Friday, 17 February 2017
Young Girl/ I'm Losing You/Woman, Woman/Don't Make Promises
Frontman Puckett was born October 17, 1942, in of all places Hibbing, MN, (where Bob Dylan went to high school). Raised primarily in Yakima, WA, he picked up the guitar as a teen, and while attending college in San Diego played in a number of local bands before quitting school to focus on music. Puckett eventually landed with the Outcasts, a hard rock group comprised of bassist Kerry Chater, keyboardist Gary "Mutha" Withem, tenor saxophonist Dwight Bement, and drummer Paul Wheatbread. Despite earning a strong local following, in 1966 Wheatbread relocated to Los Angeles to serve as the house drummer on the television series Where the Action Is; the remaining members of the Outcasts toured the Pacific Northwest, and on their return, Wheatbread also moved back to San Diego and rejoined the lineup. For reasons unknown, manager Dick Badger -- convinced his charges needed a strong visual hook -- then sent the group to Tijuana, where they were outfitted with Union Army-style Civil War uniforms.
The band immediately returned to the Top Ten that autumn with the Dick Glasser-produced "This Girl Is a Woman Now," but it was to be their last hit. The follow-up, "Let's Give Adam and Eve Another Chance," tanked, and after management dictated that Puckett's bandmates now receive a weekly salary instead of a percentage of the revenue, Chater and Withem left the band. Bement assumed bass duties, keyboardist Barry McCoy and horn player Richard Gabriel were added, and gospel vocalists the Eddie Kendrick Singers also signed on. The Civil War gear was soon jettisoned, but even so, prospects did not improve. In 1970, Puckett began recording as a solo act, but his efforts were not well-received; the Union Gap remained his live backing unit, until they were dismissed following an appearance at the 1971 Orange County Fair. Puckett's contract with CBS was terminated one year later.
Dreamin'/Little Boy Sad/Girls/You're Sixteen
A contemporary of Elvis Presley in the Memphis scene of the mid-'50s, Johnny Burnette played a similar brand of fiery, spare wildman rockabilly. With his brother Dorsey (on bass) and guitarist Paul Burlison forming his Rock 'n' Roll Trio, he recorded a clutch of singles for Decca in 1956 and 1957 that achieved nothing more than regional success. Featuring the groundbreaking fuzzy tone of Burlison's guitar, Johnny's energetic vocals, and Dorsey's slapping bass, these recordings -- highlighted by the first rock & roll version of "Train Kept A-Rollin'" -- compare well to the classic Sun rockabilly of the same era. The trio disbanded in 1957, and Johnny found pop success as a teen idol in the early '60s with hits like "You're Sixteen" and "Dreamin'." Burnette died in a boating accident in 1964. His brother Dorsey achieved modest success as a solo act in the early '60s, and Burlison resurfaced as a member of the Sun Rhythm Section.
Me And Bobby McGee/Mercedes Benz/Cry Baby/Half Moon
Janis Lyn Joplin (January 19, 1943 – October 4, 1970) was an influential American singer of the 1960s; her raw, powerful and uninhibited singing style, combined with her turbulent and emotional lifestyle, made her one of the biggest female stars in her lifetime. She died of an accidental drug overdose in 1970, aged 27, after releasing three albums. A fourth album, Pearl, was released a little more than three months after her death, reaching number 1 on the charts.
Joplin rose to fame in 1967 during an appearance at Monterey Pop Festival, as the lead singer of the then little-known San Francisco psychedelic rock band Big Brother and the Holding Company. After releasing two albums with the band, she left Big Brother to continue as a solo artist with her own backing groups, first the Kozmic Blues Band and then the Full Tilt Boogie Band. She appeared at the Woodstock festival and the Festival Express train tour. Five singles by Joplin went into the Billboard Top 100, including "Me and Bobby McGee", which reached number 1 in March 1971. Her most popular songs include: "Piece of My Heart"; "Cry Baby"; "Down on Me"; "Ball 'n' Chain"; "Summertime"; and "Mercedes Benz", the final song she recorded.
Joplin, who was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1995, was well known for her performing ability. Audiences and critics alike referred to her stage presence as "electric". Rolling Stone ranked Joplin number 46 on its 2004 list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time and number 28 on its 2008 list of 100 Greatest Singers of All Time. She remains one of the top-selling musicians in the United States, with Recording Industry Association of America certifications of 15.5 million albums sold in the USA.
Stag-O-Lee/ I'm In Love/Soul Dance Number Three/Funky Broadway
Of the major '60s soul stars, Wilson Pickett was one of the roughest and sweatiest, working up some of the decade's hottest dancefloor grooves on hits like "In the Midnight Hour," "Land of 1000 Dances," "Mustang Sally," and "Funky Broadway." Although he tends to be held in somewhat lower esteem than more versatile talents like Otis Redding and Aretha Franklin, he is often a preferred alternative of fans who like their soul on the rawer side. He also did a good deal to establish the sound of Southern soul with his early hits, which were often written and recorded with the cream of the session musicians in Memphis and Muscle Shoals.
