Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Those Lazy, Hazy, Crazy Days of Summer...

It's Memorial Day Weekend, the traditional start of Summer! Here in the Northeast it seems a long time in coming, but it's finally here.

In 1963, Nat King Cole scored a top 10 hit with Those Lazy, Hazy, Crazy Days of Summer. It would be his last big hit before death from Lung Cancer two years later. Cole was a heavy smoker who believed cigarettes kept his voice low. To that purpose he'd chain smoke several before recording sessions. He was 45 when he died. Here he is performing one of the signature songs of the season.

As an added bonus we present Lawrence Welk and the gang putting their kitschy spin on the tune from a 1966 episode of The Lawrence Welk Show. Take it away Lawrence. "A one an a two..."

Friday, May 22, 2009

Let's Mambo!

Today, a brief look back at the dance craze that swept the nation during the 1950s - the Mambo!

Cuban Band Leader Perez Prado, known as The King of Mambo, is usually credited with popularizing the dance. Here he is with his orchestra performing their #1 Hit Patricia (which is a cha-cha not a mambo). By the way, the gentleman pictured at right is a different Cuban bandleader (but you knew that, didnt' you?)

Next up, Mama Chirichella's favorite singer Perry Como performing his 1954 top 10 hit Papa Loves Mambo

Now we journey to sunny Italy for Mambo Italiano. First we have popular Italian Bandleader Renato Carosone performing the original Italian version of the song in 1954 (which he co-wrote).

The most popular version of the song was performed by Rosemary Clooney (also 1954):

Not to be outdone, Dean Martin had his own version:

In closing, we visit the year 1999 where Lou Bega had a smash hit with Mambo No. 5.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

"Everytime I think I'm out, they pull me back in..."

Ok - here it is not quite two months since my self-proclaimed final post and Look Ma, I'm Blogging!

At first it was a pleasure to be released from the burden of posting; the constant need to come up with clever ideas (or at least ideas; how clever they were is a matter of opinion). Then a funny thing happened; I found myself writing entries in my mind if not online. One minute I'd be out and about with friends or family and suddenly I'd think "there's a great idea for a blog" or "wouldn't that be fun to write about". It was so subtle at first that I hardly realized it. But the Blog Monster is an insiduous beast with an insatiable appetite and soon mental notes weren't enough; I actually started making lists of topics to blog about.

Still I resisted signing into Blogger; no matter how the Blog Monster begged or cajoled I remained strong. "Feed Me , Michael," the Blog Monster would say in his best Levi Stubbs voice. Other times his pleadings would be soft and sultry, reminiscent of Kathleen Turner in Body Heat: "Come on, Michael, you know you want to..."

Long story short, I am a weak-willed man and it was only a matter of time before I gave in. So here I am, one year to the day of my very first blog and I'm back in the game.

Don't touch that dial, we'll be right back after this word from our sponsor...