Cheap Thrills Love Child

Cheap Thrills Love Child

Cheap Thrills Love Child. What?

On November 30, 1968 two ladies were at #1. Diana Ross & the Supremes with their “Love Child” single and Big Brother & the Holding Company’s Janis Joplin’s “Cheap Thrills” album. I would never compare these great singers. The sexy silky smooth Motown’s Ms Ross. The tough as nuts, sensitive as a teenager’s ego Texas Janis.

We Baby Boomers were fortunate to have such women sing to us.

Cheap Thrills Love Child.

Cheap Thrills Love Child
Diana Ross & the Supremes, Love Child

 

Cheap Thrills Love Child

So Long Hey Jude

On November 30 (until December 13, 1968) Diana Ross  & the Supremes’ single, “Love Child” became the Billboard #1 single. It was their 11th #1 single in the US. It knocked the Beatles’ “Hey Jude” out of the #1 spot, a spot “Hey Jude” had held for two months.

Cheap Thrills Love Child.

I started my life in an old, cold, rundown tenement slum

My father left, he never even married Mom

I shared the guilt my mama knew

So afraid that others knew I had no name

Cheap Thrills Love Child

Big Brother

On the same date, November 30 (thru December 20, 1968) Big Brother and the Holding Company’s Cheap Thrills returned to the Billboard #1 album spot. It had alrady been there from October 12 to November 15 when Jimi Hendrix’s Electric Landland album replaced it for two weeks.

It’s tough to choose one song from Thrills, but to my mind “Ball and Chain”  has one of the greatest starts to any song ever. It leaves you hanging…and then simply drops you!

Janis loved comic artists. R. Crumb in particular. She asked him to do something and what he came up with is an unforgettable album cover, one for the ages and one that listeners held and stared at while the album spun — over and over.

According to Columbia’s art director John Berg:  [Janis] Joplin commissioned it, and she delivered Cheap Thrills to me personally in the office. There were no changes with R. Crumb. He refused to be paid, saying, “I don’t want Columbia’s filthy lucre.

Cheap Thrills Love Child
Big Brother & the Holding Company, Cheap Thrills album cover
Cheap Thrills Love Child

Janis Joplin

Janis Joplin was only with Big Brother from 1966 to 1969 and Cheap Thrills was her last album with them. But what an album! Rolling Stone magazine’s review didn’t quite think so, but the NYT wrote quite a bit about Big Brother & Janis. Ironically, today the cover is ranked number 9 on Rolling Stone’s list of one hundred greatest album covers.

Cheap Thrills Love Child

Cheap Thrills Love Child. Cheap Thrills Love Child. Cheap Thrills Love Child.

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November 29 Beatles Singles

November 29 Beatles singles

November 29 Beatles Singles
Beatles 1963

The way most fans first heard the Beatles was by way of their singles, those little records with the big holes. By late 1963, the Beatles were exploding in the UK and the Ed Sullivan fuse was lighted for early 1964.

They recorded “I Want to Hold Your Hand” on October 17, 1963 and Parlophone released it in the UK on November 29, 1963, more than two months before that famous Sullivan Show appearance. There were more than one million advance orders. With such numbers, it must have hit #1 immediately, yes?

November 29 Beatles Singles

No

Their hit “She Loves You” blocked “I Want to Hold Your Hand” for two weeks before it finally reached #1 on the British charts. Once there, it stayed for five weeks and remained in the UK top fifty for twenty-one weeks in total.

Capital records released “I Want to Hold Your Hand” in the US on December 26. With great backing by Capital (unlike their previous US releases). It became the Billboard #1 single on February 1, where it stayed for seven weeks to be replaced by, you guessed it, “She Loves You.”

November 29 Beatles Singles

Exactly six years later…

A lot of troubled water had passed under the Beatle bridge between the UK release of “I Want to Hold Your Hand” and the double-A sided “Come Together/Something” hitting #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 exactly six years later on November 29, 1969.

John Lennon wrote “Come Together” though writing credits showed the traditional Lennon/McCartney authorship.

Beatles singles
Come Together/Something

According to Lennon, “The thing was created in the studio. It’s gobbledygook; Come Together was an expression that Leary had come up with for his attempt at being president or whatever he wanted to be, and he asked me to write a campaign song. I tried and tried, but I couldn’t come up with one. But I came up with this, Come Together, which would’ve been no good to him – you couldn’t have a campaign song like that, right?”

For a more contemporary view of the song and Lennon, see >>> Imagining John Lennon, In a Time Of Anguish

November 29 Beatles Singles
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Lonesome Tonight

Lonesome Tonight

Elvis’s far from first

Roy Turk and Lou Handmant

Roy Turk and Lou Handman wrote “Are You Lonesome Tonight?” in 1926. It had three verses, followed by a spoken bridge. They based the bridge on a line in Ruggero Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci. “You know someone said that the world’s a stage. And each must play a part” refers to “All the world’s a stage” from William Shakespeare’s As You Like It.

It was recorded several times in 1927—first by Charles Hart on 9 May 1927.

Lonesome Tonight

Blue Barron

In 1950 the Blue Barron Orchestra version reached the Billboard’s top twenty single chart. This version is much closer to the style that Elvis used.

Lonesome Tonight

Al Jolson

Al Jolson also had a hit with it in 1950 and used the spoken bridge. Jolson died the same year.

Lonesome Tonight

Elvis Presley

Are You Lonesome Tonight
cover of Elvis single, “Are You Lonesome Tonight”

Others continued to record it. The song was the favorite of Marie Mott, the wife of Colonel Tom Parker, Presley’s manager. Elvis recorded it in April 1960 shortly after his stint in the Army ended. RCA released the song in November 1960 and it was an immediate success in the U.S., topping Billboard’s Pop Singles chart and reaching number three on the R & B chart.  A month after the song’s release, it topped the UK singles chart.

From WikipediaThe success of “Are You Lonesome Tonight?” made the song one of Presley’s live staples. He performed it live for the first time on March 25, 1961, at a Bloch Arena benefit in Honolulu for the USS Arizona Memorial, one of his four live performances between his return from the Army and his shift in career focus to acting.

Returning to music in 1968, Presley included the song on his playlist for the  NBC special Elvis and performed it live the following year during his first Las Vegas engagement. A version of the song, recorded on August 26 and documenting Presley altering the words of the narration and laughing through the rest of the bridge, was released in 1980 as part of the Elvis Aaron Presley box set. In 1982, “Are You Lonesome Tonight?” was a radio hit in the United Kingdom and reached number 25 on the British Singles Chart.Presley included the song in his 1972 documentary, Elvis on Tour,  and the 1977 CBS special, Elvis in Concert. 

Lonesome Tonight

Double Platinum

On March 27, 1992, the RIAA certified “Are You Lonesome Tonight?” double platinum.In 2008 (the 50th anniversary of Billboard’s Hot 100), the song was number 81 on the magazine’s “Hot 100 All-Time Top Songs” list.

For more on the song, see thIe NYT article from January 21, 2014 It has links to several other versions both before and after Elvis’s.

Lonesome Tonight
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