Friday, November 16, 2012

Top 1,000 Songs 301 - 400

This is a list of the what I consider to be the best songs ever created. That single handed change the shape of music for generations to come. In the next posts you will start to see what i consider the greatest songs ever wrote and recorded. These songs are in no particular order. These songs are from the turn of the 20th century until today. This will be in parts so look back often for future updates. This post is meant to stimulate and evoke comment. Maybe you will remember some of your favorite songs and listen to them again. Maybe you will see new songs that become your favorite new songs. However, I hope you enjoy this blog posting and thanks for looking. Long live music!
In no particular order. Each song is accompanied by it's album cover or if no album is available single, sheet music or record label picture. Thanks and enjoy the posts. Feedback is welcomed. However, disagreements are allowed but please be nice and no foul or lewd language.


301. Original Dixieland Jass Band (later changed to Dixieland Jazz Band) - Livery Stable Blues

While a couple of other New Orleans bands had passed through New York City slightly earlier, they were part of vaudeville acts. ODJB, on the other hand, played for dancing and hence, were the first "jass" band to get a following of fans in New York and then record at a time when the USA's recording industry essentially, was centered in New York and New Jersey.
Shortly after arriving in New York, a letter dated January 29, 1917, offered the band an audition for the Columbia Graphophone Company. The session took place on Wednesday, January 31, 1917. Nothing from this test session was issued.
The band then recorded two sides for the Victor Talking Machine Company, "Livery Stable Blues" and "Dixie Jass Band One Step", on February 26, 1917, for the Victor label. These titles were released as the sides of a 78 record on March 7, the first issued jazz record. The band records, first marketed simply as a novelty, were a surprise hit, and gave many Americans their first taste of jazz. Musician Joe Jordan sued, since the "One Step" incorporated portions of his 1909 ragtime composition "That Teasin' Rag". The record labels subsequently were changed to "Introducing 'That Teasin' Rag' by Joe Jordan".

302. Billie Holiday - Strange Fruit 
Strange Fruit" is a song performed most famously by Billie Holiday, who released her first recording of it in 1939, the year she first sang it. Written by the teacher Abel Meeropol as a poem, it exposed American racism, particularly the lynching of African Americans. Such lynchings had occurred chiefly in the South but also in all other regions of the United States. The writer, Abel, set it to music and with his wife and the singer Laura Duncan, performed it as a protest song in New York venues, including Madison Square Garden.

In lieu of the second Obama election to president I can only say I felt compelled to put up the art work for the foreign release of this song. If this is what America did to the African Americans back then I can say that if we do not remember this tragic and utterly sickening time in America, were will be doomed to repeat it. I must add that what I have heard people casually say as if they are somewhat on another plane, is racist comments about Obama when he in fact saved us from another depression, weeding out the fraud in Medicare, Medicaid, and other government funded programs and did all this while the phoney Republicans instead of helping to undo what George W. Bush did fought him tooth and nail. Have we as a people came so far just to take a 100 mile leap backwards. If this is the case then we are no better than the Nazi's we fought in WW2. 

Strange Fruit by Billie Holiday
Sonet Records [Sweden] SXP 2800, 45 RPM Extended Play
Originally recorded for Commodore Records [USA] on 20 March 1939
Rerecorded several times by Holiday, mainly for Mercury and Norman Granz’s various labels of the period (Norgran, Clef and Verve)

303. Louis Prima - Just A Gigolo / I Ain't Got Nobody

Later a cover version appeared on the David Lee Roth Ep Crazy From The Heat

304. Enrico Caruso - 'O Sole Mio 
’O sole mio is a globally known Neapolitan song written in 1898. Its lyrics were written by Giovanni Capurro and the melody was composed by Eduardo di Capua. There are other versions of "’O sole mio" but it is usually sung in the original Neapolitan language. ’O sole mio is the Neapolitan equivalent of standard Italian Il sole mio and translates literally as "my sunshine". 

Neapolitan lyrics 

Che bella cosa è na jurnata ’e sole,
n’aria serena doppo na tempesta!
Pe’ ll’aria fresca para già na festa...
Che bella cosa na jurnata ’e sole.

Ma n’atu sole cchiù bello, oi ne’,
’o sole mio sta nfronte a te!
’o sole, ’o sole mio, sta nfronte a te,
sta nfronte a te!

Quanno fa notte e ’o sole se ne scenne,
me vane quasi ’na malincunia;
sotta ’a fenesta toia restarria
quanno fa notte e ’o sole se ne scenne.

Ma n’atu sole cchiù bello, oi ne’,
’o sole mio sta nfronte a te!
’o sole, ’o sole mio, sta nfronte a te,
sta nfronte a te!

English translation

What a beautiful thing is a sunny day!
The air is serene after a storm,
The air is so fresh that it already feels like a celebration.
What a beautiful thing is a sunny day!

But another sun that's brighter still,
It's my own sun that's upon your face!
The sun, my own sun, it's upon your face!
It's upon your face!

When night comes and the sun has gone down,
I almost start feeling melancholy;
I'd stay below your window
When night comes and the sun has gone down.

But another sun that's brighter still,
It's my own sun that's upon your face!
The sun, my own sun, it's upon your face!
It's upon your face!

305. Edwin Hawkin Singers - Oh Happy Day 

Edwin Hawkins’ funk style arrangement of the hymn "Oh, Happy Day" has a long pedigree: It began as a hymn written in the mid-18th century ("O happy day, that fixed my choice") by English clergyman Philip Doddridge (based on Acts 8:35) set to an earlier melody (1704) by J. A. Freylinghausen. By the mid-19th century it had been given a new melody by Edward F. Rimbault, who also added a chorus, and was commonly used for baptismal or confirmation ceremonies in the UK and USA. The 20th century saw its adaptation from 3/4 to 4/4 time and this new arrangement by Hawkins, which contains only the repeated Rimbault refrain (all of the original verses being omitted).

306. Joe Turner & His Blues Kings - Shake, Rattle and Roll

 Shake, Rattle and Roll" is a twelve bar blues-form rock and roll song, written in 1954 by Jesse Stone under his assumed songwriting name Charles E. Calhoun. It was originally recorded by Big Joe Turner, and most successfully by Bill Haley & His Comets. The song as sung by Big Joe Turner is ranked #126 on the Rolling Stone magazine's list of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.
In early 1954, Ahmet Ertegun of Atlantic Records suggested to Stone that he write an up-tempo blues for Big Joe Turner, a blues shouter whose career had begun in Kansas City before World War II. Stone played around with various phrases before coming up with "shake, rattle and roll". However, the phrase had been used in earlier songs. In 1919, Al Bernard recorded a song about gambling with dice with the same title, clearly evoking the action of shooting dice from a cup. The phrase is also heard in "Roll The Bones" by the Excelsior Quartette in 1922.

307. Sonny Dae and His Knights - Rock Around the Clock 

Sonny Dae and His Knights  were an American vocal and instrumental group in the early 1950s. They were the first artists to record the hit song Rock Around the Clock.

Although first recorded by Italian-American band Sonny Dae and His Knights on March 20, 1954, the more famous version by Bill Haley & His Comets is not, strictly speaking, a cover version. Myers claimed the song had been written specifically for Haley but, for various reasons, Haley was unable to record it himself until April 12, 1954.
The original full title of the song was "We're Gonna Rock Around the Clock Tonight!". This was later shortened to "(We're Gonna) Rock Around the Clock", though this form is generally only used on releases of the 1954 Bill Haley Decca Records recording; most other recordings of this song by Haley and others (including Sonny Dae) shorten this title further to "Rock Around the Clock".

Could not find any album covers or 45/78 covers but here is what the band looked like at that time: 

308. Otis Redding - Hard to Handle

Perhaps the most notable cover is that by The Black Crowes, for whom it was their breakout hit single from their 1990 debut album Shake Your Money Maker. The melody of the Crowes' version is taken from Buddy Guy's song 'A Man of Many Words' from the 1972 album Buddy Guy and Junior Wells Plays The Blues. Two versions of the song exist, the original album version and the hit single remixed with an overdubbed brass section. The Crowes' version reached number one on the Billboard Album Rock Tracks chart and number 26 on the Billboard Hot 100.

309. Edward M. Favor - Daisy Bell (Bicycle Built for Two )
310. Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young - Ohio 
Ohio is a protest song written and composed by Neil Young in reaction to the Kent State shootings of May 4, 1970, and performed by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. It was released as a single, backed with Stephen Stills's "Find the Cost of Freedom", peaking at number 14 on the US Billboard Hot 100. Although a live version of the song was included on the group's 1971 double album Four Way Street, the studio versions of both songs did not appear on an LP until the group's compilation So Far was released in 1974. The song also appeared on the Neil Young compilation album Decade, released in 1977.

311. Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young - Teach Your Children

 Nash, who is also a photographer and collector of photographs, has stated in an interview that the immediate inspiration for the song came from a famous photograph by Diane Arbus, "Child with Toy Hand Grenade in Central Park." The image, which depicts a child with an angry expression holding the toy weapon, prompted Nash to reflect on the societal implications of messages given to children about war and other issues.
In 1984, Democratic presidential candidate Walter Mondale used the song in a campaign commercial on arms control.

312. Terry Cashman - Talkin' Baseball (Reds) (Baseball's Red Machine) 

Terry Cashman (born Dennis Minogue, 5 July 1941, in New York) is a record producer and singer-songwriter, best known for his 1981 hit, "Talkin' Baseball." While the song is well recognized today, it was all but ignored by typical Top 40 radio during its chart life, making only the Billboard Adult Contemporary chart. 

Cashman was the lead singer for a band called The Chevrons in the late 1950s. He also played Minor League Baseball in the Detroit Tigers organization at around the same time. Inspired by a picture he had received of Willie Mays, Duke Snider, and Mickey Mantle, Cashman decided to write a song dedicated to 1950s baseball. The popular choral refrain in the song "Talkin' Baseball" — "Willie, Mickey, and The Duke" — immediately struck a chord with fans in 1981 who were disappointed by the Major League Baseball strike that summer.

Cashman has later redone this song with new lyrics for most of the Major League teams, still featuring the "Talkin' Baseball" refrain. Because of this, he is now known as "The Balladeer of Baseball". He did a parody of the song, Talkin' Softball, for an episode of The Simpsons, called "Homer at the Bat." The song plays over the closing credits.

As the Cincinnati Reds were the first MLB team est. 1869. This is, as all Terry Cashman songs, were stories and history of a particular event or team. I am a diehard Reds fan as most baseball fans growing up in central and southern Ohio are. I must confess I have learned more about the history of the Reds in this one song than I have in my 25 years collecting Reds items, memorabilia, dvds and baseball cards. 
313. Cleveland Simmons Group - Histe Up The John B Sail 

The John B. Sails" is a folk song that first appeared in a 1917 American novel, Pieces of Eight, written by Richard Le Gallienne. The "secret" narrator of the story describes it as "one of the quaint Nassau ditties," the first verse and chorus of which are:
Come on the sloop John B.
My grandfather and me,
Round Nassau town we did roam;
Drinking all night, ve got in a fight,
Ve feel so break-up, ve vant to go home.
So h'ist up the John B. sails,
See how the mainsail set,
Send for the captain—shore, let us go home,
Let me go home, let me go home,
I feel so break-up, I vant to go home.
Whether it was an authentic folk song or one created for the novel is not stated. 

The Beach Boys' version of the song, titled "Sloop John B", influenced by the Kingston Trio's 1958 version, but with modified minor chord changes by Al Jardine and slightly altered lyrics by Brian Wilson, entered the Billboard Hot 100 chart on April 2, and peaked at #3 on May 7, remaining on the chart, in total, for 11 weeks. It also charted highly throughout the world, remaining as one of the Beach Boys' most popular recordings. It was No. 1 in Germany, Austria, Norway—all for five weeks each—as well as Sweden, Switzerland, Holland, Ireland, South Africa and New Zealand. It placed No. 2 the UK, in Canada, and in Record World, and according to music archivist Joseph Murrells (1978) was the fastest Beach Boys seller to date, moving more than half a million copies in less than two weeks after release. The song was also covered on at least two popular TV shows shortly thereafter, The Wild Wild West in 1966 (Episode 2.3) and Lost in Space in 1967 (Episode 3.14).

314. Wyclef Jean - If I Was President 

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