Larry Kart

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Regardless of end of civilization rants (they were true at any time I guess and will remain so) ...

The Shelly Manne on Contemporary was most likely one of those long-sellers that sold numbers over the course of the decades that would have pushed it into the charts if it sold those numbers within the first months?

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39 minutes ago, king ubu said:

Regardless of end of civilization rants (they were true at any time I guess and will remain so) ...

YEAH!

The Shelly Manne on Contemporary was most likely one of those long-sellers that sold numbers over the course of the decades that would have pushed it into the charts if it sold those numbers within the first months?

And again true, without doubt.

MG

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4 hours ago, The Magnificent Goldberg said:

And an album that makes the top 20 of the pop chart isn't a hit? OK for 1 week, but all those weeks when only 10 were published, something that made 11 wasn't a 11 wasn't a hit?

In 1956? Totally different methodology used. What that meant, that it was just #11 and for then just on the chart for one week, was that the thing was ordered well enough before release and sold well enough on in its first week of issue to have made a blip. It blipped once and then it was gone. A real hit would have stuck around for a litte while longer, or more.

These Billboard charts from back when, you can't take them at face value, ever, and especially not in isolation.

4 hours ago, The Magnificent Goldberg said:

I don't think i'd attribute much to Taylor's name in 1965; it was several years after he'd left Impulse, which was into very different stuff - that's A77, A75, I recall, is "Fire Music". And so was Taylor - all those Wes and Getz hits. This LP was nothing like anything much of any kind, as I recollect.

I'm not sure what the point here is, but my point is that Creed Taylor was already having success at ABC-Paramount before they spun him off into impulse!. Reading that recent-ish book about the history of impulse! shines a lot of light on how that all played out.

There were several of taylor's ABC albums that got ported over to impulse!, a Quincy Jones, the LH&R, those + the Taylor MF, those are the ones that come to minc immediately, and they might have been it. But there were plenty more they didn't port over, so I'm thinking that those three came over due to expected future sales.

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4 hours ago, king ubu said:

The Shelly Manne on Contemporary was most likely one of those long-sellers that sold numbers over the course of the decades that would have pushed it into the charts if it sold those numbers within the first months?

It appears to have not only sold long, but well from the beginning. This all being in "jazz" terms, of course.

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I still listen to the Manne Contemporary version a couple of times a year.

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3 hours ago, JSngry said:

In 1956? Totally different methodology used. What that meant, that it was just #11 and for then just on the chart for one week, was that the thing was ordered well enough before release and sold well enough on in its first week of issue to have made a blip. It blipped once and then it was gone. A real hit would have stuck around for a litte while longer, or more.

These Billboard charts from back when, you can't take them at face value, ever, and especially not in isolation.

I'm not sure what the point here is, but my point is that Creed Taylor was already having success at ABC-Paramount before they spun him off into impulse!. Reading that recent-ish book about the history of impulse! shines a lot of light on how that all played out.

There were several of taylor's ABC albums that got ported over to impulse!, a Quincy Jones, the LH&R, those + the Taylor MF, those are the ones that come to minc immediately, and they might have been it. But there were plenty more they didn't port over, so I'm thinking that those three came over due to expected future sales.

Ah, I didn't know that as I haven't read the book on Impulse. Pity there's never been a book on Prestige. I'd buy that one like a shot.

MG

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Well, there has been one about impulse! so while you're waiting...:g

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18 hours ago, JSngry said:

That Taylor thing seems to have been "popular" enough, seeing as how long it stayed in print and/or made the transition over to impulse! Can't say that I've ever been inclined to go there, but ABC ported a few thing over to impulse! but not that many, so I'm thinking it sold well enough to stay alive for a while longer than its original release.

billy-taylor-trio-my-fair-lady-loves-jazbilly-taylor-my-fair-lady-loves-jazz-imp

No matter, check that signature in the lower right corner of the back cover of the original:

18707319985_240fb9da30_b.jpg

 

7 hours ago, The Magnificent Goldberg said:

I think Gopnik missed a few hits here. Original cast albums that were top 20 hits from later years included:

Drean girls - #11 in 1982;

Fiddler on the roof - #7 in 1964;

Hair - #1 in 1968;

Hello Dolly - #1 in 1964;

Rent - #19 in 1996;

Though those are five exceptions in thirty years. And compared to the late fifties/early sixties, he wasn't wholly wrong there. But there were very many smaller hits against MUCH more competition.

