#TwoForTuesday: John Lennon and Paul McCartney


Of course, no discussion of songwriting teams would be complete without talking about one of the best-known teams in rock, John Lennon and Paul McCartney. They wrote most of their hits for The Beatles, of course, but at one time they wanted to be a songwriting team like Gerry Goffin and Carole King or Jerry Lieber and Mike Stoller and write songs for other artists.

While the songs were credited to Lennon-McCartney, it was common knowledge that they wrote separately, then solicited the opinion of the other. Most of the songs they wrote for The Beatles were recorded and released by the band, but there were also songs that the band recorded but didn’t release, songs they decided weren’t worth recording and offered to other artists, and songs they wrote specifically for other artists. It’s the songs in the last two categories we’ll focus on today.

EMI, their record label in the UK, compiled an album of Lennon-McCartney compositions and called it The Songs Lennon and McCartney Gave Away. It was released in 1971 and reissued in 1979 with the addition of one song, “I’m The Greatest,” written by John and performed by Ringo Starr on his 1973 album, Ringo. All of the other tracks on the album were released as singles by artists including Cilla Black, Peter & Gordon, Billy J. Kramer & The Dakotas, and others. These two tracks come from that album, and were the first hits in the US for Lennon and McCartney not performed by The Beatles.

First is “World Without Love,” written by Paul and recorded by Peter & Gordon in 1964. It reached #1 in both the US and UK that year.

Second is “Bad To Me,” written by John for Billy J. Kramer & The Dakotas. Billy took the song to #1 in the UK in 1966 and #9 in the US a year later.

The album is out-of-print; I found a vinyl copy on Amazon for over $100, a little rich for my blood (and besides, I don’t have a turntable). The songs are generally available on YouTube, so it might be possible to build a reasonable facsimile there. I haven’t tried it yet…

John Lennon and Paul McCartney, your Two for Tuesday, October 6, 2015.

Monday’s Music Moves Me: Jazz Standards from Musicals


Well, I had a choice this week: “either about kids growing up (such as Brad Paisley’s “if he’s anything like me”) or songs from Musicals, whichever you prefer!” I’ll choose the latter.

Songs from musicals have always provided fodder for jazz musicians, who can take a song, change the tempo, reharmonize it, and improvise (or “riff”) off the original melody at will. Many songs considered standards started their lives as show tunes. Here are but five examples of some of the greatest jazz musicians ever playing songs from Broadway musicals or movie musicals and turning them into pure magic.

Softly, As In A Morning Sunrise – George Benson: By Sigmund Romberg and Oscar Hammerstein II for the 1927 operetta The New Moon. One of my favorite movies is Deep In My Heart, a 1954 biopic about Romberg that starred José Ferrer as the composer. This song, and some of the more jazzy interpretations of it, figure prominently in the picture. Ferrer made two movies in 1954; the other was The Caine Mutiny.

Smoke Gets In Your Eyes – Miles Davis: Written by Jerome Kern and Otto Harbach for the 1933 musical Roberta. Davis drew heavily from the Broadway stage in the late 1950s and early 1960s.

My Funny Valentine – Chet Baker with the Gerry Mulligan Quartet: From the 1937 musical Babes in Arms by Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart. Wikipedia tells me that this recording “will be inducted into the Library of Congress’s National Recording Registry for the song’s ‘cultural, artistic and/or historical significance to American society and the nation’s audio legacy’.”

My Favorite Things – John Coltrane: From The Sound of Music (1959) by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II. ‘Trane’s 1961 album of the same name signaled his switch from bebop to modal jazz and is considered a groundbreaker.

Cheek to Cheek – Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong: I’ve done all instrumental covers to this point, here’s a vocal performance by one of the great jazz pairings. From the movie Top Hat (1935) by Irving Berlin.

That’s Monday’s Music Moves Me for October 5, 2015. Hope you’ve enjoyed it.

The (Rainy And Overcast) Week That Was

Today’s The Week That Was is sponsored by Ovaltine. That’s the way to start your day!

How’s the weather by you? It’s been cool and rainy here, and I don’t we’ve seen the sun since Wednesday. Good weather for a hot cup of Ovaltine…

The Week That Was

Another tuneful week here at The Sound of One Hand Typing….

