Saturday, November 22, 2008

Battle of the Decades

Many complaints over the last BOTD -- a general attitude that this was a weak competition. It's my belief that anyone can vote for a good song -- it takes real musical acumen to choose between lesser tunes. And it wasn't even such a bad group. If Joni Mitchell backed by Pat Metheny and Michael Brecker can only finish third, that should tell you something. But Joni only picked up three votes.

The Madonna-loving whippersnappers were insufficiently impressed by La Isla Bonita to give it more than four, although it's certainly not Madonna at her worst.

So the Forties picked up this round, even though I couldn't link to the actual recordings. Some voted for Jimmy Dorsey's soaring sax, some for the melodic charm of "Jersey Bounce," and some out of loyalty to New Jersey. Jimmy and "Jersey Bounce" picked up six votes, and the laurel. thought the last batch was bad -- wait'll you see this one. Actually, I didn't think the last group was so bad. There was merit in all three of those selections. OK, there was no merit at all in any of the others. But since I have a finely honed death wish, I'll post it, especially since I'm heading down to see Charis and Wendy, and I can be attacked by them in person. And don't forget, the real test is voting when you have nothing to vote for.

We almost had another Eastern Seaboard tribute this time around -- I'd just C&P'd a new list, when my computer froze, and I had to reboot, and we lost, among other numbers, Harry James and Helen Forrest doing "Manhattan Serenade."


40S ON 4
Dick Haymes
It Can't Be Wrong

50S ON 5
David Rose & His Orchestra
The Stripper

60S ON 6
Mickey Mouse March

70S ON 7
Harold Melvin
Bad Luck ('75)

80S ON 8
Neneh Cherry
Buffalo Stance

90S ON 9
MC Hammer
U Can't Touch This

We surely would have done better with Harry James than with Dick Haymes -- he was everything that was boring about the 40s, so much so that I can't find this on YouTube or anywhere else, and you're not missing anything. But the rest of this crop is so bad, they almost make Dick look good. "The Stripper" is pure kitsch, and dumb kitsch at that. MC Hammer is cookie cutter rap.

Neneh Cherry is better, but when you're a fogey, rap is rap.

Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes had Teddy Pendergrass, and he was one of the great romantic voices of soul, and he'd be a worthy vote.

What is "Mickey Mouse Club March" doing in the Sixties? Annette had already left by then. For that matter, what is "The Stripper" doing in the Fifties? That doesn't seem right to me either. Well, after a moment's research, it is and it isn't. "The Stripper" was originally released in 1958, as the B side of Rose's version of "Ebb Tide," but it didn't become a hit until it was on the sound track of "Gypsy" in 1972.

Does anyone ever wonder who all those orchestra leaders from the 50s were? The ones who had one or two hits on the charts? Who was Ralph Marterie? Frank Chacksfield? David Rose? Hugo Winterhalter? Percy Faith? Ray Anthony? Frank Weir? Russ Morgan? What were they all doing with orchestras? What did they do with those orchestras the rest of the time? Play proms and debutante balls? If the classic big bands of the 30s had all had to disband because of economic hard times, what was the economic story for these bozos? I know some of them, like Les Brown, had radio gigs for people like Bob Hope, but that doesn't explain the whole phenomenonlet.

Anyway, I vote for Mickey Mouse Club. It meets Jon's criterion of iconicity. And if anyone else cares to join me on this, you're as welcome as can be.

No comments: