NOTE: This is a sample of a "pre-production" script, to which Entertainment
Pages and affiliate mentions would be added just before taping.
Hello, everybody, and welcome to the Rockin' America Top 30 Countdown.
My name is Scott Shannon, and every week I count down the 30 hottest hits
in the USA--and we talk to the people responsible for those records, people
like the Monkees, Run-D.M.C., and Peter Cetera.
We'll check out the latest in rock & roll gossip and showbiz news
with the Rockin' America Entertainment Page, we'll check in with
my assistant pronounceticator Mr. Leonard, and we'll reach into the Rockin'
America Mailbag to find out what our listeners have to say.
We're on our way to counting down the 30 biggest hits in the USA all
the way to the #1 song of the week, but first let's look back on last week's
Top Ten hits on Rockin' America:
And at the top of last week's chart, the only woman to occupy the head
of the heap all by herself since the beginning of June! With last week's
#1 song on Rockin' America, here's Madonna and "Papa Don't Preach."
10 /Timex Social
MADONNA / Papa Don't Preach
That's Madonna and "Papa Don't Preach," the second single from the album
True Blue and the #1 song on last week's Rockin' America chart.
Now let's move on to this week's Rockin' America Top 30 Countdown.
You know, hearts have always been a pretty popular topic for songwriters.
We've seen songs come and go with titles like "Heartache," "Heartbeat,"
"Heart Attack," "Affair of the Heart," "Queen of Hearts"...and now we have
a new title and a new artist to add to that list. At number 30 this week
on Rockin' America, let's welcome Stacey Q and "Two of Hearts."
That's "Two of Hearts" by Stacey Q, brand-new to the Rockin' America
Countdown, coming in this week at #30.
I'm Scott Shannon, and we'll take you on tour with Genesis--right after
HOUR 1--Commercial Break #1
I'm Scott Shannon, Rockin' America from sea to shining sea with
the 30 hottest hits of the week. You are listening to this professional
radio broadcast via satellite from the Westwood One Radio Networks on technologically
superior radio stations like:
Thanks for joining Rockin' America. And now let us re-join our countdown,
already in progress, with the #29 song of the week--Kenny Loggins and "Danger
KENNY LOGGINS / Danger Zone
That's Kenny Loggins and "Danger Zone," from the movie Top Gun, falling
7 rungs on the Rockin' America Ladder to #29.
And now let's check out the Rockin' America Datebook. Genesis
kicks off a 9-month-long world tour on the 18th and 19th of September at
the Joe Louis Arena in Detroit...then they head up to Toronto on the 21st
for an appearance at the CNE...then it's down the New York State Thruway
to Madison Square Garden on the 29th, 30th, October 1st and 2nd...and on
the 5th & 6th of October you can catch them at the Rosemont Horizon
in Chicago. And you can catch Genesis right now at #28 with "Throwing It
GENESIS / Throwing It All Away
That's Genesis with "Throwing It All Away," entering the Rockin' America
chart this week at #28.
The Jackson men have been fairly quiet lately, but their sisters are
"doin' it for themselves." Eldest sister Rebbie's just released a new record
called "Reactions" (DROP), but it's still baby sister Janet in Control
with the third incredible single from that album. Coming on board this
week on Rockin' America at #27, here's Janet Jackson and "When I
Think Of You."
JANET JACKSON / When I Think Of You
"When I Think Of You." That's Miss Janet Jackson, debuting this week at
#27 on the Rockin' America Top 30 Countdown.
I'm Scott Shannon, and we'll be right back with ZZ Top's travelling
zoo, on Rockin' America.
HOUR 1--Commercial Break #2
I'm Scott Shannon, and this is Rockin' America.
When ZZ Top toured the country in 1976, their stage set included live
snakes, cattle, and buffalo. Now--ten years later--they're still touring
the country, but the only animal you'll be sure to find is one of the insect
variety. Up 4 points to #26 this week on Rockin' America, here's
ZZ Top and "Velcro Fly."
That's "that little ol' band from Texas," ZZ Top, and "Velcro Fly," the
fourth single from their triple-platinum album Afterburner, this
week's #26 song on the Rockin' America Top 30 Countdown.
Polish up your Canadian, we're taking off for the Great White North--next--on
HOUR 1--Commercial Break #3
I'm Scott Shannon, head hoser here on the official Rockin' America Top
Now let's head north of the border to the Toronto suburb of Newmarket,
home of a band called Glass Tiger. Now you may not have heard of these
people, but they move in some pretty heavy company. Check out the credits
on their album The Thin Red Line, and you'll find featured the familiar
names of Bryan Adams and Jim Vallance--and I know you've
heard of them. Brand-new at #25 this week, this is Glass Tiger and "Don't
Forget Me (When I'm Gone)."
GLASS TIGER / Don't Forget Me (When I'm Gone)
"Don't Forget Me (When I'm Gone)," from the Canadian quintet Glass Tiger,
a Rockin' America debut at #25.
And now let's move to the other end of Canada, to Vancouver. Lead guitarist
Paul Dean had been a veteran of 13 different bands when he formed Loverboy
with Mike Reno, Matt Frenette, Doug Johnson, and Scott Smith back in 1978.
Although they had a huge Canadian following, it wasn't until November of
1981 that they cracked the American Top 30 with "Workin' For The Weekend"
(DROP). They've since scored several American hits, and the most recent
one comes in at #24 this week on Rockin' America. Here's Loverboy,
and "Heaven In Your Eyes."
LOVERBOY / Heaven In Your Eyes
That's Loverboy and "Heaven In Your Eyes," up 5 notches to #24 in its second
week on the Rockin' America Countdown.
Billy Ocean's last album, Suddenly, spawned three Top 5 singles,
and one of them, "Caribbean Queen," went all the way to #1 (DROP). Billy's
already broken that record with his album Love Zone--the two singles
already released have both hit the top, and Billy's hoping the title track
will make it three in a row. Moving up three this week to #23, here's Billy
Ocean and "Love Zone."
That's the title track from Billy Ocean's latest LP Love Zone, in
at #23 this week on Rockin' America.
AND NOW LET'S CHECK OUT THE ROCKIN' AMERICA ENTERTAINMENT
I'm Scott Shannon. We'll be right back to rip up some musical myths
about the Monkees, next on Rockin' America.
HOUR 1--Commercial Break #4
I'm Scott Shannon, bringing you all the hits that fit on the Rockin'
America Top 30 Countdown.
While it's true that the Monkees had never played together as a group
before their TV series, all four original members had some
musical background. Davy Jones and Michael Nesmith had each recorded for
Colpix, Peter Tork had played with Stephen Stills in a folk trio called
the Buffalo Fish, and Micky Dolenz had done three singles on the Challenge
label--the best-known one was a song called "Don't Do It" (DROP). But was
it a success, Mick?
ACT: "Noooo...It went to...140 with an anchor."
The latest single to feature Micky's voice is doing a lot better than
that. Up 2 to #22, hey hey it's the Monkees, and "That Was Then, This Is
THE MONKEES / That Was Then, This Is Now
A mere 20 years after the release of their first single, #22 on this week's
Rockin' America chart, the Monkees and "That Was Then, This Is Now."
And speaking of long life on the charts, our next artist has been making
music in the public eye since he gave up grave-digging in 1963. Rod Stewart's
unique vocal style immediately attracted attention, but he didn't move
into the superstar ranks until his 1971 smash "Maggie May" (DROP). This
week Rod drops down to #21 with the theme from the movie Legal Eagles.
Here's Rod Stewart, and "Love Touch."
Rod Stewart with "Love Touch," down eight points to #21 on this week's
official Rockin' America survey.
AND NOW LET'S DIG INTO THE ROCKIN' AMERICA MAILBAG...
Dear Nut Hut...I listen to your show every weekend on 1240 KAMQ Carlsbad,
New Mexico. Who had the very first #1 song on the Rockin' America Countdown?
Thanks for a great show, Susana Cabrera, Carlsbad, New Mexico.
Okay, Susana, let's go all the way back to December, 1984, when Rockin'
America first attacked your airspace. The #1 record that week was Daryl
Hall & John Oates, and "Out of Touch."
I'm Scott Shannon. We'll find out what to expect from a gigolo's daughter--when
Rockin' America returns right after this.
1--Commercial Break #5
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I'm Scott Shannon, and you're listening to the 100% pure, no artificial
ingredients, Rockin' America Top 30 Countdown.
David Lee Roth is probably the last person on earth you'd
expect to be discussing kids, but we recently caught him talking about
what he'd expect from any daughter of his. Diamond Dave says [QUOTE] "I'll
expect her to fuss over the party shoes and make-up, and...at the same
time, she's going to learn karate...and to clean her bathroom, too. A woman
could do all these things...maybe even better than Daddy." Don't worry,
girls--he's speaking hypothetically. Right now the only thing Dave's tied
to is the #20 spot on Rockin' America with "Yankee Rose."
DAVID LEE ROTH / Yankee Rose
That's David Lee Roth and "Yankee Rose," up 3 notches to #20 on this week's
Rockin' America Hit List.
Peter Gabriel traces his rock & roll roots back to one fateful
fall day in 1963. He was daydreaming in the back of his parents' car, when
on the radio for the first time, he heard the Beatles sing "Please Please
Me" (DROP). After that revelation, in short order, young Peter taught himself
every Beatles song in existence on piano, and formed a band with some schoolmates
that eventually became Genesis. And now Peter's at #19 this week on Rockin'
America with his former #1 hit "Sledgehammer."
PETER GABRIEL / Sledgehammer
That's Peter Gabriel and "Sledgehammer," sliding down 8 spots this week
to #19 on Rockin' America.
And now it's time for the Chartbuster of the Week. Run-D.M.C.
was recently named the first rap group ever to boast a platinum album,
but Darryl, Joseph, and Jay don't like to apply labels to their brand of
Moving up a solid ten points from #28 to #18, here's Run-D.M.C. and
"Walk This Way."
RUN-D.M.C. / Walk This Way
Fresh from the streets of New York City's borough of Queens, that's Run-D.M.C.
at #18 with our Rockin' America Chartbuster of the Week, "Walk This
Coming up: a guy who'll sing with anyone and a musical question, next
on Rockin' America.
HOUR 2--Commercial Break #1
I'm Scott Shannon, your host on this guided tour of the Top 30 hits all
Anyone who's ever seen Hall & Oates in concert knows that Daryl
Hall just loves to sing, and he'll sing with just about anyone. As a teenager
he did backup vocals for many of the leading Philadelphia soul groups of
the '60's...he shared a stage with Billy Joel and Bonnie Raitt at last
year's Farm Aid bash, and he's even duetted with the likes of Elvis Costello
on "The Only Flame in Town" (DROP). On his new album Three Hearts in
the Happy Ending Machine, Daryl vocalizes with Bob Geldof, Joni Mitchell,
and the Dream Academy's Kate St. John. And leaping 8 points to #17 on this
week's Rockin' America survey is the first single from that album,
That's Daryl Hall and "Dreamtime," coming in at #17 this week on Rockin'
Sometimes a popular song will add a whole new phrase to the American
vocabulary. (DROP: "Hamala baybala zeebala boobala...") Or even something
like (DROP: "Oo-ee-oo-ah-ah, ting-tang, walla-walla-bing-bang). So here
at Rockin' America, we were not at all surprised to encounter a
bumper-sticker asking that musical question, "Can you woo-woo-woo?" Woo-woo
expert Jeffrey Osborne slides back one step to #16 with "You Should Be
Mine (The Woo-Woo Song)."
JEFFREY OSBORNE / You Should Be Mine (The
Woo-woo-ing his way to #16 this week on Rockin' America, that's
Jeffrey Osborne and "You Should Be Mine."
AND NOW LET'S TURN TO THE ROCKIN' AMERICA ENTERTAINMENT PAGE:
And on this week's Rockin' America Birthday List:
I'm Scott Shannon. We'll be right back to tell you all about a very
unique receptionist, next on Rockin' America.
HOUR 2--Commercial Break #2
I'm Scott Shannon, and this is Rockin' America.
Last week we told you about Steve Bray, producer and co-writer of Regina's
hit "Baby Love." Well, the other half of that writing team turns out to
be a lady named Mary Kessler--who, when she's not penning pop hits, works
as the receptionist at Unique Recording Studios in New York City. This
week, that Bray & Kessler composition moves up 5 points to #15--here's
Regina and "Baby Love."
That's Regina and the #15 song of the week, "Baby Love," from her debut
album on Atlantic Records.
Don't go away--we'll explore the soda/pop connection, next on Rockin'
HOUR 2--Commercial Break #3
I'm Scott Shannon, Rockin' America from Lodi, New Jersey to Lodi,
California--and all the places in between, with the 30 top hits in the
USA. We're heard on the air everywhere via satellite from the Westwood
One Radio Networks on incomparable radio stations like:
Thanks for joining Rockin' America.
Following in the footsteps of Michael Jackson, Lionel Richie, and Glenn
Frey, Miami Sound Machine recently signed a long-term contract with Pepsi-Cola.
And they also sign in with the #14 song of the week on Rockin' America.
Here's Miami Sound Machine, and "Words Get In The Way."
MIAMI SOUND MACHINE / Words Get In The Way
Miami Sound Machine gains 3 this week on Rockin' America, coming
in at #14 with "Words Get In The Way"--their third hit single from the
album Primitive Love.
Carl Anderson may be Gloria Loring's current musical
partner, but at one point that honor belonged to her ex-husband Alan Thicke.
Their musical partnership broke up before their marital one did, and these
days you'll find Alan on the ABC-TV sitcom Growing Pains--and you'll
find Gloria and Carl at #13 on the Rockin' America Countdown with
"Friends and Lovers."
CARL ANDERSON & GLORIA LORING / Friends
Stepping up five spots to #13 this week, that's Carl Anderson & Gloria
Loring with "Friends and Lovers."
AND NOW LET'S CHECK OUT THE ROCKIN' AMERICA MAILBAG:
Dear Rockin' America and the Nut Hut...I listen to you every week on
WBJW-FM, 105.1 in Orlando, and I would like to know where I can write to
the Jets. Are they really from the island of Tonga? Sincerely, Carl D.
Keil, St. Cloud, Florida.
Well, Carl--technically speaking, the Jets are not from Tonga, since
the 8 Wolfgramm kids in the group were all born after their parents moved
from Tonga to the United States. Let's say they're of Tongan descent. And
you can write to them at "The Jets Club," P.O. Box 290222, Minneapolis,
I'm Scott Shannon, and we'll be right back with a guy who thinks big,
and a new single from a group that doesn't exist--next on Rockin' America.
HOUR 2--Commercial Break #4
I'm Scott Shannon, with all the hits to set your feet flappin' and your
boombox blazin' on the Rockin' America Top 30 Countdown.
Jermaine Stewart has some lofty aspirations. He says that within the
next five years, he hopes to have a couple of solid film roles under his
belt, and he'd like to have the versatility to play pushers as well as
priests. But for now he's content to claim the #12 spot on the Rockin'
America chart with "We Don't Have to Take Our Clothes Off."
JERMAINE STEWART / We Don't Have to Take Our
That's Jermaine Stewart and "We Don't Have To Take Our Clothes Off," down
four from #8 to #12 on Rockin' America.
Even though Wham! doesn't officially exist anymore, it looks like there
will be another Wham! record. George Michael recently went
into the studio to re-mix another song from the Final Vinyl compilation
for release in the US as a single. This one's called "Battlestations" (DROP).
Meanwhile, Wham!'s next-to-last single checks in this week at #11, down
2 notches from last week's #9. This is "The Edge of Heaven."
WHAM! / The Edge of Heaven
That's George Michael and Andrew Ridgely, better known as Wham!, with "The
Edge of Heaven," at #11 on the official Rockin' America Top 30.
AND NOW IT'S TIME FOR A ROCKIN' AMERICA EXTRA. Cyndi
Lauper first drew our notice in December of 1983 with her colorful clothing,
her perky personality, and her outrageous interpretation of Robert Hazard's
"Girls Just Want to Have Fun" (DROP). But the sheer beauty of her follow-up
single "Time After Time"--a song she wrote with Rob Hyman of the Hooters--made
us realize there was a lot more to Cyndi than a ditsy doll with rainbow
hair and a squeaky voice. Two more Top-Ten singles from her debut album
She's So Unusual and a long gap between recordings have made the
upcoming Lauper LP one of the most eagerly-awaited records in rock &
roll history. Ladies and gentlemen, here's the title track from that album--Cyndi
Lauper and "True Colors."
CYNDI LAUPER / True Colors
That's Cyndi Lauper with "True Colors," from the soon-to-be-released album
of the same name--this week's Rockin' America Extra.
Coming up next: a new single with an old flip side, when the Rockin'
America Countdown continues.
HOUR 2--Commercial Break #5
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I'm Scott Shannon, Rockin' America, Europe, Asia, and certain
selected islands in the South Pacific with the most popular songs of the
week. This radio program comes to you via satellite from the Westwood One
Radio Networks on colossal radio stations like:
Thanks for joining Rockin' America.
And it's time to break into the official Top Ten--here's Michael McDonald
and "Sweet Freedom."
