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Country Classics

Here are covers of some of the best Country songs ever recorded. I've touched on a few of the great songs but there are more to talk about as theses originals have inspired country legends and many others to keep the songs alive. " I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry " written and performed by Hank Williams (1949). Certainly near the top of any list of the best of all time. There is some small controversy that the lyrics were written by someone else, I'm in no position to debate this but this song seems to be in the same style and consistency as Williams other songs and he still maintains official writing credit. It's little wonder the song resonates with so many people, the lyrics are poetic and paint a vivid picture of the heartache being portrayed. Released as a 'B' side this song peaked at #4 in 1949. Covered some 220 times, Johnny Cash , Tommy James and The Shondells , B.J. Thomas , Inger Marie Gundersen , and Wonder Woman- Lynda Carter. The 'b

1960

The Year 1960 It was a big year for animated TV series and the debut of the ' Flintstones ' which ran until 1966, for me and my family there were many hours spent watching and this one too  Mr. Magoo ! Following the year theme, I'll sneak another in before I change it up again. Leaving the 1950's behind ushered in something very different in the age of music but it didn't happen overnight. You have to look for the most part, beyond the Billboard Hot 100 to see anything actually 'new' from the year before. That said there were still many great songs produced they were just by a lot of the same people from the late 1950's. Elvis returned from Military Service and placed two top 10 hits on the year end chart. Others to have multiple hits on the Year-End Billboard Hot 100 were the Everly Brothers (4), Connie Francis (4), Brenda Lee (4), and Paul Anka (3). Rock and Roll took a bit of a beating as the " Payola " (or pay for play) investiga

Oscar Songs

Academy Award for Best Original Song This award began with the seventh Oscar's in 1934. The award goes to the composers and writers of the songs, not to the performer unless they contributed to the creation of the song. So typically for the performer there is only the exposure, adulation and people buying their music, but no statue. I discuss this in 'From the Movies' posts (parts 1 & 2) though not all of them Oscar winners so there are many more great songs to talk about. The first winner was "The Continental" performed in the movie by Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers, Erik Rhodes and Lillian Miles. Con Conrad (music) and Herb Magidson (lyrics). From the Movie 'The Gay Divorcee', I'm guessing this title meant something different back in 1934. This song was first released on a record in 1934 by Will Osborne and His Orchestra with vocals by Will Osborne, it has been covered over 70 times. Frank Sinatra (1954). The winner in 1936 is a song I gu

1959

The Year 1959 That's 60 years ago if you're counting. A five cent piece was actually made of nickel hence the nickname, and you could actually buy things with it, now it's mostly steel and only 2% nickel and not worth the metal its made from. Among other events that year, Fidel Castro arrived in Havana, February 3 was "the day the music died" and the Barbie doll was born on March 9th. Call it reflection, self indulgence or a bit of both, here is a look at some of the popular songs from the year that myself and many others in my life were born. " Don't Take Your Guns to Town " written and performed by Johnny Cash. While released in December of 1958 this was a chart topper from 1959 hitting #1 on Feb. 23 and finished the year ranked #6 on the Billboard Hot 100 Country Songs.   U2 (2001). Bobby Darin was the only artist to have two songs finish the year in the top 10 of Billboard's Hot 100. I blogged the #1 song ('Grammys' Johnny

Love Songs

Love Songs Well it's a bit obvious being Valentine's Day why I choose this topic. Yet another area where I could blog exclusively and not put a dent in. The list of love songs can take on many forms and definitions; love of someone or something, love of the place of your birth, (for the country fans) the love of your pick-up truck or your dog...and many other sources. There's more than just a smattering of songs about love already in my blog such as Beautiful by Gordon Lightfoot, as it's the most written about topic. Here are some songs that are popularly known as great 'romantic' love songs and I've tossed in a couple that you may not have heard, all leaning to the positive side, as opposed to angst and heartbreak. One of my favorites I just posted in the 'Grammys', " The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face ". " Something " written by George Harrison, recorded by the Beatles on 'Abbey Road' (1969). Covered at least 3