Pickett didn't confine himself to the environs of Stax for long; soon he was also cutting tracks at Muscle Shoals. He recorded several early songs by Bobby Womack. He used Duane Allman as a session guitarist on a hit cover of the Beatles' "Hey Jude." He cut some hits in Philadelphia with Gamble & Huff productions in the early '70s. He even did a hit version of the Archies' "Sugar, Sugar." The hits kept rolling through the early '70s, including "Don't Knock My Love" and "Get Me Back on Time, Engine Number 9."
One of the corollaries of '60s soul is that if a performer rose to fame with Motown or Atlantic, he or she would produce little of note after leaving the label. Pickett, unfortunately, did not prove an exception to the rule. His last big hit was "Fire and Water," in 1972. He continued to be active on the tour circuit; his most essential music, all from the 1960s and early '70s, was assembled for the superb Rhino double-CD anthology A Man and a Half. It's Harder Now, his first new material in over a decade, followed in 1999. Pickett spent the early part of the 2000s performing, before retiring in late 2004 due to ill health. He passed away on January 19, 2006, following a heart attack.
I'm Wondering/My Cherie Armour/Yester-Me, Yester-You, Yesterday/For Once In My Life
Stevland Hardaway Morris (born Stevland Hardaway Judkins; May 13, 1950), known by his stage name Stevie Wonder, is an American musician, singer, songwriter, record producer, and multi-instrumentalist. A child prodigy, he is considered to be one of the most critically and commercially successful musical performers of the late 20th century. Wonder signed with Motown's Tamla label at the age of 11, and he continued performing and recording for Motown into the 2010s. He has been blind since shortly after birth.
Among Wonder's works are singles such as "Superstition", "Sir Duke", "You Are the Sunshine of My Life" and "I Just Called to Say I Love You"; and albums such as Talking Book, Innervisions and Songs in the Key of Life. He has recorded more than 30 U.S. top ten hits and received 25 Grammy Awards, one of the most-awarded male solo artists, and has sold over 100 million records worldwide, making him one of the top 60 best-selling music artists. Wonder is also noted for his work as an activist for political causes, including his 1980 campaign to make Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday a holiday in the United States. In 2009, Wonder was named a United Nations Messenger of Peace. In 2013, Billboard magazine released a list of the Billboard Hot 100 All-Time Top Artists to celebrate the US singles chart's 55th anniversary, with Wonder at number six.
My Cherie Amour" is a 1969 soul classic by Motown singer-songwriter Stevie Wonder. The song was originally recorded from late 1967 to early 1968, but not released until early 1969. The song was co-written by Wonder, Sylvia Moy, and Henry Cosby; Cosby also served as producer of the song. The song became a #4 hit on both the Billboard pop and R&B singles charts in July 1969. Wonder also released Spanish- and Italian-language versions entitled "Mi Querido Amor" and "My Cherie Amor", respectively.
"I'm Wondering" is a single released by Stevie Wonder as a non-album single in 1967. It peaked at No. 12 on the Billboard Hot 100. It was a hit in Great Britain as well, where it made #22 on the Pop Charts. The single was released after his album, I Was Made to Love Her, had made its debut.
Mr.Tambourine Man/Turn! Turn! Turn! (To Everything There Is A Season)/All I Really Want To Do/Mr. Spaceman
The Byrds were an American rock band that were formed in Los Angeles, California in 1964. Although the band only enjoyed the huge commercial success of contemporaries like The Beatles or The Beach Boys for a short period of time (1965–1966), they were pivotal in originating the musical styles of folk rock, psychedelic rock, raga rock, and country rock. The band underwent several line-up changes throughout its existence, with frontman Roger McGuinn remaining the sole consistent member of the group until their disbandment in 1973.
"Mr. Tambourine Man" was the debut single by the American band The Byrds and was released on April 12, 1965 by Columbia Records. The song was also the title track of the band's debut album, Mr. Tambourine Man, which was released on June 21, 1965. The Byrds' version is abridged and in a different key from Dylan's original. The single's success initiated the folk rock boom of 1965 and 1966, many acts imitating the band's hybrid of rock beat, jangly guitar and poetic or socially conscious lyrics. The single, the "first folk rock smash hit", gave rise to the very term "folk rock" in the U.S music press to describe the band's sound. The single reached number 1 on the Billboard Hot 100, and number 1 on the UK Singles Chart, making it the first recording of a Dylan song to reach number 1 on any pop music chart
It was the second single by the American folk rock band the Byrds, and was released on June 14, 1965 by Columbia Records (see 1965 in music). The song was also included on the band's debut album, Mr. Tambourine Man, which was released on June 21, 1965. The version of the song released as a single is a completely different take to the version found on the Mr. Tambourine Man album, as evidenced by the slight lyrical variations in the song's first verse and the different running times the two versions have; the single is 2:02 minutes in length while the album version is slightly longer at 2:04. The single reached #40 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #4 on the UK Singles Chart.
"Turn! Turn! Turn! (To Everything There Is a Season)" — often abbreviated to "Turn! Turn! Turn!" — is a song written by Pete Seeger in the late 1950s. The song became an international hit in late 1965 when it was covered by the American folk rock band The Byrds, entering at #80 on October 23, 1965, before reaching #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart on December 4, 1965, #3 in Canada (Nov. 29, 1965), and also peaking at #26 on the UK Singles Chart. In the U.S., the song holds distinction as the #1 hit with the oldest lyrics.
Love Hurts/This Flight Tonight/Broken Down Angel/Hair Of The Dog
Nazareth formed in December 1968 in Dunfermline, Scotland, from the remaining members of semi-professional local group The Shadettes (formed in 1961) by vocalist Dan McCafferty, guitarist Manny Charlton (ex Mark V and The Red Hawks), bassist Pete Agnew, and drummer Darrell Sweet. They were inspired by The Beatles and The Rolling Stones. Nazareth took their name from Nazareth, Pennsylvania, which is cited in the first line of The Band's classic song "The Weight" ("I pulled into Nazareth / Was feelin' about half past dead..."). Nazareth's cover version of "Java Blues" by The Band's bassist/singer Rick Danko and Emmett Grogan is on their 1981 live album Snaz.
The band moved to London, England in 1970 and released their eponymous debut album in 1971. After getting some attention with their second album Exercises, released in 1972, Nazareth supported Deep Purple on tour, and issued the Roger Glover-produced Razamanaz, in early 1973. This collection spawned two UK Top Ten hits, "Broken Down Angel" and "Bad Bad Boy". This was followed by Loud 'N' Proud in late 1973, which contained another hit single with a cover of Joni Mitchell's song "This Flight Tonight". Then came another album Rampant, in 1974, that was equally successful although its only single, "Shanghai'd in Shanghai", narrowly missed the British Top 40. A non-album song, again a cover version, this time of Tomorrow's "My White Bicycle", was a UK Top 20 entry in 1975.
Hair of the Dog was released in April 1975 and was produced by Manny Charlton, ending Roger Glover's association with the band. The title track of that album (popularly, though incorrectly, known as "Son of a Bitch" due to its hook lyric) became a staple of 1970s rock radio. The American version of the album included a song originally recorded by The Everly Brothers, the melodic Boudleaux Bryant-penned ballad "Love Hurts", that was released as a hit single in the UK and in the US, where it went platinum. The track became the band's only US Top Ten hit. and was also a top 10 hit in nine other countries, reaching number 1 in six of them. The song was on the Norwegian chart for 60 weeks.
Looking Through The Eyes Of Love/Breaking Up Is Hard To Do/It's One Of Those Nights/Am I Losing You
The Partridge Family is an American musical-sitcom starring Shirley Jones and featuring David Cassidy. Jones plays a widowed mother, and Cassidy plays the oldest of her five children who embark on a music career. It ran from September 25, 1970, until March 23, 1974, on the ABC network as part of a Friday-night lineup, and had subsequent runs in syndication. The family was loosely based on the real-life musical family The Cowsills, a popular band in the late 1960s and early 1970s.
The Partridge Family was produced for ABC by Screen Gems. The company promoted the show by releasing a series of albums featuring the family band, though David Cassidy and Shirley Jones, who sang background, were the only cast members who were actually featured on the recordings.
The Partridge Family's biggest hit came in 1970 with the song "I Think I Love You", written by Tony Romeo (who had previously written several of the Cowsills' hits), peaked at Number 1 on the Billboard charts in December of that year. It sold over five million copies, outselling the Beatles' "Let It Be", was awarded a gold disc, and made the group the third fictional artist to have a No. 1 hit (after The Chipmunks and The Archies). The song's companion LP, The Partridge Family Album, reached Number 4 in the Billboard 200. It was also awarded a gold disc by the RIAA in December 1970, having sold over one million copies.
Tuesday, 7 February 2017
Fox On The Run/Too Many People/Ragamuffin Man/A 'B' side
Manfred Mann were an English rock band of the 1960s, named after keyboardist, Manfred Mann, who later led the successful 1970s group Manfred Mann's Earth Band. The group had two different lead vocalists during their success, Paul Jones from 1962 to 1966, and Mike d'Abo from 1966 to 1969.
