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I Write the Songs Part 3

I Write the Songs (part 3) Jerry Leiber (April 25, 1933 – August 22, 2011) and Mike Stoller (born March 13, 1933)  This pair met in Los Angeles and by age 17 their songs were being recorded. With the success of "Hound Dog" by Big Mama Thornton in 1953, they, along with their mentor Lester Sill, formed  Spark Records which was  the first of many businesses. Though they were not initially fans of Elvis's rendition of Hound Dog, they grew to have a great relationship with him and wrote some of his #1 hits such as  " Don't "  (1958) and "Jailhouse Rock" (1957) as well as several other top tens. They wrote " There Goes My Baby " and "On Broadway" for The Drifters, and "Stand By Me" and " I (Who Have Nothing) "  for Ben E. King, which would go on to be a hit song for at least five other artists. Their favorite group were The Coasters who had four #1 R&B songs and a dozen other hits on Billboard's Hot 100 an

Happy Canada Day and Happy Independence Day!

Happy Canada Day and Happy Independence Day! To celebrate these birthdays, I will be listing some of the well-known groups with both American and Canadian members. The Band As good a place to start as any, The Band is known for classics like " The Weight ". Levon Helm, who played drums and sang lead on many songs, was the only American born member. The others were Garth Hudson, Richard Manuel, Rick Danko and Robbie Robertson. They produced many great songs such as " Up On Cripple Creek " and " Stage Fright ". They also have a song about the Civil War that has gone under the radar of recent protests and bans, " The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down ". As we know, the American rocker Ronnie Hawkins with his Hawks were the genesis of The Band. Post The Band, he hired Canadian Domenic Troiano, who played guitar with Ronnie as part of Robbie Lane & The Disciples. Troiano later worked with The Guess Who. Domenic wrote " We All Need Love &q

I Write the Songs Part 2

I Write the Songs, Part 2 Here are the next batch of songwriters. Many are paired with their most frequent collaborators. As I said I am limiting my list to the people known primarily as songwriters but many were capable performers as well. Felice Bryant (August 7, 1925 – April 22, 2003) and Boudleaux Bryant (February 13, 1920 – June 25, 1987). This couple were both talented in many ways as Boudleaux (Diadorius Boudleaux) was a classic violinist and Felice (Matilda Genevieve) played piano, sang and directed shows for the American Troops with the USO. When they met in 1945 they eloped after two days together and remained married until Boudleaux's death in 1987. While they would both write independently, together they produced hits songs for The Everly Brothers; " Bye Bye Love ", " Wake Up Little Susie ", " Take a Message to Mary " and " Poor Jenny " to name a few. Also; " Raining in My Heart " Buddy Holly, the song " Hol

Rock and Roll Part 4

Beginnings of Rock and Roll (Part four) As you may gather from parts 1 to 3, one can seesaw on the debate of the beginning of R&R. What I am attempting to demonstrate is that R&R was perhaps a spontaneous eruption of interest but not of a type of music. There are other artists and songs I could identify as forming the roots of R&R, but as I’ve discovered, much was borrowed from the past. Chuck Berry responded when asked about his music and his ‘original’ sound and I am paraphrasing here; he mentions many influences, that he used guitar riffs, lyrical hooks and performing tricks from other people. “If you can, call it my music, but there's nothing new under the sun.” Even his quote was borrowed from the Bible. By 1954 Rhythm and Blues music was on fire, and that little station in Memphis had increased its wattage to cover the entire mid-southern U.S.  R&B listeners could tune in to nearly 600 hundred stations, almost nationwide in the USA. So you see

Rock and Roll Part 3

Beginnings of Rock and Roll (Part three) " Rocket 88 " by Jackie Brenston and His Delta Cats, released April 1951 There has been much attention paid to the song " Rocket 88 " as being the 'first' R&R song. A huge amount of writing has been done on this song and there's also very diverse opinions about it. Here is my take. First we need to acknowledge it's a great song. As of 2018 the Rock and Roll Music Hall of Fame added a category of single songs, "Rocket 88" was among the first group recognized.  These are some facts: When it came out in 1951 there were two charts published by Billboard Magazine for R&B that only tracked the top ten songs each week. The first was "Best selling retail Rhythm and Blues Singles" and it entered for the week of May 19, it hit #1 on June 9 and stayed there for three weeks. It spent a total of 17 weeks on the chart and was the 5th best record for chart performance that year. Compared

Rock and Roll Part 2

Beginnings of Rock and Roll (Part two) Listeners of this new sound were mostly only getting it in small doses in clubs and hearing it on regional radio stations. However, smaller independent record labels were popping up between 1940 and 1950 to fill the void left by the major companies who had stopped producing “race music” which became known as R&B (Rhythm and Blues) by about mid 1940. So with this odd transformation of a type of music gaining popularity yet strangely being avoided by the major record labels, independent labels such as; Specialty, Aladdin, Modern, Swing Time, and Imperial in Los Angeles, King (Cincinnati), Peacock (Houston), Chess (Chicago), Savoy (Newark), Atlantic (New York), and many more filled a growing niche market that was about to explode. A big part of the music industry was the charting of songs by Billboard and later Cashbox. Billboard started in 1940 and by 1949 there were three categories; Pop, Country & Western and R & B. These w

I Write the Songs

I Write the Songs  Part 1 Carrie Jacobs-Bond Well I don't write the songs but I am about to feature some people who did. And yes I stole the (song) title from Captain & Tennille's " I Write the Songs " written by Beach Boy Bruce Johnson and popularized by Barry Manilow . I have talked about many singer songwriters like Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell and Taylor Swift who are famous for writing their own songs. We know Stevie Wonder writes most of his own songs and for other artists, then there are the Springsteens and Madonna's of the world not to mention the iconic duo of Lennon and McCartney. But these artists are all known for their singing and/or instrumental talents. So today I am focusing on people who may have all these talents and more but are primarily known for songwriting. Many will be familiar names that I have referenced in the past, some perhaps less so but at least their songs are very well known. As I am wont to do I am going to go back