5

025: The Zombies, ‘Care of Cell 44′

The only love song I know of a guy eagerly awaiting his belle’s release from prison.
Perhaps there should be more.

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8

185: Frank Sinatra, ‘High Hopes’

‘Lyrist’ Sammy Cahn and his composer partner Jimmy Van Heusen wrote 87 songs for Frank Sinatra.
Asked “Which comes first, the words or the music?” Sammy answered “The phone call.”

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1

SoTW 28: Smokey Robinson & The Miracles, ‘The Tracks of My Tears’

Go on, take a teenage trip. Listen to this song like a 17-year old burger-flipping cretin overdosing on hormones, cruising down the boulevard, looking for the heart of Saturday night, bouncing in the driver’s seat, pounding the steering wheel in time, shouting out “Take a goo-ood look at my face!” Nobody will know, and you’ll feel better than you have in a long time.

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4

058: Dave Frishberg, ‘Van Lingle Mungo’

The lyric consists entirely of names of obscure baseball players from the late 1940s and early 1950s. You don’t have to be a baseball fan to feel here the magic that only music can create–what our adult heart does with the treasured memories of our youth.

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5

002: Buddy Holly, ‘Learning the Game’

Written and sung at 22 and a half, a month before he died. At that age, Lennon was recording ‘Love Me Do’ and Dylan had just finished his first album of original material.

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5

191: The Fleetwoods, ‘Mr Blue’

Nobody talks about The Fleetwoods anymore. In my eyes, that’s a tragedy, because so often when I’m feeling like Mr Blue their songs come softly to me. They were the first group to have two records top the Billboard Hot 100 in a single year! No one can take that away from them. I hope no one would want to.

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1

032: Duke Ellington, “Take the ‘A’ Train” (Billy Strayhorn)

When young Billy Strayhorn played for him backstage, the legendary Duke Ellington was very impressed: “I’d love to have you in my organization. I’ll call you.” But no call came, so Billy, literally hungry, took the chance of showing up at the Duke’s door. Not wanting to go empty-handed, he took the note the Duke had written: “Take the ‘A’ train…”

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10

018 Sir Paul McCartney, ‘Distractions’

In which Jeff calls Sir Paul “the Prince of Plastic, the Sheikh of Shallow” (utter blasphemy!) and presents the one song from Paul’s 30something post-Beatle CDs that deserves to be visited and revisited, because it’s
uniquely mature, straightforward, honest and heartfelt.

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