Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Last of Ray's Song Picks and Artists who died in 2008

Ray’s Song Pick of the Day for Monday, Tuesday, 22 / 23 December 2008
Tease for Monday 22 December
Tonight, a UK#1(2) from 29 December 1960. For the first time this artist took over from Elvis at #1 (It's Now Or Never) - a feat repeated exactly 3 years later.

Tease for Tuesday 23 December
This third million-seller for our artist tonight, enjoyed popularity on both sides. The School related song was written by Johnny and Dorsey Burnette. Our chosen song was US#2(3) in early 1958, 18 weeks in Top 100 from 30 December 1957 and was a MODERATE HIT in N.Z.

And the songs;
Monday, Cliff Richard – I Love You
Tuesday, Ricky Nelson – Stood Up

Obituary File for 2008

Cyd Charisse For a reference to dancer Cyd Charisse, who died 17 June 2008, aged 86 and her singer husband, see my Blog from June this year.

Issac Hayes died 10 August 2008. Musician and actor, he composed and sang the theme song from the movie "Shaft", he was the voice of Chef on the animated TV series "South Park", he also appeared in "Escape from New York", "I'm Gonna Git You Sucka" and other movies

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Jerry Reed, a singer who became a good ol' boy actor in car chase movies like "Smokey and the Bandit," died of complications from emphysema at 71, early Monday, 1 September 2008

Reed was a gifted guitarist who later became a songwriter, singer and actor.

As a singer in the 1970s and early 1980s, he had a string of hits that included "Amos Moses," "When You're Hot, You're Hot," "East Bound and Down" and "The Bird."

In the mid-1970s, he began acting in movies such as "Smokey and the Bandit" with Burt Reynolds, usually as a good ol' boy. But he was an ornery heavy in "Gator," directed by Reynolds, and a hateful coach in 1998's "The Waterboy," starring Adam Sandler.

LOS ANGELES, California (AP) -- Norman Whitfield, who co-wrote a string of Motown classics including "War" and "I Heard It Through the Grapevine," died aged 67, Tuesday 16 September 2008.

He had suffered from complications of diabetes and had recently emerged from a coma and died at the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.

Whitfield was a longtime Motown producer who during the 1960s and '70s injected rock and psychedelic touches into the label's soul music. Many of his biggest hits were co-written with Barrett Strong, with whom he was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2004.

The two won the Grammy in 1972 for best R&B song for the Temptations' "Papa Was a Rolling Stone." Whitfield won another Grammy in 1976 for best original TV or motion picture score for "Car Wash."

By Valerie J. Nelson, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
October 18, 2008
Levi Stubbs, the lead singer of the legendary Motown group the Four Tops whose tough yet soulful voice was showcased on dozens of singles, including "Baby I Need Your Loving" and "I Can't Help Myself (Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch)," died aged 72, Friday 17 October 2008 at his home in Detroit.

A series of illnesses that included a stroke and cancer had caused him to stop performing in 2000.

"We have lost one of the great voices of the 20th century," said Otis Williams, lead singer of another Motown hit-maker, the Temptations. "A few years ago in Las Vegas, I told Levi, 'You are our black Frank Sinatra.' Levi could phrase a song just as beautifully."

The Four Tops were applauded for such hits as "Reach Out (I'll Be There)" and "Bernadette" and -- as the decades rolled by -- for their longevity.

The original members came together in 1953 while in high school in the Detroit area. They spent the ensuing 44 years performing without a change in the lineup, and then only because founding member Lawrence Payton died in 1997. Another original member, Renaldo "Obie" Benson, died in 2005.

The only surviving member, Abdul "Duke" Fakir, leads a version of the Four Tops that includes Payton's son, Roquel.

From the BBC South African singing legend Miriam Makeba died 10 November 2008, aged 76, after being taken ill in Italy.
She had just taken part in a concert near the southern town of Caserta and died of a heart attack.

Born in Johannesburg on 4 March 1932, Makeba spent more than 30 years in exile after lending her support to the anti-apartheid struggle.
She appeared on Paul Simon's Graceland tour in 1987 and in 1992 had a leading role in the film Sarafina!

Her singing career started in the 1950s as she mixed jazz with traditional South African songs.
She came to international attention in 1959 during a tour of the United States with South African group the Manhattan Brothers.

She was forced into exile soon after when her passport was revoked after starring in an anti-apartheid documentary and did not return to her native country until after Nelson Mandela was released from prison in 1990.

It was while living in exile in the US that she released her most famous songs, Pata Pata and the Click Song.
"You sing about those things that surround you," she said. "Our surrounding has always been that of suffering from apartheid and the racism that exists in our country. So our music has to be affected by all that."

It was because of this dedication to her home continent that Miriam Makeba became known as Mama Africa.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) Odetta Holmes, the deep-voiced folk singer whose ballads and songs became for any a soundtrack to the American civil rights movement, died at age 77, late Tuesday 2 December 2008 at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York, after a decade-long fight with chronic heart disease and pulmonary fibrosis in her lungs.

Odetta Holmes, born in Birmingham, Alabama, 31 December, 1930, told the Times in a 2007 interview the music of the Great Depression, particularly the prison songs and work songs from the fields of the deep South, helped shape her musical life.

While she recorded several albums and sang at New York's Carnegie Hall among other prominent venues, Odetta is perhaps best remembered by most Americans for her brief performance at the August 1963 march on Washington, a pivotal event in the civil rights movement at which she sang the song "O Freedom."

Her first solo album, "Odetta Sings Ballads and Blues," influenced another American folk legend -- Bob Dylan. "The first thing that turned me on to folk singing was Odetta," Dyland said in a 1978 interview with Playboy magazine.

Eartha Kitt, a sultry singer, dancer and actress who rose from South Carolina cotton fields to become an international symbol of elegance and sensuality, died, aged 81 on Christmas Day 2008.
Eartha Kitt, who was recently treated at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital, died Thursday in Connecticut of colon cancer.
Kitt, a self-proclaimed "sex kitten" famous for her catlike purr, was one of America's most versatile performers, winning two Emmys and nabbing a third nomination. She also was nominated for several Tonys and two Grammys.
Her career spanned six decades, from her start as a dancer with the famed Katherine Dunham troupe to cabarets and acting and singing on stage, in movies and on television. She persevered through an unhappy childhood as a mixed-race daughter of the South and made headlines in the 1960s for denouncing the Vietnam War during a visit to the White House.
Through the years, Kitt remained a picture of vitality and attracted fans less than half her age even as she neared 80. POLLY ANDERSON Associated Press Writer NEW YORK December 25, 2008 (AP). See the You Tube clip of "I Want To Be Evil" from 1962 and Santa Baby.
Eartha's charting songs ...
C’est Si Bon, US#8, 14 weeks in Top 30 from 18 July 1953
I Want To Be Evil, US#22, 4 weeks in Top 30 from 26 September 1953
Santa Baby, US#4, 5 weeks in Top 30 from 5 December 1953
Somebody Bad Stole De Wedding Bell (Who’s Got De Ding Dong), US#16, 4 weeks in Top 30 from 13 February 1954
Lovin’ Spree, US#20, 3 weeks in Top 30 from 13 February 1954
Under The Bridges Of Paris, UK#7, 9 weeks in Top 20 from 4 April 1955

And for a link to a listing of Celebrities lost in 2008

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Ray's Song Pick of the Day from 15 December 2008

Tease for Monday 15 December
This artist's 5th million-seller was also a million-seller for Joan Weber in 1954, written by Jenny Lou Carson in 1953 with revised lyrics by Al Hill in 1954. US#6 in 1955, 12 weeks in Top 100 from 18 December 1954, UK#9 from February 1955 and a Big Hit in N.Z.

Tease for Tuesday 16 December
Tonight, a UK#1(6) from 18 December 1959 and Au#1(2) from 12 March 1960 MONSTER HIT in N.Z. From a musician and singer, born in the West Indies, who was popular in the United Kingdom in the late 1950s and early 1960s.

Tease for Wednesday 17 December
The song made the US Pop charts every December from 1958 through to 1963, when the single made US#1. Co-written by tonight's artist in 1958 who took the tune from the Spanish song 'Tabolilleros' and tells the story of a poor boy who has no great gift to offer the Nativity. A Big Hit in N.Z.

Tease for Thursday 18 December
This artist's 2nd million-seller charted from 28 December 1959 and had originally been recorded (unreleased) by Elvis Presley for the movie 'King Creole'

Tease for Friday 19 December
The 2nd million-seller for tonight's artist was written in 1926 (by Charles King) with English lyrics being provided in 1958 (by Al Hoffman and Dick Manning). Recorded 3 November and charting for our artist from 29 December 1958 with a US#11 peak in 1959. BIG HIT in N.Z.

And the songs;
Monday, Teresa Brewer – Let Me Go Lover
Tuesday, Emile Ford – What Do You Want To Make Those Eyes At Me For?
Wednesday, Harry Simeone Chorale – Little Drummer Boy
Thursday, Conway Twitty – Lonely Blue Boy
Friday, Andy Williams - Hawaiian Wedding Song

These songs will repeat through my Saturday afternoon Show, each hour from 1pm, as the 3rd song after the News.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Ray's Song Pick of the Day from 8 December 2008

Tease for Monday 8 December
This record came about when Dane Carl Weismann put together a tape of various toned 'vocal expressions' to the music of 'Jingle Bells'. Released on a 45rpm disc with three other tunes, "Patty Cake", "Three Blind Mice" and "Oh! Susanna" under which it is listed as a US#22, 7 weeks in Top 100 from 10 December 1955 and a Monster Hit in N.Z.

Tease for Tuesday 9 December
Tonight, this artist's biggest hit in N.Z., but only sold moderately. US#6 in early 1959, 21 weeks in US Top 100 from 8 December 1958.

Tease for Wednesday 10 December
Au#1(4) from 12 December 1959, an instrumental that peaked at US#46 as this artist's moment of fame was waning. But not in Australia, with a tune named for it's composer, arranger/conductor, Joe Reisman and a MONSTER HIT in N.Z.

Tease for Thursday 11 December
Tonight's artist's 9th million seller, a reworked title song from his first musical film, in which the singer starred with Shirley Jones. US#1(6) from 16 December 1957, 26 weeks in Top 100 from 28 October, NZ#1, January 1958 and UK#7in 1957

Tease for Friday 12 December
Initially the flip-side, a Rodgers and Hammerstein ballad, "Everybody's Got A Home But Me" attracted the interest before the focus shifted to this number which had more appeal as Rock 'n' Roll started to take off. Monster Hit in N.Z. And US#7, 19 weeks in the Top 100 from 17 December 1955.

And the songs;
Monday, The Singing Dogs – Jingle Bells
Tuesday, LaVern Baker – I Cried A Tear
Wednesday, Bill Haley & the Comets – Joey's Song
Thursday, Pat Boone – April Love
Friday, Eddie Fisher - Dungaree Doll

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Ray's Song Pick of the Day from 1 December 2008

Tease for Monday 1 December
Tonight a US#1(3) from 1 December 1958 and a MONSTER HIT in N.Z from a Los Angeles trio that included Phil Spector

Tease for Tuesday 2 December
Tonight, the 9th million seller for this artist. It was No 3 in the US Top 100 with 22 weeks in from 1 December 1956 and No. 13 with 12 weeks in the UK Top 30 from December 1956, plus it was a HUGE HIT in N. Z.

Tease for Wednesday 3 December
Tonight, a US#4, 22 weeks in Top 100 from 3 December 1955, UK#6 from February 1956. Said to have been the first arrangement by Ray Conniff for the Columbia label. Our artist was a vocalist with the Jan Barber band in the late forties before becoming a professional golfer for a while before getting back into singing in the early fifties. Big Hit in N.Z

Tease for Thursday 4 December
Tonight, a UK#1(3) from 4 December 1959 for this blond moody singer, from BBC TV's 'Drumbeat' was born June 1940. Taken into the Parlophone studios and (despite an uninspiring track record to date) produced one of the pop classics of the pre-Beatles era. The last line of this song also gave him the catch phrase "Wish you wanted my love, bay-bee" MONSTER HIT in N.Z

Tease for Friday 5 December
Tonight, a US#1(2) from 7 December 1974 by Jamaican born singer who was raised in California. This song was recorded in ten minutes flat, sold nearly ten million copies worldwide and was No. 1 in the UK and US as well as NZ, not bad for a song intended as a B-side. UK#1(3) from 21 September and NZ#1(3) from 21 November 1974.

And the songs;
Monday, The Teddy Bears – To Know Him Is To Love Him
Tuesday, Frankie Laine – Moonlight Gambler
Wednesday, Don Cherry – Band Of Gold
Thursday, Adam Faith - What Do You Want
Friday, Carl Douglas – Kung Fu Fighting

Ray's Song Pick of the Day from 24 November 2008

The tease for Monday 24 November
Tonight, a famous oldie from 1939 originally composed by Peter de Rose for piano solo, then with words added by Mitchell Parish, became a great favourite for over 30 years with orchestras. A million-seller for this brother and sister from Niagara Falls, New York and a US#1, 16 November 1963.

The tease for Tuesday 25 November
Tonight, the 1st million-seller for this country and western artist, with his own composition. Signed to Columbia Records in 1957, this was his first pop success and became the winner of the N.A.R.A.S Award for Best Country-and-Western Recording for 1961. US#1(5) from 6 November 1961, the 2nd Top No 1 of 1961 and a HUGE HIT in N.Z.

The tease for Wednesday 26 November
Tonight, a US#1(2) from 10 November 1958 and a MONSTER HIT in N.Z. for this
Superstar Country singer who charted with 40 #1 US Country hits.

The tease for Thursday 27 November
Tonight, a septet (3-woman) that was formed at the University of Florida by two guys, who co-wrote the song. UK#1(3) from 16 March 1956 and US#7, 23 weeks in Top 100 from 12 November 1955. Monster Hit in N.Z.

The tease for Friday 28 November
US#69, 1 week on Top 100, 19 November but a Country #1 in 1955. Written in 1934 by Tex Owens Moderate Hit in N.Z. With 146 songs on the country charts - including 28 number one hits – tonight’s artist ranks among the most popular country singers in U.S. history. He became popular on Nashville’s Grand Ole Opry as a singer with Pee Wee King (1940-43) and died this year 8 May.

And the songs;
Monday, Nino Tempo & April Stevens – Deep Purple
Tuesday, James Dean – Big Bad John
Wednesday, Conway Twitty – It's Only Make Believe
Thursday, The Dream Weavers – It's Almost Tomorrow
Friday, Eddie Arnold – Cattle Call

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Singer's image

Winning Westenra rejects 'tart' image
A story in the Christchurch Press told us that New Zealander Hayley Westenra recently won the "classical performer of the year" award at the Variety Club's annual showbusiness awards in London, and had the opportunity in talking to the Telegraph in London to claim that her record company had tried to pressure her into dressing like a “tart”.
She said, "Occasionally, I have had to stand my ground on image issues. I am not a tarty person and I don't wear those clothes when I am out, so I don't wear them to perform or for interviews either."

I remember Shona Laing having a change of look
and thinking some 'image advisor' has got to you and it is not working (for me anyway). Although the photos on the sergent website doesn’t show any of those sloppy floppy images.

You Tube is marvelous in showing old clips of performers of earlier times and it is interesting to see some singers obviously under ‘advice’ on how to ‘jazz up’ their visual performance as per this clip of Kay Starr doing Wheel Of Fortune.

Consider too, Brook Benton having to cope with the producer’s concept of the visual aspect for the song Mother Nature, Father Time

All good for a laugh - as in you can't take it seriously.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Ray's Song Pick of the Day from Monday 17 November 2008

The tease for Monday 17 November
Tonight, a song that was UK#1 when the first heart transplant was performed by Dr. Christiaan Barnard in South Africa on 3 December 1967.
The song also had a claim to fame in being one of the few occasions when song writers have ousted another of their songs from the top. Tony McAuley and John McLeod had written the charts previous #1 by The Foundations - Baby Now That I've Found You.

The tease for Tuesday 18 November
Tonight a UK#1(2) from 17 November, US#1, 10 December 1966 and NZ#1(2) from 12 January 1967. For a few months, in the UK at least, this group were bracketed with the Beatles as progressive music innovators, and their main songwriter was ranked with Lennon and McCartney as a songwriter of genius.

The tease for Wednesday 19 November
Tonight a US#1(1), 5 November 1966 and a Monster Hit in N.Z.
The group's first million seller written by Tommy Boyce/Bobby Hart (as was a lot of their material). Their TV show was partly inspired by The Beatles 'Hard Day's Night film and this track was considered a knock-off of the Beatles' "Paperback Writer"

The tease for Thursday 20 November
US#1, 28 November 1964, a UK#11 in early 1965 and a HUGE HIT in N.Z. The song charted again in the UK in 1972, with a #2 peak.
This group comprised two sets of sisters, one set being twins, who got together at High School in Queens, New York. This second global million seller was written by George (Shadow) Morton, (who wrote their first million seller) along with Ellie Greenwich and Jeff Barry. “The song is a heartbreaking cha-cha number about a girl in love” with a rebel and her parents disapproval.

The tease for Friday 21 November
Tonight a US#1(2) from *23 November 1963 (*the day after JFK assassination)
Two 19 years olds, updated a 1957 song which sold a million for them globally. The two had sung in local Baton Rouge Louisiana bistros for several years before teaming up. It was at this producer’s studio where they met and did an impromptu session –impressing the producer with their version of this song and it became a local success in the southern states before becoming a national then international hit.

And the songs for this week
Monday Long John Baldry – Let The Heartaches Begin
Tuesday The Beach Boys – Good Vibrations
Wednesday The Monkees – The Last Train To Clarksville
Thursday Shangri-Las – Leader Of The Pack
Friday Dale & Grace – I'm Leaving It Up To You

Ray's Song Pick of the Day from Monday 10 November 2008

The tease for Monday 10 November
Tonight a UK#1(6) from 28 November 1970, NZ#3 and US#4 from early 1971. Tonight’s artist first tasted chart success as a member of the Cardiff-based trio ‘Love Sculpture’, with their version of Khachaturyan’s “Sabre Dance”. One of his first productions from his own Rockfield studios in South Wales, was his remake of a 1955 soul hit which for tonight’s artist, entered the chart at #16 and vaulted to UK#1.

The tease for Tuesday 11 November
Tonight’s group was created for a popular TV show in the US, as were the Monkees. The show described the humorous adventures of a widow and her five children and proved to be a top-rating TV series. The star of the series, an actress on stage and in film, was the real life step-mother of the lead singer. A US#1(3) from 21 November 1970 with R.I.A.A. Gold Disc award by December.

The tease for Wednesday 12 November
This lovely soft song by Laura Nyro not only made US#1 (with 15 weeks in the Top 100) but sold a million by 5 December 1969 with Gold Disc award from R.I.A.A. and was a Monster Hit in N.Z.

The tease for Thursday 13 November
Tonight, a UK#1, 6 November 1968 and NZ#12 in early 1969. This Ex gas fitter had formed his first band, an R&B outfit called Vance Arnold & The Avengers, 1963. The following year he cut his first single, a Beatles song, “I’ll Cry Instead” using his current stage name. Working with numerous musicians he became well known on the London club circuit, gaining the attention of Eric Clapton and Jimi Hendrix. Having a mildly successful single under his belt our artist decided to record a stage favourite, and turned this singalong track into a souful ballad.”

The tease for Friday 14 November
Tonight, a US#1, 25 November 1967 and Monster Hit in N.Z. from this jazz-rock sextet that was a combination of two successful Southern California bands who had been together less than a year when this song hit the US charts.

And the songs for this week
Monday Dave Edmunds – I Hear You Knocking
Tuesday The Partridge Family – I Think I Love You
Wednesday The 5th Dimension – Wedding Bell Blues
Thursday Joe Cocker – With A Little Help From My Friends
Friday Strawberry Alarm Clock – Incense And Peppermints

Friday, November 7, 2008

Ray's Song Pick of the Day from Monday 3 November 2008

The tease for Monday 3 November
Tonight a US#1(3) from 1 November 1975. From the artist’s 10th million selling (platinum) album which was certified gold on the day of its release. The single also made UK#12, making 1975 a fantastic year for the artist and his lyricist.

The tease for Tuesday 4 November
Tonight a US#1(2) from 23 November 1974 and NZ#1(4) from 6 February 1975. Tonight's artist's role in the music industry was, originally, largely invisible. His first big break was in 1962 when Clyde McPhatter had a Top 10 hit with one of his songs. He produced Tony Joe White's hit "Polk Salad Annie" before signing with Monument Records, which resulted in his first album including his one main Rockabilly hit that we are hearing tonight.

The tease for Wednesday 5 November
Tonight a UK#1(2) from 11 November 1972. This song was not an obvious love story but was inspired by the young daughter of the artist’s manager, for whom he babysat. The angle gave the song a wider audience than it would have received had it been a traditional romance.

The tease for Thursday 6 November
Tonight a US#1(2) from 20 November and UK#4 (In Top 20 from 4 December) 1971. This theme from a film soundtrack passed the million and half in the US and in Britain sold over 250,000. It won the Oscar for Best Film Song of 1971 and Grammy Award for Best Instrumental Arrangement and for Best Engineered Recording in 1971.

The tease for Friday 7 November
Tonight a US#1(2) from 6 November 1971. Written by Bob Stone (or Wikipedia suggests it was, Shel Silverstein) and released in the US September and in Britain in November 1971, where it peaked at #3 and spent 12 weeks in the UK Top 50. It was the first big hit as a solo artist for tonight’s singer, with a million sale in the US, earning the R.I.A.A. Gold Disc award, 19 November 1971. It sold 250,000 in the UK. After her divorce in 1974 our artist started a solo career with Kapp Records, and became a fashion queen working for Vogue etc.

And the songs for this week
Monday Elton John – Island Girl
Tuesday Billy Swan – I Can Help. For more information, click Here
Wednesday Gilbert O’Sullivan – Clair.
Thursday Isaac Hayes – Theme from ‘Shaft’.
Friday Cher - Gypsys, Tramps & Thieves. For more information, click Here

Friday, October 31, 2008

Ray's Song Pick of the Day from Tuesday 28 October

The tease for Tuesday 28 October (Labour Monday the day before)
Tonight a US#1, 14 October 1972, NZ#12 from August and UK#7 from December 1972. Title song from the movie about a trained rat starring Joseph Campenella and tonight's artist’s 3rd million seller on his own.

The tease for Wednesday 29 October
US#1(2) from 6 October & NZ#1, 8 November 1973. Also a #1 in Canada, the song did not chart in the UK.
An ethnic lament, written by Mary Dean and Al Capps, that became the second US#1 and second million seller for tonight’s artist (The first on her new label - MCA).

The tease for Thursday 30 October
Tonight a US#1, 19 October 1974 that received the R.I.A.A. Gold Disc award on 16 October. Tonight’s artist “sings this in virtually a jazz style, and includes some very fine piano inserts and a fine rhythm and orchestra section. A worthy million-seller for this experienced artist.”

The tease for Friday 31 October
UK#1, 19 October 1974. like Showaddywaddy before them, this Manchester-based 8 man outfit, of four vocalists and four musicians, were winners of the ITV talent show ‘New Faces’. One of the panel of judges was Tony Hatch, who took the group under his wing to produce his seventh UK No. 1.

And the songs for this week
Tuesday, Michael Jackson – Ben. For more information, click Here
Wednesday, Cher – Half Breed. For more information, click Here
Thursday, Billy Preston – Nothing From Nothing. For more information, click Here
Friday, Sweet Sensation – Sad Sweet Dreamer. For more information, click Here

Monday, October 27, 2008

Ray's Song Pick of the Day from Monday 20 October

The tease for Monday 20 October 2008
Tonight another big hit for writers Norman Whitfield and Barret Strong, released 16 August 1969, this sold a million for this group that had also charted with songs done with Diana Ross & The Supremes around the same time. A US #1 in October 1969 and a UK#13 from January 1970.

The tease for Tuesday 21 October
With this song, from their musical ‘Promises Promises’ Bacharach and David achieved their sixth UK No. 1 composition, maintaining their third position in the league of most successful Number One songwriting partnerships.
The singer began playing piano at the age of seven, going on to study music at the Los Angeles Conservatory Of Music and by 1966 she was singing and writing songs for her own song and dance group.
She had approached Capitol Records with any eye to selling songs to other artists. Instead they asked her to sing them herself and her first big hit was her own composition.

The tease for Wednesday 22 October
Tonight a US#1(5) from 17 October 1970 from a quintet of brothers formed and managed by their father beginning in 1966 in Gary, Indiana. This fourth million for the group (all US#1 hits) was written by Berry Gordy Jr., B. West, W. Hutch and H. Davies. The quintet sold over 10 million singles in a nine month period from their first million seller.

The tease for Thursday 23 October
Tonight a UK#1(3) from 31 October 1970. Tonight's artist was born in Lincolnshire, England in June 1946. He left the folk-rock band he helped found, Fairport Convention in 1969, and his first solo album was released at the beginning of 1970. His band took the name of the album and this single was their only hit, making them at the time, the 15th member of that exclusive one-hit wonder group.

The tease for Friday 24 October
Tonight a US#1(2) from 21 October and UK#1(4) from 25 November 1972. Originally recorded by the artist as “My Tambourine” in 1966. The risqué novelty number was a surprise Anglo-American hit and in Britain aroused attack by Mrs. Mary Whitehouse, the ‘clean-up TV’ campaigner of the time.

And the songs for this week
Monday, Temptations – I Can’t Get Next To You
Tuesday, Bobbie Gentry – I’ll Never Fall In Love Again
Wednesday, Jackson 5 – I’ll Be There
Thursday, Matthews Southern Comfort – Woodstock
Friday, Chuck Berry – My Ding-A-Ling

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Ray's Song Pick of the Day from 13 October 2008

The tease for Monday 13 October 2008
US#1(5) from 12 October 1963 and the 1st million-seller for tonight’s artist who began singing as a youngster in La Grange, Illinois. He studied piano for four years and in 1957 organised his own rock 'n' roll band before meeting up with this group at a recording studio. The group had already had some success on record and our man teamed up with them as singer and rhythm guitarist. Also a Au#1(2) from 12 December 1963 and Monster Hit in NZ

The tease for Tuesday 14 October
The original version of the Rolf Harris song we played before in our CD of the week giveaway.

The tease for Wednesday 15 October
Tonight a US#1, 2 October 1965. One of two versions that sold a million in 1965 (the other by Ramsey Lewis Trio) and the first release for this group.

The tease for Thursday 16 October
Tonight a Huge Hit in N.Z. and the first UK chart success for Peggy Lee with the title song from a musical starring Sammy Davis Jr.

The tease for Friday 17 October
A US#1(1), 29 October 1966 and a Big Hit in N.Z. for a Mexican / American quintet out of Detroit via Acapulco. The lead singer joined the group one night while they were playing at Michigan's Mount Holly Ski Lodge. At the time, not even other members of group knew his real name or anything about his past. Part of his image was to wear dark glasses all the time and to live alone.

And the songs;
Monday, Jimmy Gilmer & The Fireballs – Sugar Shack
Tuesday, Lucky Starr – I've Been Everywhere. For more information, click Here
Wednesday, The McCoys Hang On Sloopy
Thursday, Peggy Lee – Mr. Wonderful. For more information, click Here
Friday, Question Mark & The Mysterians - 96 Tears

Friday, October 10, 2008

Ray's Song Pick of the Day from Monday 6 October 2008

The tease for Monday 6 October 2008
Tonight a UK#1(5) from 30 October, NZ#1 in November 1959. Tonight's artist's first four singles had all been uptempo and then he came out with his 5th single as an easy paced song, just like tonight's song.
And the song
Cliff Richard And The Shadows – Travellin’ Light. The previous ‘easy paced’ release referred to was, “Living Doll”.

The tease for Tuesday 7 October
Tonight a US#1, 24 October 1960 and Monster Hit in N.Z. An adaption of an Italian song 'Per Tutta La Vita', that came after two million sellers for the singer, from late 1959 and mid 1960. A professional singer since age six, who after she appeared on TV in Britain and elsewhere in Europe, she was described in France as ‘the most dynamic American artist since Judy Garland. Backing musicians included Floyd Cramer (piano), Bob More (bass), and Homer 'Boots' Randolph (sax)
And the song
Brenda Lee – I Want To Be Wanted

The tease for Wednesday 8 October 2008
Tonight a UK#1, 5 October 1961. This was the fifth hit for tonight's group and was their second to make the top of the charts. Written by Michael Carr, who also provided their follow-up to their first No. 1, with a UK#5 ‘Man Of Mystery’
And the song
The Shadows – Kon Tiki

The tease for Thursday 9 October
Tonight a US#1(2) from 20 October 1962 (14 weeks in Top 100) and a MONSTER HIT in N.Z. Tonight's artist began his recording career in Hollywood while aspiring to be an actor. Co-written with Leonard Capizzi, his song charted twice more, #91 in 1970 and #10 in 1973.
And the song
Bobby 'Boris' Pickett – Monster Mash

The tease for Friday 10 October
Tonight a UK#1(3) from 10 October, Au#1(3) from 20 December 1963. Initially doing session work, this group had some success with their cover of the Isley Brothers "Twist And Shout" (in competition with The Beatles) then struck it big with their cover of The Contours 1962 hit. This gave our group a #1 in 16 countries ( including the UK and Australia)
And the song
Brian Poole & The Tremeloes - Do You Love Me

Monday, October 6, 2008

Gordon Lightfoot's song on the wall

Whilst in Canada I saw a print of the Edmund Fitzgerald hanging on the wall of one of the Canadian cousins and thought that was special to the cousin, having been signed by Gordon Lightfoot. However when I asked about it, it seems these prints are available for sale to anyone.
"The painting was done by an artist in Essex, Ontario, the hometown of my husband. The main picture is of the ship sailing under the bridge near Detroit (at least I think that’s the bridge), and it is signed by Gordon Lightfoot. The smaller print is of the lighthouse at Whitefish Bay where the ship sank, and it is signed by Chief Jerry Cox, the man on duty the night the ship sank."

See also

Ray's Song Pick of the Day from Monday 29 Sept

The tease Monday 29 September 2008
A UK#1(1), 15 September 1966 Moderate Hit in N.Z. The nattily dressed group were led by a former child star who was later to admit he could barely play guitar in the early days of the group, but despite that he and fellow members provided the only real competition to the Who in the mid-60s.
And the song …
The Small Faces - ALL OR NOTHING

The tease for Tuesday 30 September
A US#1(1) 21 September 1968 and a Monster Hit in N.Z. A message song about a widowed wife and a real lucky break for this 22 year old singer who had only been in Nashville for a few months and whose experience had been limited to routine song-demo-sessions. Her superb performance of the song lead to a nation-wide round of TV appearances and $15,000 per night personal appearances.
And the song …
Jeannie C. Riley - HARPER VALLEY P.T.A.

The tease for Wednesday 1 October
A UK#1(4) from 19 October 1956. Written by Frank Loesser and produced by Mitch Miller and from the movie ‘Guys And Dolls’. This was tonight's artist's fourth and final UK No. 1. His total of 4 chart toppers established a record which was equaled, just over 6 months later, on 17 May 1957, by Guy Mitchell.
And the song …
Frankie Laine - A WOMAN IN LOVE.

The tease for Thursday 2 October
Two Leiber and Stoller songs from Presley's film Jailhouse Rock provided his 14th and 15th million-sellers. A HUGE HIT in N.Z. and as Mark Matheson said, tonight's song was actually the A side, not Jailhouse Rock
And the song …
Elvis Presley - TREAT ME NICE

The tease for Friday 3 October
US#1, 21 October 1957 (28 weeks in Top 100 from 16 September) and NZ#1 in February 1958 - HUGE HIT in N.Z. The artist was an all round High School athlete whose recording debut involved producing a whole album. This ended his plans of being a physical education teacher and he was sent on a nationwide tour, which included night clubs, concert halls and appearances on TV. He went on to become a big seller of albums.
And the song …
Johnny Mathis - CHANCES ARE. Written by Robert Allen (music) and lyrics by Al Stillman.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Unforgettable Music heard overseas

Whilst overseas, the only track I recall hearing was Eddie Hodges - I'm Gonna Knock On Your Door, and that was in Germany. There were other familiar English language numbers but that is the only one I recall.

In Calgary with Wendy and Ernie, I thought we were listening to an 'oldies station' but then realised that Ernie was playing sixties CDs in the vehicle.

On one of my first bike rides when I got back we cycled up to Helensville and playing in the cafe we stopped at, was "The Girl From Inpanema". I made a comment about the song to fellow cyclist Annette and she said she did not know the song. In astonishment I said you don't know "Girl From Ipanema" from the early sixites? (1964) and Annette said she was just a baby then. Shortly after I got an email from Roberto, a Coast listener from Brazil asking for the Frank Sinatra version of The Girl From Ipanema, which was done as a duet with the co-composer Carlos Antonio Jobim. This prompted some searching on the internet about the song and I came across this story of a journalist traveling to Brazil to meet up with the girl of the song.
Another musical memory from one of my fellow cyclists on the Wednesday ride, who mentioned he was listening to me on Coast, the day before and heard a Dusty Springfield song that took him straight to a memory of visiting a 'K' Road (as Karangahape) strip joint when he was a University student and this woman was stripping to this Dusty Springfield number. I guess we each have our own specific 'song memories'.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

HIGH NOON (Do Not Forsake Me)
Tex Ritter Recorded the song for the movie soundtrack and Capitol initially released a version without the drums (thinking Country fans didn’t like drums). US#12, 8 weeks in the Top 30 from 20 September 1952. Stanley Kramer had completed a new western movie starring Gary Cooper and Grace Kelly; it was titled ‘High Noon’. After screening it, Kramer decided that it was going to be a box office disaster unless something was done to kill the silence and repetitious boredom of Cooper’s long walks in the film. He asked Tiomkin to write a melody that could be used to salvage the film. Tiomkin suggested that they used one and repeat it during the troubled scenes. After working on a melody for a few days, he called lyricist Ned Washington and asked him to write lyrics for his tune. These men blended lyrics and melody into the song, High Noon, and needed a cowboy singer to record it. Tiomkin said that Tex Ritter should be used and called him.

Tex took Merle Travis and a few other musicians to the studio to pre-record the soundtrack. After they recorded the soundtrack and even though the preview audience gave the film a poor rating. Tiomkin suggested that Tex record it for Capitol. The producer for Capitol, Ken Nelson, was cool to the idea so Tiomkin took the song to Columbia Records, and Frankie Laine and Mitch Miller were scheduled to record it. When Nelson at Capitol heard that Laine were going to record it, they changed their minds and rushed Tex into the studio. On 14 May 1952, Tex recorded “High Noon” (master number 10102), Capitol F 2120. Capitol released it on 21 June 1952, one week before the Laine recording was issued. (Frankie Laine’s recording was made 15 May 1952).

They soon realised that they had made a mistake. Country musicians and their fans did not like drums, so the heavy drum beat that makes the song memorable was not on the Tex Ritter record. However, the drum beat was prominent on the Frankie Laine recording. Ken Nelson had the drum overdubbed on the music track and released it with the master number 10485, retaining the Capitol release number F2120.

In Britain, Decca Records was Capitol’s United Kingdom license and their producer Dick Rowe, saw ‘High Noon’ and was captivated by the song and its effective use in the film. They had already released the original recording (no drums) in England. Since the song’s haunting effect was not on the record, Rowe opted not to promote it; instead, he decided to record it again. Tex was on tour in Britain, so Rowe arranged a recording session in Decca Studios. This recording comes closer in arrangement and sound to the soundtrack than any of the other recording, and is the best recording of “High Noon” made by Tex. The master number is MSC 126, and the release number is CL 13778. Tex’s first performance of the song before a live audience was in London, England during this tour.
Featured – Mon 14 July, 2008

Bill Haley & His Comets
by Little Richard was a US#17 in 1956, 18 weeks in Top 100 from 7 July and R&B#1 (2 weeks)
Mark Matheson said, “Long Tall Sally was a moderate hit probably only by default. It was the B-side to Tutti Frutti here (released in 1957) and Tutti Frutti was the hit. Rip It Up was not a big seller. It was overshadowed by the Bill Haley version over here. “
Featured – Tue 15 July, 2008

The Shirelles
The 1st million-seller for the quartet of Addie Harris, Shirley Owens, Doris Kenner and Beverley Lee who began performing together in high school in New Jersey. A talent show success in 1957 brought them a recording contract with Decca with their first release, "I Met Him On A Sunday" making the charts in April 1958. Their 2nd chart first appeared for 4 weeks in 1959 from 13 July - peak #83. Then charted again (after the success of their #1 hit "Will You Love Me Tomorrow") for 16 weeks on the Top 100 from 23 January 1961with a peak of #3
Featured – Wed 16 July, 2008

Tommy James & The Shondells
, US#1(2) from 16 July 1966
Written by the husband and wife team of Jeff Barry and Ellie Greenwich, the song didn't sell when first issued in 1963 on the Snap label. It was through the attention of a DJ going through a job lot of 45 rpm records and giving the song air-play that the record got attention, and a scramble to obtain the master tape ended with rights going to Roulette Records and with their promotion, the song shot to #1 for 2 weeks. All the other members of The Shondells come from Greensboro, Pittsburg. Big Hit in N.Z.
Featured – Thu 17 July, 2008

The Animals
UK#1, 9 July, Au#1(2) from 19 August and US#1(3) from 5 September 1964, (11 weeks in Top 100 from 8 August 1964). The America version was edited down to 2:58. The Animals 1st million-seller with a traditional negro song, that had been a success for folk singer Josh White. Alan Price of the Animals, toned down the rather bawdy lyrics for their version. They made a tour of Britain with Chuck Berry in 1964 and also toured the States that year. A Gold Disc was presented to the group by MGM Records of the USA in September 1964, before they returned to England. This their 2nd single, went on to sell over 5 million. MONSTER HIT in N.Z.
Featured – Fri 18 July, 2008

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Ray's Song Pick of the Day from 7 July

David Rose

THE STRIPPER US#1, 7 July 1962 (17 wks in Top 100)
The 3rd million seller for David Rose was his own compositon. conductor / composer / arranger for numerous movies and scored many TV series. Married to Martha Raye (1938-41) & Judy Garland (1941-43). Died 23 August 1990 of heart disease. HUGE HIT in N.Z.
Featured – Mon 7 July, 2008

The Kinks
Sunny Afternoon
, UK#1(2) from 7 July 1966, US#14, 11 wks in Top 100 from 6 August and NZ#2, 7 wks in Top 20 from 18 August 1966, Monster Hit in N.Z. The third and final UK#1 in the summer of 1966 for the Davies brothers and their two co-Kinks. The three single releases immediately following “Sunny Afternoon” went into the UK Top 10 (Dead End Street, Waterloo Sunset and Autumn Alamac). “Lola” went on to become a NZ#1, but only UK#2 and US#9 in 1970.
Featured – Tue 8 July, 2008

Ferrante & Teicher
US#10 in 1960, 20 weeks in Top 100 from 25 July. (Monster Hit in N.Z.) the 1st million-seller for the piano duo who had studied together at New York's Juilliard School of Music. Both graduated as piano majors and a brief period of concert work they returned to Juilliard as faculty members, combining teaching with a limited concert schedule. Their increasing popularity forced them to concentrate on performing and they gradually drifted into popular music and devised a series of gadgets, including strips of sandpaper and cardboard wedges etc to extend the range of their pianos. They began their string of film theme hits after they had signed to United Artists in 1960, including the film ‘Exodus’ that received 5 Academy Awards.
Featured – Wed 9 July, 2008

Frank Sinatra
, US#1(2) from 9 July 1955 Frank's 2nd million-seller for the year (Love And Marriage) and had a sale 900,000 in the US with sales elswhere taking the total over a million. UK#2(6) Monster Hit in N.Z.
Featured – Thu 10 July, 2008

Frankie Laine
US#5 in 1952, 19 weeks in Top 30 from 12 July and UK#7, with 7 weeks in the Top 12 from November 1952. The 9th million seller for Frankie Laine was the theme to the movie starring Gary Cooper and Grace Kelly. Tex Ritter’s version also made the US Top 30 (from 20 September) but Frankie Laine’s version was different in using drums (country music people were reluctant to use drums at the time *check details) and Laine’s version outsold Tex Ritter (US#12, 8wks). (Ritter sang "High Noon" at the first Academy Awards ceremony to be televised in 1953. The song, written by Ned Washington (lyrics) and Dmitri Tiomkin (music), received an Oscar for the Best Film Song of 1952.
Featured – Fri 11 July, 2008

