I want to expose people (especially young people) to all kinds of music. I chose the 20th century because it produced an eclectic taste of many styles of music. At the end of most of my short descriptions it will say, check out their music. I can only scratch the surface of all the great music, you must explore for yourself. Luckily, you have 21st century technology to help you. Enjoy the adventure. Please comment, make requests, or ask questions.
Lets jump to the 21st century for a treat. I thought the piano was going to start smoking. This guy is good! Enjoy!
Luca Sestak is a worldwide, award winning Boogie/Jazz pianist. He started playing piano when he was eight. A true talent, a real prodigy. His parents gave him piano lessons in classical music. Luca was bored and quit. Then Luca heard Boogie piano music, and he loved it. Luca started video recording himself playing Boogie piano music, and posting his videos on YouTube when he was only 13. In a short time he was a YouTube sensation and now considered one of the best. Here is a sample of Luca Sestak's Boogie piano. It's called, "Joogie Wazz."
That was so good I added another number by this talented man. This one is called "Boogie Woogie Stomp." I wonder if that refers to his legs constantly moving?
"Carol of the Bells" (also known as the "Ukrainian Bell Carol") is a
choral miniature work originally composed by the Ukrainian composer
Mykola Leontovych. Throughout the composition, Leontovych used a four
note motif as an ostinato which was taken from an ancient pagan
Ukrainian New Year's chant known in Ukrainian as "Shchedryk" [the
Generous One]. The composer created the piece as an assignment for a
harmony course he was taking by correspondence in the use of an
ostinato. The original work was intended to be sung a cappella by mixed
choir. Two other variants of the composition; one for woman's choir and
another for children's choir with piano accompaniment were also created
by the composer.
The "Carol of the Bells" was premiered in December
1916 by a choral group made up of students at Kiev University. It was
introduced to Western audiences by the Ukrainian National Chorus during
its concert tour of Europe and the Americas, where it premiered in the
United States on October 5, 1921 at Carnegie Hall.
"Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!", also known as "Let It Snow", is a song written by lyricist Sammy Cahn and composer Jule Styne in July 1945. It was written in Hollywood, California during a heat wave as Cahn and Styne imagined cooler conditions.
Although the song's lyrics make no mention of Christmas, it is played
on radio stations during the Christmas season and is often covered by
various artists on Christmas-themed albums.
This version was recorded by Dean Martin in1959 on his album "A Winter Romance." It is by far the most popular recording of this song.
The most popular and famous recording was this version by Bing Crosby released in October of 1963. It was an immediate holiday hit and will be for decades, maybe centuries to come.
"Do You Hear What I Hear?" is a song written in October 1962, with lyrics by Noël Regney and music by Gloria Shayne Baker. The pair, married at the time, wrote it as a plea for peace during the Cuban Missile Crisis.
Regney had been invited by a record producer to write a Christmas song,
but he was hesitant due to the commercialism of the Christmas holiday. It has sold tens of millions of copies and has been covered by hundreds of artists.
"O Holy Night" (French: Cantique de Noël) is a well-known Christmas carol composed by Adolphe Adam in 1847 to the French poem "Minuit, chrétiens" (Midnight, Christians) by a wine merchant and poet, Placide Cappeau (1808–1877).
The modern day version are not the words of the original poem, but the meaning remains the same. It is the story of the night of the birth of Christ. Purely a religious song. Many great singers have sung a version of this song. It is one of the most popular Christmas songs of the last 150 years. One of the first versions recorded was by Caruso in 1916, which you can still hear. The most popular version is this 1960 recording by Nat King Cole.
"Happy Xmas (War Is Over)" is a Christmas song with lyrics by John Lennon and Yoko Ono, released in 1971 as a single by John & Yoko/Plastic Ono Band with the Harlem Community Choir. The lyrics are set to the traditional English ballad "Skewball". Lenon borrowed many of the words from many other songs. So slight that it never ran into copyright problems. Basically a protest song against the Vietnam war, it has now become a Christmas classic.
"White Christmas" a secular song written by the Jewish-American songwriter Irving Berlin. First publicly performed by Bing Crosby on Christmas Day in 1941 on his NBC radio show, The Kraft Music Hall. The song won The Academy Award for Best Original Song in 1942, performed in the movie "Holiday Inn." That was a duet version with Martha Mears.
The song still holds the record for the best selling single of all time, selling more than 100 million copies. The song was a perfect fit for Crosby's voice. Crosby recorded the song many times. This is his most famous version recorded in 1947.
Neil Diamond was one of the greatest musical acts of the last half of the 20th century and still around today. Given the talent and great music created during that time, that says a lot. The awards for him keep adding up. Known for signature songs that Americans love. A song writer that made other bands famous recording his songs.
I chose the following from one of his earlier (6th studio release) albums, "Tap Root Manuscript." Diamond's expression of an African sound. It's called, "The African Trilogy." Released in 1970. This is the whole "B" side of that album. The "A" side had his hits like "Free Life" and "Cold Water Morning", and "Cracklin' Rosie."
This would be considered outside of the popular songs Diamond was famous for, but I think it's an example of his musical genius. This man has been a big hit for over 50 years. Check out his music!
"Stardust" was one of the favorite songs of the 20th century. Composed in 1927 by Hoagy Carmichael with lyrics added in 1929 by Mitchell Parish. Just about every musician has recorded this song. It also became popular as an instrumental tune, notably by many sax players, early big bands, and jazz bands.
This is the great composer Hoagy Carmichael playing his song "Stardust" on the piano and his vocal version of Mitchell Parish's words. Hoagy originally called the song "Star Dust."
This next version is perhaps the most famous version of "Stardust." Sung by the great Nat King Cole.