MICHAEL McDONALD / Sweet Freedom
That's former Doobie Brother Michael McDonald and "Sweet Freedom," up 2
points to #10 this week on Rockin' America.
When Huey Lewis and the News decided to release the first single from
their album Fore!, they had no trouble picking "Stuck With You."
But they must have had a hard time reaching a decision on the flip side,
because they ended up going all the way back to their 1980 debut album
to find "Don't Ever Tell Me That You Love Me" (DROP). The A-side of that
45 jumps up 5 notches this week to #9. Huey Lewis & the News, and "Stuck
HUEY LEWIS & THE NEWS / Stuck With You
That's "Stuck With You," by Huey Lewis & the News, this week's Rockin'
The Timex Social Club story began when the group Con Funk Shun turned
down the chance to record a new song written by a group of guys from Sacramento.
Producer Jay King talked the composers into recording it themselves on
his own label. So they laid down the tracks, took the name Timex Social
Club, and now they have the #8 record this week on Rockin' America.
This is "Rumors."
TIMEX SOCIAL CLUB / Rumors
That's the Timex Social Club and "Rumors," moving from #10 to #8 this week
on the Rockin' America Countdown.
AND NOW LET'S CHECK OUT THE ROCKIN' AMERICA ENTERTAINMENT
I'm Scott Shannon. Coming up next, we'll talk about Belinda Carlisle's
favorite farmyard friends. Don't go away!
HOUR 3--Commercial Break #1
I'm Scott Shannon, and you're listening to the all-purpose, industrial-strength
Rockin' America Countdown.
Especially with a successful solo career and a gorgeous new figure,
you'd think Belinda Carlisle would want to do something glamourous with
her spare time. But the former Go-Go girl recently went on national TV
and told the world that she really wanted to raise piglets. As in little
baby piggies. To each her own, I guess. Belinda's at #7 this week with
her first solo single, "Mad About You."
BELINDA CARLISLE / Mad About You
Belinda Carlisle and "Mad About You," slipping back 3 to #7 on Rockin'
Up 'til now, Peter Cetera's been pretty happy making music his livelihood.
But he's ready to make the move from vinyl to videotape, and he told us
all about it.
Peter Cetera's former chart-topper drops 4 points to #6 this week--here's
"The Glory of Love."
PETER CETERA / The Glory of Love
That's "The Glory of Love" by Peter Cetera, Rockin' America this
week at #6.
AND NOW LET'S TAKE A LOOK AT THE ROCKIN' AMERICA MAILBAG:
Dear Mr. Shannon...I think your radio programme is the greatest on
Earth, and I listen to it on Radio 95 in Trinidad. Can you please tell
me the birth date of that foxy dude from Tears for Fears, Roland Orzabal?
I don't even need the t-shirt, I just want the answer. Thanks so much,
Shawn Taylor, Curepe, Trinidad.
Tell you what, Shawn--you get the answer and the t-shirt.
Your foxy dude Roland was born on the 22nd of August, 1961. And your official
Rockin' America good-lookin' tight-fittin' t-shirt is on its way.
I'm Scott Shannon, and I'm gonna give away Lionel Richie's secret--next
on Rockin' America.
HOUR 3--Commercial Break #2
I'm Scott Shannon, and this is Rockin' America.
If you've had a chance to see Lionel Richie's latest video, you saw
him "Dancing On The Ceiling," just like Fred Astaire did in the movie Royal
Wedding. Now here's how he did it--everything on the set is bolted
down. Then they rotate the set while Lionel and the camera stay still,
so it looks like he's walking on the walls and boogie-ing
on the beams. Pretty sneaky, huh? Lionel Richie sneaks into the Top 5 this
week with "Dancing on the Ceiling."
LIONEL RICHIE / Dancing on the Ceiling
Lionel Richie and "Dancing on the Ceiling," the #5 song of the week on
the Rockin' America Countdown.
Up next on Rockin' America--Bananarama has something to "shout"
about, and the organ wizard meets the piano man.
HOUR 3--Commercial Break #3
I'm Scott Shannon, and your dial is locked in on the Rockin' America
Top 30 Countdown.
You know, Top Gun isn't only the biggest movie so far this year,
it's also the biggest soundtrack. In this countdown alone
we've already heard Kenny Loggins & "Danger Zone" at #29, Loverboy's
"Heaven In Your Eyes" at #24, and now it's time for a third single from
that album. At #4 this week on Rockin' America, this is Berlin and
"Take My Breath Away."
BERLIN / Take My Breath Away
From the Top Gun soundtrack album, that's Berlin and "Take My Breath
Away," up 3 spots to #4 this week on Rockin' America.
Bananarama's only released one cut from their current album True
Confessions, and already they're making plans for their next LP. Banana-rocker
Sarah Dallin says the trio will be working with Tears for Fears on their
next project, because they think Roland and Curt are brilliant writers--especially
on songs like "Shout" (DROP). Bananarama moves two steps closer to the
top to #3 this week with "Venus."
That's Bananarama and "Venus," Rockin' America's #3 song of the
When Billy Joel and his band set out to record his new album The
Bridge, the piano man thought that one of the tracks, "Getting Closer,"
was just screaming for one of those patented Stevie Winwood organ solos
(DROP). So after trying several times to play it himself, Billy figured
"what the heck, it couldn't hurt to ask"--and so those are indeed the magic
fingers of Steve Winwood you heard in that musical snippet. You'll also
hear Stevie's magic vocal cords in this week's #2 song--this is "Higher
STEVE WINWOOD / Higher Love
Birmingham-born Stevie Winwood and "Higher Love," inching up one slot to
#2 this week on the Rockin' America Top 30 Countdown.
I'm Scott Shannon, and I'll be right back with the #1 song of the week,
when Rockin' America returns.