Friday, July 4, 2008

Ray's Song Pick of the Day from 30 June

Mike Sarne with Wendy Richard
UK#1(2) from 28 June 1962. This was the only second comedy record (after Lonnie Donegan’s My Old Man’s A Dustman) to make UK#1. Mike Sarne was born Michael Scheur in 1939 of German extraction. Wendy Richard was just beginning as an actress specializing in the not-so-dumb blonde roles that were still coming her way 20 years later - she played Miss Brahms in the TV series 'Are You Being Served' and later appeared in 'Eastenders' as Pauline Fowler. Wendy Richard even re-recorded ‘Come Outside’ with a replacement for Mike Sarne, but it went nowhere. Mike Sarne followed this hit with "Will I What?" (with Billie Davis) and "other less original variations on the theme." HUGE HIT in N.Z.
Featured – Mon 30 June, 2008

David Whitfield with Mantovani & Orchestra
UK#1(10) from 2 July and US#10, charting from 14 August 1954. The first British male singer to have a million sale in the US, it achieved its magic figure by 1956. This was Whitfield’s second UK#1 and was one of the biggest-selling records of the pre-rock era. It sold well over a million copies and Whitfield joined Vera Lynn in the ranks of British stars who made the US Top 10. In Britain, the 10 week run at the top was then the longest ever run of consecutive weeks at No. 1 and, nearly 700 hits later, Whitfield still takes equal third place, after Slim Whitman (Rose Marie) and Bryan Adams (Everything I Do, I Do For You)
The writers of ‘Cara Mia’, Lee Lange and Tulio Trapani, were actually David Whitfield’s producer, Bunny Lewis, and his arranger, Mantovani. On this record Mantovani’s orchestra is given full label credit and as the Guiness Book Of British No Ones said, “There is no doubt that the lush strings of the Mantovani sound were a major contribution to the phenomenal success of this record.
Featured – Tue 1 July, 2008

Pat Boone, Mark Matheson said, “Extremely popular artist in the late fifties here. All three (I’ll Be Home, Friendly Persuasion and Remember You’re Mine) were huge hits and Pat would have sold in similar quantity in this country to Presley.”
I ALMOST LOST MY MIND US#1(4) from 28 July 1956. Pat had four million-sellers in 1956 and this was his 3rd such gold disc. The song was also a second time million-seller for the writer Ivory Joe Hunter who wrote and recorded his song in 1950. An example of a black artist's rhythm & blues track getting greater chart action from white audiences through having its rough edges being smoothed somewhat.
Featured – Wed 2 July, 2008

The Essex
US#1(2) from 6 July 1963, 13 wks in Top 100
Deciding to do the rounds of the record companies while on short leave from Camp Lejeune, their first and only stop was Roulette Records and their first release was an immediate hit. The quintet started with four Marines who worked at perfecting their sound, but not until they had heard Anita Humes singing at an NCO club and asked her to join them, were they satisfied with their group.
Featured – Thu 3 July, 2008

Everly Brothers
written by Roy Orbison for his wife. Flip side to #1 hit "All I Have To Do Is Dream", their 3rd million-seller and in the UK considered a double sided hit UK#1(7) from 4 July 1958. Monster Hit in N.Z.
Featured – Fri 4 July, 2008

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Ray's Song Pick of the Day from 23 June

Tommy Roe
DIZZY, US#1(4) from 15 March and UK#1(1), 4 June 1969 - Monster Hit in N.Z. Written by Tommy Roe with F. Weller and released in December 1968 and had sold two million by mid-April 1969. Described as ‘an easy riding, medium-paced pop dance disc with soft sound and violins.’ (Encyclopedia of Million Sellers)
Featured – Mon 23 June, 2008

THE BALLAD OF JOHN AND YOKO, UK#1(3) from 11 June, Au#1(4) from 7 July 1969 and US#8. Monster Hit in N.Z. This Lennon/McCartney song, with just John and Paul performing, tells the story of John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s marriage, their trip to Paris and Amsterdam and their life in general. John complains in song of people’s attitude to the events which immediately preceded and followed the marriage in Gibralter. The chorus had lines “Christ, you it ain’t easy” and “The way things are going/They’re going to crucify me”, which immediately caused the media to criticize the increasingly erratic Lennon. This was the 14th of the Beatles 17 numbers ones to reach the top in the second week on the UK chart and was also No 1 in Germany, Austria, Holland, Norway, Spain, Belguim, Denmark, Malaysia and Australia. No 2 in New Zealand with 9 weeks in the Top 20.
Featured – Tue 24 June, 2008

Paul McCartney & Wings
MY LOVE Apple [USA and Britain] Written by Paul McCartney and released in the UK in March 1973 and in the US in April 1973, the song peaked at #7 in the Britain and made US#1(4) from 2 June 1973, (18 weeks in the Top 100) and also US Adult Contemporary #1(3 wks). Awarded R.I.A.A. 6 July 1973.
Wings was formed in the northern summer of 1971, with no name for a start and comprised Denny Laine, Denny Seiwell along with Paul and Linda McCartney. Their first album, ‘Wild Life’ (1971) was not a success. Henry McCullough (guitar) joined but he and Seiwell subsequently quit. Wings second album ‘Red Rose Speedway’ (1973) which included “My Love”, was a big success especially in the US. The band toured Britain, playing at colleges, then Europe. It took the band some time to gel together and come up with good material, but ‘Red Rose Speedway’ dispelled all doubts, and Wings had taken off in a big way, with their next album ‘Band On The Run’ selling over 2.5 million and earning two Grammy Awards in 1974 (Best Engineered Recording [Non-Classical] and Best Pop Vocal Performance by a Duo, Group or Chorus).
Global sale of “My Love” is estimated at two million.
Featured – Wed 25 June, 2008

Henry Mancini & Orchestra
LOVE THEME FROM 'ROMEO AND JULIET', Victor [USA] US#1(2) from 28 June 1969 - Monster Hit in N.Z. Mancini’s beautiful arrangement of the love theme from the Franco Zefferelli production of the film ‘Romeo and Juliet’ became a top instrumential single in the US. Released 4 April 1969 it had sold a million by 25 June with R.I.A.A. gold disc award (selling over 200, 000 copies in one week) and earned a 1969 Grammy Award for Best Instrumental Arrangement. The theme is based on Nino Rota’s score for the film which starred Leonard Whiting, then aged 17, and Olivia Hussey, 16, said to be the youngest performers ever to play Shakespeare’s famed lovers professionally.
A vocal version of the theme titled “A Time For Us” was written by Eddie Snyder and Larry Kuisk.
Featured – Thu 26 June, 2008

Roy Orbison,
IT'S OVER An estimated million-seller globally, Roy's 12th was written by him with Bill Dees. Roy appeared on TV in Britain in 1964, which no doubt helped his single reach UK#1(2) from 25 June 1964. His 2nd UK#1 (4 years after "Only The Lonely") “It’s Over” was the first American No 1 hit in the UK for 47 weeks. “It’s Over” had a highly orchestrated arrangement that helped display Orbison’s marvelous soaring voice to best effect. His tunes were often referred to as ‘pop arias’. Orbison attained even greater popularity in the UK than in his homeland, and during his second British tour in 1963 he topped the bill over the likes of Gerry & The Pacemakers and The Beatles. His motionless stage persona, with the dark glasses, black outfit and, occasionally motorcycle leathers, hid a man who was incredibly shy. The Guinness Book of Number One Hits suggested the song was not as well remembered as most of his lesser hits from the previous four years – ‘Running Scared’, ‘Crying’ and ‘In Dreams’ – now all standards.
US#9 with 9 weeks in Top 100 from August.
Featured – Fri 27 June, 2008

And one I didn’t feel would suit Coast ….
George Harrison
Give Me Love (Give Me Peace On Earth). US#1, 30 June 1973 (replacing McCartney/Wings – My Love at the top.) and came from George’s immediate Gold Disc album ‘Living In The Material World’ released in the US and UK in June 1973, with R.I.A.A. Gold Disc award (1 June 1973)

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Ray's Song Pick of the Day from 16 June

Elvis Presley
US#1(2) from 20 March & UK#1(4) from 1 June 1961 and 15th Top No 1 of 1961 in the US. The 32nd million-seller for Elvis had a reputed global sale of 5 million. Similiar to "It's Now Or Never" of the year before, this was another successful adaption of an old Italian song "Torna A Sorrento" - 'Return To Sorrento' from 1911. The new English words were by Doc Pomus and Mort Schuman in 1960. "Surrender" was #1 in its first week in Britain. MONSTER HIT in N.Z.
Featured – Mon 16 June, 2008

Further to the above and using "Torna A Sorrento" - 'Return To Sorrento' as the basis of a question to give away a copy of Mario Lanza - The Definitive Collection, I wondered if Mario Lanza's song, track 20, Torna A Surriento was the same as that 1911 song. Then I asked what Elvis hit was adapted from this Italian song. After getting a few "It's Now Or Never" answers, I hinted it rhymed with the suggested Love Me Tender and Return To Sender. It wasn't until I played the Elvis "Surrender" that I got a winner in Delia, who coming from the Swiss/Italian border assured me the two spellings were the same song, one was just a little more poetic.
Thank you Delia.

Roy Orbison
US#1(1) from 5 June 1961, 17wks in the Top 100 and 21st Top No 1 of 1961
His first US#1, but his 3rd million seller and one of 3 million-sellers for Roy in 1961, co-written by Roy with his regular song writing partner, Joe Melson back in 1952 (according to Encyclopedia of Million Sellers) MONSTER HIT in N.Z.
Featured – Tue 17 June, 2008

The Beatles
PAPERBACK WRITER UK#1(2) from 23 June 1966 and US#1(2) from 25 June
This sold over million in the States and over 500,000 in Britain and was No 1 simultaneously for two weeks in The US from 25 June and in England from 23 June and the 10th consecutive No 1 for the Beatles in the UK. It was also a No 1 hit in Holland, Norway, Denmark, Germany, Austria, and Ireland in the Northern hemisphere, and on the other side of the world, in Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore, Australia and New Zealand. A Paul McCartney song featuring Paul double-tracked singing lead and the first Beatle A-side that wasn’t considered a love song.
Featured – Wed 18 June, 2008

Bonds, Gary (U.S.) - Quarter To Three
US#1(2) from 26 June 1961, 15 weeks in the Top 100 (13th Top No1 of 1961)
The 1st million-seller for Gary Anderson, (the artist's real name and co-written by him. Florida born in 1939 he began singing in his church group at age 9. In 1952 he formed his own group, The Turks and became a solo artist after the group disbanded. His first record was "New Orleans" which was a top 10 hit, then came "Quarter To Three" followed by three more Top 10's. MODERATE HIT in N.Z.
Featured – Thu 19 June, 2008

The Hollies
I'M ALIVE, Graham Nash (b Feb 1942) and Allan Clarke (b Apr 1942) first sang together at their Salford Primary school. Later, as the Two Teens, they performed hits by Lonnie Donegan, Cliff Richard and the Everly Brothers for the Manchester Cabaret circuit. A number of name changes and increase in group size, they became The Hollies in tribute to Buddy Holly. The Hollies recorded a string of reworked American Rhythm & Blues until their EMI producer Ron Richards in 1965 began to find good original numbers for them, including their first million seller from 1966 by Graham Gouldman (later with 10cc) with “Bus Stop”. “I’m Alive” though was by Clint Ballard, who also wrote the hits; “Good Timin’” for Jimmy Jones and “The Game Of Love” by Wayne Fontana. (p 123 Guiness Book of No 1 Hits). A UK#1(1) 24 June and again #1(2) from 8 July 1965. Big Hit in N.Z.
Featured – Fri 20 June, 2008

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Cyd Charisse and Tony Martin

After the death of Cyd Charisse 17 June 2008, aged 86, and realising Charisse was married to singer Tony Martin for almost 60 years, a notable length among Hollywood marriages. (Singers Eydie Gormé and Steve Lawrence tied the know 29 December 1957) I decided to check out an earlier ‘Tonight At Seven’ feature on Tony Martin I did on Today FM, Thursday 20 June 1996.
I also had email correspondence with Maurice who said “Heard Tony Martin. Didn't know his style. Guess that has something to do with the fact that I've never heard him before. Have you ever seen Fred actually dancing to 'Puttin On The Ritz'. It's another knockout. But I still prefer Kelly. Had a fair bit to do with dancing myself.”
Born Alvin Morris, Christmas Day 1912 in Oakland, California. Tony played saxaphone in Tom Gerun’s band before launching his long and successful singing career. He sang in a hotel bandin San Francisco and after a radio broadcast he joined a band at the Chicago World’s Fair in 1933. Finally he went to Hollywood where he acted and sang in many musical films, to become internationally known. He was featured in many films from 1936 to 1957, and frequently performed on stage with his wife, movie star Cyd Charisse.
He first made the charts when he was a vocalist for a time with Ray Noble and His Orchestra in 1938.
Tonight we start with Tony Martin from late 1949 with There’s No Tomorrow, which was a song from one of his movies Two Tickets To Broadway.
I Said My Pajamas (And Put On My Pray’rs) a duet with Fran Warren from early 1950.
Voice Break 1
There was a sense of nostalgia with memories of postwar France with the song La Vie En Rose doing well in the States with seven versions making the US Top 30. The original by Edith Piaf was about the middle but the top charting version belonged to Tony Martin...
Voice Break 2
I Get Ideas was a #3 effort from Tony Martin that charted from June 1951 and was adapted from the Argentine Tango “Adios Muchachos”
Domino #9, 12 weeks in US Top 30 from November 1951

Wrap-up We also have available from Tony Martin, his duet with Dinah Shore, “A Penny A Kiss”and a 1956 chart “Walk Hand In Hand”

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

The 'Oldie Stations' Are Out There

Recently I received a link about another Today FM, this one a low power FM station on 106.7 FM in Dargaville. The Today FM I worked on closed down in October 1997 – see first Blog.

The station in Dargaville is run by Brent and Alison Robertson who wanted to provide music for people aged 50 plus - music from the 1930s, 40s, 50s, country and gospel - so Today FM was born.

At the moment they run from 6.30am until 10.30pm, but plan eventually to run 24 hours a day.

Also recently in the ‘local news’ of Stuff.co.nz was an article about Eric Allen and his Reef Radio run out of his place in Point Chevalier, also on 106.7 FM.


This Auckland City Harbour News | Friday, 30 May 2008 link may not be valid for too long, as Stuff.co.nz don’t usually keep those links up for any great length of time.

Eric told the paper, "It’s good fun and it doesn’t involve much time."

The 25,000 titles on the station’s playlist are largely from his own record collection, which he started "a fair few years ago".

It includes everything from the 1930s to the early 1970s.

"There’s a bit of everything in there," he says, including his first love, jazz.

Late last year I received a call from a Dave Sergent up from Taranaki, listening to my 107.1 and he mentioned he operated a similar style of programme on 107.1 and 88.4 and wondered where I got some of my songs from.

Plus heading back through Tirau from the Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge I found Corrugated Radio - with their bye line of ‘music for people with long memories’.

So the oldie stations are out there, including those associated with the Unforgettable Music Society Incorporated.

Helensville 106.8 FM “Holiday FM”

Ngatea 107.0 FM “3NZ Ngatea”

Taumaranui 107.0 FM “Radio Hikurangi” Uptown

Taumaranui 107.5 FM “Radio Hikurangi” Downtown

Taupo 107.3 FM “Radio Evergreen”

Te Aroha 106.8 FM “Unforgettable Music”

Wairoa 107.0 FM “Unforgettable Music”

Monday, June 2, 2008

It was the third of June

Sometime during May, I received an email at work that said ....
I wonder if on the
3rd of June you might want to look at playing - Back-to-Back
the 'Ode to Billy-Joe', the Bobby Gentry number and Neil Daimonds' tune 'Desiree'.

This is Not a Request as Such but Both of these Songs have same Opening Line .....
'It Was the Third of June ....' I thought you might want to make a point of
it in
some Subtle way.

No - I don't need a Hobby - I just Notice things.
Cheers Fred
So I looked up Lyrics World (which doesn't have annoying pop-ups)
Ode To Billie Joe -Artist: Bobbie Gentry
-peak Billboard position # 1 for 4 weeks in 1967
-Words and Music by Bobbie Gentry
It was the third of June, another sleepy, dusty Delta day
I was out choppin' cotton and my brother was balin' hay
And at dinner time we stopped and walked back to the house to eat
And Mama hollered out the back door "y'all remember to wipe your feet"
And then she said "I got some news this mornin' from Choctaw Ridge"
"Today Billy Joe MacAllister jumped off the Tallahatchie Bridge"

DESIREE Neil Diamond
Written by Neil Diamond
It was the third of June
On that younger day
Well I became a man
At the hands of a girl
Almost twice my age
And she came to me
Just like a morning sun

Friday, May 9, 2008

Found It!

The answer to Warren's query about the song that had the lyric line ...
one thousand two hundred and thirty two holes are drilled into this piece of metal today

The song is called 'The Words of Bartholomew' and it was done by Wayne Fontana and the Mindbenders. Released in 1968 and well aired on NZ radio.
I have done my best to record and attach the sample I was sent, so I hope it gets to you ok.
Obviously, now I have the mission of finding the complete song, but gee, what a forgotton blast from the past this song is.

Cheers, Warren

In response to an earlier posting Daphne wrote that she was a bit puzzled about it though.

2nd story “Your First Musical Memories Feb 23 2008

Paragraph 5

“We never heard of radio, tape decks. CDs etc -------. We listened to Big Band ----- on radio?????? Doesn’t quite make sense.

Took me awhile to realise that if you never heard of radios - how can you be listening to Big Bands on - the - radio?

Got me thinking that you can get transcriptions of some of the broadcast programs of the Big Bands on CD. You have to watch if you're a collector and wanting the original recorded version of something. Alex found that out and gave me the CD that disappointed him; Bob Crosby And His Orchestra "The Radio Years" 1940

Thursday, May 8, 2008

How many people share your 'Favourites'?

Dear Ray,

Thank you for taking the time to get back to me again. I guess we got off to a bad start as I thought you were fobbing me off. The Theatre Organ especially the Mighty Wurlitzer was for some time the main music in theatres for many years. In the Silent Movie days the Theatre Organ was the instrument that accompanied the movie adding the music and sound effects. In later years it was used to supply the dance music in some of the large Ball Rooms. The Black Pool Tower Ball Room come to mind. Many Auckland people will remember the Civic Theatre's Theatre Organ in the 1950's.

So said Stan of Christchurch. So I asked Music Maestro Mark who had done a lot of research of music available on record in New Zealand stores in the fifties and sixties. Plus he was familiar, through where he works, with the Wurlitzer Organ – and Mark said;

“The Wurlitzer Organ is probably best remembered in this country as played by Reginald Dixon (in the Blackpool style) who was extremely popular from the 1930's to the 1960's. Saying this, it is also rather niche today. I know where this chap is coming from and he should be commended for trying to spread the word. I love early Rockabilly music, but it's not for everyone.

The reality is that it would be welcomed by only a small number of your listeners and probably alienate just as many. Most of the recordings that were popular by say, Reginald Dixon are instrumental versions of popular show tunes or medleys of hits of the day.

You could try it, but you won't please everybody. Just as say, I abhor listening to James Taylor or Joe Cocker as I don't think they fit the format.

If you were to go down that track you would be better off including the likes of Winifred Atwell, Russ Conway or Ron Goodwin as they had a huge "pop" following at that time and are very rarely played today.”

Which reinforced my thoughts.

And in similar vein – a desire for a favourite artist to get played, was Darryl pushing JAMES LAST




There are some artists who were big in album sales, and so were familiar to a lot of people. For example, Johnny Mathis, Andy Williams and Bert Kaempfert.

I guess my question for those that want their favourites played. Who else enjoys the music as much as yourself. Is it just limited to a small number? Perhaps the answer is to be inspired by the music on the radio to go get out the album and drop a needle on the vinyl to savour those memories for yourself.

Any comments or thoughts

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Your first musical memories

What do you remember of the music from your early years?

Prompted by one of those wistful, nostalgia trips circulated by email.

Stay with this -- the answer is at the end -- it will blow you away. One evening an American grandson was talking to his grandmother about current events. The grandson asked his grandmother what she thought about the shootings at schools, the computer age, and just things in general.

The Grandma replied, "Well, let me think a minute, I was born, before television, penicillin, polio shots, frozen foods, Xerox, contact lenses, Frisbees and the pill. There was no radar, credit cards, laser beams or ball-point pens. Man had not invented pantyhose, air conditioners, dishwashers, clothes dryers, and the clothes were hung out to dry in the fresh air and man hadn't yet walked on the moon.

Your Grandfather and I got married first-and then lived together. Every family had a father and a mother. Until I was 25, I called every man older than I, 'Sir'- and after I turned 25, I still called policemen and every man with a title, "Sir.' We were before gay-rights, computer- dating, dual careers, daycare centers, and group therapy.

Our lives were governed by the Ten Commandments, good judgment, and common sense. We were taught to know the difference between right and wrong and to stand up and take responsibility for our actions.

Serving your country was a privilege; living in this country was a bigger privilege. We thought fast food was what people ate during Lent. Having a meaningful relationship meant getting along with your cousins. Draft dodgers were people who closed their front doors when the evening breeze started. Time-sharing meant time the family spent together in the evenings and weekends-not purchasing condominiums.

We never heard of radios, tape decks, CDs, electric typewriters, yogurt, or guys wearing earrings. We listened to the Big Bands, Jack Benny, and the President's speeches on our radios. And I don't ever remember any kid blowing his brains out listening to Tommy Dorsey. If you saw anything with 'Made in Japan ' on it, it was junk. The term 'making out' referred to how you did on your school exam. Pizza Hut, McDonald's, and instant coffee were unheard of.

And so it went on and wrapped up by saying …

We were the last generation to actually believe that a lady needed a husband to have a baby. No wonder people call us "old and confused" and say there is a generation gap.....and how old do you think I am???....

I bet you have this old lady in mind...you are in for a shock! Read on to see -- pretty scary if you think about it and pretty sad at the same time.

This Woman would be only 58 years old!

I thought, have they got this nostalgia kick right?

Hmmm, this 60 year old doesn't remember Tommy Dorsey as a kid, rather it was the likes of Jim Reeves - Bimbo and Hank Thompson - Blackboard Of My Heart, then later in my teens; Dinah Lee, Gene Pitney and the Beatles and Rolling Stones. I did pick up on some Bing Crosby and Glenn Miller on vinyl in the La Gloria Gramaphone at home.

And I'm not even a Grandfather.

Diana came back to me saying ....

Aha ..... I picked up on them, cos that's what my Mum & Dad listened to, so I heard them all the time. The wonderful music of the 50s.

The Gene Pitney & Beatles were my listening choices of the 60s. I still have the very first vinyl LP that I bought as a teenager..... Gene Pitney.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Musical Memories

A plea via email for a memory of a song ...

I am absolutely going mental trying to find out the name of a song and hopefully the artist, and I reckon my best chance is in asking you. I may not have the first part of my lyrics correct but I'm positive many of you will know the song as it was played frequently on the radio at its height.
the most I can come up with is --- one thousand two hundred and thirty two holes are drilled into this piece of metal today.--

If anyone can come up with an answer, this person “would be over the moon”.

Migrant’s musical memories

When I was gathering comment for the 30th anniversary (in 1993) of John F. Kennedy’s assasination I was intrigued to find the number of English migrants that we had listening to Today FM. Today (as in 'now a days') of course we know also have a good sprinkling of migrants from South Africa / Rhodesia/Zimbabwe and this influences the listening memories that people here have. From Tarankai, Kath Copeland was asking for “Three Wheels On My Wagon”. A song that Kath had not heard since leaving England 40 years ago. When I couldn’t find The New Christy Minstrels song in the British Top 40, Kath explained that it was very popular in the mid '60s in Britain - meaning it was often played on Radio Luxembourg which was the only station available that played modern songs.

One Broken Heart For Sale

Is one of a number of Elvis songs recommended by music researcher Mark for regular play as it was a Monster Hit in N.Z. and not played on Commercial Radio these days. Co-written by Otis Blackwell, it was another song from another Elvis film - 'It Happened at the World Fair' and considered by Tim Rice and his co-authors (in the Guiness Book of Number Ones); as one his worst records at the time. "It would not have sold more than ten copies if it did not have the magic Presley name on the label". Released before Devil In Disguise" it went on, through aggregate world sales to become his 45th million-seller.