Three weeks ago Dell Rat Ron
wowed the crowd with Part 1
of Instrumentally Yours, a
post that featured some of the
great long lost instrumentals.
Today Ron's back with more
terrific tunes and I brought
along a few faves of my own!
I'd like to get the party started with a shout out to my friend Sush at First Do No Harm. Sush is a North Carolinian who was born and raised in New Orleans. She grew up listening to Al Hirt, the talented New Orleans trumpeter, bandleader and Louisiana Music Hall of Famer. Hirt aka Jumbo aka the Round Mound of Sound scored his biggest hit in the early months of 1964 when his instrumental "Java" wound up in the top 5. Hirt followed-up with "Cotton Candy," a top 20 hit, and "Sugar Lips" which made it to #30 on the pop chart and became the theme of the TV game show Eye Guess starring Bill Cullen. Early the following year Al Hirt achieved a minor hit with "Fancy Pants" which finished it's run in the top 50. This one wasn't turned into a game show theme but somehow I can't I listen to it without picturing Gene Rayburn, Fannie Flagg and Charles Nelson Reilly!
"Fancy Pants" - Al Hirt (February 1965,
highest chart position #47
One of the dreamiest instrumentals from my teen years was
"(Your kisses take me to) Shangri-La" by Robert Maxwell.
Robert Maxwell - "Shangri-La"(May 1964,
highest chart position #15)
Allow me to slip in the vocal version by the Letterman for another dear friend, Amber Blue Bird at, you guessed it, Amber Blue Bird. I'll get you my pretty, and your little dog Oliver, too!
"Shangri-La" - Lettermen (November 1969,
highest chart position #64)
Okay Ron, it's time for me to pass the
turntable over to you. Spin away!
Shady, some readers
might not be aware that
Paul Revere and the
Raiders started out making
instrumentals. Their first
single, released on Gardena
Records, made it to #1 on
WSBA. Paul's playing the
piano. I had a chance to
speak to him on the phone
when he was in Reno. The
flip song had Mark Lindsey
recorded at a slower speed
like a chipmunk, and
dubbed with a normal
backup. Paul also filled me
in on that. It was called "Sharon" but it's not the "Sharon"
on YouTube. Paul said they did that because it was a
popular gimmick at the time.
"Like, Long Hair" - Paul Revere and the
Raiders (live, original studio recording
April 1961, highest chart position #38)
I still wish I could learn to play boogie woogie piano.
This next record was a little more successful than the one
by Paul Revere and the Raiders and was on the Billboard
chart around the same time. Of course, you will recognize
that this is a rockin' arrangement of a classical melody,
Rimsky-Korsakov's "Flight of the Bumble Bee."
"Bumble Boogie" - B. Bumble and the
Stingers (May 1961, highest chart
Here's one last song in the same genre as "Like, Long Hair"
and "Bumble Boogie". My boogie woogie version (which
turned me on to the original Edvard Grieg Piano Concerto
in A-something), okay A-minor. It made top 10 on 'SBA.
"Asia Minor" - Kokomo (April 1961,
highest chart position #8)
Give your fingers a rest, Ron, while
I play a few. Some of my favorite intrumentals were themes from hit
TV shows and movies. One of the
most recognizable name that tune
tunes of the 20th century was this
one recorded by Neal Hefti.
ZAP! BAM! BIFF! POW!
"Batman Theme" - Neal Hefti Orchestra
(March 1966, highest chart position #35)
The Marketts also laid down a killer rendition of "Batman" and reached the top 20 with it; but they really sent me into orbit with a tune named after the sci-fi series Outer Limits. The record blasted off two weeks after the assassination of JFK and rocketed into the top 5 at the height of Beatlemania!
I guess you could say it was the rim-shot heard 'round the world! (Note: those gosh darned teenage punks from Hot Rods to Hell are back for an encore. Gotta love 'em!)
"Out of Limits" - Marketts
(February 1964, highest chart position #3)
Rich in legend and lore, Route 66 was the Mother Road, the road west, the Main Street of America. It was also a hit television series. Premiering in 1960 the show about two restless young men searching for meaning as they traveled the famous highway in their Corvette convertible bore similarities to Easy Rider, the 1969 movie about two young men on choppers searching for America and never finding it.
"Route 66 Theme" - Nelson Riddle
(July 1962, highest chart position #30)
Craig Stevens starred as Peter Gunn, a handsome, sophisticated, super cool private investigator. Is there any other kind? The show's opening and closing theme was composed and performed by Henry Mancini who won an Emmy and two Grammys as a result. Ray Anthony released the theme on a 45rpm single, my parents bought it, and it's the version that I remember best from childhood.
"Peter Gunn" - Ray Anthony (March 1959,
highest chart position #8)
Dragnet, the crime drama that starred Jack Webb as dedicated Los Angeles police detective Sergeant Joe Friday, was on the radio five months before I was born and came to TV when I was two years old. Realism and unpretentious acting made Dragnet different from most other television series and set the standard for shows like Law and Order that came after. Three Dragnet motion pictures were made and my favorite is the 1987 comedy spoof that starred
SNL's Dan Aykroyd and rising superstar Tom Hanks.
"Dragnet" - The Art of Noise (July 1987
uncharted, from album In-No-Sense?
Nonsense!, from motion picture Dragnet)
Ron, back to you, good buddy!
Here's a little trivia for you, Shady. A news show here in
Tulsa uses one of Sandy Nelson's hit records as an intro.
"Teen Beat" - Sandy Nelson (November
1959, highest chart position #4)
My last instrumental is a two for the price of one single by
the Rondels. Both songs are included in this clip: the A side,
"Back Beat No. 1," and the B side called "Shades of Green."
I owned this 45 and enjoyed both sides like I did with most
of my records.
"Back Beat No. 1"/"Shades of Green"
- Rondels (August 1961, highest chart
Ron, let's wrap up two terrific volumes of lost instrumentals with a record that's hard to categorize. Is it an instrumental or a vocal? Decide for yourself as you watch this classic performance by Pete Drake and his talking steel guitar!
"Forever" - Pete Drake (May 1964,
highest chart position #25)
Thanks again to Dell Rat Ron
for bringing us a ton of tunes
that make old school cool!
Have a Shady day!