Twilight Zone – The Sixteen-Millimeter Shrine

★★★1/2  October 23, 1959 Season 1 Episode 4

If you want to see where we are…HERE is a list of the episodes.

This episode has more than a strong resemblance to the film Sunset Boulevard. Barbara Jean Trenton who is played by the great actress and director Ida Lupino is an aging actress who continually looks back at her old films and forgets the world has gone on. The ending has a good twist but something about the episode just doesn’t live up to some of the great ones. Saying that, it still is a very good episode…an average Twilight Zone is better than many other’s best shows. 

Martin Balsam makes an appearance as her agent Danny Weiss. We will see Martin again in the fourth season in a much scarier role. He was also in the 1985-87 reboot Twilight Zone. I remember him the most in 12 Angry Men and his appearances many 60s and 70s tv shows. 

Ida Lupino, who starred in this episode, would later direct The Twilight Zone: The Masks. She became not just the only woman to direct an episode of the The Twilight Zone, but also the only person to both star in an episode and direct one.

Ida Lupino has 42 credits to her name as a Director. 

This show was written by Rod Serling

Rod Serling’s Opening Narration: 

Picture of a woman looking at a picture. Movie great of another time, once-brilliant star in a firmament no longer a part of the sky, eclipsed by the movement of earth and time. Barbara Jean Trenton, whose world is a projection room, whose dreams are made out of celluloid. Barbara Jean Trenton, struck down by hit-and-run years and lying on the unhappy pavement, trying desperately to get the license number of fleeting fame.

Summary

Former queen of the silver screen, Barbara Trenton’s a woman who lives in her past – watching her movies from more than 25 years earlier. Her housemaid, Sally’s worried by her behavior, and tells Barbara’s friend, and agent Danny Weiss. He tries to make Barbara move on, even getting her a role in an upcoming film. But Barbara lives in the past and won’t accept that she’s older now

Rod Serling’s Closing Narration:

To the wishes that come true, to the strange, mystic strength of the human animal, who can take a wishful dream and give it a dimension of its own. To Barbara Jean Trenton, movie queen of another era, who has changed the blank tomb of an empty projection screen into a private world. It can happen in the Twilight Zone.

CAST

Rod Serling … Narrator (voice)
Ida Lupino … Barbara Jean Trenton
Martin Balsam … Danny Weiss
Jerome Cowan … Jerry Hearndan
Ted de Corsia … Marty Sall
Alice Frost … Sally

Twilight Zone – Mr. Denton on Doomsday

★★★★1/2  October 16, 1959 Season 1 Episode 3

If you want to see where we are…HERE is a list of the episodes.

I think very highly of this episode. The more I watch it the more I enjoy it. We travel to the old West for this episode. We meet the town drunk Al Denton who was brilliantly played by Dan Duryea. A gunfighter named Dan Hotaling played by a young Martin Landau is making a fool of Denton by making him sing “How Dry I Am” for whiskey. He picks on Denton one too many times.

The show also has a mystical character (but of course…it’s the Twilight Zone) named Henry J. Fate and he tries to help Denton to redeem himself. I can’t say enough about Dan Duryea’s acting in this episode. The transformation of Denton and the nice twist at the end makes this a great episode.

You get to know Al Denton and feel for him as he was an old gunfighter and it drove him to drinking…will he be forced into that line of work again?

This episode was written by Rod Serling

Rod Serling’s Opening Narration: 

Portrait of a town drunk named Al Denton. This is a man who’s begun his dying early—a long, agonizing route through a maze of bottles. Al Denton, who would probably give an arm or a leg or a part of his soul to have another chance, to be able to rise up and shake the dirt from his body and the bad dreams that infest his consciousness. In the parlance of the times, this is a peddler, a rather fanciful-looking little man in a black frock coat. [A revolver mysteriously appears on the ground next to Denton] And this is the third principal character of our story. Its function: perhaps to give Mr. Al Denton his second chance.

Summary

In the Old West, the drunkard Al Denton is bullied by the gunman Dan Hotaling to get some booze. The mysterious Henry J. Fate observes the humiliation and Al Denton finds a revolver on the street. When Dan sees Al Denton with a revolver in his hand, he challenges the drunk to a gunfight. Fate observes again and makes a movement with his hand that will change the life of Al Denton.

Rod Serling’s Closing Narration:

Mr. Henry Fate, dealer in utensils and pots and pans, liniments and potions. A fanciful little man in a black frock coat who can help a man climbing out of a pit—or another man from falling into one. Because, you see, fate can work that way, in the Twilight Zone.

CAST

Rod Serling … Narrator (voice)
Dan Duryea … Al Denton
Martin Landau … Dan Hotaling
Jeanne Cooper … Liz
Malcolm Atterbury … Henry J. Fate
Ken Lynch … Charlie
Arthur Batanide … Leader
Bill Erwin … Man
Robert Burton … Doctor
Doug McClure … Pete Grant

Twilight Zone – One for the Angels

★★★½   October 9, 1959 Season 1 Episode 2

If you want to see where we are…HERE is a list of the episodes.

This is a good episode of The Twilight Zone. It’s the first time we meet Death. He comes in different forms in the Twilight Zone. 73 year old Ed Wynn does a superb job as a salesman and a Santa Claus figure in the neighborhood. He is beloved by people but especially kids.

Murray Hamilton also is great as Mr. Death. He is very business like and he treats the job like any other job with deadlines and commitments. I must wonder what people thought in 1959 watching a show with Death stalking someone so businesslike.

Murray Hamilton is probably better remembered for his role playing Mr. Robinson in the 1967 film The Graduate.

Dana Dillaway who played Maggie: The scene where I was hit by the car was kind of morbid… I remember they kept spritzing the actor who was driving the car with a water spray bottle, who came around to see if I was okay while laying in the street… there is a publicity shot of me laying there and it’s kind of morbid!”

This show was written by Rod Serling

Rod Serling’s Opening Narration: 

Street scene: Summer. The present. Man on a sidewalk named Lew Bookman, age sixtyish. Occupation: pitchman. Lew Bookman, a fixture of the summer, a rather minor component to a hot July, a nondescript, commonplace little man whose life is a treadmill built out of sidewalks. And in just a moment, Lew Bookman will have to concern himself with survival – because as of three o’clock this hot July afternoon, he’ll be stalked by Mr. Death.

