♫ Georgia On My Mind ♫ (Redux)

Today, all eyes are on the runoff elections for Senate down in Georgia, and my friend Brian mentioned that he would have “Georgia on my mind” in a comment yesterday.  Naturally, this song popped into my head and I thought … PERFECT!  The perfect song for the day!  My friends, let’s keep Georgia on our minds today, for the very future of our nation may depend on the outcome of today’s elections.  Meanwhile, listen to Ray Charles and let him fill your heart with soul!


This song was written by Hoagy Carmichael and Stuart Gorrell in 1930 and although others have recorded it, my favourite, and the one it’s most well-known for, is by Ray Charles.  In 1979, the State of Georgia designated it the official state song.

GorrellIt has been asserted that Hoagy Carmichael wrote the song about his sister, Georgia. But Carmichael wrote in his second autobiography Sometimes I Wonder that saxophonist Frankie Trumbauer told him he should write a song about the state of Georgia. He jokingly volunteered the first two words, “Georgia, Georgia…”, which Carmichael ended up using while working on the song with his roommate, Stuart Gorrell, who wrote the lyrics. Gorrell’s name was absent from the copyright, but Carmichael sent him royalty checks anyway.

Ray Charles, a native of Georgia, recorded a version that went to No. 1 on the Billboard magazine Hot 100. On March 7, 1979, in a symbol of reconciliation in the aftermath of years of activism and national legislation resulting from the Civil Rights Movement, he performed the song before the Georgia General Assembly. After this performance, the Assembly adopted it as the state song on April 24.

In 2003, Rolling Stone magazine named the Ray Charles version of Georgia on My Mind the 44th greatest song of all time.  I also like Willie Nelson’s version, which he sang at Ray Charles’ funeral, but for me … nobody does it quite like Ray — he puts himself into it.

Georgia on My Mind
Ray Charles

Georgia, Georgia
The whole day through
Just an old sweet song
Keeps Georgia on my mind (Georgia on my mind)

I said Georgia
Georgia
A song of you
Comes as sweet and clear
As moonlight through the pines

Other arms reach out to me
Other eyes smile tenderly
Still in peaceful dreams I see
The road leads back to you

I said Georgia
Ooh Georgia, no peace I find
Just an old sweet song
Keeps Georgia on my mind (Georgia on my mind)

Other arms reach out to me
Other eyes smile tenderly
Still in peaceful dreams I see
The road leads back to you

Whoa, Georgia
Georgia
No peace, no peace I find
Just this old, sweet song
Keeps Georgia on my mind

I said just an old sweet song
Keeps Georgia on my mind

Songwriters: Hoagy Carmichael / Stuart Gorell
Georgia on My Mind lyrics © Peermusic Publishing, Campbell Connelly France

♫ Hit The Road Jack ♫

Let’s close our eyes for a minute … no, I didn’t say go to sleep … wake up, Joe!  Close your eyes and travel back in time … the year is 1961 … I was ten years old, but I remember this song like it was yesterday.

Although Ray Charles wrote many of the songs he recorded, this one was actually written by his friend, Percy Mayfield. 

Percy_MayfieldMayfield himself had been a popular performer, singing mainly rhythm & blues, but in 1952, at the height of his career, Mayfield was severely injured in an automobile crash.  He was returning from a performance in Las Vegas to Los Angeles as the front-seat passenger in a chauffeur-driven car. The vehicle hit the back of an unseen stationary truck, and Mayfield was hit by debris. Though pronounced dead at the scene, he eventually recovered but spent two years convalescing. The accident left him with a facial disfigurement that eventually ended his career as a performer but did not halt his prolific songwriting.

This song was first recorded in 1960 as an a cappella demo sent to Art Rupe, but it didn’t become famous until it was recorded by the singer-songwriter-pianist Ray Charles with The Raelettes vocalist Margie Hendrix, and eventually became one of Charles’ signature songs.

Charles’s recording hit #1 for two weeks on the Billboard Hot 100, beginning on Monday, October 9, 1961. Hit the Road Jack won a Grammy award for Best Rhythm and Blues Recording. The song was #1 on the R&B Sides chart for five weeks, thereby becoming Charles’s sixth number-one on that chart. The song is ranked number 387 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of “The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time”.

I am told that many professional and semi-professional hockey teams play the first few lines whenever a player is sent to the penalty box.

I found a bit of cool trivia about Ray Charles, including the fact that he owned his own plane and even flew it, though he had been blind since the age of 7!  Take a look for yourself.

I am playing two versions tonight … both by Ray Charles, but one is the original recorded in 1961, and the second is 35 years later when Ray Charles, then … played it on Saturday Night live.  I liked both, loved seeing Ray Charles still as vibrant as ever.

Hit the Road Jack
Ray Charles

Hit the road Jack and don’t you come back
No more, no more, no more, no more
Hit the road Jack and don’t you come back
No more
What’d you say?

Hit the road Jack and don’t you come back
No more, no more, no more, no more
Hit the road Jack and don’t you come back
No more

Oh woman, oh woman, don’t treat me so mean
You’re the meanest old woman that I’ve ever have seen
I guess if you say so
I’ll have to pack my things and go (that’s right)

Hit the road Jack and don’t you come back
No more, no more, no more, no more
Hit the road Jack and don’t you come back
No more
What’d you say?

Hit the road Jack and don’t you come back
No more, no more, no more, no more
Hit the road Jack and don’t you come back
No more

Now baby, listen baby, don’t you treat me this way
‘Cause I’ll be back on my feet some day
Don’t care if you do, ’cause it’s understood
You ain’t got no money, you just ain’t no good
Well, I guess if you say so
I’ll have to pack my things and go (that’s right)

Hit the road Jack and don’t you come back
No more, no more, no more, no more
Hit the road Jack and don’t you come back
No more
What’d you say?

Hit the road Jack and don’t you come back
No more, no more, no more, no more
Hit the road Jack and don’t you come back
No more

Well (don’t you come back no more)
Uh, what you say? (don’t you come back no more)
I didn’t understand you (don’t you come back no more)
You can’t mean that (don’t you come back no more)
Oh now baby please (don’t you come back no more)
What you tryin’ to do to me? (don’t you come back no more)
Oh, don’t treat me like that, baby (don’t you come back no more)

Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: Percy Mayfield
Hit the Road Jack lyrics © The Ray Charles Foundation Dba Tangerine Music

♫ Desperado ♫ (Redux)

A few nights ago, I played One of These Nights by the Eagles, and I noted then that Desperado is my all-time favourite Eagles song.  A few readers agreed with me, so tonight, as it is late and I am tired, I am taking a shortcut and reduxing this song. 


You know how some songs get stuck in your head and just refuse to leave?  This one does that to me periodically.  This, and Girl From Ipanema.  And these days, of course, Fool on the Hill.

Don Henley began writing parts of this in the late ’60s, but it wasn’t arranged into a song until his songwriting teammate Glenn Frey came along. It was the first of many songs Henley and Frey wrote together.

Henley explained in the liner notes for The Very Best of the Eagles: “Glenn came over to write one day, and I showed him this unfinished tune that I had been holding for so many years. I said, ‘When I play it and sing it, I think of Ray Charles –  Ray Charles and Stephen Foster. It’s really a Southern gothic thing, but we can easily make it more Western.’ Glenn leapt right on it – filled in the blanks and brought structure. And that was the beginning of our songwriting partnership – that’s when we became a team.”

Desperado is a classic rock staple, but it was never released as a single.  The song has also been recorded by Linda Ronstadt, Kenny Rogers, the Carpenters, Bonnie Raitt, and Ringo Starr, but I prefer the Eagles version.

I love the lyrics to this … yes, there is a certain sadness to them … but … they are poignant and remind me of …

Desperado
Eagles

Desperado, why don’t you come to your senses?
You been out ridin’ fences for so long now
Oh, you’re a hard one
But I know that you got your reasons
These things that are pleasin’ you
Can hurt you somehow

Don’t you draw the Queen of Diamonds, boy
She’ll beat you if she’s able
You know the Queen of Hearts is always your best bet

Now, it seems to me some fine things
Have been laid upon your table
But you only want the ones that you can’t get

Desperado, oh, you ain’t gettin’ no younger
Your pain and your hunger, they’re drivin’ you home

And freedom, oh freedom, well that’s just some people talkin’
Your prison is walking through this world all alone

Don’t your feet get cold in the winter time?
The sky won’t snow and the sun won’t shine
It’s hard to tell the night time from the day
You’re losin’ all your highs and lows
Ain’t it funny how the feeling goes away?

Desperado, why don’t you come to your senses?
Come down from your fences, open the gate
It may be rainin’, but there’s a rainbow above you
You better let somebody love you (let somebody love you)
You better let somebody love you
Before it’s too late

Songwriters: Glenn Lewis Frey / Don Hugh Henley
Desperado lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

♫ Sir Duke ♫ (Redux)

Tonight I am tired, I am discouraged, and I needed me some Stevie Wonder to pick me up.  I played this one in August last year, and I apologize in advance for such a soon redux, but … there just isn’t anything quite like this song to make your heart sing just a little bit.


I am told by several who have reason to know, that I don’t smile enough these days.  They are probably right, but in truth, I find little to smile about.  In the mirror, I see an old hag with a perpetual scowl and sad eyes.  However, there is one person who always brings a smile to my face, and that is Mr. Stevie Wonder!

I could have sworn I had played this one, for it is one of my favourites by Stevie, but a search of my archives found nothing.  I love this one, especially, when I am out walking, for the beat makes me pick up my speed and makes me smile at the same time, such that the people I pass wonder just what the heck I am up to with that sappy grin on my face!

Stevie Wonder wrote this song as a tribute to music, specifically to Duke Ellington, who had died in 1974. Ellington was a jazz bandleader and composer who was a big influence on Wonder.

“I knew the title from the beginning but wanted it to be about the musicians who did something for us. So soon they are forgotten. I wanted to show my appreciation. They gave us something that is supposed to be forever. That’s the basic idea of what we do and how we hook it up.”

In addition to Ellington, musicians referenced in this song are “Satchmo” Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald, Count Basie and Sodarisa Miller.

This wasn’t the first song Wonder wrote in tribute to one of his musical inspirations: Bye Bye World from his 1968 album Eivets Rednow is about the guitarist Wes Montgomery. Wonder’s second album, released in 1962 when he was just 12 years old, was a tribute to ‘Uncle Ray’, which paid homage to Ray Charles.

Sir Duke
Stevie Wonder

Music is a world within itself
With a language we all understand
With an equal opportunity
For all to sing, dance and clap their hands
But just because a record has a groove
Don’t make it in the groove
But you can tell right away at letter A
When the people start to move

They can feel it all over
They can feel it all over people
They can feel it all over
They can feel it all over people

Music knows it is and always will
Be one of the things that life just won’t quit
But here are some of music’s pioneers
That time will not allow us to forget
For there’s Basie, Miller, Sachmo
And the king of all Sir Duke
And with a voice like Ella’s ringing out
There’s no way the band can lose

You can feel it all over
You can feel it all over people
You can feel it all over
You can feel it all over people
You can feel it all over
You can feel it all over people
You can feel it all over
You can feel it all over people
You can feel it all over
You can feel it all over people
You can feel it all over
You can feel it all over people
You can feel it all over
You can feel it all over people
You can feel it all over

I can feel it all over-all over now people
Can’t you feel it all over
Come on let’s feel it all over people
You can feel it all over
Everybody-all over people

Songwriters: Stevie Wonder
Sir Duke lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

♫ We Are The World ♫ (Redux)

Concentrating on my ‘good people’ post this evening, I hadn’t even given a thought to my music post.  But, after finishing the ‘good people’, and turning to comments from yesterday’s posts, I came across one from friend John Howell that led me to this song.  I’ve posted it before, and will do so again, for it carries a message that we need to be reminded of over and over.  John provided a tidbit that I wasn’t aware of …

“I loved the Michael Jackson comment to all the stars that were in studio for the “We are the World” recording session. He said that egos were to be left at the door and that anyone who had a problem with that would be driven home…by Stevie Wonder.”

I don’t imagine too many egos were on display after that!!!

This song … it is what we need today … and every day.  Please listen and enjoy.


Hello my friends.  With a heavy heart tonight, I was not going to do a music post, but two special people convinced me, without realizing that they had a thing to do with it, to do one … and this one in particular.  I shall explain …

A few nights ago, I was chatting via email with our friend Ellen, and she noted that while sometimes one doesn’t feel that they have a song in their heart, they should … sing anyway!  Tonight, I felt as if I had no song in my heart, and really, I just wanted to go to bed.  But, somewhere in my head, I heard Ellen saying, “C’mon, Filosofa … sing anyway!”

And the second motivator was another dear friend, Dutch (Larry Woller) who posted on his own blog this song … We Are The World … and everything just suddenly clicked into place.

This was a benefit single for victims of famine in Africa. It raised over $60 Million, which was distributed to Ethiopia, Sudan, and other impoverished countries.

Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie wrote this song, and Quincy Jones produced it. This talented trio was perfect for the job: Quincy Jones was the hottest producer around, and his Rolodex (what would now be a contact list) was filled with the biggest names in music; Richie had written songs that went to #1 on the Hot 100 each of the previous seven years (“We Are The World” made it eight); Michael Jackson had the biggest album of 1984 with Thriller (produced by Jones) and was the biggest star in the world.

The USA For Africa project began as an idea calypso singer Harry Belafonte had for a benefit concert featuring black musicians. In late December 1984, looking for artists to participate, Belafonte called Ken Kragen, who managed an impressive roster of talent, including Lionel Richie. Kragen convinced Belafonte that they could raise more money and make a bigger impact with an original song; Belafonte agreed and Richie came on board to help.

Kragen asked Quincy Jones to produce, and Jones enlisted Michael Jackson. Richie got Stevie Wonder involved, and from there, word got out and many members of the music industry signed on to help. The project from conception to recording took about a month.

This all-star charity single was inspired by Band Aid, the British group Bob Geldof put together the year before to record Do They Know It’s Christmas?. Band Aid, which included Bono, Phil Collins, David Bowie, Paul McCartney, and Sting, served as a template, showing how a disparate group of famous artists could come together in one day to record a song.

The stars who sang solos were, in order, Lionel Richie, Stevie Wonder, Paul Simon, Kenny Rogers, James Ingram, Billy Joel, Tina Turner, Michael Jackson, Diana Ross, Dionne Warwick, Willie Nelson, Al Jarreau, Bruce Springsteen, Kenny Loggins, Steve Perry, Daryl Hall, Michael Jackson (again), Huey Lewis, Cyndi Lauper, and Kim Carnes. Bob Dylan and Ray Charles were also featured on the song and given close-ups in the video.

Harry Belafonte, who had the original idea for the project, was in the chorus but didn’t get a solo, joining Bette Midler, Smokey Robinson, The Pointer Sisters, LaToya Jackson, Bob Geldof, Sheila E., and Waylon Jennings as backing singers.

Quincy Jones was responsible for managing the egos of all the stars. It went very smoothly considering some very famous people did not get to sing a line. Most of the singers knew Jones personally and respected his wishes that they check their egos at the door.

Just goes to show what we can accomplish when people of all sorts come together for a common cause.  I think … though the cause is different … this song has just as much meaning for our world today as it did when it was released in 1985, some 34 years ago, don’t you?

We Are the World
U.S.A. for Africa

There comes a time
When we heed a certain call
When the world must come together as one
There are people dying
Oh, and it’s time to lend a hand to life
The greatest gift of all

We can’t go on
Pretending day-by-day
That someone, somewhere soon make a change
We’re all a part of God’s great big family
And the truth, you know, love is all we need

We are the world
We are the children
We are the ones who make a brighter day, so let’s start giving
There’s a choice we’re making
We’re saving our own lives
It’s true we’ll make a better day, just you and me

Oh, send them your heart
So they know that someone cares
And their lives will be stronger and free
As God has shown us by turning stones to bread
And so we all must lend a helping hand

We are the world
We are the children
We are the ones who make a brighter day, so let’s start giving
Oh, there’s a choice we’re making
We’re saving our own lives
It’s true we’ll make a better day, just you and me

When you’re down and out, there seems no hope at all
But if you just believe there’s no way we can fall
Well, well, well, well let us realize
Oh, that a change can only come
When we stand together as one, yeah, yeah, yeah

We are the world
We are the children
We are the ones who make a brighter day, so let’s start giving
There’s a choice we’re making
We’re saving our own lives
It’s true we’ll make a better day, just you and me

We are the world
We are the children
We are the ones who make a brighter day, so let’s start giving
There’s a choice we’re making
We’re saving our own lives
It’s true we’ll make a better day, just you and me

We are the world (are the world)
We are the children (are the children)
We are the ones who’ll make a brighter day, so let’s start giving (so let’s start giving)
There is a choice we’re making
We’re saving our own lives
It’s true we’ll make a better day, just you and me

Oh, let me hear you!

We are the world (we are the world)
We are the children (said we are the children)
We are the ones who’ll make a brighter day so let start giving (so let’s start giving)

There’s a choice we’re making
We’re saving our own lives
It’s true we’ll make a better day, just you and me, come on now, let me hear you

We are the world (we are the world)
We are the children (we are the children)
We are the ones who’ll make a brighter day so let’s start giving (so let’s start giving)
There’s a choice we’re making
We’re saving our own lives
It’s true we’ll make a better day, just you and me, yeah

We are the world (we are the world)
We are the children (we are the children)
We are the ones who’ll make a brighter day so let’s start giving (so let’s start giving)

There’s a choice we’re making
And we’re saving our own lives
It’s true we’ll make a better day, just you and me

We are the world (are the world)
We are the children (are the children)
We are the ones who’ll make a brighter day so let’s start giving (so let’s start giving)

There’s a choice we’re making
We’re saving our own lives
It’s true we’ll make a better day, just you and me

We are the world, we are the world (are the world)
We are the children, yes sir (are the children)
We are the ones that make a brighter day so let’s start giving (so let’s start giving)

There’s a choice we’re making
We’re saving our own lives
It’s true we’ll make a better day, just you and me, ooh-hoo!

We are the world (dear God) (are the world)
We are the children (are the children)
We are the ones that make a brighter day so let’s start giving (all right, can you hear what I’m saying?)
There’s a choice we’re making, we’re saving our own lives

Songwriters: Michael Jackson / Lionel Richie
We Are the World lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Warner Chappell Music, Inc

♫ Sir Duke ♫

I am told by several who have reason to know, that I don’t smile enough these days.  They are probably right, but in truth, I find little to smile about.  In the mirror, I see an old hag with a perpetual scowl and sad eyes.  However, there is one person who always brings a smile to my face, and that is Mr. Stevie Wonder!

I could have sworn I had played this one, for it is one of my favourites by Stevie, but a search of my archives found nothing.  I love this one, especially, when I am out walking, for the beat makes me pick up my speed and makes me smile at the same time, such that the people I pass wonder just what the heck I am up to with that sappy grin on my face!

Stevie Wonder wrote this song as a tribute to music, specifically to Duke Ellington, who had died in 1974. Ellington was a jazz bandleader and composer who was a big influence on Wonder.

“I knew the title from the beginning but wanted it to be about the musicians who did something for us. So soon they are forgotten. I wanted to show my appreciation. They gave us something that is supposed to be forever. That’s the basic idea of what we do and how we hook it up.”

In addition to Ellington, musicians referenced in this song are “Satchmo” Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald, Count Basie and Sodarisa Miller.

This wasn’t the first song Wonder wrote in tribute to one of his musical inspirations: Bye Bye World from his 1968 album Eivets Rednow is about the guitarist Wes Montgomery. Wonder’s second album, released in 1962 when he was just 12 years old, was a tribute to ‘Uncle Ray’, which paid homage to Ray Charles.

Sir Duke
Stevie Wonder

Music is a world within itself
With a language we all understand
With an equal opportunity
For all to sing, dance and clap their hands
But just because a record has a groove
Don’t make it in the groove
But you can tell right away at letter A
When the people start to move

They can feel it all over
They can feel it all over people
They can feel it all over
They can feel it all over people

Music knows it is and always will
Be one of the things that life just won’t quit
But here are some of music’s pioneers
That time will not allow us to forget
For there’s Basie, Miller, Sachmo
And the king of all Sir Duke
And with a voice like Ella’s ringing out
There’s no way the band can lose

You can feel it all over
You can feel it all over people
You can feel it all over
You can feel it all over people
You can feel it all over
You can feel it all over people
You can feel it all over
You can feel it all over people
You can feel it all over
You can feel it all over people
You can feel it all over
You can feel it all over people
You can feel it all over
You can feel it all over people
You can feel it all over

I can feel it all over-all over now people
Can’t you feel it all over
Come on let’s feel it all over people
You can feel it all over
Everybody-all over people

Songwriters: Stevie Wonder
Sir Duke lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

♫ I Can’t Stop Loving You ♫

I picked a song for tonight, but then I found that there were two artists (Marvin Gaye and Diana Ross) who had done it, both very nicely, both unique, and I would play both here if I did that song.  However, tonight I’m tired and I really don’t feel up to the extra work, so I shall save Ain’t No Mountain High Enough for another night.  Meanwhile, they say that “Music hath charms to soothe the savage beast, To soften rocks or bend a knotted oak”, and there is just nobody quite like Ray Charles to soothe that beast, soften those rocks, or bend that oak.

This song was written and originally recorded by a country singer named Don Gibson in 1958.  Ray Charles was known as an R&B singer, but he defied convention and decided to record an album of country and western songs. His producer, Sid Feller, put together tapes containing about 150 classic country songs so Charles could choose which ones to record. Included on the tapes was I Can’t Stop Loving You, which Charles remembered from when he would listen to The Grand Ole Opry.  Funny, but I never thought of this as a country song … I always thought of it as uniquely Ray Charles, but it turns out that some 700 others have covered this song!  The 700 includes Count Basie, Frank Sinatra, Paul Anka, Jim Reeves, Duke Ellington, Ike & Tina Turner, Andy Williams, Elvis Presley, and a bunch more!

According to SongFacts …

At first, this was not released as a single, but many DJs played it from the album and it started getting popular. A white singer named Tab Hunter heard Charles’ version and recorded his own, which was rushed out as a single. This infuriated Charles, so ABC Records quickly edited down the 4-minute album version and released it as a single with lots of publicity, including a full page ad in Billboard magazine. Charles’ version became a huge hit and went to #1 on the US Pop, R&B and Easy Listening charts.

I Can’t Stop Loving You
Ray Charles

I’ve made up my mind
To live in memory of the lonesome times
(I can’t stop wanting you)
It’s useless to say
So I’ll just live my life in dreams of yesterday
(Dreams of yesterday)

Those happy hours that we once knew
Tho’ long ago, they still make me blue
They say that time heals a broken heart
But time has stood still since we’ve been apart

I’ve made up my mind
To live in memories of the lonesome times
(I can’t stop wanting you)
It’s useless to say
So I’ll just live my life in dreams of yesterday

Those happy hours
(That we once knew)
That we once knew
(Tho’ long ago)
Tho’ long ago
(Still make me blue)
Still ma-a-a-ake me blue
(They say that time)
They say that time
(Heals a broken heart)
Heals a broken heart
(But time has stood still)
Time has stood still
(Since we’ve been apart)
Since we’ve been apart

I said I made up my mind
To live in memory of the lonesome times

It’s useless to say
So I’ll just live my life of dreams of yesterday
(Of yesterday)

Songwriters: Don Gibson
I Can’t Stop Loving You lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

♫ We Are The World ♫

Hello my friends.  With a heavy heart tonight, I was not going to do a music post, but two special people convinced me, without realizing that they had a thing to do with it, to do one … and this one in particular.  I shall explain …

A few nights ago, I was chatting via email with our friend Ellen, and she noted that while sometimes one doesn’t feel that they have a song in their heart, they should … sing anyway!  Tonight, I felt as if I had no song in my heart, and really, I just wanted to go to bed.  But, somewhere in my head, I heard Ellen saying, “C’mon, Filosofa … sing anyway!”

And the second motivator was another dear friend, Dutch (Larry Woller) who posted on his own blog this song … We Are The World … and everything just suddenly clicked into place.

This was a benefit single for victims of famine in Africa. It raised over $60 Million, which was distributed to Ethiopia, Sudan, and other impoverished countries.

Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie wrote this song, and Quincy Jones produced it. This talented trio was perfect for the job: Quincy Jones was the hottest producer around, and his Rolodex (what would now be a contact list) was filled with the biggest names in music; Richie had written songs that went to #1 on the Hot 100 each of the previous seven years (“We Are The World” made it eight); Michael Jackson had the biggest album of 1984 with Thriller (produced by Jones) and was the biggest star in the world.

The USA For Africa project began as an idea calypso singer Harry Belafonte had for a benefit concert featuring black musicians. In late December 1984, looking for artists to participate, Belafonte called Ken Kragen, who managed an impressive roster of talent, including Lionel Richie. Kragen convinced Belafonte that they could raise more money and make a bigger impact with an original song; Belafonte agreed and Richie came on board to help.

Kragen asked Quincy Jones to produce, and Jones enlisted Michael Jackson. Richie got Stevie Wonder involved, and from there, word got out and many members of the music industry signed on to help. The project from conception to recording took about a month.

This all-star charity single was inspired by Band Aid, the British group Bob Geldof put together the year before to record Do They Know It’s Christmas?. Band Aid, which included Bono, Phil Collins, David Bowie, Paul McCartney, and Sting, served as a template, showing how a disparate group of famous artists could come together in one day to record a song.

The stars who sang solos were, in order, Lionel Richie, Stevie Wonder, Paul Simon, Kenny Rogers, James Ingram, Billy Joel, Tina Turner, Michael Jackson, Diana Ross, Dionne Warwick, Willie Nelson, Al Jarreau, Bruce Springsteen, Kenny Loggins, Steve Perry, Daryl Hall, Michael Jackson (again), Huey Lewis, Cyndi Lauper, and Kim Carnes. Bob Dylan and Ray Charles were also featured on the song and given close-ups in the video.

Harry Belafonte, who had the original idea for the project, was in the chorus but didn’t get a solo, joining Bette Midler, Smokey Robinson, The Pointer Sisters, LaToya Jackson, Bob Geldof, Sheila E., and Waylon Jennings as backing singers.

Quincy Jones was responsible for managing the egos of all the stars. It went very smoothly considering some very famous people did not get to sing a line. Most of the singers knew Jones personally and respected his wishes that they check their egos at the door.

Just goes to show what we can accomplish when people of all sorts come together for a common cause.  I think … though the cause is different … this song has just as much meaning for our world today as it did when it was released in 1985, some 34 years ago, don’t you?

We Are the World
U.S.A. for Africa

There comes a time
When we heed a certain call
When the world must come together as one
There are people dying
Oh, and it’s time to lend a hand to life
The greatest gift of all

We can’t go on
Pretending day-by-day
That someone, somewhere soon make a change
We’re all a part of God’s great big family
And the truth, you know, love is all we need

We are the world
We are the children
We are the ones who make a brighter day, so let’s start giving
There’s a choice we’re making
We’re saving our own lives
It’s true we’ll make a better day, just you and me

Oh, send them your heart
So they know that someone cares
And their lives will be stronger and free
As God has shown us by turning stones to bread
And so we all must lend a helping hand

We are the world
We are the children
We are the ones who make a brighter day, so let’s start giving
Oh, there’s a choice we’re making
We’re saving our own lives
It’s true we’ll make a better day, just you and me

When you’re down and out, there seems no hope at all
But if you just believe there’s no way we can fall
Well, well, well, well let us realize
Oh, that a change can only come
When we stand together as one, yeah, yeah, yeah

We are the world
We are the children
We are the ones who make a brighter day, so let’s start giving
There’s a choice we’re making
We’re saving our own lives
It’s true we’ll make a better day, just you and me

We are the world
We are the children
We are the ones who make a brighter day, so let’s start giving
There’s a choice we’re making
We’re saving our own lives
It’s true we’ll make a better day, just you and me

We are the world (are the world)
We are the children (are the children)
We are the ones who’ll make a brighter day, so let’s start giving (so let’s start giving)
There is a choice we’re making
We’re saving our own lives
It’s true we’ll make a better day, just you and me

Oh, let me hear you!

We are the world (we are the world)
We are the children (said we are the children)
We are the ones who’ll make a brighter day so let start giving (so let’s start giving)

There’s a choice we’re making
We’re saving our own lives
It’s true we’ll make a better day, just you and me, come on now, let me hear you

We are the world (we are the world)
We are the children (we are the children)
We are the ones who’ll make a brighter day so let’s start giving (so let’s start giving)
There’s a choice we’re making
We’re saving our own lives
It’s true we’ll make a better day, just you and me, yeah

We are the world (we are the world)
We are the children (we are the children)
We are the ones who’ll make a brighter day so let’s start giving (so let’s start giving)

There’s a choice we’re making
And we’re saving our own lives
It’s true we’ll make a better day, just you and me

We are the world (are the world)
We are the children (are the children)
We are the ones who’ll make a brighter day so let’s start giving (so let’s start giving)

There’s a choice we’re making
We’re saving our own lives
It’s true we’ll make a better day, just you and me

We are the world, we are the world (are the world)
We are the children, yes sir (are the children)
We are the ones that make a brighter day so let’s start giving (so let’s start giving)

There’s a choice we’re making
We’re saving our own lives
It’s true we’ll make a better day, just you and me, ooh-hoo!

We are the world (dear God) (are the world)
We are the children (are the children)
We are the ones that make a brighter day so let’s start giving (all right, can you hear what I’m saying?)
There’s a choice we’re making, we’re saving our own lives

Songwriters: Michael Jackson / Lionel Richie
We Are the World lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Warner Chappell Music, Inc

♫ Smoke Gets In Your Eyes ♫ – Redux

Having just finished a marathon research session for my a.m. post, I was reading an email from a dear friend, and this song, Smoke Gets In Your Eyes, was mentioned.  BINGO!, I thought.  But … alas … I find that I played it back in January.  But, you know what?  I’m going to play it again tonight anyway.  I try not to be repititious in these music posts, but … I want this song tonight.  And so …

Tonight, I am taking you back … way back … way way way back, to a time that some of you weren’t even born yet!  The year was 1958, I was seven years old.  But, I remember this song as if it were yesterday.  I loved it then, and I love it still …  Since I am feeling … shall we say nostalgic, in lieu of saying saying ‘sad’ tonight, this one feels somehow right.

The song was originally written in 1933 for the musical Roberta, starring Bob Hope. The lyrics were written by Otto Harbach and the music by Jerome Kern.  The song has been covered by almost anybody and everybody, but the version that is most remembered is the one by The Platters.

In addition to this, a few of my other favourites that year were Splish Splash (Bobby Darin), Tom Dooley (The Kingston Trio), Good Golly, Miss Molly (Little Richard), and Night Time Is The Right Time (Ray Charles).

Those who were around back in 1958 … what were your favourites?

Smoke Gets In Your Eyes
The Platters

Baby,
They asked me how I knew
My true love was true
I of course replied,
“Something here inside
Cannot be denied”

They said someday you’ll find
All who love are blind
When your heart’s on fire
You must realize
Smoke gets in your eyes

So I chaffed them and I gaily laughed
To think they could doubt my love
Yet today, my love has flown away
I am without my love

Now laughing friends deride
Tears I cannot hide
So I smile and say,
“When a lovely flame dies,
Smoke gets in your eyes”

Smoke gets in your eyes

Songwriters: Jerome Kern / Otto Harbach
Smoke Gets In Your Eyes lyrics © T.B. Harms Co., Polygram International Music Publishing Ltd., Emi Glenwood Music Corporation, MECHANICAL COPYRIGHT PROTECTION SOCIETY LTD, CHAPPELL MUSIC LTD, UNIVERSAL – POLYGRAM INT’L OBO T.B. HARMS CO.

♫ Georgia On My Mind ♫

This song was written by Hoagy Carmichael and Stuart Gorrell in 1930 and although others have recorded it, my favourite, and the one it’s most well-known for, is by Ray Charles.  In 1979, the State of Georgia designated it the official state song.

GorrellIt has been asserted that Hoagy Carmichael wrote the song about his sister, Georgia. But Carmichael wrote in his second autobiography Sometimes I Wonder that saxophonist Frankie Trumbauer told him he should write a song about the state of Georgia. He jokingly volunteered the first two words, “Georgia, Georgia…”, which Carmichael ended up using while working on the song with his roommate, Stuart Gorrell, who wrote the lyrics. Gorrell’s name was absent from the copyright, but Carmichael sent him royalty checks anyway.

Ray Charles, a native of Georgia, recorded a version that went to No. 1 on the Billboard magazine Hot 100. On March 7, 1979, in a symbol of reconciliation in the aftermath of years of activism and national legislation resulting from the Civil Rights Movement, he performed the song before the Georgia General Assembly. After this performance, the Assembly adopted it as the state song on April 24.

In 2003, Rolling Stone magazine named the Ray Charles version of Georgia on My Mind the 44th greatest song of all time.  I also like Willie Nelson’s version, which he sang at Ray Charles’ funeral, but for me … nobody does it quite like Ray — he puts himself into it.

Georgia on My Mind
Ray Charles

Georgia, Georgia
The whole day through
Just an old sweet song
Keeps Georgia on my mind (Georgia on my mind)

I said Georgia
Georgia
A song of you
Comes as sweet and clear
As moonlight through the pines

Other arms reach out to me
Other eyes smile tenderly
Still in peaceful dreams I see
The road leads back to you

I said Georgia
Ooh Georgia, no peace I find
Just an old sweet song
Keeps Georgia on my mind (Georgia on my mind)

Other arms reach out to me
Other eyes smile tenderly
Still in peaceful dreams I see
The road leads back to you

Whoa, Georgia
Georgia
No peace, no peace I find
Just this old, sweet song
Keeps Georgia on my mind

I said just an old sweet song
Keeps Georgia on my mind

Songwriters: Hoagy Carmichael / Stuart Gorell
Georgia on My Mind lyrics © Peermusic Publishing, Campbell Connelly France