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Here is the comment I made when I inaugurated this list on 1 September 2004; since then, the list has evolved to encompass both vocal and instrumental musical compositions
Today, I thought I'd share with my readers a new feature for "Notablog" and a new page on my site.  I have been promising readers to inaugurate additional "My Favorite Things" pages, pointing to such things as favorite books, favorite albums, and even favorite songs.  Why my personal aesthetic views are so interesting is beyond me... but the Favorite Things page is consistently one of the most popular pages on my "Dialectics and Liberty" website.  Perhaps it is due to the fact that I provide lots of entertaining links on such pages for your enjoyment.  So, I'm starting a new page today:  My Favorite Songs.  Rather than come up with a full list on a single day, I'll make it a regular (daily?) feature here at "Notablog."  (The songs will also be added to the "Favorite Songs" list, [below] alphabetically, with date of addition in [brackets]) There isn't a waking hour of any day where I don't have a song on my mind.  (I suspect there are quite a few songs playing in my mind during non-waking hours as well!)  Music is such an integral part of my life, that I could not for a moment imagine life without it.  And the songs I love come from a variety of genres, as readers will soon find out.

Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein ("Main Title") [YouTube clip at that link], composed by Frank Skinner, captures both the chills and the laughs of the classic film that drops the immortal comedic duo into the horrors of the Universal monster franchise.   Skinner's wonderful score for this 1948 film was given a Halloween tribute by conductor William Stromberg and the Golden State Pops Orchestra [YouTube link]. [25 January 2013] 

ABC is credited to "The Corporation"---that Motown group of musical creators who included Berry Gordy, Freddie Perren, Alphonzo Mizell, and Deke Richards. This song was the second of four consecutive Jackson Five songs to hit #1, and alphabetically, it is at the beginning of Billboard's all-time #1 hits. Eleven years ago today, Michael Jackson died tragically. Last year, I wrote an essay addressing his legacy and controversial life; this year, I mark this anniversary with memories of a happier time. Check out the original J5 single and the Jackson Five appearance on "The Ed Sullivan Show" on 10 May 1970. But in keeping with the theme of our Summer Music Festival (Jazz Edition), check out this big band arrangement by Jim McMillen from the album, "Swingin' to Michael Jackson: A Tribute" [25 June 2020]

About Damn Time is credited to a host of writers, including Melissa Viviane Jefferson---aka as Lizzo, who released this song last month as the lead single to her 2022 album, "Special". Check out the official video and the multi-talented artist's April 16th performance on "Saturday Night Live" [YouTube links], where she was both the host and musical guest. I just really like this song's Old School groove and that flute! [Postscript: This Grammy Record of the Year also has a Grammy-winning Purple Disco Machine Mix (YouTube link).] [6 May 2022]

Action Jackson and The Magical Disappearing Sock [YouTube link], composed and arranged by Tyler J. Mire, features my long-time friend and coeditor Roger Bissell on trombone. One thing you DON'T want before Christmas is a Magical Disappearing Sock (or Christmas Stocking, if you will). Where will Santa put all those treats, if you're nice? Or coal, if you're naughty? Check out this swinging track!  [23 December 2022]

The Addams Family ("Main Theme"), composed by Vic Mizzy, opened this ABC show that starred John Astin and Carolyn Jones. Though the series only lasted for two seasons (1964-1966), its iconic theme---with its harpsicord, finger snaps, and Ted Cassidy voiceover (as "Lurch")---remains a TV classic [YouTube link].  [1 August 2023]

Adeste Fidelis (O Come All Ye Faithful) (audio clip at that link) features the Latin words and music of John Francis Wade, with an English translation by Frederick Oakeley.  Listen to udio clips of recordings of this uplifting melody by Celine Dion, Bing Crosby, Nat King Cole, Luciano Pavarotti, Mario Lanza, and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. [2 January 2006]

Adore You features the words and music of Amy Allen, Tyler Johnson, Thomas Hull, and Harry Styles, who recorded this single for his 2019 album, "Fine Line". This song's got a nice chill, soulful dance groove to it. Check out the official video, a live performance on "The Late, Late Show with James Corden", as well as remixes by J. Bruus and DJ Matt Blakk. [8 March 2020]

The Adventures of Robin Hood ("Duel, Victory, and Epilogue"), composed by the great Erich Korngold, is from one of the finest motion picture soundtracks of all time, winner of the 1938 Oscar for Best Original Score.  From the rousing Errol Flynn swashbuckling adventure, listen to an audio clip here[24 February 2007]

The Adventures of Robin Hood ("Main Title") [YouTube link] is the rousing opening composed by Erich Wolfgang Korngold for the truly wonderful 1938 film, starring the great swashbuckling Errol Flynn and his steadfast co-star Olivia de Havilland, with whom he appeared in eight films. She is still going strong at 102 years of age. I highlighted a classic cue from this Oscar-winning Korngold soundtrack back in 2007, but the Main Title still shines as memorable movie music. [11 February 2019]

The Adventures of Robin Hood ("Soundtrack Suite") [YouTube link], composed by Erich Wolfgang Korngold, features grand themes from the Oscar-winning score to this rousing 1938 swashbuckling adventure, directed by Michael Curtiz and William Keighley. It stars Errol Flynn in the title role, Basil Rathbone, Claude Rains, and Olivia de Havilland. Korngold, along with Max Steiner and Alfred Newman, was considered one of the founders of film music, and no soundtrack suite tribute would be complete without a nod to at least one of his 16 Hollywood film scores. [26 February 2022]

The Adventures of Superman ("Superman March")  [YouTube link], composed by Leon Klatzkin, opened one of my favorite childhood superhero shows.  Considering that the Superman character is celebrating his 75th anniversary this year, I can think of no better way to kick off my annual mini-tribute to television themes, in honor of the upcoming broadcast of the Emmy Awards.  The series ran from 1952 to 1958, and starred George Reeves as Clark Kent/Superman. [13 September 2013]

A Felicidade, music by Antonio Carlos Jobim, lyrics by Vinicius de Moraes, is featured on the album Ella Abraca Jobim, and is the only song in our tribute not sung in English! The album features so many of the very famous and melodic Jobim songs, but this is one of those rarely heard gems, with the same wonderful Brazilian flavor one would expect from the great composer, and that touch of swing one would expect from Ella. Check it out on YouTube.  [23 April 2017]

After All features the music of Elton John and the lyrics of Charlie Puth---who turns 30 years old today! The "Perfect Pitch" birthday boy wrote the lyrics in tribute to John's nearly three-decade-long relationship with David Furnish, whom John legally married in 2014. Puth and John recorded this song for the latter's October 2021 album, "The Lockdown Sessions." Check out the album version, their appearance on The Kelly Clarkson Show, and their duet on Global Citizen Live. [2 December 2021]

Afternoon [mp3 ink], words and music by Philip Verdi and Joanne Barry, is featured on the album "Holding On," with Carl Barry on guitar, Steve LaSpina on bass, and Eliot Zigmund on drums. The fact that Joanne is my sister-in-law and Carl is my brother [YouTube channel link] has nothing to do with it! Nepotism aside, they're great! And I can't think of a lovelier way to spend a summer's afternoon than to take in the sounds of their love for the music and each other. (And while you're at it, check out a few of their other recorded tracks, including "My Favorite Things," "Rollercoaster" (an original), "Embraceable You," "Empty Faces," "Autumn Leaves," and Carl's trio on "Footprints" [site links].) [11 July 2020]

After You've Gone, words and music by Henry Creamer and John Turner Layton, was first published in 1918.  It has been recorded by such artists as Al Jolson, Sophie Tucker, and, for the 1942 film "For Me and My Gal," by Judy Garland (audio clips at artist links).  But my favorite version remains an instrumental by the Benny Goodman Trio, with Teddy Wilson on piano and Gene Krupa on drums.  Listen to a full-length audio clip here.   [14 December 2005]

Against Time ("Main Theme") [site link], composed by my colleague and friend Michael Gordon Shapiro, is a sensitive orchestral theme to a 2001 film starring Oscar-winning actor Robert Loggia, as well as Craig T. Nelson and John Amos. The film was originally titled "All Over Again," but was released in 2007 as "Against Time." Shapiro's touching score is a quintessential example of how scoring can enhance a film's emotional impact. This main theme is only one example of his many gifts (for those who own a DVD copy of the film, the "Deleted Opening Music" can be found in the "Special Features" section, but this lovely theme can be heard in variations throughout the film). Somewhat ironically, it is fitting to feature a song from a time travel movie on a day when groundhogs are telling us how much more time we have to wait for Spring! [2 February 2018]

(Ah The Apple Trees) When the World Was Young, music by Philippe Gerard, French lyrics by Angele Vannier, English lyrics by Johnny Mercer, has been recorded by countless artists through the years. Check out renditions by Edith Piaf (in the original French, as "Le chevalier de Paris"), Aretha Franklin, Bing Crosby, Peggy Lee, Mel Torme, Eydie Gorme, and Frank Sinatra [YouTube links]. Apple is the official fruit of New York, and today, The Big Apple, and all those who have been nourished by its fruitfulness, mark the twenty-first anniversary of 9/11. In memory of those whose lives we lost. [11 September 2022]

Ain't Nobody, music and lyrics by David Wolinski, was a huge sleaze-beat R&B hit for Rufus and Chaka Khan.  The way Chaka bends and sails over these notes earned her a 1983 Grammy award for "Best Rhythm and Blues Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal."  It's ironic that this was the year of Michael Jackson's big Grammy haul for "Thriller"; Quincy Jones tried to get this track for Jackson's album before Chaka recorded it.  [7 November 2004]

Ain't No Mountain High Enough, words and music by Nickolas Ashford and Valerie Simpson, has been performed by many artists, including Diana Ross (audio clip at that link), Michael McDonald (audio clip at that link), and classic disco versions by Boystown Gang (in a medley with "Remember Me") and by Inner Life, with vocalist Jocelyn Brown (listen to audio clip here).  My favorite version remains the Marvin Gaye-Tammi Terrell duet.  Listen to an audio clip here.  [17 April 2005]

Ain't Nothing Gonna Keep Me From You, music and lyrics by Barry Gibb, was sung by Teri De Sario in a grand 1978 Casablanca Records release.  A fantastic pop hook for the dancefloor. [19 October 2004]

Ain't She Sweet, music by Milton Ager, lyrics by Jack Yellen, was published in 1927 and became a Tin Pan Alley standard. In 1962, it was recorded by Frank Sinatra for a Neal Hefti-conducted album, "Sinatra and Swingin' Brass." For those who remember my Frank Sinatra Centenary Tribute, today marks the 103rd anniversary of Sinatra's birth. Check out this wonderful rendition of a timeless classic [YouTube link]. [12 December 2018]

Airegin (that's "Nigeria" spelled backwards, written in 1954 as "a salute to the newly independent African state") is a classic Sonny Rollins jazz composition that has been recorded by countless artists. It even sports a rarely heard lyric, composed by the great Jon Hendricks of Lambert, Hendricks, and Ross.  It has also been sung by such groups as The Manhattan Transfer; listen to an audio clip from their album "Vocalese."  One of my favorite blazing, blaring, scalding instrumental versions of this song is performed by the Maynard Ferguson band (YouTube link from the album "New Vintage").  My brother, guitarist Carl Barry [YouTube link to his performance at "Guitar Night" at Gulliver's), has brought people to their feet when he's performed this hard bop evergreen in concert.  Just terrific.  [19 January 2005]

Air Force One ("Main Title/The Parachutes") [YouTube link] was composed by Jerry Goldsmith, who was born on this date in 1929. This theme is featured in the Wolfgang Peterson-directed 1997 film, which stars Harrison Ford as President James Marshall, whose Air Force One plane gets hijacked by Russian nationalists, led by Egor Korshunov, played to the villainous hilt by Gary Oldman (who is nominated for a Best Actor Oscar this year for his performance as Winston Churchill in "Darkest Hour"). The original score by Randy Newman was rejected by the studio and Goldsmith produced this heroic soundtrack in a miraculously swift twelve days.  [10 February 2018]

Airport ("Emergency Landing") [YouTube link], composed by Alfred Newman, is a musical highlight from the 1970 film that originated the "disaster genre" that would come to dominate the decade. This was the last film Newman scored prior to his death on February 17th of that year, a month before he would have turned 70 and less than a month before the release of this film (on March 5, 1970). Nominated for forty-five Oscars throughout his scoring career, Newman would go on to win nine Academy Awards for Best Original Score, third behind Walt Disney, with twenty-six, and art director/production designer Cedric Gibbons, with eleven. [19 February 2018]

Airport ("Love Theme") features the last soundtrack composed by Alfred Newman, who passed away less than a month before the film's release (and a month before his 70th St. Patrick's Day birthday in 1970).  Nominated for 10 Oscars (only Helen Hayes walked away with a statuette, for "Best Supporting Actress"), the movie is credited as having initiated the 1970s "disaster film" genre, which reached its height, so-to-speak, in 1974, with "The Towering Inferno."  The Oscar-nominated Newman score is highlighted by this lush love theme (YouTube link).  (This particular take on the love theme is from "As You Remember Them," a Time-Life collection on vinyl that I've always treasured.)  [11 February 2012]

Airport 1975 ("Main Title") [YouTube link], composed by John Cacavas, opens the second installment in the "Airport" film series, inspired by the original Arthur Hailey novel (and 1970 film). George Kennedy (as Joe Patroni) was the only actor to star in all four films of the series (not counting the 1980 parody film, Airplane!). This 1974 film starred Charlton Heston, Karen Black, and Gloria Swanson (as herself) in her last film role. Not nearly as fine a production as its predecessor, it nevertheless went on to become the seventh highest-grossing film of 1974. And it sports an elegant main title. [5 February 2020]

Alfie, the Oscar-nominated title song to the original 1966 Michael Caine film version (remade in 2004 as a starring vehicle for Jude Law), has been sung by everyone from Cher to Dionne Warwick.  But the version that tugs at my tear ducts is an instrumental, with Stevie Wonder on harmonica.  It's a Hal David-Burt Bacharach classic. [13 November 2004]

Alfred Hitchcock Presents (aka "Funeral March of a Marionette") was actually adapted from a Charles Gounod composition.  TV shows borrow such themes all the time. Listen to an audio clip here.  [16 September 2005]

Alien ("Main Title") [YouTube link], composed by Jerry Goldsmith, is one of those unforgettable science fiction-horror themes that conjures up images of an entire film and the franchise to which it gave birth.  "In space, no one can hear you scream," went the advertisement.  But screams were aplenty in this 1979 iconic film, directed by Ridley Scott, and starring Sigourney Weaver as Ripley.  This is one of my all-time favorite films of the genre, with a creepy score to match.  [15 February 2013]

Aliens ("Main Title") [YouTube link], composed by James Horner, opens "Aliens," the best of the sequels to the iconic 1979 film.  This action-packed 1986 film was directed by James Cameron, and starred, once again, Sigourney Weaver as a kick-ass Ripley Cameron-Horner is as distinctive a collaboration as Hitchcock-Herrmann and Spielberg-Williams.  This track is from one of the best scores (and one of the best films) in the sci-fi/horror genre.  [16 February 2013]

All About Eve ("Main Title") [sample at that link] opens composer Alfred Newman's Oscar-nominated score for the iconic 1950 film, which was nominated for a then-record 14 Academy Awards (tied in 1997 by "Titanic").  The film won a total of 6 Oscars, including Best Picture.  It boasts an outstanding cast, led by the incomparable (and Oscar-nominated Best Actress) Bette Davis, who utters that famous line:  "Fasten your seatbelts, it's going to be a bumpy night" (#9 on the list of the American Film Institute's all-time movie quotations).  And a special nod to Oscar-nominated Supporting Actress Thelma Ritter, who, as Birdie, just can't believe the life story being told by Eve (Oscar-nominated Supporting Actress Anne Baxter):  "Everything but the bloodhounds snappin' at her rear end." (And check out the Live Lux Radio Theater version of the story!)  Today begins my Annual Tribute to Cinema Songs, Scores and Other Compositions featured in film, a traditional Film Music February en route to the 84th Academy Awards. [1 February 2012]

All Across the City was composed by Jim Hallthe great jazz guitarist, who was born on this date in 1930. Listen to various audio clips of this haunting jazz classic:  the brilliant Jim Hall-Bill Evans duet; a lush Jim Hall version; and sensitive collaborations of Jim Hall with Paul Desmond and with the great Pat Metheny too Happy birthday, Mr. Hall!  [4 December 2007]

(You Are My) All and All was written and performed by Joyce Sims.  I once heard a live remix of this song at a dance club called Bentley's in Manhattan, and was utterly astounded by the DJ's skill.  It was inspiring to me, as I was still DJ'ing parties back then in 1986.  Listen to audio clips of various remixes of this percolating freestyle dance track here.   [19 January 2006]

All Around the World features the words and music of Ian Devaney, Andy Morris, and the woman who sang it:  Lisa Stansfield. Listen to an audio clip of this soulful R&B-laced hit here.  [13 June 2006]

All Blues, composed by Miles Davis, is from one of my favorite jazz albums of all time: "Kind of Blue."  After "Blue Suede Shoes" and a Big Blue loss, I'll be in Blue for a few days.  This classic features such players as Cannonball Adderley, John Coltrane, and the great Bill Evans, who contributed much to the modal approach to jazz featured on this recording.  Listen to audio clips here and here. [9 January 2006]

All I Ask of You, music by Andrew Lloyd Webber, lyrics by Charles Hart and Richard Stilgoe, is from the musical, "Phantom of the Opera" (listen to the audio clip at that link).  It is featured in the 2004 film as well (audio clip here).  My favorite version of this melodic, romantic song is by Barbra Streisand (listen to the audio clip at that link).  [12 April 2005]

All in Love is Fair, words and music by the great Stevie WonderStreisand has a fine rendition of this, but Stevie's version makes me cry. [27 September 2004]

All in the Family ("Those Were The Days") [YouTube link], music and lyrics by Charles Strouse, is recognized as one of the Top Fifty Television Themes of All Time.  Its iconic status in the history of TV themes is only eclipsed by the iconic status of this remarkably daring show, which simultaneously made us collapse with laughter and confront the social prejudices that are as relevant today as they were when Norman Lear and Bud Yorkin introduced this show on the CBS Television Network.  Part of what made the show work was the real chemistry between its two prime players; no less than Lucy and Ricky, Alice and Ralph, Edith and Archie have become part of the culture of television excellence.  And this year, it is especially poignant to end our mini-tribute to TV themes with the song that introduced the world to Lear's comedy, and to the brilliance of Emmy-winning actress, Jean Stapleton, who passed away on 31 May 2013. Tonight, when they do that Emmy Awards "In Memoriam"  tribute section to people who have passed away, expect an ovation for this wonderful actress. And take a listen to that opening theme once more. So comes the end of our mini-tribute to television music. [22 September 2013]

All I Want for Christmas features the words and music of Walter Afanasieff and Mariah Carey, who can be seen in this jovial YouTube moment (with Johnny Depp).  Check out as well this slower version by The Cheetah Girls. [29 December 2008]

All My Loving, written by Paul McCartney (but credited to both McCartney and John Lennon), was the song that opened up the set that The Beatles performed in their first appearance on "The Ed Sullivan Show," 50 years ago this very day. It was the ultimate symbol of the "British Invasion" appearing on one of the most popular variety shows of its day; indeed, 73 million people are estimated to have seen The Beatles that Sunday night, and I was among them.  A sample of this song also made it into the 1964 film, "A Hard Day's Night," a black and white classic of the comedy-musical genre.  Beatlemania had begun, and popular music would never be the same. Check out the single version, an excerpt from the "Ed Sullivan" performance on 9 February 1964, and its sample in "A Hard Day's Night" [YouTube links]. [9 February 2014]

All Night Passion, words and music by Rick Tarbox, was a hot mid-80s dance hit recorded by Alisha.  Listen to audio clips of the original version and the extended dance remix here.  [29 June 2006]

All of Me, words and music by Gerald Marks and Seymour Simons, was featured in many renditions on the radio show of Danny Stiles, "The King of Nostalgia," "The Vicar of Vintage Vinyl," who passed away back on March 11, 2011.  Today, we remember the stylish Stiles, who gave all of himself to the cause of preserving great American standards.  Check out these performances:  Ruth Etting, Billie HolidayDinah Washington live "Jazz on a Summer's Day,"  Lester Young and Teddy Wilson, Ella Fitzgerald, the very Sassy Sarah Vaughan, Willie Nelson, John Pizzarelli, Tal Farlow and Red NorvoFrank Sinatra swingin' at Caesar's Palace, and the one and only Pops with Chops:  Louis Armstrong (all YouTube clips).  [29 August 2011]

All of You, words and music by Cole Porter, has been recorded by many artists through the years, including jazz pianist Bill Evans, for his album, "Sunday at the Village Vanguard," his final recording with his famous trio that included Scott LaFaro on bass and Paul Motian on drums [YouTube link]; ten days after this live performance, the pathbreaking, innovative bassist, LaFaro, died tragically in an automobile accident.  This song was recorded late in Sinatra's career, on September 17, 1979.  Sinatra did a wonderful recording of the song "All of Me," which talks of a broken love affair, with poignant lyrics: "You took the part, that once was my heart, so why not take all of me?" But this song has a decidedly different message, perhaps more appealing to the "Fifty Shades of Grey" generation, with its "I'd love to take complete control of you" motif.  The song first appeared on Sinatra's 1980 album, "Trilogy: Past, Present, Future," and it is found on Disc 4 of "Ultimate Sinatra," as well. Listen to the Chairman of the Board with this swinging Billy May arrangement [YouTube link]. Tonight a Grammy all-Star Las Vegas bash, taped on December 2nd, is being shown on CBS television to honor the Sinatra Centenary. Sinatra himself did many TV specials, including the three "Man and His Music" specials, which included, in its third installment, that lovely section with Jobim [see here in my opening essay], and one with The First Lady of Song, Ella Fitzgerald; check them out in "The Lady is a Tramp" [YouTube link].  [6 December 2015]

All or Nothing at All, music by Arthur Altman, lyrics by Brooklynite Jack Lawrence, performed with a sense of tragedy by Sinatra to a fine Don Costa arrangement, from the album, "Sinatra and Strings" (check out that audio clip). [17 December 2004]

All the Things You Are, the Jerome Kern-Oscar Hammerstein II masterpiece, is one of the most beautifully crafted songs ever written.  I mentioned Mario Lanza's version in my essay, "Celebrating the Great American Songbook."  But it has been recorded by everybody from Frank Sinatra to Michael Jackson to Ella Fitzgerald.  It is also one of the great standards of jazz improvisation; I really love pianist Bill Evans' playfully reworked version, which he renamed "Are You All the Things?"  It is featured on his brilliant album Intuition, with Eddie Gomez on bass.  [10 September 2004]

All the Way, music by Jimmy Van Heusen, lyrics by Sammy Cahn.  This Oscar-winning song from the 1957 film "The Joker is Wild," is performed by a relaxed Sinatra to another terrific Nelson Riddle arrangement.  Listen to the audio clip at amazon.com.  [18 December 2004]

All This Time, words and music by Jonathan Peters, Richard Bush, and Delsena Walrond, features the vocals of Sylver Logan Sharp.  Listen to audio clips from two different remixes of this pumpin' dance track here and here. [28 September 2005]

Almost Like Being in Love, music by Frederick Loewe, lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner, has been sung with swing and gusto by everybody from Nat King Cole to Natalie Cole (click links for audio clips).  I also love a hot jazz violin version by Joe Venuti.  [11 March 2005]

Alone Together, words and music by Arthur Schwartz and Howard Dietz, is featured on the Gleason production "Music for Lovers Only," and includes another sparkling Hackett solo.  The 2016 88th Annual Academy Awards gave its "Best Original Song" statuette to Sam Smith and Jimmy Napes for "Writing's On the Wall" from the Bond flick, "SPECTRE," and the "Best Original Score" went to the immortal Ennio Morricone for "The Hateful Eight." Meanwhile, having closed out our Film Music February yesterday, we can now conclude our Centenary tribute to Jackie Gleason.  "And Away We Go...." Check out the warmth of Hackett's trumpet in this track [YouTube Link], which could only have been produced by a warm and loving Jackie Gleason.  In this cantankerous political season, I can think of nothing more triumphant than a full-hearted embrace of the cultural contributions of The Great One, who arose from the blisters of his childhood and even above the bluster of his most famous characters to Leap Up and Declare, with undiluted joy: "How Sweet It Is."  [29 February 2016]

Alright, Okay, You Win, words and music by Sid Wyche and Mayme Watts, is one of those jovial blues-based swing tracks that has been recorded by some fine jazz and pop vocalists, including Joe Williams with Count Basie, Ella Fitzgerald, Peggy Lee, and Bette Midler, on a tribute album to Lee (audio clips at those links).  [8 December 2006]

Also Sprach Zarathustra, composed by Richard Strauss, was made famous when its introduction was used as the opening theme music to the 1968 Stanley Kubrick-directed film, "2001:  A Space Odyssey."  It is painted in bold musical strokes, a "tone poem for large orchestra" that was inspired by Friedrich Nietzsche's Thus Spake Zarathustra.  Listen to audio clips from the work here.  [2 December 2005]

Always, words and music by Irving Berlin, is a 1925 gem that Berlin wrote as a wedding gift for his wife.  The song has been recorded so many times by artists from Frank Sina)tra to Patsy Cline and Billie Holiday, who gives it a swing feel (YouTube links].  But its most memorable spin, for me, can be heard in the greatest sports film of all time, in my view, the 1942 Lou Gehrig biopic, "The Pride of the Yankees."  Check out one scene from the film  [YouTube link], featuring singer Bettye Avery, with Gary Cooper playing the immortal Gehrig and Teresa Wright, his wife Eleanor (Cooper and Wright received Best Actor and Actress nominations, respectively; only Wright walked away with the gold statuette, but for her Best Supporting Actress role in the Best Picture of that year, "Mrs. Miniver").  Seventy-five years ago today, Gehrig gave one of the most remarkable speeches in all of Americana, saying goodbye to 60,000+ Yankee faithful in attendance at a 1939 Indepedence Day ceremony at Yankee Stadium. Check out the speech as given by Gehrig, as emulated by Major League Baseball, and also as immortalized in celluloid history by the wonderful Cooper [YouTube links] (and that's the real Babe Ruth appearing in the film).  Gehrig later passed away from ALS, a disease known to many as "Lou Gehrig's Disease."  Gehrig was one of the Yankees' most memorable team captains; today's Yankee captain, Derek Jeter, in his final career season, recently tied Gehrig's franchise record for lifetime doubles. For Yankees fans, for fans of America's game, Gehrig will always be the Iron Horse; on this Independence Day, we say Happy Birthday, America, and we celebrate Gehrig and the national passtime with a song written by one of America's most celebrated songwriters. [4 July 2014]

Amazing Grace is a Christian hymn that was published in 1779, written by John Newton. If there had been recording technology back then, I think we could fairly say that there would have been thousands of recordings of this song by now. Since the advent of recording, AllMusic estimates that there have been at least 1,000 recordings of this hymn. Our Summer Music Festival (Woodstock Golden Anniversary Edition) continues with this rendition [YouTube link] by Arlo Guthrie, who closed his six-song set at 12:25 am on Saturday, 16 August 2019. Given this week's nineteenth installment in my annual WTC Remembrance Series, I could think of fewer themes more appropriate to feature this weekend. Also check out this bagpipe rendition [YouTube link], which features a montage of 9/11 images in tribute to the 343 firefighters who paid the ultimate price on that day---so that others might live. [Ed.: Hat Tip to my friend Kurt Keefner, who mentions that the words of this song were matched in 1835 to the melody of "New Britain" by William Walker.] [13 September 2019]

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (It's On Again) was composed by Alicia Keys and Kendrick Lamar, with a little help from Pharrell Williams, all in collaboration with Hans Zimmer, who scored this second film, released in 2014, in the Andrew Garfield reboot of one of my favorite superheroes.  I mean he's not from Gotham City or Metropolis, pale copies of the real New York!  He's from Forest Hills, Queens! Check it out on YouTube.  [5 February 2015]

America, words and music by Prince, extends our Saturday Night Dance Party to a Monday in celebration of Independence Day. It is from the album "Around the World in a Day," issued by Prince and the Revolution. The lyrics are of what one philosopher may have called "mixed premises," but any song that includes stanzas like "Communism is just a word, But if the government turn over, It'll be the only word that's heard," and in a paean to "America the Beautiful," tells us, "America, America, God shed his grace on thee, America, America, keep the children free," can't be all that bad. Check it out in a live version on YouTube and a rare 12" extended mix and dance your way through a wonderful and safe Independence Day. [4 July 2016]

America the Beautiful, music by Samuel Ward, lyrics by Katharine Lee Bates, is my favorite "patriotic" song, and so appropriate on this Independence Day.  My favorite version remains that of the soulful, heartfelt Brother Ray (Charles).  Listen to an audio clip here.  A happy and a healthy Fourth of July to all.  [4 July 2005]

American Bandstand (Bandstand Boogie) features the music of Charles Albertine, Les Elgart, Larry Elgart, and Bob Horn and the lyrics of Bruce Howard Sussman and Barry Manilow.  Listen to audio clips by Les Elgart and His Orchestra and Barry Manilow.  [14 September 2007]

