About greyzoned/angelsbark

Michele Truhlik is a writer, blogger and small business entrepreneur. Previously an owner of an advertising agency and a bar, she currently has a dog-sitting business and a jewelry business and is much happier being out of the corporate world. She is also following her calling and is an Animal Chaplain/Pet Shaman and will be officially credentialed and ordained in 2015. She has been rescuing and adopting greyhounds since 1999. She has been owned by 8 greyhounds. Pictured here is #7, Picasso. You can find her blogging at angelsbark.wordpress.com.

Monday’s Music Moves Me – A Throwback to Childhood with Some of My Favorite Films of That Era

Today’s Monday’s Music Moves Me theme is from this month’s Conductor, Alana with Ramblin’ with AM. She wanted us to focus on TV or Movie Theme Songs from our childhood. Since I already did an extensive collection of Classic TV Show Theme Songs in my 2016 A-Z Challenge, I opted to focus this post on a few of my favorite movies from childhood. So here are a few movies that I remember fondly from back in the 60s, listed in no particular order:

The Incredible Mr. LimpetThe Incredible Mr. Limpet is a 1964 American live-action/animated adventure film from Warner Bros. It is about a man named Henry Limpet who turns into a talking fish resembling a tilefish and helps the U.S. Navy locate and destroy Nazi submarines. Don Knotts plays the title character. The live action was directed by Arthur Lubin, while the animation was directed by Bill Tytla, Robert McKimson, Hawley Pratt, and Gerry Chiniquy. Music includes songs by Sammy Fain, in collaboration with Harold Adamson, including “I Wish I Were a Fish,” “Be Careful How You Wish,” and “Deep Rapture.” 

The Incredible Mr. Limpet movie poster

The story begins September 1941 just before the attack on Pearl Harbor. Shy bookkeeper Henry Limpet loves fish with a passion. When his friend George Stickle enlists in the United States Navy, Limpet attempts to enlist as well, but is rejected. Feeling downcast, he wanders down to a pier near Coney Island and accidentally falls into the water. Inexplicably, he finds he has turned into a fish. Since he never resurfaces, his wife, Bessie, and George assume he has drowned.

The fish Limpet, complete with his signature pince-nez spectacles, discovers a new-found ability during some of his initial misadventures, a powerful underwater roar, his “thrum”. He falls in love with a female fish he names Ladyfish, the concept of names being unknown to her, and makes friends with a misanthropic hermit crab named Crusty.

Still determined to help the Navy, Limpet finds a convoy and requests to see George. With George’s help, Limpet gets himself commissioned by the Navy, complete with advancing rank and a salary, which he sends to Bessie. He helps the Navy locate Nazi U-boats by signaling with his “thrum”, and plays a large part in the Allied victory in the Battle of the Atlantic. In his final mission, he is nearly killed when the Nazis develop a “thrum” seeking torpedo, and is further handicapped by the loss of his spectacles. He manages to survive using Crusty as his “navigator”, and sinks a number of U-boats by redirecting the torpedoes. After the battle, he swims to Coney Island to say goodbye to Bessie (who has now fallen in love with George) and gets a replacement set of glasses. He then swims off with Ladyfish.

In the film’s coda, set in the modern times of 1964, George (now a high ranking naval officer) and the Admiral are presented with a report that Mr. Limpet is still alive and working with porpoises. The two men travel out to sea to contact Mr. Limpet and offer him a commission in the United States Navy. It is unknown what became of the conversation, for the movie ends with a question mark.

 

The Jungle Book The Jungle Book is a 1967 American animated musical comedy adventure film produced by Walt Disney Productions. Inspired by Rudyard Kipling’s book of the same name, it is the 19th Disney animated feature film. Directed by Wolfgang Reitherman, it was the last film to be produced by Walt Disney, who died during its production. The plot follows Mowgli, a feral child raised in the Indian jungle by wolves, as his friends Bagheera the panther and Baloo the bear try to convince him to leave the jungle before the evil tiger Shere Khan arrives.

The early versions of both the screenplay and the soundtrack followed Kipling’s work more closely, with a dramatic, dark, and sinister tone which Disney did not want in his family film, leading to writer Bill Peet and composer Terry Gilkyson being replaced. The casting employed famous actors and musicians Phil Harris, Sebastian Cabot, George Sanders and Louis Prima, as well as Disney regulars such as Sterling Holloway, J. Pat O’Malley and Verna Felton, and the director’s son, Bruce Reitherman, as Mowgli.

The Jungle Book movie poster

The Jungle Book was released on October 18, 1967, to positive reception, with acclaim for its soundtrack, featuring five songs by the Sherman Brothers and one by Gilkyson, “The Bare Necessities”. The film initially became Disney’s second highest-grossing animated film in the United States and Canada, and was also successful during its re-releases. The film was also successful throughout the world, becoming Germany’s highest-grossing film by number of admissions. Disney released a live-action remake in 1994 and an animated sequel, The Jungle Book 2, in 2003; another live-action adaptation directed by Jon Favreau was released in 2016.

The Jungle Book Soundtrack: The instrumental music was written by George Bruns and orchestrated by Walter Sheets. Interestingly, two of the cues were reused from previous Disney films. The scene where Mowgli wakes up after escaping King Louie used one of Bruns’ themes for Sleeping Beauty; and the scene where Bagheera gives a eulogy to Baloo when he mistakenly thinks the bear was killed by Shere Khan used Paul J. Smith’s organ score from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.

The score features eight original songs: seven by the Sherman Brothers and one by Terry Gilkyson. Longtime Disney collaborator Gilkyson was the first songwriter to bring several complete songs which followed the book closely but Walt Disney felt that his efforts were too dark. The only piece of Gilkyson’s work which survived to the final film was his upbeat tune “The Bare Necessities”, which was liked by the rest of the film crew. The Sherman Brothers were then brought in to do a complete rewrite. Disney asked the siblings if they had read Kipling’s book and they replied that they had done so “a long, long time ago” and that they had also seen the 1942 version by Alexander Korda. Disney said the “nice, mysterious, heavy stuff” from both works was not what he aimed for, instead going for a “lightness, a Disney touch”. Disney frequently brought the composers to the storyline sessions. He asked them to “find scary places and write fun songs” for their compositions that fit in with the story and advanced the plot instead of being interruptive.

Bare Necessities: In 1967, “The Bare Necessities” was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Song.

 

101 DalmatiansOne Hundred and One Dalmatians, often abbreviated as 101 Dalmatians, is a 1961 American animated adventure film produced by Walt Disney and based on the 1956 novel The Hundred and One Dalmatians by Dodie Smith. The 17th Disney animated feature film, the film tells the story of a litter of Dalmatian puppies who are kidnapped by the villainous Cruella de Vil, who wants to use their fur to make into coats. Their parents, Pongo and Perdita, set out to save their children from Cruella, all the while rescuing 84 additional puppies that were bought in pet shops, bringing the total of Dalmatians to 101.

101 Dalmatians original movie poster

Originally released to theaters on January 25, 1961, by Buena Vista Distribution, One Hundred and One Dalmatians was a box office success, pulling the studio out of the financial slump caused by Sleeping Beauty, a costlier production released two years prior. Aside from its box office revenue, its commercial success was due to the employment of inexpensive animation techniques—such as using xerography during the process of inking and painting traditional animation cells—that kept production costs down. It was remade into a live action film in 1996.

Interesting tidbits on the Cruella de Vil name: Per Wikipedia, Cruella’s name is a pun of the words cruel and devil, an allusion which is emphasized by having her country house nicknamed “Hell Hall”. In some translations, for instance in Polish, Cruella De Vil is known as “Cruella De Mon”, a play on “demon”. In Italian, she is called “Crudelia De Mon” (a pun on “crudele”, cruel, and “demone”, demon). In the French translation of the Disney’s animated movie, she is referred as “Cruella D’Enfer” (Literally, Cruella of Hell or from Hell). In Dutch, the name remains “De Vil”, while by coincidence the Dutch verb for skinning is “Villen” and “Vil” is the conjugation of this verb for the first person singular. In the Brazilian and Portuguese translations, Cruella is known as “Cruela Cruel”, which straightforwardly stems from “cruel”.

The name “de Vil” is also a literary allusion to Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1897). In the novel, the realty firm Mitchell, Sons & Candy write a letter, dated 1 October, to Lord Godalming, informing him that the purchaser of a house in Piccadilly, London is “a foreign nobleman, Count De Ville”. Count De Ville, however, proves to be an alias for Count Dracula himself.

It is also believed that the inspiration for the name began in 1939 when Dodie Smith purchased a new Rolls-Royce 25/30 “Sedanca de Ville” motorcar in which she and her pet Dalmatian “Pongo” frequently travelled, which also formed the basis of the cartoon imagery of Cruella’s own motorcar.

Here is my favorite song from the movie:

 

The Love Bug (Herbie, the Love Bug)The Love Bug (sometimes referred to as Herbie the Love Bug) is a 1968 American comedy film and the first in a series of films made by Walt Disney Productions that starred an anthropomorphic pearl-white, fabric-sun-roofed 1963 Volkswagen racing Beetle named Herbie. It was based on the 1961 book Car, Boy, Girl by Gordon Buford.

I can’t be positive about this but Herbie, the Love Bug may have been my very first drive-in movie that I ever saw. I used to love going to the drive-in! That was a big treat as a kid and I totally remember seeing Herbie the Love Bug at the Starlite Drive-In on Military Road in Town of Niagara. I remember those drive-in trips: being dressed in my pajamas, Dad pulling in and paying for our tickets at the gate then driving slowly over the gravel to find the most perfect spot. Then, once there, grabbing that big clunky metal speaker and hanging it on the window ledge and testing out the sound. Sometimes we’d have to move because the speaker sound crackled and sucked so we’d drive around until we found a decent-sounding speaker. We’d always arrive in time for the pre-movie cartoons and the concession stand ads with their animated snacks reminding you to hurry to the snack bar to get your popcorn, candy and pop before the show started. And wasn’t there always a double-feature at the drive-in? Because there was always intermission, when we’d get to jump out of the car and run across the gravel parking lot to use the restrooms real quick…and maybe, if we were lucky, grab another snack!

For those who might want to take a little trip back in time to the drive-ins of yesteryear here are some classic snack bar (“refreshment center”) ads you probably saw way back when…

I apologize for that little aside, I just had to talk about seeing Herbie at the drive-in! Now, back to our regularly scheduled programming:

The movie follows the adventures of Herbie, Herbie’s driver, Jim Douglas (Dean Jones), and Jim’s love interest, Carole Bennett (Michele Lee). It also features Buddy Hackett as Jim’s enlightened, kind-hearted friend, Tennessee Steinmetz, a character who creates “art” from used car parts. English actor David Tomlinson portrays the villainous Peter Thorndyke, owner of an auto showroom and an SCCA national champion who sells Herbie to Jim and eventually becomes Jim’s racing rival.

Fun Facts about the movie:

  • Dean Jones credited the film’s success to the fact that it was the last live action Disney film produced under Walt Disney’s involvement, released just two years after his death in 1966. Although Jones tried to pitch him a serious, straightforward film project concerning the story of the first sports car ever brought to the United States, Walt suggested a different car story for him, which was Car, Boy, Girl, a story written in 1961 by Gordon Buford.
  • Car, Boy, Girl; The Magic Volksy; The Runaway Wagen; Beetlebomb; Wonderbeetle; Bugboom and Thunderbug were among the original development titles considered for the film before the title was finalized as The Love Bug.
  • Herbie competes in the Monterey Grand Prix, which, except for 1963, was not a sports car race. The actual sports car race held at Monterey was the Monterey Sports Car Championships.
  • Peter Thorndyke’s yellow “Special” is actually a 1965 Apollo GT, a rare sports car built in the United States by International Motorcars in Oakland, California. It used an Italian-designed body along with a small-block Buick V8 engine. This car exists today, is in the hands of a private collector, and has been restored as it was seen in the film with its yellow paint and number 14 logo.

“Herbie”         

Before film began production, the titular car was not specified as a Volkswagen Beetle, and Disney set up a casting call for a dozen cars to audition. In the lineup, there were a few Toyotas, a TVR, a handful of Volvos, an MG and a pearl white Volkswagen Beetle. I love this: The Volkswagen Beetle was chosen as it was the only one that elicited the crew to reach out and pet it. Lol. That is classic!

