Tuesday, April 22, 2014

50 years ago: Disney’s “It’s a Small World” introduced

It’s a Small World After All

Disneyland Boys Choir

Writer(s): Richard Sherman, Robert Sherman (see lyrics here)


Released: April 22, 1964


First Charted: --


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


Sales (in millions): --


Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 17.2 video, 8.14 streaming

Awards:

Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

The theme for the 1964 World’s Fair, which would be held in New York, was “Peace, Through Understanding.” NRR Walt Disney Studios conceived a water-based boat ride to debut at fair which began under the working title of “Children of the World.” WK It featured “several hundred animatronic…dolls” TM “representing children from around the world.” NRR

Walt Disney told songwriters Robert B. Sherman and Richard M. Sherman that he needed “one song that can be easily translated into many languages and be played as a round.” WK The pair of brothers also wrote the score for Mary Poppins and the songs for Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. For “Small World,” the brothers were influeneced by the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis to craft a song about peace and brotherhood. WK

They presented it to Walt as a ballad, but he wanted something more cheerful. They sped up the tempo and Walt was delighted with the results, even renaming the attraction “It’s a Small World.” WK The full title was “PEPSI Presents Walt Disney’s ‘It’s a Small World’ – A Salute to UNICEF and the World’s Children.” TM

The 11-minute ride and its accompanying song were introduced at the UNICEF pavilion on April 22, 1964, when the fair opened in Flushing Meadows in Queens. TM After the fair closed, the ride was moved to Disneyland in California. It would later be introduced at Florida’s Walt Disney World in 1971, Tokyo Disneyland in 1983, Paris in 1992, and Hong Kong in 2008. TM The song has played daily ever since. NRR Disney said the song is played an average of 1200 times a day in its parks. TM With an estimated 50 million plays, it “is very likely the most played song in music history.” TM


Resources:


First posted 4/16/2022.

Monday, April 21, 2014

The Rainmakers Monster Movie released

Monster Movie

The Rainmakers


Released: April 21, 2014


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


Sales (in millions): --


Genre: roots rock


Tracks:

Song Title (Writers) [time] Click for codes to singles charts.

  1. Shithole Town [3:56]
  2. Monster Movie [3:36]
  3. Who’s at the Wheel (Tomek, Walkenhorst) [2:24]
  4. Blue Museum [4:16]
  5. Miserable [2:54]
  6. Your Time Has Come [3:13]
  7. Save Some for Me (Porter, Walkenhorst) [2:34]
  8. Believe in Now (Porter) [3:27]
  9. 13th Spirit [3:26]
  10. Dogleg Ruth, Walkenhorst) [2:55]
  11. Signs of a Struggle [4:03]
  12. Swinging Shed [3:01]

All songs written by Bob Walkenhorst unless noted otherwise.


The Players:

  • Bob Walkenhorst (vocals, guitar)
  • Rich Ruth (bass, vocals)
  • Pat Tomek (drums)
  • Jeff Porter (guitar, piano, vocals)

Rating:

2.920 out of 5.00 (average of 9 ratings)


Awards: (Click on award to learn more).

About the Album:

The Rainmakers, “arguably Kansas City’s best known band,” DL returned in 2011 with 25 On, their first studio effort in fourteen years. Rather than it being a one-off, though, it launched a second wave for the band. They followed up that album three years later with Monster Movie. While not as strong as its predecessor, songs like Shithole Town, 13th Spirit, and Miserable are worthy additions to the Rainmakers’ repertoire and this is still “a band that is comfortable with itself and dares to still care about what can be done musically.” DL

“Shithole Town” “starts out like a crowd-clapping sing-along, then morphs into a country-tingled tale of backwoods/back roads folks, bad country music, and small towns. Then it shifts gears again as the music moves from a country feel to a rock and roll song; as the story changes and moves forward, the music does, too.” DL

“13th Spirit” touches on religious themes. As frontman Bob Walkenhorst says, the song “is just asking the big question…Can you please – YOU UP THERE! – please just give us a hint as to what this all means? Is there supposed to be some kind of secret code we’re supposed to be figuring out? Why does this all seem to make no sense at times?” KM

The goal with the album was a record “that was loud and aggressive and rooted in its early style.” KM The album “examines the horrors and realities of everyday life.” KM Walkenhorst said, “There’s plenty of monsters and horrific ideas in our modern culture. I’ll address a few of them.” KM He also explained that the title came from bassist Rich Ruth’s “taste for B-grade terrible monster movies.” KM

Regarding the title song itself, Walkenhorst said “I thought it would be a really funny song…about bad monsters and bad scientists and all that. Songs have a mind of their own. You can start with an idea…and the song will suddenly rear its ugly head and go, ‘No, I’m gonna be THIS!’ So this became more of a very blunt, social criticism.” DL

