♫ Feels So Good ♫

I rarely play instrumentals here, for they don’t seem to please the way that vocals do, but I’ve found myself whistling this one off and on all day, and it’s such an upbeat, cheery tune that I decided to offer it today in hopes that it might get your feet tapping and bring a little rhythm into your heart.

You might not know the title of this song, but you’ll recognize it when you hear it. In America, Feels So Good is one of the most popular instrumental songs of all time, and certainly the biggest flugelhorn hit.

Chuck Mangione first recorded with his brother Gap in a band called The Jazz Brothers, which formed in 1960.  After signing with Mercury Records as a solo artist, he grew a following in jazz circles and scored a surprise mainstream hit with Feels So Good, which reached #4 in June 1978 and also hit #1 on the Adult Contemporary chart. These were the last days of disco, and his smooth jazz number provided welcome relief from the typical dance music that had saturated the airwaves. It sold over two million copies.

On the Feels So Good album, this track runs 9:42. Mangione recorded it along with five more instrumentals for the album, none of which seemed to have hit potential. An executive at his label suggested cutting down the title track to make it more radio-friendly, so a 3:28 edit was made and released as a single, which became the hit.  The radio edit retained the two key elements in the song: Mangione’s flugelhorn, and the guitar solo by Grant Geissman. Other performers on the track were Charles Meeks on bass, Chris Vadala on saxophone and James Bradley, Jr. on drums.

I offer both versions … I’m partial to the long version, but in case you don’t have nearly ten minutes to spend listening, I include the short version as well.  No lyrics, for obvious reasons!

Short Version …

Long Version …

♫ Uncle Albert — Admiral Halsey ♫

Tonight’s song is … shall we say, unique!  I’m sure I must have been familiar with it at one time, for parts of it ring a bell, while other parts do not.  I’m still chuckling, though, for some of the lyrics are downright humorous.  Thanks, rawgod, for requesting this one … definitely a fun departure from my norm!

According to SongFacts …

Albert was Albert Kendall, who married Paul’s aunt Milly (becoming “Uncle Albert”) and provided inspiration for a portion of this song suite. Albert had a habit of getting drunk and reading from The Bible; the only time he read from the Bible was when he was drinking.

McCartney combined pieces of various unfinished songs to create this; in the later years of The Beatles, they did this a lot as a way to put unfinished songs to good use. As a result, “Uncle Albert – Admiral Halsey” contains 12 different sections over the course of its 4:50 running time. This jumble of musical textures, comic character voices, sound effects and changing tempos turned off a lot of listeners, but many others thought it was brilliant. The song wasn’t released as a single in the UK, but in America it became McCartney’s first #1 hit as a solo artist.

Linda McCartney is credited as a co-writer on this song with Paul. She sang background and contributed some of the vocal ideas, but how much she actually wrote on the song is questionable. Paul had some incentive to credit her as a songwriter: under a deal he signed with The Beatles, songs he wrote until 1973 were owned by Northern Songs publishing and Maclen Music. By splitting the credits with his wife, he could keep half the royalties in the family. The publishers brought a lawsuit against Paul for this practice, which was settled out of court.

This song won the Grammy Award for Best Arrangement Accompanying Vocalists in 1971.

The flugelhorn solo that leads into the “Hands across the water” section was played by American bebop trumpeter Marvin Stamm.

According to McCartney …

“I had an uncle – Albert Kendall – who was a lot of fun, and when I came to write Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey it was loosely about addressing that older generation, half thinking ‘What would they think of the way my generation does things? ‘That’s why I wrote the line ‘We’re so sorry, Uncle Albert’. There’s an imaginary element in many of my songs – to me, Admiral Halsey is symbolic of authority and therefore not to be taken too seriously. We recorded it in New York and George Martin helped me with the orchestral arrangement. I was surprised when it became a big hit.”

The song hit #1 in both the U.S. and Canada, but failed to chart in the UK … very odd for a Beatles song not to chart in the UK!  Note that I found a number of variations of lyrics, so I picked the one that seemed closest.  My apologies if they are not accurate.

Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey

We’re so sorry, Uncle Albert
We’re so sorry if we caused you any pain
We’re so sorry, Uncle Albert
But there’s no one left at home
And I believe I’m gonna rain.
We’re so sorry but we haven’t heard
A thing all day
We’re so sorry, Uncle Albert,
But if anything should happen
We’ll be sure to give a ring

Yeah, yeah,

We’re so sorry, Uncle Albert
But we haven’t done a bloody thing all day
We’re so sorry, Uncle Albert,
But the kettle’s on the boil
And we’re so easily called away

Hands across the water (water)
Heads across the sky
Hands across the water (water)
Heads across the sky

Admiral Halsey notified me
He had to have a berth or he couldn’t get to sea
I had another look and I had a cup of tea and butter pie (butter pie?)
The butter wouldn’t melt so I put it in the pie

Hands across the water (water)
Heads across the sky
Hands across the water (water)
Heads across the sky

Live a little, be a gypsy, get around (get around)
Get your feet up off the ground
Live a little get around
Live a little, be a gypsy, get around (get around)
Get your feet up off the ground
Live a little, get around

Hands across the water (water)
Heads across the sky
Hands across the water (water)
Heads across the sky
Ooo——ooo—–