A quick look at Gomer Pyle USMC and Frank Sutton

I watched a few episodes this weekend. The show has a local connection for me because of Frank Sutton.

The show ran from 1964 to 1969 and was a spinoff from The Andy Griffith Show. The character of Gomer Pyle was portrayed by Jim Nabors and he left The Andy Griffith Show in the 4th season in an episode entitled Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C.

Gomer was a naive country boy from Mayberry North Carolina who joined the Marines and Andy went with him for the induction and helped the clueless Gomer get accepted. Frank Sutton played quick tempered Sgt Carter who would be tormented by Gomer Pyle for five seasons. I would watch the show as a kid and I thought Sgt Carter was mean to Gomer…as an adult I could understand if Carter would have choked him.

The show was a major hit. It never placed lower than 10 in the Neilson ratings. In 1969 Jim Nabors wanted out because he wanted to do a variety show. No one could understand why he wanted out of a hit show but he wanted to be in a program where he could sing, dance, and do different bits.

CBS offered Nabors a variety show so he was happy. They also offered Frank Sutton his own show Sergeant Carter–USMC. It would employ a black recruit who, unlike Gomer, would always be one step ahead of the Sergeant. It could have been a big hit but he turned it down because he felt like he did everything he could do with the character.

Sutton ended up co-starring with Nabors on his variety show and Sutton worked well in the comedy bits but was not a dancer or singer. CBS told Nabors he had to fire Sutton but Nabors refused and the show was canceled.

The local connection with Sutton is he was born in Clarksville Tennessee, a few miles from where I live. Sutton appeared in movies and shows from the 50s thru the 70s. The Twilight Zone, Have Gun Will Travel, Gunsmoke, Route 66 and many more.

He took acting in East Nashville High School and graduated in 1941.

After high school, Sutton returned to Clarksville to become a radio announcer. He enlisted in the U.S. Army during World War II and served in the South Pacific, taking part in 14 assault landings. Sutton was a sergeant who served from 1943–1946 in the 293rd Joint Assault Signal Company. He was awarded the Bronze Star and Purple Heart; he had been medically rejected by the Marine Corps.

Frank, a heavy smoker,  would only live to be 50. He would die of a heart attack in 1974 just a few months shy of his 51st birthday. In 2017 a statue of Frank Sutton was unveiled in Clarksville Tn. Here is a link to the story of the unveiling. Statue of Frank Sutton in Clarksville.

Related image

This is an interview with Frank Sutton that was never published around the time of the variety show.

 

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frank_Sutton

 

Joe Cocker – You Are So Beautiful

A beautiful song by Joe Cocker. It was written by Billy Preston and Bruce Fisher. Billy’s inspiration was his mom. The song was on Preston’s on his 1974 album The Kids and Me and was the B-side of his hit single “Nothing From Nothing.” Producer Jim Price created a slow arrangement for Cocker’s cover. The song was on Cocker’s album was on  I Can Stand a Little Rain.

This was originally released as the B-side of “Put Out the Light,” which was the first single from the album. After a few weeks, A&M Records flipped the songs, and “You Are So Beautiful” became the A-side.

You Are So Beautiful peaked at #5 in the Billboard 100 in 1975. The song is beautiful and the slowed down tempo fits Joe Cocker’s voice perfectly. It is one of those songs that is instantly recognizable.

From Songfacts

This Billy Preston/Bruce Fisher song was first recorded by Preston 

Fisher was Preston’s songwriting partner and he co-wrote both of Preston’s American chart-toppers, “Will It Go Round In Circles” and “Nothing From Nothing.”

This is one of the more romantic songs out there, but Billy Preston wrote it as a tribute to his mother, a fact that embarrassed Sam Moore, half of the soul duo Sam & Dave, who often performed the tune to attract girls. After bragging to Preston about his exploits with the song, Preston finally set him straight. “You never understood after that how stupid I felt,” Moore told BBC Radio 4 in 2010. Moore still recorded it for his 2006 solo album, Overnight Sensational, with Preston on keyboards and Eric Clapton and Zucchero on guitar.

Legend surrounding “You are So Beautiful” claims that Dennis Wilson of the Beach Boys helped Preston complete it. Wilson received no songwriting credits but he sang this song for many years at Beach Boys concerts.

