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1 hour
First broadcast:
Sunday 16 August 2009

Every Sunday Russell Davies presents the history of popular song, spotlighting its greatest exponents.

The 70th Anniversary of the first screening of The Wizard Of Oz launches the show into different versions of music from the film: Harry Connick Jr (If I Only Had A Brain) and Harlen Arlen, the composer (Over The Rainbow). The film's star, Judy Garland, is also heard but in the Born In A Trunk sequence from A Star Is Born. The lyrics; "born in a trunk in The Princess Theater in Pocatello, Idaho" lead to an exploration of the vast number of strangely-named places celebrated in song, starting with Kalamazoo and Peoria and covering great tracts of the Australian outback and the American boondocks, thanks to two versions of Geoff Mack's I've Been Everywhere.

Tony Bennett having just passed his 83rd birthday, is saluted with his Waltz For Debby - a duet with jazz pianist Bill Evans, who provides the link to Lucy Reed's That's How I Love The Blues. Returning to Judy Garland, Russell relates the fate of her recording of The Trolley Song and we hear The Pied Pipers' version that ousted it.

Finally, ahead of the appearance of The Ukelele Orchestra Of Great Britain at the BBC Proms, we hear two champions of the 'uke' - Cliff Edwards ('Ukelele Ike') and Lyle Ritz.

Music Played

14 items
  • Image for Warren Hull (Announcer)

    Warren Hull (Announcer) 1939 US Radio Preview Of 'The Wizard Of Oz'

    Maxwell House Show Devoted To ‘Wizard Of Oz’, Reflections, 8101

  • Image for Harry Connick, Jr.

    Harry Connick, Jr. If I Only Had A Brain

    From Harry Connick Jr’s “20” Album, Columbia, 462996 2

  • Image for Harold Arlen

    Harold Arlen Over The Rainbow

    “St Louis Woman” & “Harold Arlen & His Songs”, DRG, 19078

  • Image for Judy Garland

    Judy Garland Born In A Trunk

    A Star Is Born OST, Columbia, CK 44389

  • Image for Dolores Gray

    Dolores Gray I Know Your Kind

    1959 Broadway Cast “Destry Rides Again”, US Decca, 008811157326

  • Image for The Glenn Miller Orchestra

    The Glenn Miller Orchestra I've Got A Gal In Kalamazoo

    Glenn Miller – Moonlight Serenade, Past Perfect, PPCD 78116

  • Image for Hank Snow

    Hank Snow I've Been Everywhere

    The Essential Hank Snow, RCA Nashville, 66931

  • Image for Lucky Starr

    Lucky Starr I've Been Everywhere

    The 60s: A Decade Of Classic Australian Hits, Festival, D 25369

  • Image for Lu Watters & His Yerba Buena Jazz Band

    Lu Watters & His Yerba Buena Jazz Band I Wish I Was In Peoria

    Doing The Hambone At Kelly’s Volume 2, Jasmine, JASMCD 2590

  • Image for Tony Bennett With Bill Evans (Piano)

    Tony Bennett With Bill Evans (Piano) Waltz For Debby

    The Complete Tony Bennett-Bill Evans Recordings, Fantasy, 0888072312814

  • Image for Lucy Reed

    Lucy Reed That's How I Love The Blues

    The Singing Reed – Lucy Reed With Bill Evans, Fantasy, OJCCD-1777-2

  • Image for The Pied Pipers With Jo Stafford

    The Pied Pipers With Jo Stafford The Trolley Song

    The Pied Pipers – Collectors Series, Capitol, CDP 7 95289-2

  • Image for Ukelele Ike With The Eton Boys

    Ukelele Ike With The Eton Boys One Little Kiss

    With My Little Ukelele In My Hand, Proper, P 1658

  • Image for Rebecca Kilgore & Lyle Ritz

    Rebecca Kilgore & Lyle Ritz Happy Talk

    Becky & Lyle Bossa Style, PDX Uke, #91829

  • Thie Week's Show

    Celebration of the anniversary of the film of “The Wizard Of Oz” hasn’t been confined to The Song Show, nor to radio and telly. There has been some splendid press coverage; notably, The Sunday Telegraph’s mag “Seven” of August 2nd devoted ten pages to various aspects of the movie, the book that inspired it and the stage musical (‘Wicked’) that it, in turn, begat. Much of the first article came from the book “The Wizardry Of Oz” by William Stillman and Jay Scarfone and while we’re not yet in possession of our copy of the book, on the basis of what we’ve seen here we think we can safely guarantee a highly entertaining read. It’s full, not only of many fine images from the film and its making but also lots of the behind-the-scenes stories, too, some of them hardly credible were it not for the illustrations that back them up.

    Out of our tip-of-the-hat to ‘The Wizard Of Oz’ came our search for songs-that-have-put-places-on-the-map, an investigation which, of necessity, had to be very limited. We could quickly have filled the hour with all sorts of extravagantly-named towns in out-of-the-way places – and not confined to The United States Of America either. But we would particularly have like to add to our exploration some of those splendid fictitious places that people are still trying to find – Himazaz, for example (Himazaz the pub next door, you’ll no doubt recall). So your task this week is to remind us of some more funny place-names in song. We’re relying on you!

  • Celebrated Anniversary: The Wizard Of Oz

    Celebrated Anniversary: The Wizard Of Oz

  • Recommendations

    Both recommendations come from our reminder of the Late-Night Prom, featuring The Ukelele Orchestra Of Great Britain on Tuesday 18th August: The first is a four-CD box that’s been sitting on our shelf awaiting such an opportunity since we received it from Proper records last year. “With My Little Ukelele In My Hand” is a 4-CD box with 47 page book that covers much of the early history of the ‘uke’ on record, from the early ‘20s to the late ‘50s. Starting with its first popular blossoming in the ‘20s through such artists as Cliff Edwards, Jimmie Rogers & Johnny Marvin, it allows us a glimpse of its Hawaiian origins through artists like Benny Nawahi, Sol Hoopi etc., before treating us to lots of George Formby (actually often playing banjolele rather than uke) and finally the latter-day guv’nor – Lyle Ritz. 104 tracks of surprising variety: (Properbox140).

    Hot off the press comes “Becky And Lyle – Bossa Style”, the second CD collaboration between one of our favourite latterday singers, Rebecca Kilgore, and the undisputed boss of the ukulele today – Lyle Ritz. With the addition of String bass, guitar and percussion, they treat us to gently-latinized versions of a dozen very varied songs, three of them by Maestro Ritz. The most venerable of these is “I’m Looking Over A Four-Leaf Clover” (PDX Uke #91829) which Becky essays in Spanish and English; the most surprising being Lennon & McCartney’s “I Will”. It’s a delicious, if rather short-measure (42 mins) entertainment.


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