HOUR 3--Commercial Break #4
I'm Scott Shannon, this is the Rockin' America Top 30 Countdown,
and now here's the moment we've all been waiting for. This lady is no stranger
to the top of the Rockin' America chart--in fact, this is her fifth
record to occupy that particular position. Holding steady at #1 for the
second consecutive week, here's Madonna and "Papa Don't Preach."
MADONNA / Papa Don't Preach
That's Madonna, and "Papa Don't Preach," the most popular song in the USA
and the #1 song of the week once again on Rockin' America. That
about wraps it up for this week's Rockin' America Countdown. I'm
Scott Shannon. Thanks for listening. See you next week--same time, same
station. The official Rockin' America Top 30 is compiled from record
sales and radio airplay across the USA to count down the 30 hottest hits
in the nation for the week ending August 29th, 1986. Rockin' America
is a presentation of the Westwood One Radio Networks, in association with
Malrite Creative Services. Produced in New York by Scott Shannon, J.R.
Nelson, and the Nut Hut. Written by Anita Bonita. Produced in Los Angeles
by Susanella Rogers. Production and engineering by Ron Harris. The Nut
Hut is J.R. Nelson, Jack Murphy, Mr. Leonard, John Rio, and Anita Bonita.
Associate producer: Steve Longo. Rockin' America is produced for
the Westwood One Radio Networks. Executive producer: Norm Pattiz. Be sure
to join us again next week to hear the 30 most popular songs in the nation
on the Rockin' America Top 30 Countdown. But for now...BYE,
"Music is a world within itself; it's a language we all understand..."
And no one understood that better than the man for whom Stevie Wonder wrote
those very words in 1976. From the coy playfulness of "It Don't Mean A
Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing)" to the suave sophistication of "Satin
Doll," Edward Kennedy Ellington was the epitome of elegance.
During the next three hours, we'll take a look at the life and music
of the man they called "The Duke." We'll also hear from some of the many
gifted musicians, lyricists, and composers with whom Duke made some of
his most memorable music--people like Billy Strayhorn, Al Hibbler, Cootie
Williams, Johnny Hodges, Juan Tizol, and Ben Webster--and we'll share with
you a special conversation between WNEW's own William B. Williams and Mercer
Ellington--the talented composer and bandleader in his own right who has
devoted his career to carrying on the tradition his father started.
We'll be back with Duke Ellington & Friends: "Love You Madly,"
right after this message from Prudential-Bache Securities...rock-solid,
COMMERCIAL BREAK #1
Edward Kennedy Ellington was born on April 29th, 1899 in Washington, DC--a
time and place in which Victorian manners and mores mingled freely with
the black middle class's determination to make something of themselves.
He was the son of James Edward Ellington, major domo to a wealthy Washington
family, and the former Daisy Kennedy, daughter of a police captain. Although
they were not financially well-off, his parents believed strongly that
only the best was good enough for their family--and so young Edward grew
up more happily than most, with the self-assurance and sense of specialness
that comes from being--for all practical purposes, since his sister Ruth
was born as he stood on the threshhold of adulthood--the only child of
a very doting mother.
From this, it is not difficult to see how he acquired the nickname
of "Duke" at a very early age. In fact, as a child, he would even make
his cousins bow and curtsy to him as he stood atop the steps to his house,
saying, "I am the grand, noble Duke; crowds will be running to me."
As it turns out, he was correct--although it would be quite a few years
before those crowds would come running. Like most children of the Victorian
era, young Duke was encouraged to explore all the arts, and he took piano
lessons from a local teacher with the unlikely name of Marietta Clinkscales...but
this was only for a few months.
His real interest in music was awakened when he was about fourteen,
after having seen a pianist named Harvey Brooks perform in Philadelphia.
Shortly after that, he began to "fool around" on the piano, and wrote his
first two compositions: "Soda Fountain Rag" and "What You Gonna Do When
The Bed Breaks Down?"
He began to play at neighbourhood parties and dances, and apprenticed
himself to some local musicians to learn more about chord structure and
harmony. He had not, however, decided at this point to commit himself to
pursuing music as a career. He had been studying commercial art at Armstrong
Technical High School, and even won an NAACP poster contest in his senior
year. The prize for this was a scholarship to the prestigious Pratt Institute.
We do not know how seriously Duke considered this, because a few other
events intervened. First, he failed to graduate from high school, having
come within one French course of completing his studies. Secondly, he became
involved with a young woman named Edna Thompson. Duke and Edna married
on July 2, 1918--and their son Mercer was born the following March.
In the early 1920's, Duke had begun to put together the nucleus of
what was to become the first Duke Ellington orchestra...players like saxophonist
Otto "Toby" Hardwick, trumpeter Arthur Whetsol, and drummer Sonny Greer.
By 1923, the various band members found themselves in New York City,
primarily in Harlem, determined to make it their own. Known as the Washingtonians,
they would spend the next few years refining their style while Duke--realising
that publishing was where the money was--began to write songs.
An early Ellington milestone came up on September 1st, 1923--the day
that trumpeter Bubber Miley joined the band.
[WBW/Mercer clip #2 on the original
Bubber would turn out to be the ingredient that provided the Duke Ellington
Orchestra with their first big hit--"East St. Louis Toodle-Oo."
EAST ST LOUIS TOODLE-OO
By this time, some additional players had joined the group: banjo player
Freddy Guy [who would stay with the band for nearly 25 years], Wellman
Braud [who would be their bassist from 1927 to 1935], trombonist
Joe Nanton--better known as "Tricky Sam" [whose tenure lasted until he
was sidelined by a stroke in 1945], and saxman Harry Carney, who would
be a cornerstone of the Duke Ellington Orchestra for the next 47 years,
until the passing of Duke himself.
3:13--BBC CD (3-4-30 VERSION)
1927 also saw the beginning of the band's engagement at the Cotton Club,
a gig that would bring them widespread attention and acclaim. In their
five years there, the group would undergo some additional personnel changes--the
most important of which brought clarinetist Barney Bigard, saxophonist
Johnny Hodges, and trombonist Juan Tizol--and saw Cootie Williams replace
Bubber Miley as the #1 man on trumpet.
