Sunday, December 20, 2020

Music History Today: December 21, 2020

December 21, 1979: Willie Nelson makes his acting debut in the Sydney Pollack film The Electric Horseman, He sings five songs for the soundtrack, including the number 1 country hit "My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys." 
“The Electric Horseman,” starring Hollywood immortals Robert Redford and Jane Fonda, was released in late 1979. Jimmy Carter was president, Americans were held hostage in Iran, inflation was out of control. 

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Yet somehow, there is a beautiful sense in this film of “Morning in America,” a slogan attributed to Carter’s successor several years later. This is absolutely an ’80s picture, not a ’70s one. “Horseman” oozes revival. 
Read more: Wide Screenings

December 21: 1959: The new single called "The Little Drummer Boy" by the Harry Simeone Chorale moved from 99 to 47. 

"The Little Drummer Boy" was originally a Czechoslovakian song titled "Carol of the Drum." In 1955, a version was released on Decca by The Trapp Family Singers. The family was later the subject of the stage musical and film The Sound of Music.  

A version recorded by The Jack Halloran Singers in 1957 had an arrangement similar to the Trapp recording. Henry Onorati was involved in Halloran's 1957 session. He and Harry Simeone were close friends and he suggested Simeone do his own version of the song. 

The two entered into a pact that, for lack of a more seasonally friendly term, was downright diabolical. With a few minor changes they copied the Halloran recording, going so far as to hire most of the same singers from the earlier session. 

Read more: Wayback Machine

 

December 21, 1966: The Beach Boys receive three Gold Record citations for the single "Good Vibrations" and the albums "Little Deuce Coupe" and "Shut Down, Vol. 2."
Shut Down Volume 2 is the fifth album by the American rock band the Beach Boys, released March 2, 1964 on Capitol Records. Produced by Brian Wilson, it is the follow-up to the band's Little Deuce Coupe, released the previous October, and to Shut Down, a Capitol compilation album.  

Beach Boys

 Recorded just as "Beatlemania" was reaching American shores, Shut Down Volume 2 was marketed as a "hot rod" collection after its predecessor Little Deuce Coupe and Shut Down had performed successfully; despite this, less than half of the songs on the album mention cars. 
Read more: Wikipedia

December 21, 1974: Grand Funk's new song "Some Kind Of Wonderful" was rocking up the chart from 67 to 38. 
"(She's) Some Kind of Wonderful" is a song written by John Ellison and first recorded by his group, Soul Brothers Six, in 1967. In 1974, Grand Funk recorded the song for the group's album All the Girls in the World Beware!!! Reaching number three on the Billboard Hot 100 on February 22, 1975, it was an indisputable hit and thus became one of the band's best known songs. 
Read more: Wikipedia

December 21, 1983: Van Halen released the single "Jump."
It has been noted that David Lee Roth, the member of Van Halen who actually wrote the lyrics to “Jump”, has given different explanations concerning the song’s meaning. But as part of its official origin story he was inspired to pen it after watching a man threatening to kill himself, by jumping from a deadly height, on a TV news program. 
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In the first verse of the song in particular he seems to be taking on such a character, i.e. someone who has “seen the toughest around”. But overall, the lyrics don’t come off as if they are about suicide per se. Rather said character seems to be addressing a female with a similar disposition. 
In terms of relaying his aforementioned hardships, what he is basically telling her is that as bad as she thinks her life may be, he has seen worse. So then when he says that she “might as well jump”, honestly it reads as if he is encouraging her to take a leap of faith, if you will, towards edifying her life. 

 

My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys
Willie Nelson

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