Monday’s Music Moves Me was another freebie. I found a playlist of “lite rawk” I had been building for a Thursday Ten, and used that for M^4 instead. “Lite rawk” is cool-Eighties-guy speak for light rock, a subgenre of rock popular in the 1970’s and 1980’s, judging by the number of stations that sprang up almost overnight when it became popular. I know it wiped out nearly all the “beautiful music” stations in the Chicago area, depriving us of the music of Percy Faith, Mantovani, and Ferrante & Teicher. Judging by the response, the songs are fondly remembered. Michele wanted to know how I managed to string all the songs together and embed them, but by the time I got around to making the video, she had figured it out. Probably just as well; having been a software trainer most of my career, I spent too much time debating whether I should simply discuss embedding the playlist or if I needed to explain how to build said playlist as well. Sometimes I just think too hard. I mentioned to Nadine that it might be possible to generate a “lite rawk” station on Pandora or iHeart. I think Pandora lets you specify songs around which you want to build a playlist, and I know that playing the Christopher Cross station on iHeart gave me a lot of the songs. Try it yourself!

Two for Tuesday featured more light music, in this case the light opera of Gilbert & Sullivan. I’m not a particular fan of their music; I think I should have left them off the list of Songwriting Teams.

My one-liner for Wednesday came from the movie Good Will Hunting, Will’s assessment of a college education. Linda said it was one of her favorite movies and she needed to see it again. While it’s not my favorite movie, I like that it might be the only movie about Boston that doesn’t include a visit to Fenway Park. I’m sure there are other movies about Boston that have no reference to the Red Sox and their ballpark; I just can’t think of them.

Incidentally, I realize that I might come off as being against going to college. I’m not. I do think that, given the expense and the debt most students are left with, and the lack of job prospects for new graduates in this day and age, they need to give lots of thought to what they want to study and whether going to (for example) Harvard at almost $50,000 a year tuition is really worth it when there are alternatives that cost a whole lot less. Mollie said she agrees more with the idea of apprentice training. It’s true: we assume every kid is going to go from high school to college rather than telling them what the alternatives are.

Thursday was Battle of the Bands day, and my battle is over the jazz standard “Stolen Moments.” You have until 12:01 AM EDT Wednesday to cast yout ballot. I also learned that alto saxophonist Phil Woods passed away on Thursday, and used his version of the song (backed by members of his European Rhythm Machine) as an example of what it should sound like.

The Friday Five was songs with a girl’s/woman’s name as the title. As I mentioned, the problem was not coming up with songs, it was deciding which ones to include. I’ll likely be using the same theme on Friday (or maybe a Thursday Ten, who knows?), so if you have any special requests, let me know. Remember, the title has to be just a woman’s name, eliminating songs like “Love Grows Where My Rosemary Goes” or “Walk Away, Renee.” They’re great songs, but don’t fit the theme. Nadine got it right, suggesting “Carrie Anne” by the Hollies.

Finally, the prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday was “expect/unexpected,” which made me think of The Newlywed Game, which made me think of my sixteen months at Newly Weds Foods, which reminded me of Tales of the Unexpected, and that reminded me of The Alfred Hitchcock Hour, which once ran a story so macabre it kept my brother awake for several nights.

So, tune in this week for more music and other fun stuff!

You Can Always Expect The Unexpected #socs

…on the Newlywed Game!

Remember that show? There was a version that came on in the afternoons and another that came on Saturday nights, back in the days when they actually scheduled new programs on Saturday nights. Now they just throw on whatever they have around the studio and add a news magazine show. They figure the only people watching on Saturday night are babysitters and old people, like me. Rotten kids… get off my lawn!

One of the funniest things from the Newlywed Game was this clip. They always swore it never happened, but it did. It’s on video. (The answer has been deleted, but the aftermath hasn’t, so you can just imagine what it was.)

I used to work for a company called Newly Weds Foods. They started out making the sheet cake for ice cream cake rolls, which they’d sell to dairies, who would extrude ice cream over the cake and roll it up. The name came from the idea that they were marrying cake to ice cream. They no longer make the cake, nor do they make English muffins anymore; their business is all breaders, batter mixes, spice mixes, and capsicums. Ever seen panko bread crumbs? Regular bread crumbs are actually cracker meal, baked in a big sheet, broken up, and milled to the appropriate size. Panko start out as regular bread which is then shredded and goes through a drying process that toasts them. They were the first company in the US to make them. I left them when I got tired of working six and sometimes seven days a week.

When I finally had a five-day-a-week job, I used to stay up on Saturday nights to see Tales of the Unexpected. I think it was made in England, but it was stories in the Ray Bradbury vein. The kind of stories you used to see on The Outer Limits or The Twilight Zone, sometimes even like Alfred Hitchcock Presents. Speaking of the last show, my brother (I won’t say which) once said the scariest thing he’s ever seen was the episode called “The Jar.” I remember it. It was scary.


This is my contribution to this week’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday, hosted by Linda Hill. She has all the rules over at her place, as well as the list of other participants. Why not join us?

Five Songs With A Girl’s Name As The Title


I can just hear you now: “Geez, you’re just mailing it in, Holton.” Hey, this was harder than it looks, not coming up with songs with a girl’s name in the title, but coming up with just five. Every time I thought I had the list done, I’d think of another, and decide that one would fit better. Don’t worry, you’ll see this topic again. (Yeah, I know, “Don’t threaten me, pal.”)

Michelle – The Beatles From the Rubber Soul album, when the lads were starting to look a little rough around the edges.

Alison – Linda Ronstadt Had Elvis Costello’s version here first, then realized the lovely Ms. Ronstadt had done a cover of it, and that I liked her voice better.

Gloria – Laura Branigan From 1982, a late disco-era song, proving once and for all that Steve Dahl didn’t kill disco in 1979 (Google “disco demolition” if you don’t get the reference).

Gloria – Shadows of Knight A cover of Them’s song that reached #10 on the Hot 100 because of the number of radio stations that wouldn’t play Them’s version (because it had the line “She comes to my room” in it).

Anna – The Beatles One more by The Fabs, from their first album, which, depending on your preference, was Please Please Me on Parlophone (in the UK) or Introducing… The Beatles! on Vee-Jay (in the US).

And that’s your Friday Five for the first Friday in October, 2015.

BATTLE OF THE BANDS: “Stolen Moments”


Sometimes a little voice comes along and tells you to do a song, and you don’t know why, but you decide to go with it. For this battle, I chose “Stolen Moments,” a jazz standard written by Oliver Nelson, a saxophone player who played with a number of jazz greats and died too soon at the age of 43. When I saw the list of musicians who had done the song, my eye immediately fell on the name Phil Woods. In the early 1970’s, I got a bunch of free records from a guy Mom taught with whose mother worked at WCFL in Chicago, one of which was Phil Woods and the European Rhythm Machine at the Montreaux Jazz Festival. I wasn’t really into jazz at the time, but I gave the album a listen.

Wow! I had never heard music like this. Over the years, I listened to it a number of times. Maybe not as often as Chicago Transit Authority or Child Is Father To The Man, but enough that it burned the name “Phil Woods” into my brain for all eternity. So, when I saw he had done the song, I had to have a listen. As I was listening, I started scrolling through the comments, and got the sad news that Phil had died on Tuesday at the age of 83.

I’ve done three things to commemorate Phil: I stopped at his obituary page and left a note, I purchased the MP3 version of his Montreaux album, and I’m featuring his version of “Stolen Moments” with the European Rhythm Machine (George Gruntz, piano; Daniel Humair, drums; Henri Texier, bass) to introduce you to the tune. This is not part of the Battle today.

As with most jazz standards, the song has been covered a number of times. Here are our two contestants for today:

CONTESTANT #1: Lee Ritenour, Andreas Varady, and Dave Grusin

This was a performance at the 46th Montreaux Jazz Festival which also coincided with Quincy Jones’ 80th birthday. That’s Quincy handling the introductions.

CONTESTANT #2: The Brownman Electryc Trio

I had never heard of this band before today, but they have a website that tells us Brownman Ali is from Trinidad, learned the trumpet from Randy Brecker in New York, and is now considered Canada’s preeminent jazz trumpeter. He leads seven different ensembles, including the Electryc Trio (with a different lineup in the US and Canada) which is reminiscent of Miles Davis in his later years. This is the Canadian lineup, including Brownman, Brad Cheesman on 6-string bass, and Colin Kingsmore on drums.

So, which do you like better? The more traditional treatment by Ritenour, Grusin, and Varady, or the Miles Davis-esque treatment by the Brownman Electryc Trio? Vote now by leaving a comment, and after you’ve done that, visit the other Battles going on today by visiting the other BotB’ers:

Tossing It Out
Far Away Series
StMcC Presents Battle of the Bands
Your Daily Dose
Mike’s Ramblings
Curious as a Cathy
DC Relief – Battle of the Bands
This Belle Rocks
Book Lover
Alex J. Cavanaugh
Shady Dell Music & Memories
Debbie D. at The Doglady’s Den
Angels Bark
Jingle Jangle Jungle
Women: We Shall Overcome
Cherdo on the Flipside
Holli’s Hoots ‘n’ Hollers
J. A. Scott
Quiet Laughter

I’ll announce the winner of this battle next Wednesday, October 7. See you then!

