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Archive for the ‘I LIKE TO RECOGNIZE THE TUNE – on theatre and the Great American Songbook’ Category

TIME PILOTS – commentary on Ernest Cline’s novel “Ready Player One”

readyoneReady Player One author Ernest Cline probably did not select the 1980s as the nostalgia motif of his novel simply because it happened to be the era of his youth. In current pop culture, Stranger Things, IT, 24K Magic, and plenty of other manifestations keep making the ‘80s the decade that cannot be terminated. Decades foregone, do today’s Gen-Zers ever feel false-nostalgia for Marcus Welby or The Macarena? There is something specifically poignant about the ‘80s that Cline thought would resonate with multi-generational readers.

Teenage Wade spends his days and nights memorizing the dialogue of John Hughes movies, listening to New Wave song files, and, most importantly, mastering classic arcade video games like Pac Man and Tempest. The year is 2044. Teen character obsessions with ’80s pop culture in Ready Player One is more than pacifying entertainment in the age of a catastrophic global energy crisis. Their avatar identities connect to virtual reality through a visor and motion-controlling gloves and hunt for treasure in the vast network called the OASIS, where people can become anybody they want or visit any place in the imaginable universe. Hunters occupationally plunder VR worlds for currency credits, fighting skill points, magic weapons and clues to the location of a trillion dollar prize. Halliday, a genius and recluse who designed the OASIS, has died and willed its ownership to the hunter who first solves a series of puzzles leading to a final figurative Easter Egg hidden in the lore of Halliday’s own ‘80s pop culture obsessions. The contest requires intense familiarity with Halliday’s favorite books, cartoons, and videogames from own teenage years, and has led to a global ‘80s craze fifty years beyond. As Wade, isolated in his personal hideout, describes, “Spiked hair and acid washed jeans are back in style.” He means what is in style amongst his peers inside the idealized and abstract universe of the Oasis.

In the America of 2044, climate change, wars and corporatism have reduced most of the population to depressed scavengers. Teenagers like Wade have been forced to abandon most of what we might consider a normal life of school, friendships, sex, and stepping outside. He lives a lonely existence in a vertical trailer park ghetto. But in the Oasis, Wade’s anonymous avatar, Parzival, is becoming the most famous Gunter [Egg + Hunter] in the world, relying on his mastery of ’80 pop culture to pursue the trail of Halliday’s arcane clues. The bulk of the novel follows Parzival, along with his team of Gunter comrades known popularly as the High Five, solving Halliday’s posthumous challenges left inside elaborate movie and videogame recreations. Their nemesis is IOI, a greedy corporation plotting to control the Oasis with a force of avatar clone armies trained to win the contests through cheating, extortion, and real world murder.

If this plot structure – a gang of troubled but precocious young people combine their expertises to defeat the schemes of an unscrupulous adult enterprise – sounds to you like Goonies, or Whiz Kids or other ‘80s era media artifacts, say Uno!

A recent article in the blog Vulture asked in its title Why Are We Still Obsessed With The ‘80s? Some of their answers were practical, such as what we see on our screens and hear through our earbuds is coming from media creatives in their 40s and 50s who have an affinity for the pop culture of their youth. Also the time traveling powers of YouTube and Facebook have mid-lifers introducing children, younger siblings, or nieces and nephews to the pop culture that populated their childhoods. So maybe the resiliency of the ‘80s is a phenomenon of shared multi-generational touchstones more available through current technology. As Vulture commented, “When one generation influences a second (and a third) generation in this way, there’s a pop cultural ripple effect that keeps on rippling… The pop culture we grew up on? You couldn’t ignore it if you tried.”

On a more theoretical level, Vulture suggested the tendency of media creatives to delve into the ‘80s as a means to connect the “now” to an era taking first steps into a transformative technological age. Nostalgia mining always offers an escape to idealized memories of youth, but the 1980s is the last full decade before the internet became an avatar for human interaction. In other words, maybe the reason why we keep trying to relive the ‘80s is because our computers have disconnected us from an authentic shared culture.

Ab ovo, Halliday’s Easter egg hunt. The futuristic odyssey specifically revisits a past in which technology was capturing young people’s desire for adventure before the internet supplanted real human interaction. We have to remind ourselves in the midst of Cline’s story that the High Five’s swashbuckling teen teamwork is all an illusion. In real life, the High Five buddies reside in remote parts of the world and do not even know what their comrades or competitors look like. Winning inside the Oasis – just as all commerce, politics, and notoriety of the day – is just a fantasy. There are not really trillions of dollars at stake in finding Halliday’s egg, just trillions of zeros and ones. The youths of ’44 have no actual participative culture of their own. It was Halliday’s dying desire to bequeath them his antique pop culture passions in a way that would stimulate actual interaction, something the inventor of the Oasis felt personally responsibility for ruining. Halliday’s contest is his last chance at real human connection, ironically after his death.

We might also say that Halliday is Ernest Cline’s avatar. Both the Easter Egg Hunt and Cline’s dystopian aesthetic are respective expressions of loss over something the ‘80s represented, a lost era of social engagement. Halliday filled his OASIS with references and facsimiles of the ‘80s culture he loved, then willed a contest which could only be won by someone who cared enough to love his same interests. Likewise, Cline, in writing Ready Player One offers readers a chance to connect or reconnect with his ’80s fondnesses. Of science fiction, another author, William Gibson (credited with reviving the SF genre in 1980s), once said, “It doesn’t resonate back from the future, it resonates out of modern history.” Cline’s sci-fi depicts a future that still searches for something we are missing out of our modern history. Both Cline, the creator, and his creator avatar, Halliday, seek to reboot real human-to-human communication.

rp13As for the Ready Player One motion picture adaptation, despite excellent special effects, it misses the chance to visualize the vast possibilities of the Oasis so inventively depicted by Cline. Also, the game of our hero Gunters using their intellectual powers to solve Halliday’s cryptic puzzles is given secondary treatment to fighting and action sequences. Not to say the action sequences are not well executed. In particular, a recreation of the movie The Shining as the setting for one of Halliday’s challenges provides something amazing on film that a novel could never do. Still, a disappointing shortcoming is the movie’s inability to capture the literal aspects of the Oasis as simulacrum, to understand the world’s fixation with videogames in this future as a product of desolation. Overtrying to be hopeful, the movie steps around an important theme in the novel, which explores something dark about our modern society and the mass-loneliness advance technology is creating.

Social commentary in the novel is deftly weaved through exciting action challenges. The book also succeeds in making our protagonist (avatar) Wade/Parzival both socially awkward and cool. The last third of the novel avails too much deus ex machina, and an anticipated final encounter feels rushed and superficial after the novel’s earlier insightfulness (Spoiler Alert: Only reality is real). Overall, Ready Player One is an electric read, the experience of a complete future universe both exciting and tragic.

Blessed Insurance- book review of Norma Zimmer’s unlucky autobiography

Do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that is taking place among you to test you, as though some strange thing happened to you. – 1 Peter 4:12

Norma Zimmer was a gifted soprano who performed for decades on television’s ‘LAWRENCE WELK SHOW.’ Welk even gave Zimmer the title of Champagne Lady, the highest honor among other fine women vocalists on the show. Zimmer accepted that appellation graciously in her autobiography,norma although with reservations about sounding like she would be promoting liquor.

She was raised by alcoholic parents in poverty in the Pacific Northwest. Her parents were emotionally abusive, they smoked cigarettes, and they did not yet know God. But Norma grew up to confess Christ on her own. Throughout her story she draws Christian lessons from a life of “tests” and “fiery ordeals.” Her gifted singing, confident will, and the generosity of early supporters enabled Norma to make a great career of radio/recordings, television, and Christian revival concerts. She describes her adult life with financial comforts, devoted family, and spiritual bliss. Yet through bad luck (or influence of her book editor), tests of her and family’s allegiance to God never abate: toxemic pregnancy, auto accident, crooked car salesman, crooked agent, twisted intestines, psoriasis, debilitating arthritis, broken back, brain shunt, family strokes, sister dies of liver disease, father dead in a car two days, family dog burns the house down, near death penicillin reaction, near death choking on beef Stroganoff, stranded on treacherous river rapids, water skiing accident, downhill skiing accident:

“…’one of the [ski-lift] workers climbed up on the tower to repair it and he called for a peen hammer. They threw one up to him but he missed it and it fell and hit your husband.’ I was crying, and praying, O God, help us! Please protect him, Lord!”

A prayer too late, if you ask me. I imagine if Job read Norma’s autobiography he would say, “Wow, this dame can’t catch a break.”

Still, what also never abates is Norma’s optimism about life, people’s good nature, and her faith in God’s long game. Some readers may discover her buoyant attitude and ornamented writing style ironic, others inspirational. If you are a fan of the ‘LAWRENCE WELK SHOW’, like I am, you already have a sensibility for what is over-decorated but enjoyable. If you take your Lawrence Welk more serious, you might also find Zimmer’s book metaphysically uplifting.

Lawrence Welk

Lawrence Welk

However, if you pray to read more detail about what it was really like working under Welk’s baton for twenty years, God’s answer will be No. There is not much behind the scenes here, except some descriptions of how busy Norma was on days driving between the studio and hospitals, and lists acknowledging all the backstage angels who kept Norma looking grand. I hoped for behind the curtain conflict among the performers, rather than hearing more about Norma’s redoubtable faith in Jesus, no matter what terrible shit life threw at her. I wanted to read more shit about Lawrence the hot-headed puritan, or the over-the-hill band member schtuping a teenage Lennon sister, or the on-camera star who had an off-screen champagne problem.