Pat Tomek “provided the poetry that became the lyrics to Who’s at the Wheel, a lovely conspiracy song with Creedence-like chooglin’ guitar work from Walkenhorst and Porter. Like fellow Missouri resident Chuck Berry, who wrote similar Americana-themed songs, this song takes a wry look at human foibles and Internet-fueled paranoia.” DL

Porter contributes the “mid-tempo, introspective’ DL Believe in Now and co-wrote Save Some for Me with Walkenhorst. The song “has a folk rock feel aided by Porter’s music and a great acoustic riff.” DL

The album closer, Swinging Shed, is “a catchy song about a club in the town where Walkenhorst grew up.” DL The song “references music from the early ‘60s” DL and “sounds as catchy as something by Chris Kenner or Freddy Cannon.” DL

Resources and Related Links:


Other Related DMDB Pages:


First posted 8/19/2021.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

April 16, 1964: The Rolling Stones released their debut album

Originally posted April 1, 2008. Last updated September 7, 2018.

The Rolling Stones (aka ‘England’s Newest Hit Makers’)

The Rolling Stones

Released: April 16, 1964 R
May 30, 1964 E


Sales (in millions):
US: 0.5
UK: --
IFPI: --
World (estimated): 2.5


Peak:
US: 11 E
UK: 112-R
Canada: --
Australia: 13

Quotable: “As hard-core as British R&B ever got” – Richie Unterberger, All Music Guide


Genre: classic rock


Album Tracks:

  1. Not Fade Away (Holly/ Petty) [1:48] (2/27/64, #48 US, #3 UK) E
  2. Route 66 (Troup) [2:21]
  3. I Just Want to Make Love to You (Dixon) [2:18]
  4. Honest I Do (Abner/Reed) [2:10]
  5. Mona (I Need You Baby) (Ellas McDaniel) [3:33] R
  6. Now I've Got a Witness (Phelge/ Spector) [2:32]
  7. Little by Little (?) [2:40]
  8. I'm a King Bee (Moore) [2:37]
  9. Carol (Berry) [2:34]
  10. Tell Me (Jagger/ Richards) [4:05] (7/4/64, #24 US)
  11. Can I Get a Witness (Dozier/ Holland/ Holland) [2:56]
  12. You Can Make It if You Try (Jarrett) [2:02]
  13. Walking the Dog (Thomas) [3:09]

Notes: As was often true of UK groups making it in the US in the ‘60s, albums didn't make it across the ocean with the exact same track listings, covers, and sometimes even album names. Tracks unique to one album or the other are noted with E (U.S. release England’s Newest Hit Makers) or R (U.K. release The Rolling Stones).


Singles/Hit Songs:

Click here for the chart codes for singles/hit songs.

Review:

“The group’s debut album was the most uncompromisingly blues/R&B-oriented full-length recording they would ever release. Mostly occupied with covers, this was as hard-core as British R&B ever got; it's raw and ready. But the Stones succeeded in establishing themselves as creative interpreters, putting '50s and early '60s blues, rock, and soul classics (some quite obscure to White audiences) through a younger, more guitar-oriented filter. The record's highlighted by blistering versions of Route 66, Carol, the hyper-tempoed I Just Want to Make Love to You, I'm a King Bee, and Walking the Dog.” RU

“Their Bo Diddleyized version of Buddy Holly's Not Fade Away gave them their first British Top Ten hit (and their first small American one).” RU The song was not on The Rolling Stones “where singles and LPs were usually kept separate.” BE Instead, the U.K.-only album featured “the Stones' cover of Bo Diddley's Mona (I Need You Baby)…which had to wait until Now!, a year later, for its U.S. release. It's not a big switch, a Bo Diddley-style cover of a Buddy Holly song bumping an actual Bo Diddley cover on the U.S. version.” BE

Also of note is “the acoustic ballad Tell Me…Jagger-Richards' first good original tune.” RU The version on The Rolling Stones “sounds about two generations hotter than any edition of the song ever released in the U.S. – it’s the long version, with the break that was cut from the single, but the British LP and the original late-‘80s Decca-U.K. compact disc…both contain a version without any fade, running the better part of a minute longer than the U.S. release of the song, until the band literally stops playing.” BE


Review Source(s):

Awards:


Related DMDB Link(s):


Thursday, April 10, 2014

KISS: Top 20 Songs

image from fanpop.com

In 2011, I wrote a blog post arguing why KISS belonged in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (read here). I pointed out that while I wasn’t a fan of the band, they absolutely fit the credentials to be in the Hall and that it was unfortunate that politics were getting in the way. Three years later, the Hall finally decided to listen to me (yeah, I’m sure I’m the reason). In honor of KISS being inducted into the Hall, I present to you the DMDB’s list of the Top 20 KISS songs. This is a melding of multiple factors, including appearances on multiple best-of lists, sales figures, chart data, and which tracks show up most often on KISS compilations. KISS fans, rejoice. Your band is finally in the Hall. Now you can rock and roll all night and party every day in celebration.

