Sunday, September 30, 2012

Porgy and Bess debuts: September 30, 1935

George Gershwin saw a reading of the DuBose Heyward novel Porgy in 1926 and a stage adaption the following year. Other commitments delayed his vision of the story as an opera, but he finally tackled it, with his brother Ira contributing lyrics, in February 1934. AC The story deals “with African American life in the fictitious Catfish Row (based on the real-life Cabbage Row) in Charleston, South Carolina, in the early 1920s.” WK The opera tells the story of a crippled black man named Porgy who lives in the slums and tries rescuing Bess from a pimp and drug dealer.

“After a furiously paced apprenticeship mastering Broadway song-and-dance musical comedy formulas, from the mid-‘20s on…Gershwin, working closely with his lyricist brother, Ira, composed to books which allowed greater scope for music.” AC “The opera is admired for George Gershwin’s innovative synthesis of European orchestral techniques with American jazz and folk music idioms.” WK

Porgy and Bess was given a “Boston tryout on September 30, 1935, [at which it] garnered enthusiastic notices and a 15-minute ovation, but also frightened its producers by playing over three hours.” AC Gerswhin’s edited version opened on October 10 at New York’s Alvin Theatre. AC It “featured an entire cast of classically trained African-American singers – a daring and visionary artistic choice at the time.” WK “Gershwin considered it his finest work, but it was not widely accepted in the United States as a legitimate opera until 1976 when the Houston Grand Opera production of his complete score…established it as an artistic triumph. The work is now considered part of the standard operatic repertoire and is regularly performed internationally. Despite this success, the opera has been controversial; some, from the outset, have considered it racist.” WK

Porgy and Bess saw multiple stage revivals, including ones in 1942, 1952, 1976, 1983, and 2006. A cast album featuring original performers didn’t occur until 1940. Porgy and Bess also took on a life beyond stage production. Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald recorded an album of its songs in 1957; Miles Davis recorded his take on it in 1958. Others who recorded it included Pearl Bailey, Harry Belafonte, Diahann Carroll, Ray Charles & Cleo Laine, Sammy Davis Jr. and Carmen McRae, and Percy Faith. A soundtrack of the movie version of Porgy and Bess appeared in 1959.” WK

Summertime (Billie Holiday)


Award(s):


Resources and Related Links:

Friday, September 28, 2012

Counterbalance – Top 100 Albums

First posted 9/28/2012; updated 8/14/2020.

Counterbalance:

The Top 100 Albums

Counterbalance” was a weekly column featured at PopMatters.com which dissected the top 100 albums of all time, as determined by AcclaimedMusic.net. The first post was on September 9, 2010. Number 100 was posted on September 28, 2012. Writers Jason Mendelsohn and Eric Klinger debated the merits of the albums with some of the most entertaining and insightful critiques I’ve seen. Here are the top 100 with links to the “Counterbalance” postings:

Note: you can click on an album title to go to a DMDB page for more about that album. If you click on PM after the album title, that will take you to the Counterbalance article about that album.

Also, check out annual picks for album of the year.

1. The Beach Boys Pet Sounds (1966) PM
2. The Beatles Revolver (1966) PM
3. Nirvana Nevermind (1991) PM
4. The Velvet Underground & Nico Velvet Underground & Nico (1967) PM
5. The Beatles Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967) PM
6. Marvin Gaye What’s Going On (1971) PM
7. Bob Dylan Blonde on Blonde (1966) PM
8. The Rolling Stones Exile on Main Street (1972) PM
9. The Clash London Calling (1979) PM
10. The Sex Pistols Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols (1977) PM

11. Bob Dylan Highway 61 Revisited (1965) PM
12. Jimi Hendrix Experience Are You Experienced? (1967) PM
13. Radiohead OK Computer (1997) PM
14. The Beatles The Beatles (aka “The White Album”) (1968) PM
15. Van Morrison Astral Weeks (1968) PM
16. David Bowie The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars (1972) PM
17. Public Enemy It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back (1988) PM
18. Bruce Springsteen Born to Run (1975) PM
19. Patti Smith Horses (1975) PM
20. The Beatles Abbey Road (1969) PM

21. Pink Floyd Dark Side of the Moon (1973) PM
22. The Jimi Hendrix Experience Electric Ladyland (1968) PM
23. Bob Dylan Blood on the Tracks (1975) PM
24. The Doors The Doors (1967) PM
25. Television Marquee Moon (1977) PM
26. Prince Sign ‘O’ the Times (1987) PM
27. Michael Jackson Thriller (1982) PM
28. The Smiths The Queen Is Dead (1986) PM
29. The Beatles Rubber Soul (1965) PM
30. The Rolling Stones Beggars Banquet (1968) PM

31. Led Zeppelin Led Zeppelin IV (1971) PM
32. Massive Attack Blue Lines (1991) PM
33. The Who Who’s Next (1971) PM
34. Arcade Fire Funeral (2004) PM
35. Talking Heads Remain in Light (1980) PM
36. The Rolling Stones Let It Bleed (1969) PM
37. Ramones Ramones (1976) PM
38. U2 The Joshua Tree (1987) PM
39. Miles Davis Kind of Blue (1959) PM
40. James Brown Live at the Apollo Volume 1 (live, 1962) PM

41. Joy Division Closer (1980) PM
42. Stevie Wonder Innervisions (1973) PM
43. The Rolling Stones Sticky Fingers (1971) PM
44. Neil Young After the Gold Rush (1970) PM
45. The Strokes Is This It (2001) PM
46. Stevie Wonder Songs in the Key of Life (1976) PM
47. The Band The Band (1969) PM
48. Joni Mitchell Blue (1971) PM
49. Love Forever Changes (1967) PM
50. Prince & the Revolution Purple Rain (soundtrack, 1984) PM

Counterbalance: Year One

51. Sly & the Family Stone There’s a Riot Goin’ On (1972) PM
52. Radiohead Kid A (2000) PM
53. R.E.M. Automatic for the People (1992) PM
54. Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band Trout Mask Replica (1969) PM
55. The Stone Roses The Stone Roses (1989) PM
56. The Clash The Clash (1977) PM
57. Beck Odelay (1996) PM
58. Fleetwood Mac Rumours (1977) PM
59. Pixies Doolittle (1989) PM
60. Guns N’ Roses Appetite for Destruction (1987) PM

61. Otis Redding Otis Blue (1965) PM
62. David Bowie Hunky Dory (1971) PM
63. Led Zeppelin Led Zeppelin II (1969) PM
64. Joy Division Unknown Pleasures (1979) PM
65. R.E.M. Murmur (1983) PM
66. Carole King Tapestry (1971) PM
67. John Coltrane A Love Supreme (1965) PM
68. John Lennon Plastic Ono Band (1970) PM
69. Jeff Buckley Grace (1994) PM
70. Portishead Dummy (1994) PM

71. Wilco Yankee Hotel Foxtrot (2001) PM
72. Sonic Youth Daydream Nation (1988) PM
73. Bob Dylan Bringing It All Back Home (1965) PM
74. My Bloody Valentine Loveless (1991) PM
75. Derek and the Dominos Layla & Other Assorted Love Songs (1970) PM
76. Paul Simon Graceland (1986) PM
77. De La Soul 3 Feet High and Rising (1989) PM
78. Lou Reed Transformer (1972) PM
79. Elvis Costello & The Attractions This Year’s Model (1978) PM
80. The Band Music from Big Pink (1968) PM

81. Aretha Franklin I Never Loved a Man the Way I Love You (1967) PM
82. U2 Achtung Baby (1991) PM
83. The Stooges Fun House (1970) PM
84. Jesus and Mary Chain Psychocandy (1985) PM
85. Primal Scream Screamadelica (1991) PM
86. Radiohead The Bends (1995) PM
87. Oasis (What’s the Story) Morning Glory (1995) PM
88. Miles Davis Bitches Brew (1970) PM
89. David Bowie Low (1/14/77) PM
90. The Stooges Raw Power (1973) PM

91. DJ Shadow Endtroducing… (1996) PM
92. Kraftwerk Trans-Europa Express (Trans Europe Express) (1977) PM
93. John Lennon Imagine (1971) PM
94. Van Morrison Moondance (1970) PM
95. AC/DC Back in Black (1980) PM
96. Pixies Surfer Rosa (1988) PM
97. Neil Young Harvest (1972) PM
98. Led Zeppelin Physical Graffiti (1975) PM
99. Pink Floyd The Piper at the Gates of Dawn (1967) PM
100. Tom Waits Swordfishtrombones (1983) PM


Resources and Related Links:

Friday, September 21, 2012

Consequence of Sound - The Top 100 Songs Ever

image from Consequence of Sound

Consequence of Sound has released its list of the top 100 songs of all time. As is nearly always the case for these lists, the term “all time” (or in this case, “ever”) is completely inappropriate. Since Chuck Berry’s “Johnny B. Goode” (1958) is the oldest song on this list, one can only assume that the staff at Consequence of Sound have been misinformed that music wasn’t invented until the 1950s. Either that, or we are supposed to believe that a song like Neutral Milk Hotel’s “In the Aeroplane Over the Sea,” which has never shown up on any of the other hundreds of lists I’ve collected, is far superior than anything in the history of recorded music prior to 1958.

One could also rant at the complete neglect of certain genres. This list is more diverse than some, actually includes R&B, rap, rock, pop, punk, and more within one list. However, there are still some genres, such as country, folk, jazz, gospel, reggae, and other world music which are represented with a token song or completely overlooked.

I could also rant about some of the musical giants glaringly absent from this list (Bing Crosby, Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra) and specific songs. Consider this – only one song is featured on the CoS list which is also in the top ten of the Dave’s Music Database book of The Top 100 Songs of the Rock Era (see the list here). The latter is determined by aggregating hundreds of best-of lists. So here’s just 9 songs whose incredible pedigrees have been ignored by CoS: The Beatles’ Hey Jude”, The Eagles’ “Hotel California,” Marvin Gaye’s “I Heard It Through the Grapevine,” Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You,” John Lennon’s “Imagine,” The Police’s “Every Breath You Take,” The Rolling Stones’ “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction,” and Simon & Garfunkel’s “Bridge Over Troubled Water.”

In what is also a frequent annoyance with online best-of lists, it takes scrolling through many a page to take in the entire list. While there are nice pieces about the songs, it would still be nice to give readers easy access to the entire list at once and then let them link to songs.

In any event, Dave's Music Database presents the list here, warts and all. Here’s where you can see the original posts: (100-51) and (50-1).


The Top 100 Ever, According to Consequence of Sound
  1. The Beach Boys...God Only Knows (1966)
  2. Talking Heads...Once in a Lifetime (1981)
  3. Bob Dylan...Like a Rolling Stone (1965)
  4. Michael Jackson...Man in the Mirror (1987)
  5. The Beatles...A Day in the Life (1967)
  6. Velvet Underground...Sister Ray (1968)
  7. The Rolling Stones...Sympathy for the Devil (1968)
  8. Aretha Franklin...Respect (1967)
  9. The Notorious B.I.G....Juicy (1994)
  10. Radiohead...Idioteque (2000)

  11. Nirvana...Smells Like Teen Spirit (1991)
  12. Marvin Gaye...What’s Going On (1971)
  13. Led Zeppelin...Dazed and Confused (1968)
  14. The Knife...Heartbeats (2002)
  15. The Jackson 5...I Want You Back (1969)
  16. Bruce Springsteen...Jungleland (1975)
  17. Otis Redding...Try a Little Tenderness * (1966)
  18. Bob Dylan...Shelter from the Storm (1975)
  19. Prince...When Doves Cry (1984)
  20. Kate Bush...Running Up That Hill (1985)

  21. Public Enemy...Fight the Power (1989)
  22. Pulp...Common People (1995)
  23. The Beatles...Tomorrow Never Knows (1966)
  24. The Rolling Stones...Gimme Shelter (1969)
  25. John Coltrane...Acknowledgement (A Love Supreme, Part 1) (1965)
  26. Beastie Boys...Shadrach (1989)
  27. The Who...My Generation (1965)
  28. Neutral Milk Hotel...In the Aeroplane Over the Sea (1998)
  29. Joy Division...Love Will Tear Us Apart (1980)
  30. The Jimi Hendrix Experience...All Along the Watchtower (1968)

  31. Smith, Patti...Rock ‘n’ Roll Nigger (1978)
  32. Black Sabbath...War Pigs (1970)
  33. Neil Young...Hey Hey My My (Into the Black) (1979)
  34. Daft Punk...One More Time (2000)
  35. The Ronettes...Be My Baby (1963)
  36. The Replacements...I Will Dare (1984)
  37. Sam Cooke... A Change Is Gonna Come (1965)
  38. Talking Heads...This Must Be the Place (Naïve Melody) (1983)
  39. The Stooges...Search and Destroy (1973)
  40. Al Green...Let’s Stay Together (1971)

  41. Michael Jackson...Billie Jean (1982)
  42. The Clash...London Calling (1979)
  43. David Bowie...Space Oddity (1969)
  44. LCD Soundsystem...All My Friends (2007)
  45. N.W.A....Fuck tha Police (1989)
  46. Madonna...Like a Virgin (1984)
  47. The Beach Boys...Good Vibrations (1966)
  48. Can...Halleluwah (1971)
  49. Metallica...One (1988)
  50. Pavement...Summer Babe (Winter Version) (1992)

  51. The Who...Baba O’Riley (1971)
  52. Jay-Z...Ninety-Nine (99) Problems (2004)
  53. Arcade Fire...Wake Up (2004)
  54. Pink Floyd...Comfortably Numb (1979)
  55. Bob Dylan...The Times They Are A-Changin’ (1964)
  56. Stevie Wonder...Superstition (1972)
  57. Thin Lizzy...The Boys Are Back in Town (1976)
  58. Black Flag...Rise Above (1981)
  59. Television...Marquee Moon (1977)
  60. Nick Drake...Pink Moon (1972)

  61. The White Stripes...Seven Nation Army (2003)
  62. Johnny Cash...Hurt * (2003)
  63. U2...Where the Streets Have No Name (1987)
  64. OutKast...B.O.B. (Bombs Over Baghdad) (2000)
  65. Velvet Underground...I’m Waiting for the Man (1965)
  66. Portishead...Roads (1994)
  67. Chuck Berry...Johnny B. Goode (1958)
  68. Leonard Cohen...Suzanne (1967)
  69. The Cure...Just Like Heaven (1987)
  70. Ben E. King...Stand by Me (1961)

  71. Björk...Army of Me (1995)
  72. James Brown...I Got You (I Feel Good) (1965)
  73. Ramones...Blitzkrieg Bop (1976)
  74. The Smiths...The Boy with the Thorn in His Side (1985)
  75. Blondie...Heart of Glass (1978)
  76. Missy “Misdemeanor” Elliott...Get UR Freak On (2001)
  77. Sly & The Family Stone ...Hot Fun in the Summertime (1969)
  78. Run-D.M.C....Rock Box (1984)
  79. Fleetwood Mac…The Chain (1977)
  80. Yo La Tengo...Autumn Sweater (1997)

  81. Wu Tang Clan ...Protect Ya Neck (1993)
  82. Depeche Mode...Enjoy the Silence (1990)
  83. Grandmaster Flash & the Furious Five...The Message (1982)
  84. Sufjan Stevens...John Wayne Gacy, Jr. (2005)
  85. My Bloody Valentine...Only Shallow (1991)
  86. The Band...The Night They Drove Ol’ Dixie Down (1969)
  87. PJ Harvey...Down by the Water (1995)
  88. The Buzzcocks...Ever Fallen in Love (1978)
  89. Kanye West...Jesus Walks (2004)
  90. The Pixies...Hey (1989)

  91. Funkadelic...One Nation Under a Groove (Part 1) (1978)
  92. Aphex Twin...Windowlicker (1999)
  93. Devo...Uncontrollable Urge (1978)
  94. Underworld...Born Slippy (1995)
  95. Sleater-Kinney...Dig Me Out (1997)
  96. Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds...From Her to Eternity (1984)
  97. A Tribe Called Quest...Scenario (1992)
  98. Kraftwerk...Autobahn (1974)
  99. Sonic Youth...Teenage Riot (1988)
  100. Phil Collins...In the Air Tonight (1981)

Monday, September 17, 2012

Marillion released Sounds That Can’t Be Made

Sounds That Can’t Be Made

Marillion


Released: September 17, 2012


Peak: -- US, 3 UK, -- CN, -- AU


Sales (in millions): --


Genre: neo-progressive rock


Tracks:

Song Title [time] (date of single release)

  1. Gaza [17:31] (9/4/12, --)
  2. Sounds That Can’t Be Made [7:16]
  3. Pour My Love [6:07]
  4. Power [6:07] (7/17/12, --)
  5. Montreal [14:04]
  6. Invisible Ink [5:47]
  7. Lucky Man [6:54]
  8. The Sky Above the Rain [10:34]

All songs written by Marillion with lyrics by Steve Hogarth except “Pour My Love” which has lyrics by Hogarth and John Helmer.