American Pie, words and music by Don McLean, was the title track to the artist's 1971 album. The folk-rock song would hit #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in January 1972, and would be dubbed "one of the most successful and debated songs of the 20th century"---due to an array of interpretations as to its meaning. (And McLean is still making headlines till this day!) Check out the original album version, a truncated Madonna rendition, a jazz funk rendition by Groove Holmes, and a "Weird Al" Yankovic 'Star Wars' parody, "The Saga Begins" [YouTube links]. A Happy Independence Day to All! [4 July 2022]

The American President (Main Theme) [YouTube link], composed by Marc Shaiman, is a stately theme that opens the 1995 film, starring Michael Douglas as widowed President Andrew Shepherd, who falls for Annette Benning as Sydney Ellen Wade, an environmentalist lobbyist.  The film has many of the trappings of contemporary liberalism in terms of its politics and its cast of characters, and it served as an inspiration to writer Aaron Sorkin, who launched the equally idealistic liberalism of the brilliant TV series "The West Wing," which began in 1997.  But it is not the politics that interest me here.  This is a film with a lot of heart, plenty of laughs, and much poignancy.  In anticipation of President's Day, I highly recommend the Shaiman soundtrack.  [11 February 2014]

The American President ("I Have Dreamed"), words and music by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II, was originally featured in the 1951 Broadway production of "The King and I," but was never heard in the 1956 film version, except as a background theme prior to "We Kiss in a Shadow." It is, however, featured in the 1999 animated version of "The King and I" [YouTube link], and over the end credits, by Barbra Streisand [YouTube link]. A lovely instrumental rendition arranged by Marc Shaiman is used in this 1995 romantic comedy-drama, which transcends party lines. Check out the version featured in the film [YouTube link] and then check out the original Broadway version (with Doretta Morrow and Larry Douglas), and versions by Sammy Davis, Jr. and Doris Day, whose rendition was Richard Rodgers's favorite [YouTube links]. Given today's date, I Have Dreamed of an early spring... despite the fact that Mother Nature just dumped a foot-and-a-half on NYC alone. Competing Groundhogs give us contrasting forecasts: Punxsutawney Phil says more winter's ahead; Staten Island Chuck predicts an early spring. Go Chuck! [2 February 2021]

An Affair to Remember, a 1957 Academy Award nominated song, music by Harry Warren, words by Harold Adamson and Leo McCarey, was recorded by such singers as Vic Damone and Nat King Cole.  "Our love affair is a wondrous thing. That we'll rejoice when remembering. Our love was born with our first embrace.  And a page was torn out of time and space."  Well, believe it or not ... that's exactly how I feel when I take my bike and ride along the bike path that sweeps under the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge.  Boy, you know you're getting a little older when you're older than a bridge.  Today just happens to be the 40th anniversary of the opening of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, still the longest suspension bridge in the United States.  Happy Birthday!  The bridge is so long that the tops of its towers are 1 5/8 inches further apart than their bases ... to allow for the curvature of the Earth.  I remember being overwhelmed by its majesty from the time when E.J. Korvettes was a stone's throw away.  I've seen the QE2 and the QM2 pass under its span. It has welcomed Tall Ships into New York harbor in celebration of the U.S. Bicentennial.  It's one of my great loves in my hometown.  Oh, and listen to a clip of this pretty song at amazon.com from the original soundtrack album of the romantic film, "An Affair to Remember," starring Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr.  For those who are "starving for stars," as my colleague David Hinckley puts it, those were the days. (The film was made even more famous by references to it in the 1993 film, "Sleepless in Seattle"). Ironically, another great love of mine, The Empire State Building, figures prominently in the plot.  [21 November 2004]

An American In Paris ("I Got Rhythm"), music by George Gershwin (who wrote the original 1928 jazz-influenced orchestral composition that inspired this film adaptation) and lyrics by Ira Gershwin, was first heard in the 1930 Broadway musical "Girl Crazy." But it was among the highlights of this 1951 musical, starring Gene Kelly. Check out the scene from the 1951 film that features this wonderful jazz standard [YouTube link], which embodies Kelly's vocal and choreographical charm. [7 February 2020]

Anastasia ("Main Title") [YouTube link], composed by Alfred Newman, opens this 1956 film, which stars Ingrid Bergman, who resembles the Grand Duchess Anastasia Nikolaevna, rumored to be the only surviving daughter of Czar Nicholas II, who was executed by the Bolsheviks as a member of the Romanov family in 1918. Bergman was awarded the Oscar for Best Actress and Alfred Newman received an Oscar nomination for "Best Music Score of a Dramatic or Comedy Picture," but lost out to Victor Young, who won the award posthumously for his score to "Around the World in 80 Days." But Newman and Ken Darby did walk away with a statuette for their scoring of a musical picture ("The King and I"). Bergman's co-star in this film, Yul Brynner, had a banner year; in addition to this film, he also starred as Ramesses II in Cecil B. DeMille's blockbuster "The Ten Commandments" and received the Best Actor Oscar for his role as King Mongkut of Siam in the film version of the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical, "The King and I." I highlight this film today for a very special reason: Today is the 101st anniversary of my mother's birth. Known as Ann or Anna to her friends and relatives, her full Greek name was Anastasia, and for those who loved her and were loved by her, she was royalty incarnate. [20 February 2020]

Anatomy of a Murder ("Flirtibird") [YouTube link], composed by jazz legend Duke Ellington, captures the salacious, scandalous themes explored in this superb 1959 courtroom drama, starring a wonderful cast that included Jimmy Stewart, Lee Remick, Ben Gazzara, and George C. Scott. Seductive and sexually charged, this track was also recorded by the great Duke, featuring his cornet player Ray Nance (who could also play a mean jazz violin).  Check it out on YouTube.  [9 February 2015]

And I'm Telling You I'm Not Going, lyrics by Tom Eyen, music by Henry Krieger, is one of the dramatic highlights of the Broadway musical, "Dreamgirls," inspired by the story of the Motown super group, The Supremes.  I never saw the original Michael Bennett production, but I was enthralled with the performance of this track, sung with Tony-winning gusto, by Jennifer Holliday.  The movie version, with an all-star cast, opens for an exclusive engagement at the Ziegfeld Theater in Manhattan, before its nationwide debut on Christmas day.  In the film musical, another "J.H." takes on this song and the role of "Effie":  "American Idol" runner-up, Jennifer Hudson.  Listen to audio clips of the powerhouse Jennifer Holliday version (and check out her televised performance at the 1982 Tony Awards, courtesy of You Tube) and the new Jennifer Hudson version as well (clips at those links). [15 December 2006]

And Justice for All ("Main Title" / "There's Something Funny Going On") [YouTube link], music by Dave Grusin, lyrics by Alan and Marilyn Bergman, is heard over the closing credits of the 1979 film; it has that late '70s disco vibe, as it is performed by Zach Sanders and the NY Jailhouse Ensemble. Directed by Norman Jewison, this film is a cynical look at our judicial system (there are fewer ways to look at the structural deformities that often pass for "justice," and this motion picture captures it with touches of satire and tragedy). Al Pacino is virtually forced to defend a hated judge (played by John Forsythe of "Dynasty" fame), [SPOILER ALERT] whom he discovers to be guilty. But you've got to see the entire closing scene of the film, with Pacino at the peak of his career (and Jack Warden, who provides one of his finest turns as the wonderful character actor he is). The scene is just one of those "I'm As Mad As Hell and I'm Not Going To Take This Anymore" 'Network' moments that all of us should have more often. Check the scene out on YouTube. The film opens with an instrumental "Main Title" version [YouTube link] of the closing credits song; it features the unmistakably fine sax work and sound of Tom Scott. [3 February 2016]

And the Angels Sing features the music of trumpeter Ziggy Elman and the lyrics of Johnny Mercer, who was born 100 years ago today.  The most famous version of this song was recorded by the Benny Goodman Big Band, featuring the sweet vocals of Martha Tilton and a rousing trumpet solo by Elman.  In celebration of the centennial of the birth of the Great Mercer, take a look at this YouTube moment of this terrific song.  [18 November 2009]

And the Beat Goes On, words and music by Leon Sylvers III, William Shelby, and Stephen Shockley, was performed with jazzy gusto by The Whispers.  Listen to an audio clip of this classic dance track here. [10 August 2005]

The Andy Griffith Show ("The Fishin' Hole") features the music of Earle Hagen (who whistled the theme in the opening credits) and Herbert W. Spencer and the lyrics of Everett Sloane.  Just as "The Andy Griffith Show" was a spin-off of an episode of "The Danny Thomas Show," so too did it give birth to spin-offs, including "Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C.," Mayberry, R.F.D.," and the TV-reunion movie, "Return to Mayberry."  Andy Griffith exuded an effortless warmth in his TV performances, from his self-titled show to "Matlock."  And he had terrific acting chops (check out his remarkably jarring performance in "A Face in the Crowd"). He passed away yesterday at the age of 86. This theme and the famous TV show for which it was written have become part of Americana, something all the more noteworthy on this Day of Independence.  Check out the main theme on YouTube and Andy himself singing it. [4 July 2012] 

Angel Eyes has been recorded by artists as varied as Sting and Nancy Wilson (check out her awesome 1968 "Welcome to My Love" album for an audio clip).  But as my colleague David Hinckley recalls:  "Frank Sinatra used to create a magnificent moment in his concerts when the lights would dim to black at the end of the Earl Brent [lyrics]/Matt Dennis [music] song ... and Sinatra would sing, 'Excuse me while I disappear'."  Check out an audio clip here. What a nice way to kick off our celebration of Sinatra's birthday, which is today, and which we'll mark with a couple of weeks worth of favorite Sinatra song highlights.  [12 December 2004]

Angels We Have Heard on High (Les Anges dans nos Campagnes) (audio clip at that link) is a traditional French Christmas carol, whose words were translated into English by James Chadwick.  Listen to audio clips of renditions performed by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and the Caribbean Jazz Project.  [30 December 2005]

Another Part of Me, music and lyrics by Michael Jackson, is a pop-funk midtempo dance track.  Though it was one of an armful of hits from the album, "Bad," it actually made an Epcot debut as part of a 3D short film, "Captain Eo," starring Jackson and Angelica Houston, and directed by Francis Ford Coppola.  Listen to an audio clip here.  [15 February 2006]

Another Sleepless Night, words and music by Mike "Hitman" Wilson and Tracey Amos, features the blazing vocals of Shawn Christopher.  Listen to an audio clip of this hot dance classic here.  (And, by all means, don't lose sleep ... Notablog will return on June 5, 2006.  NYU is moving my whole site to a "new, more robust server.")  [2 June 2006]

Another Star, music and lyrics by Stevie Wonder.  This Latin-tinged extravaganza is from an essential Wonder-ful album, "Songs in the Key of Life" (check out the audio clip).  What a career for this gifted musician.  [9 December 2004]

The Answer is Yes is a lovely composition by Jane Hall, wife of the legendary jazz guitarist, Jim Hall, who passed away Tuesday, 10 December 2013, having just turned 83 on 4 December. There are few musicians who have touched me as deeply as this stupendous guitarist. He had a deeply melodic sense; his understated solos were matched only by his brilliant capacity at interplay with the many legends with whom he performed and recorded. I feel as if I've lost a friend, one that I never met, but whose music touched my heart and soul in ways that only a truly personal relationship could. Just a cursory look at "My Favorite Songs" reveals the extent of the impact his musical legacy has made on my life. For example (and this is just a sampling of Hall recordings mentioned therein): the Jim Hall-penned "All Across the City" [YouTube link], (from the enchanting "Intermodulation"): a duet album featuring the mesmerizing interplay of two of the greatest practitioners of the art form: Hall and the legendary pianist Bill Evans [see my entry on 4 December 2007]; "Concierto de Aranjuez" [YouTube link] is the title track from the 1975 album "Concierto," an inspired jazz interpretation of the second movement of the great Rodrigo composition with an all-star line-up, arranged by Don Sebesky.  Also from that album is my absolutely all-time favorite jazz instrumental rendition of the Cole Porter gem, "You'd Be So Nice to Come Home To" [YouTube link], which features a seamless series of solos and utterly breathtaking interplay by Hall (on guitar), Paul Desmond (on alto saxophone), Chet Baker (on trumpet), Roland Hanna (on piano), Ron Carter (on bass) and Steve Gadd (on drums) [featured on 22 January 2005]. Back in 1997, in his liner notes to the CD re-release of "Concierto," Steve Futterman articulates what I've always felt: the improvisation on this album feels as if it is flowing from a single mind-set, expressed in different instruments. When Hall, Desmond, and Baker intertwine in contrapuntal conversation on the Porter song, for instance, "they sound like the same soloist playing three separate instruments"; "Down the Line" [YouTube link; from Hall's album "Commitment"] is a paean of sorts to Bill Evans's classic "Conversations with Myself"; on this composition, Hall overdubs his electric guitar with the acoustic guitar sounds of the handmade instrument designed by Jimmy D'Aquisto, who carried on the craft of his great teacher: John D'Angelico [see my entry of 30 January 2006]; and finally, "Scrapple from the Apple" [YouTube link] from one of the greatest live recordings ever put to vinyl: the 1975 album, "Jim Hall Live," with a trio featuring Don Thompson on bass and Terry Clarke on drums. The last time I saw Hall perform live was at a loving concert in which he participated in tribute to another legendary guitarist: Chuck Wayne. Alas, if there is a band in Heaven, I know not. But if we are to question whether that band just added one class act to its divine personnel, clearly "The Answer is Yes." [11 December 2013]

Anything Goes is the title song of the 1934 Broadway musical penned by the great Cole Porter. So many wonderful versions of this song have been recorded through the years, but today, I feature a rendition found on the Nelson Riddle-arranged 1956 album, "Songs for Swingin' Lovers," by Frank Sinatra, who was born on this date in 1915. Check it out here. And check out the new statue of Ol' Blue Eyes unveiled today in Hoboken, New Jersey. [12 December 2021]

Apollo 13 ("Re-Entry and Splashdown") [YouTube link], music by James Horner, is an appropriate way to honor the brilliant composer who passed away tragically on 22 June 2015 in a plane crash.  The 1995 film, directed by Ron Howard, and starring Tom Hanks, is a tribute to the rational human spirit,which triumphs against all odds.  This particular cue gives us a glimpse of Horner's manner of exhibiting the central theme of a film score through a prism of variations that both reflect and propel the action on screen.  He did this through over 150 soundtracks, from "Aliens" to "Titanic," an unforgettable legacy to the art of the score. [24 June 2015]

Aquarius / Let the Sunshine In, lyrics by James Rado and Gerome Ragni, music by Galt MacDermot, is a medley of two songs from "Hair," the Broadway hit that was nominated for a 1969 Tony Award for Best Musical.  The track was the first medley to reach #1 on the Billboard Hot 100, performed with an R&B-jazzy groove by The 5th Dimension. As a 9-year old Aquarian, I fell in love with the recording the first time I heard it.  In 1969, the Score scored a Grammy for what is now called "Best Musical Theater Album."  And this particular medley won a 1970 Grammy for Record of the Year.  Check out The 5th Dimension recording on YouTube and each song performed separately by the original Broadway cast:  The Age of Aquarius and The Flesh Failures (Let the Sunshine In).  Tomorrow, the Tony Awards will be broadcast on CBS. [8 June 2013]

Are You For Real?, a sleaze-beat funk track, written by Rick Suchow, recorded by Deodato (featuring the vocalist Camille Filfiley) and also by TKA.  "Who are you and where did you come from? Maybe you're an angel in disguise?"  Check out Rick Suchow's website too, and scroll down on Rick's music page to listen to great audio clips of various versions of this fab song.  See here too.  [29 October 2004]

Around the World in 80 Days features the music of Victor Young and the lyrics of Harold Adamson (with an uncredited tip of the hat to Kurt Feltz and Gasta Rybrant).  It was heard in the 1956 film of the same title Victor Young's score (audio clip at that link) won an Academy Award in the category of "Scoring of a Dramatic or Comedy Picture." Listen to audio clips from the 1956 soundtrack (unrelated to the soundtrack to the 2004 remake).  Also check out audio clips of lovely vocal renditions by Bing Crosby and the McGuire Sisters. [14 June 2006]

Armageddon It, composed by Steve Clark, Phil Collen, Joe Elliott, Mutt Lange, and Rick Savage, from the Def Leppard hard rock album Hysteria (check out that link for sample clip).  Listen to it once, and hum the catchy chorus for days ... [8 November 2004]

Armando's Rhumba (audio clip at that link) was composed by Chick Corea for the album "My Spanish Heart."  The featured soloist is the wonderful Jean-Luc Ponty on acoustic violin.  Chick also recorded this for solo piano on his album "Expressions," with vibes player Gary Burton for "Native Sense: The New Duets," and with vocalist Bobby McFerrin for "Rendezvous in New York" (listen to audio clips at linked titles). [16 June 2005]

Arrest and Trial ("Theme"), composed by Bronsilaw Kaper, is played deliciously by Jimmy Rowles on his "Lilac Time" album (take a listen here).  It's from a short-lived ABC television 1963-64 drama, but for me, it's another feather in the cap of the guy who wrote "Invitation," one of my absolutely favorite songs... we're talking a "desert island disc." [20 September 2013]

Arthur ("Arthur's Theme [Best That You Can Do]"), composed by Christopher Cross, Burt Bacharach, Carole Bayer Sager, and Peter Allen, is the Oscar-winning song from one of my all-time favorite comedies.  In addition to the film rendition (YouTube link), check out this concert performance on YouTube, which features singer Christopher Cross and Dudley Moore, who played the title character in the film, and who was a magnificently talented musician as well.  I have no clue how the 2011 remake of this movie will be, but the original with Moore, Liza Minelli, and Best Supporting Actor John Gielgud remains a classic.  [23 February 2011]

Artistry in Rhythm was a signature tune for the progressive big band sounds of Stan Kenton.  Listen here to an audio clip of this classic Kenton tune.   [5 February 2006]

As Long as I'm Singin' features the words and music of Bobby Darin, who was born on this date in 1936. Recorded in 1964, it was one of those songs that went unreleased in Darin's tragically short lifetime (he died at the age of 37. The song can also be heard on the soundtrack to the 2004 Kevin Spacey-biopic of Darin, "Beyond the Sea." This song showcases the swingin' ways of Darin, gone but never forgotten. Check it out on YouTube [May 14, 2018]

As Time Goes By was written by Herman Hupfeld in 1931 for the Broadway musical, "Everybody's Welcome."  But it is eternally enshrined in the minds of cinema fans worldwide for its appearance in the 1942 film, "Casablanca," starring Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman Dooley Wilson, "Sam" in the movie, plays it, and plays it again (even if "Play it Again, Sam" is never actually uttered by Bogie).  Speaking of "time," this is officially Leap Year Day, when, every four years, we add a day to our calendar.  And it's also the end of Film Music February, our month-long tribute to film music.  Take a look at two Dooley Wilson YouTube moments here and here.  And check out instrumental versions by jazz violinist Stephane Grappelli and classical guitarist John WilliamsHere's lookin' at you, kid.  [29 February 2012]

A-Tisket A-Tasket, a traditional nursery rhyme first recorded in the late nineteenth century, was the basis for the million-selling hit by Ella Fitzgerald with the Chick Webb Orchestra [YouTube link] in 1938. Lyrically embellished by Al Feldman and Ella herself, this is the song that got our Centenary Songstress off to a swinging start. Today we begin our mini-tribute to the First Lady of Song, as we move toward the 100th anniversary of her birth on April 25th.  [19 April 2017]

At Last features the music of Harry Warren and the lyrics of Mack Gordon.  Today, one hears it during a cat food commercial.  But it has been recorded by many artists, including Glenn Miller, Celine Dion, and, of course, Etta James (audio clips at those links).  [25 August 2005]

Attention, words and music by Jacob Kasher and Charlie Puth, the young man with a "Vanilla Ice" eyebrow and impressive vocal beat-box skills [YouTube link], was released in April 2017, and has since climbed into the Top 20 in more than 20 countries. The song has touches of funk and soul; as a video single [YouTube link], I had hardly noticed it. And then, I saw Puth perform it on Jimmy Fallon's "Tonight Show" and said, "Nice!"  Check out especially Puth's jazz-infused chops when he solos on electric piano [YouTube link]. He also performd the song on "The Voice" and at the Wind Music Awards in Italy (where he also takes a nice solo) [YouTube links], but my favorite version remains the one on Fallon's show with The Roots. It's a summer dance track with a really cool vibe [YouTube link]. [2 July 2017]

At the Circus ("Lydia the Tatooed Lady"), music by Harold Arlen, with clever lyrics by Yip Harburg (the team that gave us the Oscar-winning song "Over the Rainbow" from the 1939 film, "The Wizard of Oz"), made its debut in this other 1939 film, a Marx Brothers comedy. Groucho, the greatest Marxist of them all, introduced this song in this hilarious romp [YouTube film clip]. Groucho was in a class by himself, indeed [YouTube link]. But Kermit the Frog also delivered this song on "The Muppet Show" as did Virginia Wiedler in "The Philadelphia Story" (1940) [YouTube links] (hat tip to Roderick Long). And so, we end our sixteenth annual Film Music February on a leaping comedic note [YouTube link to a Dick Cavett interview in which Groucho sings this signature song], and look forward to revisiting the magic of film music again next year!  [29 February 2020]

At the Hop, words and music by Artie Singer, John Medora, and David White, was originally called "Do the Bop," but when Dick Clark heard it, he suggested a title change, and after it premiered on his "American Bandstand," this 1957 recording by Danny and the Juniors would go on to #1 on the Hot 100 and the R&B Best Sellers list, and #3 on the Country chart. This huge rock and roll / doo-wop hit opens up the final weekend of our Summer Dance Party, where we will go back to the era that started this year's annual dance tribute. Check out the original single version as well as one of its many covers in later years, including a rendition by Sha Na Na heard at the 1969 Woodstock Festival [YouTube link] and that of Flash Cadillac and the Continental Kids, who perform it on the soundtrack (as "Herby and the Heartbeats") to the 1973 George Lucas film, "American Graffiti" [YouTube film clip]. [20 September 2018]

Auld Lang Syne is an 18th century Robert Burns poem, which has become a New Year's Eve anthem, thanks to band leader Guy Lombardo.  It is also featured in the final scene of the 1946 film, "It's a Wonderful Life."  Listen to the Lombardo clip here.  And bring in the new year with health and happiness!  [31 December 2004]

Automatic, words and music by Brock Walsh and Mark Goldenberg, was released in 1984 and went to the Top 5 of the Hot 100, R&B, and Dance charts (where it peaked at #2), for the Pointer Sisters, from their album, "Break Out." With Ruth Pointer's contralto lead, this song has that distinctive soulful "sleaze beat" feel at 111 BPM. Listen to the original extended mix [YouTube link] (remixed by John "Jellybean" Benitez), and then check out a HiNRG 128 BPM 2007 cover version by Ultra Nate, accompanied by an uncensored steamy video "I'm So Excited" shout-out to the Pointer Sisters [YouTube link], which shot up to #1 on the Dance Club chart. [4 August 2017]

Autumn in New York, words and music by Vernon Duke, from the 1934 musical revue, "Thumbs Up," was sung ever-so-sweetly by Frank Sinatra. [23 September 2004]

Autumn Leaves, English lyrics by Johnny Mercer, original French lyrics by Jacques Prevert, music by Joseph Kosma, is truly apropos for the arrival of Fall.  It's been sung by Nat King Cole and so many others; I also love my sister-in-law Joanne Barry's jazzy version.  [22 September 2004]

Avalon features the music of Vincent Rose and the lyrics of G. "Buddy" DeSylva and Al Jolson, who had a huge hit with it in 1920, as did Benny Goodman in 1937.  And on this date, in 1938, Benny Goodman performed this tune with his classic quartet, live, on stage, in the famous Carnegie Hall concert.  Given the fact that today also happens to be Martin Luther King Day, it is all the more appropriate to celebrate the Goodman legacy in music.  For years, Goodman featured both black players and white players in his various bands; a person's race mattered not.  All that mattered was the person's ability to make great music.  Goodman's Carnegie Hall concert continued his policy of racial integration in jazz.  As for the history of this particular tune:  it includes a bit of litigation.  In 1921, Puccini actually won a suit against the writers, claiming that the melody was derived from "E Lucevan le Stelle."  Listen to audio clips from Al Jolson, the original swingin' recorded version by the Benny Goodman Quartet, and a blazin' Natalie Cole rendition. [16 January 2006]

Away in a Manger is a title that pertains to many songs, including the standard version, with lovely music based on "Mueller" by James Ramsey Murray (check out a Johnny Mathis audio clip of this version here).  Alas, the "alternate version" that I most adore uses "The Cradle Song" (listen at that link) by American gospel songwriter William J. Kirkpatrick.  One very fine instrumental, orchestral version of this was recorded by the Living Strings, played traditionally during hour 2 of the WPIX Channel 11 Yule Log, something I grew up with. A wonderful choral version is performed by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, with Leonard Bernstein conducting the New York Philharmonic.  Check out the audio link for the album "The Joy of Christmas." [2 January 2005]

The Awful Truth ("My Dreams Are Gone with the Wind"), music by Ben Oakland, lyrics by Milton Drake, is from this 1937 screwball comedy. The film, based on a 1922 play by Arthur Richman, earned Leo McCarey a Best Director Oscar---though in his acceptance speech, McCarey said: "Thanks, but you gave it to me for the wrong picture", a reference to his poignant 1937 film "Make Way for Tomorrow". However, this film, starring Cary Grant, Irene Dunne, and a young Ralph Bellamy (nominated for a Best Supporting Actor Oscar), is a hoot. The film also stars Skippy the Dog as Mr. Smith---also known for his appearances as the dog Asta in "The Thin Man" (1934) and as George, the dinosaur-bone-burying dog, in "Bringing Up Baby" (1938). The scenes in which this song is performed are hilarious. The song uses the phrase "Gone with the Wind", a playful reference to the 1936 book two years before that novel was adapted for the screen. The combined scenes in which Joyce Compton and Irene Dunne deliver the windblown lyrics were heavily improvised [YouTube link].  [13 February 2024]

Babes in Toyland (selections), music composed by Victor Herbert, book and lyrics by Glen MacDonough, opened on Broadway in 1903.  It is another charming seasonal favorite.  From its opening overture to the "Toyland" centerpiece and the "March of the Toys," the themes of this Herbert operetta always leave a lump in my throat.  I first heard these themes as a child when I saw the classic Laurel and Hardy 1934 film, "March of the Wooden Soldiers."  Listen to audio clips from the score here and here.  [23 December 2005]

Baby Be Mine, words and music by Rod Temperton, is Track #2 on the stupendous Michael Jackson album, "Thriller," which was released on this date, 30 years ago.  This recording predates "Spice of Life," but both songs have that same sweet Temperton groove.  Listen to the track on YouTube. [30 November 2012]

Baby, Come to Me, composed by Rod Temperton, and produced by Quincy Jones, both of them at the top of their craft, made its debut on "Every Home Should Have One," a 1981 Patti Austin album, in which Patti duets with James Ingram, who died today at the age of 66. Ironically, there is a connection between Ingram and Michel Legrand, who I honored in a tribute on January 26, 2019, when he passed away. Ingram sang with Austin on the first recorded rendition of the Legrand-Bergmans' Oscar-nominated song, "How Do You Keep the Music Playing?" [YouTube link], from the 1982 film, "Best Friends." Today's "Song of the Day" duet, which predates the film duet, only reached #72 on the Billboard Hot 100 in April 1982. But it was regularly heard by fans of the ABC soap opera hit, "General Hospital," as the love theme for the character Luke Spencer, and in October 1982, it was re-released, reaching #1 by February 1983 on the Hot 100 chart. Check out the lovely single [YouTube link]. RIP, James. Your velvety voice will be missed. [29 January 2019]

Baby I'm a Star, music and lyrics by Prince, was featured on the soundtrack for "Purple Rain."  Back in the day when I used to DJ, I did an edit of this energetic song for one of my sister's many award-winning high school dance teams.  We also enjoyed seeing Prince do this classic in concert.  Happy birthday, sister!   Listen to an audio clip here. [2 September 2008]

Baby It's Cold Outside features the words and music of the great Frank Loesser, who was born 100 years ago today.  This Academy Award winner was heard in the film, "Neptune's Daughter," but it always makes me think of the Christmas season. It has been recorded by many artists.  Take a look on YouTube at versions by Dinah Shore and Buddy Clark, Dean Martin, and Natalie Cole and James Taylor.  [29 June 2010]

Back in the U.S.A. features the words and music and classic sound of Chuck Berry. It's a quintessential Independence Day song. Check out the original Chuck Berry version and a 1978 hit Linda Ronstadt version as well. The two of them did a live version on the occasion of Berry's sixtieth birthday, with Keith Richards on backup vocals [YouTube links]. [4 July 2018]

Back Street ("Love Theme") was composed by Frank Skinner, whose music I highight for the next two days. I have visited Skinner's music before; it is familiar to horror fans the world over for many of those great Universal monster films, from "The Wolf Man" to "Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein."  But he was also known for writing some of the lushest scores to some of Hollywood's famous romantic melodramas (and perhaps there are dialectical relationships between horror and romance that need to be investigated!). The lovely theme here was written for the 1961 film (based on the Fannie Hurst novel) starring Susan Hayward, and co-starring John Gavin and Vera Miles, who, just one year before this film, co-starred in Hitchcock's "Psycho." [24 February 2016]

Back Together Again, words and music by James Mtume and Reggie Lucas, is a classic soulful duet of Roberta Flack and Donny Hathaway (audio clip at that link).  I also adore a "sentimental reunion" remix by Steve Anderson, produced for the June 1990 Disco Mix Club. Check it out here.  [14 September 2006]

