Way Back 2021

December 23, 2021 - Leroy Anderson Takes TikTok by Storm, Shepherd Sisters, Cannonball/Miles, Big Brother/Janis and Airplane Impact 2021's Final Month

Yuletide trends '21: Leroy Anderson's classic composition "Sleigh Ride," first heard in 1948, has gone viral on TikTok with more than 300 thousand user-made videos demonstrating a rump-slapping dance that has been created to go with the song. The Shepherd Sisters' 1957 hit "Alone (Why Must I Be Alone)" has become a non-seasonal theme of sorts for the Christmas season with its use on commercials for various Apple products.

Movie music: Parallel Mothers, the latest from the frequent team of director Pedro Almodóvar and lead actress Penelope Cruz, features two great tracks released a decade apart: "Autumn Leaves" (from the 1958 album Somethin' Else) by saxophonist Cannonball Adderley and master trumpeter Miles Davis, and "Summertime" (from the 1968 album Cheap Thrills) by Big Brother and the Holding Company with distinctive blues shouting lead singer Janis Joplin. The Matrix series has been revived with original star Keanu Reeves on board; Matrix Resolutions arrives 18 years after its last installment. "White Rabbit" by Jefferson Airplane is on the soundtrack.

December 11, 2021 - A Potpourri of Classic Tunes: Torme, Baloo, Ellis, Womack, Pickett, Carl, Merle and More

There have been several non-seasonal oldies getting media exposure in the last few weeks. Starting with the home screen commercial scene, a Nissan @Home ad features Mel Torme's dynamic '62 vocal rendition of "Comin' Home Baby," while a Door Dash "DashPass" spot emphasizes "The Bare Necessities" as sung by Phil Harris (Baloo) in the '67 Disney film The Jungle Book. At the box office we're getting "Baby It's You" by The Shirelles and "The Clapping Song" by Shirley Ellis on the soundtrack of Ghostbusters: Afterlife. Will Smith's latest, King Richard, makes subtle use of four great 1968-through-'70 recordings: Nina Simone's version of Dylan's "I Shall Be Released," Bobby Womack's soulful take on "California Dreamin'," Wilson Pickett's hot hit "Engine Number Nine" and Meters jam "Cissy Strut." Marvel's Eternals, from recent Oscar-winning director Chloe Zhao, makes clever use of "Lend Me Your Comb," a rocking 1957 track from Carl Perkins, and Merle Haggard's chart-topping '68 country hit, "Mama Tried." Meanwhile, vintage Christmas music appears to more popular than ever!

November 30, 2021 - Erroll Garner Hits the Billboard Chart, Posthumously Playing Piano for Adele

Erroll Garner is back! Fans are suddenly buzzing about the great jazz pianist since the release last week of Adele's long-awaited album 30. One track on the set, "All Night Parking," is ingeniously built upon Erroll's live recording of "No More Shadows" (taken from a 1964 television appearance on Britain's BBC) as the accompaniment to Adele's vocal performance. Garner is credited on the song (the first time the mighty Ms. Adkins has designated any collaborator, living or otherwise). Now the song has landed at number 53 on the current Billboard Hot 100, a first for Garner on the pop singles chart. Many people are excited about this; you should be too.

November 27, 2021 - Get Back: A Beatles Marathon on Disney+

60 hours of footage from the January 1969 sessions that resulted in the Oscar-winning 1970 film Let it Be have been directed/edited by Peter Jackson and Michael Lindsay-Hogg to a length of nearly eight hours (which includes the complete "rooftop" concert), giving Beatles fans a reason to be elated (or perhaps exhausted). Get Back is showing on Disney+ in three installments and features more than 400 songs, many of them short versions or excerpts of a minute or less (sometimes mere seconds). Fans may not have heard as many as a hundred of these by the group, some featuring Billy Preston, Yoko Ono or Linda Eastman's 6-year-old daughter Heather (adopted by Paul after he and Linda married several weeks later); more than 40 oddball or improvised tunes have titles like "Taking a Trip to Carolina," "Just Fun," "Thinking of Linking," "You Wear Your Women Out," "To Kingdom Come," "I Bought a Piano the Other Day," "Madman," "Cupcake Baby," "Little Yellow Pills" and "Half a Pound of Greasepaint."

In addition, the Fab Five (or Six or Seven...or just the core Four, depending on personal opinions about each contributor) offer up covers (and brief versions of) more than 50 hit songs including several Elvis Presley and Chuck Berry classics as well as "'The Third Man' Theme" (known in the U.K. as "The Harry Lime Theme"),"The Mighty Quinn (Quinn the Eskimo)," "The House of the Rising Sun," "Build Me Up Buttercup," "Forty Days," "Queen of the Hop," "Save the Last Dance For Me," "Reach Out I'll Be There," "Bye Bye Love," "The Walk" and many others. Induge yourself, if you have the stamina!

November 3, 2021 - '60s U.K. Faves Highlight Last Night in Soho, Sam and Dave, Ray Charles and Etta James Spread Some Jams on TV

Last Night in Soho, a time travel-horror-suspense film set mainly in Britain in the 1960s, stars Thomasin McKenzie, Anya Taylor-Joy and '60s icon Diana Rigg in her final role (filmed before her passing in September 2020). Several select hits feature on the soundtrack, starting with Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick and Tich's half-century-later title tune "Last Night in Soho" (top ten in the U.K. in '68) and John Barry's cool instro theme from the 1960 teen romp "Beat Girl." Some of 1964's top hits are heard, including "A World Without Love" by Peter and Gordon, "Don't Throw Your Love Away" by The Searchers, "Wishin' and Hopin'" by Dusty Springfield and Cilla Black's two U.K. chart-toppers, "Anyone Who Had a Heart" and "You're My World." Add to this The Walker Brothers' '65 take on the often-recorded "Land of 1000 Dances," Sandie Shaw's number one U.K. hit "Puppet on a String" from '67 and the slightly later Kinks album cut "Starstruck."

Major League Baseball's World Series has wrapped with a six-game Atlanta Braves victory over the Houston Astros (accompanied by organ music during games at the Braves' Truist Park). The Fox-TV broadcast did work in a couple of killer R&B hits: "Hold On! I'm a Comin'" by Sam and Dave and "Hit the Road Jack" by Ray Charles. Meanwhile, a Walmart commercial makes good use of "I Got You Babe"...not the original smash by Sonny and Cher, though, but Etta James' much funkier 1968 remake. Finally, here's a great song to listen to over and over and over for days and days while you're in an underground shelter after a nuclear bomb has been detonated overhead: "California Dreamin'" by The Mamas and the Papas. At least that's what Jenna Elfman and Keith Carradine did last week on AMC's Fear the Walking Dead.

October 23, 2021 - Creedence, Eddy Arnold, the Troggs and Shirelles Are Enjoying Homescreen Airtime

Several cool oldies have popped up on current TV commercials including Creedence Clearwater Revival's "Down on the Corner" in a spot for H&M stores' autumn-winter attire. The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold3 arrives to the tune of Eddy Arnold's 1961 remake of The Ink Spots' timeless 1941 hit "I Don't Want to Set the World on Fire," while "Wild Thing" by The Troggs continues a popular run on various small screen ads, the latest for Airbnb Hosts. Also, keen-eared listeners picked up on the Goffin-King classic "Will You Love Me Tomorrow" by The Shirelles in the most recent episode of NBC's Big Sky.

October 3, 2021 - Many Saints of Newark Dominates Vintage Music This Week, With Add-Ons from Venom and TV's Big Sky

The Many Saints of Newark, a prequel to HBO's beloved series The Sopranos, premiered in theaters and on HBO over the weekend. Set during Tony Soprano's childhood, the film features a wildly diverse lineup of vintage recordings that run the gamut: for starters, there are the chart-toppers "Nel Blu Dipinto Di Blu" by Domenico Modugno and "The Ballad of the Green Berets" by S/Sgt. Barry Sadler alongside the Broadway classic "Twin Soliloquies" by Mary Martin and Ezio Pinza from the 1952 production of South Pacific.

John Coltrane's jazz gem "Alabama" and Whipped Cream delight "Tangerine" by Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass represent instrumental artistry in the new Newark mobster drama. James Brown ramps up the tempo with "There Was a Time" while Dionne Warwick chimes in twice with "Don't Make Me Over" and "Anyone Who Had a Heart." Off-center rock tracks include "Mother's Little Helper" by The Rolling Stones and "Living in the U.S.A." by The Steve Miller Band.

The hit 1958 teen ballad "You" by The Aquatones finally enters the new century via Saints and "When Will I Be Loved" stands as a testament to our dearly departed Everly Brothers. The Casinos' atmospheric ballad "Then You Can Tell Me Goodbye" and "San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Some Flowers In Your Hair)" by Scott McKenzie are 1967's representative hits. Add to these a pair of magic Motown tunes like "Danger Heartbreak Dead Ahead" by The Marvelettes and Little Stevie Wonder's "Fingertips - Part 2" in addition to unexpected seasonal songs "Whatever Happened to Christmas?" by Frank Sinatra and "Marshmallow World" by Darlene Love, plus many more in the background and between the cracks. The music alone is reason enough to see The Many Saints of Newark!

Venom: Let There Be Carnage has topped the box office and features a couple of against-type selections, "Let's Call the Whole Thing Off" by Louis Prima and Keely Smith and Harry Nilsson's original version of the Three Dog Night hit "One." Big Sky, NBC's popular TV series featuring cops 'n' crazy killers is running appropriately-themed promos with The Beau Brummels' under-appreciated 1965 hit "Don't Talk to Strangers"...good advice if you live in Montana as it's depicted in this show! Meanwhile, tiny toddlers are rockin' out, which probably isn't what Steppenwolf intended 53 years ago. For your "wild child," Pampers Cruisers 360 diapers has an ad featuring the ever-popular "Born to Be Wild," previously heard in the very un-childlike biker film Easy Rider.


White Rabbit The Clapping Song You're My World Wild Thing Will You Love Me Tomorrow Nel Blu Dipito Di Blu The Ballad of the Green berets Don't Make Me Over Mother's Little Helper Then You Can Tell Me Goodbye Fingertips - Part 2