Goodnight everyone, and have an old favorites weekend!

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!

Thursday (yesterday) was my father’s (dad’s) birthday. Not sure how many it would have been, but my best guess is around 103.

We miss Dad so much, and he’s missed so much.

Dad never went to college, but was smart in many ways, and that includes his musical knowledge and appreciation.  And that’s our focus this week.

DON’T TOUCH THAT DIAL! DON’T GO AWAY!

Do not assume we’re going to drag out an ancient Victrola with World War I records. Not at all.

Dad was pretty diverse in his music likes. I didn’t realize it decades ago, but I know now how cool he was.  Please walk with me down dad’s memory lane. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

Let’s get started.

Thursday (yesterday) was my father’s (dad’s) birthday. Not sure how many it would have been, but my best guess ia around 103.

We miss ad so much, and he’s missed so much.

Dad never went to college, but was smart in many ways, and that includes his musical knowledge and appreciation.  And that’s our focus this week.

DON’T TOUCH THAT DIAL! DON’T GO AWAY!

Do not assume we’re going to drag out an ancient Victrola with World War I records. Not at all.

Dad was pretty diverse in his music likes. I didn’t realize it decades ago, but I know now how cool he was.  Please walk with me down dad’s memory lane. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

Let’s get started.

West Allis’ Liberace often joked in concert that yes, there were men in his audience. That included my dad and my Uncle Claude.

When I was working at what was then called the Performing Arts Center I managed to get my Mom and Dad and my Uncle Claude and Aunt Rose great seats to see Liberace. My aunt and uncle used to watch Liberace when he played in the Green Room in the Pfister Hotel. In those early days of Liberace’s career the flashy pianist who would be nicknamed Mr. Showmanship wore a simple suit and tie, but he did plant a candelabra on his piano.

In an interview with Bob Edwards of National Public Radio Liberace who enraged purists said he took classical music and removed all the boring parts. That was just fine with Dad.

Liberace in his “Leapin’ Lizards, It’s Liberace!” television special in 1978.

“I tell the story when Lee called me one night after work,” said legendary actress Debbie Reynolds. “I was at the Desert Inn, he was at the Hilton, and he said, ‘Debbie, I’ll pick you up after the show, and we’ll take Tom Jones. It’s his birthday.’ I have never had a better time than being Liberace’s date. We all knew he was homosexual. That was a friend: You know what they love and the people that they love, and what they are.”

Liberace died from complications of AIDS in 1987 at age 67. He never publicly acknowledged he was gay.

“I don’t want him to be remembered just for being homosexual,” Reynolds said. “He should be remembered as a great entertainer and loved by so many.”

Billy Vaughn was a singer, multi-instrumentalist, orchestra leader, and A&R man for Dot Records. Vaughn was responsible for most of Dot’s biggest hits of the ’50s as he rearranged popular rock & roll and R&B songs for white, mainstream acts, including Pat Boone.

On the Billboard charts Vaughn had a total of 42 singles and 36 albums.

His sound was distinctive that normally centered around two saxophones.

Image result for image, photo, picture, album cover billy vaughn plays

The above is from Dad’s record collection. Keep in mind that sweet saxophone sound. A surprise is coming later.

When the Beatles first arrived in America I was just a kid. My brother was a young teenager (who would soon join a neighborhood band). Like Elvis before them, the Beatles would not endear themselves to many parents across the country who actually found the Fab Four to be, can you believe it, threatening.

I was fortunate. I had a very cool Dad. He liked the Beatles and many of the young pop stars.

A neighbor friend once expressed his disgust with the guys from Liverpool and I’ll never forget Dad’s calm response.

“They’ve given a lot of kids a start with their guitars.”

Asking a person his/her favorite Beatles song is a difficult exercise. One-hundred people might give 100 answers, if they can answer at all.

I’m not exactly sure how Dad would have answered, but I do recall when this unlikely song came on the record player (yes, record player) his head would start bobbing and he’d sing along.

Did I mention Dad was cool? Well so was Mom. How cool? Dad didn’t purchase this next album. Mom did for him.

https://i0.wp.com/stuffnobodycaresabout.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/Cover-Whipped-Cream-and-Other-Delights.jpg

Quite possibly the most famous album cover of all-time.

“My first reaction was, ‘Holy s***, man. Too racy,’” said Herb Alpert. “Obviously now it would hardly register, but at the time I thought, ‘Wow, that’s a little much.’ And I didn’t know, quite frankly, whether it reflected the album — the music I was doing at the time. But we decided to go with it. Obviously that was fortuitous.”

One of the tracks…

Image result for image, photo, whipped cream and other delights

The cover of the remixed album.

Herb Alpert is now 85. Dolores Erickson who was the model on the original Whipped Cream album is also 85.

That’s it for this week.

Goodnight.

Sleep well.

Have a great weekend.

Hope you’ve enjoyed this labor of love. We close with one of the greatest pieces of music ever composed and a big favorite of Dad’s.

George Gershwin is one of America’s finest composers. He dropped out of school so he could start playing piano professionally at the age of 15. The young man was immensely talented, composing jazz, opera, and popular stage and screen songs. His piano teacher, Charles Hambitzer, who also had a respected reputation, wrote in a letter to his sister about Gershwin: “I have a new pupil who will make his mark if anybody will. The boy is a genius.”

Gershwin’s best work came together quickly, because it had to. The composer had no choice.

On the night of January 3, 1924, Gershwin, his older brother Ira, and songwriter Buddy DeSylva were playing billiards in a parlor in New York. Ira saw a notice in a section of the New York Tribune that mentioned a concert of new American music to be given by Paul Whiteman and his Palais Royal Band at Aeolian Hall on Abraham Lincoln’s birthday, February 12.

“George Gershwin is at work on a jazz concerto. Irving Berlin is writing a syncopated tone poem,” the article stated.

George was stunned, knowing absolutely nothing about it. His musical comedy, Sweet Little Devil, was set to open in just three weeks. Suddenly, he reads that in addition he must come up with a jazz concerto.

Aware of the ambitious schedule, the popular bandleader Whiteman reassured Gershwin that he could pull it off by simply focusing on a piano score, and did he ever. Whiteman’s arranger would build the orchestration around Gershwin’s contribution.

In just a few days Gershwin managed to provide a landmark in American music, “Rhapsody in Blue.”

There’s no telling how far Gershwin’s talents could have reached. He died of a brain tumor at the age of 38.

Whenever we can we like to end with a real showstopper and we certainly have one tonight. From the 10th annual Classical Brit Awards in 2009…

BONUS

Remember the dual sax sound by Billy Vaughn featured earlier?

I don’t recall how Dad felt about this next act or if he knew anything about them.

Agnetha Fältskog, Björn Ulvaeus, Benny Andersson, and Anni-Frid Lyngstad. Take the first letters from each of their first names and you have…

ABBA

Billy Vaughn’s style along with “schlager” music popular in Europe inspired the foursome from Sweden to record this 1975 hit. They lip-synch on “American Bandstand.”

I think Dad would have been singing along. I do.

https://i1.wp.com/www.getabba.com/collection/vinyl/lp/LP_best_of_abba_331bak_NZ.jpg

3 thoughts on “Goodnight everyone, and have an old favorites weekend!

  1. Pingback: My Most popular Blogs (09/28/20) | This Just In… From Franklin, WI

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