The idea of "covering" hit songs, other artists quickly recording their own versions when the song was hot and popular, was nothing new from the 1920's to the 1960's. It resulted in multiple versions of some songs sitting on the pop or country charts at the same time. In other cases, the songs would be recorded by artists in other genres, Time might would pass before these versions were recorded and released. The practice eventually faded as the nature of pop music changed, unless the songs were interpreted in a completely different way (like easy listening or orchestral versions of Beatles songs).
From the 12/19/68 episode: Jerry Lewis, Sammy Davis Jr. Hefner and Anthony Newley.
Playboy Magazine founder Hugh Hefner, who died Wednesday at 91, left an immeasurable impact on American society and culture in a multitude of areas. He was a visionary of the sexual revolution but also the social changes that roiled the 60's. Over the next few days, everyone will reflect and discuss those impacts which began in the 50's with Playboy's beginning and continued—despite the steep decline of magazine popularity that forced a retrenchment—until the end.
The New York Times obituary for Kay Starr, the 94 year old jazz and pop chanteuse who died November 3rd in Los Angeles of Alzheimer's, began with an absurd headline describing her as a "hillbilly singer with crossover appeal. " True, it was based on her description of herself, buth the obit had other glitches. This is, after all, the same Kay Starr once described by Billie Holiday as “the only white woman who could sing the blues. She had country connections, but was first and foremost a pop and jazz singer. She recorded a song whose title included the term "rock and roll," but it was no rocker, nor was she.
This week's 'Believe Your Ears' Music Podcast looks at my Top Ten new releases of 2015. My Top Reissues of 2015 will be available on this blog next week.
A review of The Silver Lining: The Songs Of Jerome Kern by Tony Bennett with jazz piano virtuoso Bill Charlap, not unlike Bennett's long-ago collaborations with piano icon Bill Evans.
Tony Bennett's next album due September 25th, is another "songbook" recording paying homage to a single composer. The Silver Lining: The Songs Of Jerome Kern, a collaboration with jazz piano great Bill Charlap, will explore the ouevre of Kern, a pillar of the Great American Songbook known for tunes like "The Way You Look Tonight," "Smoke Gets In Your Eyes," and "Long Ago And Far Away," a tiny sample of the 700 songs he wrote or co-composed.
A review of the box set "The Complete Fantasy Recordings: 1973-1977"
On this week's "Believe Your Ears" music podcast, I'll review Bennett/Brubeck: The White House Sessions, Live 1962. This outdoor concert is a rare, recently rediscovered historical artifact pairing Bennett and his trio and the "classic" Brubeck Quartet (Paul Desmond, Joe Morello, Eugene Wright). The podcast is available here.
On August 28, 1962, two of the greatest names in American jazz performed at the Kennedy White House for what was called the "White House Seminar American Jazz Concert," part of activities to honor White House summer interns. Featured were the Dave Brubeck Quartet, renowned for the Time Out album and of course, for "Take Five." The other was Tony Bennett who at that very moment was enjoying a hit single with what would become his signature song, "I Left My Heart In San Francisco."