Archive for the ‘Pat Boone’ Tag

Earworms – The Immaculate Exception?   7 comments

As I said in the first edition of Earworms, the songs that get stuck in your head are usually not those that were big hits. Or to put it another way, the biggest sellers are already pretty familiar so it seems to me that they’d pop into your head once in a while anyway. But when a lesser-known song seems to show up and run endlessly through your thoughts, that’s an earworm. And I’d go so far as to say that even though I think that it’s possible to have shared earworms, it’s usually just your personal one.worm-pat

But here’s a new wrinkle. Today I found myself inexplicably trapped in the midst of Pat Boone‘s “Bernardine” and I can’t for the life of me figure out why. I’m pretty sure I haven’t recently heard the song or thought about the movie it came from, and I definitely don’t remember meeting anyone named Bernardine. And yet it appeared — a one of a kind occurrence. Could we call it the immaculate exception?

Not one of Pat Boone’s biggest hits, it had a brief flurry in record stores when the movie of the same name came out in the Summer of 1957, and it then settled into #14 on the charts. It did have the distinction of having both words and music written by the legendary Johnny Mercer, who was more often just a lyricist. As for the movie, it was pretty forgettable — something about some teenagers inventing a fictional girl named Bernardine Mudd. But somehow it all came together to create an earworm for this particular geezer.

patcdPat Boone – “Bernardine”

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Fantastic Foursome – A Very Friendly Song   Leave a comment

We’re way overdue for a new edition of Fantastic Foursome, the special feature that presents four different takes on a song (plus a video of the definitive version) and lets you decide which you like best. Of course, voting in the poll is completely voluntary but it’s quick, easy, and anonymous.fp

Most of us will remember “Friendly Persuasion” as performed by Pat Boone, and you might also recall that he sang it on the soundtrack of the 1956 film of the same name. The movie featured a peace-loving Quaker family coping with the Civil War, and the title was a play on the other name used by Quakers, the Society of Friends.

The song itself was composed by movie music maestro Dimitri Tiomkin with lyrics by Paul Francis Webster, and it became one of Tiomkin’s many Oscar-nominated pieces. (Although not one of his three winners — it was beaten out for the award by Doris Day’s “Que Sera, Sera” from Hitchcock’s The Man Who Knew Too Much.)

Pat Boone’s version was by far the most popular record of the song, but other notable renditions included those by the Four Aces, the Lettermen, Ray Coniff, Johnny Mathis, Matt Monro, and Aretha Franklin. Even jazz pianist George Shearing got into the act, recording one of a number of instrumental versions.

Below are four you can try: 

Four AcesFrank Chacksfield OrchGeorge ShearingJohnny Mathis

Four AcesFrank ChacksfieldGeorge ShearingJohnny Mathis

Anatomy Of A Song – Holiday Edition   Leave a comment

I’m sure I can remember hearing “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town” on our record player while I was growing up, and that’s entirely possible because the song is older than me — it has been a popular holiday song for almost eight decades. One reason for that popularity might be that parents loved the message it sent to kids that they’d better be on their best behavior because Santa was watching. In any case, it seems like a good choice for a holiday edition of our recurring special feature, Anatomy Of A Song.santa

The song made its first appearance on Eddie Cantor’s popular radio program late in 1934 and immediately spurred the sale of hundreds of thousands of copies of the sheet music for the song. (If you’re old enough, you might remember the days when almost everybody had sheet music around the house, especially if they had a piano.)

That success probably pleased songwriters John Frederick Coots and Haven Gillespie a lot, and they must have been even happier to see records being made of their song. The first came out just about the same time, an effort by vocalist Tom Stacks, backed by Harry Reser’s band. Not exactly household names now, but before long a swingin’ version was recorded by Tommy Dorsey’s big band and that gave it major national exposure.

The song has been recorded by an unbelievable number of performers in the years since — if you’re curious, just go to youtube and you’ll find page after page of them. Notable versions include those by Perry Como, Gene Autry, Bing Crosby (usually accompanied by the Andrews Sisters), Ella Fitzgerald, and the Ray Conniff Singers. In later years it has been tackled by everyone from Bruce Springsteen to the Jackson Five, and later still, Justin Bieber and Miley Cyrus.

tdcdTommy Dorsey Orchestra – “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town”