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Friday, June 29, 2012

Barry DeVorzon/Perry Botkin Jr.--Nadia's Theme (1976)

     Barry DeVorzon had a varied and successful career as a songwriter, performer, and label owner (founding Valiant Records) throughout the late 50's and 1960's. By the 70's he was composing soundtracks to movies.
     One of those movies was 1971's, "Bless the Beasts and the Children", who's title track was recorded by the Carpenters that year and both DeVorzon and Botkin won an Oscar nomination for best song.  One of the album cuts was a short piece called, "Cotton's Dream" and in 1973, CBS approached both men about it's use in a brand new soap opera called, "The Young and the Restless" that was going to debut in the spring. They did some re-arranging, and almost 40 years later it's still the theme song of the soap.
     It came to the general public's attention in 1976 as ABC began using the song in musical montages with gymnast Nadia Comaneci. Response to the song to the network inspired A&M records to re-release the album cut. It was identical to the album cut except the bridge had been repeated and an ending put to it.
     Released as, "Nadia's Theme (The Young and Restless)", it went to number 8 in the fall of 1976. Interestingly enough, DeVorzon's name was not on the original pressings for which he sued A&M and won a judgement of over 200,000 dollars.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

William DeVaughn--Be Thankful For What You Got (1974)

     It's always been a fantasy of anyone who has ever picked up a mic to go into the studio, make a record, and almost immediately have a hit. The truth of course is that things like that rarely happen. For William DeVaughn however, it became a reality.
     DaVaughn had a job for the government as a drafting tech. when he spent $900 of his own money to record a song at Omega Sound in Philadelphia. The song, which he wrote, was very reminiscent of Curtis Mayfield and his old group, The Impressions. The band included several members of the MFSB band, and it caught the attention of the vice president of the studio, who began shopping it around to various record companies.
      Signed to Roxbury, the song reached #4 on the charts in the summer of 1974 which led to the recording of an album. DeVaughn, who was a devout Jehovah's Witness found that his devotion to his faith was greater than his love for music, and he lost interest after awhile, and left the industry almost as quickly as he entered it. He has since recorded a couple more albums, one in 1980, and just recently in 2004.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Jackie DeShannon--Put a Little Love In Your Heart (1969)

     Over a sixteen year span, (1963-1980) Jackie DeShannon had 16 charting songs. Only two of them reached the top ten. "What The World Needs Now" was written by Bacharach/David in 1965, and "Put a Little Love In Your Heart", written in 1968 by DeShannon, her brother Randy Myers and Jimmy Holiday. Both songs make nice bookends on the Adult Contemporary side of the peace movement. 
     "Love in your Heart" reached #4 on the pop charts in 1969, and was covered in 1988 by Annie Lennox and Al Green as a part of the 1988 movie, "Scrooged" starring Bill Murray, where it made it to #9. DeShannon has written for many artists, but it was her song, "Bette Davis Eyes", covered by Kim Carnes which was the massive hit.
     She continues to write and perform, although much of her energies are now focused on different causes.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Teri DeSario--Yes, I'm Ready (1979)

     Of all of the artists I've blogged about over the last 18 months, Teri DeSario has to be one of the most interesting artist from a creative standpoint.
     Upon graduation from high school in Miami, she played recorder and harp for a medieval/renaissance group called, the "Early Music Consort", from 1970 to 1977. She wanted to expand into other music, so along with husband Bill Purse, they formed "Abacus" which explored folk and jazz. It was during this time she was approached by Barry Gibb who had heard some of her music was knocked out by her voice. He had written a song for her, "Ain't nothing Gonna Keep Me From You".
     The song made it to the charts, and it was during this time that she bumped into an old high school mate, Harry Wayne Casey from KC and the Sunshine Band. They decided to record together and the result was a #2 hit for them in late 79/early 80. "Yes, I'm Ready", was originally recorded by Barbara Mason in 1965.
     They went on to record another duet, "Dancin' In the Streets" in the summer of 1980, she went into Contemporary Christian Music for a number of years before leaving that as well.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Deodato--Also Sprach Zarathustra (1973)

     From the advent of the modern pop/rock era (about 1955), there are songs which made the charts that have been influenced by music from other countries. The American public seems to have a fascination with what is now known by the generic phrase, "world music", but not too much of it at a time, and almost always mixed in with a more Anglo sensibility. Paul Simon's, "Graceland" is probably one of the best examples of this in album form.
     We find much more of a tolerance for the music of the world in jazz. One of the purveyors of this blend of ethnic music (in this case from Brazil)  and jazz is Eumir Deodato. He was born in Brazil and taught himself the accordion and then the piano. By the age of 17 he was a pianist and arranger in the Bossa Nova scene in Rio. Like many musicians in that country who chafed at the rule of dictatorship in the country moved to New York City.
     He signed with the small CTI label and reworked "Also Sprach Zarathustra" in a funky bossa nova style which was included on his debut album, "Prelude" in 1972. Many of you know this song as the major musical theme in the movie, "2001: A Space Odyssey". Those with a classical background would of course recognize it as a tone poem written by Richard Strauss in 1896.
     It reached #2 on the charts in the early spring of 1973 and put Deodato on the map as a writer/producer/arranger.  He had three other songs reach the top 100 that decade, but none with the success of his debut, although he has arranged and produced hundreds of albums for artists all over the musical spectrum.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

John Denver--Rocky Mountain High (1972)

     Every so often there is an opportunity to interject some of my childhood in these blogs, and this one has been sitting there for a long time. When a teenager I had a major admiration for John Denver. His voice could be a bit whiny, but his early days as a folkie and his commitment to ecological and conservation concerns was a cause that became one of mine as well.
     The "country boy" persona of the mid-70's was a bit tiring, maybe because for a 4 year stretch, the country got a bit of JD saturation. You couldn't turn on a radio, or watch a TV without hearing or seeing him. He was even a movie with George Burns!
     Although he had his first major hit with "Take Me Home, Country Roads" in 1971, it was "Rocky Mountain High" in late 1972/early 1973 that became his calling card. (Maybe because he was always more of a Denver guy, then he was a West Virginia dude...)
    Henry John Deutschendorf Jr. was born in Roswell, New Mexico but with his dad being an Air Force Lieutenant Colonel they moved quite often. The relationship between father and son were strained during those years as John even took the family car and ran away to California while still in high school.
     Several years later, he had moved to Los Angeles for good and began singing in the folk clubs. He was recruited to sing in the Mitchell Trio in 1965, then Denver, Bosie, and Johnson. During this time he wrote the song that would eventually give him the ability to start a solo career. In 1967 he recorded a demo which had a song on it called, "Babe, I Hate to Go". The manager for The Mitchell Trio forwarded the demo to Peter, Paul, and Mary who changed the name, "Leaving On a Jet Plane", which became their last top 10 hit in 1969.
    Denver's career was in fits and starts for several years having a big hit ("Country Roads", "Rocky Mountain High") then a time where other songs would languish away on the charts. By 1974, he had the twin number one hits, "Sunshine On My Shoulders", and "Annie's Song" which is where his career took off. 


Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The Delfonics--La-La Means I Love You (1968)

     When hearing this song for the first time, I was convinced that it was from the early 70's. Much to my surprise it was a #4 hit in 1968. It's smooth "Philly Soul" sound was on of the first of it's kind and would soon open the way for a host of artists to record in that same style.
      The Delfonics had been singing in the Philadelphia area since the early 60's and had released a single or two that had went nowhere. They were paired with producer Thom Bell and together recorded a series of lush, smooth sound to their songs. Instead of making pop songs, like what was happening at Motown, he would take the soul of Stax, and smooth the rough edges off. It was still soul, but without the grit and harshness.
      Bell worked with The Delfonics until 1971, when he left to start working with The Spinners and helped revitalized their career. By that time not only was Bell producing in this style, but Gamble and Huff had done so as well. These three men would change the face of soul music in the 70's. The Delfonics had a series of hits form 1968 to about 1973. They continue to tour in various forms today.

Monday, June 18, 2012

The DeFranco Family--Heartbeat, It's a Lovebeat (1973)

