One hundred, five years, ago…
Hello Central! Give Me No Man’s Land is a World War I era song released in 1918. Lyrics were written by Sam M. Lewis and Joe Young. Jean Schwartz composed the music. The song was published by Waterson Berlin & Snyder, Co. of New York City. Artist Albert Wilfred Barbelle designed the sheet music cover, which features a photo of Al Jolson next to a shadow of a child on the phone. Explosions in No Man’s Land take up the rest of the red background. The song was written for both voice and piano. It was first introduced in the 1918 musical Sinbad.
The song tells the story of a child attempting to call her father in No Man’s Land. She is unable to reach him over the telephone because her father has been killed fighting on the Western Front.
There is very little else written about this song. When I have gone to the Tsort charts, with these older pieces, I have usually chosen whatever was at the top of the particular chart, for the particular year. This time, I looked, specifically, for this month in 1918. According to (old) US Billboard 1, this song was on the chart for eight weeks. ~Vic
Returning to my Samsung playlist, submitted for your approval…
“I’ll be coming home, wait for me…”
This song is older than I am. My dad liked the Righteous Brothers and their music was in my house, growing up. This is one of my favorites. It has an interesting background. Composed by Alex North in 1955 (a song he’d written in the 1930s), the lyrics were written by Hy Zaret. It was the theme to the movie Unchained, a film about a convict in a medium-security prison, wanting desperately to escape and go home to his wife. This was the movie’s “Melody.” Todd Duncan was the singer for the soundtrack.
There are over 1,500 recordings of this song, with the most notable being the Righteous Brothers’ version. Recorded by the duo in 1965 for Philles Records, Bobby Hatfield won a coin toss to sing it solo on their fifth album Just Once In My Life, according to Bill Medley. [Note: According to the Encyclopedia of Great Popular Song Recordings (Google Books), Just Once In My Life is listed as their fourth album. This reflects, otherwise.] Hatfield changed the song a bit during recordings. He decided to sing “I need your love…” in the final verse much higher than previous singers.
Ken Sharp: “Bobby’s vocals on Unchained Melody […] are stunning. Did he recognize his gift?”
Medley: “I don’t think he knew how good he was. I don’t think either one of us were thinking…are we good or not? I think we were just saying…thank God people enjoy what we’re doing. We admired so many other people and we certainly didn’t feel we were above anyone but, Bobby was sensational.
I happened to produce Unchained Melody. I know a lot of people think Phil (Spector) did it but, I produced and arranged it. I had the arrangement all done and, Bobby came in, sang it twice and that was it. I played piano and sang vocal background on it. [If] I knew that it was gonna be a hit, I certainly would have brought in a better piano player [laughing].”
Soul & Inspiration: A Conversation With Bill Medley Of The Righteous Brothers
Rockcellar Magazine [Web Archive]
May 6, 2014
Recorded on the “B” side of the single Hung On You from the album Back To Back, radio DJs weren’t interested in it and flipped the record over. Per Medley, producer Phil Spector was so pissed off, he began calling the radio stations to make them stop playing the wrong song. Thankfully, he was unsuccessful and the song made it to #4 on Billboard’s Hot 100, the week of September 4, 1965. It re-appeared in the Billboard charts in 1990 when the movie Ghost was released July 13. Two versions of the song wound up in the charts at the same time, the original 1965 version and a new recording by Hatfield. [They] became the first act to have two versions of the same song in the Top 20 at the same time.
I had no idea that Elvis Presley did his own version. The first track from the album Moody Blue, it was recorded June 21, 1977 and released in March 1978. It peaked at #6 on the US Hot Country Songs chart.
Cover Me: The Stories Behind The Greatest Cover Songs Of All Time (WorldCat Library)
The Time Of My Life: A Righteous Brother’s Memoir (Google Books)
Bobby Hatfield Memorial (Spectropop)
One-hundred, ten years ago…
When Irish Eyes Are Smiling is a lighthearted song in tribute to Ireland and was very popular in June 1913. Its lyrics were written by Chauncey Olcott and George Graff, Jr., set to music composed by Ernest Ball, for Olcott’s production of The Isle O’ Dreams and, Olcott sang the song in the show. It was first published in 1912, at a time when songs in tribute to a romanticised Ireland were very numerous […], both in Britain and the United States. During the First World War, the famous tenor John McCormack recorded the song.
The song continued to be a familiar standard for generations. Decades later, it was used as the opening song on the radio show Duffy’s Tavern. The song has been recorded on over 200 singles and albums, by many famous singers, including Bing Crosby, Connie Francis and Roger Whittaker.
As I have stated in previous posts, Billboard’s charting abilities, in the early 20th Century, is difficult to navigate. My first stop, for these early pieces, is the Tsort site. Playback FM is very helpful, too. Digging around in the Wayback Machine can be a complete rat maze. The data is there but, how much time do you devote to searching for it.
There was a Shamrock Summit in March 1985, apparently, in Canada (which I don’t remember). Starting on St. Patrick’s Day, Prime Minister Brian Mulroney and President Ronald Reagan met & talked for two days. Remember the Acid Rain Scare back then? It was seen as a Turning Point in U.S.-Canada Relations (both Trudeaus don’t play well with others?) and the closing ceremonies were televised, with the men & their wives singing the song (Mulroney & Reagan are Irish surnames). I find the meeting in Quebec City and the singing of an Irish song, ironic and amusing. ~ Vic
♦ Irish Eyes Are Smiling (The Account of Composer Ernest R. Ball’s Life/IMDb/1944)
♦ Still Something To Smile About (Pocono Record/Marta Gouger/Wayback Machine/03-06-2007)
♦ When Irish Eyes Are Smiling (Irish Music Daily/Pat/No Date Given)
♦ List Of Movies Using The Song
Returning to my Samsung playlist…submitted for your approval. ~Vic
“My love is strong enough to last when things are rough, It’s magic…”
I have loved ABBA since their music showed up on the radio. Their first album in 1973 didn’t make it to the US. They finally got noticed, here, with their second album in 1974. I clearly remember hearing Waterloo during the summer after second grade (I was seven). I was permanently hooked. I still love them and I am in my middle 50s.
The second track from the album ABBA: The Album, released in December 1977, Take A Chance On Me peaked at #3 on Billboard’s Hot 100 & #9 on Billboard’s Adult Contemporary, in July 1978 and, #5 on Cash Box in April 1978. Written and produced by Benny Andersson & Björn Ulvaeus, the song was one of ABBA’s first singles in which their manager Stig Anderson did not assist with writing the lyrics […]. In the UK Charts, it was number #1 and, of ABBA’s Top 20 biggest songs, this song is #4. It was a #1 hit in Austria, Belgium and Ireland. It was certified Gold in Canada, Denmark, the UK & the US.
I was also lucky to come across an actual live version of them singing this on a 1978 Olivia Newton-John television special. Most “live” videos are them lip-synching.
Erasure Top of the Pops
Returning to my Samsung playlist…submitted for your approval. ~Vic
“I know it’s a shame but, I’m giving you back your name…”
Written by Lionel Richie and, produced by James Anthony Carmichael & the Comodores, this was released on July 27, 1979. I was 12 years old and it was the summer before 8th grade. I loved it as soon as I heard it on the radio.
The 8th track from the album Midnight Magic, it was the first single released from the album and it entered the Hot 100 on August 11, peaking at #4. It did very well in the Netherlands, New Zealand and the UK. Richie re-recorded the song with Tim McGraw for his tenth album Tuskegee.
♦ The Commodores~Sail On (Saved on the Internet Archive)
♦ Cash Box: A Sparkling Ballad (World Radio History/August 11, 1979)
♦ Billboard: A Surprising Country Flavored Ballad (World Radio History/August 11, 1979)
♦ Record World: A Beautiful Country-Colored Ballad (World Radio History/August 11, 1979)
♦ Real Reason Why Richie Left (Grunge/A. C. Grimes/March 30, 2020)
♦ The Commodores (Encyclopedia of Alabama/Ben Berntson/July 3, 2012)
♦ Commodores Official Website
Richie & McGraw
“I’ve been drivin’ all night, my hands wet on the wheel…There’s a voice in my head that drives my heel…
Submitted for your approval, returning to my Samsung playlist, I present Radar Love by Golden Earring, a Dutch hard-rock/progressive rock band. I can’t imagine that anyone out there hasn’t heard this song at least once. Founded in 1961 in The Hague, Netherlands, most of their extensive material didn’t even chart in the US. In the 60 years of their existence, they made 25 studio albums, eight live albums, two compilation albums and an impressive 74 singles. Originally named The Tornadoes…
Golden Earring was formed in 1961 in The Hague by 13-year-old George Kooymans and his 15-year-old neighbour, Rinus Gerritsen. Originally called The Tornados, the name was changed to Golden Earrings, when they discovered that The Tornados was already in use by another group.
