Saturday, February 16, 1974

Gram Parsons’ Grievous Angel charted

Grievous Angel

Gram Parsons

Charted: February 16, 1974

Peak: 195 US, -- UK, -- CN, -- AU

Sales (in millions): 0.14 US, -- UK, 0.14 world (includes US and UK)

Genre: country rock


Song Title (Writers) [time] Click for codes to charts.

  1. Return of the Grievous Angel (Gram Parsons, Tom Brown) [4:19]
  2. Hearts on Fire (Walter Egan, Tom Guidera) [3:50]
  3. I Can’t Dance (Tom T. Hall) [2:20]
  4. Brass Buttons (Parsons) [3:27]
  5. $1000 Wedding (Parsons) [5:00]
  6. Cash on the Barrelhead (Charlie Louvin, Ira Louvin) [2:12]
  7. Hickory Wind (Parsons, Rob Buchanan) [4:15]
  8. Love Hurts (Boudleaux Bryant) [3:40]
  9. Ooh Las Vegas (Parsons, Ric Grech) [3:29]
  10. In My Hour of Darkness (Parsons, Emmylou Harris) [3:42]

Total Running Time: 36:14


4.379 out of 5.00 (average of 15 ratings)


Established Parsons as “the patron saint of alt-country.” – Mark Deming, All Music Guide


(Click on award to learn more).

About the Album:

“Gram Parsons fondness for drugs and high living are said to have been catching up with him while he was recording Grievous Angel, and sadly he wouldn’t live long enough to see it reach record stores, dying from a drug overdose in the fall of 1973.” MD “Released four months after Parsons went to that great nightclub in the sky, Grievous Angel was more than a final bow. It infused the ex Byrd and Flying Burrito Brothers cosmic tang with melancholy soul, breathing new life into both country and rock & roll” BL and establishing Parsons as “the patron saint of alt-country.” MD

“This album is a less ambitious and unified set than his solo debut, but that’s to say that G.P. was a great album while Grievous Angel was instead a very, very good one. Much of the same band that played on his solo debut were brought back for this set, and they perform with the same effortless grace and authority (especially guitarist James Burton and fiddler Byron Berline).” MD

“If Parsons was slowing down a bit as a songwriter, he still had plenty of gems on hand from more productive days, such as Brass Buttons and Hickory Wind (which wasn't really recorded live in Northern Quebec; that’s just Gram and the band ripping it up live in the studio, with a handful of friends whooping it up to create honky-tonk atmosphere). He also proved to be a shrewd judge of other folks material as always; Tom T. Hall’s I Can’t Dance is a strong barroom rocker, and everyone seems to be having a great time on The Louvin Brothers’ Cash on the Barrelhead.” MD

“As a vocal duo, Parsons and Emmylou Harris only improved on this set, turning in a version of Love Hurts so quietly impassioned and delicately beautiful that it’s enough to make you forget Roy Orbison ever recorded it. And while he didn’t plan on it, Parsons could hardly have picked a better closing gesture than In My Hour of Darkness. Grievous Angel may not have been the finest work of his career, but one would be hard pressed to name an artist who made an album this strong only a few weeks before their death – or at any time of their life, for that matter.” MD


The CD reissue combined this album with Parsons’ debut G.P.

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First posted 2/24/2008; last updated 2/28/2024.

50 years ago: “It Ain’t Gonna Rain No Mo’” hit #1

It Ain’t Gonna Rain No Mo’

Wendell Hall

Writer(s): Wendell Hall (see lyrics here)

Released: November 23, 1923

First Charted: January 26, 1924

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

Sales (in millions): 2.0 US, 1.0 (sheet music)

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


Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

Wendell Woods Hall was a “composer, author, poet, singer, guitarist, and radio, film, and television artist” TY2 born in 1896 in St. George, Kansas. Known as “The Red-Headed Music Maker,” he helped popularize the ukulele. TY2

He claimed to write the song “It Ain’t Gonna Rain No Mo,” but actually appropriated a southern folk song dating back to at least the 1870s. TY2 He then added verses and adapted to mid-1920s style. SM He never wrote or recorded another hit single. He died in 1969. The song made him a star on vaudeville and radio and even gained popularity as a soccer song in Britain. WK

The song reportedly selling five million copies of the disc and sheet music combined. TY2 The song was also covered by Carl Fenton, the Bar Harbor Society Orchestra, and Jack Linx. DJ It was popular amongst early country artists. DJ The only other charted version, however, was by Ernest Hare and Billy Jones (#11, 1924). PM

It was revived in 1952 for the movie Has Anybody Seen My Gal? and used in the 2014 movie Against the Sun. It also been used in vintage animated cartoons, such as a 1930 cartoon called “Noah Knew His Ark” and 1933 Oswald the Lucky Rabbit cartoon called “The Plumber.” WK


First posted 1/30/2023.

