Archive | August 2012

My Boyfriend’s Back

August 31,1963 girl group The Angels started a three week run at #1 on the US singles chart with My Boyfriend’s Back!


My Boyfriend’s Back opened the Girl Groups section in Beehive.

There was a period when all I was doing was putting together girl group medleys. The Shirelles, The Ronettes, The Shangr-Las, The Supremes — and Claudia and I had some killer arrangements.  We’ve had a bunch of calls recently about doing Beehive again – we’ll see if it all works out!  What I love about this song and this whole period is the claps. They start the song, and if you see footage of these girl groups the claps were part of the choreography. Also this song starts off with a little rap which is kind of cool. And not so much in this song, but in lots of the others, the background parts were like shoobie do do wap do wa –  which I think is pretty damn funky!

Kind of under the weather today so just lazily laying around with the wife eating too many pretzels and chips waiting for the Yankee game to start.

Everybody have a good holiday weekend!


Get Down Tonight

August 30, 1975: KC and the Sunshine Band’s Get Down Tonight hits #1!

day 146

I think this is the first time I’ve played Get Down Tonight on just piano.  The Stingers do this song all the time with 4 singers and a 3 piece horn section. It’s very funky. It’s also another audience participation piece when we get to the GET DOWN section.  Everyone loves to get on stage on show us how they “get down.”

I can’t believe summer is over. Claudia and I are heading up to the country, although I have to commute a little this weekend.  I want get my last few swims in the lake, have some power naps in the hammock, barbeque a little and play some of my old records on the turntable.

As we were shopping today I saw all the Back to School stuff and remembered hating that.  At least in NYC the kids still get to have a full summer.  School starts in September.  Other cities, other states, they’re back in August or even July.  Crazy.  School shouldn’t start until September.  It oughta be illegal.

GET DOWN TONIGHT is a fun song and crowds always love it, although to “get down” is so 70’s.

Dig it!


What a Diff’rence a Day Made

August 29, 1924 Happy Birthday Dinah Washington!

still another video!

This song – What a Diff’rence a Day Made – and style is what my parents listened to, so this is what I’d play for them when they had friends over. My mom and dad had a steady card party at our house. To this day, my mom at almost 90 still loves a good card party. They used to set up a big table on our front porch and my Uncle Bill would make Gin & Tonics and Manhattans. I would eat the maraschino cherries after they were soaked in the Manhattan (what a funky drink!) I was never a fan of dark liquor.

So my mom’s friends would always have me play some 1940’s song for them to sing along. My parents’ friends were so much a part my upbringing. Every one of them had kids the same age as us. We all went to the same church. Every parent babysat for each other’s kids.  A very nice community feeling.

You don’t get that same kind of feeling in Manhattan. I mean, we have close friends but they are scattered around and we just text each other. Which is kinda cool in its own right, but in our apartment bulding where lots of people move in and out we only know 1 or 2 people.

Well, playing this song today brought me back to the late 60’s living in Brooklyn and playing for my mom and dad.  Good times!

Happy Birthday Dinah Washington!  What a Diff’rence a Day Made is for you!


Proud Mary

August 28 1986 – Tina Turner was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame!


I love me some Tina Turner. Attitude,  killer voice and legs for days. We had a Tina section in the 2nd act of Beehive and after having Peggi Blu originate the role we were stuck when Peggi left to win Star Search and move to L.A. and I lost my favorite guitar player too, Ted Perlman!  So my bass player Peter Brown took me to Kenny Castaways to hear a singer named Cookie Watkins!

When I walked into the club she was singing Piece of My Heart (Janis Joplin). I literally heard 2 lines of Cookie singing and immediately gave her the gig. It turned out that Cookie went to Manhattan School of Music with me and was an opera singer there. The singing I heard that night was NO OPERA. She was riffing higher and louder than anybody I’d ever heard. (just a side note: Kenny’s Castaways is closing their doors after 45 years on Bleecker Street. We will miss that club as we miss so many others that have gone…the Bottom Line, the Village Gate, CBGB’s…don’t get me started!)

Anyway Cookie went on from Beehive to play Tina in Vegas for years and then came in 2nd on ABC’s Next Best Thing as a Tina impersonator and lost to an Elvis impersonator. She should have won!

Anyway, Tina, Peggi, Cookie, I LOVE your sanging!

Here’s my Proud Mary for Tina’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame!


Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head

August 27, 1942 Happy Birthday B.J. Thomas!

songwriters circle

I first heard this Burt Bacharach/Hal David hit by B.J. Thomas in the movie Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. I was 13 years old and I’ll never forget that the heroes Robert Redford and Paul Newman go out guns a blazing and face like a hundred Bolivians with guns.

Now, they don’t show it, but you know they die.  I hate it when the hero dies. What kind of freakin’ movie lets the hero die?

Tonight I hosted the Songwriters Guild of America’s Songwriters Circle at the Red Lion.  This long running circle is powerhouse Ann Ruckert’s baby and I’m honored to do this the last Monday night of every month at 7pm.

Always a fun and creative night.  We had a good lineup and I brought Elle Winter out to sing.  She did great and people are always thrilled to see a 13 year old singing her face off.  Her youtube channel is rocking. She’s going on tour this weekend and her song will be released soon on Disney!  Hot stuff!

When I was 13 I was playing ball, riding bikes and watching Disney!

And seeing a movie where the hero dies!

Nice song, though.  And B.J. Thomas sings the hell out of it.  Happy BD dude!