     In the history of modern rock/pop there have been three golden eras of teen idols: The early 60's where the sub genre began through the male idols that came up in the wake of the pillars of rock and roll declining. Those would include (but not exclusive to) Frankie Avalon, Fabian, Bobby Rydell and others would fit in this group. The 70's, which began with the triumvirate of The Osmonds, Partridge Family, Bobby Sherman,  and The Jackson 5 and finished with Shawn Cassidy and Leif Garrett. The 90's finished out this group starting with The New Kids On the Block and ending with Hanson, The Backstreet Boys, N'ync, and a plethora of sub par boy bands. There has certainly been others outside these periods, such as The Monkees in the late 60's, and New Edition in the 80's. However, the three mentioned at the beginning were truly special if you dig that kind of thing.  
     The DeFranco Family falls in the period in the middle of the 70's, which was good for them since the fervor over the Cassidy/Osmond axis had died down quite a bit. The teen idol machine was looking or someone new and they found it in the Italian family from Ontario. The five siblings, Benny, Marisa, Nino, Merlina and Tony, were known as the DeFranco Quintet and a tape of one of their performances got to Sharon Lee, who at the time was editor of the magazine, Teen Beat. She arranged for them to fly to California to record a three song demo which lead to them being signed by 20th Century Records.
     "Heartbeat, It's a Lovebeat" was the first song out of the gate which reached #3 in 1973. It's easy to think today of the group as a one hit wonder, but they also had two other top 40 hits, "Abra-ca-dabra" (#32 in 1973)  and "Save The Last Dance For Me" (#18 in 1974). The hits stopped coming by the middle of 74, but they stayed together as a group until 1978.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Sunday Morning Vault: Delaney & Bonnie--Only You Know and I Know (1970)

     Delaney and Bonnie were not around a long time, but they made quite a splash as the predominant white soul duo of not only the late 60's/early 70's, but of all time.
      Delaney Bramlett was born in Mississippi and moved to California to try to make it as a guitar player. His break came as a member of the house band, "The Shindogs" for the ABC music series, "Shindig" from 1964-66. It's was through this band that he met and befriended Leon Russell, who would figured in his career.
     Bonnie O'Farrell was born in Alton Illinois and migrated to LA where she met Delaney at a bowling alley where The Shindogs were playing. Within a week they were married and decided to record together. They became the first white artists signed to Stax records to a one album contract.
     That album, "Home" and it's follow up "Accept No Substitute" on Elektra, didn't make much of a splash on the charts, but the talent of the duo spread among the major artists around the world who clamored to work with them. George Harrison, who learned to play slide guitar from Bramlett in turn introduced him to Eric Clapton who invited the couple to open for his group, Blind Faith in 1969.
    Clapton, who was still searching for the group setting that he could feel comfortable with, felt so much at home with the couple, the he would come on stage with them and play during the opening set. Eric would later say that Delaney taught him everything he knew about singing. That might be overstating a bit, but there is no doubt that his music took on a more soulful turn after his association with the Bramlett's.
     They went on tour as Delaney, Bonnie and Friends in 1970 which contained Eric Clapton and a rotating group of friends who love the couple and the music that they were making. George Harrison, Bobby Whitlock, Dave Mason (who wrote, 'Only You Know and I Know'), Leon Russell, Duane & Gregg Allman, Rita Coolidge, and King Curtis all would be found jamming on any given night.
     The tour was documented on the album, "On Tour with Eric Clapton" which did what none of the studio albums could, to capture at least in part the magic of Delaney & Bonnie.


Friday, June 15, 2012

Def Leppard--Photograph (1983)

     Discussing music in general is so fun for me because there are generally no fully right answers, and it's as varied as the people who make the music. It's been my opinion that taking the 1980's as a whole, that Def Leppard was the best hard rock band of the 1980's. Van Halen, Rush, and Iron Maiden can all be in the discussion, but for my money, the boys from Sheffield defined 80's rock better than anyone.
     They began in 1977 as a trio of Rick Savage, Pete Willis, and Tony Kenning, calling themselves, Atomic Mass. 18 year old Joe Elliot tried out as a guitarist, but was the others felt he would fit much better as the lead singer. It was Elliot that suggested the name "Deaf Leopard". Kenning adapted the name to "Def Leppard" so as to appeal to the punk rockers of that day.
     By 1978, Steve Clark, and 15 year old Rick Allen had joined the band and Kenning had left. They had released a three song EP and thanks to extensive playing on the BBC by influential DJ John Peel and relentless touring developed a strong following with hard rock fans in the UK.
     Their first album, "On Through The Night", released in 1980 was a strong debut and was a bit harder sound than many of their subsequent releases. It caught the attention of AC/DC producer "Mutt" Lange, and he agreed to produce their second album, "High N' Dry". This was the where the sound that defined them began to take shape.
     It was 1983's, "Pyromania" that broke them through in a major way to US audiences on the strength of three top 40 hits, the first one being, "Photograph"

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Deep Purple--Smoke On The Water (1973)

     It seems as if since 1973, every boy or girl who picked up a guitar is drawn to that riff as if they have no choice. I can't vouch for the reason why, but just like playing "Chopsticks" seems to be natural for a young piano player, the opening guitar line to, "Smoke On The Water" is to young axe players. Whereas it sounds cute coming from a 9 year old, the same riff becomes menacing in the hands of Ritchie Blackmore.  (might have something to do with the Marshall amps being turned up to 11 as well..) Along with "Stairway to Heaven", the song became one of the icons for 70's hard rock.
     The story behind the song came from an incident on December 4th of 1971. The Rolling Stones had invested in a mobile recording truck which could be driven to the artist rather than the artist to the studio. The truck was driven to Switzerland to meet the band at the Montreux Casino to begin recording a new album.
     Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention were playing in the ballroom of the casino that night, when someone with a flaregun shot a flare into the ceiling. It quickly caught fire, as did the entire casino complex. The words "Smoke on the Water" came from bass player, Roger Glover as an apt description of that scene on the banks of Lake Geneva. With the place they were going to record destroyed, they spent the next couple of weeks unsuccessfully looking for a place to record. They finally found the Montreux Grand Hotel, which they rent a part of, converted  it into a studio and recorded their most successful album, "Machine Head".
     This recording was from California Jam in the spring of 1974.... 

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Kiki Dee--I've Got The Music in Me (1974)

     Kiki Dee (born Pauline Matthews), is best known for her duet with Elton John in 1976. "Don't Go Breaking My Heart" was a massive number 1 hit on both sides of the Atlantic. However she only hit the charts one more time in the when she paired again with John with the Cole Porter classic, "True Love" in 1993. I suppose it's fitting that way, since her biggest successes occurred when linked with Elton.
     Dee had been one of the top backup/session singers from the mid-60 through the early 70's. She had recorded several singles on Fontana Records, with none of them hitting the charts. For a brief time, she had a contract in the US with Motown, making her the first white woman from Britain to do so. It wasn't until being signed by Elton in 1973 to his new Rocket Records that she began to achieve some chart action.
     She hit the top 20 in America with, "I've Got the Music In Me", which perhaps rocks harder than anything else in her catalog. It reached number 12 here in the states in 1974 and was by far her biggest hit before her collaboration with Elton.  She has a powerhouse voice, and is shown off here to full effect. In fact, like many a top session vocalist, Dee is also very versatile, which that inability to find a niche genre might have hurt her in the long run.
     She continues to tour and record today.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Chris DeBurgh--The Lady In Red (1987)

     Chris DeBurgh had four charting singles during the 1980's on the US charts, but only one, "The Lady In Red" cracked the top 20. As opposed to many artists who might have success in the UK and not the US or vice versa, DeBurgh never had prolonged staying power in either, instead doing very well in the rest of Europe and South America.
      DeBurgh was born Chris Davison in Argentina to British father and Irish mother. Due to his dad's job as a British diplomat, he traveled the world until settling in a 12th century Irish castle bought by his grandfather and transformed into a hotel. It's here that Chris began entertaining family and guests with his singing, and also how he adopted his mom's family name of DeBurgh.
     His music career began after being signed to a record contract in 1974 and opened for Supertramp. He began to build his fan base due to these gigs. His recordings during the 70's did well in South America, and somewhat in Europe, but didn't break through in the UK or US in any substantial way until the 80's.
     "The Lady in Red" was written for DeBergh's wife Diane, and was his only massive hit reaching number 1 in the UK and number 3 on the US charts. He never had another charting song in the US, but continues to have success around the world with his brand of soft pop.

Monday, June 11, 2012

DeBarge--Rhythm of the Night (1985)

     Three of the DeBarge boys, Randy, Mark, and El, had been bouncing around different groups in Grand Rapids MI throughout the 70's when deciding to join forces along with older sister Bunny. Their older brothers, Tommy and Bobby were in the group Switch, which had done well by late in that decade. Thanks to family friend (and Switch bandmate) Gregory Williams who sent a demo of the fledgling group to Berry Gordy Jr., The DeBarges were signed to Motown in 1979.
     They spent over a year traveling with Switch learning about the business, from a musical and business standpoint. It was in 1981, when Tommy and Bobby joined their siblings in recording their debut album. The next year, 18 year old brother James joined the group, and also reached the charts that year. This began a three year stretch where they racked up 5 top 40 hits and three top 40 albums including their biggest hit in 1985.
     "Rhythm of the Night" was written by Diane Warren which was included in the Motown produced movie, "The Last Dragon". It was a top notch year for the group, which drew four singles, two of them reaching the top 10. Unfortunately, it was also a peak for the group. Although the next album was mainly a vehicle for El, who was not only emerging as a star, but because of drug problems, was also one of the most reliable, but that would soon change as well. Bunny was offered a solo contract as well, and by the end of the 80's the group had disbanded. The travails of the family has been well documented, but for a three year period they were on top of the heap.    

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Sunday Morning Vault: Jimmy Dean--Big Bad John (1961)

     If you are under the age of 50, the name of Jimmy Dean probably is linked (no pun intended) to sausage. Pretty good sausage too as Jimmy and his brother Don founded the company in 1969 and his business acumen secured him a great deal of success. However, an older generation knew Dean as an all-round entertainer....

     He spent much of the 1950's recording a bunch of singles, but outside of the top 5 country hit, "Bumming Around" in 1952 he had no success to speak of. He was however making a name for himself on television hosting and singing on several local shows. The big break came in 1957 as Dean's show, "Country Style" on WTOP in Washington DC was picked up by CBS. and renamed "The Morning Show", which lasted for 8 months. The network then hosted "The Jimmy Dean Show" which lasted from September 1958 to June of 1959.

      Jimmy made the charts in a big way with, "Big Bad John" hitting number 1 on the country and pop charts in late 1961.  This led to a series of top 40 hits in 61' and 62'. From 1963-66 he starred on "The Jimmy Dean Show" on the ABC network, which kept him in the spotlight and helped keep the hits coming on the country charts through the mid-60's.

     All of this gave him a lot of recognition and when the chance came about to start the sausage company, it was decided that he would be in the ads. The homespun humor that made him a hit with TV viewers was also helpful in the early success of the business.  He also did quite a bit of acting during that time being on several variety shows, Daniel Boone and The Love Boat. Interesting to note that Dean played billionaire Willard Whyte in the James Bond movie, "Diamonds Are Forever"

     Dean sold his part of the company in 1984, but continued to have a hand in it's running until old age, and poor health forced him to step aside for good. Jimmy died June 13 of 2010...

Friday, June 8, 2012

Dazz Band--Let It Whip (1982)

     The Dazz Band began it's life in Cleveland in the mid 70's as a jazz fusion band. They were first signed to 20th Century Records in 1978 as the band, Kinsman Dazz and it's first album by the same name was produced by Philip Bailey, who also co-produced their second disc, "Dazz" in 1980.
     By this time they had several songs on the R&B charts, and by 1980 had officially changed their name to "Dazz Band". This also came with a switch of labels as 20th century closed up shop, and the band was signed to Motown.Their first two albums with their new label produced three singles that reached the R&B charts, but it wasn't until 1982, and "Let It Whip" that the band reached it's peak on the R&B and pop charts (reaching #1 and #5, respectably).
     They continued to have success throughout the 80's, but outside of a couple of singles that reached the lower rungs of the hot 100, "Let It Whip" was about all of their influence on the pop charts.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Bobby Day--Rock-In Robin (1958)

     Remember having the 45 of this when it came out in 1972 by Michael Jackson. It reached number 2 that year, but at the time I had no idea that it was a cover....
     Bobby Day had some minor success with The Hollywood Flames, Bob & Earl (he was the original Bob), and the Satellites. He also had some success in the late 50's with writing. "Over and Over" became a bit hit with the Dave Clark Five,  and the Jackson Five had a top 20 hit with, "Little Bitty Pretty One" in 1972
     It was Rockin Robin though that gave Day his fame. His version reached number 2 in the fall of 1958. He wasn't a one hit wonder per se, but he never reached the top 40 again (although his original version of 'Over and Over' was the flip side of 'Robin' and reached 41st).

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Tyrone Davis--Turn Back The Hands Of Time (1970)

    Tyrone Davis was able to handle gritty R&B, pop, and disco, but his smooth baritone was made for smooth soul. His voice, which lent itself to tender vulnerability, along with his good looks, made him a favorite with the ladies for for almost two decades.
     Davis was from Mississippi, but made his way to Chicago to seek his fame. He signed with producer Carl Davis' fledgling record label, Dakar. His first single was a "B" side hit, "Can I Change My Mind" which went to #5 on the pop and #1 on the R&B charts.
     "Turn Back the Hands Of Time" was co-written by Jack Daniels and Bonnie Thompson who wrote his first hit as well. With background vocals by Barbara Acklin, Eugene Record, and Robert Lester, Davis rode the song to #3 on the pop charts, which was his highest position on the Hot 100.
     Tyrone continued to chart throughout the 70's, although he did much better on the R&B list having hits all the way through the mid-80's. He continued to record and tour up till a stroke affected him in 2004. He passed away less than a year later at the age of 66.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Spencer Davis Group--Gimme Some Lovin' (1967)

     The children of privilege in Britain went to the best schools and were groomed for success. The rest had to do the best they could with what they had. For many a schoolboy in the late 50's/early 60's that escape was music, especially the R&B and Soul they heard from the United States.
     It seems quite fitting in a way that much of the British invasion was due to bands taking a genre that was largely discarded  by the US and making it into their own. Welsh guitarist Spencer Davis had this love of the blues which he shared with a set of brothers, Steve and Muff Winwood. Muff, who played bass was only 20 at the time, but it was little brother Steve who at 14 was already gaining a reputation. His abilities on the organ and guitar was good, but his voice showed someone who was far beyond his years.
    The trio began making waves on both sides of the Atlantic with, "Keep On Running" in early 66', which was a hit in the UK, but had slight success here. A couple more hits continued momentum in Britain, but it wasn't until early 1967 that they hit gold here.
    The three men wrote, "Gimmie Some Lovin'" based on a riff borrowed from the Homer Banks song, "(Ain't That) A Lot Of Love". It reached #7 here in the states and became their biggest hit, although they also did very well with the follow up, "I'm A Man" later on that year.
    Later that year, Muff went into the business side of things, later to do very well as a producer. Steve went on to form Traffic and then to a successful solo career. Spencer Davis lives on an island off the coast of California and works from time to time with other sessions musicians as he chooses.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Sunday Morning Vault: Skeeter Davis--The End of The World

     There is a healthy crossover between country and pop artists on the charts anymore, but at one time (prior to Garth Brooks), it was more the exception than the rule. Before Tammy Wynette and Dolly Parton made it commonplace for female country artists to cross from country into pop, there was Patsy Cline, but even more so, Skeeter Davis.
      Skeeter was born Mary Penick in Dry Ridge, Kentucky in 1931. Her dad started calling her Skeeter due to her being so full of energy as a child (in this area, a 'Skeeter' is a slang term for a mosquito) She had success in gospel then country in the 50's as the other half of the duo, "The Davis Sisters", although partners Betty Jack Davis and later Betty's sister Georgia were not related to Mary.
     She retired from music in 1956, but returned a couple of years later to focus on a solo career. 1960 brought her success on the pop charts with two top 40 hits, "(I Can't Help You) I'm Falling Too" and "My Last Date (With You)". Her next placement on the charts would be in 1963 with the massive hit, "The End of The World".
     Written by Arthur Kent and Sylvia Dee, and produced by Chet Adkins, the song not only was a hit on the country and pop charts, but has become the most successful crossover hit in history. The song peaked at #1 on the Adult Contemporary charts, #2 on the pop charts, #2 on the country charts, and #4 on the R&B chart!
     The song has been covered many times, and although Davis would score another top 10 pop hit that year, "I Can't Stay Mad At You", she would always be identified by this song. She had a total of 8 songs in the top 100, with 4 of them in the top 40. Her hit making in country would last well into the 70's, and would be a concert favorite up to near her death in 2004.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Sammy Davis Jr.--Something's Gotta Give (1955)

     There are not many songs that I just don't like, and when coming upon the name Sammy Davis Jr. the immediate response is, "Well....I'd do 'The Candy Man'". My inner voice begins to remind me that this was a man who, in his day he was known as a great dancer, an actor on stage and screen (he was even nominated for a daytime Emmy for a reoccurring role on the ABC soap, 'One Life To Live')  and a singer who's voice was easily lumped together with Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin. Given that, I couldn't write about a song that trivialized the man and the movie that it was taken from (as an aside, the original "Willy Wonky and the Chocolate Factory is one of my favorite movies of all time and I didn't like the song as it was done in the movie either)

     So let's talk about a song I'd like for you to remember him by....

     He had began to hit the charts in 1954 with "Hey There" and "The Red Grapes", both which reached the top 40, but it was, "Something's Gotta Give", released in the spring of 1955 that became his biggest hit until 1972, and was his signature song. Written by Johnny Mercer, it was heard first in the Fred Astaire movie, "Daddy Long Legs" in 1955. The McGuire Sisters actually had the bigger charting success with the song (reaching #5), but almost 60 years later, it's Davis' version that is remembered.