« August 2006 | Main | October 2006 »

September 30, 2006

Song of the Day #743

Song of the Day: (The World of) Confirmation, music by Charlie Parker, lyrics by Eddie Jefferson, has been recorded by many instrumentalists and vocalists. Listen to a sampling of audio clips from Charlie Parker, Gene Ammons, Manhattan Transfer, and Sheila Jordan.

September 29, 2006

Song of the Day #742

Song of the Day: Sexyback, words and music by Timothy "Timbaland" Mosley, Nate Hills, and Justin Timberlake, who, with Timbaland, took this song to #1 on the Billboard Hot 100. From the album "Futuresex/Love Sounds," the hot track merges elements of electronica, dance, R&B, and hip hop. Listen to an audio clip here. Take 'em to the bridge! Take 'em to the chorus!

September 28, 2006

Song of the Day #741

Song of the Day: Raindrops, written and produced by Dave Valler, Molly Smithen-Downes, Ralf Kappmeier, Sascha Lappessen, and Thomas Alisson, is a hot dance track recorded by Stunt. Listen here to a full-length audio clip.

September 27, 2006

Song of the Day #740

Song of the Day: Easy Living, words and music by Leo Robin and Ralph Rainger, has been recorded by countless artists. Especially memorable, for me, are versions by Billie Holiday, Sarah Vaughan, Ella Fitzgerald and Joe Pass, and Carmen McRae, with Joe Pass on guitar in a medley (audio clips at links).

September 26, 2006

Song of the Day #739

Song of the Day: The Moment of Truth, words and music by Collen G. "Tex" Satterwhite and Frank Scott, was recorded in a hot, swinging arrangement by the great Tony Bennett (audio clip at that link). Today marks the release of Bennett's new album, in tribute to his 80th birthday: "Duets: An American Classic."

September 25, 2006

Song of the Day #738

Song of the Day: Gente, music and lyrics by R. Gilbert, M. Valle, P. Valle, is another memorable track from the Brasil 66 album "Equinox" (audio clip at that link).

September 24, 2006

Song of the Day #737

Song of the Day: C'mon Marianne, words and music by L. Russell Brown and Raymond Bloodworth, is my all-time favorite Four Seasons hit. It's got a rock and roll pulse, which exhibits the group's integrated R&B and doo-wop influences. As our Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons tribute concludes, listen to an audio clip of this pop smash here.

September 23, 2006

Song of the Day #736

Song of the Day: Beggin' features the words and music of Bob Gaudio and Peggy Farina. Listen here to an audio clip of the original and also to a "Jersey Boys" soundtrack rendition. And as the summer season melts into fall, a Happy Autumnal Equinox to one and all (the season officially arrived a little after midnight EDT).

September 22, 2006

Song of the Day #735

Song of the Day: Can't Take My Eyes Off You, words and music by Bob Crewe and Bob Gaudio, was a huge Frankie Valli hit. The song has shown up in many films as well, including "The Deer Hunter" (1978). Listen to an audio clip here, and also to alternative versions by Gloria Gaynor and Lauryn Hill.

September 21, 2006

Baseball Fever Grips Apple

The Mets have won the National League East for the first time in 18 years. And the Yanks have taken the American League East for the ninth straight year. (And after a 25-game hitting streak, Captain Clutch is an MVP candidate as well!) There is melodrama, for sure, but one thing is clear: New York, New York is a baseball town, heading for what many of us hope will be a memorable October.

And the fans agree: The Yanks and Mets will both set attendance records this year.

Pass the Cracker Jacks.

Comments welcome.

Song of the Day #734

Song of the Day: My Eyes Adored You, words and music by Bob Crewe and Kenny Nolan, was a #1 hit for Frankie Valli. Listen to an audio clip here, and a happy anniversary to my brother Carl and sister-in-law Joanne.

September 20, 2006

Song of the Day #733

Song of the Day: Swearin' to God, words and music by Bob Crewe and Denny Randell, was a Top Ten hit for Frankie Valli; when it was released, I especially enjoyed the extended remix. Listen to an audio clip here.

September 19, 2006

Song of the Day #732

Song of the Day: Who Loves You, words and music by Bob Gaudio and Judy Parker, gave the Four Seasons a dash of disco. I love the musical break-down heard at the mid-point. Listen to an audio clip here.

September 18, 2006

Song of the Day #731

Song of the Day: Let's Hang On (To What We've Got), words and music by Bob Crewe, Sandy Linzer and Denny Randell, is another fine Four Seasons hit (audio clip at that link).

September 17, 2006

Song of the Day #730

Song of the Day: Opus 17 (Don't You Worry 'Bout Me), words and music by Sandy Linzer and Denny Randell, was a pop and R&B smash for the Four Seasons. Listen here to an audio clip of 17 on the 17th!

September 16, 2006

Song of the Day #729

Song of the Day: Working My Way Back to You, words and music by Sandy Linzer and Denny Randell, was another big Four Seasons hit. Listen to audio clips of The Four Seasons rendition, and another one by The Spinners.

September 15, 2006

Song of the Day #728

Song of the Day: Sherry, words and music by Bob Gaudio, was recorded by The Four Seasons and became a #1 Hit on this date in 1962 (it was a #1 R&B hit too). And so begins our 10-day tribute to Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, which, of course, will also coincide with a change from one season to another. Listen here to an audio clip of this nostalgic hit. Having seen the Tony-winning Best Musical of 2006, "Jersey Boys," I can say that the moments leading up to the performance of this song in that production, and the performance itself, moved me to tears. It's a wonderful pop song in a wonderfully entertaining and poignant musical.

September 14, 2006

Song of the Day #727

Song of the Day: Back Together Again, words and music by James Mtume and Reggie Lucas, is a classic soulful duet of Roberta Flack and Donny Hathaway (audio clip at that link). I also adore a "sentimental reunion" remix by Steve Anderson, produced for the June 1990 Disco Mix Club.

September 13, 2006

Song of the Day #726

Song of the Day: Bitches Crystal, words and music by Keith Emerson and Greg Lake, is another classic high energy prog rock track from the Emerson, Lake and Palmer album, "Tarkus." Listen to an audio clip of the original cut here, and also, from an ELP tribute album here.

September 12, 2006

Song of the Day #725

Song of the Day: Tarkus is a classic progressive rock composition by Keith Emerson and Greg Lake, featuring several movements ("Eruption," "Stones of Years," "Iconoclast," "Mass," "Manticore," "Battlefield," and "Aquatarkus"). Listen to an audio clip from this energetic, jazz-inflected opus by Emerson, Lake and Palmer.

September 11, 2006

Remember

Click Here to Read Sciabarra's Various Tributes to the World Trade Center

Song of the Day #724

Song of the Day: Triste, words and music by Antonio Carlos Jobim, is translated as "Sad" (one of my emotions on this day), but there is nothing sad about these lovely, lively audio clips featuring Jobim, Sinatra & Jobim and Brasil 66.

September 10, 2006

Song of the Day #723

Song of the Day: I Didn't Know What Time it Was, music by Richard Rodgers, lyrics by Lorenz Hart, was heard in the 1957 film, "Pal Joey" (yes, another one from that production). The song was actually not heard in the original 1940 Broadway production of "Pal Joey"; it debuted in the 1939 Broadway show, "Too Many Girls." Among the many versions recorded, listen to audio clips of renditions by Tony Bennett, Peggy Lee, Anita O'Day, Gogi Grant, Betty Carter, and Bobby Darin.

September 09, 2006

Song of the Day #722

Song of the Day: I Could Write a Book is a Rodgers and Hart gem from "Pal Joey." Check out audio clips of versions by Tony Bennett with Count Basie, Dinah Washington, and Ella Fitzgerald.

September 08, 2006

Song of the Day #721

Song of the Day: Smooth Criminal, words and music by Michael Jackson, was a featured selection on his album, "Bad." The video was cool too. As a DJ back in the '80s, I used to create my own dance-floor packin' house remix of this song by interlacing the "a capella mix" with the Inner City hit, "Big Fun." Listen to an audio clip of the original recording here.

September 07, 2006

Song of the Day #720

Song of the Day: Big Fun, words and music by Kevin Saunderson, Paris Gray, Arthur Forest and James Pennington, was recorded by the group Inner City. Listen to an audio clip of this classic house track here.

September 06, 2006

Song of the Day #719

Song of the Day: Neither One of Us (Wants to Be the First to Say Goodbye), words and music by Jim Weatherly, won a 1974 Grammy Award for Gladys Knight and the Pips for "Best Pop Vocal Performance by a Duo, Group or Chorus." Listen to an audio clip of this wonderful pop hit here.

September 05, 2006

Remembering the World Trade Center, Sixth Installment

Back on September 12, 2001, in the hours after the greatest tragedy to ever befall my hometown, I wrote:

The only near-fatality of an extended family member of which I am aware is my sister-in-law's cousin. He was on the 89th floor of the first tower that was struck; that strike apparently occurred on the 96th floor, but the devastation quickly spread to the floors above and below. He was able to get all of his workers to safety, except for two who were killed. He is now in [the] hospital, recovering from smoke and ash inhalation, but we expect a full recovery.

In the confusion that marked those hours, not all the facts that I reported were completely accurate. And that brief paragraph most certainly did not tell the whole story.

It has been five years since I wrote those words. Today, I am honored to add the testimony of my sister-in-law's cousin to my annual tribute page, "Remembering the World Trade Center":

"Cousin Scott"

As I mentioned here

This year's installment is particularly important; it comes on the fifth anniversary of that awful tragedy and it marks the first time that I will take readers inside the WTC. My interview subject was on the 89th floor of the North Tower when the first plane struck. That he survived to tell this harrowing story is a blessing to those of us who will never forget September 11, 2001. This was the most difficult interview I have ever conducted, but I trust that readers will agree with me that it is among the most important contributions to my annual series.

For those who would like to read previous installments of my series, I provide this index:

2001: As It Happened

2002: New York, New York

2003: Remembering the World Trade Center: A Tribute

2004: My Friend Ray

2005: Patrick Burke, Educator

Comments welcome. Cross-posted to L&P.

Song of the Day #718

Song of the Day: The Wings of My Heart (lyrics can be found in the transcript of a linked 2003 episode of "Another World") features the words and music of the late Keith Diamond and James Ingram. Appearing on Ingram's album "Never Felt So Good," it is a passionate, melodic, lush ballad that has also been recorded by my sister-in-law, Joanne Barry (no audio clips online). Happy Birthday, Joanne!

September 04, 2006

Song of the Day #717

Song of the Day: Uptight features the words and music of Sylvia Moy, Henry Cosby, and Stevie Wonder, for whom it was was a big hit. Listen to audio clips of Stevie's version and Nancy Wilson (my favorite version).

September 03, 2006

Song of the Day #716

Song of the Day: Para Machuchar Meu Coracao (To Hurt My Heart), words and music by Ary Evangelista Barroso, is featured on the fabulous Getz/Gilberto album (audio clip at that link).

September 02, 2006

Song of the Day #715

Song of the Day: I Heard it Through the Grapevine, words and music by Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong, was a mega-hit for two different Motown artists: Gladys Knight and the Pips and Marvin Gaye (audio clips at those links). The song was one of my sister's favorites (and one of mine too) back in the 1960s, and it's her birthday today! Happy birthday, sister! Meanwhile, check out alternative versions by Creedance Clearwater Revival, The Temptations, and, of course, The California Raisins.

September 01, 2006

Happy Anniversary Songs

Today marks the two-year anniversary of the inauguration of my "Song of the Day" feature.

I was reminded of this the other night when I was watching the "58th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards," which, during the broadcast, showed a romantic commercial for "Journey Diamond Jewelry," telling us that "a diamond is forever." The song used for that commercial? "What Are You Doing the Rest of Your Life?," which just so happens to have been my very first "Song of the Day." In truth, I thought it was a lovely commercial; but then again, it is a lovely song. Like the diamond, it will last forever, at least "forever" in my own consciousness. Indeed, though it would be very difficult for me to pick my favorite song of all time, that Legrand-Bergman tune would certainly qualify.

Two years ago today, I wrote:

Today, I thought I'd share with my readers a new feature for "Not a Blog" and a new page on my site. I have been promising readers to inaugurate additional "My Favorite Things" pages, pointing to such things as favorite books, favorite albums, and even favorite songs. Why my personal aesthetic views are so interesting is beyond me... but the Favorite Things page is consistently one of the most popular pages on my "Dialectics and Liberty" website. Perhaps it is due to the fact that I provide lots of entertaining links on such pages for your enjoyment.
So, I'm starting a new page today: My Favorite Songs. Rather than come up with a full list on a single day, I'll make it a regular (daily?) feature here at "Not a Blog." (The songs will also be added to the "Favorite Songs" list, alphabetically, with date of addition in [brackets].)
There isn't a waking hour of any day where I don't have a song on my mind. (I suspect there are quite a few songs playing in my mind during non-waking hours as well!) Music is such an integral part of my life, that I could not for a moment imagine life without it. And the songs I love come from a variety of genres, as readers will soon find out.

I can only echo those observations today. And while the "Song of the Day" hasn't actually been posted daily for two straight years (there have been more than a few interruptions), I'm happy that it remains a popular feature at Notablog. And I'm even happier that it has evolved to include both vocal and instrumental compositions. Obviously, my use of the word "song" is, uh, rather loose. But that's been part of the fun... running the gamut from cartoons to the concert hall.

Thanks again to Notablog readers for all your recent public comments on the songs, and thanks also to the hundreds of people who have emailed me their own private comments over the last two years. I've heard from music fans and even from some of the artists and composers whom I've highlghted. It's been a great run, and I look forward to continuing the feature in the future, though it will become less frequent sometime this fall, as my work schedule intensifies.

Comments welcome.

Song of the Day #714

Song of the Day: Jonny Quest, composed by William Hanna and Joseph Barbera, is another one of those rousing jazzy cartoon themes. Listen here to an audio clip. And so ends the Second Annual TV Theme tribute.