Inspired by the season and the December 23 birthdays of Pearl Jam‘s Eddie Vedder, The Chi-Lites’ Eugene Record, Blood Orange’s Dev Hynes, Esther Phillips, Tim Hardin, Chet Baker, Harold Dorman, Johnny Kidd, Rainbow’s Graham Bonnett, and Harry Shearer.
Inspired by the November 1 birthdays of Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Anthony Kiedis, Stereolab’s Mary Hansen, Lyle Lovett, The Clovers’ Billy Mitchell, Geto Boys’ Willie D, The Five Satins’ Bill Baker, The Feelies’ Glenn Mercer, Sophie B. Hawkins, Ssgt. Barry Sadler, Tina Arena, Big & Rich’s Big Kenny and Beat Happening’s Calvin Johnson.
Inspired by the October 3 birthdays of Fleetwood Mac‘s Lindsey Buckingham, No Doubt’s Gwen Stefani, Scissor Sisters’ Jake Shears, A$AP Rocky, Chubby Checker, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Fountains of Wayne’s Chris Collingwood, Eddie Cochran, Mötley Crüe’s Tommy Lee, P.P. Arnold, Jimmy Ray, and India.Arie.
Inspired by the March 15 birthdays of The Beach Boys’ Mike Love, Sly Stone, Terence Trent D’Arby, the Grateful Dead’s Phil Lesh, Blink-182’s Mark Hoppus, Buzzcock’s/Magazine’s Howard Devoto, Black Eyed Peas’ will.i.am, Lightnin’ Hopkins, Sugar Ray’s Mark McGrath, Rockwell, Twisted Sister’s Dee Snider and Lil Dicky.
Inspired by the February 23 birthdays of Japan’s David Sylvian, Josh Gad, Howard Jones and Broadway composer Robert Lopez; the February 22 birthdays of Sublime’s Brad Nowell, Marni Nixon, Ernie K-Doe, Bobby Hendricks, Oliver and Guy Mitchell; and the February 21 birthdays of Nina Simone, Mary Chapin Carpenter and Manic Street Preachers’ James Dean Bradfield.
Blackboard Jungle hit US theaters on March 25, 1955. The plot concerned the arrival of a new teacher at a violent inner-city school. The producers wanted a theme song that was typical of what a 1955 teenager would listen to. Glenn Ford, who starred in the film alongside Anne Francis and Sidney Poitier, looked through his son’s record collection. In there, the theme song was found.
It was the b-side of a single entitled “Thirteen Women (And the Only Man in Town)” that had been released the prior year. When the song was used under Blackboard Jungle’s opening credits, that flip-side, “(We’re Gonna) Rock Around the Clock,” performed by Bill Haley and His Comets, went to #1 in the US, and is considered to be the first rock and roll song to do so. It became a smash elsewhere in the world, too, becoming the UK’s first million-selling single.
The classic guitar solo on the track was performed by Danny Cedrone, who was not one of Haley’s Comets but a session musician who had worked with the group previously. He got paid $21 for his contribution to the track. Cedrone took a tumble on a stairway and died shortly after the song was recorded, not living to see its success, let alone its iconic status.
Today is my birthday. Over my 25+ years on earth, I’ve learned many life lessons. Most of them came from songs. My birthday gift to you is a playlist of 100 songs offering advice as to what not to do.
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“I didn’t really care what Lieber and Stoller thought of my songs. They didn’t like ‘em, but Doc Pomus did. That was all right that [Lieber and Stoller] didn’t like ‘em, because I never liked their songs either. ‘Yakety yak, don’t talk back.’ ‘Charlie Brown is a clown,’ ‘Baby I’m a hog for you.’ Novelty songs. They weren’t saying anything serious.”
– Bob Dylan, February 2015
“I don’t believe you. You’re a liar!”
– Bob Dylan to an audience member who called him “Judas,” May 1966
– Glenn Schwartz to Bob Dylan regarding his disdain for Lieber and Stoller, April 2015
Perhaps Dylan doesn’t like the comical songs Lieber and Stoller wrote for The Coasters (though I’m skeptical of that as well), but how can he honestly dismiss all their work as novelty songs? Their compositions are part of the Great American Songbook – Rock & Roll Edition. “Jailhouse Rock,” “Stand by Me,” “On Broadway,” “Hound Dog,” “Kansas City,” “Spanish Harlem,” “Is That All There Is?” These aren’t humorous songs. Okay, “Is That All There Is?” is pretty funny, though that wasn’t intentional.
I think Bob made that comment as he was miffed about Lieber and Stoller dismissing his work. That they didn’t get Dylan is folly on their part, but the duo’s work has stood the test of time.
Today is the birthday of the late great Jerry Lieber. Today’s playlist consists of twenty classics from the Lieber and Stoller songbook.
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