Favorites: Harry Belafonte (1961-1964)

The listener actively looks forward to listening to the favorite band’s music more than any other music

J. Eric Smith, a blogger of my acquaintance, tried to answer the question, “So, who’s your favorite band?” Now I could answer The Beatles and be done with it. But like Eric, “I am so musically omnivorous.”

Moreover, there were periods when I was listening to TONS of compilation albums. The Warner Brothers Loss Leaders. A series of Atlantic Records collection of R&B, jazz, and blues. Actually several collections of blues (Chess, Alligator) and rock, pop, jazz, and country.

But I’m up for the challenge anyway. Eric’s rubric:

The listener actively looks forward to listening to the favorite band’s music more than any other music, and does so weekly, if not daily;
The listener seeks to have a complete collection of the favorite band’s work, and is willing to spend a little bit more money than usual to acquire it, with special attention paid to albums or singles that less-enthusiastic fans might never find or hear;
The listener never grows tired of the favorite band and its works, and anytime they come on the stereo or radio, no matter what the song, it is greeted with volume rising and singing along;
The listener seeks to learn more about the favorite band, and will often buy books or magazines or watch television or internet shows related to its members and their music;
The listener makes an effort to see the favorite band in a live setting as often as practically possible.

I’ll start at the very beginning. But 1) I’m not going to create links UNLESS I’ve not done it before, 2) I’m not going to limit it to bands.

The Everly Brothers (- 1960). My father had a bunch of singles. at least a couple of them were the Everly Brothers. So I began to recognize them on the radio.

Harry Belafonte (1961-1964). Most of these are from the My Lord What A Mornin’ album, which I finally bought on CD in the 2010s. From #10-#1:

Mama Look A Boo Boo
Jamaica Farewell
March Down to Jordan
Mary’s Boy Child

Jump in the Line (Shake, Senora)
Wake Up, Jacob
My Lord What A Mornin’
Banana Boat Song
‘Buked and Scorned

I should make a special note of There’s A Hole in My Bucket, which he performed with the late, great Odetta. I don’t recall hearing it at the time, but it was a song my father used to sing before my sister Leslie and I stole it from him.

BTW, if I had to pick a GROUP for the early 1960s, I’d be hard-pressed. Maybe The Drifters, based entirely on hearing them on the radio.

Music Throwback Saturday: On Broadway

A young Phil Spector played the distinctive lead guitar solo on The Drifters’ recording.

ClaudeMckayI’ve been involved with an office JEOPARDY! game. A recent clue: “A hundred shouting signs shed down their bright fantastic glow” in Claude McKay’s “On” this NYC street. No idea, but because of a question I’d missed earlier, I take a guess, and it’s correct.

Here’s On Broadway by Claude McKay, a rather melancholy piece:
Upon the merry crowd and lines
Of moving carriages below.
Oh wonderful is Broadway — only
My heart, my heart is lonely.

Claude McKay was born in Jamaica on September 15, 1889, and became an early key figure in the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s.

I wonder if the poem inspired a song a few decades later:

New York City-based composers Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil wrote On Broadway “originally recorded by the Cookies (although the Crystals’ version beat them to release)”…

“Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller liked the song but felt that it was not quite right [for the Drifters] and the four held an overnight brainstorming session which culminated in the better-known version of the song, now with a rock-oriented groove and with a more bluesy feel… A young Phil Spector played the distinctive lead guitar solo on The Drifters’ recording.”

LISTEN to On Broadway

The Cookies

The Crystals

The Drifters, #9 pop, #7 soul in 1963

Dave Clark Five

The Chipettes

Bobby Darin

Percy Faith Orchestra

Neil Young

George Benson, #7 pop, #2 soul

“George Benson’s version… from his 1978 album Weekend in L.A…. won a Grammy Award for Best R&B Vocal Performance. The song appeared in the films Big Business and American Beauty, and… was used in the 1979 film All That Jazz in a sequence that featured dancers on stage auditioning for a musical similar to Chicago. George Benson also performed “On Broadway” with Clifford and the Rhythm Rats for the 1994 Muppet album Kermit Unpigged.”

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