MG

 

Some nice Anthony Ortega on the Taylor-Jones MFL, First time I heard him.

 

As for Magnificent Goldberg's post about latter-day cast albums that made the charts, Gopnik's point IIRC was not whether such albums made the charts but whether latter-day shows generated hit songs. Of the albums MG listed, the only one that did, I think, was "Hello Dolly." Was there a hit from "Hair"? I don't recall. "Fiddler" had "Sunrise, Sunset" and "Tradition," but I don't think they were hits.

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22 minutes ago, Larry Kart said:

Was there a hit from "Hair"? I don't recall.

Any number of them, actually. Harder to compile a list of songs that weren't hits than of ones that were.

"How To Succeed In Business..." had, if not exactly hits, songs that worked their way out into at least some part of the "mainstream" non-rock-exclusive audience. "I Believe In You" is not the standard it should be (imo), but it's not exactly unknown either.

What about "Mame"? Can't stand it myself, but it got heard enough, didn't it, at least the title cut? Yuck.

And to go later, A Chorus Line" must have been huge, hell, I had to play a marching band medley of songs from it.

The point about decreasing frequency is a good one, but other than changing styles/demographic/etc not sure there's appoint to be made (if you want to look at hit shows/hit songs, maybe better to look at hit shows vs. non-hit shows and do THAT math first).

But if there is any meaningful point, let Basie make it!

20130922090504-Untitled-7%20copy130922.j

33 minutes ago, Larry Kart said:

 "Fiddler" had "Sunrise, Sunset" and "Tradition," but I don't think they were hits.

Name me one shmoe under the age of 40-45 who doesn't recognize "Sunrise, Sunset" or "If I Were A Rich Man".

This thing about "hits" being based on record sales alone is really not very bright. There were plenty of radio stations playing "adult pop" music in the wake to the rock explosions, and plenty of non rock-exlopdees listened to them. Songs still entered into the vernacular without necessarily having a "hit record" by just one artist, single or album.

 

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5 hours ago, ATR said:

Larry, ever seen Joe Gould's Secret?  As played by Ian Holm in a movie made for television IIRC, Joe Gould was simultaneously some kind of savant but also a mentally ill con artist.  As such, he could see when he was being conned and made the observation that because of who he was and who was taken as an authority his version would not be the accepted one.  Those of us who know better than Adam Gopnik or Richard Brody or any of the people who write for New Yorker and other publications about jazz can just relax and laugh at their, and our own, pretensions, lacunae and mistakes.  FWIW, the one interpretation of a Broadway musical composition that I find compelling is Coltrane's.  It was the only one that came to mind while I was reading the piece.  And the one piece by Gopnik that I find worth reading is the account of his psychoanalysis.  Andrew Lloyd Webber's musicals don't do much for me.

I know of Gould through the famous Joseph Mitchell piece, never saw the movie but Holm is always work a look.

Gopnik is the peculiar sort of dangerous jerk he is not only when he writes about jazz but also about almost anything. I don't know the man himself (or I know him only through his work), and I don't have intimate knowledge of the New Yorker culture, but I would guess it's not just that Gopnik's reach exceeds his grasp but that he sets himself up as a guy whose reach knows no limits, while a mag like the New Yorker needs or has come to need such non-expert would-be "experts" and finds it very useful to have them on staff. One could see how that evolved in the early days of Gopnik's tenure; a potential story would crop up, and Gopnik would raise his hand and say "I can do it!" The results, however flawed factually and otherwise, would then pass muster in a by-then somewhat damaged/corrupted New Yorker culture, and eventually Gopnik would become what he now is. The only real pushback against him that I know of  came from Renata Adler in her book on the New Yorker, and Adler, while smart as heck and right about some things, also is, as a friend of mine once said, a "poisonous tree frog."

As to how Gopnik actually goes about his business, I think I can testify on that because I was something of Gopnik figure myself at the Chicago Tribune for 25 years -- a cultural magpie who knew a lot (or something at least)  about a  good many things and would come to be called on when things in such areas were newsworthy. That wasn't that often, but when they arose, the need often was urgent and belated. My favorite example, which came early on, was when the great Jorge Luis Borges won a literary award from a new flush-with-bucks (and right-wing to boot) local outfit that was angling for coverage and had been fluffed off by several editors. Finally, someone from that outfit who had clout got through to top management, and the firebell rang. An editor came to me and said, "Do you know Borges?" I said that I knew his work. She said, "Fine -- you'll be interviewing him today at 11 a.m." (It was then 10 a.m.) I sputtered, began to panic a bit, but at 11 walked down to the hotel where Borges had been stashed. And the interview almost literally went like a dream --a perfect, semi-accidental meeting of minds, with both of us making lots of really oblique connections that we found stimulating/amusing. I won't go into detail, but trust me; it was like I was talking to Homer, for Heaven's sake, and we were having a real conversation over a campfire by the shores of the Aegean. Looking back, a key aspect was that my knowledge of Borges' work was not that of a culture vulture; what I'd read of Borges I'd read because it delighted me, not because I thought that knowing about him would make me look classy.

On the other hand,  as such incidents and patterns arose in the course of my time at the Trib, I began to become a bit playful about dropping a reference to Samuel Johnson into a piece about Mort Sahl or quoting a snippet from Walter Benjamin in a piece about children's books or comparing Mitzi Gaynor to a vintage Packard hood ornament (not quite the same thing as the first two examples, except for the playfulness and the unlikehood that that comparison had cropped up in previous reviews of Mitzi's show -- also both she and her manager-husband found it amusing, as I thought they would).  But these bits of playfulness/incongruity were  indulged in basically, so I think, to amuse myself, not to impress others, and I always made sure that what I wrote would still make good sense if, say, one didn't know who Walter Benjamin was -- though you would have to know what a vintage Packard hood ornament looked like.

Getting back to Gopnik now -- in the vein I've touched upon above, he's a culture vulture whose chief goals IMO are impressing the audience and his elders (in the name of self-advancement) with how clever and culturally connected he is. And in order to accomplish this, he is (to switch birds) a cultural magpie -- collecting/accumulating/maybe even filing away all the references/snippets, etc. that he thinks might be useful in future performances of the Adam Gopnik show. The difference, if I can put myself in the picture again, is that what I've latched onto in those cultural realms over the years I did primarily out of pleasure, not out of self-advancement -- the proof perhaps being that I really didn't try or succeed that much in advancing myself, by those means or any other, though I suppose you could chalk that up to other aspects of my personality.

In any case, as any number of Gopnik pieces make fairly clear, someone who is the kind of guy I think he is and who operates as I think he does, not only has very few real thoughts in his head but also doesn't quite often know how to handle with sufficient accuracy the cultural snippets he's stored up for use and has now hauled out before us in a practiced knowing manner  -- doesn't quite know because contact and collection in the name of  the sort of use Gopnik engages in is one thing, and contact in the name of pleasure, and incidental collection because what one likes or loves tends to stick in the mind ... well, you probably get the picture; context matters, and magpies usually don't know from context except by accident. 

Am I pinning a badge on myself here? Maybe so. But it's the only way I can think of to get to what it is about Gopnik that I find so pernicious. And it's not as tthough it's a badge that will get me admitted to any club.

 

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Thank you, Larry; very interesting. In particular because it seems you're a good bit older than him and you were on the border of this sort of stuff just then. So thihs ain't a new phenomenon and... shouldn't you have got used to guys rewriting history by now?

MG

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I'd like to think that he's gotten used to calling out bullshit as he finds it. May we all become so intuited.

Remember, children are watching!

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51 minutes ago, The Magnificent Goldberg said:

Thank you, Larry; very interesting. In particular because it seems you're a good bit older than him and you were on the border of this sort of stuff just then. So thihs ain't a new phenomenon and... shouldn't you have got used to guys rewriting history by now?

MG

Yes, he's rewriting history at times, and I sure don't like that, but even more, as I tried to describe above, it's the whole culture vulture/self advancement thing. It all gets back to the issues of character, perhaps -- as in "Who are you?"/"Why are you here?"/"What are you up to?"

 

P.S. I'm 75, about to turn 76. Gopnik is 61.

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On 3/18/2018 at 1:18 PM, Larry Kart said:
Further, Gopnick's next sentence after the MFL jazz spinoffs one:

“Sinatra’s  great albums of the mid-fifties were heavy with theatre songs. By 1964, all that had altered for good; a successful original-cast album went from  the place where hits happened always happened to a place where they rarely did.”
 
First, the theatre songs on Sinatra’s albums  of the mid-fifties were from the thirties and early forties — none IIRC were from recent Broadway shows...

I'm enjoying the discussion/evisceration.

1959 is a bit too late to be considered mid-fifties, but FWIW, Sinatra's Come Dance With Me included several songs from roughly contemporaneous Broadway shows: "Just in Time," "Baubles, Bangles and Beads," "Too Close for Comfort," and "I Could Have Danced All Night."

(One can suppose the selection was quite conscious, that Sinatra, or somebody, said, "Hey, why don't we do some of the newer Broadway stuff for a change?")

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1 hour ago, Larry Kart said:

Yes, he's rewriting history at times, and I sure don't like that, but even more, as I tried to describe above, it's the whole culture vulture/self advancement thing. It all gets back to the issues of character, perhaps -- as in "Who are you?"/"Why are you here?"/"What are you up to?"

 

P.S. I'm 75, about to turn 76. Gopnik is 61.

Oh, and I'm seventy-four and I'd never heard of this geezer until I read this thread.

Lucky me.

But actually, as Jim has pointed out, and I'm just about to reiterate, it's pretty useless to look at any music chart except as I mostly do, as a measure of how well different record companies are doing. I just now compared the original cast and soundtracks of 'Mame' and 'The sound of music' - a cast iron hit show if there ever was one.

Mame's original cast did quite well. In 1966 the OC got to #23 and was on the chart for 66 weeks. In 1974, the ST got to 197 and was on the chart for three weeks. And Mame's the only song you hear.

Sound of music, in 1959, got to #1 for two weeks and was on the chart for 233 weeks. The ST in 1965 got to #1 for 16 weeks and was on the chart for 276 weeks. Is it possibly because it was Mary Martin and Theodore Bikel in the OC and Julie Andrews was in the ST? Or was it simply because more people went to the cinema than to the theatre? I dunno, guv.

MG

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3 hours ago, The Magnificent Goldberg said:

Oh, and I'm seventy-four and I'd never heard of this geezer until I read this thread.

Lucky me.

But actually, as Jim has pointed out, and I'm just about to reiterate, it's pretty useless to look at any music chart except as I mostly do, as a measure of how well different record companies are doing. I just now compared the original cast and soundtracks of 'Mame' and 'The sound of music' - a cast iron hit show if there ever was one.

Mame's original cast did quite well. In 1966 the OC got to #23 and was on the chart for 66 weeks. In 1974, the ST got to 197 and was on the chart for three weeks. And Mame's the only song you hear.

Sound of music, in 1959, got to #1 for two weeks and was on the chart for 233 weeks. The ST in 1965 got to #1 for 16 weeks and was on the chart for 276 weeks. Is it possibly because it was Mary Martin and Theodore Bikel in the OC and Julie Andrews was in the ST? Or was it simply because more people went to the cinema than to the theatre? I dunno, guv.

MG

why do you take these numbers as gospel?

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22 minutes ago, Chuck Nessa said:

why do you take these numbers as gospel?

Yes, I remember when they starting using sound scan to determine record sales and discovered that Garth Brooks (whom I'd never heard of) was the top selling artist in America.  Before that they just phoned record stores and asked them what was selling.  (Which I think is the method the NY Times still uses for books, and it's selected stores at that.) 

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4 hours ago, The Magnificent Goldberg said:

Sound of music, in 1959, got to #1 for two weeks and was on the chart for 233 weeks. The ST in 1965 got to #1 for 16 weeks and was on the chart for 276 weeks. Is it possibly because it was Mary Martin and Theodore Bikel in the OC and Julie Andrews was in the ST? Or was it simply because more people went to the cinema than to the theatre? I dunno, guv.

Or maybe it was because Julie Andrew was on a BIG winning streak when Sound Of Music hit the screen and by then the OC was already well known from radio, tv, school choirs, you name it, those songs were already known but yeah, for sure, more people go to the movies than do plays, every town has a movie house in those days, it was a case of momentum momentum momentum, is there a real point here?

Me, I'm not a fan of the show, the movie, the songs, none of it. But god if it wasn't forced on me for god knows how many years, even by Our One Lord & True Savior John Coltrane.

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No real point, just acknowledging that there's no real point in it.

I don't like the show or, except for 'My favourite things', courtesy of JC, the songs, though O Hammerstein III (not Rodgers) was a greater songwriter than almost anyone when it came to grabbing the mainstream public by the balls.

MG

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10 hours ago, Chuck Nessa said:

why do you take these numbers as gospel?

It's better than bugger all. During the period when there were radio plays charts, and juke box plays charts, the three were remarkably alike. And the radio plays were an independent measure, I think, from BMI or some firm working for it. Not proof but the charts weren't totally science fiction; only sometimes.

For example, I understand that, over here, 'Hoots mon' by Lord Rockingham's XI had been at #1 for two weeks already before it became available in the shops. Er... how else did records sell in 1959?

And a nice young lady who used to sell me Howling Wolf singles in Ealing told me one day that she'd been phoned and asked when one of the music papers had had an accident with their data and were up against a publication deadline. She said the top seller was Petula Clark's French version of 'Ya ya', which got on the chart as a result. She didn't even stock it; Ealing was an R&B market, I'm pleased to have been able to say; I'd been playing R&B at the Lawn Tennis Club for long enough.

But usually, people can't be bothered to invent stuff when it's easier to tell the truth.

MG

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Oh, West Side Story. Standards aplenty out of that one, although not many of them except "Maria" worth a damn. But didn't Trini Lopez have a hit with "America"? Or was that just on his Fresca record?

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58 minutes ago, JSngry said:

Oh, West Side Story. Standards aplenty out of that one, although not many of them except "Maria" worth a damn. But didn't Trini Lopez have a hit with "America"? Or was that just on his Fresca record?

Yeah, it was a big hit worldwide.

'Somethin's comin'' is pretty good, too, I think. there's a nice version by Chris Connor with Maynard Ferguson.

And I've always had a very soft spot for 'Gee, Officer Krupke'.- not for the music, but for the words and attitudes.

MG

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Didn't Stan Kenton win a Grammy for his WSS album?

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4 hours ago, JSngry said:

Didn't Stan Kenton win a Grammy for his WSS album?

Perhaps. I don't take much notice of Stan Kenton, except when Chris Connor's singing with him.

MG

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