SONG SMITHS

By all accounts, SMITH has long been the most common surname in America. On the other hand, SMITH has been one of the least common surnames among popular songwriters. Take the example of when, in 1939, Mr. Jimmy Stewart Smith goes to Washington and becomes a sen-sation, rather than going to Tin Pan Alley to become a song-sation. We can surmise why mistermuse goes to Word Press in 2009 but doesn’t become a pun-sation; misterstewartsmith could’ve had A Wonderful Life acting like a songwriter in Hollywood musicals.

During the period with which I am most musically in tune (1920s-1950s), I can count on one hand the number of songsmiths named Smith whose compositions achieved contemporary hit status (much less, lasting status as standards). Compared to the percentage of Smiths in the overall (or, for that matter, the underwear) population, there were fewer Smiths of note in music than in the Hollywood Senate — which, for better or verse, leads us to the first of our handful of Smiths, Chris Smith, composer of….

Next, time to rise and shine with Billy Dawn Smith, composer of….

Next next, we turn to lyricist Harry Bache Smith for the words to this somber classic:

Speaking of serious stuff, Stuff Smith composed this wonderful ballad. It may not be your cup of tea, but I can say without fear of contradiction that It’s Wonderful:

We close with a song written by Dick Smith. Yes, THAT Dick Smith. If you don’t believe me, look him up and ask him.

 

 

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NO NEWS IS GOOD NEWS

No news is good news, except in a newspaper. –Evan Esar

Sept. 11 is NO NEWS IS GOOD NEWS DAY. This blog is not a newspaper, so today I will go with all the NO NEWS I know because I know NO NEWS is GOOD NEWS so far as NO NEWS being GOOD NEWS goes. Assuming you are with me so far, let’s see where in the world NO NEWS takes us:

1. No noticias

2. Icksnay ewsnay

3. Nao noticias

4. Nessuna notizia

5. Keine nachrichten

6. Pas de nouvelles

7. Brak wiadomosci

8. Habersiz kalmak

9. Nihil nuntium

How many of those “No news” languages do you think you recognized? Take a fun-guess. Remember, this is not a test, so….

Just to prove I’m not going to hog all the answers, here’s a clue to #2:

So much No News for now; let us revel in the Good News.

Modo vincis, modo vinceris.

“IF MUSIC BE THE FOOD OF LOVE, PLAY ON”

No doubt, the above words are familiar to you, but do you remember who penned them? If not, may I suggest that you….

Friends, Romans, countrymen: now that your Shakespeare is refreshed, are you in the mood for some food music? If so, let’s meat our next song:

No potatoes? That will never do, especially if you’re short of moolah and longing for love….

That’s all for now. If you didn’t dig the chow, don’t have a cow. I love you anyhow.

MAC

No, this isn’t a post about the Apple of your eye(s), computer-wise — nor is this a post about a Mac big enough to contribute to a heart attack (calories/cholesterol-wise). This is about a guy who’s the apple of my eye, versatile actor-wise:

Today being MacMurray‘s birthday (August 30, 1908), I thought I’d honor the memory of perhaps the most underrated movie star of Hollywood’s Golden Era, starting with the above clip and continuing with the trailer for one of the most underrated films of his era:

Next, when it comes to film noir, it doesn’t get any better than this all-time classic with a powerhouse cast (including MacMurray, who was reluctant to play the role), director (Billy Wilder), and screenwriter (Raymond Chandler), from the James M. Cain novel:

Speaking of “Double” and classic films, how about two Macs (including Shirley MacLaine) in one of my all-time favorites….

We end with this from near the start of Fred’s career (before becoming an actor):

 

JUST BECAUSE

Four days after RIDE THE WIND DAY comes JUST BECAUSE DAY. Because Aug. 27 is JUST BECAUSE DAY — and because some solid* would-be-gone-with-the wind songs didn’t make my RIDE THE WIND DAY post — today conveniently provides an excuse to rewind and take up where I left off. As it happens, I have just the appropriate song:

Of all the wind songs I failed to include in my last post, perhaps I blew it the most with….

If you’re feeling a bit low from on high,
don’t end up on the downside like this guy….

Be like Ella. Tell a fella….

*Swing era slang for great, wonderful, sensational, far-out

 

RIDE THE WIND DAY

August 23 is RIDE THE WIND DAY. I can think of no better way to celebrate the day than musically. On the other hand, you may think I should go fly a kite. Why not do both — you might call it killing two words with one song:

You didn’t really think I was going to stop after one song, did you? So, did you know the wind has a name?

But no matter the name, The Wind In The Willows whispers it. Listen for it….

And in that plaintive, melancholy way, I bid you a good Ride The Wind Day.

 

LAZY DAY STRAINS

strain, to use to the utmost; damage or weaken by too much tension, pressure, or force
strains,
 a part of a piece of music; melody; song; tune  –The World Book Dictionary

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

August 10 is LAZY DAY. Don’t ask me who the originator is, or why LAZY DAY is on this particular day — today, I is too lazy to care. All I know is, it’s a good day to post a post over which I’ve pondered as poco* as possible. Mind you, when your brain avoids work as strenuously as mine strains to avoid strain, it deserves arrest — correction: a rest.

Thus, I bid you adieu without further ado (except for a tune or two), and leave the rest to You(tube).

Here, Hoagy Carmichael sings a song he wrote, as another guy tries to keep a level head:

Thank you, friends, for that tremendous ovalation**– that calls for a curtain call. So, what’s got me in a lazy mood? FOREWARNING: the answer is a four-letter word (not counting a ‘postrophe s):

*poco: Spanish for little (as in a poco loco in the coco).
**ovalation: an ovation during which a round of applause takes on an oval shape