Friday, June 20, 2003

50 years ago: Les Paul & Mary Ford “Vaya Con Dios” hit #1 for 1st of 11 weeks


Vaya Con Dios (May God Be with You)

Les Paul & Mary Ford

Writer(s): Larry Russell, Inez James, Buddy Pepper (see lyrics here)

First Charted: June 20, 1953

Peak: 111 US, 15 HP, 15 CB, 7 UK, 14 (Click for codes to singles charts.)

Sales (in millions): 1.0 US

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 1.6 video, -- streaming


Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

“Vaya Con Dios” was given the parenthetical title “May God Be with You,” but the phrase translates literally to “Go with God.” It is considered a phrase meaning “farewell” or “Godspeed.” The song was a collaborative effort between Larry Russell, Inez James, and Buddy Pepper. James was also known for composing songs for film such as When Johnny Comes Marching Home and Pillow Talk. Pepper also worked on the latter and was known as the piano accompanist and arranger for Judy Garland, Marlene Dietrich, Margaret Whiting and others.

The Western Writers of America chose this as one of the top 100 Western songs of all time. WK “Vay Con Dios” has been recorded over 500 times. WK Anita O’Day was the first to record it in December 1952. The most popular version was recorded by Les Paul and Mary Ford in May 1953. WK Theirs topped Billboard magazine’s Best Sellers, Disc Jockey Hits, and Jukebox Hits charts. It was also a #1 on Your Hit Parade and Cashbox.

The two were a popular husband-and-wife duo who recorded for Capitol Records in the 1950s. They had several top-10 hits including “Mockin’ Bird Hill” and the chart-topping “How High the Moon.” Les Paul also recorded on his own and is known as a pioneer in electric guitar and studio recording techniques including multi-tracking and overdubbing.

Other chart versions followed by the Drifters (1964, #43 US, #10 RB), Tony Orlando & Dawn (1972, #95 US), Millican & Nesbitt (1973, #20 UK), and Freddy Fender (1976, #59 US). It has also been recorded by Chet Atkins, Gene Autry, Jeff Beck, Chuck Berry, Pat Boone, Nat “King” Cole, Bing Crosby, the Fontane Sisters, Connie Francis, Julio Iglesias, the Lennon Sisters, Julie London, the McGuire Sisters, Anne Murray, Jim Reeves, Hank Snow, Mel Tormé, Jerry Vale, Slim Whitman, and Roger Whittaker among others. WK

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First posted 9/8/2021.

Tuesday, June 17, 2003

Michael Franti released “Everyone Deserves Music”

Everyone Deserves Music

Michael Franti & Spearhead

Writer(s): Michael Franti, D. Shul, C. Young (see lyrics here)

Released: June 17, 2003 (album cut)

First Charted: 2003

Peak: 39 AU (Click for codes to singles charts.)

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

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 0.26 video, -- streaming

Awards: (Click on award for more details).

About the Song:

July 11, 2017. I discovered Michael Franti. My friend Paul and I were debating over going to a concert at the last minute – Robert Cray or Michael Franti? We opted for the latter because we knew nothing about him other than a handful of minor hits on adult alternative radio. It was the best concert I’ve ever seen.

Franti completely encapsulates a throwback, “why can’t we all just get along?” hippy vibe. He certainly looks the part with his bare feet and dreadlocks, but the music is completely on point as well. Not only do his songs tirelessly incorporate that theme, but the concert experience is all about bonding with the audience. Franti brings kids up on stage with him. He wanders out in the audience to sing with fans. He implores fans to hug and dance. He hangs out and chats after the show.

I’ve seen him twice in concert and, ironically, he didn’t play “Everyone Deserves Music” either time. The song is the perfect Franti mantra; the title says it all. It’s a celebration of the power of music to connect people – all people. The message that all human beings are worthy of dignity comes through vividly, thanks to lines like, “Even our worst enemies, Lord, they deserve music.” “In a perfect world, this would be a future classic played out of every car stereo, boombox, and apartment for generations to come.” AMG

“Everyone Deserves Music” isn’t just the perfect representation of the diversity in Franti’s message, but in the music he uses to deliver it. In an All Music Guide review of the album, Rob Theakston says Franti’s “politically and socially charged hip-hop is a breath of pure, fresh air.” AMG However, Franti & company also make “a deliberate attempt to stray from the typical hip-hop beats and go for something a bit more organic and acoustic.” AMG Indeed, the song includes elements of reggae and funk while also sounding completely at home amongst adult alternative staples like Dave Matthews and Jack Johnson. Everyone deserves Michael Franti.

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First posted 5/7/2020; last updated 7/13/2021.

Tuesday, June 10, 2003

Bob Walkenhorst released first solo album, The Beginner

The Beginner

Bob Walkenhorst

Released: June 10, 2003

Peak: --

Sales (in millions): --

Genre: roots rock


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

  1. Life Can Turn [3:18] (2003, --)
  2. Call a Wrecker [2:44]
  3. She Don’t Love Me [3:01]
  4. Broken Down [1:56]
  5. Stolen the Moon [1:58]
  6. Jan Vermeer [2:33]
  7. Just Another Joe [2:48]
  8. The Day We Hung Up the Flag [3:11]
  9. Just Leaving [2:48]
  10. Punching Bag [3:17]
  11. Proof [3:38]
  12. J-Walkers [2:14]
  13. The Beginner [6:17]

All songs written by Bob Walkenhorst.


3.949 out of 5.00 (average of 7 ratings)

Awards: (Click on award to learn more).

About the Album:

“The debut solo release from the lead vocalist/primary songwriter of The Rainmakers. The Beginner, features Bob Walkenhorst paring down his signature elemental song arrangements to a skeletal acoustic guitar, bass, and drums, most often played by his one-man-band. Harmonica is the lead instrument of choice on this release with the notable exception of a honking sax solo on Jan Vermeer, and a lead guitar solo on the J-Walkers. Vocal harmonies appear on only one song, Just Leaving. From the sparse instrumentation to the early-60's style extreme-stereo production, the overall sound of The Beginner is as much about what has NOT been recorded, as it is about what you do hear.” AZ

“The humor and irony that have been the trademarks of Walkenhorst's songwriting in The Rainmakers are abundant on The Beginner. However, rather than being applied to social and political subjects, Walkenhorst's new songs are about more universal themes of love, work, patriotism, age, and escape. The dense opinionated word avalanche of his Rainmakers songs has been refined and reduced to choice phrases, delivered with a lighter touch and a stronger sense of melody.” AZ

“Like Cameron Crowe’s Almost Famous, The Beginner is Bob Walkenhorst's love letter to rock n’ roll. Echoes of garage bands learning Beatles songs, lonely boys in rooms with acoustic guitars, two minute blasts of youth coming from a blown car-radio speaker, are caught in an over-the-shoulder backwards glance at, not only where he has been, but where he is coming from.” AZ

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First posted 3/11/2011; updated 8/9/2021.