You know him, you love him, you can’t live without him: he’s Paul Shaffer, formerly the bandleader for Late Night with David Letterman and The Late Show with David Letterman, and he’s back with the gang of musicians who faithfully accompanied him for so many years – The World’s Most Dangerous Band – for an all-new self-titled studio album.
54 years ago today, Peter Yarrow, Paul Stookey, and Mary Travers released a single which wasn’t actually about smoking pot, although the media repeatedly tried to convince the public that it was so. #FakeNews
Seriously, though, “Puff the Magic Dragon” was not, in fact, about smoking marijuana. The beginnings of the song were the work of Leonard Lipton, a student at Cornell University who was friends with Yarrow’s housemate at the university. Reportedly, Lipton was inspired by Odgen Nash’s “Custard the Dragon,” and when Lipton came up with the idea, he sat down at Yarrow’s typewriter to get it out of his head, and once he’d typed it out, he left it behind. Yarrow took the lyrics and composed a song around it, with Lipton unaware that he’d done so.
Sometimes, there is no substitute for a strong ‘D’!
ABOUT DR. RHINO
62 years ago today, Ray Charles’ “I Got a Woman” hit its peak on Billboard’s R&B Singles chart, which provides us with an opportunity to tell its Single Story.
The reason “I Got a Woman” is considered such a classic track isn’t because it’s a great song, although it is. It’s because it was, by most people’s estimations, the first song to be described as “soul.” Although it’s generally used interchangeably with R&B nowadays, the term was originally intended to define a blend between R&B and gospel. That’s not entirely inappropriate, since “I Got a Woman” itself was actually constructed after Charles listened to The Southern Tones’ “It Must Be Jesus” on the radio.
Producer Tommy LiPuma died yesterday at the age of 80. In his lifetime, he won five Grammy Awards, received 33 Grammy nominations, and if you were to add up the sales of all of the albums he produced over the course of his career, you’d pass the 75 million mark and keep right on going.
Michael Martin Murphey may have three names, but for the average radio listener, it only takes a single name to jog their memory about who he is…and it isn’t even one of his!
That name, of course, is “Wildfire.”
30 years ago today, The Isley Brothers released their 24th album, but it was one tinged with a certain degree of sadness, as it was the first LP released by Ronald and Rudolph Isley after the death of their older brother, Kelly Isley.
Sadly, Kelly’s death wasn’t the first time the Isley siblings had lost one of their brothers: their youngest brother, Vernon, had died in a road accident while the Isleys were still performing as a gospel group. In the wake of Vernon’s death, they shifted their focus to doo-wop, and the rest is musical history.