Lou Bookman is a street vendor; a pitchman, making a living selling what he can from his valise – radios, toys, ties and the like. After a long day, he returns to his shabby apartment to find someone waiting for him, someone he saw near where he had been selling that day. That person turns out to be Mr. Death who is there to tell Lou that his time on Earth has come to an end and that his “departure” will be at midnight. Lou tries to forestall his death by asking for a delay until he’s able to make a big sales pitch. It’s all a ruse however and Mr. Death shows him that his actions have consequences. As a result, Lou makes the pitch of his life.

Rod Serling’s Closing Narration:

Lewis J. Bookman, age sixtyish. Occupation: pitchman. Formerly a fixture of the summer, formerly a rather minor component to a hot July. But, throughout his life, a man beloved by the children, and therefore, a most important man. Couldn’t happen, you say? Probably not in most places – but it did happen in the Twilight Zone.

CAST

Rod Serling … Narrator (voice)
Ed Wynn … Lou Bookman
Murray Hamilton … Mr. Death
Dana Dillaway … Maggie Polanski
Jay Overholts … Doctor
Merritt Bohn … Truck Driver

Twilight Zone – Where is Everybody?

★★★☆☆   October 2, 1959 Season 1 Episode 1

If you want to see where we are…HERE is a list of the episodes.

A good episode to start the series. They would explore this topic of being alone in more episodes to greater affect but a good debut. How new this must have been on the tv landscape at the time. On the DVD set Rod Serling is shown in a short clip trying to sell the series to the network with previews of coming episodes. My guess is the first episode they didn’t want to air a really strange one.

This one has the Twilight Zone twist ending and the moral. Rod Serling wrote this episode. The episode originally featured Westbrook Van Voorhis as narrator. When Voorhis was unavailable for later episodes, Serling re-recorded the narration himself for consistency.

Opening narration:

“The place is here, the time is now, and the journey into the shadows that we’re about to watch could be our journey.”

Summary

A man finds himself walking down a country road, not knowing where nor who he is. He comes across a diner with a jukebox blaring and hot coffee on the stove – only there’s no one there. A little further down the road, he comes to the picturesque town of Oakwood, and finds, it too, seems deserted. The only sounds he hears are a clock tower, and a pay phone ringing. At the local movie theater, an ad for Battle Hymn (1957) leads him to believe he’s in the Air Force. In spite of no people to be found, he can’t shake off the feeling, he’s being watched.

Closing narration:

“Up there, up there in the vastness of space, in the void that is sky, up there is an enemy known as isolation. It sits there in the stars waiting, waiting with the patience of eons, forever waiting…in the Twilight Zone.”

Earl Holliman Earl Holliman … Mike Ferris
James Gregory James Gregory … Air Force General
Paul Langton Paul Langton … Doctor
James McCallion James McCallion … Reporter #1
John Conwell John Conwell … Air Force Colonel
Jay Overholts Jay Overholts … Reporter #2 (as Jay Overholt)
Carter Mullally Jr. Carter Mullally Jr. … Air Force Captain (as Carter Mullaly)
Garry Walberg Garry Walberg … Reporter #3 (as Gary Walberg)
Jim Johnson Jim Johnson … Air Force Staff Sergeant

Johnny Burnette Trio-Train Kept A Rollin’

This song you may remember from the Yardbirds and Aerosmith but this version rocks roots style. No matter what version you know…this song is built for a rock band of any kind.

It was written by Tiny Bradshaw, Howard Kay, and Lois Mann, this song was originally performed by Tiny Bradshaw’s Big Band in 1951.

This version features guitar lines in what many historians consider to be the first recorded example of intentionally distorted guitar in rock music, although blues guitarists, such as Willie Johnson and Pat Hare, had recorded with the same effect years earlier.

The Trio’s guitarist, Paul Burlison, recounted that he noticed the sound after accidentally dropping his amplifier, which dislodged a power tube. Later, “Whenever I wanted to get that sound, I’d just reach back and loosen that tube”

Johnny Burnette recorded this rock version in 1956, and The Yardbirds popularized the song with their rendition in 1965. Aerosmith covered it in 1974, often playing the song as their encore in their early years. Tyler had seen the Yardbirds do it in the sixties and as he said it knocked him out.

Train Kept A Rollin’

I caught a train
I met a dame
She was a hepster
And a real gone dame
She was pretty
From New York City
And we trucked on down that old fair lane
With a heave and a ho
Well i just couldn’t let her go

Get along, creepy little woman
Get along, well be on your way
Get along, creepy little woman
Get along, well be on your way
With a heave and a ho
Well i just couldn’t let her go

Well, the train kept a-rollin all night long
The train kept a-rollin all night long
The train kept me movin’ all night long
The train kept a-rollin all night long
With a heave and a ho
Well i just couldn’t let her go

We made a stop
In Alberquerque
She must of thought
That I was a real gone jerk
We got off the train
At El Paso
Our lovin was so good, jack
I couldn’t let her go
Get along
Well I just couldn’t let her go

Get along, creepy little woman
Get along, well be on your way
Get along, creepy little woman
Get along, well be on your way
With a heave and a ho
Well I just couldn’t let her go

The train kept a-rollin all night long
The train kept a-rollin all night long
The train kept her movin’ all night long
The train kept a-rollin all night long
With a heave and a ho
Well I just couldn’t let her go-oh-oh

Eddie Cochran – Somethin’ Else

The first thing I noticed are the huge drums that start this song off. Eddie was one of the great rock and roll guitar players in the 50s. His guitar playing influenced bands such as The Clash, The Ramones, and The Sex Pistols.

Cochran wrote this with the help of Sharon Sheeley, who became Eddie’s girlfriend. There weren’t many female songwriters at the time, but Sheeley’s first effort, “Poor Little Fool,” became a #1 hit for Ricky Nelson.

She met Eddie when she asked him to record one of her songs.

On April 17, 1960, Cochran was killed in a car accident at age 21. Sheeley and Gene Vincent were also in the car and injured in the crash, but Cochran went through the windshield.

Sheeley continued to write songs for artists like Brenda Lee and Irma Thomas. She died in 2002 at age 62.

Somethin’ Else

A look a-there, here she comes
There comes that girl again
Wanted to date her since I don’t know when
But she don’t notice me when I pass
She goes with all the guys from outta my class
But that can’t stop me from a-thinkin’ to myself
She’s sure fine lookin’ man, she’s something else

Hey, look a-there, across the street
There’s a car made just for me
To own that car would be a luxery
But right now I can’t afford the gas
A brand new convertible is outta my class
But that can’t stop me from athinkin’ to myself
That car’s fine lookin’ man, it’s something else

Hey, look a-here, just wait and see
Worked hard and saved my dough
I’ll buy that car that I been wanting so
Get me that girl and we’ll go ridin’ around
We’ll look real sharp with the flight top down
I keep right on a-dreamin’ and a-thinkin’ to myself
When it all comes true man, wow, that’s something else

Look a-there, what’s all this
Never thought I’d do this before
But here I am a-knockin’ on her door
My car’s out front and it’s all mine
Just a forty-one ford, not a fifty-nine
I got that girl an’ I’m a-thinkin’ to myself
She’s sure fine lookin’ man, wow, she’s something else

Wanda Jackson – Fujiyama Mama

I’m letting my regular format rest this weekend and contine what I started Friday, a foray into some rockabilly. I hope you stay with me. Let start off this Saturday morning with one of the best…Wanda Jackson.

After posting about Joyce Green a while back I started hunting around for more rockabilly songs. The vocal that Jackson has on this is great. Hard to believe she was a teenager when did this.

Fujiyama Mama is a song written by Jack Hammer. It was first recorded in 1955 by Annisteen Allen. In 1957 rockabilly singer Wanda Jackson recorded it. It did not chart in the United States, but Jackson’s recording peaked at #1 in Japan for several months in 1958.

So why wasn’t this a hit in America? Wanda said “Nobody would play it,” she insists. “They barely had accepted Elvis and the other ones, and they weren’t too sure about accepting a teenage girl singing this kind of music..” 

Others have said America wasn’t too happy about the sexual meaning of the lyrics being delivered by a teenage girl. The Japanese enjoyed hearing familiar places in the song much more than the memory of the war. It’s still a cult favorite in Japan.

Wanda Jackson: I’m going to go back now to the year 1958. … Finally, I got a number one song in rock and roll. [Applause.] Thank you, but it wasn’t in America. [Laughs.] It took them a little bit longer to find me. But Japan found me in ’58 and made this song number one for a whole summer. And those people still sing it today—I can’t believe it. Like an evergreen song, you know? Every generation. It’s amazing.

Fuijyama Mama

I’ve been to Nagasaki, Hiroshima too
The things I did to them baby, I can do to you

‘Cause I’m a Fujiyama Mama
And I’m just about to blow my top
Fujiyama-yama, Fujiyama
And when I start erupting
Ain’t nobody gonna make me stop

I drink a quart of sake, smoke dynamite
I chase it with tobbacy and then shoot out the lights

‘Cause I’m a Fujiyama Mama
And I’m just about to blow my top
Fujiyama-yama, Fujiyama
And when I start erupting
Ain’t nobody gonna make me stop

Well you can talk about me, say that I’m mean
I’ll blow your head off baby with nitroglycerine

‘Cause I’m a Fujiyama Mama
And I’m just about to blow my top
Fujiyama-yama, Fujiyama
And when I start erupting
Ain’t nobody gonna make me stop

Well you can say I’m crazy, so deaf and dumb
But I can cause destruction just like the atom bomb

‘Cause I’m a Fujiyama Mama
And I’m just about to blow my top
Fujiyama-yama, Fujiyama
And when I start erupting
Ain’t nobody gonna make me stop

I drink a quart of sake, smoke dynamite
I chase it with tobbacy and then shoot out the lights

‘Cause I’m a Fujiyama Mama
And I’m just about to blow my top
Fujiyama-yama, Fujiyama
And when I start erupting
Ain’t nobody gonna make me stop

Gene Vincent – Lotta Lovin

The lead guitarist on the track was Johnny Meeks, who had replaced Cliff Gallup. The song has a great rockabilly vibe to it…from this came rock but it’s hard to top this. 

In August 1957, a year after he had scored a million-seller with his debut single, Be-Bop-A-Lula Gene Vincent returned to the U.S. Top 20 with Lotta Lovin’ which, briefly restored his career here that was all too ready to overlook him.

‘Be-Bop-A-Lula’ had propelled  Vincent into the limelight while he was still an amateur with only a few hometown appearances to his name. Years later, he blamed his quick baptism of fire for his rapid descent into alcohol.

What didn’t help was the car accident he had on April 16, 1960…with Eddie Cochran in a taxi which killed Cochran. Vincent whose leg was weak due to a wound incurred in combat in Korea…was injured. He walked with a noticeable limp for the rest of his life. 

In 1962 he was in Hamburg and played on the same bill as the Beatles. The Beatles got pretty close to him.

0248 Blue Jean Bop – Gene Vincent (1956) | The beatles, The quarrymen, Paul  mccartney

Lotta Lovin’

Well I wanna-wanna lotta-lotta lovin’
Well I wanna-wanna lotta-lotta huggin’
So baby can’t you see that you were meant for me
I want your lovin’, yes-a-ree.

Well I wanna-wanna lotta-lotta huggin’
Well I wanna-wanna lotta-lotta kissin’
So baby please proceed to get the love I need
I want your lovin’ yes indeed.

Well, I want you, I love you, I need you so much
Why don’t you give out with that magic touch
You send me, you thrill me, baby you’re so fine
I want your lovin’ baby all the time.

Well I wanna-wanna lotta-lotta lovin’
Well I wanna-wanna lotta-lotta kissin’
So baby don’t forget I gonna get you yet
I want your lovin’, aw you bet. (Rock)

Well, I want you, I love you, I need you so much
Why don’t you give out with that magic touch
You send me, you thrill me, baby you’re so fine
I want your lovin’ baby all the time

Well I wanna-wanna lotta-lotta lovin’
Well I wanna-wanna lotta-lotta huggin’
So baby don’t forget I gonna get you yet
I want your lovin’, aw you bet. (Rock)

Well I wanna-wanna lotta lovin’
Well I wanna-wanna lotta huggin’
So baby don’t forget I gonna get you yet
I want your lovin’, aw you bet
Well,I need your lovin’, aw you bet
Well, I want your lovin’, aw you bet
Well,I need your lovin’, aw you bet
Well, I want your lovin’, aw you bet.

Hank Williams – Your Cheatin’ Heart

***I have posted my 10 favorite covers of Beatle songs at Keith’s site nostaligicitalian ***

The man was such a great songwriter. His influences stretched from Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash, Rolling Stones and everyone in between…so lets hear it for The Hillbilly Shakespeare

This could be William’s best known song. Williams wrote this shortly after divorcing his wife, Audrey Mae Sheppard. They married in 1944 right after Audrey got a divorce from her husband.  The pair would go on to record several duets together (and produce a son, Hank Williams Jr.), but Williams’ drinking ultimately caused trouble in their marriage.

When Hank described his first wife (Audrey) having a cheatin’ heart to country singer Billie Jean Jones, who would soon become his second wife, he was inspired to write the song.

This song was recorded in September of 1952. He would die in January 1,  1953. This would be his last recording session. He also recorded  recording Kaw-Liga, I Could Never Be Ashamed of You, and Take These Chains from My Heart. 

His last single during his lifetime was  I’ll Never Get Out of This World Alive backed with I Could Never Be Ashamed of You which was released in November  1952.

Your Cheatin’ Heart peaked at #1 on the US Country Charts in 1953.

Billie Jean Jones (second wife) on Hank Williams saying the phrase in a car: “Then he said, ‘Hey that’d make a good song! Get out my tablet, baby, you and I are gonna write us a song,'” “Just about as fast as I could write it, Hank quoted the words to me in a matter of minutes.”

From Songfacts

Williams recorded this in September 1952 during what would be his last session at Nashville’s Castle Records. He would die just months later from heart problems (or, some say, suspicious circumstances) on the way to a New Year’s concert in Canton, Ohio. The song was posthumously released in January 1953 and topped the Country & Western Billboard Charts for six weeks.

Many artists have covered this over the years, including Louis Armstrong, Glen Campbell, Fats Domino and Jerry Lee Lewis. Ray Charles’ 1962 version was a hit in both the US and the UK, peaking at #29 and #13, respectively.

Rat Pack member Joey Bishop recorded this in the ’60s on the album Cold, Cold, Heart. Bishop was an actor, and many people considered his version so bad it was actually entertaining. On the album cover, Bishop is dressed in a rhinestone cowboy costume. It contains liner notes by fellow Rat Packer Dean Martin. 

For the line “You’ll walk the floor, the way I do,” Williams took inspiration from his friend Ernest Tubb’s “Walkin’ the Floor Over You.” He also recorded three of Tubb’s hits, which were released posthumously: “First Year Blues,” “It Just Don’t Matter Now” and “I’m Free at Last.”

This song shares its name with the 1964 biopic of Hank Williams, starring George Hamilton. Hank Williams Jr. recorded the soundtrack album.

Two versions of this hit the pop charts in 1953: Joni James’ at #2 and Frankie Laine’s at #18.

Your Cheatin’ Heart

Your cheatin’ heart
Will make you weep
You’ll cry and cry
And try to sleep
But sleep won’t come
The whole night through
Your cheatin’ heart
Will tell on you

When tears come down
Like falling rain
You’ll toss around
And call my name
You’ll walk the floor
The way I do
Your cheatin’ heart
Will tell on you

Your cheatin’ heart
Will pine some day
And crave the love
You threw away
The time will come
When you’ll be blue
Your cheatin’ heart
Will tell on you

When tears come down
Like falling rain
You’ll toss around
And call my name
You’ll walk the floor
The way I do
Your cheatin’ heart
Will tell on you

Joyce Green – Black Cadillac

I caught you cheatin’ and runnin’ round
And now I’m gonna put you in a hole in the ground
I’m gonna ride to your funeral
Daddy, in a black Cadillac…. Joyce Green 1959

Joyce was only 19 and she didn’t play around in this song. How great are those lyrics? She not only sings this song…she owns it and you don’t want on Joyce’s bad side. Her voice is electric. It’s a downright shame she didn’t do much more.  The quality is great.

When I heard this I thought I died and went to rockabilly heaven. A man named Tommy Holder is playing guitar and does he ever. This wasn’t a hit but it’s a treasure to find. Joyce embarked on a promotional tour with Carl Perkins to support the record. The record was never a hit and Joyce did not record again until the 1970s. These later recordings were lost in a fire… and that is sad.

The song was a reworking of an old blues number by Buddy Moss, with Moss’s  V8 Ford replaced by a flashy Cadillac.

In 1959, Joyce wrote the song Black Cadillac with her sister Doris. She played the song for Arlen Vaden who arranged a recording session for her at KLCN in Blytheville, Arkansas. Joyce sang and played rhythm guitar on the record which included the song Tomorrow on the A-side and Black Cadillac on the B-side. I can’t believe this was a B side. This was her only release…the single Tomorrow/Black Cadillac.

The other musicians on the record included Tommy Holder on guitar, Teddy Redell on piano, Scotty Kuykendall on bass and Harvey Farley on drums. The record was released on Vaden Records 1959. Vaden Records, based in Trumann (Poinsett County), started as a mail-order company featuring gospel music. It soon grew into a regional studio that released music by such blues and early rock and roll artists as Bobby Brown, Teddy Riedel, Larry Donn, and many others who went on to regional and national fame.

Black Cadillac

I caught you cheatin’ and runnin’ round
And now I’m gonna put you in a hole in the ground
I’m gonna ride to your funeral
Daddy, in a black Cadillac
Oh yeah, you think you won
Oh baby, but you can’t come back
Now, I’m gonna bump you off
Gonna tell you the reason why
You’re worth more to me dead daddy
Than you is alive
I’m gonna ride to your funeral
Daddy, in a black Cadillac
Oh yeah, you think you won
Oh baby, but you can’t come back

I’m gonna buy me a pistol
A great big forty-five
I’m gonna bring you back baby, dead or alive
I’m gonna ride to your funeral
Daddy, in a black Cadillac
Oh yeah, you think you won
Oh baby, but you can’t come back

I’ll hire a black Cadillac
To drive you to your grave
I’m gonna be there baby
Throw that mud in your face
I’m gonna ride to your funeral
Daddy, in a black Cadillac
Oh yeah, you think you won
Oh baby, but you can’t come back
I’ll wear a black mink coat
A diamond ring on my hand
I’m gonna put you under ground
I’ll find myself another man
I’m gonna ride to your funeral
Daddy, in a black Cadillac
Oh yeah, you think you won
Oh baby, but you can’t come back

Chuck Berry – Johnny B. Goode

This song is probably the most important rock and roll song in the history of rock. Parts of it have been borrowed, stolen, and picked apart. Any rock band should be able to play this song or their rock-card gets taken away.

This song that was released in 1958 is based on Berry’s life. It tells the tale of a boy with humble beginnings with a talent for guitar. Some details were changed… Berry was from St. Louis, not Louisiana, and he knew how to read and write very well. He graduated from beauty school with a degree in hairdressing and cosmetology.

Chuck got the name “Johnny” from Johnnie Johnson, a piano player who collaborated with Berry on many songs, including “Maybellene,” “Roll Over Beethoven” and “Sweet Little 16.” Johnson often wrote the songs on piano, and then Berry converted them to guitar and wrote lyrics. Berry joined Johnson’s group, The Sir John Trio, in 1953, and quickly became the lead singer and centerpiece of the band.

Berry got the word “Goode” from the street in St. Louis where he grew up. He lived at 2520 Goode Avenue

Johnnie Johnson as very well-respected among many musicians. He played with Keith Richards, Eric Clapton, John Lee Hooker and many others before his death at age 80 in 2005.

In 1977, NASA sent a copy of this on the Voyager space probe as part of a package that was meant to represent the best in American culture. Someday, aliens could find it and discover Chuck Berry.

The contents of the golden record were selected for NASA by a committee chaired by Carl Sagan. Some disagreed with the inclusion of Johnny B. Goode on the disc, claiming that rock music was adolescent. Carl Sagan responded, “There are a lot of adolescents on the planet.” 

The song peaked at #8 in the Billboard 100 in 1958.

From Songfacts

The line “that little country boy could play” was originally “that little colored boy can play.” Berry knew he had to change it if he wanted the song played on the radio, and he didn’t want to alienate his white fans, who could better relate to the tale of a “country” boy.

Berry lifted some guitar licks for this song: the intro came from the Louis Jordan song “Ain’t That Just Like A Woman,” and the guitar break came from a 1950 T-Bone Walker song called “Strollin’ With Bones.” Jordan was a very influential R&B singer and a huge influence on Berry; Walker was a famous guitarist in the ’40s and early ’50s who came up with an electric guitar sound and raucous stage act that Berry incorporated.

In 2000, Johnnie Johnson sued Berry, claiming that he never got credit for helping write many of Berry’s hits, including this. The case was dismissed in 2002, with the judge ruling that too much time passed between the writing of the songs and the lawsuit.

This song is a great example of the care and precision Berry used when writing and delivering his lyrics. He wanted the words to his songs to tell a story and stand on their own, and took care to clearly enunciate so listeners could understand them. Many of the Country and Blues singers who preceded Berry weren’t so clear with the words.

In 1981, Keith Richards went backstage at a Chuck Berry show in New York, where he made the mistake of plucking the strings on one of Berry’s guitars. Chuck came in and punched him, giving Richards a black eye. This wasn’t out of character for the sometimes-prickly Berry. Richards later said: “I love his work, but I couldn’t warm to him even if I was cremated next to him.”

Berry recorded a sequel to this song called “Bye Bye Johnny,” which tells the story of Johnny as a grown man.

Johnny Winter played this at the Woodstock festival in 1969. He released a studio version the same year on his album Second Winter.

At the Summer Jam in Watkins Glen, New York in 1973, The Band, The Allman Brothers and The Grateful Dead played this song as an encore. It was the largest rock concert ever, with about 600,000 people attending.

This was featured in the 1985 movie Back To The Future. Michael J. Fox’ character goes back in time and plays it to a stunned crowd as Marvin Berry looks on. Marvin rings his cousin, Chuck, saying that he thinks he has found the new style he is looking for, then points the telephone so that it catches most of the music coming from Marty McFly. This scene produced a classic line when McFly comes on stage and tells the band, “It’s a blues riff in B, watch me for the changes, and try to keep up.”

A musician named Mark Campbell sang Fox’s vocals, but was credited as “Marty McFly.”

Peter Tosh did a reggae version in 1983 that reached #48 in the UK and #84 in America. His producer, Donald Kinsey, told Mojo magazine that during the session, Tosh struggled to add anything sufficiently original to Chuck Berry’s rock and roll classic, but then Kinsey woke up with a breakthrough. “It hit me: the bassline, the vocal melody, The Almighty gave it to me,” he said. “I was so excited, I woke everybody up. The next day I told Peter, we need a hit record. Let me get the band and lay the track, brother. And if you don’t like it, burn it up.”

Along with Peter Tosh, these singers charted in America with covers of “Johnny B. Goode”:

71/64 Dion (#71, 1964)
114/69 Buck Owens (#114, 1969)
92/70 Johnny Winter (#92, 1970)

The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, Jerry Lee Lewis, The Sex Pistols and the Grateful Dead are among the many artists to cover it.

In 1988, a movie called Johnny Be Good was released with a version of this song by the British metal band Judas Priest as the theme. The film, which stars Anthony Michael Hall and Robert Downey Jr., was soon forgotten; the Priest cover was included on the soundtrack as well as their album Ram It Down. Released as a single, it reached #64 in the UK. The music video, directed by Wayne Isham, uses footage from the film.

In 1991 Johnnie Johnson released his first solo album: Johnnie B. Bad.

In 2004, John Kerry used this as his theme song at most of his campaign events when he was running for president of the US. In 2008, John McCain used the song in his successful run for the Republican nomination, but phased it out and began using ABBA’s “Take A Chance On Me.” Chuck Berry made it clear that he supported McCain’s opponent, Barack Obama. >>

When AC/DC opened for Cheap Trick at a show in Sioux Falls, South Dakota on July 7, 1979 the bands joined together to play this song, a recording of which was circulated as a bootleg single. It was officially released in 2007.

Johnny B. Goode

Deep down in Louisiana close to New Orleans
Way back up in the woods among the evergreens
There stood a log cabin made of earth and wood
Where lived a country boy named Johnny B. Goode
Who never ever learned to read or write so well
But he could play a guitar just like a-ringin’ a bell

Go go
Go Johnny go go
Go Johnny go go
Go Johnny go go
Go Johnny go go
Johnny B. Goode

He used to carry his guitar in a gunny sack
Go sit beneath the tree by the railroad track
Oh, the engineers would see him sitting in the shade
Strumming with the rhythm that the drivers made
People passing by, they would stop and say
“Oh my that little country boy could play”

Go go
Go Johnny go go
Go Johnny go go
Go Johnny go go
Go Johnny go go
Johnny B. Goode

His mother told him “Someday you will be a man
And you will be the leader of a big old band
Many people coming from miles around
To hear you play your music when the sun go down
Maybe someday your name will be in lights
Saying “Johnny B. Goode tonight”

Go go
Go Johnny go
Go go go Johnny go
Go go go Johnny go
Go go go Johnny go
Go
Johnny B. Goode

Bo Diddley – Who Do You Love?

I remember this song as a teenager by George Thorogood. Bo Diddley was a little funkier than his rock and roll peers. He developed that wonderful riff that will live on forever where ever rock and roll is played. I could play this over and over on the guitar and never get tired of it. You can be a beginner at guitar but once you learn this…it sounds better than any other riff you can play…you can play it soft or loud…it doesn’t matter. The riff or  beat has been called “The Bo Diddley Beat.”

The rhythm to this version is just infectious. Bo Diddley (Ellas McDaniel) wrote this song. It was released in 1956 but did not reach the charts…that boggles the mind.

In 2004, Rolling Stone magazine ranked Bo Diddley’s original song at number 133 on their list of the “500 Greatest Songs of All Time.”

You can be cool… but not Bo Diddley playing his square guitar cool… great guitarist and showman.

I always loved his square guitar. He built a guitar that looked like no other. He designed and constructed a custom built square shaped guitar for himself, he then commissioned Gretsch Guitars and Kinman Guitar Electrix to build further custom built square shaped models for him.

Solid Body :: G6138 Bo Diddley, "G" Cutout Tailpiece, Ebony Fingerboard,  Firebird Red

From Songfacts

The title is a play on the word “Hoodoo,” which is a folk religion similar to Voodoo and also popular in the American South. Many blues musicians mentioned Hoodoo in their songs and like Diddley, conjured up images of the skulls, snakes and graveyards.

George Thorogood And The Destroyers recorded a popular cover on their 1978 album Move It On Over. In 1982, Diddley appeared in Thorogood’s video for “Bad To The Bone.” It was good timing, since MTV was new didn’t have many videos.

British blues rockers Juicy Lucy had a #14 hit in the UK in 1970 with their version of this song.

Who Do You Love?

I walk forty-seven miles of barbed wire
I use a cobra snake for a necktie
I got a brand new house on the roadside
Made from rattlesnake hide
I got a brand new chimney made on top
Made out of a human skull
Now come on take a walk with me, Arlene
And tell me, who do you love?

Who do you love?
Who do you love?
Who do you love?
Who do you love?
Who do you love?

Tombstone hand and a graveyard mind
Just twenty-two and I don’t mind dying

Who do you love?
Who do you love?
Who do you love?
Who do you love?

I rode a lion to town, used a rattlesnake whip
Take it easy Arlene, don’t give me no lip

Who do you love?
Who do you love?
Who do you love?
Who do you love?

Night was dark, but the sky was blue
Down the alley, the ice-wagon flew
Heard a bump, and somebody screamed
You should have heard just what I seen

Who do you love?
Who do you love?
Who do you love?
Who do you love?

Arlene took me by my hand
And she said ooo-wee, Bo, you know I understand

Who do you love?
Who do you love?
Who do you love?
Who do you love?

Sunset Boulevard

Hanspostcard is hosting a movie draft from 12 different genres…this is my Film Noir entry.

Sunset Boulevard. fulfills my Film Noir portion of the draft.

I didn’t find this movie until the 90s. In the late eighties I was watching and reading about every silent movie and artist that I could. Clara Bow, Buster Keaton, and Charlie Chaplin were at the top of my list.

In a  Keaton book I saw this as a film credit. I then read some about the great Billy Wilder, director, screenwriter, and producer,  and I had to watch it. The movie did not disappoint. Buster’s part was nothing more than a cameo but the movie more than made up for it. It’s funny how we find some movies.

Just a little of the plot… Within two minutes of watching  you see the end of the movie in front of you…then you see the harrowing journey there.

Screenplay writer Joe Gillis was desperately trying to sell his stories but Hollywood did not want to listen. Joe had talent but he wasn’t trying to write something great…just something that would sell. He was going to have to return to home to Dayton Ohio a failure if something didn’t happen and soon. His car was getting repossessed and he was trying to hide it just for a little while. While being chased by creditors he parks it in a decrepit old mansion. Little did he know that former silent movie star Norma Desmond still lived there.  She used to be a big (“I am big it’s the pictures that got small”) star.

Joe Gillis ended up being invited to stay to edit Norma’s film screenplay that she wrote. That screenplay was going to be her return to film.  One thing leads to another and Joe ends up being a kept man and he doesn’t like it one bit. As time goes by life at Norma’s mansion…it gets darker and darker. Joe is stuck there working on Norma’s horrible screenplay while playing the good boy. He gets new clothes, perks, and is not wanting for anything…except freedom. There is a price to be paid for being kept by Desmond. He sneaks out and sees a young girl who he writes with and falls for but cannot break Norma’s grip.

The star of this movie without a doubt is Gloria Swanson as Norma Desmond. When we first meet Norma we think she is just an over the top egocentric former silent era actress. Slowly we see what a psychotic existence she lives and it only gets worse.

Norma still thinks she is adored by millions. Her chauffer Max Von Mayerling helps perpetuate this lie. We find out why as the movie goes along and it is shocking. It will blow up in his face but he never quits building her up.

The final scene is chilling. Norma Desmond in a catatonic state asking for a closeup. Her eyes alone will send a shiver down your spine.

The movie is full of great actors and actresses. The focus is on William Holden, Gloria Swanson, and Erich Von Stroheim. Holden was a great actor who appeared in movies such as The Bridge on the River Kwai, Stalag 17, and the Wild Bunch.

Erich Von Stroheim plays Max and in the twenties Erich was a silent movie actor but best remembered as an avant-garde director in the 1920s.

Gloria Swanson was a very successful silent movie actress who made a successful move to sound pictures. She also appeared on Broadway in the 40s and 50s. She started many production companies in the 1920s and 30s.

The movie was released in 1950. By 1950 the first great silent film stars of the 20s were aging and there was interest in knowing what happened to them. The Norma Desmond character was thought to be a composite of Mary Pickford who lived her life in seclusion, Clara Bow who had a mental illness as well as some other silent greats. The name was a combination of silent-film star Norma Talmadge and silent movie director William Desmond Taylor who was mysteriously shot and killed…and unsolved to this day.

The movie was written by Charles Brackett and Billy Wilder. It was directed by Billy Wilder and released in 1950.

I’ve never been a fan of the powerful  Louis B. Mayer, the co-founder of MGM. He mistreated a number of artists, one being Judy Garland. After screening this movie he berated Billy Wilder in front of a  crowd of celebrities, saying, “You have disgraced the industry that made and fed you! You should be tarred and feathered and run out of Hollywood!” Upon hearing of Mayer’s outburst, Wilder strode up to the mogul and told him “I am Billy Wilder, Go f**k yourself.” My respect for Wilder grew from there.

This movie is one of the greats. It’s a movie that anyone who is a film fan must watch.

“Alright, Mr. DeMille, I’m ready for my close-up” 

Yes she was indeed ready…she spent years getting ready for her final starring role. Just not the role you would think.

Cast

  • William Holden – Joe Gillis
  • Gloria Swanson – Norma Desmond
  • Erich Von Stroheim – Max Von Mayerling
  • Nancy Olson – Betty Schaefer
  • Fred Clark – Sheldrake
  • Lloyd Gough – Morino
  • Franklin Farnum – The Undertaker
  • Larry Blake – Finance Man
  • Charles Dayton – Finance Man
  • Cecil B. DeMille – Himself
  • Creighton Hale – Creighton Hale
  • Arthur Lane -Arthur Lane
  • John “Skins” Miller – Hog Eye
  • Billy Sheehan – 2nd Assistant Director
  • Archie Twitchell
  •  Jack Webb – Artie Green
  • Sidney Skolsky – Himself
  • Eddie Dew – Assistant Coroner
  • Tommy Ivo – Boy
  • Kenneth Gibson – Salesman
  • Ruth Clifford – Sheldrake’s Secretary
  • Bert Moorhouse – Gordon Cole
  • E. Mason Hopper – Doctor/Courtier
  • Virginia Randolph –  Courtier
  • Al Ferguson -Phone Standby
  • Stan Johnson – 1st Assistant Director
  • Julia Faye – Hisham
  • Gertrude Astor -Courtier
  • Frank O’Connor – Courtier
  • Ralph Montgomery – First Prop Man
  • Eva Novak – Courtier
  • Bernice Mosk – Herself
  • Gertrude Messenger – Hair Dresser
  • John Cortay – Young Policeman
  • Robert E. O’Connor – Jonesy
  • Buster Keaton – Buster Keaton

Buddy Holly – That’ll Be The Day

I first heard this song by the Linda Ronstadt version. She did a great job and this was one of the first songs the Beatles covered.

The movie “The Searchers” starring John Wayne inspired this song. This song peaked at #1 in the US Hot 100, #2 in the US R&B, and #1 the UK in 1957.

Holly and bandmate Allison wrote the song. Norman Petty took a writing credit on this because he produced it. This meant Holly and Allison had to share royalties with him.

Buddy Holly and his band The Three Tunes recorded this in Nashville in 1956, but Decca records didn’t like the result and refused to release it. A year later, Holly re-recorded it with The Crickets in a studio in Clovis, New Mexico owned by his new producer, Norman Petty.

Backup vocalists were brought in and the key was lowered to fit Holly’s voice a little better. This version became a huge hit and made Holly a star that summer in 1957.

From Songfacts

Holly had been kicking around his home town in Lubbock, Texas trying to write a hit song for his small rockabilly band since he had attended an Elvis Presley gig at his High School some time in 1955. His band in those days consisted of him on lead vocals and guitar, Jerry Allison on the drums and Joe B. Maudlin on upright bass. He and Jerry decided to get together and go see The Searchers, a Western movie staring John Wayne. In the movie, Wayne keeps replying, “That’ll be the day,” every time another character in the film predicts or proclaims something will happen when he felt it was not likely to happen. The phrase stuck in Jerry’s mind, and when they were hanging out at Jerry’s house one night, Buddy looked at Jerry and said that it sure would be nice if they could record a hit song. Jerry replied with, “That’ll be the day,” imitating John Wayne in the film. 

This was Holly’s first hit, but it was credited to The Crickets, Holly’s band. They worked with two record labels, with one releasing Holly’s songs as The Crickets and the other as Buddy Holly. Both labels were subsidiaries of Decca Records.

This inspired the British 1973 movie of the same name, about a young man with dreams of becoming a rock star.

This was the first song John Lennon learned to play on guitar. American rock stars like Holly and Little Richard were a big influence on The Beatles.

The movie that inspired Holly and Allison to write this also provided the name for the British group The Searchers in 1964.

When this became a hit, Decca records released Holly’s earlier version as well.

“That’ll Be The Day” was the first song John Lennon, Paul McCartney and George Harrison recorded together. In 1958, when they were still known as the Quarrymen, they pooled their money, recorded the song at a local studio, and pressed one copy on a 78rpm disc, which they shared. The disc ended up in the possession of Duff Lowe, the piano player in group. In the early ’80s, he sold it to McCartney; it was first heard in a 1985 documentary on Buddy Holly, and was released in 1995 on the Anthology 1 collection.

Linda Ronstadt released her version as the lead single from her 1976 album Hasten Down the Wind. This came at the suggestion of her producer, Peter Asher, who recorded the song completely live, just as Holly’s version was done in the days before multitracking. The song went to #11 in the US and marked a shift for Ronstadt away from country rock.

On this version, listen for the guitar solo – Waddy Wachtel played the first four bars, then Andrew Gold took over for the last four. Wachtel’s performance helped raise his profile in the Los Angeles music scene, where he soon became one of the top session players.

In the US, a version by the Everly Brothers reached #111 in 1965; Pure Prairie League took it to #106 in 1976.

That’ll Be The Day

Well, that’ll be the day, when you say goodbye
Yes, that’ll be the day, when you make me cry
You say you’re gonna leave, you know it’s a lie
‘Cause that’ll be the day when I die

Well, you give me all your loving and your turtle doving
All your hugs and kisses and your money too
Well, you know you love me baby, until you tell me, maybe
That some day, well I’ll be through

Well, that’ll be the day, when you say goodbye
Yes, that’ll be the day, when you make me cry
You say you’re gonna leave, you know it’s a lie
‘Cause that’ll be the day when I die

Well, that’ll be the day, when you say goodbye
Yes, that’ll be the day, when you make me cry
You say you’re gonna leave, you know it’s a lie
‘Cause that’ll be the day when I die

Well, when Cupid shot his dart he shot it at your heart
So if we ever part and I leave you
You sit and hold me and you tell me boldly
That some day, well I’ll be blue

Well, that’ll be the day, when you say goodbye
Yes, that’ll be the day, when you make me cry
You say you’re gonna leave, you know it’s a lie
‘Cause that’ll be the day when I die

Well, that’ll be the day, woo ho
That’ll be the day, woo ho
That’ll be the day, woo ho
That’ll be the day

Elvis Presley – Don’t Be Cruel

I would hear this song over at my relatives when I was young. They had two or three Elvis greatest hit albums so I got to know his music pretty well.  Before Elvis entered the army he was as about has hot of an entertainer as you could get. He was rock and roll to many people…the Big E, the King, The Hip Shaking Man…

Elvis released this in 1956 and it was the B side to Hound Dog. That is a pretty good single to say the least! According to Joel Whitburn  It is the only single in history to have both sides reach #1 in the US.

Don’t Be Cruel  written by Otis Blackwell, a songwriter who came up with a lot of hits for Elvis. In addition to this, he also wrote “Return to Sender,” “All Shook Up,” and “One Broken Heart for Sale” for Elvis. He also wrote “Fever,” which was made famous by Peggy Lee, and “Great Balls Of Fire” for Jerry Lee Lewis. Blackwell died in 2002 at age 70.

Cheap Trick covered this in 1988. Their version peaked at  #4 in the Billboard 100, #2 in Canada, #6 in New Zealand, and #77 in the UK. I did like this version also.

Joel Whitburn (writer):  “As far as the two-sided Presley hit ‘Hound Dog” / “Don’t Be Cruel,’ I’ve always tabulated that single 45 as two #1 hits. ‘Hound Dog’ was the first title to chart and the first one to be listed as the lead #1 song. Billboard’s ‘Best Sellers in Stores’ chart listed the the #1 song on 8/18/56 as ‘Hound Dog/Don’t Be Cruel.’ It was also shown that way when it first topped the ‘Most Played in Juke Boxes’ chart on 9/1/56. There is absolutely no doubt that the initial sales and ‘buzz’ about this record was for ‘Hound Dog.’ It was a smash #1 hit right out of the box. As airplay began to favor ‘Don’t Be Cruel,’ the two titles were flip-flopped at #1, with ‘Don’t Be Cruel’ actually showing more weeks as the #1 lead song. Again, I have always tabulated these two titles as two #1 songs. There is no way you can consider this 4-times platinum record as one #1 hit. And, neither does RIAA who awards gold and platinum selling records. They show ‘Hound Dog’ / ‘Don’t Be Cruel’ as both receiving platinum designations.”

From Songfacts

On Christmas Eve 1955, Otis Blackwell found himself on the streets in front of the Brill Building in New York City trying to stay warm. Things weren’t going well for Blackwell – it was raining and there were leaks in the soles of his shoes. His friend Leroy Kirkland walked by and asked Otis if he had written any more songs. Otis said yes. Over the next week, he sold 6 of them to a publishing company for $25 each. Management at The Brill Building liked him so much they offered him a full-time job writing, and Blackwell accepted. Not long after, Otis got some very good news: This up-and-coming rock star wanted to record one of his songs. The deal was, the guy wanted half the writer’s fee. Otis said, “No way I’m gonna give up half that song.” His friends convinced him that half of something was better than all of nothing. Besides, this new singer just might “make it” and if he did, Otis’ royalties would be tremendous. Over the next few days, Otis agreed. It wasn’t Elvis who wanted half the “writer’s fee.” It was his manager, Colonel Tom Parker. The song became one of Elvis’ biggest and longest running hits. (Thanks to the disc jockey, author and music historian Ron Foster.)

Elvis’ bass player Bill Black released an instrumental version of this in 1960 which hit US #11.

Don’t Be Cruel

You know I can be found
Sitting home all alone
If you can’t come around
At least please telephone
Don’t be cruel to who a heart that’s true

Baby, if I made you mad
For something I might have said
Please, let’s forget the past
The future looks bright ahead
Don’t be cruel to who a heart that’s true
I don’t want no other love
Baby it’s just you I’m thinking of

Don’t stop thinking of me
Don’t make me feel this way
Come on over here and love me
You know what I want you to say
Don’t be cruel to who a heart that’s true
Why should we be apart?
I really love you baby, cross my heart

Let’s walk up to the preacher
And let us say I do
Then you’ll know you’ll have me
And I’ll know that I’ll have you,
Don’t be cruel to who a heart that’s true
I don’t want no other love,
Baby it’s just you I’m thinking of

Don’t be cruel to who a heart that’s true
Don’t be cruel to who a heart that’s true
I don’t want no other love
Baby it’s just you I’m thinking of