Tuesday, August 03, 2004

History Lesson

August 3, 1963: Allan Sherman releases "Hello Muddah, Hello Faddah." Sherman was the Weird Al Yankovic of his day, recording parodies of popular songs and writing funny lyrics to famous classical melodies. "Hello Muddah, Hello Fadduh" is his most famous song, and within three weeks, the song would rise to Number 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, trailing only Stevie Wonder's "Fingertips." On the same day, the Beatles made their final appearance at the Cavern Club in Liverpool.

August 3, 1971: Paul McCartney announces the formation of Wings. Wings doesn't get much love, but how could they? Would you want to compete against the Beatles, even if you were one of 'em? Few hitmakers were more reliable in the 1970s, so here are the top 5 Wings hits, according to Billboard:
1. "Silly Love Songs," 1976
2. "My Love," 1973
3. "Coming Up," 1980
4. "With a Little Luck," 1978
5. "Band on the Run," 1974
August 3, 1974: Guitarist Jeff Baxter quits Steely Dan and joins the Doobie Brothers. Thus begins the metamorphosis of the Doobies from goodtime biker band to smooth jazz urban sophisticates. It's not entirely Michael McDonald's doing.

Birthday today: Tony Bennett is 78. His brief ascension to MTV icon in the mid 90s was one of the weirder celebrity transitions in history, but why shouldn't a new generation discover some of the world's greatest makeout music? Essential album: Together Again, with pianist Bill Evans.

Number one songs on August 3: A brief perusal of the list shows that many chart-topping tunes on August 3 have been pretty dire (John Denver, Donna Summer, the Carpenters, etc.) Forthwith, five songs number one on this date that didn't suck:
1975: "One of These Nights" by the Eagles
1971: "You've Got a Friend" by James Taylor
1967: "Light My Fire" by the Doors
1965: "Satisfaction" by the Rolling Stones
1964: "A Hard Day's Night" by the Beatles
Number one song 100 years ago today: "Meet Me in St. Louis, Louis" by Billy Murray. Murray was the Elvis of the pre-1920 pioneer era, scoring 169 hits between 1903 and 1927, including the most popular recordings of "Give My Regards to Broadway," "In My Merry Oldsmobile," and "Take Me Out to the Ball Game." (In the pioneer era, several competing versions of songs were often released on records at the same time.) With the St. Louis World's Fair in full swing during the summer of 1904, the long-ago equivalent of the St. Louis Convention and Visitors' Bureau couldn't have been happier.


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