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« Nanny-State Facts for the Day | Main | I Meet the iPhone »

June 30, 2007

Sing It!

Michael Blowhard writes:

Dear Blowhards --

This may not be a posting for dial-up users ...

When, back here , I linked to a couple of songs that I'm incapable of not singing along to, visitors pitched in with tons of their own sing-along faves. I've had a good time since seeing if I could find versions of these tunes on YouTube. Herewith my gleanings.

The magnificent Louis Armstrong takes a swing through "Basin Street Blues":

Kareena Kapoor does a slinky and exuberant Bollywood "It's Rocking":

Janis Joplin drives her "Mercedes Benz" solo:

Those offbeat party animals the B-52s join the "Deadbeat Club" ...

... and show the way to the "Love Shack":

Sergio Mendes and Brazil '66 are tropical yet cool in "The Look of Love":

Who can resist when The Beatles open up with "Twist and Shout"?

The Association performs their memorable, for better or worse, "Windy":

Here's a brilliant teen-webcam-karaoke/hoodie performance to "The Lion Sleeps Tonight." Did you know that the song was first released in the 1930s? Read about the song's long and complicated history here.

Here's Roger Millers' "King of the Road." Just watch that man's finger-snapping technique!

"When You're Smiling" by that force of nature Louis Prima:

Roy Orbison does "Only the Lonely" -- a performance for which the word "haunting" might have been invented:

Little Richard shows off a lot of bursting-at-the-seams energy on "Tutti Frutti":

The Ramones blast through "Commando":

The Chiffons' "He's So Fine" certainly ranks as one of the definitive girl-group songs:

Whoa-a-whoa-a-whoa-whoa-whoa! Why, it's Tom Jones singing "What's New Pussycat":

If a TV theme song can be said to be immortal, Frankie Lane's performance of the theme song from "Rawhide" may qualify. (Sorry about the version -- this was the best one I could turn up on YouTube.)

Here's some early-'70s proto-heavy-metal -- "Radar Love" by Golden Earring:

Why not enjoy some easygoing gay-funk? In other words, here's "Karma Chameleon" by Culture Club:

Back from a time when she still had some spark, here's Madonna doing "Material Girl":

Dalida's rendition of "Mamy Blue" is a strong dose of Euro-soul:

"FjSllstorm" by Olyg was aptly categorized by Ed From Malabar as "Folk music/Viking metal":

"Sweet Caroline" by Neil Diamond, who's one of a kind, and thank god for it:

The Beach Boys' "Help Me Rhonda" gets my nomination for "Song Hardest Not to Try Singing Harmony To (Boys' Division)." What song would win the girls' division?

Del Shannon shows off a spooky falsetto on "Runaway," a song that still brings out the doomy teen romantic in me. Flutist tells us that the wonderful instrument doing the solo is a Clavioline; Wikipedia tells me that this solo was performed by a musician named Max Crook.

Yves Montand shows what Euro-cabaret style is all about in this rendition of "Les Feuilles Mortes":

Tom Petty does a cheerily sardonic "Yer So Bad":

Peggy Lee and Benny Goodman show that popular can also be classy on "Why Don't You Do Right":

"Catchy" isn't a strong enough word for "My Maria" by B.W. Stevenson:

As I was pulling these links together I ran across another song that deserves a place among these winners, I think. Even though I'm sure of only about a tenth of its lyrics, I can't help singing along whenever Steppenwolf's "Magic Carpet Ride" kicks off. Soooo much catchier than "Born to be Wild."

Hmmm. Maybe that deserves its own category: "Songs I Love Singing Along With Even Though I Understand Hardly Any Of The Lyrics" ...

Remember when oscilloscopes were the hot new electro-gadget? And did you know that Steppenwolf lead vocalist John Kay was born Joachim Fritz Krauledat in Tilsit, East Prussia? Wikipedia tells me so.

You can use TubeSock or Mux to download these videos. Here's a posting I did long ago about fiction writers who make me unreasonably happy. And -- just because I can -- here are the original versions of a couple of sing-along standards: "Handy Man," sung by Jimmy Jones, and Buck Owens doing "Act Naturally."



posted by Michael at June 30, 2007


I've just realised that not only do I sing along with "Basin St Blues", but that I can do so ONLY in the style of Satchmo.

Posted by: dearieme on July 1, 2007 7:38 AM

I just added a vid of Louis doing the song.

Posted by: Michael Blowhard on July 1, 2007 9:09 AM

Finally, an explanation for the decadence of contemporary pop music: not enough oscilliscopes or claviolines!

This posting reminded me of that video you dug up on the guy who could do back and front flips on the pogo stick--at visible risk of his life on a paved driveway. To wit: it is amazing the energy people put into essentially goofy stuff. And pop music is nothing if not essentially goofy (or, at least, good pop music.) But what an immense amount of talent in all those videos, and how many years of effort lies behind each song!!!!

Never stop practicing that on that pogo stick, humanity!

Posted by: Friedrich von Blowhard on July 1, 2007 9:24 AM

Dude, you are a total You Tube junkie.

PREMIUM Ramones selection.

Posted by: Lexington Green on July 1, 2007 11:53 AM

Too kind. I really enjoyed that, though the more timid of our cats bolted when I let fly.

Posted by: dearieme on July 1, 2007 12:18 PM

The story on "Runaway," the way I heard it: Crook hit an unplanned chord change one day; Shannon asked him to play it again, and constructed a song around it. Crook is credited as co-writer.

Posted by: CGHill on July 1, 2007 2:06 PM

Goddammit that took about a year to load, oh well, adios,

Posted by: omar on July 1, 2007 2:55 PM

What, no Barry Manilow? 8^)

Posted by: ricpic on July 1, 2007 4:17 PM

That Del Shannon piece looked like a pagan ceremony for some priapic god. Love the way those girls sashayed around him like some erotic maypole.

Posted by: Charlton Griffin on July 1, 2007 8:29 PM

The sheer negritude of Peggy Lee's performance is arresting. How many years before Brown v. Board?

Posted by: expat on July 1, 2007 10:34 PM

Oh wow. Not only my Janis, but Louie Prima and Keeley Smith? Tom Jones? Magic Carpet Ride's the best! Orbison's Only the Lonely is a classic--his show on PBS recently was a trip. The Lion Sleeps is one of those you never get out of your head; you don't know what you're singing, but you sing it anyway. Forever. This whole post is a trip!

Thankyew. thankyewver'much.

Posted by: susan on July 2, 2007 5:42 AM

Michael, Michael

Wow, what memories. It shows what a total dork I am that the first concert I ever went to was Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass where Brasil '66 was the warm-up. I came out amazed at how much more I enjoyed Sergio Mendes' folks than Alpert's. I love "The Look of Love" (have you heard Diana Krall's good recent cover?) but I still think "Mas Que Nada" is their iconic piece.

Posted by: Reid Farmer on July 2, 2007 11:52 AM

What does Brazil '66 even call themselves now?

Youtube is as great as all these pop music performances. When would any of us ever have seen Roger Miller do "King of the Road" or Jones do "What's New, Pussycat?"--or see the Ramones do anything-- (like it or hate it) without it?

Posted by: annette on July 2, 2007 1:25 PM

Thanks for this, Michael!

Posted by: Kate Marie on July 2, 2007 2:10 PM

I have just this to say about Louis Prima -- put him on the CD player, and throw away your Prozac. He's better at lifting the spirits than anything else I know.

There was a very interesting article on Prima and his shows in the Journal of Popular Culture in May of 2005, if anyone wants to look it up -- "Las Vegas Jubilee: Louis Prima's 1950s Stage Act as Multicultural Pageant." It talks about the evolution of his act, the characters played by himself and Keely Smith (very interesting person in her own right). I enjoyed it a great deal.

Posted by: missgrundy on July 3, 2007 11:30 AM

I had to find another computer to type this on in place of my Old Reliable. Thanks to all those video includes, I cannot open Two Blowhards on the old pooter without losing half an hour of my precious life that I'll never get back and even then only to be blown out of AOL entirely. It looks like I won't be stopping by the Blowhards much until that ungodly glom of videos slips off the first page. Which, at Michael's usual posting rate, shouldn't take very long...

Posted by: Dwight Decker on July 3, 2007 4:03 PM

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