Saturday, November 24, 2018

Joy to the World (and I don't mean the Three Dog Night version)

Friends, I thought I'd share this posting again from two years ago. Enjoy and Merry Christmas to all!!

Not long ago I received a message from Facebook reminding me of a “memory”, a posting I’d written back in 2011.

In that posting I talked about a holiday special that was coming up – “ A Very Gaga Thanksgiving".  

Here was my comment from 2011: I guess I'm showing my age but I fondly recall the Perry Como specials. It wasn't Thanksgiving without Mr. C singing “Bless this House”.

For those of you who loved those programs as well, here's Perry's version of “O Holy Night”. With all due respect to Lady Gaga (and I do like many of her songs) I can’t imagine her doing justice to “There's No Place Like Home for the Holidays”.

Five years later I still love the traditional tunes from “Up on the Housetop” and “We Need a Little Christmas” to  “God Bless Ye Merry Gentlemen”. We used to sing these songs in school (again, I’m showing my age.)

But I also have come to love some of the new takes on old treasures. Who could resist Kermit the Frog belting out “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas”?

Some newer songs and performers have joined my holiday playlist. I was blown away by Jordan Smith’s rendition of “Mary Did You Know” on The Voice last year. It literally gave me chills. Small wonder Jordan won the entire competition.

Perhaps my favorite of all time is a little known tune by Peter, Paul and Mary called “A ‘Soulin”. There’s just something about it that strikes a chord with me. Sorry for the poor video quality – simply close your eyes and listen.

You can find some lovely lyrics in holiday songs.  “I’ll be home for Christmas, if only in my dreams.” “Through the years we all will be together, if the fates allow.”  “Above thy deep and dreamless sleep the silent stars go by.”

And some dumb ones, like this line from “Little Saint Nick”: “Christmas comes this time each year.”

No matter what your musical tastes, we all have a favorite we long to hear every year.  What is your special song? Listen and enjoy because the season is short.

Have yourself a merry little Christmas.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Laugh Laugh, I Thought I'd Die

Turn on the news or open a paper these days and there isn't much to laugh about. Frankly, I'm so tired of the bickering and lack of civility my head wants to explode. 

So I did what I usually do when I need a break from stress and unpleasantness: I turn to music.

Over the years I've posted some music-related cartoons and jokes that have made me smile. Could you use a smile just about now? 

I thought so. 

So here are a few of my faves beginning with an original Rick Kollinger cartoon he created for my piece about "MacArthur Park".  If you'd like to read the posting, here you go:

 Later, I spotted this lost and found ad:

Here are a few others that tickled my funny bone.

And this just goes to show that what goes around, comes around.

Finally, I laughed out loud when I saw this spoof on "Rikki, Don't Lose That Number." Ricky Ricardo had it all the time!!

Now, don't you feel better?? I thought you would.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

What ingredients make a great summer song? (Hint: Justin Beiber isn't one of them.)

Ah, those Summer Nights

Last week, the NPR program Marketplace did a feature on how music companies go about crowning the biggest “Song of the Summer.”

The segment described a tune released by DJ Khaled that was expected to be the hot hit of the 2017 vacation season.
The song was titled “I’m the One” and featured Justin Bieber, Quavo, Chance the Rapper, and Lil Wayne. In the music video, “they’re at a mansion hanging by the pool. Bieber is in a bathing suit and women are dancing around in bikinis.”

The piece went on to talk about the evolution of the summer song from Tin Pan Alley to 60s surf tunes. Then at some point, according to the story, the song of the summer changed. It no longer had to be about summer! It didn’t have to be about sunshine, beaches, sweltering cities, romances (and broken hearts), parties or road trips. It just had to be popular in summer.

Say what??

Come on NPR, wake up and smell the Coppertone!

Now here’s a real summer song:

Or how about this classic?

You can almost feel the ocean breeze with this one. 

By the way, the guy on the left in the video is my good friend Don Dannemon. The Cyrkle is touring again and Don’s voice is as great as ever. (And in case you wondered, that “boing” towards the end was a sitar.)

Here are a few more nominations worthy of Summer Song of the Year. 
“Sunny Afternoon” -  the Kinks
“School is Out”  -  Gary US Bonds
“A Summer Song” - Chad and Jeremy
“Summer in the City”-  Lovin’ Spoonful
“Hot Fun in the Summertime” - Sly and the Family Stone
“Summer Breeze” – Seals and Crofts
“Under the Boardwalk” – The Drifters
“Summer Nights – John Travolta and Olivia Newton John
“Good Vibrations” – The Beach Boys
"Sandy" - Ronnie and the Daytonas
And one of my all time favorites
“California Nights” – Leslie Gore
"Dancing in the Streets" - Martha and the Vandellas
Ken Merson, the "Merson Person" and host of the fab 60's Countdown (#Sirius 60s on 6 channel ) on Saturday afternoons told me about his favorite summer song: 
"It's got to be "Dancing in the Street" by Martha & The Vandellas. The second I hear that drum intro hit followed by the brass section intro, I'm ready to dance with reckless abandon. Once Martha Reeves sings "Summer's here and the time is right for Dancing in the Street", then it's official!

In the old days, lots of kids went on vacation with their parents and had to leave a boyfriend or girlfriend behind. When we had to say goodbye for the summer, we wrote letters! Some arrived with this inscription on the back: SWALCAKWS. 

Did it ring a bell? Did you remember?
Sealed With A Lick Cuz A Kiss Won't Stick.

Now here is our final tune. It’s a slow dance.

And of course, a Ladies Choice. Enjoy. And happy summer.