Posts filed under ‘Chord Melody’

Old Guy Plays “Telstar”

“Telstar” was a huge instrumental hit for the Tornadoes, a British group, in 1962. Named after the first communications satellite, it went to number one on both the US and UK charts. It was covered by virtually every instrumental band at the time, including the Ventures, Shadows, Champs, and Spotniks.

August 15, 2015 at 11:47 am Leave a comment

Old Guy Plays “Fools Rush In”

“Fools Rush In” may the the last oldies video for a while; I have no others planned right now. That could, of course, change should I think of some I’d like to do.

The inspiration for my version dates back to Ricky Nelson and his recording from 1963.

July 24, 2015 at 2:20 pm Leave a comment

Old Guy Plays “Volare”

If you were around when this song came out, you need no reminders. It was huge. Written by Domenico Modugno and Franco Migliacci, it won a European song-writing contest in 1958. The word “volare” is the infinitive form of the verb and means “to fly”. Modugno also took the song to #1 in 1958.

This song has to be one of the most covered in history, and reached the top-40 again in versions by Dean Martin and Bobby Rydell. It is also associated with Sergio Franchi whose version was featured in commercials for the Plymouth Volare which was sold between 1976 and 1980.

This tune truly is one my personal all-time favorites. It is beautifully crafted with a captivating melody and very interesting harmonies. The harmonies are fairly sophisticated, with quite a bit of chromatic motion and changes of key.

June 18, 2015 at 7:01 pm Leave a comment

Old Guy Plays “The Night Has a Thousand Eyes”

This tune, written by Benjamin Weisman, Dorothy Wayne, and Marilynn Garrett, was a big hit for Bobby Vee in 1963, peaking at #3 on the charts.

Bobby Vee was born Robert Thomas Velline in Fargo, North Dakota. Rick Nelson’s career and life ended with a plane crash. Vee’s career began with the tragedy of one. On “The Day the Music Died” (3 February 1959), the three headline acts in the lineup of the traveling “Winter Dance Party”, Buddy Holly, Richie Valens, and J.P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson, were killed in a plane crash near Clear Lake, Iowa while en route to the next show on the tour itinerary in Moorhead, Minnesota.

Velline, then aged 15, and a hastily-assembled band of Fargo, North Dakota schoolboys calling themselves Bobby Vee and the Shadows volunteered for and were given the unenviable job of filling in for Holly and his band at the Moorhead engagement. Their performance there was a success, setting in motion a chain of events that led to Vee’s career as a popular singer.

June 18, 2015 at 3:34 pm Leave a comment

Old Guy Plays “Downtown”

As released by Petula Clark in 1964, this song by songwriter Tony Hatch reached number one on the Billboard charts. Something of a “Crossover” hit, Petula Clark’s main audience was primarily adult at the time, yet this track went on to become popular with listeners of all ages all over the world. The song was originally conceived as a likely number for the Drifters — not too hard to imagine.

June 6, 2015 at 3:44 pm 1 comment

Old Guy Plays “Because”

I don’t know about my fellow geezers, but there was definitely a stretch of time where I liked the Dave Clark Five as much as the Beatles. This is one of my favorites of their songs.

May 24, 2015 at 2:52 pm Leave a comment

Old Guy Plays “Sukiyaki”

This episode of “Old Guy Plays Oldies” is Sukiyaki, which was written by Rokusuke Ei and Hachidai Nakamura and released by Kyu Sakamoto. It climbed to the top of the US charts in 1963. Its original Japanese title translates as “I look up when it walk”. The title Sukiyaki was chosen as a Japanese word most likely to be familiar to Americans. Sukiyaki is of course a dish with beef and vegetables.

For those interested in more info about this song and its backstory:

The original recording by Kyu Sakamoto benefits from a vocal performance that conveys considerable emotion – even to those who cannot understand the Japanese lyrics. Kyu Sakamoto was a very popular performer in Asia, and during his USA popularity appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show. He was killed in an airplane crash in 1985.

The English lyrics people are likely to know are not particularly faithful to the original, so a translation of the original Japanese follows.

I look up when I walk
So the tears won’t fall
Remembering those happy spring days
But tonight I’m all alone

I look up when I walk
Counting the stars with tearful eyes
Remembering those happy summer days
But tonight I’m all alone

Happiness lies beyond the clouds
Happiness lies above the sky

I look up when I walk
So the tears won’t fall
Though my heart is filled with sorrow
For tonight I’m all alone

Remembering those happy autumn days
But tonight I’m all alone

Sadness hides in the shadow of the stars
Sadness lurks in the shadow of the moon

I look up when I walk
So the tears won’t fall
Though my heart is filled with sorrow
For tonight I’m all alone

May 22, 2015 at 3:56 pm Leave a comment

Another Oldie Re-Done: Sleepwalk

Sleep Walk” is an instrumental guitar-based song originally written, recorded, and released in 1959 by brothers Santo & Johnny Farina. It is one of the most covered instrumental songs in history.

April 22, 2015 at 7:44 pm Leave a comment

Feverish 8 years later

This is a tune I wrote and first recorded almost 8 years ago. While going through some older material, I re-discovered it, and thought I’d take another crack at it.

February 20, 2015 at 3:16 pm Leave a comment

Blues for K. B.

My latest recording is a tribute to one of my favorite jazz guitarists, Kenny Burrell.


February 13, 2015 at 5:14 pm Leave a comment

Over the Rainbow

Here is a live recording with my friend Stephanie Swan. Just voice and guitar:

January 30, 2015 at 5:44 pm Leave a comment

I’ve Grown Accustomed to Her Face

This is such a wonderful song from the classic musical, My Fair Lady. The melody and the changes are just beautiful, and the lyrics truly touching.

I felt the need to do one last thing before the semester starts on Monday. There isn’t much to this short solo, chord-melody arrangement, but I do think it is pretty.


*** Click here for transcription of arrangement ***


I’ve grown accustomed to her face
She almost makes the day begin
I’ve grown accustomed to the tune
She whistles night and noon

Her smiles, her frowns, her ups and downs
Are second nature to me now
Like breathing out and breathing in

I was serenely independent and content before we met
Surely I could always be that way again and yet
I’ve grown accustomed to her looks
Accustomed to her voice, accustomed to her face

She’s second nature to me now
Like breathing out and breathing in
I’m very grateful she’s a woman and so easy to forget

Rather like a habit one can always break and yet
I’ve grown accustomed to the trace of something in the air
Accustomed to her face

January 3, 2015 at 7:34 am Leave a comment

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