Tag Archives: Carla Thomas

The Ultimate Christmas Playlist

Today is the day after Thanksgiving here in the United States of America. You’re officially allowed to start listening to holiday music now. To get you started, I compiled a playlist of what I consider to be 100 of the best Christmas songs. Okay, 98 songs, a stand-up routine and a skit. It’s a mix of standards, versions of standards with which you may not be familiar, and obscure but delightful tunes.

Enjoy!

Click here to like Tunes du Jour on facebook!
Follow me on Twitter: @tunesdujour
Follow me on Instagram: @glennschwartz

Leave a Comment

Filed under playlists

A Soulful Christmas Playlist

TRIVIA QUESTION: Who was the first woman to hit the top ten on the Billboard Hot 100 with a song she wrote herself?

ANSWER: Carla Thomas. She was 16 years old when she wrote “Gee Whiz (Look at His Eyes),” which hit #10 in 1961. Today she turns 72.

In 1963, Thomas incorporated the title of her first hit into a seasonal offering, “Gee Whiz, It’s Christmas.”

“Gee Whiz, It’s Christmas” inspires today’s playlist – fifty great soul and r&b Christmas jams, with some fun extra treats thrown in.

Click here to like Tunes du Jour on Facebook!

Leave a Comment

Filed under playlists

Otis!

In 2011 I chatted with Zelma Redding, widow of the great soul singer Otis Redding. I was heading up the licensing department at Warner Music Group. A request came in to license Otis Redding’s recording of “Try a Little Tenderness” as a sample in a new track by JAY Z and Kanye West, which they called “Tenderness.” Warner controlled the Redding master recording via a license with Stax Records. Stax is now owned by Concord Music, so my contact for such deals was an executive at Concord rather than the Stax recording artists. We worked out a deal. Being the Redding sample made up a huge part of the new track, we asked that Otis Redding be given a featuring credit.

Days before the new song was to hit iTunes, Island Def Jam, the label releasing the JAY Z/Kanye West collaboration, told my team they wish to change the song title from “Tenderness” to “Otis.” I liked that idea. I relayed this to Concord. Soon, my phone rang. It was Zelma Redding. More than discuss the deal points of the license, she wanted to make sure that this song named after her late husband wouldn’t defame the man. I’m happy to say we hit it off right away. She was a pleasure to work with. Though I am respectful toward all artists I represent, I am a huge Otis Redding fan, which I made clear to her. I wouldn’t do a deal that would disparage him in any way.

The JAY Z and Kanye West featuring Otis Redding track “Otis” broke the US iTunes store one-week sales record when it came out in July of 2011, selling nearly 290,000 downloads. It since has sold over 1,000,000 downloads stateside. It was nominated for a Grammy for Best Rap Song and won the Grammy for Best Rap Performance. Its reception brought Otis Redding to the attention of many younger listeners. Said Zelma, “We are proud that Otis’ legacy continues to inspire some of today’s popular artists. We like ‘Otis’ and thank Kanye and Jay-Z for honoring our Otis through their music.”

doggies + Otis 2014-09-09 10.59
Today is Otis Redding’s birthday. Tunes du Jour pays homage to the man who Rolling Stone named one of the ten best singers of all-time.

Click here to like Tunes du Jour on Facebook!

2 Comments

Filed under playlists

Tonys! Tonys! Tonys!

The Tony Awards, celebrating excellence on the Broadway stages, are being presented this evening. The Tony Awards are like the gay version of the Tony Awards. That’s how gay they are.

Last year I took second place in a speech contest where I spoke about the effect Broadway had on my life. Here is that speech, followed by a playlist consisting of cover versions of Broadway classics.

Leave a Comment

Filed under playlists

An Atheist Jew’s Guide To Christmas Music, Part 2

xmas cds 002

Today Tunes du Jour presents more Christmas music. As with Part 1, I mixed standards with lesser-known songs. In the Comments section let me know what songs you discovered.

Leave a Comment

Filed under playlists