Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Jimi Hendrix: Top 25 Songs

Posted 5/20/2019.

Legendary psychedelic-blues/rock guitarist Jimi Hendrix (click link for DMDB encyclopedia entry) was born Johnny Allen Hendrix on 11/27/1942 in Seattle, Washington. He was only 27 when he died of a drug overdose in London on 9/18/1970.

He first worked as a sideman with Rosa Lee Brooks (1964), Isley Brothers (1964), Buddy & Stacey and the Upsetters (1965); Little Richard, Curtis Knight, and Ronnie Youngblood. He formed Jimmy James and the Blue Flames in 1965. The next year he was discovered by the Animals’ Chas Chandler at New York City’s CafĂ© Wha? He went to London and formed the Jimi Hendrix Experience (1966-1969) with bassist Noel Redding and drummer Mitch Mitchell. He also helmed the Band of Gypsys with drummer Buddy Miles and bassist Buddy Cox from 1969 to 1970.

His albums Are You Experienced (1967) and Electric Ladyland (1968) are featured in the DMDB book The Top 100 Albums of All Time. His cover of Bob Dylan’s “All Along the Watchtower” (1968) is featured in the DMDB book The Top 100 Songs of the Rock Era 1954-1999.

To celebrate his birthday, the DMDB compiled a list of his top 25 songs.

1. All Along the Watchtower (1968)
2. Purple Haze (1967)
3. Hey Joe (1966)
4. Voodoo Chile (Slight Return) (1968)
5. Little Wing (1967)

6. Crosstown Traffic (1968)
7. Foxey Lady (1967)
8. Fire (1967)
9. The Wind Cries Mary (1967)
10. Red House (1967)

11. The Star Spanged Banner (live, 1969)
12. Are You Experienced? (1967)
13. Freedom (1970)
14. Burning of the Midnight Lamp (1967)
15. Dolly Dagger (1970)

16. Stone Free (1966)
17. Manic Depression (1967)
18. Angel (1970)
19. Up from the Skies (1967)
20. Castles Made of Sand (1967)

21. Like a Rolling Stone (live, 1967)
22. If 6 Was 9 (1967)
23. Gloria (live, 1968)
24. I Don’t Live Today (1967)
25. Wild Thing (live, 1967)

Friday, November 23, 2018

Cover Songs: Top 100

image from subhtube.com

Cover songs have long been a staple of music, although listeners tend to favor the originals. However, there have been some covers which outshone the original – in some cases, to the point that people may not realize the song with which they’re so familiar is not recorded by the original artist. Here, according to the rankings in Dave’s Music Database, are the top cover songs of all time:

1. Bill Haley & His Comets “We’re Gonna Rock Around the Clock” (1954)
2. Whitney Houston “I Will Always Love You” (1992)
3. Aretha Franklin “Respect” (1967)
4. Marvin Gaye “I Heard It Through the Grapevine” (1968)
5. Elvis Presley “Hound Dog” (1956)
6. Artie Shaw “Stardust” (1941)
7. Gene Austin “My Blue Heaven” (1927)
8. Al Jolson “Swanee” (1920)
9. Elton John “Candle in the Wind 1997 (Goodbye England’s Rose)” (1997)
10. Artie Shaw “Begin the Beguine” (1938)

11. Ethel Waters “Stormy Weather (Keeps Rainin' All the Time)” (1933)
12. Bessie Smith with Louis Armstrong “St. Louis Blues” (1925)
13. Bobby Darin “Mack the Knife” (1959)
14. Haydn Quartet “Sweet Adeline (You’re the Flower of My Heart)” (1904)
15. Billy Murray with the Haydn Quartet “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” (1908)
16. The Animals “The House of the Rising Sun” (1964)
17. Dooley Wilson “As Time Goes By” (1942)
18. Fats Waller “Ain’t Misbehavin’” (1929)
19. Joan Jett & the Blackhearts “I Love Rock and Roll” (1981)
20. Sinead O’Connor “Nothing Compares 2 U” (1990)

21. The Harmonicats “Peg O’ My Heart” (1947)
22. Coleman Hawkins “Body and Soul” (1940)
23. Patti Page “Tennessee Waltz” (1950)
24. The Righteous Brothers “Unchained Melody” (1965)
25. Chubby Checker “The Twist” (1960)
26. Haydn Quartet “In the Good Old Summertime” (1903)
27. Cliff Edwards “I Can’t Give You Anything But Love” (1928)
28. Paul Whiteman “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes” (1933)
29. The Kingsmen “Louie Louie” (1963)
30. Vaughn Monroe “Riders in the Sky (A Cowboy Legend)” (1949)

31. Red Nichols “I Got Rhythm” (1930)
32. The Weavers “Goodnight Irene” (1950)
33. Marion Harris “After You’ve Gone” (1919)
34. Les Paul & Mary Ford “How High the Moon” (1951)
35. Sophie Tucker “Some of These Days” (1911)
36. Perry Como “Some Enchanted Evening” (1949)
37. Ben Selvin “Happy Days Are Here Again” (1930)
38. Rudy Vallee “Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?” (1932)
39. John McCormack “It’s a Long, Long Way to Tipperary” (1915)
40. Larry Clinton with Bea Wain “Deep Purple” (1939)

41. Woody Herman “Blues in the Night (My Mama Done Tol’ Me)” (1941)
42. Gertrude Lawrence “Someone to Watch Over Me” (1927)
43. The Ink Spots “The Gypsy” (1946)
44. Kim Carnes “Bette Davis Eyes” (1981)
45. Arthur Collins with Byron Harlan “The Darktown Strutters’ Ball” (1918)
46. Ray Noble “I’ve Got You Under My Skin” (1936)
47. Fats Domino “Blueberry Hill” (1956)
48. The Jimi Hendrix Experience “All Along the Watchtower” (1968)
49. Judy Garland with Gene Kelly “For Me and My Gal” (1942)
50. Harry MacDonough “Down by the Old Mill Stream” (1911)

51. Ray Charles “Georgia on My Mind” (1960)
52. Paul Whiteman “Three O’Clock in the Morning” (1922)
53. Fred Astaire “They Can’t Take That Away from Me” (1937)
54. Ray Charles “I Can’t Stop Loving You” (1962)
55. Billie Holiday “Summertime” (1936)
56. Soft Cell “Tainted Love” (1981)
57. Glenn Miller “That Old Black Magic” (1943)
58. Bunny Berigan “I Can’t Get Started” (1938)
59. Bing Crosby “Silent Night” (1935)
60. Elvis Presley “Are You Lonesome Tonight?” (1960)

61. Fats Waller “Honeysuckle Rose” (1935)
62. Charles Harrison “I’m Always Chasing Rainbows” (1918)
63. Paul Whiteman “My Mammy” (1921)
64. Henry Burr “Beautiful Ohio” (1919)
65. The Flamingos “I Only Have Eyes for You” (1959)
66. Run-D.M.C. with Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler & Joe Perry “Walk This Way” (1986)
67. Peerless Quartet “I Didn’t Raise My Boy to Be a Soldier” (1915)
68. The Fifth Dimension “Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In” (1969)
69. Count Basie “April in Paris” (1956)
70. Ben Selvin “I’m Forever Blowing Bubbles” (1919)

71. Mitch Miller “The Yellow Rose of Texas” (1955)
72. The Byrds “Mr. Tambourine Man” (1965)
73. The Five Satins “In the Still of the Nite (I’ll Remember)” (1956)
74. Cyndi Lauper “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” (1983)
75. Bing Crosby with the Mills Brothers “Dinah” (1932)
76. Vess Ossman “The Old Folks at Home (Swanee River)” (1900)
77. Bert Williams “Nobody’ (1906)
78. Haydn Quartet “Bedelia” (1904)
79. Missouri Waltz (Hush-A-Bye Ma Baby)” (1917)
80. James Harrison & Dick Haymes “I’ll Get By As Long As I Have You” (1941)

81. George MacFarlane “A Little Bit of Heaven (Shure, They Call It Ireland)” (1915)
82. Louis Armstrong “All of Me” (1932)
83. Bing Crosby with Trudy Erwin & Sportsmen Glee Club “People Will Say We’re in Love” (1943)
84. Elvis Presley “That’s All Right, Mama” (1954)
85. Bing Crosby with the Ken Darby Singers “Sunday, Monday or Always” (1943)
86. Willie Nelson “Always on My Mind” (1982)
87. Harry MacDonough “Hiawatha (His Song to Minnehaha)” (1903)
88. Perry Como “If I Loved You” (1945)
89. Henry Mancini with Audrey Hepburn “Moon River” (1961)
90. Kay Kyser with Harry Babbitt & Julie Conway “Jingle, Jangle, Jingle” (1942)

91. All-4-One “I Swear” (1994)
92. Ray Miller “The Sheik of Araby” (1922)
93. Bill Snyder “Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered” (1950)
94. Art Mooney “I’m Looking Over a Four-Leaf Clover” (1948)
95. Frank Stanley with Corrine Morgan “Listen to the Mocking Bird (aka “The Mocking Bird”)” (1904)
96. Ernestine Schumann-Heink “Danny Boy” (1918)
97. Rosemary Clooney “Tenderly” (1952)
98. Guy Lombardo “How Deep Is the Ocean?” (1932)
99. Ada Jones & Billy Murray “Come Josephine in My Flying Machine” (1911)
100. George Olsen “Who?” (1926)

50 Years Ago Today: “Hey Jude” spent 9th week at #1, giving Beatles their biggest hit (11/23/68)

Last updated 4/7/2020.

Hey Jude

The Beatles

Writer(s): John Lennon, Paul McCartney (see lyrics here)

Released: August 26, 1968

First Charted: September 4, 1968

Peak: 19 US, 17 CB, 14 HR, 41 AR (1990 live version by Paul McCartney), 12 UK, 13 CN, 113 AU (Click for codes to singles charts.)

Sales (in millions): 4.0 US, 1.06 UK, 10.0 world (includes US + UK)

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): 3.0 radio, 226.5 video, 84.74 streaming



The birth of “Hey Jude” is a story familiar to anyone versed in Rock and Roll History 101: Cynthia Lennon was soon to be the ex-wife of the famous Beatle. To soothe the couple’s young son, Julian, John’s band mate Paul McCartney offered words of encouragement in the best way he knew how – through song.

However, there are alternative versions of the inspiration for the rock-and-roll era’s greatest single. In his autobiography, Many Years from Now, McCartney asserted the song was really about himself. KL Meanwhile, Lennon concluded the song was Paul’s commentary on the strain that John and Yoko’s relationship put on the bond between John and Paul. RS500

Regardless of its origin, “‘Hey Jude’ kicks ass on a par with Van Gogh or Beethoven in their prime.” WI-137 As the first single from the Beatles’ new Apple Records label, it was history’s highest debut (at #10) on the U.S. charts at that time. BR1-247 It became the best-selling single of the sixties and the Beatles’ biggest U.S. hit.

At over seven minutes, “Hey Jude” was the longest single ever released. SF This made producer George Martin wary that radio wouldn’t play it, to which John cheekily retorted, “They will if it’s us.” RS500 When Lennon’s assumption proved correct, the real winners were DJ’s who could take longer bathroom breaks as the listening public absorbed similarly lengthy hits like “American Pie” and “Layla.”

More than half the song’s length is borne out of the “na na na“ fade-out coda that repeats 19 times. The featured orchestra was paid double their usual fee just to clap and sing along. RS500

Resources and Related Links:

  • The Beatles’ DMDB Encyclopedia entry
  • BR1 Bronson, Fred (2003). The Billboard Book of Number One Hits (5th edition). New York, NY: Billboard Books.
  • KL Kutner, Jon, and Spencer Leigh (2005). 1000 UK Number One Hits: The Stories Behind Every Number One Single Since 1952. London, Great Britain: Omnibus Press. Page 143.
  • RS500 Rolling Stone (12/2004). The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.
  • SF Songfacts
  • WI Williams, Paul (1993). Rock and Roll: The Best 100 Singles. New York, NY: Carroll & Graf Publishers, Inc.

Monday, November 19, 2018

Tommy Dorsey: Top 100 Songs

First posted 5/26/2019.

Bandleader Thomas Francis Dorsey, Jr. was born on 11/19/1905 in Shenandoah, Pennsylvania. He died on 11/26/1956. Known as the “Sentimental Gentleman of Swing,” he is considered among the greatest trombonists in jazz history.

He and his older brother Jimmy worked in bands led by Jean Goldkette, Vincent Lopez, Red Nichols, Nat Shilkret, Rudy Vallee, and Paul Whiteman. They also worked with the California Ramblers (25-27), Charleston Chasers, and formed their own Dorsey Brothers Orchestra (34-35). Tommy formed his own band in 1935 out of the remains of Joe Haymes’ band. Sy Oliver worked as an arranger for the band and Frank Sinatra (40-42) recorded with Dorsey as a vocalist.

“All the Things You Are” and “I’ll Never Smile Again” are featured in the DMDB book The Top 100 Songs of the Pre-Rock Era, 1890-1953.

For a complete list of this act’s songs and albums honored by the DMDB, check out the DMDB Music Maker Encyclopedia entry.

Top 100 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.

BS = Boswell Sisters, DB = Dorsey Brothers, JL = Jack Leonard, TS = The Sentimentalists, FS = Frank Sinatra, EW = Edythe Wright. According to Joel Whitburn’s Pop Memories 1890-1954, Tommy Dorsey hit the top of the U.S. charts 19 times (#1 songs noted in list).

DMDB Top 1%:

1. All the Things You Are (w/ JL, 1939) #1
2. I’ll Never Smile Again (w/ Frank Sinatra & the Pied Pipers, 1942) #1
3. There Are Such Things (w/ Frank Sinatra & the Pied Pipers, 1942) #1
4. Once in a While (1937) #1
5. Lullaby of Broadway (DB w/ Bob Crosby, 1935) #1
6. Alone (w/ Cliff Weston, 1936) #1
7. Music, Maestro, Please! (w/ EW, 1938) #1

DMDB Top 5%:

8. Marie (w/ JL, 1937) #1
9. The Music Goes ‘Round and ‘Round (w/ EW, 1935) #1
10. I’m Gettin’ Sentimental Over You (1936)

11. Indian Summer (w/ JL, 1939) #1
12. In the Blue of the Evening (w/ FS, 1943) #1
13. The Dipsy Doodle (w/ EW, 1937) #1
14. Alexander’s Ragtime Band (BS w/ DB, 1935)
15. Stardust (w/ FS, 1941)
16. Stardust (w/ EW, 1936)
17. Oh, Look at Me Now (w/ FS, 1941)
18. In the Still of the Night (w/ JL, 1937)
19. Chasing Shadows (DB w/ Bob Eberly, 1935) #1
20. Opus No. 1 (1945)

21. I’ll Be Seeing You (w/ FS, 1940)
22. Our Love (w/ JL, 1939) #1
23. How About You? (w/ FS, 1942)
24. The Lady Is a Tramp (w/ JL, 1937)
25. I Should Care (w/ Bonnie Lou Williams & TS, 1945)
26. This Love of Mine (w/ FS, 1941)
27. Now It Can Be Told (w/ JL, 1938)
28. Satan Takes a Holiday (1937) #1
29. On the Sunny Side of the Street (w/ TS, 1945)
30. You (w/ EW, 1936) #1

DMDB Top 10%:

31. Everything Happens to Me (w/ FS, 1941)
32. Oh, You Crazy Moon (w/ JL, 1939)
33. Imagination (w/ FS, 1940)
34. Yes Indeed! (w/ Jo Stafford & Sy Oliver, 1941)
35. Polka Dots and Moonbeams (w/ FS, 1940)
36. Boogie Woogie (1938)
37. They Can’t Take That Away from Me (w/ JL, 1937)
38. On Treasure Island (w/ EW, 1935) #1
39. It’s Always You (w/ FS, 1943)
40. I Concentrate on You (w/ Anita Boyer, 1940)

41. The Lamp Is Low (w/ JL, 1939)
42. Fools Rush in Where Angels Fear to Tread (w/ FS, 1940)
43. Have You Got Any Castles, Baby? (w/ JL, 1937)
44. You’re the Top (DB w/ Ray McKinley, 1934)
45. Stop Beatin’ Around the Mulberry Bush (w/ EW, 1938)
46. It Started All Over Again (w/ FS, 1943)
47. I Hadn’t Anyone Till You (w/ JL, 1938)
48. Will You Still Be Mine? (w/ Connie Haines, 1944)
49. You Are My Lucky Star (DB w/ Bob Eberly, 1935)
50. It’s the Girl (BS w/ DB, 1931)

51. A-Tisket, A-Tasket (w/ EW, 1938)
52. We Three (My Echo, My Shadow, and Me) (w/ FS, 1940)
53. Darn That Dream (w/ Anita Boyer, 1940)
54. Just As Though You Were Here (w/ FS, 1942)
55. Take Me (w/ FS, 1942)
56. Until (w/ Harry Prime, 1948)
57. What Is This Thing Called Love? (w/ Connie Haines, 1942)
58. Honeysuckle Rose (Bunny Berigan & His Orchestra w/ Fats Waller, Tommy Dorsey, and Dick McDonough, 1937)
59. You Must Have Been a Beautiful Baby (w/ EW, 1938)
60. On the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe (w/ TS, 1945)

61. Did I Remember? (w/ EW, 1936)
62. You Couldn’t Be Cuter (1938)
63. Honeysuckle Rose (DB w/ Don Mattison, Skeets Herfurt, & Rock Hillman, 1935)
64. My Cabin of Dreams (w/ EW, 1937)
65. San Francisco (w/ EW, 1936)
66. Let’s Do It, Let’s Fall in Love (DB w/ Bing Crosby, 1929)
67. You Are My Lucky Star (w/ Eleanor Powell, 1935)
68. How Are Things in Glocca Mora? (w/ Stuart Foster, 1947)
69. Manhattan Serenade (w/ Jo Stafford, 1942)
70. Let’s Get Away from It All (w/ the Pied Pipers, 1941)

71. Do I Worry? (w/ FS, 1941)
72. Says My Heart (w EW, 1938)
73. You and I (w/ FS, 1941)
74. Sweet Sue, Just You (w/ JL, 1939)

DMDB Top 20%:

75. The Big Apple (w/ EW, 1937) #1
76. I Dream of You (w/ Freddy Stewart, 1944)
77. Dolores (w/ FS, 1941) #1
78. I’ll Be Seeing You (w/ FS, 1961)
79. When I Take My Sugar to Tea (BS w/ DB, 1931)
80. Again (1949)

81. Are You Having Any Fun? (w/ EW, 1939)
82. Be Careful, It’s My Heart (w/ FS, 1942)
83. Say It Over and Over Again (w/ FS, 1940)
84. Our Love Affair (w/ FS, 1940)
85. Only Forever (w/ Alan Starr, 1940)
86. You Leave Me Breathless, 1938)
87. All This and Heaven Too (w/ FS, 1940)
88. Who? (w/ JL, 1937)
89. I Can Dream, Can’t I? (w/ JL, 1938)
90. You’re Lonely and I’m Lonely (1940)

91. I’m Gettin’ Sentimental Over You (DB w/ Bob Crosby, 1934)
92. Lazy Bones (Mildred Bailey w/ DB, 1933)
93. More and More (w/ Bonnie Lou Williams, 1945)
94. Trade Winds (w/ FS, 1940)
95. Aren’t You Glad You’re You? (w/ Stuart Foster, 1946)
96. I’ll Never Say “Never Again” Again (DB w/ Don Mattison, Skeets Herfurt, and Rock Hillman, 1935)
97. Song of India (1937)
98. I’ve Got a Feelin’ You’re Foollin’ (DB w/ Bob Eberly, 1935)
99. Violets for Your Furs (w/ FS, 1941)
100. Fine and Dandy (DB w/ Scrappy Lambert, 1930)


Sunday, November 11, 2018

People’s Choice Awards: Songs of the Year, 1976-2018

Originally posted 4/12/2019.

People’s Choice Awards is an American awards show which was launched in 1975. People vote annually on awards for movies, music, and television. The awards, however, vary from year to Year. Here are times when an award was given to a favorite song for the year:

  • 2018: BTS “Idol”
  • 2017: Justin Timberlake “Can’t Stop the Feeling!
  • 2016: Justin Bieber “What Do You Mean?
  • 2015: Taylor Swift “Shake It Off
  • 2014: Katy Perry “Roar
  • 2013: One Direction “What Makes You Beautiful”
  • 2012: Katy Perry with Kanye West “E.T.”
  • 2011: Eminem & Rihanna “Love the Way You Lie
  • 2010: --

  • 2009: Katy Perry “I Kissed a Girl
  • 2008: Justin Timberlake “What Goes Around…Comes Around”
  • 2007: Shakira & Wyclef Jean “Hips Don’t Lie
  • 2006: --
  • 2005: --
  • 2004: --
  • 2003: --
  • 2002: --
  • 2001: --
  • 2000: --

  • 1999: --
  • 1998: --
  • 1997: --
  • 1996: --
  • 1995: --
  • 1994: --
  • 1993: --
  • 1992: --
  • 1991: Vanilla Ice “Ice Ice Baby”
  • 1990: --

  • 1989: --
  • 1988: --
  • 1987: --
  • 1986: U.SA. for Africa “We Are the World
  • 1985: Prince & the Revolution “Purple Rain”
  • 1984: --
  • 1983: Survivor “Eye of the Tiger” and Lionel Richie “Truly”
  • 1982: Lionel Richie & Diana Ross “Endless Love
  • 1981: Kenny Rogers “Lady
  • 1980: Barbra Streisand “The Main Event/Fight”

  • 1979: Foreigner “Double Vision”
  • 1978: Debby Boone “You Light Up My Life” and Heatwave “Boogie Nights”
  • 1977: Kiss “Beth” and Rick Dees & His Cast of Idiots “Disco Duck”
  • 1976: Captain & Tennille “Love Will Keep Us Together”

Monday, November 5, 2018

Artie Shaw’s “Beguin the Beguine” hit #1 80 years ago (11/5/1938)

Last updated 4/12/2020.

Begin the Beguine

Artie Shaw

Writer(s): Cole Porter (see lyrics here)

First Charted: September 3, 1938

Peak: 16 US, 12 GA (Click for codes to singles charts.)

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

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 2.85 video, -- streaming


About the Song:

“Beguine” refers to a 1930s’ Cuban dance similar to a rumba. The moves, however, are slower and performed slowly and deliberately. Depending on the account one chooses to believe, songwriter Cole Porter experienced it for the first time on a luxury cruise during a stop in Martinique or a Paris dance hall frequented by Martinique imigrants. He adopted the dance’s rhythm for a big production number for Jubilee, a musical comedy which debuted in 1935. SB The show only lasted 169 performances, which reportedly didn’t upset Porter. He was, however, annoyed that people preferred “Beguine” to “Just One of Those Things,” another song from the show. He’d not anticipated “Beguine” being a hit. SB

That’s not surprising. Although “Porter was a musical master and his songs are among the cream of the musical crop,” PS “Begin the Beguine,” didn’t follow conventional hit-making wisdom. Standards typically had thirty-two measures, but “Beguine” stretched to a whopping 108, making it the longest popular song ever written. SB The piece also had a lot of words, “a chord progression that goes through several modes and keys, [and] a vocal span three steps beyond the octave.” MM

Xavier Cugat recorded the song and had a #13 hit with it in 1935. However, it was Artie Shaw’s version three years later which became a #1 PM-476 hit and “one of the most popular jazz standards.” SB His recording came about when fans kept asking him to play it. He gave it more of a swing feel and debuted it at the Roseland State Ballroom. According to guitarist Al Avola, “The first time we played it we could just feel the vibrations. We knew it was going to be big.” SB When Shaw was contracted to record a swing version of Rudolf Friml’s “Indian Love Call,” he did so with the stipulation that he record “Beguine” as the B-side. His hunch paid off; the song became one of the largest-selling instrumental recordings by an American band. TY

Shaw charted with it again in 1942 and Eddie Heywood and Frank Sinatra followed with charting versions in 1945 and 1946 respectively. PM-476 The song has also been recorded by Sammy Davis Jr., the Andrews Sisters, the Flamingos, and Johnny Mathis. It was included in the 1946 Cole Porter biopic Night and Day. MM In a Billboard Disc Jockey poll, it was rated as the number 5 song of all-time. PM-363

Resources and Related Links: