Saturday, May 25, 1996

The Ink Spots hit #1 with “The Gypsy” 50 years ago today (5/25/1946)

First posted 5/25/2016; updated 1/26/2020.

The Gypsy

The Ink Spots

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


First Charted: May 4, 1946


Peak: 113 US, 18 HP, 13 GA, 13 RB (Click for codes to singles charts.)


Sales (in millions): 1.0 US, -- UK, -- world (includes US + UK)


Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 0.38 video, -- streaming

Awards:

Review:

Billy Reid was a famous bandleader in London in the 1930s who had the distinction of being the first British songwriter to top the pop charts in the United States. When Welsh singer Dorothy Squires joined his group, he often wrote songs specifically with her in mind – one of which was “The Gypsy.” The song, published in 1945, unfurls a story of someone seeking out the advice of a gypsy fortune teller. The narrator wants to believe his partner is faithful, which the gypsy confirms, although both know it isn’t true. WK

After Reid and his orchestra, fronted by Squires, introduced the song in the UK, WK it became a hit in the United States. Dinah Shore and the Ink Spots both topped the charts with the song, but the Ink Spots’ version was the monster hit, spending 13 weeks at #1 and becoming the biggest hit of 1946. WHC

This African-American pop vocal group found success with both white and black audiences. Their early version of doo-wop was fundamental in shaping rock and roll as well as R&B, leading to their induction in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. They racked up more than forty hits from the 1930s to the 1950s. Twenty of those songs were top ten hits and six of those went all the way to the top of the American pop charts.

In addition to the versions by Shore and the Ink Spots, “The Gypsy” charted four more times that year – Sammy Kaye (#3), Hildegarde with Guy Lombardo (#7), Hal McIntyre (#8), and Jan Garber (#14). The song has also been recorded by Louis Armstrong, Quincy Jones, Charlie Parker, Oscar Peterson, and Frank Sinatra. WK It appeared in Revolutionary Road, a 2008 movie starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet. WK


Resources and Related Links:

Friday, May 17, 1996

Kevin Gilbert, 1966-1996

Kevin Gilbert:

Artist Profile


Born: Kevin Matthew Gilbert
Date: November 20, 1966
Where: Scotch Plains, New Jersey
Died: May 17, 1996
Where: Eagle Rock, California


Significant Bands:



Genre: synth-pop, neo-progressive rock
Sales: --

Awards:


Quotable: “Sometimes genius comes and goes without much notice or fanfare. Such is the case with the late Kevin Gilbert.” – Perplexio blog review

The Albums:

Hover over an album for the name and year of release. Click to see its DMDB page.


Key Tracks:
  • Staring into Nothing (NRG, 1984)
  • Tired Old Man (1986)
  • Imagemaker (Giraffe, 1988)
  • Last Plane Out (Toy Matinee, 1990)
  • The Ballad of Jenny Ledge (Toy Matinee, 1990)
  • There Was a Little Boy (Toy Matinee, 1990)
  • Best Laid Plans (Toy Matinee, 1991)
  • All I Wanna Do (Sheryl Crow, 1993)
  • Joytown (1995)
  • Song for a Dead Friend (1995)
  • Certifiable #1 Smash (1996)
  • Suit Fugue (Dance of the A & R Men) (1996)
  • The Ghetto of Beautiful Things (Kaviar, 1996)

Overview:

“Sometimes genius comes and goes without much notice or fanfare. Such is the case with the late Kevin Gilbert,” P “a musical prodigy” JS who “colleagues invariably called…‘the most talented musician I ever met.’” JS This little-known performer ranks as one of my favorite singers. When he died, he “left behind enormous unanswered questions about his potential.” JS

Kevin “Gilbert was a moderately important figure in Californian rock music in the 1980’s and 1990’s.” DN “He was an accomplished instrumentalist and composer, who played keyboards, guitars, drums, bass and cellos, as well as singing vocals. His talents also extended to producer.” WK He “spent several years on the edge of stardom [but] could never capitalize on his talents.” DE ” He “might be the most talented American musician to be involved with progressive rock, with the possible exception of Frank Zappa. Although all of his work contains a very strong pop element, there’s usually a lot of prog underneath it.” DN

I have said that if I were a musician, Kevin Gilbert best represents the kind of music I would want to make. His lyrics go beyond clich├ęd love songs and are infused with witticism. His musicianship showcase the tireless hours he spent in the studio perfecting his craft. It was a shame to lose such an astonishing talent at 29. His work, however, lives on and for those uninitiated in his music, I hope this post leads you down the same musical journey where KG’s music has taken me.

