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  • mistermuse 12:00 am on November 25, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , EMBRACEABLE YOU, George Gershwin, , , , , MANHATTAN, , , Paul Whiteman, Rhapsody In Blue, Roaring 20s, theme songs, ,   

    ALLEY BABBLE AND THE FORTY THEMES 

    As we have noted, out of the cacophony and babble of pre-WWI Tin Pan Alley came the Roaring Twenties and the Jazz Age (not to mention Prohibition, 1920-33). If any one song could be said to capture the pulse (and become the anthem) of this dynamic cultural shift, it has to be George Gershwin’s RHAPSODY IN BLUE, written in 1924 and heard (in part) here at the outset of Woody Allen’s paean of a movie to a place called MANHATTAN:

    RHAPSODY IN BLUE was commissioned by band leader Paul Whiteman and introduced to the world by his orchestra (with Gershwin himself at the piano) at NYC’s Aeolian Hall on Feb. 12, 1924. It subsequently served as Whiteman’s theme song — theme songs being a virtual prerequisite for big bands and dance bands of the 1930s. One ‘whiff’ of a familiar opening theme song immediately identified a band to radio listeners, and set the stage for a band’s performances at ballrooms, dance halls and other venues wherever they played.

    There were literally hundreds of bands big and small, sweet and swing, hot and not, in the decade leading up to WW II. Of these, I’ll list 40 whose theme songs were (in my opinion) well chosen or well known, followed by your match-the-band-with-the-theme-song quiz (just kidding; that would be like s’posin’* I could match today’s artists with their hit songs — forgeddabouddit!). So just rest easy and enjoy the clips of a few selections from the list.

    Louis Armstrong — WHEN IT’S SLEEPY TIME DOWN SOUTH
    Gus Arnheim — SWEET AND LOVELY
    Count Basie — ONE O’CLOCK JUMP
    Bunny Berrigan — I CAN’T GET STARTED
    Lou Breese — BREEZIN’ ALONG WITH THE BREEZE
    Willie Bryant — IT’S OVER BECAUSE WE’RE THROUGH
    Billy Butterfield — WHAT’S NEW?
    Cab Calloway — MINNIE THE MOOCHER
    Benny Carter — MELANCHOLY LULLABY
    Tommy Dorsey — I’M GETTING SENTIMENTAL OVER YOU
    Sonny Dunham — MEMORIES OF YOU

    Duke Ellington — TAKE THE ‘A’ TRAIN
    Skinnay Ennis — GOT A DATE WITH AN ANGEL
    Ted Fio Rito — RIO RITA
    Benny Goodman — LET’S DANCE
    Glen Gray — SMOKE RINGS
    Johnny Green — HELLO, MY LOVER, GOODBYE
    Bobby Hackett — EMBRACEABLE YOU

    George Hall — LOVE LETTERS IN THE SAND
    Lionel Hampton — FLYIN’ HOME
    Coleman Hawkins — BODY AND SOUL
    Ina Ray Hutton — GOTTA HAVE YOUR LOVE
    Jack Hylton — SHE SHALL HAVE MUSIC
    Harry James — CIRIBIRIBIN
    Art Jarrett — EVERYTHING’S BEEN DONE BEFORE
    Isham Jones — YOU’RE JUST A DREAM COME TRUE
    Dick Jurgens — DAY DREAMS COME TRUE AT NIGHT
    Ted Lewis — WHEN MY BABY SMILES AT ME
    Little Jack Little — LITTLE BY LITTLE
    Guy Lombardo — AULD LANG SYNE
    Wingy Manone — ISLE OF CAPRI
    Johnny Messner — CAN’T WE BE FRIENDS
    Eddie Miller — LAZY MOOD (sung here by Johnny Mercer with Eddie Miller’s band)

    Glenn Miller — MOONLIGHT SERENADE
    Lucky Millender — RIDE, RED, RIDE
    Vaughn Monroe — RACING WITH THE MOON
    Leo Reisman — WHAT IS THIS THING CALLED LOVE?
    Buddy Rogers — MY BUDDY
    Jack Teagarden — I GOTTA RIGHT TO SING THE BLUES
    Fred Waring — SLEEP

    • * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
    • S’POSIN’ was a 1929 hit song; it is, of course, a ‘traction (contraction) of SUPPOSING

     

     
    • Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, MCC, SCAC 12:59 pm on November 25, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      A bittersweet stroll through the streets of MY town, no offense to Woody – no matter where I find myself subsequently.

