Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Styx released covers album Big Bang Theory

Big Bang Theory


Released: May 10, 2005

Peak: 46 US

Sales (in millions): 0.02 US

Genre: classic rock veteran


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

  1. I Am the Walrus (Lennon/ McCartney) (2005, --)
  2. I Can See for Miles (Townshend)
  3. Can’t Find My Way Home (Winwood)
  4. It Don’t Make Sense (You Can’t Make Peace) (Dixon)
  5. I Don’t Need No Doctor (Simpson)
  6. One Way Out (Williamson)
  7. A Salty Dog (Reid)
  8. Summer in the City (Sebastian)
  9. Manic Depression (Hendrix)
  10. Talkin’ about the Good Times (Waller)
  11. Locomotive Breath (Anderson)
  12. Find the Cost of Freedom (Stills)
  13. Wishing Well (Yamauchi)
  14. Blue Collar Man @ 2120 (Shaw)

The Players:

  • Tommy Shaw (vocals, guitar)
  • James “JY” Young (guitar, vocals)
  • Chuck Panozzo (bass)
  • Lawrence Gowan (vocals, keyboards)
  • Ricky Phillips (bass)
  • Todd Sucherman (drums)


3.480 out of 5.00 (average of 17 ratings)

Awards: (Click on award to learn more).

About the Album:

Here’s a surefire formula for convincing even your most loyal fan base to abort – have your band’s leader get way too sappy, which Styx front man Dennis DeYoung had done full force by the time reunion albums rolled around in 1990 and 1999 – then jettison him altogether, and then, just in case there’s even a remnant of your signature sound left, release a cover album.

“Those looking for this to be the big Styx record that will catapult them back into the mainstream will be sorely disappointed…[with this] 14-song collection of covers from some of the band’s influences and all-time rock favorites.” AMG They work “through the great rock & roll songbook with safe, relative ease” AMG and offer the “usual clean production and relaxed atmosphere around the usually serious album format.” AMG This is “a record that die-hard fans will enjoy and casual fans might regard as a passing novelty stopgap in between records.” AMG

The album grew out of the band’s performance of the the Beatles’ I Am the Walrus at Eric Clapton’s Crossroads Festival in 2004. The song was released as a single and reached #27 on Billboard’s Heritage Rock Chart. As a result, the band was inspired to record a full album’s worth of covers.

Lawrence Gowan, who joined Styx in 1999 as the replacement for Dennis DeYoung, takes the lead on “I Am the Walrus,” as he does on covers of Ray Charles’ I Don’t Need No Doctor, Procol Harum’s A Salty Dog, and the Pretty Things’ Talkin’ About the Good Times.

James Young, one of the band’s founders, turns in covers of Willie Dixon’s It Don’t Sense (You Can’t Make Peace), the Jimi Hendrix Experience’s Manic Depression, and Jethro Tull’s Locomotive Breath. The latter also features original bandmate Chuck Panozzo on bass.

Tommy Shaw, who joined Styx in 1975, became the defacto leader of the band after they ousted Dennis DeYoung in 1999. He sings the Who’s I Can See for Miles, Blind Faith’s Can’t Find My Way Home, Elmore James’ One Way Out, the Lovin’ Spoonful’s Summer in the City, and Free’s Wishing Well. He also tackles the band’s own Blue Collar Man, which may have been the impetus for the band to release the two Regeneration EPs which were reworkings of their own songs.

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Other Related DMDB Pages:

First posted 3/24/2008; last updated 8/9/2021.

Saturday, May 7, 2005

On This Day (1955): Bo Diddley charted with “I’m a Man”

I’m a Man

Bo Diddley

Writer(s): Bo Diddley (see lyrics here)

Released: April 1955

First Charted: May 7, 1955

Peak: 6 BB, 12 RB, 3 DF (Click for codes to charts.)

Sales (in millions): --

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 1.8 video, 34.41 streaming

Mannish Boy

Muddy Waters

Writer(s): Bo Diddley, Mel London, Muddy Waters (see lyrics here)

Released: June 1955

First Charted: July 30, 1955

Peak: 5 RB, 51 UK, 3 DF (Click for codes to charts.)

Sales (in millions): --

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 38.77 video, 79.28 streaming

Awards (I’m a Man):

Click on award for more details.