The Volkswagen brand name, logo or shield does not feature anywhere in the film, as the automaker did not permit Disney to use the name. The only logos can be briefly seen in at least two places, however. The first instance is on the brake pedals during the first scene where Herbie takes control with Jim inside (on the freeway when Herbie runs into Thorndyke’s Rolls Royce), and in fact it is shown in all the future scenes when Jim is braking. The second instance is on the ignition key, when Jim tries to shut down the braking Herbie. The later sequels produced, however, do promote the Volkswagen name (as sales of the Beetle were down when the sequels were produced). The VW “Wolfsburg” castle emblem on the steering wheel hub is also seen throughout the car’s interior shots. Within the script, the car was only ever referred to as “Herbie”, “the small car” or “the Bug”—the latter, although a common nickname for the Beetle, was not trademarked by Volkswagen at the time of filming.

The car was later given the name “Herbie” from one of Buddy Hackett’s skits about a ski instructor named Klaus, who speaks with a German accent as he introduces his fellow ski instructors, who are named Hans, Fritz, Wilhelm, and Sandor. At the end of the skit, Hackett would say “If you ain’t got a Herbie (pronounced “hoy-bee”), I ain’t going.”

Herbie’s trademark “53” racing number was chosen by producer Bill Walsh, who was a fan of Los Angeles Dodgers baseball player Don Drysdale (Drysdale’s jersey number, later retired by the team in 1984, was 53).

Walsh also gave Herbie his trademark red, white and blue racing stripes presumably for the more patriotic color and came up with the film’s gags such as Herbie squirting oil and opening the doors by himself.

Herbie has his own cast billing in the closing credits, the only time this was done in the entire series of films.

Today, only a handful of the original Herbie cars are known to exist. Car #10 was recovered from a warehouse in Pennsylvania, and has been preserved—still sporting its original paint from the film.

The film was the third highest-grossing film of 1968, earning over $51.2 million at the domestic box office.

NOTE: The Theme song below is from the 1974 movie Herbie Rides Again (but it’s the same song as in the original)

 

Winnie the Pooh Featurettes: I’ve always been a fan of Winnie the Pooh. Instead of feature length films, Winnie the Pooh’s claim to Big Screen fame came in several featurettes (24 to 40 minute run-time movies; longer than a “short” but shorter than a feature film). The three featurettes from my childhood are:

Winnie the Pooh and the Honey TreeWinnie the Pooh and the Honey Tree is a 1966 animated featurette based on the first two chapters of the book Winnie-the-Pooh by A. A. Milne. The film was produced by Walt Disney Productions. Its songs were written by the Sherman Brothers (Richard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman) and the score was composed and conducted by Buddy Baker.

One of theatrical release posters (notice the different designs of Piglet and Tigger, who weren’t in the film, more closely resembling their appearance in the E.H. Shepherd illustrations):

This featurette was shown alongside the live-action feature The Ugly Dachshund, and was later included as a segment in the 1977 compilation film The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh.

Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery DayWinnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day is a 1968 animated featurette based on the third, fifth, ninth, and tenth chapters from Winnie-the-Pooh and the second, eighth, and ninth chapters from The House at Pooh Corner by A. A. Milne. The featurette was produced by Walt Disney Productions and released by Buena Vista Distribution Company on December 20, 1968 as a double feature with The Horse in the Gray Flannel Suit. This was the second of the studio’s Winnie the Pooh shorts. It was later added as a segment to the 1977 film The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh. The music was written by Richard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman. It was notable for being the last animated short produced by Walt Disney, who died during its production.

Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day won the 1968 Academy Award for Animated Short Film. The Academy Award was awarded posthumously to Walt Disney, who died of lung cancer two years before the film’s initial release. It is also the only Winnie the Pooh production that won an Academy Award. (Winnie the Pooh and Tigger Too, which was released six years later in 1974, was nominated for the same Academy Award, but lost to Closed Mondays).

The animated featurette also served as an inspiration for the Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh ride in Walt Disney World in which the rider experiences several scenes from the cartoon, including Pooh’s Heffalump and Woozle dream.

Winnie the Pooh and Tigger TooWinnie the Pooh and Tigger Too is a 1974 animated featurette from Disney released as a double feature with The Island at the Top of the World. It was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film, but lost to Closed Mondays. It was later added as a segment to the 1977 film The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh. A soundtrack album was released simultaneously and featured such songs as “The Honey Tree” and “Birthday, Birthday.” The film, whose name is a play on the slogan “Tippecanoe and Tyler too” made famous during the 1840 United States presidential election, is based on the third, fourth and seventh chapters from The House at Pooh Corner by A. A. Milne.

And in case you don’t remember: the proper way to spell his name is: “T-I-double-guh-err, that spells Tigger.”

Here is a playlist of all the songs from the original 1977 film The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh:

 

Flipper Flipper is an American feature film released on August 14, 1963 written by Arthur Weiss based upon a story by Ricou Browning and Jack Cowden. Produced by Ivan Tors and directed by James B. Clark, it portrays a 12-year-old boy living with his parents in the Florida Keys, who befriends an injured wild dolphin. The lad and his pet become inseparable, eventually overcoming the misgivings of his fisherman father.

Flipper 1963 movie poster

The film introduced the popular song “Flipper”, by Dunham and Henry Vars and inspired the subsequent television series of the same name (1964–1967) and film sequels. The film received good reviews.

Co-creator Ricou Browning said that he originally conceived the story after seeing his children intently watching the TV series Lassie, which inspired Browning to create a similar story with a dolphin in place of the dog. After he sent the story to his friend, producer Ivan Tors, Tors expressed interest in making it into a movie.

A film sequel, Flipper’s New Adventure, (known in some countries as Flipper and the Pirates) was filmed in late 1963 and released in June 1964 by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. The film, released before the TV series premiered, received good reviews and outdid the first film with more audience attendance.

Flipper’s New Adventure movie poster

That same year, a television series inspired by the movie Flipper began and ran until 1967. A 1990s television revival featured Jessica Alba. In 1996, a movie remake was released, Flipper, starring Paul Hogan and Elijah Wood.

I used to watch the TV series all the time which sparked my love of dolphins. This description is based on the TV series, not the movies:

Flipper, from Ivan Tors Films in association with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Television, is an American television program first broadcast on NBC from September 19, 1964, until April 15, 1967. Flipper, a bottlenose dolphin, is the companion animal of Porter Ricks, Chief Warden at fictional Coral Key Park and Marine Preserve in southern Florida, and his two young sons Sandy and Bud.

The show has been dubbed an “aquatic Lassie”, and a considerable amount of juvenile merchandise inspired by the show was produced during its first-run. The television show is an adaptation of the 1963 film Flipper starring Chuck Connors and Luke Halpin as Porter and Sandy Ricks, and its 1964 sequel, Flipper’s New Adventure, where Brian Kelly took over the role of Porter.

In adapting the films to a television series, the producers made Porter a single parent and gave him a second son named Bud, played by Tommy Norden. The producers departed yet again from the films in endowing Flipper with an unnatural degree of intelligence and an extraordinary understanding of human motives, behavior, and vocabulary.

 

Born FreeBorn Free is a 1966 British drama film starring Virginia McKenna and Bill Travers as Joy and George Adamson, a real-life couple who raised Elsa the Lioness, an orphaned lion cub, to adulthood, and released her into the wilderness of Kenya. The film was produced by Open Road Films Ltd. and Columbia Pictures. The screenplay, written by blacklisted Hollywood writer Lester Cole (under the pseudonym “Gerald L.C. Copley”), was based upon Joy Adamson’s 1960 non-fiction book Born Free. The film was directed by James Hill and produced by Sam Jaffe and Paul Radin. Born Free, and its musical score by John Barry, won numerous awards.

When George Adamson is forced to kill a lion, after the lion kills a native villager, and then George kills a lioness out of self-defense, he brings home the three orphaned cubs she had been trying to protect. The Adamsons tend to the three orphaned lion cubs to young lionhood, and, when the time comes, the two largest are sent to the Rotterdam Zoo, while Elsa the Lioness (the smallest of the litter) remains with Joy. When Elsa is held responsible for stampeding a herd of elephants through a village, John Kendall, Adamson’s boss, gives the couple three months to either rehabilitate Elsa to the wild, or send her to a zoo. Joy opposes sending Elsa to a zoo, and spends much time attempting to reintroduce Elsa to the life of a wild lion in a distant reserve. At last, she succeeds, and with mixed feelings and a breaking heart, she returns her friend to the wild. The Adamsons then depart for their home in England; a year later they return to Kenya for a week, hoping to find Elsa. They do, and happily discover she hasn’t forgotten them and is the mother of three cubs. The Adamsons made an agreement not to handle the cubs, in contrast to the way they did with Elsa.

The film reunited the real life couple Bill Travers and Virginia McKenna as a couple first seen together in The Smallest Show on Earth in 1957.

George Adamson served as chief technical advisor on the film and discusses his involvement in his first autobiography, Bwana Game (UK title, 1968), known in the US as A Lifetime with Lions.

According to Ben Mankiewicz, who introduces the film on Turner Classic Movies, they used mostly wild lions and interviewed more than 3,000.

The making of the film was a life-changing experience for actors Virginia McKenna and her husband Bill Travers, who became animal rights activists and were instrumental in creating the Born Free Foundation.

One of the lions in the film was played by a former mascot of the Scots Guards, who had to leave him behind when they left Kenya. The producers also acknowledged the help received from Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia and the Game Department of Uganda.

How popular was the film? Born Free received critical acclaim. Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reports that 92 percent of 12 film critics have given the film a positive review, with a rating average of 7 out of 10.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

And here are some cool foreign movie posters when the film was released in other countries:

Vincent Canby waxed enthusiastic about the film, writing in The New York Times,

“Almost from the opening shot – a vast expanse of corn-colored African plain where lions feed on the carcass of a freshly killed zebra – one knows that Joy Adamson’s best-selling book Born Free has been entrusted to honest, intelligent filmmakers. Without minimizing the facts of animal life or overly sentimentalizing them, this film casts an enchantment that is just about irresistible.”

Accolades:  Born Free won the following:

  • Academy Award for Original Music Score: John Barry
  • Academy Award for Best Song: John Barry (music) and Don Black (lyrics) for “Born Free”
  • Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song – Motion Picture: John Barry
  • Grammy Award for Best Original Score Written for a Motion Picture: John Barry

It also received the following nominations:

  • Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture – Drama
  • Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Drama: Virginia McKenna
  • DGA Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Motion Pictures: James Hill

The film was also recognized with nominations by American Film Institute in these lists:

  • In 2004: AFI’s 100 Years…100 Songs
  • In 2005: AFI’s 100 Years of Film Scores

Sequels and spinoffs:  The book Born Free (1960) was followed by two other books, Living Free (1961) and Forever Free (1963). In 1972, a film sequel entitled Living Free was released. While deriving its name from the second book, the film was based on the third book in the series. It starred Susan Hampshire and Nigel Davenport as Joy and George Adamson.

A documentary follow-up to Born Free, entitled The Lions Are Free, was released in 1969. The film follows Born Free-actor Bill Travers as he journeys to a remote area in Kenya to visit George Adamson, and several of Adamson’s lion friends.

In 1974, a 13-episode American television series was broadcast by NBC, entitled Born Free, starring Diana Muldaur and Gary Collins as Joy and George Adamson. The series was later followed by television film in 1996 called Born Free: A New Adventure, with Linda Purl and Chris Noth. (Chris Noth? Mr. Big was in Born Free?? Wow, I’m going to have to find that movie on Netflix or something…) Joy and George Adamson do not appear as the main characters in the story.

To Walk with Lions (1999) depicts the last years of George Adamson’s life, as seen through the eyes of his assistant, Tony Fitzjohn. George is portrayed by Richard Harris, and Honor Blackman makes a brief appearance as Joy.

The one-hour Nature documentary Elsa’s Legacy: The Born Free Story was released on PBS stations in January 2011. It includes a collection of archival footage and an exploration into the lives of Joy and George Adamson during the years following release of the film.

So do you remember Born Free or any of the spinoffs? I wasn’t aware of either of these but I’d really like to see 1999’s To Walk with Lions and the documentary Elsa’s Legacy.

Here is the beautiful award-winning musical score by John Barry from the original soundtrack, with stunning photography as a backdrop:

And here is the song Born Free which has some interesting background: “Born Free” is a popular song with music by John Barry, and lyrics by Don Black. Written for the 1966 film, it won an Academy Award for Best Original Song.

Lyricist Don Black managed British singer Matt Monro at the time, and he and Barry asked him to record the song for the film’s soundtrack. The producers of the film considered the song uncommercial, however, and deleted it from the print shown at its Royal Command premiere in London. When Monro, who attended the event, made Black aware of the edit, they successfully lobbied the producers to restore it. Monro’s interpretation appeared over the closing credits in a shortened version recorded especially for the film, which enabled it to qualify for the Academy Award. Monro’s complete commercial recording was released on the film’s soundtrack album and became the singer’s signature tune for the remainder of his career. (Roger Williams, Andy Williams, and Frank Sinatra all recorded cover versions).

And last but not least:

Mysterious Island Mysterious Island (in the UK: Jules Verne’s Mysterious Island) is a 1961 science fiction adventure film about Civil War prisoners who escape in a balloon and then find themselves stranded on a remote island populated by giant mutated animals.

The novel on which the film is based, the 1874 novel The Mysterious Island (L’Île mystérieuse) by Jules Verne, is a sequel to two other novels by Jules Verne, In Search of the Castaways (1867) and Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea (1870). The first book featured the island, the pirates and a character Tom Ayrton who was marooned on a nearby island. The second book featured Captain Nemo and the Nautilus presumed lost in the maelstrom at the end of that novel. In The Mysterious Island (1874) after the escapees’ balloon landed on the island, among many adventures, they encountered Ayrton alive, fought the pirates and discovered that Captain Nemo was their benefactor and the island the base for the Nautilus.

Mysterious Island 1961 movie poster

Shot in Catalonia, Spain (the beach scenes) and at Shepperton Studios in Shepperton, England (the escape from the confederate prison using the observation balloon), the film serves as a showcase for Ray Harryhausen’s stop motion animation effects. Those crazy giant creatures! I was fascinated by all the giant mutant animals in this movie. Interestingly, all the model creatures except the giant bird (which was re-purposed for use as the Ornithomimus in The Valley of Gwangi in 1969) still exist.

Mysterious Island 1961 movie poster

Like several of Harryhausen’s classic productions, the musical score was composed by the supremely talented Bernard Herrmann, who has an impressive career, including collaborations with Orson Welles and the great Alfred Hitchcock. In 1975 Bernard Herrmann arranged a suite from the film score. He recorded the suite in London at Kingsway Hall conducting the London Symphony Orchestra. The suite was the first of three suites on the London Phase 4 album THE MYSTERIOUS FILM WORLD OF BERNARD HERRMANN. The suite contains the cues “Prelude”, “The Balloon”, “The Giant Crab”, “The Giant bee” and “The Giant Bird”.

The artwork for the cover of the LP is the work of artist Dennis Pohl. (Note: this is a 14- minute instrumental score suite):

Be sure to check out the following original trailer for this 1961 sci-fi thrill-fest. If you remember this film, which mutant animal scene was your favorite? I always liked the scene where the man and woman are being sealed into the honeycomb by the giant bee. This trailer teases that scene. And the big chicken that jumps over the fence cracks me up: Everybody runs and makes sure to close the fence gate behind them and then the monster chicken just jumps right over it. Lol. You can see that in this trailer too. Also the giant crab that the men are trying to fight off with wooden sticks…

 

That wraps up this Monday’s Music Moves Me post. Hope you enjoyed the throwback to my childhood with my favorite movies. Were any of these your favorites? What others stand out in your memory as favorites?

Monday’s Music Moves Me (4M) is a blog hop hosted by Marie of X-Mas Dolly, and co-hosted by Cathy of Curious as a Cathy and Stacy of Stacy Uncorked Two other co-hosts recently joined the fun: Alana of Ramlin’ with AM and Naila Moon of Musings & Merriment with Michelle. Be sure to stop by and visit the hosts and the other participants listed below:

 

 

Advertisements

Missing Dad on Father’s Day

 

“When my father didn’t have my hand, he had my back.”                                                     – Linda Poindexter

Today is the second Father’s Day without my Dad. How I wish he were still here, in the flesh, so I could tell him once again how much I love him, how much I learned from him over the years, how grateful I am for everything he’s done for me and everything he’s instilled in me, and how fortunate I am that God chose him to be my earthly father because he was an incredible role-model on what it is to be a good person.

 

I think about you all the time Dad. Especially now with the weather so perfect, because I know if you were here you be where you most loved to be: sitting on my deck, watching the squirrels and the birds and the trees. I used to get a kick out of how you’d count and keep a running total of the number of doves in the tree. The deck just isn’t the same without you…

When I was looking around online to find the poem I wanted to include in this post, I found one that reminded me of the day I had the three big pine trees on the side of my driveway cut down. The sap that dripped from them constantly made a mess of my truck. So many times Dad and I cleaned that sticky gooey sap off my windshield — it was so thick we had to use a razor blade! The morning the crew came to cut those aggravating pines down, my Dad wanted to watch; I grabbed him a chair so he could get a good view of the take-down. He was so into it, it made me giggle.

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

To My Father

By Georgia Harkness

A giant pine, magnificent and old
Stood staunch against the sky and all around
Shed beauty, grace and power.
Within its fold birds safely reared their young.
The velvet ground beneath was gentle,
and the cooling shade gave cheer to passersby.
Its towering arms a landmark stood, erect and unafraid,
As if to say, “Fear naught from life’s alarms.”

It fell one day.
Where it had dauntless stood was loneliness and void.
But men who passed paid tribute – and said,
“To know this life was good,
It left its mark on me. Its work stands fast.”
And so it lives. Such life no bonds can hold –
This giant pine, magnificent and old.

HAPPY FATHERS DAY DAD. FOREVER IN MY HEART…

 

And Happy Father’s Day to all the Dads out there! Enjoy every moment you share with them.

“Perhaps they are not stars in the sky, but rather openings where our loved ones shine down to let us know they are happy.” – Eskimo Proverb

 

 

Battle of the Bands (#BOTB): Drops of Jupiter by Train

It’s mid-month in June and that means it is Battle of the Bands time. I am in love with the song I’ve chosen for today, and even more so after researching it and discovering how the song was inspired. Without further ado, let’s dig into “Drops of Jupiter” by Train.

Drops of Jupiter (Tell Me)” (simply “Drops of Jupiter” on the album) is a song written and recorded by American rock band Train. It was released in February 2001 as the lead single from their second album Drops of Jupiter. The song hit the top 5 of the Billboard Hot 100 chart and also charted in the top 40 for 29 weeks. The song was ranked at No. 4 on Billboard’s 2001 list of top singles of the year, a spot higher than the song peaked. (I think that’s unusual, no?)

Anyway, the recording features the signature strings of arranger Paul Buckmaster, who won the 2001 Grammy Award for Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocalist(s) for “Drops of Jupiter.”

Lead singer Patrick Monahan has stated that the song was inspired by his late mother, who had died after a struggle with cancer, and that the opening lines “came to [him] in a dream.” He said,

“The process of creation wasn’t easy. I just couldn’t figure out what to write, but then I woke up from a dream about a year after my mother passed away with the words ‘back in the atmosphere…It was just her way of saying what it was like – she was swimming through the planets and came to me with drops of Jupiter in her hair.”

The verse has a noted resemblance to the chorus of “Drift Away”, a song most famously performed by Dobie Gray, another song that is in my list of all-time favorites.

Critical Reception: Chuck Taylor of Billboard magazine reviewed the song favorably, saying that it

“demonstrates a truly artistic lyrical bent that merits instant acceptance of this credible rock-edged song.” He sums up the review saying “add piano, a splendid orchestral backdrop, and a vocal shimmering with passion and personality, and this is a runaway track for Train.”

“Drops of Jupiter” ascended to the top 10 of the Adult Contemporary chart in its 49th week, marking the longest climb to the top 10 on that tally by any act. The song has spent over 100 weeks on the Adult Contemporary charts, and is still charting on the Recurrents chart. Although the song was released years before digital download became commonplace, the song has sold over 1,000,000 downloads (it was also certified Gold by the RIAA), and hit the top 50 of the Digital Songs charts five years after its release due to Ace Young singing it on the fifth season of American Idol.

Here is Train’s outstanding “Drops of Jupiter.” This is not part of the battle and presented here only for your enjoyment. See battle contenders below.

 

Okay, I’m throwing a curve ball into my battle today…I think I found some decent covers of this song. As I was searching I also found some good acoustic covers so I thought I’d have two parts to my battle: Part 1 – a battle of Electronic covers, and Part 2 – a battle of Acoustic covers. If you all like the song as much as I do, you won’t mind this two-parter.

Part 1 – ELECTRONIC COVERS

CONTENDER #1: Anthem Lights – Anthem Lights is an American Christian group originating from Nashville, Tennessee. The group has released one EP under their former name and two albums under their current name. The group’s debut album was released May 10, 2011 by Reunion Records.

Anthem Lights began as a solo project for vocalist Chad Graham in the fall of 2007. Both he and Alan Powell were living in Los Angeles, writing music for Graham’s solo project. As the final vocal work was being installed, Powell and Graham came to a realization that the songs being written would be more appropriate performed as a group. It was then that Powell and Graham decided to alert their contacts at Liberty University in an effort to recruit members for what is now a singing group.

Powell and Graham’s contacts came to a consensus that Kyle Kupecky and Caleb Grimm would be the best candidates for the project. After receiving notifications by e-mail, Graham flew from Los Angeles to meet with Kupecky and Grimm, who gladly accepted membership. Powell joined the group at the last minute. (The original name of the group was Yellow Cavalier. The group recorded one self-titled EP under this name in 2009. The EP was released independently on May 26, 2009. The group changed their name to Anthem Lights before any other projects were released).

This is the Anthem Lights version of “Drops of Jupiter”, released in July of 2015:

 

CONTENDER #2:  Matt McAndrew – Matthew Brendan “Matt” McAndrew (born September 6, 1990) – Hey, he has the same birthday as me! Although I guess I have a few years on him…

Matt is a singer-songwriter best known for his appearance in Season 7 of NBC’s reality TV singing competition, The Voice, where he finished as the runner-up as part of Adam Levine’s team.

McAndrew grew up in the small town of Barnegat Light, New Jersey, and has been writing songs and performing in bands since he was a young child. During his senior year at the Southern Regional High School in Manahawkin, New Jersey, he decided to pursue a music career. He attended the University of the Arts, Philadelphia, graduating in 2013.

In his earlier days, McAndrew started writing solo acoustic material and playing his songs at open mic nights, ice cream parlors, and bars in 2010. He worked at Bach To Rock, a national music school franchise with a location in suburban Philadelphia, teaching voice, guitar and ukulele. He self-released an album called View of The Pines on March 1, 2014.

His big break came later that year. On September 4, 2014, it was announced that McAndrew would compete in season 7 of The Voice. During his Blind Audition, he covered Christina Perri’s “A Thousand Years.” Three coaches (Adam Levine, Blake Shelton and Pharrell Williams) turned around. He chose Adam Levine as his coach.

At the Battle rounds, McAndrew faced Ethan Butler where they sang “Yellow”. McAndrew was chosen over Butler, and advanced to the Knockout rounds. During the Knockouts, McAndrew covered “Drops of Jupiter”, defeated Rebekah Samarin, and advanced to the Live Playoffs.

For more details of his performances and standings in that season, see the Matt McAndrew Wikipedia page.

Here is his version of “Drops of Jupiter” from his performance on The Voice:

 

Part 2: ACOUSTIC COVERS

I found four really good acoustic covers of this song and had a hard time deciding which two to showcase. I’m still undecided at the 11th hour but I guess I’m going to go with these two, one a female vocalist from Canada and the other a trio of brothers from Florida. If you are interested in hearing the other two acoustic artists that I was considering, let me know in the Comments section and I’ll include them in the Results post.

CONTENDER #1: Jess Moskaluke – Jess Moskaluke (born June 4, 1990 in Langenburg, Saskatchewan) is a Canadian Country/country pop singer. She released her debut studio album, Light Up the Night in April 2014, which includes the Platinum-certified single “Cheap Wine and Cigarettes.”

In June 2011, Moskaluke won the Next Big Thing contest, sponsored by Big Dog 92.7 and SaskMusic. In September 2011, she won the New Artist Showcase Award at the Canadian Country Music Association Awards. She was chosen to represent Canada at the Global Artist Party at the 2012 CMA Music Festival.

Her version of “Drops of Jupiter” is from her album Cover Up, Vol 2, released in June 2012:

CONTENDER #2: Boyce AvenueBoyce Avenue is an American pop and rock band formed in Sarasota, Florida, by brothers Alejandro Luis Manzano, Daniel Enrique Manzano, and Fabian Rafael Manzano. The brothers attended Pine View School in Osprey, Florida. The band is named after a combination of two streets the brothers lived on as children. As of August 9, 2011, they are no longer signed to Universal Republic Records and have started their own independent record label called 3 Peace Records. Boyce Avenue releases original music as well as covers of contemporary and classic songs on YouTube. Boyce Avenue has also collaborated with many other YouTube artists.

Boyce Avenue frequently tours in the United States, Canada, Europe, Australia, and Southeast Asia.

This version of “Drops of Jupiter” was taken from the Covers EP Influential Sessions (2009), which came right after doing four volumes of Acoustic Sessions.

 

TIME TO VOTE! Which versions do you like better and why? Please choose one contender from each of the two battles, the Electronic battle AND the Acoustic battle.

When you’re done voting, please visit these other BOTB participants and check out their cool battles:

Thanks for your participation and your votes! Voting will be open until midnight on the 21st and I’ll post results on the 22nd or shortly thereafter. Until then, Rock On my friends…

Monday’s Music Moves Me – GREYHOUND SONGS!

My Monday’s Music Moves Me post today is deeply personal for me as I’ve put together a playlist of Songs about Greyhounds. As most of you know, greyhounds are the loves of my life and have been since 1999.

I was recently invited to participate in a wonderful event put on by the Central Texas chapter of Greyhound Adoption League of Texas (GALT-CenTx), (formerly known as Greyhound Pets of America-Central Texas (GPA-CT)). As an Animal Chaplain, I was extremely honored to do a Blessing of the Greyhounds prior to the Great Global Greyhound Walk.

The Great Global Greyhound Walk is an annual dog-walking event that aims to raise the profile of rescued and retired (ex-racing) greyhounds, showing the world what beautiful companions these dogs make. The event primarily involves hundreds of organized “walks” across the globe, all taking place on the same day.

Originally the event was known as the Great British Greyhound Walk, which started in 2010 but in 2016, the event went global and groups all over the world were coming together to celebrate greyhounds (and other sighthounds), to raise awareness of hounds in need and to continue to promote greyhounds as pets.

Yesterday (Sunday, June 10th) our group had the event at a lovely local lake (Lake Pflugerville, a reservoir in the Austin suburb of Pflugerville) with a wonderful turnout: 66 greyhounds and 1 sighthound (or 64 greyhounds and 3 sighthounds…not sure which); that incredible success puts us at 2nd place, just behind a Cincinnati group who had 73 hounds turnout. How cool!

Pre-Walk group photo of GALT-CenTX members and their hounds

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

It was a wonderful day. It was truly an honor to give a Blessing to the group prior to the walk and I so enjoyed the individual dog blessings that I gave as folks returned from the 3-mile walk. I find it very intimate and very spiritual to have that momentary heart connection with the dogs as I whisper a blessing in their ear, look into their eyes and end with a “God Bless You” and a sign of the cross on their beautiful heads. I also had fun handing out the treat bags I put together for the dogs and their people: pretty organza drawstring bags containing treats for the dogs, a St. Francis prayer card and a St. Francis medal for the dogs’ collars. I also had lovely Star of David charms so folks had their choice.

 

I wanted to continue the mission of the event – to bring awareness of the breed, their plight and to promote greyhounds as pets – over to my Monday’s Music Moves Me post so I searched for songs about greyhounds. Who knew there would be so many?! I wanted to share my favorites here with you.

Click on my Greyhound Songs playlist to listen to some music you’ve probably never heard before. It’s rare to find songs about greyhounds specifically and I was thrilled when I discovered these!  Be sure to give each a listen. And for sure check out the associated videos. They’re priceless!

Song info:

  1. Greyhound (Lazy Song) – this song is a wonderful video of various greyhounds set to the Bruno Mars song “The Lazy Song”
  2. Born to Run by Nancy Simmonds (from Greyhound, Born to Run album)
  3. The Race by Matt DahanForever Home Greyhounds used this song for one of its videos
  4. The Greyhound Song
  5. Miami by Nancy Simmonds – a song about a retired track greyhound from Simmonds’ album Musical Tails, 3rd Litter. Greyhound advocate group Grey2K USA used this song in a campaign to end greyhound racing in America.
  6. Greyhound by Nancy Simmonds from her Musical Tails, 5th Litter album

A fun discovery:

Singer/Songwriter Nancy Simmonds has recently completed over 118 purebred dog songs, which are designed to celebrate and honor our canine companions. The series is entitled Musical Tails and has been made available for download from iTunes.com. Designed to reflect the individual personality, temperament and history of each breed these songs have been known to make pet owners smile, laugh and cry.

“One of the greatest rewards of producing these songs has been seeing the reaction from pet owners as they listened to the lyrics describing their pet’s breed,” said Nancy Simmonds, a long time pet owner herself. “What I gave through writing the songs I got back many times over in smiles.”

Nancy began composing dog breed songs in the early 1990’s in Carpinteria, California, after discovering that no similar music existed. “I began madly writing about the popular breeds,” she said. “I loved the process of learning the history of each dog, its terrain, the purpose for which it was bred and then in many cases, I tried to study the music that came from the country of the dog’s origin. After years of writing ‘real songs’ in the music business it turned into a great big fun adventure.

To date Nancy has completed songs for many well-known breeds like the German Shepherd, Golden Retriever, Labrador Retriever, Pug, Dachshund, Poodle and Shih Tzu. Her collection also includes song for rarer breeds like the Kuvasz, Basenji, Afghan Hound, Rhodesian Ridgeback, Norwegian Elkhound and the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever.

While Nancy has had a successful musical career for over 35 years, her passion has always been for her dog songs. “I think these songs help pet owners celebrate & appreciate their four legged friends,” Nancy said. “It seems I could be busy for a long time recording all the registered breeds – and that that makes me one lucky writer!”

Just for your enjoyment, here are some other cool and comical greyhound videos. All of them are short so you have time to watch them! 

Cal the Greyhound – Looking for a Long-term Commitment: In 2008, the Greyhound Project produced a series of public service announcements to promote greyhound adoption. One of the spots, seen here, featured a black greyhound named Cal who was looking for a long term commitment. Fortunately for Cal, he was adopted soon after filming.

A Greyhound named Mosley does zoomies in the snow while wearing his Batman pajamas. I crack up every time I watch this video! And I am totally on the hunt for these Batman pajamas as I want to buy some for my boys…so if you ever come across them online, email me immediately!

Greyhounds Playing in Leaves: Greys Bree & Bit play in a pile of leaves on a sunny Autumn day.

Lemon the Greyhound: a greyhound named Lemon described by her owner. Hilarious!

Greyhound sings to the HALO theme song: This is River, a 7-year old greyhound who sings to the theme song of the HALO video game. Per his owner, “River won 7 of his 34 career races. He spends most of his retirement time doin’ nothin’ … and singin’ every now and then.”

Greyhounds Home Alone: This is a time-lapse video showing greyhounds home alone activity…

 

I hope you enjoyed my Songs about Greyhounds post. Do you have some favorite greyhound songs or videos that you want to share? f you attended the event yesterday, I’d love to hear about your experience and your favorite part. Tell me in the Comments section below.

Monday’s Music Moves Me (4M) is a blog hop hosted by Marie of X-Mas Dolly, and co-hosted by Cathy of Curious as a Cathy and Stacy of Stacy Uncorked Two other co-hosts recently joined the fun: Alana of Ramlin’ with AM and Naila Moon of Musings & Merriment with Michelle. Be sure to stop by and visit the hosts and the other participants listed below:

 

 

Monday’s Music Moves Me – CROSSOVER ARTISTS & SONGS

Today’s Monday’s Music Moves Me theme is from our June conductor Alana from Ramblin’ with AM. She asked that our playlist posts be about “Crossover Music” – Songs done by a group or singer that are of a different genre than that which they are primarily known. Example: a country singer with a rock hit or vice-versa. Per Wikipedia, “’Crossover’ is a term applied to musical works or performers who appeal to different types of audience, for example (especially in the United States) by appearing on two or more of the record charts which track differing musical styles or genres.”

This is a cool theme because I hadn’t really given much thought to the overall concept of “Crossover” in quite some time. I went deep with this one as it really took me back in time to some fabulous classics. Of course I included some current crossovers too. I put together a playlist of my favorite crossover songs through categorizing the genre flip.

First up is Rock to Country, followed by Country to Pop. Then I featured a few artists from yesteryear that I consider to be Bonafide Crossover Artists. Finally I explored crossover in a music genre with which I haven’t spent much time and that is Latin Music, although I do enjoy several of the songs.

So join me on my Crossover Journey. Here’s my Crossover Playlist for your listening pleasure as I share with you what I have learned about these artists and their music. As if it isn’t apparent, I get lost when I dive into these themes. I didn’t even realize how many songs/videos I had compiled in this playlist until I just went in to grab the embed code: there are fifty (50) songs here! Well, that should keep you occupied for a little while anyway…  Enjoy!

 

ROCK TO COUNTRY

Steven Tyler – Love Is Your Name: From: Rolling Stone, July 14, 2016: When the promo cycle for Aerosmith’s Music From Another Dimension began to die down in 2013, Steven Tyler took a semi-permanent vacation to Nashville, making surprise appearances at Keith Urban gigs and country music awards shows along the way. Two years later, he launched his country solo career with “Love Is Your Name,” a song that pitched its tent halfway between Aerosmith’s Get a Grip-era arena-rock and Mumford & Sons’ Americana. A full-length album, We’re All Somebody from Somewhere, followed in July 2016, but Tyler’s kickoff single still packs the biggest punch. — Andrew Leahey

“Love Is Your Name” is a song by Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler. Written by Eric Paslay and Lindsey Lee, it is the lead single from Tyler’s debut solo album, We’re All Somebody from Somewhere, which was released on July 15, 2016. Like the album, the single is a country song. The song was recorded at Blackbird Studios in Nashville, Tennessee with backing band Loving Mary and was produced by Dann Huff. The single was released on May 13, 2015 to all digital platforms.

The song penned by singer-songwriter Eric Paslay and Nashville newcomer Lindsey Lee was the first-ever collaboration between the pair. “We were in this little tiny room at his publishing company, and I usually go into writes with titles or ideas and concepts and stuff, and that day I come in, and I said, ‘Well, do you want me to throw out some title ideas?” Lee recalled to Taste of Country. “And Eric was like, ‘You know, Lindsey, let’s just see what falls from the sky.’ And I never will forget him saying that, because that’s not usually how I roll.”

“He started playing the guitar, and I started singing this melody, and the words just kind of fell into our laps,” Lee added. “We started saying the most poetic things, and it kinda just fell out of us. It was crazy. It was almost like it was meant to be written through us or something.”

The track wasn’t written with Steven Tyler in mind. “To me, it encompasses his style, and I don’t think me and Eric knew that when we wrote it,” Lee observed. “We were just writing a song. We didn’t say, ‘Hey, let’s write this for so-and-so.’ We just wrote what flowed out of us, and it ended up being exactly what Steven Tyler saw himself doing after Aerosmith, which is weird.”

The song was Lindsay Lee’s big break. It came about in 2013 when Steven Tyler came to Nashville’s Bluebird Cafe one night while Lee was playing a songwriters round with longtime Aerosmith songwriter Marti Frederiksen. She recalled to Taste of Country: “He was just there because Marti wanted him to come up and play a couple of songs, because Steven had never played anything like that. He had never played a small club like that, and Marti just kinda wanted him to get a feel of Nashville and the Bluebird. So Steven came, and that’s the night that I played ‘Love Is Your Name.’ I played it in my set.”

Lee continued: “Steven came up to me, and he was crying, and he said, ‘Lindsey, you will never know how much your music touched me.’ He told me how much he loved ‘Love Is Your Name’ and that he wanted to record it. This was back in September 2013. At the time he didn’t have the record deal yet with Big Machine. He was just in the very beginning stages of thinking he wanted to do a solo record, and I guess the beginning stages of thinking he wanted to do country.”

Tyler moved to Music City in January 2015 where he started hanging out and collaborating with some of Nashville’s finest singers and songwriters. “Love Is Your Name” was the first song that came out of those sessions. In April, Tyler officially signed a record deal with Scott Borchetta’s Dot Records (a subsidiary of the Big Machine Label Group).

Steven Tyler by Gage Skidmore

“I picked up and headed for Tennessee,” he said, “and the first day in the studio, I recorded a song that became my first single, and if ‘Love Is Your Name’, then Nashville’s my new girlfriend. I guess you could call that beginner’s luck.”

Tyler explained that his appreciation for country music has deep roots, identifying The Everly Brothers, Patsy Cline, Dan Hicks, and The Lovin’ Spoonful, artists he listened to growing up, among his influences in country and folk.

“My earliest influences put me somewhere between the Everly Brothers and the Carter Family, and this project is all about me paying homage to my country roots.”

The song begins with an autoharp, a musical instrument rarely heard in modern country music. The song also features fiddles and banjos. The song has been compared to Mumford & Sons, both due to its inspiring tone and its similar instrumentation. The song is also described as “harmony-rich” and “[not] quite like anything else on country radio at the moment”. Tyler himself describes it as being “a little bit between Steven Tyler and Mumford & Sons and the Everly Brothers.”

Commercially, the song debuted on the Country Airplay chart at No. 33, helped by hourly plays on iHeartMedia stations in its first day of release on May 13. It also debuted on the Hot Country Songs chart at No. 27, selling 25,000 copies in its first week. The song debuted at 75 on the Billboard Hot 100. The song has sold 110,000 copies in the US as of February 2016.

Bret Michaels – All I Ever Needed: From Rolling Stone, July 14, 2016: During the late Eighties, Bret Michaels scaled the highest of highs with his glam-metal band Poison – only to plunge into the lowest of the lows after grunge abruptly ended the hair-metal era in the early Nineties. After a long stretch of Behind the Music-style bad juju (including a near-fatal car wreck), Michaels swapped out his trademark bandana for a cowboy hat and even re-recorded some of his old Poison hits country-style. After serving as a judge on the 2005 season of Nashville Star, Michaels released a full-on country album, Freedom of Sound, which yielded up a charting country single with Jessica Andrews, “All I Ever Needed.” –David Menconi

Bret Michaels (2011)

“All I Ever Needed” is the first single released from Bret Michaels third studio album, Freedom of Sound. The song is a duet with country music singer Jessica Andrews. It was released on October 9, 2004, where it debuted at #57 on the U.S. Billboard Hot Country Songs chart. The song spent 16 weeks on the country charts, even after the song reached its peak of number 45 in its fourth chart week. The song has also become Michaels’ only chart entry on any Billboard chart to date.

The song features a music video, however, Jessica Andrews doesn’t appear in it. The video appeared on Billboard’s “Hot Videoclip Tracks” chart in 2008. The video was directed by Christie Cook. A second version of the video with Bret Michaels in Iraq footage was released in 2008 when the song featured on the compilation Rock My World.

Bon Jovi – Who Says You Can’t Go Home: In Rolling Stone, July 14, 2016: Bon Jovi rode their steel horse to Nashville for 2007’s Lost Highway album, one of the rock icons’ most successful projects to date. Produced by Nashville treasure (and former rocker himself) Dann Huff (Faith Hill, Keith Urban), the LP was nowhere near a 180-degree turn for the New Jersey group. It simply saw them putting a little more pedal steel to their arena-rousing sound. Duets with LeAnn Rimes, Big & Rich and Jennifer Nettles helped boost the album’s country cred, with the infectious, anthemic Nettles collab, “Who Says You Can’t Go Home,” as its chart-topping standout. —  Beville Dunkerley

“Who Says You Can’t Go Home” is a song written by Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora for the American rock band Bon Jovi’s ninth album Have a Nice Day (2005). It was released as the second single in North America in the first quarter of 2006 and reached the top 30 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 singles chart, peaking at #23. Outside North America, the song reached #5 in the UK, becoming the band’s second Top 10 single from the album.

This song is about remaining true to your roots no matter where life takes you. For Bon Jovi, their home is New Jersey, where they are a great source of pride. Despite their travels, that is always their home and they will always be welcomed back.

Jon Bon Jovi

In the United States, a version of the song was released to the Country music format as a duet with Jennifer Nettles, lead singer of the duo Sugarland. It peaked at #1 on the Country charts. This is the first song written by a rock band to hit #1 on the Country charts. (The country music version was originally recorded as a duet with Keith Urban, who also played banjo on the song. After Jon Bon Jovi decided that Urban’s voice was too similar to his own, he asked a representative of Mercury Records to recommend a female duet partner).

The music video for the country/Jennifer Nettles version, released in November 2005 and directed by Jon’s brother, Anthony M. Bongiovi, features Habitat for Humanity volunteers, including members of the Philadelphia Soul Arena Football League team owned in part by Jon Bon Jovi, building homes for low-income families and was used to promote the organization. It won an award for Best Collaborative Video at the CMT Music Awards in 2006.

The shooting of the music video for the regular version, featuring a man dressed up as a dog, began at the March 9, 2006 Bon Jovi concert at the Glendale Arena outside Phoenix and continued in the Los Angeles area. The video was released in the week of week of March 27, 2006. This video is also included in my playlist, playing immediately after the Country version of the song.

Jennifer Nettles admitted in an interview with The Colorado Springs Gazette that she was anxious about hooking up with the rocker. She said:

“I had his New Jersey posters on my door when I was in the seventh or eighth grade. It made me nervous because the last thing I would want is to ruin a Bon Jovi song.”

FUN FACT:  In 2008, Jon Bon Jovi talked about the song after Republican vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin used it at some of her campaign stops in Middle America. He said: “We wrote this song as a thank you to those who have supported us over the past 25 years. The song has since become a banner for our home state of New Jersey and the de facto theme song for our partnerships around the country to build homes and rebuild communities. Although we have not asked, we do not approve of their use of ‘Home.'”

Jon Bon Jovi is a committed Democrat, who having already hosted a $30,000-per-person fundraiser for Barack Obama at his New Jersey home, was understandably annoyed by the Republicans appropriating his song.

Darius Ruckervarious songs:

In Rolling Stone, July 14, 2016:

The statistics are pretty impressive: Darius Rucker fronted one of the biggest-selling rock bands in the world in the mid-Nineties, yet he’s had more Number One albums and way more Number One songs as a country artist. When he announced Hootie & the Blowfish’s hiatus in 2008 so he could pursue a solo career, pretty much everybody figured this thing would be a flash in the pan. But with an honest appreciation for the genre, heartfelt songs and unique, raspy-but-warm vocals, he’s become a truly beloved figure on the scene. (And nobody calls him Hootie anymore.)         — C.P.

Darius Carlos Rucker (born May 13, 1966) is an American singer and songwriter born and raised in Charleston, South Carolina. He first gained fame as the lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist of the Grammy Award-winning American rock band Hootie & the Blowfish, which he founded in 1986 at the University of South Carolina along with Mark Bryan, Jim “Soni” Sonefeld, and Dean Felber. I LOVE Hootie and the Blowfish! I could listen to their Cracked Rear View album all day: “Let Her Cry”, “Hold My Hand”, “Only Want to Be With You” — The songs sold me but I knew I was hooked when I heard the name of the band back in 1994. They released five studio albums with Rucker as a member, and charted six top 40 hits on the Billboard Hot 100. Rucker co-wrote the majority of the band’s songs with the other three members.

Although I’m mainly a Classic Rocker kind of chick, I do enjoy good Country music sometimes. I started hearing this new Country star named Darius Rucker and was really digging his sound. Then someone mentioned that he used to be the lead singer of Hootie and the Blowfish and it blew me away. He was certainly off and running in the Country genre now.

Darius Rucker

In early 2008, Darius Rucker signed to Capitol Records Nashville as the beginning of a career in country music. His first solo single, “Don’t Think I Don’t Think About It” (which he co-wrote with Clay Mills) debuted at No. 51 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs charts for the week of May 3, 2008. It is the first single from his second album, Learn to Live. For this album, Rucker worked with Frank Rogers, a record producer who has also produced for Brad Paisley and Trace Adkins. Rucker also made his Grand Ole Opry debut in July 2008. The single reached number one in September, making Rucker the first solo, African-American artist to chart a #1 country hit since Charley Pride’s “Night Games” in 1983. (Ray Charles hit number one in March 1985 in a duet with Willie Nelson with “Seven Spanish Angels”).

Learn to Live was certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) on February 6, 2009 and received a platinum certification on August 7, 2009. The album’s second single, “It Won’t Be Like This for Long”, spent three weeks at the top of the country chart in mid-2009. Its follow-up, “Alright”, inspired by his marriage, became Rucker’s third straight No. 1 hit, making him the first singer to have his first three country singles reach No. 1 since Wynonna in 1992. The album’s fourth single, “History in the Making” was released in September and peaked at NO. 3. The singles also crossed over to the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at 35, 36, 30 and 61 respectively.

“You see a lot of people doing a one-off, saying, ‘This is my country record.’ But this is a career I’m trying to build. The people that say that they don’t get it, I’ll let the music speak for itself. I plan to do a lot of country records.”  –Darius Rucker

Rucker’s entry into the country world was met with some intrigue, largely because of his history as a rock musician and because he is African-American. Billboard magazine said that “there’s a sense of purpose that makes Rucker feel like a member of the country family, rather than calculating interloper.” Rucker made visits to various country stations around the United States, explaining that he was aware that he was the “new kid on the block.” Mike Culotta, the program director of Tampa, Florida, radio station WQYK-FM expected that Rucker would be “somebody who would have entitlement,” but instead said that “Darius engaged everybody.” When Rucker found that “Don’t Think I Don’t Think About It” went to number one, he cried. On November 11, 2009, Rucker won the Country Music Association New Artist of the Year award (formerly known as the Horizon Award), making him the first African American to do so since the award was introduced in 1981. Only one other African American has won at the CMAs: Charley Pride, who won entertainer of the year in 1971 and male vocalist in 1971 and 1972.

A second album, Charleston, SC 1966, was released on October 12, 2010. The album includes the number one singles, “Come Back Song” and “This”. The album title is inspired by Radney Foster’s solo debut album, Del Rio, TX 1959. Its first single was “Come Back Song” which Rucker wrote with Chris Stapleton and Casey Beathard. It was his fourth country number one as well as a NO. 37 hit on the Hot 100. “This” was the sixth solo single release of his career. It reached number-one on the U.S. Billboard Hot Country Songs chart in April 2011. Sarah Rodman of the Boston Globe wrote that the song “falls squarely in the country pop sweet spot”. Country Weekly reviewer Jessica Phillips said that it was “an accurate reflection” of Rucker’s role as husband and father.

And for my final song in the Darius Rucker set, I’m including “Homegrown Honey” from Rucker’s fifth studio album Southern Style (2015). Rucker wrote the song with Charles Kelley of Lady Antebellum and Nathan Chapman.

The song received a favorable review from Taste of Country, which called it a “feel-good melody” which “lives up to expectations.” It went on to say that the song is “consistent with what Rucker has released since debuting as a full-time country artist in 2008” and “his vocals stand out above all other instruments, stamping an undeniable signature on this country cut.” Paul Bowers of Charleston City Paper also gave the song a favorable review. Bowers called it “classic feel-good Rucker,” writing that “he’s got that country drawl down pat without trying too hard, he’s consistently writing catchy summer anthems like this one, and he’s just a nice dude by all accounts.”

Chart positions show that once again, Rucker’s country styling crosses over to mainstream. Peak chart positions for “Homegrown Honey” were #2 on the Billboard Country Airplay, #6 on Billboard Hot Country Songs chart; debuting at #97 on the Billboard Hot 100, it peaked there at #53. In Canada, the song reached #11 on the Billboard Country chart and #76 on the Canadian Hot 100.

A music video was shot in Conway, South Carolina in August 2014, filmed primarily at Coastal Carolina University, with the beginning bar scene shot at Rivertown Bistro in Conway. The video features scenes of a woman in a bar, Rucker in a hallway surrounded by fans, as well as the band playing their concert at the school.

 

COUNTRY TO POP

Glen Campbell: I’ve long been a Glen Campbell fan since listening to his many songs as they played over and over on my parents’ stereo console turntable. I like so many of his hit songs but I would say my favorite is “Wichita Lineman”.

Wichita Lineman: “Wichita Lineman” is a song written by American songwriter Jimmy Webb in 1968. It was first recorded by American country music artist Glen Campbell with backing from members of The Wrecking Crew, a loose collective of session musicians based in Los Angeles whose services were employed for thousands of studio recordings in the 1960s and early 1970s, including several hundred Top 40 hits. The musicians were not publicly recognized in their era, but were viewed prestigiously among industry insiders. They are now considered one of the most successful and prolific session recording units in music history. Interestingly, before he became a solo star, Campbell was a prominent session musician, and on this track, he employed many of the people he used to play alongside on studio dates.

Campbell’s version, which appeared on his 1968 album of the same name, reached number 3 on the US pop chart, remaining in the Top 100 for 15 weeks. In addition, the song also topped the American country music chart for two weeks, and the adult contemporary chart for six weeks. It was certified gold by the RIAA in January 1969. The song reached number 7 in the United Kingdom. In Canada, the single also topped both the RPM national and country singles charts.

When I was considering what other songs to include in my Glen Campbell set here, I found a great article in Variety magazine’s online version, dated August 8, 2017, the date of his death. In addition to an overall snapshot of his life and career, the article, entitled Glen Campbell: A Pioneer of Country Crossover, a Humanizer of Alzheimer’s Disease, details his journey as a crossover artist. Here’s a snippet of the piece, written by Brian Mansfield:

“I’m not a country singer,” Glen Campbell often said. “I’m a country boy who sings.”

Campbell, who died at 81 on Tuesday after a long battle with Alzheimer’s disease, became one of pop music’s biggest crossover stars with ’60s and ’70s singles like “Gentle on My Mind,” “By the Time I Get to Phoenix,” “Wichita Lineman,” “Galveston,” “Southern Nights” and “Rhinestone Cowboy.”

Glen Campbell

Whether performing songs penned by ‘60s chart titan Jimmy Webb or indie-rocker Paul Westerberg, Campbell played and sang with an effortless plaintiveness that made him a model for younger generations of artists like Keith Urban, Vince Gill and Brad Paisley, who, like him, felt comfortable moving between the genres of country and pop music. He had a boyish handsomeness that made his transition from the recording studio into world of television and film seem like a foregone conclusion. The records he made with Webb as writer and Al DeLory as producer practically defined country-pop crossover during the late ‘60s, and “Rhinestone Cowboy” and “Southern Nights” did the same in the ‘70s. Campbell’s recording spanned six decades, leading to his induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2005.”

The article goes on to chronicle his breakthrough and rise to fame:

“Campbell released his first album in 1962 and his early singles occasionally appeared on the lower rungs of Billboard’s pop and country charts. His breakthrough came in 1967 with a pair of songs: John Hartford’s “Gentle on My Mind” and Jimmy Webb’s “By the Time I Get to Phoenix.” Those two singles would win Campbell four Grammys in 1968 — two in country categories, two in pop — and vault his career to a new level.

“By the Time I Get to Phoenix” established a creative template that would serve Campbell well: his voice, Webb’s material, and De Lory’s distinctively lush arrangements that skirted the line between pop and country. That team would be responsible for Campbell’s best-known hits from that era, including “Wichita Lineman,” “Galveston,” “Where’s the Playground, Susie” and “Honey Come Back.”…

“…The hit records didn’t come as big or as frequently for Campbell during the early ’70s, though he remained a familiar presence on television. He occasionally hosted “The Midnight Special,” a late-night music series, and in what must have been a challenging role, co-hosted the Country Music Association Awards in 1975, the year Charlie Rich famously burned the envelope revealing folk-pop sensation John Denver as the organization’s entertainer of the year.

In 1975, seeking to jump-start Campbell’s career, Capitol Records paired him with producers Dennis Lambert and Brian Potter. With records like the Four Tops’ “Ain’t No Woman (Like the One I’ve Got)” and the Righteous Brothers’ “Rock and Roll Heaven,” the Lambert-Potter team had built a reputation for helping established artists find second acts in their careers.

Their magic worked for Campbell, too. He’d found a tune by singer-songwriter Larry Weiss that perfectly described his career, the dreams he had and the compromises he’d made. When he insisted to Lambert and Capitol Records vice president Al Coury that he be allowed to cut it, Campbell discovered they’d each already heard the song and thought it would make an ideal comeback record.

“Rhinestone Cowboy” became Campbell’s first No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and the defining song of his career. The session work may have built his reputation among fellow musicians, the TV show and ‘60s hits may have made him a star — but “Rhinestone Cowboy” cemented a lasting pop-culture legacy for Campbell.”

You can read the entire article here. And you can hear my favorite Glen Campbell hits in my Crossover playlist, in this order: “Wichita Lineman”, “Gentle on My Mind”, “By the Time I Get to Phoenix”, “Galveston”, “Southern Nights” and “Rhinestone Cowboy”, my second favorite Glen Campbell song.

Here’s a list detailing these Glen Campbell songs, their release year and their peak positions on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart, the Billboard Hot 100, and the Billboard Adult Contemporary chart.

YEAR SONG HOT COUNTRY SONGS HOT 100 ADULT CONTEMPORARY
1967 Gentle On My Mind 30 62 n/a
1967 By the Time I Get to Phoenix 2 26 12
1968 Wichita Lineman 1 3 1
1969 Galveston 1 4 1
1970 It’s Only Make Believe 3 10 2
1975 Rhinestone Cowboy 1 1 1
1977 Southern Nights 1 1 1

The following video was shared with me by our friend John over at The Sound of One Hand Typing. It is an interview with Alice Cooper on the death of his good friend Glen Campbell. I found it captivating and heartwarming, this unexpected friendship that runs so deep. Watch it if you have a chance. Thanks for sharing that with me John!

 

And if you’re a Glen Campbell fan (and even if you aren’t), this video of his last song is sure to bring a few tears to your eyes. RIP Glen Campbell!

Kenny Rogers – Lady: “Lady” is a song written by Lionel Richie and first recorded by American country artist Kenny Rogers. It was released in September 1980 on the album Kenny Rogers’ Greatest Hits. It is listed at #47 on Billboard’s All Time Top 100 and ranks among Kenny Rogers’s biggest hits. Rogers once told an interviewer, “The idea was that Lionel would come from R&B and I’d come from country, and we’d meet somewhere in pop.”

The success of “Lady” also boosted Richie’s career. The production work on the song was his first outside the Commodores and foreshadowed his success as a solo act during the 1980s. Rogers was also a featured vocalist on “We Are the World”, co-written by Richie. Richie performed the song himself on his 1998 album, Time, and he and Rogers performed the song as a duet on Richie’s 2012 release Tuskegee. Lionel Richie had originally pitched “Lady” to the Commodores and they turned it down. Then later, it was given to Kenny Rogers to record and it became the biggest selling hit single for him as a solo artist.

Kenny Rogers

Since his breakup with the First Edition, Rogers had tasted considerable success as a solo act, with nine No. 1 entries on the Billboard magazine Hot Country Singles chart (prior to the release of “Lady”), plus several Top 10 hits on the Billboard Hot 100 and Adult Contemporary Singles charts.

“Lady,” according to music historian Fred Bronson, would prove to be an important record for both Richie and Rogers. It became the first record of the 1980s to chart on all four of Billboard magazine’s singles charts – country, Hot 100, adult contemporary and Top Black Singles.

It reached No. 1 on three of those charts in late 1980. On the Hot 100, “Lady” peaked at the summit on November 15 and stayed at the top for a massive six-week stint (tying with Blondie’s “Call Me” for the longest run of the year). On December 27, it would be knocked out of the top spot by “(Just Like) Starting Over” by John Lennon. On the Hot Country Singles chart, it would spend a week at the summit. “Lady” also peaked at number forty-two on the Top Black Singles chart.

As a country entry, “Lady” was Rogers’ 10th chart-topping hit in a career that saw him collect 20 No. 1 songs between 1977 and 2000. On the Hot 100, it was his only solo chart-topping song, although Rogers would have a duet No. 1 three years later (1983’s “Islands in the Stream” with Dolly Parton). On the Adult Contemporary Singles chart, “Lady” was Rogers’ second (of eight) songs that reached the chart’s summit. Billboard ranked it at the No. 3 song for 1981.

 

Dolly Parton – 9 to 5: “9 to 5” is a song written and originally performed by American country music entertainer Dolly Parton for the 1980 comedy film of the same name. The song was written for the comedy film 9 to 5, starring Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin, and Parton in her film debut. The song—and film—owe their titles to an organization founded in 1973 with the aim of bringing about better treatment for women in the workplace.

Dolly Parton (1976)

In addition to appearing on the film soundtrack, the song was the centerpiece of Parton’s 9 to 5 and Odd Jobs album, released in late 1980. The song was released as a single in November 1980.

The song garnered Parton an Academy Award nomination and four Grammy Award nominations, winning her the awards for “Best Country Song” and “Best Country Vocal Performance, Female”. For a time, the song became something of an anthem for office workers in the U.S., and in 2004, Parton’s song ranked number 78 on American Film Institute‘s “100 years, 100 songs”.

The song was accompanied by a music video that featured footage of Parton and her band performing, intercut with clips from the film.

The song reached number one on the Billboard Country Chart in January 1981. In February 1981, it went to number one both the Billboard Hot 100 and the Adult Contemporary chart, respectively. It became her first No.1 entry on the former.

So then, What happens when you combine the talents of Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton? You get a chart-topping crossover hit called “Islands in the Stream”;

Kenny Rogers & Dolly Parton – Islands in the Stream: “Islands in the Stream” is a song written by the Bee Gees and sung by American country music artists Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton. Named after the Ernest Hemingway novel, it was originally written for Marvin Gaye in an R&B style, only later to be changed for the Kenny Rogers album. It was released in August 1983 as the first single from Rogers’ album Eyes That See in the Dark.

The song reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in the United States, giving both Rogers and Parton their second pop number-one hit (after Rogers’ “Lady” in 1980 and Parton’s “9 to 5” in 1981). It also topped the Country and Adult Contemporary charts. It has been certified Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America for selling over two million physical copies in the US. In 2005 the song topped CMT’s poll of the best country duets of all time; Parton and Rogers reunited to perform the song on the CMT special.

Rogers and Parton went on to record a Christmas album together, and had an additional hit with their 1985 duet “Real Love”.

Carrie UnderwoodOne of the most successful artists in any musical genre, Carrie Underwood has sold more than 65 million records worldwide. Recognized by Billboard as Country Music’s reigning Queen and by Rolling Stone as “the female vocalist of her generation of any genre”, she was listed by Time as one of the 100 most influential people in the world in 2014. Underwood is the top country artist of all-time on the RIAA’s Digital Singles ranking and the highest certified country album artist to debut in the 21st century. She is the only solo country artist in the 2000s to have a number-one hit on the Billboard Hot 100, the only country artist to debut at number one on the Hot 100, and the woman with most number-one hits in the history of the Billboard Country Airplay chart, with fifteen. She is the most successful American Idol winner, per Forbes. Billboard named Some Hearts the number-one country album of the 2000s and her as top female artist on their ‘Best Country Artists of the 2000s’ list.

Carrie Underwood

I like a lot of Carrie Underwood’s songs but my absolute favorite is this fabulous crossover hit:

Before He Cheats: “Before He Cheats” is a song written by Chris Tompkins and Josh Kear and the third wide-release single from Carrie Underwood’s debut studio album, Some Hearts (2005). It was the fifth release from the album overall.

This song is about revenge. The song tells the story of a woman taking revenge on her potentially unfaithful boyfriend/husband. Underwood sings about going into a parking lot and vandalizing her cheating boyfriend’s 4×4 truck with a baseball bat. She finds solace knowing that the next time he cheats, it won’t be on her.

