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October 28, 2011

Song of the Day #1008

Song of the Day: The Lady is a Tramp, music by Richard Rodgers, lyrics by Lorenz Hart, made its debut in the 1937 Broadway smash, "Babes in Arms," which featured the choreography of George Balanchine. This famous Rodgers and Hart song, performed in the original musical by Mitzi Green, spoofs New York high society. The song can be found in several films as well: as background music in the 1939 film version, performed by Lena Horne in the 1948 film "Words and Music" (YouTube clip) and by Frank Sinatra in the 1957 film, "Pal Joey," singing to Rita Hayworth (YouTube clip). Check out these other clips: Tommy Dorsey (with singer Edythe Wright), Sophie Tucker, Ol' Blue Eyes again, swingin' at Caesar's Palace in 1978 and with Ella Fitzgerald, and, most recently, Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett, featured on "Duets II," the highest debuting #1 Billboard album by the oldest living artist. Bennett may have turned 85 in August, but on this date, 125 years ago, the Statue of Liberty opened in New York Harbor. "This chick is a champ" with a lamp, which is why she's getting a Fireworks Celebration Tonight! Happy 125th birthday, Lady Liberty!

October 18, 2011

Song of the Day #1007

Song of the Day: West Side Story ("Dance at the Gym"), music by the incomparable Leonard Bernstein, can be heard in the score to the Oscar-wnning blockbuster film adaptation of the great Broadway musical. The film was released to theaters 50 years ago today. This particular composition was a highlight from a stupendous New York Philharmonic performance of the grand soundtrack in sync with the grand film, which took place at Avery Fisher Hall last month. What a poetically appropriate tribute, since the movie's opening sequence was filmed on the streets where Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts now stands, and Bernstein himself was the Philharmonic's long-time music director. The film soundtrack, boasting Bernstein's music and the lyrics of Stephen Sondheim, spent 54 weeks at #1. Enjoy this YouTube moment of this classic dance sequence, Latin rhythms and instrumentation conjoined to the steamy choreography of the great Jerome Robbins.

October 16, 2011

Song of the Day #1006

Song of the Day: Moves Like Jagger, words and music by Adam Levine, Benjamin Levin (Benny Blanco), Ammar Malik, and Shellback, was recorded by Maroon 5, and features a guest appearance by Christina Aguilera. I confess: One listen to this catchy #1 Billboard Hot 100 hit, which references Rolling Stones lead vocalist Mick Jagger, and I can't get it the hell out of my brain or my feet! Check out the Official Music Video and a live performance of the song on "The Voice."

October 15, 2011

Song of the Day #1005

Song of the Day: I Fall to Pieces, words and music by Garland Perry "Hank" Cochran and Harlan Perry Howard, was the first #1 Country Hit by the immortal Patsy Cline. It was released on 30 January 1961, three days after Dr. Franklin Edward Kameny submitted a petition for a Writ of Certiorari to the United States Supreme Court to review his case, Kameny v. Brucker, which protested the U.S. Army's unjust dismissal of him in 1957 from his position as an astronomer in the Army Map Service for being gay. He lost the case, but not the cause. Frank was an indefatigable warrior, a great trailblazer, on behalf of individual rights. I corresponded with him a few times over the years; he may have been known for his thunderous style, but I was always warmed by his gentility. So it's no wonder that many of us fall to pieces over his passing at the age of 86 on 11 October 2011. Check out Patsy Cline on YouTube.

October 01, 2011

Yankees: Looking Back ... and To The Future

Fifty years ago today, New York Yankees right fielder Roger Maris hit his 61st home run of the season, setting what was, then, the single-season home run record. 61 in '61. It was long said, however, that this achievement would always be tarnished by an asterisk, since the 61st home run came on the final day of a 162-game regular season schedule, whereas The Babe had hit his record-setting 60th home run in the old 154-game regular season schedule.

All the more reason to add a few asterisks to the "records" set by those players who "surpassed" Maris in the Steroid Era.

Be that as it may, here's a Salute to one of the Great M&M boys, as the Yankees win their first 2011 post-season game, tonight, beating Detroit, 9-3.

Viva Maris! And Go Yanks!