♫ Tell Her About It ♫

Well, as I predicted, last night’s song, Precious and Few, did not attract much attention and few people liked it.  I didn’t really care, expected that, but it was one time that I played it just for me.  However, tonight’s song will, I hope, get a few more toes a-tappin’ and fingers a-snappin’, for it played well on both sides of the big pond!

Per SongFacts …

In his biography The Life and Times of an Angry Young Man, Billy Joel talks about when he first started dating Christie Brinkley. He says that she was the first person he could ever just talk to, and they would spent hours just talking – this was the basis for “Tell Her About It.” It’s simply about an a-ha moment for Joel when he realized that you could actually have a soul mate. Joel and Brinkley met in 1982, married in 1985 and divorced in 1994.

Billy Joel both wrote and performed this one.  The video is a spoof of the Ed Sullivan Show, and shows Joel singing the song as if he were on The Ed Sullivan Show in 1963. The cover shot for the UK release of the song was taken from the video, as seen below. An Ed Sullivan imitator (Will Jordan) introduces Joel (as “B.J. and the Affordables”) after Topo Gigio, the talking mouse, finishes his skit. During the song there are different scenes of teenagers watching Joel on TV at home, crowding around appliance store windows watching him, dancing to his song. There is even a brief scene of a Soviet cosmonaut in space listening to the song, with the lyrics displayed at the bottom in the Russian language and in Cyrillic script. At the end of the song, comedian Rodney Dangerfield is there preparing to go on stage under the false impression that he is next, thanks Joel for warming up the crowd. “Patriska the Dancing Bear” is instead called to the stage, much to Dangerfield’s disbelief.

This one reached #1 in the U.S., #4 in the UK, and #5 in Canada.

Tell Her About It
Billy Joel

Listen boy
I don’t want to see you let a good thing
Slip away

You know I don’t like watching
Anybody make the same mistakes
I made

She’s a real nice girl
And she’s always there for you
But a nice girl wouldn’t tell you what you should do

Listen boy
I’m sure that you think you got it all
Under control

You don’t want somebody telling you
The way to stay in someone’s soul

You’re a big boy now
You’ll never let her go
But that’s just the kind of thing
She ought to know

Tell her about it
Tell her everything you feel
Give her every reason to accept
That you’re for real

Tell her about it
Tell her all your crazy dreams
Let her know you need her
Let her know how much she means

Listen boy
It’s not automatically a certain guarantee
To insure yourself
You’ve got to provide communication constantly

When you love someone
You’re always insecure
And there’s only one good way
To reassure

Tell her about it
Let her know how much you care
When she can’t be with you
Tell her you wish you were there

Tell her about it
Every day before you leave
Pay her some attention
Give her something to believe

‘Cause now and then
She’ll get to worrying
Just because you haven’t spoken
For so long
Though you may not have done anything
Will that be a consolation when she’s gone

Listen boy
It’s good information from a man
Who’s made mistakes

Just a word or two that she gets from you
Could be the difference that it makes

She’s a trusting soul
She’s put her trust in you
But a girl like that won’t tell you
What you should do

Tell her about it
Tell her everything you feel
Give her every reason
To accept that you’re for real

Tell her about it
Tell her all your crazy dreams
Let her know you need her
Let her know how much she means

Tell her about it
Tell her how you feel right now
Tell her about it
The girl don’t want to wait too long
You got to tell her about it
Tell her now and you won’t go wrong
You got to tell her about it
Before it gets too late
You got to tell her about it
You know the girl don’t want
To wait, you got to
Tell her about it

Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: Billy Joel
Tell Her About It lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

♫ Downtown ♫

Being in something of a black mood after the latest mass shooting, I considered playing Elvis’ In the Ghetto tonight, but then I though perhaps something really upbeat would be a more fitting way to start the weekend.

This one will take you back a ways … for some of you, it will go back to a time before you were even born, but you’ve likely heard the song anyway.  Petula Clark was a British actor, singer and composer who was popular in the UK long before the U.S. discovered her talent.  According to SongFacts …

This was Petula Clark’s first hit in the US, which was slow to discover her talents. In the UK, she was a star as a singer and as a television performer, where she was a regular on the BBC. In the early ’60s, she also caught on in France when she started recording her songs in French. Oddly, she didn’t get an American record deal until late in 1964 when a Warner Bros. executive named Joe Smith, who was vacationing in England, heard the song and signed her to a deal.

When “Downtown” was released in the US, it shot to #1, making Petula the first female singer from the UK to hit #1 in the US during the rock era (after 1955). Remarkably, she didn’t even promote the song before it hit the top spot, as she was touring French-speaking countries at the time.

“The Ed Sullivan Show had been calling every day while I was on tour in Canada, saying, ‘You’ve got to get here,'” Petula told Songfacts. “I couldn’t get there. Eventually I got there, and the record was #1.”

A British songwriter and producer named Tony Hatch wrote this. During the ’60s, he wrote most of Clark’s material, including her follow-up hit, “I Know a Place” (which also deals with city life). Hatch was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2013.

The word “downtown” had a different meaning in America than it did in the UK. In America, “downtown” is the heart of the city where the action happens. The word wasn’t used much in Britain at the time, but it generally meant the less affluent part of the town’s central area. The song’s writer, Tony Hatch, used the word in its American meaning, as he was inspired by a walk down Broadway during his first visit to New York. These days, the American “heart of the city” use of the phrase is common in the UK.

Petula Clark came to record this song at a time when she had carved a successful career in French, Italian and German-speaking territories. She recalled to The Guardian that Tony Hatch suggested she should be recording again in English. “My head wasn’t in it at the time,” she admitted, “I was totally into French, Italian, German, whatever. I said: ‘Well, you know, if I could find the right song’ and he said he had an unfinished song he wanted to play me, and he played ‘Downtown’ on the piano. I said: ‘Woah, I like that.’ So I asked him to write a lyric up to the standard of the tune, and two weeks later we did it.”

This won a Grammy in 1965 for Best Rock & Roll Recording, making Clark the first British singer to win a Grammy. In 2003, the song was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.

Clark recorded a new version of this song for her 2013 album Lost in You, which was released when she was 80 years old.

80 years old???  Heck, I’m a decade younger and I can’t, as my late ex-husband used to say, carry a tune in a bucket!  My hat is off to this lady!

I don’t have room nor time to cover all the trivia associated with this song, but if you’re interested, check out the Wikipedia entry, for there is much fascinating info about both the song and the artist.

Downtown
Petula Clark

When you’re alone and life is making you lonely
You can always go – downtown.
When you’ve got worries all the noise and the hurry
Seems to help I know downtown.

Just listen to the music of the traffic in the city
Linger on the sidewalk where the neon signs are pretty
How can you lose?

The lights are much brighter there
You can forget all your troubles, forget all your cares
So go downtown
Things will be great when you’re downtown
No finer place for sure downtown
Everything’s waiting for you.

Don’t hang around and let your problems surround you
There are movie shows downtown.
Maybe you know some little places to go to
Where they never close downtown.

Just listen to the rhythm of a gentle bossa nova
You’ll be dancing with ’em too before the night is over
Happy again.

The lights are much brighter there
You can forget all your troubles, forget all your cares
So go – downtown
Where all the lights are bright downtown
Waiting for you tonight downtown
You’re gonna be alright now
Downtown
Downtown
Downtown

And you may find somebody kind to help and understand you
Someone who is just like you and needs a gentle hand to
Guide them along.

So maybe I’ll see you there
We can forget all our troubles, forget all our cares
So go downtown
Things will be great when you’re downtown
Don’t wait a minute more downtown
Everything is waiting for you
Downtown
Downtown
Downtown
Downtown
Downtown
Downtown
Downtown…

Source: Musixmatch
Songwriters: Hatch Anthony Peter
Downtown lyrics © Emi Blackwood Music Inc., Welbeck Music Ltd., Smack Hits, Sony/atv Story Music Publishing, Warner/chappell Music Ltd

♫ I Want A Hippopotamus For Christmas ♫ (Annual Redux)

There is a small repertoire of songs that I play at Christmas … none of the typical religious carols, but songs that either have deep meaning for the holiday, or that are fun.  Tonight’s selection, just two days before the big day, is in the second category — fun!  This one goes out to my dear friend, Carolyn, over at Nuggets of Gold, for rawgod’s significant other, Gail, and also for my daughter Chris, who has always loved this one.

This is a Christmas ‘novelty’ song, written by John Rox, and performed by Gayla Peevey in 1953 when she was ten years old. Peevey was a child star who was born in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma before her family moved to Ponca City, Oklahoma, when she was five. When released nationally by Columbia Records the song shot to the top of the charts, and the Oklahoma City Zoo acquired a baby hippo named Matilda.

Peevey was filmed performing the song on The Ed Sullivan Show in October 1953, airing on November 15, 1953.

A popular legend holds that this 1953 hit had been recorded as a fundraiser to bring the city zoo a hippo; but in a 2007 radio interview with Detroit-based WNIC radio station, Peevey clarified that the song was not originally recorded as a fundraiser. Instead, a local promoter picked up on the popularity of the song and Peevey’s local roots, and launched a campaign to present her with an actual hippopotamus on Christmas.

The campaign succeeded, and she was presented with an actual hippopotamus, which she donated to the city zoo. The hippopotamus lived for nearly 50 years. Peevey, by this point 73 years old, was again present when the Oklahoma City Zoo acquired a rare pygmy hippopotamus in 2017.

I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas
Gayla Peevey

I want a hippopotamus for Christmas
Only a hippopotamus will do
Don’t want a doll, no dinkey tinker toy
I want a hippopotamus to play with and enjoy

I want a hippopotamus for Christmas
I don’t think Santa Claus will mind, do you?
He won’t have to use a dirty chimney flue
Just bring him through the front door
That’s the easy thing to do

I can see me now on Christmas morning
Creeping down the stairs
Oh what joy, what surprise
When I open up my eyes
To see a hippo hero standing there

I want a hippopotamus for Christmas
Only a hippopotamus will do
No crocodiles, no rhinosauruses
I only likes hippopotamuses
And hippopotamuses like me, too

Mom says a hippo, would eat me up but then
Teacher says a hippo is a vegetarian

There’s lots of room for him in our two-car garage
I’d feed him there and wash him there and give him his massage

I can see me now on Christmas morning
Creeping down the stairs
Oh what joy, what surprise
When I open up my eyes
To see a hippo hero standing there

I want a hippopotamus for Christmas
Only a hippopotamus will do
No crocodiles, or rhinosauruseses
I only likes hippopotamuses
And hippopotamuses like me, too

Songwriters: John Jefferson Rox
I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas lyrics © Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd.

♫ Don’t Let The Sun Catch You Crying ♫

A brief search of my archives shows me that the only other song I have played by Gerry and the Pacemakers was Ferry Cross the Mersey … a good one, indeed, but certainly not the only good one this group put out.

Gerry & the Pacemakers were the second group be signed by manager Brian Epstein (after The Beatles). They were part of the Merseybeat sound emanating from Liverpool, England.

In the UK, the group’s first three singles, all released in 1963, went to #1: How Do You Do It?, I Like It and You’ll Never Walk Alone. In the U.S., Don’t Let The Sun Catch You Crying was their first hit. The group had a few more hits in 1964 and 1965, but their fortunes faded as The Beatles emerged.

This song was written by written by Gerry Marsden, Freddie Marsden, Les Chadwick and Les Maguire, the members of Gerry and the Pacemakers.   It was first recorded and issued as a single by Louise Cordet in February 1964. Shortly after Cordet’s version failed to chart, the song was recorded by Gerry and The Pacemakers themselves in April 1964.

This was produced by Beatles producer George Martin, and Gerry & the Pacemakers sang this when they made their US television debut on May 3, 1964 on The Ed Sullivan Show.

This song hit #4 in the U.S., #5 in Canada, and #6 in the UK.

Don’t Let The Sun Catch You Crying
Gerry and the Pacemakers

Don’t let the sun catch you cryin’
The night’s the time for all your tears
Your heart may be broken tonight
But tomorrow in the morning light
Don’t let the sun catch you cryin’

The night-time shadows disappear
And with them go all your tears
For the morning will bring joy
For every girl and boy
So don’t let the sun catch you cryin’

We know that cryin’s not a bad thing
But stop your cryin’ when the birds sing

It may be hard to discover
That you’ve been left for another
But don’t forget that love’s a game
And it can always come again
Oh don’t let the sun catch you cryin’
Don’t let the sun catch you cryin’, oh no Oh, oh, oh

Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: Fred Marsden / Gerry Marsden / Les Chadwick / Patrick Maguire
Don’t Let The Sun Catch You Crying lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

♫ Light My Fire ♫

Last night I played a song by the Animals, thinking that our friend rawgod had asked for an Animals song.  While he appreciated the song, as the Animals are his favourite, he informed me that what he had asked for was a song by The Doors.  🤦  So, let me try this again!  He suggested this one, and it is one of the few songs by The Doors that I like, although my preference is José Feliciano’s version, I am only adding a bit of trivia and otherwise reduxing the song, which I played almost exactly a year ago!


I like Latin music … not all of it, but some.  Tonight’s song was originally released by the American rock band the Doors in 1967, and saw success in both the U.S. and the U.K.  But the following year, it was released by one of my favourite Latin musicians from Puerto Rico, José Feliciano.  Now, I prefer José’s version, but I’m sure many of you remember the one by the Doors best, so I will include both for your listening pleasure.

Most of the song was written by Doors guitarist Robby Krieger, who wanted to write about one of the elements: fire, air, earth, and water …

“I was living with my parents in Pacific Palisades – I had my amp and SG. I asked Jim [Morrison], what should I write about? He said, ‘Something universal, which won’t disappear two years from now. Something that people can interpret themselves.’ I said to myself I’d write about the four elements; earth, air, fire, water, I picked fire, as I loved the Stones song, ‘Play With Fire,’ and that’s how that came about.”

This became The Doors’ signature song. Included on their first album, it was a huge hit and launched them to stardom. Before it was released, The Doors were an underground band popular in the Los Angeles area, but Light My Fire got the attention of a mass audience.

Jim Morrison indicated in his notebooks that he disliked this song and hated performing it. He also seemed to resent that the popularity of the band derived from this song, which he had just a small part in writing.  In 1968, Buick offered The Doors $75,000 to use this song in a commercial as “Come on Buick, light my fire.” With Morrison away, Krieger, Densmore, and Manzarek agreed to allow it. When Morrison found out, he pitched a fit and killed the deal.

This was the last song Jim Morrison performed live. It took place at the Doors concert at The Warehouse in New Orleans on December 12, 1970. Mid-way through the song, Morrison became exasperated and smashed his microphone into the floor, ending the show.  He died in July of the following year.  The Doors’ final performance took place at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles on September 10, 1972.

An additional bit of trivia about the song that I learned last time I played it is that this song got the Doors permanently banned from the Ed Sullivan show on 17 September 1967!  According to the official Ed Sullivan Show website, rehearsals for the show went well, and with 15 minutes to air time, Sullivan went to see the band in their dressing room, telling them, “You boys look great, [but] you ought to smile a little more.” Shortly after, a producer from the show came by to inform the band that they needed to change the line “Girl, we couldn’t get much higher” to “Girl, we couldn’t get much better” when performing Light My Fire, ostensibly because the line might be construed as referring to drugs. 

Band members have given varying accounts of whether they ever agreed to change the line or not, but there’s no denying what happened live on the air. After a strong, but unremarkable performance of “People Are Strange,” the band launched into “Light My Fire,” and as the video shows, Jim Morrison sang the original lyric instead of making the suggested change.

After the show, producers said they had hoped to book them six more times, but had decided instead to ban the Doors from the show in the future. Morrison reportedly replied, “Hey, man, we just did the Sullivan show.”

José Feliciano, blind from birth, is a Puerto Rican singer and composer, best known for this song, and his Christmas song, Feliz Navidad.  Robby Krieger said in an interview about the cover: “It’s really a great feeling to have written a classic. I think I owe a big debt to Jose Feliciano because he is actually the one, when he did it, everybody started doing it. He did a whole different arrangement on it.”  I like that, when a musician shares credit when it is deserved.

And so … without further ado … I leave you to choose your version.

Light My Fire
The Doors / José Feliciano

You know that it would be untrue
You know that I would be a liar
If I was to say to you
Girl, we couldn’t get much higher

Come on baby, light my fire
Come on baby, light my fire
Try to set the night on fire

The time to hesitate is through
No time to wallow in the mire
Try now we can only lose
And our love become a funeral pyre

Come on baby, light my fire
Come on baby, light my fire
Try to set the night on fire, yeah

The time to hesitate is through
No time to wallow in the mire
Try now we can only lose
And our love become a funeral pyre

Come on baby, light my fire
Come on baby, light my fire
Try to set the night on fire, yeah

You know that it would be untrue
You know that I would be a liar
If I was to say to you
Girl, we couldn’t get much higher

Come on baby, light my fire
Come on baby, light my fire
Try to set the night on fire
Try to set the night on fire
Try to set the night on fire
Try to set the night on fire

Produced by Paul A. Rothchild

♫ I Want A Hippopotamus For Christmas ♫

This one goes out to my dear friend, Carolyn, over at Nuggets of Gold, and also for daughter Chris, who has always loved this one.

This is a Christmas ‘novelty’ song, written by John Rox, and performed by Gayla Peevey in 1953 when she was ten years old. Peevey was a child star who was born in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma before her family moved to Ponca City, Oklahoma, when she was five. When released nationally by Columbia Records the song shot to the top of the charts, and the Oklahoma City Zoo acquired a baby hippo named Matilda.

Peevey was filmed performing the song on The Ed Sullivan Show in October 1953, airing on November 15, 1953.

A popular legend holds that this 1953 hit had been recorded as a fundraiser to bring the city zoo a hippo; but in a 2007 radio interview with Detroit-based WNIC radio station, Peevey clarified that the song was not originally recorded as a fundraiser. Instead, a local promoter picked up on the popularity of the song and Peevey’s local roots, and launched a campaign to present her with an actual hippopotamus on Christmas.

The campaign succeeded, and she was presented with an actual hippopotamus, which she donated to the city zoo. The hippopotamus lived for nearly 50 years. Peevey, by this point 73 years old, was again present when the Oklahoma City Zoo acquired a rare pygmy hippopotamus in 2017.

I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas
Gayla Peevey

I want a hippopotamus for Christmas
Only a hippopotamus will do
Don’t want a doll, no dinkey tinker toy
I want a hippopotamus to play with and enjoy

I want a hippopotamus for Christmas
I don’t think Santa Claus will mind, do you?
He won’t have to use a dirty chimney flue
Just bring him through the front door
That’s the easy thing to do

I can see me now on Christmas morning
Creeping down the stairs
Oh what joy, what surprise
When I open up my eyes
To see a hippo hero standing there

I want a hippopotamus for Christmas
Only a hippopotamus will do
No crocodiles, no rhinosauruses
I only likes hippopotamuses
And hippopotamuses like me, too

Mom says a hippo, would eat me up but then
Teacher says a hippo is a vegetarian

There’s lots of room for him in our two-car garage
I’d feed him there and wash him there and give him his massage

I can see me now on Christmas morning
Creeping down the stairs
Oh what joy, what surprise
When I open up my eyes
To see a hippo hero standing there

I want a hippopotamus for Christmas
Only a hippopotamus will do
No crocodiles, or rhinosauruseses
I only likes hippopotamuses
And hippopotamuses like me, too

Songwriters: John Jefferson Rox
I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas lyrics © Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd.