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January 18, 2005

It's a fond (more or less) farewell to some folks who went on to that big stage or screen in the sky in 2004, from Ann Miller to Joey Ramone.

Selection Source Performer(s) Comments
Saturday Nite Gun Mart Give Us a Break Proctor and Bergman Where YOU are the target!
Now That I Am Dead Invisible Means French, Frith, Kaiser and Thompson The second meeting from this left-of-the-dial supergroup -- Fairport Convention founder and all-around guitar genius Richard Thompson, avant-garde guitar visionary Henry Kaiser, Henry Cow founder and avant/progressive noise advocate Fred Frith, and former Captain Beefheart percussionist John French.
California Sun Leave Home The Ramones Johnny Ramone, the group's founder, died on 9/15/2004 at the ripe old age of 55. If you want a tie-in to the stage and screen, how about this: "California Sun" is on the soundtrack of Jackass - The Movie.
Rock and Roll High School Ramones Mania The Ramones This one, of course, is from the 1979 film of the same name, in which The Ramones appear as themselves (I mean, who else?)
Teenager in Schtuck Italians from Outer Space Alberto y Lost Trios Paranoias It's hard to play old punk cuts these days without stopping to make fun of them, and this send-up is a classic.
In Concrete The Rutland Weekend Song Book Eric Idle and Neil Innes While we're at it, here's a send-up of The Who by two alumni of Monty Python's Flying Circus and The Bonzo Dog Band. It's from the short-lived satirical British TV series Rutland Weekend Television.
Interview With Don Corleone The Best of the National Lampoon Radio Hour Chevy Chase and John Belushi Marlon Brando died on 7/1/2004 at the age of 80. His last screen appearance was as the double-dealing fence Max in the crime drama The Score (2001).
Ghostbusters - Main Theme Space 3 Beyond the Final Frontier City of Prague Philharmonic conducted by Nic Raine This is the actual creepy/funny main title music, not the song that became such a huge hit. It's by Elmer Bernstein, who died on 9/18/2004 at the age of 82.
We're Both Dead Now It Crawled Into My Hand, Honest The Fugs It's just a quick reminder about mortality
The Magnificent Seven - Main Themes The Wild West City of Prague Philharmonic conducted by Paul Bateman Bernstein is best known for his many Western film scores - of which this is, hands down, the most famous.
The Dress Waltz Legend - Original Soundtrack National Philharmonic Orchestra and Chorus conducted by Jerry Goldsmith Veteran film composer Jerry Goldsmith died on 7/21/2004 at the age of 75. Unless you've seen the recent DVD release of this 1985 Ridley Scott fantasy film, you've never heard Goldsmith's original score, which was tossed out (along with large chunks of the film) for it's American released and replaced with a wildly inappropriate rock soundtrack.
Faerie Dance Legend - Original Soundtrack National Philharmonic Orchestra and Chorus conducted by Jerry Goldsmith
Psychology 1 The Ten-Minute University John Moschitta Is it all just drooling dogs and crazy rats? John Moschitta is a very active "voice over" actor whose major claim to fame was his ability to speak incredibly rapidly and still be completely understandable.
Anything You Can Do Annie Get Your Gun (Soundtrack from the Motion Picture) Betty Hutton and Howard Keel By the time Berlin's 1946 hit made it to the screen, the entire cast had been replaced by what were viewed as bankable Hollywood stars. That included replacing Ethel Merman with Betty Hutton and Ray Middleton with Howard Keel. Keel died on 11/7/2004 at the age of 85.
Rhymes Have I Kismet - Soundtrack Howard Keel, Ann Blyth and Chorus Here, Keel replaced Alfred Drake.
Always True to You In My Fashion Kiss Me Kate - Soundtrack Ann Miller and Tommy Rall Ann Miller died on 1/22/2004 at the age of 81. In the 1940s and 1950s she was one of the great dancing stars of Hollywood musicals. This track is from Kiss Me Kate, in which she appeared with Howard Keel (once again doing a role Alfred Drake created on stage).
Shakin' the Blues Away Easter Parade - Soundtrack Ann Miller Miller had second billing in Easter Parade (Judy Garland and Fred Astaire were the stars), so this was her only significant solo number.