Back to Life (However Do You Want Me), music and lyrics written by Jazzie B, Carol Wheeler, Nellee Hooper, and Simon Law, who constituted the British R&B group Soul II Soul, took this 1989 song to #1 on the Billboard Dance Chart. It's Monday, but the summer solstice arrives in Brooklyn at 6:34 p.m, and for the first time in nearly 70 years it syncs with a full moon (a so-called "strawberry moon"). What truth in that title, for summer brings us all "back to life." This summer on Notablog, every Saturday, we'll have our own little "Saturday Night Dance Party," and feature a classic dance song, running from the 1970s to today's contemporary dance hits. But it's always nice to start with a so-called "sleaze beat" dance track, that sensual R&B pulse that New York beachgoers could hear blaring out of many a "boom box" every summer, from Coney Island to Brighton Beach to Manhattan Beach. This party will continue until the Saturday before the Autumnal Equinox on September 22nd. I'm doing this because I still have a humongous vinyl collection of favorite dance hits, having been a mobile DJ in the 1980s, playing everything from senior proms to Bar Mitzvahs! Anyway, check out the original a cappella version and the utterly wonderful R&B classic hit on YouTube. And here's a special nod to the Cleveland Cavaliers, who came "back to life," down 3 games to 1, to take Game 7 and win the NBA championship!  [20 June 2016]

Back to the Future ("Soundtrack Suite") [YouTube link], composed by Alan Silvestri, features themes from the Robert Zemeckis-directed 1985 film, starring Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd. The film spawned a franchise of movie sequels, short films, television series, a video game, and a stage musical, and it is Silvestri's wonderful music that can be heard thoughout those media.  [28 February 2024]

Bad, words and music by Michael Jackson, is the title track to MJ's "Bad" album, which, on this date twenty-five years ago, debuted atop the Billboard 200 album chart.  The video, directed by Martin Scorsese, features choreography that is a paean to the great musical, "West Side Story."  The 25th aniversary of the album's release (officially, on 31 August 1987) is being commemorated this year by "Bad 25", a special remix 3-CD re-release package, and a Spike Lee-directed documentary, which premiered at the 2012 Venice Film Festival.  The original music video was filmed at the Brooklyn subway station at Hoyt-Schermerhorn.  And the track includes a hot solo by one of my all-time favorite jazz organ players, Jimmy Smith.  Check out the full music video version, the short-form music video, the Kids version, the 12" remix, the David Guetta remix, the Electro Mix by Ballistic, the new Afrojack remix, featuring Pitbull and DJ Buddha, and cover versions by country artist Ray Stevens, "Weird Al" Yankovic (a "Fat" parody), the Chipmunks, Sammy Davis, Jr., and the cast from "Glee". [26 September 2012]

Bad Girls, words and music by the Brooklyn Dreams and Donna Summer, is the title track to Summer's 1979 album, which became a #1 pop, dance, and R&B smash.  Check out the single version, the extended version, the famous medley with "Hot Stuff" and a nice live cover version by Jamiroquai [YouTube links].  [20 May 2012]

Bad Guy, words and music by Finneas O'Connell and his sister, Billie Eilish (O'Connell), appears on Eilish's macabre #1 debut album "When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?" It sat at #2 for nine nonconsecutive weeks (a Billboard chart record!) before unseating "Old Town Road," which broke all records on the Hot 100 for its 19 weeks atop that chart. The single got a much-needed shot of adrenaline when Justin Bieber joined Eilish in a remix (Bieber did much the same for "Despacito"). With its infectious hook and beat, it's a quirky song (with an even more quirky video [YouTube links]). Also check out the remix video with Justin Bieber, and dance remixes by Trap Nation and Sasha Vector. Duh. [20 August 2019]

Baker Street features the words, lyrics, and performance of Gerry Rafferty, who passed away on 4 January 2011.   Spotlighting the saxophone of Raphael Ravenscroft, it's a late 70s pop gem.  Check out the full Rafferty version on YouTube and, among the many covers of this song, one by the Foo Fighters.  [2 March 2011]

The Ballad of Bonnie and Clyde, music and lyrics by Mitch Murray and Peter Callander, was recorded in 1967 by Georgie Fame [YouTube music link].  The tune is not heard in the 1967 film, "Bonnie and Clyde," which starred Faye Dunaway as Bonnie Parker and Warren Beatty as Clyde Barrow, the notorious Depression-era bank robbers. But the song was inspired by the film. The film score was written by Charles Strouse; the movie won Oscars for Estelle Parsons (Best Supporting Actress) and Burnett Guffey (Best Cinematography). [23 February 2013]

The Ballad of Thelonious Monk, words and music by Jimmy Rowles (with a little help from Jimmy McHugh), is a tribute to the legendary, lovably off-center jazz pianist, who was born on this date in 1917 (and who actually passed away on my 22nd birthday, 17 February 1982).  The most hilarious and joyous rendition of this was performed by that wonderful interpretive jazz songstress Carmen McRae, recorded live at Donte's in Los Angeles, California in 1972 for her album "The Great American Songbook," with a group that included Rowles on piano, Joe Pass on guitar, bassist Chuck Domanico, and drummer Chuck Flores.  Rowles's tune is a country-and-western paean to a jazz master [YouTube link]. We'll be tributing the Monk for a few days here at Notablog. [10 October 2015]

Ball and Chain was a hit record in the early 1960s for its writer: Big Mama Thornton [YouTube link]. It was later recorded by Janis Joplin in 1967-1968 with Big Brother and the Holding Company for the 1968 album "Cheap Thrills" [YouTube link], which went to #1 on the Billboard Hot 200 Album Chart. She performed the bluesy song famously at Monterey Pop and as the finale to her own set at Woodstock [YouTube links].  [5 July 2019]

On Facebook, I posted this preface to today's Song of the Day: On July 6th, I posted a Notablog tribute to a dear friend, Murray Franck, who passed away on the 2nd. And I want to thank all of those who posted or reacted on list or off to the sad news. But Murray always got a kick out of the fact that I had this penchant for launching Notablog "Song of the Day" entries to celebrate genres as diverse as jazz, film scores, classical, rock, disco, and today's pop music. Nothing would have bothered him more than my ceasing such tributes in the wake of his death. He would chuckle when I'd talk to him about my days as a mobile DJ, playing everything from Bar Mitzvahs to weddings, reunions, and proms. So I won't miss a beat from this year's annual Summer Dance Series, and will continue with the first of two songs planned for this weekend: "Bang Bang" by three women named Jessie, Ariana, and Nicki:
Bang Bang, words and music by Max Martin, Savan Kotecha, Rikard Goransson, Oniqa Maraj, charted on no fewer than six Billboard charts, reaching #3 on the Hot 100 and #22 on the Hot Dance Club chart. As the lead single from Jessie J's 2014 album, "Sweet Talker," the song was a huge hit for Jessie J, Ariana Grande, and Nicki Minaj. Check out the music video, the Bassel Remix, 3LAU Remix, the Kevin-Dave Remix, and their hot performance of the song on the 2014 American Music Awards. [8 July 2017]

Barbara Allen is an ageless folksong whose origins go back to the 17th century.  It has been performed in countless permutations by chamber groups and singers from every genre of music. I remember it today, on Christmas Eve, because it is featured so prominently in poignant scenes of the 1951 film version of "A Christmas Carol," with the incomparable Alastair Sim.  For an equally poignant instrumental rendition, check out the audio clip on a very special album, "Christmas Jazz Guitar," by the terrific jazz guitarist Jack Wilkins.  Meanwhile, don't forget to track Santa Claus!  [24 December 2004]

Barbie ("Dance the Night") features the words and music of Mark Ronson, Caroline Ailin, Andrew Wyatt, and Dua Lipa, who provides the energetic vocals to this Golden Globe-nominated "Best Original Song." It is a choreographic highlight from the 2023 film, directed by Greta Gerwig. Check out the cinematic dance scene [YouTube link]. [22 February 2024]

Barbie ("What Was I Made For?") features the words and music of  Finneas O'Connell and Billie Eilish, who delivers this poignant song over the closing credits of the 2023 film. Grammy-winner for Song of the Year and a Golden Globe winner for Best Original Song, it has also earned an Oscar nomination in that category. Check out the official music video [YouTube link]. [23 February 2024]

Barefoot in the Park ("Main Title"), music by Neil Hefti, lyrics by Johnny Mercer, opens this hilarious 1967 comedy starring Robert Redford and Jane Fonda. On this date in 1919, my mother was born; this was one of her favorite films. She'd become convulsed with laughter especially in scenes featuring Best Supporting Actress Oscar nominee, Mildred Natwick as Fonda's mother, Ethel Banks. Natwick (who, like Redford, appeared in the original 1963 Neil Simon Broadway production) delivers some of the best lines in the film---after climbing umpteen flights of stairs to reach her daughter and son-in-law's quintessential New York apartment [see Robert Osborne's intro on YouTube]: "I had to park the car three blocks away. Then it started to rain so I ran the last two blocks. Then my heel got caught in a subway grating. When I pulled my foot out, I stepped in a puddle. Then a cab went by and splashed my stockings. If the hardware store downstairs was open, I was going to buy a knife and kill myself." Or: "I feel like we've died and gone to heaven---only we had to climb up" [YouTube link]. Or this one [YouTube link], where the climb nearly brings mother Banks to her knees. Or this one where she goes down the stairs [YouTube link]. Mom has been gone since April 1995. But her memorable, uproarious laughter was so infectious that it brought as many laughs to her family as did the things that tickled her. Check out the opening theme to this comedy classic [YouTube link]. [20 February 2021]

Barry ("Change for the World") is credited to the members of the funky Brooklyn-based Menahan Street Band, as well as Charles Bradley, on whose album, "Changes", this track first appeared in 2016. The song also features The Gospel Queens, but it is only the first few notes that we hear as the main theme to this dark comedy crime drama, which ran for four seasons on HBO, from 2018-2023. I recently streamed the entire show and really liked it! Created by Alec Berg and SNL-alum Bill Hader, who stars in the title role, it also features stellar performances from Henry Winkler, Sarah Goldberg, Stephen Root, and Anthony Carrigan, all of whom have received their share of Emmy nominations in the Comedy series categories. Hader, nominated this year, has won twice for Outstanding Lead Actor and Winkler, also nominated this year, has won once before for Outstanding Supporting Actor; he's up against Carrigan, also nominated this year in the Supporting category. The final season of "Barry" received a nomination this year for Outstanding Comedy Series. Check out the full theme [YouTube link]. [17 July 2023]

Basin Street Blues, music by Spencer Williams, lyrics by trombonists Jack Teagarden and Glenn Miller, has been recorded by so many great jazz artists through the years. But today, we highlight a classic version by the late great Dixieland trumpeter Al Hirt and the late, great Dixieland clarinetist Pete Fountain Fountain passed away on Saturday, August 6, 2016; he was a spirited player who was greatly influenced by the King of Swing, Benny Goodman, and New Orleans clarinetist Irving Fazola.  Check out the Hirt-Fountain rendition of this classic Dixie-jazz tune on YouTube. [8 August 2016]

Batman ("Batdance"), composed by Prince, uses the Batman hook [YouTube link] from the campy 1960s TV show I grew up watching, starring the late Adam West as our Caped Crusader. This song was featured in the Tim Burton-directed 1989 Batman reboot, starring Michael Keaton as Batman and Jack Nicholson as an over-the-top off-the-wall Joker. Check out the official music video [YouTube link]. [28 February 2018]

Batman ("Main Theme") [YouTube link], composed by the celebrated jazz trumpeter, composer, songwriter, and arranger, Neil Hefti, opened every episode of the campy 1960s series starring Adam West as Bruce Wayne / Batman, and Burt Ward as Robin facing off against a host of villains played by an evolving all-star cast, including The Joker (Cesar Romero), The Riddler (Frank Gorshin and John Astin), The Penguin (Burgess Meredith), and Catwoman (Julie Newmar and Eartha Kitt), among them. The cartoon graphics at the beginning of the show inspired a hilarious SNL parody, called "The Ambiguously Gay Duo" [YouTube link].  I was so swept away by the series as a kid that I went out to my Aunt Joan's house in Bellmore, Long Island, just so I could see Adam West and Burt Ward pass by in a Long Island bus tour!  And my sister, my cousins, and I made the cover of Long Island's Newsday in a photo showing me holding up a sign of greeting as high as any 7-year old kid could. Tonight, they'll be lots of people holding up Emmy Awards in the Primetime broadcast. Tomorrow, I'll have one more encore TV theme, in honor of one of the greatest musicians who ever lived, now gone. But tonight, check out the Emmys. [18 September 2016]

Batman ("Trust"), composed by Prince, features sampled horn parts from jazz trumpeters Eric Leeds and Atlanta Bliss. This Prince soundtrack album to the 1989 film, directed by Tim Burton, stars Michael Keaton as our Caped Crusader. The film also boasts an utterly off the wall, over-the-top, but still classically Jack Nicholson performance in the villainous role of the Joker (formerly played in the 1960s  campy TV series by Cesar Romero, and later played much more darkly by the posthumously awarded Best Supporting Actor Oscar-winner Heath Ledger in the 1998 film, "The Dark Knight"). Check out this song and the scene in which it unfolds as well as a rockin' Shep Pettibone 12" dance remix [YouTube]. And so concludes our mini-tribute to Prince's film music repertoire. [7 February 2017]

Batucada (The Beat) is a Marcos Valle-Paulo Valle composition, sung in Portuguese by Brasil 66 on their album "Look Around" (listen to audio clip at that link or the song title link).  This song can be described as "viral"; if you listen to it, prepare to be infected by its rhythmic, melodic hook.   [14 January 2005]

The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms ("Monster Does Manhattan") [sample clip at that link], composed by David Buttolph for the 1953 film, is one of the defining and most influential film soundtracks for the whole sub-genre of "Monster Movies," which feature giant monsters stomping on contemporary cities (everything from King-sized giant apes and Atomic Age-reawakened dinosaurs to mutant ants and tarantulas). This particular film's plot has a fabulous London counterpart, released in 1959:  "The Giant Behemoth," with special effects by Willis O'Brien, who was a mentor to Ray Harryhausen, the special effects wizard for Beast.  After the Beast wreaks havoc in Manhattan, it decides to visit BrooklynFuhgeddaboudit!  It comes to a violent end at the Cyclone roller coaster, in Coney Island Amusement Park.  Still, a little too close for comfort, if you ask this Brooklynite.  [24 February 2012]

Beat It, words, music, and performance by Michael Jackson, was one of the biggest hits from the album, "Thriller," which was released twenty-five years ago today.  Jim Farber's recollection gets it right; this brilliant Quincy Jones-produced album defined a remarkable moment in pop cultural history on so many levels.  Listen here to an audio clip of this classic track, with its scintillating Eddie van Halen electric guitar solo, and watch the video that had a huge impact on pop music.  [1 December 2007]

Beautiful Love, the Victor Young romantic ballad (lyrics by Egbert Van Alstyne), has been recorded by countless artists.  And yet, the version that sticks in my mind is a mysterious instrumental waltz rendering, heard as source music for the 1932 Universal Monster Classic, "The Mummy" with Boris Karloff.  Listen to tenor saxophonist Benny Golson talk about it for Billy Taylor's Jazz at the Kennedy Center. [9 November 2004]

Beautiful People features the music and lyrics of Marco Benassi, Allessandro Benassi, Jean Baptiste, and Chris Brown, who recorded this song in 2011.  Check out the official video and Brown's performance on the 2011 VMAs.  I can think of no better way to start off 2015 than with a song that tells us "It's your life" and to celebrate the love and beauty inside.  A happy and healthy 2015 to all! [1 January 2015]

Beautiful Sadness, words and music by M. A. Leikin and L. Holdridge, as performed by Jane Olivor on her album, "Chasing Rainbows."  As a paean to the end of a romance, this is what we call "slit-your-wrist-music" at its best.  [11 December 2004]

Be Faithful is credited to many writers, but it depends heavily on samples from, among other tracks, "Love Like This" by Faith Evans and, obviously, "Chic Cheer" by the Edwards-Rodgers team, which started this 3-song arc. It was released by American rapper Fatman Scoop in 1999 and re-released in 2003 to international success. The song was also featured in the 2001 film, "Save the Last Dance." If you can handle the explicit lyrics, check out the evolution of a sample here [YouTube link]. [9 May 2022]

Beggin' features the words and music of Bob Gaudio and Peggy Farina.  Listen here to an audio clip of the original and also to a "Jersey Boys" soundtrack rendition.  And as the summer season melts into fall, a Happy Autumnal Equinox to one and all (the season officially arrived a little after midnight EDT). [23 September 2006]

Beginnings features the words and music of Robert Lamm of the group Chicago, from its jazz-rock fusion heyday.  It's one of my favorite Chicago tracks; listen to an audio clip here.  And for an alternative jazzy take on this classic track, listen to the Russ Kassoff arrangement for Catherine Dupuis at this link.  [14 October 2005]

Begin the Beguine, words and music by Cole Porter, was one of the biggest hits in the career of the late, great Artie Shaw (listen to an audio clip here).  And there are vocal versions of this great song too, sung by artists as varied as Ella Fitzgerald (audio clip here) and Mario Lanza (audio clip here).  But this remains a Shaw signature tune.  Viva Shaw!  [1 January 2005b]

Behind the Groove features the words and music of Richard Rudolph and Mary C. Brockert, whose stage name was Teena Marie.  I've been a bit 'behind the groove' in getting a Notablog entry up for the new year, so here's wishing health and happiness to all my readers in 2014.  Listen to the extended version of this classic R&B hit from the 1980 album "Lady T" on YouTube here.  [4 January 2014]

Behind These Hazel Eyes features the words and music of Martin Sandberg, Lukasz Gottwald, and Kelly Clarkson, the first "American Idol" winner, who also performs the song.  (And, yes, I've been watching the fifth season of the talent show.)  This song has been played so much that it essentially grew on me.  Big time.  I now sing along when I hear it on the car radio.  Listen to an audio clip here.   [26 January 2006]

Believe, credited to six writers, was performed by Cher, whose recording was Billboard magazine's #1 Hot 100 Single of 1999.  It was the biggest single of her career, and provided her with her first Grammy Award (for "Best Dance Recording").  It is known also for its use of the vocoder (though that particular link adds vocoder effects not on the actual recording).  Listen to an audio clip of this well-produced dance track here. [19 July 2005]

Be My Love, music by Nicholas Brodszky, lyrics by Sammy Cahn, is a 1950 Academy Award-nominated song from the film "The Toast of New Orleans," starring Mario Lanza, today's birthday boy.  Listen to an audio clip here.  And take a look at today's announced "Best Song" Oscar nominees for the 78th Annual Academy Awards here.  [31 January 2006]

Ben, music by Walter Scharf, lyrics by Don Black, was the title track to the 1972 flick, sequel to the 1971 killer rat film, "Willard." A young Michael Jackson (born on this date in 1958) sings this song over the film's closing credits [YouTube link]. The studio recording [YouTube link] would go on to become a #1 Billboard Hot 100 hit, the first of so many solo MJ hits to come. It would go on to win a Golden Globe for Best Original Song. Other renditions include those performed live by Billy Gillman and by Dutch violinist Andre Rieu [YouTube links]. In keeping with our Summer Music Festival (Jazz Edition), check out this big band arrangement by Jim McMillen and Company [YouTube link] (from the album "Swingin' to Michael Jackson: A Tribute" [YouTube links]). Tomorrow is the VMAs... where MJ collected quite a few awards over the years. [29 August 2020]

Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ ("Chariot Race") [YouTube film clip], music by Carl Davis (for the 1987 restored version), highlights the rousing chariot race from the 1925 epic silent version of the famous Lew Wallace novel. The film stars Ramon Navarro as Judah Ben-Hur and Francis X. Bushman as Messala; they battle it out in one of the finest silent screen action sequences ever filmed. It is noteworthy that the 1959 Oscar champ, with its glorious film score by Miklos Rozsa, has no musical accompaniment for its famed chariot race [YouTube film clip excerpt], which was staged by famed Hollywood stuntman Yakima Canutt. It was a terrific choice, artistically speaking, because the audience is engulfed by the sounds of the arena---its gruesome violence depicted by the clashing chariots, their riders and horses, and thousands of extras, none of it generated by CGI effects. A silent film, however, had no such luxury; Carl Davis's soundtrack provides the audience with a dramatic motif that augments the action we view on screen. A genuine triumph. One other piece of cinema trivia: In this 1925 silent epic, William Wyler was an uncredited Assistant Director, and A. Arnold Gillespie was an uncredited set designer for the art department. Both Wyler and Gillespie would go on to win Oscars for the 1959 version, in the categories of Directing and Visual Effects, respectively. [18 February 2018]

Ben-Hur ("Anno Domini") [YouTube link], composed by Miklos Rozsa, comes immediately after the "Overture" in the 1959 Biblical epic, which still holds the all-time Oscar record with 11 Academy Awards, including "Best Picture" (tied by "Titanic" and "Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King", except "Ben-Hur" is the only one among these that includes two Oscars for acting categories). This cue opens with the score's famous three-note motif and serves as the backdrop for the narration [YouTube link], which tells us the story of Rome's occupation of Judea, a prelude to the Nativity scene [YouTube link]. Director William Wyler bookends this "Tale of the Christ" with the birth and crucifixion of Jesus [YouTube link], whose presence is felt throughout the film, without ever seeing his face or hearing his voice---except through the expressions and experiences of the other characters. Known as the first "intimate epic" [pdf], this film remains my all-time favorite with my all-time favorite score, and it's become a tradition of sorts for me to highlight a cue from this soundtrack on this date, my birthday. Unlike the film, however, I'm not yet 60! Not that there's anything wrong with that [YouTube link]. For those who haven't seen the finest film version of the classic Lew Wallace tale, it will be shown as part of TCM's 31 Days of Oscar tomorrow afternoon. [17 February 2019]

Ben-Hur ("Arrius' Party") [YouTube link], composed by the great Miklos Rozsa, is a sedate but celebratory theme, from my all-time favorite film, the 1959 epic, "Ben-Hur."  Each year, on this date, since I inaugurated "My Favorite Songs," and since February has traditionally been that time of year spent in tribute to film music, I have featured a selection from this, the greatest of movie soundtracks. I saw the film again last night, as part of TCM's "31 Days of Oscar," and it remains the greatest "intimate epic" of all time, in my view.  Listening to the 5-CD "Complete Soundtrack Collection" released as a part of FSM Golden Age Classics, I will forever be in love with this music.  Happy 53rd birthday to me! [17 February 2013]

Ben-Hur ("Balthazar's World") [YouTube link], composed by Miklos Rozsa, incorporates several motifs from the film score, including the Prelude, the Christ theme, and the theme for the "Adoration of the Magi"---all speaking to the character of Balthazar, one of the three wise men who has returned to Judea to find the child he first encountered in a manger in Bethlehem, following the star that proclaimed his birth. William Wyler once joked that it took a Jew to make a good film about Christ (indeed, in music, as in film, such Jewish Americans as Irving Berlin, who wrote "White Christmas," and Mel Torme and Robert Wells, who wrote "The Christmas Song," have contributed some of the finest "chestnuts" to the soundtrack of the Christmas holiday season). Be that as it may, this film's soundtrack, written by one of the greatest composers of his generation---or any generation, has always provided me with a special kind of spiritual nutrition, even during some of my most difficult days. The 1959 all-time Oscar champ (tied only by "Titanic" and "The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King"---each with 11 Oscars) recently celebrated its 60th anniversary; it was released on 18 November 1959. And now, yes, today, I too am 60. It has become a tradition of sorts to feature a cue from this epic---my all-time favorite film---on my birthday. How fitting to celebrate a 60-year old film and soundtrack, when a 1960 baby celebrates his Beddian Birthday (or should that be "his Ben-hurdian Birthday"?).
Postscript on Facebook: It is an overwhelming experience to have a few hundred people sending you Happy Birthday wishes. I 'hearted' every person who posted to my 60th Birthday Timeline... because words can't express how much I appreciate such an outpouring of love and kindness. But 60 or not... this was one of the T-shirts I got for my birthday... and youthful spirit that I am, this one just about says it all! [17 February 2020]

Ben-Hur ("The Battle") (audio clip at that link) is one of the most rousing cinematic achievements in the Miklos Rozsa film score canon.  No tribute would be complete without a nod to my all-time favorite film scoreRozsa's music for the naval battle, an action-packed highlight of the 1959 William Wyler-directed "Ben-Hur", remains one of his great Academy-Award winning cinematic moments.  And so we conclude our Centennial Celebration of the music of Miklos Rozsa on the occasion, today, of his 100th birthday Tune in to Turner Classic Movies to see a tribute to Rozsa-scored films throughout the day. [18 April 2007]

Ben Hur ("The Burning Desert") [YouTube clip at that link], composed by the one and only Miklos Rozsa, is from my all-time favorite film, the 1959 epic known for its colossal naval battles and chariot races, but also for its intimacy and intelligence.  It's been a tradition around these parts to feature a selection from this grandest of symphonic cinematic scores every February 17th.  This past year, life has sometimes felt like a struggle across a burning desert; just knowing that the sounds of redemption echo on the next horizon, that the cup of human kindness awaits in the hands of my truly blessed family and loyal friends, is enough to inspire the continuing trek across the many burning deserts to come.  Happy 52nd Birthday to Me (born on the day that made me "Wednesday's Child, Full of Woe") and Three Cheers to Rozsa!  [17 February 2012]

Ben-Hur ("Choral Suite") (audio clips at that link),  was composed by Miklos Rozsa and arranged and reconstructed by Daniel Robbins.   Happy Easter to my family and to all my Greek and Russian Orthodox friends.  And our Rozsa Tribute, which began here, comes to a conclusion.  Next year, the tribute will return to mark the Rozsa Centenary!  [23 April 2006]

Ben-Hur ("Conflict") [YouTube link], composed by Oscar-winner Miklos Rozsa for the 1959 Best Picture, which won a record 11 Academy Awards, highlights the confrontation between the Jewish Prince Judah Ben-Hur (played by Oscar-winner Charlton Heston) and his Roman boyhood friend Messala (played by Golden Globe-winner Stephen Boyd), a conflict that reaches its apex in an epic chariot race for the cinematic ages (check out an excerpt here---spoiler alert! [YouTube link]). It's a tradition of sorts to post a cue from my favorite score from my favorite movie on this date. And today, the Prime #17th Annual Film Music February Meets The Prime #17th of February! I was actually born on this day (Wednesday), on this date, back in 1960. Since it's not yet 4:27 pm ET (the time of my birth), call me 61*. Either way, I'll always be younger than this film! [17 February 2021]

Ben-Hur ("Entr' Acte") [YouTube link], composed by Miklos Rozsa, opens the second act of this spectacular 1959 film epic, which won 11 Oscars, a record tied by "Titanic" (1997) and "The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King" (2003), but never surpassed. This cue features some of the most triumphant themes from one of the greatest symphonic film scores ever written. There's also a live orchestral rendition that Rozsa originally wrote [YouTube link]. As is typical on this day, my birthday, I feature music from my all-time favorite film. [17 February 2024]

Ben-Hur ("Fertility Dance") [audio clip at that link], composed by Miklos Rozsa, offers a rousing start to our Annual Movie Music Tribute, in anticipation of the 81st Academy Awards.  The tribute also begins on the occasion of my 49th birthday... so... uh... happy birthday to me! [17 February 2009]

Ben-Hur ("Friendship") [audio clip at that link], music by Miklos Rozsa, continues an annual tradition, in which I feature a composition from my all-time favorite soundtrack.  I pick this stellar theme today in celebration of my own birthday and in celebration of my friends, those who have given me their love and support over the past year, in good times and in very difficult times too.  Today also begins my annual salute to film music.  This year, instead of focusing on selections from my favorite film scores, like today's entry, I will focus on cinematic songs.  From tomorrow until the Oscars on March 5, 2006, I will highlight some of my favorite songs from the silver screen, taking a chronological trip down memory lane.  [17 February 2006]

Ben-Hur ("The Galley") was composed by birthday boy Miklos Rozsa for a classic scene, the rowing of the galley slaves, in this 11-Oscar-winning masterpiece.  The perfect wedding between cinematic scoring and film, this composition takes us from "battle speed" to "attack speed" to "ramming speed" in thrilling fashion.  It is Rozsa's music that directs the pace here as much as the great director William Wyler.  Check out the scene on YouTube, where Jack Hawkins as Quintus Arrius and Charlton Heston as Judah Ben-Hur, Galley Slave No. 41, match wits.  And check out the YouTube Red Bull Spoof.  [18 April 2008]

Ben-Hur ("Gratus' Entry To Jerusalem") [YouTube link] is a dark, imperial march composed by Miklos Rozsa that begins immediately after "Salute for Gratus" (included here as well) on a 5-disc edition of the score to my favorite film of all time: "Ben-Hur", the Best Picture of 1959, which set a winning record of 11 Oscars that has been tied, but never beaten.  In a sprawling Oscar-winning soundtrack filled with grand and diverse themes, Rozsa provides a wide range of emotions, which capture the "soul" of this remarkable film.  It is not without significance that the film has been called the first modern "intimate" epic, one that could stage grand-scale naval battles and real chariot races of widescreen scope without the help or need for CGI, while at the same time exploring the essential depth of its main characters and the intimacy and complexity of their relationships. Much of the credit goes to Oscar-winning director William Wyler, and the performances he elicited from his actors (two of whom brought home Oscar gold:  Charlton Heston for "Best Actor" and Hugh Griffith for "Best Supporting Actor"). Rozsa's piece captures the coercive imposition of ancient Roman will on Judea, the oppressive character of imperial occupation on a section of the world that, till this day, remains in turmoil.  In any event, it is in keeping with my annual practice of featuring something from "Ben-Hur" on the occasion of my birthday, which always coincides with Film Music February.  So I've chosen this muscular piece from Rozsa's greatest, most triumphant symphonic film score, perhaps one of the greatest scores in cinema history. [17 February 2016]

Ben-Hur ("Homecoming"), composed by the great Miklos Rozsa, opens my annual film m+usic tribute, which will extend through Oscar Day, February 25, 2007.  This  year, I will feature a mix of cues and songs from the movies.  Today also happens to be my birthday; as in 2005 and 2006, I choose a track from my favorite film score of all time.  Listen to an audio clip here[17 February 2007]

Ben-Hur ("London Festival Orchestra Soundtrack Suite") [YouTube link] is yet another suite that has been orchestrated in celebration of the great Oscar-winning Miklos Rozsa score to the epic 1959 film version of the Lew Wallace novel. Starring the "Best Actor"-winning Charlton Heston in the title role, the film won 11 Oscars, a record tied but never beaten. It remains my all-time favorite, and it's a Film Music February Festival ritual to post something from its soundtrack on this date every year. It's my birthday after all---and yes, this film will always be older than me, since it was released almost three months to the day before I was born. [17 February 2023]

Ben-Hur ("Love Theme") [audio clip at that link], music by Miklos Rozsa, is sensitively stated by a solo violin with orchestra.  It is a central theme from this William Wyler-directed epic, and one of the romantic highlights of the score and the film.  [18 February 2005]

Ben-Hur ("The Miracle") [audio clip at that link], music by Miklos Rozsa, is a restatement of the central theme from this magnificent soundtrack, with hallelujah chorus bringing the film to a triumphant finale.  A Happy Easter to all my Eastern Orthodox friends and family! Christos Anesti! (from St. Anthony's Greek Orthodox Monastery in Arizona, via Into the Light).  [27 April 2008]

Ben-Hur ("The Mother's Love") [YouTube link], composed by Miklos Rozsa, is one of the most melancholy themes from this William Wyler-directed 1959 blockbuster, which won a record 11 Oscars, including a well-deserved one for its magnificent score. Equaled but not surpassed by "Titanic" and "Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King" in its Oscar tally, this epic is the only film among those holding the record to have won Oscars in the acting categories---one for Charlton Heston as Best Actor (in the role of Judah Ben-Hur) and the other for Hugh Griffith as Best Supporting Actor (in the role of Sheik Ilderim). Heston has the distinction of appearing in what is considered to be the last of the "classic" costume epics ("The Ten Commandments") and this, the first of the modern intimate "thinking man's" epics ("Ben-Hur"), noted for providing deep characterization amidst grand spectacle. Ironically, in both films, actress Martha Scott played Charlton Heston's mother (and today's theme captures "the mother's love" so poignantly). It's become a tradition during my annual film music tribute, which started way back in 2005, to pick a cue on this date, my birthday, from my all-time favorite film and film score---and I have no intention of changing that tradition anytime soon. How appropriate to highlight this selection especially for "the mother's love" that gave me life and nurtured me as I grew to maturity. Today also happens to be the 32nd Annual American Society of Cinematographers Outstanding Achievement Awards, in both theatrical releases and television, hosted by TCM's Ben Mankiewicz. Apropos, among the 11 Oscars received by "Ben-Hur" was one for "Best Color Cinematography" by Robert Surtees. For this year's TCM "31 Days of Oscar" celebration, films are being featured by Oscar Award category each day. "Ben-Hur" is the final film---in the climactic final category of "Best Picture"---in TCM's annual tribute, scheduled for 2:45 a.m. ET on March 4th. It's the most obvious period at the end of any cinema sentence, since it is still among the most honored films in Oscar history. [17 February 2018]

Ben-Hur ("Overture") [YouTube link], composed by Master Maestro Miklos Rozsa, encapsulates all the main thematic content of my favorite soundtrack (and film) of all time. It's become a tradition on my birthday to pick a cue from this 11-Academy Award-winning 1959 film (a total equaled by "Titanic" and the third installment of "Lord of the Rings," but never surpassed, and neither of those films received Oscars in any of the acting categories).  For TCM fans, the film airs tonight from 8 pm to midnight (EST, followed by "Psycho").  Coincidence? Divine inspiration?  All I know is that I turn 55 today; my loving Dad passed away in 1972, three months short of his 56th birthday. So I figure if I beat that, I'm good for another 55.  Right now, I count my blessings that my eyes open every morning.  I count my blessings for the passion of my work and for the love and support of my family and my friends.  Cheers to a life worth living.  For that reason alone, indeed, I shall "row well, and live."  Even if I do get a little "Psycho" now and then; it keeps life interesting!  [17 February 2015]

Ben-Hur ("Parade of the Charioteers") [audio clip at that link], music by Miklos Rozsa, trumpets the bold and grand arrival of the charioteers before the Great Chariot Race in this all-time Oscar champ (its 11 Oscar record is tied with "Titanic" and "Lord of the Rings:  Return of the King").  It acts as a fanfare for a scene rated among the "most thrilling" action sequences ever committed to celluloid, according to the American Film Institute.  [19 February 2005]

Ben-Hur ("Prelude") [audio clip at that link], music by Miklos Rozsa, announces the main theme from what is probably my favorite film score, composed by one of my favorite composers, for my favorite movie, the 1959 film version of the General Lew Wallace novel, starring Oscar-winner Charlton Heston in the title role.  What better way to celebrate my own birthday than with my favorites?  [17 February 2005]

Ben-Hur ("The Procession to Calvary" / "The Bearing of the Cross") [audio clips at that link], composed by Miklos Rozsa, coincides with the Eastern Orthodox Good Friday.  It is as if Rozsa captures all the pain of The Passion; it's a classic musical moment in a classic film.  [21 April 2006]

Ben-Hur ("Roman March" or "Marcia Romana") [YouTube clip at that link], composed by Miklos Rozsa, is one of the master's grandest marches from the grandest of all epics.  Continuing Movie Music Month, this one's for me (on my 51st birthday)! [17 February 2011]

Ben-Hur ("Salute for Gratus") [audio clip at that link] is one of the grandest themes composed by Miklos Rozsa for my favorite film, "Ben-Hur." And so, it is fitting to highlight this one, from my favorite soundtrack of all time, on the occasion of my 50th birthday... today! [17 February 2010]

Ben-Hur ("Salute for Messala") [audio clip at that link] is a 10-second cue composed by the legendary Miklos Rozsa, which is heard in the 1959 MGM epic upon the arrival of Judah Ben-Hur's childhood friend, Messala, who has returned to Jerusalem, a tribune of Rome, ready to assume command of the Roman garrison.  To me, despite the flaws and corruptions that have engulfed the soul of the man who becomes Ben-Hur's nemesis, this particular cue, designed to express the requisite regality, also expresses strength of character and certainty of purpose. And it was a cue that never showed up on the umpteen versions of this film's soundtracks that had been released since the film's 1959 debut.  That was rectified in 2013 by FSM Golden Age Classics, with the release of an utterly definitive 5-CD collection illustrating the complete brilliance of Rozsa's Oscar-winning score, one of the 11 Oscars that remains an Academy Award record (tied, but never bested by "Titanic" and "Lord of the Rings:  The Return of the King").  Since the beginning of Notablog, I've highlighted many cues from this soundtrack. Of this, one can be certain:  On February 17th of any year, you'll find a "Ben-Hur" selection:  in 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, and the tradition continues today.  It's my 54th birthday, after all, and it allows me to offer an annual salute to my all-time favorite movie and my all-time favorite score.  [17 February 2014]

Ben-Hur ("Soundtrack Suite") [YouTube link], composed by Miklos Rozsa, derives from one of the greatest symphonic scores ever written for one of the greatest epics in cinema history: the 1959 version of "Ben-Hur", directed by William Wyler, and starring Charlton Heston in the title role. The first "intimate epic" won a record 11 Oscars, equaled---by "Titanic" and "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King"---but never surpassed, including this well-deserved statuette for Best Original Score, Rozsa's third and final Oscar. It is the only Oscar ever won for any score written in the ancient and medieval epic genre. This concludes our three-day mini-tribute to the Maestro Miklos. It's become a tradition of sorts for me to highlight a cue from this film every year on this date. So... uh... Happy Birthday to Me!  [17 February 2022]

Ben-Hur ("Star of Bethelehem"/"Adoration of the Magi"), composed by the great Miklos Rozsa, is perfect on the eve of the Epiphany.  From my favorite movie, the 1959 version of "Ben-Hur," these selections can be sampled from the soundtrack album here.  [5 January 2006]

Ben-Hur ("Suite") [YouTube link], composed by today's birthday boy, Miklos Rozsa, includes all of the sweeping themes for the grand 1959 epic "Tale of the Christ," starring Charlton Heston as Judah Ben-Hur [YouTube documentary on Chuck]. This is, to my knowledge, the only suite I have heard that is different from any other pieces I have already highlighted from the soundtrack of my all-time favorite film. But what makes it so very special is that it features the composer himself conducting the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra (in 1979).  It is a special treat to see this man so alive with the music of the score that remains his crowning achievement.  It is a true genius that we honor today [pdf link to my Rozsa essay] on the 110th anniversary of his birth [YouTube documentary on Rozsa]. Tomorrow, we begin a week-long Centenary Tribute to another musical legend from an entirely different genre. Just don't drop your brown and yellow basket because within a week, it'll be filled with the glory of Ella.  [18 April 2017]

Ben-Hur ("Valley of the Lepers" / "The Search") [YouTube link], composed by Miklos Rozsa, is one of the more mournful themes from his majestic soundtrack for this 1959 film, winner of 11 Academy Awards, including one for Rozsa's score (a record tied by "Titanic" and "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King," but never surpassed). It's a tradition during Film Music February to pick a cue from my all-time favorite film, on this particular day because it's my birthday! This ain't birthday party music---no victory parade or parade of the charioteers! [YouTube links]. But it shows another thematic side of the grandest symphonic film score ever written by one of my all-time favorite composers. And while you're at it, check out 10 Famous Lines from this Oscar champ [YouTube link]---though at least four classic lines are missing: "Bravely Spoken," "Down Eros, Up Mars" [TCM link], "Ramming Speed" and "We keep you alive to serve this ship: So row well and live!" [YouTube links]. That last one is a line I've used in some of my more whimsical moments with contributors to The Journal of Ayn Rand Studies. It's very effective! (On Facebook, I wrote the following preface: Today's entry in my film music series comes from an epic story of struggle and redemption with which I've always identified. And it's a custom I've developed, every February 17th since 2005, to choose a cue from the glorious Miklos Rozsa score to my all-time favorite film, "Ben-Hur," which made its debut at the Loew's State Theatre in New York City on November 18, 1959, just a day over 3 months before my birth in 1960. Perhaps I fell in love with the film before I was even born, since Mom saw it around the 1959 Christmas holidays, but one thing is certain: I actually first fell in love with the soundtrack to this film, playing it over and over on the ol' Victrola for a good 5 or 6 years prior to seeing the MGM Oscar champ for the first time on its tenth anniversary re-release, which began its run on June 18, 1969 at the Palace Theatre in NYC, the Overture, Intermission, and Entr' Acte still intact. I should add that the re-release ran in 70 mm through November 5, 1969, in preparation for the 70 mm showing of "Goodbye, Mr. Chips." My family and I saw the film in the late summer of 1969. The lobby of the Palace was already adorned with Roberto Gari's famous portrait of Judy Garland, in the wake of Garland's death on June 22, 1969---Garland having given a series of legendary performances at the theatre. Enjoy!)  [17 February 2017]

Ben Hur ("Victory Parade, Parts 1 & 2") [audio clip at that link], composed by Miklos Rozsa, kicks off our annual film music tribute, which will take us right up to the 80th Annual Academy Awards.  And as is also traditional around here, the Movie Music begins on my birthday (I turn 48 today!) with a selection from my favorite film score from my favorite movie written by my favorite film score composer.  This regal composition is one of Rozsa's best.  [17 February 2008]

Ben-Hur / King of Kings ("A Christmas Sequence") [YouTube link], composed by Miklos Rozsa, arranged by Christopher Palmer, is a lovely 'mash-up' of the music from two of Rozsa's film score masterpieces: "Ben-Hur" (1959) and "King of Kings" (1961). It takes the cues related to the birth of Christ from both films and presents us with an inspirational thematic celebration of peace on earth, goodwill to all. The sequence is conducted by George Fenton, and performed by the BBC Concert Orchestra and the London Choral Society. Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night! (And it's my Greek Name Day too! Yay!) [25 December 2021]

Besame Mucho (Kiss Me Much), music and Spanish lyrics by Consuelo Velasquez, English lyrics by Sunny Skylar, has been recorded by the likes of Jimmy Dorsey, with vocalists Kitty Kallen and Bob Eberly (audio clip here), the Beatles, and Chris Isaak (audio clip here).  My favorite version is by Wes Montgomery on his masterpiece album, "Boss Guitar" (audio clip at that link).  [20 December 2005]

The Best is Yet to Come, composed by the late Cy Coleman, sung by a jazzy Sinatra in another fine collaboration with arranger Quincy Jones and the Count Basie Orchestra, from the album "It Might as Well Be Swing" (listen to that audio clip). [23 December 2004]

The Best of My Love, music by Al McKay, lyrics by Maurice White (of Earth, Wind, and Fire), was taken to #1 on the Billboard pop chart by The Emotions.  The performance netted them a 1977 Grammy for Best R&B Vocal Performance by a Duo, Group, or Chorus.  Its groove was so distinctive to its era that, 20 years later, it opened the soundtrack to the 1997 film, "Boogie Nights" (listen to an audio clip here). [26 May 2005]

The Best Years of Our Lives ("Main Title") [YouTube link] is featured in the Oscar-winning Score (of a Dramatic or Comedy Picture) composed by Hugo Friedhofer. The 1946 "Best Picture" showed us some of the horrific, lingering physical and psychological effects of war (even so-called "good wars") on those who survive it.  Best Director William Wyler took home one of seven competitive gold statuettes won by this superb film (the producer, Samuel Goldwyn, also won the Irving Thalberg award and another individual also received an honorary award---more on that in a moment).  A deserved Oscar went to Best Actor Frederic March (though Dana Andrews, Myrna Loy, and Teresa Wright are all equally wonderful in their roles).  The Best Supporting Actor, Harold Russell, also received an honorary award for "bringing hope and courage to his fellow veterans."  Russell had lost both hands in World War II, and got along just fine with two hooks.  One philosopher from whose work I have learned much, apparently despised this film and "It's a Wonderful Life" (for shame!), because it had subliminal pink propaganda (like references to bankers "with a heart," etc.). I could write a few articles about how far she missed the mark (like I did for "A Christmas Carol" and "Ben-Hur"), but, suffice it to say, sometimes you can appreciate works of art on many different levels, even if some mixed premises ooze into the script.  This film came out a year after the end of the most horrific war in human history, one that this particular philosopher opposed.  But there's a reason the American public responded to the film.  The struggles of its survivng veterans were palpable and resonated with its war weary audience.  One of the aspects of this film that got well deserved recognition was Friedhofer's soundtrack. And for that, Bravo, Maestro! [11 February 2015]

Better Call Saul ("Main Theme") was composed by Lewis Wharton and Barrie Cadogan of the band Little Barrie. The beginning bars of this track became the main theme of one of the finest spin-offs in television history: "Better Call Saul." It is first heard in the opening of Season 1, Episode 1 ("Uno") of this terrific show, which made its debut on February 8, 2015. Starring the wonderful Bob Odenirk as Jimmy McGill, this series shows us that character's evolution into Saul Goodman. The creation of Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould, the six-season run of BCS expanded the "Gilliverse" of the BB franchise in grand style. Check out the full BCS main theme [YouTube link]. [14 January 2023]

Better Call Saul ("Samba Tropical") [YouTube link], composed and performed by Franck Sarkissian and Yannick Kalfayan, appears on the former's album, "Songs of Brazil". It is a musical highlight from Season 1, Episode 4 ("Hero") of BCS, which made its debut on February 23, 2015. [15 January 2023]

Better Call Saul ("Tune Down") [YouTube link], composed and performed by Chris Joss, appears on the musician's 2009 album, "Sticks". This cool, bluesy vibe is heard in Season 1, Episode 7 ("Bingo") of BCS, which first aired on March 15, 2015. Oh, those Kettlemans! And congratulations to Bob Odenkirk, Giancarlo Esposito and BCS for taking home trophies from the Critics Choice Awards! [16 January 2023]

Better Call Saul ("Banzai Pipeline"), composed by the great Henry Mancini, appears on the 1963 album, "Uniquely Mancini," showcasing the maestro's big band sound. It's also heard in Season 1, Episode 10 ("Marco") of BCS, which first aired on April 6, 2015. It appears during one of those terrific BCS montage moments [YouTube link]. [17 January 2023]

Better Call Saul ("Smoke on the Water"), composed and performed by Ritchie Blackmore, Ian Gillan, Roger Glover, Jon Lord, and Ian Paice of the English rock band Deep Purple. This song, which hit #4 on the Billboard Hot 100, chronicles the 1971 fire at Montreux Casino. It appears on the band's 1972 album, "Machine Head". It also projects much symbolism in Season 1, Episode 10 ("Marco") of BCS. Jimmy McGill hums the famous guitar riff at the end of this episode before the credits roll into the original. Check out the full album version here [YouTube links]. [18 January 2023]

Better Call Saul ("Gloria's Step, Take 2") [YouTube link], composed and performed by Bill Evans, was recorded live by the jazz piano great with his legendary trio, featuring Scott LaFaro on bass and Paul Motian on drums. It was released as part of "Sunday at the Village Vanguard" in October 1961, only months after LaFaro's tragic death in an auto accident. Chuck McGill, Jimmy's brother (portrayed by Michael McKean), places this Bill Evans vinyl on the turntable in Season 2, Episode 5 ("Rebecca") of BCS, which premiered on March 14, 2016. Oh and btw, this is the 2000th distinct song entry in "My Favorite Songs" list, which started on 1 September 2004! [19 January 2023]

Better Call Saul ("Scorpio") [YouTube link], composed by Dennis Coffey, hit #6 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #9 on the Soul Singles chart, as part of the artist's 1971 album, "Evolution" (Dennis Coffey and the Detroit Guitar Band). This funk instrumental is heard over one of the best musical montages of the series in Season 2, Episode 7 ("Inflatable") of BCS, which premiered on March 28, 2016. Check that montage out here [YouTube link]. On this date in 2008, "Breaking Bad" premiered---as did the birth of the franchise we are celebrating in music this entire month! [20 January 2023]

Better Call Saul ("Sugar Town") features the words and music of Lee Hazlewood. Nancy Sinatra's recording of it hit #5 on the Billboard Hot 100 in December 1966 and #1 on the East Listening chart one month later. The song is featured on her 1966 album, "Sugar". Season 3, Episode 1 ("Mabel") of BCS, which premiered on April 10, 2017,  opens with this song as backdrop [YouTube link] over a flash-forward to Gene Takovic (aka as Saul Goodman, aka Jimmy McGill), managing a Cinnabon in a large shopping mall in Omaha, Nebraska. [21 January 2023]

Better Call Saul ("Alfonso Muskedunder") was composed by Norweigian DJ Todd Terje, from his 2015 studio album, "It's Album Time". The song is featured in Season 3, Episode 3 ("Sunk Costs") of BCS, which premiered on April 24, 2017. Check out its official video, but more importantly, its use in this sweet Kim Wexler montage [YouTube link]. [22 January 2023]

Better Call Saul ("Grazing in the Grass"), music by Philemon Hou, lyrics by Harry Elston, was first recorded in 1968 by Hugh Masekela as an instrumental and, later on, in a 1969 vocal version, by Friends of Distinction [YouTube links]. But it's an instrumental rendition by The Ventures [YouTube link] that we hear in Season 4, Episode 4 ("Talk") of BCS, which premiered on August 27, 2018. [23 January 2023]

Better Call Saul ("Burnin' Coal") [YouTube link], composed and performed by pianist Les MCann, first appeared on the artist's 1969 album, "Much Les". It provides a jazzy backdrop to a key scene in Season 4, Episode 8 ("Coushatta") of BCS, which premiered on September 24, 2018. Jimmy takes a trip to the town of Coushatta in Louisiana to help out his bodyguard Huell Babineux. Check out how Jimmy enlists a busload of folks to Save Huell [YouTube link]. [24 January 2023]

Better Call Saul ("The Winner Takes It All") features the music and lyrics of Benny Andersson and Bjorn Ulvaeus, members of the Swedish pop group ABBA, which scored a Top 10 Billboard Hit with this song from the 1980 album, "Super Trouper", which also included the dance floor staple, "Lay All Your Love On Me" [Disconet remix; YouTube link]. Check out the original ABBA recording [YouTube link]. In the opening scene of Season 4, Episode 10 ("Winner") of BCS, which aired on October 12, 2018, this song provides a rare glimpse into the complicated relationship between the two McGill brothers. To celebrate his admission to the New Mexico bar, Jimmy takes the stage at a karaoke lounge to perform this song, persuading his reluctant brother Chuck to join him. Though Chuck 'steals' the show, the two brothers eventually leave the bar together and hit the sack, lying side by side, in a poignant moment of unconditional brotherly love---a snapshot of what could have been, but never was. Check out that flashback scene here [YouTube link]. [25 January 2023]

Better Call Saul ("The Sidewinder"), composed by Lee Morgan, is the title track to Morgan's 1964 album. It includes a stellar line-up, with Morgan on trumpet, Joe Henderson on tenor sax, Barry Harris on piano, Bob Cranshaw on bass, and Billy Higgins on drums. The soul-jazz instrumental charted on the Billboard Hot 100 as a double-sided single, peaking at #81. It is heard in Season 5, Episode 1 ("Magic Man") of BCS, which premiered on February 23, 2020. Check out the full album version here and the featured scene where Saul Goodman gives away cell phones as a promo [YouTube links]. [26 January 2023]

Better Call Saul ("Blackbird Special") is credited to The Dirty Dozen Brass Band, on whose 1984 album, "My Feet Can't Fail Me Now" this track appears [YouTube link]. A funkier version appears as a live cut by drummer Stanton Moore on the 2008 album,"Take it to the Street (The Music)!" It's that version that we hear in Season 5, Episode 5 ("Dedicado a Max") in BCS, which first aired on March 16, 2020. It's used as the musical backdrop to Saul's efforts to delay the demolition of a client's house by throwing every legal and extra-legal obstacle in the way. Check out the full version here and the accompanying scene [YouTube links].  [27 January 2023]

Better Call Saul ("I Got The"), composed by Labi Siffre, appears on the his 1975 album, "Remember My Song". It has been sampled by many hip hop artists, including on Eminem's "My Name Is" [YouTube link]. We also hear it in Season 5, Episode 8 ("Bagman") of BCS, which first aired on April 8, 2020. Check out the original full-length version as well as the scene in which an instrumental excerpt from this funky track is used---which might as well have been subtitled "Urine the Money". [28 January 2023]

Better Call Saul ("Cafe Granada") [YouTube link], recorded by guitarists James and Sylvia Kalal with Robert W. Fraser, is from the 2012 album "Flamenco Ole". The song is featured in Season 6, Episode 5 ("Black and Blue") of BCS during a boxing match between Howard Hamlin and Jimmy McGill [YouTube link]. [29 January 2023]

Better Call Saul ("Jim on the Move") [YouTube link], composed and performed by Lalo Schifrin, derives from the 1967 soundtrack to the "Mission: Impossible" TV series. It's also heard not coincidentally in Season 6, Episode 10 ("Nippy") of BCS. The episode also starts an arc that includes a sweet guest star turn by Carol Burnett---a big fan of the Gilliverse---as Marion. Check out how this groovy 60s track frames the setup by Gene Takovic (aka Saul Goodman aka Jimmy McGill) against the mall security guards [YouTube link]. [30 January 2023]

Better Call Saul ("Shared Smoke") [YouTube link] features the music of Dave Porter---the man whose compositions we started with on New Year's Day. He provided the original scoring for the entire BB-EC-BCS universe. This track is featured in Season 6, Episode 13 ("Saul Gone") of BCS, which first aired on August 15, 2022. It is heard in the closing scenes between Jimmy "Saul Goodman" McGill and Kim Wexler [YouTube link]. There are so many takeaways from this last episode and these final scenes---not the least of which is creator Vince Gilligan's sense of justice, individual responsibility and the moral imperative of facing the consequences of one's actions. Yet, one of the lingering, most poignant aspects of these scenes is how they project the complicated but loving relationship  between Jimmy and Kim, a key to the success of BCS and to the final moments of the BB franchise. On the occasion of the Fifteenth Anniversary of the beginning of this grand franchise, all I can say is: "It's all good, man!" [YouTube link]. [31 January 2023]

Better Call Saul ("Address Unknown"), words and music by Carmen Lombardo, Dedette Lee Hill, and Johnny Mark, was recorded by The Ink Spots and went to #1 in 1939. But it experienced a resurgence when it was heard in the opening sequence of the series premiere ("Uno") of "Better Call Saul", which first aired on February 8, 2015. The show, which stars Bob Odenkirk as Saul Goodman (aka Jimmy McGill, aka Gene Takovic), was developed by Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould. It is a triumphant spinoff of the critically acclaimed series, "Breaking Bad". The Emmy Awards were scheduled for tonight (and it's the 75th anniversary of those awards that is being celebrated in this year's Eighth Annual Summer Music Festival). But the ceremony has been postponed to January 15, 2024, due to the Writers Guild of America and SAG/AFTRA strike. "Better Call Saul" has received several Emmy nominations, including Best Drama, Lead Actor (Odenkirk), Supporting Actress (Rhea Seehorn) and two for Writing (Gordon Smith and Peter Gould). In its history, the show has garnered 53 Primetime Emmy and Creative Arts Emmy nominations and has only won 2 technical awards in the latter category. Whatever the results, this show and its predecessor remain among the finest achievements in television history, in my view. And to Roderick Tracy Long again: I promised I'd include this song at a future date! Check out the original recording and its appearance in the 2015 debut BCS episode [YouTube link]. [18 September 2023]

Better Call Saul ("Boulevard of Broken Dreams"), words and music by Harry Warren and Al Dubin, is performed by Juan Garcis Esquivel, in BCS, Season 1, Episode 2 ("Mijo"), which aired on February 9, 2015. Check out the BCS scene in which this track is used, as well as vocal renditions by Nat King Cole, Billy Eckstine, and Tony Bennett [YouTube links]. After a long delay due to the Writers Guild and SAG-AFTRA strikes, the 75th Annual Emmy Awards, which I tributed in my 2023 Summer Music Festival, will finally air. Tonight, BCS's final season garnered several Emmy nominations. Despite 53 Primetime Emmy nominations, it has only won 2 technical awards in the Creative Arts category over its 6 seasons. Whatever the outcome tonight, it gets my vote for one of the all-time greatest television series. [15 January 2024]

A Better Day Will Come features the words and music of Carl E. K. Johnson and James Torme, son of the late, great jazz singer Mel Torme.  I first discovered James when I highlighted his rendition [YouTube link] of Cole Porter's "Love for Sale" (title track from his debut album) in this year's tribute to the Tony Awards. Today is young Torme's 42nd birthday, and I'd like to highlight a few tracks from that fine album both today and tomorrow. I'm prevented from putting some of them up as "Songs of the Day," because they are already on my ever-growing list (for example, his rendition of the MJ classic [YouTube link] "Rock with You," his version of the Joseph Kosma-Johnny Mercer jazz standard [YouTube link] "Autumn Leaves," and his rendition of the Alan Jay Lerner song from the musical "On a Clear Day You Can See Forever" [YouTube link], the jazzy "Come Back to Me"). Check out this Torme-penned track, with its melodic line and rhythmic feel [YouTube link]. This song won the John Lennon Songwriting Contest award for Best Jazz Song in 2009. [13 August 2015]

Beverly Hills 90210 ("Main Theme") [YouTube link], composed by John E. Davis, opened up the coming-of-age television teen drama during its ten-year run on Fox. It was a guilty pleasure, I admit, but I watched all ten seasons, and at least one of its various spin-offs ("Melrose Place"). As in all teen-age soap operas, the series had one brooding young male character, and in '90210', it was Dylan McKay, played by Luke Perry, who died today at the age of 52, due to complications from a massive stroke. The only person I ever actually visited from that zip code was Nathaniel Branden, back in 1999. Today, however, is a date seared into my own memory---for my own father died on March 4, 1972, at the age of 55 from a massive coronary. As you get older, it's only natural that you are reminded of your own mortality, but at the age of 59, you tend to think that this happens to folks older than you. At some point, of course, the mathematics tend to outweigh the thoughts. Still, at 52, Perry is another person gone too soon. RIP, Luke. [4 March 2019]

Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered, a great Rodgers and Hart tune from "Pal Joey," kicks off our mini-tribute in honor of Halloween week (okay, so the song has nothing to do with witches and goblins, even if it has "bewitched" in the title... but I love it!).  Listen to audio clips of renditions recorded by Doris Day, Ella Fitzgerald, Linda Ronstadt, Benny Goodman (with Helen Forrest), Rod Stewart and Cher, Barbra Streisand, and Oscar Peterson and Stan Getz.  [30 October 2006]