#TwoForTuesday: Gilbert & Sullivan


Librettist W. S. Gilbert and composer Arthur Sullivan wrote fourteen comic operas together, the best-known being H. M. S. Pinafore, The Pirates of Penzance, and The Mikado. Their music is so ubiquitous that even someone who has never seen any of them (e.g. me) is familiar with the songs, and can usually tell when a song was written by them. A number of comedic actors have had parts in their productions, and their melodies have been used in commercials and have been parodied by Allan Sherman and others.

The two songs I’ve chosen are both from The Mikado and both are performed by comedians. The first is “Willow, Tit-Willow,” sung by Groucho Marx, from a performance on The Bell Telephone Hour in 1960. Groucho was reportedly so fond of Gilbert and Sullivan’s music he would inflict it on dinner guests.

The second is “I’ve Got A Little List,” sung by Eric Idle, in a performance for Thames Television in 1987. Parts One and Two of this performance are on YouTube.

Gilbert & Sullivan, your Two for Tuesday, September 29, 2015.

Monday’s Music Moves Me: Lite Rawk!


I had no idea what today’s theme was until today. Dolly’s website said this was a “freebie” week, but since last week was a freebie week, I was under the impression that this wasn’t. But I guess the person who came up with the theme forgot to tell Dolly, so this is also a freebie week.

First, an apology: This is kind of a long playlist. It was the beginning of a Thursday Ten that I never finished, until this afternoon. I’ll list the songs so you can skip the ones you don’t like, or you can play the whole thing while you’re doing something else.

These are songs from my early adult days, from roughly 1976 through 1986 (in John years, 20 to 30), that, for some inexplicable reason, I like. I’ve titled the list “LITE RAWK”; these songs came from the era of “lite favorites from the 1970’s to today” radio stations. The ad for one such station in Chicago featured an early-’80’s guy with blowdried hair and a porn ‘stache who obviously listened to the station because “the ladies did” uttering the line “lite rock,” but it came out “lite rawk.”

Here’s the track listing.

  1. Baby Come Back – Player: released in 1977, this went all the way to #1 on the Hot 100 (and #10 on the Soul charts) the following year (the year Mary and I got married).
  2. I Go Crazy – Paul Davis: The first single from his 1977 album Singer of Songs: Teller of Tales, this reached #7 in 1978.
  3. How Long (Has This Been Going On)? – Ace: From their 1974 album (a little before the time, but hey) Five-A-Side, got to #3.
  4. How Much I Feel – Ambrosia: From their 1978 album Life Beyond L.A. Reached #3 that summer.
  5. Key Largo – Bertie Higgins: Reached #8 in Spring 1982.
  6. The Captain of Her Heart – Double: From their 1985 album Blue, it reached #16 on the Hot 100, the first single by a Swiss band to make the chart. I was having my teeth cleaned many years ago, and Libby, the hygienist, confessed this was her favorite song. This is for her.
  7. Moonlight Feels Right – Starbuck: This video was recorded live at Chastain Park right here in Atlanta a couple of years ago. Mary and I have been to Chastain Park exactly once (to see Robert Cray in 1988) and swore the only way they could get us back into the place would be for a reunion of The Beatles, including John and George. Starbuck, incidentally, is a band from Atlanta, started by singer/keyboardist Bob Blackman and Bo Wagner, who has the oh-so-cool marimba solo in the middle of the song. The song reached #3 on the Hot 100 in 1976.
  8. Reminiscing – Little River Band: Their most popular song in the US, reaching #3 on the Hot 100 and #10 on the Easy Listening chart in 1978. It received the BMI Five Million-Air award for having been played over 5 million times on the radio. It was still popular in early 1979, when I was working nights, and I wouldn’t go to bed until I heard it.
  9. Sailing – Christopher Cross: Recorded in 1980 and considered the dividing line between ’70’s and ’80’s music, it was released in mid-1980 and reached #1 for one week in late August. It won Grammys for Song of the Year, Record of the Year, and Arrangement of the Year. MTV ruined Cross’s career when it debuted; guess the viewers didn’t want to see a portly guy singing “lite rawk.” He’s had the last laugh, though: he still plays music, and MTV doesn’t…
  10. I Just Wanna Stop – Gino Vannelli: Also released in 1980, it reached #4 on the Hot 100 and #1 in Gino’s native Canada. I had a friend who did a hilarious impression of Gino singing this song.