The Cradle Will Rock The Cradle Will Rock - Revival Cast Jerry Orbach Orbach plays Larry Foreman, the union organizer arrested for distributing leaflets, in this 1964 revival of Marc Blitzstein's agitprop classic. Howard Da Silva (who created the role of Foreman in 1938) directed.
Razzle Dazzle Chicago - Original Cast Jerry Orbach, Company "Razzle dazzle 'em and they'll never catch wise"; could it be the unofficial motto of the Bush administration? Broadway, film and TV veteran Orbach died 0n 1/28/2004 at the age of 69.
Onion Radio News 11 The Onion's Finest News Reporting Doyle Redland Family of Four Rescued from a Burning House by Homosexual
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland -Chapter 6 ("Pig and Pepper") Alice's Adventures in Wonderland Cyril Ritchard, New York Woodwind Quintet Alice encounters The Duchess, her violent cook and her porcine baby - and the Cheshire Cat. This 1957 recording features one of the great British actors of the previous century. Although best known in the USA for his role as Captain Hook in the musical version of Peter Pan (1954), Ritchard had a long and distinguished stage and screen career.
At the Graveyard Bert and I and Other Stories from Down East Robert Bryan and Marshall Dodge This is one of a series of albums of "downeast" (i.e. New England, particularly Maine) humor by Bryan and Dodge. It's an acquired taste.
Tele-vee-Shun Tip of the Freberg Stan Freberg, Billy May and His Zarape Ballroom Orchestra Bandleader and arranger Billy May is probably best remembered now for the many tracks he recorded with Freberg, but in the '40s and '50s he was much in demand as both performer and arranger, working with a wide variety of big names in the music business, including Yma Sumac, Big Crosby and Frank Sinatra.. He died on 1/22/2004 at the age of 87. The specific program references in this mock-calypso1957 anti-TV song are pretty dated but the criticism of the medium is still spot on.
Hernando's Hideaway Mambo Fever Billy May and His Orchestra This track includes an example of the "slurping saxophone" sound May developed in the '50s. The song is from the 1954 Broadway hit The Pajama Game.
What Are You Guys Doing in My Car? How Can You be in Two Places at Once When You're Not Anywhere at All? The Firesign Theatre They're doing the fox trot, of course.
Nightmare The Great Band Era Artie Shaw and His Orchestra Clarinetist and bandleader Artie Shaw died on 12/30/2004 at the age of 94. His biggest hit was "Begin the Beguine" but this odd minor-key number (a Shaw composition) was the band's theme song.
Mysterioso Artie Shaw Featuring Roy Eldridge Artie Shaw and His Gramercy Five Here's another minor-key blues and another Shaw composition, recorded in 1945. The Gramercy Five were Roy Eldridge (trumpet), Dodo Marmarosa (piano), Barney Kessel (guitar), Morris Rayman (bass) and Lou Fromm (drums).
Philosophy 201 The Ten-Minute University John Moschitta How do we know that we know, ya know?
Classic Riddles (Pt. 1) The Best of the National Lampoon Radio Hour Ed Subitsky A break for some good taste from the guys at NatLamp.
Public Disservice Message: Care Packages to Europe The Best of the National Lampoon Radio Hour Stan Sawyer and Brain McConnachie
Classic Riddles (Pt. 2) The Best of the National Lampoon Radio Hour Ed Subitsky
Lonely Avenue Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood - Soundtrack Ray Charles This hit number 6 on the R&B charts in 1956. Ray Charles died on 6/10/2004 at 73.
What'd I Say? - Parts 1 and 2 Ray Charles: 1954 - 1966 Ray Charles This was number one on the R&B charts in 1959 and is still one of his biggest hits. It also showed up in the soundtrack of the 2002 film Showtime.
Busted Ray Charles: 1954 - 1966 Ray Charles This was number 3 on the R&B charts in 1963, and now seems very appropriate in light of the size of our budget and trade deficits.
Marijuana It Crawled Into My Hand, Honest The Fugs No big deal, just the word "marijuana" done as a Gregorian chant.
Let's Go Get Stoned Ray Charles: 1954 - 1966 Ray Charles This top ten item from 1966 sometimes seems like the only rational response to the current state of the nation.

Acronyms and other mysteries defined:

OC: Unless otherwise indicated, the Original Cast recording of a Broadway show, along with the date.

OS: Unless otherwise indicated, the Original Soundtrack recording of a film, TV show, etc.

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