Total Running Time: 74:19


The Players:

  • Steve Hogarth (vocals, percussion)
  • Steve Rothery (guitar)
  • Pete Trewavas (bass)
  • Mark Kelly (keyboards)
  • Ian Mosley (drums)

Rating:

2.943 out of 5.00 (average of 16 ratings)

About the Album:

Sounds That Can’t Be Made sounds like vintage Marillion. They’ve returned to prog with a vengeance, delivering an eight-track collection that fires on all cylinders.” AMG On Radiation and Marillion.com, [they] began utilizing drum loops, ambient atmospherics, and U2-isms.” AMG “2001’s Anoraknophobia (the first ever crowd-funded album) went even further by introducing tropes from trip-hop, Brit-funk, hip-hop, and jazzy dub. While 2004’s Marbles was a marked a return to their sprawling cinematic origins, subsequent long players again backslid toward pop mediocrity.” AMG “Tempered by their restless experiments in the pop wilderness, Sounds That Can’t Be Made is evidence that Marillion always knew who they were as a band. If anything, they’ve become better musicians for having taken in all those extant sources.” AMG

Things kick off with “the 17-minute epic Gaza. Delivered from the point of view of a young boy living in the region, it looks at the violence, poverty, and Palestinians’ will to independence without going after the nation of Israel.” AMG It is “perhaps the most overtly political song Marillion has done since 1989…Steve Hogarth explained, ‘This is a song for the people – especially the children – of Gaza. It was written after many conversations with ordinary Palestinians living in the refugee camps of Gaza and the West Bank...It is not my/our intention to smear the Jewish faith or people…and nothing here is intended to show sympathy for acts of violence…but simply to ponder upon where desperation inevitably leads. Many Gazan children are now the grandchildren of Palestinians BORN in the refugee camps – so called ‘temporary’ shelters…Gazia is today, effectively, a city imprisoned without trial.’” WK

“Tempo, texture, and key changes abound throughout as…Hogarth shapeshifts through terrain that recalls Talk Talk’s Mark Hollis at his most emotionally taut. Steve Rothery brandishes a more aggressive guitar attack than he has in years.” AMG

“Two other double-digit-length cuts, Montreal (a tribute to Marillion fans) and closer The Sky Above the Rain, offer myriad layers of inventive keyboards and expansive drum and bass work as Rothery and Hogarth deliver with peak prowess.” AMG

“While Power flirts with sophisticated pop, it’s set free from such constraints by the interplay between Mark Kelly’s keyboards, Ian Mosley’s drum kit, and Pete Trewavas’ lyrical bassline, while Rothery’s guitar playing moves around Hogarth’s singing, filling the margins with colorful tonalities.” AMG

“Closer Lucky Man…begins with majestic aggression and shifts toward a bass-heavy, bluesy melody that evolves into anthemic prog with Hogarth giving his best rockist delivery.” AMG

Marillion used pre-ordering again to fun the album. As with Anoraknophobia, Marbles, and Happiness Is the Road, those who pre-ordered got “the special edition deluxe campaign edition box-set.” WK In this case, it included a DVD with a full-length documentary about the making of the album and numerous sound checks for songs on the album. There were also videos for “Lucky Man” and “Power.”


Notes: A 2013 special edition added a second CD with three songs recorded for a radio session, a demo of “Lucky Man” and live versions of “Sounds That Can’t Be Made” and “Invisible Ink.”

Resources and Related Links:


Other Related DMDB Pages:


First posted 8/7/2021.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Jimi Hendrix released Electric Ladyland: September 16, 1968

image from telegraph.co.uk


Release date: 16 September 1968
Tracks: (Click for codes to singles charts.) …And the Gods Made Love / Have You Ever Been to Electric Ladyland / Crosstown Traffic (7/68, #52 US, #37 UK) / Voodoo Chile / Little Miss Strange / Long Hot Summer Night / Come On, Pt. 1 / Gypsy Eyes (10/30/68, #35 UK) / Burning of the Midnight Lamp (8/30/67, #18 UK) / Rainy Day, Dream Away / 1983… (A Merman I Should Turn to Be) / Moon, Turn the Tides…Gently, Gently Away / Still Raining, Still Dreaming / House Burning Down / All Along the Watchtower (7/68, #20 US, #5 UK) / Voodoo Child (Slight Return) (11/7/70, #1 UK)

Sales (in millions): 2.0 US, -- UK, 2.0 world

Peak: 12 US, 6 UK

Rating:


Review: This is “Hendrix’s original musical vision at its absolute apex,” AMG “his ultimate statement for many.” AMG It has been called his “best work” NO and “the best double album ever released.” NO His “third and final album with the original Experience found him taking his funk and psychedelic sounds to the absolute limit.” AMG It features “inspired jamming throughout, and aural landscapes that seemingly come from another world” NO – “a magical place where guitars cry and mysticism reigns supreme.” RV

“To create this psychedelic landmark…Hendrix camped out at New York’s Record Plant for months, filtering the blues through effects-drenched arrangements and turning studio science into science fiction.” BL “What Hendrix sonically achieved on this record expanded the concept of what could be gotten out of a modern recording studio in much the same manner as Phil Spector had done a decade before with his Wall of Sound.” AMG “Kudos to engineer Eddie Kramer…for taking Hendrix’s visions of a soundscape behind his music and giving it all context, experimenting with odd mic techniques, echo, backward tape, flanging, and chorusing, all new techniques at the time, at least the way they’re used here.” AMG It is “

All Along the Watchtower

“His most recognizable work is his cover of Bob Dylan’s All Along the Watchtower, a song so indicative of the Hendrix sound, most people don’t realize it’s a cover.” RV Other highlights include “Crosstown Traffic, Burning of the Midnight Lamp, [and] the spacy 1983...(A Merman I Should Turn to Be).” AMG

Burning of the Midnight Lamp

The songs making up the third side of the album are musically and sonically outstanding. Still Raining, Still Dreaming picks up where Rainy Day, Dream Away left off. ‘Rainy Day’ gets things warmed up, and then ‘Still Raining’ comes along and just blows you away.” NO

“Yet nothing compares to” RV Voodoo Child (Slight Return), “a landmark in Hendrix’s playing.” AMG It is “an eight-minute jam that pays tribute to jazz legends Muddy Waters and John Lee Hooker. Steve Winwood’s manic keyboard playing and Mitch Mitchell’s whirlwind drumming help push Hendrix’s scalding guitar work. It’s nothing short of an awe-inspiring performance from rock’s greatest guitarist.” RV

Voodoo Child (Slight Return)


Resources and Related Links:


Award(s):


Saturday, September 15, 2012

50 years ago: The Four Seasons hit #1 with “Sherry”

First posted 3/14/2021.

Sherry

The Four Seasons

Writer(s): Bob Gaudio (see lyrics here)


First Charted: August 18, 1962


Peak: 15 US, 17 CB, 15 HR, 11 RB, 8 UK, 15 CN, 3 AU (Click for codes to singles charts.)


Sales (in millions): 1.0 US, -- UK, 1.0 world (includes US + UK)


Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 17.42 video, -- streaming

Awards: (Click on award for more details).

About the Song:

The Four Seasons appeared to be an overnight success when “Sherry” bounded to #1 in only four weeks, but Frankie Valli had been working for a decade before the song and put together the first version of the Four Seasons in 1955. They took the name from a bowling alley in New Jersey. The group went through various line-ups and recorded under a variety of names as well as singing backup for others, including Bobby Darin, Freddy Cannon, and Danny & the Juniors. BR1 The line-up which recorded “Sherry” was in place in 1961. It included Bob Gaudio who Valli met in 1958 on a Baltimore TV show on which both of their groups appeared. Also essential to the group was songwriter and producer Bob Crewe, who Valli met that same year when recording the solo song “I Go Ape.” BR1

The Four Seasons released “Bermuda” in 1961 through Goldner’s Gone Records. It didn’t chart, but their next effort – through Vee Jay – gave them their breakout hit. BR1 Vee Jay had success with doo-wop and R&B in the ‘50s, but their only pop hit at the time was Gene Chandler’s “Duke of Earl.” When Valli played “Sherry” over the phone for Randy Wood, the company’s West Coast Sales Manager, he loved it and took it to local DJ Dick “Huggy Boy” Hugg. After Hugg played it on his show, the station was flooded with calls. SF

“Sherry” was written in 15 minutes. Gaudio explained, “I was ready to leave for a rehearsal…and I sat at the piano and it just came out. Not having a tape recorder in those days, the only way I could remember it was to put a quick lyric to it and remember the melody and the words together. I drove down to the rehearsal humming it, trying to keep it in my mind. I had no intention of keeping the lyrics. To my surprise, everybody like the the lyrics so we didn’t change anything.” BR1

Apparently everything was in place but the title. Gaudio said it was originally titled “Jackie Baby” in honor of then-first lady Jackie Kennedy. When the group performed it for Crewe over the phone, he said he liked it, but wanted to change the name. They considered “Terri Baby” and “Peri Baby” before going with “Sherry.” WK


Resources and Related Links:

  • DMDB encyclopedia entry for The Four Seasons
  • BR1 Fred Bronson (2003). The Billboard Book of Number One Hits (5th edition). Billboard Books: New York, NY. Page 117.
  • SF Songfacts
  • WK Wikipedia

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

The Monkees debuts on TV: September 12, 1966

image from buzznet.com

Daily Variety and The Hollywood Reporter ran ads on September 8, 1965, seeking musicians to act in a new television show. WK The Beatles’ movie A Hard Day’s Night was the obvious inspiration for the wacky comedy about “four insane boys” WK seeking to become rock stars. That movie, by the way, ranks #1 on the Dave’s Music Database list of the top 50 music movie of all time.

From the 400 who showed up to audition, fourteen were brought back for screen tests. Micky Dolenz, Davy Jones, Michael Nesmith, and Peter Tork were cast as the funny one, the serious one, the naïve one, and the cute one respectively. These types were designed to line-up with the respective personalities of the Beatles’ John Lennon, George Harrison, Ringo Starr, and Paul McCartney.

Bob Rafelson and Bert Schneider, the pair of filmmakers who conceived the series, turned to avant garde film techniques including improvisation and breaking the fourth wall to give their show its loose feel. Each episode also included a musical vignette which could now be seen as predecessors to the modern music video.

The show lasted 58 episodes; the last one aired March 25, 1968. It won the Emmy in 1967 for Outstanding Comedy Series. During the show’s run, the Monkees also landed three songs atop the Billboard Hot 100 (“Last Train to Clarksville”, “I’m a Believer”, and “Daydream Believer”). They continued as a working group beyond the television series, but only managed a handful of top-40-charting songs.


Awards:
Resources and Related Links:

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Will Bob Dylan’s Tempest join his other 13 albums in the top 1000 of all time?

image from abcnewsradioonline.com

Bob Dylan has 13 albums in the DMDB’s list of the top 1000 of all time. Four of them are in the top 100. In many cases, even the most successful artists’ works come in the early part of their careers. That would seem to be the case with Dylan – 8 of his top 1000 albums were recorded in the 1960s. The next decade saw only two albums join that list.

However, Dylan had an unusual career revival more than 35 years after his first album. In 1997, Time Out of Mind joined the ranks of Dylan’s albums rated in the top 1000 of all time – and won the Grammy for Album of the Year. His next two albums, 2001’s Love and Theft and 2006’s Modern Times, have also secured spots in the top 1000 list.

Now 71 years old, Dylan releases Tempest, his 35th studio album in fifty years. Will it join the ranks of his other classic works? The Telegraph’s Neil McCormick called it “among his best ever” WK while Rolling Stone’s Mika Gilmore went so far as to suggest it might be the greatest album of Dylan’s career. PM Will Hermes, also from Rolling Stone, gave the album 5 out of 5 stars. WK American Songwriter’s Jim Beviglia’s called it “the kind of meaty offering that [Dylan’s] most ardent fans desire most.” WK

The New York Times says that “like Mr. Dylan’s other 21st-century albums, Tempest feels live and rootsy, vamping along in the zone where blues, country, and folk intersect.” NY Paste called it “one of the most cohesive, musically and lyrically intense records he’s put together in years.” PM In his Los Angeles Times review, Randall Roberts wrote, “Few American writers, save Mark Twain, have spoken so eloquently and consistently at such a stead, honest clip.” LA

Duquesne Whistle

Only time will tell if Tempest achieves the same classic status as the baker’s dozen of Dylan albums which rank in the top 1000 of all time. It looks to be off to a good start, though.


