Monday, 29 May 2017
Wonderful Summer/Moon River/I Could Have Danced All Night/Dream Boy
Jacqueline McDonnell was born in 1941 to a military family in Hawaii (her father served in the US Navy) and raised in Nebraska. Her first public singing performances were with her two sisters in a Nebraska church - she was eight years old at the time. After the trio won a national talent search run by Horace Heidt, they moved to Los Angeles to look for work in the music industry.
At the age of 13 she was hired by television station KTLA to sing on a Your Hit Parade-like program, Bandstand Revue, in which she sang popular hits for four years as part of the house singing ensemble. After she parted ways with KTLA, she started a career of singing in demo recordings for various LA-based songwriters and session singing for several California-based record companies and producers. One result of her session work was the recording for her voice singing the "La la la" parts in Pat Boone's last million-selling single, "Speedy Gonzales", in 1962 (Elton John stated that the "hook" in his best-selling single "Crocodile Rock" was inspired by his listening to Ward's vocal on "Speedy Gonzales").
In 1963, songwriter-producer Perry Botkin, Jr. needed a session singer to make a demo recording of "Wonderful Summer", a song that he wrote with his co-writer and co-producer, Gil Garfield. Botkin may have been looking for a Lesley Gore sound-alike, and he found her in Jackie. A now-married Ward agreed to record it in Gold Star Studios. After an experiment in which Botkin sped up the recording by wrapping splicing tape around the capstan of the recorder, he and Ward agreed that the finished recording (with bird and surf sound effects added) would not be just a demo but a recording to be released as a 45 revolutions-per-minute single.
An album followed, to limited success, before a duet with Wink Martindale, another Dot artist. "Wonderful Summer" remains the only hit for Ward on the Hot 100.
In 1964 Ward released the single "Winter's Here", which reached #123 on the Billboard chart.
Session singing for television
While Ward was disappearing from the record charts, her session singing career was becoming quite lucrative. In the early to mid-1960s she was one of the stable of singers for The Red Skelton Show; at roughly the same time, she performed the same job for The Danny Kaye Show, and later, The Carol Burnett Show. In the 1970s she worked similarly for The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour.
Her voice is heard in dozens of television theme songs, including Flipper; Batman; Love, American Style; Maude (with Donny Hathaway providing the lead vocal); and The Partridge Family. She has sung in hundreds of television commercials, most notably those for Rice-a-Roni ("The San Francisco treat").
The theme song was not the only recording that she did for The Partridge Family: she was one of a group of four background vocalists—herself, brothers John and Tom Bahler, and Ron Hicklin—to record all the music for television play and record releases while "posing" as the Partridge Family (only two members of the TV series—Shirley Jones and David Cassidy—recorded with them).
In the 1965 movie Beach Blanket Bingo, she sang two songs off-screen, "New Love" and "Fly Boy", which were lip-synched by Linda Evans onscreen.
After "A Wonderful Summer", she kept busy with not only television and motion picture session work, but hundreds of recordings for the music industry, including backing Barbra Streisand on "Stoney End"; broadcast recordings of Hair, Grease, Annie, and Hello Dolly; and backup singing for dozens of major recording artists, including Nat King Cole, Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, Barbra Streisand, Gordon Lightfoot, the Carpenters, Cass Elliot, and Joan Baez. Ward also sang alto as a member of vocal groups the Anita Kerr Singers, the Ron Hicklin Singers and the Ray Conniff Singers, having recorded several lead and solo vocals on a few of Conniff's albums. Ward sang a duet with Allan Sherman on his song Here's To the Crabgrass from his 1963 comedy album My Son The Nut
Paper Sun/Smiling Phases/Hole In My Shoe/Giving To You
Traffic were an English rock band, formed in Birmingham. The group formed in April 1967 by Steve Winwood, Jim Capaldi, Chris Wood and Dave Mason. They began as a psychedelic rock group and diversified their sound through the use of instruments such as keyboards like the Mellotron and harpsichord, sitar, and various reed instruments, and by incorporating jazz and improvisational techniques in their music. Their first three singles were "Paper Sun", "Hole in My Shoe", and "Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush".
After disbanding in 1969, during which time Winwood joined Blind Faith, Traffic reunited in 1970 to release the critically acclaimed album John Barleycorn Must Die. The band's line-up varied from this point until they disbanded again in 1975. A partial reunion, with Winwood and Capaldi, took place in 1994. Traffic was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2004.
The single's B-side, "Giving to You", features an opening vocal section with lyrics sung by Winwood. The original B-side version was later released as a bonus track on a CD reissue of Mr. Fantasy. The song was later issued in a modified version (4:20) on Mr. Fantasy. The album version begins and ends with overdubbed spoken parts (probably by Chris Wood).
"Hole in My Shoe" is a song by English rock band Traffic which as a single release reached number 2 in the UK Singles Chart and number 22 in the German charts, in 1967 B-side is "Smiling Phases". Composed by guitarist Dave Mason, it was disliked by the other three members of the group who felt that it did not represent the band's musical or lyrical style.
The brief monologue, over the mellotron passage, is spoken by Francine Heimann, the stepdaughter of Island Records' owner Chris Blackwell.
Tuesday, 23 May 2017
Travelin' Band/Gloomy/Who'll Stop The Rain/The Working Man
"Travelin' Band" is a song written by John Fogerty and originally recorded by Creedence Clearwater Revival. It was included on their 1970 album Cosmo's Factory. Backed with "Who'll Stop the Rain", it was one of three double sided singles from that album to reach the top five on the U.S. Pop Singles Chart and the first of two to reach the #2 spot on the American charts, alongside "Lookin' Out My Back Door". "Travelin' Band" was also a hit in the UK, reaching number eight on the UK Singles Chart.
The song was inspired, both musically and for Fogerty's vocal delivery, by 1950s rock n' roll songs, particularly those by Little Richard. In October 1972, the company that held the publishing rights to Richard’s "Good Golly, Miss Molly" felt that "Travelin' Band" bore enough similarities to warrant a plagiarism lawsuit that was later settled out of court. The lyrics of the song describe what life is like for a musician on the road. The opening line "Seven-thirty-seven coming out of the sky" refers to the Boeing 737, then coming into service on short-to-medium range routes.
Creedence Clearwater Revival, often informally abbreviated to Creedence or CCR, was an American rock band active in the late 1960s and early 1970s. The band consisted of lead vocalist, lead guitarist, and primary songwriter John Fogerty, his brother rhythm guitarist Tom Fogerty, bassist Stu Cook and drummer Doug Clifford. Their musical style encompassed the roots rock, swamp rock, and blues rock genres. Despite their San Francisco Bay Area origins, they played in a Southern rock style, with lyrics about bayous, catfish, the Mississippi River, and other popular elements of Southern United States iconography, as well as political and socially-conscious lyrics about topics including the Vietnam War. The band performed at 1969's famed Woodstock Festival.
Creedence Clearwater Revival's music is still a staple of U.S. radio airplay; the band has sold 26 million albums in the United States alone. Rolling Stone ranked the band 82nd on its list of the 100 greatest artists of all time.
Friday, 19 May 2017
James Bond Theme/The Hungry Eye/Rough Road/Kaw Liga
Johnny and the Hurricanes were an American instrumental rock and roll band from Toledo, Ohio, that had a number of hits, especially in the UK, in the 1950s and early 1960s.
They began as the Orbits in Toledo in 1957. Led by saxophonist Johnny Paris (born 29 August 1940 as John Matthew Pocisk, Walbridge, Ohio, died 1 May 2006, Ann Arbor, Michigan), they were school friends who played on a few recordings behind Mack Vickery, a local rockabilly singer.
They signed with Harry Balk and Irving Micahnik of Twirl Records, which led to national engagements in 1959. Johnny and the Hurricanes recorded "Crossfire" in a vacant cinema to provide echo. It became a nationwide U.S. hit, and ranked No. 23 in the U.S. chart in the summer of 1959.
They specialised in versions of old tunes with a rock and roll beat. They chose these songs because they were well recognized and easier to accept with the beat. Tunes were credited to 'King, Mack' and usually one other name: King and Mack were in fact pseudonyms for Harry Balk and Irving Micahnik, the band's managers. In 1960, they recorded the United States Army bugle call, "Reveille", as "Reveille Rock", and turned "Blue Tail Fly" into "Beatnik Fly". Both tunes made the Top 40 achieving number 15 and 25 respectively. The band also recorded "Down Yonder" for Big Top Records. In the same year, they recorded "When The Saints Go Marching In" as "Revival", but it ranked in the charts for just one week, peaking at No. 97. The record was flipped over in the UK, where "Rocking Goose" reached No. 3 in the UK Singles Chart.
Johnny Paris and his band toured Europe occasionally until the end of 2005. He died on 1 May 2006 at the University Clinic of Ann Arbor, Michigan, of hospital-borne infections after an operation. Paris's second wife and widow, the German journalist, novelist and vocalist Sonja Verena (Reuter) Paris, took over his business (Atila Records, Sirius 1 Music and Johnny and the Hurricanes Incorporated) and the rights to his songs and trademarks. Paris claimed that over 300 musicians played in the band in its fifty-year existence.
The band inspired the song "Johnny and the Hurricanes" on the album How I Learned to Love the Bootboys, by the band the Auteurs. They were also namechecked in the Kinks' 1973 song "One of the Survivors", and in "Bridge in Time" on the 1990 Burton Cummings album Plus Signs.
Drummer Bill "Little Bo" Savich died on 4 January 2002. Bassist Lionel "Butch" Mattice died on October 16, 2006. Guitarist David Yorko died on 17 February 2017 at the age of 73.
Wednesday, 17 May 2017
A Beautiful Morning/Rainy Day/My World/Silly Girl
"A Beautiful Morning" is a song written by Felix Cavaliere and Eddie Brigati and recorded by The Rascals. Coming out in early 1968, it was the group's first single released under that name rather than The Young Rascals. The first album on which the song appeared was Time Peace: The Rascals' Greatest Hits. It continued the theme of carefree optimism that had distinguished the previous year's "Groovin'". The song was a big hit in the United States, reaching number three on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, and also reaching number 36 on the Hot Rhythm & Blues Singles chart. It was RIAA-certified as a Million Seller on June 28, 1968. "A Beautiful Morning" charted in Australia at #36. The song had an introductory sound of mystical wind chimes and bells.
A Beautiful Morning was used in advertisements for the drug Vioxx produced by Merck & Co., for Bounce fabric softener, and in the early 1990s for the Days Inn hotel chain. The song also featured in a Scrubs episode, at the start of a season 6 episode with Zach Braff who plays J.D. dancing to it. It was also featured at the end of a second season episode of The Greatest American Hero in which Ralph had to disarm a nuclear missile. It was also featured in the movie Kingpin immediately following the scene that shows how Roy got his rubber hand. The song was featured during the 1969 college graduation scene in The First Wives Club. The song was also used in the 1993 movie A Bronx Tale opening the racetrack scene, as well as on Arrow at the end of the eighteenth episode of the fifth season, titled "Disbanded."Renée Geyer covered the song on her album Dedicated (2007).
Saturday, 6 May 2017
Melting Pot/Our World/Good Morning Freedom/Blue Mink (Instrumental)
Roger Coulam (keyboards) formed the band in the autumn of 1969, with Madeline Bell (vocalist), Roger Cook (vocalist), Alan Parker (guitarist), Herbie Flowers (bassist), and Barry Morgan (drummer). Most of the songs were written by Cook and Roger Greenaway.
Flowers, Morgan and Parker all worked with Coulam at London's Morgan Studios. The four of them recorded several backing tracks, with which Coulam approached Bell and Greenaway, (who had been half of David and Jonathan), as vocalists. Greenaway declined, but put forward Cook (the other half of David and Jonathan).
The band's debut single "Melting Pot", written by Cook and Greenaway, was recorded with this line-up and released on 31 October 1969 on the Philips label (catalogue BF1818), with the B-side "Blue Mink" (penned by Alan Parker); it peaked at No. 3 in the UK Singles Chart. An American cover version entitled "People Are Together" by soul singer Mickey Murray proved too radical for American radio and failed to get any meaningful airplay.
The members continued with their session work despite the success of the band. In March 1970, Cook, Bell, Parker and Morgan appeared on Elton John's eponymous first solo album; Elton John covered "Good Morning Freedom" (written by Albert Hammond) anonymously on the Deacon Records budget compilation album Pick Of The Pops. In April, Cook and Greenaway played briefly in Currant Kraze, and together they continued to write songs such as "You've Got Your Troubles", "I've Got You On My Mind" and "I'd Like To Teach the World To Sing". Other side projects included: involvement with Parker's band The Congregation; Herbie Flowers' contributions to Lou Reed's Transformer album; and the involvement of Flowers, Morgan and Parker in sessions with Pete Atkin in March 1971, that later appeared on his Driving Through Mythical America album.
Ray Cooper (drums) and Anne Odell (keyboards) joined the band that summer and played on the single "Stay With Me" co-written by Herbie Flowers, which charted at No. 11 in November 1972. By the time of Blue Mink's fourth album, Only When I Laugh, glam rock was supplanting the lighter pop sound of the previous few years. The associated single, "By The Devil (I Was Tempted)", written by Guy Fletcher and Doug Flett, only reached No. 26 and the Top 10 single "Randy" in June 1973 was their last success.
The band reformed in 1976 featuring Mike Moran. They recorded a few singles on the Target Records label that was owned by Cook and Greenaway. The best known of their three releases was "Where Were You Today", written by Greenaway and Dundas, previously "Come and C&A", a television and radio commercial jingle theme for the department store C&A.
Since the band's demise, each of the members maintained a presence in the world of session musicianship and songwriting. The Rimshots covered Blue Mink's "Get Up", retitled as the disco single "7-6-5-4-3-2-1 (Blow Your Whistle)" in 1976, and had a hit.
In 1994, Cook, Bell and Flowers were re-united for a television rendition of their hit "Melting Pot" on the Michael Barrymore show.
Friday, 5 May 2017
Glad All Over/Can't You See That She's Mine/Thinking Of You Baby/Bits And Pieces
For a very brief time in 1964, it seemed that the biggest challenger to the Beatles' phenomenon was the Dave Clark Five. From the Tottenham area of London, the quintet had the fortune to knock "I Want to Hold Your Hand" off the top of the British charts with "Glad All Over," and were championed (for about 15 minutes) by the British press as the Beatles' most serious threat. They were the first British Invasion band to break in a big way in the States after the Beatles, though the Rolling Stones and others quickly supplanted the DC5 as the Fab Four's most serious rivals.
The Dave Clark Five reached the Top 40 17 times between 1964 and 1967 with memorable hits like "Glad All Over," "Bits and Pieces," "Because," and a remake of Bobby Day's "Over and Over," as well as making more appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show than any other English act. The DC5 were distinguished from their British contemporaries by their larger-than-life production, Clark's loud stomping drum sound, and Mike Smith's leathery vocals. Though accused by detractors of lacking finesse and hipness, they had a solid ear for melodies and harmonies and wrote much of their early material, the best of which endured quite well. Interestingly, and unusually for that era, bandleader Dave Clark managed and produced the band himself, negotiating a much higher royalty rate than artists of that period usually received. After a couple years of superstardom, the group proved unable to either keep up with the changing times or maintain a high standard of original compositions, and called it quits in 1970.
All Right Now (Long Version)/My Brother Jake/Wishing Well
Free were an English rock band formed in London in 1968, best known for their 1970 signature song "All Right Now". They disbanded in 1973 and lead singer Paul Rodgers went on to become a frontman of the band Bad Company along with Simon Kirke on drums. Lead guitarist Paul Kossoff formed Back Street Crawler and died from a pulmonary embolism at the age of 25 in 1976. Bassist Andy Fraser formed Sharks.
The band became famed for their sensational live shows and nonstop touring. However, early studio albums did not sell very well – until the release of Fire and Water which featured the massive hit "All Right Now". The song helped secure them a place at the Isle of Wight Festival 1970 where they played to 600,000 people.
Rolling Stone had referred to the band as "British hard rock pioneers". The magazine ranked Rodgers No. 55 in its list of the "100 Greatest Singers of All Time", while Kossoff was ranked No. 51 in its list of the "100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time".
Free were signed to Island Records in the UK and A&M Records in North America. Both labels became part of the PolyGram group in 1989, then Universal Music Group in 1998; UMG now controls the band's catalogue worldwide.
"All Right Now" was a #1 hit in over 20 territories and was recognised by ASCAP (American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers) in 1990 for garnering 1,000,000 plus radio plays in the U.S. by late 1989. In 2006, the BMI London awards included a Million Air award for 3 million air plays of All Right Now in the USA.
According to drummer Simon Kirke, "All Right Now" was written by bassist Andy Fraser and singer Paul Rodgers in the Durham Students' Union building, Dunelm House.
One of the engineers during the recordings of "All Right Now" was Roy Thomas Baker, who would later become Queen's producer (he mixed "Killer Queen", "Bohemian Rhapsody" and "Don't Stop Me Now" among others).
Thanks to Sunshine.