NRG/Call Me Kai (1984-87):

In the mid-‘80s, while still in high school, Gilbert released his first album, No Reasons Given, with the group NRG. Over the next few years, Kevin set a goal for himself to create a new album each year to give to his family and friends. Those works were collected and released in the posthumous Call Me Kai box set in 2021.

Giraffe (1988-89):

In the late ‘80s, he spent a year as a film student at UCLA and took a gig as Eddie Money’s touring keyboardist before launching the group Giraffe. Between the release of their two albums, the band entered and won a national unsigned-bands competition.

Toy Matinee (1989-92):

In the competition, Gilbert caught the attention of Patrick Leonard, a producer who had worked with Madonna and others. Leonard suggested a collaboration and the group Toy Matinee was born. Their only album was released in 1990 and produced two moderately successful album-rock tracks in Last Plane Out and The Ballad of Jenny Ledge.

The band lost momentum when Leonard moved on to other projects. However, Gilbert assembled a touring band, which included Marc Bonilla on guitar and a then-unknown Sheryl Crow on keyboards, to promote the album. Their 1991 performance at the Roxy was recorded and released posthumously as Toy Matinee Live. Gilbert and Bonilla also did radio interviews and performances in which they played cover songs and showcased their knack for wittiness and fun.

Session Work:

During this time, Gilbert also did session work for established pop musicians, including Madonna and Michael Jackson. He also produced Keith Emerson’s album Changing States. Throughout the ‘90s, Gilbert worked as “a producer, film scorer, and session musician.” DN

Tuesday Night Music Club (1992-95):

In 1992, Gilbert and Bill Bottrell, who’d produced the Toy Matinee album, assembled a loose collective of musicians dubbed the Tuesday Night Music Club. They gathered weekly at Bottrell’s studio to hang out and make music. Gilbert brought Crow, with whom he’d struck up a relationship, and the gang carved out what would become her multi-platinum selling debut named after the crew. Gilbert had co-writing credit on many of the the song’s albums, including 1995 Grammy Record of the Year All I Wanna Do. “Crow later acrimoniously split with most of the musicians in the collective…[The rest of the TNMC’ers] worked with singer-songwriters Susanna Hoffs and Linda Perry on two more albums.” WK

Thud/Tribute Work (1994-96):

Gilbert worked tirelessly to open his own studio and, in 1995, released a solo album called Thud. His 1995 live performance at the Troubadour was released in 2009 as a CD/DVD package called Welcome to Joytown: Thud Live at the Troubadour.

He also contributed songs to tribute albums of some of his favorite progressive rock artists as well – Genesis, Yes, and Gentle Giant. His cover of Led Zeppelin’s “Kashmir” was bumped from the Encomium tribute album, but it was packaged as a CD single with some pressings of Thud.

In 1994, Gilbert performed Genesis’ rock-opera masterpiece The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway with a newly assembled version of Giraffe. Gilbert’s manager, Jon Rubin, “sent a copy of the recording to Tony Banks and Mike Rutherford who were searching for a new Genesis front man to replace Phil Collins.” WK Gilbert was rumored to be planning to fly to London to audition for the spot DE when tragedy struck.

Kevin’s Death (1996):

On May 17, 1996, Rubin found Gilbert dead at his home just outside of Los Angeles. KG was wearing only a black skirt and black hood over his head, which was “slumped against a leather strap chained to the headboard of the king-size bed in the sparsely furnished living room.” JS “The coroner listed the cause of death as ‘asphyxia due to partial suspension hanging.’ Friends and MTV more explicitly reported the cause as autoerotic asphyxiation” MA caused when people go a “step too far in depriving their brains of oxygen while they reach orgasm.” JS The Los Angeles County coroners’ office reports four or five such deaths a year.

One can only imagine the possibilities of what Kevin Gilbert could have continued to contribute to the music world. Rubin, who once fronted ’70s pop band the Rubinoos and is now the executor of Gilbert’s estate, says, KG’s “death was tragic, but his life was not a tragedy.” RS As friend Tim Van Den Berg said, “I would like to believe that he is now blessing another world with his beautiful music.” TV

Posthumous Releases:

At the time of his death, KG was working on a second solo album, the rock opera The Shaming of the True. It “was largely incomplete, but Gilbert’s estate asked Spock’s Beard drummer Nick D’Virgilio to complete it based on the extant tapes and Gilbert’s notes. It was released in 2000. In 2002, The Kaviar Sessions, which Gilbert was also working on in 1996, were released.

In 2009, a two-CD set called Nuts and Bolts assembled previously unreleased recordings from throughout Giibert’s career. The estate of Kevin Gilbert has reissued much of his work alongside other merchandise available at PopPlusOne.com.


Resources and Related Links:

First posted 11/20/2011; updated 6/5/2021.

Thursday, May 16, 1996

May 16, 1946: Annie Get Your Gun opened on Broadway

Originally posted August 11, 2008. Last updated September 2, 2018.

Annie Get Your Gun (cast/soundtrack)

Irving Berlin (composer)

Opened on Broadway: May 16, 1946

Cast Album Released: July 8, 1946

Soundtrack Charted: June 10, 1950


Sales (in millions):
US: --
UK: --
IFPI: --
World (estimated): --


Peak:
US: 2 C, 18-S
UK: --
Canada: --
Australia: --

Quotable: --


Genre: show tunes


Album Tracks:

Cast Album:

  1. Doin’ What Comes Natur’lly (ETHEL MERMAN) *
  2. The Girl That I Marry (RAY MIDDLETON) *
  3. You Can’t Get a Man with a Gun (ETHEL MERMAN) *
  4. There’s No Business Like Show Business (WILLIAM O’NEAL) *
  5. They Say It’s Wonderful (ETHEL MERMAN) *
  6. Moonshine Lullaby (ETHEL MERMAN) * c
  7. My Defenses Are Down (RAY MIDDLETON) *
  8. I’m an Indian, Too (ETHEL MERMAN) *
  9. I Got Lost in His Arms (ETHEL MERMAN) * c
  10. Who Do You Love, I Hope (ROBERT LENN) * c
  11. I Got the Sun in the Morning (ETHEL MERMAN) *
  12. Anything You Can Do (ETHEL MERMAN) *
  13. Overture (ETHEL MERMAN)
  14. Colonel Buffalo Bill (LESLIE FYSON)
  15. I’m a Bad, Bad Man (NEILSON TAYLOR)
  16. An Old-Fashioned Wedding (ETHEL MERMAN)

Above track listing based on 2000 Decca reissue. Songs with an asterisk (*) are on original 1946 cast album.

c Songs unique to cast album.

Soundtrack:

  1. Main Title (THE MGM STUDIO ORCHESTRA) s
  2. Colonel Buffalo Bill (KEENAN WYNN) s
  3. Doin’ What Comes Natur’lly (BETTY HUTTON/ CHILDREN’S CHORUS) *
  4. The Girl That I Marry (HOWARD KEEL) *
  5. You Can’t Get a Man with a Gun (BETTY HUTTON) *
  6. There’s No Business Like Show Business (HOWARD KEEL) *
  7. They Say It’s Wonderful (HOWARD KEEL) *
  8. They Say It’s Wonderful (Reprise) (BETTY HUTTON) s
  9. There’s No Business Like Show Business (Reprise) (BETTY HUTTON) s
  10. My Defenses Are Down (HOWARD KEEL/ MALE CHORUS) *
  11. I’m an Indian, Too (BETTY HUTTON/ MALE CHORUS)
  12. European Montage (THE MGM STUDIO ORCHESTRA) s
  13. Let’s Go West Again (BETTY HUTTON/ MALE CHORUS) s
  14. The Girl That I Marry (Reprise) (BETTY HUTTON) *
  15. I Got the Sun in the Morning (BETTY HUTTON/ CHORUS) *
  16. Together Again (THE MGM ORCHESTRA) s
  17. Anything You Can Do (HOWARD KEEL) *
  18. Finale/End Title (BETTY HUTTON) s

Above track listing based on 2000 Rhino reissue. Songs with an asterisk (*) are on original 1950 soundtrack.

s Songs unique to soundtrack.

Notes: The 2000 Decca reissue added four new songs. “‘Colonel Buffalo Bill’ and ‘I'm a Bad, Bad Man,’ were not recorded back in 1946, nor was an overture.” WR-C addition, “for the 20th anniversary revival in 1966, Berlin wrote a new song, ‘An Old-Fashioned Wedding’.” WR-CThese four songs appear to be from “a 1973 British studio cast recording featuring Merman.” WR-C

The 2000 Rhino reissue of the soundtrack rounded out the original paltry 8 songs to a total of 31 songs, including the original recordings by Judy Garland before she was replaced by Betty Hutton.

Singles/Hit Songs:

Click here for the chart codes for singles/hit songs.

Doin’ What Comes Natur’lly
- Freddy Martin (1946) #2
- Dinah Shore (1946) #3
- Jimmy Dorsey (1946) #8

They Say It’s Wonderful
- Frank Sinatra (1946) #2
- Perry Como (1946) #4
- Andy Russell (1946) #10
- Bing Crosby (1946) #12
- Ethel Merman (1946) #20

I Got the Sun in the Morning
- Les Brown (1946) #10
- Artie Shaw (1946) #17

The Girl That I Marry
- Frank Sinatra (1946) #11
- Eddy Howard (1947) #23

Who Do You Love, I Hope
- Elliot Lawrence (1946) #9

There’s No Business Like Show Business
- Bing Crosby/ Andrews Sisters/ Dick Haymes (1947) #25

* As was common in the pre-rock era, multiple versions of a single song from a Broadway show would become hits. All chart positions are from the U.S. Billboard pop charts.

Review:

“Irving Berlin came from the old school of Broadway songwriters who did not write songs specifically for characters and plot points, but rather as independent numbers in shows that were more revues than book musicals per se.” WR-C However, when Jerome Kern died suddenly, Berlin was able to adapt and develop Dorothy and Herbert Fields’ Annie Oakley musical “in the spirit of integrated musicals that producers Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II had established with Oklahoma! only three years before.” WR-C

“Berlin’s songs for Annie Get Your Gun were all about character and plot, from the bawdy Doin’ What Comes Natur’lly, in which Annie affirms the value of a common-sense barnyard education, to the witty Anything You Can Do, which illuminates her final confrontation and reconciliation with love interest Frank Butler. Ordinarily, that should have meant that the songs were less easy to extract for the hit parade, but in fact Berlin’s score produced more chart hits through cover versions than any Broadway score before or since.” WR-C

Oklahoma! had also established the popularity of original cast albums, and only ten days after the…Broadway opening, star Ethel Merman was in a recording studio with other members of the stage production to record 12 songs from the show…For reasons not yet explained, second leads Betty Ann Nyman and Kenny Bowers were not present, and for the recording of their duet Who Do You Love, I Hope?, they were replaced by Robert Lenn and Kathleen Carnes.” WR-C

“Merman and her co-star Ray Middleton were Broadway veterans of the pre-microphone era, experts at projecting their voices from the footlights to the rear balcony, and their stage styles carried over to the recording.” WR-C

“Merman, of course, possessed a clarion voice that was never better represented than in songs like ‘Doin’ What Comes Natur’lly’ and I Got the Sun in the Morning, while Middleton’s sonorous baritone informed The Girl That I Marry and My Defenses Are Down. And when the two got together on They Say It’s Wonderful and especially ‘Anything You Can Do,’ the belting reached near-bellow status.” WR-C

“But that isn’t to say the songs, crafted for the performers, didn’t support their interpretations. Berlin wrote simply and directly, his jokes broad, his emotions direct, and the singers hit his meanings as surely as they did his notes. The result was exactly what a cast album should be, an accurate representation of the music of a show. And since this show was a landmark in Broadway history, that made the cast album an important contribution to musical history as well as an aural delight.” WR-C

Four years after the musical, Annie Get Your Gun was turned into a movie. A third of the songs were dropped, but ten remained, including ‘Doin’ What Comes Natur’lly,’ There’s No Business Like Show Business, and ‘Anything You Can Do.’ WR-S

MGM initially planned for Judy Garland, its biggest musical star, to step into Ethel Merman’s shoes. However, “her erratic behavior caused her to be suspended from the studio and the production to be shut down until Hutton was borrowed from Paramount.” WR-S “Betty Hutton brought her usual energy and effervescence to her portrayal, and Howard Keel, in his first major movie role, gave her strong support. The result was one of the biggest box-office hits of 1950.” WR-S


Review Source(s):

Awards:


Related DMDB Link(s):