Billy, Aretha and Marty

Screen Shot 2017-10-20 at 9.51.55 PM

Now in paperback.
On Nov. 21, my book, Anatomy of a Song: The Oral History of 45 Ionic Hits That Changed Rock, R&B and Pop (Grove), will be available in paperback in the U.S., Canada and the U.K. A literary jukebox perfect for the holidays. After you buy it for yourself or a family member, go to Spotify and type "Anatomy of a Song" into the search bar. You’ll find all of the book’s songs on a convenient list in the same order as they appear in the table of contents. Read ‘n’ roll!

Screen Shot 2017-10-20 at 9.54.46 PM

In The Wall Street Journal this week,
I interviewed former U.S. Poet Laureate Billy Collins for my "House Call" column (go here). Billy talks about what he saw as a child in New York’s East River that inspired him to write poetry. Billy’s latest collection, The Rain in Portugal, is now in paperback (go here).

Screen Shot 2017-10-20 at 9.56.18 PM

Also in the WSJ,
I interviewed astronaut Scott Kelly, who spent a year at the International Space Station, on Coldplay’s Speed of Sound (go here). Scott took the song up with him and listened early each morning while looking down at Earth. Scott’s new book is Endurance: A Year in Space, A Lifetime of Discovery (go here).


Bill Holman.
Last week, following my post on arranger Bill Holman, I received this email from John Edward Hasse, Curator Emeritus of American Music at the Smithsonian Institution:

"Hey Marc. Good to see you paying tribute to Bill Holman. In case you didn’t know, the Smithsonian has a substantial collection of his scores—88 boxes (go here). There’s also an oral history with him that runs 84 pages (go here)."


Clifton Anderson,
a superb trombonist, has launched a crowd-funding campaign to help pay for his new recording. Watch his video and give. As you’ll hear in Clifton’s video, he’s one gorgeous player. And a great guy. Go here


Aretha Franklin.
In November, Rhino Atlantic is releasing A Brand New Me: Aretha Franklin with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. The label just posted a cool clip featuring a track from the album synced with footage of Aretha in concert singing Respect

Marty Paich was an extremely busy arranger in the 1950s and ’60s. So busy, that he sometimes used similar charts of the same song on two different dates. Frank Farnham wrote me recently to point out that Paich’s arrangement of Something Happens to Me for a Jesse Belvin recording at RCA was tweaked for a Peter Brady session for Capitol, an album I posted about recently (go here). Here’s the Belvin recording in December 1959…

And here’s Paich’s arrangement of the same song for Brady in January 1964…

Something Happens to Me

Here’s Paich’s arrangement of Squeeze Me for Joannie Sommers in June 1959…

And here’s Paich’s arrangement of the same song for Ethel Azama in November 1959…

What the heck. Here are the Dramatics singing Watcha See Is Watcha Get (1972)…

Oddball album cover of the week.


The words "hi-fi" and "children" in one sentence is enough to make anyone move their vinyl collection to a very high shelf. Judging from the kid’s "dad, do we have to listen to this again?" expression, my guess is Stan Kenton’s City of Glass was on the turntable. A special thanks to Michael Bloom for sending along the cover.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.