They [achieved] their first success in 1965 with “Please Go,” as a pop rock band with Frans Krassenburg as lead singer. By 1969, the rest of the lineup had stabilized, with lead vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Barry Hay and drummer Cesar Zuiderwijk. By ’71, they [were] a regular presence on Dutch charts and [were] starting to climb up the ladder in Germany. They [signed] on to the Who’s Track label, which released a compilation of Dutch singles, Hearing Earring, helping the group break through in England.
The young group initially baptizes itself as The Tornadoes but, when that name turns out to have already been claimed by another band, they switch to The Golden Earrings – loosely based on a song by the British band The Hunters.
While most Dutch pop bands from the sixties stumble over the threshold to the seventies, the Golden Earring – as the band has come to call itself – emerges from the decade strong and confident.
In 1973, Golden Earring aspires to make an album that is of international allure both artistically and commercially. A lot of time is put into writing and recording what will eventually become Moontan. The mission succeeds brilliantly. Candy’s Going Bad, Radar Love, Just Like Vince Taylor and The Vanilla Queen are among the best the band has written to date.
Both Moontan’s first single Radar Love are a resounding success. First in the Netherlands, then in the rest of Europe and finally in America – where the album was released in 1974. Radar Love even becomes a big hit, with a 13th place as the highest listing. In the following years, however, the song will mainly grow into one of the ultimate car songs, which can still be heard daily on American radio stations. Radar Love has been covered by hundreds of international acts over the decades, including U2, White Lion, Ministry and Def Leppard. Both the single and the album are an undisputed milestone in Dutch pop history.
Golden Earring Biography Page (Google will have to translate.)
It’s not really normal for a band eight albums into their career to suddenly enjoy a worldwide breakout. And, for it to happen with a track over six minutes long with elongated instrumental passages and a somewhat mysterious narrative is even stranger. “…the song most likely to inspire a speeding ticket some 47 years after it was first released.” Barry Hay, the group’s lead singer and lyricist, explained in a recent interview with American Songwriter that a record company push gave then some hope.
“We signed up with Track records, the label of The Who,” Hay says. “And, they really put an effort into it, because they had a sort of monkey wrench. If they could put us together on tour in Europe, they could put us together in Madison Square Garden. So, [we’re] sort of the sons of the Who.”
“At first, the opening line was ‘I’m sitting in a bathtub.’ And, I thought, ‘That’s hardly masculine.’ Then, I came up with sitting in a car.”
“…Hay managed to come up with effortless couplets […] while tying them together in a resonant story of a mystical connection between two separated lovers. […] I remember, in those days, I was really interested in ESP. I read some shit about it. […] Like there’s an accident but, these people still have ESP, they still have contact in a way. Which is sort of a magical thing…
It also inspired a million interpretations but, Hay says that the tragic one is correct. “The guy actually dies,” he says of the song’s narrator. “That’s the gist of the whole thing. In a way, she still has contact with him. There is an afterlife.”
Unfortunately, Golden Earring is no more:
Golden Earring Co-Founder George Kooymans Retires After ALS Diagnosis
The Band Calls It Quits ~Vic
♦ The Virgin Encyclopedia of Heavy Rock (Colin Larkin/1999/Internet Archive/Pages 187-188/Sign-In Required)
♦ It’s Prog Jim, But Not As We Know It: Golden Earring (Louder Sound/Prog/Malcolm Dome/10-28-2014)
One hundred, twenty years ago, today, the #1 song in 1903 was In The Good Old Summer Time by the Haydn Quartet. In a previous post, I stated that Tsort has very few charts prior to 1920. Music popularity just wasn’t tracked as closely as it is, today. For music this old, I plug in a date on Playback FM and run with it.
Written by Ren Shields and composed by George “Honey Boy” Evans, it is a Tin Pan Alley song, originally published in 1902. Blanche Ring assisted in having the number added to the 1902 comedy musical The Defender. There is also a John Philip Sousa band version.
The Haydn Quartet was originally formed in 1896 as the Edison Quartet. They eventually changed their name to Haydn, an homage to Joseph Haydn and as a way to record for other companies besides Edison Records.
In The Good Old Summer Time was a very popular song for its time and John Scantlebury MacDonald, a replacement member of the Edison Quartet, went on to record the song, solo. It was the Haydn Quartet’s biggest commercial success while contracted with the Victor Talking Machine Company.
Stewart at UK#1s Blog asked his followers which UK #1 song was their favorite. There were so many to choose from but, I am a kid/young teen of the late 70s, early 80s and this was a no-brainer for me. This is, hands down, my favorite Blondie song. Just as a side note, my second choice was Cathy’s Clown by The Everly Brothers.
Released on February 23, 1980, Atomic was the ninth track on side two of the album Eat to the Beat, Blondie’s fourth album, produced by Mike Chapman. Written by Debbie Harry and Jimmy Destri, it was the third single released and the band’s third #1 in the UK Singles Chart. A rock, disco and new wave fusion, Atomic is described as “a cool, electronic enhanced dance number (PDF). Debbie Harry’s laidback vocals blend into the musical wood work.”
‘Atomic‘, which featured King Crimson‘s Robert Fripp on guitar and Ellie Greenwich on backing vocals, was lyrically meaningless and was described in Record Mirror as ‘vapid and irritating…the best thing about this single is the live [cover] version of David Bowie‘s ‘Heroes‘ on the B-side (12″ UK single).’ “Jimmy Destri wrote this song…” Debbie claimed. “He was trying to do something like ‘Heart of Glass‘ and, then, somehow or another, we gave it the spaghetti western treatment. Before that, it was just lying there like a lox. The lyrics, well, a lot of the time, I would write while the band were just playing the song and trying to figure it out. I would just be kind of scatting along with them and I would start going ‘Oooooooh, your hair is beautiful‘.”
1000 UK #1 Hits
Jon Kutner & Spencer Leigh
May 26, 2010
Atomic didn’t do as well in the US. It only made it to #39 on Billboard’s Hot 100, debuting on May 17, 1980 and peaking on July 5, 1980. It may be ‘lyrically meaningless’ but, it is certainly not vapid and irritating. It has a great beat and an energy that is hard to deny. Debbie’s vocals do, indeed, blend well with the ‘musical wood work.’ The single Call Me from American Gigolo had an instrumental version on the B-side and Debbie did some vocal blending with that, too.
Two hundred, ninety years ago…Johann Sebastian Bach performs a revised version of his Magnificat in D major, BWV 243, ending the mourning period for Augustus II the Strong, Elector of Saxony and King of Poland.
Johann Sebastian Bach‘s Magnificat, BWV 243, is a musical setting of the biblical canticle Magnificat. It is scored for five vocal parts (two sopranos, alto, tenor and bass) and a Baroque orchestra including trumpets and timpani. It is the first major liturgical composition on a Latin text by Bach. In 1723, after taking up his post as Thomaskantor in Leipzig, Bach set the text of the Magnificat in a twelve movement composition in the key of E-flat major. For a performance at Christmas he inserted four hymns (laudes) related to that feast. This version, including the Christmas interpolations, was given the number 243.1 in the catalogue of Bach’s works.
Likely for the feast of Visitation of 1733 or another feast in or around that year, Bach produced a new version of his Latin Magnificat, without the Christmas hymns…instrumentation of some movements were altered or expanded and, the key changed from E-flat major to D major for performance reasons of the trumpet parts. This version of Bach’s Magnificat is known as BWV 243.2 (previously BWV 243). After publication of both versions in the 19th century, the second became the standard for performance. It is one of Bach’s most popular vocal works.
In Leipzig, the Magnificat was regularly part of Sunday services, sung in German on ordinary Sundays but more elaborately and in Latin on the high holidays (Christmas, Easter and Pentecost) and on the three Marian feasts Annunciation, Visitation and Purification.
