Ricky Nelson – Lonesome Town

Not only do we have Ricky Nelson singing but the great Jordanaires are backing him up. The loneliness conveyed in this song still works. The song peaked at #7 in the Billboard 100, 1958. The song was written by Baker Knight.

Ricky Nelson was huge in the 50s given his constant exposure on The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet… This song was a change for him at the time as he usually did up-tempo songs.

From Songfacts.

“Lonesome Town” was written by Baker Knight, a behind-the-scenes genius who wrote many hit songs throughout the ’50s and ’60s for the likes of Perry Como, Elvis Presley, and Dean Martin. Knight wrote the song as a cynical look at Hollywood, a place Nelson knew well since he grew up a TV star on the series The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet. As part of an entertainment legacy, Nelson fared well in Hollywood, but he also knew it could be a “town of broken dreams.”

You could imagine “Heartbreak Hotel” being somewhere in Lonesome Town, and the 1956 Elvis Presley hit was certainly an influence on this song. Presley and Nelson were the most popular American singers at the time, with Nelson getting a big boost from exposure on The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet. When we spoke with Nelson’s son Matthew in 2016, he explained: “There was obviously a little echo of ‘Heartbreak Hotel,’ but it was way deeper, I think. ‘Heartbreak Hotel’ was a very sexy, almost tongue-in-cheek kind of thing, and ‘Lonesome Town’ was like, ‘Man, I’ve got a broken heart that I drag around with me on a daily basis and nobody can understand but me.’ Our pop had a little bit of that.”

This song was a big change of pace for Nelson, who had been doing lots of upbeat pop songs. “Lonesome Town” is just his voice, his acoustic guitar, and backing vocals by The Jordanaires, who also sang on many of Elvis Presley’s recordings. By recording such a dark and earnest song, Nelson showed another side of his personality – one that a lot of people didn’t know about. “He connected with it plain and simple,” Matthew Nelson told us. “It’s really melancholy. And our pop identified with that, because he grew up famous and really deep down, even though he was a really affable, sweet guy, he told me he could never really tell who was in his life for the right reasons, as you can imagine. So he really tapped into the song.”

Today, this song’s greatest claim to fame is being on the soundtrack to Pulp Fiction, in the scene at Vincent and Mia’s “date” at Jack Rabbit Slims when they order the disputed five-dollar-shake. The song continues to go along with the mood as Uma Thurman puts a point on John Travolta’s grumpiness by asking him “Could you roll me one of those, cowboy?”, begging one of his hand-rolled cigarettes.

The song has been covered by Paul McCartney, The Ventures, Shakin’ Stevens, Chris Isaak, Richard Hawley, The Cramps, Jason Donovan, and others. It also shows up in television shows from time to time, sometimes even playing in a ’50s diner with somebody ordering a milkshake, in a shout-out to Pulp Fiction.

This was featured in a Pepsi commercial that debuted during the Super Bowl in 1995. In the spot, a man at a Pepsi vending machine in the middle of the desert is desperately trying to get the contraption to take his dollar, which it keeps spitting back out. Most of the commercial is taken up by the sound of the bill-validation mechanism buzzing back and forth. “Lonesome Town” is playing over this scene.

Nelson had a total of 36 Top-40 hits ranging from 1957’s “A Teenager’s Romance” (#2) to 1972’s “Garden Party” (#6). That one could have a hit-song career spanning three decades, with the last hit scoring only four positions below the first hit, speaks volumes about what a formidable talent Rick Nelson was. If he hadn’t had his life cut short in 1985, who knows what else he could have done?

Lonesome Town

There’s a place where lovers go to cry their troubles away
And they call it lonesome town, where the broken hearts stay
You can buy a dream or two to last you all through the years
And the only price you pay is a heartful of tears

Goin’ down to lonesome town, where the broken hearts stay
Goin’ down to lonesome town to cry my troubles away
In the town of broken hearts the streets are paved with regret
Maybe down in lonesome town I can learn to forget

There’s a place where lovers go to cry their troubles away
And they call it lonesome town, where the broken hearts stay
You can buy a dream or two to last you all through the years
And the only price you pay is a heartful of tears

Goin’ down to lonesome town, where the broken hearts stay
Goin’ down to lonesome town to cry my troubles away
In the town of broken hearts the streets are paved with regret
Maybe down in lonesome town I can learn to forget

Rock and Roll…Quotes

Being honest may not get you a lot of friends but it’ll always get you the right ones.
John Lennon

The world used us as an excuse to go mad.
George Harrison

I used to think anyone doing anything weird was weird. Now I know that it is the people that call others weird that are weird.
Paul McCartney