      I fondly recall memories from so many of the places in the first video:
      the Empire Diner, Lincoln Center, the garment district, riding the tram to Roosevelt Island one particularly romantic date night, Radio City (especially their Christmas spectacular, complete with live camels and donkeys), Washington Square Park, the Fulton Fish Market (that turned into practically a lower Manhattan theme park for yuppies from the financial district), a million storefronts that made shopping almost a small town pleasure, the wonder of fireworks over the metropolis every 4th of July and New Year’s Eve — and views of the skyline that brought tears to my eyes.

      The Lester Lanin Orchestra was alive and kicking during my 20 years there, bringing back the golden days of an earlier time when folks danced to Big Bands non-stop and cheek to cheek – tho’ mostly to upper class events, debutante balls and fund-raising spectaculars like Night of a Thousand Stars.

      OH how I miss it! Thanks for bringing this post to my attention. I added a link here in my response to your comment, so that others might easily jump over to read. If you write other posts related to my content, I will approve your link – so leave us one, okay?
      xx,
      mgh
      (Madelyn Griffith-Haynie – ADDandSoMuchMore dot com)
      – ADD Coach Training Field founder; ADD Coaching co-founder –
      “It takes a village to educate a world!”

      Liked by 3 people

    • mistermuse 5:23 pm on November 25, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Thanks for taking time to share your Manhattan memories. I’ve never been a big fan of society orchestras, but I believe Lester Lanin was considered the most successful of yesteryear’s society bandleaders. His brother, Howard Lanin, also led a band which played top society dates. Another popular society orchestra was that of Emil Coleman, who played at the Waldorf-Astoria for years.

      Thanks also for the link to my post and the invitation to post future links if related to your content. I will try to keep that offer in my “Memories of You.” 🙂

      Like

    • linnetmoss 7:10 am on November 26, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      I had forgotten about that ravishing beginning to the Woody Allen film “Manhattan.” I’ve got a compilation CD set of music from his films- some of the best music you’ll ever hear! Including a few of these “sweet” bands.

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 8:16 am on November 26, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      I think of sweet bands apart from the society orchestras I mentioned in my previous comment, although I suppose it could be considered a distinction without a difference, as they say. Actually I have a fair number of 78 rpm records of sweet bands in my collection, including Guy Lombardo and Jan Garber. Some of the old sweet bands started out on the hot side but evolved into sweet bands in order to survive.

      As for the music from Woody Allen films, I couldn’t agree more!

      Like

    • arekhill1 12:54 pm on November 26, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      I heard a story about Minnie the Moocher once. To the best of my recollection, she was a low-down hootchie-coocher.

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 6:01 pm on November 26, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      ….and she had to take a Cab to get anywhere. And where did she go? She went thataway, Calloway! But enough of my pun-nonsense — here’s Minnie:

      Liked by 2 people

    • Don Frankel 7:56 am on November 28, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      The first one I thought of was Bob Hope and thanks for the memories but everyone used to have a theme song. And, who doesn’t want one?

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 10:48 am on November 28, 2016 Permalink | Reply

        I definitely would’ve included Bob Hope and his theme song in the list if he had a band….but your question got me to thinking what I would choose for a theme song, and I think this one pretty much says it for me:

        Like

    • literaryeyes 4:57 pm on November 28, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Manhattan memories come back to me often. When I lived near Broadway and Times Square, I’d walk through and think of the Roaring 20s and Damon Runyon, Mae West, Lindy’s, and feel that vibe. I’d sense the notes of that time were still there, echoing down Shubert and Tin Pan Alley.

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 6:00 pm on November 28, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Thank you for that evocative comment. Your “Manhattan memories” suggest to me another Gershwin tune for YOUR theme song: “They Can’t Take That Away From Me.” 🙂

      Like

    • moorezart 8:21 am on November 29, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Reblogged this on From 1 Blogger 2 Another.

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 10:17 pm on November 29, 2016 Permalink | Reply

        Thank you. I attempted to reblog your latest post from your ART OF QUOTATION blog, but my computer/internet skills are woefully inadequate, and after doing the best I could, it didn’t appear the way I intended. Since I’m not up to the task of getting it right, I will delete the reblog of your post with my apologies.

        Liked by 1 person

        • moorezart 12:30 am on November 30, 2016 Permalink

          No problem and I understand. Sorry for the technical difficulties. I’ve actually had similar issues at times. when reblogged from ArtofQuotation it SHOULD have worked. But I think the reblog feature on my personal artist blog Moorezart.Wordpress is turned off. In any event I’m glad you liked the post. Also I just wanted to let you know I greatly enjoy reading your blog! – Douglas

          Liked by 1 person

    • moorezart 8:26 am on November 29, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Cherries on Top of a Hot Fudge Sundae – That’s What Your Post Titles Are. As Usual a Real Treat

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 4:12 pm on November 29, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Thank you for that delicious compliment. This calls for a song which complements your comment:

      Like

    • quirkywritingcorner 8:45 pm on December 10, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Reblogged this on quirkywritingcorner and commented:
      I’ve always loved Rhapsody in Blue!

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 10:03 pm on December 10, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Thank you!
      Rhapsody in Blue?
      Me too.

      Like

    • geo. raymond 11:20 pm on August 23, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      “When it’s sleepy-time down south” has been on my playlist these past couple weeks. “I can’t get started” is one of my all time favorites. Brilliant Berrigan solo.

      Liked by 1 person

    • geo. raymond 11:25 pm on August 23, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      Rhapsody In Blue is like nothing else in the world. Gershwin left us way too soon.

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 8:18 am on August 24, 2017 Permalink | Reply

        Absolutely right on both counts (and I don’t mean Basie)!

        Gershwin and Bunny Berrigan both left us way too soon — as did another B.B., Bix Beiderbecke, who (next to Louis Armstrong) was the greatest cornet player of the 1920s. Like Berrigan, Bix was an alcoholic and left a legacy of classic jazz recordings before he died in 1931 at the age of 28.

        Liked by 1 person

  • mistermuse 11:29 am on December 4, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: ANNIE HALL, , , MANHATTAN, , Potato Head Blues, PURPLE ROSE OF CAIRO, RADIO DAYS, TAKE THE MONEY AND RUN, , ZELIG   

    WOODY AND ME 

    I come three days late to note the 78th birthday of my favorite living film director, Allen Stewart Konigsberg, better known as Woody Allen. Woody’s post-ANNIE HALL (1977) movies may not be to everyone’s taste — particularly those who don’t like films with what might be called an existential fixation/almost-obsession with the meaning of life and death. Whatever you call it, it works for me. I haven’t seen all of Woody’s films (especially since 1995), but I’ve seen most of them, and I can’t think of one I disliked….and more than a few I loved.

    As it happens, I am a contemporary of Woody’s (born less than a year after his 12/1/35 birth date), but generational nearness means little if there is little else to relate to. Like Woody, Charlie Chaplin (for example) was a brilliant director, actor and master of comedy, but coming from a different generation doesn’t dim his star for me. Unique creative inventiveness is timeless.

    So what is it about Woody that makes me feel an affinity? For one thing, there is our mutual passion for 1920s classic jazz (hence his spare-time gig as a jazz clarinetist). For another, there is what the distinguished film critic Richard Schickel called Woody’s “distrust [of] organized religion [and] conventional politics,” among other things. But perhaps most of all is his love for “magic realism,” as captured in such films as MANHATTAN (1979) and MIDNIGHT IN PARIS (2011)….which, not coincidentally, happen to be two of my favorite Woody Allen films. Other favorites, in addition to his pre-ANNIE HALL great comedies which brought him acclaim, include ZELIG (1983), THE PURPLE ROSE OF CAIRO (1985) and RADIO DAYS (1987). ANNIE HALL was an Oscar winner, but to me, it’s a notch below MANHATTAN.

    Schickel’s book WOODY ALLEN – A LIFE IN FILM speaks to Woody’s falling-out with the latter-day mass American movie audience, which Schickel considers a product “of our crude and witless times. I basically despise the quality of modern American life — its history-free culture, its pietistic politics, the grinding stupidity of our public discourse on every topic. I suspect Woody feels the same but is too smart to say so openly.” Elitist harrumphing? Undoubtedly — if you don’t agree with him. Right on the money, if you do agree. Personally, I’ll TAKE THE MONEY AND RUN (1969)….or better yet, I’ll take the book and run. If you’re a Woody Allen fan, it’s too good to pass up.

    Well, all good things must run out eventually, and I can think of no better way to take this opus out than with what Woody’s character in MANHATTAN called “one of the reasons life is worth living” — referring to Louis Armstrong’s 1927 recording of POTATO HEAD BLUES:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QxN0DZhwvss

    Hold on — I just came across this. Can you dig it? It’s Wild, Man:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8MQ89OQUPOE

     
    • arekhill1 12:01 am on December 5, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      Haven’t seen many of his later movies, S. Muse, but loved Midnight in Paris.

      Like

    • mistermuse 7:56 am on December 5, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      Me too, Ricardo. I also love his clarineting in WILD MAN BLUES (the ending clip). I’d heard him before and didn’t think much of his playing until I heard him on this.

      Like

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