Saturday, July 29, 1978

Grease soundtrack hit #1

This post has been updated and consolidated with a post about Grease opening on Broadway and the subsequent cast album. You can read that post here.

Monday, July 3, 1978

George M. Cohan: Top 30 Songs

First posted 12/8/2019.

Songwriter born George Michael Cohan was born 100 years ago today on 7/3/1878 in Providence, RI. Died 11/5/1942. One of America’s most successful songwriters. His songs were often recorded by Billy Murray, one of the most successful singers of the first quartet of the 20th century. Cohan was known for introducing a new style to American musical comedy and wrote, produced, directed, and starred in more than 40 musicals on Broadway. “Over There” and “You’re a Grand Old Flag” 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 DMDB honors, check out the DMDB Music Maker Encyclopedia entry.


Top 30 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. Many of these songs have been recorded multiple times. Only the highest-ranked version in Dave’s Music Database is included in this list. The recording artist is noted in parentheses. Songs which hit #1 on on the Billboard pop chart are noted.

DMDB Top 1%:

1. Over There (American Quartet, 1917) #1
2. You’re a Grand Old Flag (aka “The Grand Old Rag”) (Billy Murray, 1906) #1
3. Give My Regards to Broadway (Billy Murray, 1905) #1
4. Yankee Doodle Boy (Billy Murray, 1905) #1
5. Harrigan (Billy Murray, 1907) #1

DMDB Top 5%:

6. That Haunting Melody (Al Jolson with Walter B. Rogers’ Orchestra, 1912) #1
7. So Long Mary (Corrinne Morgan, 1906) #1
8. Under Any Old Flag at All (Billy Murray, 1908) #1
9. When We Are M-A-R-R-I-E-D (Ada Jones with Billy Murray, 1908) #1
10. Forty-Five Minutes from Broadway (Billy Murray, 1906)
11. Mary’s a Grand Old Name (1906)

DMDB Top 10%:

12. I Guess I’ll Have to Telegraph My Baby (Arthur Collins, 1899) #1
13. When You Come Back (And You Will Come Back) (John McCormack, 1918)
14. Always Leave Them Laughing (Billy Murray, 1907)
15. San Francisco Sadie (Dan Quinn, 1900)
16. Any Place the Old Flag Flies (Billy Murray, 1912)
17. If I’m Goin’ to Die, I’m Goin’ to Have Some Fun (Arthur Collins, 1907)
18. When a Fellow’s on the Level with a Girl Who’s on the Square (Billy Murray, 1909)
19. I Want You (Henry Burr, 1908)
20. Nellie Kelly, I Love You (American Quartet, 1923)
21. You Remind Me of My Mother (Henry Burr, 1923)

DMDB Top 20%:

22. Popularity (Vess Ossman, 1907)
23. Little Johnny Jones Medley (Vess Ossman, 1905)
24. You Can Have Broadway (Billy Murray, 1907)
25. Sullivan (Billy Murray & Haydn Quartet, 1909)
26. ABC’s of the U.S.A. (Ada Jones & Billy Murray, 1908)
27. American Ragtime (Billy Murray, 1909)

Beyond the DMDB Top 20%:

28. Venus, My Shining Love (1894)
29. The Warmest Baby in the Bunch (1897)
30. If I Were Mister Morgan (1903)


Awards:



Saturday, July 1, 1978

Alan Parsons Project Pyramid released

Pyramid

Alan Parsons Project


Released: July 1, 1978


Peak: 26 US, 40 UK, 25 CN, 16 AU


Sales (in millions): 0.5 US


Genre: progressive rock lite


Tracks:

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

  1. Voyager (instrumental) [2:24]
  2. What Goes Up… [3:31] v: David Paton (9/23/78, 87 US, 20 CL)
  3. The Eagle Will Rise Again [4:20] v: Colin Blunstone, Dean Ford
  4. One More River [4:15] v: Lenny Zakatek
  5. Can't Take It with You [5:06] v: Dean Ford, Colin Blunstone (47 CL)
  6. In the Lap of the Gods (instrumental) [5:27]
  7. Pyramania [2:45] v: Jack Harris (45 CL)
  8. Hyper-Gamma-Spaces (instrumental) [4:19]
  9. Shadow of a Lonely Man [5:34] v: John Miles, Colin Blunstone

All tracks written by Alan Parsons and Eric Woolfson. V = vocalist(s) on song.


Total Running Time: 37:46


The Players:

  • Alan Parsons (producing, engineering)
  • Eric Woolfson (keyboards, executive producing)
  • Ian Bairnson (guitar, backing vocals)
  • David Paton (bass, acoustic guitar, backing vocals)
  • Stuart Elliott (drums, percussion, backing vocals)
  • Colin Blunstone, Dea Ford, Jack Harris, John Miles, Lenny Zakatek (vocals)
  • Andrew Powell (orchestral arrangements)
  • Duncan Mackay (keyboards)

Rating:

3.709 out of 5.00 (average of 18 ratings)


Awards: (Click on award to learn more).

About the Album:

“The theme of this album deals, as the title suggests, with the remaining wonder of the ancient world” (Thelen) and “man's fascination with superstition and its powers,” AMG specifically “the ‘pyramid power’ fad that was around in the mid-'70s (the pet rock having proven to be a bust by then). DV “Lacking the wit and melodic appeal of…I Robot, the Alan Parsons Project's third studio-rock oratorio” RS is “an average bit of material.” AMG “Where I Robot was constructed on a nifty riddle – it's cinematic space rock flaunted the technology its scenario cautioned against – Pyramid uses the mystery of the pyramids as a jumping-off point for some bombastic musings on the vanity of human wishes and the passing of all things.” RS

“The instrumental Voyager opens things up, and its provocative style sets the tone for the album's supernatural mood.” AMG The song “builds up the intensity by adding instruments as the piece progresses, then brings the mood back down in order to meld with the first vocal track,” DV the “bright-sounding,” AMG What Goes Up.... “It seems like this one is sung by a pharoah and a skeptic in the time of the building of the pyramids, and questions about whether these would truly be structures to last for the remainder of time (‘If all things must fall / Why build a miracle at all / If all things must pass / Even a pyramid won't last’).” DV

That song and “The Eagle Will Rise Again, sung by Colin Blunstone,” AMG are two “of the highlights here.” AMG “As the life of the pharoah begins to ebb away, as heard on [the latter] the first image of Egyptian mythology comes forth in the image of the phoenix. The gentleness [and] vocal delivery” DV “of this track impresses.” DV

“The religious connotations continue on the more uptempo One More River, as the pharoah makes his way towards his soul's final journey towards the river Styx.” DV

Can't Take It With You “shows our hero having second thoughts after discovering he must leave his earthly possessions behind. Too late for him, he eventually will have to board the boat for his jouney on the river Styx.” DV This “lesson-learning [song] teaches that our souls are our most important asset, in typical Parsons-type charm.” AMG

The instrumental In the Lap of the Gods “prepares us for a shift in theme…where the attention shifts from our now-deceased pharoah to a gentleman in 1978 England who is caught up - maybe a little bit too much - in ‘pyramid power.’ The belief was that anything under a pyramid would be positively affected by the pyramid's mystical power.” DV

“This manic belief in the unknown is the basis of” DV “the anxiety-ridden” AMG Pyramania, “a cute, peppy number which is enjoyable to listen to – though, as the song lets us know, our new hero's fascination with pyramids is causing unhappiness at home with the wife.” DV This song “enhances the album's concept the best, accompanied by some excitable keyboard playing and a friendly middle.” AMG

“Following another instrumental (Hyper-Gamma-Spaces), our hero finds himself losing everything that mattered to him – in this case, his wife – on Shadow of a Lonely Man. Like the pharoah looking to achieve immortality and lost everything he had accumulated, the modern-day man loses love and everything that mattered in this life, and left him a shell of what he used to be.” DV

“While not a stellar album, Pyramid completes the task of musically explaining its concept. Its short but slightly compelling nature grows after a few listens, but the album…isn’t a necessity.” AMG


Notes: A 2008 reissue added demos and alternate versions.

Resources and Related Links:


Other Related DMDB Pages:


First posted 3/24/2008; last updated 9/24/2021.