Monthly Archives: November 2013

63. Cry Me a River – Julie London – 1955

Standard

440px-Julie_London_1958

Listen

About

WikipediaCry Me a River” is a popular American torch song, written by Arthur Hamilton and first published in 1953, and made famous in the version by Julie London, 1955. A jazzy blues ballad, “Cry Me a River” was originally written for Ella Fitzgerald to sing in the 1920s-set film, Pete Kelly’s Blues (released 1955), but the song was dropped. Fitzgerald first released a recording of the song on Clap Hands, Here Comes Charlie! in 1961. The song’s first release was by actress/singer Julie London in 1955, backed by Barney Kessel on guitar and Ray Leatherwood on bass. A performance of the song by London in the 1956 film The Girl Can’t Help It helped to make it a bestseller (reaching nr. 9 on US and nr. 22 on UK charts). London’s recording was later featured in the soundtracks for the movies Passion of Mind (2000), and V for Vendetta (2005).

Trivia

  • London began singing under the name Gayle Peck in public in her teens before appearing in a film. She was discovered by talent agent Sue Carol, while working as an elevator operator.
  • London’s most famous single, “Cry Me a River“, was written by her high-school classmate Arthur Hamilton and produced by Bobby Troup. The recording became a million-seller after its release in December 1955.
  • Shirley Bassey recorded the song on her album The Fabulous Shirley Bassey (1959).
  • London later starred in the TV medical drama Emergency! (1972–1979), co-starring her real-life husband, Bobby Troup, and produced by her ex-husband, Jack Webb, in which she played the female lead role of nurse Dixie McCall.
  • London released 32 albums of pop and jazz standards during the 1950s and 1960s.

 

Advertisements

62. Only You (and You Alone) – The Platters – 1955

Standard

440px-The_Platters_First_Promo_Photo

Listen

About

WikipediaOnly You (And You Alone)” (often shortened to “Only You“) is a pop song composed by Buck Ram. It was recorded most successfully by The Platters, with lead vocals by Tony Williams, in 1955. The first recording of the song on Federal Records, also by Williams and The Platters, turned out poorly in 1954, but after a re-recording, the song scored a major hit when it was released on July 3, 1955. Platters bass singer Herb Reed later recalled how the group hit upon its successful version: “We tried it so many times, and it was terrible. One time we were rehearsing in the car… and the car jerked. Tony went ‘O-oHHHH-nly you.’ We laughed at first, but when he sang that song — that was the sign we had hit on something.” The song held strong in the number-one position on the U.S. R & B charts for seven weeks, and hit number five on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. It remained there for 30 weeks, beating out a rival cover version by a white band called The Hilltoppers. When the Platters track, “The Great Pretender” (which eventually surpassed the success of “Only You”), was released in the UK as Europe’s first introduction to The Platters, “Only You” was included on the flipside. In the 1956 film Rock Around the Clock, The Platters participated with both songs “Only You” and “The Great Pretender”.

Trivia

  • The Platters were the first rock and roll group to have a Top Ten album in America.
  • In 1974, Ringo Starr covered this song (b/w “Call Me”) for his album Goodnight Vienna at the suggestion of John Lennon. This version was released as a single on 11 November in the US, and it became a number six hit on the US Billboard Hot 100 and reached number one on the easy listening chart in early 1975.
  • The group was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990, and the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in its inaugural year of 1998.
  • Currently, there are four acts using variations of the name: The Buck Ram Platters, Herb Reed and His Platters, Monroe Powell and The Platters, and Sonny Turner (former lead singer of The Platters).

 

61. Tutti Frutti – Little Richard – 1955

Standard

!little-richard-penniman

Listen

About

Wikipedia

“Tutti Frutti” (means “All Fruits” in Italian) is a song co-written by Little Richard, which was recorded in 1955 and became his first major hit record. With its opening cry of “A-wop-bom-a-loo-mop-a-lomp-bom-bom!” (a verbal rendition of a drum pattern that Little Richard had imagined) and its hard-driving sound and wild lyrics, it became not only a model for many future Little Richard songs, but also a model for rock and roll itself.

In 2007, an eclectic panel of renowned recording artists voted “Tutti Frutti” number 1 on Mojo‘s The Top 100 Records That Changed The World, hailing the recording as “the sound of the birth of rock and roll.” In 2010, the US Library of Congress National Recording Registry added the recording to its registry, claiming the “unique vocalizing over the irresistible beat announced a new era in music”. In April 2012, Rolling Stone magazine declared that the song “still contains what has to be considered the most inspired rock lyric ever recorded: “”A-wop-bom-a-loo-mop-a-lomp-bom-bom!!”

Trivia

  • The original lyrics, “Tutti Frutti, good booty / If it don’t fit, don’t force it / You can grease it, make it easy”, were replaced with “Tutti Frutti, aw rooty! Tutti Frutti, aw rooty”.
  • The record entered the Billboard Rhythm and Blues chart at the end of November 1955, and rose to # 2 early in 1956. It also reached # 17 on the Billboard pop chart.
  • After Pat Boone‘s success with “Ain’t That a Shame“, his next single was “Tutti Frutti”, markedly toned down from the already reworked Blackwell version. Boone’s version made no. 12 on the national pop chart, with Little Richard’s trailing behind only reaching no. 17.
  • Little Richard admitted that though Pat Boone “took [his] music”, Boone made it more popular due to his high status in the white music industry.
  • “They didn’t want me to be in the white guys’ way … I felt I was pushed into a rhythm and blues corner to keep out of rockers’ way, because that’s where the money is. When ‘Tutti Frutti’ came out … They needed a rock star to block me out of white homes because I was a hero to white kids. The white kids would have Pat Boone upon the dresser and me in the drawer ’cause they liked my version better, but the families didn’t want me because of the image that I was projecting.” – Little Richard.

60. In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning – Frank Sinatra – 1955

Standard

franksinatra

Listen

About

Wikipedia “In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning” is a 1955 popular song composed by David Mann, with lyrics by Bob Hilliard. It was introduced as the title track of Frank Sinatra‘s 1955 album In the Wee Small Hours. It was composed by Mann and Hilliard during a post-midnight session at Hilliard’s New Jersey home. Mann was about to depart for New York when Hilliard insisted he remain to try some impromptu songwriting. Mann reluctantly agreed and eventually came up with the tune, to which Hilliard quickly wrote a lyric.

Trivia

  • By the early 1950s, Sinatra saw his career in decline, his teen “bobby soxer” audience having lost interest in him as he entered his late 30s.
  • The rebirth of his career began with the eve-of-Pearl Harbor drama From Here to Eternity (1953), for which he won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor.
  • The songs on In the Wee Small Hours deal with themes such as loneliness, introspection, lost love, failed relationships, depression and night-life. As a result, it is generally regarded as one of the first concept albums.
  • The album was recorded in five sessions at KHJ Studios, Hollywood. These sessions took place on February 8, 16 & 17, and April 1 & 4, and would start at 8:00PM, continuing to past midnight.
  • Since its release, In the Wee Small Hours has been regarded as one of Sinatra’s best, often being ranked alongside Songs for Swingin’ Lovers! (1956) and Frank Sinatra Sings for Only the Lonely (1958).
  • It is also considered by many to be one of the best vocal jazz releases of all time. acclaimedmusic.net, a website which aggregates musical accolades, names …Hours the 3rd most acclaimed album of the 50s (…Swingin’ Lovers! being one place behind it), with Kind of Blue by Miles Davis and Elvis Presley’s self titled début album in front.

59. I Get Along Without You Very Well – Chet Baker – 1954

Standard

515LDi0MT7L._SL290_

Listen

About

Wikipedia

I Get Along Without You Very Well” is a popular song composed by Hoagy Carmichael in 1939, with lyrics based on a poem written by Jane Brown Thompson. Thompson’s identity as the author of the poem was for many years unknown; she died the night before the song was introduced on radio by Dick Powell.

It appears on Chet Baker‘s 1954 album Chet Baker Sings.

On Hoagy Carmichael’s well-loved song-as on the rest of its parent album, Baker is accompanied by just piano, bass and drums, although on this occasion he plays no trumpet. It is a poignant performance, its seemingly effortless simplicity hiding considerable technique

Baker’s emotionally restrained singing is musical in the proper sense. His bel canto-tenor vocals are achieved with perfect breath control and relaxation, his notes completely in tune, his phrases perfectly measured throughout.

Trivia

  • Howard Hoagland “Hoagy” Carmichael is best known for composing the music for “Stardust“, “Georgia on My Mind“, “The Nearness of You“, and “Heart and Soul“, four of the most-recorded American songs of all time.
  • The biggest-selling version was a 1939 recording by Red Norvo and his orchestra (vocal by Terry Allen).
  • Carmichael and Jane Russell performed the song in the 1952 film noir The Las Vegas Story.
  • Baker had first made his mark in 1952 on America’s west coast, where he partnered baritone saxophonist Gerry Mulligan in a piano-less quartet, an unusual lineup that matched his light and airy notes with the gruff harrumphing of a baritone sax underscored by bass and drums to surprisingly balletic effect.
  • The idea that Baker might then sing on some tracks came from his record label boss, Dick Bock “I encouraged him to sing and it turned out he had an exceptional talent for it”.

58. (We’re Gonna) Rock Around the Clock – Bill Haley & His Comets – 1954

Standard

Bill-Haley---his-Comets-rocknroll-remembered-713902_1139_1344

Listen

About

Wikipedia

Rock Around the Clock” is a rock and roll song in the 12-bar blues format written by Max C. Freedman and James E. Myers (the latter under the pseudonym “Jimmy De Knight”) in 1952. The best-known and most successful rendition was recorded by Bill Haley and His Comets in 1954 for American Decca. It was a number one single on both the US and UK charts and also re-entered the UK Singles Chart in the 1960s and 1970s.

It was not the first rock and roll record, nor was it the first successful record of the genre (Bill Haley had American chart success with “Crazy Man, Crazy” in 1953, and in 1954, “Shake, Rattle and Roll” reached No. 1 on the Billboard R&B chart). Haley’s recording nevertheless became an anthem for rebellious Fifties youth[7] and is widely considered to be the song that, more than any other, brought rock and roll into mainstream culture around the world. The song is ranked No. 158 on the Rolling Stone magazine’s list of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

Although first recorded by Italian-American band Sonny Dae and His Knights on March 20, 1954,[1] the more famous version by Bill Haley & His Comets is not, strictly speaking, a cover version. Myers claimed the song had been written specifically for Haley but, for various reasons, Haley was unable to record it himself until April 12, 1954.

The original full title of the song was “We’re Gonna Rock Around the Clock Tonight!“. This was later shortened to “(We’re Gonna) Rock Around the Clock“, though this form is generally only used on releases of the 1954 Bill Haley Decca Records recording; most other recordings of this song by Haley and others (including Sonny Dae) shorten this title further to “Rock Around the Clock“.

Trivia

  • The song was offered to Haley in the wake of his first national success “Crazy Man, Crazy” in 1953, after being copyrighted with the U.S. Library of Congress on March 31.
  • Haley and his Comets began performing the song on stage, but Dave Miller, his producer, refused to allow Haley to record it for his Essex Records label.
  • Haley claimed to have taken the sheet music into the recording studio at least twice, with Miller ripping up the music each time.
  • After leaving Essex Records in the spring of 1954, Bill Haley signed with the then-important Decca Records label, and the band’s first recording session was set for April 12, 1954 at the Pythian Temple studios in New York City.
  • Near the end of the session, the band finally recorded a take of “Rock Around the Clock”.
  • On July 9, 1955, “Rock Around the Clock” became the first rock and roll recording to hit the top of Billboard’s Pop charts, a feat it repeated on charts around the world.
  • The song was used as the theme song for the first season of the 1970s sitcom Happy Days, which was set in the 1950s.

57. Shake, Rattle and Roll – Big Joe Turner & His Blues Kings – 1954

Standard

6338289

Listen

About

Wikipedia

Shake, Rattle and Roll” is a twelve bar blues-form rock and roll song, written in 1954 by Jesse Stone under his assumed songwriting name Charles E. Calhoun. It was originally recorded by Big Joe Turner, and most successfully by Bill Haley & His Comets. The song as sung by Big Joe Turner is ranked #126 on the Rolling Stone magazine’s list of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

In early 1954, Ahmet Ertegun of Atlantic Records suggested to Stone that he write an up-tempo blues for Big Joe Turner, a blues shouter whose career had begun in Kansas City before World War II. Stone played around with various phrases before coming up with “shake, rattle and roll”.

Trivia

  • The phrase had been used in earlier songs. In 1919, Al Bernard recorded a song about gambling with dice with the same title, clearly evoking the action of shooting dice from a cup. The phrase is also heard in “Roll The Bones” by the Excelsior Quartette in 1922.
  • Turner’s version was recorded in New York on February 15, 1954. The shouting chorus on his version consisted of Jesse Stone, and record label executives Jerry Wexler and Ahmet Ertegün. The saxophone solo was by Sam “The Man” Taylor.
  • Turner’s recording was released in April 1954, reached #1 on the US Billboard R&B chart on June 12, did not move for three weeks, and peaked at #22, nearly at the same time, on the Billboard pop chart.
  • The song, in its original incarnation, is highly sexual. Perhaps its most salacious lyric, which was absent from the later Bill Haley rendition, is “I’ve been holdin’ it in, way down underneath / You make me roll my eyes, baby, make me grit my teeth”. [It may actually be “Over the hill, way down underneath.] On the recording, Turner slurred the lyric “holdin’ it in”, since this line may have been considered too risqué for publication.
  • The chorus uses “shake, rattle and roll” to refer to boisterous intercourse, in the same way that the words “rock and roll” were first used by numerous rhythm and blues singers, starting with Trixie Smith‘s “My Man Rocks Me (With One Steady Roll)” in 1922, and continuing on prominently through the 1940s and 1950s.
  • Stone stated that the line about “a one-eyed cat peepin’ in a seafood store” was suggested to him by Atlantic session drummer Sam “Baby” Lovett; also a sly sexual reference.