Be Without You features the words and music of Johnta Austin, Brian Michael Cox, Jason Perry, and its singer: Mary J. Blige.  While the original mix is classic Blige, nothing compares to the scalding Moto Blanco dance remix (audio clips at those links).  "Put Your Hands Up!"  [11 July 2006]

Big City Blues, words and music by Adrienne Anderson, appears on "2:00 AM Paradise Cafe," Barry Manilow's fourteenth studio album. In what is one of his best albums, the artist---who turns 76 today---brings together a host of jazz musicians, including pianist Bill Mays, baritone sax player Gerry Mulligan, drummer Shelly Manne, bassist George Duvivier, and guitarist Mundell Lowe, whose pleasant pickings can be heard at the beginning and end of today's recording. The 1984 album is one of Manilow's finest, including the gorgeous "When October Goes," based partially on an unfinished lyric from the great Johnny Mercer and a melody composed by Manilow. The album also includes two wonderful duets: one with the Divine One, Sarah Vaughan, and the other---today's Song of the Day---with Mel Torme, who left us twenty years ago (June 5, 1999). Check out this Manilow and Mel duet [YouTube link] in honor of today's birthday boy. [17 June 2019]

The Big Country ("Main Theme") [YouTube link], composed by Jerome Moross, opens the sprawling William Wyler-directed 1958 Western, starring Gregory Peck, Jean Simmons, Charlton Heston, Carroll Baker, and Burl Ives, who won a well-deserved Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. And if it weren't for the relationship forged between Wyler and Heston in this film, Chuck would never have gone on to Oscar glory in "Ben-Hur." The Moross score received an Oscar nomination (but it lost to Dimitri Tiomkin's score for "The Old Man and the Sea"). [7 February 2018]

Big Energy is credited not only to the team that gave us "Genius of Love" and to Mariah Carey (who recorded "Fantasy", featured yesterday), but also to the singer who recorded it, Latto. Released in September 2021, it reached #3 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #1 on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip Hop chart. Check out the original music video and a remix version with Mariah and DJ Khaled [YouTube  links]. From "Genius of Love" to "Fantasy" to today's song, we conclude another exercise in tracing the art of sampling. [4 December 2022]

Big Fun, words and music by Kevin Saunderson, Paris Gray, Arthur Forest and James Pennington, was recorded by the group Inner City.   Listen to an audio clip of this classic house track here.  [7 September 2006]

Bill Bailey (Won't You Please Come Home?), words and music by Hughie Cannon, dates back to 1902.  It has been played by country and jazz artists alike.  Listen to audio clips of a plaintive version by Patsy Cline, a finger-poppin' version by Ella, a swingin' version by Bobby Darin, a Dixieland-Swing version by Pete Fountain, and a collaboration between Ann-Margaret and Al Hirt.  [12 October 2005]

Billie Jean, music, lyrics, and performance by Michael Jackson, was one of the biggest hits from one of the biggest selling albums of all time, "Thriller" (check out audio clip at that link).  Its video also made a big splash at MTV.   Like so many others, I saw Jackson perform this classic song live, with his famous moonwalk, at the 25th anniversary tribute to Motown back on May 16, 1983. But not even that compared to his live performance of it at The Garden, where I saw him in 1984 on the "Jacksons' Victory Tour," and, especially, in 1988, on his solo "Bad Tour."  Whatever else one might say about MJ, he was/is a remarkable performer.  And happy birthday to fellow MJ fan, Abe.  [18 January 2005]

Billionaire features the words and music of Ari Levine, Philip Lawrence, Bruno Mars and Travie Lazarus McCoy, who recorded the track for "Lazarus," his first studio album.  With clever rapping by McCoy and the smooth vocals of Bruno Mars, I can't think of a more appropriate song to feature on a day when the country is crazy for the Mega Millions Lottery, with the largest jackpot in history now roaring past half-a-billion bucks.  Hey, You Never Know!  So while you're waiting for the winning numbers, check out the music video to this cool song, a Danyo Wallem remix (Explicit Content Warning!), and a "Glee" cast version as well.  [30 March 2012] 

Bim-Bom, written by Joao Gilberto, has been recorded by many artists.  Listen to audio clips of various renditions of this lively Brazilian tune: a solo Gilberto, Gilberto with Stan Getz, and Stan Getz in a Big Band setting, and, finally, my favorite version from Brasil 66.  [8 June 2006]

Birdland was composed by Joe Zawinul, the keyboardist of the jazz-fusion group Weather Report, which recorded it for their seventh studio album, "Heavy Weather" (1977).  Named after one of the great 52nd Street jazz clubs in New York City, which took its name from the nickname of be bop pioneer, alto saxophonist Charlie "Bird" Parker, it became a landmark Grammy-nominated jazz-fusion track.  But the Grammy Award went to The Manhattan Transfer a few years later, for their jazz vocalese version of the celebrated track.  The lyrics for the track were written by Jon Hendricks (of the always-fascinating vocalese group, Lambert, Hendricks, and Ross), though Eddie Jefferson had started writing lyrics for the piece before his untimely death.  The Manhattan Transfer version appears on my favorite album of theirs:  "Extensions."  And the album is dedicated to Jefferson.  In 1980, they received Grammy Awards for Best Jazz/Fusion Performance, Vocal or Instrumental for "Birdland" and for Janis Siegel for Best Vocal Arrangement for Two or More Voices, for the same recording.  Check out the original instrumental classic by Weather Report and the equally classic vocalese version by The Manhattan Transfer [YouTube links]. [16 April 2012] 

The Birth of the Blues, music by Ray Henderson, lyrics by Buddy G. DeSylva and Lew Brown, was incorporated into the 1926 Broadway revue, "George White's Sandals." It has been recorded by many artists throughout the years, including the 1926 version by Paul Whiteman and His Orchestra [YouTube link]. But today is the birthday of Ol' Blue Eyes, who himself was deeply influenced by jazz and the blues. And what better way to celebrate it than with one of Frank Sinatra's hits (it spent five weeks on the Billboard charts). Take a listen to Sinatra's solo recording from 1952 [YouTube link] and then, watch a very special live TV rendition on "The Edsel Show," with Louis Armstrong [YouTube link]. [12 December 2017]

The Bishop's Wife ("Main Title") [YouTube clip at that link], composed by Hugo Friedhofer, is a lovely theme to match an even lovelier movie.  The 1947 tale, starring Cary Grant, David Niven, and Loretta Young, is one of my all-time favorites. [13 February 2013]

Bitches Crystal, words and music by Keith Emerson and Greg Lake, is another classic high energy prog rock track from the Emerson, Lake and Palmer album, "Tarkus."  Listen to an audio clip of the original cut here, and also, from an ELP tribute album here.  [13 September 2006]

Black Cat, written and performed by Janet Jackson, from her socially conscious "Rhythm Nation 1814" album (check out that audio clip).  It may not be "Black Dog," and Janet may not be a bona fide rock singer, but she got a much-deserved 1991 Grammy nomination for "Best Rock Vocal Performance, Female." [18 November 2004]

Black Dog, words and music by John Paul Jones, Jimmy Page, and Robert Plant, of the immortal rock band, Led ZeppelinOne of their most memorable hits with a classic rock riff.  Check out audio clip here. [17 November 2004]

Black Panther ("A New Day") [YouTube link], was composed by Ludwig Goransson, for this 2019 superhero film, based on the Marvel-ous collaboration of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, starring the late Chadwick Boseman. With its predominantly black cast and black director, this trailblazing, absorbing film broke many box office records. The orchestral score embraces a global sound, while also incorporating original songs by Kendrick Lamar.  [23 February 2021]

Black Velvet, words and music by Allanah Myles, who, with this song, beat out Janet Jackson's "Black Cat" at the 1991 Grammy Awards, for "Best Rock Vocal Performance, Female." Has a really nice churning bluesy groove.  From her debut album; check out the clip at amazon.com. [19 November 2004]

Blame it on the Boogie, words and music by Mick Jackson, David Jackson, and Elmar Krohn, was recorded in 1978 by both Mick Jackson and The Jacksons (no relation between them).  The Jacksons' version, my favorite, sported an infectious and happy disco beat, and a sweet R&B-laced vocal by its extraordinarily talented lead singer, who, today, would have been 51 years old.  In remembrance of Michael Jackson's birthday, Spike Lee is sponsoring a day-long festival in Brooklyn's Prospect Park today.  From the Jacksons' album, "Destiny," take a YouTube trip down memory lane. (And check out Mick Jackson's original version on YouTube as well!) [29 August 2009]

Blame it on the Bossa Nova, music by Barry Mann, lyrics by Cynthia Weil, was a huge Top Ten 1963 hit for the great Eydie Gorme, who passed away yesterday at the age of 84. Her discography was truly varied and wonderful and her many and her  many playful and swinging duets with husband Steve Lawrence were legendary.  She will be truly missed.  Listen to this song on YouTube, so reflective of a great era for pop music. [11 August 2013]

Blinding Lights features the words and music of Max Martin, Oscar Holter, Belly, DaHeala, and Abel Makkonen Tesfaye, known to the world as The Weeknd. This uptempo song recently displaced "The Twist" as the longest-charting song in the history of the Billboard Hot 100, having spent 90 weeks on that chart. This weekend, I'm highlighting two Weeknd songs, among his many enjoyable tracks. Check out the official video to this all-time #1 hit [YouTube link]. [4 March 2022]

Blood Count by Billy Strayhorn, was completed in 1967 while the composer was hospitalized, becoming his last finished composition before his death. There are wonderful renditions of this composition by the Duke Ellington Band, Joe Henderson, and Stan Getz [YouTube links]. Strayhorn remains one of the greatest contributors to the jazz repertoire and to the Great American Songbook. [21 September 2020]

Bloom features the words and music of Brett McLaughlin, Oscar Holter, Peter Svensson, and Troye Sivan Millet, a 23-year old South African-born Australian who used social media to "come out" [YouTube link] and to gain an impressive pop following with his music. But even Ian McKellen was impressed as was Larry King [YouTube links to Larry King interviews]. He recorded this title song for his forthcoming second album. He provides us with an exercise in human authenticity in a revealing interview for Billboard's 2018 Pride Issue. Tomorrow, we'll have more to say about the 'prideful' meaning of these dates in late June. For now, check out the song's original video single, Cliak Remix, Mysterio Remix, and Craig Welsh Remix. [27 June 2018]

Blueberry Hill, music by Vincent Rose, lyrics by Larry Stock and Al Lewis, was a big hit for the Big Man: Fats Domino, who died yesterday at the age of 89. This song was a staple of the 1940s swing era, but became an early rock and roll classic when Domino recorded it in 1956. The song went to #2 on the Top 40, and was at #1 on the R&B chart for 11 weeks, selling an estimated 5 million copies worldwide. Check out the original Domino single [YouTube link]. [25 October 2017]

Blue Bloods ("Reagan's Theme") [YouTube link], composed by Rob Simonsen (on a show to which composer Mark Snow, of "X-Files" fame also contributes), is a wonderful theme for a show whose passion is not drawn so much from the danger and violence of New York City police life, but from the trials, tribulations, and poignant bonds of love among the individuals of a family working in various areas of law enforcement.  It often moves me emotionally, as does the theme every time I hear it.  It stars, among others, a strong Tom Selleck and combustive Donnie Wahlberg. [16 September 2013]

Blue Bossa is a jazz standard composed by jazz trumpeter Kenny Dorham.  It's a lilting bossa nova that has been recorded by many artists, including jazz greats Joe Pass and J. J. Johnson, super pianist McCoy Tyner, and Kenny Dorham himself (audio clips at those links).  And watch a YouTube video performance by Zack Kim,  Today is Super Bowl Sunday, and I'm cheering on Big BlueGo Giants!  [3 February 2008]

Blue Danube Waltz is a very famous waltz composed by Johann Strauss, Jr.  It was used to classic effect in the Stanley Kubrick-directed 1968 film, "2001: A Space Odyssey."  Listen to an audio clip here.  [26 October 2005]

Blue Gardenia ("Title Song"), words and music by Lester Lee and Bob Russell, is sung by Nat King Cole (playing himself) in the Blue Gardenia restaurant and nightclub in this 1953 film noir, directed by the great Fritz Lang. Check out the studio version and the film version [YouTube links]. It would also become a signature song for the great Dinah Washington [YouTube link]. [12 February 2020]

Blue Monk, composed by Thelonious Monk, has become a jazz standard.  It was featured on the artist's album, "The Thelonious Monk Trio," with bassist Percy Heath and drummer Art Blakey.  Check out the original Monk recording, and other renditions as well, including one featuring the lyrics of Abbey Lincoln, another vocal version by Carmen McRae and finally, a swinging solo piano recording by McCoy Tyner [YouTube links]. [11 October 2015]

Blue Moon, music by Richard Rodgers, lyrics by Lorenz Hart, is just the right song to pick today, the occasion of the Blue Moon. There's a classic Frankie Lane-Michel Legrand rendition of this song (but no audio clip).  But there are so many other renditions from which to choose:  Ella Fitzgerald, Django Reinhardt and Coleman Hawkins, Mel Torme, The Marcels, and Sha Na Na.  And as this past week marked the 38th anniversary of the Stonewall riots and the birth of the modern gay liberation movement, check out the Blue Moon Resort, the Blue Moon Cafe, and the Blue Moon B&B. [30 June 2007]

Blue Trombone [YouTube link], composed by trombonist Rex Peer, is delivered with lyrical, melodic flair by my long-time friend---the author, editor, and trombonist Roger Bissell---on his album "Reflective Trombone." Just another reason to love and celebrate Roger and his gifts.  [8 August 2020]

Bluesette features the words of Jean "Toots" Thielemans and the music of Norman Gimbel Thielmans first recorded this song whistling in unison with his guitar lines.  Thielemans is a consummate musician, and my favorite jazz harmonica player too.  Listen to audio clips of this song recorded by the Ray Charles Singers (aka Charles Raymond Offenberg), Mel Torme, and Thielemans himself (a live clip here as well). [12 January 2006]

Blues in Hoss' Flat, composed by musician Frank Foster, is one of those infectious perrennial Count Basie numbers that does not owe its origins to the movies.  But there is music that achieves eternal shelf life just from a cinematic association, as we have seen with "Cinderfella" Jerry Lewis.  In this instance, it's "The Errand Boy," with the irrepressible Jerry Lewis once more. [7 February 2013]

Blues in the Night ("Blues in the Night"), music by Harold Arlen, lyrics by Johnny Mercer, earned its place in the Great American Songbook.  The title track of the 1941 film (the film's working title was actually "Hot Nocturne"), it was nominated for a Best Song Oscar, but lost to "The Last Time I Saw Paris" (from "Lady Be Good").  The song was delivered on film by William Gillespie (YouTube link), but there have been so many superb versions of this trailblazing American song; check out renditions by Ella Fitzgerald, Woody Herman, Jimmie Lunceford, Artie Shaw (with Hot Lips Page on vocals), Rosemary Clooney, Jo Stafford Benny Goodman and Peggy Lee, an ambitious Mel Torme-Buddy Rich collaboration, Quincy Jones (whose version is heard in the 2001 film version of "Ocean's Eleven"), and there's even a take on the song by jazz-rock fusion band Chicago [all YouTube links]. Talk about a cross-generational impact.  This one's a keeper.  [4 February 2015]

Blue Suede Shoes was composed and performed by Carl Perkins (audio clip at that link).  Today, however, I highlight my favorite version of this song, recorded by The King, birthday boy Elvis Presley.  Listen to an audio clip of this early rock and roll classic here.  [8 January 2006]

Blue Windows [YouTube link], written by Joseph Curiale, is a jazz-infused piece originally performed by Doc Severinsen---no surprise since Curiale worked on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson as an arranger and composer from 1982 to 1992. This rendition by the Academy of Saint Martin in the Fields, features Severinsen on trumpet, and is conducted by Curiale. [6 December 2022]

Bobby DJ's Disconet Christmas Medley [YouTube link], mixed by the late Bobby "DJ" Guttadaro, was released in December 1978 by the Disconet Subscription Service. This past summer, I featured a tribute to the many wonderful dance medleys produced by the fine DJs at Disconet---and Bobby was one of the original team of remixers for the service. For a man who started out as a professional pharmacist, he would go on to become one of the great pioneers in beatmixing and disco remixing. Born in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, Bobby was the first DJ to be presented with a Gold Disc and was a Billboard National DJ of the Year Award recipient. This fun, if eclectic, Disconet medley has a certain poignancy. Bobby loved Christmas. He died the day after Christmas in 1989, due to complications from HIV/AIDS. But his spirit lives on in the music he left behind. His sense of humor blesses this medley, which concludes with The Singing Dogs barking out "Jingle Bells". I'll be posting three additional Christmas holiday music selections until Santa touches down on Christmas Day! Stay tuned! [17 December 2021]

Body and Soul, music and lyrics by Johnny Greene, Edward Heyman, Robert Sour, and Frank Eyton, defines what is meant by a "Great American Standard."  On Amateur Night at the Apollo in 1942, Sarah Vaughan won first prize for singing this song, and her recorded versions remain among the finest.  Of instrumental versions, my favorites are the classic Coleman Hawkins 1939 tenor saxophone rendition and a superb version by jazz violinist Joe Venuti, recorded for his album "Fiddle on Fire," on the Grand Award Record label. [16 September 2004]

Body Heat ("Main Title") (soundtrack album audio clip at that link) is a bluesy, jazzy, steamy composition by the great John Barry.  Listen to an audio clip of a rendition by the "Jazz at the Movies Band."  [19 February 2008]

Body Moves features the words and music of Rami Yacoub, Albin Nedler, Kristoffer Fogelmark, and Joe Jonas, who was born on this date in 1989. Yes, he's a tot! This song by DNCE, the band that brought us "Cake By the Ocean," went to #2 on the Billboard Dance Club Singles Chart in January 2017  Check out the video single and the Victoria's Secret video version; and then we've got a host of remixes by Alex Shik, Kay Stafford at the Ibiza Beach Club, Eric Kupper and the Damien Hall Dub Mix. [15 August 2017]

Bohemian Rhapsody ("We Will Rock You"/"We Are the Champions") are two separate songs that have often been paired when heard on the radio, going all the way back to their 1977 debut on the Queen album, "News of the World." The first song is credited to Brian May, the second to Freddie Mercury. With its "Boom, Boom, Clap" beginning, and its anthemic sound, "We Will Rock You" has probably become the most sampled track in history for use at sports-stadium events. It was also part of the last medley performed by a reunited Queen at the Live Aid charity concert at Wembley Stadium on July 13, 1985 [YouTube link]. In 2005, Queen's 20+ minute set [YouTube link] was voted by sixty artists, journalists, and music industry executives as the greatest live performance in the history of rock. It is also only one of the highlights of this 2018 Oscar-nominated Best Picture, one of the most emotionally-wrenching paeans to the tortured soul and artistic genius of Freddie Mercury, played courageously and poignantly by the Oscar-nominated Rami Malek, who has already won Best Actor Awards for his performance from the Golden Globes and the Screen Actors Guild. I confess that the film often left me a slobbering mess, in terms of its emotional impact, which speaks to its powerful cinematic portrait of Mercury. Check out this remarkable side-by-side comparison of the Live Aid performance and its depiction in the 2018 film [YouTube link]. And also check out the original album recording [YouTube link]. Today, in Atlanta, where the Los Angeles Rams and the New England Patriots will be vying for the Super Bowl Championship, one team is going to rock the other and declare "We Are the Champions." [Postscript: Love them or hate them, Brady does it again, as the Pats win their Sixth Super Bowl Title (with Brady wearing five of those rings). And celebrating the 50th anniversary of his own Super Bowl win, former New York Jets QB Joe Namath brings the Vince Lombardi Trophy to the podium.] [3 February 2019]

Bonanza ("Main Theme") was composed by Ray Evans and Jay Livingston for this iconic Western TV series, which starred Lorne Greene and Michael Landon. Not a typical Western, the show is celebrated for its fearless opposition to racism, antisemitism, and bigotry. Its compassionate and humane motifs are worth celebrating on this Independence Day, along with those precious rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The NBC show ran from 1959 to 1973, sporting a memorable theme known even by those who have never seen it. This song was orchestrated by David Rose and arranged by Billy May. Check out the instrumental version and the vocal version sung by Lorne Greene [YouTube links]. [4 July 2023]

Boogie Nights, words and music by Rod Temperton (who wrote quite a few hits for Michael Jackson), was performed by the R&B-disco fusion band Heatwave.  The opening and closing bars of this classic dance track are oh-so-jazzy.  Listen to an audio clip here.  [1 July 2005]

Boogie Wonderland, music and lyrics by Jon Lind and Allee Willis, was a collaborative performance between two funky musical groups:  Earth, Wind, and Fire and The Emotions.  It remains a dance highlight of the Disco '70s.  Listen to an audio clip here.  Today marks the day that Earth, Wind, and Fire actually made its debut on the Billboard album chart, back in 1971.  Viva EWF!  [15 May 2005]

Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy of Company B, words by Don Raye, music by Hughie Prince, was performed by the Andrews Sisters, and was nominated for a 1941 Academy Award as "Best Song" (from the Abbott and Costello film, "Buck Privates").  It was also recorded in 1972, in an updated, revved-up version by Bette Midler, who dubbed all three vocal parts, and took it into the Billboard Top Ten.  Reminds me of my Uncle Sam, a veteran of World War IIFor Veteran's Day!  Check out amazon.com for a clip.  [11 November 2004a]

Boogie Woogie Santa Claus, words and music by Leon Rene, went to #12 on what in late 1947 was called the Billboard Race Records chart. That original version was recorded by Mabel Scott [YouTube link]. But there are also versions by the Brian Setzer Orchestra (single and live rendition [YouTube links]).  Don't forget to track Santa's travels on NORAD! Have a safe and Merry Christmas Eve! [24 December 2016]

Bootylicious features the words and music of Rob Fusari, Falonte Moore, and Beyonce Knowles, who turns 38 today. This was the third single from the 2001 album "Survivor" by Destiny's Child, the "girl group" which consisted of Kelly Rowland, Michelle Williams, and Beyonce. The song actually features a sample from "Edge of Seventeen" by Stevie Nicks (who makes a cameo in the music video) and went to #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in June 2001. To date, amazingly, it is the last song by a "girl group" to achieve a #1 hit in the United States. Though the word "bootylicious" was first used by rapper Snoop Dogg in 1992, this song's title became so much a part of the American vernacular that it was added to the Oxford English Dictionary in 2004! Check out the Matthew Rolston-directed music video [YouTube link], where Destiny's Child and their supporting dancers perform choreography made famous by Michael Jackson. A Rockwilder remix [YouTube link], featuring a rap by the 2019 Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award recipient, Missy Elliott, was featured in the 2001 MTV musical, "Carmen: A Hip Hopera." The song was also featured in two prominent "mash-ups", one with Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit" and the other with Stevie Wonder's "Superstition" [YouTube links]. [4 September 2019]

Born Free, music by John Barry, lyrics by Don Black, won the 1966 Academy Award for Best Song from the heart-string-pulling film of the same title.  Listen to audio clips of versions by Andy Williams, Matt Monro, and from the original soundtrack.  [28 February 2006]

Born to Be Alive, music, lyrics, and performance by Patrick Hernandez, was a huge #1 dance hit in 1979 Happy 50th anniversary to Atlas Shrugged, the Ayn Rand novel that celebrates human beings who are ... born to be alive!  Check out this song on YouTube. [10 October 2007]

Bossa Dorado, composed by French guitarist and violinist Dorado Schmitt, is a fitting exploration of "gypsy jazz," which owes its origins to the great jazz guitarist Django Reinhardt, whose birthday we celebrated yesterday. It shows the remarkable range of Django's influence on jazz. Accordian player Ludovic Beier delivers a wonderful live take on this Schmitt composition [YouTube link], which fuses gypsy jazz with a Latin feel. Beier has been influenced by everyone from Django to Toots Thielemans and Chick Corea. [24 January 2018]

Bossa Nova U.S.A., composed by Dave Brubeck, is the sweet lyrical title track from the composer's 1963 album featuring the great jazzman's classic quartet, with alto saxophonist Paul Desmond Brubeck, who passed away today, was one of the greatest innovators in modern jazz.  Listen to this song on YouTube.  [5 December 2012]

Boulevard of Broken Dreams, music and lyrics by Green Day, is a song from the album "American Idiot" (audio clip at that link).  It's an anthem to alienation, with a nice pulse and memorable hook. [8 May 2005]

The Bourne Identity ("Main Theme") [YouTube link], composed by John Powell, gives us that pulsating, suspenseful motif we've come to expect from the film franchise. Matt Damon takes on the role of Jason Bourne in this 2002 film, the first film in the Bourne film series. He would go on to star in four of the five films in the series thus far. [20 February 2018]

Ed: I introduced this Song of the Day entry on my Facebook Timline with this comment: "I've had quite a week, the highlight of which was submitting to Pennsylvania State University Press the July 2020 issue of The Journal of Ayn Rand Studies ... the first issue of our twentieth anniversary volume! Twenty un-freaking-believable years!!! Woo-hoo!!! So I feel "like a boy" this morning, and in honor of that, I'm going to be doing my Happy Dance for a few days, highlighting mostly new pop-dance tracks."

Boy, featuring the words and music of Jacob Kusher and Charlie Puth, appears on Puth's second studio album, "Voicenotes." Puth [YouTube link] is a boy with perfect pitch [YouTube link] and with a sense of humor (watch his spot on Michael McDonald-Doobie Brothers impersonation in Jimmy Fallon's "Music Genre Challenge" [YouTube link]). Check out the album version, a live concert version [Live Nation at 1:15:14], and an Instagram jam with John Mayer [YouTube links]. [7 March 2020]

Bram Stoker's Dracula ("Love Remembered"), composed by Wojciech Kilar, is a moving, haunting, if slightly eerie, theme from this Francis Ford Coppola 1992 film masterpiece, with Gary Oldman as the Count, Winona Ryder as Mina, and Anthony Hopkins as Dr. Van Helsing.  Listen to an audio clip here. [3 February 2005]

Brandenburg Concerto No. 3 in G Major was written by Johann Sebastian Bach.  I'm particularly fond of a version played by the great classical violinist Yehudi Menuhin with the Bath Festival Orchestra.  Listen to an audio clip here. [15 March 2005]

Breakfast at Tiffany's ("Soundtrack Suite") [YouTube link], composed by Henry Mancini, is one of the hallmarks of this 1961 rom-com, based on the Truman Capote 1958 novella, directed by Blake Edwards, and starring Audrey Hepburn. Mancini would take home Oscars for this wonderful score and the unforgettable "Moon River" (with lyrics by Johnny Mercer), which won for Best Original Song. The score and song would also go on to win five Grammy Awards. [13 February 2023]

Breaking Bad ("Main Theme") [YouTube link], composed by Dave Porter, made its debut in the "Pilot" episode of "Breaking Bad" (Season 1, Episode 1)---the Vince Gilligan-created series, starring the superb Bryan Cranston as Walter White. This AMC landmark television series premiered on January 20, 2008, and this is our first of 31 tracks to mark the Fifteenth Anniversary of both "Breaking Bad" and the franchise it inspired. [1 January 2023]

Breaking Bad ("The Ballad of Heisenberg"), words and music by Jose "Pepe" Garza and Vince Gilligan, is one of those hilarious musical moments featured in Season 2, Episode 7 ("Negro y Azul") of BB, which debuted on April 19, 2009. Performed by the regional Mexican band Los Cuates de Sinaloa, check out this song on YouTube. [2 January 2023]

Breaking Bad ("Ginza Samba") [YouTube link], composed and performed by the wonderful Vince Guaraldi, is heard in Season 3, Episode 6 ("Sunset") of BB, which debuted on April 25, 2010. The song originally appeared on the 1965 album, "From All Sides", a collaboration between pianist Guaraldi and Brazilian guitarist Bola Sete. It's got that classic "Peanuts" feel, even though it's used during a Meth Cooking scene [YouTube link] that is about as far a cry from Charlie Brown and Snoopy as one can get. [3 January 2023]

Breaking Bad ("Lee") [YouTube link], composed by jazz guitarist Jimmy Raney, is heard as source music in a recording by jazz tenor sax legend Stan Getz in Season 3, Episode 11 ("Abiquiu") of BB, which debuted on May 30, 2010. The song appears on the 1953 album, "Jimmy Raney Plays," featuring Rainey on guitar and Hal Overton on piano. [4 January 2023]

Breaking Bad ("Digital Animal"), credited to a host of writers, including Jon Von Letscher, first appeared on the 2008 debut album of the electronic hip hop band, Honey Claws. It can be heard loud and clear from the sound system of Jesse Pinkman (played by Aaron Paul) in Season 4, Episode 2 ("Thirty-Eight Snub") of "BB", which debuted on July 24, 2011. Check out the original recording and the BB scene in which it is featured [YouTube links]. [5 January 2023]

Breaking Bad ("Crickets Sing for Anamaria"), composed by brothers Marcos Valle and Paulo Sergio Valle, was first heard as "Os Grilos" on Valle's 1967 album, "Braziliance". It was also recorded by Astrud Gilberto [YouTube link] with English lyrics by Ray Gilbert. Season 4, Episode 8 ("Hermanos") of BB, which debuted on September 4, 2011, features a bouncy instrumental version by organist Walter Wanderly [YouTube link], from his 1967 album, "Batacuda". [6 January 2023]

Breaking Bad ("Freestyle") [YouTube performance clip], composed and performed by the Taalbi Brothers. It is heard in the finale to Season 4, Episode 13 of BB, which debuted on October 9, 2011. For those who know the content of this episode, its title "Face Off" will be of no surprise, but what might be surprising is that two teenage boys provide the nice flamenco guitar licks on this track! Check the 'destroying the lab' BB clip that highlights this rousing recording [YouTube link]. [7 January 2023]

Breaking Bad ("On a Clear Day"), music by Burton Lane, lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner, was first heard in the 1965 musical, "On a Clear Day You Can See Forever", and in its 1970 film adaptation, where it was sung by Barbra Streisand [YouTube link]. A rendition by the jazz/soul trio, The Peddlers, appeared on their 1968 album, "Three in a Cell". That rendition is heard in Season 5, Episode 3 ("Hazard Pay") of BB, which debuted on July 20, 2012. Check out the full BB scene and montage featuring that rendition [YouTube link]. [8 January 2023]

Breaking Bad ("Overture") [YouTube link] first appeared on a classic 1960 album of jazz interpretations of Tchaikovsky's "The Nutcracker", by Duke Ellington and his Orchestra (arranged by the Duke and Billy Strayhorn). It is featured in Season 5, Episode 7 ("Say My Name") of BB, which debuted on August 26, 2012. [9 January 2023]

Breaking Bad ("Pick Yourself Up"), music by Jerome Kern, lyrics by Dorothy Fields, was introduced in the 1936 film, "Swing Time," by Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers and also recorded by Fred Astaire [YouTube links]. A wonderful 1962 rendition by Nat King Cole and jazz pianist George Shearing [YouTube link] is featured in Season 5, Episode 8 ("Gliding Over All"), the mid-season finale of BB, which debuted on September 2, 2012. Check out the brutal BB scene that makes great use of this rendition [YouTube link]. [10 January 2023]

Breaking Bad ("Crystal Blue Persuasion"), words and music by Eddie Gray, Mike Vale, and Tommy James, was released in 1969 by Tommy James and the Shondells as part of their sixth studio album, "Crimson & Clover". The song arose from James's budding interest in religion. As in yesterday's musical highlight, also featured in Season 5, Episode 8 ("Gliding Over All"), this song provided one of the most famous "Crystal Blue Meth" montages of the series, one later parodied by The Simpsons [YouTube links]. [11 January 2023]

Breaking Bad ("Baby Blue"), words and music by Pete Ham, was recorded by the Welsh rock band Badfinger and released on their 1971 album, "Straight Up". This song is featured in the final scene of Season 5, Episode 16 ("Felina"), the series finale of BB, which concluded on September 29, 2013. It's a scene that has been discussed for years. Check out that scene as well as the studio version of this song [YouTube links].  [12 January 2023]

Breaking Bad ("Crapa Pelada" aka "Testa Pelata"), based on an old Italian nursery rhyme, features the music of Gorni Kramer and the lyrics of Tata Giacobetti. The original 1936 recording (translated as "Bald Head"---a perfect metaphor for the character Walter White, portrayed by the brilliant Bryan Cranston) was performed by Italian jazz singer Alberto Rabagliati. But it's a 1945 version by the Italian jazz quartet Quartetto Cetra along with which Gale Boetticher (played by David Costabile) sings in the Season 3 finale ("Full Measure") of the terrific AMC series, "Breaking Bad", which aired on June 13, 2010. When I posted my January 2023 tribute in music to the Breaking Bad franchise, I saved two selections (today's and one next month) for this "TV Edition" of the Summer Music Festival, which includes TV themes and source music. I promised Roderick Tracy Long I'd highlight this song (and another) someday, and that day has come! Check out Gale's impeccable sing-a-long from the show, the full Quartetto Cetra recording, and the original 1936 Alberto Rabagliati recording [YouTube links]. And look out for "Breaking Bad 2"! [25 August 2023]

The Breeze and I, music by Cuban composer Ernesto Lecuono (originally entitled "Andalucia" [YouTube link]), Spanish lyrics by Emilio de Torro, English lyrics by Al Stillman, was a huge hit in 1940 for the Jimmy Dorsey Band, featuring vocalist Bob Eberly [YouTube link]. It was also recorded by vocalist Dinah Shore with Xavier Cugat, Caterina Valente with the Werner Muller Orchestra, Vic Damone, and Bing Crosby (in a medley with "Malaguena") [YouTube links], as well as by alto saxophonist Art Pepper. My all-time favorite instrumental rendition comes from the irrepressible jazz guitarist Wes Montgomery [YouTube link]. [22 August 2020]

Brian's Song ("The Hands of Time"), music by Michel Legrand, lyrics by Marilyn and Alan Bergman, was the main theme from the poignant television movie of the same name, starring James Caan and Billy Dee Williams.  Listen to audio clips of versions by Sarah Vaughan and Michel Legrand.  [13 September 2007]

Brick House features the words and music of Lionel Richie, Ronald LaPread, Walter Orange, Roger Ball, and Milan Williams.  It was a huge funky hit for The Commodores (audio clip at that link).  And Happy 75th Birthday to the biggest "brick house" in NYCThe Empire State Building.  [1 May 2006]

The Bride of Frankenstein ("Main Title") is featured in the definitive score composed by Franz Waxman.  This 1935 movie is the first and the best of the sequels to "Frankenstein."  Directed by James Whale, it is one of the finest films in the Universal Monster Movie catalogue.  Listen to the classic opening theme here [mp3 link].   [22 February 2012]

Bring Back the Time, words and music by Lars Jensen and Donnie Wahlberg, is a throwback tribute to 1980s pop, and features New Kids on the Block, Rick Astley, Salt-N-Pepa, and En Vogue. It's a hoot to watch this collaboration, which made its video debut on "Good Morning America" today. See if you can catch all the artists referenced in the hilarious video [YouTube link]! [3 March 2022]

Broadway Gondolier ("Lulu's Back in Town"), words by Al Dubin, music by Harry Warren, is from the 1935 Warner Brothers film musical. Powell provides the vocals, with the Mills Brothers, for this song in the movie [YouTube link]. The song was also performed by Fats Waller, the Hi-Lo's with the Nelson Riddle Orchestra and in a swinging take by Mel Torme [YouTube links]. With the Tony Awards being broadcast on CBS on Sunday night, this is a Broadway weekend, even if this particular song didn't come from a Broadway show! [8 June 2018]

Brooklyn ("End Credits") [YouTube link], composed by Michael Brook, is from the 2015 film of the Colm Toibin novel about Ellis Lacey, an Irish woman (played by Oscar-nominated Saiorse Ronan) who settles in Brooklyn, and who develops a relationship with Anthony "Tony" Fiorello, a man of Italian descent (played by Emory Cohen). This is just one of those love stories that tugs at the heart strings, perhaps because in the end [semi-spoiler alert!], the woman realizes where her real home is. It's a romantic story about the power of love and the power of home. Fuhgedaboudit [YouTube link to a classic exchange in the 1997 film "Donnie Brasco"!]. The film is practically a Valentine's Day card to Brooklyn, New York. Just the greatest borough in the greatest city on earth (in this regard, "IMHO" is not part of my acronymic vocabulary)! But love is universal, so Happy Valentine's Day to all! [14 February 2017]

Brooklyn Bridge, music by Jule Styne, lyrics by Sammy Cahn, is featured in the 1947 film, "It Happened in Brooklyn."  What a lovely song of tribute today... on Brooklyn-Queens Day.  And speaking of the Brooklyn Bridge, I was there on the Brooklyn Heights Promenade on 24 May 1983 to commemorate the structure's 100th anniversary when the Grucci Family put on one of the most spectacular fireworks displays I've ever seen, with fiery "waterfalls" coming off the span and magnificent, colorful rockets launching from the cathedral-like towers.  Listen to a Frank Sinatra audio clip of this song from the film here. [9 June 2005]

Brown Eyed Girl features the music and lyrics of Van Morrison, who took this song into the Billboard Top Ten in 1967. From the album "Blowin' Your Mind!", the song became a signature tune for Morrison. My all-time favorite of his remains his very jazzy "Moondance," which was recorded fifty years ago this month and was the title track to his album, released in January 1970 [YouTube link], though the single wasn't released until 1977! But this one is a classic rock staple, from the "original" Summer of Love. Today, the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer turns 74 years old. Check out the original album version and live in concert at the BBC Radio Theatre [YouTube links]. [31 August 2019]

Bugle Call Rag, composed by Jack Pettis, Bill Meyers, and Elmer Schoebel, was first recorded as "Bugle Call Blues" in 1922 by the New Orleans Rhythm Kings (whose personnel included Pettis and Schoebel).  Taking a lick from the military morning trumpet call, the song jumps off and swings to a glorious finish.  Nothing, but NOTHING compares to the Dean Kincaide-arranged version that was delivered on live radio by the Benny Goodman Big Band, featuring an utterly scorching solo by Harry James. James was so much the matinee idol of the jazz trumpet that my mother, a screaming teenager back then, nearly fell out of the balcony of the Brooklyn Paramount, watching him in concert with the Goodman band.  You can listen to many of the actual studio recordings of BG during the era, but it was in live performance that the great clarinetist earned his stripes as the King of Swing. Check it out here and also the original 1922 Kings rendition, a rendition by Jack Pettis and His Pets in 1929, a Glenn Miller version, and one by the 101 Strings Orchestra Memorial Day is normally a somber holiday; let's take a cue from the New Orleans spirit that remembered the dead with musical celebration; if the departed were going to Paradise, they'd have soared there with this jazz classic. [25 May 2015]

Burn Rubber on Me, music and lyrics by Charlie Wilson, Lonnie Simmons, and Rudy Taylor, was performed by the funky Gap Band. Listen to an audio clip here. [24 July 2005]

Burning Up features the words and music of Madonna, who is inducted tonight into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.  I enjoyed dancing to the original 12" vinyl mix, which was less guitar-driven than its album incarnation on the singer's 1983 debut release.  Listen to audio clips of the album version and that 12" singleBoy does this bring back memories... [10 March 2008]

But Beautiful, music by Jimmy Van Heusen, lyrics by Johnny Burke, was first sung by Bing Crosby (audio clip at that link) in the 1947 film "Road to Rio."  Today, however, I remember this lovely American standard as interpreted by the late vocalist-pianist Shirley Horn, who died on October 20, 2005.  Listen to an audio clip of one of her tender renditions here.  [24 October 2005]

But Not For Me is a classic George and Ira Gershwin song (introduced in the 1930 Broadway production of "Girl Crazy" and performed in both the 1932 and 1943 film versions too) that has been recorded by countless artists from Ella Fitzgerald to Sarah Vaughan to Linda Ronstadt (audio clips at those links).  For a change of pace, check out an audio clip of a version by the original "space cadet," Sun Ra.  A happy and a healthy to #1 Herman Blount (Sun Ra) Expert, my colleague and pal Robert Campbell, who also celebrates his birthday today.  [31 July 2005b]

BUtterfield 8 ("Main Title") [YouTube link], composed by Bronislau Kaper, has that lush quality that Kaper brings to anything he touches with his musical sensibility and jazz inflections (take a listen to Bill Evans and Eddie Gomez on "Invitation" or Kaper himself [YouTube link]).  This theme opens the 1960 film that brought Elizabeth Taylor her first Oscar for Best Actress.  On this date, in 1932, Taylor was born.  [27 February 2014]

BUtterifield 8 ("Gloria's Theme") [YouTube link], composed by Bronislaw Kaper, is from the 1960 film that brought Elizabeth Taylor her first of two Oscars (the other was for her raw performance in "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?"). It's a lush theme befitting the composer of the classic standard, "Invitation" [YouTube link] (from the 1952 film of the same name). [22 February 2023]

By Design, a composition by Larry Prentiss, Vince DiCola, Jodie Victor, and Steve Lane, is a wonderful duet that pairs jazz singer Diane Schuur and Latin singer Jose Feliciano, proving that seeing is a state of mind.  [2 October 2004]

Bye Bye Birdie ("Kids") is a sweet and funny song from the Adams-Strouse songbook for "Bye Bye Birdie," a 1960 musical I'm tributing for three days, since I'm a 1960 baby. Paul Lynde made a career in the center square of the old game show "Hollywood Squares" (for which he won two Daytime Emmy Awards, his answers so typically hilarious), and, of course, he was the warlock Uncle Arthur on the classic TV series, 'Bewitched."  But he shines in song as well, with his duet partner Marijane Maricle (on stage) and Maureen Stapleton (in film), in both the original stage production and in the film version [YouTube links].  [11 June 2016]

Bye Bye Birdie ("A Lot of Livin' to Do") is another gem from the Adams and Strouse soundtrack to the 1960 Broadway musical.  Check out the original Broadway cast recording, the 1963 ensemble film version, and a few really swinging renditions by: Chita Rivera (who was in the original musical; this one is about 2 minutes into her "Great Performances" concert), Sammy Davis, Jr., Judy Garland, Jack Jones, and Nancy Wilson [YouTube links], which only goes to show how much of Broadway's music has made its way into the Great American Songbook. So we end our mini-Broadway tribute today; enjoy the Tony Awards tonight! [12 June 2016]

Bye Bye Birdie ("Put on a Happy Face"), with lyrics by Lee Adams and music by Charles Strouse, was a memorable song from the hit Tony Award-winning "Best Musical" in 1961 (for the 1960 season).  As a 1960 baby, I'm tributing three of my favorite songs from that year from this musical, also adapted for the film version. It was, of course, the 1963 screen version that I saw as a kid and loved. Check out the cast album version and the film version [YouTube links] (both performed by the ever-cheerful Dick van Dyke, joined by Janet Leigh in the film version) and then jump on over to the joyful rendition of our Queens-born neighbor, Tony Bennett [YouTube link], who turns 80 years old on August 3rd (and we'll be doing a mini-tribute to him as well). [10 June 2016]

By the Time I Get to Phoenix, words and music by Jimmy Webb, was first recorded by Johnny Rivers in 1965 [YouTube link]. It was later recorded by American country music singer Glen Campbell as the title track to his 1967 album. Campbell's version reached #2 on the Billboard Hot Country Singles Chart, earning him a Grammy Award for Best Pop Vocal Performance, Male and Best Contemporary Male Solo Vocal Performance. Campbell would go on to amass awards across the spectrum of American music, while also appearing in a dozen films. Today, he died at the age of 81, following a long battle with Alzheimer's Disease. This song was #20 on the Top 100 songs of the twentieth century by BMI, ranked according to the number of times they were played on television and radio. Even Ol' Blue Eyes called this the "greatest torch song ever written." In remembrance of Glen, check out his studio recording of this timeless song [YouTube link].  [8 August 2017]

Cabaret was one of the best musicals on Broadway that I've ever seen.  The revival was an entertainment tour de force, powerful and deeply effective in its exploration of universal themes.  The songs, written by John Kander and (now, the late) Fred Ebb, are boisterous, melodic, witty, and clever.  So here's to the title song ... 'cause life is a cabaret ... [13 September 2004]

Cabaret ("Maybe This Time"), music by John Kander, lyrics by Fred Ebb, was one of the winning songs not included in the original 1966 Broadway musical, which nonetheless won a total of eight out of the eleven Tony Awards for which it was nominated: Best Musical, Best Direction of a Musical, Best Original Score, Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role (Joel Grey), Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role (Peg Murray), Best Choreography, Best Scenic Design, and Best Costume Design. I wasn't fortunate enough to see the original Broadway production, but I did see its absolutely spectacular 1998 revival, which won Tony Awards for Best Revival of a Musical, Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical (the stupendous Alan Cumming), Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical (Natasha Richardson), and Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role (Ron Rifkin)---four awards out of a total of an additional ten nominations. The musical derives from the 1951 play, "I Am a Camera," which itself was adapted from the short story by Christopher Isherwood, Goodbye to Berlin. This song made its way from the film into the musical revival and it remains one of its highlights, sung by the character Sally Bowles. Check out the rendition sung by Natasha Richardson in the 1998 reboot, and, of course, the Oscar-winning Best Actress performance of Liza Minelli [YouTube links], in the Bob Fosse-directed 1972 film adaptation. Today starts a two-day tribute to the 2019 Tony Awards, hosted by James Corden, which will air on Sunday, June 9th, on the CBS Network. [8 June 2019]
Cactus Flower ("The Time for Love is Anytime"), words and music by Cynthia Weil and Quincy Jones, is delivered with sass by Sarah Vaughan. This song opens the 1969 film, starring Ingrid Bergman, Walter Matthau, and Goldie Hawn, who won a Best Supporting Actress Oscar. Check out the Divine One's vocals for the film's main theme [YouTube link]. [7 February 2019]

The Caddy ("That's Amore"), music by Harry Warren, lyrics by Jack Brooks, is the Oscar-nominated song from this 1953 Dean Martin-Jerry Lewis comedy. The song is a Dean Martin signature tune.  Here is the scene from the film and the classic Dean Martin recording [YouTube links]. And what better way to say "Happy Valentine's Day," than with "That's Amore."  [14 February 2015]

Cake By the Ocean, words and music by Robin Fredriksson, Mattias Larsson, Justin Tranter, and Joe Jonas, is the first single from DNCE. I was a mobile DJ in college and the Dance Bug is part of my genome. I still listen to current and recent hits, and really enjoyed DNCE's live performance of this last night because they did a "Le Freak" Chic mash up with the iconic producer, composer, and musician Nile Rodgers. Check out the official video (naughty words included) and the iHeart Radio Awards version. [YouTube links]. [4 April 2016]

Calabria, produced by Rune (DJ Enur), featuring the late Natasja Saad, is the soundtrack for one of the hottest Target commercials on the air.  The two women roommates who stage a "dance off" to this track express infectious joy as they decorate their room (see the commercial on YouTube).  The track features a sample from a Taana Gardner disco classic:  "Work That Body" (YouTube clip at that link).  Check out a full-version video clip of this track at YouTube.  [13 September 2008]

Calamity Jane ("Secret Love"), music by Sammy Fain, lyrics by Paul Francis Weber, was composed for the 1953 movie musical, where it was introduced by the incomparable Doris Day, who celebrated her 92nd birthday on April 3rd. With a melody based on the opening theme of the A-major piano Sonata D.664 [a Wilhelm Kempff version on YouTube] of Franz Schubert, this song was released before the film, and made it to #1 on both the Billboard and Cashbox charts, before going on to win the Oscar for Best Original Song. For years, fans have lobbied the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to give Oscar recognition to Day for all of her wonderful film performances through the years, from the title role of this film to her co-starring role with Kirk Douglas in the 1950 Bix Biederbecke-inspired film, "The Young Man with a Horn" (and that was the legendary Harry James providing the trumpet work) to the 1956 Hitchcock thriller "The Man Who Knew Too Much," opposite Jimmy Stewart, where she introduced another Oscar-winning Best Song, "Que Sera, Sera (Whatever Will Be, Will Be)." Check out this lovely Grammy Hall of Fame single, by the lovely lady who knew how to sing it in a film clip and in the longer studio version [YouTube links]. And check out this sweet Shirley Bassey tribute to Doris as well [YouTube link].. A belated 92nd Happy Birthday to one of the world's greatest animal lovers, who will always be an Award-winner in my songbook!  [5 April 2016]

California Dreamin', words and music by John Phillips and Michelle Phillips, was a huge 1965-66 pop hit for The Mamas and the Papas, sporting a wonderful alto flute solo by one of my all-time favorite jazz musicians:  Bud Shank, who was born on this day in 1926, and became one of the finest musicians in the West Coast jazz scene.  It's not a "winter's day" in Brooklyn; we've had summer-like weather for awhile.  But I'm dreamin' of a particular California attraction that celebrates its 75th anniversary today:  Happy Birthday to the Golden Gate Bridge!  Check out the original Mamas and Papas track, and instrumental versions by Wes Montgomery, George Benson, and, yes, Bud Shank too! [27 May 2012]

Calling All My Lovelies, words and music by the Bruno Mars crew, is one of those soulful "molasses-slow" grooves from "24K Magic," the Grammy-nominated "Best R&B Album of the Year" by Bruno Mars. On this track, even Oscar-award winning actress Halle Berry makes a cameo appearance. Check out the album version [YouTube link] and a live performance at the Apollo [DailyMotion link, around the 16-minute mark]. [27 January 2018]

Call Me, words and music by Randy Muller, was performed by the group Skyy.  Listen to an audio clip here.  It's particularly fitting on this day, the 130th anniversary of the first phone call made by Alexander Graham Bell to Thomas A. Watson.  Over the next week or so, I'll have a few more favorite musical "calls" to make, in honor of this anniversary.  (And "for all you frustrated musicians," see here, where you can access directions on how to play songs on your touch-tone phone.)  [10 March 2006]

Call Me features the words and music of Nikos Karvelas, ex-husband of the Greek singer Anna Vissi, who took this song to #1 on the Billboard Dance Chart.  Vissi recorded the song previously as "Ise" in Greek.  Listen to an audio clip of this song among others on disc #2 of Vic Latino's Ultra Dance 06.  [11 March 2006]

Call Me, words and music by Tony Hatch, has been performed by Frank Sinatra, Shirley Bassey, Petula Clark, and Nancy Wilson (my favorite version), among others (audio clips at artist links).  It's a warm '60s chestnut.  [12 March 2006]

Call Me, words and music by Giorgio Moroder and Deborah Harry, the lead singer of the group Blondie, was the theme from the 1980 film, "American Gigolo."  The group is being inducted tonight into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.  This song is probably my favorite Blondie track (in contrast to my favorite, and beloved, Blondie).  Listen to an audio clip from the original soundtrack. [13 March 2006]

Call Me By Your Name ("Mystery of Love"), words and music by Sufjan Stevens, was a 2017 Oscar nominee for Best Original Song. Based on the Andre Aciman novel, this coming-of-age drama, starring the young and talented Best Actor-nominated Timothee Chalamet (a graduate of Brooklyn's LaGuardia High School) will tug at your heartstrings. The film also features wonderful performances by Armie Hammer and Michael Stuhlbarg (whose scene with his son near the end of the film is itself worth the price of admission) [YouTube link, spoiler alert!]. Check out the song, accompanied with film clips [YouTube link]. So we begin this year's 15th Annual Film Music February en route to the Oscar Awards on February 24, 2019 with a song from one of last year's "Best Picture"-nominated films. Let's remember that Film Music February includes not only film score cues and original songs featured in film, but also songs previously recorded that found life again in film soundtracks. So be prepared for a very wide variety of music over the next 24 days! Today also begins TCM's annual 31 Days of Oscar! [1 February 2019]

Call Me Irresponsible, music by Jimmy Van Heusen, lyrics by Sammy Cahn, is the Oscar-winning song from the 1963 film, "Papa's Delicate Condition," starring Jackie Gleason.  I love a 12-string jazz guitar version by Joe Pass.  Listen to an audio clip of Ol' Blue Eyes singing this gem live in a Rat Pack performance at the Sands.  Listen to additional audio clips from Robert Goulet, Jack Jones, Nancy Wilson, and a swinging Bobby Darin. [14 March 2006]

Call Me Maybe features the words and music of Tavish Crowe, Josh Ramsay, and Carly Rae Jepson, a young Canadian singer and songwriter who delivers the most infectious song of 2012.  It provides what was probably "the year's most gripping hook," making it "one of the most irrefutable teen-pop songs in history," as New York Daily News music critic Jim Farber attests.  It also sported an adorable music video with a gay twist [YouTube link], but before too long, as Farber reminds us, everybody got in on the act, from the college frat boys of Ramapo Kappa Sigma to the Tennessee "Call Me Gaybe" boys to the cast from "Glee" to the U.S. Olympics Swimming Team [YouTube links].  It's a song that should be on any year-end countdown.  Tonight we'll be counting down till the ball drops in Times Square.  Have a happy, healthy, and safe New Year's Eve! [31 December 2012]

Can't Buy Me Love, written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney.  This classic Beatles track is still one of my all-time favorite kickin' rock 'n roll songs. [12 September 2004]

Can't Feel My Face features the words and music of Ali Payami, Savan Kotecha, Max Martin, Peter Svensson, and Abel Tesfaye, also known as The Weeknd, who performs this song. This was the third single from the artist's second studio album, "Beauty Behind the Madness" (2015). It hit the top of the Billboard Hot 100 three separate times in August-September 2015. Check out the official video and a beat-driven dance remix by Martin Garrix. Today, "Gardenview", a new album by Nataly Dawn (one half of the duo constituting Pomplamoose) debuts, and it features a creative mash-up of this song with Michael Jackson's "Billie Jean" and the Justin Timberlake hit, "Can't Stop the Feeling!" Check it out here. [3 June 2022]

Can't Fight the Moonlight, written by Diane Warren, is featured in the film "Coyote Ugly."  Today begins my mini-tribute to film music, in anticipation of the 82nd Academy Awards to be broadcast this Sunday, March 7, 2010.  Performed by LeAnn Rimes, it's a peppy track that's been remixed fabulously for the dance floor as well; check out various versions, including this YouTube moment, this remix and this one too. [5 March 2010]

Can't Stop the Feeling! features the words and music of Max Martin, Shellback, and Justin Timberlake, who debuts with this single from the animated film, "Trolls," due out in November 2016.  This is Timberlake's fifth solo #1 Hit and, perhaps, the most retro-disco sounding recording of his career.  The voice cast has fun with the song in a pre-release video, even as the official video was released this week [YouTube links].  I remain a life-long Timberlake fanatic, and disco just might usher me through the Pearly Gates or the Disco Inferno, whichever is in store for me. Ed. Note:  Since posting this as Song of the Day #1343, the video community has provided us with hilarious takes on the song; check out the Storm Troopers videos, Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4. And the DJ community has provided us with a plethora of wonderfully diverse remixes:  the Chris Chrone remix, the Daniel Simon Tov Remix, the Tripping Nationz Remix, the Thascya Remix, the Fenton Gee Remix, and the PLP DJ Remix.  [20 May 2016]

Can't Take My Eyes Off You, words and music by Bob Crewe and Bob Gaudio, was a huge Frankie Valli hit.  The song has shown up in many films as well, including "The Deer Hunter" (1978).   Listen to an audio clip here, and also to alternative versions by Gloria Gaynor and Lauryn Hill.  [22 September 2006]

Can You Handle It? features the words and music of Willie Lester and Rodney Brown.  This classic "Prelude label" dance track was performed by the late Sharon Redd.  It was one of those dance classics that has been remixed several times, but never at the expense of its wonderful feel. Listen to an audio clip here.  [2 October 2005]

Capote ("Out There") [YouTube link], composed by Mychael Danna, is a simple theme that holds within it the complexity of the person at the center of the 2005 film, Truman Capote, and the complexity of the performance of Philip Seymour Hoffman, who won a Best Actor Oscar for the role. Sadly, this 46-year old actor passed away yesterday; death need not be tragic, since it is an organic part of life, but when it comes so young to an actor with so much talent and promise, I can find few other words to describe it.  RIP PSH. [3 February 2014]

Cappucino (audio clip at that link) is a Chick Corea composition that made its debut on the phenomenal album "Friends." It's an intense track with superb solos and ensemble playing, featuring saxophonist Joe Farrell, bassist Eddie Gomez, and drummer Steve Gadd.  [17 June 2005]

Captain America ("Theme Song"), composer mysteriously unknown, was the classic theme song to the 1960s Marvel Super Heroes cartoon.  It's a favorite from my childhood, and while there have been lots of takes on Captain America, this one still holds a special place in my heart. Take a look at the animated opening theme [YouTube link], and have a safe and happy Independence Day! [4 July 2013]

Captain Senor Mouse, composed by jazz keyboardist extraordinaire Chick Corea, made its debut on two 1973 albums: "Hymn of the Seventh Galaxy" with Return to Forever (featuring Bill Connors on guitar, Stanley Clarke on bass, and Lenny White on drums) and with vibraphonist Gary Burton on the duet album "Crystal Silence" (and in the 2008 Grammy Award-winning live set, "The New Crystal Silence"). Check out this Chick composition in all its wonderful renditions: with Return to Forever and with Gary Burton in studio and live settings, as well as covers by guitarist Al DiMeola, guitarist Martin Taylor and bassist Peter Ind, guitarist Kevin Eubanks, and Gordon Goodwin's Big Phat Band [YouTube links]. [26 June 2020]

Caravan is credited to Duke Ellington, Irving Mills, and Juan Tizol.  It was made famous by the Ellington orchestra (audio clips here and here).  Among the scores of recordings of this song, my favorite version of this tune remains one recorded by Johnny Pate's orchestra featuring the burning bold boss guitar of Wes Montgomery.  Listen to an audio clip of that version here.  And so, for now, I conclude my Ellington tribute!  [11 December 2005]

Carol of the Bells emerges from a fascinating musical lineage, based on a musical composition by Mykola Dmytrovich Leontovych.  Most riveting when performed with a full chorus (as in this Robert Shaw Chorale audio clip) or full orchestra (as in this Leonard Bernstein audio clip).  Ring in a Happy New Year!  [1 January 2005a]

Carol for Another Christmas, composed by Henry Mancini, was the title track of a classic 1964 Rod Serling-scripted TV take on "A Christmas Carol," directed by Joseph Mankiewicz.  I was first exposed to this beautiful instrumental as a child, watching the great Yule Log on WPIX-TV.  It's one of those sensitively performed compositions, which has had a tendency to bring a bit of a puddle to my tear ducts.  Listen to an audio clip of Henry Mancini (here too). [28 December 2007]

