Tribute: Glen Campbell

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We bid a sad farewell to Glen Campbell, who has died at age 81 from complications of Alzheimer’s Disease. The Rhinestone Cowboy was at the top of the country and pop charts and had some success as an actor as well, appearing with John Wayne in “True Grit.” He hosted a popular television variety series as well.

Here he sings one of his hits, “Southern Nights,” with Jerry Reed.

The New York Times wrote:

At the height of his career, Mr. Campbell was one of the biggest names in show business, his appeal based not just on his music but also on his easygoing manner and his apple-cheeked, all-American good looks. From 1969 to 1972 he had his own weekly television show, “The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour.” He sold an estimated 45 million records and had numerous hits on both the pop and country charts. He was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2005.

Decades after Mr. Campbell recorded his biggest hits — including “Wichita Lineman,” “By the Time I Get to Phoenix” and “Galveston” (all written by Jimmy Webb, his frequent collaborator for nearly 40 years) and “Southern Nights” (1977), written by Allen Toussaint, which went to No. 1 on pop as well as country charts — a resurgence of interest in older country stars brought him back onto radio stations.

Like Bobbie Gentry, with whom he recorded two Top 40 duets, and his friend Roger Miller, Mr. Campbell was a hybrid stylist, a crossover artist at home in both country and pop music.

His final tour, as he struggled with memory loss, was documented in the touching film “I’ll Be Me.”

May his memory be a blessing.

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Ella Jenkins’ Camp Songs

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The wonderful Ella Jenkins is back with a new album from Smithsonian Folkways called Camp Songs, available June 23, 2017.  Family singalong classics include “Down by the Riverside” and “This Land is Your Land.”  This is perfect for family car rides, instead of letting each kid listen to something different.

Ella, who turns 93 in August, remembers sharing camp songs with her brother when she was growing up in Chicago. As a teenager and young woman, she was a camp counselor herself, and that’s where her career as “The First Lady of Children’s Music”  began. Ella’s love for sharing folk and world music with children continues to this day.

 

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Guardian of the Galaxy’s Awesome Mix in Vol 2: ELO, Glen Campbell, Cat Stevens

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Like the first “Guardians of the Galaxy,” Vol 2. has a fabulous soundtrack of 70’s songs.

Electric Light Orchestra – Mister Blue Sky

Already on the soundtrack of films from “The Game Plan” to “Paul Blart: Mall Cop,” “Role Models,” “Wild Mussels,” “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind,” “The Magic Roundabout,” “The Game Plan,” “Martian Child,” “The Invention of Lying,” “Megamind,” and “Battle of the Year” as well as the television shows “Doctor Who,” “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation,” “American Dad!,” “Divorce,” “Revolution,” and “Waterloo Road,” this song kicks off “Guardians 2” with an adorable Baby Groot dance in the middle of a fight with a giant space monster.

Sweet – Fox on the Run

Most recently heard on the soundtracks of “Dazed and Confused” and “Detroit Rock City,” this 1974 song about groupies by the British band Sweet has been covered by many performers, including KISS’s Ace Frehley and the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

Aliotta Haynes Jeremiah – Lake Shore Drive

This 1971 song is a tribute to Chicago’s famous road along Lake Michigan.

Fleetwood Mac – The Chain

Credited to all five members of the band, reportedly this 1977 song was literally spliced together on tape from pieces they were working on.

Sam Cooke – Bring it on Home to Me

Lou Rawls sings back-up in this romantic Sam Cooke classic.

Glen Campbell – Southern Nights

One of my favorite Glen Campbell songs, this Allen Toussaint composition from 1977 features a guitar lick from Jerry Reed.

George Harrison – My Sweet Lord

One of the ex-Beatle’s biggest solo hits is this deeply spiritual song calling for unity between people and between individuals and God.

Looking Glass – Brandy (You’re a Fine Girl)

Here’s the story behind the 1972 hit that plays an important part in the film.

Jay & The Americans – Come a Little Bit Closer

Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart with Wes Farrell wrote this classic story song about a flirtatious barmaid.

Sliver – Wham Bam Shang-a-Lang

This one-hit wonder sounds like the essence of the 70’s.

Cheap Trick – Surrender

Band member Rick Nielsen said: “When I wrote the song, the ‘we’re all alright’ was originally only intended to refer to the four of us; that’s why it comes right after the ‘Bun-E/Tom/Robin/Rick’s alright’ section. After we started playing it live however, I came to realize that, to our audience, it was inclusive of all of us – our generation; that we’re ALL alright, we survived the 60s & Vietnam & Nixon & everything, and we’re all still here, playing music and having fun. That’s when we started playing with it a little in concert; I’ll tell ya, you get 50 – 60 thousand people screaming ‘WE’RE ALL ALRIGHT!’ in unison, that’s a pretty positive affirmation!”

Cat Stevens – Father and Son

Like “Surrender,” this is a 70’s-era song about the conflict between baby boomer teenagers and their Greatest Generation parents.

Parliament – Flash Light

The essence of 70’s funk, this song by George Clinton, Bernie Worrell, and Bootsy Collins was also on the soundtrack of “Set it Off” and “Roll Bounce.”



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New Documentary: BANG! The Bert Berns Story

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If you like behind-the-scenes-of-the-hits films like “20 Feet from Stardom,” “Muscle Shoals,” and “The Wrecking Crew,” you will enjoy “BANG! The Bert Berns Story.” Like “Wrecking Crew,” this is a love letter from a son to his father. You have not heard the name Bert Berns, but you have heard — and I am sure, you have sung — the songs he wrote or produced include “Twist and Shout,” “Brown Eyed Girl,” Janis Joplin’s “Piece of My Heart,” “Hang on Sloopy,” “I Want Candy,” “My Boyfriend’s Back,” “Under the Boardwalk,” and many, many more.

Berns had a weak heart, the result of rheumatic fever. He knew his time was limited. And so he lived hard and fast, to get everything he could in the time he had. As a young man, he fell in love with mambo and the Latin rhythms that were popular at his local dance clubs. He brought some of that sound to the early days of rock music, creating hit after hit as songwriter and producer, working with some of the biggest stars in the business, helping many of them get there.

The film has some great interviews and details, especially some unexpected anecdotes from Berns’ best pal from the mob, who stepped in “Godfather”-style to help out now and then, dragging one singer from his sister’s funeral to make sure he didn’t miss a recording date. There are stories of rising and falling, business partnerships and betrayals, and Bert’s romance with a tough cookie of a blonde go-go dancer who became his wife. Great characters, great music — and a lot of fun to watch.

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