Blackboard Jungle’s Contribution to Rock and Roll

Yesterday I stumbled upon one of those “This Day in History” sites, and it caught my eye that it was the 57th anniversary of the day the song “Rock Around the Clock” was recorded by Bill Haley and the Comets. Normally an odd numbered anniversary of something isn’t going to be of much significance to me, but it stood out to me for several reasons. The first reason is that I absolutely love early rock and roll from the 1950’s. Chuck Berry, Jerry Lee Lewis, Elvis, Little Richard, Buddy Holly, and of course Bill Haley and the Comets are just a few of the names in a long list of artists that I enjoy listening to.

The song also makes me think of the tv show Happy Days, which was one of my favorites growing up. Bill Haley recorded a new version of the song in 1973, and it was used as the show’s theme song for the first two seasons, until just like Richie and Joanie’s brother Chuck, it disappeared from the show. :-) Continue reading →

Favorite Oscar Winning Best Original Songs: My Top Five

Happy Oscar Sunday to those of you who enjoy watching the Academy Awards! It’s not something I watch anymore, but I do like to see who wins after they’re done if I have a favorite actor or movie that was nominated. I’m a big fan of Colin Firth, so I am pulling for him tonight. Having an increased interest in the Best Original Song category, it will also be interesting to see who wins that award this year.

With that said, it’s time for me to finish up my top ten list of favorite Oscar winning songs from the Golden Age of Hollywood. You can check out the first five in this previous post.

Here are my top five favorite songs:

5. Thanks for the Memory (1938) – Featured in the movie The Big Broadcast of 1938, music by Ralph Rainger, lyrics by Leo Robin. Originally performed in the movie by Bob Hope and Shirley Ross.

I found the scene in the movie where Bob Hope and Shirley Ross sing this together to be very poignant, and that contributed to my fondness for this song. The song became a signature for Bob Hope, and he sang it many times over the years, adapting the lyrics at different times to fit the situation. Continue reading →

Top 10 Favorite Oscar Winning Songs from the Golden Age

The 83rd annual Academy Awards ceremony is just around the corner, and although I haven’t paid much attention to the Oscars for probably the last decade or so, I recently started looking into their early history, especially the Best Original Song category.

The Academy Award for Best Original Song, which was first given out in the seventh year of the Academy’s history, is given to the songwriter and composer of the winning song. The original performers are only included if they also had a hand in writing the music or the lyrics. The song must be written specifically for the movie in which it is featured, a rule that was established after the 1941 awards.

My Top 10 Favorite Best Original Song Winners

I thought it would be fun to listen to each of the winners from 1934-1960 and compile a list of my top 10 favorite Oscar winning songs from the Golden Age of Hollywood. Following are the first five on that list with the remaining five to come on Oscar Sunday:

10. The Continental (1934) – Featured in the movie The Gay Divorcee, music by Con Conrad, lyrics by Herb Magidson. Originally performed in the movie by Ginger Rogers, this was the first song to win the Academy Award for Best Original Song.

This is a charming song that Ginger Rogers sings to Fred Astaire as part of a lengthy but wonderful dance number. It won’t be the last of this pairing you’ll find on my list. Continue reading →