The Left Banke – Walk Away Renée

Great pop song from 1966. It peaked at #5 in the Billboard 100 and #3 in Canada. The song is constructed so well and has influenced countless artists. They did have one more top twenty hit in 1967 with Pretty Ballerina. The band helped start “baroque & roll” because of the classical arrangements and melodies. .

Michael Brown wrote the song but the band fought constantly so after the success of the single Brown was putting together a new Left Banke to tour that included Michael McKean (Lavergne and Shirley and Spinal Tap) on guitar but that didn’t last long.

The original band regrouped in 1967 and recorded a song but then broke up for good.

Rolling Stone placed “Walk Away Renée” at number 220 in the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

This was written by band member Michael Brown, who was 16 at the time, with help
from his friends Bob Calilli and Tony Sansone. Brown wrote it after meeting Renee Fladen, the girlfriend of the band’s bass player.
Renee Fladen was in the control room when Michael Brown tried to record his harpsichord part. He later said in an interview that he was so nervous trying to play with the beautiful Renee present that his hands were shaking. In the end, he gave up and returned later when he recorded it without any problem.
The line “Just walk away Renee” is often misinterpreted as “Don’t walk away Renee.” The singer has decided that Renee will never return his affections and is better off with her out of his life.

 

Walk Away Renée

And when I see the sign that points one way
The lot we used to pass by every dayJust walk away, Renee
You won’t see me follow you back home
The empty sidewalks on my block are not the same
You’re not to blameFrom deep inside the tears that I’m forced to cry
From deep inside the pain that I chose to hide

Just walk away, Renee
You won’t see me follow you back home
Now, as the rain beats down upon my weary eyes
For me, it cries

Just walk away, Renee
You won’t see me follow you back home
Now, as the rain beats down upon my weary eyes
For me, it cries

Your name and mine inside a heart upon a wall
Still finds a way to haunt me though they’re so small

Just walk away, Renee
You won’t see me follow you back home
The empty sidewalks on my block are not the same
You’re not to blame

Fats Domino

Antoine “Fats” Domino Jr. was not flashy and wild like some of his 1950s peers such as Elvis, Little Richard, and Jerry Lee Lewis. The first I heard of Fats Domino was on “Happy Days” and the song Blueberry Hill. I was at a relative’s yard sale when I was a kid and was given his greatest hits.

Domino was the youngest of eight children in a musical family, he spoke Creole French before learning English. At age 7 his brother in law taught him how to play the piano. By the time he was 10, he was already performing as a singer and pianist.

Fat’s first hit in the Billboard 100 was the great “Aint That A Shame” in 1955 written by  Fats Domino and Dave Bartholomew that peaked at #16 and his last charting song was a cover of the Beatles “Lady Madonna”(great version) that peaked at #100 in 1968. He had 45 songs in the top 100 and 4 top 10 hits…many more top 10 hits in the R&B Charts.

My favorite song by him is “I’m Walking” because it’s so simple but yet effective. The odd beat sounds modern and it hooks you. He was inspired to write the song when his car broke down and someone said “Hey Fats Domino is Walking” and he thought to himself…Yea I’m walking.

Ricky Nelson covered the song and it went to number 4 on the charts.

What is sad to me is Pat Boone covered Aint That a Shame and it went to number 1 while Fat’s version only made it to 16 in the same year. That was the era where some parents would buy their kids the Pat Boone version of the song and the kids would hide their self-bought Fats Domino version… Same went with Little Richard also.

Domino received The Lifetime Achievement Grammy, a National Medal of the Arts from President Bill Clinton and the induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Fats semi-retired in the 80s and said he would not travel outside of New Orleans.

During Hurricane Katrina, he lost most of his possessions and him and his family were rescued by the coast guard. He unselfishly made many personal appearances to raise money for the hurricane relief. His house was hit hard and he lost his National Medal and gold records but George Bush gave him another medal to replace the lost one and the RIAA gave him replacement gold records.

To raise money for repairs for his own home, friends and fellow musicians recorded a tribute album, Goin’ Home: A Tribute to Fats Domino, featuring the likes of Robert Plant, Elton John, and Sir Paul McCartney. He as living in New Orleans at the time of his death on October 24, 2017.

He was a huge influence on The Beatles, Elton John, Robert Plant, Randy Newman, and Elvis even called Fats “The King.”

Here is an article stating that Fats Domino helped start “ska” music. 

I’m Walking
I’m walkin’, yes indeed, and I’m talkin’ ’bout you and me
I’m hopin’ that you’ll come back to me (yes)
I’m lonely as I can be, I’m waitin’ for your company
I’m hopin’ that you’ll come back to me
What ‘ya gonna do when the well runs dry?
You’re gonna run away and hide
I’m gonna run right by your side, for you pretty baby I’ll even die
I’m walkin’, yes indeed, I’m talkin’ ’bout you and me
I’m hopin’ that you’ll come back to me
I’m walkin’, yes indeed, and I’m talkin’ ’bout you and me
I’m hopin’ that you’ll come back to me (yes)
I’m lonely as I can be, I’m waitin’ for your company
I’m hopin’ that you’ll come back to me
What ‘ya gonna do when the well runs dry?
You’re gonna sit right down and cry
What ‘ya gonna do when I say bye-bye?
All you’re gonna do is dry your eye
I’m walkin’, yes indeed, I’m talkin’ ’bout you and me
I’m hopin’ that you’ll come back to me

Kathy Young & The Innocents – A Thousand Stars

I don’t know how many people know this song but it took me twenty years to find it. I heard it in 1986 on an oldies station. I just caught the middle to the end and it intrigued me. Every time they would play it I would not catch who it was…it never dawned on me to call the station and ask. It was kind of haunting to me but I loved it. It took me till around 2008 to remember enough of it to track it down.

It was released in 1960 and peaked at #3 in the Billboard 100. This was their one and only top ten hit. It was written by Eugene Pearson.

A Thousand Years

A thousand stars in the sky like the stars in your eyes

They say to me that there’ll never be

No other love like you for me

A thousand stars in the sky make me realize

You are the one love that I’ll adore

Tell me you love me

Tell me you’re mine once more

Once more, once more

Each night I count the stars in the sky

Hoping that you aren’t telling me lies

You’re with me tonight, I’m captured by your charms

Oh, pretty baby, won’t you hold me in your arms?

A thousand stars in the sky make me realize

You are the one love that I’ll adore

Tell me you love me

Tell me you’re mine once more

Once more, once more

Each night I count the stars in the sky

Hoping that you aren’t telling me lies

You’re with me tonight, I’m captured by your charms

Oh, pretty baby, won’t you hold me in your arms?

A thousand stars in the sky make me realize

You are the one love that I’ll adore

Tell me you love me

Tell me you’re mine once more

I’m yours

Al Green – Tired of Being Alone

This song never gets old and listening to Al’s voice certainly never gets old. This song peaked at #11 on the Billboard 100. Al Green has had twenty songs in the Billboard top 100, eight top 10 songs and a #1 with Let’s Stay Together.

Al Green is currently the Pastor at Full Gospel Tabernacle Church in Memphis TN.

From Songfacts on writing the song.

According to Rolling Stone Magazine’s 500 Greatest Singles, this came to Green when he woke up before dawn the day after a show in Detroit at a motel in rural Michigan with a song forming in his mind. Half an hour later, he had it written, but his producer Willie Mitchell wasn’t much interested in Green performing his own material. Said Green: “I was toting my song around in my pocket for days on end, saying, ‘Hey, I got a song.’ Finally, at the end of the session, I said, ‘Well, I still got a song.'” It became Green’s first hit.

Tired of Being Alone

I’m so tired of being alone,
I’m so tired of on my own,
Won’t you help me, girl,
Just as soon as you can.
People say that I’ve found a way,
To make you say,
That you love me.
But baby,
You didn’t go for that,
Ha, it’s a natural fact,
That I want to come back,
Show me where it’s at, baby.
I’m so tired of being alone,
I’m so tired of on my own,
Won’t you help me, girl,
Soon as you can.
I guess you know that I, uh,
I love you so,
Even though,
You don’t want me no more,
Hey, hey, hey, hey I’m cryin’ tears,
Through the years,
I tell you like it is,
Honey, love me if you can.
Ya baby,
Tired of being alone here by myself, now
I tell ya, I’m tired baby,
I’m tired of being all wrapped up late at night,
In my dreams, nobody but you, baby.
Sometimes I wonder,
If you love me like you say you do,
You see baby, I, I, I, I’ve been thinking about you,
I’ve been wanting to get next to you, baby,
Sometimes I hold my arms and I say,
Oh baby, yeah, needing you has proven to me,
To be my greatest dream, yeah
Awh!
I’m so tired of being alone,
I’m so tired of on my own,
Sometimes late at night I get to wonderin’ about you baby,
Baby, baby, ya ya, baby you’re my heart’s desire

Iron Eyes Cody commercials

Maybe the most famous tear in pop culture. Iron Eyes Cody, an actor in Native American clothing showing us the tragedy of littering. He made his debut in 1971 at the close of a public service advertisement for the anti-litter organization Keep America Beautiful.

At the time of the commercial’s debut, the counter-culture was starting to embrace Native Amercian Culture. Iron Eyes Cody could be seen in printed ads, television, and billboards. He was known by the press as the “Crying Indian.”

Born on April 3, 1904, as Espera Oscar de Corti, Cody’s parents were both Sicilian immigrants (Antonio de Corti and wife, Francesca Salpietra). He grew up in Gueydan, Vermilion Parish, Louisiana, where his parents ran a grocery store.

He portrayed Indians in television shows and movies dating back to 1926. His last appearance was in the 1970s spoof movie The Spirit of 76 released in 1990. He played the role on-screen as well as off…He would deny he wasn’t Native American as late as 1996 and until he passed away in 1999 at the age of 94.

Real or not he did have an effect on me…To a young kid, this hit home. I remember this commercial rather well and there is another anti-littering commercial that I remember. Only people in Tennessee would probably remember it was called “Tennessee Trash.” I have it below the Iron Eye’s Cody video.

The below commercial in 1976 was so popular that they remade it twenty-two years later. I have to say the song will stay in your head. It was filmed on an unopened stretch of I-24 at the time. The theme was sung by country singer-songwriter Ed Bruce and features Irving Kane as the ultimate litterbug.

 

 

Smokey Robinson & the Miracles

This great song was released in 1970 and peaked at #1 on the Billboard 100, #1 in the Uk and #7 in Canada. It was written by Robinson, Stevie Wonder and Hank Robinson.

This would be their only #1 hit in the Billboard 100. They had 42 songs in the top 100 and 6 top ten hits. Smokey would soon leave the Miracles after this song.

From Songfacts. 

Stevie Wonder came up with the music for this song with a top Motown producer named Hank Cosby. They recorded an instrumental demo and asked Robinson to complete the song – it was common practice for Motown writers to work on each other’s songs at the time.

Robinson listened to the song for a few days and decided it sounded like a circus – he came up with the lyrics based on the clown. “I was trying to think of something that would be significant, that would touch people’s hearts, but still be dealing with the circus,” said Smokey. “So what is that? Pagliacci, of course. The clown who cries. And after he makes everyone else happy with the smile painted on his face, then he goes into his dressing room and cries because he’s sad. That was the key.”

Tears of a Clown

Now if there’s a smile on my face
It’s only there trying to fool the public
But when it comes down to fooling you
Now honey that’s quite a different subject
But don’t let my glad expression
Give you the wrong impression
Really I’m sad
(Sad, sad, sad, sad)
Oh I’m sadder than sad
(Sadder than sad)
You’re gone and I’m hurtin’ so bad
(Hurtin’ so bad)
Like a clown I pretend to be glad
(Sad, sad, sad, sad)

[Pre-Chorus]
Now there’s some sad things known to man
But ain’t too much sadder than

[Chorus]
The tears of a clown, when there’s no one around
Oh yeah baby

[Verse 2]
Now if I appear to be carefree
It’s only to camouflage my sadness
And honey to shield my pride I try
To cover this hurt with a show of gladness
But don’t let my show convince you
That I’ve been happy since you
Decided to go
(Decided to go)
Oh I need you so
(I need you so)
I’m hurt and I want you to know
(Want you to know)
But for others I put on a show
(It’s just a show)
Ooh yeah

[Pre-Chorus]
Now there’s some sad things known to man
But ain’t too much sadder than

[Chorus]
The tears of a clown
When there’s no one around
Oh yeah

Tootsie Roll Pop Commercial

The commercial came out in 1968 – 1970 and I still see it every once in a while. The spot leaves us with a puzzling question…How many licks does it take to get to the Tootsie Roll center of a Tootsie Pop?

The original commercial was 60 seconds long and that one is not seen as much…it was edited down to 15 seconds and all we see is the boy and  Mr. Owl…but the original had more….here is the script…

Boy: Mr. Cow…
Mr. Cow: Yeeeeesss?
Boy: How many licks does it take to get to the Tootsie Roll center of a Tootsie Pop?
Mr. Cow: I don’t know, I always end up biting. Ask Mr. Fox, for he’s much clever than I.
Boy: Mr. Fox, how many licks does it take to get to the Tootsie Roll center of a Tootsie Pop?
Mr. Fox: Why don’t you ask Mr. Turtle, for he’s been around a lot longer than I? Me, hee hee hee, I bite.
Boy: Mr. Turtle, how many licks does it take to get to the Tootsie Roll center of a Tootsie Pop?
Mr. Turtle: I’ve never even made it without biting. Ask Mr. Owl, for he is the wisest of us all.
Boy: Mr. Owl, how many licks does it take to get to the Tootsie Roll center of a Tootsie Pop?
Mr. Owl: A good question. Let’s find out. A One… A.two-HOO…A three…
(crunch sound effect)
Mr. Owl: A Three!
Boy: If there’s anything I can’t stand, it’s a smart owl.
Narrator: How many licks does it take to get to the Tootsie Roll center of a Tootsie Pop?
(crunch sound effect)
Narrator: The world may never know.

After the commercial, Mr. Owl became the mascot for Tootsie Roll Pops, appearing in marketing campaigns and on the packaging.

Researchers at New York University and Florida State University conducted a study in 2015 to find out how many times one would need to lick a Tootsie Pop to reach the center. Their findings revealed that 997 licks are needed to get there… Mr. Owl was off by 994!
However…many other colleges tested it with different results…I guess we will never know the answer.

The original 60 second commercial with Mr. Cow, Mr, Fox, Mr. Turtle, and Mr. Owl.

My favorite Tootsie Roll commercial was this one from 1977

The world looks mighty good to me

Cause Tootsie Rolls are all I see

Whatever it is I think I see

Becomes a Tootsie Roll to me

Tootsie Roll, how I love your chocolatey chew

Tootsie Roll, I think I’m in love with you

Whatever it is I think I see  Becomes a Tootsie Roll to me