Friday, September 23, 2016

Chapter and Verse celebrates 50 Years of Bruce Springsteen music

First posted 6/19/2019.

In conjunction with the release of his autobiography, Born to Run, Bruce Springsteen is also celebrated with a new collection of his work, this one spanning fifty years. Here’s a look at five different compilations (and variations of them) which have been released over the years. Collectively, the 50+ songs represented by these collections would make a very respectable career-spanning 4-disc box set.

Greatest Hits

Bruce Springsteen

Released: 2/28/1995

Covers: 1975-1995

Peak: #12 US, #12 UK, #15 CN, #11 AU

Sales (in millions): 4.0 US, 0.6 UK, 15.0 world (includes US and UK)

Genre: classic rock

The Essential

Released: 11/4/2003 *

Covers: 1973-2014 *

Peak: #14 US, #15 UK, #41 AU

Sales (in millions): 1.0 US, 2.5 world (includes US and UK)

Genre: classic rock

* rereleased in 2015

Greatest Hits

Released: 1/13/2009

Covers: 1973-2007

Peak: #43 US, #3 UK, #21 CN, #17 AU

Sales (in millions): 0.37 world (includes US and UK)

Genre: classic rock

The Collection

Released: 3/8/2013

Covers: 1973-2012

Peak: #35 UK, #6 AU

Sales (in millions): --

Genre: classic rock

Chapter and Verse

Released: 9/23/2016

Covers: 1966-2012

Peak: #5 US, #2 UK, #21 CN, #2 AU

Sales (in millions): --

Genre: classic rock

Tracks: (Click for codes to singles charts.)

    Chapter and Verse (9/23/2016):
  1. Baby I (The Castles, recorded 5/2/66) V
  2. You Can’t Judge a Book by the Cover (The Castles, recorded 9/16/67) V
  3. He’s Guilty (The Judge Song) (Steel Mill, recorded 2/22/70) V
  4. Ballad of Jesse James (recorded 3/14/72) V
  5. Henry Boy (recorded 6/30/72) V

    Greetings from Asbury Park, NJ (1/5/1973):
  6. Growin’ Up E15,V
  7. Blinded by the Light (2/73) E03,GE
  8. For You (5/73) E03
  9. Spirit in the Night (5/73) E03

    The Wild, the Innocent, & the E Street Shuffle (9/11/1973):
  10. 4th of July (Sandy) (1974 single) E03,E15,V
  11. Rosalita (Come Out Tonight) E03,GA,GE,C,E15

    Born to Run (8/25/1975):
  12. Thunder Road 95,E03,GA,GE,C,E15
  13. Born to Run (8/25/75, #23 US, #17 CB, #16 UK, #53 CN, #38 AU) 95,E03,GA,GE,C,E15,V
  14. Tenth Avenue Freeze Out (1/10/76, #83 US, #63 CB, #82 CN) E15
  15. Jungleland E03

    Darkness on the Edge of Town (6/2/1978):
  16. Prove It All Night (5/23/78, #33 US, #53 CB, #57 CN, #90 AU) E15
  17. Badlands (8/78, #42 US, #52 CB, #44 CN) 95,E03,GA,GE,C,E15,V
  18. The Promised Land (10/78) E03,C,E15
  19. Darkness on the Edge of Town E03,GA,GE

    The Promise (recorded 1978, released 11/16/2010):
  20. Fire (live – recorded 12/16/78, charted 11/22/86, #46 US, #14 AR, #54 UK, #42 CN, #82 AU) GE
  21. Because the Night (live – recorded 12/28/80, charted 12/6/86, #22 AR) GE

    The River (10/10/1980):
  22. Hungry Heart (10/21/80, #5 US, #6 CB, #28 UK, #5 CN, #33 AU) 95,E03,GA,GE,C,E15
  23. The River (5/81, #35 UK) 95,E03,GE,E15,V
  24. The Ties That Bind E15
  25. Out in the Street E15

    Nebraska (9/20/82):
  26. Atlantic City (10/9/82, #10 AR, #49 CN) 95,E03,C,E15
  27. Johnny 99 (10/9/82, #50 AR) E15
  28. Nebraska E03
  29. My Father’s House V

    Born in the U.S.A. (6/1/1984):
  30. Dancing in the Dark (5/3/84, #2 US, #12 CB, #16 AR, #4 UK, #3 CN, #5 AU) 95,E03,GA,GE,C,E15
  31. Born in the U.S.A. (6/23/84, #9 US, #6 CB, #8 AR, #5 UK, #11 CN, #2 AU) 95,E03,GA,GE,C,E15,V
  32. I’m on Fire (2/6/85, #6 US, #8 CB, #6 AC, #4 AR, #5 UK, #12 CN, #12 AU) GE
  33. Glory Days (5/25/85, #5 US, #9 CB, #3 AR, #17 UK, #17 CN, #29 AU) 95,E03,GA,GE,E15
  34. My Hometown (11/21/85, #6 US, #7 CB, #11 AC, #6 AR, #9 UK, #16 CN, #47 AU) 95

    Tunnel of Love (10/9/1987):
  35. Brilliant Disguise (9/25/87, #5 US, #4 CB, #5 AC, #11 AR, #29 UK, #9 CN, #17 AU) 95,E03,C,E15,V
  36. Tunnel of Love (10/17/87, #9 US, #12 CB, #13 AC, #14 AR, #45 UK, #17 CN, #41 AU) E03
  37. One Step Up (12/12/87, #13 US, #17 CB, #3 AC, #2 AR, #23 CN, #67 AU) E15
  38. Tougher Than the Rest (6/18/88, #13 UK, #35 AU) E15

    Human Touch (3/31/1992):
  39. Human Touch (3/13/92, #14 US, #13 CB, #8 AC, #13 AR, #11 UK, #2 CN, #17 AU) 95,E03,C,E15

    Lucky Town (3/31/1992):
  40. Better Days (3/21/92, #16 US, #2 AR, #34 UK, #75 AU) 95,E15
  41. Lucky Town (4/10/93, #48 UK) E03
  42. If I Should Fall Behind (2/2/94) E15
  43. Living Proof E03,V

    Greatest Hits (1995):
  44. This Hard Land (recorded 5/11/82) 95
  45. Streets of Philadelphia (2/2/94, #9 US, #6 CB, #3 AC, #25 AR, #2 UK, #1CN, #4 AU) 95,E03,C,E15
  46. Murder Incorporated (recorded 1982, charted 3/4/95, #14 AR, #5 CN) 95,E15
  47. Secret Garden (4/11/95, #19 US, #66 CB, #5 AC, #12 A40, #17 UK, #7 CN, #9 AU) 95
  48. Blood Brothers 95

    The Ghost of Tom Joad (11/21/95):
  49. The Ghost of Tom Joad (11/21/95, #26 UK, #34 CN) E03,C,E15,V

    Live in New York City (recorded 10/23/1999, released 3/21/2001):
  50. American Skin (41 Shots) E03
  51. Land of Hope and Dreams (7/16/02) E03

    The Rising (7/30/2002):
  52. The Rising (7/13/02, #52 US, #26 AC, #16 A40, #13 AA, #24 AR, #94 UK) E03,GA,GE,C,E15,V
  53. Lonesome Day (10/6/02, #36 A40, #3 AA, #39 UK) E03,GA,GE,E15
  54. Mary’s Place E03

    Devils + Dust (4/26/2005):
  55. Devils & Dust (3/28/05, #72 US, #5 AA) E15
  56. Long Time Comin’ E15,V

    Magic (10/2/2007):
  57. Radio Nowhere (8/28/07, #2 AA, #96 UK, #55 CN) GA,GE,C,E15
  58. Long Walk Home (9/25/07) GE

    Working on a Dream (1/27/2009):
  59. The Wrestler (8/08, #93 UK, #63 CN) E15
  60. Working on a Dream (11/21/08, #95 US, #2 AA, #91 CN) C,E15
  61. My Lucky Day (11/28/08, #18 AA) E15

    Wrecking Ball (3/6/2012):
  62. We Take Care of Our Own (1/19/12, #11 AA) C,E15
  63. Wrecking Ball C,V

    High Hopes (1/14/2014):
  64. Hunter of Invisible Game E15

95 Greatest Hits (1995)
E03 The Essential (2003)
GA Greatest Hits (2009, American edition)
GE Greatest Hits (2009, European edition)
C Collection: 1973-2012 (2013, Autralian/European release)
E15 The Essential (2015 rerelease)
V Chapter and Verse (2016)

Review: Greatest Hits (1995)

The first compilation from “The Boss” covered his then more-than-twenty-year career in the span of 18 songs. Included are top ten hits Hungry Heart, Dancing in the Dark, Born in the U.S.A., Glory Days, My Hometown, Brilliant Disguse, and Streets of Philadelphia as well as the quintessential Born to Run.

However, there are other top ten hits (“Cover Me,” “I’m on Fire,” “I’m Goin’ Down,” “War”) omitted from this collection in favor of album cuts like Thunder Road and The River. Despite that, Bruce’s first two albums aren’t represented at all. Instead, there are four new songs, “the best of which is an outtake from the Born in the U.S.A. sessions (Murder Incorporated).” 95-A The other new songs “follow the synth-laden adult contemporary direction Springsteen began pursuing with ‘Streets of Philadelphia,’ only without the lyricism or melody.” 95-A In the end, “it’s a mixed bag, drawing an incomplete portrait of one of the prime rockers of the ‘70s and ‘80s.” 95-A

Review: The Essential (2003)

2003 saw a much-needed double-disc (three if you count the disc of rarities) treatment of Springsteen’s career. For better or worse, this isn’t just an expansion of 1995’s Greatest Hits. Unlike that collection, Essentials covers all of Springsteen’s studio albums, which means welcome additions like Blinded by the Light, Rosalita, and 4th of July (Sandy) which failed to make the cut for the Greatest Hits.

However, there also unnecessary album cuts like Nebraska, Living Proof, and Mary’s Place. None of these are bad songs, but are hardly as essential as the top ten hits also neglected by Greatest Hits. In addition, this collection jettisons “My Hometown” and “Better Days” and the four songs which premiered on Greatest Hits. We do, however, also get some fantastic post-Greatest Hits songs like The Rising, Land of Hope and Dreams, and American Skin (41 Shots).

Review: Greatest Hits (2009)

Would it be too hard to call this The Best of to avoid confusion with the 1995 collection? The earlier set was billed solely to Bruce Springsteen while this one also credits the E Street Band, but that surely hasn’t stopped a few confused shoppers from buying one and thinking they were getting the other.

This collection is pretty unnecessary. At a dozen songs, the U.S. version is pretty skimpy in the CD era and offers nothing we haven’t had in previous Springsteen compilations. Eight of these songs appeared on the 1995 Greatest Hits and all but Radio Nowhere (released in 2007) were on the 2003 Essentials.

The European edition is much stronger at 18 cuts, including three songs not on any other Bruce compilations: the top ten hit I’m on Fire, Fire, and Because the Night; the latter two are from the Live 1975/1985 box set.

Review: The Collection: 1973-2012 (2013)

Six of the songs here are make their fourth appearance on a Bruce Springsteen compilation: “Born to Run,” “Thunder Road,” “Badlands,” “Hungry Heart,” “Dancing in the Dark,” and “Born in the U.S.A.” Most of the others are repeats as well. New to the mix are Working on a Dream, We Take Care of Our Own, and Wrecking Ball. The former two would also appear on the 2015 reissue of The Essential.

Review: The Essential (2015)

Someone really needs to learn how to give Springsteen compilations better names. While billed as a reissue of the 2003 set of the same name, this is vastly different. Combined, the two versions cover 49 tracks, but with only 18 songs in common, a dozen of which also appear on 1995’s Greatest Hits. Gone from the 2015 version are “Blinded by the Light,” “Jungleland,” and “Tunnel of Love,” all of which seem more essential than new additions Out in the Street, The Ties That Bind, and Johnny 99.

Part of the discrepancy owes to the extra decade of material the latter collection drew from. The 2015 version includes worthy additions like “Radio Nowhere,” “Working on a Dream,” and “We Take Care of Our Own” (all featured on The Collection) and Devils & Dust, My Lucky Day, and The Wrestler, making their debuts on a Springsteen compilation. None were major hits, but are vital songs in Springsteen’s later repertoire.