Awards (Mannish Boy):

About the Song:

“The bold, brash blues declaration” BH “I’m a Man” was the first song recorded by Bo Diddley and it became the B-side of his debut single, the eponymous “Bo Diddley.” “I’m a Man” is “the essential beat personified,” DM “one more in that long line of pounding, hypnotic Bo benders, an unequivocal statement of fact.” DT It features “his manipulation and modernization of Delta blues imagery,” DM inspired by Muddy Waters’ “Hoochie Coochie Man,” WK a song written by Chess Records’ songwriter and session player Willie Dixon.

Dixon played on “Hoochie Cooche Man” and “I’m a Man.” The connections between Waters and Diddley don’t stop there, though. Lyrically, “I’m a Man” doesn’t travel “far from a couple of the country-blues standards that Waters had himself brought from Mississippi and modernized.” DM Waters “almost singlehandedly figured out how to electrify rural Mississippi Delta Blues” DM which ranks him “among the master innovators of recorded American popular music.” DM

Just months after Bo Diddley topped the R&B chart with “Bo Diddley” / “I’m a Man,” Waters put his own spin on the latter. He recorded “Mannish Boy” as an answer song to “I’m a Man.” Waters’ new title for the song was “a play on words on Bo Diddley’s younger age.” WK It was credited to Bo, Muddy, and and Mel London, a Chicago songwriter who went on to run several blues labels. The song featured Junior Wells on harmonica.

It was “a solid stop-time followup” BH to “I’m a Man” as well as his own “Hoochie Coochie Man.” Waters “picks up Bo’s basic beat, but he slows the tempo.” DM “Coming from Waters, a mature adult figure with a voice that booms like God’s, virtually the same words are far more leering and imposing. Waters isn’t kidding around; he is a man and his sexual boasts and demands aren’t fantasies, they’re real.” DM

The song was recorded as a “mostly vain attempt to peddle Muddy’s music to a white audience…Yet no matter how cold-hearted its origins, Muddy found a way to dominate the track straight through” DM and serve up something “that the rock and roll tradition should be very proud to claim.” DM Of course, Bo Diddley’s original “I’m a Man” has still left its stamp on rock music as well. Two Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees have recorded “I’m a Man” – the Yardbirds and The Who.


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First posted 9/7/2023.

Thursday, May 5, 2005

50 years ago: Damn Yankees opened on Broadway

Damn Yankees

Richard Adler & Jerry Ross (music & lyrics)

Cast Album

Stage Debut: May 5, 1955

Charted: June 11, 1955

Peak: 6 US

Sales (in millions): --

Genre: show tunes


Charted: December 1, 1958

Peak: 21 US

Sales (in millions): --

Genre: show tunes

Songs on Cast Album:

Song Title (Performers) [time]

  1. Overture (Orchestra) / Six Months Out of Every Year (Shannon Bolin, Robert Shafer, Baseball Fans, & Baseball Widows) [4:42]
  2. Goodbye, Old Girl (Robert Shafer, Stephen Douglass) [3:13]
  3. Heart (Russ Brown, Jimmie Komack, Nathaniel Frey, Albert Linville) [4:40]
  4. Shoeless Joe from Hannibal, Mo. (Rae Allen, Baseball Players) [3:40]
  5. A Little Brains, A Little Talent (Gwen Verdon) [3:37]
  6. A Man Doesn’t Know (Stephen Douglass, Shannon Bolin) [3:08]
  7. Whatever Lola Wants (Gwen Verdon) [3:10]
  8. Heart (Reprise) (Jean Stapleton, Ronn Cummins, Jackie Scholie, Cherry Davis) [1:23]
  9. Who’s Got the Pain? (Gwen Verdon, Eddie Phillips) [2:51]
  10. The Game (Jimmie Komack, Nathaniel Frey, Baseball Players) [4:30]
  11. Near to You (Stephen Douglass, Shannon Bolin) [3:28]
  12. Those Were the Good Old Days (Ray Walston) [2:35]
  13. Two Lost Souls (Gwen Verdon, Stephen Douglass) [2:15]
  14. A Man Doesn’t Know (Reprise) (Shannon Boli, Robert Shafer) [1:25]
  15. Finale (The Entire Company) [0:54]

Total Running Time: 46:11

Songs on Soundtrack:

Song Title (Performers) [time]

  1. Overture (Orchestra) [1:43]
  2. Six Months Out of Every Year (Shannon Bolin, Robert Shafer, Vocal Group) [1:59]
  3. Goodbye, Old Girl (Robert Shafer, Tab Hunter) [3:14]
  4. Heart (Russ Brown, Jimmie Komack, Nathaniel Frey, Albert Linville) [2:51]
  5. Shoeless Joe from Hannibal, Mo. (Rae Allen, Baseball Players) [3:19]
  6. There’s Something About an Empty Chair (Shannon Bolin) [2:10]
  7. Whatever Lola Wants (Warnber Bros. Studio Orchestra) [2:47]
  8. A Little Brains, a Little Talent (Gwen Verdon) [3:26]
  9. Whatever Lola Wants (Gwen Verdon) [3:49]
  10. Those Were the Good Old Days (Ray Walston) [2:35]
  11. Who’s Got the Pain? (Gwen Verdon, Bob Fosse) [3:32]
  12. Two Lost Souls (Gwen Verdon, Tab Hunter) [4:57]
  13. There’s Something About an Empty Chair (Reprise) (Shannon Bolin, Robert Shafer) [1:21]

Total Running Time: 38:07

Singles/Hit Songs:

As was common in the pre-rock era, songs from musicals were often recorded by artists not associated with the musical and released as singles. Here are some of the most notable hit singles resulting from the show:

  • ”Two Lost Souls” – Perry Como (#18, 1955)
  • “Whatever Lola Wants” – Gwen Verdon (#5 HP, 1955), Alma Cogan (26 UK, 1957)


3.824 out of 5.00 (average of 9 ratings for cast album and soundtrack combined)

Awards (Cast Album and Soundtrack): (Click on award to learn more).

About the Show:

Damn Yankees is a musical comedy based on Douglass Wallop’s 1954 novel The Year the Yankees Lost the Pennant. It is “a modern retelling of the Faust Legend, set during the 1950s in Washington, D.C. during a time when the New York Yankees dominated Major League Baseball.” WK The team of Richard Adler and Jerry Ross had a hit the year before with The Pajama Game and they looked to have a bright future before Ross died at age 29 from chronic bronchiectasis. WK The show opened on Broadway on May 5, 1955, and ran for 1,109 performances. It opened at London’s West End on March 28, 1957, and ran for 258 performances.

“The all American…subject matter aria treatment” CA “defines 1950s Broadway style” CA “for many musical theater buffs.” CA “Baseball may be the show’s surface theme, but it also deals with questions of aging and disappointment as refracted through a modern retelling of the Faust legend with a number of fantasy elements at play, including a natty but nasty devil, a suddenly young hero, and a sassy temptress. Also, the show teases audiences with a sort of April-November romance between the young man and the wife of his former, older self.” CA

“That’s not to say this is a dark musical in sum; its serious notions never become grim and, midway through the first act, it’s galvanized by the brassy allure of Lola, the devil’s choice glamor girl. Gwen Verdon created the role in 1955, and Damn Yankees has been under her flame-haired spell ever since.” CA

About the Cast Album:

“While the original cast album can’t give us her legendary dance moves, it does present her fetching vocalism in its freshest form. Whatever Lola Wants is essential for the archives, and A Little Brains, a Little Talent is not far behind. Fortunately, the rest of the cast doesn’t fade by comparison. Stephen Douglass was one of the best Broadway baritones of his time, and he’s teamed with the appealingly homespun Meg of Shannon Bolin. Russ Brown expertly growls Heart, Rae Allen is up to the belting of Shoeless Joe, and Ray Walston reminisces amusingly in the devilish Those Were the Good Old Days. This first recording of Damn Yankees is an apt souvenir of a show and an era.” CA

About the Soundtrack:

The movie version, directed by George Abbott and Stanley Donen, “didn’t fare as well on screen as the other Adler-Ross transfer, The Pajama Game. But most of the Broadway leads recreated their roles in the film, and movie star Tab Hunter makes a perfectly acceptable Joe Hardy; Hunter sounds OK here, partly because the role’s more challenging songs (A Man Doesn’t Know and Near to You) were eliminated.” CA

“A feeble new tune, There’s Something About an Empty Chair, is sung as a solo by Shannon Bolin. Vocally, Hunter teams well with Verdon on Two Lost Souls. Again in blissful form, Verdon is partnered in Who’s Got the Pain? by future husband Bob Fosse, who choreographed Yankees (and Pajama Game) for both stage and screen. Walston is an even more snide Satan, Brown sings ‘Heart’ with brio, and Jean Stapleton’s distinctive soprano wails in a supporting role. The soundtrack benefits from expanded orchestrations by Ray Heindorf; an instrumental cut of ‘Whatever Lola Wants,’ used as background scoring, is especially lush. But it should be noted that the early-stereo-era sound is somewhat shallow and glassily reverberant. This, along with that dull ‘Chair’ song, puts this enjoyable recording a notch or two below the original.” CA

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First posted 12/23/2021.