Saturday, October 29, 2005

50 years ago: “Autumn Leaves” hit #1

10/29/1955: “Autumn Leaves” hit #1

Autumn Leaves (Les Feuilles Mortes)

Roger Williams

Writer(s): Joseph Kosma (music), Jacques Prévert (words – French), Johnny Mercer (words – English) (see lyrics here)

First Charted: August 1, 1955

Peak: 14 US, 13 HP, 13 CB, 13 HR (Click for codes to singles charts.)

Sales (in millions): 2.0 US

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 0.12 video, -- streaming

Autumn Leaves (Les Feuilles Mortes)

Cannonball Adderley

Recorded: March 9, 1958

Released: August 1958

First Charted: --

Peak: -- (Click for codes to singles charts.)

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

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 6.4 video, -- streaming

Awards (Williams’ version): (Click on award for more details).

Awards (Adderley’s version): (Click on award for more details).

About the Song:

“Autumn Leaves” was originally written in 1945 as “Les Feuilles Mortes (The Dead Leaves)” by Hungarian composer Joseph Korma with French lyrics by Jacques Prévert. It was written as a choreographed duo for the ballet Le Rendez-Vous. It was introduced, without words, by Roland Petit in 1945 and copyrighted the next year. CJ

The next year Marcel Carné used it in his film Les Portes de la Nuite (Gates of the Night) It was sung briefly in the film by Yves Montand, CJ who also recorded the song in 1950, WK and again by Irène Joachim. CJ Cora Vaucaire was the first to sing the song in public and recorded it in 1947. CJ

Michael Golden from Capitol’s music publishing department loved the song and asked Johnny Mercer to write English lyrics for it. CJ The new version, titled “Autumn Leaves,” was recorded in July 1950 by Jo Stafford. WK Bing Crosby and Artie Shaw also recorded it that year. During the 1950s, it would also be covered by Nat “King” Cole and Frank Sinatra. WK Mercer later said he made more money from “Autumn Leaves” than any other song he wrote. CJ

The song had its first chart success in the United States in 1955 with versions by Steve Allen, the Ray Charles Singers, Jackie Gleason, Mitch Miller, and Victor Young all reaching the Billboard pop charts. HT However, the most successful version was the “majestic instrumental reading” AMG by pianist Roger Williams which went to #1 in 1955.

The song also became a favorite of jazz musicians. Cannonball Adderly and Miles Davis, Duke Ellington, Erroll Garner, and Stan Getz were among those to record the song in the 1950s. Jazz historian Philippe Baudoin called it “the most important non-American standard,” noting that it is “the eighth most-recorded tune by jazzmen,” CJ having been recorded around 1400 times. CJ

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First posted 4/22/2021.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Variety - 100 Icons of the Century

image from

Variety named its 100 icons of the century based on factors like their commercial and creative impact. The list consisted of people from all facets of the entertainment industry, but only those in the music arena are listed below (the top ten were ranked):

  • Louis Armstrong (ranked #2)
  • Fred Astaire
  • The Beatles (ranked #1)
  • Irving Berlin
  • Chuck Berry
  • Maria Callas
  • Johnny Cash
  • Ray Charles
  • Kurt Cobain
  • Bing Crosby
  • Miles Davis
  • Bob Dylan
  • Duke Ellington
  • Aretha Franklin
  • Judy Garland
  • Woody Guthrie
  • Oscar Hammerstein II
  • Jimi Hendrix
  • Billie Holiday
  • Michael Jackson
  • Robert Johnson
  • Al Jolson
  • Janis Joplin
  • Gene Kelly
  • Little Richard
  • Madonna
  • Bob Marley
  • Edith Piaf
  • Elvis Presley (ranked #10)
  • Richard Rodgers
  • Ginger Rogers
  • The Rolling Stones
  • The Sex Pistols
  • Tupac (2pac) Shakur
  • Frank Sinatra
  • Igor Stravinsky
  • Barbra Streisand
  • The Supremes
  • Hank Williams
  • Stevie Wonder


Friday, October 14, 2005

100 years ago: “In My Merry Oldsmobile” hit #1

In My Merry Oldsmobile

Billy Murray

Writer(s): Vincent Bryan, Gus Edwards (see lyrics here)

First Charted: October 14, 1905

Peak: 17 US, 2 GA (Click for codes to singles charts.)

Sales (in millions): 1.0 (sheet music)

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


Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

In 1905, two Oldsmobiles embarked on the first trans-continental automobile race from New York City to Portland, following the route of the Oregon Trail. TY2 This was at a time when the automobile was still a relatively new and unpopular gadget. RA In addition, in parts of the West the drivers faced “bad weather, sickness, wild animals, thirst, accidents and unforeseen breakdowns. TY2 The month-and-a-half journey through mud and rough terrain in the pre-roads era generated daily newspaper coverage on a national level. RA

“In My Merry Oldsmobile” was inspired by the event, becoming the “first successful Tin Pan Alley song written about an automobile” RCG and “the defining song for automobile related transportation theme music.” PS Vincent Bryan, who “was considered by Tin Pan Alley as one of the best professional lyricists of his time,” RA “penned the lyrics in the form of a marriage proposal. RCG At times, they sounded like a commercial jingle for Oldsmobile. TY2

The German-born Gus Edwards “composed the rock-like waltz music” RCG Edwards couldn’t read or write music and taught himself to play piano. He wrote his first song in 1898, formed his own music publishing company by 1905, and is known as “one of our greatest vaudevillians.” RA

Edwards popularized the song in his vaudeville act. RCG Two versions of the song charted in 1905 – first by Billy Murray (#1) and then Arthur Collins and Byron G. Harlan (#7). PM In 1927, Jean Goldkette and His Orchestra revived the song. JA Bing Crosby, Les Brown, and Jo Stafford also made well-known recordings of it RCG and it was used in the 1944 movie The Merry Monihans as well the 1948 move musical One Sunday Afternoon. The song served for years as “an unpaid-for commercial for Oldsmobile” RA and was eventually adopted as the manufacturer’s theme song. RA Despite requests from Edwards, he could never convince the company to give him one of their automobiles. DJ


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First posted 10/14/2016; last updated 12/14/2022.

Tuesday, October 4, 2005

Journey’s Generations released



Released: October 4, 2005

Peak: 170 US, -- UK, -- CN, -- AU

Sales (in millions): -- US, -- UK, 0.5 world (includes US and UK)

Genre: classic rock


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

  1. Faith in the Heartland
  2. The Place in Your Heart (2005, --)
  3. A Better Life
  4. Every Generation
  5. Butterfly (She Flies Alone)
  6. Believe
  7. Knowing That You Love Me
  8. Out of Harms Way
  9. In Self Defense
  10. Better Together
  11. Gone Crazy
  12. Beyond the Clouds
  13. Never Too Late [remix version]

Total Running Time: 73:12

The Players:

  • Steve Augeri (vocals, guitar)
  • Neal Schon (guitar, backing vocals, lead vocals on “In Self-Defense”)
  • Jonathan Cain (keyboards, rhythm guitar, backing vocals, lead vocals on “Every Generation and “Pride of the Family”)
  • Ross Valory (bass, backing vocals, lead vocals on “Gone Crazy”)
  • Deen Castronovo (drums, backing vocals, lead vocals on “A Better Life” and “Never Too Late”)


3.530 out of 5.00 (average of 11 ratings)

Awards: (Click on award to learn more).

About the Album:

Generations was Journey’s second full studio album with lead singer Steve Augeri and drummer Deen Castronovo. This is the same line-up as the last two releases, 2001’s Arrival and 2002’s Red 13 EP.” JM “As Journey albums go, this isn’t anywhere near the genius that the dream team of Neal Schon, Jonathan Cain, [and former lead singer Steve] Perry brought forth in their heyday, but it certainly isn’t their worst work either,” AMG although from a chart standpoint, only the 1980 mostly-instrumental soundtrack Dream after Dream fared worst; it didn’t even chart. Of course, “the album was given away for free by the band during most of the concerts of the Generations tour in 2005, and subsequently released on Sanctuary Records later the same year.” JM

Steve Augeri is “finally coming into his own on the new material;” AMG he “has finally grown beyond being a soundalike for Perry and adds his own distinct flourishes to his delivery.” AMG Still, “there are moments you could swear the band is just playing one large practical joke and it really is Perry in the vocal booth.” AMG

“This time around, Augeri isn’t the only one doing vocal duty; it’s a whole band thing. Each member takes a turn singing a song, and the results are painfully mixed.” AMG “Jonathan Cain sings lead on Every Generation, the first time he sang lead since ‘All That Really Matters’ (a song originally left off Frontiers) from the Time 3 box set.” JM “Drummer Dean Castronovo is another convincing Perry soundalike” AMG on A Better Life and Never Too Late. However, “Schon and bassist Ross Valory come up short” AMG on In Self Defense and Gone Crazy, respectively. “Of course, singing isn’t Schon’s forte, as his signature blistering solos return and will testify to on many of these songs (including a nod in one solo to his memorable ending guitar solo on ‘Who’s Crying Now’).” AMG

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First posted 10/10/2008; updated 8/9/2021.

Monday, October 3, 2005

Sandi Thom “I Wish I Was a Punk Rocker with Flowers in My Hair” released

I Wish I Was a Punk Rocker with Flowers in My Hair

Sandi Thom

Writer(s): Tom Gilbert, Sandi Thom (see lyrics here)

Released: October 3, 2005

First Charted: October 15, 2005

Peak: 11 UK, 110 AU, 1 DF (Click for codes to singles charts.)

Sales (in millions): -- US, 0.4 UK, 0.54 world (includes US + UK)

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 15.3 video, 58.37 streaming


Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

Singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Alexandria “Sandi” Thom was born in 1981 in Banff , Scotland. She released her debut album, Smile…It Confuses People in 2006. It went nowhere in the United States, but was a chart-topper in the UK. It was fueled by “I Wish I Was a Punk Rocker with Flowers in My Hair” which was initially released in October 2005 by Viking Legacy records and peaked at #55.

A story then circulated that she was doing webcasts from her basement apartment, went viral, gained an audience of 70,000, and was discovered by a major label record executive. The story appears to be a publicity stunt. She did do webcasts, but certainly wasn’t getting those kinds of numbers. SF She did, however, get signed to Sony. The song was re-released in May 2006 and went to #1 and became the fifth biggest seller of the year. WK The song also reached the pinnacle in Australia, spending 10 weeks atop the chart and became the biggest selling single of 2006 in Australia.

The song is an “idealistic paean to a simple, lo-tech age when people cared enough to form movements such as ‘flower power’ in 1969 and punk rock in 1977.” SF It was “one of the first to lament the fast-moving advancement of digital technology.” SF Thom wrote the song after getting robbed one night. Without her mobile phone, she had no way of contacting friends, family, and the bank. She said, “I wondered if that had happened to me back in the days of the hippies what would I have done and would I have freaked out so much?” WK

Other artists criticized the song. James Frost and Robin Hawkins from the band The Automatic said, “if she was a punk rocker with flowers in her hair she’d get the shit kicked out of her by other punk rockers for having flowers in her hair.” WK Sounds like someone completely missed the point of the song and is jealous of its success.


First posted 10/9/2022.