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June 30, 2006

Song of the Day #681

Song of the Day: The Frog, words and music by Joao Donato, is a highlight from "Look Around," a Sergio Mendes-Brasil 66 album. Listen to an audio clip of that version here, and to a recent "Timeless" version as well (featuring Q-Tip).

June 29, 2006

Song of the Day #680

Song of the Day: All Night Passion, words and music by Rick Tarbox, was a hot mid-80s dance hit recorded by Alisha. Listen to audio clips of the original version and the extended dance remix here.

June 28, 2006

Song of the Day #679

Song of the Day: Climb Ev'ry Mountain features the words of Oscar Hammerstein II and the music of today's birthday boy, Richard Rodgers. It is a highlight from one of my favorite all-time musicals, "The Sound of Music," sung in the 1965 film version by the character Mother Abbess, played by Peggy Wood. Listen to audio clips of this uplifting song from the 1965 soundtrack album, as well as from the original 1959 Broadway production, the 1961 London production, the 1987 studio cast album, and the 1998 Broadway revival.

June 27, 2006

Song of the Day #678

Song of the Day: Just in Time, words and music by Betty Comden, Adolph Green, and Jule Styne, has been performed by many artists through the years (and it has been spoofed too). Listen especially to audio clips of renditions by Tony Bennett, Nina Simone, and Judy Garland, whose funeral was held at the Campbell Funeral Home in New York City on this day in 1969. It was the same day that many gays, in mourning over the passing of this cultural icon, took to the streets in response to a routine police raid on the Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village. And so was born the Gay Liberation Movement.

June 26, 2006

Song of the Day #677

Song of the Day: Making Love, music by Burt Bacharach, lyrics by Carole Bayer Sager, was the title song to the 1982 film about the love that dare not speak its name. Listen to an audio clip of the original, sensitive, understated rendition by Roberta Flack.

June 25, 2006

Song of the Day #676

Song of the Day: It's Raining Men, words and music by Paul Jabara and Paul Shaffer, was performed with Diva gusto by those "two tons o' fun": The Weather Girls. Martha Wash and Izora Rhodes Armstead tore up the dance floors with this one. The song was re-recorded by Geri Halliwell for the soundtrack of the 2001 film, "Bridget Jones's Diary" (audio clip at that link). But nothing compares to the original (audio clip at that link). Just the right song for a Gay-Day Parade in NYC, even it has been raining (literally) on and off for days.

June 24, 2006

Aaron Spelling, RIP

Over the years, I've watched more than a few Aaron Spelling productions. I learned late last night that Spelling, 83, passed away.

I know, I know, some of you will say: Mindless Entertainment. But from the Eighties Excess of "Dynasty" to the Nineties Nightime Soap "Beverly Hills 90210," his productions provided me with many entertaining hours.

He was a major force in television for many years, and also played an important role in bringing quality productions, such as "And the Band Played On," to the small screen.

Song of the Day #675

Song of the Day: One More Night features the words and music of K. Kama, Frank Berman, Christian Berman, and Marie Claire Cremers, who recorded this hypnotic club hit, and who goes by the name of Amber. Listen to audio clips of different remixes here (very few of which even get to the vocals!).

June 23, 2006

Song of the Day #674

Song of the Day: Sunshine of Your Love, words and music by Eric Clapton, Jack Bruce, and Peter Brown, was a huge hit for Cream. Listen here to an audio clip of this steamy track with its classic rock guitar riff. And for a change of pace, check out an audio clip of a rendition by Ella Fitzgerald!

June 22, 2006

Song of the Day #673

Song of the Day: Once Upon a Summertime (La Valse Des Lilas) features the music of Michel Legrand and E. Barclay, the French lyrics of Eddie Marnay, and the English lyrics of Johnny Mercer. Listen to audio clips of sensitive renditions by Tony Bennett, Barbra Streisand, Blossom Dearie, trumpeters Chet Baker and Miles Davis (with Gil Evans), and one of its composers, on piano: Michel Legrand.

June 21, 2006

Song of the Day #672

Song of the Day: So Nice (Summer Samba) features the music of Marcos Valle and the lyrics of Paulo Sergio Valle (audio clip of the original Portuguese lyrics at that link) and Norman Gimbel (writer of the English lyrics). So nice to hear this on the day of the Summer Solstice, which arrives this morning. Listen to audio clips of this lovely tune by Nancy Ames and a famous organ rendering by Walter Wanderley.

June 20, 2006

Song of the Day #671

Song of the Day: So Many Tears, words and music by Z. Mark and O. Oestricher, originally appeared on Regina Belle's album "All By Myself" (audio clip at that link). Listen also to an alternative audio clip of this R&B track here, featuring a jazzy saxophone in its opening bars.

June 19, 2006

Song of the Day #670

Song of the Day: So Many Stars, words and music by Sergio Mendes and Alan and Marilyn Bergman, is a lovely ballad featured on the Brasil 66 album, "Look Around" (audio clip at that link).

June 18, 2006

All-Time Yankees

Tom Stone continues to post draft chapters on his all-time baseball teams. Yesterday, he posted on his selections for the Yankees All-Time Team, and I largely agree with all his choices.

If Alex Rodriguez ever comes into his own at third base, he might give players like Graig Nettles a run for the money, but Lord... the jury is still out. (I used to have debates all the time with a friend, who used to be a fan of Clete Boyer, and who insisted Boyer was better than Nettles. But I keep thinking of Nettles flying through the air and that's enough for me.)

My only possible divergence from Tom is in terms of the Extra Spot on the roster. I know Dave Winfield had good numbers, but I can't shake that impression of him as "Mr. May"... whereas when a guy like Thurmon Munson was in the World Series, he was a real clutch hitter.

In any event, it's a very enjoyable discussion for Yankee fans... check it out!

Song of the Day #669

Song of the Day: Song for My Father, written and performed by hard-bop pianist Horace Silver, is perfectly appropriate for all the fathers out there, to whom I wish a Happy Father's Day. And listen here to an audio clip of this ever-quotable track (hope you enjoy this one, Peri!).

June 17, 2006

Song of the Day #668

Song of the Day: Got To Get You Into My Life, words and music by John Lennon and Paul McCartney, was a hit for the Beatles, from their album, "Revolver." Tomorrow, Paul McCartney turns 64. Yes, Sir Paul: We still need you! Like so many of the Lennon-McCartney songs, this one has been covered by many other artists (including my sister-in-law). Listen to audio clips of a hit rendition by Earth, Wind, and Fire and another by Ella Fitzgerald.

June 16, 2006

Song of the Day #667

Song of the Day: Kissing a Fool features the words and music of George Michael, who first recorded the song in 1987. It has a retro jazzy feel that has been captured as well by Michael Buble. Listen to audio clips by George Michael and Michael Buble.

June 15, 2006

Song of the Day #666

Song of the Day: Devil with a Blue Dress On, words and music by William Stevenson and Frederick Long, was made famous by Mitch Rider and the Detroit Wheels. It's a rockin' rock 'n roll record, which sports a "Good Golly Miss Molly" interlude. And it's oh-so-appropriate as Song of the Day #666. Listen to an audio clip here.

June 14, 2006

Song of the Day #665

Song of the Day: Around the World in 80 Days features the music of Victor Young and the lyrics of Harold Adamson (with an uncredited tip of the hat to Kurt Feltz and Gasta Rybrant). It was heard in the 1956 film of the same title. Victor Young's score (audio clip at that link) won an Academy Award in the category of "Scoring of a Dramatic or Comedy Picture." Listen to audio clips from the 1956 soundtrack (unrelated to the soundtrack to the 2004 remake). Also check out audio clips of lovely vocal renditions by Bing Crosby and the McGuire Sisters.

June 13, 2006

Song of the Day #664

Song of the Day: All Around the World features the words and music of Ian Devaney, Andy Morris, and the woman who sang it: Lisa Stansfield. Listen to an audio clip of this soulful R&B-laced hit here.

June 12, 2006

Song of the Day #663

Song of the Day: Dear Alice, music by Chick Corea, lyrics by Gayle Moran, is from one of my favorite Chick Corea albums of all time: "The Mad Hatter." Listen here and here to audio clips of this highlight from the album, featuring a superb bass solo by Eddie Gomez. And Happy Birthday, Chick!

June 11, 2006

Jumping Ahead

I'm going to be away from the computer a few days; please do not hesitate to continue posting comments on the various open threads. They will be approved for posting upon my return.

Since my absence will be brief, I've decided to post-date two "Songs of the Day." I just couldn't let Chick Corea's birthday go unnoticed. See you soon...

Song of the Day #662

Song of the Day: Have You Met Miss Jones?, music by Richard Rodgers, lyrics by Lorenz Hart, is from the 1937 Broadway musical "I'd Rather Be Right." My brother, guitarist Carl Barry, along with his guitar pal Jack Wilkins, played this tune at a jazz guitar tribute to Tal Farlow, and the guys brought down the house. I don't have an audio clip of that duet, but you can listen to a full-length live club clip of Carl with guitarist Joe Giglio (Carl is in the right-hand speaker). Today is the 60th annual Tony Awards ceremony at Radio City Music Hall; listen to audio clips of renditions of this Broadway nugget by Louis Armstrong, a scatting Anita O'Day, Ella Fitzgerald, Mel Torme, Robbie Williams, Phil Woods and Stephane Grappelli, and a live version by Tony Bennett.

June 10, 2006

Privatizing Gay Marriage

I am a bit behind in my newspaper reading, so I was particularly surprised by an article published in Thursday's New York Daily News. Written by Rabbi Michael Lerner, "The Right Way to Fight for Gay Marriage" argues that all unions should be privatized. Lerner, who is chair of the Network of Spiritual Progressives, writes:

... marriage ought to be taken out of the state's hands entirely. Let people be wed in the private realm with no official legal sanction. Then, religious communities that oppose gay marriage will not sanction them, and those like mine that sanction the practice will conduct it. Rather than issuing marriage certificates or divorces, the state would simply enforce civil unions as contracts between consenting adults and enforce laws imposing obligations on people who bring children into the world.
This approach is far more likely to be a winning strategy for those who wish to beat back the assault on gay rights.

I suppose what is most surprising to me is that a genuinely libertarian argument for privatizing marriage made it to the Op Ed of one of the most highly circulated daily newspapers in America.

Cross-posted to L&P.

The Books of Summer

I'm in the process of writing several encyclopedia articles as well as a few journal and magazine pieces (more information on these essays to follow in the coming weeks). And I've got brand new peer reader assignments too! And fuhgedabout the editing! Oy!

But I've found the time to write a brief contribution to a new Liberty magazine feature called "The Books of Summer." Among the books I recommend for summer reading are those authored by the Holzers, Rasmussen and Den Uyl, and Rozsa. Read all about it in the July 2006 issue of the magazine! (Subscribe here.)

Song of the Day #661

Song of the Day: My Romance, music by Richard Rodgers, lyrics by Lorenz Hart, is from the 1935 Billy Rose Broadway production, "Jumbo" (which was also a 1962 Doris Day film). This is the weekend that Broadway celebrates the 60th anniversary of the Antoinette Perry Awards, also known as "The Tonys." Listen to audio clips of renditions by Doris Day, Ella Fitzgerald, Carly Simon, James Taylor, pianist Dave Brubeck, and pianist Bill Evans.

June 09, 2006

Song of the Day #660

Song of the Day: A Man and a Woman, words and music by Pierre Barough and Francis Lai, with English lyrics by Jerry Keller, is from the 1966 film "Un Homme et Une Femme." Listen to audio clips of this ever-recognizable song by Nancy Ames and Johnny Mathis.

June 08, 2006

Lilit Gampel

Some time ago, I named Mendelssohn's "E Minor Concerto" as my "Song of the Day" (yes, it is a very broad meaning that I attach to "Song" on my ever-evolving list). I talked in that entry of a young violinist and prodigy named "Nanette Gampel," but I had given her the wrong first name! Her name was (and is) Lilit Gampel, and I want to thank an offlist correspondent for pointing me in the right direction.

Either way, the music she made on that night before the Boston Pops Orchestra was extraordinary.

Comments welcome.

Song of the Day #659

Song of the Day: Bim-Bom, written by Joao Gilberto, has been recorded by many artists. Listen to audio clips of various renditions of this lively Brazilian tune: a solo Gilberto, Gilberto with Stan Getz, and Stan Getz in a Big Band setting, and, finally, my favorite version from Brasil 66.

June 07, 2006

Song of the Day #658

Song of the Day: Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough, written and recorded by Michael Jackson, is from one of his finest solo albums: "Off the Wall." The song, highlighting Jackson's falsetto, captures a classic sound and era. Listen to an audio clip here.

June 06, 2006

Song of the Day #657

Song of the Day: Don't Stop (audio clip for this song is mislabeled; it's the link at "Be with You") features the words and music of James Wirrick and Jeff Mehl. It was performed to Disco Diva Perfection by Sylvester.

June 05, 2006

Song of the Day #656

Song of the Day: Don't Lose the Magic, words and music by M. Wilson, B. Dickens, and G. Christopher, was a hot dance hit for Shawn Christopher (who was highlighted last time out). Listen to an audio clip here (which, unfortunately, never gets to the vocals!).

June 02, 2006

Song of the Day #655

Song of the Day: Another Sleepless Night, words and music by Mike "Hitman" Wilson and Tracey Amos, features the blazing vocals of Shawn Christopher. Listen to an audio clip of this hot dance classic here. (And, by all means, don't lose sleep ... Notablog will return on June 5, 2006. NYU is moving my whole site to a "new, more robust server.")

June 01, 2006

Notablog Evolution: Song Comments Arrive!

As I announced here, there have been many changes made by the NYU Web Team to the interface for Notablog. I want to thank the whole NYU crew (Jodi, Amit, Tom) for updating the site with a new MovableType Publishing Platform, which has made posting to this blog much easier and much more efficient. Moreover, I like the way the blog looks, and judging from my offlist email, most people like the new look too.

One of the biggest problems that I've had in maintaining the blog has been my inability to moderate comments and to eliminate trackbacks. Without moderation of comments, and without the ability to restrict trackbacks, I had been struggling daily to regulate thousands of links to porno or gambling sites, and it became virtually impossible to leave this blog alone for a day or two, without inviting hundreds of additional spam links that had to be subsequently erased.

Now that I have the capacity to moderate and eliminate these kinds of links, I have decided, starting today, June 1, 2006, to open up virtually all Notablog posts to comments. This means... DRUM ROLL PLEASE:

Readers can now register their thoughts on... my "Song of the Day" picks (including today's pick).

Heaven Help Us.

Well, truthfully, I get many daily emails from people all over the world about my "Song of the Day" listings. Every so often, I've actually heard from the musician or composer I've highlighted, which is very gratifying, indeed. And judging by the statistics, my favorite songs and my favorite things are consistently the most popular pages on the website. So, by popular demand, I'm going to experiment with open comments on my "Song of the Day" listings from this point on.

Please note, however, that I'm not interested in debating my very eclectic musical tastes. This is not the place to tell me that "this song sucks" or to ask me, incredulously, "how can you like that musician?" If readers don't like my tastes, they are free to develop their own "Song of the Day" listings, and I encourage it!

This caution notwithstanding, I think it will be very interesting to read comments on the daily musical posts; if they are half as instructive as the ones I receive by private email, alerting me to other versions of songs or to the history of a song or the musical or movie or composer from whence it comes ... then Notablog will evolve into a rather entertaining place to visit.

Since my overall comments policy is still in effect (see here), I will be closing the comments sections for older posts as they disappear from the "Recent Comments" sidebar. Further, as my policy statement indicates:

Readers are advised to stay "on message" in any particular discussion thread. Inappropriate or rude comments will be deleted, along with any "spam" messages, and those who post such comments will be prohibited from further posting at Notablog.

Of course, Notablog is not the only activity in which I am currently engaged. I am working diligently on many, many projects, including my typical editing duties for The Journal of Ayn Rand Studies, and my writing of various magazine articles and entries for several encyclopedias and forthcoming books. But with the onset of Summer, I will also be taking some time off.

First, please note that there will be no posts on June 3, 2006 or June 4, 2006; on those dates, New York University will be migrating all current accounts to a "new, more robust server," and that means that this site, the comments, and my own publishing platform will be totally inaccessible. I will resume "Song of the Day" listings on June 5th.

Second, please note that I plan to go on summer hiatus for about a month, overlapping July and August.

In the meantime, all I ask is that you have fun. I know that I'm having a ball!

Comments welcome.

Song of the Day #654

Song of the Day: Reelin' in the Years, words and music by Walter Becker and Donald Fagen, is one of my favorite Steely Dan hits. Listen to an audio clip here.