Archive for the ‘ Music ’ Category

I don’t know why, but I always thought Lesley Gore was British.  I suppose it’s because everyone else back then was – or seemed to be.

But, she wasn’t.  Lesley Sue Goldstein was born in Brooklyn, NY on May 2, 1946.  At the age of 16, she recorded her fist hit, “It’s My Party.”  It was quickly followed by several others, such as “Judy’s Turn To Cry,” and “You Don’t Own Me.”

There was a lot about Lesley Gore I didn’t know.  All her songs were recorded before she was 18.

Really, not one single hit after that!

But, she wasn’t idle.

She worked as an actress, composed songs along with her brother, Michael, and was nominated for an Academy Award for her the music from the film Fame.

Yeah, missed that one completely!

Her first hit, “It’s My Party” was actually a cover of the same song previously recorded by the Chiffons.

It went nowhere until Lesley recorded it along with Quincy Jones.

It was after this hit that fans started showing UP in her front yard.

Daddy was not pleased.

After high school, continuing to make professional appearances, Lesley attended Sarah Lawrence College where she studied British and American English Lit.

As a pop singer, she was not a hit at SLC.  Gore said, “…had I been tall with blonde hair, had I been Mary Travers, I would have gotten along fine.”

Apparently, pop music wasn’t cool enough.  She graduated in 1968.

Gore worked continuously, but stopped recording in 1976.  She went back into the studio again in 2005 and recorded Ever Since.  The reviews were good, but by then, the voice of teenage angst had changed.

A lot!

In 2004 she hosted the PBS TV series In the Life, which focused on LGBT issues.  In an interview that same year she stated she had been in a relationship with luxury jewelry designer, Lois Sasson since 1982, and that even though the music business was “totally homophobic,” she never felt she had to pretend she was straight, stating “I just kind of lived my life naturally and did what I wanted to do. I didn’t avoid anything.”

She died in 2015  from lung cancer while working on her memoir.

The New York Times obituary said, “…Lesley Gore made herself the voice of teenage girls aggrieved by fickle boyfriends, moving quickly from tearful self-pity to fierce self- assertion.”

That like her hit “You Don’t Own Me,” about sums it UP.


Oh, Oliver!

The radio alarm awoke me recently with a blast from my past.

Frankly, I wasn’t ready to go back to 1969, but the radio station and Oliver decided I must.

As I lay there fighting the urge to sleep, these words jolted me awake…”… Gliddy glub gloopy, nibby nabby noopy la, la, la, lo, lo Sabba sibby sabba, nooby abba nabba, le, le, lo, lo
Tooby ooby walla, nooby abba naba…”

…and I wondered, “What were we thinking?”

I mean really, who came UP with that crap?

The song of course, is from the Broadway musical Hair which debuted off-Broadway in 1967 and made the big time in 1968.

The book and lyrics by James Rado and Gerome Ragni and music by Galt MacDermot, was a product of the “hippie” counterculture and sexual revolution of the late 1960s.

“Good Morning Starshine” is from the second act of the musical, and is performed by the character Sheila,

Of course, Oliver made it famous.  It wasn’t a one hit wonder, but Oliver’s career was, oh let’s say, a four hit wonder…

William Oliver Swofford was born on February 22, 1945, in North Wilkesboro, North Carolina which is the home of Lowe’s Home Improvement Warehouse, The North Wilkesboro Speedway, and is just past the Tweetise Railroad Amusement Park which my children remember as one of the places I dragged them to back in the day.

Oliver was a recipient of the prestigious Morehead Scholarship and attended UNC Chapel Hill in 1963.

He was a member of two popular music groups — The Virginians and, later, The Good Earth — and was then known as Bill Swofford.

Clean cut, good looking, and with a soaring tenor voice he was perfect for the single and commercial version of the song, Good Morning Starshine.

He brought it to number 3 on the charts, sold a million copies, and won a gold record.

He also performed the song Jean from the movie The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie (which is one of my favorite Maggie Smith vehicles.)

He went on to have a modestly successful career.

He eventually turned to business to make a living, selling real estate and running a Pharmaceutical company.

In the mid 90s he developed Sjögren’s syndrome, an autoimmune disease and was eventually diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

He lost the battle with the disease in 2000 just a few days short of his 55th birthday.

But we, if we do at all, remember him for Good Morning Starshine.

The song was immensely popular.

I don’t know why!

It makes no sense.

But, that didn’t stop nearly every other singer from covering it.

Andy Williams, Gary Lewis and the Playboys, Strawberry Alarm Clock, Hugo Montenegro!!!, Diana Ross and even Bob McGrath of Sesame Street recorded it.

Is it the frivolity of the song that attracts us?

The nonsensical refrain of Gliddy Glub gloopy?

I don’t get it.

But for some reason, I can’t get it out of my head either!

But, hey, it’s Monday, and we all need to wake UP, so here ya go…

Today is Sheb Wooley’s birthday.  He was born in 1921 and died in 2003.

He’s famous for two big things.

He created the Wilhelm Scream which is the standard man scream and has been used in over 360 films.

Which you can hear here

And he’s famous for the 1958 novelty song “Purple People Eater.”

Now, as a 6 year old, I always thought the people eater was purple.

But listening to the lyrics, I found he only eats purple people.

So I guess we’re all safe.

Enjoy the music.

Happy Monday!

Maybe you’ll leave a mark on the world today, or two, who knows?


Brandy, Cigars, and Ballads…

On the evening of March 6, 1808, six Harvard men got together, lit UP cigars, opened UP the brandy, and struck UP the band.

The boys called their group The Pierian Solidarity.

Their original purpose was to get a little tipsy and trot all over town serenading young belles.

Who knew their society would become the first College Orchestra in the United States?

But it did!

Granted, the early group was a spirited bunch.  So much so that the Faculty of the Ivied Institution admonished them when they took a whole night off from school and spent it serenading the local gals.

They were censured so strongly that by 1832, the group had grown to one.

Poor Henry Gassett, a flautist, held meetings alone, called them to order, paid dues – to himself – and played his flute.

He convinced another flautist to join him for duets, and the small merry band was on its way to orchestradom again.

They elected and invited other guys to join and were a major influence over music at Harvard for the next 50 years.

The Harvard Glee Club and the Harvard Orchestra both trace their origins to the Pierians.

When the 19th Century became the 20th, Harvard actually referred to the group aas the Harvard University Orchestra.  It was a more serious outfit and was not only the first college orchestra in America, it was the largest.  It set about building an international reputation.

In the 1930s, the Pierian men caved in and joined forces with the Radcliffe Institute Orchestra assisting them from time to time in concerts.  Finally in 1942, the groups merged and became the Harvard Radcliffe Orchestra.

Pierian membership was depleted during the years of World War II; Radcliffe was missing a few instruments in their group, so the merger was a win-win.

In the 1950s the group started recording, increased their efforts as a real orchestra and started travelling.  They played the former Soviet Union, Asia, Europe, Canada, and South America.

All because a bunch of guys got together on March 6, 1808 to smoke a few cigars, drink some brandy, and court some girls.

Ah, music, it often speaks when words fail.

I’m glad the Pierians didn’t.


Where Words Fail, Music Speaks – Hans Christian Andersen