This was used in the 1993 movie Carlito’s Way and in the 1981 film Modern Romance.

Cocker sang this at Billy Preston’s funeral in 2006.

This is one of the most-recognized songs in America, but it didn’t crack the chart in Joe Cocker’s native UK.

You Are So Beautiful

You are so beautiful
To me
You are so beautiful
To me
Can’t you see

You’re everything I hope for
You’re everything I need
You are so beautiful to me
You are so beautiful to me

You are so beautiful
To me
Can’t you see
You’re everything I hope for
You’re every, everything I need
You are so beautiful to me

Kinks – A Well Respected Man

Musically this is a sing-along song but the lyrics are full of social satire and anger. The Kinks record company Pye did not release this song in the UK at the time because they wanted harder songs like “You Really Got Me.” It was released in other countries and peaked at #13 in the Billboard 100 in 1965.

I first heard this song on a Kinks complication album along with “Dedicated Follower of Fashion” and The Kinks earlier songs. A Well Respected Man marked a turning point in Davies’s writing from rock/punk to more satirical, character-driven songs.

From Songfacts

Kinks frontman Ray Davies wrote this song after the group’s 1965 tour of the United States. The tour did not go well, with infighting, fatigue and a conflict with the musician’s union that kept them from performing in the country for another four years.Davies recovered from the tour with a vacation at the English resort town of Torquay, Devon. There, a wealthy hotel guest recognized him and asked Ray to play a round of golf. Far from being flattered by the invitation, he took great offense. “I’m not gonna play f–king golf with you,” he told him. “I’m not gonna be your caddy so you can say you played with a pop singer.”

Dense with lyrics describing the pretentious gentleman born to good fortune, Ray Davies says this was the first “word-oriented” song he wrote.

A Well Respected Man

Cause he gets up in the morning,
And he goes to work at nine,
And he comes back home at five-thirty,
Gets the same train every time.
‘Cause his world is built ’round punctuality,
It never fails.

And he’s oh, so good,
And he’s oh, so fine,
And he’s oh, so healthy,
In his body and his mind.
He’s a well respected man about town,
Doing the best things so conservatively.

And his mother goes to meetings,
While his father pulls the maid,
And she stirs the tea with councilors,
While discussing foreign trade,
And she passes looks, as well as bills
At every suave young man

‘Cause he’s oh, so good,
And he’s oh, so fine,
And he’s oh, so healthy,
In his body and his mind.
He’s a well respected man about town,
Doing the best things so conservatively.

And he likes his own backyard,
And he likes his fags the best,
‘Cause he’s better than the rest,
And his own sweat smells the best,
And he hopes to grab his father’s loot,
When Pater passes on.

‘Cause he’s oh, so good,
And he’s oh, so fine,
And he’s oh, so healthy,
In his body and his mind.
He’s a well respected man about town,
Doing the best things so conservatively.

And he plays at stocks and shares,
And he goes to the Regatta,
And he adores the girl next door,
‘Cause he’s dying to get at her,
But his mother knows the best about
The matrimonial stakes.

‘Cause he’s oh, so good,
And he’s oh, so fine,
And he’s oh, so healthy,
In his body and his mind.
He’s a well respected man about town,
Doing the best things so conservatively.

The Beau Brummels – Laugh Laugh

A garage band song released in the wake of the Beatles… It was written by written by guitarist Ron Elliott. They were as among the first wave of San Francisco groups to make the Charts. Laugh Laugh resembled the British Invasion songs that were dominating the charts at the time.

At the height of the band’s popularity, the Beau Brummels were seen as teen idols. The band appeared on several television productions such as American Bandstand, Shindig!, Hullabaloo and the cartoon series The Flintstones (as the animated version of themselves, the Beau Brummelstones). They appeared in movies as well, such as Village of the Giants and Wild, Wild Winter.

“Laugh, Laugh” became the Beau Brummels’ first hit, peaking at #15 on the Billboard 100 in 1965.

 

Laugh Laugh

I hate to say it but I told you so, don’t mind my preachin’ to you
I said “don’t trust ’em, baby” now you know
You don’t know ev’rything there is to know in school.
Wouldn’t believe me when I gave advice, I said that he was a tease
If you want help you better ask me now
So be sincere, convince me with a “pretty please”

Laugh, laugh, I thought I’d die
It seemed so funny to me
Laugh, laugh you met a guy who taught you how it feels to be
Lonely, oh so lonely

Don’t think I’m bein’ funny when I say you got just what you deserve
I can’t help feeling you found out today
You thought you would, you could, you had a lot of nerve

Won’t say I’m sorry for the things I said. I’m glad he packed up to go
You kept on braggin’ he was yours instead
Found you don’t know ev’rything there is to know

Laugh, laugh, I thought I’d die
It seemed so funny to me
Laugh, laugh you met a guy who taught you how it feels to be
Lonely, oh so lonely

Before I go I got to say one thing, don’t close your ears to me
Take my advice and you find out that he 
Is just another guy who’ll cause you misery
Don’t say you can’t get any boy to call, do be so smug or else
You’ll find you can’t get any boy a’tall
You’ll wind up an old lady sittin’ on the shelf.

Laugh, laugh, I thought I’d die
It seemed so funny to me
Laugh, laugh you met a guy who taught you how it feels to be
Lonely, oh so lonely

Lonely, oh so lonely

Bruce Springsteen – The River

This was the title track to Bruce’s 1980 double album. I picked this song off the album because it is so easy to relate to. I’ve known friends who have lived this song. The lyrics are sad because they are so real. It contains one of my favorite Springsteen lines “And for my nineteenth birthday I got a union card and a wedding coat.” The song didn’t chart in America or Canada but did make it to #35 in the UK.

The album was #1 in the Billboard album charts, #1 in Canada, and #2 in the UK.

The wedding in the story relates to Springsteen’s sister, who got married when she was still a teenager. She knew it was about her and her husband the first time she heard it. It was also based on conversations Springsteen had with his brother-in-law. After losing his construction job, he worked hard to support his wife and young child but never complained.

From Songfacts

Always a champion of the working class, Springsteen has often spoken out against income inequality, which became a big political issue in the late ’00s. Back in the ’80s though, Springsteen was talking about it, and he often did so through the context of this song.

At a show in Pittsburgh on September 22, 1984, he dedicated the song to union steelworkers in Pennsylvania who were fighting for better wages and working conditions. Said Springsteen: “There’s something really dangerous happening to us out there. We’re slowly getting split up into two different Americas. Things are gettin’ taken away from people that need them and given to people that don’t need them, and there’s a promise getting broken. In the beginning, the idea was that we all live here a little bit like a family, where the strong can help the weak ones, the rich can help the poor ones. I don’t think the American dream was that everybody was going to make it or that everybody was going to make a billion dollars, but it was that everybody was going to have an opportunity and the chance to live a life with some decency and some dignity and a chance for some self-respect. So I know you gotta be feelin’ the pinch down here where the rivers meet.”

This was influenced by the Hank Williams song “My Bucket’s Got A Hole In It.”

Regarding this song, Springsteen wrote in the liner notes to his Greatest Hits album, “A breakthrough song for me. It was in the detail. One of the first of my story songs that eventually led to Nebraska.”

Springsteen performed this for the first time on September 21 and 22, 1979 at the “No Nukes” concerts at Madison Square Garden. Springsteen headlined a show with James Taylor, Carly Simon, and Crosby, Stills & Nash as Musicians United for a Safe Energy (MUSE). This was the only new song he played at the shows. 

This performance at the “No Nukes” concerts was included in a film documenting the shows released in 1980.

This was the title track to a double-album released in 1980. The year before, Springsteen recorded it for an album called The Ties That Bind, which he decided not to release. This and six other tracks from that album were included on The River.

The River

I come from down in the valley
Where mister when you’re young
They bring you up to do like your daddy done
Me and Mary we met in high school
When she was just seventeen
We’d ride out of that valley down to where the fields were green

We’d go down to the river
And into the river we’d dive
Oh down to the river we’d ride

Then I got Mary pregnant
And man that was all she wrote
And for my nineteenth birthday I got a union card and a wedding coat
We went down to the courthouse
And the judge put it all to rest
No wedding day smiles no walk down the aisle
No flowers no wedding dress

That night we went down to the river
And into the river we’d dive
Oh down to the river we did ride

I got a job working construction for the Johnstown Company
But lately there ain’t been much work on account of the economy
Now all them things that seemed so important
Well mister they vanished right into the air
Now I just act like I don’t remember
Mary acts like she don’t care

But I remember us riding in my brother’s car
Her body tan and wet down at the reservoir
At night on them banks I’d lie awake
And pull her close just to feel each breath she’d take
Now those memories come back to haunt me
They haunt me like a curse
Is a dream a lie if it don’t come true
Or is it something worse
That sends me down to the river
Though I know the river is dry
That sends me down to the river tonight
Down to the river
My baby and I
Oh down to the river we ride

The Traveling Wilburys – Tweeter and the Monkey Man

One of my favorite Dylan songs of the 1980s. Tweeter and the Monkey Man has a cool story and he sprinkles references to Bruce Springsteen songs all through it. The songwriting credit went to all of the Wilburys and George Harrison remembered Bob and Tom writing it and George didn’t understand a lot of it because of the American references. Jeff Lynne and George contributed to the chorus.

It’s a story of two drug dealers, Tweeter and the Monkey Man and an undercover cop chasing them…and to add more drama the undercover cop who had a sister named Jan…and she loved the Monkey Man. it also contains an excellent lyric… In Jersey anything’s legal as long as you don’t get caught.”

Tom Petty talked about the  Bruce Springsteen references, “It was not meant to mock him at all.   It started with Bob Dylan saying, ‘I want to write a song about a guy named Tweeter. And it needs somebody else.’ I said, ‘The Monkey Man.’ And he says, ‘Perfect, ‘Tweeter and the Monkey Man.” And he said, ‘Okay, I want to write the story and I want to set it in New Jersey.’ “I was like, ‘OK, New Jersey.’ And he was like, ‘Yeah, we could use references to Bruce Springsteen titles.’ He clearly meant it as praise.”

Tweeter and the Monkey Man

Tweeter and the Monkey Man were hard up for cash
They stayed up all night selling cocaine and hash
To an undercover cop who had a sister named Jan
For reasons unexplained she loved the Monkey Man

Tweeter was a boy scout before she went to Vietnam
And found out the hard way nobody gives a damn
They knew that they found freedom just across the Jersey Line
So they hopped into a stolen car took Highway 99

And the walls came down, all the way to hell
Never saw them when they’re standing
Never saw them when they fell

The undercover cop never liked the Monkey Man
Even back in childhood he wanted to see him in the can
Jan got married at fourteen to a racketeer named Bill
She made secret calls to the Monkey Man from a mansion on the hill

It was out on thunder road – Tweeter at the wheel
They crashed into paradise – they could hear them tires squeal
The undercover cop pulled up and said “Everyone of you’s a liar
If you don’t surrender now it’s gonna go down to the wire”

And the walls came down, all the way to hell
Never saw them when they’re standing
Never saw them when they fell

An ambulance rolled up, a state trooper close behind
Tweeter took his gun away and messed up his mind
The undercover cop was left tied up to a tree
Near the souvenir stand by the old abandoned factory

Next day the undercover cop was-a hot in pursuit
He was taking the whole thing personal
He didn’t care about the loot
Jan had told him many times it was you to me who taught
In Jersey anything’s legal as long as you don’t get caught

And the walls came down, all the way to hell
Never saw them when they’re standing
Never saw them when they fell

Someplace by Rahway prison they ran out of gas
The undercover cop had cornered them said “Boy, you didn’t think that this could last”
Jan jumped out of bed said “There’s someplace I gotta go”
She took a gun out of the drawer and said “It’s best if you don’t know”

The undercover cop was found face down in a field
The monkey man was on the river bridge using Tweeter as a shield
Jan said to the Monkey Man “I’m not fooled by Tweeter’s curl
I knew him long before he ever became a Jersey girl”

And the walls came down, all the way to hell
Never saw them when they’re standing
Never saw them when they fell

Now the town of Jersey City is quieting down again
I’m sitting in a gambling club called the Lion’s Den
The TV set was blown up, every bit of it is gone
Ever since the nightly news show that the Monkey Man was on

I guess I’ll go to Florida and get myself some sun
There ain’t no more opportunity here, everything’s been done
Sometime I think of Tweeter, sometimes I think of Jan
Sometimes I don’t think about nothing but the Monkey Man

And the walls came down, all the way to hell
Never saw them when they’re standing
Never saw them when they fell

[repeat chorus]

Paul McCartney – Maybe I’m Amazed

I’ve always liked the original version of this song the best. The studio version of this song was never released as a single (no tracks on the album were), but it is one of the most remembered songs on McCartney’s first solo album McCartney. “Maybe I’m Amazed” was written in 1969 just after The Beatles broke up about Linda.

A live version was released as a single in 1977 to promote the Wings Over America live album it went to #10 in the Billboard 100 in 1977.

The Faces did this song live with Ronnie Lane singing the first few lines and Rod Stewart finishing it up.

From Songfacts

Paul McCartney wrote this song about his wife Linda, who died of breast cancer in 1998. McCartney never wavered in his love for Linda, and even made her part of his band so she could tour with him.

McCartney, an animal rights activist, appeared on The Simpsons episode 3F03, “Lisa The Vegetarian.” McCartney helps Lisa become a vegetarian and tells her that if you play this song backwards, you hear a recipe for lentil soup. Over the closing credits of that episode, if you listen carefully, you can hear the backwards message. As an extra feature on The Simpsons DVD, you can hear McCartney read the recipe and say, “There you have it Simpsons lovers, oh and by the way, I’m alive.”

The lentil soup recipe Paul speaks backwards is:
– one medium onion, chopped
– two tablespoons of vegetable oil
– one clove of garlic, crushed
– one cup of carrots, chopped
– two sticks of celery, chopped
– half a cup of lentils
– one bay leaf
– one tablespoon of freshly chopped parsley
– salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
– two and a quarter cups of vegetable stock or water

With the exception of John Lennon, each Beatle has been on at least one episode of The Simpsons. George Harrison was on the episode “The B- Sharps” and Ringo was on the “The Letter.”

This was the standout track from McCartney’s first solo album. Unlike George Harrison, who had 3-discs worth great songs (mostly rejected by The Beatles) for his first solo effort, Paul had little in the way of leftovers to work with. He worked up the album in his kitchen, and played all of the instruments himself. The only other performer on the album was his wife Linda, who lent backing vocals (she also took the cover photo).

Critics derided the album as an unfinished work, usually citing “Maybe I’m Amazed” as the exception. The review in Melody Maker called the other tracks “sheer banality.” McCartney was annoyed that he wrote a rebuttal to the paper defending the album.

Artists who covered this song include The Faces, Petula Clark, Elkie Brooks, Black Oak Arkansas, Jem, Joe Cocker, and Gov’t Mule. The cover by Jem was used in the season finale of the first season in the show The O.C. 

Actor Jamie Dornan, who plays Christian Grey in the Fifty Shades movies, recorded his take of the song for the soundtrack of Fifty Shades Freed. The film involves an impromptu piano and singing performance of “Maybe I’m Amazed” from Christian, which surprises his lover Anastasia, sister, Mia, and brother, Elliot.

Maybe I’m Amazed

Maybe I’m amazed at the way you love me all the time
Maybe I’m afraid of the way I love you
Maybe I’m amazed at the the way you pulled me out of time
And hung me on a line
Maybe I’m amazed at the way I really need you

Maybe I’m a man and maybe I’m a lonely man
Who’s in the middle of something
That he doesn’t really understand

Maybe I’m a man and maybe you’re the only woman
Who could ever help me
Baby won’t you help me understand

Maybe I’m a man and maybe I’m a lonely man
Who’s in the middle of something
That he doesn’t really understand

Maybe I’m a man and maybe you’re the only woman
Who could ever help me
Baby won’t you help me understand

Maybe I’m amazed at the way you’re with me all the time
Maybe I’m afraid of the way I leave you
Maybe I’m amazed at the way you help me sing my song
Right me when I’m wrong
Maybe I’m amazed at the way I really need you