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.
Naturally, our theme this week is spooky and scary. Let’s get started.
This is a Halloween must. Featured in the 1993 Tim Burton animation “The Nightmare Before Christmas,” the song perfectly sums up the night of Halloween. And check out the lyrics that I would guess 99% of folks don’t remember. But they sure know the chorus!
Boys and girls of every age
Wouldn’t you like to see something strange?
Come with us and you will see
This, our town of Halloween
This is Halloween, this is Halloween
Pumpkins scream in the dead of night
This is Halloween, everybody make a scene
Trick or treat ’til the neighbors gonna die of fright
It’s our town, everybody scream
In this town of Halloween
I am the one hiding under your bed
Teeth ground sharp and eyes glowing red
I am the one hiding under your stairs
Fingers like snakes and spiders in my hair
‘Round that corner, man hiding in the trash can
Something’s waiting now to pounce and how you’ll scream
This is Halloween, red and black, slimy green
Aren’t you scared? Well, that’s just fine
Say it once, say it twice
Take a chance and roll the dice
Ride with the moon in the dead of night
Everybody scream, everybody scream
In our town of Halloween
I am the clown with the tear-away face
Here in a flash and gone without a trace
I am the who when you call, “Who’s there?”
I am the wind blowing through your hair
I am the shadow on the moon at night
Filling your dreams to the brim with fright
Danny Elfman was the composer, and here he conducts the orchestra.
Today, October 29th, Elfman began resuming “Nightmare Before Christmas” live-to-screen performances, shifting from the Hollywood Bowl to a new venue, Banc of California Stadium.
Question: What is definitely, if you had to choose, one of the greatest and most successful pop instrumentals of all-time?
If you really give the answer some serious consideration, it’s a breeze.
The artist was a child piano prodigy, but his hands were burned in a fire at the age of 18. So he switched to conducting and arranging. That move cemented a successful career. And it led to a legendary piece of music.
That recording by Percy Faith and his orchestra was a Number One hit for nine weeks on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1960. “A Summer Place” remains the longest-running #1 instrumental in the history of the chart.
OK, OK, I hear you. How could the orchestra leader of one of prettiest pop music pieces ever possibly find his way into a blog about Halloween?
Back in Percy Faith’s days if a bandleader cranked out a new album it was imperative he filled it out with renditions of big hits of the time.
In 1971 Faith took on the Beatles, Joni Mitchell, David Gates & Bread, Harry Nilsson, Antonio Jobim, The Jackson Five…and Santana.
Fact: Mannheim Steamroller is the #1 Christmas music artist of all times, selling over 31 million albums. The second highest Christmas artist is Elvis Presley with 17 million albums.
But the ensemble, named after Mannheim, Germany where Mozart lived, has also released albums for the October holiday. The band is the top selling Halloween artist today.
Enjoy a familiar piece this time of year composed in 1875 by Edvard Grieg, done in the Mannheim Steamroller style.
Mannheim Steamroller Christmas concerts return this year.
Nov 24: La Crosse
Nov 28: Madison
Dec 7: Green Bay
Dec 8: Wausau
Dec 11: Lake Delton
Dec 12: Milwaukee (Riverside Theatre)
Surely you remember…
The catchy number had lyrics, too.
The popular TV series ran on ABC from 1964-1972.
Before our close, a short clip from October 30, 1938. Orson Welles and his Mercury Theatre on the Air performed a radio adaptation of H.G. Wells’ The War of the Worlds, converting the 40-year-old novel into fake news bulletins describing a Martian invasion of New Jersey.
PHOTO: Orson Welles (arms raised) rehearses his radio depiction of H.G. Wells’ classic, The War of the Worlds. The broadcast, which aired on October 30, 1938, and claimed that aliens from Mars had invaded New Jersey, terrified thousands of Americans.
That’s it for this week.
Have a good Halloween weekend.
In my view, the greatest horror film of them all.