Review: Chapter and Verse (2016)

At this point, another Springsteen anthology seems like absurd overkill, but this one did have the twist that the songs were handpicked by Springsteen as a companion piece to his autobiography, Born to Run. That means there are five previously unreleased songs (Baby I, You Can’t Judge a Book by the Cover, He’s Guilty (The Judge Song, Ballad of Jesse James, and Henry Boy) here from before Springsteen was signed by Columbia in 1972. None are vital, but they give new perspective on Springsteen’s 50-year career.

Review and Resources:

Awards for Greatest Hits (1995):

Sunday, September 11, 2016

9/11/1909: Henry Burr takes “I Wonder Who’s Kissing Her Now” to #1

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Henry Burr “I Wonder Who’s Kissing Her Now”

Writer(s): Joe Howard/ Harold Orlob/ Frank Adams/ Will Hough (see lyrics here)

First charted: 9/4/1909

Peak: 18 US, 12 GA (Click for codes to singles charts.)

Sales (in millions): 3.0 (sheet music sales)

Radio Airplay (in millions): -- Video Airplay (in millions): --

Review: This “evergreen standard” JA-91 is “one of the most popular songs in the history of Tin Pan Alley… Considered cliche today, the number’s flowing music, and heartbreaking lyric made it one of the first conversational and down-to-earth torch songs.” RCG

Joe Howard claimed he heard a college student in Chicago utter the title phrase and then turned to Frank Adams to write words. RCG The song appeared in the Broadway musical The Prince of Tonight, but really took off when Howard sang it in the show Miss Nobody from Starland (1910), eventually selling three million in sheet music sales. JA-91

Henry Burr’s chart-topping version was followed by two top ten versions by Billy Murray, #4) and (Manuel Romain, #6) the next year. In 1947, the song was revived in a 1947 biopic of the same name about Howard, JA-91 resulting in three more charted versions – Perry Como with Ted Weems (#2), Ray Noble (#11), and Dinning Sisters (#12).

The renewed interest in the song also brought about a court case in which musical arranger Harold Orlob sued Howard. JA-91 The case established that Howard had paid Orlob for his work and that in 1909 it was legitimate for Howard to publish the song as his own. Orlob was awarded songwriting credit, RCG but no additional money since he’d already been compensated for his work. TY-132

Resources and Related Links:

Note: Footnotes (raised letter codes) refer to sources frequently cited on the blog. Numbers following the letter code indicate page numbers. If the raised letter code is a link, it will go directly to the correct page instead of the home page of a website. You can find the sources and corresponding footnotes on the “Lists” page in the “Song Resources” section.


We Will Never Forget: September 11, 2001

Initially posted 9/11/2011.

Alan Jackson: Where Were You When the World Stopped Turning

Country music is often stereotyped as a redneck musical genre and it certainly has moments to confirm that. Toby Keith’s “Courtesy of the Red, White, and Blue” tapped into a revenge mentality with its “we’ll put a boot in your ass” line. However, Alan Jackson’s “Where Were You When the World Stopped Turning” was the song which best captured the overall sadness evoked by the average American. Sure, there were plenty of people who immediately wanted to throttle someone, but Jackson tapped into the emotion of those who just wanted to hold their loved ones close.

Bruce Springsteen: We Shall Overcome

As a Jersey boy raised in the shadow of New York City, Bruce Springsteen made a career of tapping into Americana with tales of teen angst, blue collar workers, and a celebration of where one was born. His entire album The Rising was written as a tribute for 9/11. It included the song “My City of Ruins” which was written prior to 9/11, but took on immense power as a commentary on post-9/11 New York City when performed for the television special America: A Tribute to Heroes.

However, by the end of the day September 11, 2001, Springsteen’s cover of “We Shall Overcome” was the one plastered across the news. This protest song has been covered by many, but took on a new poignancy through Springsteen’s reading of it in the context of a country suffering profound devastation.

Eddie Vedder: My City of Ruins

In 2009, “My City of Ruins” sadly took on relevance again when its words seemed to be about New Orleans and the horror of Hurricane Katrina. Vedder performed the song for the Kennedy Center Honors as Springsteen looked on. Much like a visibly moved Springsteen, it is hard not to get choked up as one considers the song in the context of America’s two worst tragedies of the 21st century.

