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August 29, 2011

Song of the Day #999

Song of the Day: All of Me, words and music by Gerald Marks and Seymour Simons, was featured in many renditions on the radio show of Danny Stiles, "The King of Nostalgia," "The Vicar of Vintage Vinyl," who passed away back on March 11, 2011. Today, we remember the stylish Stiles, who gave all of himself to the cause of preserving great American standards. Check out these performances: Ruth Etting, Billie Holiday, Dinah Washington live "Jazz on a Summer's Day," Lester Young and Teddy Wilson, Ella Fitzgerald, the very Sassy Sarah Vaughan, Willie Nelson, John Pizzarelli, Tal Farlow and Red Norvo, Frank Sinatra swingin' at Caesar's Palace, and the one and only Pops with Chops: Louis Armstrong (all YouTube clips).

August 28, 2011

Song of the Day #998

Song of the Day: Coney Island Baby, composed by Vinny Catalano and Peter Alonzo, is a 1961-62 doo-wop gem, recorded by the Excellents. It inspired everyone from Lou Reed to Tom Waits to re-imagine their own Coney Island babies. But today it is posted in tribute to all the residents of Coney Island, who live just a few Brooklyn blocks away from me, and who survived evacuation, the shutdown of the NYC subway system, and Irene herself, which was downgraded from a Hurricane to a Tropical Storm. Irene touched New York City soil when it made landfall in Coney Island around 9am this morning. So here's a doo-wop shout out: enjoy the original single by the Excellents on YouTube.

August 27, 2011

Song of the Day #997

Song of the Day: Till the World Ends, written by Dr. Luke, Alexander Kronlund, Max Martin and Kesha, was recorded by Britney Spears for her album "Femme Fatale." This sizzling, apocalyptic dance track shouldn't be taken too literally, especially for those of us in the Northeast who experienced an earthquake this week, and who are now facing Hurricane Irene. No fear. We'll just dance till the world ends . . . Take a look at the official video on YouTube.

August 26, 2011

Song of the Day #996

Song of the Day: Found a Cure, a #1 dance track from 1979, was written by Nick Ashford and Valerie Simpson. It appears on the Ashford & Simpson album, "Stay Free." Ashford passed away on 22 August 2011. But he left behind a musical legacy that still provides the cure; listen to the energetic, soulful 12" remix on YouTube.

August 25, 2011

Song of the Day #995

Song of the Day: Lady (Hear Me Tonight), the debut single by French duo, Modjo, was written and performed by Romain Tranchart and vocalist Yann Destagnol. The recording features a guitar sample of "Soup for One," performed by Chic, for which Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards are also credited as songwriters. Check out YouTube to listen to this hot dance track.

August 23, 2011

Song of the Day #994

Song of the Day: Shake, Rattle and Roll was composed by Jesse Stone (a.k.a. Charles E. Calhoun) and was recorded first by Big Joe Turner. But it was in 1954 that Bill Haley and His Comets were the first to score a Top Ten Billboard hit with this all-time classic white-hot and bluesy track. Check out YouTube for renditions by Big Joe Turner, Bill Haley, Elvis Presley, a live Fats Domino, and Jerry Lee Lewis. Today, NYC was shakin', rattlin', and rollin' in the wake of a 5.8 magnitude earthquake whose epicenter was near Richmond, Virginia. I felt it for sure ... but figured I was having some sort of dizzy spell.

August 22, 2011

Song of the Day #993

Song of the Day: It's a Man's Man's Man's World features the words and music of Betty Jean Newsome and the one and only James Brown, whose recording of the song was a huge hit on both the R&B and pop charts. Listen to two versions by Brown: the original, a jazz-influenced reworking from "Soul on Top" with the swingin' Louis Bellson Orchestra (both YouTube links), and two versions that invert the imagery: one finely orchestrated, grinding rendition by Cher (YouTube link), and a totally deconstructed powerhouse live performance at the 2007 Grammy Awards by Christina Aguilera (YouTube link). Aguilera is a Staten Island native, which is all the more appropriate today, as the NYC borough marks the 350th anniversary of its founding in 1661. Happy Birthday, Staten Island!

August 19, 2011

Song of the Day #992

Song of the Day: Separate Ways (Worlds Apart), written by Jonathan Cain and Steve Perry, is featured on the Journey album Frontiers. Listen to the full-length version of one of my favorite Journey songs on YouTube.

August 18, 2011

Song of the Day #991

Song of the Day: There Must Be a Way, music by David Saxon, lyrics by Robert Cook and Sammy Gallop, was a big 1967 hit for Jimmy Roselli, who passed away on June 30, 2011. Check out the original Roselli 45 on YouTube, and also versions by Joni James, Louis Armstrong, and the Great One, Jackie Gleason.

August 11, 2011

Melanie, You Can Dance

I'm a great fan of "So You Think You Can Dance," and am absolutely elated to see that Melanie Moore has been named "America's Favorite Dancer."

She was my favorite too! From the start of the season! Brava! (And three cheers to the show's creator, executive producer, and regular judge, Nigel Lythgoe, for telling some of these folks where to go!)

Song of the Day #990

Song of the Day: Somebody to Love, composed by Heather Bright, The Stereotypes, and Justin Bieber, was recorded by Bieber for his album, My World 2.0. My favorite version of the pop dance hit is the "remix," performed by Bieber, with a great assist from his mentor, Usher. The "official video" is on YouTube (and JB gets 2.0 points for wearing a Yankees cap in the video).