Fats Domino

Antoine “Fats” Domino Jr. was not flashy and wild like some of his 1950s peers such as Elvis, Little Richard, and Jerry Lee Lewis. The first I heard of Fats Domino was on “Happy Days” and the song Blueberry Hill. I was at a relative’s yard sale when I was a kid and was given his greatest hits.

Domino was the youngest of eight children in a musical family, he spoke Creole French before learning English. At age 7 his brother in law taught him how to play the piano. By the time he was 10, he was already performing as a singer and pianist.

Fat’s first hit in the Billboard 100 was the great “Aint That A Shame” in 1955 written by  Fats Domino and Dave Bartholomew that peaked at #16 and his last charting song was a cover of the Beatles “Lady Madonna”(great version) that peaked at #100 in 1968. He had 45 songs in the top 100 and 4 top 10 hits…many more top 10 hits in the R&B Charts.

My favorite song by him is “I’m Walking” because it’s so simple but yet effective. The odd beat sounds modern and it hooks you. He was inspired to write the song when his car broke down and someone said “Hey Fats Domino is Walking” and he thought to himself…Yea I’m walking.

Ricky Nelson covered the song and it went to number 4 on the charts.

What is sad to me is Pat Boone covered Aint That a Shame and it went to number 1 while Fat’s version only made it to 16 in the same year. That was the era where some parents would buy their kids the Pat Boone version of the song and the kids would hide their self-bought Fats Domino version… Same went with Little Richard also.

Domino received The Lifetime Achievement Grammy, a National Medal of the Arts from President Bill Clinton and the induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Fats semi-retired in the 80s and said he would not travel outside of New Orleans.

During Hurricane Katrina, he lost most of his possessions and him and his family were rescued by the coast guard. He unselfishly made many personal appearances to raise money for the hurricane relief. His house was hit hard and he lost his National Medal and gold records but George Bush gave him another medal to replace the lost one and the RIAA gave him replacement gold records.

To raise money for repairs for his own home, friends and fellow musicians recorded a tribute album, Goin’ Home: A Tribute to Fats Domino, featuring the likes of Robert Plant, Elton John, and Sir Paul McCartney. He as living in New Orleans at the time of his death on October 24, 2017.

He was a huge influence on The Beatles, Elton John, Robert Plant, Randy Newman, and Elvis even called Fats “The King.”

Here is an article stating that Fats Domino helped start “ska” music. 

I’m Walking
I’m walkin’, yes indeed, and I’m talkin’ ’bout you and me
I’m hopin’ that you’ll come back to me (yes)
I’m lonely as I can be, I’m waitin’ for your company
I’m hopin’ that you’ll come back to me
What ‘ya gonna do when the well runs dry?
You’re gonna run away and hide
I’m gonna run right by your side, for you pretty baby I’ll even die
I’m walkin’, yes indeed, I’m talkin’ ’bout you and me
I’m hopin’ that you’ll come back to me
I’m walkin’, yes indeed, and I’m talkin’ ’bout you and me
I’m hopin’ that you’ll come back to me (yes)
I’m lonely as I can be, I’m waitin’ for your company
I’m hopin’ that you’ll come back to me
What ‘ya gonna do when the well runs dry?
You’re gonna sit right down and cry
What ‘ya gonna do when I say bye-bye?
All you’re gonna do is dry your eye
I’m walkin’, yes indeed, I’m talkin’ ’bout you and me
I’m hopin’ that you’ll come back to me

Tootsie Roll Pop Commercial

The commercial came out in 1968 – 1970 and I still see it every once in a while. The spot leaves us with a puzzling question…How many licks does it take to get to the Tootsie Roll center of a Tootsie Pop?

The original commercial was 60 seconds long and that one is not seen as much…it was edited down to 15 seconds and all we see is the boy and  Mr. Owl…but the original had more….here is the script…

Boy: Mr. Cow…
Mr. Cow: Yeeeeesss?
Boy: How many licks does it take to get to the Tootsie Roll center of a Tootsie Pop?
Mr. Cow: I don’t know, I always end up biting. Ask Mr. Fox, for he’s much clever than I.
Boy: Mr. Fox, how many licks does it take to get to the Tootsie Roll center of a Tootsie Pop?
Mr. Fox: Why don’t you ask Mr. Turtle, for he’s been around a lot longer than I? Me, hee hee hee, I bite.
Boy: Mr. Turtle, how many licks does it take to get to the Tootsie Roll center of a Tootsie Pop?
Mr. Turtle: I’ve never even made it without biting. Ask Mr. Owl, for he is the wisest of us all.
Boy: Mr. Owl, how many licks does it take to get to the Tootsie Roll center of a Tootsie Pop?
Mr. Owl: A good question. Let’s find out. A One… A.two-HOO…A three…
(crunch sound effect)
Mr. Owl: A Three!
Boy: If there’s anything I can’t stand, it’s a smart owl.
Narrator: How many licks does it take to get to the Tootsie Roll center of a Tootsie Pop?
(crunch sound effect)
Narrator: The world may never know.

After the commercial, Mr. Owl became the mascot for Tootsie Roll Pops, appearing in marketing campaigns and on the packaging.

Researchers at New York University and Florida State University conducted a study in 2015 to find out how many times one would need to lick a Tootsie Pop to reach the center. Their findings revealed that 997 licks are needed to get there… Mr. Owl was off by 994!
However…many other colleges tested it with different results…I guess we will never know the answer.

The original 60 second commercial with Mr. Cow, Mr, Fox, Mr. Turtle, and Mr. Owl.

My favorite Tootsie Roll commercial was this one from 1977

The world looks mighty good to me

Cause Tootsie Rolls are all I see

Whatever it is I think I see

Becomes a Tootsie Roll to me

Tootsie Roll, how I love your chocolatey chew

Tootsie Roll, I think I’m in love with you

Whatever it is I think I see  Becomes a Tootsie Roll to me

Blues Image – Ride Captain Ride

This would be a one-hit wonder band but an impressive one hit. Ride Captain Ride made it to #4 in the Billboard 100 and the Canadian Charts. It charted in 1970 off an named called “Open” which made it to #147.

I always thought this song was about some event…but no it was just made up.

This is from Songfacts. 

Blues Image lead singer Mike Pinera wrote this with their keyboard player Skip Konte. Mike’s wife Valerie told us:
“Ride Captain is a story from his imagination. I know when he was in the studio recording that album, they needed another song and he wrote it on the spot. He came up with 73 from the keyboard having 73 keys. A lot of people say it relates to a few different stories.”

The keyboard they used was a Rhodes electric piano, and this was an early use of the instrument on a popular song. Other songs featuring the Rhodes include “Just The Way You Are,” “Peg” and “You Are The Sunshine Of My Life.” 

 

Ride Captain Ride

Seventy-three men sailed up from the San Francisco Bay,
Rolled off of their ship and here’s what they had to say.
“We’re calling everyone to ride along to another shore,
Where we can laugh our lives away and be free once more.”

Ride, captain ride on your mystery ship,
Be amazed at the friends you’ve got there on your trip.
Ride, captain ride on your mystery ship,
Be aware of the things others just might have missed

No one heard them calling, no one came at all,
‘Cause they were too busy watching those old raindrops fall.
As a storm was blowing out on the peaceful sea,
Seventy-three men were sailing off into history.

Ride, captain ride on your mystery ship,
Be amazed at the friends you’ve got there on your trip.
Ride captain ride on your mystery ship,
Be aware of the world others just might have missed

Ride, captain ride on your mystery ship,
Be amazed at the friends you’ve got there on your trip.
Ride captain ride on your mystery ship,
Be aware of the world othersjust might have missed

Ride, captain ride on your mystery ship,
Be amazed at the friends you have here on your trip.
Ride, captain ride on your mystery ship,
Be aware of a world others just might have missed.

Hey Kid, Catch

If I had to name my favorite commercials it would be a really short list. This Mean Joe Greene and Kid commercial would top the short list though.

This ad debuted on October 1, 1979. It showed an injured Mean Joe headed for the locker room to encounter a star-struck kid (Tommy Okon) that offered Mean Joe a coke. Greene eventually took the coke and while limping away pitched his jersey to the kid.

The commercial spot aired repeatedly through Superbowl XIV where the Steelers beat the Rams 31-19. It took 3 days to film the commercial and Joe ended up drinking around 18 cokes to finish it.

When Greene found out Tommy Okon didn’t get to keep the jersey from the commercial he mailed him an autographed jersey for Christmas.

Coke looked at Roger Staubach, Tony Dorsett, Ed “Too Tall” Jones, and teammate Jack Lambert but Joe Greene won out. The right man got the job.

The commercial helped to soften Joe Greene’s reputation. Before it aired Greene said people were intimidated by him. This is a quote from Greene. 

“I was suddenly approachable,” Greene recalled during a presentation at Coca-Cola headquarters in Atlanta. “Little kids were no longer afraid of me, and older people – both women and men – would come up and offer me a Coke.”

 

 

The Four Seasons – December, 1963 (Oh, What a Night)

The song was released in 1975 and peaked at #1 in the Billboard 100, UK and the Canadian charts. It was off the album Who Loves You and the title single peaked at #3.

It was written by keyboard player Bob Gaudio and Judy Parker.

From Songfacts

According to the co-writer and longtime group member Bob Gaudio, the song was originally set in 1933 with the title “December 5th, 1933,” and celebrated the repeal of Prohibition. Neither lead singer Frankie Valli nor co-writer (and later, Gaudio’s wife) Judy Parker were thrilled about the lyrics (and Valli objected to parts of the melody) so Gaudio redid the words and Parker redid the melody until all were content with the finished product. It ended up being a nostalgic love song.

“December 1963 (Oh, What A Night)”

Oh, what a night
Late December, back in ’63
What a very special time for me
As I remember, what a night

Oh, what a night
You know, I didn’t even know her name
But I was never gonna be the same
What a lady, what a night

Oh, I 
I got a funny feeling when she walked in the room
Hey, my
As I recall, it ended much too soon

Oh, what a night
Hypnotizing, mesmerizing me
She was everything I dreamed she’d be
Sweet surrender, what a night

And I felt a rush like a rolling bolt of thunder
Spinning my head around and taking my body under
Oh, what a night

Oh, I 
Got a funny feeling when she walked in the room
Hey, my
As I recall, it ended much too soon

Oh, what a night
Why’d it take so long to see the light?
Seemed so wrong, but now it seems so right
What a lady, what a night

Oh, I felt a rush like a rolling bolt of thunder
Spinning my head around and taking my body under
Oh, what a night (Do do do do do, do do do do)
Oh, what a night (Do do do do do, do do do do)
Oh, what a night (Do do do do do, do do do do)
Oh, what a night (Do do do do do, do do do do)
Oh, what a night (Do do do do do, do do do do)
Oh, what a night (Do do do do do, do do do do)
Oh, what a night (Do do do do do, do do do do)

Crabby Appleton – Go Back

I’m reaching into the obscurity bin for this one but it’s a good song.

This band was not exactly a household name but this single is really good. “Go Back” was released in 1970 and it peaked at #36 in the Billboard 100. Lead singer Michael Fennelly went on to an unsuccessful solo career but he did work with Steely Dan on occasion.

It was produced by Don Gallucci…formely of the Kingsmen…the drummer Phil Jones played percussion and drums for Tom Petty on every song but one on Full Moon Fever. He has also played with Joe Walsh, Johnny Rivers, and Waddy Wachtel.

The band did release two albums before breaking up in 1971. Bands like this fascinate me. I listened to their debut album and it’s really good…I have to wonder if Electra didn’t push them enough.

I do remember hearing this song in the 70s.

 

Go Back

You don’t hold me so well
And it’s not hard to tell
When you know in your heart
That it’s wrong

‘Cause your thoughts are not here
And you’re making it clear
That the one you love is gone

Well, I can’t tell you your life, no
I can’t tell you what to do
But you know, yes, you know
That’s it’s true

I think you better go back
Go back to your lover, go back
He’s the one you really love
Go back, go back to your bed
I said, go back
He’s the one you’re thinking of

Go back, go back to your bed
I said go back, girl
As fast as you can, go back

Now you look good to me
Still, I can’t help but see
You’ve been thinking of him
All the time

And you know it’s not right
When you kiss me tonight
You pretend his lips are mine

Yeah, I can’t tell you your life, no
I can’t tell you what to do
But you know, yes, you know
That it’s true

I think you better go back
Go back to your lover, go back
He’s the one you really love
Go back, go back to your bed
I said, go back
He’s the one you’re thinking of

Go back, go back to your bed
I said, go back, girl
As fast as you can
Go back, whooooooa
Go back, go back to your lover
Go back
Go back, go back to your bed
I said, go back

 

 

 

Jeff Healey – Angel Eyes

In 1989 Jeff Healey came out with this song that peaked at #5 in the Billboard 100, #86 in the UK, and #16 in Canada. The song was written by John Hiatt and Fred Koller.

Jeff Healey was a Canadian that started to play guitar when he was 3. He was blind and played the guitar on his lap. He could bend the notes to a limit where normal guitar players could not. His solos were just as interesting as the song themselves.

From Songfacts

“Angel Eyes” was written by the songwriters John Hiatt and Fred Koller, and produced by Greg Ladanyi. It stands as Jeff Healey’s only Billboard Top-40 hit; however, considering what a unique character he was, it seems most unfair to dismiss him as a one-hit wonder. Amongst many other things, he was much bigger on the Canada Singles chart; he picked up Juno Awards, got an Independent Music Award for Best Blues Album, and played alongside such talent as Dire Straits, Stevie Ray Vaughan, BB King, ZZ Top, and Eric Clapton.

Angel Eyes

Girl, you’re looking fine tonight
And every guy has got you in his sight
What you’re doing with a clown like me
Is surely one of life’s little mysteries

So tonight I’ll ask the stars above
“How did I ever win your love?”
What did I do?
What did I say
To turn your angel eyes my way?

Well, I’m the guy who never learned to dance
Never even got one second glance
Across a crowded room was close enough
I could look but I could never touch

So tonight I’ll ask, the stars above
“How did I ever win your love?”
What did I do?
What did I say
To turn your angel eyes my way?

Don’t anyone wake me
If it’s just a dream
‘Cause she’s the best thing
Ever happened to me

All you fellows
You can look all you like
But this girl you see
She’s leavin’ here with me tonight

There’s just one more thing that I need to know
If this is love why does it scare me so?
It must be somethin’ only you can see
‘Cause girl I feel it when you look at me

So tonight I’ll ask the stars above
“How did I ever win your love?”
What did I do?
What did I say,
To turn your angel eyes my way? 
Hey, hey, hey, yeah, awww