That’s Monday’s Music Moves Me for the last Monday in September 2015. Enjoy!

First The Week That Was of Autumn

This week’s “The Week That Was” is sponsored by the cereals of General Mills.

It took me a long time to realize that Kix, Trix, and Cocoa Puffs were all the same cereal. Trix was Kix with fruit flavors, while Cocoa Puffs were Kix with chocolate flavor. The commercials were a product of Total Television, the creators of Underdog, Tennessee Tuxedo, and other great cartoons; Total was owned by General Mills and used the same studio in Mexico as did Jay Ward Studios, creators of Rocky & Bullwinkle. That explains why they look so similar.

The Week That Was

The temperatures are more bearable now than they were a couple of weeks ago, but we’ve had a lot of rain. Today shows signs of being pretty nice.

Monday’s Music Moves Me was a “free dance” one, and I featured the music of Tommy Emmanuel, CGP, who released a new album, It’s Never Too Late, a week ago Friday. Trust me, it’s a good one, and should be in your collection. He’s released videos of about half the songs on his YouTube channel. Give it a listen! He’s an incredible guitar player.

I also announced the winner of the latest Battle of the Bands on Monday: Jorma Kaukonen defeated Sinead O’Connor in a battle over “By The Rivers of Babylon.”

I continued my survey of songwriting teams on Two For Tuesday, featuring the music of Rodgers and Hammerstein. They wrote twelve shows together, many if not all of which are classics and favorites of several of my readers. The transition from the stage to the silver screen is practically seamless with their musicals, and indeed most musicals in general. Several of you mentioned they have a couple of R&H’s musicals on DVD. I usually just wait for them to air on TV, although I haven’t seen many since cutting the cord and no longer having Turner Classic Movies.

We lost Yogi Berra, Hall of Fame catcher and true character, on Tuesday, so One-Liner Wednesday featured one of his lines. Baseball fan or not, you probably have seen him and heard him talk on TV. As with most older ballplayers, he had a million stories, and wasn’t shy about telling them.

I combined The Thursday Ten with Mama Kat’s Writer’s workshop’s prompt and delivered ten songs with “wait” in the title. There are many others, of course, but these were the first ten I thought of. I always reserve the right to reuse a topic, especially list topics, so you’ll likely see a reprise of the topic the next time I get stuck for a topic to write about.

I departed from the usual Friday Five this week to share the results of a DNA test Mary and I both did through Ancestry.com. Through the testing, I learned I’m predominantly Irish and Mary’s primarily Eastern European, i.e. nothing w didn’t already know. We’ve decided to use 23andMe.com to do another test. I think theirs is a little more thorough than Ancestry’s, but we’ll see.

Finally, the prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday was “-eat.” I went through all the words that end in those three letters, and discovered that the one word that doesn’t rhyme with the others is “great.” I got a few interesting comments, both here and on Facebook.

  • Jo said that English is a hodgepodge of other languages, not just Latin and Greek, but also German, Saxon, Celtic, Danish, and French, to which we can add Arabic (algebra, coffee), Hindi (pajamas or pyjamas), and a few more I can’t think of right now. She also mentioned that Americans don’t speak English, which is probably true, although it is a dialect of it. Like Spanish as spoken in Spain, South America, Mexico, Puerto Rico, and Cuba, it shares enough in common with the original language that we can usually understand each other.
  • Michele at Angels Bark said all of the different ways to pronounce different combinations of letters makes English the hardest to learn.
  • Manee Trautz said she took Latin because she wanted to be a doctor and she thought it would help her with all the medical terms, but it ended up helping her make friends in the Latin Club in high school. She also said English is considered the most difficult language to learn, at least among those who speak more than one language.
  • Over on Facebook, my brother Pat said an English professor told him some words were used more for commerce (e.g. great) and as a result stayed the same while other words were changing, but also said that might be a lot of hooey.
  • Bill, a colleague of mine from years ago, came up with yet another word that ends in -eat that doesn’t fit the mold: sweat. That one doesn’t rhyme with any of the others, including great.
  • Finally, Sue said that “great” does rhyme with “heat” and the others when pronounced as John Cleese did in the “Scott of the Antarctic” sketch…

Hope you’ll join me this week for more of the same fun and games!

John Holton's blog


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