Sunday, September 17, 1989

50 years ago: Frank Sinatra recorded “All or Nothing at All”


All or Nothing at All

The Harry James Orchestra with Frank Sinatra

Writer(s): Arthur Altman (m), Jack Lawrence (w) (see lyrics here)

Recorded: September 17, 1939

First Charted: June 19, 1943

Peak: 12 US, 3 GA, 11 HP, 8 RB (Click for codes to singles charts.)

Sales (in millions): 1.0 US

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 0.28 video, -- streaming

Awards: (Click on award for more details).

About the Song:

Frank Sinatra started singing professionally as a teen in the 1930s. In 1939, he contracted with bandleader Harry James and released his first commercial record, “From the Bottom of My Heart,” in July. It sold less than 8000 copies. They also recorded “All or Nothing at All.” Arthur Altman wrote the music for the song and turned to Jack Lawrence, who later wrote the Ink Spots’ “If I Didn’t Care,” for lyrics. Harry James, Freddy Martin, and Jimmy Dorsey’s orchestras all recorded the song, but none had a hit with it. SF

Nonetheless, “All or Nothing at All” proved an important stepping point in Sinatra’s career. He said it gave him his start. CR It’s “the song I used to audition for Tommy Dorsey, who signed me on the strength of it.” CR In November 1939, he left James to join Dorsey’s band as the replacement for singer Jack Leonard. Dorsey was “the most successful bandleader of the early ‘40s.” SF From 1940 to 1942, Sinatra was featured on 39 top-twenty singles SF including the #1 hits “I’ll Never Smile Again,” “Dolores,” “In the Blue of the Evening,” and “There Are Such Things.”

Sinatra became “a heartthrob sensation, headliner, and show business icon. He was the most talked-about performer in the music industry” SF when he signed as a solo artist with Columbia Records in 1943. Unfortunately, a strike by the American Federation of Musicians left record companies desperate for product to release. Columbia “had the hottest new singer in show business and could not record him.” SF

Music publishing mogul Lou Levy came up with a solution. The strike from the musician’s union only restricted current recording. Columbia could still release older recordings. They decided to reissue “All or Nothing at All.” The song, “effectively a Sinatra solo,” CR was rebilled as “Frank Sinatra accompanied by Harry James Orchestra” instead of “The Harry James Orchestra with vocal by Frank Sinatra.” SF The song gave Sinatra his fifth trip to the top of the charts.

Resources and Related Links:

  • DMDB encyclopedia entry for Frank Sinatra
  • DMDB encyclopedia entry for Harry James
  • CR Toby Creswell (2005). 1001 Songs: The Great Songs of All Time. Thunder’s Mouth Press: New York, NY. Page 743.
  • JA David A. Jasen (2002). A Century of American Popular Music: 2000 Best-Loved and Remembered Songs (1899-1999). Routledge: Taylor & Francis, Inc. Page 8.
  • SF Songfacts
  • SS Steve Sullivan (2013). Encyclopedia of Great Popular Song Recordings (Volumes I & II). Scarecrow Press: Lanham, Maryland. Pages 200, 373.
  • PM Joel Whitburn (1986). Pop Memories 1890-1954. Menomonee Falls, WI; Record Research, Inc. Pages 133-9, 391.
  • WK1 Wikipedia page on Frank Sinatra
  • WK2 Wikipedia page for “All or Nothing at All”

First posted 3/29/2021.

Tuesday, September 12, 1989

Aerosmith’s Pump released

First posted 4/2/2008; updated ?.



Buy Here:

Released: September 12, 1989

Peak: 5 US, 3 UK, 2 CN, 13 AU

Sales (in millions): 7.0 US, 0.1 UK, 11.5 world (includes US and UK)

Genre: classic rock

Tracks: (Click for codes to singles charts.)

  1. Young Lust (Tyler, Perry, Jim Vallance) [4:18]
  2. F.I.N.E. (Tyler, Perry, Desmond Child) [4:09] (11/25/89, 14 AR)
  3. Going Down/Love in an Elevator (Tyler, Perry) [5:39] (9/2/89, 5 US, 1 AR, 13 UK, 13 CN, 33 AU, gold single)
  4. Monkey on My Back (Tyler, Perry) [3:57] (4/14/90, 17 AR)
  5. Water Song/Janie’s Got a Gun (Tyler, Tom Hamilton) [5:38] (9/23/89, 4 US, 2 AR, 76 UK, 2 CN, 1 AU)
  6. Dulcimer Stomp/The Other Side (Tyler, Vallance, Brian Holland, Lamont Dozier, Eddie Holland) [4:56] (6/16/90, 22 US, 1 AR, 46 UK, 22 CN, 73 AU)
  7. My Girl (Tyler, Perry) [3:10]
  8. Don’t Get Made, Get Even (Tyler, Perry) [4:48]
  9. Hoodoo/ Voodoo Medicine Man (Tyler, Brad Whitford) [4:39]
  10. What It Takes (Tyler, Perry, Child) [5:11] (1/13/90, 9 US, 1 AR, 15 CN, 46 CN)

Total Running Time: 47:22

The Players:

  • Steven Tyler (vocals, keyboards, harmonica, percussion)
  • Joe Perry (guitar)
  • Brad Whitford (rhythm guitar)
  • Tom Hamilton (bass)
  • Joey Kramer (drums, percussion)


4.346 out of 5.00 (average of 13 ratings)

Quotable: “Rank[s] with Rocks and Toys in the Attic.” – Stephen Thomas Erlewine, All Music Guide


About the Album:

1987’s Permanent Vacation heralded in the second wave of Aerosmith, the return of the original lineup in one of rock history’s greatest comeback stories. While that album “seemed a little overwhelmed by its pop concessions, Pump revels in them without ever losing sight of Aerosmith’s dirty hard rock core.” STE

For Pump, the band set out to explore “a rawness that had been glossed over for a commercial sound in Permanent Vacation.” WK As guitarist Joe Perry said, “We wanted to strip off a little fat we felt on our last one.” WK The result? Q magazine called it “the year’s best metal album,” WK noting that “it took a bunch of hoary, addled old stagers like Aerosmith” to “hoist the heavy metal crown from the likes of Def Leppard and Bon Jovi.” WK

Rolling Stone called Aerosmith “the reigning kind of the double entendre” WK but said Pump “has more going for it than locker-room laughs, such as the vintage high-speed crunch (circa Toys in the Attic) of Young Lust…[and] the sassy slap ‘n’ tickle of My Girl.” WK

Part of the success of Vacation was due to producer Bruce Fairbairn, who returns for Pump. At his suggestion, the band brought in outside songwriting help from Desmond Child (Loverboy, Bon Jovi) and Jim Vallance (Bryan Adams, Bon Jovi) for the previous album. Both songwriters show up again here – Child on What It Takes and F.I.N.E. and Vallance on “Young Lust” and The Other Side. Two of those songs were top 40 hits. “What It Takes,” which “has more emotion and grit than any of their other power ballads,” STE hit #9 on the U.S. pop charts while “The Other Side” reached #22. Both songs also topped the album rock tracks chart.

“The Other Side” gave Aerosmith some legal troubles when the famed Motown songwriting team of Holland-Dozier-Holland threatened to sue the band because of similarities between the melodies of “The Other Side” and “Standing in the Shadows of Love.” Aerosmith ended up adding them to the songwriting credits. WK

The album’s two biggest songs, however, were penned solely by the band. Lead single Love in an Elevator, like “The Other Side,” rock[s] relentlessly, no matter how many horns and synths fight with the guitars.” STE The song was a top-five pop hit and, surprisingly, Aerosmith’s first trip to the pinnacle of the album rock chart.

Janie’s Got a Gun tackles more complex territory than most previous songs” STE with its no-holds-barred glimpse into incest and murder. It was also a top-five pop hit. It also gave Aerosmith its first Grammy – for Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals. They went on to win the award three more times.

Notes: An alternate version of the album included a hidden instrumental track after “What It Takes” while the Japanese version added the song “Ain’t It Enough.”

Resources and Related Links:

Saturday, September 9, 1989

50 years ago: Judy Garland charted with "Over the Rainbow"

Over the Rainbow

Judy Garland

Writer(s): Harold Arlen/E.Y. “Yip” Harburg (see lyrics here)

First Charted: September 9, 1939

Peak: 5 US, 12 GA, 17 HP (Click for codes to singles charts.)

Sales (in millions): 4.2 US, -- UK, 5.63 world (includes US + UK)

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 60.8 video, -- streaming

Awards: (Click on award for more details).

About the Song:

There are few songs more associated with a movie more than “Over the Rainbow” is with The Wizard of Oz and then-sixteen-year-old Judy Garland’s performance of it. It topped the AFI’s list of movie songs. However, the song was initially deleted when it was thought to slow down the film. LW Movie execs even said it was inappropriate for audiences to see the movie’s star singing in a farmyard. LW It only made it back in when Harold Arlen, one of the song’s writers, and executive producer Arthur Freed lobbied on the song’s behalf. AB40

Arlen and lyricist “Yip” Harburg originally penned the song not as “a little girl’s plea for a silver lining,” TC but as a declaration of hope for America from two “unabashed lefties” TC who believed in President Roosevelt’s New Deal. TC

As was common in the first half of the 20th century, multiple versions of the song charted. In 1939, four acts took “Rainbow” into the top 10. Interesting, Garland’s was neither the most successful nor the first to chart. Glenn Miller and Larry Clinton both debuted with it the week of August 19. Miller’s went to #1 the same week Garland hit the charts. A week later, Bob Crosby hit with his #2 version.

However, it was Garland’s version which “became the most famous and beloved.” JA Hers was selected by the RIAA as the top song of the 20th century and won the Oscar for Best Song. She had no problem with the “theme song around which she constructed her career.” LW As she said, “I’ve sung it time and time again and it’s still the song that’s closest to my heart.” TC

Resources and Related Links:

  • DMDB Encyclopedia entry for Judy Garland
  • DMDB Encyclopedia entry for Harold Arlen
  • DMDB Encyclopedia entry for E.Y. “Yip” Harburg
  • AB40 (2007?) “Top 40 Pop Songs: The Best of the Best” by Bill Lamb
  • TC Toby Creswell (2005). 1001 Songs: The Great Songs of All Time. Thunder’s Mouth Press: New York, NY. Page 211.
  • JA David A. Jasen (2002). A Century of American Popular Music: 2000 Best-Loved and Remembered Songs (1899-1999). Routledge: Taylor & Francis, Inc. Page 154.
  • LW Alan Lewens (2001). Popular Song – Soundtrack of the Century. Billboard Books: New York, NY. Page 80.

First posted 9/9/2011; last updated 4/22/2021.