Apart from an early setting of the Kyrie, on a mixed Greek and German text (BWV 233a), all of Bach’s known liturgical compositions in Latin were composed during his tenure as Thomaskantor in Leipzig, from 1723 until his death in 1750. Compared to Lutheran practice elsewhere, an uncharacteristic amount of Latin was used in church services in Leipzig. An early account of Bach showing interest in liturgical practices in Leipzig dates from 1714 when he noted down the order of the service on the first Sunday in Advent during a visit to the town.
Bach assumed the position of Thomaskantor on May 30, 1723, the first Sunday after Trinity, performing an ambitious cantata in 14 movements, Die Elenden sollen essen, BWV 75, followed by a comparable cantata, Die Himmel erzählen die Ehre Gottes, BWV 76 the next Sunday.
Wikipedia Summary & History
This is screamingly cute. Unfortunately, this video is blocked from being viewed in Russia. Go figure. If you can’t see this, email me and I will provide you a link. I have this video uploaded, here, too…assuming WordPress’s “videopress” will cooperate. ~Vic
Video of the Day
One hundred & twenty years ago, the #1 song of 1902 was Tell Me Pretty Maiden by Byron G. Harlan, whistler Joe Belmont and the Florodora Girls. According to Tsort, there are almost NO charts from before 1920. I plugged in today’s date on Playback FM and this is what I got. You can peruse Tsort’s Site Generation Page, describing source charts and consolidation. They seem to have their own method for old stuff and, apparently, Playback FM agrees.
Florodora is an Edwardian musical comedy. After its long run in London, it became one of the first successful Broadway musicals of the 20th Century. The book was written by Jimmy Davis, under the pseudonym Owen Hall, the music was by Leslie Stuart with additional songs by Paul Rubens and, the lyrics were by Ernest Boyd-Jones, George Arthurs and Rubens.
The original London production opened in 1899, where it ran for a very successful 455 performances. The New York production, which opened the following year, was even more popular, running for 552 performances. After this, the piece was produced throughout the English-speaking world and beyond. The show was famous for its double sextet and its chorus line of “Florodora Girls“.
It appears that the Harlan & Belmont version, with the Florodora Girls was very, very popular. Second Hand Songs also lists a Frank Stanley as part of the team. UC Santa Barbara lists Frank Banta on piano and calls the group the Edison Sextette.
George Frideric Händel was a German-British Baroque composer well known for his operas, oratorios, anthems, concerti grossi and organ concertos. Händel received his training in Halle and worked as a composer in Hamburg and Italy before settling in London in 1712, where he spent the bulk of his career and became a naturalised British subject in 1727. He was strongly influenced both by the middle-German polyphonic choral tradition and by composers of the Italian Baroque. In turn, Händel’s music forms one of the peaks of the “high baroque” style, bringing Italian opera to its highest development, creating the genres of English oratorio and organ concerto and introducing a new style into English church music. He is consistently recognized as one of the greatest composers of his age. Händel started three commercial opera companies to supply the English nobility with Italian opera. In 1737, he had a physical breakdown, changed direction creatively, addressed the middle class and made a transition to English choral works. After his success with Messiah (1742), he never composed an Italian opera again. Almost blind, he died in 1759, a respected and rich man, and was given a state funeral at Westminster Abbey.
Two hundred, ninety years ago, Händel Solo Sonatas was published by John Walsh in 1732. It contains a set of twelve sonatas, for various instruments, composed by George Frideric Händel. The 63 page publication includes the sonatas that are generally known as Händel’s Opus 1. The 1732 edition was mostly reprinted from the plates of an earlier 1730 publication […]. Each sonata displays the melody and bass lines […]. By modern-day standards, the music in the publication has a primitive appearance, with squashed notes and irregular spacings, stems and bar widths […]. Despite the titles in both editions, four of the sonatas in each are for a fourth instrument: the Recorder.
John Walsh Summary
I can’t seem to find one video with all of the twelve sonatas, combined, so I will post the first three. ~Vic
Flute Sonata E Minor (HWV 359b)
Recorder Sonata G Minor (HWV 360)
Violin Sonata A Major (HWV 361)