Manfred Mann were regularly in the charts in the 1960s. Three of the band's most successful singles, "Do Wah Diddy Diddy", "Pretty Flamingo" and "Mighty Quinn", topped the UK Singles Chart. They were the first south-of-England-based group to top the US Billboard Hot 100 during the British invasion
The Mann-Hugg Blues Brothers were formed in London by keyboard player Manfred Mann and drummer/vibes/piano player Mike Hugg, who formed a house band in Clacton-on-Sea that also featured Graham Bond. Bringing a shared love of jazz to the British blues boom, then sweeping London's clubs (which also spawned Alexis Korner, the Rolling Stones and the Yardbirds), the band was completed by Mike Vickers on guitar, alto saxophone and flute, bassist Dave Richmond and Paul Jones as lead vocalist and harmonicist. By this time they had changed their name to Manfred Mann & the Manfreds. Gigging throughout late 1962 and early 1963 the band soon attracted attention for their distinctive sound.
Jones was replaced by Mike d'Abo in July 1966, and the group switched labels to Fontana Records, where they were produced by Shel Talmy. Their first Fontana single, Dylan's "Just Like a Woman", released in July, scraped in the UK top ten, reaching number one in Sweden. Their annual long-player, As Is, followed in October, with increased studio technique sidelining jazz, soul and blues roots and centring on the group's strongest set of songs so far. The next two singles "Semi-Detached, Suburban Mr James" and "Ha Ha Said The Clown" both reached the Top 5. Their December 1968 release, "Fox on the Run", reached No. 5 in the UK. The group split in 1969, while their final hit, "Ragamuffin Man", was in the Top 10.
Monday, 6 February 2017
Hold The Line/99/Rosanna/Africa
Toto is an American rock band formed in 1977 in Van Nuys in Los Angeles. The band's current lineup consists of Joseph Williams (lead vocals), David Paich (keyboards, vocals), Steve Porcaro (keyboards), Steve Lukather (guitars, vocals), plus touring members Leland Sklar (bass) and Shannon Forrest (drums). Toto is known for a musical style that combines elements of pop, rock, soul, funk, progressive rock, hard rock, R&B, blues, and jazz.
David Paich and Jeff Porcaro had played together as session musicians on several albums and decided to form a band. David Hungate, Steve Lukather, Steve Porcaro and Bobby Kimball were recruited before their first album release. The band enjoyed great commercial success in the late 1970s and 1980s, beginning with the band's eponymous debut released in 1978. With the release of the critically acclaimed and commercially successful Toto IV (1982), Toto became one of the best-selling music groups of their era. They are best known for the Top 5 hits "Hold the Line", "Rosanna", and "Africa". Several changes to the lineup have been made over the years. Hungate left in 1982 followed by Kimball in 1984 but rejoined the band in 1998 until 2008. Jeff Porcaro died in 1992 of a heart attack. Hungate rejoined Toto as a touring musician and later a band member. In 2008, Lukather announced his departure from the band, and the remaining band members later went their separate ways. In the summer of 2010, Toto reformed and went on a short European tour, with a new lineup, to benefit Mike Porcaro, who had been diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and was no longer an active member of the band. Porcaro died in 2015.
The band has released a total of 17 albums, and have sold over 40 million albums to date. The group was honored with several Grammy Awards and was inducted into the Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum in 2009.
Saturday, 4 February 2017
Spanish Harlem/First Taste Of Love/Don't Play That Song (You Lied)/The Hermit Of Misty Mountain
Benjamin Earl King (September 28, 1938 – April 30, 2015), known as Ben E. King, was an American soul and R&B singer and record producer. He was perhaps best known as the singer and co-composer of "Stand by Me"—a US Top 10 hit, both in 1961 and later in 1986 (when it was used as the theme to the film of the same name), a number one hit in the UK in 1987, and no. 25 on the RIAA's list of Songs of the Century—and as one of the principal lead singers of the R&B vocal group the Drifters notably singing the lead vocals of one of their biggest global hit singles (and only U.S. #1 hit) "Save the Last Dance for Me".
It was originally released as the B-side to "First Taste of Love". The song was King's first hit away from The Drifters, a group he had led for several years. With an arrangement by Stan Applebaum featuring Spanish guitar, marimba, drum-beats, soprano saxophone, strings, and a male chorus, it climbed the Billboard charts, eventually peaking at #15 R&B and #10 Pop. It was ranked #358 on Rolling Stone's list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. King's version was not a hit in the UK: instead, the original A-side, "First Taste of Love", that was played on Radio Luxembourg, charting at #27. In 1987, after Stand By Me made #1, the song was re-released and charted at #9
similarly, in a 2009 radio interview with Leiber and Stoller on the Bob Edwards Weekend talk show, Jerry Leiber said that Stoller, while uncredited, had written the key instrumental introduction to the record. In the team's autobiography from the same year, Hound Dog, Stoller himself remarks that he had created this "fill" while doing a piano accompaniment when the song was presented to Ahmet Ertegun and Jerry Wexler at Atlantic Records, with Spector playing guitar and Leiber doing the vocal. "Since then, I've never heard the song played without that musical figure. I presumed my contribution was seminal to the composition, but I also knew that Phil didn't want to share credit with anyone but Jerry, so I kept quiet."
Yellow River/Down The Mississippi Line/San Bernadino/Country Boy
In addition to Jeff Christie (born Jeffrey Christie, 12 July 1946, Leeds, Yorkshire, England) their vocalist, bassist and songwriter; they initially included guitarist Vic Elmes and drummer Mike Blakley (born Michael Blakley, 12 January 1947, Bromley, Kent, England brother of Alan Blakley).
Jeff Christie had initially worked with several bands, including The Outer Limits, who released "Just One More Chance" / "Help Me Please" (1967) and "Great Train Robbery" / "Sweet Freedom" (1968).
In 1970, Jeff Christie offered his composition "Yellow River" to The Tremeloes. They recorded it to release as a single but changed their minds as they were going more progressive as the seventies started. At the same time Tremeloes member Alan Blakely's brother Michael had a little group called the Epics and Alan wanted to give his brother a break. They decided to get Jeff Christie to come down from Leeds and let him use the Tremeloes backing track. The Epics became Christie with Jeff as the lead vocalist and the result was a UK number one hit in June 1970, and subsequently #23 in the U.S., also accumulating more weeks (23) on the Hot 100 than any other entry on that chart completely inside 1970. It was a worldwide hit and was number one in 26 countries with global sales of over 30 million.
Lem Lubin (ex-Unit 4 + 2) was added to the line-up after the release of Iron Horse (1972), but the title track proved to be the band's final hit single. The departure of Fenton and Lubin hastened the demise of the original line-up, but Jeff Christie returned with new members Terry Fogg (drums) (born Terrence George Fogg, 25 September 1945, Chesterfield, Derbyshire), Roger Flavell (bass), and Danny Krieger (guitar). A 1974 single "Alabama" / "I'm Alive" failed to resurrect the band's fortunes, and new members Tony Ferguson (guitar) and Roger Willis (drums) were brought in to join Christie and Flavell. "JoJo's Band", written by Elmes, was a major hit for Christie in Argentina and Brazil, while the last Christie hit, "Navajo", was Number 1 in Mexico. In 1982 Vic Elmes enlisted Mick Blakely and Peter Morrison Of NYPL, to tour Germany on a package tour. At the end of the tour, the band folded. The band recorded an Elmes song, Deep In The Night, produced by Alan Blakely.
Sunday, 15 January 2017
Looking Out My Back Door/Long As I Can See The Light/Down On The Corner/Fortunate Son
At a time when rock was evolving away from the forces that had made the music possible in the first place, Creedence Clearwater Revival brought things back to their roots with their concise synthesis of rockabilly, swamp pop, R&B, and country. Though the music of CCR was very much a group effort in their tight, punchy arrangements, their vision was very much singer, songwriter, guitarist, and leader John Fogerty's. Fogerty's classic compositions for Creedence both evoked enduring images of Americana and reflected burning social issues of the day. The band's genius was their ability to accomplish this with the economic, primal power of a classic rockabilly ensemble.
The key elements of Creedence had been woodshedding in bar bands for about a decade before their breakthrough to national success in the late '60s. John's older brother Tom formed the Blue Velvets in the late '50s in El Cerrito, California, a tiny suburb across the bay from San Francisco. By the mid-'60s, with a few hopelessly obscure recordings under their belt, the band -- including Tom and John with two high-school friends, drummer Doug Clifford and bassist Stu Cook -- signed to Fantasy, releasing several singles as the Golliwogs that went nowhere. In fact, there's little promise to be found on those early efforts; they were extremely derivative of the British Invasion and other R&B and rock trends of the day, with few hints of the swampy roots rock that would characterize CCR. The group only found themselves when John took firm reins over the band's direction, singing and writing virtually all of their material.
Creedence also made good albums -- Green River, Willy and the Poor Boys, and Cosmo's Factory all rank among the best of the rock era -- but their true forte was as a singles band. When the Beatles broke up in early 1970, CCR was the only other act that provided any competition in the fine art of crafting bold, super-catchy artistic statements that soared to the upper reaches of the charts every three or four months. Although they hailed from the San Francisco area, they rarely succumbed to the psychedelic indulgences of the era. John Fogerty also proved adept at voicing the concerns of the working class in songs like "Fortunate Son," as well as partying with as much funk as any white rock band would muster on "Travelin' Band" and "Down on the Corner."