Tuesday, February 12, 1974

50 years ago: George Gershwin performed “Rhapsody in Blue” for the first time

Rhapsody in Blue

Paul Whiteman with George Gershwin

Writer(s): George Gershwin

First Performed: February 12, 1924

Recorded: June 10, 1924

First Charted: October 18, 1924

Peak: 3 US (Click for codes to singles charts.)

Sales (in millions): 1.0 US

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 33.62 video, -- streaming


Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

“This episodic and jazzy one-movement piano concerto” NPR was “highbrow pop music that became an instant pop standard.” TC It has been called George Gershwin’s “most identifiable masterpiece” and “one of the most enduring pieces of American music.” NPR “The sprawling fifteen-minute tune pulls together classical music and jazz.” TC It is a “landmark in popular music history” which “stands as an eternal symbol of the American ethos.” SS Gershwin himself called the work “a musical kaleidoscope of America.” WK In 1974, it was also one of the eight original inductees to the Grammy Hall of Fame. In How the Beatles Destroyed Rock ‘n’ Roll, Elijah Wald called the piece “the Sgt. Pepper of the 1920s.“ SS

Gershwin left school at age 16 and five years later had “the biggest hit in the world” TC with Al Jolson’s “Swanee.” He was interested in taking his work beyond Tin Pan Alley and onto a concert stage. Paul Whiteman, “undisputed as America’s most popular bandleader,” SS-16 had similar ideas and asked Gershwin to write a piece for a jazz concerto. SS He sketched out the idea for a rhapsody which he composed in just a few weeks, although he reportedly told a friend at the time that everything he knew about harmony could be put on a three-cent stamp. SS His brother Ira suggested the name after a visit to a gallery exhibition featuring, among other works, the well-known “Whistler’s Mother.” WK Whiteman was so moved by the piece he wept. SS

On February 12, 1924, Gershwin and Whiteman’s Orchestra performed the piece for the first time to a full-capacity Aeolian Hall in New York. Among the crowd were legendary composers Igor Stravinsky, John Philip Sousa, and Sergei Rachmaninoff. Most of the show was met with an indifferent response, but “Rhapsody” was greeted with enthusiastic applause. SS In The Nation, Henrietta Strauss declared that Whiteman and Gershwin had “added a new chapter to our musical history.” SS

Whiteman and Gershwin recorded the song that June and it reached #3 before year’s end. Three years later, a new electrically-recorded version hit #7. PM The Glenn Miller Orchestra went to #13 with its version in 1943. PM Woody Allen also used it in his film score for Manhattan.


  • TC Toby Creswell (2005). 1001 Songs: The Great Songs of All Time. Thunder’s Mouth Press: New York, NY. Pages 394.
  • NPR National Public Radio web site (1999). “The Most Important American Musical Works of the 20th Century
  • SS Steve Sullivan (2013). Encyclopedia of Great Popular Song Recordings (Volumes I & II). Scarecrow Press: Lanham, Maryland. Page 16.
  • PM Joel Whitburn (1986). Pop Memories 1890-1954. Menomonee Falls, WI; Record Research, Inc. Pages 172, 312.
  • WK Wikipedia

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First posted 2/12/2014; last updated 8/16/2022.

Saturday, February 9, 1974

Billy Joel charted with “Piano Man”

Piano Man

Billy Joel

Writer(s): Billy Joel (see lyrics here)

Released: November 2, 1973

First Charted: February 9, 1974

Peak: 25 US, 16 CB, 19 HR, 23 RR, 4 AC, 1 CL, 10 CN, 20 AU (Click for codes to singles charts.)

Sales (in millions): 0.1 US, 0.5 UK, 0.6 world (includes US + UK)

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): 2.0 radio, 192.1 video, 608.52 streaming


Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

“Great songs tell a story and…‘Piano Man’ paints a vivid portrait of a specific place and time, every time you hear it.” UCR Joel crafted “an indelible mental portrait of the characters who inhabit a watering hole on a Saturday night.” UCR “You can almost see the haze of cigarette smoke and hear the clinking of glasses.” UCR

The song grew out of Joel’s six-month stint as a lounge pianist in which he “he pecked out standards for lost souls.” RS500 It was 1971 and he performed under the name Bill Martin at the Executive Room in the Wilshire district of Los Angeles. SJ He left his native New York City to perform under an alias in another state and get out of his recording contracts with Ripp and Paramount Records after two failed bands – the Hassles and Attila – and a solo album that bombed. SJ As he said, “It was all right…I got free drinks and union scale, which was the first steady money I’d made in a long time.” RS500

“Piano Man” referenced real people he met while working there – John the bartender, Davy who really was in the Navy, and real estate broker and wanna-be novelist Paul. He also sang about the “Hollywood types” who “put bread in my jar, and say, ‘Man what are you doing here?’” SJ

One of them was Clive Davis, the president of Columbia Records. Davis signed him SJ and the resulting Piano Man album featured the title cut which launched Joel’s career. He was “one of the biggest singers of the next 25 years” UCR and although he had bigger hits – including three pop chart-toppers – “few could be considered more beloved.” UCR


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First posted 4/28/2020; last updated 7/24/2022.