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 good music available. Come along and enjoy!
Saturday, tomorrow is Sweetest Day.
Let’s begin with a short quiz.
WHO invented Sweetest Day?
A) Mars Inc.
D) The National Restaurant Association
We’ll give you a little time to consider.
Click for some thinking music please.
So, who came up with the Sweetest Day idea? We gave you four options.
The correct answer is:
None of the above.
Sweetest Day originated in the birth place of rock and roll, Cleveland, Ohio in 1922.
Herbert Birch Kingston had an idea. He wanted to somehow spread joy into the lives of orphans and shut-ins and those society had basically forgotten or turned its back on. Enlisting the help of friends, they passed out gifts to the underprivileged.
To mark the very first Sweetest Day, movie star Ann Pennington presented 2,200 Cleveland newspaper boys with boxes of candy to express gratitude for their work. Another movie star at the time, Theda Bara, gave out 10,000 boxes of candy to people in Cleveland hospitals and also gave candy to all who came to watch her film in a local theater.
Here’s another question.
What is considered to be the most iconic album cover?
In April of 2006 Nick Paumgarten wrote in the New Yorker:
In the picture, she sits holding the stem of a rose in her left hand, above which the inner portion of a bare breast protrudes from the foam. She is licking cream from the index finger of her right hand, and a dollop of the stuff rests atop her forehead, like a tiara. (This is the only real whipped cream in the shot. The rest is shaving cream.) The image still seems a little raunchy, in a home-movie kind of way, but in the virtually pornless atmosphere of the suburban mid-sixties it was—and we’re relying on the testimony of our elders here—the pinnacle of allure. The Whipped Cream Girl, as she came to be known, helped make (Herb) Alpert and his Tijuana Brass even more famous than his loungy arrangements, smooth trumpet work, and suave song production destined them to be. The album shot to No. 1 and stayed on the charts for more than three years. Alpert would say, when performing live, “Sorry, but I can’t play the cover for you.”
Last month, a new version of the album was released: “Whipped Cream & Other Delights Re-Whipped.” Various artists made remixes of the original songs, over which Alpert laid some new trumpet solos. It’s slick stuff…the most momentous revision may well be the one made to the cover art. If you adjust for palette size (the CD jewel box having, sadly, a fraction the area of a record sleeve), the Re-Whipped Cream Girl (Bree Condon) shows much more skin than her predecessor did. Bree is lying on her belly, in a strapless whipped-cream bikini, with not a splotch of cream (or a retouched pixel) out of place.
Alpert, who had to be talked into doing the remix, is fond of the new cover. “The girl is beautiful,” he said. “I think it’s a little more accessible. There’s so much product in the stores these days that it doesn’t hurt if your eye goes to something that has a little eye appeal.”
Our first selection has the art work from the original 1965 album, but track is from the “Re-whipped” LP. I’m sure you will recognize it.
Last month, Dolores Erickson, the cover girl on the ’65 album turned 84.
Alpert, now 86, continues to perform and tour across the country with his wife, Grammy-winning vocalist, Lani Hall and their band.
This next tune definitely has that 60’s feel and sound.
The group was from Hinsdale, Illinois and became quite popular in the Chicago area. For a while they called themselves “The Travelers,” until they learned another band was already using that name.
When it was becoming somewhat difficult to find a replacement one of the band members noted their dilemma was a “cryin’ shame.”
Suddenly the search was over.
In 1966 the group decided to cover a tune the British band “The Searchers” did in 1963 that was never released in America. It reached #49 on the Billboard chart and #4 on a survey by Chicago radio station WLS-AM.
It’s a real sweet toe-tapper.
Years ago while filling in for Mark Belling on WISN the Friday before Sweetest day, I did what turned out to be, in my view, a hilariously entertaining segment about Sweetest Day.
There were the curmudgeons who angrily huffed and puffed they wouldn’t spend an extra dime for their spouses or significant others on Sweetest Day. Many others couldn’t say enough about how special the day was.
I’ll never forget the woman who called in who was dead serious who said she and her husband exchanged firearms on the third Saturday of October.
Kinda gets you choked up, doesn’t it?
Speaking of iconic album covers here’s another. The model was Playboy magazine’s October 1974 Playmate of the Month, Ester Cordet.
Here’s a nice cover version of one of the album tracks by French jazz pianist and composer Alex Bugnon.
Bugnon is a nephew of the late influential jazz trumpeter Donald Byrd.
How about one more question?
Let’s do word association. I’ll mention a band and you think of what immediately comes to mind, ok?
Here we go.
KOOL & THE GANG
You came up with “Celebration.”
Understood if you did.
Easily their most memorable and biggest recording. In some states you’re not legally married if it’s not played at your wedding reception.
Before Kool & the Gang went toally pop with “Celebration” they initially started out as a jazz band. Then in the 70’s they were more R & B and funk, but still retained a bit of their jazz roots.
That’s it for this week.
Have a sweet weekend.
We close with the maestro Barry White.