Ruth Gordon

Probably the most well-known role she played was the character of Maude in Harold and Maude. She is also remembered as Minnie Castevet in Rosemary’s Baby. Ruth Gordon was also a member of the Algonquin Round Table. She was a brilliant writer and actress. She was a stage actress mostly until the 1940s when she started to appear in films. She went back to the stage until the 60s where she started to be in films up to her death.

Ruth was born in 1896 in Wollaston, Massachusetts. She was a very successful writer and actress.

In 1915 she made her Broadway debut in Peter Pan in the role of Nibs. Her performance endeared her to the New York critic Alexander Woollcott, who introduced her to the famous Algonquin Round Table, a group that included George S. Kaufman, Robert Benchley, Edna Ferber, Alice Duer Miller, Heywood Broun, Dorothy Parker, and Harpo Marx.

Throughout the next three decades, Ruth appeared in several plays by playwrights such as Henrik Ibsen, Anton Chekhov, and Booth Tarkington. She enjoyed her greatest stage triumph in a 1936 production of The Country-Wife at London’s Old Vic.

She married screenwriter and director Garson Kanin in 1942. Ruth and Garson collaborated on many plays and screenplays together.

She appeared in a handful of films during the early 1940s, including Abe Lincoln in Illinois (1940), Dr. Ehrlich’s Magic Bullet (1940), Two-Faced Woman (1941; Greta Garbo’s final film), Edge of Darkness (1942), and Action in the North Atlantic (1943). She then returned to the stage and did not appear in another film for 22 years.

She came back to film in1965 with Inside Daisy Clover ( best-supporting-actress Oscar nomination). She won an Oscar for her supporting role in Rosemary’s Baby (1968), and she developed a strong cult following with her offbeat characters in Where’s Poppa (1970) and Harold and Maude (1971). She appeared in many television programs and made-for-TV movies during the 1960s and ’70s and won an Emmy in 1979 for her role on an episode of the popular sitcom Taxi. Gordon and Kanin also collaborated on one more writing project, the TV movie Hardhat and Legs (1980).

Ruth Gordon died on August 28, 1985, and Garson Kanin died on March 13, 1999.

Awards from IMDB

Academy Awards

1969 Winner
OscarBest Actress in a Supporting Role
Rosemary’s Baby (1968) 

1966 Nominee
OscarBest Actress in a Supporting Role
Inside Daisy Clover (1965)

1953 Nominee
OscarBest Writing, Story and Screenplay
Pat and Mike (1952) 
Shared with: Garson Kanin

1951 Nominee
OscarBest Writing, Story and Screenplay
Adam’s Rib (1949) 

Shared with: Garson Kanin

1948 Nominee

OscarBest Writing, Original Screenplay
A Double Life (1947)

Shared with: Garson Kanin

Fleetwood Mac – Black Magic Woman

Most people today know the Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks Fleetwood Mac but the band has a long winding history. The band members at this time in 1968 were Peter Green – Guitar, Mick Fleetwood – Drums, John McVie – Bass, Jeremy Spencer – Guitar and Piano, and Danny Kirwan on guitar. Christine Perfect contributed keyboards from the second album on and then married John McVie and joined in 1970.

Peter Green is a great guitar player, good singer and a very good songwriter. The Peter Green era produced songs such as Oh Well, Albatross, and The Green Manalishi (With the Two Prong Crown).

This was a hit for Santana, and their version was a cover of this Fleetwood Mac song that hit #37 on the UK charts. Peter Green, who was a founding member of Fleetwood Mac, wrote the lyrics. The original’s music sounds very similar to the sound Santana added on his version. Mick Fleetwood once described this as “three minutes of sustain reverb guitar with two exquisite solos from Peter.”


Black Magic Woman

Got a black magic woman
Got a black magic woman
I’ve got a black magic woman
Got me so blind I can’t see
That she’s a black magic woman
She’s trying to make a devil out of me

Don’t turn your back on me, baby
Don’t turn your back on me, baby
Yes, don’t turn your back on me, baby
Stop messing about with your tricks
Don’t turn your back on me, baby
You just might pick up my magic sticks

You got your spell on me, baby
You got your spell on me, baby
Yes, you got your spell on me, baby
Turnin’ my heart into stone
I need you so bad
Magic woman I can’t leave you alone







Beatles – Please Please Me

This song broke it open for the Beatles in the UK. After Love Me Do peaked at #17 in the UK charts…this one shot to #1 in the New Musical Express, Disc and Melody Maker charts in 1963. The song would later peak at #3 in the Billboard 100 in 1964 after Beatlemania had hit.

George Martin never cared much for Love Me Do and told the Beatles that. He did like Please Please Me and thought it had potential if they would increase the tempo. They had played it to him very slow like a Roy Orbison song. They worked on it for the next studio visit and it started to take shape.

The song was a vast improvement over Love Me Do. The quick catchy riff with those harmonies are hard to resist. The climbing “come on come on come on” led to a perfect chorus hook.

John Lennon was partly inspired by a line from a Bing Crosby song that read, “Please lend a little ear to my pleas.” He recalled: “I remember the day I wrote it, I heard Roy Orbison doing “Only The Lonely”, or something. And I was also always intrigued by the words to a Bing Crosby song that went, ‘Please lend a little ear to my pleas’. The double use of the word ‘please’. So it was a combination of Roy Orbison and Bing Crosby.”

From Songfacts

This was The Beatles first single released in America, and getting it issued in the States was a struggle. The Beatles first recorded “Please Please Me” on September 11, 1962. That version was rejected for release. They re-recorded the song on November 26, 1962 and that version was first issued in England on the EMI-owned Parlophone label on January 12, 1963. After EMI’s US affiliate, Capitol Records, rejected the song (and a lot of other early Beatles material), the small, Chicago-based Vee Jay label stepped in and released “Please Please Me” stateside on February 25, 1963 and again on January 30, 1964 and August 10,1964. The only release that charted was the second, when The Beatles finally made a name for themselves in America.

John Lennon, who was a big Roy Orbison fan, wrote this in the style of Orbison’s overly dramatic singing. Beatles producer George Martin suggested it would sound better sped up. In 2006, Martin told The Observer Music Monthly, “The songs the Beatles first gave me were crap. This was 1962 and they played a dreadful version of ‘Please Please Me’ as a Roy Orbison-style ballad. But I signed them because they made me feel good to be with them, and if they could convey that on a stage then everyone in the audience would feel good, too. So I took ‘Love Me Do’ and added some harmonica, but it wasn’t financially rewarding even though Brian Epstein bought about 2,000 copies. Then we worked for ages on their new version of ‘Please Please Me,’ and I said: ‘Gentlemen, you’re going to have your first #1.'”

This was rumored to be about oral sex. The Beatles denied this, since they had a very clean image to maintain at the time. Lennon said of the song: “I was always intrigued by the double use of the word ‘please.'”

Although in the UK this was officially a #2 record, three of the four charts used at the time – Melody Maker, NME and Disc – listed it #1. Only the Record Retailer chart had it at #2.

The group’s name was misspelled “Beattles” on the record label on the first American release of the single.

Typical for the verse in “Please Please Me,” and for many of Lennon’s songs, are the long notes (legato) that are also used in hymns – even sounding a bit like Mendelssohn’s Wedding March in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. When Lennon was a little boy he used to go to church on Sunday. Afterwards he improvised his own counterpoints to the hymns.

The climbing in the melody “Come on, come on…” is similar to parts of two traditional folk songs: “New’s Evens Song” and “Come Fair One.” >>

In the UK, this was re-released in 1983 to coincide with the 20th anniversary of it’s initial release.

The Beatles performed this on their second Ed Sullivan Show appearance in 1964. Sullivan was not a fan of many rock groups, but loved The Beatles and had them on his show whenever he could.

This was the second Beatles single released in England, the first being “Love Me Do.”

An early version of this song with session drummer Andy White playing drums instead of Ringo can be found on Anthology 1.

The Please Please Me album was The Beatles debut long player. When they recorded it at Abbey Studios in London, John Lennon was struggling with a streaming cold and all were tired after a tour supporting Helen Shapiro. However with the help and encouragement of producer George Martin within nine hours and 45 minutes they had recorded their groundbreaking LP.

The album was released to cash in on the success of this single in the UK. It took them about 12 hours to record, and was basically a re-creation of their live show, which was mostly cover songs. The album was released with the text “Please Please Me with Love Me Do and 12 other songs.” >>

The Beatles performed this on Thank Your Lucky Stars on January 19, 1963. It was their first ever UK television appearance.

The British Prime Minister Gordon Brown revealed in an interview on the British TV program GMTV that this was the first record that he ever bought.

George Martin told Music Week magazine that the first time the Beatles played this to him, he wasn’t very impressed. He recalled: “I listened to it and I said: ‘Do you know that’s too bloody boring for words? It’s a dirge. At twice the speed it might sound reasonable.’ They took me at my word. I was joking and they came back and played it to me sped up and put a harmonica on it, and it became their first big hit.”

Lennon was a great fan of Bing Crosby and when in 1978, Yoko gave him a vintage ’50s Wurlitzer jukebox for his birthday he loaded the machine with as many 78-rpm records by the easy-listening vocalist as he could find.

This is Keith Richards’ favorite Beatles song. He told Jimmy Fallon: “I’ve always told McCartney, ‘Please Please Me.’ I just love the chimes, and I was there at the time and it was beautiful. Mind you, there’s plenty of others, but if I’ve got to pick one, ‘Please Please Me’… oh, yeah!”

Lennon-McCartney was the standard alphabetical credit for their Beatles songwriters compositions except on Please Please Me, where for reasons unknown, the names were reversed.

Please Please Me

Last night I said these words to my girl
I know you never even try, girl
Come on, come on, come on, come on
Please, please me, woah yeah, like I please you

You don’t need me to show the way, love
Why do I always have to say, love
Come on, come on, come on, come on
Please, please me, woah yeah, like I please you

I don’t want to sound complaining
But you know there’s always rain in my heart
I do all the pleasing with you,
It’s so hard to reason with you
Woah yeah, why do you make me blue?

Last night I said these words to my girl
I know you never even try, girl
Come on, come on, come on, come on
Please, please me, woah yeah, like I please you
Woah yeah, like I please you
Woah yeah, like I please you

Warren Zevon – Keep Me In Your Heart

The song can bring tears to your eyes while watching the video. Zevon recorded this when he knew he was dying and it is a touching song. The song was off of the album The Wind which peaked #12 in the Billboard 200 album charts in 2003.

This was the final song Zevon wrote and recorded before dying of mesothelioma (a form of lung cancer) in September of 2003. This was also the only song on Zevon’s final album The Wind that he wrote entirely after learning of his terminal illness. With the exception of the cover of “Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door,” all of the remaining songs on the album were songs Zevon had already at least started writing beforehand.

Zevon saved the recording of this song for last. His deteriorating health rendered him too weak to continue commuting to the studio where the other tracks had been recorded, so he had a makeshift studio set up at his home to record this song.



Keep Me In Your Heart

Shadows are fallin’ and I’m runnin’ out of breath
Keep me in your heart for a while
If I leave you it doesn’t mean I love you any less
Keep me in your heart for a while

When you get up in the mornin’ and you see that crazy sun
Keep me in your heart for a while
There’s a train leavin’ nightly called “When All is Said and Done”
Keep me in your heart for a while

Keep me in your heart for a while

Keep me in your heart for a while

Sometimes when you’re doin’ simple things around the house
Maybe you’ll think of me and smile
You know I’m tied to you like the buttons on your blouse
Keep me in your heart for a while

Hold me in your thoughts
Take me to your dreams
Touch me as I fall into view
When the winter comes
Keep the fires lit
And I will be right next to you

Engine driver’s headed north up to Pleasant Stream
Keep me in your heart for a while
These wheels keep turnin’ but they’re runnin’ out of steam
Keep me in your heart for a while

Keep me in your heart for a while

Keep me in your heart for a while

Keep me in your heart for a while




The Nerf Ball… a brief history

The name NERF actually comes from drag racing. In the late ‘60s, foam-covered bars sometimes called “nerf bars” were put on the front of the trucks that pushed racers to the starting line. This prevented damage to cars.

I had many Nerf Footballs and small Nerf basketballs growing up and they were always fun to bonk someone in the head.

In 1968 Reyn Guyer who invented Twister helped invent the Nerf Ball. He was testing a new caveman game with colleagues. The prototype included a bunch of foam-rubber rocks that, the men soon discovered, were more fun to throw at one another than use in the game. He then thought (and probably saved a lot of broken lamps…and spankings) they could be used as balls and played within a home.

In 1969 Reyn tried to sell the idea to Milton Bradley but they didn’t want it, but Parker Brothers did. The first Nerf product as a 4-inch polyurethane foam ball. They marketed it as “world’s first official indoor ball” and soon they had blasters, footballs (Fred Cox, kicker for the Vikings actually invented the Nerf Football), basketballs, living room baseball and a line of Nerf products.


Parker Brothers handed the company off to Kenner Products, a sister company, in 1991, when Hasbro acquired the Nerf line. Throughout the 1990s and early 2000s, the Nerf brand served under the subsidiaries OddzOn and Larami before Hasbro took full control of the brand.

Monkees Nerf Ball Commercial



Paul Simon – You Can Call Me Al

Paul Simon made a great comeback with the Graceland album. This was the first single off Graceland, which won a Grammy for Album of the Year in 1988. It was Simon’s first hit since 1980, when “Late In The Evening” went to #6 in the US. This song is strong on its own but I do remember the video really well.

When they recorded the tracks for this song in South Africa, Simon and his producers were sure they had a hit with this song. Even though the Graceland album did very well, this song was a slow starter. The single did well in the UK, where it made #4 in September 1986, but in America, it stalled at #44 in October. After the album and video gained momentum, the song was reissued with more promotion in March 1987, and this time it went to #23 in the Billboard 100. It was Simon’s last Top 40 hit in America.

From Songfacts

Simon started recorded this song in South Africa, where he worked with local musicians and experimented with their sounds. He recorded with many different musicians while he was there, and he loved the work of the guys from a local group called Stimela, whose guitarist Ray Phiri came up with the riff for this song during one of their jam sessions. These recordings were edited together in New York by Simon’s producer Roy Halee – a monumental task in the age of analog recording, since in South Africa, they rolled a lot of tape that Halee had to sort out with a series of splices.

The lyrics contain some intricate wordplay that Simon wrote very carefully around the track, and the character in the song symbolic of his South Africa experience. At the time, South Africa was divided by Apartheid, a policy that separated blacks and whites, and a cultural boycott was in place (check out the Songfacts on “Sun City”). Simon defied this boycott and went anyway, taking a lot of heat for his actions – even though his intentions were good, many black leaders in South Africa felt that any violation of the boycott hindered their cause. Because of the boycott, music from the area was secluded, and when Simon released Graceland, he brought the music of the country to the world. In the documentary Under African Skies, Simon explained: “‘You Can Call Me Al’ is really the story of somebody like me, who goes to Africa with no idea and ends up having an extraordinary spiritual experience.”

This song is about a self-obsessed person becoming aware of his surroundings. In a 1990 interview with SongTalk magazine, Simon explained: “‘You Can Call Me Al’ starts off very easily with sort of a joke: ‘Why am I soft in the middle when the rest of my life is so hard?’ Very easy words. Then it has a chorus that you can’t understand. What is he talking about, you can call me Betty, and Betty, you can call me Al? You don’t know what I’m talking about. But I don’t think it’s bothersome. You don’t know what I’m talking about but neither do I. At that point.

The second verse is really a recapitulation: A man walks down the street, he says… another thing. And by the time you get to the third verse, and people have been into the song long enough, now you can start to throw abstract images. Because there’s been a structure, and those abstract images, they will come down and fall into one of the slots that the mind has already made up about the structure of the song.

So now you have this guy who’s no longer thinking about the mundane thoughts, about whether he’s getting too fat, whether he needs a photo opportunity, or whether he’s afraid of the dogs in the moonlight and the graveyard.”

So where did “Al” and “Betty” in this song come from? That stems from a 1970 party that Simon hosted with his wife, Peggy Harper. Simon’s friend, the composer Stanley Silverman, brought along another composer named Pierre Boulez, and when he made his exit, Boulez called Simon “Al” and his wife “Betty.” Boulez was French, and he wasn’t being rude – it was just his interpretation of what he heard: Paul=Al, Peggy=Betty.

Silverman’s son is Ben Silverman, a television mogul who was executive producer of the American version of The Office. In 2011, Ben commissioned a work composed by his dad called “Les Folies d’Al,” which includes variations of “You Can Call Me Al” and is a send-up of the incident.

The best we can tell, this is by far the biggest hit containing a penny whistle solo. It was played by Jy Morr (Morris) Goldberg, a white South African who was living in New York.

Simon arranged for some of the musicians who played on this song, including guitarist Ray Phiri, bass player Bakithi Kumalo and drummer Isaac Mtshali, to came to America, where they worked on some other tracks for the album and backed Simon when he appeared on Saturday Night Live, where he performed this song on May 10, 1986, a few months before the album was released. These musicians later accompanied Simon on his worldwide tour for Graceland.

The video featured Chevy Chase lip-synching the vocals while Simon pretended to play various instruments. Most videos at the time were “performance videos,” meaning the bands would pretend to be playing the song. This video did a great job mocking them. The clip was also notable for its simplicity – it was shot in a small, unadorned room using a single camera.

Al Gore used this while he was running for Vice President in 1992. Simon has played at various Democratic fund raisers.

This echoes a line from the folk song, “Brother, Can You Spare A Dime,” about a guy who has fallen on hard times:
Say, don’t you remember?
They called me Al
It was Al all the time.

Say, don’t you remember?
I’m your pal.
Brother, can you spare a dime? >>

The University of Florida band plays the tune to “You Can Call Me Al” at every basketball game and has done so for a number of years. It serves at an unofficial theme for the basketball team. The student section at the O’Connell Center (where the basketball team plays) is called the Rowdy Reptiles and while the song plays students sing along with “Da da da da, da da da da…” waving their hands with the music.

You Can Call Me Al

A man walks down the street
He says why am I soft in the middle now
Why am I soft in the middle
The rest of my life is so hard
I need a photo-opportunity
I want a shot at redemption
Don’t want to end up a cartoon
In a cartoon graveyard
Bonedigger Bonedigger
Dogs in the moonlight
Far away my well-lit door
Mr. Beerbelly Beerbelly
Get these mutts away from me
You know I don’t find this stuff amusing anymore

If you’ll be my bodyguard
I can be your long lost pal
I can call you Betty
And Betty when you call me
You can call me Al

A man walks down the street
He says why am I short of attention
Got a short little span of attention
And wo my nights are so long
Where’s my wife and family
What if I die here
Who’ll be my role-model
Now that my role-model is
Gone Gone
He ducked back down the alley
With some roly-poly little bat-faced girl
All along along
There were incidents and accidents
There were hints and allegations

If you’ll be my bodyguard
I can be your long lost pal
I can call you Betty
And Betty when you call me
You can call me Al
Call me Al

A man walks down the street
It’s a street in a strange world
Maybe it’s the Third World
Maybe it’s his first time around
He doesn’t speak the language
He holds no currency
He is a foreign man
He is surrounded by the sound
The sound
Cattle in the marketplace
Scatterlings and orphanages
He looks around, around
He sees angels in the architecture
Spinning in infinity
He says Amen! and Hallelujah!

If you’ll be my bodyguard
I can be your long lost pal
I can call you Betty
And Betty when you call me
You can call me Al
Call me Al

Allman Brothers – Melissa

This was Duane Allman’s favorite song that his brother Gregg wrote….but it was also one of the first songs the band recorded without Duane Allman, who died in a motorcycle accident about four months before it was released. Eat A Peach was dedicated to Duane. At Duane Allman’s funeral in 1971, Gregg Allman played this song on one of Duane’s old guitars. At the service, Gregg said, “This was my brother’s favorite song that I ever wrote.”

The song peaked at #86 in the Billboard 100 in 1972. The song didn’t chart too well but it remains a staple of classic radio.

Gregg actually taught Duane how to play the guitar, who quickly became a virtuoso. They played together until 1969 when Duane assembled what would become the Allman Brothers Band. Gregg was reluctant to sign on having already been accepted into college to be a dental surgeon. He soon did and they played together until Duane’s death in 1971.

From Songfacts

Gregg Allman spoke at length about this song in an interview with the San Luis Obispo (California) Tribune on November 30, 2006: “I wrote that song in 1967 in a place called the Evergreen Hotel in Pensacola, Florida. By that time I got so sick of playing other people’s material that I just sat down and said, ‘OK, here we go. One, two, three – we’re going to try to write songs.’ And about 200 songs later – much garbage to take out – I wrote this song called ‘Melissa.’ And I had everything but the title. I thought (referring to lyrics): ‘But back home, we always run… to sweet Barbara’ – no. Diane…? We always run… to sweet Bertha.’ No, so I just kind of put it away for a while.

So one night I was in the grocery store – it was my turn to go get the tea, the coffee, the sugar and all that other s–t… and there was this Spanish lady there and she had this little toddler with her – this little girl. And I’m sitting there, getting a few things and what have you. And this little girl takes off, running down the aisle. And the lady yells, Oh, Melissa! Melissa, come back, Melissa!’ And I went, ‘Oh – that’s it.’ I forgot about half the stuff I went for, I went back home and, man, it was finished, only I couldn’t really tell if it was worth a damn or not because I’d written so many bad ones. So I didn’t really show it to anybody for about a year. And then I was the last one to get to Jacksonville – I was the last one to join the band that became the Allman Brothers. And my brother sometimes late at night after dinner, he’d say, ‘Man, go get your guitar and play me that song – that song about that girl.’ And I’d play it for him every now and then.

After my brother’s accident, we had three vinyl sides done of Peach, so I thought well we’ll do that, and then on the way down there I wrote “Ain’t Wastin’ Time No More.” I wrote that for my brother. We were all in pretty bad shape. I had just gotten back from Jamaica and I was weighing at about 156, 6-foot-1-and-a-half – I was pretty skinny. So we went back down there, got in the studio and finished the record. And the damn thing shipped gold.”

This was first recorded in 1968 by the 31st Of February, one of Gregg and Duane Allman’s first bands. Duane’s version of this with the 31st Of February is the first recording of him playing the bottleneck slide guitar, a technique he became famous for.

Steve Alaimo, who was operating the studio where The Allman Brothers recorded this song, received a songwriting credit on this track along with Gregg Allman. Alaimo had a few Hot 100 entries as a singer in the ’60s and early ’70s before moving into production work.

The part of the song that begins: “Crossroads, will you ever let him go” is probably a reference to Robert Johnson, a blues legend who supposedly went to a crossroads and sold his soul to the devil.

Gregg Allman told Esquire in 2013 that thanks to ready access to biphetamines, he had been awake for about two days when he wrote this song. He was working like crazy on another song, but when he played it for his brother, Duane said, “What you have here is a new set of lyrics to an obscure Rolling Stones song.” Said Gregg: “That’s discouraging as s–t, right there. And just as I was about to say f–k it, I wrote ‘Melissa.'”

The Allman Brothers performed this on the last episode of the syndicated Dennis Miller Show on July 25, 1992.

This was used in a commercial television advertisement campaign for Cingular/AT&T Wireless.


Crossroads, seem to come and go, yeah
The gypsy flies from coast to coast
Knowing many, loving none
Bearing sorrow, having fun
But, back home he’ll always run
To sweet Melissa
Mmm, hmm

Freight train, each car looks the same, all the same
And no one knows the gypsy’s name
And no one hears his lonely sighs
There are no blankets where he lies
Lord, in his deepest dreams the gypsy flies
With sweet Melissa
Mm, hmm

Again, the mornin’s come
Again, he’s on the run
A sunbeam’s shinin’ through his hair
Fear not to have a care
Well, pick up your gear and gypsy roll on
Roll on

Crossroads, will you ever let him go? 
Lord, Lord
Or will you hide the dead man’s ghost?
Or will he lie, beneath the clay?
Or will his spirit float away?
But, I know that he won’t stay
Without Melissa
Yes, I know that he won’t stay, yeah
Without Melissa
Lord, Lord, it’s all the same