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.
*THE FOLLOWING IS A SPECIAL EXTENDED EDITION OF GOODNIGHT EVERYONE*
America recently lost a musical treasure.
Johnny Mandel, arranger, composer and film scorer died at his home in Ojai, California, in late June at the age of 94. His resume in quite impressive. We’ll explore, though we could go on and on and on, Mandel as that good.
Let’s get started as we dive deep into the “They Don’t Make Them Like They Used To” file.
When Frank Sinatra left Capitol Records in the 1960s for his own label, Reprise, Johnny Mandel arranged the singer’s jazzy first Reprise album, “Ring-a-Ding-Ding!” The recording “epitomizes the jaunty, insouciant, verge-of-overbearing Sinatra,” one critic said of the album.
Patrice Wymore and Frank Sinatra in the 1960 Rat Pack classic “Ocean’s 11.” Photo courtesy of Warner Bros.
No surprise, the 1960 Sinatra album arranged by Mandel reached #4 on Billboard’s album chart.
This next album was released in 2004. Mandel loved working with this vocalist. Imagine that. And yes, Mandel arranged this album.
Next, the song Mandel is most famously remembered for.
“The Shadow of Your Smile” was written by Johnny Mandel alongside lyricist Paul Francis Webster to be used in the 1965 film “The Sandpiper.” The initial version of the song won both the Grammy Award for “Song of the Year” and the Academy Award for “Best Original Song” as well.
Saxman Dave Koz performs with an icon.
“If Johnny Mandel had just composed ‘The Shadow of Your Smile’ – one of the most beautiful songs I have been honored to record – it would have been enough to earn his standing as one of the finest composers of our time. His legacy of Oscar and Grammy-winning music has been extraordinary and he was a dear and wonderful friend who I will deeply miss.”
Now let’s move to 1980. Mandel composed and/or arranged music for lots of films, including one about an exclusive golf course that has to deal with a brash new member and a destructive dancing gopher.
The most viewed television finale of all time got an incredible 60.3 rating and 77 share, luring well over 100 million viewers. A whopping 105.9 million people watched on average over the two-and-a-half hours, with that number peaking at 121.6 million in the final six minutes.
Yes, Johnny Mandel’s arranging talents were put to use. He does the intro here.
“Johnny Mandel, thank you for your melodies. And for one in particular that’s engraved in our hearts.”
M*A*S*H* actor Alan Alda
The next time you see a rerun watch for Johnny Mandel in the closing credits.
A few weeks ago many people around the world celebrated Christmas in July. This is one of the most beautiful Christmas songs that doesn’t get enough attention, if at all on the radio.
Mandel arranged this outstanding album.
“The wonderful thing about Johnny’s songs is that they are great as instrumentals and, with beautiful lyrics, they become wonderful vehicles for singers,” Ruth Price, a singer and the longtime artistic director of the Jazz Bakery, told the Los Angeles Times in 1996.
That’s it for this week.
Have a great weekend!
Mandel arranged several tracks including this one on Natalie Cole’s “Unforgettable” album, which won the album of the year Grammy in 1991.