All Star Tribute: What’s Going On

Marvin Gaye’s classic “What’s Going On” has long been an anthem for pondering the state of the world. An all-star version of the song was recorded prior to 9/11 with the intent of benefiting AIDS programs in Africa. Bono, Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, Jennifer Lopez, Gwen Stefani, Limp Bizkit’s Fred Durst, Destiny’s Child, Wyclef Jean, and Backstreet Boys were among the artists featured on the remake. When the song was released in October, a portion of the proceeds were also given to the American Red Cross’ fund for 9/11.

Limb Bizkit with Johnny Reznik: Wish You Were Here

I wish I could remember the context, but soon after the musical tributes starting flowing, I remember someone taking an unnecessary shot at Fred Durst of Limp Bizkit. If memory serves, the person was reflecting on who would be appropriate to tap into the pain and anguish Americans were feeling and slammed Durst as a musician no one could take seriously. With an assist from the Goo Goo Dolls’ Johnny Reznik, Durst proved otherwise on this Pink Floyd cover. At times the line “wish you were here” sounds like a memorial for the fallen. There’s a moment in the performance, though, when Durst looks straight into the camera and seemingly sings the line directly to Osama bin Laden as a dare to show his face.

Melissa Etheridge: Tuesday Morning

Sure, it made a political statement, but even the most hard-nosed anti-gay right winger would have to think twice if they heard this song. Etheridge powerfully reminds us that Mark Bingham, one of the passengers of United Airlines Flight 93, was gay. As one of the heroes who attacked the hijackers on the plane seemingly bound for the White House, was his heroic effort any less than that of his heterosexual counterparts?

Paul McCartney: Freedom/Let It Be

Paul McCartney was sitting on the tarmac at John F. Kennedy Airport in New York City when the planes hit the Twin Towers. He wrote the song “Freedom” the next day in response. He commented in an interview that he wrote the song as a sort of “We Shall Overcome”. He explained that the song’s notion of fighting for freedom tapped into the idea that an immigrant coming to America was saying, “Don’t mess with my rights, buddy. Because I’m now free.” WK

Sheryl Crow: Safe and Sound

I’ve never read anything to confirm this suspicion, but I suspect this song was originally written as a tribute to Kevin Gilbert. He was a little known singer/songwriter and musician (one of my personal favorites) who was part of the collective who brought Sheryl Crow’s Tuesday Night Music Club to the world. The pair dated and parted bitterly with more than a few fingers pointing at Crow that she was taking credit for more work than what she really did. This song could be interpreted as regret for how that relationship soured and sadness that Gilbert had died (he passed away in 1996). Of course, those feelings of pain and sadness also made for a fitting 9/11 tribute.

Neil Young: Let’s Roll

Todd Beamer was one of the passengers on Flight 93 who stormed the cockpit, attacking the hijackers and foiling their initial plans. His final known words were “Are you guys ready? Let’s roll!” The phrase became a battle cry for Americans ready to fight back against terrorism. Neil Young turned it into a song on his Are You Passionate? album released in November of 2011.

David Bowie: America

Bowie opened the October 20, 2001 Concert for New York City with his own appropriately themed “Heroes” paired with a cover of Simon & Garfunkel’s “America”. The concert celebrated the police officers and fire fighters and other heroes who put their lives on the line to respond to the tragedy.

Alicia Keys: Someday We’ll All Be Free

Donny Hathaway recorded this song for his 1973 album Extension of a Man. Over the years, it became an R&B standard covered by many artists. When Spike Lee used it for the film Malcolm X, it took on new meaning as a black anthem. When Alicia Keys, then one of the hottest new talents around, covered it for America: A Tribute to Heroes it became a message of hope for peace.

Wyclef Jean: Redemption Song

Wyclef Jean performed another of the powerful covers for America: A Tribute to Heroes with his take on Bob Marley’s “Redemption Song”. Rita Marley, said her husband was already facing his own mortality when he wrote the song in 1979 after just being diagnosed with cancer. He based the song on a 1937 speech by Marcus Garvey which called for people to emancipate themselves from mental slavery.

John Hiatt: When New York Had Her Heart Broke

Hiatt wrote this song in the days after 9/11, but had mixed feelings about recording it. It took ten years before he felt comfortable, finally putting it on his 2011 Dirty Jeans and Mudslide Hymns set. It is marked by a powerful video which shows New York’s fire and police departments responding.

Links to More 9/11 Songs:

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Frank Ocean’s Blond hit #1


Frank Ocean

Released: August 20, 2016

Peak: 11 US, 12 RB, 11 UK, 2 CN, 11 AU

Sales (in millions): 1.0 US, 0.1 UK, 1.1 world (includes US and UK)

Genre: R&B


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

  1. Nikes (8/20/16, 79 US, 27 RB, 93 UK, 77 CN)
  2. Ivy (9/10/16, 80 US, 28 RB)
  3. Pink + White (9/10/16, 84 US, 30 RB)
  4. Be Yourself
  5. Solo (9/10/16, 96 US, 38 RB)
  6. Skyline To (9/10/16, 50 RB)
  7. Self Control (9/10/16, 42 RB)
  8. Good Guy
  9. Nights (9/10/16, 98 US, 40 RB)
  10. Solo (Reprise)
  11. Pretty Sweet
  12. Facebook Story
  13. Close to You
  14. White Ferrari
  15. Seigfried
  16. Godspeed
  17. Futura Free (includes unlisted track “Interviews”)

Total Running Time: 60:08


4.158 out of 5.00 (average of 28 ratings)

Quotable: --

Awards: (Click on award to learn more).

About the Album:

For those who thought Channel Orange “wasn’t forthcoming enough with hooks or traditionally structured songs, this is bound to seem less like a luxurious joyride on a freshly paved motorway than it does an interminable stay in a repair shop waiting lounge. In terms of pop appeal, none of it approaches ‘Novacane’ or ‘Thinkin’ ‘Bout You.’ The focus is more on Ocean, the extensive list of ‘album contributors’ – possibly a combination of studio collaborators and mere inspirations – notwithstanding.” AMG

“He’s often accompanied by only keyboards or a guitar or two; less than one-third of the tracks include the sound of his voice and that of a beat within the same space. Over the course of an hour, all the sparsely ornamented ruminations can be a bit of a chore to absorb, no matter how much one hangs on each line.” AMG

“The writing talent on display, however, is irrefutable, whether it’s a sharp aside, the precision and economy in the chorus of the Beyoncé-backed Pink + White, or the agony evoked in Self Control (with an outro multi-tracked to pull heartstrings).” AMG

“Ocean’s words continue to be fueled by his memories of youth and young adulthood in summertime, while recreational pharmaceuticals are a factor more than ever. The lines regarding relationships are acutely descriptive with frequently abrupt transitions from deep to shallow observations. There’s a little more playfulness to go along with the wistful heartache, Ocean’s perverse sense of humor shows most when he follows his mother’s stern anti-drug message with an ebullient vocal-and-organ number that opens with him ‘gone off tabs.’” AMG

“In the closing Futura Free, one of several cuts where processing distorts his voice the way a fun house mirror deforms a body, there is much weight to him to remarking ‘Don’t let ‘em find Pac/He evade the press/He escape the stress,’ then declaring ‘I ain’t on your schedule.’ He’s clearly bemused with the industry and fan entitlement. An undoubtedly reactive work, this is undiluted and progressive nonetheless.” AMG

Resources and Related Links:

First posted 8/1/2021.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

9/7/1935: ”I’m in the Mood for Love” hits #1

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Little Jack Little “I’m in the Mood for Love”

Writer(s): Jimmy McHugh/ Dorothy Fields (see lyrics here)

First charted: 8/17/1935

Peak: 13 US, 11 HP, 2 GA (Click for codes to singles charts.)

Sales (in millions): 3.0 US

Radio Airplay (in millions): -- Video Airplay (in millions): --

Review: Frances Langford introduced the song in the 1935 film Every Night at Eight and had a #15 hit with it. However, three other versions charted that year as well – Little Jack Little (#1), Louis Armstrong (#3), and Leo Reisman (#18). Eleven years later, Billy Eckstine brought the song back to the charts with his #12 version. It returned again in 1961 when the Chimes took it to #38.

The song has been recorded more than 500 times by a wide variety of artists, including Fats Domino, doo-wop group the Flamingos, Joni James, Liberace, Julie London, the McQuire Sisters, Charlie Parker, Les Paul, Oscar Peterson, and Roger Williams. MM-168 The song may be best known for its use in the Little Rascals’ short “The Pinch Singer” (1936) in which Alfalfa and Darla each perform the song. It has come to be known as his signature song. WK The song was amusingly parodied in 1954 by Spike Jones and the City Slickers as “I’m in the Nude for Love.” JA-98

The song also inspired the jazz standard “Moody’s Mood for Love.” Saxophonist James Moody recorded a jazz solo using the chords from “I’m in the Mood for Love” as the base for a new melody, which was also given new lyrics by Eddie Jefferson. Music critic Will Friedwald has said the record launched the new jazz movement of vocalese. SB

The song has also been sampled by rap artists Slick Rick (“Indian Girl (An Adult Story)”, 1988) and Prince Paul (“Mood for Love,” 1999). The song was also used in the Michael J. Fox film The Secret of My Success (1987) and the remake of Lolita (1997). WK It was also used in a 1980 episode of TV soap opera General Hospital in which characters Luke and Laura dance to an instrumental version of the song. WK

Resources and Related Links:

Note: Footnotes (raised letter codes) refer to sources frequently cited on the blog. Numbers following the letter code indicate page numbers. If the raised letter code is a link, it will go directly to the correct page instead of the home page of a website. You can find the sources and corresponding footnotes on the “Lists” page in the “Song Resources” section.


Tuesday, September 6, 2016

9/6/1924: Isham Jones takes “It Had to Be You” to #1

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Isham Jones “It Had to Be You”

Writer(s): Isham Jones/ Gus Kahn (see lyrics here)

First charted: 7/19/1924

Peak: 15 US, 2 GA (Click for codes to singles charts.)

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

Radio Airplay (in millions): -- Video Airplay (in millions): --

Review: “This is one of the high points in Tin Pan Alley era songwriting” RCG and “one of the most enduringly popular ballads of the 1920s.” SS-589 Unlike many of its Great American Songbook counterparts, “this effortless classic” RCG didn’t “put love and lovers on a pedestal,” TM but opted for the reality of being “smitten in spite of the significant other’s bossy and cranky nature,” TM and acknowledging that “if we’re lucky, we find somebody who loves us and can’t live without us, in spite of our faults.” TM

It was a sophisticated song “with grown-up, often witty lyrics that have stood the test of time, are endlessly revived and still sound as good today as they did then.” LW-48 Kahn “uses simple masculine rhymes and short but potent phrases throughout” RCG and “easily captivates all the romance and humanity in a simple, straightforward love song.” RCG

Interestingly, the most successful version of the song is Isham Jones’ instrumental recording. Jones took it to #1, as he did eight times total, including with “On the Alamo,” “Swingin’ Down the Lane,” “Spain” and “I’ll See You in My Dreams.” PM-240 While they were all instrumentals, Gus Kahn provided lyrics for all of them, as he also did for classics like “Carolina in the Morning,” “Yes Sir! That’s My Baby,” and “Makin’ Whoopee.” SS-589

The “perennial nightclub favorite” JA-103 charted six times in 1924 alone. It has been recorded hundreds of times, including versions by Tony Bennett, Ray Charles, Nat “King” Cole, Cliff Edwards (#6), Helen Forrest and Dick Haymes (#4), Marion Harris (#3), Earl Hines (#18), Betty Hutton (#5), Vera Lynn, Billy Murray with Aileen Stanley (#8), Harry Nilsson, Kenny Rogers, Artie Shaw (#10), Frank Sinatra, Barbra Streisand, Danny Thomas, John Travolta, Paul Whiteman, Andy Williams. The song has been featured in more than 40 films, including Casablanca (1942), Incendiary Blonde (1944), the Gus Kahn biopic I’ll See You in My Dreams (1951), Annie Hall (1977), and When Harry Met Sally (1989). RCG

Resources and Related Links:

Note: Footnotes (raised letter codes) refer to sources frequently cited on the blog. Numbers following the letter code indicate page numbers. If the raised letter code is a link, it will go directly to the correct page instead of the home page of a website. You can find the sources and corresponding footnotes on the “Lists” page in the “Song Resources” section.