Carousel ("If I Loved You"), music by Richard Rodgers, lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II, is another memorable song from this 1945 Broadway musical (which has had many revivals). It was also heard in the 1956 film version. Today I begin three days of tribute to the Broadway musical. On Sunday, from Lincoln Center, the 77th Annual Tony Awards will air live on CBS. Check out Jan Clayton and John Raitt (yes, Bonnie's Dad!) [YouTube link], who reprise their Broadway duet for a 1954 salute to Rodgers and Hammerstein, as well as the film version, featuring Gordan McRae and Shirley Jones [YouTube links]. [14 June 2024]

Carousel ("June is Bustin' Out All Over"), music by Richard Rodgers, lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II, is a memorable song from this 1945 Broadway musical, which was also heard in the 1956 film version. Today is the first of June, and there's lots of music coming up! There are Famous Birthdays and Pride celebrations to mark, not to mention the 77th Annual Tony Awards and the start of my Ninth Annual Summer Music Festival. But hey, "June is Bustin' Out All Over"! Check out the classic film version of this production number [YouTube link]. [1 June 2024]

Carousel ("You'll Never Walk Alone), music by Richard Rodgers, lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II, is one of the standout songs from the great 1945 Broadway musical, "Carousel."  It has been performed by everyone from Christine Johnson (in the original Broadway musical), Frank Sinatra,, Judy Garland and Shirley Jones and Claramae Turner in the 1956 film version (and finale) to Tom Jones, Barbra Streisand, and Jerry Lewis, who sang this song religiously at the conclusion of every Labor Day telethon he hosted from 1964 to 2010 for the Muscular Dystrophy Association (all YouTube links). (Thanks to Michelle Kamhi and Louis Torres, my friends, who sent me the Tom Jones link.)  There are few songs that sum up my own feelings of appreciation to those members of the FDNY who saved our apartment and our lives, as they battled a fire in my room, which, if it had had one more minute to breathe, could have consumed the rest of our home.  My deepest thanks as well to all those who have offered their support as we recover from that fire, which occurred a week ago today.  I had just received copies of the second edition of Ayn Rand: The Russian Radical, and it was my honor to inscribe the very first shrink-wrapped copy "To the company" of the FDNY, our heroes, "with love and admiration always . . ." for their bravery and courage. Though we have lost much, we count our blessings, which are more; we are thankful that we are alive to contemplate both losses and blessings.   Part of the reason that a song such as this remains legendary is, of course, due to its lyrics.  As David Hinckley wrote in his review of "Oscar Hammerstein II: Out of My Dreams" (a PBS biography):  "You gotta have some powerful cards to even get into the discussion of the 20th century's great lyricists, and it's a tribute to Oscar Hammerstein II that no one even needs to look at his ID.  Just think 'Oklahoma!', 'South Pacific', 'The Sound of Music' and 'The King and I'---you know, shows like that.  He could be prickly to work with, but the results were worth whatever it cost, and this show wisely sticks to what mattered most, the songs that will be sung as long as humans have working lips" (see here; but this statement appeared in the Sunday New York Daily News "New York Vue" section for the week starting 4 March 2012).  [16 October 2013]

Casino Royale ("You Know My Name") features the words and music of David Arnold and Chris Cornell, who died yesterday at the age of 52. This 2006 song features Cornell's lead vocals, from the first 007 film starring Daniel Craig as Bond, James Bond. Actually, Craig's "Skyfall" (2012) is one of my favorite Bond flicks. But today's tribute goes to Cornell, another talent gone too soon. Check out the opening credits [YouTube link], and while you're at it, check out Cornell's transformative version of the Michael Jackson hit, "Billie Jean" [YouTube link]. RIP, Chris Cornell. [18 May 2017]

Catch Me If You Can ("Soundtrack Suite") [YouTube link], composed by John Williams, exhibits another side to his repertoire. The composer started out as jazz pianist "Johnny" Williams and was the featured pianist in the original "West Side Story" film score. This wonderful jazz-influenced score is a nice complement to the 2002 film, starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hanks. [6 February 2023]

Caught Up, words and music by Andre Harris, Vidal Davis, Jason Boyd, and Ryan Toby, opened the Showtime concert of Usher.  It is featured on the album "Confessions" (audio clip at that link).  Like "Yeah," this one's got a big bass line, minimalist instrumentation, and a great hook.  [25 March 2005]

C.E.D., composed by jazz guitarist Joe Pass and jazz pianist Arnold Ross, is featured on Pass's debut album---and what a debut it was---"Sounds of Synanon," recorded with patients of the Synanon Drug Center, where a young Pass was being treated for heroin addiction. Influenced by jazz guitar pioneers Django Reinhardt and Charlie Christian, Pass would go on to become one of the greatest jazz guitarists in the history of the genre. (In fact, his tribute album, "For Django" [YouTube album link] remains a staple in the jazz guitar pantheon [YouTube link to a Django tribute from jazz guitarist Johnny Smith]. Check out the album version of this opening track to the Synanon album and a live TV version [YouTube links], where you can witness the birth of that unique fiery, rhythmic, melodic, virtuosic technique that Pass would come to master. [15 August 2020]

The Champion features the music and lyrics of Chris DeStefano, Brett James, Christopher Bridges, and Carrie Underwood, who recorded this song to open NBC's coverage of Super Bowl LII, but it was used by NBC throughout the 2018 Winter Olympics, which ended on 25 February 2018, and is an appropriate post-Oscar tribute to all those who took home statuettes last night. Check out the Champion vocal pipes of Underwood in the Super Bowl opening and in the official video, which features a rap by Bridges (aka Ludacris) [YouTube links]. [5 March 2018]

Change features the words and music of Johan Carlsson, Ross Golan, and Charlie Puth, who turns 27 today. The moment I heard the opening chords of the song, without even looking at the track listing off of "Voicenotes," Puth's second studio album, I thought to myself that it sounded like a James Taylor song. And sure enough, Puth duets with Taylor on this song. I celebrated Puth's music this past summer, and anyone in pop music who can incorporate a Bill Evans chordal phrase into his compositions [YouTube link] has earned his way into my musical heart. Check out the album version with Taylor, Puth's live concert performance, with acoustic guitar accompaniment (at 37 minutes in), with on acoustic guitar, and his live March for Our Lives performance [YouTube links]. [2 December 2018]

Change Partners, words and music by Irving Berlin, was nominated for a 1938 Academy Award for Best Song, from the Fred Astaire-Ginger Rogers film "Carefree."  Listen to an audio clip of a lovely, "carefree" bossa nova rendition by Frank Sinatra and Antonio Carlos Jobim.  [18 February 2006]

Chained to the Rhythm features the words and music of Skip Marley (grandson of Bob, and featured on the track), Max Martin, Sia Furler, Ali Payami, and Katy Perry, who released this recording as the first single from her fifth studio album, "Witness" (2017). This rhythmic track went Top 5 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #1 on the Dance Club Songs chart. In fact, it was the seventeenth consecutive #1 Dance Club single for Perry, the longest unbroken streak of #1 dance club hits in the history of the Billboard Dance charts. Check out the chill original video single, and then explore the Lil Yachty Trap Remix, Cristian Poow Remix, and Fomichev Remix, before kickin' it into high gear with the Jerome Price Remix, Syn Cole Remix, Andy Fasa Remix, Ray Rhodes Remix, Oliver Heldens Remix, and the Deep House Mix. [24 June 2017a]

Charade is another magnificent collaboration between composer Henry Mancini and lyricist Johnny Mercer.  It was nominated for a 1963 Academy Award for Best Song, featured on the beautiful score for the classic Cary Grant-Audrey Hepburn film of the same title, the best Hitchcock movie Hitchcock never directed.  One of my favorite versions of this song is an instrumental rendering by jazz guitarist Joe Pass, who plays it on the 12-string guitar.  Listen to audio clips from the original soundtrack here and a version by Andy Williams.  [25 February 2006]

The Charge of the Light Brigade ("The Charge") [Screen Archives Entertainment mp3 link], written by the legendary Golden Age film score composer Max Steiner, captures the excitement of the climactic scene in this 1936 film, starring the swashbuckling Errol Flynn.  This is one of the great Oscar-nominated soundtracks in cinema history. Check it out as well on YouTube (as conducted by William Stromberg).  [21 February 2015]

The Charleston, composed by stride pianist James P. Johnson, with lyrics by Cecil Mack, was featured in the all-black Broadway musical comedy "Runnin' Wild," which debuted at the New Colonial Theatre on October 29, 1923.  One of the most famous recordings of this jazz age standard was recorded in France on April 21,1937 by the Quintette du Hot Club de France, featuring violinist extraordinaire Stephane Grappelli, the immortal jazz guitarist Django Reinhardt, guitar sidemen Pierre Ferret and Marcel Bianchi, and bassist Louis Vola. Established far away from the American soil that originated the art form, the Quintette contributed to the rise of jazz as a genuine global cultural contribution. And subsequently, the group had a huge impact on American jazz musicians.  Indeed, Reinhardt alone is credited as one of the most influential guitarists in jazz history.  As Bill Dahl put it: "Despite two fingers on his fretting hand being substantially paralyzed due to injuries suffered in a fire before he hit the bigtime, Reinhardt made more mesmerizing magic on his axe without those digits than the vast majority of fretsmen do with the standard allotment of five.  Les Paul, Chet Atkins, B. B. King, Charlie Christian, Wes Montgomery, Barney Kessel, Joe Pass [whose "For Django" album remains one of the milestones in the evolution of the jazz guitar -- ed.], George Benson, Jimi Hendrix, Carlos Santana, Willie Nelson, Jeff Beck, and Jerry Garcia have all reverently sung his praises over the years." Check out the Quintette recording on YouTube. Today is International Jazz Day, so named by UNESCO in 2011, followed by a UN festival kick-off in 2012 on this date and celebrated annually ever since. This year's festival takes place today in Paris, France Vive Le Jazz Hot! [30 April 2015]

Cheek to Cheek, music and lyrics by Irving Berlin, is featured in the classic Fred Astaire film, "Top Hat."  It received a 1935 Oscar nomination in the "Best Song" category.  Listen to audio clips of renditions by Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, and of course, from the original film, Fred Astaire.  My favorite jazz rendition of this song is by alto sax player Phil Woods, "Live from the Showboat," an album that won the 1977 Grammy for "Best Instrumental Jazz Performance, Group" (unfortunately no audio clip is available). [23 February 2007]

Che La Luna Mezzo Mare is an Italian folksong composed, it is said, by Paolo Citorello, but infinite variations of the song have been heard throughout the years.  Growing up in the Sciabarra household, we heard the bouncy Louis Prima-Keely Smith version [YouTube link], with its funny double entendres sung in both Italian and English.  Other memorable versions have been performed by Rudy Vallee, Lou Monte and Dean Martin [YouTube links].  But the most memorable cinematic take is at the wedding of the daughter of Don Vito Corleone (played by Oscar-winner, Marlon Brando) in the original Mafia Family Values Movie:  "The Godfather," the Oscar-winning Best Picture, my all-time favorite gangster film, an epic crime drama directed brilliantly by Francis Ford Coppola.  At the wedding, Mama Corleone (played by Morgana King) is invited to the stage to begin the verses of the classic song; an old man, not unlike many I've seen at countless Italian weddings that I've attended since childhood, gets up, and completes the verses with the kind of hilariously perverse body language that the song inspires.  How appropriate to note this song today, for 40 years ago, on this date, on the Ides of March in 1972, "The Godfather" had its U.S. debut. Yes, it has a haunting Nino Rota soundtrack.  But it also has a "Che La Luna" wedding scene [YouTube link]. [15 March 2012]

Cherish features the words and music of Terry Kirkman, a founding member of The Association, which scored a Number 1 hit with this song in 1966.   Listen to audio clips of renditions by The Association and Nancy Ames. [3 August 2007]

Cherokee features the words and music of Ray Noble.  Listen to audio clips of versions by Charlie Barnet and His Orchestra, Johnny Smith and Stan Getz, and an early bop adventure by Charlie Parker.  As an aside, the Cherokee word for "Groundhog" is "Ogana"Happy Groundhog Day! (Punxsutawney Phil tells us six more weeks of winter... but Staten Island Chuck disagrees... )  [2 February 2006]

Cherry, Cherry, composed by Neil Diamond, is from the 1966 album, "The Feel of Neil Diamond." Considered by Rolling Stone to be "one of the greatest three-chord songs of all time," it reached #6 on the Billboard Hot 100. Check it out on YouTube. [16 September 2022]

Cherry Pie, words and music by Jani Lane, was a Top Ten Hot 100 Hit for the glam metal rock band, Warrant---the title single to their 1990 album. It's considered a "hair metal" anthem. The video received heavy airplay on MT(remember when they used to show music videos?). Check it out on YouTube. [12 August 2022]

Cherry Pink and Apple Blossom White is the English version of a 1950 song written by Louiguy. In 1955, Perez Prado recorded a version of the song that spent ten weeks at #1 on the Billboard chart. Check out the Perez Prado rendition and another by Harry James with the Buddy Rich Orchestra [YouTube links]. [21 September 2022]

Chicago, words and music by Cory Rooney, is a sweet track on Michael Jackson's posthumously released album, "Xscape."  It's a terrific feeling to hear fresh music that is so alive from an artist gone too soon.  Listen to the track on YouTube, and the original demo MJ recorded as well.  [28 August 2014]

Chicago (That Toddlin' Town) features the words and music of Fred Fischer, a popular Tin Pan Alley composer.  It's my musical tribute to the Chicago White Sox for winning their first World Series Championship since 1917.  They swept the Boston Red Sox and the Houston Astros, and took 11 out of 12 in the postseasonShoeless JoeDirty Black Sox?  After the Red Sox, there are no more curses in baseball.  Maybe the Chicago Cubs are next!  Or maybe these triumphs are only possible for teams named after different kinds of, uh, socks.  Either way, listen here to an audio clip of Frank Sinatra singing this timeless tune.  [27 October 2005b]

Chic Cheer, words and music by Bernard Edwards and Nile Rodgers, was the lead-off track to the 1978 album, "C'est Chic," which was the second studio album for the R&B/disco band, Chic. This song, with its infectious bass line, provides us with a foundation for the next two songs of the day---a lesson in the art of sampling, since this song has been sampled quite a few times over the years. Check it out here [YouTube link]. [7 May 2022]

A Child is Born, words and music by Alec Wilder and Thad Jones, is a song that has come to be identified with this day, but it has also become a jazz standard.  Listen to audio clips of renditions by Thad Jones and Mel Lewis, Diane Reeves, Bill Evans, Bill Evans and Tony Bennett, and, finally, Oscar Peterson, who passed away on Sunday, December 23, 2007.  A sad loss for lovers of music to contemplate on this Christmas Day. Rest in peace.  [25 December 2007]

The Children of Sanchez ("Overture"), words, music, film score written and performed by Chuck Mangione, comes from the Latin- and jazz-infused score that has a musical integrity quite apart from the fact that it's from a 1979 film, starring Anthony Quinn, that I've still yet to see!  Mangione won a much-deserved Grammy Award for this album for Best Pop Instrumental Performance.  Listen to the 14+ minute overture on YouTube. [19 February 2012]

Chiller Theatre ("Horror Upon Horror") [YouTube clip at that link], composed by Wilfred Josephs, was the opening theme music for the Saturday night WPIX-TV classic horror movie show. The theme made the hair of many New York tri-state area kids of the 1960s stand on end (including this one).  The show was hosted early on by the great Zacherley before switching to the film montage of memory, with clips from such films as "Plan 9 from Outer Space," "The Cyclops," and "Attack of the 50 Foot Woman."  There were other memorable "Chiller Theatre" openings, but this one was the real ... chiller.  [19 September 2012]

Chinatown ("Love Theme") [aural clip at that link], music by Jerry Goldsmith, is stated simply by a bluesy trumpet soloist, harking back to its 1930s' setting, accompanied by a full panoply of modern harmonies.  Evoking solitude, this composition was written for the 1974 Roman Polanski-directed film noir classic, starring Jack Nicholson and Faye DunawayGoldsmith's mentor was Miklos Rozsa, who passed onto his pupil a melodic sensitivity that is readily apparent in this work.  [16 February 2005]

Chinatown ("Soundtrack Suite") [YouTube link], composed by Jerry Goldsmith, is a perfect complement to this 1974 neo-noir film, starring Jack Nicholson, Faye Dunaway, and John Huston as one of the sleaziest villains in cinema history. On this date in 1929, the great Jerry Goldsmith was born. This jazzy, haunting, evocative score is only one side of the prolific musical legacy that Goldsmith left behind. [10 February 2022]

Chinatown ("Suite") [YouTube link], composed by Jerry Goldsmith, is derived from my all-time favorite score by the maestro---and that's saying something! This particular suite is performed live by the Young Metropole Orchestra. Here, the trumpeter is not Uan Ramsey, from the original 1974 neo noir (one of my favorite films of that decade), but Hans de Munnik, who does a superb job. On this date in 1929, the great Jerry Goldsmith was born. He left behind an innovative and influential cinematic musical legacy for the ages. [10 February 2024]

The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don't Be Late) features the music and lyrics of Ross Bagdasarian, also known as David Seville and was recorded with Alvin and the Chipmunks.  It brings back cheerful memories of childhood.  It still makes me chuckle.  Listen to an audio clip here.  [28 December 2005]

Chock Full o'Nuts gave us a classic commercial jingle, one based on "That Heavenly Feeling," by Bernie Wayne and Bruce Silbert.  The original lyrics to the jingle boasted:  "Better coffee a Rockefeller's money can't buy," but when then-New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller took offense, the lyrics were changed to:  "Better coffee a millionaire's money can't buy" (YouTube link).  Today, however, inflation has taken its toll, and the lyrics have been adjusted accordingly:  "Better coffee a billionaire's money can't buy" (two contemporary versions at the "jingle" link).  The original version was sung by Page Black, wife of Chock Full o'Nuts founder, William Black.  [16 September 2011]

Chocolate Souffle [YouTube link], composed by jazz-fusion guitarist Oz Noy, appears on the 2019 album, "Booga Looga Loo" on the Abstract Logix label. Featured on this recording is Noy on guitar, Brian Charette on keyboards, John Patitucci on bass, and Vinnie Colaiuta on drums. Also check out an alternative Noy live version [YouTube link] with bass guitarist Jimmy Haslip and drummer Dave Weckl, and Noy discussing the tools of his trade [YouTube link]. [7 September 2020]

Christos Anesti is a traditional hymn sung first at the midnight liturgy as the "paschal toparian" or celebratory hymn of the resurrection of Jesus Christ in the Greek (and Eastern) Orthodox churches to mark the arrival of Easter. Though its authorship is unknown, it has been attributed to Romanos the Melodist, the "Pindar of rhythmic poetry." I must say that with maternal grandparents having been born in Olympia, Greece, the home of the gods and goddesses (and the ancient site of the Olympic games), and paternal grandparents born in Porto Empedocle, Sicily, home of the godfathers, I was fortunate enough to learn all the Greek prayers (having been baptized Greek Orthodox) and all the Sicilian curse words. Growing up, this Easter hymn was, perhaps, my favorite; check out a lovely version of it on YouTube, featuring the actress Irene Papas with Vangelis. It depicts the faithful carrying lit candles, that begin to lift the darkened church at midnight into light, as a single candle is passed on to the faithful one by one until the entire church is filled with the light of rebirth and renewal. I want to wish all my orthodox family and friends a very Happy Easter! And it being the 1st of May, May it be a revolutionary one! [1 May 2016]

The Christmas Blues, words and music by David Holt and Sammy Cahn, is, yes, a bluesy song for this Christmas, recorded most famously by Dean Martin [YouTube link] and heard on the "L.A. Confidential" soundtrack.  It was later recorded by Jo Stafford [YouTube link]. Don't let the blues get you down [link to "A Charlie Brown Christmas" Medley by jazz pianist David Benoit; hat tip to Alexandra York]! A very Merry Christmas with peace on earth and goodwill to one and all! [25 December 2017]

A Christmas Carol (aka "Scrooge"; "Main Title") [YouTube clip at that link], composed by Richard Addinsell, who mixes the sounds of a traditional carol ("Hark!  The Herald Angels Sing") with a grim theme of beckoning menace, foreshadowing the fate-altering tale of Ebenezer Scrooge, played in this 1951 film by the utterly superb Alastair Sim (of all the cinematic treatments of this timeless Charles Dickens tale, this one is my favorite).  Addinsell wrote one of my all-time favorite popular concertos ("Warsaw Concerto").  And he's in fine form here too. There are one or two neat videos on YouTube that provide an entertaining side-by-side comparison of the various Scrooges portrayed in film over the past century or so.  This concludes my mini-tribute to music from Christmas-oriented films, "in keeping with the situation" of this holiday season.  [30 December 2012]

Christmas Every Day, words and lyrics by Dave Barnes, Cason Cooley, and David Archuleta, who sings this song from his 2018 album, "Winter in the Air." Archuleta was a very young runner-up in Season 7 of "American Idol" (2008). This song has a finger-snappin' sweetness. Check it out on YouTube. Two more musical selections to go till Santa touches down! [23 December 2021]

Christmas in Connecticut ("The Wish That I Wish Tonight"), music by M. K. Jerome, lyrics by Jack Scholl, is heard over the opening credits to this 1945 film, starring Barbara Stanwyck, Dennis Morgan, and Sydney Greenstreet. Check out the music in the title sequence and as sung by Dennis Morgan in the film. The song was also a hit for the Ray Noble Orchestra with vocalist Trudy Erwin and Jo Stafford [YouTube links]. [22 February 2019]

The Christmas Shoes, words and music by Eddie Carswell and Leonard Ahlstrom, was recorded by the Christian vocal group NewSong. It charted on the Country chart, but went to Number One on the Billboard Adult Contemporary chart in 2001.  The song has been panned by quite a few critics, but whatever your spiritual beliefs, this is just one of those songs that tugs at your heart. Check it out on YouTube. A Merry Christmas Eve to all; and don't forget to track Santa on Norad!  [24 December 2015]

The Christmas Song, words and music by jazz great Mel Torme and Robert Wells, as performed by the only Nat King Cole.  Listen to an audio clip here.  The warmth of his voice matches those chestnuts roasting on an open fire.  Merry Christmas!  Happy birthday to my friend JR!  And let's begin the 12+ Days of Christmas Songs!  [25 December 2004]

Christmas Swing [YouTube link], composed by Django Reinhardt, was recorded by the Quintet of the Hot Club of France, with the immortal Django on guitar and the legendary Stephane Grappelli on violin. You can swing your way into Christmas Day, watching Santa make all his stops on NORAD, in keeping with the situation [Yarn clip]. A very Merry Christmas, with peace on earth, and good will to one and all. [25 December 2018]

Christmas Time is Here was composed and performed by the ever-recognizable pianist Vince Guaraldi.  It has touched my heart from the first time I heard it on "A Charlie Brown Christmas."  Listen to instrumental and vocal renditions from the soundtrack here.  Also check out audio clips from lovely versions by Diane Reeves, Mel Torme, Anita Baker, and Brian McKnight, who is featured on a tribute album in honor of the 40th anniversary of the wonderful Peanuts cartoon. Also listen to another jazz instrumental rendering by the Airmen of Note (the premier jazz ensemble of the United States Air Force).  [26 December 2005]

The Christmas Tree [YouTube link], composed by David Rose, was recorded in 1959 and has been heard as a perennial favorite on the WPIX-TV Yule Log. It's an annual broadcast that my sister and I so enjoyed. This is the first Christmas Day without my sister, who died on November 26, 2022. But not even this tragic loss can dull my embrace of this holiday, which she so loved, and which I will always love, for its message of Peace on Earth, Goodwill toward All. On January 1, 2023, I will begin two months, 59 straight days, of terrific music that my sister knew I'd planned, celebrating one of the greatest franchises in the history of television in January and the magic of film scores in February. I want to wish a Merry Christmas to those who celebrate and a very happy and healthy New Year to all. [25 December 2022]

The Christmas Waltz, words and music by Jule Styne and Sammy Cahn, was written for Frank Sinatra and recorded in 1954 as the B-side to his version of "White Christmas". Check out Sinatra's original recording as well as other renditions by Nancy Wilson, Mel Torme, the Brecker Brothers and Steve Kahn, Diane Reeves, and David Rose [YouTube links]. Don't forget to track Santa on NORAD! [24 December 2022].

Chunky features the words and music of Philip Lawrence, Christopher Brody Brown, James Fauntleroy, and Bruno Mars, who performed this on both "Saturday Night Live" (@ 3:39 in the YouTube video of his performances on the October 15, 2016 show) and the "Victoria's Secret Fashion Show" [YouTube link] last night.  I don't how those razor-thin models reacted to a song extolling the virtues of "girls with the big old hoops," but Bruno was #1 on the runway for me.  His new album, "24K Magic" (whose title track, with a spotlight-solo dance segment on November 20th's American Music Awards [YouTube link]) was a pure MJ throwback), has a touch of James Brown, Prince, and Michael Jackson, on whose shoulders he proudly stands (see his "60 Minutes" interview [CBS News link]). Pure Magic. 24K. (Oh, and check out this great cinema montage set to the Mars-Ronson hit, "Uptown Funk".) [7 December 2016]

Ciaconna (from "Partita in D-minor for Violin No. 2"), BMV 1004, is the last part of a five-movement partita (sometimes rendered in its French spelling as "Chaconne," each part corresponding to a dance of the time), written by German composer Johann Sebastian Bach, who was born in 1685 on this date, at least according to the Gregorian calendar. One of the greatest composers of all time, Bach wrote music that was definitive of the Baroque period. This work has a special place in my heart, and I was able to track it down with the help of my friend Roger E. Bissell. The intensity of the piece is displayed by violinists Hillary Hahn and the great Itzhak Perlman [YouTube links]. It has also been played by classical guitarists Andres Segovia and Julian Bream [YouTube links]. Ironically, however, I was first made aware of the piece due to an extraordinary video posted on YouTube in memory of jazz guitarist Joe Pass. It was recorded at the Adelaide Festival S.A. (sometime between 1-8 March 1990). It is heard during a seminar that included Spanish flamenco guitarist Paco Pena, blues guitarist Leo Kottke, classical guitarist John Williams (not the film score composer, whose birthday we celebrated last month as part of my annual Film Music February series), and jazz guitarist Joe Pass. Beginning at around 2:15 in the 5:26 minute video, we are reminded that the classical masters were basically improvisers: they came up with a main theme and then "improvised" variations on the theme, which were written down. Guitarist Williams is obviously fascinated by the spontaneous improvisation of the jazz artist, and to illustrate the spontaneity and brilliance of the process, he lays down the basic melodic structure of the Chaconne, and invites Pass to improvise simultaneously over that melody. Pass throws in a few jazz licks that get a chuckle out of the audience, but the whole video provides us with a lesson on the universality of music. Check out the video clip here [YouTube link]. The piece can also be heard throughout the eerie 1946 film, with Peter Lorre, "The Beast with Five Fingers" [YouTube trailer]. [31 March 2018]

Cinema Paradiso ("Love Theme") [YouTube link] was composed by Ennio Morricone for the 1988 Italian film that won the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film at the 62nd Academy Awards. This is Academy Awards Weekend, which comes later than the typical February showing (that coincides with my Film Music February Tribute). So I'm featuring two additional film-related "Songs of the Day" to celebrate the art of the score. Listen especially to this lush, romantic theme as rendered by the great classical violinist Itzhak Perlman [YouTube link]. [24 April 2021]

Cinderella ("A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes"), words and music by Mack David, Al Hoffman, and Jerry Livingston, was sung by the character Cinderalla (vocalist Ilene Woods).  It was on this date in 1950 that the Disney film, "Cinderalla," was released. This is one of the loveliest songs to emerge from the Disney musical catalogue. Listen to the original animated version of this song [YouTube link] and then check out an instrumental rendition that is among my favorites; it was recorded by the Rob Mounsey Orchestra for the album, "Jazz Loves Disney" [YouTube link]. [15 February 2018]

Cinderella ("So This is Love"), words and music by Al Hoffman, Mack David, and Jerry Livingston, is featured in the 1950 animated flick. Ilene Woods and Mike Douglas provide the vocals for this lovely duet in the original Disney film [YouTube link]. Check out another sweet rendition by James Ingram and an instrumental jazz version by the Dave Brubeck Quartet [YouTube links]. A Happy Valentine's Day, with love to my family and friends! The Daffodils are already in full bloom in Brooklyn! (And yes, I decorated!) [14 February 2024]

Cinq Jours en Juin (Five Days in June: "Love Makes the Changes") [YouTube link] features the lyrics of Alan and Marilyn Bergman, and the music of Michel Legrand, who was born on this date in 1932. Legrand also directed this 1989 film, and in case you were wondering, the song is delivered with soul and grace by the only Ray Charles, accompanied by the greatest jazz harmonica player to have ever graced this earth, Toots Thielemans, both men no longer with us. The soundtrack is pure Legrand, but boasts a few pieces by some lightweight composers, folks like Frederic Chopin and Johann Sebastian Bach. In any event, Happy 85th Birthday to one of my all-time favorite musical innovators, a brilliant and legendary composer who also happens to be a remarkable jazz musician. [24 February 2017]

Cinnamon and Clove, music by Johnny Mandel, lyrics by Marilyn and Alan Bergman, is one of those melodic Brazilian classics recorded by Brasil 66.  Listen to an audio clip from their magnificent album, "Equinox."  [12 May 2006]

Claire de Lune, written by the French Impressionist composer Claude Debussy, the third movement of his Suite Bergamasque, has been recorded by many orchestras, including this lovely version by the Philadelphia Orchestra, conducted by Eugene Ormandy.  I also adore a jazz version, featuring the Michel Legrand Orchestra, with alto saxophone soloist Phil Woods, from the album, "Images."  [29 January 2005]

Climb Ev'ry Mountain features the words of Oscar Hammerstein II and the music of today's birthday boy, Richard Rodgers.  It is a highlight from one of my favorite all-time musicals, "The Sound of Music," sung in the 1965 film version by the character Mother Abbess, played by Peggy Wood.  Listen to audio clips of this uplifting song from the 1965 soundtrack album, as well as from the original 1959 Broadway production, the 1961 London production, the 1987 studio cast album, and the 1998 Broadway revival. [28 June 2006]

Close Encounters of the Third Kind ("Main Theme") [YouTube link], music by John Williams, is featured today, for it was on this date that the great composer was born in 1932. The Oscar-nominated score for this wonderful 1977 sci-fi film shows us, in five simple notes, that music really is the universal language. Alas, Williams lost the Oscar for this film that year to another film score of his: a little movie called "Star Wars." This score features a clever reference to the composer's famous "Jaws" theme (from his Oscar-winning score to that summer blockbuster). I'll give you a hint: it's near the two-minute mark in this YouTube clip. (And in the "Main Theme" of today's selection, there is an homage to "When You Wish Upon a Star," from Disney's "Pinocchio", at around 4:30.) See if you can catch it, uh, while you can. And Happy Birthday, Maestro! [8 February 2017]

C'mon Marianne, words and music by L. Russell Brown and Raymond Bloodworth, is my all-time favorite Four Seasons hit.  It's got a rock and roll pulse, which exhibits the group's integrated R&B and doo-wop influences.  As our Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons tribute concludes, listen to an audio clip of this pop smash here.  [24 September 2006]

Cobrai Kai ("Strike First") [YouTube link], composed by Leo Birenberg and Zack Robinson, is from the soundtrack to season 1 of this fun series that premiered in 2018. Now 5 seasons in, the show is a sequel to "The Karate Kid" franchise and stars Ralph Macchio ("Danny LaRusso") and William Zabka ("Johnny Lawrence"), who reprise their roles from the original film. I'm looking forward to its final season in 2024. [23 June 2023]

Cocoon ("Main Theme") [YouTube link], composed by James Horner, has all those gentle, magical touches that complement this 1985 film, directed by Ron Howard. Horner left us much too soon, but his scores have left an indelible mark on cinematic music. [26 February 2023]

Come Back to Me, music by Burton Lane, lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner, is from the Broadway musical "On a Clear Day You Can See Forever."  It was sung in the 1970 Barbra Streisand film version by Yves Montand (audio clip here).  My sister-in-law Joanne Barry used to do a hair-raising, glass-breaking version of this on stage, but I also love a slammin' Sammy Davis Jr. version, recorded live with the great drummer Buddy Rich leading his Orchestra in Las Vegas at the Sands Hotel Copa Room (where Davis often sang with his Rat Pack friends) for the album, "The Sounds of '66" (check out the audio clip on the box set, "Yes I Can! The Sammy Davis Jr. Story"). [11 January 2005]

Come Dance with Me, music by Jimmy Van Heusen, lyrics by Sammy Cahn, is the title song of Sinatra's 1959 album, which won the 1960 Grammy Award for Best Album of the Year. Sinatra also won a Grammy for Best Vocal Performance, Male, and Billy May got a Grammy for Best Arrangement. The song can also be found on Disc 3 of "Ultimate Sinatra." Check out the wonderful May arrangement for a Swingin' Saloon Singer [YouTube link].   [4 December 2015]

Comedian's Galop is a long-time favorite, composed by Dmitri Borisovitch Kabalevsky as part of an orchestral suite, "The Comedians."  Yes, I was first exposed to this composition while watching cartoon classics as a kid (audio clip at that link).  Also check out audio clips from the full suite, performed by the San Diego Chamber Orchestra. [11 May 2006]

Come Fly with Me, music by Jimmy Van Heusen, lyrics by Sammy Cahn, sung by a carefree Sinatra to a smooth Billy May arrangement, from the album of the same name (check out that audio clip).  The Winter Solstice arrives today at 7:42 a.m. ET, and what a nice way to celebrate it:  Above the clouds, "where the air is rarefied ... weather wise, it's such a lovely day!"   [21 December 2004]

Come on-a My House features the words and music of Ross Bagdasarian (yes, "David Seville" of "Chipmunks" fame) and William Saroyan. Based on a traditional Armenian folk song, it was performed in the off-Broadway production of "The Son" (1950) but became a huge #1 hit for Rosemary Clooney the following year [YouTube link]. Check out some other renditions by Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Prima (with a few Italian delicacies thrown in), Kay Starr, and Julie London [YouTube links]. Today is Moderna Second Dose + 14 Days, which means that if you too have the proper paperwork, you can "Come on-a My House" and--as the song says---I can give you candy and figs and grapes and cakes and everything, even a Marriage Ring! Well, I'm not that easy. ;) [29 April 2021]

Come Rain or Come Shine, music by Harold Arlen, lyrics by Johnny Mercer, made its debut in the 1946 musical, "St. Louis Woman." The song first hit the pop charts in a rendition by Margaret Whiting with the Paul Weston Orchestra. Other notable recordings include those by Billie Holiday, Judy Garland, Ray Charles, Ella Fitzgerald, and Barbra Streisand, and among instrumentalists: Bill Evans, Joe Pass, and Return to Forever (with vocalist Gayle Moran) [YouTube links]. But today, I highlight a recording from the 1962 album, "Sinatra and Strings"---to mark the 105th anniversary of the birth of the Chairman of the Board. Check it out on YouTube. [12 December 2020]

Come Together, words and music by Paul McCartney and John Lennon, was the first Beatles single to go to #1 (in November 1969) as part of a two-sided number one single (with "Something").  It appears on "Abbey Road," the final recorded Beatles album.  As we commemorate the 25th anniversary of John Lennon's murder, listen to audio clips of this song recorded by Ike and Tina Turner (who took it to #57 in 1970), Aerosmith (who took it to #23 in 1978), and Michael Jackson (who has performed it in concert as well).  [8 December 2005b]

Coming Out of Hiding, music and lyrics by James Lee Stanley and James Melamed, was performed by dance music artist Pamela Stanley. This "Paradise Garage" dance classic packed the floors in 1983-84.  And I was among those dancing the night away to its rhymes and rhythms.  [19 March 2005]

Concerto for Cello and Orchestra (Opus 32) was composed by Miklos Rozsa at the request of cellist Janos Starker.  Listen to audio clips from three renditions:  one recorded by cellist Lynn Harrell with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra; another recorded by cellist Raphael Wallfisch with the BBC Concert Orchestra; and yet another recorded by cellist Brinton Smith with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra.  [15 April 2007]

Concerto for Viola (Opus 37) (audio clips at that link, featuring viola soloist Paul Silverthorne) is a richly textured four-movement work that is one of composer Miklos Rozsa's orchestral triumphs.  [14 April 2007]

Concerto for Violin and Orchestra, Op. 24, composed by Miklos Rozsa, is one of my favorite Rozsa concert pieces.  Listen to audio clips of all three movements from the debut recording by violinist Jascha Heifetz, and another recording by violinist Robert McDuffie.  I saw this grand piece performed live with violin soloist Glenn Dicterow and the New York Philharmonic.  What better way to celebrate the First Anniversary of "Song of the Day"!  I'll be posting music favorites (sometimes more than one on a single day!) for as long as there's a song in my heart.  [1 September 2005]

Concerto No. 1 for Piano and Orchestra, composed by Chick Corea, was performed with the London Philharmonic Orchestra on the album "Concerto."  The composer found inspiration in the work of Mozart.  The piece features an improvised piano introduction and an improvised cadenza, enveloped by composed orchestrations.  Listen to various audio clips here. [19 June 2005]

Concierto de Aranjuez is one of the greatest and most memorable compositions of Joaquin Rodrigo Julian Bream recorded this classical guitar evergreen many times, but my favorite version is that recorded with the Melos Chamber Orchestra, conducted by Colin Davis, which received a 1964 Grammy nomination for "Best Classical Performance (Instrumental Soloist with Orchestra)."  The piece has also inspired many jazz artists, including:  Miles Davis, who recorded a classic version of it on "Sketches of Spain" (listen to audio clip at that link), with the superb conductor and arranger Gil Evans; Jim Hall, who recorded it with an all-star line-up on his "Concierto" album (listen to audio clip at that link); and Chick Corea, who uses the famous second-movement melodic hook of the "Adagio" as a prelude to his composition "Spain," heard on the album "Light as a Feather" (listen to audio clip at that link)  with his band "Return to Forever," and hinted at in a version he recorded with his sextet Origin and the London Philharmonic Orchestra for the album "Corea Concerto" (listen to audio clip at that link).  This concerto reminds me of my dear pal Lou, to whom I send birthday wishes today for much health, happiness, and success.  [22 January 2005]

Coney Island Baby, composed by Vinny Catalano and Peter Alonzo, is a 1961-62 doo-wop gem, recorded by the Excellents.  It inspired everyone from Lou Reed to Tom Waits to re-imagine their own Coney Island babies.  But today it is posted in tribute to all the residents of Coney Island, who live just a few Brooklyn blocks away from me, and who survived evacuation, the shutdown of the NYC subway system, and Irene herself, which was downgraded from a Hurricane to a Tropical Storm.  Irene touched New York City soil when it made landfall in Coney Island around 9am this morning.  So here's a doo-wop shout out:  enjoy the original single by the Excellents on YouTube.  [28 August 2011]

(The World of) Confirmation, music by Charlie Parker, lyrics by Eddie Jefferson, has been recorded by many instrumentalists and vocalists.  Listen to a sampling of audio clips from Charlie Parker, Gene Ammons, Manhattan Transfer, and Sheila Jordan. [30 September 2006]

Constant Rain (Chove Chuva) features the music and original lyrics of Jorge Ben, and the English lyrics of Norman Gimbel.  With a line that says "Everyday was Spring to Me," this melancholy Brazilian song is one of the highlights on a Brasil 66 album entitled "Equinox" (audio clip at that link).  Listen also to two audio clips from Miriam Makeba.  [21 March 2006]

Controversy, words and music by Prince, begins our mini-birthday tribute to the Purple One, who tragically passed away last month, but whose birthday we will celebrate on June 7th. And I'll have plenty of Prince songs featured in next year's February Film Music Month (and in a special musical project I have planned for the Summer of 2016).  I have already listed several Prince classics on "My Favorite Songs" list: check out "Baby I'm A Star", "I Wanna Be Your Lover," and "Let's Go Crazy.") Today, I begin with one of my favorites; it showed an edgy musician who was willing to play with his audience: "Am I black or white? Am I straight or gay?" he asks at the beginning of the song, which has a nice groove. It was the title track to his 1981 album, and though it went no higher than #70 on the Hot 100 or #3 on the R&B chart, clearly the dance club crowd was ahead of the groove, bringing the title to #1 on the Hot Dance Club chart.  Prince was very protective of his recorded music, so check out the link to a live version here. [1 June 12016]

Copacabana (At the Copa) features the words and music of Jack Feldman, Joseph Thornton, and Barry Manilow, who was born on this date in 1943. This coming week, I will begin what has now become an annual Summer series: my Saturday Night Dance Party, though there will be many days during the week when we will be partying with dance music from today and yesterday. There was a time when if I heard Barry Manilow's name announced on the radio, I'd roll my eyes; that changed as the years went by, especially when I discovered his superb jazz-infused album, "2:00 A.M. Paradise Cafe," which featured the wonderful Johnny Mercer lyrics to "When October Goes," for which Manilow composed the music [YouTube link]. But for our Brooklyn birthday boy, I figured in keeping with the coming Dance Party entries, I'd feature the song that won Manilow a Grammy for Best Vocal Performance, Pop Male. So check out Lola at the Copa on this Dance Remix, the 2012 Remix, Lola Goes Wild Remix, Maxi Dance Mix and of course, the original single [YouTube links]. [17 June 2017]

Cotton Tail (chord changes at that link) was composed by Edward Kennedy "Duke" Ellington, but "vocalese" lyrics were added later by J. Hendricks of Lambert, Hendricks, and Ross (audio clip here).  It was recorded in a classic rendition by the Duke (listen to an audio clip here) and also in a Duke session with three violinists (Stephane Grappelli, Svend Asmussen, and Ray Nance).  (Stay tuned for a Mega-Duke Tribute, coming up in December.)  I also love a Wes Montgomery blazing guitar version; listen to an audio clip of that rendition here. [29 November 2005]

Could I Have This Kiss Forever, words and music by Diane Warren, a duet by Whitney Houston and Enrique Iglesias, is a Latin-tinged dance track from "Whitney: The Greatest Hits" (2000).  The original track never hit the Billboard Dance Chart, but it provides the kind of chill rhythmic pulse best for sensual dancing.  Check out the original video version, the Tin Tin Out Mix, and the housed-up HQ Video Club Mix.  [6 March 2012]

Count Your Blessings (Instead of Sheep), music and lyrics by Irving Berlin, was an Oscar-nominated song from the 1954 film "White Christmas." Cliche though it may be, this is something I do every day of my life ... count my blessings.  Listen to an audio clip from the classic Rosemary Clooney rendition.   [29 December 2006]

Courageous Cat and Minute Mouse has no credited composer (the copyright is held by Tele Features, Inc.).   Listen to an audio clip of this jazzy cartoon theme, from one of my favorite childhood cartoons, here.  [31 August 2006]

Courage Under Fire ("Main Title") [YouTube link] was composed by the late James Horner for this 1996 film starring Denzel Washington. The theme features certain phrases that are quintessentially Horner (such unique phrases are a hallmark of virtually all composers, whether for the concert stage or the silver screen). Gone too soon, James Horner left a body of work that has withstood the test of time. [21 February 2018]

Coventry Carol is a traditional English carol from the sixteenth century whose words are attributed to Robert Croo.  I always associated this gorgeous, haunting carol with the alternate version of "Away in a Manger," because it was recorded in a medley by the Living Strings (featured on an album, "The Spirit of Christmas," which I finally got after about 35 years of searching for it!).  Listen to audio clips of versions by The King's Sisters, the Mediaeval Baebes, and the Swingle Sisters. [27 December 2007]

Crazy, music and lyrics by Willie Nelson, was performed as a classic country song by the late, great Patsy Cline (listen to audio clip here).  Nelson himself has recorded the song several times; listen to one audio clip here.  [27 April 2005]

Crazy in Love features the words and music of Rich Harrison, Eugene Record, Shawn Carter (aka Jay Z), and Beyonce Knowles, who was born on this date in 1981. This was the lead single from Beyonce's 2003 debut solo album, "Dangerously in Love," and it is highlighted by a guest rap from the man she'd marry in 2008, Jay Z.  The song went to #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and reached the peak of the Dance Club chart on September 13, 2003 due to a few stylish dance remixes. Check out the original video single, the Pat.No. 2K13 Mix, the Fare Soldi Remix, and the DJ Stylezz Mix, and for those who want to slow it up a bit, there's the "Fifty Shades of Grey" rendition (re-recorded in 2015 for the soundtrack to that hit film) [YouTube links]. Happy birthday, Queen Bee! [4 September 2017]

Crocodile Rock features the lyrics of Bernie Taupin and the music of birthday boy, Elton John, who celebrates his 60th tonight with his 60th concert at Madison Square Garden in New York City.  One of my all-time favorite Elton songs, this one still rocks.  Listen to an audio clip here.  And Happy Birthday, Sir Elton!  [25 March 2007]

Cute, composed by Neil Hefti, is one of those familiar tracks that has been heard everywhere, thanks to the famous chart Hefti wrote for the Count Basie Orchestra, featuring the fabulous fills of drummer Sonny Payne, who was born on this date in 1926.  The most memorable cinematic treatment of this tune, where one can see Music as Comedy and Comedy as Music, can be found in "Cinderfella"; watch how Jerry Lewis Does the Dishes. [4 May 2012]

Dance, Dance, Dance (Yowsah, Yowsah, Yowsah), words and music by Bernard Edwards, Nile Rodgers, and Kenny Lehman, was the first single and #1 hit on the Billboard Hot Dance Club Play chart for the dance/disco group Chic.  They dominated that chart with this song and its companion tracks ("Everybody Dance" and "You Can Get By") for 8 weeks in the fall of 1977. Check it out on YouTube. We are on the precipice of another Autumnal Equinox, which doesn't arrive until 10:21 a.m Eastern time tomorrow, so we're hanging onto the last hours of summer, on the last full day of summer, with a song that tells us to go on ... and "dance, dance, dance." So ends our Summer "Saturday Night Dance Party," until next year.   [21 September 2016]

Dance (Disco Heat), words and music by Eric Robinson and Victor Osborn, was a #1 dance hit for Sylvester, appearing on his album "Step II." Check out the album version and the extended version, which was released as part of a double-sided 12" with his Patrick Cowley remixed-iconic disco classic, "You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)" [YouTube link]. The double-sided hits held the #1 spot on the Billboard Dance Disco Chart for six weeks in the summer of 1978. We're partying straight through to the 4th of July, so don't you even think of leaving the dance floor!  [1 July 2017]

Dancer, words and music by Gino Soccio, appeared on his 1979 debut album, "Outline." The song quickly climbed the Billboard Dance Club chart, peaking at #1 for six weeks. In all my years of being an on-again, off-again mobile DJ (1979 till the late 1980s, and Gema LaBoccetta ought to know since she was one of my DJ partners back in the day!), I can say that the 1977-1984 period was undoubtedly my favorite (and most of these songs already grace "My Favorite Songs" since I started the list back in 2004). 1979 was one of the greatest years of the Disco Era (check out this famous Disconet 1979 Medley [YouTube link], where Soccio's tune gets a hat tip at 05:18). And the 1982-1983 period brought back much excitement to the dance floor, due especially to the 11 weeks that all of Michael Jackson's "Thriller" dance cuts held the top spot on the Billboard Dance Club chart.  It is simply not true that all disco/dance music was mind-numbing in its beats and oblivious to the social problems of the day (some of it was actually remarkably prescient in its social commentary, like, for example, Machine's terrific "There But For the Grace of God Go I" [YouTube link]). But the Disco era sported a variety of creative tempos and rhythms, which have influenced all dance music since, from hip hop to house to techno. This track, however, dispenses with social commentary, and is unapologetically propulsive in its beat and simple in its "message":  "Let your body free now . . . Try to take it higher."  Check out the original 12" remix [YouTube links]. [26 August 2017]

Dancing in Heaven (Orbital Be Bop), words and music by Martin Page and Brian Fairweather, was a Q-Feel techno hit.  Listen to an audio clip here, just in time for All Souls' Day.  [2 November 2006]

Danse Macabre (Opus 40), composed by Camille Saint-Saens, is one of those Halloween staples.  Listen to an audio clip featuring the London Philharmonia Orchestra, another featuring Eugene Ormandy conducting the Philadelphia Orchestra, and also a performance by pianist Vladimir HorowitzHappy Halloween!  [31 October 2006]

Dante's Peak ("Main Title") [YouTube link], composed by James Newton Howard,  opens this exciting 1997 Man versus Nature film.  The film stars Pierce Brosnan and Linda Hamilton and some truly explosive special effects. And any film that carries the name "Dante" (the name of our cat) has something special indeed. [18 February 2015]

The Dark Knight ("Orchestra Suite") [YouTube link] includes memorable themes written by both Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard for the 2008 film based on the DC Comics superhero, Batman, for the second leg in the Dark Knight Trilogy, directed by Christopher Nolan. The film is notable for having earned a posthumous Best Supporting Oscar Award for Heath Ledger, for his diabolical portrayal of The Joker. [15 February 2023]

Dark Star, lyrics by Robert Hunter, music by the lead guitarist of the Grateful Dead, Jerry Garcia and his bandmates, is best remembered in its 23+ minute rendition [YouTube link] from their 1969 live album, "Live/Dead," which blended psychedelia, jazz, and jam elements. By contrast, the original single version, at 2 minutes and 44 seconds [YouTube link] sold only 500 copies and "sank like a stone," as band member Phil Lesh put it. The song was also a respectable 19-minute highlight from their set at Woodstock [YouTube link]. Today's "Dark Star" is a prelude to our commemoration tomorrow of a fundamentally bright cosmic event in human history. [19 July 2019]

Darn That Dream features the words and music of Eddie De Lange and Jimmy Van Heusen.  Some lovely versions of this song have been recorded; listen to audio clips from Benny Goodman & Mildred Bailey, Doris Day, and Kenny Hagood with Miles Davis (from the classic album, "Birth of the Cool").  But one of the sweetest versions was recorded by Tony Bennett on a very early album, his first for Columbia, "Cloud 7" (audio clip at that link).  The great Chuck Wayne is the featured guitarist on the album.  Chuck, who was a mentor of sorts to my brother Carl (who learned the "consecutive picking" technique from Chuck)  was such a well-known jazz guitarist back then that on his last European tour with Tony, many jazz enthusiasts seemed to greet him with even greater fervor than Bennett!  [17 August 2006]

Dawgma / Swing '39 [YouTube link] are two songs that were performed back-to-back on "The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson" in support of the 1978 quintet album, "Hot Dawg," featuring David Grisman on lead mandolin, Mark O'Connor on guitar, Mike Marshall on rhythm mandolin, Rob Wasserman on bass, and the immortal Stephane Grappelli on violin. The September 13, 1979 show can be seen in its entirety [YouTube link]. The artists even play the gypsy jazz classic, "Minor Swing", as an encore (previously highlighted in 2013 as a "Song of the Day") over the closing credits [YouTube link]. "Dawgma" was composed by Grisman in that characteristic style of his, merging jazz and bluegrass; "Swing '39" was composed by Grappelli and his old bandmate, the legendary jazz guitarist Django Reinhardt, with whom he formed the Quintette du Hot Club de France back in 1934. He was 71 when he appeared on "The Tonight Show", and is as fleet of finger as he ever was. I was privileged to see him in-person with David Grisman at Avery Fisher Hall (now "David Geffen Hall") on October 2, 1981 and again, with his own quartet, at The Bottom Line in Greenwich Village, on April 25, 1983. On this date, in 1908, Grappelli was born. He was born in Gaie Paris---pun intended; when he passed away at the age of 89 in 1997, he left behind his life partner of 25 years, Joseph Oldenhove. The virtuoso violinist also left behind an extraordinary musical legacy, having recorded with everyone from Yehudi Menuhin and Yo Yo Ma to Paul Simon and Pink Floyd [YouTube links]. [26 January 2022]

Dawson's Creek ("I Don't Want to Wait"), composed by Paula Cole, first appeared on the artist's 1996 album, "The Fire". It was a hit across pop, adult alternative, and adult contemporary platforms long before it was picked up as the opening theme to this WB series, which ran from 1998 to 2003. The series starred James Van Der Beek, Katie Holmes, Michelle Williams, and Joshua Jackson. Check out the original music video and its use in the opening credits to the show [YouTube links]. [8 September 2023]

Day In, Day Out, music by Rube Bloom, lyrics by Johnny Mercer, has been recorded by countless artists since its first appearance in 1939. Our birthday boy, Frank Sinatra, who would have been 104 today, recorded the song three times himself in wildly different arrangements, from his albums, "The Point of No Return" [YouTube link] (recorded in 1953, but featured in a 2002 expanded edition of the album, as a ballad arranged by Alex Stordahl); "Come Dance with Me" [YouTube link] (1959, in a swinging Billy May arrangement); and finally on "Nice 'n' Easy" (1960, in a distinctively Nelson Riddle orchestral arrangement). Amazing how different arrangers could allow Ol' Blue Eyes to explore the different nuances of a single song. All part of the genius that was Frank Sinatra and the wide influence [YouTube link] he continues to have. [12 December 2019]

Days Go By, words and music by Victoria Horn and Steve Smith, is the Dirty Vegas recording that received the 2002 Grammy Award for "Best Dance Recording."  The infectious track is best known for its use in a famous Mitsubishi commercial; also check out this hot mix, the Paul Oakenfold remix, the Mimosa remix, and the Jimmy Fallon MTV commercial parody [YouTube links].  [3 April 2012]

Days of Wine and Roses features the stellar music of Henry Mancini and the poetic lyrics of Johnny Mercer.  This great American standard was the 1962 Academy Award Winner for Best Song.  Listen to audio clips of versions by Frank Sinatra, Andy Williams, Tony Bennett with pianist Bill Evans, Bill Evans and harmonica player Toots Thielmans, guitarist Wes Montgomery, and Monica Mancini (Henry's daughter). [24 February 2006]

The Day the Earth Stood Still ("Prelude") [YouTube clip of opening credits at that link] was composed by the immortal New York-born Bernard Herrmann, the centenary of whose birth we celebrate today.  The score for this classic 1951 science fiction film was remarkable for its revolutionary use of the thereminViva Herrmann! [29 June 2011]

Dead End Street features the words and music of D. Axelrod and B. Raleigh, with a gritty monologue by Lou Rawls, who performs the tune to soul perfection.  When this Classic 45 came out, I took an instant liking to it because Lou Rawls referred to the wind as "The Hawk," a phrase my family had used for years.  Rawls won the 1967 Grammy Award for "Best Rhythm and Blues Solo Vocal Performance, Male" for this recording. Sadly, the three-time Grammy winner passed away today.  Listen to audio clips of the monologue and song here.  [6 January 2006b]

The Dead Pool ("San Francisco Night") [YouTube link], composed by Lalo Schifrin, is featured over the end credits for the 1988 film, which was the fifth and final installment in the "Dirty Harry" series. This particular film includes an unforgettable car chase in which Clint Eastwood's Harry Callahan, driving his unmarked Oldsmobile 98 squad car, is pursued by a bomb-loaded electric race buggy. As far as film scores go, you know you're in an Eastwood movie, because it is almost always jazzy, and Schifrin's soundtrack doesn't disappoint.  [27 February 2018]

The Dead Zone ("Main Theme") [YouTube link], composed by Michael Kamen, is a pensive theme from the 1983 science fiction thriller, directed by David Cronenberg, based on the 1979 Stephen King novel. It was recorded by the National Philharmonic Orchestra. [19 February 2023]

Dear Alice, music by Chick Corea, lyrics by Gayle Moran, is from one of my favorite Chick Corea albums of all time:  "The Mad Hatter."   Listen here and here to audio clips of this highlight from the album, featuring a superb bass solo by Eddie Gomez.  And Happy Birthday, Chick! [12 June 2006]

Dear Evan Hansen ("You Will Be Found"), words and music by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, is a musical highlight from this 2017 Tony Award-winning Best Musical. With lead vocals by Tony-Award winning "Best Actor in a Musical," Ben Platt, the song is an inspiring call to "let the sun come streaming in" when "the dark comes crashing through." Tonight, another musical will take the top award at the Tony Awards. For now, we can enjoy a gem from last year's winner, featured on the Broadway cast album [YouTube link].  [10 June 2018b]

Dear Heart ("Main Theme"), music by Henry Mancini, lyrics by Ray Evans and Jay Livingston, is from the 1964 film of the same name, starring Glenn Ford and Geraldine Page.  This Oscar-nominated song is ever-so-appropriate for Valentine's Day. But I also dedicate it to my sweetheart friend, Mimi Reisel Gladstein, who celebrates her birthday today, and who has been calling me her "dear heart" practically from the beginning of our friendship in the 1990s. A happy and a healthy birthday, dearest Mimi! And a Happy Valentine's Day to all who love. Check out the original recording and renditions by Andy Williams, Frank Sinatra, Jack Jones, Al Martino, and Bobby Vinton [YouTube links]. [14 February 2021]

Dearly Beloved, music by Jerome Kern, lyrics by Johnny Mercer, was nominated for a 1942 Academy Award for Best Song from the film "You Were Never Lovelier."  My brother, jazz guitarist Carl Barry, recorded this song on his first album.  Listen to audio clips from Fred Astaire (who starred in the film), Dinah Shore, and, for jazz guitar fans, the great Wes Montgomery.  [20 February 2006]

Deck the Halls is another great Christmas standard.  Listen to audio clips of Joan Sutherland and the Ambrosian Singers, Ottmar Liebert, and Nat King Cole. [28 December 2006]

Deep Impact ("A Distant Discovery") [YouTube link], composed by James Horner, is the central theme of the 1998 film, which had an all-star cast, echoing the approach of many of the "disaster films" of the 1970s. [8 February 2014]

Deep Purple, sometimes referred to as "When the Deep Purple Falls," lyrics by Mitchell Parish, music by Peter DeRose, has been recorded in many wonderful renditions.  I love an instrumental version by the "Dark Angel of the Fiddle," jazz violinist Eddie South (audio clip at that link).  Check out audio clips of other versions by Artie Shaw with vocalist Helen Forrest and Billy Ward and His Dominoes.  [6 April 2006]\

The Deer Hunter ("Cavatina") [YouTube link] is a piece composed by Stanley Myers, and was first heard in the 1970 film "The Walking Stick."  Singer Cleo Lane added her own lyrics to the piece, and recorded it as "He Was Beautiful" [YouTube link], accompanied by classical guitarist John Williams.  But it was that guitarist's version of the composition that is best remembered as the theme to one of the most shattering antiwar films ever made:  "The Deer Hunter" (1978), starring Robert De Niro, Christopher Walken, John Savage, John Cazale, and Meryl Streep. [16 February 2014]

Deja Vu (lyrics and video clip at that link) features the words and music of Rodney "Darkchild" Jerkins and Beyonce, a star in the new film version of "Dreamgirls," and the singer of this track, which appears on her album, "B'day."   I like the