Go With God

‘Vaya con Dios (May God Be With You)’, which literally means “Go with God” and this was a popular song written by Larry Russell, Inez James, and Buddy Pepper, and first recorded by Anita O’Day in December 1952.  Les Paul and Mary Ford had a #1 hit with this song in 1953.  Members of the Western Writers of America chose it as one of the Top 100 Western songs of all time and in 2005, the 1953 Les Paul and Mary Ford recording was inducted in the Grammy Hall of Fame.  Nat King Cole made a memorable version of this song with complete Spanish lyrics.  The title of this song can also be interpreted as “Godspeed”, which an expression of good wishes to a person that is starting out on a journey.  This is a way of saying goodbye to someone or adios in Spanish.  Gene Autry also recorded this song in 1953 and later Connie Francis, Slim Whitman, Chuck Berry, Perry Como, Bing Crosby, Pat Boone, Freddie Fender, Jeff Beck, Julio Iglesias, Al Martino, Ray Conniff, Hank Snow, Ann Murray, Patti Page, Ray Price and many others also recorded versions of this song.

This phrase “Vaya con Dios” comes from Latin, and it stems from the phrase “dominus vobiscum” which basically says, “God be with you”, or “go with God”.  The saying dominus vobiscum is an ancient salutation and blessing traditionally used by the clergy in the Catholic Mass and it is often translated as, “The Lord be with you”.  This phrase can be used as a greeting to which the response would be “Et cum spiritu tuo” which means “And with your spirit”.  So basically, when the Priest says, “The Lord be with you” the congregation is responding, “Same to you, Father.”

This is a song about loss and longing and the lover is going on a long trip and trying to get an early start, so they are leaving while it is still dark.  Mission bells would normally ring throughout the day the, announcing that it was time to go to church, time for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, time to work, or time to rest.  The lover says, “Wherever you may be, I’ll be beside you.  Although you’re many million dreams away”, because he or she will still be thinking of them.  The lover will pray every night for the loved one to return home safely and they will be lonely every day until they get back, but they will never lose the memories that they made together.

Les Paul and Mary Ford were introduced to each other by Gene Autry in 1946 and they were married in 1949.  They had 16 top-ten hits and five of those top-ten hits came within nine months.  Mary grew disenchanted with the work and tour schedule of the music industry, while Les was happiest while working, so their relationship grew distant and they were divorced in 1963 and went their separate ways professionally.  Iris Colleen Summers became Mary Ford in the 1950s because this name was thought to be easy to pronounce.  ‘Vaya Con Dios’ was their best-selling recording, but their signature song was ‘How High the Moon’.  Mary arranged and sang all of the vocals on their recordings, while Les played the many layers of his guitar and added his recording wizardry.  During live performances, Mary would play her guitar along with Les as she sang.

In 1952, Gibson fulfilled Les’ 10-year dream by building a solid body electric guitar.  The bold sound of the guitar that bore Les’ name brought about Rock and Roll, however this sound was very different from what Les Paul and Mary Ford were recording.  By the 1960s, audiences had moved onto that new sound, which was fostered by Les’ recording and guitar inventions, but this left Les and Mary off the charts.   Mary Ford died on September 30, 1977 at the age of 53, from diabetes-related illness.  In 1978, Les Paul & Mary Ford were inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.  Les Paul died of complications from pneumonia on August 12, 2009 at the age of 94.

Now the hacienda’s dark
The town is sleeping
Now the time has come to part
The time for weeping

Vaya con dios, my darling
Vaya con dios, my love

Now the village mission bells are softly ringing
If you listen with your heart
You’ll hear them singing

Vaya con dios, my darling
Vaya con dios, my love

Wherever you may be, I’ll be beside you
Although you’re many million dreams away
Each night I’ll say a pray’r
A pray’r to guide you
To hasten every lonely hour
Of every lonely day
Now the dawn is breaking through a gray tomorrow
But the memories we share are there to borrow

Vaya con dios, my darling
Vaya con dios, my love

Vaya con dios, my darling
Vaya con dios, my love

Written for Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie MM Music Challenge #176 ‘Gee’.

Gee – Challenge #176

Members of the crow family, are known as corvids, and they are among the smartest birds in the world. Some are capable of using tools, playing tricks, teaching each other new things, even holding “funerals.” Yet there’s still much we don’t know about these fascinating, sometimes confounding creatures, however this post is about the Doo Wop group from Harlem who achieved commercial success in the 1950s. The group was fronted by Daniel “Sonny” Norton on lead vocals and also included Harold Major (tenor), Bill Davis (baritone), Gerald Hamilton (bass) and Mark Jackson (guitar). Two of the group’s members died at an early age; Hamilton in 1967 at the age of 33 and Norton in 1972 at the age of 39. They formed in 1951 when R&B vocal groups seemed to be springing up on every street corner, alleyway, and subway station in the city and they disbanded in 1955. They sang the hits of the day, adding enough of their own style to give them an edge in the regular vocal battles with other neighborhood aggregations. By January 1954, the Crows had a big hit with their song ‘Gee’, which sold 100,000 copies.

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‘Gee’ byThe Crows was released in June 1953, and many times this song is given credit for being the firstbona fiderock and rollhit by a rock and roll group. Doo Wop was the most popular style of rhythm and blues in the early 1950’s, and manypeople feel that vocal group style of singing was rock and roll, and therefore this vocal group singing, came to be the first music to be called “rock & roll” and it was also the favorite music that teenagers listened to and disc jockeys played. The Crows were adoo-wopgroup, so other people say that since this is a doo-wopsong, it can’t be the first rock and roll record but this argument will have to take place in a different post. ‘Gee’ was written by William Davis and Viola Watkins, and recorded by the Crows on the independent label,Rama Records, atBeltone StudiosinNew York Cityin…

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When You Kiss Me

The song ‘Fever’ was co-written by Eddie Cooley and Otis Blackwell who used the name John Davenport (his stepfather), because he was under contract at RCA and he was concerned that he wouldn’t get royalties for it.  It was merely a slick, proficient cut of routine rhythm and blues when it was sung in 1956 by early rock-and-roller Little Willie John.  Little Willie John was born in Arkansas in 1937, and he was named William Edgar John.  His nickname “Little” came from his height being only 5’4”.  He was one of the first R&B singers, fairly popular in the late ‘50s and early ‘60s, although he remains relatively unknown today.  He was jailed for manslaughter, after stabbing a man to death, and he died in prison when he was only 30 years old.  His songs have been covered by many artists, including The Beatles who recorded ‘Leave My Kitten Alone’ in 1964 which appeared 30 years later on their Anthology 1 set.  Little Willie John was posthumously inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996.

Otis Blackwell was a singer/songwriter/pianist, but he is most well-known for his songwriting and some of his most famous songs that he wrote, or co-wrote are ‘Don’t Be Cruel’, ‘Great Balls of Fire’, and ‘All Shook Up’.  Cooley was a songwriting partner on many of his songs, they would pen songs together and they had an agreement that Cooley would split his weekly paycheck as a jeweler with Blackwell and Otis would go to New York City to hustle them.  Blackwell said in an interview that Little Willie John didn’t want to record this tale of passionate love at first, because he didn’t like the finger snapping.

In July of 1958, nearly 20 years into her career, 38-year-old Peggy Lee scored her 48th Billboard hit with ‘Fever’, which is the most famous version of this song.  Peggy Lee was born Norma Deloris Egstrom on May 26, 1920 in Jamestown, North Dakota.  Lee learned to grab the attention of her audience by lowering her voice, so the softer she sang the quieter the audience would become.  She has never forgotten the secret, and it has given her style its distinctive combination of the delicate and the driving, the husky and the purringly seductive.  Lee developed this technique when she was at the Doll House in Palm Springs, California where she was invited to sing in Frank Bering’s Buttery Room.  Her break came when she was discovered by bandleader Benny Goodman who was looking for a replacement for Helen Forrest and Miss Lee joined Goodman’s band in July, 1941.

In 1958, Peggy Lee radically reinvented ‘Fever’ and turned it into a burning waver of desire, as she took the song into a Hollywood studio, and made it into a splendid performance of insatiable yearning, introducing sex and humor to the song.  It peaked at #8 on Billboard, and it became Lee’s most successful song and is often cited as her signature work.  She altered the original lyrics to ‘Fever’ adding teasing references to Romeo & Juliet (“Fever, yeah, I burn forsooth”) and Pocahontas which turned them into an exquisite flirtation which made the tune sound the way infatuation feels.  It was erotic, fixated, obsessive, a torrid tour de force.  It showcases the brilliance of her vocal abilities as well as her talent as a writer and arranger.  The song was nominated for Record Of The Year, Best Female Vocal Performance and Best Arrangement at the first-ever Grammy Awards.  While Lee had been the driving creative force behind her version, but unfairly conductor Jack Marshall was given the nomination.  Failing to copyright her new lyrics, Lee’s additions were credited to the original writers, Cooley and Blackwell.

Lee got rid of Little Willie John’s gritty R&B and jaunty brass honking sounds to heat up the summer of 1958, breathing new life into the R&B classic, and this revitalized her career, as this song allowed her access to a younger crowd.  She was inspired by a slightly more rockabilly version of ‘Fever;, that was recorded by Ray Petersen in 1957, and she hired songwriter Sid Kuller, to help her come up with new lyrics that chronicled lovers through the ages.  Peggy Lee’s ‘Fever’ became a sophisticated showstopper that stood out in the youth market while teeming with innuendo that made parents uncomfortable.  The subversive voice of sexuality under the repressive spirit of the conservative 50s, made this a brilliant culmination of experimentation and pop excellence, which became a signpost for the sexual revolution that was yet to come.

The trade charts were so distorted in the 1950s that even though Willie John’s original version, (which made #24 in the US) trailed Peggy Lee’s, it outsold hers by 2 to 1.  Elvis, Ann-Margret, Helen Shapiro, Paul Revere & the Raiders, the McCoys, Ben E King, Chubby Checker, Dion, Sarah Vaughan, James Brown, Suzi Quatro, The Cramps, The Jam, Joe Cocker, Madonna, Eva Cassidy, Michael Bublé, Shirley Bassey, and Bette Midler have all recorded this song.  In 2010, a scantily-clad Beyoncé gasped her way through ‘Fever’ for a perfume ad that was banned from UK daytime TV.

Never know how much I love you
Never know how much I care
When you put your arms around me
I get a fever that’s so hard to bear
You give me fever,

When you kiss me
Fever when you hold me tight
Fever
In the mornin’, a fever all through the night

Sun lights up the day time
Moon lights up the night
I light up when you call my name
And you know I’m gonna treat you right
You give me fever,

When you kiss me
Fever when you hold me tight
Fever
In the mornin’
A fever all through the night

Everybody’s got the fever
That is somethin’ you all know
Fever isn’t such a new thing
Fever started a long ago

Romeo loved Juliet
Juliet she felt the same
When he put his arms around her
He said, “Julie baby you’re my flame”
Thou givest fever

When we kisseth
Fever with thy flaming youth
Fever
I’m on fire
Fever yeah I burn forsooth

Captain Smith and Pocahontas
Had a very mad affair
When her daddy tried to kill him
She said, “Daddy oh don’t you dare”
He gives me fever

With his kisses
Fever when he holds me tight
Fever
I’m his missus
And daddy won’t you treat him right?

Now you’ve listened to my story
Here’s the point that I have made
Chicks were born to give you fever
Be it fahrenheit or centigrade
They give you fever

When we kiss them
Fever if you live you learn
Fever
Till you sizzle
Oh what a lovely way to burn
What a lovely way to burn
What a lovely way to burn
And what a lovely way to burn

Written for Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie MM Music Challenge #175 ‘Kiss’.