I admit that despite my being atheist, I did find Norma’s take on life encouraging. She was a person who absolutely believed that smiling into the video camera communicated a hopeful message to viewers. At another scene in the book she describes laying awake with her her croup-afflicted toddler Ronnie, worrying if she should take him to the hospital for a tracheotomy:

“He was barely able to breathe… I lay beside Ronnie, watching and praying. ‘God,’ I prayed over and over, ‘please heal our little son.’ Suddenly I noticed a brightness behind me… Standing near the bed was a lovely blonde woman with a white blouse and dark skirt… She just stood there with a radiant smile on her face, looking down at Ron. Then she just faded away. It was a glorious experience. I felt no fear – just awe. I have always believed that I was permitted to see Ron’s guardian angel.”

A blonde in a blouse and skirt? Who was her son’s guardian angel, Donna Reed?

Off screen Norma Zimmer sounds like she was a bit of a kook, but I’m also convinced, beyond a doubt, that she was a wunnerful, wunnerful lady.

HARRY PARTCH’S EXPERIMENTAL MUSIC AT LINCOLN CENTER

http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2015/07/27/beautiful-dreamer-classical-music-russell-platt

Danny And Dinah – UP IN ARMS

Danny Kaye is reliably irritating in UP IN ARMS, a musical worth one great number. In this case, “Tess’s Torch Song” with Dinah Shore

25 Greatest Film Musicals Of All Time

This guy’s list is unbelievably bad, but it’s list

25 Greatest Film Musicals Of All Time.

NIGHT AND DAY clips

A couple of worthwhile scenes from the 1946 Cole Porter biopic NIGHT AND DAY with Cary Grant.

First, an amazing tap number featuring a specialty named Estelle Sloan. If anybody knows, I’d like to find out if the spinning move is called something other than spinning-around-real-fast:

Then there’s Mary Martin doing her signature song “My Heart Belongs To Daddy.” I think this was what was called “risqué:

Once you’ve seen these, you can probably skip NIGHT AND DAY.

Trivia: Mary Martin was the mother of recently passed actor Larry Hagman, I Dream of Genie and J.R. Ewing

Image

Les Mojis

Les Mojis

Vera & Fred in “Where Did You Get That Girl?” – Three Little Words

Cant believe the synchronicity is this number. Fred Astaire w/Vera Ellen in Three Little Words. 1950 movie with vaudeville era dancing

 

 

Vera & Fred in “Where Did You Get That Girl?” – YouTube.

Time, The Place And The Girl, The (1946) — (Movie Clip) I Happened To Walk Down First Street

Warner Bros musicals didnt have the celebrity names like MGM, but this is a great number from “The Time The Place And The Girl”, 1946. Very catchy

timeplacegirl

Time, The Place And The Girl, The (1946) — (Movie Clip) I Happened To Walk Down First Street.

Gene Nelson: Am I In Love – TCM CLASSIC FILM UNION Video

I think Gene Nelson was WBs version of MGMs Gene Kelly: dance, voice, looks, atheleticism, not to mentions Genes. This isnt the best production number, but it’s one of a kind

Gene Nelson - "She's Working Her Way Through College"

Gene Nelson – “She’s Working Her Way Through College”

Gene Nelson: Am I In Love – TCM CLASSIC FILM UNION Video.

Top 10 Richard Rodgers Songs

Top 10 Richard Rodgers Songs

  1. Overture (Ted Sperling)

    Overture (Ted Sperling)

    ×

  2. Mountain Greenery

    Mountain Greenery

    ×

  3. Oh, What A Beatiful Morning

    Oh, What A Beatiful Morning

    ×

  4. Getting To Know You (Bing Crosby)

    Getting To Know You (Bing Crosby)

    ×

  5. I Have Dreamed [The King and I]

    I Have Dreamed [The King and I]

    ×

  6. You Took Advantage Of Me (Linda Ronstadt)

    You Took Advantage Of Me (Linda Ronstadt)

    ×

  7. My Funny Valentine (Frank Sinatra)

    My Funny Valentine (Frank Sinatra)

    ×

  8. Have You Met Miss Jones?

    Have You Met Miss Jones?

    ×

  9. What's The Use Of Wond'rin'?

    What’s The Use Of Wond’rin’?

    ×

  10. Some Enchanted Evening (Paulo Szot)

    Some Enchanted Evening (Paulo Szot)

    ×

REBLOG: TASTEBUDS.com: Worst Album Covers of All Time

link: Worst Album Covers of All Time | The Tastebuds.fm Blog

 

BREAKING 4TH O’JULY NEWS: Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture Ain’t The 1812 You’re Thinking Of

NPR.org » The Co-Opting Of Tchaikovsky’s ‘1812 Overture’The Co-Opting Of Tchaikovsky’s ‘1812 Overture’

Wikimedia Commons

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky wrote his “1812 Overture” in 1880.

Published: June 24, 2012

by NPR Staff

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky wrote his piece The Year 1812, Festival Overture in E flat major in commemoration of the Russian Army’s successful defense of Moscow against Napoleon’s advancing troops at the Battle of Borodino. Most Americans, however, know the piece as the bombastic tune that accompanies Fourth of July fireworks shows all over the country. Jan Swafford, a professor at the Boston Conservatory, says there are a handful of reasons why Americans have adopted it as their own.

“Arthur Fiedler, in the ’70s — I think ’77 — started doing it with the Boston Pops and it was a gigantic success,” Swafford tells NPR’s Guy Raz. “There are two things about it: It has fireworks built in, so in that sense it’s a natural. And it has an enormous, patriotic, celebratory quality, no matter what it’s celebrating, and that’s certainly relevant. And, you know, by the time it comes around with the fireworks at the Fourth of July, everybody’s pretty drunk anyways. It’s a fantastic climax for the evening, this explosion of joy and fireworks and cannons.” [Copyright 2012 National Public Radio]

TRANSCRIPT:

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, “1812 OVERTURE”)

GUY RAZ, HOST:

Two hundred years ago today, on June 24, 1812, Napoleon’s grand army began its fateful march into Russia. Now, three very important things came out of that invasion. The first was the eventual downfall of Napoleon. The second, Tolstoy’s “War and Piece,” and the third was this.

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REBLOG: VANITY FAIR INTERVIEW: SO THE GREAT PAUL WILLIAMS STILL GREAT. BUT WHO WAS/IS HE?

I actually am often trying to explain “who was Paul Williams” to younger people or to my peers who don’t know pop culture of the 1970s. As this V.F. writer points out there is no contemporary equivalent entertainer like Paul Williams to compare to Paul Williams. The guy was everywhere: pop music (genius), talk shows, game shows, movies. I think what was interesting about him was that he didn’t look like Bobby Sherman, or Burt Reynolds. He was comical, but he had a serious artist side, and he didn’t seem to care about looking like a gay Troll Doll. Part of his high profile can be attributed to the ubiquity of network television. Everybody was watching the same shows on 3 channels so our labor pool of celebrities was smaller. Also people from that time did real stuff to become famous. Famous people then wrote great songs, were not funny on Dinah, or walked on the moon.  Entertaining, even attempts at entertaining, are less important enterprises in becoming famous today. You only have to be talented now at looking beautiful or saying something outrageously stupid on a reality show. – rf brown 

Paul Williams, Writer of “Rainbow Connection,” on His 1970s Neighbors: “Borrow a Cup of Sugar? Maybe a Cup of Vodka” | Blogs | Vanity Fair

Paul Williams, Writer of “Rainbow Connection,” on His 1970s Neighbors: “Borrow a Cup of Sugar? Maybe a Cup of Vodka”

1:30 PM, JUNE 8 2012
BY JIM MCCRARY/REDFERNS.Paul Williams In the A&M Photo Studio, 1970.

Paul Williams, the songwriter, actor, and all-around 1970s media personality, is the subject of a funny, fascinating, and ultimately moving documentary that opens today in New York and Los Angeles. The title, Paul Williams Still Alive,will give you some idea of the movie’s arc, as well as its tone.

Short, witty, and possessed of a signature look that combined aviator glasses and a Jan Brady hairdo, Williams enjoyed Kardashian-like ubiquity in the 70s. (If “enjoy” is the right word.) Though he cut his own records, his songs became far bigger hits for acts such as the Carpenters (“Rainy Days and Mondays,” “We’ve Only Just Begun”), Three Dog Night (“Just an Old Fashioned Love Song”), and Kermit the Frog (“Rainbow Connection”). He and Barbra Streisand co-won an Oscar in 1977 for “Evergreen,” from A Star Is Born. You know: “Love soft as an easy chair . . . ”

But that’s not all. Williams also appeared in films such as Smoky and the Bandit and Battle for the Planet of the Apes, along with pretty much every 70s TV show you can think of, including Johnny Carson’s Tonight Show, where, by IMDb’s reckoning, he turned up 14 times between 1971 and 1978. Paul Williams Still Alive includes a very funny clip of him being gunned down by Angie Dickinson on Police Woman and a less funny clip of him guest-hosting The Merv Griffin Show, where he appears to be coked up and makes jokes about screwing around on the road behind his wife’s back.

I can’t quite think of a contemporary equivalent to Williams, only earlier songwriter-actor-personalities—that was once a job description, as with Hoagy Carmichael and Oscar Levant. Unfortunately, Williams’s career flatlined in the 1980s when he disappeared into the proverbial haze of drug and alcohol abuse, but he’s been sober for 22 years now. Without giving too much away, I’ll say that the new documentary takes a couple of surprising turns, traveling way past “Behind the Music” territory to become a kind of meditation on how people do and do not let their pasts define them. I wouldn’t have thought a film that includes numbers from Circus of the Stars and The Brady Bunch Variety Hour would have something to say about the human condition, but there you have it. Williams has led a more colorful life than most of us, but here he evinces a stubborn, heroic modesty.

The director is Stephen Kessler, who, I should note, is an old and good friend of mine. The film begins with him essentially stalking Williams, and in some sense, it’s as much his story as it is Williams’s—Roger & Me with a happier ending and two much nicer guys at its center. As the following slide show demonstrates, it also serves as a delightful, if occasionally eye-searing, survey of trends in costume and set design on 1970s variety shows.

file

The Tonight Show, 1975.

Bruce Handy: How did Steve first approach you about doing the film?

Paul Williams: It was an e-mail that I answered nine months later. There’s a wonderful, ethereal place where you look at a message that you don’t want to say yes to, and you don’t have the balls to say no to, so you just keep it “save as new” for seven months and every time you look at your mail you’re like, “Oh, my God.” Eventually we talked.

He said from the very beginning, “Someone needs to do a documentary on you and I’d like to do that.” I was like, “I don’t know.” The line I’ve used again and again is that I’ve never found anything more pathetic than some little old man saying, “Please, sir, may I have another cup of fame?” The last thing I wanted to do was a behind-the-scenes “Where Are They Now?” If Steve had found me living behind a trailer behind a junkyard, working at the Red Lion singing “Rainbow Connection” to a sock-puppet Kermit, he would have been thrilled.

Was that the reluctance, that you were afraid Steve was going to make fun of you?

Partly, and I didn’t want to poke the bear again. I had had the full-tilt celebrity experience to the max. I always was a little embarrassed. I had acting agents for a little while after I got sober, and they’d want to send me out to audition, and I just found it embarrassing, going out to ask for something. I had my share. I had all that attention. I don’t need that now. Financially, I’m at a place where I’m O.K. I have a great family. I have good relationships with my kids.

The climax of the movie, really, is the scene where Steve has you watch that footage of you guest-hosting Merv Griffin where you’re clearly high and kind of smug and obnoxious. And present-day Sober You eventually tells Steve to turn it off—that you can’t take it.

I said, “It’s like A Christmas Carol. Steve is taking me back and showing me my past.” The Ghost of Christmas Past. Look at you being an asshole. But it’s a really important piece because you can see the footage practically made me ill. You can see how much I hated that. I was just fried [in theGriffin footage]. I was arrogant, grandiose, shallow, making jokes about marriage infidelity on the road. I asked Steve, “Why would you make a film about that?” Who wants to know about that guy? He’s terrible.

That Griffin footage is pretty extreme, but in earlier clips, it looks like you’re having a good time. I know that’s partly the performer’s craft of appearing on a show likeThe Tonight Show, but still.

I had a lot of fun! The 70s were fabulous. But we rolled into the 80s . . . and suddenly you moved from use to abuse to addiction, where all of a sudden the general party has moved on, and where I’ve moved back to a place where I’ve lost touch with what is my reality, in a sense—where all of a sudden I’m doing stuff on television that was totally inappropriate. That’s what made me clean up.

I want to talk about your music, too. Today it’s Monday and it’s raining. You must get that all the time: Oh it’s a rainy day and it’s Monday!

When it’s raining and it’s Monday, that’s a win-win.

I had thought you were mostly a solo songwriter, but the film mentions your various collaborators.

Kenny Ascher and Roger Nichols were the two main collaborators throughout the years. [B.H.:Williams wrote “You and Me Against the World” and “Rainbow Connection” with the former, “We’ve Only Just Begun” and “Rainy Days and Mondays” with the latter.] The first Academy Award nomination [in 1974, for the song “Nice to Be Around,” from Cinderella Liberty] was stuff I wrote with John Williams. My collaborators were my music school.

As a listener, I’d say that if anyone besides you did your songs the most justice, it was Karen Carpenter. Did you work with the Carpenters directly on those records?

No. I knew them and was friends with them, but I hung out with actors. I lived next door to Bob Mitchum.

Did you go over and borrow a cup of sugar?

Not sugar. Maybe a cup of vodka.

My friends were more actors than they were music guys. The Carpenters [Karen and her brother Richard] were like these kids. But they knew what Roger Nichols and I had done, when nobody else did. We’d been writing album cuts and B-sides. These guys knew it. They walked into my office and said, “We love this Small Circle of Friends record ‘Drifter,’ and the Peppermint Trolley Company record of ‘Trust.’” [Two obscure “sunshine pop”-style records Williams and Nichols had written.] We were shocked. “Wow, somebody knows what we do.”

REBLOG: THE STRAIGHT DOPE: Why People Forget BE A CLOWN and MAKE EM LAUGH Aren’t the Same Song

The Straight Dope: Aren’t the show tunes “Be a Clown” and “Make ‘Em Laugh” suspiciously similar?

A STRAIGHT DOPE CLASSIC FROM CECIL’S STOREHOUSE OF HUMAN KNOWLEDGE

Aren’t the show tunes “Be a Clown” and “Make ‘Em Laugh” suspiciously similar?

June 4, 1976

Dear Cecil:

The finale of The Pirate (1947), with a score by Cole Porter, is a number performed by Gene Kelly and Judy Garland called “Be a Clown.” In Singin’ in the Rain (1952) Donald O’Connor does a famous routine to a song called “Make ‘Em Laugh,” whose music is identical to that of the earlier song and its lyric nearly so. Its authors, however, are listed as Nacio Herb Brown and Arthur Freed, who wrote the rest of the movie’s score. How come? Were there any lawsuits? Both movies were produced by Arthur Freed, which may mean something.

Cecil replies:

Arthur Freed, the producer responsible for most of the MGM musicals of the 40s and 50s, began his career as a songwriter. “Singin’ in the Rain” was part of Brown and Freed’s score for MGM’s first “all talking, all singing, all dancing” musical, The Hollywood Revue of 1929 (the song has since been used in five other films, counting A Clockwork Orange).

In 1952, Freed decided to use his songbook as the basis for an original musical, as he had done with Jerome Kern’s songs in 1946 (Till the Clouds Roll By) and George Gershwin’s in 1951 (An American in Paris). Freed assigned Betty Comden and Adolph Green to build a screenplay around the available material, with Stanley Donen and Gene Kelly to direct. When the time came to shoot, Donen decided that Donald O’Connor needed a solo number, and couldn’t find anything that worked in the Freed catalog. Donen suggested that Brown and Freed write a new song, pointing to Porter’s “Be a Clown” as the sort of thing he thought would fit in at that point in the script. Brown and Freed obliged–maybe too well–with “Make ‘Em Laugh.” Donen called it “100 percent plagiarism,” but Freed was the boss and the song went into the film. Cole Porter never sued, although he obviously had grounds enough. Apparently he was still grateful to Freed for giving him the assignment for The Pirate at a time when Porter’s career was suffering from two consecutive Broadway flops (Mexican Hayride and Around the World in Eighty Days).

PBS Announces OSCAR HAMMERSTEIN II – OUT OF MY DREAMS

PBS Announces OSCAR HAMMERSTEIN II – OUT OF MY DREAMS : PBS.

Courtesy of Rodgers and Hammerstein: An Imagem Company

PBS Announces OSCAR HAMMERSTEIN II – OUT OF MY DREAMS

Matthew Morrison Hosts a Look at the Man
Who Changed the American Musical Forever

– New One-Hour Special Premieres on PBS in March 2012 –

ARLINGTON, VA – JANUARY 18, 2012 — PBS announced today that OSCAR HAMMERSTEIN II – OUT OF MY DREAMS will premiere on PBS stations beginning March 3, 2012 (check local listings). Hosted by Tony, Emmy, and Golden Globe nominated Matthew Morrison (“Glee”) — who starred in the 2008 Tony-winning revival of South Pacific as Lieutenant Cable — the film is a celebration of the most acclaimed lyricist and librettist of the 20th century, the man who worked in the theater for over 40 years, writing the lyrics for over a thousand songs and the libretti for dozens of operettas and musicals performed on Broadway, in London and in Hollywood films. His legendary works include Rose-Marie (1924), Show Boat (1927), Oklahoma! (1943),Carousel (1945), South Pacific (1949), The King and I (1951) and The Sound of Music(1959). Brimming over with movie clips from his greatest musicals, this new PBS special features interviews with Stephen Sondheim, Harold Prince, Shirley Jones, Mitzi Gaynor, Hammerstein family members and others.

Born into a theatrical dynasty, Oscar Hammerstein II (1895-1960) changed the course of musical theater forever with a series of landmark productions, from Show Boat, composed by Jerome Kern in 1927, to the “Golden Age of Broadway” musicals written with composer Richard Rodgers from 1942-1959. The American musical, which began as purely light-hearted and escapist entertainment, was transformed by Hammerstein’s groundbreaking works that told believable stories about plausible (often real-life) characters, with songs that enhanced the narrative, and a message that was sometimes political, and nearly always inspirational.

OSCAR HAMMERSTEIN II – OUT OF MY DREAMS includes segments from five of the timeless, ever-popular Rodgers & Hammerstein films, including iconic scenes fromOklahoma!, Carousel, South Pacific, The King and I and the most popular movie musical of all time, The Sound of Music. Also featured are songs and scenes from among the several movie versions of Show Boat, as well as a clip from the rarely seen film, Lady Be Good, with Ann Sothern singing “The Last Time I Saw Paris,” written by Oscar Hammerstein II on the day Paris fell to Nazi Germany. Set to music by Jerome Kern, it won the Academy Award as Best Song in 1941.

While footage of Oscar Hammerstein II is rare, he is seen and heard in excerpts from a 1958 television interview with CBS News’ Mike Wallace, as well as recorded comments from conversations with contemporary journalists Arnold Michaelis and Tony Thomas.

Stephen Sondheim, mentored by Hammerstein starting in his teen years, is also interviewed and discusses the lessons he learned from the man he considers a theatrical revolutionary and both an artistic and a surrogate father. Also interviewed are: Broadway director Harold Prince; Shirley Jones (star of the film versions ofOklahoma! and Carousel); Mitzi Gaynor (star of the film version of South Pacific); Tony winning playwright/lyricist Joe DiPietro (himself mentored by Hammerstein’s son James); Ted Chapin, President of Rodgers & Hammerstein: An Imagem Company; biographer Hugh Fordin; and Hammerstein family members, including his daughter, Alice Hammerstein Mathias; grandchildren, Oscar Andrew Hammerstein, Melinda Walsh, and Peter Mathias; and his stepdaughter, Susan Blanchard. Seen in archival interviews are Hammerstein’s late wife, Dorothy, and their late son, James.

This program also celebrates Hammerstein’s extraordinary work as a humanitarian and political activist, a part of his life that is not as well known as his artistic achievements. From the beginning of his career to the end, he used his creative talents to raise the social consciousness of audiences all over the world. Show Boat — to a degree unprecedented in the musical theater of its time — took an unflinching look at racial oppression in the post-Reconstruction South, and South Pacific (with its controversial stance on prejudice, expressed in the song “You’ve Got To Be Carefully Taught”) took a bold stand on the issue of civil rights.

PBS special programming invites viewers to experience the worlds of science, history, nature and public affairs; hear diverse viewpoints; and take front-row seats to world-class drama and performances. Viewer contributions are an important source of funding, making PBS programs possible. PBS and public television stations offer all Americans from every walk of life the opportunity to explore new ideas and new worlds through television and online content.

– PBS –

Underwriters: Public Television Viewers and PBS, The Blanche and Irving Laurie Foundation
Writer, Producer, Director: JoAnn Young
Produced by: Creative Retrospectives – A NJ Non-profit Corporation/Young Productions Inc.
Editor: Laura Young
Producer: Sven Nebelung
Consulting Producer: Oscar Andrew Hammerstein
Associate Producer: Amy Asch
Re-recording Mixer: Richard Fairbanks
Format: CC Stereo HD

Everybody Hates Rap And Opera

Not really. I like one of ’em. NPR article on why some of the same people can’t listen to rap music and opera music.

 

Why Do People Hate Rap And Opera?

link: Why Do People Hate Rap And Opera? : Deceptive Cadence : NPR.

So what’s wrong with rap and opera? Not much, really. Except that last week when we asked readers to name their musical blind spots (genres or bands they ignored, either by choice or neglect) a distinct refrain emerged within the responses. Two examples:

“Oh, and by the way, rap is not music. It is mostly a bunch of meaningless drivel by people with no real talent and who certainly should not get paid.”

“Very little of opera is worth bothering with and even then only as instrumental music rather than as the sounds of tortured cats.”

It was clear that opera and rap, more than any other genres, hit some kind of nerve with people. And it’s a fact that seems to hold true far beyond our highly unscientific social media polling. But why?

 

For some people, taste — why we dislike one thing and prefer another — is complicated. It’s connected to self-esteem, personal branding and creating social divisions based on things like class and education. In a 1996 article for the American Sociology Review, Bethany Bryson attempted to show that people use their musical tastes to erect what she calls “symbolic boundaries” between themselves and others.

There’s little doubt that both rap and opera have traveled with significant prejudicial (if stereotypical) baggage: Opera is for rich, white, elderly snobs; rap is made by poor, young, black thugs. Some people reject both groups, while others relish degrees of perceived inclusion. Bryson would say perceptions help determine musical choices and vice versa.

On a less academic level, I asked a couple of my NPR Music colleagues to weigh in. For Bob Boilen, creator and host of All Songs Considered, social structures, he says, have nothing to do with it. It’s all about communication. The languages of rap and opera just don’t speak to him. “If the crux of the music is focused on the words and if the words don’t relate to the listener then it’s all is a big disconnect,” he says. But he’s willing to admit exceptions, including the mournful strains of Portuguese fado: “I don’t care what they’re singing about, I’m with them.”

Frannie Kelley, who swims in the world of rap like I do in opera, agrees that at first glance the two genres would appear to have little in common. Digging deeper, one can argue that there are many connections, not least of which is the obsessiveness of each genre’s most dedicated aficionados.

Opera fanatics incessantly evaluate all aspects of singers, conductors, directors, composers, set designers and opera companies. True geeks know the intricacies of how the human voice works, and how it should work in any given operatic role vis-à-vis any given singer. Opera roles are like clothes, which singers “try on” to varying degrees of success. Certain voices fit certain roles perfectly, but singers often try on roles a size or two too big. Not pretty.

In the higher realms of rap, Frannie says, you have to navigate the interior social strata, the subtleties of sampling and layers of meaning behind the braggadocio and how it relates to selling records. Rap, like opera, also has complicated “cast lists.” Keeping up with who appears on whose singles, mixtapes and remixes can be as confounding as keeping track of who sang what on the famous Knappertsbusch Ring cycles. And with rap, like opera, there are a huge amount of regional variety, from Compton to Atlanta to the Bronx, London and Istanbul.

And then there’s the language, as Bob mentioned. Both the actual language that each genre uses in performance and the cryptic vernaculars each has engendered (click here for a handy Bay area hip-hop dictionary, and here to decode some opera jargon). Opera and rap rely heavily on words, many of which are not immediately discernable. Rap can have complex poetry (and profanity) zipping past at indecipherable speeds (especially theturbo rappers). Opera often has foreign tongues and high flying phrasing, requiring CD listeners to run to their printed librettos and opera houses to install supertitles.

Opera and rap take work to appreciate — perhaps more effort than many of today’s music consumers are willing to expend. In an age when more and more music is available to anyone’s ears, are we turning into lazy listeners? Is it too easy to download too much, to acquire everything but actually hear nothing? Does any time remain to fully appreciate a complete hip-hop album, let alone an entire opera? It also takes work to enjoy music that’s as in-your-face as opera and rap are. With all the melodrama, social consciousness, violence and intense vocal styles, they certainly are not musical wallpaper.

Opera and rap. Who knew they could be so far from each other and yet so close? And who really knows exactly why they both act like lightning rods when it comes to musical preferences? Is it deeply rooted in social psychology, elitism, racism, self-image? The discussion has already been interesting around the NPR Music water cooler. Need to weigh in yourself? Have a story about opera, rap and the reasons why like and dislike what we do? Let us know in the comments section.

Media Log: FEBRUARY THEATRE SPECIAL

I had the opportunity to see a lot of theatre in the last week, both on Broadway and near home in Rhode Island. A reminder, I usually give theatre a simple SEE IT  or SKIP IT recommendation based on content not performance. In cases where good material is performed badly, I’ll add an additional note.

Take Me Out

TAKE ME OUT, writer Richard Greenberg. In 1993 the novelist Richard Lefcourt published a popular book “The Dreyfus Affair” not about the famous French Dreyfus Affair but about a gay, inter-racial  romantic affair between two major league baseball players. Although amusing enough, Lefcourt, whose primary occupation is television scriptwriter, clearly wrote a novel looking for movie rights. His actual knowledge of baseball seemed slight and as far as I can tell he is also a straight guy who failed to capture gay sensibility with any substance either. Lefcourt’s readers were sort of told: Dudes, just move those yummy, round tits down under a schlong and it’s the same thing. It aint. Also not the same thing is the 2003 play TAKE ME OUT by Richard Greenberg (and I confused these two for years) but it’s about a professional baseball player coming out of the closet. Fortunately instead of trying to tackle everything about baseball and gayness the play draws its dramatic energy from issues about all kinds of  intolerance. There actually isn’t any sex in it, which is ironic because many of the scenes call for full male nudity. The dialogue comes off too polished and overly theatrical for my taste, however the characters and the social commentary are complex. TAKE ME OUT won a Tony Award for best play. The cast at the production I just saw at 2nd Story Theater in Warren, RI was as talented as any you’ll see on Broadway.  SEE IT.

COMPANY, music and lyrics Stephen Sondheim, book George Furth. COMPANY is sometimes referred to as Broadway’s first successful “concept” musical. That’s historically arguable, but COMPANY was very influential in moving musical theatre away from the grand and formal Rodgers and Hammerstein book form. Instead COMPANY is a plotless musical about married couples done sort of in vignettes or review style. The common thread is the bachelor character Bobby who is a friend to each of the couples and a prism for their modern upper-middle class angst. COMPANY is my favorite musical on any stage, largely for Sondheim’s brilliant music. SEE IT for the music alone but be warned that the current production at Black Box in Mansfield, MA has a weak cast.

If you are reading this in the New England area both of these shows have their last performances this weekend through Feb. 19th, 2012.

Merrily We Roll Along

MERRILY WE ROLL ALONG, music and lyrics Stephen Sondheim, book George Furth. Another great Sondheim work, and underrated for decades, is MERRILY WE ROLL ALONG currently in revival at Encores in New York City. The concept here is to tell the story of three bickering friends in showbusiness starting at the end of the story and moving backwards twenty years to when they first met as idealistic young people. So we begin at the bitter end, and end at the hopeful beginning. The first Broadway production of MWRA in 1981 was an historic flop for Sondheim. It closed after two weeks. The music was brilliant but the concept was confusing to audiences. Over 30 years Sondheim and his collaborators have tinkered with the show. One of the big things that changed is the nexus of the story-  it’s gone from being a critique about artistic integrity to being more a reflection of how adult friendships change over time. I’m still  interested in that story but I think dramatic efficacy gets lost in backward plotting. I love MERRILY WE ROLL ALONG because it’s unique but I don’t know if the concept will ever really work. SEE IT.

Nick Jonas, How to

HOW TO SUCCEED IN BUSINESS WITHOUT REALLY TRYING, music and lyrics Frank Loesser. If Merrily We Roll Along is an intellectual musical H2$ is the opposite. H2$ is what everybody’s talking about when the say that musicals are dumb stories surrounded by sometimes good music. I love Frank Loesser’s score and I think there are sometimes brilliant subtleties to this broad comedy about a window washer who climbs the ladder of business. I did not have the opportunity to see this revival’s first cast with Daniel Radcliffe and John Laroquette. What they have now on Broadway with Nick Jonas and Beau Bridges is pretty bad, particularly Jonas. To me the character of Finch is supposed to be an opportunist but not necessarily conniving. The comedy is in that everybody at the company keeps promoting Finch because he stands in the right place at the right time. Jonas seems to think that the way to play Finch is to play Nick Jonas playing Finch and he just comes off as smug. Jonas’ vocal performance also isn’t ready for Broadway.  SEE IT somewhere but skip the current production on Broadway.

book reports – THE THEATER WILL ROCK, Elizabeth L. Wollman

THE THEATER WILL ROCK: A HISTORY OF THE ROCK MUSICAL FROM HAIR TO HEDWIG (2006)

There does seem to be a common understanding that before the musical Hair there was nothing like Hair and that most of what followed Hair were flop imitations – Dude, Via Galactica, Rainbow. Though Hair became a classic, theatrical producers stopped throwing their money away on rock scores by about 1975. What Elizabeth Wollman’s through history brings forward is that Hair’s influence in musical theatre can be seen in decades of cultural tug-of-war between keeping rock music’s aesthetics authentic and produce musicals that have mass audience appeal. Hair’s long beautiful hair grew into Grease, and Les Mis, and Mama Mia but through the use of softer forms of rock music. We don’t really recognize how things of changed since Rogers and Hammerstein. Unlike any work I’ve read on the topic of musical theatre, or even in rock journalism for that matter, Wollman finally provides language for describing the variety of very different kinds of musical theatre that are too often lazily categorized as “rock musicals.” For once Hair is rock musical, Jesus Christ Superstar is rock opera and Dreamgirls and Smokey Joe’s Cafe are other things too, well categorized here. I have a couple of quibbles. First, I think Wollman doesn’t emphasize that much of the failure in those fabulous post-Hair rock flops lies in being rushed to Broadway with big money backers and no existing source material. Most of the truly great shows in musical theatre are drawn from novels, plays or history. At least Hair had the huge benefit of a long and sometimes painful gestation period before finally coming uptown. The big rock flops of the early 1970’s were being made-up on the spot. Ironically two of the successful rock musicals from the same period, Your Own Thing and Two Gentleman of Verona were adapted from that rebellious beatnik Shakespeare. Next, Wollman makes frequent reference to off-off Broadway shows like House of Leather and The Legend of Johnny Pot which barely ever opened, meanwhile her research overlooks shows like Promenade (259 performances) and Salvation (239 performances). Finally, between her socio-historical chapters the author includes some short academic meditations on audience attitudes, marketing experiments, and musical aesthetics. These interlude essay are well written they do seem like step children, sections from a different book. If you are seeking musical aesthetics and composition for musical theater, you won’t find much here on the specific shows or songs. However this is excellent work on cultural commodification and the economics of Broadway over the last forty years.

Irving Berlin Re-Signs Agreement with Rodgers n Hammerstein 23 Years After The Last One Died

link: Irving Berlin Music Company Re-Signs with Imagem Music Group, Rodgers & Hammerstein :: Rodgers & Hammerstein Organization :: News.

Irving Berlin Music Company Re-Signs with Imagem Music Group, Rodgers & Hammerstein

Relationship Dating From 1990 Continues With Global Representation of Irving Berlin Brand and Grand Rights, and On-Going Music Publishing Representation in North America

The Irving Berlin Music Company (IBMC) has just re-signed its ongoing representation agreement with the Imagem Music Group/Rodgers & Hammerstein for international brand management and grand rights exploitation, and music publishing in North America. “Our partnership with the IBMC and the Irving Berlin family began in 1990,” says Ted Chapin, President of Rodgers & Hammerstein, a division of the Imagem Music Group. “We have enjoyed working with Mr. Berlin’s three visionary daughters over the years, with unprecedented success in the arenas of publishing, recordings, TV specials, books and events, major revivals of his musicals on Broadway, in London, and on the concert stage, and the creation of new stage properties such as WHITE CHRISTMAS and TOP HAT. We look forward to a continued, and fruitful, collaboration with the IBMC and the Berlin family.”

About Irving Berlin

Born Israel Beilin in a Russian Jewish shtetl in 1888, he died as Irving Berlin in his adopted hometown of New York City in 1989. Songwriter, performer, theatre owner, music publisher and soldier, he wrote scores to more than a dozen Broadway musicals (including ANNIE GET YOUR GUN), and dozens of Hollywood movie musicals, including two which have recently become successful stage properties: WHITE CHRISTMAS and TOP HAT. His more than 1,200 songs include “White Christmas,” “Puttin’ on the Ritz,” “Easter Parade,” “Always,” “Blue Skies,” “Cheek to Cheek,” “There’s No Business Like Show Business,” “Alexander’s Ragtime Band” and “God Bless America.” Irving Berlin’s love for, and generosity to, the USA is legendary, and through several ongoing foundations, including the God Bless America Fund, he donated tens of millions of dollars in royalties to Army emergency relief and the Boy and Girl Scouts. Numerous awards and accolades include an Academy Award for “White Christmas,” a Congressional Gold Medal, a special Tony Award and commemoration on a U.S. postage stamp. Learn more about Irving Berlin at www.irvingberlin.com and www.rnh.com. Like Irving Berlin on Facebook atwww.facebook.com/irvingberlin.

About the Imagem Music Group

Imagem Music Group (André de Raaff, CEO and Co-founder) is the number one independent music publishing company in the world, unique for its leadership role in classical music, Broadway, and pop/rock. Boosey & Hawkes represents the world’s leading classical composers from Aaron Copland and Igor Stravinsky to such contemporary artists as John Adams and Steve Reich. Rodgers & Hammerstein controls the rights to the world’s most popular stage and film musicals, including THE SOUND OF MUSIC,OKLAHOMA! and THE KING AND I, as well as representing works by Irving BerlinAndrew Lloyd Webber, Stephen Schwartz and more. Imagem Music’s ever expanding pop catalogue includes such writers as Elvis Presley, Ludacris, Phil Collins, Genesis, Anna Nalick, Temper Trap, Steve Robson, M.I.A., Bombay Bicycle Club and Daft Punk. Imagem is also active in production library music; London-based Imagem Production Music represents over 100,000 tracks, while California-based 5 Alarm Music represents more than 40 different music libraries. The Imagem Music Group has offices in New York, Los Angeles, London, Paris, Milan, Barcelona, Berlin, Brussels and Amsterdam, and exclusive agents throughout the world. Imagem: making the difference!  www.imagem.com.

the dirty needle – THE LAST SWEET DAYS OF ISSAC

The Last Sweet Days of Issac is about a guy trying to make it with a girl in an elevator and then, in the second act, the same guy, in jail, trying to make it with a different girl through a television screen. I don’t think we’re in Oklahoma anymore. The play appears to be Brecht inspired and the music is the definite offspring of Hair. Issac was a decent off-Broadway hit in 1970. The show’s creators were the female-female team of Nancy Ford (composer) and Gretchen Cryer (lyrics and mother of actor John Cryer). Ford and Cryer got what ever they needed to bring another show to Broadway called Shelter. Shelter flopped, but after that they had their biggest hit I’m Getting My Act Together And Taking It Out on the Road. The songs in Issac are so much like Hair you could transfuse “I Want to Walk to San Francisco” and “Herein Lies the Seeds of Revolution” into the Hair lineup and not know they’re from different shows. That’s a compliment. I love Hair, and I love a lot of the rock ensemble pieces in Issac. This show has its pretentious clunkers, but it also seems to have its own point of view about living life to the fullest. I would love to see this show revived somewhere. 3 gramophones.

The vinyl copy I found has some distortion, especially during the louder tracks on side two. I think it’s an issue with the pressing rather than the recording. I’ve seen this soundtrack in the record swap bins a couple of times so it’s not hard to find and it should be cheap.

More From My Mother’s Record Collection – A Merry Christmas With the Four Aces

I’m still catching up on Christmas records that come from my mother’s record collection, a collection that I finally rescued from a Denver storage locker last summer. Today I attempted to make a digital rip of A Merry Christmas With the Four Aces.

The collection included all of my favorite Christmas albums from my childhood. But there were also a bunch I don’t remember. I think some of these were already in bad shape before I ever got there and they were already retired from the holiday rotation at our family turntable. Every track on the Four Aces Christmas is fucked up with skips. I’m not even going to save it, even though I love the music.

The Four Aces were a bunch of buddies from Philly high schools and the Navy who first formed a jazz instrumental group before discovering there was more demand for their vocal talents on the nightclub circuit. You have to be a real fan to remember which group of four Italian guys did which big vocal harmony hits of the early to mid-fifties era – The Four Lads, The Four Freshman, The Four Preps. The Four Aces are the four who did popular versions of “Love is a Many Splendored Thing”, “Three Coins in the Fountain”, “Stranger In Paradise”, and “Shangri-La.” All great records.

This Four Aces Christmas album has some great musical arrangements, including a lot of vibraphone. Even the usually slow tempo Christmas standards like “White Christmas” and “We Three Kings” are pepped up. And of course the Aces have perfect vocal arrangements. If you can find a clean copy the album it’s worth preserving. 3 gramophones.

Goldmine Magazine’s Who should be in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame That Isn’t? Paul Anka and Bobby Vee

Rock Hall of Fame should induct Paul Anka and Bobby Vee | Goldmine Magazine.

Two Teen Idols for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame

Paul Anka

Paul Anka was one of Rock & Roll’s first teen idols

(No. 41 in a continuing series on artists who should be in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, but are not)

By Phill Marder

This week, two artists – Paul Anka and Bobby Vee – who became teen idols at the age of 15 in spite of their talent.

The suggestion that Anka should be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame is certain to draw scoffs from many. But those who were there when Rock & Roll started and those who have studied the facts and not revisionist fiction are aware that Anka was a major player in the early success of Rock.

Just 15 when his first hit record, “Diana,” was working its way to the No. 1 position, the Canadian was riding the tour busses with a lot of other Rock troopers traveling from town to town. He also toured the United Kingdom at age 16, thanks to “Diana” hitting No. 1 there also, becoming one of the biggest selling 45s ever. The terrific flip-side ballad “Don’t Gamble With Love” didn’t hurt sales, either, and helped establish Anka as one of the biggest and youngest teen idols.

At 16, Anka toured Australia with Buddy Holly and Jerry Lee Lewis as his second major hit, the power ballad “You Are My Destiny,” was heading for No. 7 in the US and No. 6 in the UK. Ironically, Anka’s follow-up to “Diana,” “I Love You Baby” backed with “Tell Me That You Love Me” bombed in the States, but both sides were hits in the UK, “I Love You Baby” soaring to No. 3.

The double-sided hit “Crazy Love” and “Let The Bells Keep Ringing” connected in the States in 1958 as Anka toured with the Everly Brothers, Sam Cooke and others. On all these tours, these youngsters were not wearing tuxedos and singing at supper clubs, you can be sure.

Later in the year Holly asked Anka, still just 17, to write him a song. The result was “It Doesn’t Matter Anymore,” which became Holly’s last hit. Anka said, “It Doesn’t Matter Anymore” has a tragic irony about it now, but at least it will help look after Buddy Holly’s family. I’m giving my composer’s royalty to his widow (Maria Elena Santiago) – it’s the least I can do.”

After combining with George Hamilton IV and Johnny Nash for “The Teen Commandments,” Anka gave his first indication of his future direction with two ballads, “(All Of A Sudden) My Heart Sings,” from 1945 and “I Miss You So” from 1940, his first Las Vegas appearance and a starring movie role in Girls Town. But, he was not finished rocking…not just yet.

From the movie came one of his biggest smashes, the driving ballad “Lonely Boy,” which sat four weeks at No. 1. Then came another early Rock classic, “Put Your Head On My Shoulder,” which sat three weeks at No. 2, blocked by Bobby Darin’s “Mack The Knife.” The No. 4 “It’s Time To Cry,” another strong ballad, followed. All three were major hits across Europe and even reached the upper echelon of the US Rhythm & Blues charts.

“Puppy Love,” supposedly written about Annette Funicello, reached No. 2 in early 1960 and “My Home Town” got to No. 8 later that year. But it proved a long wait for his next top 10 entry. However, he continued having hits and became the youngest star at New York’s Copacabana, wrote the theme song for “The Tonight Show,” wrote the English lyrics to the French standard “My Way,” and penned “She’s A Lady,” a mammoth hit for Tom Jones.

While producing “Oh Happy Day” for the Edwin Hawkins Singers, Anka and his protégé, Odia Coates, recorded the controversial “(You’re) Having My Baby,” which, in spite of female ire from many quarters, sat at No. 1 for three weeks. To placate the upset feminists, Anka later sang “our baby” when performing the song live. Coates and Anka followed with three more hits and he added a solo top 10 entry, “Times Of Our Life,” to close out 1975. But, by this time, his Rock & Roll past was well behind him.

Still, in 1990, it was Anka inducting Darin into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, though Darin, from the outset of his career, had made no secret of his ambition to develop into the next Frank Sinatra. Anka didn’t start out with that in mind. He was just a real young kid with tremendous talent. He paid his dues as a teenage Rock & Roll idol and deserves recognition for the contributions he made.

Bobby Vee

I don’t ever remember seeing Vee in a tuxedo, at least not in concert. Of course, I never was invited to any of his family functions, either.

Yes, his records were not the heaviest, but he did cut many great sides, beginning with his 1959 chart debut, “Suzie Baby” after starting his career in the worst way possible, filling in for Holly after the plane crash that claimed Holly’s life. In the liner notes to his 1963 album, “I Remember Buddy Holly,” Vee wrote, “The local radio station broadcast a plea for local talent to entertain at the scheduled dance. About a week before this, I had just organized a vocal and instrumental group of five guys. Our style was modeled after Buddy’s approach and we had been rehearsing with Buddy’s hits in mind. When we heard the radio plea for talent, we went in and volunteered. We hadn’t even named the group up to that time, so we gave ourselves a name on the spot, calling ourselves ‘The Shadows’.”

Eventually, Vee recorded an LP with The Crickets.

“I have never forgotten Buddy Holly and his influence on my singing style and my career,” Vee noted.

Vee turned out to be much more than a Holly clone. He became a major star, posting six top 10 records in a long and fruitful career.

The first breakthrough came with his 1960 remake of the Clovers’ 1956 hit, “Devil Or Angel,” which Vee carried to No. 6. He followed with another No. 6, the bubblegum classic “Rubber Ball.” The follow-up, “Stayin’ In,” which describes Vee sitting in detention for punching his friend in the nose, didn’t do much to dispel Vee’s sugary reputation, but the flip, “More Than I Can Say,” later remade by Leo Sayer, was a gem, reaching No. 4 in the United Kingdom, and the follow, the solid rocker “How Many Tears,” also hit the UK top 10.

Vee’s records sparkled with pristine production that helped carry “Take Good Care Of My Baby” to No. 1 in 1961 and “The Night Has A Thousand Eyes” to No. 3 in 1963. Meanwhile, “Run To Him,” a wall of sound ballad, reached No. 2 backed by a solid rocker, “Walkin’ With My Angel,” and two more ballads, “Please Don’t Ask About Barbara” and “Sharing You” each peaked at No. 15.

As noted previously, Vee was just as popular in England, notching 10 hit singles, including six that reached the Top 10. Five Vee EPs made the UK top 20 between 1961 and 1963, “Just For Fun” by Vee & the Crickets going all the way to No. 1. His albums also sold well there, “Bobby Vee Meets The Crickets” reaching No. 2 in 1962, while seven others climbed into the top 20. For proof of his staying power, “The Very Best Of Bobby Vee” peaked at No. 18 just three years ago, 47 years after his UK debut. But the British Invasion appeared to end Vee’s hit-making run after “Charms” in 1963, though he surprised everyone with a monster smash in 1967, “Come Back When You Grow Up” climbing to No. 3 in the US The follow, “Beautiful People,” also cracked the US top 40, just edging the original version by its composer Kenny O’Dell.

For the most part, Vee’s chart presence ended as the ’70s entered, but he has remained active on the concert circuit. His backing band, which once included a young Bob Dylan, now features two sons, Jeff and Tom.

Vee’s portfolio should get a second look by those involved in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Though some of his recordings were sugary, his quality never was less than excellent and earlier this year, he was most deservedly inducted into The Rockabilly Hall of Fame. The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame should follow suit.



Read more: Rock Hall of Fame should induct Paul Anka and Bobby Vee | Goldmine Magazine http://www.goldminemag.com/blogs/two-teen-idols-for-the-rock-roll-hall-of-fame#ixzz1SKxRopdb

Atemporal Pop Music In The Current Non-Era: How Ipod Jack-FM’d The Top 40

New Pop Music Sounds Like Its Predecessors – NYTimes.com.

July 15, 2011

The New York Times

The Songs of Now Sound a Lot Like Then

ONCE pop music was something by which you could tell the decade, or even the year. But listening to the radio nowadays is disorienting, if you’re searching for a sound that screams, “It’s 2011!”

Take the biggest hit of the year, Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep.” The song is basically 1960s rhythm-and-blues tightened up with modern production. Everything about “Rolling” — its melody and lyrics, Adele’s delivery and timbre, the role played by the backing vocalists — gestures back to a lost golden age of soul singers like Etta James and Dusty Springfield. Then there’s Cee-Lo Green’s “Forget You,” a hit from last year that’s still on the radio, and which moves a decade nearer the present through being steeped in the ’70s soul of acts like the Staple Singers.

Elsewhere on Top 40 radio you’ll hear a lot of brash, pounding songs that sound like ’90s club music. Recent smashes by performers like Black-Eyed Peas, LMFAO, Kesha, Pitbull, Taio Cruz, Jennifer Lopez and Britney Spears recall the “hip house” sound of hitmakers like Technotronic and C&C Music Factory, or mid-’90s trance anthems by Paul Van Dyk and B T. It may require a mental exercise to bring out the true weirdness of this development: Imagine how peculiar it would have been if in the early ’90s the charts were suddenly flooded with music that sounded exactly like ’70s disco.

Figures like Lady Gaga and groups including the Black Eyed Peas reach even further back and throw ’80s flavors into the ’90s Eurohouse mix: the resemblance between Madonna’s “Express Yourself” and Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way” was widely noted on its release this year. “Just Can’t Get Enough” by the Black Eyed Peas references Styx’s “Mr. Roboto,” while their song “The Time” borrows its chorus from Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes’s “(I’ve Had) the Time of My Life.”

Much of this déjà entendu dancepop is exciting in its crass, energy-drink-blast kind of way. So why does the aural overfamiliarity matter? Well, up until the 2000s pop decades always had epoch-defining sounds. Two or three (sometimes more) genres would emerge to achieve dominance or, at the very least, prominence in the mainstream. Musical styles usually build on the past to some degree, but these genres always took their sources in striking and fresh directions, and they often wrapped the music up in subcultural garb, with a distinct fashion element, new rituals and dance moves, and so forth.

The ’70s generated heavy metal, punk, disco, reggae and more. The ’80s spawned hip-hop, synthpop and Goth. The ’90s had grunge and the techno/rave/electronic explosion. But the decade and a bit that followed the turn of the millennium has produced — well, what exactly? Hip-hop and R&B have built incrementally, at times imperceptibly, on where they were at during the ’90s. Emo is a tuneful and melodramatic merger of pop-punk and Goth. True, if you venture into the musical left field, you will find various underground genres that can claim at least relative freshness: grime and dubstep in Britain, the post-indie sounds of Animal Collective and similar bands in America. But their effects on mainstream pop music has been minimal.

Those who don’t have much personal investment in the idea that popular music should always be pushing forward probably won’t be especially troubled by the current pop scene’s muddled mix of stasis and regression. But those whose expectations have been shaped by growing up during more fast-moving and ever-changing pop decades — which is basically all of them to date except for the 2000s — are likely to be perplexed and disheartened by these developments. In particular the innovation-obsessed ’60s and the cyber-optimistic ’90s instilled an ideal of pop music as herald of the future, a vanguard sector of the culture that was a little bit ahead of the rest of society.

The fading of newness and nowness from pop music is mystifying. But in the last couple of years a concept has emerged that at least identifies the syndrome, even if it doesn’t completely explain it. Coined by the co-founders of cyberpunk fiction William Gibson and Bruce Sterling, “atemporality” is a term for the disconcerting absence of contemporaneity from so much current pop culture. This curious quality can be detected not just in pop music but in everything from fashion to graphic design to vintage chic.

A prime example of atemporality is the fad for photography apps like Hipstamatic and Instagram, which digitally simulate the period atmosphere of pictures taken in the ’70s or ’80s, using the cameras and film stock of the time. Instant-nostalgia snapshots are part of a culture-wide fascination with outmoded technology and “dead media” (Mr. Sterling’s term) that encompasses everything from the cults for manual typewriters and cassettes to the steampunk movement’s fetish for Victoriana to the recent movie “Super 8.”

Mr. Sterling sees the time-out-of-joint nature of today’s pop as a side effect of digiculture. One of the curiosities of the futuristic-seeming information technology that we now enjoy is that it has dramatically increased the presence of the past in our lives. From YouTube to iTunes, from file-sharing blogs to Netflix, the sheer volume and range of back catalogue music, film, TV and so forth that is available for consumption is astounding.

We can access all this stuff with incredible speed and convenience, share it and store it with minimal effort. But a potential downside of this sudden “affluence” is a flood of influences that can overwhelm the imagination of young musicians, who are absorbing five decades of pop history in a frenetic jumble. Their attention is also being competed for by music from outside the Anglophone rock and pop traditions, everything from West African guitarpop to Soviet New Wave music to Ethiopian electronic funk from the 1980s.

The musical omnivorousness that the Internet has encouraged and enabled is one reason atemporality is even more pronounced when you listen to alternative radio stations, which specialize in music by bands that consciously aim to have broad taste and to develop unusual portfolios of influences. Listen to KCRW (89.9 FM), the NPR-affiliated station in Los Angeles whose programming often wanders between genres and decades, leaving listeners to wonder if a particular track was recorded in 2011 or in 1981, or in 1971.

A few weeks ago the station played a gorgeously dreamy tune whose rippling, dewy-with-reverb keyboard part and yearningly melodic bass line seemed uncannily redolent of late ’70s Fleetwood Mac. Was this actually a lost Mac song circa 1977’s “Rumours”? Or was it an offering from one of the growing number of contemporary indie bands influenced by ’70s soft rock? The song turned out to be “Roscoe” by Midlake, a group of 21st-century soft-rockers from Denton, Tex. But it was a remixed version made by the British outfit Beyond the Wizard’s Sleeve with clear intent to bring out further the Fleetwood Mac-iness of the song. And then, to show they were in on it, the programmers at KCRW followed “Roscoe” by playing “Rhiannon.”

That 1976 Fleetwood Mac hit is the kind of staple tune you’d normally hear on a classic rock station rather than KCRW, whose sensibility is like a slightly more adult version of the online hip music magazine Pitchfork. And this shows how atemporality has not just jumbled up the decades, it’s eroded the barriers between genres. The iPod shuffle is the era’s defining music technology. One result on the radio dial is the rise of formats like Jack FM that seemingly mimic a middle-aged man’s iPod in shuffle mode: a restless drifting that nevertheless stays within defined taste limits.

The iPod shuffle and similar digital platforms for music listening have a contradictory result: on the one hand it serves to erode the historical divisions between kinds of music by its decontextualizing effect, on the other hand it enables fans to avoid entirely music they don’t like. So the programming on Jack FM (whose slogan is “Playing what we want”) slips back and forth between ’70s and ’80s, Old Wave and New Wave, with occasional excursions into the late ’60s (Hendrix, Creedence) or the ’90s (Sublime, Smashing Pumpkins). It’s a world where hip-hop and techno-rave never happened, but also where ZZ Top and the Clash are no longer on opposing sides.

Does the atemporality of so much modern pop music mean that when in the future we listen back to early-21st-century pop, we won’t be able to identify a sound that characterizes the period? Fans often identify periods of pop by their production hallmark. So they’ll talk (usually to complain) about ’80s drum sounds. If there’s a modern equivalent, it’s the superhumanly perfect vocals featured in so much current pop and rock thanks to Auto-Tune, the pitch-correction processor made by Antares Audio Technologies.

The slickness of Auto-Tuned singing seems to have a similar aesthetic quality to the design of smartphones and MP3-players and other hand-held gadgets, or to the C.G.I. effects in modern Hollywood blockbusters and the glossy hyper-real imagery in video games. Auto-Tune vocals even seem a bit sci-fi. Which is why in one Black Eyed Peas song Will.i.am sings, in heavily processed tones, about how he’s got “that future flow/that digital spit” (not a reference to saliva, but to rapping). Take away the Auto-Tune sheen, though, and there’s little about Black Eyed Peas records to indicate they weren’t made in the ’90s. The same applies to other recent dance pop smashes by the likes of Taio Cruz, Kesha and Lady Gaga.

Pop music in the 2000s may not have made any huge strides on a formal level (the way songs are written, grooves constructed and so forth), but on this cosmetic level of the digital gloss that’s been applied to the vocals you could say that it does sound of its time. (Which is also why the rasp of Adele and Cee-Lo Green is a deliberate throwback to the era of vocal grit and grain, a bid for “timelessness.”)

For better or worse Auto-Tune is the date stamp of today’s pop: it will date badly, and then it will go through all the stages of starting to see charmingly quaint, cute, cool. Who knows, at some point in the near future it might well become a revivable sound, embraced first by early adopter hipsters who will hunt down “vintage” Auto-Tune plug-ins in the same way that they currently collect antique synthesizers and old-fashioned valve amplifiers.

What's Surf?

From Robert Fontenot’s blog:  Surf music and the great Dick Dale.

link: Surf/Hot Rod Music – What is Surf/Hot Rod Music? – Oldies Songs and Artists.

Surf Music — a distinct style of instrumental rock, not to be confused with songs about surfing, such as the early Beach Boys hits — was developed at the same time and in the same location as the surfer craze of the early Sixties, specifically, the beach clubs of Southern California, where a young guitarist named Dick Dale took his cue from instrumental-rock pioneers like Duane Eddy and Link Wray. Upping the ante on their heavily reverbed style with a “wet” sounding echo and pumping the songs up to a breakneck speed, Dale helped create surf. (Its cousin, Hot Rod or Drag Music, is essentially the same style of music aimed at the classic-car enthusiasts popping up around the same scene.)

Pretty Things, Live!

“The Pretty Things were either a poor man’s Rolling Stones, or The Rollling Stones were a poor man’s Pretty Things.”

25 minute audio clip of The Pretty Things live in 1973

link:  Newstalgia

Re-rumoring "Paul Is Dead" Rumors

Dead, Not Dead?  A blog post from Robert Fontenot.

link: Paul is Dead — Frequently Asked Questions about the Paul McCartney death hoax.

More Fun Halloween Hits: Classic Teen Death Ditties

In the early 60’s there was a fad in Top-40 music for story songs in which teenage characters die.  A car crash with a weird moral ending was almost a guaranteed hit.  Blogger Robert Fontenot lists some of these songs at the link:

link:  Teen Tragedy – The Fifties and Sixties.

Here are a couple of videos with performances from this list.

Halloween Hit Songs

A link to blogger Robert Fontenot’s list of the Top 10 Halloween hits.

link:  The Top 10 Halloween Oldies.

Also, Youtube vids for 3 of the songs:

Same 4 Chords, 36 Songs -Many Pop Songs Use the Same Chord Progression

This was done by an Australian comedy group called Axis of Awesome.

link:   YouTube – 4 Chords , 36 Songs (Unbelievable!!!!) 36 songs can be sung on 4 chords! listen!!

It’s I V vi IV.  One chord, five chord, and four chord all major, minor six chord in the middle  leads into the four chord, four chord leads back to the one.   Get it?  All the songs follow the same progression although not always in the same key.

Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons "Rag Doll" Video

Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons weren’t really in perfect harmony, but whoever produced these records was a genius.

link  Late Nite Music Club.

Hall of Fame, Rock n Roll Runners-Up

The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame announced their list of nominees for this year’s inductions:

Alice Cooper

Beastie Boys

Bon Jovi
Chic
Neil Diamond
Donovan
Dr. John
J. Geils Band
LL Cool J
Darlene Love
Laura Nyro
Donna Summer
Joe Tex
Tom Waits
Chuck Willis

Some years they end up voting in 5, some years 10 or 12.  Exactly who “They” are and what is their voting process is not clear to me.  It is completely clear to me that nobody gives a crap.  The R&R Hall of Fame is counterintuitive.   It bestows elitism to something that is supposed to be counter-elite.  What ever you make of it, here are links to past inductees and a more interesting article on who hasn’t been inducted yet:

link: Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: The Outcasts.

link: http://rockhall.com/inductees/byyear/

Icarus P. Anybody: RIP SRV

Remembering blues guitarist Stevie Ray Vaughn

Icarus P. Anybody: RIP SRV.

Who is Vonda King?

Canadian songstress Vanda King.  I don’t much about but her but there is a ton on YouTube.

Eddie Fisher was 82 and "A true mensch."

Washington Post Obit: A Singer Best Remembered For Scandal

The great Eddie Fisher is no longer coming down for breakfast at 82.  The obits have a lot about his film roles and his celebrity marriages, but this guy had the best voice.

Here are two giant ones:

“Everybody’s Got A Home But Me”  [from Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Pipe Dream]

“Heart”  [from Damn Yankees]

this video kind of sucks

Mr.T "Treat Your Mother Right"

Clip from 1984 program Be Somebody… or Be Somebody’s Fool!

YouTube – Mr.T Rapping : “Treat your mother right”.

Stax/Volt Music – What is Stax/Volt? – Oldies Music Songs and Artists

Stax/Volt Music – What is Stax/Volt? – Oldies Music Songs and Artists.

Oldies Work Songs — Songs about Work and Working — Oldies Music

Oldies Work Songs — Songs about Work and Working — Oldies Music.

Post 911 Banned Songs List

As the anniversary of 911 approaches, here’s an interesting censorship story I forgot about. A Program Director at one of the Clear Channel Radio stations compiled a list of songs that might be considered in “bad taste” to play following the awful events of September 11, 2001.  Also, here’s a link to the full story:  snopes.com: Clear Channel Banned Songs
Alice In Chains, “Rooster”
Alice In Chains, “Sea of Sorrow”
Alice In Chains, “Down in a Hole”
Alice In Chains, “Them Bones”
Beastie Boys, “Sure Shot”
Beastie Boys, “Sabotage”
The Cult, “Fire Woman”
Everclear, “Santa Monica (Watch the World Die)”
Filter, Hey Man, “Nice Shot”
Foo Fighters, “Learn to Fly”
Savage Garden, “Crash and Burn”
Dave Matthews Band, “Crash Into Me”
Bangles, “Walk Like an Egyptian”
Pretenders, “My City Was Gone”
Alanis Morissette, “Ironic”
Barenaked Ladies, “Falling for the First Time”
Fuel, “Bad Day”
Korn, “Falling Away From Me”
Red Hot Chili Peppers, “Aeroplane”
Red Hot Chili Peppers, “Under the Bridge”
Smashing Pumpkins, “Bullet With Butterfly Wings”
Peter Gabriel, “When You’re Falling”
System Of A Down, “Chop Suey!”
Lenny Kravitz, “Fly Away”
Tom Petty, “Free Fallin'”
Bruce Springsteen, “I’m On Fire”
Bruce Springsteen, “Goin’ Down”
Phil Collins, “In the Air Tonight”
Limp Bizkit, “Break Stuff”
Green Day, “Brain Stew”
Temple Of The Dog, “Say Hello to Heaven”
Sugar Ray, “Fly”
Local H, “Bound for the Floor”
Slipknot, “Left Behind, Wait and Bleed”
Bush, “Speed Kills”
311, “Down”
Stone Temple Pilots, “Dead and Bloated”
Soundgarden, “Fell on Black Days”
Soundgarden, “Black Hole Sun”
Metallica, “Seek and Destroy”
Metallica, “Harvester of Sorrow”
Metallica, “Enter Sandman”
Metallica, “Fade to Black”
Nine Inch Nails, “Head Like a Hole”
Godsmack, “Bad Religion”
Tool, “Intolerance”
Soundgarden, “Blow Up the Outside World”
Nena, “99 Luft Balloons/99 Red Balloons”
AC/DC, “Shot Down in Flames”
AC/DC, “Shoot to Thrill”
AC/DC, “Dirty Deeds”
AC/DC, “Highway to Hell”
AC/DC, “Safe in New York City”
AC/DC, “TNT”
AC/DC, “Hell’s Bells”
Black Sabbath, “War Pigs”
Black Sabbath, “Sabbath Bloody Sabbath”
Black Sabbath, “Suicide Solution”
Kansas, “Dust in the Wind”
Led Zeppelin, “Stairway to Heaven”
The Beatles, “A Day in the Life”
The Beatles, “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds”
The Beatles, “Ticket To Ride”
The Beatles, “Obla Di, Obla Da”
Bob Dylan/Guns N Roses, “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door”
Arthur Brown, “Fire”
Blue Oyster Cult, “Burnin’ For You”
Paul McCartney & Wings, “Live and Let Die”
Jimi Hendrix, “Hey Joe”
Jackson Browne, “Doctor My Eyes”
John Mellencamp, “Crumbling Down”
John Mellencamp, “Paper In Fire”
U2, “Sunday Bloody Sunday”
Boston, “Smokin”
Billy Joel, “Only the Good Die Young”
Dio, “Holy Diver”
Steve Miller, “Jet Airliner”
Van Halen, “Jump”
Queen, “Another One Bites the Dust”
Queen, “Killer Queen”
Pat Benatar, “Hit Me with Your Best Shot”
Pat Benatar, “Love is a Battlefield”
Oingo Boingo, “Dead Man’s Party”
REM, “It’s the End of the World as We Know It”
Talking Heads, “Burning Down the House”
Judas Priest, “Some Heads Are Gonna Roll”
Pink Floyd, “Run Like Hell”
Pink Floyd, “Mother”
John Parr, “St. Elmo’s Fire”
Barry McGuire, “Eve of Destruction”
Steam, “Na Na Na Na Hey Hey”
Drifters, “On Broadway”
Shelly Fabares, “Johnny Angel”
Los Bravos, “Black is Black”
Peter & Gordon, “I Go To Pieces”
Peter & Gordon, “A World Without Love”
Elvis Presley, “(You’re the) Devil in Disguise”
Zombies, “She’s Not There”
Elton John, “Bennie & The Jets”
Elton John, “Daniel”
Elton John, “Rocket Man”
Jerry Lee Lewis, “Great Balls of Fire”
Santana, “Evil Ways”
Louis Armstrong, “What A Wonderful World”
Youngbloods, “Get Together”
Ad Libs, “The Boy from New York City”
Peter Paul & Mary, “Blowin’ in the Wind”
Peter Paul & Mary, “Leavin’ on a Jet Plane”
Rolling Stones, “Ruby Tuesday”
Simon & Garfunkel, “Bridge Over Troubled Water”
Happenings, “See You in Septemeber”
Carole King, “I Feel the Earth Move”
Zager & Evans, “In the Year 2525”
Norman Greenbaum, “Spirit in the Sky”
Brooklyn Bridge, “Worst That Could Happen”
Three Degrees, “When Will I See You Again”
Cat Stevens, “Peace Train”
Cat Stevens, “Morning Has Broken”
Jan & Dean, “Dead Man’s Curve”
Martha & The Vandellas, “Nowhere to Run”
Martha & The Vandellas/Van Halen, “Dancing in the Streets”
Hollies, “He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother”
Sam Cooke/Herman’s Hermits, “Wonderful World”
Petula Clark, “A Sign of the Times”
Don Mclean, “American Pie”
J. Frank Wilson/Pearl Jam, “Last Kiss”
Buddy Holly & The Crickets, “That’ll Be the Day”
John Lennon, “Imagine”
Bobby Darin, “Mack the Knife”
The Clash, “Rock the Casbah”
Surfaris, “Wipeout”
Blood Sweat & Tears, “And When I Die”
Dave Clark Five, “Bits and Pieces”
Tramps, “Disco Inferno”
Paper Lace, “The Night Chicago Died”
Frank Sinatra, “New York, New York”
Creedence Clearwater Revival, “Travelin’ Band”
The Gap Band, “You Dropped a Bomb On Me”
Alien Ant Farm, “Smooth Criminal”
3 Doors Down, “Duck and Run”
The Doors, “The End” Third Eye Blind, “Jumper”
Neil Diamond, “America”
Skeeter Davis, “End of the World”
Ricky Nelson, “Travelin’ Man”
Chi-Lites, “Have You Seen Her”
Animals, “We Gotta Get Out of This Place”
Fontella Bass, “Rescue Me”
Mitch Ryder, “Devil with the Blue Dress”
James Taylor, “Fire and Rain”
Edwin Starr/Bruce Springsteen, “War”
Lynyrd Skynyrd, “Tuesday’s Gone”
Drowning Pool, “Bodies”
Mudvayne, “Death Blooms”
Megadeth, “Dread and the Fugitive”
Megadeth, “Sweating Bullets”
Saliva, “Click Click Boom”
P.O.D., “Boom”