America: It’s like Britain, only with buttons.
Ringo Starr

I’m still the best Keith Moon-style drummer in the world.
Keith Moon

I’ve never had a problem with drugs. I’ve had problems with the police.
Keith Richards

A kid once said to me “Do you get hangovers?” I said, “To get hangovers you have to stop drinking.
Ian “Lemmy” Kilmister of Motorhead

Rock ‘n’ Roll might not solve your problems, but it does let you dance all over them
Pete Townshend

I was Marilyn Manson – times 10.
Alice Cooper

In the end you become part of everything you hate, basically.
Ray Davies

I’d rather be dead than singing “Satisfaction” when I’m forty-five.
Mick Jagger

The thing about my music is, there really is no point.
Neil Young

No one is free, even the birds are chained to the sky.
Bob Dylan

If there’s one thing I know about music theory, it’s that if you don’t believe the singer, you won’t believe the song.
Tom Petty

Sometimes I am two people. Johnny is the nice one. Cash causes all the trouble. They fight.
Johnny Cash

I am the innovator. I am the originator. I am the emancipator. I am the architect of rock ‘n’ roll!
Little Richard

I grew up thinking art was pictures until I got into music and found I was an artist and didn’t paint.
Chuck Berry

I’m one of those regular weird people.
Janis Joplin

I sing to the realists. People who accept it like it is
Aretha Franklin

I don’t know where I’m going from here, but I promise it won’t be boring.
David Bowie

Music was my way of keeping people from looking through and around me. I wanted the heavies to know I was around.
Bruce Springsteen

I’m the one that’s got to die when it’s time for me to die, so let me live my life the way I want to.
Jimi Hendrix

We lived the life with Keith Moon. It was all Spinal Tap magnified a thousand times.
Roger Daltrey

“Champagne, for everyone!”… Fred and Ethel Mertz

I Love Lucy was huge in the fifties and helped start the modern sitcom. It is still popular to this day.

William Frawley and Vivian Vance portrayed Fred and Ethel Mertz on screen the landlords to Ricky and Lucy Ricardo. Ethel was Lucy’s friend and Fred was Ricky’s cheap best friend.

In real life, things were not smooth at all between the two. The age difference between Frawley and Vance was 22 years. Vivian was overheard telling Lucy that no one would believe that she would be married to that old coot. Frawley overheard this and the relationship was born.

Desi Arnaz had wanted Frawley to play Fred but he had a drinking problem so Desi had to lecture Frawley about always being on time etc.

Vance was professional, had her lines learned, and was always on time. Frawley would learn his lines at the last minute while locked away in a hotel listening to a baseball game. He also had it in his contract that if the Yankees were in the World Series that he would get time off.

They would argue while rehearsing and the director would have to settle it. Lucy and Desi would usually just ignore it.

After I Love Lucy went off the air CBS offered Frawley and Vance a chance to star in a spin-off series called either Fred and Ethel or The Mertzes. Frawley, always in need of drinking money, was willing, but Vance refused, never wanting to work with him again. This supposedly infuriated Frawley.

While Vance was working on the new “The Lucy Show”, Frawley would sneak to the soundstage and drop film canisters loudly, deliberately ruining Vance’s scene and causing a re-take.

I will say this… whatever feud or dislike they had…their performances will be forever be remembered.

Here are some quotes they gave about the other.

Frawley: “She’s one of the finest gals to come out of Kansas, and I often wish she’d go back there. I don’t know where she is now and she doesn’t know where I am. That’s exactly the way I like it.”

Vance: “I loathed William Frawley and the feeling was mutual. Whenever I received a new script, I raced through it, praying that there wasn’t a scene where we had to be in bed together.”

William Frawley died of a heart attack in 1966 at the age of 79. When she heard the news, Vivian Vance was dining in a restaurant. What she supposedly said after hearing the tragic news was: “Champagne for everybody!”

To be fair… Vivian Vance also said this when Frawley died… “There’s a great big amusing light gone out of this world.”

You do get the feeling while they argued they did respect each other.

Vivian Vance would pass away in 1979.

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Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On

Electric…that is the best way I can describe Jerry Lee Lewis. From those old black and white clips in the fifties, the Killer was doing just that. Using all of his limbs to pulverize the piano. The song peaked at #3 in the Billboard 100, #8 in the Uk, and #1 in the Billboard Country Chart in 1957. It is one of THE recognizable songs of the 1950s.

From Songfacts.

This was Jerry Lee Lewis’ second single, following up his cover of the Ray Price country song “Crazy Arms,” which went nowhere. Lewis was signed to the famous Sun Records, who also had Elvis Presley. This song was the first of Lewis’ four Top 40 hits, which all occurred in a period of about a year and a half. In 1958, his hits dried up when word of his marriage to 13-year-old Myra Gale Brown got out. Despite just the four hits and an unsavory reputation, Lewis was so revered as a rock pioneer that he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in the first class.

Radio stations found all kinds of reasons not to play this song: it was too suggestive, he cursed on it, (“We-e-ll-a” sounded like “We-hella”), he sounded black (most stations didn’t play songs by black artists). Still, the song sold well in the southern United States, but it wasn’t until Lewis’ TV debut on The Steve Allen Show on July 28, 1957 that it became a national hit and sold over 6 million copies. The song also generated a lot of controversy, as the lyrics are rather lascivious and quite shocking coming from a singer from the Bible Belt. >>

This appeared in the Top 5 of the Pop, Country, and R&B charts simultaneously with Lewis’ other big hit, “Great Balls of Fire.” Both songs hit #1 on the Country chart.

This song was written by Roy Hall (using the pseudonym Sunny David) and Dave “Curly” Williams. Hall was a songwriter/piano player who ran a music venue in Nashville and played in Webb Pierce’s band. Hall and Williams (a black musician) wrote this song in 1954 while fishing on Lake Okeechobee in Florida. They were drunk when they heard a bell clanging on an island in the middle of the lake. After Hall blurted out, “What’s going on?” he heard someone say “We got 21 drums, we got an ol’ bass horn and they’re even keepin’ time on a ding-dong” – which became the original first line of the song.

Webb Pierce helped Hall get a record deal with Decca, and in 1955 Hall recorded this song for the label. Back in 1954, Hall hired Jerry Lee Lewis to play some gigs at his club, and when it came time for Lewis to record his second single, he pulled out Hall’s song and turned it into a rock classic. Hall said that he had to sign over the royalties from the song to his ex-wife, and he spent his remaining years playing around Nashville. He died in 1984 at age 61.

After Roy Hall recorded this song and before Lewis did it, versions were recorded by Big Maybelle, The Commodores (no relation to the ’70s Motown group), and Delores Frederick. All four were done in completely different styles. Jerry Lee Lewis made it a lascivious rocker – his take was wildly divergent from the original.

Whole Lot of Shakin’ Goin’ On

Come along my baby, whole lotta shakin’ goin’ on
Yes, I said come along my baby, baby you can’t go wrong
We ain’t fakin’, while lotta shakin’ goin’ on

Well, I said come along my baby, we got chicken in the barn
Woo-huh, come along my baby, really got the bull by the horn
We ain’t fakin’, whole lotta shakin’ goin’ on

Well, I said shake, baby, shake
I said shake, baby, shake
I said shake it, baby, shake it
And then shake, baby, shake
Come on over, whole lotta shakin’ goin’ on
Oh, let’s go!

Alright

Well, I said come along my baby, we got chicken in the barn
Whose barn? What barn? My barn
Come along my baby, really got the bull by the horn
We ain’t fakin’, whole lotta shakin’ goin’ on

Easy now
Shake it
Ah, shake it, baby
Yeah
You can shake it one time for me
Ye-ah-ha-ah, I said come on over, baby
Whole lotta shakin’ goin’ on
Now, let’s get down real low one time now
Shake, baby, shake
All you gotta do, honey, is kinda stand in one spot
Wiggle around just a little bit, that’s when you got it, yeah
Come on baby, whole lotta shakin’ goin’ on
Now let’s go one time

Shake it baby, shake, shake it baby, shake
Woo, shake baby, come on babe, shake it, baby, shake
Come on over, whole lotta shakin’ goin’ on

Lenny Kravitz – Let Love Rule

This sounded older when it was released in 1989 because it has a 60s psychedelic sound which some critics complained about…it’s the reason that I liked it. Lenny plays a lot of the instruments his self. The song peaked at #89 in the Billboard 100 and #39 in the UK in 1989.

A little trivia for you about Lenny…his mom was Roxie Roker from the tv show The Jeffersons.

From Songfacts.

Lenny Kravitz in a 1998 interview with Tracey Pepper: “When I did ‘Let Love Rule,’ everyone said what a naive piece of s–t it was. Journalists would ask, ‘Don’t you feel funny singing about that?’ and I was like, If I were sitting here singing about the devil and raping children, then it’d be okay? God forbid you sing about love. It’s a lost concept.”

This song is Kravitz’ credo. “Love has to be the final outcome of every situation,” he said.

This was the title track from Lenny Kravitz’ debut album on which he provided almost all of the instrumental and vocal material himself. However when it was released many critics condemned him for being an out of date throwback to late ’60s psychedelic rock.

Lenny Kravitz’s then-wife Lisa Bonet directed and appeared in the music video for this song.

The singer was persuaded by his style-star daughter Zoe Kravitz to develop a new line of shoes for Tom’s. Amongst his designs, which debuted in 2012 were footware printed with lyrics from this song.

 

Let Love Rule

Love is gentle as a rose 
And love can conquer any war 
It’s time to take a stand 
Brothers and sisters join hands 

We got to let love rule 
(Let love rule)
We got to let love rule 
(Let love rule)

Love transcends all space and time 
And love can make a little child smile 
Oh can’t you see 
This won’t go wrong 
But we got to be strong 
We can’t do it alone 

We got to let love rule 
(Let love rule)
We got to let love rule 
(Let love rule)

(Let love rule)
You got to got to got to 
(Let love rule)

You got to got to got to, yeah 
(Let love rule) let let let let love rule 
(Let love rule)

You got to, got to, got to 
Just say yeah 
You got to yeah 
You got to 
You got to, got to, got to yeah 
Let love rule

Drive-In Movie Theaters

I remember Drive-In Theaters from way back. My sister is 8 years older than I am. When she was 16 I was 8 and mom made her take me with her on dates and that included the Drive-In. Most Drive-Ins charged by the person so guess where I was located? A mile up from the Drive-In I would know the routine…I would climb in the trunk. I remember smelling the old dirty tire and whatever else…I would hear us roll over the gravel and then the car would stop…my sister would let me out.

I would climb in the back seat and start watching. Although I make fun of her for this I actually enjoyed it. It was fun to do as a kid. I was a laid-back kid anyway. I remember the only movie showing one time was an R rated movie. It was called “Revenge of the Cheerleaders” from 1976…I got quite an education on the female anatomy. She would tell me don’t look now… then she and her date would go out and talk to friends parked around. I was of course looking and I never told mom…I knew I would not get to come back if I told her.

There are a few around here and once in a while, we will go see them. No Cheerleaders though.

In 1933, eager motorists park their automobiles on the grounds of Park-In Theaters, the first-ever drive-in movie theater, located on Crescent Boulevard in Camden, New Jersey. Richard Hollingshead opened it up. He thought of it because his mother was to large for theater seats. He charged just 25 cents per car.

The Drive-In didn’t really take off until the in-car speakers were invented by the late 40s. By 1958, the number of drive-ins peaked at 4,063.

Indoor theaters were more practical because they could show a movie 5-6 times a day and not have to worry about the weather or being light so the Drive-In’s started to get B movies (Revenge of the Cheerleaders!) and the fad started to slow down. Also, land value pushed the Drive-In’s out.

Now there are roughly 400 Drive-Ins left in America.

In Nashville, they are building an indoor Drive-In Theater. When it is finished I will check it out. You will not drive in with your car…you will walk in and sit in one of the classic cars they will have ready for you…I’m ready…but no trunks

A rendering of the August Moon Drive-In theater planned

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Defunct Restaurant Chains

Some of these restaurant chains,  people will remember some won’t because it depends on where you live and if any were in your market. A few may have a handful open with Franchisees but for the most part, they are closed.

 

Steak and Ale -1966 – 2008   I liked the Mock Tudor building and the atmosphere inside…the food was good. They are trying to make a comeback…I hope they make it. Last time I ate at one was in the 90s in Huntsville Alabama.

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Burger Chef – 1954 – 1996    They had over 1200 locations at one time. Many were bought out and turned into Hardees.

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Rax Roast Beef 1967 – (handful open now)   I liked the Roast Beef but the best thing was the chocolate chip milkshake. There are a few lone Franchisees left. I remember going to them in the 80s.

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Minnie Pearl’s Fried Chicken  1968 to mid-1970s – How-dee-licious…indeed. It was actually really good. When I was in 2nd grade we would go to one in a nearby town once in a while…really good chicken… it went down because of faulty accounting… Great article here.

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Bennigan’s 1976 – (Bennigan’s and Steak and Ale making a comeback together)  An Irish Pub theme restaurant. I went there a few times. There are a few locations left…

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Red Barn – 1961-1988 They were known for the “Big Barney” and Barnbuster burger. I see an old Red Barn where I work and now it’s a Mexican restaurant.

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Howard Johnson’s Restaurant – 1953-2017   I do remember eating at a few of these traveling.  In 2017 there was one left in New York but the owner was arrested and now it’s closed.

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LUMS – 1956-1982  I did go to one but I was really young and traveling at the time.

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Bonanza Steak House – 1963 – 2008 (bankruptcy) There are a few of these left… these and Ponderosa… Dan Blocker (Hoss Cartwright) was an original investor. In the late seventies before we would go to a movie we would stop at a Bonanza. I did go to a Ponderosa a few years back.

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