The Friday 5×2: Booze!

Wasn’t sure what I was going to do this week, so I went out to YouTube and started playing random videos, one of which was “Scotch and Soda,” and before I knew it, I had a playlist. Here are ten of the many songs with alcoholic beverages in the title.

  1. Ray Price, “Scotch and Soda” The earliest popular version was done by The Kingston Trio in 1958, but the song goes back much further than that. Problem is, no one actually knows who wrote it or when. Dave Guard of The Trio got it from the parents of a girl he was dating, who said they heard it on their honeymoon back in 1932. It’s been covered so much, including this one by country singer Ray Price, that it will probably show up as a Battle of the Bands in the not-too-distant future.
  2. John Lee Hooker, “One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer” The cover by George Thorogood is probably best-known, but it was first done by Amos Milburn as a “jump blues” song in 1953 and John Lee covered this in 1966.
  3. The Dubliners, “Whiskey in the Jar” There are the rock versions by Metallica and Thin Lizzy, but I first heard it this way, in a pub after a couple of pints of Guinness.
  4. Jimmy Buffett, “Margaritaville” Buffett’s Parrothead anthem was released in 1977 and reached #1 on the Easy Listening chart, #8 on the Hot 100, and #13 on the Country Singles chart.
  5. Neil Diamond, “Red Red Wine” I heard UB40’s reggae version first and had no idea Neil had recorded it in 1967. It went to #69 for him in 1968. It was issued by Bang! Records shortly after his contract with them expired and he left the label.
  6. Peter Sellers with The Muppets, “Cigarettes and Whiskey and Wild Wild Women” I remember watching this episode of The Muppet Show and laughing through most of it, because, you know, Peter Sellers.
  7. Rupert Holmes, “The Piña Colada Song” Was actually titled “Escape,” but most people know it by this name. It was the lead single from his 1979 album Partners In Crime and was #1 in December 1979 and January 1980, making it the last #1 in the 1970’s and first #1 in the 1980’s.
  8. Muddy Waters, “Champagne and Reefer” From Muddy’s 1979 live album Muddy “Mississippi” Waters. There are also versions by Buddy Guy and The Rolling Stones.
  9. Jimmy Gilmer & The Fireballs, “Bottle Of Wine” Jimmy Gilmer had recorded “Sugar Shack” in 1963 and it reached #1. This song, a rock version of the folk song, was released in 1967 and peaked at #9.
  10. Julie London, “Hot Toddy” From the 1958 album Julie Is Her Name, Volume II, about which Nick Dedina said on AllMusic.com, “You can almost see the cigar-smoking executives at Liberty Records planning this one out — ‘Hey, if the public loved it the first time, they’re bound to love it again, right?'” This time through, she’s accompanied by Howard Roberts on guitar and Red Mitchell on bass. Judging from the album cover, Liberty still saw her as a pinup, although by this time her jazz chops were well-established.

Well, that oughta get you started. Come up with your selections, I’ll play them next Friday. That’s your Friday 5×2 for April 20, 2018.

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The Friday 5×2: Top 10 from WLS, 4/13/70

Eugenia suggested that I do car songs today, and as I started I realized that I had already done car songs last Memorial Day, and had even played your suggestions the following week. So, rather than reinvent the wheel, I updated those playlists to remove and replace a few songs that had either disappeared or had been blocked by one of the MG’s (UMG, BMG, etc.). So those are out there.

Meanwhile, I had to come up with a different idea for today, so here’s another Top 10 post from WLS in Chicago, from this day in 1970.

#10: The Plastic Ono Band, “Instant Karma!” By this time, it was all over but the lawsuits for the Fab Four, and John and his new wife Yoko Ono (who appears in the video with her eyes bandaged, for reasons known only to her) were now hanging out with a new bunch of cool kids. This had slipped from #7 the week before.

#9: Michael Parks, “Long Lonesome Highway” The theme song for Parks’s short-lived TV series Then Came Bronson, an obvious attempt to cash in on the popularity of the movie Easy Rider. I liked the show, actually, probably because of the theme song. Up from #10 the previous week.

#8: Kenny Rogers & The First Edition, “Something’s Burning” From Kenny’s days as a rock ‘n’ roller, which were pretty good, if you ask me. Up from #12.

#7: Norman Greenbaum, “Spirit In The Sky” A great song and Greenbaum’s only Top 10 hit. A lot of radio stations shaved the last few seconds off the song, which included a cool guitar solo. Down from #5.

#6: The Ides Of March, “Vehicle” Berwyn, Illinois’ favorite sons had one national hit, this one. Up from #11.

#5: The Guess Who, “American Woman”/”No Sugar Tonight” A two sided hit single. Both songs are from 1969’s album American Woman. I think the recording of “No Sugar Tonight” includes “New Mother Nature,” which was tied to it on the album but was removed to get the song down to under three minutes. Up from #9.

#4: The Supremes, “Up The Ladder To The Roof” We’ve been watching the best of Ed Sullivan, and I forgot just how often they were on the show. I had forgotten this until I heard it again. Stayed at #4 from the previous week.

#3: Badfinger, “Come & Get It” One of the first new acts signed to The Beatles’ Apple Records, this song was written by Paul and appeared in the movie The Magic Christian, which starred Peter Sellers and Ringo Starr and is really funny. Stayed at #3 from the week before.

#2: The Beatles, “Let It Be” As mentioned previously, The Beatles had split up by now, and Paul McCartney, who sang this one, released his first solo album right around this time. Sounds like a funeral march in retrospect. Down from #1 the week before.

#1: The Jackson 5, “A B C” Michael, Tito, Jermaine, Marlon and Jackie had already found chart success, and this was very popular among the girls at St. Ignatius School, meaning this was played ad nauseum at parties when I was in eighth grade. Up from #2 the week before.

And that’s your Friday 5×2 for April 13, 2018.

The Friday 5×2: “Ride” Songs

I forgot to include Foreigner’s “Starrider” in my M4 playlist this week, so I told Janet (who suggested it) I’d do it today. I was then going to do another “star” playlist, but started thinking of all these songs that had “ride” or “rider” in them, and came up with 16 of them. So, here are 17 songs with “ride” in the title. You might say, “hey, where’s ‘Ghost Riders In The Sky’?” I figured you heard it enough in the many Battles of the Bands I did on the song, so I left it off.

  1. Foreigner, “Starrider” Janet’s suggestion from last week. From their eponymous 1977 debut album, it’s one of the few songs to feature guitarist Mick Jones on lead vocal.
  2. The Guess Who, “Bus Rider” From 1970’s Share The Land, the first album without founding member Randy Bachman.
  3. Bachman-Turner Overdrive, “Let It Ride” Speaking of Randy Bachman, here’s one from his next band. From their second studio album, called, appropriately enough, Bachman-Turner Overdrive II, it went to #3 on the Canadian RPM chart and #23 on the Hot 100 in 1974. Memories of senior year…
  4. Roger McGuinn, “Ballad of Easy Rider” From the 1969 Easy Rider soundtrack album, this was written by McGuinn and Bob Dylan. The Byrds made this the title track to their 1969 album, and performed it frequently in 1969 and 1970, but not much after that.
  5. Chuck Willis, “C. C. Rider” Recorded originally by blues singer Ma Rainey in 1924 as “See See Rider,” but Big Bill Broonzy claimed he learned it from an unknown singer. Chuck’s version, which probably inspired ones by Mitch Ryder & The Detroit Wheels and The Animals, went to #1 on the R&B chart and #12 on the Hot 100 in 1957.
  6. The Doors, “Riders On The Storm” The second single from The Doors’ 1971 album L.A. Woman, it was also the last song released befor Jim Morison’s death. It reached #14 on the Hot 100.
  7. Christopher Cross, “Ride Like The Wind” The lead single from Cross’s eponymous 1980 debut album, it went to #2 on the Hot 100. That’s Michael McDonald helping on the vocal.
  8. The Moody Blues, “Ride My See-Saw” From 1968’s In Search Of The Lost Chord, it only went as high as #61 on the Hot 100.
  9. Steppenwolf, “Magic Carpet Ride” From Steppenwolf’s second album, named, appropriately, The Second, this was the lead single and reached #3 in the US and #1 in Canada.
  10. War, “Low Rider” From 1975’s Why Can’t We Be Friends?, it reached #1 on the R&B chart and #7 on the Hot 100.
  11. The Allman Brothers Band, “Midnight Rider” From 1970’s Idlewild South, this version didn’t chart, but subsequent covers by Joe Cocker and Gregg Allman were Top 40 hits.
  12. Blues Image, “Ride Captain Ride” From 1970’s Open, it reached #4 in the US and Canada, becoming the group’s only Top 40 hit.
  13. Vanity Fare, “Hitchin’ A Ride” From their 1969 album Early In The Morning, the song only reached #16 in the band’s native UK but #5 in the US and #3 in Canada. It was a #1 hit on both WLS and WCFL in Chicago.
  14. Acoustic Alchemy, “The Rideout” From their first album, 1987’s Red Dust And Spanish Lace.
  15. The Beatles, “Ticket To Ride” From 1965’s Help!, it went to #1 in both the US and the UK.
  16. Charlie Daniels, “Uneasy Rider” Considered by some to be a novelty song, this is from his 1973 album Honey In The Rock, sometimes also called Uneasy Rider. It reached #9 on the Hot 100 in 1973.
  17. The Boston Pops Orchestra, “Sleigh Ride” Often considered a Christmas song but with a nary a reference to the holiday, Anderson conceived this song during a heat wave in 1946 and completed it in 1948. The Boston Pops Orchestra has recorded this under Arthur Fiedler (this version), John Williams, and Keith Lockhart.

If you think of any others, let me know. That’s your Friday 5×2 for April 6, 2018.

The Friday 5×2: “Star” Songs

I started out doing a playlist of “sun ” songs, then realized we had already done one. Then, “moon” songs, and discovered we did that one, too. Finally, I checked “star,” and BINGO!

There are at least as many songs with “star” in the title as “sun” and “moon,” so here are ten of them, and see what you can do about the rest.

  1. Jo Stafford, “Stardust” A song that’s become a standard over the years, written by Hoagy Carmichael and here performed by one of my favorite female vocalists.
  2. Oliver, “Good Morning Starshine” From the musical Hair, Oliver had a #3 hit in the US and a #5 in the UK in October 1969.
  3. Deep Purple, “Highway Star” First track on their early-70’s Machine Head, featuring some great guitar by Ritchie Blackmore and organ by Jon Lord.
  4. The Buggles, “Video Killed The Radio Star” Best known as the first video MTV featured when it came on the air. Wonder what the last one was?
  5. Frank Sinatra, “Swinging On A Star” For Uncle Jack, who loves Sinatra. Bing Crosby had a hit with it as well.
  6. Crosby, Stills & Nash, “Dark Star” From their 1977 album CSN.
  7. Vince Guaraldi, “Star Song” With Brazilian guitarist Bola Sete,
  8. The Guess Who, “Star Baby” From the 1974 album Road Food, it’s included on later versions of The Best of The Guess Who. Features some great slide guitar work by Kurt Winter.
  9. The Manhattans, “Shining Star” I was looking for the next song and found this one, which I had forgotten about. From their 1980 album After Midnight, it reached #5 on the pop chart and #4 on the R&B chart.
  10. Earth, Wind & Fire, “Shining Star” From their 1975 album That’s The Way Of The World, this was the band’s first major hit, reaching #1 on both the pop and R&B charts.

Your turn! I already know one of them…

That’s the Friday 5×2 for March 30, 2018.

The Friday 5×2: 3,235 Weeks

My birthday is Sunday, so I’m going to play some of my favorite songs. I have a lot of favorite songs, so keeping it down to ten was a chore, and some of you who know me personally might be asking yourself “Why did he pick _____ instead of _____?” And the answer is, because it’s my birthday.

  1. Les Baxter, “The Poor People Of Paris” According to most of the sources I’ve read, this was #1 the day I was born.
  2. Bobby Vee, “The Night Has A Thousand Eyes” I just like this one. Featuring Bobby Vee this week reminded me. It’s good to sing along to.
  3. Three Dog Night, “Out In The Country” I’ve always liked the guitar in this one.
  4. Ryu Sakamoto, “Ue O Muite Arukou (Sukiyaki)” I understand why they called this one “Sukiyaki,” but it really detracts something from the meaning of the lyrics. So here it is, with the English translation of them.
  5. Dee Clark, “Raindrops” Chicago’s Dee Clark recorded this on Chicago’s Vee Jay records, but that’s not the reason I chose this. I’ve always liked the way the melody goes abruptly from major to minor at the end of the verse.
  6. The Ventures, “Walk, Don’t Run” It was a choice between this one and “Hawai’i Five-O” and this won.
  7. The Beatles, “Free As A Bird” The story goes that Yoko found a tape with a couple of songs John Lennon recorded and sent them on to the other three Beatles, who added their voices and instruments and turned this into the first new Beatles song since the group broke up in 1970. The first time I heard it, my heart jumped into my throat, and even now, it gives me the shivers.
  8. George Harrison, “When We Was Fab” George Harrison is the reason I started playing the guitar. The Quiet Beatle had a wicked sense of humor, as demonstrated here.
  9. Chicago, “Poem 58” Begins with an extended jam by Terry Kath, Jimi Hendrix’s favorite guitar player. Wish I had known that when I was in high school, where Jimi was worshipped and Terry was laughed at.
  10. Django Reinhardt, “Limehouse Blues” Django’s solo is incredible: he plays so fast, but you can hear every note, and it builds from single notes to octaves to full chords and dissonance.

This was fun. I’ll have to do it again soon. That’s your Friday 5×2 for March 23, 2018.