It was John Fogerty, of course, who produced the only notable work after the quartet broke up. Even his solo outings, though, were erratic and, for nearly ten years, nonexistent as he became embroiled in a web of business disputes with Fantasy Records. His 1984 album Centerfield proved he could still rock in the vintage Creedence mode when the spirit moved him, but Tom Fogerty's death in 1990 ended any hopes of a CCR reunion with the original members intact.
Sunday, 1 January 2017
Keep On Running/High Time Baby/Jump Back/I'm Blue (Going Going Song)
"Keep on Running" is a song written and originally recorded by Jackie Edwards, which became a number one hit in the UK when recorded by The Spencer Davis Group.
The song was most successfully recorded by The Spencer Davis Group and released as a single in November 1965 on Fontana Records, backed with "High Time Baby". At the time, Chris Blackwell, who produced the recording, was trying to get his Island label established in the UK and was managing the Spencer Davis Group. He was lent funding from Scala Brown Associates for the single by offering a sizable share of his label as security; the success of the single meant that he was quickly able to repay the loan. It was a number one hit on the UK Singles Chart in January 1966. In the United States it reached number 76.
Thursday, 1 December 2016
White Christmas/Here Comes Santa Claus (Right Down Santa Claus Lane)/O Little Town Of Bethlehem/Silent Night
We know that Christmas was a very special time of year for Elvis. Wherever his work found him, whether it was in Hollywood, in Las Vegas, or on the road somewhere, he almost always came home to Memphis for the holidays. He loved to decorate Graceland for his fans to see, and at Christmas time he gave generously to many of his hometown charities. We know that, regardless of the season, he loved to give gifts to his family and friends, but that was especially so at Christmas time.
Elvis celebrated 23 Christmases during his years as a professional entertainer from 1954-1976. Below is a record of where Elvis spent December 25th each of those years, along with a brief note about his activities that particular Christmas. The information comes from the book Elvis: Day By Day by Ernst Jorgensen and Peter Guralnick.
1955: Again Elvis was home on Christmas Day. The family had moved to a house at 1414 Getwell in Memphis. A month earlier he had signed on with RCA Victor, and his 21st birthday was just two weeks away.
1956: Elvis’s fabulous success during the year had enabled him to purchase a new home for his parents on Audubon Drive in Memphis. He spent the holiday season there with his family.
1957: Elvis must have had mixed emotions at Christmas time in 1957. It was his first Christmas at Graceland. Just five days before Christmas, however, he had received his draft notice. On Christmas Eve he requested a deferment, which pushed his induction day to March 20, 1958.
1958: This was Elvis’s first Christmas without his mother. He spent it with his father, grandmother, and friends in the Hotel Grunewald in Germany, near his army post. Vernon’s gift to Elvis was an electric guitar. That season Colonel Parker sent out Christmas cards with a picture of himself dressed as Santa and Elvis in his military uniform.
1959: This was Elvis’s first Christmas with Priscilla. It was celebrated with family and friends at Elvis’s rented home on Goethetrasse in Germany. Priscilla gave Elvis a set of bongo drums. Meanwhile, Elvis had arranged for a French poodle to be delivered to girlfriend Anita Wood in Memphis.
1961: Elvis spent the holidays with friends at the Sahara Hotel in Las Vegas. It was the last Christmas of his life that he would spend away from Graceland.
1962: Priscilla flew in from Germany to spend Christmas with Elvis at Graceland. Elvis held a private party for about 30 friends. Elvis’s gift to Priscilla was a toy poodle that she named Honey. She gave Elvis a wooden cigarette box that played the song “Surrender” when opened.
1963: Again Elvis spent the holidays at Graceland with Priscilla. A week before Christmas he presented the mayor of Memphis with a check for $58,000 to be shared by 58 Memphis charities.
1964: At Graceland a dozen or so members of Elvis’s male entourage went in together to present Elvis a Christmas gift of a Bible with a “tree of life” drawn on the front page. Each of the lines had the name of one of the guys. Noticing that Larry Geller’s name was missing, Elvis refused to accept the bible until Larry’s name was added. Elvis was just two weeks away from his 30th birthday.
1965: Again spending the holidays at Graceland, Elvis received a slot-car racing set as a Christmas present from Priscilla. The guys gave Elvis a $500 statue of Jesus, which is still in the Meditation Garden at Graceland.
1966: On Christmas Eve, Elvis proposed to Priscilla. The next day Elvis had a catered dinner served at Graceland.
1967: It was Elvis and Priscilla’s first Christmas as man and wife. They hosted a party at Graceland on Christmas Eve. As usual, the grounds were decorated with a life-size Nativity scene and eight lighted garland trees.
