Friday, September 25, 2009

One-Hit Wonder Day Bonus Post

I couldn't resist posting a second one-hit wonder on this special day. Neil and Buzz had their only tune that hit The Billboard Hot 100 back in 1980. It went all the way up to #29. You know them better as the Larsen/Feiten Band with Who'll Be The Fool Tonight.

National One-Hit Wonder Day

In case you were unaware, today is National One-Hit Wonder Day. Clint Holmes is this year's honoree at Davewillieradio for reaching The Billboard Hot 100 only once in his career. The song? One of the favorites from my youth, Playground In My Mind.

Recorded in May 1972 and released the following month, Playground peaked at number two on the charts in June 1973. Only Paul McCartney's hit My Love prevented Holmes' tune from reaching the top spot. When you listen to Playground, there are parts, especially the intro, that sound prepubescent Michael Jackson-esque.

Viewed as a novelty act, Holmes' subsequent releases went nowhere. In addition to being a musician, he spent two years as a music and events correspondent on Entertainment Tonight. He was also Joan Rivers' sidekick on her short-lived television program, The Late Show.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

A Genius Has Exited The Planet

One of the most influential musicians of the 20th century has played his last encore. Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member and Waukesha, Wisconsin native Les Paul passed away in New York at the age of 94.

Born Lester William Polsfuss, Paul started performing at home when he was 10 years old, organizing his own little orchestra. He also became fascinated with electronics, building his own broadcasting set in his basement.

Aside from making rock-and-roll possible with his 1927 creation of the electric guitar using the cartridge and stylus from a phonograph, Paul also contributed immensely to the advance of studio recording over the years with inventions like multitrack recording, reverb, and more than a dozen others.

Paul influenced scores of musicians in the worlds of rock and jazz. One of them was Steve Miller. Back in 1948, Miller's father struck up a friendship with Paul when the guitarist was visiting Milwaukee for a date at a local club.

With his wife Mary Ford, Paul enjoyed a series of over 25 top forty hits in the late '40s and early '50s including Vaya Con Dios, Hummingbird, and How High the Moon.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Rankin Finds a Peaceful Place

Singer-songwriter Kenny Rankin, who recorded a revered cover version of the Beatles' White Album ballad Blackbird and was asked by Paul McCartney to perform it during McCartney and John Lennon's introduction into the Songwriters Hall of Fame, passed away this past Sunday. Rankin contributed guitar to Bob Dylan's 1965 classic Bringing It All Back Home.

Rankin appeared on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson more than 20 times. Carson was such a big fan that he penned the liner notes for Rankin's 1968 album Mind Dusters. Rankin also wrote Helen Reddy's hit Peaceful and Haven't We Met, recorded by Mel Torme and Carmen McRae.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

The Bluest Skies You've Ever Seen...

In Seattle? Well, I just got back from there. It was cloudy and unseasonably warm. The skies were not the bluest I've ever seen, but Seattle and, for that matter, Tacoma were very beautiful.

My trip reminded me of Bobby Sherman, who along with David Soul, starred in Here Come The Brides, inspired by the movie Seven Brides For Seven Brothers. The show's home base was Seattle. A French version of the show and theme song, performed by a chorus of male singers, was a smash hit in French Canada and entitled Cent filles à marier (A Hundred Girls to Marry Off).

Both Sherman and Perry Como recorded versions of a song entitled Seattle, although Brides' theme song Seattle was written by Hugo Montenegro, Jack Keller and Ernie Sheldon. Sherman never released his as a single, although it received some airplay. Como reached #38 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #21 at Chicago's WCFL in 1969.

Here's a clip of Sherman's cut with scenes from the show:

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Where have you gone, Joe DiMaggio?

I had an interesting discussion the other day with a member of The Constellation Branch (Stephen, the group's drummer, is second from the left) about music lyrics. Someone made a comment about I Am The Walrus by the Beatles and I followed up with "coo coo ca choo, Mrs. Robinson." Stephen, who also happens to work with me, said the phrase is "goo goo g'joob." Being the Doubting David (since my brother is Thomas), I was skeptical, but knew I had mixed two songs together.

After doing some research, it turns out we were both right. In the Beatles tune, it's pronounced "goo goo g'joob." However, in Mrs. Robinson by Simon & Garfunkel, it is "coo coo ca choo." Both phrases loosely mean "No worries" or "Everything is all right." A third spelling is "kukukachu."

If you're a fan of That '70s Show, you might remember Donna Pinciotti got stoned and used "coo coo ca choo" as an end to a random string of rhymes. Crush the turtle used the phrase in Finding Nemo. "Little dudes are just eggs, leave 'em on the beach to hatch, then 'coo coo ca choo,' they find their way back to the big 'ol blue."

It's funny how you can hear a song over and over, yet still get the exact words to the lyrics wrong. Oh well, "coo coo ca choo!"

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Lujack & Rook Together Again

Hit Parade Radio is preparing to debut as a 24/7 Oldies Radio Network developed by John Rook and featuring Larry Lujack. Rook, the president of Hit Parade Radio and former P.D. at WLS and WCFL, has lured Uncle Lar out of retirement yet again to handle morning drive at the Dallas-based operation. I wonder if Lujack will abandon Sante Fe, New Mexico (or Bumble Bee, Arizona) and move to the DFW Metroplex, where the office and studios are located?

Earthworks Entertainment is in the process of negotiating an affiliate relations and sales agreement with a major radio network group to distribute Hit Parade Radio. Expectations are for more than 100 stations to sign within the first 18 months. Additional major, nationally recognized on-air talent, such as Wink Martindale and Lyle Dean who are rumored to be on-board, will be announced in the near future with a scheduled launch date in September.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Pardo Calls It Quits

The legendary Don Pardo has retired at the age of 91. Pardo announced his last episode of Saturday Night Live over the weekend.

Pardo officially retired from NBC in 2004 and moved to Tucson. However, the producers of SNL convinced him to continue providing the introductions for their show. In 2006, he decided to begin prerecording his announcements from a home studio in Arizona. That lasted only a few episodes before producers insisted they needed him present in Studio 8H, and he resumed flying to The Big Apple on a weekly basis to do the show.

Pardo was the on-duty live booth announcer for NBC on November 22, 1963. He was first to announce to NBC viewers that President Kennedy had been shot in Dallas.

Pardo made his mark on game shows for NBC as the booming voice of the original The Price Is Right, hosted by Bill Cullen, from 1956 until it moved to ABC in 1963. The next year, he moved over to Jeopardy!, hosted by Art Fleming, which he announced from 1964 until the original version of the series ended in 1975. Pardo reprised that role with a cameo in Weird Al's 1984 tune I Lost on Jeopardy, a parody of the Greg Kihn Band's hit song Jeopardy from the previous year. Besides Pardo and Fleming, Greg Kihn and Dr. Demento also appeared in Weird Al's video.