Friday, February 25, 2005

100 years ago: Billy Murray takes “Yankee Doodle Boy” to #1

Yankee Doodle Boy

Billy Murray

Writer(s): George M. Cohan (see lyrics here)


First Charted: February 25, 1905


Peak: 18 US, 12 GA (Click for codes to singles charts.)


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


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

Awards:

Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

George M. Cohan “virtually invented musical comedy” LW by pioneering the idea that a show could intersperse songs into a narrative structure. LW He was “the dominant force on Broadway during its heyday,” LW predating future musical theatre greats like Jerome Kern, George Gershwin, and Richard Rodgers. Like Irving Berlin, his best work celebrated young immigrants and American patriotism.

He was born July 3, 1878, although to bolster his fiercely patriotic image, he claimed to be born on the fourth of July. He was born into a vaudevillian family and by the 1890’s was selling his music to performers. PS By the 1900’s, Cohan tried his hand at producing Broadway musicals. His first two attempts, 1901’s The Governor’s Son and 1903’s Running for Office, were failures, but his third attempt, 1904’s Little Johnny Jones, was a hit. PS

It was the first time Cohan wrote the complete book – and all the songs – for a show. It elevated Cohan “from merely a successful pop songwriter to the toast of the Great White Way.” SS The show featured Cohan as an American jockey accused of cheating and then cleared. The show also birthed two of his most enduring hits – “Give My Regards to Broadway” and “Yankee Doodle Boy.” PS

Billy Murray, who became the unofficial interpreter of Cohan songs, took his 1905 recording to #1 and gave Victor, the record company, its biggest seller up to that point. SS In 1942, James Cagney memorably performed the song in his Academy Award-winning portrayal of Cohan in the biopic Yankee Doodle Dandy. He reprised it in a dance in The Seven Little Foys. JA The song charted again in 1943 when Fred Waring’s Pennsylvanians took it to #21.


Resources:

  • DMDB Encyclopedia entry for Billy Murray
  • DMDB Encyclopedia entry for George M. Cohan
  • JA David A. Jasen (2002). A Century of American Popular Music: 2000 Best-Loved and Remembered Songs (1899-1999). Routledge: Taylor & Francis, Inc. Page 219.
  • LW Alan Lewens (2001). Popular Song – Soundtrack of the Century. Billboard Books: New York, NY. Page 16.
  • PS ParlorSongs.com
  • SS Steve Sullivan (2013). Encyclopedia of Great Popular Song Recordings (Volumes I & II). Scarecrow Press: Lanham, Maryland. Page 350.


First posted 4/3/2021; last updated 12/27/2021.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

In Concert: Finn Brothers

image from heraldsun.com.au

Venue: Liberty Hall; Lawrence, KS


The Set List:

1. Six Months in a Leaky Boat *
2. A Life Between Us ***
3. Weather with You **
4. There Goes God **
5. Nothing Wrong with You ***
6. Part of You, Part of Me ***
7. World Where You Live **
8. Bold As Brass *
9. Edible Flowers ***
10. Disembodied Voices ***
11. Give It a Whirl *
12. What’s the Matter with You? *
13. Anything Can Happen ***
14. It’s Only Natural **

Encore:

15. Gentle Hum ***
16. Shark Attack *
17. I Got You *
18. All the Colours ***
19. Distant Sun **
20. Into Temptation **

* Split Enz (6 songs)
** Crowded House (6 songs)
*** Finn Brothers (8 songs – all from the new album)

Wednesday, February 2, 2005

Bloc Party Silent Alarm released

Silent Alarm

Bloc Party


Released: February 2, 2005


Peak: 114 US, 3 UK, 30 AU


Sales (in millions): 0.3 US, 0.53 UK, 1.0 world (includes US and UK)


Genre: indie rock/post-punk revival


Tracks:

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

  1. Like Eating Glass [4:22]
  2. Helicopter [3:40] (11/27/04, 26 UK)
  3. Positive Tension [3:55]
  4. Banquet [3:21] (5/3/04, 34 MR, 13 UK)
  5. Blue Light [2:47]
  6. She’s Hearing Voices [3:29]
  7. This Modern Love [4:25]
  8. Pioneers [3:55] (7/18/05, 18 UK)
  9. Price of Gas [4:19]
  10. Little Thoughts [3:30] * (7/12/04, 38 UK)
  11. So Here We Are [3:52] (1/31/05, 5 UK)
  12. Luno [3:57]
  13. Plans [4:10]
  14. Compliments [4:43]
* Not on original release. All songs written by Bloc Party.


Total Running Time: ??


The Players:

  • Kele Okereke (vocals, rhythm guitar, etc.)
  • Russell Lissack (guitar, snythesizer, etc.)
  • Gordon Moakes (bass, etc.)
  • Matt Tong (drums, percussion, backing vocals)

Rating:

3.909 out of 5.00 (average of 26 ratings)


Awards: (Click on award to learn more).

About the Album:

Bloc Party is a post-punk revival indie-rock band which was formed in 1999 at the Reading Festival in England by singer Kele Okereke and guitarist Russell Lissack. In 2004, they released a pair of EPs, Bloc Party in May, and Little Thoughts in December. They included the songs Banquet, She’s Hearing Voices, Helicopter, and Little Thoughts, all of which would also appear on the Bloc Party’s debut album, Silent Alarm, in 2005.

So Here We Are was released as the first single from the album and reached #5 on the UK charts. It was followed by the release of “Banquet” as a single of its own following its initial appearance on the Bloc Party EP. Pioneers was another top-20 hit followed by Two More Years. The latter reached #7 and was included on the UK re-release of Silent Alarm.

Bloc Party composed the songs for the album with a focus on rhythm based on the drum and bass parts. Their priority was “to give the music more depth, sonically speaking.” WK The group focused on merging different styles such as R&B, electro, and pop. WK The album was widely praised for “its fast tempo and passionate delivery.” WK

Meanwhile, Kele Okereke wrote lyrics which “examined the feelings and hopes of young adults, including views on global politics.” WK He also said he wanted to “emphasize the importance of finding pleasure in small mundane things because ‘those are the sort of things that can be incredibly touching.’” WK While there wasn’t a solitary lyrical focus, the album “tries to make clear an existential pointlessness in life.” WK


Notes: The UK re-release added “Litlte Thoughts” and “Two More Years” as bonus tracks. A Japanese edition added remixes of “So Here We Are,” “Plans,” and “Pioneers” as bonus tracks.

Resources and Related Links:


First posted 3/13/2022.