lost season premiere
what i watched last week

friday random ten, 1961 edition

1. Lee Dorsey, "Ya Ya." I'm not sure this is even double entendre. Single, or maybe triple.

2. Bobby Lewis, "Tossin' and Turnin'." Memory is a tricky thing ... you'll think about some old baseball player, remember that he played for your favorite team forever when you were a kid, then you look it up and he was only with them for a year and a half. I feel like I heard "I couldn't sleep at ALLLLL last night" a thousand times a day in the summer of 1961, when I was 8 years old. This time, I may be remembering correctly ... it was #1 for seven weeks, and was the #1 song of the entire year.

3. Ricky Nelson, "Travelin' Man." You should probably click on the video link, since some have argued it is the first music video.

4. Ben E. King, "Spanish Harlem." This lovely song, King's first solo hit, was written by Jerry Leiber and ... Phil Spector.

5. Patsy Cline, "Crazy." Written by Willie Nelson, recorded soon after Cline was in a serious auto accident, so serious it was hard for her to hit the high notes in the song because it hurt her ribs.

6. Ray Charles, "Hit the Road, Jack." Wikipedia claims this song was a tribute to On the Road. Never heard that one before.

7. Elvis Presley, "Little Sister." The video has the King doing a "Little Sister/Get Back" medley, and how often do you get to hear Elvis singing the Beatles?

8. Dion, "Runaround Sue." Getting back to memory playing tricks, I can remember reading something long ago ... can't remember who wrote this ... the idea was that this song represents Dion giving himself over to his female audience, because while in "The Wanderer" he bragged about being the guy who got around, in "Runaround Sue" it was the girl making him the loser. Made a certain amount of sense, but maybe I remember it wrong, because "Runaround Sue" was released before "The Wanderer."

9. The Tokens, "The Lion Sleeps Tonight." There are enough fascinating stories to be told about this song that you could fill a book (Rian Malan wrote a longish essay, "In the Jungle") ... or at least a feature-length movie, which is what François Verster did. Wikipedia gets most of the facts, but I've always been partial to Dave Marsh's version, from The Heart of Rock and Soul, placing the Tokens' record within the context of the Folk Revival movement: "It's fitting, therefore, that the folk revival's best hit was "The Lion Sleeps Tonight," the most musically exciting record of the genre for reasons that have everything to do with its inauthenticity and vulgarity" (218).

10. Roy Orbison, "Running Scared." This isn't really a very hard trivia question, but there is a person who appears in three of the ten video links in this week's edition of the Random Ten.