Every Friday night we smooth our way into the weekend with music, the universal language. These selections demonstrate that despite what is being passed off as art today, there is plenty of really good music available. Come along and enjoy.
In all the years I’ve been doing this Friday night musical round-up I’ve never put together a Thanksgiving feature. The reason is quite simple. There’s not exactly a plethora of great thanksgiving tunes. This week for the first time I’m taking a stab at it, and admitted some stuff is a reach, but it’s all good. Let’s get started.
The above video is from the Emmy award winner “A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving.”
Charlie Brown wants to do something special for the gang but the dinner he arranges is a disaster when the caterers, Snoopy and Woodstock, prepare toast and popcorn as the main dish. The most memorable piece from the soundtrack is this one, a more up tempo version than the one from ” A Charlie Brown Christmas.”
The cartoon classic airs on Wednesday night, November 27 at 7:00 Central Time. A special bonus cartoon from Charles M. Schulz, “This Is America, Charlie Brown: The Mayflower Voyagers” can be seen right after. Charlie Brown and the Peanuts crew are with the Pilgrims to celebrate the first Thanksgiving.
In October of 1863 America was engaged in a brutal Civil War. President Abraham Lincoln delivered a Thanksgiving proclamation that read in part:
The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God. In the midst of a civil war of unequalled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom. No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy.
True, there’s not a Mayflower boatload of November holiday songs, but there are plenty that are built on the word “thank.”
We switch gears and turn back the clock 50 years to Sunday, May 25, 1969. C’mon Ed. Clap those hands.
“Kisses so good I had to holler for help.”
No, they don’t write them like they used to. Isaac Hayes helped write the lyrics to “I Thank You” that peaked at #9 on the Billboard chart in 1968.
When I think of Thanksgiving The Beatles come to mind. You understand, right?
Between March 1962 and May 1965 The Beatles made 52 musical performances on a variety of BBC radio shows. This one is from June of 1963, just months before the Fab Four would take over America.
The Lennon-McCartney tune was a tribute to the group’s many female admirers.
OK, time for something more traditional. This is the most famous Thanksgiving song. Written by the immortal Irving Berlin in 1954 it was featured in the film “White Christmas,” but never mentions the December holiday.
In 1952 Berlin wrote a letter to film studio executive Joseph Schenck:
I’m enclosing a lyric of a song I finished here and which I am going to publish immediately…You have always said that I commercial my emotions and many times you were wrong, but this particular song is based on what really happened.
The story is in its verse, which I don’t think I’ll publish. As I say in the lyrics, some time ago, after the worst kind of a sleepless night, my doctor came to see me and after a lot of self-pity, belly-aching and complaining about my insomnia, he looked at me and said “speaking of doing something about insomnia, did you ever try counting your blessings?”
…Personally, I feel it’s the best song I have written in a long time and should be a hit. I would have saved it for one of the pictures, but they’re too far off…”
The song was Berlin’s last hit. From 2005…
Diana Krall has been married to fellow singer-songwriter Elvis Costello since 2003.
“The Big Broadcast of 1938” centers around a transatlantic race from New York City to Cherbourg, France between two ocean liners. In his first full-length film Bob Hope plays radio announcer Buzz Fielding whose girl friend, Dorothy Wyndham (played by Dorothy Lamour) bails him out of jail, where he landed after skipping alimony payments to his three ex-wives, in time to board the S. S. Gigantic for the race against the S. S. Colossal.
Shirley Ross plays Cleo, one of the ex-wives. She reminisces with Buzz on what became Bob Hope’s theme song. Here’s a classic, especially since over many decades you rarely heard all the lyrics.
That’s it for this week.
Have a great weekend.
We like to end with an upbeat, exciting video and we’ve got one.
Just out of high school in the early 1970’s Andrew Gold sang and played guitar on many Linda Ronstadt recordings.
Then in 1978 it took him about an hour to write this next song. But it took 40 takes to get it just right in the studio. Take #40 was selected for the 45.
Gold developed renal cancer and died in 2011. He was 59.