1969: A week before Christmas, Elvis returned home to Memphis from Los Angeles. Vernon again played the part of Santa. Elvis gave Priscilla a black fox coat, and she gave him a velvet suit with shirts and slacks all designed by Bill Belew, who had designed the clothes for Elvis’s 1968 TV special.
1970: In the early morning hours of Christmas Day, Elvis visited Memphis police headquarters to say hello to “the men and women who had to work on Christmas.” Elvis and Priscilla spent the rest of the day quietly at Graceland. In the evening they went to the Memphian theater to see Little Fauss and Big Halsey starring Robert Redford.
1971: At Graceland, Elvis distributed MacDonald’s gift certificates as a joke before handing out his real presents. Many of the guys noticed that Elvis and Priscilla seemed “distant” over the holidays.
1972: Having separated from Priscilla, Elvis gave his girlfriend, Linda Thompson, a mink coat for Christmas at Graceland. The Memphis Press Scimitar noted that Elvis again had given graciously to local charities.
1973: Divorced from Priscilla, Elvis spent another Christmas at Graceland. Among the extravagant presents he gave were a three-quarter-length mink coat and a $2,000 fox suede coat.
1974: Elvis experienced health problems during the Christmas season. (As a result, he was forced to cancel his January Las Vegas engagement.) During the holidays, Elvis flew Voice, a gospel backup group, in and out of Memphis a couple of times to sing with him at Graceland. Elvis’s 40th birthday was now just two weeks away
1975: On Christmas Eve, Elvis took the Graceland gang up for a ride in the Lisa Marie. There he handed out pieces of jewelry, which he had personally selected for each individual.
1976: The final Christmas season of Elvis’s life was a hectic one. He returned to Memphis on December 13, after a bizarre Las Vegas engagement. Just two days after Christmas, he appeared at Wichita State University to start a new tour. Six-and-a-half months later, Elvis died at Graceland. — Alan Hanson | © December 2009
Wednesday, 30 November 2016
Hang 'em High/The Good The Bad And The Ugly/For A Few Dollars More/Theme From A Fistful Of Dollars
Hugo Mario Montenegro (September 2, 1925 – February 6, 1981) was an American orchestra leader and composer of film soundtracks. His best known work is derived from interpretations of the music from Spaghetti Westerns, especially his cover version of Ennio Morricone's main theme from the 1966 film The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. He composed the musical score for the 1969 Western Charro! which starred Elvis Presley.
Montenegro was born in New York City in 1925. He served in the U.S. Navy for two years, mostly as an arranger for the Newport Naval Base band in Newport, Rhode Island. After the war he attended Manhattan College while studying composition and leading his own band for school dances.
He was later hired by Time Records as a musical director producing a series of albums for the label, and moved to Los Angeles in the early 1960s where he began working for RCA Victor, producing a series of albums and soundtracks for motion pictures and television themes, such as two volumes of Music From The Man From U.N.C.L.E., an album of cover versions of spy music themes Come Spy With Me and an album of cover versions of Ennio Morricone's music for the Clint Eastwood The Man With No Name series of spaghetti Westerns that led to major chart hits.
Montenegro's electronic works were decisive and influential for the future generations of electronic musicians, giving a retro/futuristic edge by the use of the Moog synthesizer, and helped to push its popularity. He will be also remembered by his versions of classics such as the main theme to Sergio Leone's film The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, originally composed by Ennio Morricone. This was Montenegro's biggest pop hit, reaching #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, #3 in the Canadian RPM Magazine charts, and spending four weeks atop the UK Singles Chart in 1968. It sold over one and a quarter million copies and was awarded a gold disc.
His version of the main theme from Hang 'em High reached #59 in Canada. In 1968, his hit "Aces High" placed at #11 on the Billboard Year End Chart of the Top Hits of 1968.
In the late 1970s severe emphysema forced an end to his musical career, and he died of the disease in 1981. He is buried at Welwood Murray Cemetery in Palm Springs, California.
You Got What It Takes/Tabatha Twitchit/No One Can Break A Heart Like You/Everybody Knows
The Dave Clark Five (also known as "The DC5") was an English pop rock group. Their single "Glad All Over" knocked the Beatles' "I Want to Hold Your Hand" off the top of the UK Singles Chart in January 1964; it peaked at number 6 in the United States in April 1964. "Over And Over" was a number 1 single in the United States for the group in December 1965.
They were the second group of the British Invasion on The Ed Sullivan Show, appearing in March for two weeks after the Beatles appeared three straight weeks in February 1964. For some time the Dave Clark Five was more popular in the US than in their native UK, but had a renaissance in the UK between 1967 and 1970. The group disbanded in late 1970. On 10 March 2008, the band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
The Dave Clark Five had 17 records in the Top 40 of the US Billboard chart and 12 Top 40 hits in their native UK between 1964 and 1967. Their song "Over And Over" went to number one in the US on the Billboard Hot 100 on Christmas Day 1965, despite less impressive sales in the UK (it peaked at number 45 on the UK Singles Chart), and they played to sell-out crowds on their tours of the U.S. The Dave Clark Five was the first British band of the British Invasion to tour the US, and they made 18 appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show – the most of any British Invasion group.
After their initial success, which included the movie and a television special, the major hits dried up in the US after 1967's "You Got What It Takes", although the band had several substantial hits in the UK in the 1967–1970 period. Other than the songs "Inside and Out", "Maze of Love" and "Live in the Sky" (the latter actually quotes directly from the Beatles' "All You Need is Love"), the band did not follow the trend of psychedelic music. The DC5 disbanded in 1970, having placed three singles on the UK chart that year, two of which reached the Top Ten. In 1970, Davidson, Huxley and Payton left and Alan Parker and Eric Ford joined on lead guitar and bass. This line-up, renamed "Dave Clark & Friends", lasted until 1973.
Between 1978 and 1993, none of their music was available to be purchased in any commercial format, as rights-holder Clark declined to license the band's recordings. In 1993, a single CD "Glad All Over Again" was produced by Dave himself and released by EMI in Britain. After a 1989 deal with the Disney Channel to rebroadcast the 1960s ITV show Ready Steady Go! (which Clark owned), he made a deal with Disney-owned Hollywood Records to issue in 1993 a double CD "History of the Dave Clark Five". No DC5 material was then legally available until 2008, when the "Hits" compilation was released by Universal Music in the UK. In 2009 selections from the band's catalogue were released on iTunes.
Wednesday, 23 November 2016
Friends/Do It Again/Bluebirds Over The Mountain/I Can Hear Music
The Beach Boys are an American rock band formed in Hawthorne, California in 1961. The group's original lineup consisted of brothers Brian, Dennis, and Carl Wilson, their cousin Mike Love, and their friend Al Jardine. They emerged at the vanguard of the "California Sound", initially performing original surf songs that gained international popularity for their distinct vocal harmonies and lyrics reflecting a southern California youth culture of surfing, cars, and romance. Rooted in jazz-based vocal groups, 1950s rock and roll, and doo-wop, Brian led the band in devising novel approaches to music production, arranging his compositions for studio orchestras, and experimenting with several genres ranging from pop ballads to psychedelic and baroque styles.
The Beach Boys are one of the most critically acclaimed, commercially successful, and widely influential bands of all time, while AllMusic stated that their "unerring ability... made them America's first, best rock band." The group had over eighty songs chart worldwide, thirty-six of them US Top 40 hits (the most by an American rock band), four reaching number-one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. The Beach Boys have sold in excess of 100 million records worldwide, making them one of the world's best-selling bands of all time and are listed at No. 12 on Rolling Stone magazine's 2004 list of the "100 Greatest Artists of All Time". They received their only Grammy Award for The Smile Sessions (2011). The core quintet of the three Wilsons, Love and Jardine were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1988.
"Do It Again" is a song by American rock band The Beach Boys, written by Brian Wilson and Mike Love, who also share lead vocals. Produced by Wilson as a self-conscious callback to the band's earlier surf-based material, the song was released as a single on July 8, 1968, and subsequently placed on the band's 1969 album, 20/20. The single's B-side, "Wake the World", is taken from Friends, released the month before.
"Bluebirds over the Mountain" is a song written and recorded in 1958 by Ersel Hickey. "Bluebirds over the Mountain" was covered by The Beach Boys and released as a single on December 2, 1968 with the B-side "Never Learn Not to Love". The song features Mike Love on lead vocals and it also features Ed Carter on guitar.
"I Can Hear Music" is a song written by Jeff Barry, Ellie Greenwich and Phil Spector for American girl group the Ronettes in 1966. Three years later, American rock band the Beach Boys released a cover version as a single from their album 20/20 (1969), peaking at number 24 on the Billboard Hot 100. With Brian Wilson increasingly losing interest in producing for the Beach Boys, his younger brother Carl took over the role of producer and lead Beach Boy. "I Can Hear Music" is considered by many to be Carl Wilson's first taste at being the "leader" of the group. Released as a single, the song peaked at #24 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart (and #20 on the Cash Box and Record World charts) in the US. Internationally, it reached #5 in Sweden, #6 in the Netherlands and Malaysia, #7 in Poland, #10 in the UK, #13 in Germany and in Australia's Go Set chart, and #15 in Ireland. The Beach Boys' version is noted for its a cappella section of harmonies and counterpoint.