Saratoga Irish

Monday, May 21, 2012

Classic Tunes That Everybody Knows

Let me take you back to a time when a transistor radio was considered a marvel. A time before cable TV, no MTV or VH1. A time when there was only AM on your radio dial. In the Capital District we had WTRY and WPTR for rock and roll music, with dj's like Boom Boom Brannigan. Television only had three channels and , wait for it kids, no computers, no video games (pong was still in the future) no mp3 players. What made me think about this you ask, well yesterday I went to see local musician Frank Jaklitsch  and he was working on the old Eddie Arnold song, Make The World Go Away. Frank knew the chorus, as well as everyone else in the bar. So the question I'm asking is, how did we all know the song? This is not the only song like this, think of King Of The Road, I know you can do this. Trailers for sale or rent. Rooms to let.....fifty cents. No phone, no pool no pets. ...................Yeah I heard you. How do we know these songs. I think it's too easy to say that it was a  simpler time. I think it's more of families spent time together. You watched TV together and the variety show was a main stay of 1950's and 60's television programing. On February 9, 1964 when the Beatles made their American television debut on The Ed Sullivan Show, besides seeing the Beatles the television audience also saw and heard the cast of Oliver sing I"ll Do Anything For You and Georgia Brown sing As Long As He Needs Me from the same show. There were also three different comedy acts including Frank Gorshin (who went on to be "the Riddler" on the TV show Batman). So you see, without even knowing it you were exposed to Broadway show tunes. Most verity shows were like that, something for the kids, something for the parents. I can remember getting our first record player one year for Christmas. (my first records, Soundtrack from Hard Days Night and The Music Man) it was a mono so you couldn't buy stereo records. I think my parents may have bought an Eddie Arnold album but how does that explain King Of The Road? Another popular show was Sing Along  with Mitch, staring Mitch Miller. Just follow the bouncing ball, and this was decades before Karaoke. A quick look at an episode shows the songs Down By The Old Mill Stream and Stormy Weather (I know your doing it, Don't know why, there's no sun up in the sky, Stormy weather). Other classic variety shows include Red Skelton, Carol Burnett, Sonny &Cher and The Smothers Brothers. This is not suppose to be a history of the variety show it's just to show you that if you spend time with your kids and expose them to music you enjoy maybe, just maybe, someday when a singer says, "I'm working on an old tune can you help me out?" your kids will be able to sing , The screen door slams, Marys dress sways. Like a vision she dances across the porch as the radio plays. Roy Orbison singing for the lonely. Hey that's me and I want you only.


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