Friday, May 12, 2006

100 years ago: Billy Murray hit #1 with “You’re a Grand Old Flag” for the first of 10 weeks

You’re a Grand Old Flag” (aka “Grand Old Rag”)

Billy Murray

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

First Charted: May 5, 1906

Peak: 110 US, 12 GA, 13 SM, 1 DF (Click for codes to singles charts.)

Sales (in millions): 1.0 (sheet music)

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 0.67 video, -- streaming


Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

“Perhaps no other American popular song composer did more to popularize the patriotic song than George M. Cohan.” PS He claimed to be born on the 4th of July, although he was actually born the day before. As part of a vaudeville family, he toured New England and the Midwest during his boyhood. By 1904, he wrote and starred in his first musical, Little Johnny Jones. Two years later, he wrote George Washington, Jr., another Broadway show he wrote, produced and starred in as the character of George Belgrave. The show featured “Grand Old Flag,” the song which arguably made him a superstar. PS

It isn’t too surprising it became so popular. It was “a patriotic song in a snappy tempo sung by a vigorous and enthusiastic performer to an audience that loves America.” RA The song also drew on other beloved hits such as “Dixie” and “Auld Lang Syne.” SS When performing it during the musical, Cohan marched and down the stage waving an American flag. PS He also performed the song in 1932 in his first talking picture, The Phantom President. TY2

Still, the song wasn’t without controversy. Cohan originally called it “The Grand Old Rag,” inspired by a Civil War veteran who fought at Gettysburg. The man held a carefully folded, but tattered flag and said to Cohan, “She’s a grand old rag.” WK Cohan replicated the scene for the musical, but “despite the song’s clear patriotic message, ‘rag’ was considered by many to be an undignified and inappropriate way to refer to the American flag” NRR so Cohan changed the title to “You’re a Grand Old Flag.”

Billy Murray, who has been called “the definitive interpreter of Cohan on record,” SS recorded the song under its original title, despite Cohan’s efforts to pull it. WK The controversy didn’t hurt the song; it became the first from a musical to sell more than a million copies of sheet music. SB Murray made it the biggest hit of 1906 WHC and the biggest-selling record of the first decade for Victor Records. DJ


Related Links:

First posted 5/5/2014; last updated 12/15/2022.

Tuesday, May 9, 2006

Red Hot Chili Peppers Stadium Arcadium released

Stadium Arcadium

Red Hot Chili Peppers

Released: May 9, 2006

Peak: 12 US, 12 UK, 12 CN, 13 AU

Sales (in millions): 2.0 US, 0.68 UK, 7.0 world (includes US + UK)

Genre: alternative rock/funk

Tracks, Disc 1:

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

  1. Dani California (4/4/06, 6 BB, 24 RR, 5 A40, 1 AA, 1 AR, 1 MR, 2 UK, 1 CN, 8 AU, 21 DF) RT
  2. Snow (Hey Oh) (6/3/06, 22 BB, 21 A40, 3 A40, 3 AR, 1 MR, 18 UK, 28 DF) RT
  3. Charlie
  4. Stadium Arcadium
  5. Hump De Bump (4/7/07, 27 AR, 8 MR, 41 UK, 33 DF)
  6. She’s Only 18
  7. Slow Cheetah
  8. Torture Me
  9. Strip My Mind
  10. Especially in Michigan
  11. Warlocks
  12. C’mon Girl
  13. Wet Sand
  14. Hey

Tracks, Disc 2:

  1. Desecration Smile (2/12/07, 27 UK)
  2. Tell Me Baby (7/8/06, 50 BB, 22 A40, 27 AA, 8 AR, 1 MR, 16 UK, 28 DF) RT
  3. Hard to Concentrate (1 DF)
  4. 21st Century
  5. She Looks to Me
  6. Readymade
  7. If
  8. Make You Feel Better
  9. Animal Bar
  10. So Much I
  11. Storm in a Teacup
  12. We Believe
  13. Turn It Again
  14. Death of a Martian

Total Running Time: 122:19

The Players:

  • Anthony Kiedes (vocals)
  • Michael “Flea” Balzay (bass/trumpet/piano/backing vocals)
  • Chad Smith (drums, percussion)
  • John Frusciante (guitar/keyboards/backing vocals)


4.018 out of 5.00 (average of 29 ratings)


(Click on award to learn more).

About the Album:

“Indulgence has long been a way of life for the Red Hot Chili Peppers, yet they resisted the siren’s call of the double album until 2006’s Stadium Arcadium. Sure, 1991’s breakthrough Blood Sugar Sex Magik was as long as a classic double LP, but such distinctions mattered little in the era when vinyl gave way to CD, and they matter less now, as the CD gradually gives way to digital-only releases. In fact, like how Blood Sugar was the tipping point when the LPs ceded ground to CDs, Stadium Arcadium could be seen as the point when albums were seen as a collection of digital playlists.” AMG

“As good as much of this is, there is a little bit of monotony here” AMG as the Peppers churn out “alternately spacey and sunny pop, ballads, and the occasional funk workout that used to be the Chili Peppers’ signature but now functions as a way to break up the monotony.” AMG

“As a lyricist Anthony Kiedis just isn’t that deep or clever enough to provide cohesive themes for an album of this length; he tackles no new themes here, nor does he provide new insight to familiar topics.” AMG

“He does display a greater versatility as a vocalist, cutting back on the hambone rapping that used to be his signature and crooning throughout the bulk of this album, usually on key.” AMG

“That said, he still has enough goofy tics to undercut his attempts at sincerity, and he tends to be a bit of a liability to the band as a whole; with a different singer, who could help shape and deliver these songs, this album might not seem as formless and gormless.” AMG

The music is also “given a flat, colorless production that has become the signature of Rick Rubin as of late. Rubin may be able to create the right atmosphere for Flea and John Frusciante to run wild creatively – an opportunity that they seize here, which is indeed a pleasure to hear – but he does nothing to encourage them to brighten the finished recording up with some different textures, or even a greater variety of guitar tones.” AMG The Peppers’ songs are “working variations on their signature themes, and they haven’t found a way to make these variations either transcendent or new.” AMG

Dani California, the clearest single here, [is] the one thing that truly grabs attention upon first listen and worms its way into your subconscious, where it just won’t let go, as so much of Anthony Kiedis’ catchiest melodies do.” AMG

“As such, the bare-bone production combined with the relentless march of songs gives Stadium Arcadium the undeniable feel of wading through the demos for a promising project instead of a sprawling statement of purpose.” AMG “Call it the rock version of Peter Jackson’s King Kong: there’s something pretty great and lean buried beneath the excess, but it’s so indulgent, it’s a work that only a fanboy could truly love.” AMG

Resources and Related Links:

Other Related DMDB Pages:

First posted 3/29/2008; last updated 11/16/2023.