Saturday Surprise — Music, Music, Music

I had all but forgotten that today is Saturday, as I was preparing to write my a.m. post last night.  With all the news popping up yesterday, I was still trying to catch my breath and decide which direction I needed to go, when it hit me that it would be Saturday in just a few short hours and I hadn’t even thought of a theme for my Saturday surprise.  Along about then, a friend sent me a music clip to listen to, and as I listened, I found my mind drifting and wondering:  what were we listening to 50 years ago?

Then I remembered that when I was asking for suggestions for this new feature, several of the suggestions involved music.  I didn’t think it would be too fun to put only a bunch of music clips, but I am combining some things … a few clips, some interesting ‘this day in history’ facts pertaining to music, and a blurb or two about some of the songs that we were listening to 50 years ago.  So let’s start with the #1 song of 1967 by a Scottish singer named Lulu … the song is, of course, To Sir With Love

 

The song was, of course, the title song in the movie, based on a book of the same name,  a 1959 autobiographical novel by E. R. Braithwaite  In the movie, Sidney Poitier had the starring role as an unemployed black engineer who takes a job teaching an unruly class of white students in London’s East End. By the end of the film he has won over the undisciplined youngsters and has taught them to have self-respect.

Although To Sir With Love was never released as a single in the UK, it was the flip side of Neil Diamond’s The Boat That I Row in the U.S., and Lulu fared far better than Diamond on that one, spending five weeks in the #1 spot on the Billboard Hot 100, from October 21st through November 25th.

Other notable songs on the charts around this time in 1967 included two from the Monkees, I’m a Believer, and Daydream Believer. Also, a few that I still remember and like …

How about a bit of trivia?  On this day, December 2nd, in …

  • 1957, Al Priddy a DJ on US radio station KEX in Portland was fired after playing Elvis Presley’s version of ‘White Christmas’ The station management said, ‘it’s not in the spirit we associate with Christmas’. Wow …
  • 1967, The Monkees album, ‘Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn and Jones Ltd’ went to No.1 on the US album chart. It was their fourth album to sell over a million copies, following ‘The Monkees’, ‘More Of The Monkees’ and ‘Headquarters’.
  • 1969, Cindy Birdsong of The Supremes was kidnapped at knifepoint by a maintenance man who worked in the building she lived in. She later escaped unharmed by jumping out of his car on the San Diego freeway. The kidnapper was arrested in Las Vegas four days later.
  • 1976, The first day of the photo shoot for the forthcoming Pink Floyd Animals album cover took place at Battersea Power Station in London, England with a giant inflatable pig lashed between two of the structure’s tall towers. A trained marksman was hired ready to fire if the inflatable escaped, but was not needed on this, the first day. Unfortunately the following day the marksman hadn’t been rebooked, so when the inflatable broke free from its moorings, it was able to float away, eventually landing in Kent where it was recovered by a local farmer, reportedly furious that it had ‘scared his cows.’

I hope you enjoyed a musical trip down memory lane this morning.  Have a great weekend, my friends!  And I end this post with one of my favourites, Sir Duke by Stevie Wonder

 

On Rainbows, Kermit, and … Russians???

Kermit-1Who could NOT love Kermit the Frog?  Remember seeing Kermit singing The Rainbow Connection in The Muppet Movie?  WHAT???  You don’t remember Kermit the Frog???  Oh woe, woe, and thrice times woe! (Did I do it okay, Roger?) Well here … check out the original of Kermit singing the song in the movie, and then we can proceed.

Brings a tear to your eye, doesn’t it?  It’s actually one of my favourite songs and resides high on every playlist on my phone and ipod, though what I listen to is the version sung by the Carpenters.  Well … to get on with this story … no, first I must show you the lyrics so you understand where I am coming from:

♫Why are there so many songs about rainbows and what’s on the other side?

Rainbows are visions, but only illusions, and rainbows have nothing to hide.

So we’ve been told and some choose to believe it.

I know they’re wrong wait and see.

Someday we’ll find it, the rainbow connection.

The lovers, the dreamers and me.

 

Who said that wishes would be heard and answered when wished on the morningstar?

Someone thought of that and someone believed it.

Look what it’s done so far.

What’s so amazing that keeps us stargazing and what do we think we might see?

Someday we’ll find it, the rainbow connection.

The lovers, the dreamers and me.

 

All of us under its spell.

We know that it’s probably magic.

Have you been half asleep and have you heard voices?

I’ve heard them calling my name.

Is this the sweet sound that calls the young sailors.

The voice might be one and the same.

I’ve heard it too many times to ignore it.

It’s something that I’m supposed to be.

Someday we’ll find it, the rainbow connection, the lovers, the dreamers and me.

La-da-da, de-da-da-do

La-da-da-da-da-de-da-do ♫

 

Okay, so now to the point of this post.  The other day, as I was going about my house chores and singing (terribly off-key and with only half the lyrics right … I once mistook the line “Hey, I’ve looked” for “Help me Agnes”) and I found myself, quite unbidden and without conscious thought, singing the following lyrics …

kermit

♫Why are there so many thoughts about Russians and who’s on the other side?

Russians are visions, but only illusions, and Russians have nothing to hide.

So we’ve been told and some choose to believe it.

I know they’re wrong wait and see.

Someday we’ll find it, the Russian connection.

The Sessions, the Kushners and Trump. ♫

 

Mind you, this came completely unbidden, without malice aforethought … it just popped out of my brain/mouth as I flapped the towels for rolding. I ask myself, and you, dear readers … have I been spending too much time on the ‘dark side’?

My apologies to Kermit the Frog, the late Jim Henson, songwriters Paul Williams and Kenneth Ascher … I meant no harm.

A bit of history, to try to make amends for my faux pas …

The song was nominated for an Academy Award and a Golden Globe for Best Original Song, though it didn’t win either; instead it reached #25 on the Billboard Hot 100 charts, appeared in every subsequent Muppets film, and has been covered dozens of times. And it all started with Jim Henson’s voice in a swamp.

On March 27, 1996, a New Zealand man invaded a radio station and held its manager hostage. His main demand? That the station, Star FM, play “Rainbow Connection.” Before the song could be played, police retook the station and arrested the man. “Who said that every wish would be heard and answered when wished on the morning star,” indeed.

And still my favourite is the one done by the Carpenters, released in 2001:

kermit-4