Rock and Roll All Nite


KISS: Their Top 20 Songs

  1. Rock and Roll All Nite (1975)
  2. Beth (1976)
  3. Detroit Rock City (1976)
  4. I Was Made for Lovin’ You (1979)
  5. Shout It Out Loud (1976)
  6. Calling Dr. Love (1976)
  7. Lick It Up (1983)
  8. Hard Luck Woman (1976)
  9. Christine Sixteen (1977)
  10. Heaven’s on Fire (1984)

    Beth

  11. Forever (1989)
  12. Love Gunn (1977)
  13. Deuce (1974)
  14. Shandi (1980)
  15. Strutter (1974)
  16. Sure Know Something (1979)
  17. Reason to Live (1987)
  18. I Love It Loud (1982)
  19. God Gave Rock and Roll to You II (1991)
  20. Tears Are Falling (1985)


Awards:


Resources and Related Links:

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Glenn Tilbrook released Happy Ending

Happy Ending

Glenn Tilbrook


Released: April 8, 2014


Peak: --


Sales (in millions): --


Genre: adult alternative singer/songwriter


Tracks:

Song Title [time]

  1. Ray [3:57]
  2. Persephone [3:26]
  3. Mud Island [2:41]
  4. Rupert [3:00]
  5. Everybody Sometimes [3:20]
  6. Dennis [3:05]
  7. Hello There [2:49]
  8. Bongo Bill [2:29]
  9. Kev and Dave [3:36]
  10. Fruit Cake [3:08]
  11. Peter [3:11]
  12. Ice Cream [1:32]

Rating:

3.574 out of 5.00 (average of 8 ratings)


Awards: (Click on award to learn more).

About the Album:

This is Glenn Tilbrook’s fifth outing sans Squeeze. In that group, formed with Chris Difford more than 30 years ago, Tilbrook wrote the music and Difford the lyrics. “Without the comfort blanket of Chris Difford’s lyrics to wrap himself in, he has written all the songs here (bar one co-write) by himself.” PM While Tilbrook is “one of the greatest British songwriters of all time” APS his “work has not always been consistently brilliant and so a new solo album from him doesn’t…mean that it will be a work of genius.” APS

This one may not “endure as a fan favorite for years to come” APS but is “enjoyable in parts.” APS Tilbrook has “shown the priceless ability throughout his career to pen a melody, and Happy Ending houses enough of those melodies to make this LP a pretty pleasurable listen.” PM “The instrumentation and arrangements are first class. His voice never dips, and showcases its great quality when it soars. Above all, it’s an album which leaves you in a good mood.” PM Happy Ending finds Tilbrook in acoustic mode with no electric guitars and his kids sing backing vocals on a couple of the songs. PM

“The stand-outs shine splendidly. None more so than Everybody Sometimes,” PM “a slice of classic Glenn Tibrook with a very pleasing melody, interesting left-field chords and a warm, beautiful chorus.” APS It is “a relentlessly upbeat song that combines a wry look at business intentions and practices with a gorgeous chorus — ‘There’ll always be another day,’ and who could argue with that? — backed up by an on-the-money shuffle beat, ukulele, bongo drums and some beautiful soothing noises that sound like they have been coaxed out of a glockenspiel. The way the song wanders up major chords then slides down minor ones is a master class of pure pop tune-smithing. Plus, the Tilbrook soaring tenor, always a prime selling-point of the best Squeeze songs, is in fine form and losing none of its lustre.” PM

“If there is a criticism of the album as a whole, it is somewhat stop-start both in terms of its quality and pace. Hence, ‘Everybody Sometimes,’ a song that sounds like a ready-made introduction to Spring, is followed by the disjointed Dennis, which fails to find a groove, succeeds for a fleeting moment, and then manages to lose it — the track that lost its mojo.” PM

“The Indian-flavoured Mud Island is difficult to love, the drums, kazoos and tuneless vocals all adding up to a cacophony of noise that the lyrics cannot rescue.” APS

Happy Ending offers some other pop pleasures, like Hello There, a track with ’60s harmonies, George Harrison-like slide guitar embellishments, and a feel that (the Tilbrook idiosyncracy again) evokes a mid-’70s Flaming Groovies power-pop vibe.” PM Ray is “a rather gorgeous shimmering, melodic song about an older, cantankerous soul.” APS

