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