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“The Door To Yesterday” #43

Olympic Musical Flashback

The musical selections in the opening ceremony of the London Olympics certainly proved to be an entertaining and diverse mixture from Sir Edward Elgar’s LAND OF HOPE AND GLORY and Sir Hubert Parry & William Blake’s JERUSALEM to Queen’s BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY and The Beatles’ HEY JUDE.  A few American compositions were included although most folks these days instantly identify THE LIBERTY BELL as the Monty Python TV Theme rather than the work of John Philip Sousa.  One of my favorite inclusions was George Botsford’s BLACK AND WHITE RAG which was a huge hit parade success in Britain in 1951 as recorded by Trinidad-born ragtime pianist Winifred Atwell.  I’m sure that Ms. Atwell, who died in 1983, would have been thrilled that an extract of her work was included in such a prestigious event.  She sold masses of units for the Decca Record Company throughout the 1950’s both with individual compositions (also including THE BRITAINIA RAG and THE POOR PEOPLE OF PARIS) plus a series of medley singles such as LET’S HAVE A PARTY, LET’S HAVE ANOTHER PARTY and LET’S HAVE A DING DONG which were combinations of singalong favorites ranging from IF YOU KNEW SUSIE, KNEES UP MOTHER BROWN and BOOMPS A DAISY to YES WE HAVE NO BANANAS, I’M FOREVER BLOWING BUBBLES and OH YOU BEAUTIFUL DOLL.  One of the keys (pardon the pun!) to Winifred’s success was that she recorded mainly on an old upright piano which was referred to by Decca as her ‘other piano’.  Her records were endlessly played on BBC radio request programs during the 1950’s and, as you can see from the following advertisement from May 1962, she was a headliner on the London cabaret scene.

 

 

And here’s a link to Winifred’s recording of BLACK AND WHITE RAG.  http://youtu.be/MLN8AiQk-dw

 

Did they really say that?

In a recent issue of Billboard magazine, Cee Lo Green was described as a ‘veteran artist’.  So with that in mind, I wonder how would they’d describe Smokey Robinson and Lionel Richie or, for that matter, Dave Brubeck and Clark Terry!

 

Source Music

American TV shows continue to feature some very interesting choices of commercial recordings on their soundtracks. I was particularly struck by the use of WISH YOU WERE HERE (John/Michels/Moushon/Panzer/Silverman/Wray) by Lee Fields & The Expressions from their recent CD “Faithful Man” on an early August episode of USA’s legal comedy-drama series “Suits”.  Similarly, there was a poignant use of Johnny Cash singing his song GOD’S GONNA CUT YOU DOWN on the season finale of TNT’s successful revival of “Dallas”. 

 

Whistling up a storm!

The latest chart single by American rapper Flo Rida is “Whistle” and it got me to thinking how many memorable records of years gone by featured whistling. Here’s an alphabetized list of just a few prime vintage examples of whistling on vinyl, if you get my meaning!  As Lauren Bacall said to Humphrey Bogart in 1944’s “To Have And Have Not”: “You know how to whistle don’t you, Steve? You just put your lips together and blow”!  I’ve included some YouTube links so that you can sample some of the recordings I remember.

 

AIN’T GWINE WHISTLE DIXIE ANYMO’ (Blackwell/Gilmore/Davis/Mahal) 

By Taj Mahal (Columbia: 1969)  http://youtu.be/pHMxOjgAuL0

ALWAYS LOOK ON THE BRIGHT SIDE OF LIFE (Idle)

By Monty Python (Virgin: 1991)  Eric Idle’s hit song from “Monty Python’s Life Of Brian”  http://youtu.be/L2Wx230gYJw

BONY MORONIE (Williams)

By Larry Williams (Specialty: 1957)  http://youtu.be/mdmuqYCf5Ik

CHARLIE’S SHOES (Baham)

By Billy Walker (Columbia: 1962)  http://youtu.be/ARkn2niw-Jw

DAYDREAM (Sebastian)

By The Lovin’ Spoonful (Kama Sutra: 1966)  http://youtu.be/fwH4wPz-URM

DON’T WORRY BE HAPPY (McFerrin)

By Bobby McFerrin (EMI Manhattan: 1988)  http://youtu.be/d-diB65scQU

FREIGHT TRAIN (James/Williams)

By The Chas McDevitt Skiffle Group Featuring Nancy Whiskey (UK Oriole: 1957)

-A Top 5 hit in the UK.  Nancy Whiskey sang and Chas McDevitt whistled   http://youtu.be/YAuQV0IA8vk

GIVE A LITTLE WHISTLE (Washington/Harline)

Cliff Edwards voiced Jiminy Cricket with this song in the 1940 Walt Disney cartoon feature “Pinnochio” http://youtu.be/KqkdXV8ig9s

THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY (Morricone)

Ennio Morricone’s theme from the soundtrack of the 1966 classic western  http://youtu.be/LQGGQ-FCe_w

A HANDFUL OF SONGS (Steele/Bart/Pratt)

By Tommy Steele & The Steelmen (UK Decca: 1957)  http://youtu.be/XsKZ-NL_1Vg

THE HAPPY WHISTLER (Robertson)

By Don Robertson (Capitol: 1956)  http://youtu.be/1SH37ksKseg

HEARTACHES (Klenner/Hoffman)

By Ted Weems & His Orchestra (Decca: 1947)  Featuring the whistling of Elmo Tanner  http://youtu.be/Mx4gi5_AV2U

HEARTACHES BY THE NUMBER (Howard)

By Guy Mitchell (Columbia: 1959)  http://youtu.be/fmRjgWW8yn0

I WAS KAISER BILL’S BATMAN (Greenaway/Cook)

By Whistling Jack Smith (Deram: 1967)  http://youtu.be/7fRS5nxYxoo

IF I WERE A BLACKBIRD (Murphy)

By Ronnie Ronalde (UK Columbia: 1950)

JUST WALKING IN THE RAIN (Bragg/Riley)

By Johnnie Ray (Columbia: 1956)  http://youtu.be/8uCsvWgmjwg

KNEE DEEP IN THE BLUES (Endsley)

By Guy Mitchell (Columbia: 1956)  http://youtu.be/wkTFrGkwxsA

MAGIC MOMENTS (Bacharach/David)

By Perry Como (RCA: 1958)  http://youtu.be/9ND3oghPL5M

MARCH FROM THE RIVER KWAI (Arnold) and COLONEL BOGEY (Alford)

  By Mitch Miller & His Orchestra & Chorus (Columbia: 1958) Theme from the 1957 war movie  http://youtu.be/CB8F8g1-4Uw

MARDI GRAS IN NEW ORLEANS (Byrd)

By Professor Longhair (Atlantic: 1949)  http://youtu.be/_3UDmZAVC1U

ME AND JULIO DOWN BY THE SCHOOLYARD (Simon)

By Paul Simon (Columbia: 1972)  http://youtu.be/46Cfrl7hMoQ

MONTEGO BAY (Barry/Bloom)

By Bobby Bloom (L&R/MGM: 1970)  http://youtu.be/gbXds42ZOj4

MY NAME IS JACK (Simon)

By Manfred Mann (UK Fontana: 1968)  http://youtu.be/CwqhLdDYl1E

ONLY LOVE CAN BREAK A HEART (Bacharach/David)

By Gene Pitney (Musicor: 1962)  http://youtu.be/uYya-hIus-U

PITTSBURGH, PENNSYLVANIA (Merrill)

By Guy Mitchell (Columbia: 1952) http://youtu.be/LNGRnJlvuhI

ROCKIN’ ROBIN (Thomas)

By Bobby Day (Class: 1958)  http://youtu.be/PUKTgIK8DxA

SCHOOLBOY CRUSH (Schroeder/Gilbert)

By Cliff Richard & The Drifters (UK Columbia: 1958)  http://youtu.be/B8gNaXN8RLc

SINGING THE BLUES (Endsley)

By Guy Mitchell (Columbia: 1956) http://youtu.be/hhrX6D1bBeo  and Tommy Steele (UK Decca: 1956)

(SITTIN’ ON) THE DOCK OF THE BAY (Redding/Cropper)

By Otis Redding (Volt: 1967) http://youtu.be/8nA18g_PwG0

STANDING ON THE CORNER (Loesser)

By The Four Lads (Columbia: 1956) From the Broadway musical “The Most Happy Fella” http://youtu.be/rlbGQ0xKZbY

THE STRANGER (Joel)

By Billy Joel (Columbia: 1977) http://youtu.be/bnlvPoDU5LY

SUKIYAKI (Ei/Nakamura)

By Kyu Sakamoto (Capitol: 1963) http://youtu.be/mvuO0BsEEss

SWEET GEORGIA BROWN (Bernie/Pinkard/Casey)

By Brother Bones & His Shadows (Tempo: 1948) The signature theme of the Harlem Globetrotters http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0tbiFphWHc4&feature=share&list=PL2B10E21910E2FA01

TWISTED NERVE (Herrmann)

Bernard Herrmann’s theme from the 1968 British horror film “Twisted Nerve” which was later used by Quentin Tarantino in his first “Kill Bill” in 2003.  http://youtu.be/qX4lBeRtexI

WHISTLE WHILE YOU WORK (Churchill/Morey)

From the soundtrack of the 1937 Walt Disney cartoon classic “Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs” http://youtu.be/PgW3NDH6kmY

WHISTLIN’ BLUES (Lewis)

By Meade Lux Lewis (Bluebird: 1937)  http://youtu.be/P2bxJfSUasE

WINCHESTER CATHEDRAL (Stephens)

By The New Vaudeville Band (Fontana: 1966)  http://youtu.be/gxLAzuGtPpI

WISHING WELL (Trent D’Arby/Oliver)

By Terence Trent D’Arby (Columbia: 1988) http://youtu.be/n2Nd_lS9Kcs

 

I also loved the way that Alfred Newman’s “Street Scene” melody was whistled over the opening titles of Otto Preminger’s film noir classic “Where The Sidewalk Ends” (20th Century Fox: 1950) and, of course, TV viewers will never forget the Earle Hagen’s whistling theme which opened every episode of “The Andy Griffith Show” which ran from 1960 to 1968.

As I said earlier, this is just a selection and doesn’t include a number of more contemporary examples such as in John Lennon’s “Jealous Guy” on his “Imagine” album in 1971 and I’m sure you have your own favorite examples.  Thanks for reading about mine.

 

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Movie Quote of yesteryear:

“I am big…it’s the pictures that got small”

Spoken by Gloria Swanson as the fading movie actress Norma Desmond in “Sunset Boulevard” (Paramount: 1950)

 

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Rock on!

Alan

8/30/12

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