Persephone is “another one of the album’s minor triumphs.” PM It is “a delightful chamber-pop composition about a female free-spirit.” APS It has “an interesting and aesthetically pleasing instrumental and arrangement.” APS “Its insistently chugging Easybeats’ ‘Friday on my Mind’ rhythm is complemented by a luscious string arrangement and some delicious Indian raga touches.” PM It “is absolutely impossible to dislike.” APS

Rupert is “about phone-hacking, is presumably meant to deal with one R. Murdoch…his more objective narrative…performs a public service of sorts with a hint of lyrical sardonicism, as he sings ‘Rupert was humbled and terribly sorry.’” PM

“The LP builds to a strong finish…Kev and Dave, Fruitcake (a paen to his slightly ‘bonkers’ loved one), and Peter are an excellently tuneful run of three.” PM “Kev and Dave” is “an excellent song…with…terrific music, melody and lyrics” APS but “if it was given the full Squeeze band treatment instead of the sparse, minimalistic arrangement here, it could be so much more.” APS “Peter” “has an enjoyable pop sensibility to it and tells the story of the kind of great character Chris Difford usually excels at which demonstrates how good a lyricist Glenn has become over the years.” APS

The album wraps with “the jokey Ice CreamAPS which Glenn says his grandfather used to sing to him, “so it is easy to understand the sentimental value of the song.” APS

Resources and Related Links:


Other Related DMDB Pages:


First posted 2/6/2022.

Friday, April 4, 2014

50 years ago: The Beatles hit #1 with “Can’t Buy Me Love,” locking down the top 5

First posted 3/29/2021.

Can’t Buy Me Love

The Beatles

Writer(s): John Lennon, Paul McCartney (see lyrics here)


Released: March 16, 1964


First Charted: March 21, 1964


Peak: 15 US, 15 CB, 14 HR, 1 CL, 13 UK, 3 CN, 16 AU (Click for codes to singles charts.)


Sales (in millions): 4.0 US, 1.55 UK, 7.0 world (includes US + UK)


Airplay/Streaming (in millions): 3.0 radio, -- video, -- streaming

Awards: (Click on award for more details).

About the Song:

The Billboard Hot 100 chart for April 4, 1964 has been called “the most famous chart of all-time.” KL It marked the week that the Beatles soared to #1 with “Can’t Buy Me Love,” from #27 the week before. It was the biggest leap to the top in the history of the chart. It also made the Beatles the first act to score three consecutive chart-toppers. “I Want to Hold Your Hand” hit the top in February and stayed for 7 weeks. It was succeeded by “She Loves You” for two weeks, which succumbed to “Can’t Buy Me Love” which held on for five weeks.

That, however, was only the beginning. Not only were “I Want to Hold Your Hand” and “She Loves You” still in the top 5, but they were joined by two other Beatles’ tunes – “Twist and Shout” and “I Saw Her Standing There.” That gave the Fab Four the top five songs on the Billboard chart. They also had seven more songs on the Hot 100 for a total of twelve. The next week they added two more for a then-record fourteen songs on the chart. BR

The glut of material was due to the success of “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” released by Capitol Records. Other record companies then released their Beatles’ product as well. “Can’t Buy Me Love,” however, was considered the official follow-up single to “Hand.” The song had the largest advance order in history with 2.1 million. BR The song also preceded the Beatles’ first film, A Hard Day’s Night, and was featured on the soundtrack. It has been called “the first truly perfect marriage of rock music and celluloid.” CR

Paul McCartney wrote the song while the group was touring in France in January 1964. They recorded it in Paris – the only Beatles’ session outside of London. CR The “R&B flavoured song is very much Paul’s, featuring his double-tracked vocal instead of harmonies from John Lennon.” KL It also features “a memorable guitar solo from George Harrison and Ringo plays tom-toms as well as drums.” KL Producer George Martin suggested beginning the song with the chorus, “giving it not only a hook but also extra momentum.” CR Ella Fitzgerald covered the song, after which “it became OK for midde-of-the-road and jazz singers to do Beatles songs.” KL


Resources and Related Links:

  • DMDB encyclopedia entry for The Beatles
  • DMDB page for parent album A Hard Day’s Night
  • BR Fred Bronson (2003). The Billboard Book of Number One Hits (5th edition). Billboard Books: New York, NY. Page 145.
  • CR Toby Creswell (2005). 1001 Songs: The Great Songs of All Time. Thunder’s Mouth Press: New York, NY. Page 60.
  • JA David A. Jasen (2002). A Century of American Popular Music: 2000 Best-Loved and Remembered Songs (1899-1999). Routledge: Taylor & Francis, Inc. Page 31.
  • KL Jon Kutner and Spencer Leigh (2005). 1000 UK Number One Hits: The Stories Behind Every Number One Single Since 1952. London, Great Britain: Omnibus Press. Page 98.
  • WK Wikipedia