TV Draft Round 10 – Pick 5 – Keith Selects – The Untouchables

Welcome to the Hanspostcard TV Draft. I hope you will enjoy it! Today’s post was written by Keith at https://nostalgicitalian.com/

untouchables_artwork

We have reached the final round of the Hanspostcard TV Show Draft. I want to take a moment and thank Max from the Power Pop Blog for taking up the reigns and helping us continue this round in Hans’ absence. It truly has been a fun draft!

For my final pick, I have gone back to another classic – The Untouchables. The show ran from 1959 to 1963 and starred the great Robert Stack as Eliot Ness. It is hard to imagine anyone but Robert Stack in the role of Ness, but believe it or not, Desi Arnaz had originally offered the role to actor Van Johnson. Supposedly, he wanted double what they were offering to pay for the role, and it ultimately went to Stack.

When asked about the character some years later, Stack said, “Ness was a precursor of Dirty Harry. He was a hero, a vigilante in a time when breaking the law meant nothing because there was no law because Capone owned Chicago, he owned the police force.”

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The show was based on the book of the same name written by Eliot Ness and Oscar Fraley. Brian De Palma would use the book as the basis for his 1987 film of the same name.

According to Wikipedia:

The series originally focused on the efforts of a real-life squad of Prohibition agents employed by the US Department of Justice and led by Eliot Ness (Stack) that helped bring down the bootleg empire of “Scarface” Al Capone, as described in Ness’s bestselling 1957 memoir. This squad was nicknamed “The Untouchables” because of its courage and honesty; squad members could not be bribed or intimidated by the mob. Eliot Ness himself had died suddenly in May 1957, shortly before his memoir and the subsequent TV adaptation were to bring him fame beyond any he experienced in his lifetime.

The pilot for the series, a two-part episode entitled “The Untouchables,” originally aired on CBS’s Westinghouse Desilu Placyhouse (and was introduced by Desi Arnaz) on April 20 and 27, 1959. Later re-titled “The Scarface Mob”, these episodes, which featured Neville Brand as Al Capone, were the only episodes in the series to be more-or-less directly based on Ness’s memoir, and ended with the conviction and imprisonment of Capone. CBS, which had broadcast most of Desilu’s television output since 1951 beginning with I Love Lucy, was offered the new series following the success of the pilot film. It was rejected it on the advice of network vice president Hubbell Robinson. ABC agreed to air the series, and The Untouchables premiered on October 15, 1959. In the pilot movie, the mobsters generally spoke with unrealistic pseudo-Italian accents, but this idiosyncratic pronunciation was dropped when the series debuted.

The weekly series first dramatized a power struggle to establish a new boss in Capone’s absence (for the purpose of the TV series, the new boss was Frank Nitti, although this was, as usual for the series, contrary to fact). As the series continued, there developed a highly fictionalized portrayal of Ness and his crew as all-purpose, multi-agency crime fighters who went up against an array of 1930s-era gangsters and villains, including Ma Barker, Dutch Schultz, Bugs Moran, Lucky Luciano, and in one episode, Nazi agents. On many occasions during the series run, Ness would blatantly violate suspects’ Fourth Amendment rights with no legal ramifications.

The terse narration by gossip columnist Walter Winchell, in his distinctive New York accent, was a stylistic hallmark of the series, along with its ominous theme music by Nelson Riddle and its shadowy black-and-white photography, which was influenced by film noir.

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The series produced 118 episodes which ran 50 minutes each. Though the book chronicled the experiences of Ness and his team against Capone, and in reality the Untouchables disbanded soon after Capone’s conviction. The series continued after the pilot and book ended, depicting the fictitious further exploits of the Untouchables against many, often real life, criminals over a span of time ranging from 1929 to 1935.

The show came with some controversy. Italian-American groups protested over what they felt was an unfair presentation of their people as Mafia-types. “We are plagued with lawsuits after certain shows” one of the show’s producers Josef Shaftel explained, noting that the series was “heavily insured against libel.” With good reason – the first lawsuit against the show was instigated by Al Capone’s angry widow. She didn’t like the way her deceased husband was made into a running villain on the show and wanted a million dollars for unfair use of his image. (She lost.)

The FBI and J. Edgar Hoover were ticked off too. They were the ones who collared the famous names that Ness was supposedly busting each week on TV and they rightfully wanted credit for it. The second episode of the series, for example, depicted Ness and his crew involved in the capture of the Ma Barker gang, an incident in which the real-life Ness played no part. The producers agreed to insert a spoken disclaimer on future broadcasts of the episode stating that the FBI had primary responsibility for the Barker case. Even the Bureau of Prisons took offense, complaining that the show made their treatment of Al Capone look soft.

The show itself was considered one of the most violent television shows of its time. Of course, by today’s standards it’s not that bad, but it was violent enough at the time to spark protests from parents who were worried about their children seeing this violence.

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My Thoughts

This is one of those shows that I just love! Robert Stack’s delivery of almost every line as Ness is perfect. He won an Emmy in 1960 for Best Actor in a Dramatic Series for his portrayal of Ness.

Despite the fact that many of the stories are fictionalized to work the Untouchables into them, they are great! The show really was a forerunner to shows like The FBI, Crime Story, and even Hawaii 5-0. I love the film noir feel of it. Every episode plays like a good 50 minute movie.

The Lebanon Pennsylvania Daily News said of The Untouchables: “Between the hard-nosed approach, sharp dialogue, and a commendably crisp pace (something rare in dramatic TV at the time), this series is one of the few that remains fresh and vibrant. Only the monochrome presentation betrays its age. The Untouchables is one of the few Golden Age TV shows that deserves being called a classic.” It really does hold up well.

As I have mentioned before, one of the things I love about these old shows is seeing big stars (who are not quite yet stars) show up. In regular roles throughout the series you could see Raymond Bailey (Mr. Drysdale on the Beverly Hillbillies), Barbara Stanwyck, Barbara Nichols, Ed Asner (Lou Grant), Harry Morgan (Col. Potter on MASH), and Henry Silva.

The list of guest star appearances is long and amazing. They include: Jack Elam, Paul Frees, Jim Backus, Sam Jaffe, Martin Balsam, John Dehner, William Bendix, Whitt Bissell, Charles Bronson, James Caan, James Coburn, Mike Conners, Robert Duvall, Peter Falk, Norman Fell, Alan Hale Jr., Brian Keith, Jack Klugman, Cloris Leachman, Jack Lord, Lee Marvin, Telly Savalas, Elizabeth Montgomery, Leonard Nimoy, Robert Redford, Ricardo Montalban, Rip Torn, Jack Warden, Dick York, Cliff Robertson and so many more!

"The Untouchables"Paul Picerni, Robert Stackcirca 1961

You know, they play reruns of Law and Order on TV all the time. Many of the shows I have seen numerous times. I know what’s going to happen, yet I still watch (a lot like my previous picks – Perry Mason and Columbo). The Untouchables is a show that could very easily be rerun like a Law and Order. It is that good.

I love Walter Winchell’s narration

And I love the theme song!

It has been so much fun writing on some of my favorite shows. It’s been just as fun to read about the shows picked by other members of the TV Show Draft. I hope you have enjoyed my picks…

Thanks for reading!

TV Draft Round 10 – Pick 3 – Mike Selects – The Time Tunnel

The Time Tunnel

For my final pick in these ten rounds of fave TV shows, I gave in to my childhood memories and selected The Time Tunnel, a show that had me spellbound as a ten-year old during the 30 episodes of its single season 1966-67 run. After seeing the 1960 film version of H.G. Wells’ The Time Machine on television, I became fascinated with the concept of time travel which made The Time Tunnel the perfect show for me.

The Time Tunnel was the product of the legendary Irwin Allen who had previously produced and directed two other highly acclaimed TV series: Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea and Lost in Space. Allen, who would also go on to produce two film blockbusters with The Poseidon Adventure (1972) and The Towering Inferno (1974), cited The Time Tunnel as his favorite television production even though the previous two were deemed more successful.

The sci-fi storyline deals with the U.S. Government’s creation of the technology to allow a person to travel through time. The series follows two of the lead scientists, played by actors James Darren (then still a young handsome heartthrob) and Robert Colbert. After an unplanned initial time transport, the two are stuck travelling back and forth in time while the team at “Operation Tic Tok” are able to hear and view them through the scientific wonder of the Tunnel that sent them on their journey. The team struggles to bring them back, and instead, somehow manage to grab them at the end of each episode, sending them somewhere else in time, just in time, to thwart some kind of danger they got themselves into.

Many years later, I did a revisit to The Time Tunnel via DVD and was surprised how well it held up for a show produced in the late 60s. And, after a recent rewatch of the debut episode, I found the special effects rather impressive for those days, including the recurring graphic segment employed when they were spinning through time. However, I did feel that the show was full of some unnecessary exaggerated nonsense. Would it at all be logical that this project would be so massive to necessitate an underground desert complex that went 800 stories underground and employed a team of 12,000 with Fort Knox level security? 

Then there was the overuse of the Hollywood device of coincidence. How could it be that their uncontrolled random time travels would always land them at famous historical event at such precise locations and moments? For example, landing on the deck of the Titanic during its maiden voyage or inside a rocket being launched into space during its final countdown? Wouldn’t they have had as much of a chance to wind up in a bathroom in the Bronx?

Nonetheless, seeing them interact with history obviously made for great suspenseful plots although there was no respect for time travel’s cardinal rule of not altering history and thereby changing the timeline for the future. Allen also made for better television by economically embellishing the historical references with existing footage from feature films. Another interesting aside was that one of the technicians was played by actress Lee Meriwether, the winner of the 1955 Miss America Pageant.

As I young child, I was fascinated with The Time Tunnel and couldn’t wait to see where they would wind up going in next week’s episode. Unfortunately, the one place these two time travelers never made it to was back home since despite the show’s success, it’s future did not include a second season.

TV Draft Round 10 – Pick 2 – John Selects – The Avengers

The Avengers was a British TV series made by Associated British Corporation and ran for six seasons between 1961 and 1969. That came as a surprise to me, because I only remember the last two seasons. More on that later.

The one constant character in the series was John Steed, the bowler-hatted, Saville Row-suited, umbrella-carrying member of an unnamed British organization that simultaneously fights crime and deals in espionage and counter-espionage missions. Steed was played to perfection by Patrick Macnee.

Surprisingly, Steed was not the original lead character in The Avengers. That honor goes to David Keel, a physician whose fiancee was murdered. He was determined to find her killer when he crossed paths with Steed, who was after the same man for a different reason. By the end of the second episode, Keel and Steed had formed a partnership. Keel was played by Ian Hendry.

After the first season, Hendry left to go into movies (notably the Vincent Price classic Theater Of Blood) and the series was re-tooled with Steed as the lead character. His first partner was Venus Smith, a nightclub singer with no background in crime fighting or espionage. She was smitten with Steed, which was the only thing that kept them together. Venus was played by Julie Stevens.

His next companion was Mrs. Catherine Gale, an anthropologist who was an expert in judo and had a penchant for leather clothes. Cathy had been widowed in Kenya, and saw her work with Steed as service to her country. Some of the first Cathy episodes in Season 2 were originally written for Keel, and his lines (with modifications as needed) were simply given to Cathy. Cathy was played by the amazing Honor Blackman.

Cathy was unlike any other female character on British TV at the time. She was older (in her early-mid 30’s) and, because the scripts for her were originally written for Keel, was more mature and apt to argue with Steed. The attraction between the two of them became obvious, particularly in the third season, although it never got past the flirting and innuendo stage. At the end of the third season, Ms. Blackman was cast as Pussy Galore in the James Bond film Goldfinger, and left the cast.

At about the same time, the American Broadcasting Corporation in the US signed a deal with Associated British Corporation to co-produce the show, with ABC (US) airing all the new episodes. ABC (UK) agreed to shoot the new episodes on 35mm film rather than videotape, resulting in a clearer picture and better sound.

Honor Blackman’s replacement was Diana Rigg, as Mrs. Emma Peel.

The demeanor of the show changed with Mrs. Peel’s debut. Compare the theme music from the first three seasons, written by Johnny Dankworth:

with the theme music from seasons 4-6, written by Laurie Johnson:

The relationship between Steed and Mrs. Peel was more playful, the cases a little more absurd, the technology more advanced. Season 4 was shot in black and white, while seasons 5 and 6 were produced in color.

Diana Rigg left the series at the end of the fifth season. The story was that Mrs. Peel’s husband had been found in the Amazon jungle and he was brought back to England and reunited with his spouse, who then left Steed and rode off into the sunset with her husband. She was replaced almost immediately by Tara King, played by Linda Thorson. Here is that scene.

Unlike Cathy and Emma, Tara (nicknmed “ra-boom-de-ay” by Steed) was a trained (but inexperienced) agent of Steed’s organization. The flirtation between her and Steed was more pronounced, and the cases even more absurd.

I didn’t start watching the show until the fifth season, when ABC in the US ran it on Friday nights. I was twelve at the time, and while it’s unclear whether Diana Rigg in her leather catsuit brought on puberty in me, it certainly fanned the flames.

Our local religious broadcaster (who also shows reruns of Steamboat) has been running the episodes of Seasons 2 and 3 (plus the two or three episodes of Season 1 that still exist) pretty much nonstop for several years now. I seem to remember that Hollywood Video had a number of the videocassettes of those seasons on their shelves until they went out of business, and for some strange reason I believe that the station bought those VHS tapes and has been showing them nightly…

Now, for your listening pleasure, all the opens and closes for the series.

This is the last of my draft picks. I hope you’ve enjoyed them!

TV Draft UPDATE

Tomorrow morning we will kick off our last TV draft round! We have 8 more TV Shows coming…we all want to thank you… the readers who have made this possible and a fun experience. I also want to thank the bloggers who have reviewed all of these shows and we have covered every decade from the 1950s until now. Below are the picks that began in January and will end on July 3. Thank you… Paula, Lisa, Dave, John, Keith, Mike, Liam, Vic, Hanspostcard (who started it), and Kirk for all of the reviews below.
Round 1 TV Show Who Posted Home Site
1. Doctor Who Vic https://cosmic-observation.com/blog-posts/
2. The Sopranos Mike https://musiccitymike.net
3. Bozo’s Circus John https://thesoundofonehandtyping.com 
4. Barney Miller Max https://powerpop.blog
5. The Wire Kirk https://slicethelife.com/
6. Police Squad Keith https://nostalgicitalian.com/
7. Only Murders in the Building (OMITB) Paula http://paulalight.com
Round 2
1. The Odd Couple Mike https://musiccitymike.net
2. Cartoon Town John https://thesoundofonehandtyping.com 
3. Fawlty Towers Max https://powerpop.blog
4. Rockford Files Kirk https://slicethelife.com/
5. Mission Impossible Keith https://nostalgicitalian.com/
6. Firefly Vic https://cosmic-observation.com/blog-posts/
Round 3 TV Show Who Posted Home Site
1 Hogan’s Heroes John https://thesoundofonehandtyping.com 
2 Seinfeld Mike https://musiccitymike.net
3 Starsky & Hutch Vic https://cosmic-observation.com/blog-posts/
4 Perry Mason Keith https://nostalgicitalian.com/
5 Upload Paula http://paulalight.com
6 Lovecraft Country Lisa https://tao-talk.com/
7 King Of The Hill Dave https://soundday.wordpress.com/
8 Adam 12 Max https://powerpop.blog
Round 4 TV Show Who Posted Home Site
1 Breaking Bad Mike https://musiccitymike.net
2 The X-Files Vic https://cosmic-observation.com/blog-posts/
3 Columbo Keith https://nostalgicitalian.com/
4 Six Feet Under Paula http://paulalight.com
5 Shameless Lisa https://tao-talk.com/
6 Friends Dave https://soundday.wordpress.com/
7 Monkees Max https://powerpop.blog
8 JAG John https://thesoundofonehandtyping.com 
Round 5 TV Show Who Posted Home Site
1 Sisters Vic https://cosmic-observation.com/blog-posts/
2 30 Rock Keith https://nostalgicitalian.com/
3 One Day At A Time Paula http://paulalight.com
4 Ray Donovan Lisa https://tao-talk.com/
5 Emergency Dave https://soundday.wordpress.com/
6 The Andy Griffith Show Max https://powerpop.blog
7 CSI: Miami John https://thesoundofonehandtyping.com 
8 Mad Men Mike https://musiccitymike.net
Round 6 TV Show Who Posted Home Site
1 The Twilight Zone Max https://powerpop.blog
2 Tell Me Your Secrets Paula http://paulalight.com
3 My Name Is Earl Lisa https://tao-talk.com/
4 Ed Dave https://soundday.wordpress.com/
5 Get Smart Keith https://nostalgicitalian.com/
6 The Unicorn John https://thesoundofonehandtyping.com 
7 The West Wing Mike https://musiccitymike.net
8 The Gong Show Max https://powerpop.blog
Round 7 TV Show Who Posted Home Site
1 All In The Family Paula http://paulalight.com
2 Trailer Park Boys Lisa https://tao-talk.com/
3 Downton Abbey Dave https://soundday.wordpress.com/
4 Life On Mars Max https://powerpop.blog
5 Burn Notice John https://thesoundofonehandtyping.com 
6 Friday Night Lights Mike https://musiccitymike.net
7 The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show Liam https://othemts.wordpress.com/
8 The Honeymooners Keith https://nostalgicitalian.com/
Round 8 TV Show Who Posted Home Site
1 New Tricks Lisa https://tao-talk.com/
2 SCTV Dave https://soundday.wordpress.com/
3 WKRP In Cincinnati Max https://powerpop.blog
4 The Two Ronnies John https://thesoundofonehandtyping.com 
5 Star Trek: Voyager Mike https://musiccitymike.net
6 Siskel & Ebert Liam https://othemts.wordpress.com/
7 Sherlock Keith https://nostalgicitalian.com/
8 Curb Your Enthusiasm Paula http://paulalight.com
Round 9 TV Show Who Posted Home Site
1 Jeopardy Dave https://soundday.wordpress.com/
2 Saturday Night Live Max https://powerpop.blog
3 Riverboat John https://thesoundofonehandtyping.com
4 Suits Mike https://musiccitymike.net
5 The Kids In The Hall Liam https://othemts.wordpress.com/
6 Arrested Development Keith https://nostalgicitalian.com/
7 L.A. Law Paula http://paulalight.com
8 Resident Alien Lisa https://tao-talk.com/
Round 10 TV Show Who Posted Home Site
1 Max https://powerpop.blog
2 John https://thesoundofonehandtyping.com
3 Mike https://musiccitymike.net
4 Liam https://othemts.wordpress.com/
5 Keith https://nostalgicitalian.com/
6 Paula http://paulalight.com
7 Lisa https://tao-talk.com/
8 Dave https://soundday.wordpress.com/

Bob Dylan – Let’s Stick Together

This post is a 4-in-1 deal…Let’s Stick Together was on Bob Dylan’s album Down In The Groove…considered his worst album by some critics. I never thought that…I bought it when it came out and it’s not that bad. The worse Bob Dylan album is much better than a lot of others.

This song has been covered by a lot of artists. The confusing part is the song not only goes by Let’s Stick Together but also Let’s Work Together.

Our band covered this one and we did it with the arrangement that Dylan laid down. I like this song no matter who covers it. I like Bryan Ferry, Canned Heat, and Wilbert Harrison’s version.

Wilbert Harrison originally wrote and recorded this blues-style R&B number as “Let’s Stick Together,” a plea for fidelity in a fractured marriage. That version, released in 1962, didn’t make the charts (until Bryan Ferry covered it in 1976) but never left Harrison’s mind. Seven years later, he resurrected the song, keeping the melody but changing the lyrics. “I thought I’d put some words to it that meant a bit more.”

Changing the title to “Let’s Work Together,” Harrison’s new message of unity was aimed at a nation rife with conflict over the Civil Rights Movement and the Vietnam War.

Canned Heat didn’t want to overshadow Harrison with their version. In fact, if they’d known the singer was going to have success with it, they never would have recorded it in the first place. They first heard the tune when it was still making the rounds at underground radio stations. Their new guitarist Harvey Mandel played it for the rest of the guys and suggested they cover it, but their co-vocalist, Bob “The Bear” Hite, wanted to wait a few months to see if Harrison would chart first. According to drummer Adolfo de la Parra, Hite didn’t like taking songs away from living black musicians unless they weren’t hits.

Bryan Ferry had success with the song…peaking at #4 in the UK in 1976 and #1 in Australia. In 1988 Ferry did an updated version of the song, re-mixed by Bruce Lampcov & Rhett Davies. This re-recording reached #12 in the UK chart. Ferry had the most success with the song.

Let’s Stick Together

Well, a marriage vow, you know, it’s very sacred
The man put us together, now, you wanna make it
Stick together
Come on, come on, stick together

You know, you made a vow, not to leave one another, never
Well, ya never miss your water ’til your well runs dry
Now, come on, baby, give our love a try, let’s stick together
Come on, come on, stick together

We made a vow, not to leave one another, never
Well, ya never miss your water ’til your well runs dry
Come one, baby, give our love a try, let’s stick together
Come on, come on and stick together
You know, we made a vow, not to leave one another, never

It might be tough for a while, but consider the child
Cannot be happy without his mom and his papi

Let’s stick together
Come on, come on, stick together
You know, we made a vow, not to leave one another, never

TV Draft Round 9 – Pick 3 – John Selects – Riverboat

We have a religious broadcaster in Atlanta that dedicates much of its evening entertainment on its primary subchannel to ancient black-and-white television shows, from the 1950’s and early 1960’s. Some were syndicated shows, while others ran briefly on network TV. One such show was Riverboat, which originally ran on NBC for two seasons, from 1959 to 1961 (31 episodes in the 1959-1960 season and 13 in the 1960-61 season).

The best description I have found for the show is “Wagon Train on a riverboat.” Like Wagon Train, it was an anthology series, this one based around the captain and crew of the riverboat Enterprise. NBC bought into the show as a competitor to ABC’s Maverick, which had lost James Garner, who was replaced by Roger Moore.

The captain of the Enterprise was Grey Holden, played by Darren McGavin. The initial pilot of the boat was Ben Frazer, played by a young Burt Reynolds, who had been cast in an attempt to lure the female viewers of the show. Reynolds left the show after 20 episodes, unable to get along with McGavin; the second season featured Noah Beery Jr. as pilot Bill Blake. Other regulars were, according to Wikipedia:

Dick Wessel, as chief stoker Carney Kohler, was cast in 41 episodes, Jack Lambert was cast in 23 episodes as first mate Joshua MacGregor (having played a different character, Tony Walchek, earlier in the series), John Mitchum co-starred in 10 episodes as Pickalong, the ship’s cook, Michael McGreevey was cast in 17 episodes as cabin boy Chip Kessler, and William D. Gordon played first mate Joe Travis in 13 episodes before his character’s death.

It was considered a Western, even though most of the show’s action took place on the Ohio, Mississippi, and Missouri Rivers. It took place during the antebellum period of the South; of some concern was the fact that there were no African American characters or actors, this despite the fact that historically the majority of dock laborers were Black or Creole. The network and sponsors of the show didn’t want to upset the viewers, particularly those in the South. The writers and McGavin felt this was stupid, but that was life during that period.

The remainder of the weekly casts were made up of guest stars, such as Mary Tyler Moore, Elizabeth Montgomery, Jeanne Crain, Mercedes McCambridge, Ricardo Montalban, Vincent Price, Eddie Albert, and in one show Sandy Kenyon as a pre-presidential Abraham Lincoln. A full list of the guest stars can be found here.

The shows were well-written with an eye towards the history of that period. There are Indian conflicts, con men, beautiful women, stowaways, dangerous cargo, and plenty of fisticuffs. As Mary would say, it was better than the average schlock. When it went off the air, it was replaced by The Americans, a show set during the Civil War.

If you get a chance, it’s worth your time to see it.

Monkees – Valleri

I remember this one off of their show. I like the vocals in the chorus with this one.

Valleri has an interesting history. This song was brought aboard at the very beginning of the Monkees…but it ended up being their last top ten hit. It was recorded with studio musicians at first and placed in a show but…not on an album because it was being saved for the second one. By the time the thought of using it came around…the Monkees had a new contract and per the contract… they had to play on and produce their album so this version of Valleri couldn’t be used.

When it was played in the show… the public wanted a record of it but now the Monkees would have to record it themselves because of the uprising they did to demand to play on their own records.

A couple of disc jockeys recorded the song off of the show and began to play it. They were playing this taped TV version on their radio shows, something that would happen many years later with the Friends theme. Listeners to the stations airing the rough mix of “Valleri” started writing the Monkees’ distributor Colgems Records, asking where they could buy a copy of the record that they had just heard.

Valleri was re-recorded and produced by the Monkees and Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart the songwriters. It was released as a single in March 1968, 13 months after it was first performed on the TV show. Soon after the release, the Monkee’s TV show was canceled and they released their movie and LP Head. Peter Tork left the group in December 1968.

Valleri peaked at #3 in the Billboard 100, #1 in Canada, #4 in New Zealand, and #12 in the UK in 1968. The album The Birds, The Bees & The Monkees peaked at #3 on the Billboard Album Charts and #6 in Canada.

Valleri

Valleri I love my Valleri
There’s a girl I know who makes me feel so good
And I wouldn’t live without her, even if I could
They call her Valleri
I love my Valleri

Oh yeah, come on

She’s the same little girl who used to hang around my door
But she sure looks different than the way she looked before
I call her Valleri
I love my Valleri

Valleri I love my Valleri
I love my Valleri
I need ya, Valleri

….

Rolling Stones – As Tears Go By

The Stones were covering old blues songs at the start of their career. They needed a hit and one day they ran into two songwriters in 1963. Right in front of the Stones…John Lennon and Paul McCartney wrote a song that was in the Stone’s style. It was called “I Wanna Be Your Man” and became The Stones’ first UK top twenty record. Mick Jagger and Keith Richards were amazed at this display of songwriting prowess, which stuck with them.

The two bands stayed friends after that often coordinating releases so as not to release in the same week. Mick and Keith realized that if they were going to have staying power…they must start writing. Their manager Andrew Oldham locked them in a kitchen and told them they were not getting out until they wrote a song…obviously, it worked.

This was one of the first songs written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards. The Stones manager gave it to a singer he also managed named Marianne Faithfull, who released it in 1964. It was going to be the B-side of her first single, but the record company decided to make it the A-side and it became her first hit. The Stones recorded it a year later. In 1966 Faithfull became Jagger’s girlfriend and that would last 3-4 years.

The original title was As Time Goes By but they changed it so it wouldn’t be confused with a song with the same title in Casablanca. The song peaked at #1 in Canada and  #6 on the Billboard 100 in 1966. Marianne’s version peaked at #22 in Canada and #9 on the Billboard 100, and #9 in the UK in 1964.

This was released as a single in the US and Canada because ballads were popular there at the time. The release in England was delayed 6 months because they did not want to compete with Yesterday by The Beatles. When they finally did release it there, it was as the B-side of 19th Nervous Breakdown.

Marianne would record this three times. The original version in 1964, for 1987’s Strange Weather, and again on 2018’s Negative Capability.

Keith Richards“suddenly, ‘Oh, we’re songwriters,’ with the most totally anti-Stones sort of song you could think of at the time, while we’re trying to make a good version of (Muddy Waters’) ‘Still A Fool.’ When you start writing, it doesn’t matter where the first one comes from. You’ve got to start somewhere, right? So Andrew locked Mick and myself into a kitchen in this horrible little apartment we had. He said, ‘You ain’t comin’ out,’ and there was no way out. We were in the kitchen with some food and a couple of guitars, but we couldn’t get to the john, so we had to come out with a song. In his own little way, that’s where Andrew made his great contribution to the Stones. That was such a flatulent idea, a fart of an idea, that suddenly you’re gonna lock two guys in a room, and they’re going to become songwriters. Forget about it. And it worked. In that little kitchen Mick and I got hung up about writing songs, and it still took us another six months before we had another hit with Gene Pitney, ‘That Girl Belongs To Yesterday.’ We were writing these terrible Pop songs that were becoming Top-10 hits. I thought, ‘What are we doing here playing the f–king blues, and writing these horrible Pop songs and getting very successful?’ They had nothing to do with us, except we wrote ’em. And it took us a while to come up with ‘The Last Time.’ That was the first one we came up with where Mick and I said, ‘This is one we can lay on the guys.’ At the time we were already borrowing songs from the Beatles – ‘I Wanna Be Your Man’ – because we were really hard up for singles. So they gave us a hand. In retrospect, during the ’60s the Stones and the Beatles were almost the same band, because we were the only ones in that position.”

Mick Jagger: “I wrote the lyrics, and Keith wrote the melody. It’s a very melancholy song for a 21-year-old to write: The evening of the day, watching children play – it’s very dumb and naive, but it’s got a very sad sort of thing about it, almost like an older person might write. You know, it’s like a metaphor for being old: You’re watching children playing and realizing you’re not a child. It’s a relatively mature song considering the rest of the output at the time. And we didn’t think of doing it, because the Rolling Stones were a butch Blues group. But Marianne Faithfull’s version was already a big, proven hit song… It was one of the first things I ever wrote.” 

Marianne Faithfull: “a marketable portrait of me… a commercial fantasy that pushes the right buttons.”

As Tears Go By

It is the evening of the day
I sit and watch the children play
Smiling faces I can see
But not for me
I sit and watch
As tears go by

My riches can’t buy everything
I want to hear the children sing
All I hear is the sound
Of rain falling on the ground
I sit and watch
As tears go by

It is the evening of the day
I sit and watch the children play
Doing things I used to do
They think are new
I sit and watch
As tears go by

Beatles – You Can’t Do That

I love B-sides and this is a good one. I liked You Can’t Do That much better than the A-side Can’t Buy Me Love.

John Lennon never liked his voice. He always wanted George Martin to add echo or anything else to cover it up. I never understood that…for me John was one of the best rock and roll singers out there. His thin nasal voice cut through the music and cuts into you.

I first heard this song on a 1976 compilation album Rock and Roll Music. That was my second ever Beatles album. Capital put together one of the worse covers ever for that album.

Beatles Rock and Roll Music front and backBeatles Rock and Roll Music Gatefold

The cover made the Beatles look like they were from the 50s. A very few of the songs on the album were covers of 50s songs. Ringo Starr said: “It made us look cheap and we never were cheap. All that Coca-Cola and cars with big fins was the Fifties!” John Lennon told Capitol that the cover looked like a Monkees reject. He offered to design the cover but was declined. That doesn’t mean the album didn’t contain great music…a double album full of some great songs.

You Can’t Do That helped popularized the two-measure guitar riff…. a guitar riff that opens a song and continues through it. It laid the foundation for modern rock… with artists such as The Stones to Nirvana. The Beatles would use this frequently in songs such as I Feel Fine, Ticket To Ride, Day Tripper, If I Needed Someone, Paperback Writer and I Want To Tell You. The Stones made a career of it.

The song originally appeared on the UK soundtrack of A Hard Days Night. They recorded this in nine takes on George Harrison’s 21st birthday (February 25, 1964). The song was the B side to Can’t Buy Me Love but managed to peak at #48 in the Billboard 100 and #33 in Canada in 1964. Harry Nilsson covered it in 1967 and that version peaked at #10 in Canada.

This was the first Beatles song on which George Harrison played a 12-string guitar… John played the lead. Lennon said that Wilson Pickett was an influence on this song.

You Can’t Do That

I got something to say that might ’cause you pain
If I catch you talking to that boy again
I’m gonna let you down
And leave you flat
Because I told you before, oh
You can’t do that

Well, it’s the second time I’ve caught you talking to him
Do I have to tell you one more time, I think it’s a sin
I think I’ll let you down (let you down)
And leave you flat
(Gonna let you down and leave you flat)
Because I’ve told you before, oh
You can’t do that

Everybody’s green
‘Cause I’m the one, who won your love
But if they’d seen
You’re talking that way they’d laugh in my face

So please listen to me, if you wanna stay mine
I can’t help my feelings, I’ll go out of my mind
I’m gonna let you down (let you down)
And leave you flat
(Gonna let you down and leave you flat)
Because I’ve told you before, oh, you can’t do that

You can’t do that
You can’t do that
You can’t do that
You can’t do that
You can’t do that

Everybody’s green
‘Cause I’m the one who won your love
But if they’d seen
You’re talking that way they’d laugh in my face

So please listen to me, if you wanna stay mine
I can’t help my feelings, I’ll go out of my mind
I’m gonna let you down (let you down)
And leave you flat
(Gonna let you down and leave you flat)
Because I’ve told you before, oh
You can’t do that

John Hammond – Shake For Me

Some rocking blues from John Hammond, Duane Allman, and the Muscle Shoals rhythm section. This one is not a well-known song but it is worth hearing. This was made for vinyl and a turntable. The percussion makes the song jump at you.

The song was written by Willie Dixon. It was recorded in 1969 at Muscle Shoals Sound Studios. Hammond is the son of famous record producer John H. Hammond, who signed some of the most famous musicians ever. A partial list includes Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Benny Goodman, Harry James, Charlie Christian, Billie Holiday, Count Basie, Teddy Wilson, Big Joe Turner, Pete Seeger, Babatunde Olatunji, Aretha Franklin, George Benson, Freddie Green, Leonard Cohen, Arthur Russell, Jim Copp, Asha Puthli, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Mike Bloomfield. He is also largely responsible for the revival of delta blues artist Robert Johnson’s music.

When Duane heard John Paul Hammond was scheduled to record an album at Muscle Shoals Sound in November of 1969, he headed down to meet him.

Hammond come down from New York City to cut a record with Marlin Green, a producer who had worked with Aretha Franklin and Wilson Pickett. He didn’t know what to expect walking into the studio, but he felt an immediate chill from the musicians he had come to play with. He had expected the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section to be black, and they expected the same of him.

Duane showed up in the middle of this awkward realization that they were a bunch of white dudes. Eddie Hinton, the guitar player, and songwriter was the one guy who was nice to Hammond and understood what he wanted to do. He wanted to record Howlin’ Wolf and Muddy Waters tunes.

“I was getting very frustrated,” Hammond recalled. “On the third day, Duane arrived with Berry Oakley. Duane said, ‘I want to meet this John Hammond guy! I have one of his records!’ Everybody loved him, and when they heard Duane wanted to meet me, they looked at me completely different. The whole mood of the session changed; everything changed. Eddie Hinton turned to me and said, ‘This is Duane Allman. He’s a phenomenal player, and you’re really going to like him.’

“Duane started to play and my mouth dropped open, he was so good. There was a break at the end of the day, and I had an old National steel guitar with me. Duane had never seen one, so I gave it to him to play, and it was in open tuning. He said, ‘Gee what is this?’ And I told him it was an open tuning, an A. He played slide in a straight tuning.

They recorded four songs the next day, and everyone was a winner. In fact, Duane inspired the whole studio band to get it together. The songs were included on the album Southern Fried.

“All of a sudden they understood exactly what I was talking about the day before,” Hammond said. “Duane was born with that magnetism.” It was the beginning of another important friendship for Duane.”

John Hammond: I asked Duane how he got so good and he said, “I took speed every day for three years and played every night all night.” I think this was partly true and partly apocryphal but he really couldn’t get enough. He was just phenomenal.

Shake For Me

Sure you look good
But it don’t mean a thing to me
Oh, you sure look good
But you don’t mean a thing to me
I’ve got a hip shakin’ woman, boy
She shake like a willow tree

You went away baby
You got back just a little too late
You went away baby
You got back just a little too late
I’ve got a hip shakin’ woman, boy
Shake like Jello on a plate

When my baby walks you know
Lord, she’s fighting melow
When my baby walks, you know
Lord, she’s fighting melow
I’ve got a hip shakin’ woman, boy
Her flesh tastes just like Jello

Shake it baby, shake it for me
Shake it baby, shake it for me
I’ve got a hip shakin’ woman, boy
Shake like a willow tree

Lovin’ Spoonful – Do You Believe In Magic

All it took was for me to get a greatest hits album by the Lovin’ Spoonful and I was a fan. This song was their debut single and it’s still heard today on the radio and in advertisements. The song peaked at #9 on the Billboard 100 and #3 in Canada in 1965.

They turned down a deal from Phil Spector because they didn’t want to be swallowed up under his name, that was probably a smart move. The Lovin’ Spoonful signed to a new record label called Kama Sutra. This was the first song they recorded for the label, and it was the first of a string of hits for the group

Sebastian said the autoharp intro was inspired by Martha and the Vandellas Heat Wave.  “It had an ascending chord sequence that I was fascinated with. By chance, I was playing the autoharp, experimenting with electrifying it through this big amplifier. I realized that if I turned a few of the major 7ths to minor 7ths, I would have those chords. I also wanted that groove from  ‘Buzz Buzz Buzz.'”

This was written by John Sebastian, who formed The Lovin’ Spoonful with his friend, Zal Yanovsky. Sebastian and Yanovsky were in a group called The Mugwumps and made a name for themselves playing clubs in Greenwich Village.

When the other Mugwumps – Mama Cass Elliot and Denny Doherty – moved to California and formed The Mamas And The Papas, they formed the band and Sebastian began focusing on songwriting. The Lovin’ Spoonful started playing electric instruments to get away from the folk music sound and attract a younger contemporary rock audience.

As the ’60s drew to a close, The Lovin’ Spoonful disbanded and Sebastian started working on a variety of projects. He wrote music for the Care Bear series, published children’s books, made harmonica instruction videos, and, he wrote the theme song to the TV show Welcome Back, Kotter, which was a #1 hit. Dave’s site has a post about this song. 

John Sebastian: “We were playing pretty steadily for the local people from Greenwich Village who were part of the jazz scene or part of the kind of downtown ‘in crowd.’ They were ‘finger poppers,’ guys who played chess, ‘beatniks.’ But there was this one particular night as we were playing, I looked out in the audience and saw this beautiful 16-year-old girl just dancing the night away. And I remember Zal and I just elbowed each other the entire night because to us that young girl symbolized the fact that our audience was changing, that maybe they had finally found us. I wrote ‘Do You Believe In Magic’ the next day.”

Alan Merrill who wrote I Love Rock and Roll: “This was mid-’60s. The Lovin’ Spoonful were starting, and Laura Nyro said, ‘Why don’t you audition for the Lovin’ Spoonful? Now you know how to play bass, they’re looking for a bass player. But you’d have to quit school.’ And I said, ‘I don’t want to quit school.’ So I went over to her house after school one day, and she put this record on, and it was ‘Do You Believe In Magic.’ She just looked at me and said, ‘This is what you didn’t go to do.’ And I was like, ‘Oh, s–t, it’s gonna be a #1 record. I blew it. I could have been the 14-year-old bass player in the Lovin’ Spoonful.'”

I wish I had this set…yea I would love to have it at home…the wife wouldn’t like it but I pick my battles well. And this one I would pick…and I’d take the Saint Bernard that appears also.

Do You Believe In Magic

Do you believe in magic in a young girl’s heart
How the music can free her, whenever it starts
And it’s magic, if the music is groovy
It makes you feel happy like an old-time movie
I’ll tell you about the magic, and it’ll free your soul
But it’s like trying to tell a stranger ’bout rock and roll

If you believe in magic don’t bother to choose
If it’s jug band music or rhythm and blues
Just go and listen it’ll start with a smile
It won’t wipe off your face no matter how hard you try
Your feet start tapping and you can’t seem to find
How you got there, so just blow your mind

If you believe in magic, come along with me
We’ll dance until morning ’til there’s just you and me
And maybe, if the music is right
I’ll meet you tomorrow, sort of late at night
And we’ll go dancing, baby, then you’ll see
How the magic’s in the music and the music’s in me

Yeah, do you believe in magic
Yeah, believe in the magic of a young girl’s soul
Believe in the magic of rock and roll
Believe in the magic that can set you free
Ohh, talking ’bout magic

Do you believe like I believe (Do you believe in magic)
Do you believe like I believe (Do you believe, believer)
Do you believe like I believe (Do you believe in magic)

Grateful Dead – Don’t Ease Me In

I first noticed this song on the concert film The Festival Express a few years ago. I’ve heard the two studio versions but that live version is the one I like best. It’s something about it I really connect to. Garcia and Weir sound great singing together along with Pigpen playing the harmonica. It’s just a simple blues-type song but it works well for me anyway.

As soon as I heard it I took one of my acoustic guitars off the wall and kept running back the video file back and playing with them…I didn’t think they would mind.

This song was first released by the Dead in 1966 as their first single with Stealin on the flip side. That version is good and it reminds me of the band Them…not the voice but the music. They also released it again on their Go To Heaven album in 1980 but that version to me is a little too slick. The version on Festival Express shows all the ragged edges in the best way. It is pure Americana. They would do it live many times later on but I still go back to the Festival version.

They also covered it before they were the Grateful Dead. They started off as a jug band called Mother McCrees Uptown Jug Champions and most likely covered it when they were called the Warlocks.

They might have heard the version of the song by Henry Thomas…an old blues artist that lived from 1874 to around 1930. If you want to learn more in detail about Thomas and this song go here to Jim’s site. It also sounds close to a song by Jelly Roll Morton called Don’t You Leave Me Here. On the Go To Heaven album, it’s credited to “traditional arranged by The Grateful Dead.” The single that was released in 1966 was credited to Garcia but I’ve read where he didn’t authorize that and didn’t ask for a credit.

Speaking of the Festival Express…it was The Transcontinental Pop Festival… better known as the Festival Express. Great idea on paper… rounding up musicians in 1970 and placing them on a train going across Canada and stopping along the way to play festivals. What could go wrong? Actually, I would have loved to have been on that train. The lineup: The Band, The Grateful Dead, Janis Joplin, Buddy Guy Blues Band, The Fly Burrito Brothers, Sha Na Na, and Delaney & Bonnie & Friends.

There were artists that were not in the film like Traffic, Ten Years After, Tom Rush, Ian & Sylvia, Mountain, and more.

A DVD was released of this in 2004. All these musicians were on a train full of liquor and an assortment of drugs… liquor was the popular choice among the musicians on this ride. The tour was to have events in Montreal, Toronto, Winnipeg, Calgary, and Vancouver. The Montreal event was canceled as was Vancouver. In Toronto, protesters were saying the festival promoters were price gouging so The Grateful Dead played a free concert in a park nearby to ease tensions with the protesters.

When watching the film you can see the performers are having a ball jamming with each other because they didn’t get a lot of chances to do that on the road.

Here is the link to the full movie free on youtube…if you have time…it’s worth it!

Bill Kreutzmann (drummer for the Dead): We celebrated Janis Joplin’s birthday at the last stop the traditional way: with birthday cake. In keeping with our own kind of tradition, somebody—within our ranks, I would imagine—had secretly infused the cake with a decent amount of LSD. So it quickly became an electric birthday celebration. Allegedly, some generous pieces of that birthday cake made it to the hands and mouths of the local police who were working the show. “Let them eat cake!” (To be fair, I didn’t have anything to do with that … I was just another cake-eating birthday reveler, that night.)
And that was it for the Festival Express. It was a wonderful time and I think what really made it great was the level of interaction and camaraderie among the musicians, day and night, as we were all trapped on this train careening across the great north. It probably helped that we were all trashed the entire time. Whiskey was in the conductor’s seat on that ride.

I would recommend getting the DVD of this event. It’s a great time capsule of that time in music and culture.

Don’t Ease Me In

Don’t ease, don’t ease, don’t ease me in
I’ve been all night long coming home, don’t ease me in

I was standing on the corner, talking to Miss Brown
When I turned around, sweet mama, she was way across town
So I’m walking down the street, with a dollar in my hand
I’ve been looking for a woman, sweet mama, ain’t got no manDon’t ease, don’t ease, don’t ease me in
I’ve been all night long coming home, don’t ease me inThe girl I love, she’s sweet and true
You know the dress she wears, sweet mama, it’s pink and blue
She brings me coffee, you know she brings me tea
She brings about every damn thing, but the jailhouse keyDon’t ease, don’t ease, don’t ease me in
I’ve been all night long coming home, don’t ease me inDon’t ease, don’t ease, don’t ease me in
I’ve been all night long coming home, don’t ease me inDon’t ease, don’t ease, don’t ease me in
I’ve been all night long coming home, don’t ease me in

Talking to Miss Brown
Well I turned around, sweet moma
She was way cross town

So I’m walking down the street
With a dollar in my hand
I’ve been looking for a woman, sweet moma
Ain’t got no man

The girl I love
She’s sweet and true
You know the dress she wears, sweet moma
It’s pink and blue

She brings me coffee
You know she brings me tea
She brings ’bout every damn thing
But the jailhouse key

TV Draft Round 7 – Pick 7 – Liam Selects – The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show

Welcome to the Hanspostcard TV Draft. I hope you will enjoy it! Today’s post was written by Liam at https://othemts.wordpress.com/

The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show

(1959 – 1964)

When you have an animated series featuring talking animals, the natural inclination is to file it under “Children’s Entertainment.”  And yet The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show featured witty wordplay, spoofs of popular culture, self-referential humor, and political satire (particularly regarding the Cold War). You can tell that network execs were confused by the fact that they sometimes aired the show in prime time and sometimes on Saturday morning.  During the show’s five season run from 1959 to 1964 it also switched networks.  For the first two seasons it was on ABC and called Rocky and His Friends. Then it moved to NBC and became The Bullwinkle Show.  CBS never gave it a shot but the show lived on in syndication under the names The Rocky Show, The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show, The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle, and The Adventures of Bullwinkle and Rocky. Whew!

Ok, but beyond this rocky (pun intended) broadcast history, what was the show about?  Jay Ward created the show to be an ongoing adventure serial about a moose and a squirrel. Animator Alex Anderson created many of the characters but declined to work on the show itself.  Ward hired Bill Scott as head writer and co-producer of the show, as well as writers Chris Hayward and Allan Burns. General Mills came on board as the show’s main sponsor. The ongoing serial featured four main characters, two heroes and two villains:

  • Rocket J. Squirrel (a.k.a. Rocky the Flying Squirrel), voiced by June Foray, is a noble all-American kid in squirrel form who serves as the straight man to his partner Bullwinkle’s antics. His catchphrase is “Hokey smokes!”
  • Bullwinkle J. Moose, voiced by Bill Scott, is a good-hearted and optimistic, but very dimwitted moose. He and Rocky are roommates in the fictional town of Frostbite Falls, Minnesota.  He attended Wossamotta U. on a football scholarship.
  • Boris Badenov, voiced by Paul Frees, is a spy from the fictional nation of Pottsylvania (a thinly disguised amalgamation of countries behind the Iron Curtain.). He is constantly up to no good and scheming on a plan given to him by his Fearless Leader or concocting his own criminal conspiracy. He proudly introduces himself as the “world’s greatest no-goodnik.”
  • Natasha Fatale, voiced by June Foray, is another Pottsylvania spy and Boris’ partner in crime. The design of Boris and Natasha are inspired by Charles Addams’ characters Gomez and Morticia Addams.

Over five seasons and 163 episodes, Rocky & Bullwinkle and Boris & Natasha appeared in 28 different serialized story arcs. The shortest serial had only 4 chapters while the longest had 40!  And this was in the days before DVD box sets and streaming video made binge watching possible, so the creators of the show put a lot of faith in the audience remembering what happened earlier in the story.

A typical 23-minute episode would have two segments of a Rocky & Bullwinkle serial, each ending on a cliffhanger (and a bad pun).  Additionally, the show would have a couple of supporting features drawn from the following:

  • Dudley Do-Right of the Mounties – In a parody of silent film melodramas, the brave but dumber-than-Bullwinkle mounted policeman Dudley Do-Right (Bill Scott) attempts to foil the plots of the villainous Snidley Whiplash (Hans Conried). This usually requires rescuing Nell Fenwick (June Foray), whom Dudley loves, but she in return is only fond of his horse.
  • Aesop and Son – Old fables are retold in a comical way by Aesop (Charles Ruggles) and his son, Junior (Daws Butler).
  • Fractured Fairy Tales – Edward Everett Horton narrates fairy tales updated with modern themes and a lot of puns.
  • Peabody’s Improbable History – Mister Peabody (Bill Scott), a genius talking dog, adopts a boy named Sherman (Walter Tetley). Since the boy needs exercise, Peabody invents a time machine called the WABAC. They travel to various historical events to see what “really” happened.
  • Bullwinkle’s Corner – Bullwinkle attempts to be cultured by reading poetry with comical results.
  • Know-it All – Bullwinkle, who we have already noted is quite dim, attempts to be the authority of various topics while Boris Badenov undermines his efforts.

The one great flaw of The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show is its animation style.  Television animation of the 50s and 60s relied on the practices of limited animation such as reusing simple backgrounds and the stilted motions of the characters to save money.  But even by the standards of limited animation, The Rocky and Bulwinkle Show’s animation was choppy and full of visible flaws.  General Mills insisted on outsourcing the animation to the Mexican studio Gamma Productions S.A. de C.V, and Ward was never happy with the quality.  But ultimately, the witty scripts and terrific voice acting made the poor quality animation irrelevant to the show becoming a classic.

The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show legacy lives on in syndicated reruns.  Despite never being a morning person, I went through a phase as a teenager in the late 1980s where I would get up to watch it at 6am before school!  The show has also been released in various home media formats.  Attempts to revive the show in the 1970s and 80s failed but it eventually found its way to the big screen.  Boris and Natasha: The Movie (1992) and Dudley Do-Right (1999) were live-action adaptations that both bombed. A live-action/animated hybrid movie The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle (2000) was also poorly received.  Mr. Peabody & Sherman (2014) from DreamWorks Animation got much better reviews and spun off a Netflix series (2015-2017).  DreamWorks Animation Television followed up with a reboot series of The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle (2018-2019) on Amazon Prime Video.  I have not watched any of these having remained loyal to the original work of Jay Ward and company.

Creedence Clearwater Revival – Wrote A Song For Everyone

If I had to pick a favorite song of Creedence Clearwater Revival it would be hard… but this song would be a contender and probably my overall favorite. It’s the way Fogerty wearily sings the lyrics, he sounds so much older than he was at the time. The song is off of the “Green River” album.

Sometimes lines grab my attention and these did. Met myself a comin’ county welfare line. I was feelin’ strung out, Hung out on the line.

The album did very well…the Green River album peaked at #1 in the Billboard Album Charts, #2 in Canada, and #20 in the UK in 1969. If you want proof that life isn’t fair… Green River the title track was kept from #1 because of the novelty bubblegum song “Sugar, Sugar” by The Archies.

With Creedence…you won’t hear any “alternative takes” with the band. Fogerty destroyed all copies of the first version of songs because he never wanted any of his outtakes to make it into the public’s hands. This has been a regular practice of him throughout his career.

The album ended up charting 4 different songs. Green River, Lodi, Bad Moon Rising, and Commotion.  John Fogerty released a new version of the song on his ninth solo studio album, also titled Wrote a Song for Everyone. This version features Miranda Lambert and Tom Morello.

Jeff Tweedy of Wilco has cited this as a song that had a profound influence on him. A huge Fogerty fan, Wilco credits him with forming the foundation of the Americana genre.

John Fogerty: “Inspired by my young wife at the time. It was early ’69, and I was 23 years old. We had our first child, who, at the time, was two and a half. I was sitting in my room, writing the songs, pushing my career. Without the songs, the career ends. You might be a great band, but without the songs, you’re not going anywhere. At one point, my wife and I had a mild misunderstanding, I wouldn’t even call it a fight, She was miffed, taking our young son out, wishing I would be more involved. But there I was, the musician manic and possessed the only guy holding things up. Without me, it all collapses, so I’m feeling quite put upon. As she walks out the door, I say to my self, “I wrote a song for everyone, and I couldn’t even talk to you.” I looked at my piece of paper and changed gears. How many great leaders can’t even manage their own families? So I went with that. “Pharaohs spin the message/Round and round and true/Richmonds about to blow up” referring to nearby Richmond, California. It was actually a true emotion that took on a larger meaning. It’s still a special song in the sense that it keeps my feet on the ground. You sit and write these songs, yet you try to talk to your own son and daughter and maybe you’re totally inadequate, trying to explain life to a child. We used to record our album very quickly and I remember finishing five different songs in one afternoon. The fifth one didn’t work, and that was “Wrote A Song For Everyone.” I had to start over on that one.” 

“Wrote A Song For Everyone”

Met myself a comin’ county welfare line.
I was feelin’ strung out, Hung out on the line.
Saw myself a goin’, down to war in June.
All I want, All I want is to write myself a tune.

[Chorus:]
Wrote a song for ev’ryone,
Wrote a song for truth.
Wrote a song for ev’ryone
And I couldn’t even talk to you.

Got myself arrested, Wound me up in jail.
Richmond ’bout to blow up, communication failed.
If you see the answer, now’s the time to say.
All I want, All I want is to get you down to pray.

[Chorus]

[Chorus]

Saw the people standin’ thousand years in chains.
Somebody said it’s diff’rent now, look, it’s just the same.
Pharoahs spin the message, round and round the truth.
They could have saved a million people, How can I tell you?

[Chorus]
[Chorus]
[Chorus]

Rolling Stones – The Under Assistant West Coast Promotion Man

What if I told you this was one of The Rolling Stone’s largest selling singles in America? It was… but it was a package deal…the song on the other side of the single was Satisfaction.

Not the most well-known song by the Stones but a lot of Americans owned it. I bought the single Satisfaction in 1979 and flipped it over and found this oddly named likable song. This was the American B side to Satisfaction. Not exactly Day Tripper/We Can Work It Out but a likable single all the same. The song was released in 1965.

The song is about George Sherlock who was the London Records promotions man who accompanied the Stones to California. This was their response to having a chaperone who was a music executive in the early 60s. The Stones did not hide their disdain for him, giving him the nickname Surfer Baby, and they crystallized their feelings in the song.

The Stones recorded this in Chess studios in Chicago.  This song was written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards who were becoming a great songwriting team. They likely borrowed the lick from Buster Brown’s song Fannie Mae.

Fannie Mae peaked at #1 in the R&B Charts and #38 in the Billboard 100 in 1960. He received more attention in 1973 when his song “Fannie Mae” was included in the film American Graffiti Soundtrack.

Buster Brown – Fannie Mae

Well, I’m waiting at the bus stop in downtown L.A.
Well, I’m waiting at the bus stop in downtown L.A.
But I’d much rather be on a boardwalk on Broadway

Well, I’m sitting here thinkin’ just how sharp I am
Well, I’m sitting here thinkin’ just how sharp I am
I’m an under assistant west coast promo man

Well, I promo groups when they come into town
Well, I promo groups when they come into town
Well they laugh at my toupee, they’re sure to put me down

Well, I’m sitting here thinking just how sharp I am
Yeah, I’m sitting here thinking just how sharp I am
I’m a necessary talent behind every rock and roll band

Yeah, I’m sharp
I’m really, really sharp
I sure do earn my pay
Sitting on the beach every day, yeah
I’m real real sharp, yes I am
I got a Corvette and a seersucker suit
Yes, I have

Here comes the bus, uh oh
I thought I had a dime
Where’s my dime
I know I have a dime somewhere
I’m pretty sure