Buddy Holly – Everyday

It’s always an honor to post a Buddy Holly song.  This one was written  written by Buddy Holly and Norman Petty. Buddy was a singer, songwriter, producer, and performer. During his short career, Holly was able to merge the sounds of rockabilly, country music, and R&B to help make rock and roll popular.

The song was recorded in 1957 at the Norman Petty Studios in Clovis, New Mexico.

This song was released on September 20, 1957, as the B-side of “Peggy Sue”. On the original single the Crickets are not mentioned (legal issues), but it is known that Buddy plays acoustic guitar; drummer Jerry Allison slaps his knees for percussion and typewriter; Joe B. Mauldin plays a standup acoustic bass; and producer Norman Petty’s wife Vi Petty plays the celesta.  That gives it a unique sound.

Holly’s version of this song never charted, but two others did. In 1972, John Denver took it to #81 US. Then in 1985, James Taylor made #61 with his cover.

From Songfacts

This upbeat song finds Holly in a hopeful mien, sure that he will soon land the girl of his dreams. He recorded the song in May 1957 with The Crickets at Norman Petty Studios in Clovis, New Mexico.

This is listed as being written by Charles Hardin and Norman Petty. Charles Hardin is actually Buddy Holly: his real name was Charles Hardin Holley. 

This was used in the movies Big Fish and Stand By Me as well as a Season 4 episode of the TV show Lost.

Everyday

Everyday, it’s a-gettin’ closer
Goin’ faster than a roller coaster
Love like yours will surely come my way
A-hey, a-hey hey

Everyday, it’s a-gettin’ faster
Everyone said, “Go ahead and ask her”
Love like yours will surely come my way
A-hey, a-hey hey

Everyday seems a little longer
Every way, love’s a little stronger
Come what may, do you ever long for
True love from me?

Everyday, it’s a-gettin’ closer
Goin’ faster than a roller coaster
Love like yours will surely come my way
A-hey, a-hey hey

Everyday seems a little longer
Every way, love’s a little stronger
Come what may, do you ever long for
True love from me?

Everyday, it’s a-gettin’ closer
Goin’ faster than a roller coaster
Love like yours will surely come my way
A-hey, a-hey hey
Love like yours will surely come my way

Chuck Berry – School Day

Chuck was more than a  than a rock and roll guitar player in the 50s. He was a  rock and roll poet. A side note…I’ve seen this listed as School Day and School Days.

This song described teenage life in the 50s wonderfully. Teenagers were the target audience for most rock music in that era, and Berry, 30 years old when he wrote the song, knew that he could sell a lot of records by appealing to this crowd.

School days hadn’t changed much since he was there, so his story about getting through the hectic day while thinking about dancing and being with your girl was still relevant to him.

He describes school as restrictive but when it came to rock music…it was all about freedom and Drop the coin right into the slot.

It peaked at #5 in the Billboard Hot 100, #1 in the R&B Charts, and #25 in the UK in 1956.

From Songfacts

Many people mistakenly think the title is the first line in the last verse, “Hail, hail, rock ‘n’ roll.” The line was used as the title for a 1988 rock documentary featuring Berry.

The stops and starts in this song evoke the nature of high school, where you go from one class or activity to another. Berry remembered a big change going from elementary school, where he stayed in the same room all day, to the peripatetic high school routine.

This was Berry’s first hit in the UK.

Berry released a follow-up to this in 1971 called “Lonely School Days (Version 2).”

School Days

Up in the mornin’ and out to school
The teacher is teachin’ the Golden Rule
American history and practical math
You studyin’ hard and hopin’ to pass
Workin’ your fingers right down to the bone
And the guy behind you won’t leave you alone

Ring, ring goes the bell
The cook in the lunch room’s ready to sell
You’re lucky if you can find a seat
You’re fortunate if you have time to eat
Back in the classroom, open your books
Keep up the teacher don’t know how mean she looks

Soon as three o’clock rolls around
You finally lay your burden down
Close up your books, get outta your seat
Down the halls and into the street
Up to the corner and ’round the bend
Right to the juke joint, you go in

Drop the coin right into the slot
You’re gotta hear somethin’ that’s really hot
With the one you love, you’re makin’ romance
All day long you been wantin’ to dance,
Feeling the music from head to toe
Round and round and round we go

Drop the coin right into the slot
You’re gotta hear somethin’ that’s really hot
With the one you love, you’re makin’ romance
All day long you been wantin’ to dance,
Feeling the music from head to toe
Round and round and round we go

Hail, hail rock and roll
Deliver me from the days of old
Long live rock and roll
The beat of the drums, loud and bold
Rock, rock, rock and roll
The feelin’ is there, body and soul

Chuck Berry – Run Rudolph Run

Nice little Christmas song by the father of Rock and Roll Chuck Berry.  The song has a “Carol” vibe to it and that is never a bad thing.  It was one of the first rock and roll Christmas songs and it was released in 1958.

Berry based this song on “Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer,” giving Rudolph a bit of an attitude as he delivers the toys. The song is credited to Johnny Marks and Marvin Brodie. Johnny Marks wrote Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer.  Chuck puts his stamp on this song. 

The song is sometimes known as “Run Run Rudolph,” which is how it appears on some other covers. Other artists to record the song include Sheryl Crow, Bryan Adams, The Grateful Dead, Jimmy Buffett, Dwight Yoakam, Bon Jovi and Keith Richards.

The song peaked at #69 in the Billboard 100 in 1958 and has re-charted many times through the years…it peaked at #36 in the Billboard 100 in January of 2020…and I’m sure it is charting now.

The song appeared in a lot of films including Home Alone, Diner, The Santa Clause 2, Cast Away and Jingle All the Way.

Run Rudolph Run

Out of all the reindeers you know you’re the mastermind
Run, run Rudolph, Randalph ain’t too far behind
Run, run Rudolph, Santa’s got to make it to town
Santa make him hurry, tell him he can take the freeway down
Run, run Rudolph ’cause I’m reelin’ like a merry-go-round

Said Santa to a boy child what have you been longing for?
All I want for Christmas is a rock and roll electric guitar
And then away went Rudolph a whizzing like a shooting star
Run, run Rudolph, Santa’s got to make it to town
Santa make him hurry, tell him he can take the freeway down
Run, run Rudolph, reeling like a merry-go-round

Run, run Rudolph, Santa’s got to make it to town
Santa make him hurry, tell him he can take the freeway down
Run, run Rudolph, reeling like a merry-go-round

Said Santa to a girl child what would please you most to get?
A little baby doll that can cry, sleep, drink and wet
And then away went Rudolph a whizzing like a Saber jet
Run, run Rudolph, Santa’s got to make it to town
Santa make him hurry, tell him he can take the freeway down
Run, run Rudolph ’cause I’m reelin’ like a merry-go-round

Bill Haley – See You Later Alligator

This song is for Song Lyric Sunday for Jim Adams’s blog. This week’s prompt is (drum roll please…) Alligator/Crocodile/Lizard/Snake/Turtle…

Sometimes I like going back to the era where Rock and Roll began as we know it. Bill Haley was an unlikely looking rock star but he did have some hits in the 50s. Rock Around the Clock was his best known song but he did have some other hits like Shake, Rattle, and Roll, and Crazy Man Crazy. His popularity and legacy didn’t last as long as some of his peers. I was introduced to him by the television show Happy Days.

See You Later Alligator was written by songwriter Robert Charles Guidry, who recorded it himself in 1955 under his stage name of Bobby Charles. However it was the Bill Haley version that took off. Guidry also wrote hits for other performers, most notably “Walking To New Orleans” for Fats Domino.

After while crocodile was/is a popular way of saying goodbye and this song made it more popular. The use of the phrase “See you later alligator” when taking one’s leave stemmed from this song. However… according to Brewer’s Dictionary of Modern Phrase & Fable, ‘alligator’ was already a term in the 1950s for a jazz or a swing fan, as someone who ‘swallowed up’ everything on offer.

The song peaked at #6 in the Top 100, #7 in the R&B Charts, and #7 in the UK in 1955.

So….to stay in the spirit of the song…Don’t Be Square…We’d better stop before we drop. Thanks for dropping by, McFly…and see you later…alligator!

Have a wonderful Sunday and thanks for reading.

From Songfacts

They don’t make ’em like they used to! This classic hails from a time when rock-n-roll bands had flashy names like “Bill Haley & His Comets” and played 12-bar blues songs like they knew where they were coming from. Bill Haley & His Comets is regarded today as one of the first true rock-n-roll bands, innovators who were white musicians bringing rock to a white audience.

Haley and his producer Milt Gabler had some experience turning catchy R&B songs into mainstream hits – they had done it with “Shake, Rattle And Roll.” They heard the Bobby Charles version of “See You Later Alligator,” which was climbing the charts, and knew that they had to get a version recorded and released quickly before someone else did. In mid-December, knowing that operations would shut down when hey got near Christmas, the band recorded the song on a weekend, and Gabler had to break into his own office to retrieve the Charles version of the song and the lyrics he had written down. Said Gabler: “My office had a frosted glass panel so I got a hammer, smashed the pane and robbed my own office. When the staff came in on Monday morning, they thought there had been a robbery. My secretary had a long face. She said, ‘Mr. Gabler, someone’s broken into your office.’ I said, ‘Yes, I know. It was me.'”

The Rosemarie Ostler book Dewdroppers, Waldos, and Slackers – A Decade-by-Decade Guide to the Vanishing Vocabulary of the Twentieth Century calls this style “Voutian” and credits the jazz musician Slim Gaillard with its invention.

If you’re thinking “Get on the bus, gus!”, then you have a good clue, Blue! Another song to use this rhyming-jive style is “Fifty Ways To Leave Your Lover.” Also see TV series such as I Love Lucy and other shows from the ’50s or set in the ’50s. Oh, yes, and in the film Grease, the master of ceremonies at Rydell High’s National Bandstand Dance-Off Contest explains the rules in rhyming jive. You can probably think of more examples, but do not confuse this with Cockney rhyming slang, which is a completely different speech pattern altogether.

See You Later Alligator

(See you later, alligator)

Well, I saw my baby walkin’ with another man today
Well, I saw my baby walkin’ with another man today
When I asked her what’s the matter
This is what I heard her say

See you later alligator, after ‘while crocodile
See you later alligator, after ‘while crocodile
Can’t you see you’re in my way now
Don’t you know you cramp my style

When I though of what she told me, nearly made me lose my head
When I though of what she told me, nearly made me lose my head
But the next time that I saw her
Reminded her of what she said

See you later alligator, after ‘while crocodile
See you later alligator, after ‘while crocodile
Can’t you see you’re in my way now
Don’t you know you cramp my style

She said I’m sorry pretty daddy, you know my love is just for you
She said I’m sorry pretty daddy, you know my love is just for you
Won’t you say that you’ll forgive me
And say your love for me is true

I said wait a minute ‘gator, I know you mean it just for play
I said wait a minute ‘gator, I know you mean it just for play
Don’t you know you really hurt me
And this is what I have to say

See you later alligator, after ‘while crocodile
See you later alligator, after ‘while crocodile
Can’t you see you’re in my way now
Don’t you know you cramp my style

See you later alligator, after ‘while crocodile
See you later alligator, so long, that’s all, goodbye

Elvis Presley – Mystery Train

Listen to the slap back echo on this song. I could just listen to the intro guitar on a tape loop for eons and eons. Sun records had the best echo of anyone. Everyone since has tried to capture that sound.

“Mystery Train” was written and originally recorded by Junior Parker in 1953 for Sam Phillips’ Sun Records…Phillips got a co-writing credit. Phillips would later claim that he made three major changes to the song, and that these were why he got the co-writing credit. The first was to give the song the title “Mystery Train”, which has been a big part of the song’s appeal ever since. The second was to insist that the number of coaches for the train should be sixteen . Parker had been singing “fifty coaches long”. And the final one was to suggest that the band start the song slowly and build up the tempo like a train gathering steam.

Elvis covered the song. There is a good chance he heard Jr. Parker perform it live.

The song was released as the B side to “I’m Left, You’re Right, She’s Gone.” One of the best B sides ever. The song peaked at #11 in the Country Charts and #25 in the UK in 1955. RCA bought Elvis’s contract and reissued this single.

Scotty Moore who played guitar on the rack: ‘Mystery Train’ became like a signature thing for me” “That was the first one I played through my custom-made amplifier. It had the same slapback effect that Sam had been using on the overall record.”

Sam Phillips: When Elvis came in I found out that Mystery Train was so embedded in Elvis’ mind that when he started to sing it, it was a natural as breathing. If it’s natural it’s awfully hard to beat, like you’re just rolling off of a log. That’s the feeling you get with Mystery Train.” 

His version was ranked #77 on Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

From Songfacts

Parker was a renowned Blues musician from Memphis who is best known for this song. He was known more for his singing than for his guitar playing, and never achieved the popularity of players like Buddy Guy and B.B. King. Parker was just 39 when he died in 1971 of a brain tumor.

Elvis Presley recorded the most famous version of this song, also on Sun Records, in 1955.  and is his best-known song that was never a hit – it was released as the B-side of “I Forgot To Remember To Forget.” Other artists to cover the song include Bruce Springsteen, Paul Simon, Ricky Nelson, Tom Fogerty, and The Doors.

Neil Young’s 1983 version on his album Everybody’s Rockin’ has an interesting story behind it. After all, there’s never a short story behind a Neil Young song!
Young came to cover “Mystery Train” by way of performing one of the most sarcastic take-that’s in rock history. As told in Neil Young: Long May You Run: The Illustrated History, Young had tried to make up for the PR nightmare that was the Trans album with an album even more countrified than Hawks & Doves, which would become Old Ways. However, Geffen’s record executives rejected Young’s new excursion, demanding that he make an album of “rock ‘n’ roll” songs instead.

Can you imagine someone with the audacity to think that they can tell Neil Young what to do? So, Young gave them exactly what they asked for, with the same kind of acidulous derision with which Lou Reed of the Velvet Underground delivered Loaded when Atlantic executives demanded an album “loaded with hits.” Young put together an album of ’50s-style rockabilly songs with a band he assembled and called “the Shocking Pinks.” And what jukebox classics they all are!

Geffen’s reaction was to slap Young with a $3.3 million dollar lawsuit alleging that his music had become “unrepresentative of his previous output.” This is also why Everybody’s Rockin’ is so short – Geffen literally pulled the plug on Young and the Shocking Pinks in mid-recording-session. Young responded in an interview with Musician magazine: “To get sued for being noncommercial after 20 years of making records, I thought was better than a Grammy.” He even told Q magazine that he told Geffen to back off, or his threat was that he was going to play country music forever. Is there a single Neil Young fan out there who doubts – for a fraction of a second – that just to go ‘nyah!’, he would have stuck to his guns and played nothing but country music to this day, had Geffen not backed down? Anyway, it’s a nice little cover of “Mystery Train,” isn’t it?

Mystery Train

Train I ride, sixteen coaches long
Train I ride, sixteen coaches long
Well, that long black train got my baby and gone

Train, train, comin’ ’round the bend
Train, train, comin’ ’round the bend
Well, it took my baby, but it never will again
No, not again

Train, train, comin’ down, down the line
Train, train, comin’ down, down the line
Well, it’s bringin’ my baby ’cause she’s mine, all mine
She’s mine, all mine

Train, train, comin’ ’round, ’round the bend
‘Round, ’round the bend
Train, train, comin’ ’round, ’round the bend
‘Round, ’round the bend
Well, it took my baby, but it never will again
Never will again

Jerry Lee Lewis – Great Balls Of Fire

The wild man Jerry Lee Lewis. There is no mistaking who this is…they call him The Killer for a reason. Pam from All Things Thriller wrote a great piece about Jerry Lee… here.

This song became Lewis’ signature tune, as well as the title of the movie about Lewis. Otis Blackwell, a prolific songwriter who wrote many hits for Elvis Presley, wrote this song with Jack Hammer.

This was released in England the same month that Lewis married 13-year-old Myra Gale Brown, who was the daughter of his cousin (and bass player) J.W. Brown. At the time, Lewis was headlining shows with Buddy Holly and Chuck Berry, but when the UK press found out, public outrage forced Lewis to leave the country.

Back in the States, his career started to spiral as radio stations refused to play his records and stores refused to sell them. Jerry Lee turned to country music in the late sixties and made a very successful comeback and started to appear on the charts again.

The peaked at #2 in teh Billboard 100, #1 in the Billboard Country Charts, and #1 in the UK in 1957.

Eric Clapton: “I remember the first Rock & Roll I ever saw on TV was Jerry Lee Lewis doing ‘Great Balls of Fire.’ That threw me – it was like seeing someone from outer space.”

From Songfacts

Like Lewis’ previous hit, “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On,” this song is filled with sexual innuendo (” let me love you like a lover should…”), which was shocking for a southern musician in 1957. Lewis grew up in a religious household and was conflicted over whether or not he should record this. He and Sun Records owner Sam Phillips argued as Phillips tried to convince him to sing it. Tape was rolling during the spat and the exchange can be heard on some Sun Records collections. “I thought it was funny because I could see both of them,” recalled house drummer JM van Eaton to Uncut magazine April 2012. “Sam’s as serious as he could be, and Jerry’s as heated as he could be.”

This song made the Top 5 of the Pop, R&B, and Country charts simultaneously with “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On.” Both hit #1 on the Country charts, and while this sold 5 million copies, which was less then its predecessor, it still charted higher.

In the UK, a similarly raucous version by the female singer Georgia Gibbs was released in 1957 before Lewis’ version was issued. It didn’t chart, and Jerry Lee’s recording became a huge hit, topping the UK chart and becoming the first Sun Records recording to score there.

In 1989, Dennis Quaid portrayed Lewis in the movie Great Balls Of Fire, which told the story of his life.

The film took a few liberties, including a scene where Lewis sets his piano on fire while performing this song – a tale often told by Lewis but never verified.

In America, the song was released on November 11, 1957, just one day before the movie Jamboree hit theaters. Lewis performed the song in the film, which gave it great exposure. Other singers appearing in the movie were Carl Perkins, Fats Domino and Frankie Avalon.

In the movie Top Gun, “Goose” (Anthony Edwards) and “Maverick” (Tom Cruise) sing this while “Goose” plays a piano that still sits at the Kansas City Barbeque Restaurant in San Diego, California where the scene was filmed.

Dolly Parton made “Great Balls Of Fire” the title track to her 1979 album. Her cover was used in the 1985 Miami Vice episode “Golden Triangle (Part I).” Other artists to cover the song include Conway Twitty, Sha Na Na, Mae West, Rolf Harris and the Misfits.

Great Balls of Fire

You shake my nerves and you rattle my brain
Too much love drives a man insane
You broke my will, oh what a thrill
Goodness gracious great balls of fire

I learned to love all of Hollywood money
You came along and you moved me honey
I changed my mind, looking fine
Goodness gracious great balls of fire

You kissed me baba, woo…..it feels good
Hold me baba, learn to let me love you like a lover should
Your fine, so kind
I’m a nervous world that your mine mine mine mine-ine

I cut my nails and I quiver my thumb
I’m really nervous but it sure is fun
Come on baba, you drive me crazy
Goodness gracious great balls of fire

{ piano solo }

Well kiss me baba, woo-oooooo….it feels good
Hold me baba
I want to love you like a lover should
Your fine, so kind
I got this world that your mine mine mine mine-ine

I cut my nails and I quiver my thumb
I’m real nervous ’cause it sure is fun
Come on baba, you drive me crazy
Goodness gracious great balls of fire

I say goodness gracious great balls of fire…oooh…

Chuck Berry – Roll Over Beethoven

I like going back to the pioneers who started all of this. Those old raw recordings have been inspected, dissected, and copied to this day. All rock bands will do a Chuck Berry riff somewhere and most likely will cover at least one of his many songs.

I first was introduced to Chuck Berry by the Beatles faithful version. This song is a staple of early rock and roll. Everyone from George Harrison to Keith Richards were influenced by Chuck Berry. His songs were mini stories set against a fast guitar with a driving beat.

This song is about the rock ‘n’ roll craze that was taking over America. Beethoven and Tchaikovsky were classical composers who were being bumped aside by rock. At the time, many critics dismissed rock music as a passing fad…and the fad is still going on.

Berry started writing this song to rib his younger sister, Lucy, who played classical music on the family piano. Chuck was telling her to stop playing so he could play rock and roll.

The song peaked at #29 in the US Charts and #2 in the R&B Charts in 1956.

From Songfacts

Berry was careful to write lyrics that told a coherent story, which in this case follows a young many as he pursues his favorite music. Berry also took care to deliver his lyrics clearly so a wider audience could understand them. This helped him avoid the fate of many Little Richard songs: more popular, but sanitized covers by Pat Boone.

The line, “Early in the mornin’ I’m a givin’ you a warnin'” is a tribute to Louis Jordan’s 1947 track “Early In The Mornin’.”

Jordan, a jump-blues innovator, certainly earned the tribute: his 1946 song “Ain’t That Just Like A Woman” has a guitar intro (played by Carl Hogan) that Berry lifted for “Roll Over Beethoven.”

The Beatles released a version of this song in 1963, which they played at most of their early live shows. The following year, The Beach Boys released “Fun, Fun, Fun,” which copied the intro to “Roll Over Beethoven” nearly note for note.

This was used in the 1992 movie Beethoven, which is about a Saint Bernard.

The Electric Light Orchestra covered this in 1973, mixing in some of Beethoven’s music. It was their biggest hit at the time, going to #6 in the UK and #42 in the US.

ELO was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on April 7, 2017, less than a month after Berry’s death. They opened the ceremony with a performance of this song in tribute to Berry.

For a February 4, 1977 primetime special celebrating 25 years of American Bandstand, Berry performed this song joined by Seals & Crofts, Gregg Allman, Junior Walker, Johnny Rivers, the Pointer Sisters, Charlie Daniels and Doc Severinsen. This was one of the first “all-star jams” that would later become commonplace. This performance served as a showcase for the musicians, who were introduced as they performed by Paul Williams. 

Iron Maiden spoofed this on their song “Roll Over Vic Vella,” which was used as the B-side to the single for “From Now to Eternity” It’s one of the few singles that featured a photograph of the band performing as cover art. 

Leon Russell often covered this song. He performed it on the musical variety show Shindig! in 1964.

The Beatles version…the bands I’ve played in used more powerful amps in a small club than the Beatles had at that time for stadiums. They made it necessary to boost the power with larger amps…to this day I don’t see how they heard each other…they probably didn’t. 

Roll Over Beethoven

Well, I’ma write a letter
I’m gon’ mail it to my local DJ
Yeah that’s the jumpin little record
I want my jockey to play
Roll over Beethoven, I gotta hear it again today

You know, my temperature’s risin’
The jukebox blowin’ a fuse
My heart’s beatin’ rhythm
And my soul keeps a-singin’ the blues
Roll over Beethoven, tell Tchaikovsky the news

I got the rockin’ pneumonia
I need a shot of rhythm and blues
I caught the rollin’ arthritis
Sittin’ down at a rhythm review
Roll over Beethoven, they rockin’ in two by two

Well, if you feel and like it
Go get your lover, then reel and rock it
Roll it over and move on up just a
Trifle further, then reel and rock it
Wind another
Roll over Beethoven, dig these rhythm and blues

Well in the mornin’ I’m givin’ you my mornin’
Don’t you step on my blue suede shoes
Hey diddle diddle, I’ma play my fiddle
Ain’t got nothin’ to lose
Roll over Beethoven, tell Tchaikovsky the news

You know she wiggles like a glow worm
Dance like a spinnin’ top
She got a crazy partner
Ya oughta see ’em reel and rock
Long as she got a dime the music will never stop

Roll over Beethoven
Roll over Beethoven
Roll over Beethoven
Roll over Beethoven
Roll over Beethoven, dig these rhythm and blues

Mad and Cracked Magazine…a quick look

To those that it applies…Happy Independence Day! I’ll have a couple of songs coming up related to Independence Day.

I never got into comic books like Marvel or DC…I would save up my allowance for Cracked and Mad magazine…and records of course. Mad Magazine was by far the most popular out of all of the satire comic magazines. William Gaines was the publisher of Mad magazine and was brilliant.

William Gaines – sendingdeadletters

1952 – Present…now you an only get Mad from Comic Book Shops or order it. The new editions consist of mostly material from their archive.

Cracked was known as the poor man’s Mad but I still liked it and the magazines shared some writers and artists through the years. I bought my first Cracked Magazine when Mad was sold out but I never missed an issue after that.

1958-2007 Now the name is alive on a website but no longer a comic.

Alfred E Newman and Sylvester P. Smythe

Sylvester P. Smythe | The Belated NerdSylvester P. Smythe | Cracked Wiki | Fandom

Don Martin was my favorite artist. He was one of Mad’s most famous artists. He was there from 1956 to 1988. He was known as “Mads Maddest Artist” and then moved to Cracked and was jokingly known as “Cracked’s Crackedest Artist.”

Fellow Cracked artist Dan Clowes: “As far as I could tell, he was happy,  don’t think he ever seemed to notice that Mad was respected, whereas Cracked was loathed.”

Completely Mad Don Martin TPB (1974 Warner Books) A MAD Big Book ...

Cracked #235 May 1988 cover by Don Martin | Mad magazine, Vintage ...

 

Ken Osmond (Eddie Haskell) 1943-2020

Ken Osmond who portrayed Eddie Haskell on “Leave It To Beaver” has passed away at age 76. I grew up watching this show after school in syndication in the late 70s.

After watching it again as an adult…I see that it was a well-written show from a child’s point of view. Ken Osmond played Eddie Haskell…who was the pot-stirrer on the show and he was needed. He kept it from becoming too sweet…plus we all know an Eddie Haskell or two.

RIP Ken Osmond.

https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/ken-osmond-dead-mischievous-eddie-haskell-leave-it-beaver-was-76-1246683

 

 

 

20 Famous Duos

Many times you cannot think of one person without thinking of the other. That is true for many on this list. From Lennon – McCartney to Romeo and Juliet. It was a lot of fun coming up with these famous duos. Here are a few in no order…

 

1.  Lennon and McCartney – The most influential Rock/pop writing duo

The Beatles - It was twenty years ago today, Sgt. Pepper taught ...

2.  Andy Griffith and Don Knotts – Andy and Barney…Great comedic timing between the two…with Andy being the straight man.

20 wonderfully irrelevant Andy Griffith Show conversations

3.  Jack Klugman and Tony Randall – The Odd Couple

TV's 'Odd Couple' in the '70s: Jack Klugman & Tony Randall as ...

4. Abbott and Costello – Who’s on first? Great comedy team. I still like Abbot and Costello Meet Frankenstein

From the Archives: Lou Costello, Famed Comedian, Dies at 52 - Los ...

5. Belushi and Aykroyd – The Blues Brothers and part of the first cast of SNL

John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd | Oscars.org | Academy of Motion ...

6. Orville and Wilbur Wright – Credited as creating the first motorized plane.

Orville and Wilbur Wright: The Brothers Who Changed Aviation ...

7. Jagger and Richards – The Stones Glimmer Twins

Mick Jagger & Keith Richards, NYC, 1972 | Bob Gruen

8. Simon and Garfunkel – American folk-rock duo

You made me look like a fool': inside Simon and Garfunkel's Bridge ...

9. Laurel and Hardy – They made over 100 short and feature movies combined.

Laurel and Hardy – Three Shorts

10. Martin and Lewis – The hottest act in the 50s.

Jerry Lewis and Dean Martin's 20-Year Feud - Comedy Duo Jerry ...

11. Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak – The Apple architects.

Are You A Steve Jobs Or A Steve Wozniak? » Leaderonomics.com

12. Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield -Ben and Jerry’s  I’ll take some Cherry Garcia, please.

Ben & Jerry's Unveils "Pecan Resist" Flavor Ahead of Midterm ...

13. Phil and Don Everly – Two voices blended as one

Video: Phil Everly of the Everly Brothers dies at 74 (updated ...

14. Gerry Goffin and Carole King – Two of the top songwriters in the 60s.

Gerry Goffin | The Times

15. Cindy Williams and Penny Marshall – Laverne and Shirley

The most famous women duos in pop culture - Insider

16. Clyde Champion Barrow and Bonnie Parker – Infamous Bonnie and Clyde

Police kill famous outlaws Bonnie and Clyde - HISTORY

17. David Duchovny and  Gillian Anderson – Mulder and Scully from the X-Files

Agents Dana Scully and Fox Mulder Will Pick Up Their Badges Again

18. Jason Mewes and Kevin Smith – Jay and Silent Bob

Kevin Smith Teases 'Jay and Silent Bob' Reboot With Miramax

19. Batman and Robin – I couldn’t leave these guys out

Adam West and Burt Ward to return as Batman and Robin in new ...

20. Romeo and Juliet the two star crossed lovers from Romeo and Juliet….a tragedy written by William ShakespeareThe Balcony Scene in 'Romeo and Juliet' Is a Lie - The Atlantic

BONUS…How could I forget Bert and Ernie!!!

Frank Oz weighs in on 'Sesame Street' writer saying Bert and Ernie ...

 

 

 

 

 

 

Little Richard (1932-2020) – Rip It Up

Little Richard passed away yesterday at 87 years old…he was one of the last fifties pioneers left. His influence passed through generations from Bob Dylan, The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, James Brown, to Lemmy from Motorhead.

I’ve read interviews from so many artists saying how he influenced them. Bob Dylan started on Little Richard in Minnesota as a teenager and I’ve read where Lemmy was a giant fan. Richard touched many generations.

My dad told me about Little Richard before I ever heard him. He said he had the biggest voice he ever heard. He talked about a song called Long Tall Sally. I first heard it…it blew me away. Such a raw emotional power in that voice. He would take us to the edge of the cliff and then at the last minute pull us back.

His voice was one of a kind…and I mean one of a kind. He could sing anything.

Bob Dylan: I just heard the news about Little Richard and I’m so grieved. He was my shining star and guiding light back when I was only a little boy. His was the original spirit that moved me to do everything I would do.

Keith Richards: So sad to hear that my old friend Little Richard has passed. There will never be another!!! He was the true spirit of Rock’n Roll!

Rip It Up

A songwriter named Johnny Marascalco wrote this song, which was released as Little Richard’s third single. Marascalco while he was sitting in a cotton field waiting for a friend to get out of church so they could hunt rabbits. A later weekend, he heard Little Richard’s “Long Tall Sally” and decided that he could write similar songs.

Little Richard’s producer Bumps Blackwell (who has a co-writing credit on this one as well) bought both “Rip It Up” and another Marascalco song, “Ready Teddy,” which was released as the B-side of the single. The two songs were recorded at J&M Studios in New Orleans on May 9, 1956.

The song peaked at #1 in the R&B Charts, #27 in the Billboard Charts, #30 in the UK, and #30 in Canada in 1956.

 

Rip It Up

‘Cause it’s Saturday night and I just got paid
Fool about my money don’t try to save
My heart says go, go
Have a time ’cause it’s Saturday night
And I’m feelin’ fine

I’m gonna rock it up
I’m gonna rip it up
I’m gonna shake it up
I’m gonna ball it up
I’m gonna ride it out
And ball tonight

I got a date and I won’t be late
Pick her up in my ’88’
Shag it on down to the union hall
When the music starts jumpin’
I’ll have a ball

I’m gonna rock it up
I’m gonna rip it up
I’m gonna shake it up
I’m gonna ball it up
I’m gonna ride it out
And ball tonight

Along about 10 I’ll be flying high
Rocking on out into the sky
I don’t care if I spend my gold
‘Cause tonight I’m gonna be one happy soul

I’m gonna rock it up
I’m gonna rip it up
I’m gonna shake it up
I’m gonna ball it up
I’m gonna ride it out
And ball tonight, aw

Well it’s Saturday night and I just got paid
Fool about my money don’t try to save
My heart says go, go
Have a time ’cause it’s Saturday night
And I’m feelin’ fine

I’m gonna rock it up
I’m gonna rip it up
I’m gonna shake it up
I’m gonna ball it up
I’m gonna ride it out
And ball tonight

Along about 10 I’ll be flying high
Rocking on out into the sky
I don’t care if I spend my gold
‘Cause tonight I’m gonna be one happy soul

I’m gonna rock it up
I’m gonna rip it up
I’m gonna shake it up
I’m gonna ball it up
I’m gonna ride it out
And ball tonight

 

Ricky Nelson – Travelin’ Man

Ricky Nelson was a two-way star in the 50s. He gets overlooked at times compared to his peers.

This song was written by Jerry Fuller, a singer who had minor hits in 1959 with “Betty My Angel” and a cover of “Tennessee Waltz.” Fuller wrote “Travelin’ Man” one day at De Longpre Park in Hollywood while he was waiting to pick up his wife. He didn’t play an instrument, so he beat out the melody on his car’s dashboard.

Fuller recorded a demo of this song with Glen Campbell on guitar. He was hoping Sam Cooke would record it, so he brought it to Cooke’s manager, J.W. Alexander. Joe Osborn, who was Ricky’s bass player, heard it through the wall, He said, ‘J.W., do you have that ‘Travelin” song you just played?’ He said, ‘Yeah, you can have it,’ and he reached in the trash and he pulled out the demo.”

Osborn brought the song to Nelson, who loved it and recorded it. The song became his second (and last) #1 hit, and gave him a huge career boost.

Travelin’ Man peaked at #1 in 1961.

From Songfacts

For the lyrics, Fuller came up with a “girl in every port” idea – a guy who travels all over the world and finds a different girl waiting for him wherever he goes. He used an atlas to get ideas for places and looked up what the word for “girl” was in those places, so in German it’s “Fraulien,” in Mexico it’s “Senorita,” and in Alaska it’s a “cute little Eskimo.” He couldn’t figure out what the term was in Hawaii, so he went with “pretty Polynesian baby.”

Nelson used Elvis Presley’s backing singers The Jordanaires on this song, as he did on most of his recordings. He loved the background vocals on the demo though, which were done by Fuller, Glen Campbell and Dave Burgess. Nelson brought them in to record on subsequent records.

Depending on the criteria, “Travelin’ Man” could be the song with the very first music video. Ozzie Nelson realized that whenever he had Ricky sing on their show The Adventures Of Ozzie And Harriet, Ricky’s record sales shot up the next day, so Ozzie tried to work it into the plot whenever Ricky had a new record out. As Ricky became popular and the demand for his songs was overwhelming, Ozzie realized that working his singing into the plot was going to be impossible, so Ozzie filmed Ricky singing “Travelin’ Man,” superimposed some travelogue scenes over the film and tacked it onto a show episode at the end. Viola! The music video was born.

That is, if you don’t count performance videos and extracted movie scenes like “Jailhouse Rock.” And if you’re OK with it being black and white.

The episode, “A Question of Suits and Ties,” aired on April 5, 1961 (the song hit #1 on May 29). The clip is far from groundbreaking, but it was footage synched to a performance. Around this time, standalone concept videos were starting to show up for use throughout Europe in Scopitone video jukeboxes, which were typically placed in bars. A few American artists made videos for these machines in the mid’-60s when they started to appear Stateside. Neil Sedaka made one for “Calendar Girl” and Nancy Sinatra did one (for a company called Color-Sonics) for “These Boots Are Made For Walkin’.” 

Rick Nelson was born Eric Hilliard Nelson in 1940. He died in a small plane crash in Texas in 1985 while flying to a New Year’s Eve concert. Mechanical problems and a cabin fire were suspected as the cause of the crash. Speculation that the fire was caused by someone on board freebasing cocaine was never proven, though aerosol cans were found at the crash site. The Nelson family said that the cans were part of the makeup box and that no drugs were involved. The matter was never completely resolved. 

This is a crowd favorite on the “Ricky Nelson Remembered” show, staged by his twin sons Matthew and Gunnar. In our interview with Matthew Nelson, he said, “When I’m singing ‘Travelin’ Man,’ it’s 1977 at the Sahara in Las Vegas, when I hung out for a week while Pop did a residency there. And I think about the guys who were in the band.”

Travelin’ Man

I’m a travelin’ man and I’ve made a lot of stops
All over the world
And in every part I own the heart
Of at least one lovely girl

I’ve a pretty Señorita waiting for me
Down in old Mexico
If you’re ever in Alaska stop and see
My cute little Eskimo

Oh, my sweet Fraulein down in Berlin town
Makes my heart start to yearn
And my China doll down in old Hong Kong
Waits for my return

Pretty Polynesian baby over the sea
I remember the night
When we walked in the sands of the Waikiki
And I held you, oh so tight

Oh, my sweet Fraulien down in Berlin town
Makes my heart start to yearn
And my China doll down in old Hong Kong
Waits for my return

Pretty Polynesian baby over the sea
I remember the night
When we walked in the sands of the Waikiki
And I held you, oh so tight

Oh, I’m a travelin’ man
Yes, I’m a travelin’ man
Yes, I’m a travelin’ man
Whoa, I’m a travelin’ man

Elvis Presley – I’m Left, You’re Right, She’s Gone

These Sun records by Elvis are untouchable. Many artists have tried to get the same sound that Sam Phillips achieved with his small studio in Memphis Tennessee. This title makes you want to listen to the song.

This was written by Bill Taylor and Stan Kesler, who were part of a group called the Snearly Ranch Boys, which recorded for Elvis’ label, Sun Records. The melody for the song was lifted by a jingle for Campbell’s soup.

The head of Sun, Sam Phillips, arranged for Elvis to record the tune, and brought in a drummer named Jimmie Lott to play on it, augmenting Elvis’ regulars: guitarist Scotty Moore and bassist Bill Black.

In February of 1955, Elvis Presley records this as the “B” side to “Baby, Let’s Play House” to be released on Sun Records. This is the record that convinced RCA-Victor to drop $35,000 to buy Elvis from Sam Phillips…plus 5,000 Phillips owed Elvis.

I’m Left, You’re Right, She’s Gone

Well, you’re right, I’m left, she’s gone
You’re right, and I’m left all alone
Well, you tried to tell me so
But how was I to know
That she was not the one for me?

You told me all along
You’re right, our love was so wrong
But now I changed my mind
Because she broke the ties that bind
And I know that she never cared for me

Well, I thought I knew just what she’d do
I guess I’m not so smart
Oh, you tried to tell me all along she’d only break my heart
I’m left, you’re right, she’s gone
You’re right, and I’m left all alone

Well, she’s gone I know not where
But now I just don’t care
For now I’m falling for you

If you’ll forgive me now
I’ll make it up somehow
So happy we will be
In a home just for three
And I’ll soon forget her now I know

Well, I thought I knew just what she’d do
I guess I’m not so smart
You tried to tell me all along
She’d only break my heart

Well, you’re right, I’m left, she’s gone
You’re right, and I’m left all alone
Well, she’s gone, I know not where
But now I just don’t care
For now I’ve fallen for you

The Creature from the Black Lagoon

I love old monster films and Universal Studios had some great monsters. Dracula, Frankenstein, The Mummy, The Invisible Man, The Wolf Man and the monster of this post…The Creature from the Black Lagoon. This movie was released in 3-D and I’m going to get that version.

It’s been years since I watched this movie so I watched it Wednesday night. The movie was made in 1954 with some great water shots and the star of the film…The Gill-Man. He looks so odd that it still works today. The underwater shots are clear and exciting. The creature looks natural underwater.

The costume…Universal invested 15,000 dollars on the costume…in 1950s money…that would be equal to $143,294.05 today. Two different stuntmen were used to portray the creature, and therefore, two different suits were used in the movie. Ricou Browning played the creature when it was in the water and wore a lighter suit, Ben Chapman played the creature when it was out of the water with a darker suit.

Now let’s get to the object of the Creatures obsession… Julia Adams as Kay  Lawernce. I don’t blame the Creature.

3….2….1

Creature From the Black Lagoon's Julie Adams Dies At Age 92 | CBR

Now the plot…A scientific expedition searching for fossils along the Amazon River discovers a prehistoric Gill-Man in the legendary Black Lagoon. The explorers capture the mysterious creature, but it breaks free. The Gill-Man returns to kidnap the lovely Kay, fiancée of one in the expedition, with whom it has fallen in love.

The plot is fine but you watch to see the Creature. They did have two sequels and in the Revenge of the Creature made in 1955 you see a very young Clint Eastwood.

creature-in-the-black-lagoon | Trailers From Hell

My Top 10 favorite Stand Up Comedians

I had a lot of comedy albums growing up and these were my favorites.

10: Steve Martin – His Wild and Crazy album, Let’s Get Small, and Comedy is Not Pretty stayed on my turntable forever.

Steve Martin 1977/Norman Seeff

9: Sam Kinison – His routine of Are You Lonesome Tonight is worthy enough to have him on this list.

RIP Sam Kinison (@samkinisonrip) | Twitter

8: Chris Rock – I followed him from SNL on.

Hire Chris Rock - Speaker Fee - Celebrity Speakers Bureau

7: Eddie Murphy – His eighties standup videos are still staples of the era.

Eddie Murphy : Red Leather Suit | Julietchin's Blog

6: Bob Newhart – If you like dry humor…this is your man.

Bob Newhart on The Dean Martin Show - Sir Walter Raleigh - YouTube

5: George Carlin – Carlin was just so cool. His routines are well known now. He was topical and many of the things he expressed are true today. He was also on the first SNL episode.

George Carlin was right: other drivers are 'idiots' and 'maniacs'

4: Woody Allen – He had a wit as quick as you could get. His stand up from the sixties is outstanding. I had a friend with a lot of his standup routines that we listened to in the 80s.

Woody Allen - Stand up comic: Second Marriage - YouTube

3: Robin Williams/Jonathan Winters – Williams and Winters were very similar because Winters was a huge influence on Robin Williams. They could pick any subject and make it funny.

Lunch with Jonathan Winters

2: Bill Hicks – NOT family-friendly. Bill was as dark as they come but he made you think whether you agreed with him or not. He will offend EVERYONE… I like Denis Leary but Leary got a lot of his material from Hicks and cleaned it up. It can get uncomfortable listening to Bill…maybe that is the reason I liked him.

Bill Hicks: 25 years on from the cult comedian's big break • The ...

1: Richard Pryor – Richard was a game-changer…I had his albums growing up and he changed stand up comedy. He can make me laugh at any time.

Scarred Richard Pryor returns to film stand-up comedy show: Part ...

 

Honorable Mention: Albert Brooks, Lily Tomlin, Rodney Dangerfield, Robert Klein, Joan Rivers, and Denis Leary.

***One comedian, I never understood…maybe it’s because I didn’t grow up in his time. He had an interesting story but I just never got Lenny Bruce. I find his material once in a while funny but many lists have him as number 1 or 2. Yes, he did make a huge impact on his profession like few others but I just don’t get him like some do.