Bubber had always been one of Ellington's "bad boys," and the final
straw leading to his departure was his failure to turn up for an important
recording session for this piece, "Black & Tan Fantasy."
BLACK & TAN FANTASY
That was the third version of "Black & Tan Fantasy" recorded by the
Ellington Orchestra, featuring Tricky Sam's last extended solo on disc
with the Orchestra. The second theme, originally assigned to Toby Hardwick,
is played here by Harry Carney.
2:49--BBB CD (5-1-45 version)
The last major piece of the band's "early years" was one that Ellington's
biographer James Lincoln Collier termed "a wholly satisfying piece of music."
Developed out of King Oliver's "Camp Meeting Blues," "Creole Love Call"
is a study in contrasting textures. This version was recorded in 1932,
attributed to "Duke Ellington & His Famous Orchestra."
CREOLE LOVE CALL
These three pieces, "East St Louis Toodle-oo," "Black & Tan Fantasy"
and "Creole Love Call," clearly demonstrate that the Duke Ellington Orchestra
was well on its way.
4:08 BBC CD [11-2-32]
We'll take a look at the next phase in the history of the band, starting
with "Mood Indigo," right after this word from Prudential-Bache Securities...rock-solid,
COMMERCIAL BREAK #2
Of all the many compositions associated with Duke Ellington and his Orchestras,
the quintessential "blue mood" piece would have to be the one Collier described
as "shifting slowly, with the stealth of a sunset." This is "Mood Indigo."
Originally cut in December, 1930, that was the 1945 version of "Mood Indigo,"
featuring vocalist Kay Davis and Al Sears on tenor sax. Interestingly enough,
who actually composed the piece is still debated. Barney Bigard always
claimed that he'd written most of it and even successfully sued Ellington
to have his name put on it. There's even talk that it was directly lifted
from the A.J. Piron Orchestra's "Dreamy Blues." Whatever the case, it remains
among the most important portions of the Ellington canon.
2:47--BBB CD [5-1-45 version]
This period was a very productive one for Duke and the Orchestra, giving
us some of what remain even today as his best-known songs, like this one
derived from a Cootie Williams catchphrase..."It Don't Mean A Thing (If
It Ain't Got That Swing)."
IT DON'T MEAN A THING
Vocalists Marie Ellington, Joya Sherrill, and Kay Davis, and some self-described
"rooty-tootin'" by Al Sears on a 1945 version of "It Don't Mean A Thing
(If It Ain't Got That Swing)."
2:59--BBB CD [5-14-45]
By this time, Ellington had established an unorthodox--but effective--means
of composition. In this conversation with William B. Williams, Mercer Ellington
talks about how his father applied this method to two enduring standards.
[WBW/Mercer clip #5--"Sophisticated
Lady," "Sentimental Mood"]
The 1945 editions of two Ellington classics from the early '30's, "Sophisticated
Lady" and "In A Sentimental Mood."
IN A SENTIMENTAL MOOD
In the summer of 1933, the Duke Ellington Orchestra crossed the Atlantic
for a British tour. To his astonishment, Ellington found that in Europe
he was not regarded as merely a successful bandleader--but as a major American
composer. Duke later claimed that the trip "got him out of a bad groove,"
and once again began composing in earnest.
The advent of the Benny Goodman band and the Swing Era saw many popular
orchestras go under...but the Duke Ellington Orchestra, possessed of a
wonderfully rich tonal palette, managed to weather the storm with compositions
such as "Caravan," "I Let A Song Go Out of My Heart," and "Prelude to a
Three late '30's classics in their 1945 incarnations: the exotic sound
of "Caravan," with Duke's piano as part of the rhythm section ..."I Let
A Song Go Out of My Heart," featuring a Harry Carney bass clarinet introduction
to Joya Sherrill's vocal...and "Prelude to a Kiss," perfectly demonstrating
the innovative Ellington piano style that so influenced the talented Thelonious
2:47--BBB cd [5-1-45]
I LET A SONG GO OUT OF MY HEART
3:04--BBB cd [5-15-45]
PRELUDE TO A KISS
3:01--BBB cd [5-10-45]
We'll return with the Fabulous Forties...after this message from Prudential-Bache
Securities...rock solid, market wise.
COMMERCIAL BREAK #3
The early 1940's saw the high point of the career of the many different
editions of the Duke Ellington Orchestra. The variety of compositional
approaches and musical styles is nothing short of astonishing, from the
monochromatic intensity of "Ko-Ko" through the straightforward romp of
Two recordings from the Spring of 1940, "Ko-Ko"--which Ellington claimed
was to have been part of an opera based on the history of blacks in America--and
"Cotton Tail," a bouncy bop on the chords of Gershwin's "I Got Rhythm,"
featuring perhaps the most celebrated tenor sax solo ever, performed by
2:39--RCA Piano Box [3-6-40]
3:08--RCA Piano Box [5-4-40]
The incredible productivity that characterised early 1940 continued
into the summer, with pieces like July's "Harlem Air Shaft" and early September's
"In A Mellotone."
HARLEM AIR SHAFT
Ellington's classic tone poem "Harlem Airshaft," and "In a Mellotone,"
based on the chord progression of Art Hickman's 1919 work "Rose Room."
In addition to the carried-over chord structure, the end of Cootie Williams'
trumpet solo quotes directly from a piece the group had recorded just four
months before, called "Never No Lament," which later added a vocal to become
"Don't Get Around Much Anymore."
2:57--RCA Piano box set [7-22-40]
IN A MELLOTONE
3:19--RCA Piano box set [9-5-40]
NEVER NO LAMENT
Adding lyrics to an instrumental hit was nothing new to the Ellington portfolio,
as Mercer Ellington explains in his conversation with William B. Williams:
3:15--RCA Piano Box set [5-4-40]
DON'T GET AROUND MUCH ANYMORE
[WBW/ Mercer clip 9--"Do Nothin'"/"Concerto
for Cootie"/"I'm Just A" ...]