Kiss – Challenge #175

Prince was originally named Prince Rogers Nelson, but he decided to changed his name to an unpronounceable Love Symbol which was a mash-up of the gender symbols for man and woman creating a new sexual gender representation that most computers could not make, so he was then called the Artist Formerly Known as Prince and eventually he changed his stage name back from the indecipherable glyph to Prince. Prince raised a Seventh Day Adventist, but in 2001 he became a devout Jehovah’s Witness, and he went door-to-door with The Watchtower newsletter. Prince wrote ‘Manic Monday’ for the Bangles, ‘I Feel For You’ for Chaka Khan, and ‘Nothing Compares 2 U’ for Sinéad O’Connor. Prince is known for his hit song ‘Purple Rain’ and he credited Joni Mitchell for teaching him how to incorporate colors in his lyrics because of her ‘Big Yellow Taxi’.
Pantone a company known for hundreds of color tools in stock for graphic design, print, fashion, textiles gave Prince his own color named Love Symbol #2 inspired by his Yamaha piano. In April 2016, the Grammy Award-winning musician Prince who created more than 30 albums over a 40-year career died at the age of 57 from an accidental fentanyl overdose.

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Mazaratiwas an American R&Bbandformed in the mid-1980s by former Prince and The Revolution bassist Mark Brown, better known by the stage nameBrown Mark, orBrownmark. Originally hailing from Minneapolis, they became defunct as agroupin 1989. Theband’ssole hit was a song called ‘100 MPH’, which was written and co-produced by Prince Rogers Nelson. Mazarati asked Prince for a song for their debut album, so he took a break from hisParadesessions, the soundtrack to his second movie which was subtitled “Music from the motion picture Under The Cherry Moon”, which also became his eighth full-length studio album, and the third and final to be credited toPrince and the Revolution. Prince dashed off a minute-long bluesy acoustic demo for them on a mini tape recorder. Mazarati and producer David Z re-worked the song, giving it an irresistible funk groove. When Prince heard it…

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Where Are The Flowers

Neil Diamond and Barbara Streisand sang this beautiful duet ‘You Don’t Bring Me Flowers’ which Paula featured yesterday in her Thursday Inspiration.  This song was written by Neil Diamond, Marilyn Bergman and Alan Bergman for the ill-fated daily TV sitcom All That Glitters, which consisted of 65 episodes and aired between April 18 and July 15, 1977.  The song was intended to be the theme song, but Norman Lear, the show’s creator, changed the concept of the show and the song was no longer appropriate.  Diamond then expanded the track, adding instrumental sections and an additional verse.  The Bergman’s contributed to the song’s lyrics, which tell the story of two lovers who have drifted apart while they are going through the motions of being in a relationship combining their heartaches in this life that they share together.  Marilyn and Alan received 16 Academy Award nominations, multiple Emmys, Grammys, and three Oscars for ‘The Windmills of Your Mind’, ‘The Way We Were’, and the score for Yentl.

A Louisville, KY program director, Gary Guthrie, spliced two solo tracks together one with Neil Diamond singing this song and the other with Barbara Streisand as a going away present to his wife, whom he had just divorced and this triggered a media buzz worldwide.  Streisand’s album was placed on one turntable and Diamond’s on another, and the recording was mixed live.  They began with Streisand singing and Diamond’s vocal followed.  Streisand and Diamond repeated the same lyrics back and forth to each other, there weren’t any edits and the recording was mixed in one take.  The official version with Streisand and Diamond participating was released after the radio station kept getting calls requesting it.  The song reached number one on the Hot 100 chart for two non-consecutive weeks in December 1978, and the single sold over one million copies, and eventually went Platinum.

You hardly talk to me anymore
When I come through the door
At the end of the day

Well it’s good for you babe
And you’re feeling alright
(…well you just roll over)
(And turn out the light)
(And you don’t bring me flowers anymore)

It used to be so natural
(Used to be…)
To talk about forever
But ‘used to be’s’ don’t count anymore
They just lay on the floor
‘Til we sweep them away
(Baby, I remember)
(All the things you taught me)
I learned how to laugh
And I learned how to cry
(Well I learned how to love)
(And I learned how to lie)
So you’d think I could learn
(So you’d think I could learn)
How to tell you, “Goodbye”
(How to tell you, “Goodbye”)

Well you’d think I could learn
(Well you’d think I could learn)
How to tell you, “Goodbye”
(How to tell you, “Goodbye”)
(You don’t say you need me)
And you don’t sing me love songs
You don’t bring me flowers anymore
(You don’t bring me flowers anymore)

Written for Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie MM Music Challenge #174 ‘Up Where We Belong’.

Up Where We Belong – Challenge #174

Joe Cocker was born in 1944 as John Robert Cocker in Sheffield, in South Yorkshire, England. He enjoyed a career that spanned almost six decades and he skyrocketed to fame in the US at the 1969 Woodstock rock festival. He did a great cover of the Beatles’ song ‘With a Little Help from my Friends’ at Woodstock which was seen by almost a half-million people in person and by millions more after the documentary film came out the following year. Cocker became primarily known for covering the hit tunes which were written by other artists and making them very much his own. His renditions often became more popular than the originals, like ‘The Letter’, which was done by The Boxtops and ‘She Came in Through the Bathroom Window’, another tune from the Beatles. Joe Cocker’s voice and onstage presence were so distinct that they almost demanded either imitation or parody, or both. One of the most memorable imitations was done by the late comic John Belushi on Saturday Night Live performing ‘Feelin’ Alright’.

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This song came from the 1982 movie soundtrack An Officer and a Gentleman and it peaked at #3 on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart on October 29, 1982, and it also won the Oscar for Best Original Song in 1983.  The music was written by Jack Nitzsche and Buffy Sainte-Marie, the piece of music that plays at the end of the film.  The director Taylor Hackford decided that the movie needed a big end-credits song, so Paramount head of music Joel Sill brought in the songwriter Will Jennings and he wrote the lyrics and this was recorded by Joe Cocker and Jennifer WarnesThe film is known for its closing scene, where Richard Gere, dressed in his Navy uniform, comes into the factory where Debra Winger is working, gets hot and heavy with her, then carries her out as her co-worker’s cheer.  It’s perhaps the most famous “sweeps her off her feet” archetype in film. …

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Do Whatever Works for You

‘Whatever Gets You Thru The Night’ is a John Lennon song that was on his 1974 Walls and Bridges album and it featured Elton John on harmony vocals and piano.  The music was inspired by the #1 single at the time, ‘Rock Your Baby’ by George McCrae.  Elton John had a feeling that this song was going to be a hit, so he bet Lennon that the song would top the charts.  A skeptical Lennon took him up on it saying that if it did, then he would appear on stage at one of Elton’s performances.  This song hit #1 in the US and charted #36 in the UK and Lennon made what would be his last major concert appearance at Elton John’s Thanksgiving Day performance at Madison Square Garden on Nov. 28, 1974.  With this song, Lennon became the last of the Beatles to hit #1 US in their respective post-Beatles careers.

In the summer of 1974, John called on his friends who were all top session players of the day to help him out with this song.  They included drummer Jim Keltner and Arthur Jenkins playing percussion.  John’s pal from the Beatles’ early Hamburg days, Klaus Voormann, played bass, and his son Sean’s godfather Elton John provided backing vocals and piano.  Jesse Ed Davis played electric guitar and Eddie Mottau played acoustic guitar while Ken Ascher played the Clavinet.  The song’s blast of tenor saxophone, was provided by Texan shit-kicker Bobby Keys, the man who appeared on many Rolling Stones recordings gave this tune its rollicking signature sound.  Lennon created a promotional film for the song, in which he lip-synced the first verse while he was walking through Manhattan.  Yoko Ono later created an alternate video for the song, featuring animation of Lennon’s drawings.

This song was written during Lennon’s Lost Weekend an 18-month separation from Yoko Ono during this time he was involved with May Pang.  May Pang said that the inspiration for the lyrics came to John when he was watching late-night television.  Lennon loved to channel-surf, and he would pick up phrases from all the shows and one time, while he was in his New York City apartment, he stumbled upon a program featuring the black evangelist Reverend Ike who said, “Let me tell you guys, it doesn’t matter, it’s whatever gets you through the night.”  John loved it and said, “I’ve got to write it down or I’ll forget it.”  John always kept a pad and pen by the bed and that is how this song started out.

Whatever gets you through the night
It’s all right, it’s all right
It’s your money or your life
It’s all right, it’s all right
Don’t need a sword to cut through’ flowers
Oh no, oh no

Whatever gets you through your life
It’s all right, it’s all right
Do it wrong, or do it right
It’s all right, it’s all right

Don’t need a watch to waste your time
Oh no, oh no

Hold me, darlin’, come on, listen to me
I won’t do you no harm
Trust me, darlin’, come on, listen to me
Come on, listen to me; come on, listen, listen

Whatever gets you to the light
It’s all right, it’s all right
Out of the blue, or out of sight
It’s all right, it’s all right
Don’t need a gun to blow you mind
Oh no, oh no

Hold me, darlin’, come on, listen to me
I won’t do you no harm
Trust me, darlin’, come on, listen to me
Come on, listen to me, come on, listen, listen

Written for Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie MM Music Challenge #173 ‘Help Me Make It Through the Night’.

Help Me Make It Through the Night – Challenge #173

Kris Kristofferson is 84 years old now and he has lived an interesting life. He started writing songs, and recording under the name Kris Carson. He was down on his luck, living with Dottie West and her husband Bill in Nashville when he wrote ‘Help Me Make It Through the Night’. Many Kris Kristofferson songs became Top 40 singles and most of these songs were made famous by other artists like ‘Good Morning John’ which Willie Nelson recorded in 1985. In 1979, Willie Nelson recorded an entire album of Kristofferson covers, Willie Nelson Sings Kristofferson. Kristofferson wrote one of the most heartbreaking songs, one that ranks 18th among the 40 saddest country songs of all time and when Ray Price recorded ‘For the Good Times’, this song brought him back to the top of the country charts after a nearly 11-year absence. Ray Stevens recorded Kris’s ‘Sunday Mornin’ Comin’ Down’ in 1969 by before Johnny Cash made this song into a #1 hit on the Billboard US Country charts. To date Kristofferson has released 29 albums, including three as part of the Highwaymen alongside Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash and Waylon Jennings and three with singer Rita Coolidge, his second wife.

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‘Help Me Make It Through The Night’ is acountry musicballad written and composed byKris Kristoffersonand released on his 1970 albumKristofferson. Sammi Smith’s recording of this song reached #1 on the U.S. country charts and won the Grammy Award for Best Country Music Female performance. On February 20, 1971, it reached #8 onBillboard’s U.S.popsingles chart, while also enjoying success inCanada and it became he biggest hit and signature song. Adult-Contemporary stations took to the song, and it peaked at #3 onBillboard’sEasy Listening chart. Additionally, it spent three weeks at #1 on the Country chart and it became agold record. The Highwaymen performed this song live at Nassau Coliseum, 1990.

Kristofferson was a Golden Gloves boxer, a Phi Beta Kappa college graduate, and a Rhodes Scholar who spent time at Oxford University in England and he was trained as a Ranger and a helicopter pilot, eventually…

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Jerry Christmas

Ho, ho, ho, I want to wish all of you a Merry Christmas and a Grateful Dead New Year.  Besides ‘Run Rudolph Run’ the Grateful Dead and the Jerry Garcia Band did some other Christmas tunes, which I will feature today.  Jerry Garcia the legendary lead guitarist for the Grateful Dead and David Grisman, virtuoso mandolinist and founder of “Dawg” music performed the traditional English Carol ‘God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen’ as an instrumental.  The rare concert footage, of them playing in Old & In the Way is a bonus track on the Grateful Dawg DVD.

The Jerry Garcia Acoustic Band played ‘Christmas Time’s A Coming’ in 1987 which was written by Tex Logan.

On several occasions the Grateful Dead used ‘Jingle Bells’ as a tuning piece.   This was written by James Lord Pierpont in 1857 and it was originally called ‘One Horse Open Sleigh’.  The Jerry Garcia Band performed ‘Jingle Bells’ at San Francisco’s Winterland on December 20, 1975 with Nicky Hopkins on keyboards.

When the Grateful Dead played at Cotterrell Gym, Colgate U on 11-04-1977, they did an instrumental of ‘Sleigh Ride’ which was composed by Leroy Anderson

Here is a bonus from the Bob Rivers Twisted Christmas parody album which is titled O Come All Ye Grateful Dead-Heads’ that was released in 1988.

O come, all ye Grateful
Deadheads to the concert
O come, Grateful Deadheads
And camp in the street
Bring rolling papers
Don’t forget your sleeping bags
O come get us some floor seats
We’ve followed them for four weeks
O come get us some floor seats
To see the Lord

O come, all ye hippies
Throwbacks to the Sixties
Paint flowers on your van
And don’t wash your feet
Wear your bell-bottoms
And your tie-dye t-shirts
O come let us adore them
We’ve quit our day jobs for them
O come let us adore, them
Garcia’s the Lord

Written for Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie MM Music Challenge #172 ‘Last Christmas’.

Reindeer with a Shiny Nose

Chuck Berry recorded ‘Run Rudolph Run’ on his 1958 Christmas Classics album and this song charted #36 in both the US and the UK.  Rudolph led the group of 8 reindeer which included Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, and Blitzen.  Another reindeer named Randalph also made his way into this song and Randolph is supposedly the name of a tenth reindeer who had a brown nose and was much smaller.  Berry based this song on the Johnny Marks tune ‘Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer’, and since the character of Rudolph is copyrighted, Berry had to give a co-writing credit to Marks.  Chuck’s Rudolph makes Santa’s sleigh whizz like a shooting star running down the freeway like a Saber jet as he delivers the toys.  In 1953, Homer and Jethro an American country music duo recorded the parody ‘Randolph the Flat Nosed Reindeer’ which is spelled slightly different, but it starts off with the lyrics, “Randolph the flat-nosed reindeer had a funny-lookin’ snout, So Santy cut his nose off, just to try an’ smooth it out.”

This song is a 12-bar blues tune, which refers to the number of measures, or musical bars, used to express the theme of a typical blues song.  Musically it is very similar to Berry’s song ‘Johnny B. Goode’, and it is melodically identical to his song ‘Little Queenie’.  This Chuck Berry song peaked at #2 on Billboard’s list on April 8, 2017 and it went to #30 this year on December 8th.  In 2018, ‘Run Rudolph Run’ received its first-ever official video, a festive new animated affair that brings the song’s lyrics to life with a cartoon version of Berry that features flying reindeer, Santa Claus, and Chuck playing electric guitar.

Out of all the reindeers, you know you’re the mastermind
Run, run Rudolph, Randalph ain’t too far behind
Run, run Rudolph, Santa’s got to make it to town
Santa, make him hurry, tell him he can take the freeway down
Run, run Rudolph, ‘cause I’m reelin’ like a merry-go-round

Said Santa to a boy child, “What have you been longing for?”
“All I want for Christmas is a rock-and-roll electric guitar”
And then away went Rudolph, a-whizzing like a shooting star

Run, run Rudolph, Santa got to make it to town
Santa, make him hurry, tell him he can take the freeway down
Run, run Rudolph, wheelin’ like a merry-go-round

Run, run Rudolph, Santa’s got to make it to town
Santa, make him hurry, tell him he can take the freeway down
Run, run Rudolph, I’m reelin’ like a merry-go-round

Said Santa to a girl child, “What would please you most to get?”
“A little baby doll that can cry, sleep, drink, and wet”
And then away went Rudolph, whizzin’ like a Saber jet

Run, run Rudolph, Santa’s got to make it to town
Santa, make him hurry, tell him he can take the freeway down
Run, run Rudolph, I’m reelin’ like a merry-go-round

Written for Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie MM Music Challenge #172 ‘Last Christmas’.