with the Sentimentalists on vocals (#16) and Jo Stafford with the Pied Pipers (#17). Frankie Laine sang it in 1949’s Make Believe Ballroom, and was used in at least seven film thrugh the late ‘50s. TY-56 Among the numerous artists to record the song are Louis Armstrong, Count Basie, Sidney Bechet, Tony Bennett, Dave Brubeck, the Coasters, Nat “King” Cole, Doris Day, Duke Ellington, Judy Garland, Dizzy Gillespie, Benny Goodman, Lionel Hampton, Earl Hines, Billie Holiday, Gene Kelly, Cyndi Lauper, Barry Manilow, Willie Nelson, Frank Sinatra, Rod Stewart, and Fats Waller.


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):