Archive for January, 2017

Please Please Me

“Please Please Me” was the second single released by the Beatles in the United Kingdom, and the first to be issued in the United States. It was also the title track of their first British LP, which was recorded to capitalize on the success of the single. It was a John Lennon composition. He stated that “Please Please Me is my song completely. It was my attempt at writing a Roy Orbison song”.

The single was released in the UK in January 1963 and reached No. 1 on the New Musical Express and Melody Maker charts.

The single was released in the USA in January 1964 with “From Me to You” on the B-side and it reached number three on the Billboard Hot 100.

My instrumental arrangement basically follows the original in form and has only minor tweaks to the instrumentation, rhythm and feel.

January 31, 2017 at 3:00 pm Leave a comment

She Loves You

She Loves You” was first recorded by the Beatles for release as a single in 1963. The single set and surpassed several records in the British charts, and set a record in the United States as one of the five Beatles songs that held the top five positions in the American charts simultaneously on 4 April 1964.

For my instrumental arrangement, I have slowed the song down to be a ballad, and given it a setting in the style of the Shadows — who were, in England, just about as popular as the Beatles in 1963.

January 29, 2017 at 4:30 pm Leave a comment

Green Onions (Surf Scallions)

“Green Onions” was a 1962 hit for Booker T and the MGs., peaking at #3 on the Hot 100. Much like the west coast “Wrecking Crew” and Motown’s “Funk Brothers”, Booker T. and the MGs were the house band of Stax Records. They played on hundreds of recordings by artists such as Wilson Pickett, Otis Redding, Bill Withers, Sam & Dave, Carla Thomas, Rufus Thomas, Johnnie Taylor and Albert King. They had a number of instrumental hits as well.

My arrangement transplants the tune and many of the original recordings recognizable moments into a surf-rock style. I have therefore subtitled this “Surfin’ Scallions”.

January 28, 2017 at 5:48 pm Leave a comment

Hang ‘Em High

Hang ‘Em High was a 1968 Western film starring Clint Eastwood as Jed Cooper, an innocent man who survives a lynching; Inger Stevens as a widow who helps him; Ed Begley as the leader of the gang that lynched Cooper; and Pat Hingle as the judge who hires him as a U.S. Marshal.

The theme was composed by Dominic Frontiere. Though it was first covered by Hugo Montenegro– whose orchestra recorded a full album of music from the film — the tune became a bigger hit in the R&B instrumental version by Booker T. & the M.G.’s that charted #9 in 1968.

My instrumental arrangement is based on the original movie theme.

January 27, 2017 at 7:29 pm Leave a comment

Calcutta

“Calcutta” was a #1 instrumental hit for Lawrence Welk in 1961. The tune was written in 1958 by German composer Heino Gaze. The original title was “Tivoli Melody”, but it was re-titled several times, until it became known as “Calcutta”.

The Ventures released a version on their 1963  album The Ventures Play Telstar and the Lonely Bull. The Four Preps released a 45rpm single vocal version shortly after Welk’s recording in 1961 that briefly entered the Billboard Hot 100. There is also a French language cover by Petula Clark.

Dancers Bobby Burgess and Barbara Boylan, cast members on Welk’s weekly TV show, worked up a dance routine to go along with “Calcutta”, which they performed numerous times on the Welk show over the years. I borrowed some footage of this for my video.

January 26, 2017 at 3:48 pm Leave a comment

Joint Ventures

Periodically I get the urge to write a new song in the style of 1960s instrumental guitar rock. “Joint Ventures” is such a tune.

In the late 1960’s, the Ventures released recordings that attempted in include some progressive, psychedelic stylistic elements. 1967 saw the release of  “Guitar Freakout” and “Super Psychedelics”.

This track attempts a similar fusion of surf rock and psychedelic styles.

January 24, 2017 at 5:22 pm Leave a comment

I Know a Place

“I Know a Place” was written by Tony Hatch and recorded in 1965 by Petula Clark. Released as the follow-up to “Downtown”, “I Know a Place” became Clark’s second consecutive Top Ten hit in the United States, remaining on the charts for twelve weeks and peaking at #3.

The song includes the lyrics “a cellar full of noise,” describing the Cavern Club in Liverpool (which was three stories underground).

My arrangement is, of course, instrumental.

January 23, 2017 at 8:04 am Leave a comment

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