First, "Bits and Pieces."
Second, "Glad All Over."
The Dave Clark Five - A British group that first appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show just 3 weeks after the Beatles appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show in February 1964. They had multiple big hits and rivaled the Beatles. Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees, 2008. Tom Hanks gave the induction speech and described the music of The Dave Clark Five and the effect the band had on America. You have to check out their music!
This was Mr. Edwards biggest singing hit released in 1958. "It's All in the Game." Mr. Edwards was a singer/songwriter. Most of his songs were made big hits by other singers. He wrote, "A Fool Such as I", "Hey There Lonely Girl", "Please Love me Forever". and "Mourning Side of the Mountain."
Listen to an expert sing songs he wrote, with the passion of a true artist. John Denver, singing his famous hit "Rocky Mountain High" (above). A true American troubadour. I'm awed by his talent, as he sings to me. He wrote big hits, for himself and other musicians. Another of his big hits, "Calypso" (below). Check out his great music.
This is Frank's version of the old standard "The Way You look Tonight." A song written by Jerome Kern with lyrics by Dorothy Fields, in 1936. It won the Oscar for Best Original Song that year. Fred Astaire performed the song in the movie "Swing Time."
This is typical Frank Sinatra. His phrasing, voice, and style. He started as a band singer and became the biggest solo singing performer of the 20th century. He recorded thousands of songs, most of which are available for free on the net. Check out his music and see why he was the best.
This song has always been a favorite of the American people and musicians. All the great singers have a version of this song. One of the most popular versions was by Mama Cass Elliot in 1968 (above). Cass Elliot was a member of the famous folk group "The Mama's and the Papas." She first sang the song with the group and then released this solo version. Mama had a great voice. Check out her music.
"Eve of Destruction" sung by Barry McGuire. Only Barry McGuire's gravely voice makes his version of this song better than all other versions. Released in 1965 it was the war protest song of the many that came out of the Vietnam era. McGuire was a folk singer in the group "The New Christy Minstrels" but this was a solo release by McGuire. P. F. Sloan wrote the song. The song is about irrational hate that begets irrational war. Many cite this song when they feel America is on the edge, like today. We survived then and we will survive now. WW II was much closer to the eve of destruction, but the words are prophetic. McGuire had many other hits in a long career. Check out his music.
Bob Dylan just received the Pulitzer Prize for Literature. Well deserved for a life of poetry. That's the cherry on the top of his award littered life. Along with all of his music awards, Hall of Fame inductions, and top civilian awards like the Medal of Freedom, he is certainly getting the accolades he deserves.
His genius for "words and music" equals the best ever and only personal taste discerns a difference from other all time greats. Which begs the question why other great composers of "words and music" were not considered for the Pulitzer Prize Literature award.
A true musical troubadour of the 20th century and his generation. His music will be listened to for hundreds of years, and that is a good thing. If you are not familiar with his "words and music" read his words, listen to his music.
The video below is Dylan live at the Newport Folk Festival in 1964 singing, "Mr. Tambourine Man."
Roger Whittaker. A Kenyan/British (born in Nairobi) folk singer and worldwide singing star. Like all great singers his voice is unique and beautiful. Above is his worldwide hit "A Little Goodbye" also known as "River Lady." Below is another of his worldwide hits, "The Last Farewell." His baritone voice will impress you. Check out his music.
Until the Beatles came along, Bing Crosby was the most popular and largest record selling musical artist of the 20th century. This song, "Galway Bay" was #3 on the hit list in 1949. Bing had been singing 20 years by that time. Bing's version of "White Christmas" became the largest selling single record of the whole 20th century. Check out his music and find out why he was so popular for so many decades.
Folk music has always been popular, but never as much as in the 1950's and 1960's. Simon and Garfunkel were as popular as the Beatles. Simon wrote this song "The Dangling Conversation." Released in 1966.
Simon's lyrics became so popular they were taught in English classes across the country as poetry, and beautiful poetry they were. This next song is called, "For Emily, Whenever I May Find Her."
Check out the music of Simon and Garfunkel and see why they were so popular.
For my money one of the best Folk singers. This Canadian made a big splash in America. Bob Dylan inducted him into the Hall of Fame. Comparing his version of songs to others, he wins out. His original songs are great and became big hits. Listen to his "Canadian Railroad Trilogy" or "Early Mourning Rain." Check out his music.
This song "Spare Me A Little" is from the great "Fleetwood Mac." It's on the 1972 album "Bare Trees." Not one of their most famous, or commercial songs, but a great song from what I think is one of their best albums.
My favorite style of music, Big Band Jazz. This number was written by Louis Prima in 1935 and is called, "Swing, Swing, Swing." This is Benny Goodman with Gene Krupa on drums. You can find thousands of recordings of this number by different bands with different arrangements. I like this short version, or any version done by Benny Goodman and Gene Krupa.
Another Big Band great, Glenn Miller playing his version of "In The Mood." Recorded in 1939, this was his first recording of this song, but he would record it many times changing the arrangement slightly. Check out the music of Glenn Miller.
Elvis made this song a pop hit in 1965. Elvis had a great gospel voice.
Artie Glen wrote the song in 1953. Artie's son, Darrell, made the first recording (while still in high school) in 1953, which hit number one on the "Cash Box" hit list.
It has always been a favorite song of Americans, no matter who recorded it, and most singers had a hit with this song.
The Great Patsy Cline.
This song "Sweet Dreams (of you)" and her version of "Crazy" (and many other hits) made Patsy Cline one of the biggest stars in all music. Country music was her specialty, but she was a crossover national star. One of the great voices of all time. She died at the age of 30, in 1963. This song was released after she died. Check out her music!