Friday, May 22, 2015

Today in Music (1965): The Beatles “Ticket to Ride” hit #1

Ticket to Ride

The Beatles

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

Recorded: February 15, 1965

Released: April 9, 1965

First Charted: April 15, 1965

Peak: 11 BB, 11 CB, 3 GR, 11 HR, 1 CL, 13 UK, 11 CN, 13 AU, 7 DF (Click for codes to charts.)

Sales (in millions): 0.75 US, 0.9 UK, 1.75 world (includes US + UK)

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): 2.0 radio, 81.4 video, 99.0 streaming


Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

This was the eighth #1 for the Beatles in the United States and their seventh in the UK. Their first trip to the top in the UK came only two years earlier in May 1963 with “From Me to You.” In the U.S., their run was even more impressive considering their first trip to the top was with “I Want to Hold Your Hand” in early 1964. Of course, the Beatles would go on to have more American #1 songs than any other group with 20, but even if their career had stopped here they’d have cemented their place as one of history’s most successful groups.

John Lennon wrote “Ticket to Ride” based on a phrase he came up with years earlier. He talked about girls working the street in Hamburg, Germany. They had to have cards from medical authorities saying they had a clean bill of health. John called it “a ticket to ride.” TC It was reportedly one of his favorite songs. DM

The group recorded it on February 15, 1965, supposedly in two takes. “Here, they ride their roots asa bar band in Liverpool and Hamburg to a new kind of glory.” DM Lennon sang lead, offering up “his most souful vocal ever” DM with Paul McCartney and George Harrison providing backing vocals. “Harrison’s twelve-string riffs give a touch of folk rock, McCartney adds a bluesy lead guitar and Lennon a driving rhythm. The real star of the track is Ringo, whose tempestuous drum patterns really push the urgency and anger in the song.” TC

Paul is actually credited in the book The Beatles Recording Sessions with suggesting the drum pattern to Ringo. Paul also plays bass, PW his usual instrument, and serves up his first lead guitar feature on a Beatles’ single. FB Music author Paul Williams says “the most distinctive element in the recording is the lead guitar riff that opens it and threads through it.” PW


Related Links:

First posted 9/19/2023.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Songwriters Hall of Fame: Towering Song Award

Songwriters Hall of Fame

Towering Song Award, 1995-2015

As explained via an archived page from the Songwriters Hall of Fame on The Way Back Machine: “The Towering Song Award is presented each year to the creators of an individual song that has influenced our culture in a unique way over many years.” There is no obvious link on the website about the award or any indication that the award still exists.

Click here to see other awards and Hall of Fame inductees for songs.

Resources/Related Links:

First posted 4/10/2020; last updated 2/1/2024.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Madisen Ward & the Mama Bear “Silent Movies” released on debut album

Silent Movies

Madisen Ward & the Mama Bear

Writer(s): Madisen Ward, Ruth Ward (see lyrics here)

Released: May 14, 2015 (album cut)

First Charted: --

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

Sales (in millions): --

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 0.93 video, 5.93 streaming


Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

Madisen Ward and the Mama Bear are an acoustic duo from Independence, Missouri with “a penchant for wildly original songs drawing from timeless American genres such as roots, folk, Americana, and blues.” MW Madisen Ward is a singer/songwriter and guitarist. His mother, Ruth Ward (Mama Bear), plays guitar and sings. She started out busking in the coffeehouse scene in Albuquerque, New Mexico, performing the songs of Joan Baez; Crosby, Stills & Nash; Peter, Paul & Mary; and Simon & Garfunkel. MW

When she moved to Missouri, she put her music on hold while raising a family. Her son, Madisen, took up electric guitar as a pre-teen but found it limiting and switched to acoustic. He started writing and singing and was soon performing between Mom’s sets and eventually joining her. He developed a vocal style which referenced artists like Nick Drake, Elliott Smith, and Tom Waits. MW NPR says the duo “come off as real, goodhearted people with a sound to match.” NPR called them “the new darlings of the Americana world.” AZ

They released their debut album, Skeleton Crew, in 2015. It was produced by Jimmy Abbiss, who’s also worked with Adele and the Arctic Monkeys. The album didn’t chart in the United States, but they did start performing on national television shows, including Late Show with David Letterman, CBS News’ Sunday Morning, and NBC’s Today. In the UK, they perfomrned on Later…with Jools Holland and BBC Breakfast News. Their album reached #50 on the UK charts.

The album captures “the tranquil intimacy of sublime acoustic-guitar-and-vocals-only story songs” AZ that include “poppier toe-tappers like lead-off single ‘Silent Movies.’” AZ NPR calls it “a great introduction to their sound.” NPR It is the duo’s most-streamed song on Spotify and most-played video on YouTube.


First posted 12/29/2022.

Friday, May 1, 2015

100 years ago: “ A Little Bit of Heaven” hit #1

A Little Bit of Heaven (Shure, They Call It Ireland)

George MacFarlane

Writer(s): J. Keirn Brennan, Ernest R. Ball (see lyrics here)

First Charted: May 1, 1915

Peak: 15 US, 112 GA, 112 SM (Click for codes to charts.)

Sales (in millions): 1.0 (sheet music)

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 0.01 video, -- streaming


Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

This was one of only four chart entries for George MacFarlane. Songwriter Ernest R. Ball, however, had a rich history, especially collaborating on Irish songs with Chauncey Olcott such as this and “When Irish Eyes Are Smiling” (a #1 hit for Olcott in 1913) even though he wasn’t Irish himself. The Songwriting Hall of Famer also wrote “Will You Love Me in December As You Do in May?” (#2 for Haydn Quartet in 1906), “Mother Machree” (#1 for John McCormack and Will Oakland in 1911), and “Goodbye, Good Luck, God Bless You” (#1 for Henry Burr in 1916).

Like Ball, MacFarlane wasn’t Irish either. He was born in 1878 in Kingston, Ontario, Canada. Despite his lack of Irish connections, he recognized the popularity of Irish songs. SM He had a #16 hit with “My Own Home Town in Ireland” in 1916 and took “A Little Bit of Heaven” to #1 in 1915.

The song was introduced in the Broadway musical The Heart of Paddy Whack by Chauncey Olcott. The show only ran for seventeen performances. SM It asks, “Have you ever heard the story of Ireland got its name?” in the first line and then unfolds the story “as my dear old mother told the tale to me.” TY2 A seldom-sung second verse reminds that Ireland is the “dear old and of fairies” and that nowhere else has “such lakes and dells.” TY2

“MacFarlane sang in a dramatic, operatic baritone voice, singing the praises of the country and how it got its name.” SM His version went to #1, but there were three other chart versions in 1915 – Charles Harrison (#2), John Barnes Wells (#8), and John McCormack (#9). PM

The song was used in a movie musical of the same name in 1940. TY2 It was also featured in the 1944 Ernest Ball biopic Irish Eyes Are Smiling and in the 1947 Olcott biopic My Wild Irish Rose. DJ


First posted 3/18/2023.