Unless You're 80, You Can Safely Skip This Post
You need to check out this site, Pandora. You type in some artist you like and it comes up with a playlist of songs that are in that person’s style. It’s not like Amazon where “people who bought John Tesh also bought Kenny G”; it actually does the matches based on similarities within the songs themselves. It’s nifty and, for reasons beyond my understanding, free.
Someone recently asked me what my 10 favourite songs were, and this post seems as appropriate a place as any to list them. Since some of these songs have literally been covered hundreds of times, I’ll list my preferred covers (not that I’ve heard them all, obviously).
- Moonglow – Jackie Gleason, possibly. The version I have seems too upbeat to be his, though.
- You and the Night and the Music – I sort of pair this one up with the one below, as they both appear in The Band Wagon, but I guess they’re not too terribly similar. This is one of the few cases where I prefer a vocal version, as it’s always done very sleepy and slow whenever I find a recording that’s strictly instrumental.
- Dancing in the Dark – Frank Sinatra has the best version for the same reasons as the previous song.
- Luck Be a Lady – Everyone should go and rent Guys and Dolls (or buy it at Shopper’s Drug Mart for $10) just to see the odd spectacle of Marlon Brando singing in a musical. “The Crapshooters’ Dance” in this film is basically an insanely orchestrated version of Luck be a Lady, and is worth seeking out. I found it on Limewire without any trouble.
- The Man I Love – Someone I don’t know, but Napster (I’m talking back in the day – not pay Napster) listed it Jackie Gleason. I don’t think so, however. Again, too upbeat. I also have a version I know is his for sure, and it's nothing like this one (though I guess he could have done two versions in his lifetime). I could die happy if I knew who recorded this version. The movie Hero, with Dustin Hoffman and the plane crash, features this song prominently.
- I’m Gettin’ Sentimental Over You – I think it’s Bert Kaempfert, but I can’t guarantee. All I’m basing that on is the fact that it features Ray Conniff-like vocals and a distinctive bass line. Reader’s Digest releases these giant compilation CDs of old music that often fail to mention, you know… the people who actually recorded it, so I can never be sure.
- Beach Samba – I’ve only seen two versions of this song, one by Astrud Gilberto and another by Walter Wandeley (if you like anything done on a
- The Girl From Ipanema – This song gets a bad rap, with the muzak and elevator music jokes and all. I have no idea why. A recording I recently found by Percy Faith is really cool. I also have a version that pairs it up with Manha de Carnival (Portuguese for Morning of the Carnival?) for some reason. That’s good too, but I have no idea who recorded it.
- Quiet Nights of Quiet Stars (
- Beyond the Blue Horizon – The Ray Conniff version is nice. I think it might be an earlier work of his, since he doesn’t use the gimmick where female and male voices are used as various instruments (which can get irritating after a while, anyway).
- How Insensitive (Insensatez) – There’s a ton of good recordings of this. Herbie Mann and Wes Montgomery are worth it, but Antonio Carlos Jobim’s is my fave (here, again, his might be slightly overproduced). Still, within a half hour, you should be able to find 6 worthwhile, different recordings.
- Recado Bossa Nova – I think this one might be rare, but the only recording you need bother yourself with is Zoot Sims’. It’s like… two different versions in one, too. This would be in the top three, I think.
- Red Roses for a Blue Lady – This song wouldn’t have made the list if not for the Bert Kaempfert version. And if you’re partial to having vocals in your music, Dean Martin’s is good, too.
Alright, so it’s more than 10, but you get the idea. A few of them probably deserve “honourable mention” over “Top 10”, but… whatever. Also, I note that there’s nothing especially funny, ironic or cynical about this post. So, I apologize.