The song became an enormous crossover success, topping the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart for five consecutive weeks, reaching the top five on the Billboard Adult Top 40 chart, and becoming a top ten hit on the Billboard Mainstream Top 40 and Adult Contemporary charts. On the Billboard Hot 100 chart, “Before He Cheats” reached number eight and achieved a longevity of 64 consecutive weeks on the chart, making it the sixth longest-charting single in the history of the Hot 100 chart.

Commercial Crossover Success of the song: “Before He Cheats” first appeared on the charts in February 2006. Although it had not at that point been released as a single, many country stations began giving the song unsolicited airplay, leading it to debut on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart at number 59. By the time the song was officially released as Some Hearts’ third single in August of that year, it had already racked up 20 non-consecutive weeks on the chart, reaching as high as number 49. After the official release, the song climbed the country charts quickly, reaching number one in November and remaining there for five weeks. This was Underwood’s third consecutive number one country single and fourth number one single overall. It also managed to debut on the Billboard Hot 100 chart at number 92, and by November it had reached number 16 on that chart. By the end of 2006, the song began to slowly descend the charts, and it had appeared the single had peaked.

However, pop radio began to take notice of the song in February 2007, around the time of Underwood’s Grammy Award wins. As the single increased its top 40 airplay, it began to rebound on the Hot 100 chart. The new airplay, along with attention from numerous award show wins for the song, such as favorite country song at the 2007 People’s Choice Awards in January and Video of the Year at the 2007 CMTs in April, reinvigorated digital sales as well. When it finally peaked at number 8 in May 2007, it had already logged 38 weeks on the chart, making it the longest-trek to the top 10 ever. As pop airplay began dying down, the song got a third life on the adult contemporary format, which began playing the song in May. “Before He Cheats” spent 64 consecutive weeks on the Hot 100 chart, before finally falling off in late November 2007. The song is one of the longest-charting hits in Billboard history, and was the third longest-running hit of the 2000s decade.

“Before He Cheats” was ranked sixth on the 2007 Hot 100 Year-end chart and fifth on the 2007 Hot 100 Airplay Year-end chart by Billboard. It was also ranked tenth on the 2007 Adult Contemporary Year-end chart.

Fun Fact #1: The song holds the record for the longest ascent to the top ten of the Billboard Hot 100. It took 38 weeks to climb to the top tier in 2006-07.

Fun Fact #2: When Underwood sings about her ex putting on “bathroom Polo,” she’s referring to vending machines found in the men’s rooms of certain US drinking establishments that dispense low-grade cologne. The guys who buy these fragrances often believe it will help them attract a mate in the bar, although many females are actually repelled by the scent.

From the Songwriters: Chris Tomkins and Josh Kear told The Boot the story of the song:

Chris Tompkins: “At the time, Gretchen Wilson was going in to record. After her first record, everybody wanted to have a song on that second record, and I was trying to think of edgy stuff. I never would’ve thought that Carrie Underwood would record it! I went into my office that morning and began what I’d typed earlier. And without even talking about it, Josh just sang that chorus line, ‘Maybe next time, he’ll think before he cheats …’ So we just started talking about it from there, how to match that first verse, and started thinking of some quirky stuff like that. And like good songs always do, the song kind of wrote itself from there. Usually a song takes a couple of writing sessions, four or five hours each – and talking and goofing off, having coffee. But this was such a quick write. It took about two hours. It was the first song I wrote in my new house! typing lyrics… not even picking up a guitar or a pen or anything… and I typed up that first verse. I’d just moved into my new house, and Josh had come over, and we were just looking for ideas. I played him.”

Josh Kear: “Chris had called me halfway through a day I actually had off, and said he had a piece of something and wanted me to come over. So I dropped what I was doing and went over. He played me those first few lines, ‘Right now, he’s prob’ly slow dancing with a bleach-blonde tramp …’ And when he hit the line, ‘she can’t shoot whiskey,’ I was completely hooked! Funny thing is, I used to always say, the first woman that ever gets really pissed at me and is willing to break my car windows and fill my car up with wet concrete is the one I would marry! I used to joke about that for years, and it’s nothing more than a joke! But when we were writing this song, I thought, “Wow! If she knew this was going on inside the bar – which was what we already had laid out in that first verse – how would she react to that?” And that’s when we thought, let’s actually let her get pissed! And the chorus is every bit of that. It’s a lot of stuff that most people would say you can’t put in a song, but we did it anyway.
When we were writing it, we were actually trying to keep it humorous, but when Carrie got hold of it, she just did it so well, and really made it her own. We expected it would be a little more light-hearted, but when we heard it, we thought, wow, she really drove it home! We couldn’t be more grateful to Carrie – for just wailin’!”

Per Carrie: Speaking with CMT, Underwood admitted she almost passed on this song out of fear of a fan backlash.

“I remember at that time – because that was right after Idol – we [were] on the road, and then I get this song,” she recalled. “I [thought], ‘People are going to hate me for singing this song.’ They’re gonna be like, ‘Oh my gosh, we can’t listen to her album. She’s bad, and I can’t let my children listen to this.’ Finally I was just like, ‘You know what? I like this song. I would turn this song up on the radio, so I’m just gonna go for it.'”

So glad she did! And thanks to this song, Underwood carved out a niche for songs that take down badly behaved boyfriends. Some of her later tunes to incorporate this theme include “Cowboy Casanova,” “Two Black Cadillacs” and “Dirty Laundry.”

Music Video: This has to be one of my favorite music videos of all time! The music video for “Before He Cheats” was directed by Roman White. In the beginning of the video Underwood is seen leaving a parking lot brandishing a Louisville Slugger, having just vandalized her husband/boyfriend’s truck for cheating on her. In other scenes, the “husband/boyfriend” (portrayed by actor Tabb Shoup) is seen kissing another woman. As the video progresses Underwood takes the stage to sing as various objects behind her, such as lamps, are seen exploding. At one point, a screen shot of the front seat of the truck is seen with Underwood’s name carved in it, which she mentions during the chorus of the song. Eventually, she catches up with her cheating husband/boyfriend with the other woman. After looking shocked for a second, she scoffs and drops the keys to his now-demolished truck into his drink. Towards the end Underwood struts down a street, singing along with the song, while different objects are shown flying across the air, glasses are seen shattering, and light bulbs explode, paying homage to Brian De Palma’s Carrie. At the very end of the music video, the truck is shown completely destroyed.

The early scenes in the video featuring a crowd in a narrow street and Underwood in a parking garage, were filmed in and around Printer’s Alley in downtown Nashville, Tennessee. The final scene, featuring the exploding glass and light bulbs, was filmed on Fourth Avenue just north of Church Street in Nashville.

“Before He Cheats” made GAC music video history by debuting at number one. It also marks the third consecutive number-one music video on GAC for Underwood. It made history on CMT’s Top Twenty Countdown for being at number one for a consecutive five weeks. In December 2006, “Before He Cheats” was named the best video of 2006 by CMT’s Top 20 Countdown. It also finished number two in GAC’s Video of the Year for 2006 behind Trace Adkins’s “Honky Tonk Badonkadonk”. Proving its crossover success, the video made a debut at number 15 on the VSpot Top 20 Countdown, peaking at number 4.

The video premiered on MTV’s Total Request Live in April 2007, this is the second country music video to be premiered in this program, the first being “These Boots Are Made for Walkin'” by Jessica Simpson.

On April 16, 2007, the video for “Before He Cheats” swept the CMT Music Awards, winning three categories: Video of the Year, Female Video of the Year, and Director of the Year. Underwood made history by being the first female to win Video of the Year.

The video also garnered Carrie a nomination for Music Video of the Year at the 2007 Country Music Association Awards and a nomination for a 2007 MTV Video Music Award in the category of Best New Artist.

The music video was ranked number nine on CMT’s 100 Greatest Videos. It also ranked number one on GAC’s Top 50 Videos of the 2000s.

In 2009, the music video for the song was voted number one by fans as VH1’s Greatest Diva Music Video of all-time, before the airing of the annual VH1 Divas Live special.

Taylor Swift – We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together: Concurrent with Underwood’s crossover success was the debut of teen singer-songwriter Taylor Swift. Swift initially specialized in country-flavored coffee house songs such as “Tim McGraw” and “Teardrops on My Guitar,” but as her success grew, she increasingly began moving her musical career toward pop. Beginning with “The Story of Us” in 2010, Swift started releasing some of her songs either primarily, or solely, as pop tunes. Many of the songs Swift recorded for the country and pop markets also achieved wide success (especially “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together,” which topped both charts), turning her into a leading example of a country crossover phenomenon, with various critics lauding her as the “next Shania Twain”. A change to the Billboard methodology for compiling charts such as country charts directly benefited crossover artists such as Swift by taking into account airplay on non-country stations.

After writing Speak Now (2010) entirely solo, Swift opted to collaborate with different songwriters and producers for her album Red. Thus, she called Max Martin and Shellback, two songwriters and producers whose work she admired, to discuss a possible collaboration. The trio conceived the concept for “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” shortly after a friend of Swift’s ex-boyfriend walked into the recording studio and spoke of rumors he heard that Swift and her former flame were reuniting. After the friend left, Martin and Shellback asked Swift to elaborate on the details of the relationship, which she described as “break up, get back together, break up, get back together, just, ugh, the worst”. When Martin suggested that they write about the incident. Swift began playing the guitar and singing, “We are never ever……”, and the song flowed rapidly afterwards. She described the process as one of the most humorous experiences she had while recording, and said the musical partners matched her expectations. An audio clip of her sarcastically speaking about breakups can be heard before the final chorus.

The song is reportedly about Swift’s ex, Jake Gyllenhaal, as the two had broken up in January 2011 but had been seen on a date a few days later. After the release of the music video, more clues linking the song to Gyllenhaal emerged, with the actor looking like Gyllenhaal, the actor in the video giving her a scarf as Gyllenhaal had reportedly done for Swift and a bracelet Swift wears in the video that is speculated to look similar to that of which Gyllenhaal was rumored to have given Swift for her birthday.

Swift premiered the single on August 13, 2012, during a live chat on Google+ and the song was released on Google Play that day for digital download with it being released to iTunes and Amazon.com the next day, August 14. A lyric video also premiered on Swift’s official Vevo that same day. The song was released to Adult Contemporary radio stations on August 13, 2012 with it being released to mainstream radio stations the next day. The song was later released to country radio on August 21, 2012. The music video for the song premiered on August 30, 2012.

(Other artists who have found success on both pop and country in the early 2010s, in addition to the continued success of Swift and Underwood, have been Lady Antebellum and The Band Perry). Florida Georgia Line also crossed over to the pop charts with a remixed version of their song “Cruise”. This version features rapper Nelly. The popularity of bro-country by artists such as Luke Bryan has increased the crossover success of country artists, a tradition which has further continued through the infusion of R&B music by artists including Brett Eldredge, Thomas Rhett and Sam Hunt).

BONAFIDE CROSSOVER ARTISTS

There are several artists that are recognized as overall crossover artists. Here are two of my favorites, from back in the day:

Anne MurrayMorna Anne Murray (born June 20, 1945), known professionally as Anne Murray, is a Canadian singer in pop, country, and adult contemporary music whose albums have sold over 55 million copies worldwide.

Anne Murray – Women in Country photo

Anne’s second album, This Way Is My Way, was released in the fall of 1969. It featured the single that launched her career, “Snowbird”, which became a No. 1 hit in Canada. “Snowbird” became a surprise hit on the U.S. charts as well, reaching No. 8 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1970. It was also the first of her eight No. 1 Adult Contemporary hits. “Snowbird” was the first Gold record ever given to a Canadian artist in the United States (RIAA certified Gold on November 16, 1970). As one of the most successful female artists at that time, she became in demand for several television appearances in Canada and the United States, eventually becoming a regular on the hit U.S. television series The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour.

After the success of “Snowbird”, she had a number of subsequent singles that charted both pop and country simultaneously. During the 1970s and 1980s, her hits included Kenny Loggins’s “Danny’s Song” (1972) (peaked at No. 7 on the Hot 100) and “A Love Song” (1973). And many more that you can read about on Anne Murray’s Wikipedia page.

Snowbird: “Snowbird” is a song by the Canadian songwriter Gene MacLellan. Though it has been recorded by many performers (including Bing Crosby and Elvis Presley), it is best known through Anne Murray’s 1969 recording, which—after appearing as an album track in mid-1969—was eventually released as a single in the summer of 1970. It was a No. 2 hit on Canada’s pop chart and went to No. 1 on both the Canadian adult contemporary and country charts. The song reached No. 8 on the U.S. pop singles chart, spent six weeks at No. 1 on the U.S. adult contemporary chart, and became a surprise Top 10 U.S. country hit as well. It was certified as a gold single by the RIAA, the first American Gold record ever awarded to a Canadian solo female artist. The song peaked at No. 23 on the UK Singles Chart. In 2003 it was an inaugural song inductee of the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame.

Danny’s Song: “Danny’s Song” is a song written by American singer-songwriter Kenny Loggins, as a gift for his brother Danny for the birth of his son, Colin. It first appeared on an album by Gator Creek and later appeared a year later on the album Sittin’ In, the debut album by Loggins and Messina. The song is well remembered for both the Loggins and Messina original, as well as Anne Murray’s 1972 top-ten charting cover.

Canadian country-pop music singer Anne Murray was a fan of the original recording and recorded a cover version in 1972. The version she recorded of the song omitted two of the lyric verses and is in a different key than the original version by Loggins & Messina. Included on her album of the same name, Murray’s version of “Danny’s Song” was a hit, reaching the Top 10 on three major Billboard music charts in early 1973. On the pop chart, the song reached number seven (returning Murray to that chart’s top ten for the first time since 1970’s “Snowbird”); on the country chart, it peaked at number ten; and on the easy listening chart, it spent two weeks at number one in March of that year. Murray’s version also earned her a Grammy Award nomination in the category Best Female Pop Vocal performance at the Grammy Awards of 1974, losing out to “Killing Me Softly with His Song” by Roberta Flack. Murray stated that she loved the original version, but the song took on a deeper meaning for her after the birth of her first child a few years later. In an interview, she stated that “Whenever I was singing that song, it was very meaningful.”

A Love Song: “A Love Song” is a song written by Kenny Loggins and Dona Lyn George, first released by the folk-rock duo Loggins & Messina in 1973 on their album Full Sail. Country artist Anne Murray (who’d taken her recording of another Loggins & Messina recording, “Danny’s Song”, to the top-ten in late 1972) covered the song later that year for her album of the same name.

Released in December 1973, Murray’s version became a major crossover hit early in 1974. In her native Canada, it topped all three singles charts: the overall Top Singles chart, the Country Tracks chart and the Adult Contemporary chart. In the United States, the song peaked at No. 5 on the Billboard magazine Hot Country Singles chart and just missed the Top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at No. 12. The song fared even better there in the adult contemporary market — it became Murray’s third chart-topper on Billboard’s American Hot Adult Contemporary Singles chart. (In Canada, it was her seventh No. 1 on both the country and adult contemporary charts.) This was Murray’s second Loggins & Messina cover, having charted with her version of their “Danny’s Song” the previous year.

Olivia Newton-John – If You Love Me Let Me Know: If You Love Me, Let Me Know is a US and Canada-only album by singer Olivia Newton-John, released in May 1974. Other than the title track, all the material was from her previous albums, Olivia (1972), Music Makes My Day (1973) and Long Live Love (1974). It is the first of her albums to top the Billboard 200 pop albums chart. Two hit singles were issued from the LP in the US: the title song “If You Love Me Let Me Know” and “I Honestly Love You”, the latter of which became Newton-John’s first number-one US single, and her signature song as well.

Two hit singles were culled from the LP in the US: the title song (No. 5) and “I Honestly Love You”, the latter of which became Newton-John’s first number-one single in the US after listener requests for the song prompted MCA to release it as a single, much to Newton-John’s delight after she originally pleaded with the label to release it as such. Both songs reached the top 10 of the US Pop, Adult Contemporary and Country charts, affirming Newton-John’s status as the top female country-crossover star of the day and continuing the chart hot streak begun with the Grammy-winning “Let Me Be There” the previous year.

The title track ranks as Newton-John’s highest charting single on the country charts, reaching No. 2, although she would have more top 10 hits.

Olivia Newton-John

“If You Love Me (Let Me Know)” is a song written by John Rostill that was a 1974 hit single for Olivia Newton-John. It was her second release to hit the top 10 in the United States, reaching number 5 on the pop chart and number 2 on the Easy Listening chart. It also reached number 2 on the Billboard country chart.

“I Honestly Love You” (first released in Australia as “I Love You, I Honestly Love You”, per its chorus) was a worldwide pop hit single for Olivia Newton-John in 1974. The song was Newton-John’s first number-one single in the United States and Canada.

The song topped the charts in the US on October 5, 1974, and went on to sell over 500,000 copies, being certified Gold. It also reached number one (three weeks) on the Adult Contemporary chart and number six on the Country charts. The song won two Grammy Awards, for Female Pop Vocal Performance and Record of the Year. The song’s success also helped propel its parent album, If You Love Me, Let Me Know, to number one. By contrast, the single failed to reach the top-twenty in the United Kingdom (#22), although it did chart there in 1983 when it was re-released to promote a Newton-John greatest hits album.

FUN FACT: A snippet of the song plays over Chief Brody’s radio in the second shark attack in Jaws, moments before Alex Kitner and Pippet the dog disappear beneath the waves.

And to wrap up this cool Crossover theme, I’m going to close exploring a category with which I’m not all that familiar but it certainly deserves inclusion:  

LATIN CROSSOVER ARTISTS

Latin Crossover Artists – Many Latin artists have made hugely successful crossovers. The first was probably Gloria Estafan in the 80s with Miami Sound Machine: Their more successful follow-up album, Primitive Love, was released in 1985, launching three Top 10 hits on the Billboard Hot 100: “Conga” (U.S. #10), “Words Get in the Way” (U.S. #5), and “Bad Boy” (U.S. #8) became follow–up hits in the U.S. and around the world. “Words Get in the Way” reached No. 1 on the US Hot Adult Contemporary Tracks chart, establishing that the group could perform pop ballads as successfully as dance tunes.

Gloria Estefan

Then, In the mid ’90s, Selena was gaining prominence within the Hispanic music world. Primarily marketed as a Tejano music artist, Selena’s success was met with rhythmic Cumbia recordings. After bypassing several barriers within the Tejano industry, she quickly superseded other Latin artist acts and earned the title “Queen of Tejano Music”. After being presented with a Grammy for Selena Live! Selena became the first Latin artist to release four number–one singles, in 1994. With a meteoric rise in popularity, Selena was presented with the opportunity to record an English-crossover album.

Selena

Unfortunately, months before the release of her English album, Selena was murdered by her fan club president, on March 31, 1995, in Corpus Christi, Texas. Selena’s incomplete album, titled Dreaming of You, was released in July 1995, topping the Billboard 200. Selena’s songs “Dreaming of You” and “I Could Fall In Love” quickly became mainstream hits, and the album became among the “Top ten best-selling debuts of all time” along with being among the “best-selling debuts for a female artist”. Selena became the first Latin artist, male or female, to have ever debuted with a No. 1 album, partially in Spanish.

Despite, and perhaps fueled by, Selena’s death and crossover success, the “Latin explosion” continued in the late ’90s. At that time, a handful of rising stars who shared a Latin heritage were touted as proof that sounds from Latin countries were infiltrating the pop mainstream. These included Ricky Martin, Thalía, Marc Anthony, Enrique Iglesias and Jennifer Lopez, who rendered a Golden Globe performance as Selena on film. Like Estefan and Selena, many of these artists, including some who recorded in English after gaining fame singing in Spanish, had been influenced at least as much by American music and culture.

Ricky Martin gained success with “La Copa de la Vida”, which Martin made a major hit in an English version when he was chosen to sing the anthem of the 1998 FIFA World Cup. “The Cup of Life”/”La Copa de la Vida” reached number one on the charts in 60 countries and in the United States the English version went to No. 45 on the Hot 100 charts. The song went Platinum in France, Sweden and in Australia, where it ultimately became the number one single of the year. The song was awarded “Pop Song of the Year” at the 1999 Lo Nuestro Awards.

Martin at the Grammy Awards was booked to sing on the show’s live TV broadcast. The now-legendary performance of “The Cup of Life” stopped the show, earning Martin an unexpected standing ovation and introducing the star to the mainstream American audience. Martin capped off the evening by winning the award for Best Latin Pop Performance. Vuelve became Martin’s first Top 40 album on Billboard Top 200 Albums chart in the U.S., where it was certified Platinum by the RIAA. The album notably went to No. 1 in Norway for three weeks, going on to sell eight million copies worldwide.

Martin prepared his first English album in 1999, as the first and most prominent single was “Livin’ la Vida Loca”, which reached number one in many countries around the world, including the United States, the United Kingdom, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, France, Greece, India, Israel, Italy, Japan, Guatemala, Mexico, Russia, Turkey and South Africa. He followed up with the hit “She’s All I Ever Had”, which peaked at No. 2 on The Billboard Hot 100. This album became one of the top-selling albums of 1999, and was certified seven times platinum, selling over 22 million copies worldwide to date.

Also in 1999, attempting to emulate the crossover success of Gloria Estefan, Selena and Ricky Martin in the anglophone market, Marc Anthony released an English-language Latin Pop self-titled album with the US Top 5 hit single “I Need to Know”, and the Spanish version “Dímelo”. Other hits include “When I Dream At Night” and “My Baby You”. His song “You Sang To Me” was featured in Runaway Bride. The successful dance version was re-mixed by Dutch producer Rene Van Verseveld. The foray was considered a mixed success, partly because it alienated his traditional salsa fans, though “Da La Vuelta” (not a Spanish version of any of the songs) was a salsa song and was a hit. Another note is that the song “That’s Okay” has more of a salsa tune than pop.

Marc Anthony

Enrique Iglesias had begun a successful crossover career into the English language music market. Thanks to other successful crossover acts, Latino artists and music had a great surge in popularity in mainstream music. Iglesias’ contribution to the soundtrack of Will Smith’s movie Wild Wild West, “Bailamos”, became a number–one hit in the US. After the success of “Bailamos”, several mainstream record labels were eager to sign Enrique. Signing a multi-album deal after weeks of negotiations with Interscope, Iglesias recorded and released his first full CD in English, Enrique. The pop album, with some Latin influences, took two months to complete and contained a duet with Whitney Houston called “Could I Have This Kiss Forever” and a cover of the Bruce Springsteen song “Sad Eyes”. The album’s third single, “Be With You”, became his second number one.

Enrique Iglesias

Jennifer Lopez‘s debut album On the 6, a reference to the 6 subway line she used to take growing up in Castle Hill, was released on June 1, 1999, and reached the top ten of the Billboard 200. The album featured the Billboard Hot 100 number-one lead single, “If You Had My Love”, as well as the top ten hit “Waiting for Tonight”, and even the Spanish version of the song “Una Noche Mas” became a hit as well. The album also featured a Spanish language, Latin-flavored duet “No Me Ames” with Marc Anthony, who later would become her husband. Though “No Me Ames” never had a commercial release, it reached number one on the U.S. Hot Latin Tracks.

Jennifer Lopez (2013)

I also added a few extra J-Lo songs and music videos, just because. A few of her hits: “Jenny From the Block”, “Let’s Get Loud”, “Love Don’t Cost a Thing”, “All I Have” featuring LL Cool J and another crazy sexy music video between those two, LL Cool J’s “Control Myself” featuring Jennifer Lopez. I liked including these last two because I enjoy the pairing of J-Lo and LL: I actually more appreciate their acting talents over their musical talents but isn’t it cool to have incredible and in-demand talent in both?! (I love most of J-Lo’s movies and I’m a huge fan of her current series “Shades of Blue,” co-starring with Ray Liotta; and I really like watching LL Cool J on NCIS Los Angeles).

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

That’s a wrap on my favorite Crossover artists and songs. I hope you enjoyed hearing and learning about my favorite Crossover artists and songs. This theme also gave me an opportunity to dive into the genre of Latin Crossover, in which I typically don’t indulge so that was cool.  Tell me in the Comments section about your favorite crossover songs.

Monday’s Music Moves Me (4M) is a blog hop hosted by Marie of X-Mas Dolly, and co-hosted by Cathy of Curious as a Cathy and Stacy of Stacy Uncorked Two other co-hosts recently joined the fun: Alana of Ramlin’ with AM and Naila Moon of Musings & Merriment with Michelle. Be sure to stop by and visit the hosts and the other participants listed below: