Archive for the ‘ Music ’ Category

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

Can’t Get It Out of My Head.

Ever get a song stuck in your head?

Yeah, me too.

Often.

So often, I’ve actually posted about this before.

But this time it was different.

The song was in French, and I’ve been singing it incorrectly for fifty years.

Literally, fifty years.

In the Summer of 1967, I along with two other teens and my High School Spanish teacher’s family went to Oaxaca, Mexico.

It was a Summer to remember, and one of these days, I’ll write about that.

While we were there, much of the ‘pop’ music was in French – I think.

At least this song was.

It’s called “Capri c’ést fini,” and it’s about a bad break UP.

I’ve been running this little ditty in my brain for weeks, and in my mind it was Capri sin fini, which is incorrect, and since all the French I know comes from Patti LaBelle numbers and Bond movies, well, I have no idea what that means either.

The song propelled Hervé Vilard, a French orphan to stardom. It was a yuge hit.

Yuge.

Born Rene Vilard in a taxi cab on the way to the hospital in 1946, Herve was abandoned by his father shortly after he was born  – like the same day, and his mom lost custody of her children, and Rene along with his siblings were sent to orphanages.

Rene wound UP in Paris.

In and out of foster homes in the Berry region of France, he miraculously landed in the Cher region and met Father Angrand who became his mentor, taught him literature and music.

In 1991, Vilard bought the monastery at La Celette and made it his home.

Back in the USA, we were all listening to John, Paul, George, and Ringo because their songs were in English.

Meanwhile, Herve, after hitting the big time in Paris, was on a South American tour and on his way to international stardom.

He had finally been adopted by a former French Resistance member and art dealer in 1962 which enabled him to leave the state child care system of France.

“Capri C’est fini” was his breakthrough hit and all the gals in France were just gaga over him.

He was on the cover of every magazine, signed a deal with France Dimanche, a French magazine for exclusive interviews as they searched for his long lost mom.

The magazine launched a publicity campaign and found the old gal, there was a big reunion, life was good, and most importantly, the magazine sold zillions of copies.

After a French tour as an opening act (which ended badly), he took off for South and Central America, which is where I first heard about him.

He was big in Turkey, Japan, and Korea as well.

He sold out concerts in Algeria!

Really, who does that?

And why did we here in the states ignore the poor lad?

He was good looking…

…could sing…

And he even had a video!

Seriously, a video in 1965.

I know, I was shocked too.

Yeah, I know, it’s in French.  Here’s a link to an English translation.

Today, Vilard is 70, lives in France, is considered a treasure, has been honored and awarded repeatedly, and still performs from time to time.

He’s also published two books.

But no one here has ever heard of the guy.

I think we need to get out more.