Resources and Related Links:

Saturday, September 1, 2012

In Memory of Hal David: His Top 40 Songs

First posted 12/15/2019.

Hal David with Dionne Warwick and Burt Bacharach, image from haldavid.movie.com

R.I.P. songwriter Hal David. He was born Harold Lane David on 5/25/1921 in New York, NY. He died 9/1/2012. Frequently worked with Burt Bacharach. They were one of the songwriting teams who worked out of the legendary Brill Building.For a complete list of this act’s DMDB honors, check out the DMDB Music Maker Encyclopedia entry.


Top 40 Songs

Dave’s Music Database lists are determined by song’s appearances on best-of lists as well as chart success, sales, radio airplay, streaming, and awards. In the event of songs which have been recorded more than once, only the top-ranked song is included in the list. Songs which hit #1 on the following charts have been noted: Billboard Hot 100 pop charts (US), Cashbox (CB), Hit Records (HR), Radio & Records (RR), Billboard R&B chart (RB), Billboard country chart (CW), United Kingdom pop chart (UK), Canadian pop chart (CN), and Australian pop chart (AU).

DMDB Top 1%:

1. Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head (B.J. Thomas, 1969) #1 US, CB, HR, AC, CN
2. They Long to Be Close to You (Carpenters, 1970) #1 US, CB, HR, AC, CN, AU

DMDB Top 5%:

3. Walk on By (Dionne Warwick, 1964)
4. I Say a Little Prayer (Aretha Franklin, 1968)
5. This Guy’s in Love with You (Herb Alpert, 1968) #1 US, CB, HR, AC, CN, AU
6. Always Something There to Remind Me (Naked Eyes, 1983)

DMDB Top 10%:

7. What the World Needs Now Is Love (Jackie DeShannon, 1965) #1 CN
8. Magic Moments (Perry Como, 1957) #1 UK

DMDB Top 20%:

9. I’ll Never Fall in Love Again (Dionne Warwick, 1969) #1 AC
10. Twenty-Four Hours from Tulsa (Gene Pitney, 1963)

11. Wives and Lovers (Jack Jones, 1963)
12. Only Love Can Break a Heart (Gene Pitney, 1962) #1 AC
13. Do You Know the Way to San Jose? (Dionne Warwick, 1968)
14. One Less Bell to Answer (The 5th Dimension, 1970) #1 AC
15. Trains and Boats and Planes (Billy J. Kramer & the Dakotas, 1965)
16. The Look of Love (Dusty Springfield, 1967)
17. Don’t Make Me Over (Dionne Warwick, 1962)
18. Anyone Who Had a Heart (Dionne Warwick, 1963)
19. Wishin’ and Hopin’ (Dusty Springfield, 1964)
20. Blue on Blue (Bobby Vinton, 1963) #1 HR

21. A House Is Not a Home (Brook Benton, 1964)
22. Make It Easy on You (Jerry Butler, 1962)
23. I Just Don’t Know What to Do with Myself (Gary Puckett, 1970

Beyond the DMDB Top 20%:

24. My Little Red Book (Love, 1966)
25. Alfie (Stevie Wonder as Eivets Rednow, 1968)
26. What’s New Pussycat? (Tom Jones, 1965) #1 CN
27. American Beauty Rose (Eddy Howard, 1950)
28. To Wait for Love (Herb Alpert, 1968)
29. You’ll Never Get to Heaven if You Break My Heart (Dionne Warwick, 1964)
30. The Story of My Life (Marty Robbins, 1957) #1 CW

31. Blue Guitar (Richard Chamberlina, 1963)
32. Who Is Gonna Love Me? (Dionne Warwick, 1968)
33. True Love Never Runs Smooth (Gene Pitney, 1963)
34. Saturday Sunshine (Burt Bacharach, 1963)
35. Reach Out for Me (Dionne Warwick, 1964) #1 RB
36. The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (Gene Pitney, 1962)
37. Promises, Promises (Dionne Warwick, 1968)
38. The Windows of the World (Dionne Warwick, 1967)
39. I’m a Better Man for Having Loved You (Engelbert Humperdinck, 1969)
40. The April Fools (Dionne Warwick, 1969)


Awards: