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!
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).
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."
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.
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).
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.
Pass the Cracker Jacks.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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":
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
2004: My Friend Ray
2005: Patrick Burke, Educator
Comments welcome. Cross-posted to L&P.
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!
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.
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.