A Hell Of A Band

This song ‘Rock and Roll Heaven’ was written by Johnny Stevenson and Alan O’day, and first recorded by a group called Sonny Geraci and Climax, but it was made popular by the Righteous Brothers.  Stevenson was the keyboard player in Climax who were best known for their hit ‘Precious And Few’.  Songwriter O’day had a good year in 1974 writing Helen Reddy’s #1 smash ‘Angie Baby’ and ‘Train Of Thought’ for Cher which reached number #27 and later in 1977 he had a number one hit with his song ‘Undercover Angel’.  Other groups that recorded his songs include Paul Anka, Tom Jones, Anne Murray, The Fifth Dimension, Peggy Lee, Sarah Vaughn, Dusty Springfield, Three Dog Night, Tony Orlando, Johnny Mathis and the Captain and Tennille.  Johnny Stevenson wrote the title of the song ‘Rock and Roll Heaven’ and Johnny’s publisher Artie Wayne brought Alan O’day in on the song.

‘Rock and Roll Heaven’ charted #3 for the Righteous Brothers appearing on their 1974 album Give It To The People.  This song references rock stars that have died, saying “Jimi gave us rainbows” because of the 1971 Jimi Hendrix album Rainbow Bridge which is a compilation album.  It mentions, “Janis took a piece of our hearts”, because Janis Joplin while she was in Big Brother And The Holding Company made a big hit out of the 1967 song ‘Piece of My Heart’ that was written by Jerry Ragovoy and Bert Berns and came out on the 1968 Cheap Thrills album.  It says, “Otis took us all to the dock of the bay”, because of the 1967 masterpiece song which topped the charts sung by soul singer Otis Redding ‘(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay’ and co-written by guitarist Steve Cropper.  It says, “Sing a song to light my fire, Remember Jim that way”, because of the Doors song ‘Light My Fire’ that Jim Morrison sang on the 1967 debut album and the single went to #1.  In the second verse this song mentions, “Jimmy touched us with that song”, referencing ‘Bad, Bad Leroy Brown’ by Jim Croce that went to #1 in 1973.  It says, “Bobby gave us ‘Mack the Knife’” which was a #1 hit for Bobby Darin in 1959.

The original Climax version of this song did not contain references to Bobby Darin or Jim Croce, because they were still alive when it was released.  The Righteous Brothers producers Brian Potter and Dennis Lambert changed the lyric to include these singers, making the song far more contemporary.  This song makes me think about the all the great rockers that were not included, like Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, the Big Bopper, Bo Diddley, Cass Elliott, Elvis Presley, John Lennon, George Harrison, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Roy Orbison, Carl Perkins, Johnny Cash and Jerry Garcia among many others, but still it must be a hell of a band up there.

If you believe in forever,
Then life is just a one-night stand.
If there’s a rock and roll heaven,
Well you know they’ve got a hell of a band, band, band.

Jimmy gave us rainbows,
And Janis took a piece of our hearts,
And Otis brought us all to the dock of a bay.
Sing a song to light my fire,
Remember Jim that way,
They’ve all found another place, another place to play.

If you believe in forever,
Then life is just a one-night stand.
If there’s a rock and roll heaven,
Well you know they’ve got a hell of a band, band, band.

Remember bad bad Leroy Brown,
Hey Jimmy touched us with that song.
Time won’t change a friend we came to know.
And Bobby gave us Mack the Knife,
Well look out, he’s back in town.
They’ll all be there together
When they meet in one big show.

If you believe in forever,
Then life is just a one-night stand.
If there’s a rock and roll heaven,
Well you know they’ve got a hell of a band, band, band.

There’s a spotlight waiting
No matter who you are
Cause everybody’s got a song to sing,
Everyone’s a star
(Everybody’s got to be a star).

If you believe in forever,
Then life is just a one-night stand.
If there’s a rock and roll heaven,
Well you know they’ve got a hell of a band, band, band.

I am including a bonus slowed down rendition of this song which features some new lyrics and many of the original lyrics have disappeared.  Instead of mentioning Otis Redding, they sing “Keith knew how to laugh the blues away” and I think that this refers to Keith Moon.  They added a whole verse about Elvis and it also contains several lines that reference John Lennon.

Written for Song Lyric Sunday where the theme this week is to write about a song that references another group or artist in it.

Singing About Another

As I mentioned last week, music blogger Badfinger Max at PowerPop wrote several posts about songs that referenced the Beatles or John Lennon and this gave me the idea for this week’s theme, which is to write about a song that references another group in it. I have not done a search on this, but I am certain that songs are out there which will match this theme.  One thing that I do know is that the Bob Dylan song ‘Like A Rollin’ Stone’ was not written about the Rolling Stones.  Every week I am impressed with your knowledge of music and ability to come up with diverse songs that I would never have thought of.

I feel that everyone should be able to find a song that features another group or artist in it. Try to find a song that fits the prompt, then write your post and please be patient, and wait for me to approve your pingbacks, or you can just place your link in the comments section.

Here are the “rules”:

  • Post the lyrics to the song of your choice, whether it fits the theme or not.
  • Please try to include the songwriter(s) – it’s a good idea to give credit where credit is due.
  • Make sure you also credit the singer/band and if you desire you can provide a link to where you found the lyrics.
  • Link to the YouTube video, or pull it into your post so others can listen to the song.
  • Ping back to this post will eventually work, as long as you are being patient, but you can also place your link in the comments if you don’t like to wait.
  • Read at least one other person’s blog, so we can all share new and fantastic music and create amazing new blogging friends in the process.
  • Feel free to suggest future prompts.
  • Have fun and enjoy the music.

I am writing about the song ‘Rock & Roll Heaven’ by the Righteous Brothers this week. Next week I will write about ‘Sweet Baby James’ by James Taylor.  The upcoming prompts will be:
August 25, 2019 – Dream/Lullaby/Sleep
September 1, 2019 – Cowboy/Gun/Hat/Horse/Western
September 8, 2019 – Bird/Fly/Sky/Wing
September 15, 2019 – Floor/House/Roof/Walls

Get Out When They Blow

I don’t want to bring you back to High School English, but this song features lyrics that are structured in trochaic rhythm, which is a metrical foot consisting of a stressed syllable followed by an unstressed one, thus a trochee is the reverse of an iamb, which is the style that Shakespeare used so often in his plays.  Trochaic rhythm is faster than iambic and it works well for this lively song.  In this song paired verses consist of two lines of triameter (lines of three metrical feet), one of quadrameter (referring to 4 pairs of feet per line), and another of triameter, for a total of 13 strong feet per verse.  The verses’ rhyming pattern is A, B, C, [C], B; with the bracketed [C] being an optional internal rhyme: halls, walls; chains/change; and plush/flush.  There are seven verses, with the first six in pairs.  The final verse stands alone, carrying into the final chorus.  OK English lesson over, let’s get into this song.

This song may just be incoherent nonsense that throws a lot of names around, but it works out perfectly for the prompt.  In this song we have Jack the Ripper, Jack (of Jack and Jill), and Wolfman Jack, all of which are famous, although we don’t really know that much about the Mother Goose Jack and nobody knows for sure who Jack the Ripper even was.  Crazy Otto was a ragtime piano player named Johnny Maddox who recorded ‘The Crazy Otto Medley’.  Billy Sunday is listed in the Baseball Encyclopedia as William Ashley (The Evangelist) Sunday, and he was one of the founders of the American evangelistic movement.  Mary Shelly is the author who wrote Frankenstein, and this monster was chained to a table so Victor Frankenstein and his assistant Zuckel could work on him.  The monster is not happy so he clanks the chain and frees himself.

A Mojo Hand was a common term among rural blacks for a person with extraordinary or seemingly magical abilities, and it was also the name of a song recorded by Lightnin’ Hopkins.  The phrase shotgun could reference the Wild West riding up top next to the driver of a stage coach, or it could be a reference to taking a hit on a joint and washing it down with a beer like was done in the movie Caddy Shack.  The phrase “ragtime band” might conjure up an image of the Irving Berlin song, ‘Alexander’s Ragtime Band’.  Adding the line ‘New York City’ is an easy way to get fans to cheer during a song, and I have seen many deadheads do this.  You certainly don’t want to be in Jericho when those walls start tumbling down.  Is the grass greener on the other side, or does it just look that way and the only way to tell if the wine is sweeter is to taste it, so I will leave that to you while you enjoy this song.

Just like jack the ripper, just like mojo hand,
Just like Billy Sunday, in a shotgun ragtime band,
Just like New York city, just like Jericho,
Pace the halls and climb the walls and get out when they blow.

Did you say your name was ramblin’ rose?
Ramble on baby, settle down easy
Ramble on rose.

Just like Jack and Jill, mama told the jailer
One hear up, and one cool down, leave nothin’ for the tailor.
Just like Jack and Jill, papa told the jailer
One go up, and one go down, do yourself a favor.

Did you say your name was ramblin’ rose?
Ramble on baby, settle down easy
Ramble on rose.

I’m gonna to sing you a hundred verses in ragtime,
I know this song it ain’t never gonna end.
I’m gonna march you up and down along the county line,
Take you to the leader of a band.

Just like crazy Otto, just like Wolfman Jack,
Sittin’ plush with a royal flush, aces back to back.
Just like Mary Shelly, just like Frankenstein,
Clank your chains and count your change and try to walk the line.

Did you say your name was ramblin’ rose?
Ramble on baby, settle down easy
Ramble on rose.

I’m gonna to sing you a hundred verses in ragtime,
I know this song it ain’t never gonna end.
I’m gonna march you up and down along the county line,
Take you to the leader of a band.

Good-bye mama and papa
Good-bye Jack and Jill
The grass ain’t greener
The wine ain’t sweeter
Either side of the hill.

Did you say your name was ramblin’ rose?
Ramble on baby, settle down easy
Ramble on rose.

Written for Song Lyric Sunday where the prompt is to find a song that includes somebody famous in it.

Such An Honor

A music blogger Badfinger Max at PowerPop wrote several posts about songs that have Richard Nixon in them and this made me think that there are probably a lot of songs that feature famous people in them, so I came up with the Song Lyric Sunday theme for this week to be a song that includes somebody famous in it. I cannot think of a greater honor than having somebody write a song that includes your name in it.  I am not talking about a song that mentions the word baby and your nickname is Baby, I mean a song that actually mentions a name and this could be a fictional name as long as it is somebody famous.  The movie theme and the TV theme both went real well, and I think this one will be just as fun and then next week the prompt also came to me from something that Max wrote.

I feel that everyone should be able to find a song that features a famous person in it. Try to find a song that fits the prompt, then write your post and please be patient, and wait for me to approve your pingbacks, or you can just place your link in the comments section.

Here are the “rules”:

  • Post the lyrics to the song of your choice, whether it fits the theme or not.
  • Please try to include the songwriter(s) – it’s a good idea to give credit where credit is due.
  • Make sure you also credit the singer/band and if you desire you can provide a link to where you found the lyrics.
  • Link to the YouTube video, or pull it into your post so others can listen to the song.
  • Ping back to this post will eventually work, as long as you are being patient, but you can also place your link in the comments if you don’t like to wait.
  • Read at least one other person’s blog, so we can all share new and fantastic music and create amazing new blogging friends in the process.
  • Feel free to suggest future prompts.
  • Have fun and enjoy the music.

I am writing about the song ‘Ramble on Rose’ by the Grateful Dead this week. Next week I will write about ‘Rock & Roll Heaven’ by the Righteous Brothers.  The upcoming prompts will be:
August 18, 2019 – Song that references another group in it
August 25, 2019 – Dream/Lullaby/Sleep
September 1, 2019 – Cowboy/Gun/Hat/Horse/Western
September 8, 2019 – Bird/Fly/Sky/Wing

Card Of A Man

The ‘Ballad Of Paladin’ was the theme song from the TV Series Have Gun, Will Travel that was on the air from 1957 – 1963.  It was written by Sam Rolfe, Johnny Western and Richard Boone and Johnny Western recorded the TV Soundtrack.  Johnny Western is an American country singer-songwriter, musician, actor, and radio show host.  He is a member of the Western Music Association Hall of Fame and the Country Music Disc Jockey Hall of Fame.  He was a lover of the Old West and its mythos and one of the finest and most impassioned exponents of cowboy songs, and a successor to both Gene Autry and Marty Robbins.

This TV Series Have Gun, Will Travel was a Black and White Western which ran for 225 episodes and was ranked in the Top 4 shows for four years running and for three of them, it placed #3 behind Wagon Train and Gunsmoke.  It was about a gentleman gunfighter who traveled around the Old West working as a mercenary for people who hired him to solve their problems.  He was a bit of an enigma and he got the name Paladin after he incurred a huge gambling debt.  To obviate it, he is forced by his IOU-holder, a truly evil land baron named Norge to challenge an outlaw called “Smoke” to a gun duel.  Smoke repeatedly called him a Paladin and he eventually killed Smoke to cancel out his gambling debt. but he came to regret it as he took up Smoke’s mission and wore his clothing and gunbelt with the chess knight.  The Paladins are sometimes known as the Twelve Peers, and they were the foremost warriors of Charlemagne’s court, comparable to Arthur’s Knights of the Round Table.

Paladin (his real name is never revealed) played by Richard Boone prefers to settle without violence the difficulties brought his way by clients when possible, but this almost never happens.  When forced, he excels in fisticuffs and he was renowned for being a dueling champion.  Paladin is a former Union cavalry officer, a graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point, and a veteran of the American Civil War.  His permanent place of residence is the Hotel Carlton in San Francisco, where he lives the life of a successful elegant sophisticated businessman, wearing custom-made suits, consuming fine wine, playing the piano, and attending the opera and other cultural events.  He is an expert chess player, poker player, and he is skilled in Chinese martial arts.  He is highly educated, able to quote classic literature, philosophy, and case law, and he also speaks several languages.

While at work on the frontier, Paladin changes into all-black Western-style clothing.  His primary weapon is a custom-made, first-generation .45 caliber Colt Single Action Army Cavalry Model revolver with an unusual rifled barrel, carried in a black leather holster (with a platinum chess knight symbol facing the rear), hanging from a black leather gunbelt.  He also carries a lever action Marlin rifle strapped to his saddle, and a Remington derringer concealed under his belt.

Paladin read the newspapers from across the country and sometimes he sent his calling card to those he felt might use his services as gunfighter, bodyguard or anything else that his skills could accommodate.  Paladin’s business card, which would somehow find its way into practically every episode.  The half-hour show aired Saturday, at 9:30 p.m., and its dramatic opening had Paladin aiming his gun and his words directly at the audience, and the series always featured a no-nonsense approach and intelligence but it also had violent content with Paladin killing many men, but his victims were always deserving and almost none of the violence in the show was gratuitous.  Richard Boone was born on June 18, 1917 in Los Angeles, and was actually a seventh-generation nephew of frontiersman Daniel Boone.  He attended Stanford University and sadly he passed away in 1981 at the age of 63.

Paladin, Paladin, where do you roam
Paladin, Paladin, far, far from home

Have gun, will travel reads the card of a man
A knight without armor in a savage land
His fast gun for hire heeds the calling wind
A soldier of fortune is the man called Paladin

Paladin, Paladin, where do you roam
Paladin, Paladin, far, far from home

He travels on to wherever he must
A chess knight of silver is his badge of trust
There are campfire legends that the plainsmen spin
Of the man with the gun, of the man called Paladin

Paladin, Paladin, where do you roam
Paladin, Paladin, far, far from home
Far from home
Far from home

Written for Song Lyric Sunday where the theme is to use a song from a TV show.  I actually felt a bit unnerved about posting something involving a gun today after the recent tragedies that just occurred, so I am dedicating this post to all the victims and their families.

TV Time

Wow, that was a lot of fun last week for me getting to read all the wonderful songs that everybody came up with for the movie theme in Song Lyric Sunday. I want to thank all of the participants who come back faithfully every week.  I feel that we should do that again sometime and I expect this week’s TV theme to be just as much fun.  Mechanical television sets started appearing in the early 1800s and they were rudimentary devices that were capable of scanning images then transmitting those images onto a screen. The first electronic television was invented in 1927, by a 21 year old inventor named Philo Taylor Farnsworth who lived in a house without electricity until he was 14.  Nobody really had a TV set till after World War II and as late as 1947, only a few thousand Americans owned televisions, then it slowly spread out across the country. My dad used his GI Bill of Rights to go to RCA school after the war and he became a service technician, so I have had a TV set in my house for my whole life.

This week you can write about either the TV show or the song, or both. Everyone should be able to find a song that is featured in a TV show and works with this prompt.  Try to find a song that fits the prompt, then write your post and please be patient, and wait for me to approve your pingbacks, or you can just place your link in the comments section.

Here are the “rules”:

  • Post the lyrics to the song of your choice, whether it fits the theme or not.
  • Please try to include the songwriter(s) – it’s a good idea to give credit where credit is due.
  • Make sure you also credit the singer/band and if you desire you can provide a link to where you found the lyrics.
  • Link to the YouTube video, or pull it into your post so others can listen to the song.
  • Ping back to this post will eventually work, as long as you are being patient, but you can also place your link in the comments if you don’t like to wait.
  • Read at least one other person’s blog, so we can all share new and fantastic music and create amazing new blogging friends in the process.
  • Feel free to suggest future prompts.
  • Have fun and enjoy the music.

I am writing about the song ‘Ballad of Paladin’ from the TV show Have Gun Will Travel this week. Next week I will write about ‘Ramble on Rose’ from the Grateful Dead.  The upcoming prompts will be:
August 11, 2019 – Song that includes somebody famous in it
August 18, 2019 – Song that references another group in it
August 25, 2019 – Dream/Lullaby/Sleep
September 1, 2019 – Cowboy/Gun/Hat/Horse/Western

You Smell Like A Pig

I am going a bit against the grain here today on Song Lyric Sunday, as the song that I am writing about is an instrumental, thus it doesn’t have any lyrics.  This week the theme is a song from a movie and I chose The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.  This is basically a cowboy movie that takes place in the Southwest during the Civil War.  The 1966 Italian epic Spaghetti Western film is directed by Sergio Leone and stars Clint Eastwood as Blondie is the Good, because all of his victims draw first, Lee Van Cleef is the Bad a cold, ruthless, unfeeling, and sociopathic mercenary bounty hunter/professional killer named Angel Eyes, and Eli Wallach a grubby, greasy, greedy Mexican outlaw named Tuco is the Ugly.  Eastwood is not really good, he is just a bit smarter and he is able to shoot faster.  This movie contains tons of violence, shootouts, torture, blood and brutal scenes. There is also lots of swearing, but no nudity, and it has an R rating.

Blondie and Tuco form a partnership which is a con game where Tuco is a wanted man, turned in by Blondie for the reward, and then rescues him just as he is about to be hanged by severing the rope with a well-aimed shot.  There are a lot of funny lines in this movie like when Tuco says, “I would like to piss, it’s rough.  I’ve been shaking up in this train nearly ten hours now.” Mario Brega who plays Corporal Wallace replied, “You smell like a pig already.  Let’s try not to make things any worse.”  Tuco makes this movie funny, when Blondie gives him a cigar he eats it.  There is a scene of him taking a bubble bath where he says, “When you have to shoot, shoot, don’t talk!”, just after he kills the one armed man.  The three gunslingers compete to find a fortune of Confederate gold buried in a cemetery and along the way they taunt and torture each other as they pile up a total of 20 dead bodies.

The title song for this film was included on the film soundtrack as ‘The Good, the Bad and the Ugly’, and this instrumental piece was composed by Ennio Morricone, with Bruno Nicolai conducting the orchestra.  The song opens with a tom-tom drum beat and then you hear the immediately recognizable two-note melody that sounds like the howl of a coyote.  This wah, wah sound was done with an ocarina and it was accompanied by a harmonica and some kind of flute.

Here is a video by the Danish National Symphony Orchestra

Written for Song Lyric Sunday where the theme is to use a song from a movie.