Grammys

Grammy Awards Originally referred to as the Gramophone award, the idea was for the Music Industry to have it's own awards like the Oscars and the Emmys. A good choice to honour the Gramophone in the name and trophy. Sixty years later one would hope they could be a bit better at avoiding controversy but dealing with the ego's and eccentricities of the music business can't be easy and it's good advertising I suppose. The big four categories are open to music from any genre and therefore the most competitive; Record of the Year, Song of the Year, Album of the Year and Best New Artist. Far as I know the only person to win all four in one year is Christopher Cross in 1980. Adele has won all four but spread out over three different years. The most Grammys have been awarded to Hungarian born Conductor  Georg Solti at 31, many during his tenure at the Chicago Symphony.  Alison Krauss is the leading female winner at 27, U2 has the group category at 22. I have made many r

Eagles

Eagles What to talk about with such a well know band leads me to default to my original mission of cover songs. According to Secondhandsongs.com the Eagles have had 36 of their roughly 50 original songs (7 studio albums) covered and they themselves covered 14 songs. As solo artists their 'originals covered by'/ songs they covered; Don Henley 14/17, Glenn Frey 6/24, Randy Meisner 2/9, Joe Walsh 6/25 and Timothy B. Schmit 4/5. So that's a very impressive collective body of work. The "Eagles", formed in 1971 as most will know out of Frey and Henley backing Linda Ronstadt, Bernie Leadon and Randy Meisner (among others) would later join and appear (live only once) and also on her Album, " Linda Ronstadt ". With Ronstadt's blessing and support the four ventured out alone and shortly thereafter made a sojourn into the Mojave Desert, much peyote and tequila later they emerged the "Eagles". They of course could have had a couple shots and simply

This Song inspired by ...

This Song was inspired by ... " Everyday I Write the Book ", the words to this song according to Elvis Costello were written in 10 minutes. So I might guess there was about zero inspiration and about the same 'perspiration' that went into this song which somewhat ironically parallels writing and romance. Many great song writers have similar experiences where a song just 'came to them' but for the most part I think songs have some traceable origin, some spark or idea that triggered the imagination of the songwriter(s). If you check Wikipedia for "songs by source" there are hundreds of links, there's one about real life events, it has 184 pages (songs) alone. As to how many songs were written with a particular person in mind that's a more difficult number to arrive at as many songwriters don't divulge their 'source'. I suspect if we knew, that number would make the 184 pages look like your average shopping list compared to sa

Chicago

Chicago I talked about the beginnings of the rich Blues music scene in Chicago in the " Delta Blues Part 1 " in a previous post. Chicago blues evolved from the style of play brought up from the Delta starting with Big Bill Broonzy and followed by many others including the great Muddy Waters . With more; electric guitar, amplification, harmonica and with city and urban related lyrics it became a sub-genre of the Blues referred to as "Electric Blues" and also with development in St Louis "Urban Blues". But Chicago is home to more than the Blues though I strongly suggest checking out ' Buddy Guy's Legends ', been there, got the t-shirt. When I blogged Chuck Berry I made reference to his best music coming from Chicago and Chess Records, here is a sampling of some of the more well known artists to either come from Chicago or have their musical genesis there. Sam Cooke , while born Samuel Cook in Clarksdale, Mississippi in 1931, his family mo

From the Movies (Part 2)

From the Movies (Part 2) I mentioned some great movie songs in Part 1 , but there are so many more. One of the best songs written for a movie is "Mrs. Robinson" composed by Paul Simon. I referenced this song in the Simon and Garfunkel  post but it's worth another mention.  As I understand the story of this song Mike Nichols the Director of 'The Graduate' was obsessed with the music of Simon and Garfunkel and via Clive Davis, Simon was convinced (with a $25,000 cheque) to write three songs for his new movie. Apparently "Mrs. Roosevelt" was still in the early stages of development. When played for Nichols after he was unimpressed with the first two songs, the "dee de dee dee de dee dee dee" was just filler for words not yet written. Well he liked it so much the nonsense phrasing was kept and " Mrs. Robinson " was part of the Movie. It hit #1 in both Canada and U.S. in 1968 and won two Grammys; Record of the Year and Best Contempor