A couple of Al Hibbler vocals, on "I'm Just A Lucky So & So" and "Do
Nothin' 'Til You Hear From Me," and the piece on which the latter was based,
"Concerto for Cootie," featuring the inimitable Cootie Williams.
CONCERTO FOR COOTIE
3:19--RCA Piano Box set [3-15-40]
DO NOTHIN' 'TIL YOU HEAR FROM ME
I'M JUST A LUCKY SO & SO
3:11--BBB cd [11-24-45]
Cootie's departure from the band in early November of 1940 was the
first event of three that would cause a radical shift in the group's modus
operandi. The second was the royalty dispute between ASCAP and the
National Association of Broadcasters. This meant that in order to have
his orchestra played on the radio, Ellington had to produce new non-ASCAP
music. The quantity of material needed forced him to turn to additional
composers, such as his son Mercer and trombonist Juan Tizol, frequently
Duke's copyist and the man responsible for the irrepressible "Perdido."
Juan Tizol's "Perdido," featuring some "stretchin' out" by Ben Webster
and Ray Nance, who filled the hole left by Cootie's departure.
3:08--RCA Piano box set [1-21-42]
The third event in that time period to affect the band's output was
Duke's involvement with the "revu-sical" Jump for Joy, which opened
in Los Angeles during the summer of 1941. The revue--a musical with a message--showcased
an all-black cast, as well as the Ellington Orchestra and vocalists Ivie
Anderson and Herb Jeffries, the latter also known as "The Bronze Buckaroo."
According to Ellington himself in his autobiography Music Is My Mistress,
the show's aim was to "take Uncle Tom out of the theatre, eliminate the
stereotyped image that had been exploited by Hollywood and Broadway, and
say things that would make the audience think."
Ellington wrote much of the music for the revue, and recorded six of
the songs while he and the group were in Hollywood. Among them were the
title track and the classic "I Got It Bad (And That Ain't Good)."
JUMP FOR JOY
"Jump for Joy" and "I Got It Bad [And That Ain't Good]," from the 1941
Hollywood "re-vusical" Jump for Joy, starring the Duke Ellington
2:50--RCA Piano Box [7-2-41]
I GOT IT BAD [AND THAT AIN'T GOOD]
3:17--RCA Piano Box [6-26-41]
We'll move ahead to an ambitious attempt at broadening the scope of
modern jazz...right after this message from Prudential-Bache Securities...rock-solid,
COMMERCIAL BREAK #4
After Jump for Joy, Duke Ellington's next major project was considered
"a culmination of all his previous efforts to expand the scope of jazz
composition." The piece was called "Black, Brown, and Beige," a work 57
minutes long that was, as Ellington wrote in Music Is My Mistress,
"planned as a tone parallel to the history of the American Negro."
"BB&B," as it became known, premiered at Carnegie Hall on
January 23, 1943. The composition was well-received by the overflowing
audience and even by the music and entertainment magazines of the day [such
as Down Beat, Metronome, Variety, and Billboard]--but
was panned considerably by the following morning's New York newspapers.
By the end of the year, it was withdrawn from the band's concert repertoire.
However, Duke eventually decided that the piece deserved a properly recorded
version. He pared it down to 18 minutes' worth of music, and began recording
the truncated version on December 11, 1944.
Although as a whole the composition was extremely unfocused, it did
provide four-and-a-half minutes as close to sheer perfection as anything
ever attempted by the Duke Ellington Orchestras--the section from the "Black"
movement called "Come Sunday."
"Come Sunday," from "Black, Brown, and Beige"--with the incomparable Johnny
Hodges on tenor sax. The beauty of the melody itself is well-illustrated
on this vocal version by Joe Williams:
4:29--BBB CD [12-12-44]
Joe Williams with the Thad Jones Orchestra.
3:11--cart--Joe Williams with the Thad Jones Orchestra
We'll return with more of Duke Ellington & Friends: "Love You
Madly," following this word from Prudential-Bache Securities...rock-solid,
COMMERCIAL BREAK #5
The middle to late 1940's saw the departure of several other stalwarts
of the Duke Ellington Orchestra. As we mentioned previously, the first
to go was Cootie Williams in November of 1940. He was gradually followed
by bassist Junior Blanton, who left due to tuberculosis in 1941, and passed
away in July, 1942...by Barney Bigard, whose stay with the band ended in
June, 1942...by Ben Webster in 1943...by Juan Tizol in 1944...and by Toby
Hardwick in 1946. Tricky Sam Nanton had left the band a year before due
to a stroke, but was just about to return when he was felled in his sleep
by a fatal hemorrhage on July 21, 1946. The last couple of sessions before
his death, held on July 9th, gave us "Just Squeeze Me."
JUST SQUEEZE ME
Ray Nance sings "Just Squeeze Me," the vocal version of "Subtle Slough"
from Jump for Joy--with Johnny Hodges caressing the melody across
If all these subtractions affected the band, there were a few additions
to offset them. One of these was a pretty teenage vocalist from Detroit
named Joya Sherrill, whose voice you've heard on a few of the selections
earlier in this program. It's also heard to good advantage on this 1944
recording of a musical collaboration between Duke Ellington, Johnny Hodges,
and Harry James--"I'm Beginning to See The Light."
I'M BEGINNING TO SEE THE LIGHT
Some unison playing by Hodges and Brown, a couple of solos by Ellington
and bassist Junior Raglin, and a Joya Sherrill vocal, on "I'm Beginning
to See The Light."
3:11--BBB CD [12-1-44]
By the mid-1940's, the band was in turmoil. In fact, between 1942 and
1949, Ellington recorded with 15 different trumpet players! It was safe
to say that at that point, "Things Ain't What They Used to Be."
THINGS AIN'T WHAT THEY USED TO BE
Written by Mercer Ellington and for many years the band's closing theme,
that was the 1945 recording of "Things Ain't What They Used To Be."
3:06--BBB CD [10-8-45]
According to the Collier biography of Duke, "over the ten years from
1946, when the Duke Ellington orchestra swept the Down Beat polls,
to the Newport Festival of 1956, its reputation gradually but steadily
declined both with the general public and with the ardent jazz fans." By
1950, bebop was established as the new direction jazz was to take, and
the glory days for the Duke Ellington Orchestra were coming to a close.
However, 1950 also brought what was to become the band's salvation:
tenor saxophonist Paul Gonsalves. In short, Gonsalves was a character.
Here, Mercer Ellington shares with us his father's thoughts on the topic:
[Harlan/Mercer 5:30 in..."the slow
boat to China."]
Technically speaking, Gonsalves was not one of the great saxophonists in
jazz--but at the 1956 Newport Jazz Festival, he provided the Duke Ellington
Orchestra with one of the most incredible performances ever caught on vinyl,
tape, or CD. Amazingly enough, according to one source, Gonsalves was not
sure of what he was supposed to be doing on his solo--so Ellington reportedly
told him, "Just get out there and blow your tail off."
And so he did. George Avakian, who recorded the concert for Columbia,
commented, "Halfway through Paul's solo, [the audience] had become an enormous
single, living organism, reacting in waves like huge ripples to the music
played before it."
Ladies and gentlemen, recorded live at Newport on July 7th, 1956, the
Duke Ellington Orchestra featuring Paul Gonsalves on tenor, and "Diminuendo
and Crescendo in Blue."
DIMINUENDO & CRESCENDO IN BLUE
"Diminuendo & Crescendo in Blue," recorded live at the 1956 Newport
Jazz Festival. Over thirty years later, it remains as spine-tingling as
it was that hot July night.
14:37--Ellington at Newport CD
We'll be back with Duke's later works, when Duke Ellington &
Friends: "Love You Madly" continues, right after this from Prudential-Bache
COMMERCIAL BREAK #6
After the Ellington Orchestra's great success at Newport, a new spirit
seemed to infuse the band. In fact, some of the prodigal sons made returns,
if only for a short while. Hodges came back in 1955, Tizol and Brown returned
in 1960, and even Cootie Williams made a comeback in the mid-'60's.
But for the most part, after Newport, Ellington's main focus was concert
pieces. 1957 saw the composition of "A Drum Is A Woman," recently revived
by Mercer Ellington...and other pieces of that era include "Such Sweet
Thunder," written for the Shakespeare Festival in Stratford, Ontario..."Suite
Thursday," for the 1960 Monterey Jazz Festival..."The Far East Suite,"
written in 1966 following his tours of Japan a few years before...and his
series of "Sacred Concerts," beginning with the first one's premiere in
San Francisco on September 16, 1965.
In his later years, Ellington also composed the scores for quite a
few films, including 1959's Anatomy of a Murder [a triple Grammy
winner that year] and 1961's Paris Blues--performed here by Steve
Lacy and the late Gil Evans.
Recorded in December of 1987, one of the last recordings he made before
his passing, that's the late Gil Evans with Steve Lacy, and their version
of Ellington's "Paris Blues."
5:17--Steve Lacy/Gil Evans "Paris Blues" CD
In the past few hours, we've gone through most of the life and works
of Duke Ellington...but one name most inextricably linked with his has
been conspicuous in its absence. Of course, we're talking about Billy Strayhorn.
Billy Strayhorn--assistant arranger-composer-lyricist-and sometimes
pianist, who joined the band in 1939--enjoyed a very complex relationship
with both Ellingtons--Duke and Mercer, as Mercer told William B. Williams.
[WBW Clip #6, about 1:30 into clip,
As Duke himself put it, "He was not, as he was often referred to by many,
my alter ego. Billy Strayhorn was my right arm, my left arm, all the eyes
in the back of my head, my brainwaves in his head, and his in mine."
The combination of Strayhorn and Ellington provided us with some of
the most memorable compositions in the history of recorded music, including
three that would be classics in any era: "Lush Life," "Satin Doll," and
"Take the 'A' Train."
Three classic collaborations by the nonpareil partnership of William Strayhorn
and Edward Kennedy Ellington.
TAKE THE A TRAIN--Digital Duke
We'll be right back with some closing thoughts, after this message
from Prudential-Bache Securities--rock solid, market-wise.
COMMERCIAL BREAK #7
Edward Kennedy Ellington--the Duke--died of pneumonia on May 24, 1974,
at the age of 75. He left a legacy of over 1500 compositions, countless
fine recordings, and friends and admirers all over the world. We asked
his son Mercer how he thought his father would want to be remembered.
[Harlan/Mercer clip, 8:30 into interview]
We leave you now with Duke's customary exit line, and Rosemary Clooney's
recording of his 1939 composition "I'm Checking Out--Goombye." Thank you
for joining us.
DUKE--"I Love You Madly"
Duke Ellington & Friends: "Love You Madly," part of the LEGENDS
series, is a presentation of AM 1130, WNEW, New York. Produced, directed,
and narrated by Quincy McCoy and Jim Harlan. Written and researched by
Anita Bonita. Music coordination by Tom Tracy and Lenny Triola. Special
thanks to Mercer Ellington, James Lincoln Collier, Tony Monte, Ray Newton
at RCA Records, and the artists and record companies whose recordings are
featured in this program.
I'M CHECKING OUT--GOOMBYE
3:47--Rosie Clooney--on cart
Duke Ellington & Friends: "Love You Madly." A Pride of New
York Production, exclusively for Metropolitan Broadcasting Corporation
and AM 1130, WNEW.
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