Monday’s Music Moves Me: RIP Chuck Berry

Chuck Berry… man, what a player. I heard he had passed Saturday, and have read a few of the obits and tribute posts to him, all of which said he was a legend, which he was, the Father of Rock ‘n’ Roll, which he was (or at least one of them), etc. etc. etc. As I see it, Chuck influenced George Harrison, who in turn influenced me.

Here are a few songs, and I found a way not to repeat any that others have posted: I started with “Guitar Boogie” and let YouTube pick the rest. I came up with some gems I hadn’t even heard of. Enjoy!

“Guitar Boogie”

“Woodpecker”

“House Of Blue Lights”

“Tulane”

“You Never Can Tell”

Chuck was still performing until before he died, and it took death to get him to stop. He’s probably still playing in Rock & Roll Heaven. Rest in peace, Chuck Berry, and thanks for all the great tunes.

Monday’s Music Moves Me is sponsored by X-Mas Dolly, Callie, Cathy, and Stacy, so be sure and visit them, where you can also find the Linky for the other participants.


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Monday’s Music Moves Me: “Air” Songs

I’m writing this last Monday, because X-Mas Dolly (a/k/a Marie) has already added the theme to her page. It comes to us from an anonymous source, and here it is:

“Band/Artist name or Song title with the word ‘Air’.”

It was as though the songs just came flying at me, and I also immediately thought of everyone’s favorite band, Air Supply! Here’s “Making Love Out Of Nothing At All.”

So, now that we have that out of the way….

In 1974, the year I graduated from high school, my favorite band, Chicago, who for years had been called a “jazz/rock” band, released their seventh album (called, not surprisingly, Chicago VII), in which they attempted to do a little more of the jazz than they had done on the previous two albums. They started the album off with an excursion into odd time signatures, “Aire,” to which they added a prelude, oddly named “Prelude to ‘Aire’.” Here are both songs.

Back in the late Sixties (Peace, Love, Dope!), a couple of hippie radicals named James Rado and Gerome Ragni decided to write themselves a musical dedicated to the free-love, freewheelin’ times, and enlisted a square named Galt McDermott to write the music for a musical they called Hair. Buried amongst all the songs about free love, dope, nudity, and living in the great outdoors was a song called “Air,” which discussed all the extra stuff besides nitrogen, oxygen, and carbon in Earth’s atmosphere. From the original Broadway cast album, here’s that song.

You know how you remember a song but can’t remember what its name was, or who did it? I had one of those moments today, when all I could remember was “ooo-ooo, have another HIT! Of fresh air!” Well, I Googled it (actually, Duck Duck Go‘ed it) and discovered that the name of the song was “Fresh Air,” and the band who had a hit with it in 1970 was a band from the Haight-Ashbury days of San Francisco, Quicksilver Messenger Service.

Long as we’re stuck in the late Sixties… in 1968, Arthur Hailey wrote a book called Airport. If you’ve never read it, whether or not you’ve seen the 1970 film based on the book, starring Burt Lancaster, Dean Martin, Jean Seberg, Jacqueline Bisset, and the late, great George Kennedy, find a copy of it, sit down and read it. It’s that good a book, and made Arthur Hailey one of my favorite authors. Of course, the book didn’t come with a soundtrack, but the movie did, written by Alfred Newman (no relation to the Mad magazine kid). The “Love Theme from Airport” was recorded by session guitarist and electronic effects guru Vinnie Bell in 1970, and it reached #31 on the Hot 100 and #2 on the Adult Contemporary chart.

I came up with two more, one of which was just too easy (“The Air That I Breathe” by The Hollies). The other? You’ll have to wait until Wednesday’s Battle of the Bands to hear it.

And that is Monday’s Music Moves Me for March 13, 2017.

Monday’s Music Moves Me is sponsored by X-Mas Dolly, Callie, Cathy, and Stacy, so be sure and visit them, where you can also find the Linky for the other participants.


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Monday’s Music Moves Me: No Singing, Just Whistling

Another “freebie” day here at m4.

What got me on this particular topic was the song “Winchester Cathedral” by The New Vaudeville Band, which was the basis for Mary B’s latest Battle of the Bands. (And, if you haven’t voted in my Battle of the Bands for this week, what’s holding you up? You have until tomorrow morning to cast your ballot, and the other folks holding battles would appreciate a vote, too.)

Anyway, thinking the song started with whistling (it doesn’t, by the way) got me thinking about other songs that had whistling in them. And yes, I came up with Billy Joel’s “The Stranger,” Otis Redding’s “Dock of the Bay,” and Danny O’Keefe’s “Goodtime Charley’s Got The Blues,” but then I started remembering songs that had whistling and no singing in them, even though the song itself might have lyrics and there are vocal versions available. And, before I knew what was happening, I had six of them. They’re all short, mostly under three minutes, because, as everyone knows, that’s the longest anyone can whistle before their mouth gets tired. Anyhow, here is my list of songs that have no singing in them, just whistling.

The Dick Haymes Trio, “Moritat (Mack The Knife)” This is the Kurt Weill classic from The Threepenny Opera. If you grew up in Chicago in the Sixties and Seventies, and your parents listened to WFMF (later WLOO), you’ll remember this as the song they played at the top of the hour.

Don Robertson, “The Happy Whistler” From 1956, like me, I found this one as I was playing the last one, and liked it so much I had to include it. Don Robertson was a songwriter and pianist who wrote a number of songs for Elvis Presley, including “Anything That’s Part of You” and “I’m Counting on You,” and wrote “Ringo” for Lorne Greene.

“Colonel Bogey March,” from Bridge on the River Kwai “Colonel Bogey March” was composed in 1914 by Lieutenant (pronounced “lef-ten-ant”) F. J. Ricketts. It’s the regimental quick march for The King’s Own Calgary Regiment, and was heard frequently in Old Blighty during World War II. This scene from the movie gives me chills.

Whistling Jack Smith, “I Was Kaiser Bill’s Batman” This was considered a novelty song when it came out in 1967. It was written by Roger Cook and Roger Greenaway, who originally named it “Too Much Birdseed.” This is the most popular version, by Whistling Jack Smith, who might have been Noel Walker (the record’s producer) or trumpeter John O’Neill. It peaked at #20 on the Hot 100.

Jean-Baptiste “Toots” Thielemans with the Boston Pops, “Bluesette” Toots was another victim of 2016. He was a guitarist, harmonicist, and whistler of some merit (it’s why he’s called “Toots”). You might remember his harmonica from Billy Joel’s “Leave The Tender Moment Alone.” “Bluesette” was one of his original compositions. John Williams conducts the Boston Pops Orchestra here, if you don’t recognize him.

Earle Hagen, “The Fishin’ Hole (The Andy Griffith Show theme)” Added this because, if I hadn’t, you’d be all over me. Versions of this with Andy Griffith singing the lyrics are out there, but this is the best-known version.

Can you think of any other songs that are whistled and not sung? There are a lot of songs with whistling and singing, I know, but I’m looking specifically for songs that are just whistled.

That’s Monday’s Music Moves Me for March 6, 2017.

Monday’s Music Moves Me is sponsored by X-Mas Dolly, Callie, Cathy, and Stacy, so be sure and visit them, where you can also find the Linky for the other participants.


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Monday’s Music Move Me: The Manhattan Transfer

Scriptor chose this week’s theme: “Songs from Grammy winners of the 1980’s.” Well, you know me, I have to be difficult and start scouting the Grammy website because I want to be different.

My research turned up an interesting fact: The Manhattan Transfer, always one of my favorite vocal acts, won a total of seven Grammys in the period from 1980-1989. That certainly deserves some attention. Here are the seven songs (or albums) by Tim Hauser, Alan Paul, Cheryl Bentyne, and Janis Siegel that won Grammys in the 1980’s.

1980: Best Jazz Fusion Performance, Vocal Or Instrumental, “Birdland” Originally written by Joe Zawinul and performed as an instrumental by his band, Weather Report.

1981: Best Jazz Vocal Performance, Duo Or Group, “Until I Met You (Corner Pocket)” A jazz standard written by the amazing Freddie Green, late guitarist with The Count Basie Orchestra, with lyrics by Donald E. Wolf.

1981: Best Pop Vocal Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocal, “Boy From New York City” A hit for The Ad Libs in 1964, The Manhattan Transfer took it to #7 in August 1981.

1982: Best Jazz Vocal Performance Duo Or Group, “Route 66” Written by Bobby Troup (Dr. Joe Early on Emergency! and former spouse of Julie London) in 1946 and recorded by The Nat King Cole Trio that year. The Transfer gives it their Grammy-winning touch here.

1983: Best Jazz Vocal Performance, Duo Or Group, “Why Not! (Manhattan Carnival)” Can’t find much on this song, other than it was written by Michel Camilo, Julie Elgenberg, and Hilary Koski and it appears on their 1983 album Bodies and Souls.

1985: Best Jazz Vocal Performance, Duo Or Group, Vocalese This whole album took the Grammy. Here is the Sonny Rollins standard, “Airegin,” from the album.

1988: Best Pop Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocal, Brasil Another full-album win, this for their first foray into Brazilian music. This is “Soul Food To Go.”

The group earned one more Grammy in 1991 for the song “Sassy,” from their album The Offbeat Of Avenues.

Hope you didn’t feel overwhemed by the size of this. The Manhattan Transfer is one of those bands you don’t hear much about. That’s Monday’s Music Moves Me for February 27, 2017.

Monday’s Music Moves Me is sponsored by X-Mas Dolly, Callie, Cathy, and Stacy, so be sure and visit them, where you can also find the Linky for the other participants.


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Monday’s Music Moves Me: Crunching The Numbers

No, it’s not about math…

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My latest series on Two for Tuesday, “High School Days,” features artists and songs that were popular when I was in high school. Naturally, I had to find some way to figure out which songs and artists were popular, so I went to Wikipedia and got the data on all the songs that reached the Top Ten on the Billboard Hot 100 weekly survey for each year I was in high school (started in 1970, graduated in 1974). I then limited the list to just the songs that entered the top ten from the time I graduated from grammar school (June 6, 1970) to when I started college (September 16, 1974).

I finally finished it this past Thursday and started to analyze the data, figuring out which artists had the most Top Ten Singles and the greatest number of weeks in the Top Ten. Here are the top five Top Ten artists by total number of weeks in the Top Ten for the period from 6/6/70 to 9/16/74.

#5: Tony Orlando & Dawn I originally thought Chicago, with 34 weeks in the Top Ten, was #5, then I realized that Tony Orlando & Dawn were credited both as “Dawn” and “Dawn featuring Tony Orlando.” Adding those two together gave them 36 weeks in the Top Ten, making them #5. “Knock Three Times” entered the Top Ten just before Christmas 1970 and spent eleven weeks there, eventually reaching #1.

#4: The Jackson 5 With six hits in the Top Ten totaling 43 weeks, Michael, Tito, Jermaine, Jackie and Marlon come in at #4. Eleven of those weeks represent “I’ll Be There,” which reached the Top Ten in October 1970, peaking at #1.

#2 (tie): Elton John We have a tie for #2, one of them being Elton John, with eight songs totaling 47 weeks in the Top Ten. “Crocodile Rock” entered the Top Ten in January 1973 and was there for nine weeks, peaking at #1.

#2 (tie): Three Dog Night I don’t have to tell you that Three Dog Night, for me, represented my high school years. Eight Top Ten hits in that period for a total of 47 weeks. Eleven of those weeks were for “Joy To The World,” which reached the Top Ten in April 1971 and reached #1.

#1: The Carpenters By far the leader in the Top Ten Derby, Karen and Richard far outpaced everyone, spending 71 weeks in the Top Ten. Their ten songs over the period are tied with Chicago. Interestingly, only two songs reached #1, “We’ve Only Just Begun” in 1970 and “Top Of The World” in 1973. My favorite of their ten songs is “Superstar,” which hit the Top Ten in September 1971 and spent eight weeks there, peaking at #2.

Just a couple more things: Paul McCartney, as himself, Paul and Linda McCartney, and Paul McCartney and Wings, had eight songs in the Top Ten totaling 40 weeks, so he would be #5 on this list, but I kept his work with Wings (six songs, 28 weeks) separate. If you combined the solo work of the four Beatles, you’d end up with seventeen songs (eight by Paul, five by Ringo, three by George, and one by John) and 90 weeks (40 by Paul, 18 by George, six by John, and 26 by Ringo). So The Fab Four were still a force the first four years after their breakup.

Be sure to join me on Two for Tuesday each week for the artists that provided the soundtrack of my high school years. That’s Monday’s Music Moves Me for February 20, 2017.

Monday’s Music Moves Me is sponsored by X-Mas Dolly, Callie, Cathy, and Stacy, so be sure and visit them, where you can also find the Linky for the other participants.


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