|Duane Keilstrup Broadcast Archives|
This Week's Classics & Curios Show:
"Echoes of Songs and Laughter"
EDDIE HUBBARD & THE GREAT SONGWRITERS: JOHNNY MERCER
Presenting one of the best Eddie Hubbard DJ shows and the first in a series highlighting great songwriters. This show features Johnny Mercer while future shows will follow with Irving Berlin, Hoagy Carmichael, and George Gerschwin. Mercer, as Eddie points out, was one of the most loved and greatest lyricists of American music, and his songs remain among the best in the Great American Songbook.
Songs with Mercer's lyrics that Eddie chose to feature on this show from June 18, 1989, are among his best and include "You Must Have Been a Beautiful Baby," "In the Cool, Cool ,Cool of the Evening," "Moon River," "Charade," "Days of Wine and Roses," "The Aitchison, Topeka, and the Santa Fe," "GI Jive," and "I'm Old Fashioned." Five of the songs are among my favorite songs by any composer, namely, "Accentuate the Positive," "Dream," "Blues in the Night," "And the Angels Sing," and "Glow Worm." Johnny's new lyrics to "Glow Worm" are simply the work of a wordplay genius, and the lyrics of these favorites and others rank among the most brilliant ever written and enhance the brilliance of the music by composers like Jerome Kern, Henry Mancini, Harry Warren, Barry Manilow, Harold Arlen, and Ziggy Elman,
Artists who perform the songs include Hoagy Carmichael, Rosemary Clooney, Andy Williams, Dinah Shore, the Mills Brothers, Bing Crosby and Jane Wyman, and Woody Herman.
Eddie had less than an hour to focus on Johnny's songs, so countless tunes had to be left out, like "Lazybones," "I'm an Old Cowhand from the Rio Grande," "That Old Black Magic," "Wings Over the Navy," "Satin Doll," "The Summer Wind," "My Shining Hour," "Jeepers Creepers," "Goody Goody," "Autumn Leaves," "Come Rain or Come Shine," "Something's Gotta Give," "Hooray for Hollywood," and "P.S. I Love You."
From Wikipedia: "Mercer wrote the lyrics to more than fifteen hundred songs, including compositions for movies and Broadway shows. He received nineteen Academy Award nominations, and won four.Well regarded also as a singer, with a folksy quality, Mercer was a natural for his own songs such as "Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate the Positive", "On the Atchison, Topeka and the Santa Fe", "One for My Baby (and One More for the Road)", and "Lazybones". He was considered a first-rate performer of his own work. [Concerning] When October Goes," a melancholy remembrance of lost love. [Barry] Manilow applied his own melody to the lyric and issued it as a single in 1984, when it became a top 10 Adult Contemporary hit in the United States. The song has since become a jazz standard, with notable recordings by Rosemary Clooney, Nancy Wilson, and Megon McDonough, among other performers. For the occasion of Mercer's 100th birthday in 2009 Clint Eastwood produced a documentary film on Johnny Mercer's life and work called The Dream's on Me (Turner Classic Movies)."
Mercer's own lyrics found in the title of a song composed by Richard Whiting best describe the man himself and the work of this gifted performer, producer, and lyricist: "Too Marvelous for Words."
Johnny opened his "Johnny Mercer Music Shop" on the Armed Forces Radio Service in 1944 with these words -- words fitting to start Eddie's tribute to Johnny who still makes listeners "feel tip-top:"
This Week's Classics & Curios Show:
"Echoes of Songs and Laughter"
EDDIE HUBBARD & GREAT AMERICAN SONGWRITERS: IRVING BERLIN
Eddie Hubbard's series on Great American Songwriters continues with a tribute to Irving Berlin. Eddie plays some of Berlin's great hits like "The Girl That I Marry," "Always," "Remember," "Easter Parade," "Alexander's Ragtime Band," "There's No Business Like Show Business," "How Deep Is the Ocean," and "Say It with Music." Artists include Frank Sinatra, Peggy Lee, Tony Martin and Fran Warren, Howard Keel, jazz pianist Lou Stein, Ethyl Merman, and Eydie Gorme.
Eddie plays the recordings of Al Jolson singing "I'm Happy," during a tribute event in Berlin's honor and of Irving explaining how he first wrote a song called "Smile and Show Your Dimple" that he turned into "Easter Parade," Poignant is his first ballad "When I Lost You,' which Berlin wrote after his first wife Dorothy passed away shortly after their honeymoon. And Eddie adds a tune that Berlin referred to as one of his own top ten songs, "Love, You Didn't Do Right By Me."
Throughout the show Eddie plays background music featuring Berlin's "Together," and the tribute concludes with "The Song Is Ended, But the Melody Lingers On," which speaks of Berlin's legacy of songs that undoubtedly will linger forever in the Great American Songbook. Who could forget songs that could have extended Eddie's show easily for another hour, such as "White Christmas," "Puttin' On the Ritz," ""Blue Skies," "God Bless America," "Cheek to Cheek," "I've Got the Sun in the Morning and the Moon at Night," "it's a Lovely Day Today," and "A Pretty Girl Is Like a Melody."
Berlin often pointed out that he wrote far more songs that did not become hits, such as "I've Got to Go Back to Texas" and "Jake, Jake, the Yidissher Ball Player." But, as "NY Times" reporter Marilyn Berger observed in Berlin's obituary in 1989, "According to Ascap records, 25 Berlin songs reached the top of the charts. By the time he was 30 he was a legend, and he went on to write the scores for 19 Broadway shows and 18 Hollywood films.
"Throughout his long life in the world of music he never learned to play in any key but F sharp, but he could tap out tune after tune on the keys of a piano, leaving it to arrangers to write the harmony and to transcribe his melodies. His songs were by turn romantic and tragic, feisty and sentimental, homespun and sophisticated.
'''I really can't read music,' Mr. Berlin once said. 'Oh, I can pick out the melody of a song with one finger, but I can't read the harmony. I feel like an awful dope that I know so little about the mechanics of my trade.' To overcome his inability to play in any key but F sharp, he used a specially built piano that had a hand clutch to change keys. He called it his ''Buick'' and for years he took it with him on trips to Europe. It is now in the Smithsonian Institution.
"''My ambition is to reach the heart of the average American ... Not the highbrow nor the lowbrow but that vast intermediate crew which is the real soul of the country. The highbrow is likely to be superficial, overtrained, supersensitive … My public is the real people.'"
"Morton Gould, the president of Ascap, said …'Irving Berlin's music will last forever,' he said. ''Not for just an hour, not for just a day, not for just a year, but always.'"