I’ll Be Good To You And Stuff Like That But There’s A Train Coming

“We had the best jazz band in the planet, and yet we were literally starving. That’s when I discovered that there was music, and there was the music business. If I were to survive, I would have to learn the difference between the two.” – Quincy Jones

My previous post on Quincy Jones was a bit more focused on his overall career and family so this time, I’d like to just focus on his musical career for a moment. In that career, there are a lot of firsts and doors opening and I think it’s important to include it all! Well, most of it, I did edit it down a bit.

At the age of 19, Quincy traveled to Europe to tour and said it turned him upside down, altering his view of racism in the US. In 1956, Jones toured again as a trumpeter and musical director of the Dizzy Gillespie Band on a tour of the Middle East and South America sponsored by the United States Information Agency. Upon his return, Jones signed with ABC-Paramount Records and started his recording career as the leader of his own band.

In 1957, Quincy settled in Paris, where he studied composition and theory with Nadia Boulanger and composer Olivier Messiaen. He also performed at the Paris Olympia. Jones became music director at Barclay Disques, a leading French record company and the licensee for Mercury Records in France. During the 1950s, he successfully toured throughout Europe with a number of jazz orchestras. Jones again formed his own big band, called The Jones Boys, with eighteen artists. Though the European and American concerts met enthusiastic audiences and sparkling reviews, concert earnings could not support a band of this size. Poor budget planning resulted in an economic disaster; the band dissolved and the fallout left Jones in a financial crisis. Irving Green, head of Mercury Records, helped Jones with a personal loan and a new job as the musical director of the company’s New York division. There he worked with Doug Moody, who founded Mystic Records.

In 1964, Jones was promoted to vice-president of Mercury Records, becoming the first African American to hold this executive position. In that same year, he turned his attention to film scores, another musical arena long closed to African Americans. At the invitation of director Sidney Lumet, he composed the music for The Pawnbroker (1964). It was the first of his 33 major motion picture scores.

Following the success of The Pawnbroker, Jones left Mercury Records and moved to Los Angeles. After composing a film score for The Slender Thread (1965), starring Sidney Poitier, he was in constant demand as a composer. His film credits in the next five years included:

  • Walk, Don’t Run (1966)
  • In Cold Blood (1967)
  • In the Heat of the Night (1968)
  • A Dandy in Aspic (1968)
  • Mackenna’s Gold (1969)
  • The Italian Job (1969)
  • Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice (1969)
  • The Lost Man (1969)
  • Cactus Flower (1969)
  • The Getaway (1972)

In addition, he composed “The Streetbeater,” which became familiar as the theme music for the television sitcom Sanford and Son, starring close friend Redd Foxx; he also composed the themes for other TV shows, including The Bill Cosby Show, Ironside, and the Goodson & Todman game show Now You See It.

In the 1960s, Jones worked as an arranger for some of the most important artists of the era, including Sarah Vaughan, Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, Peggy Lee, and Dinah Washington.

Jones’s solo recordings also gained acclaim, including Walking in Space, Gula Matari, Smackwater Jack, You’ve Got It Bad, Girl, Body Heat, Mellow Madness, and I Heard That!!. He is known for his 1962 tune “Soul Bossa Nova”, which originated on the Big Band Bossa Nova album. “Soul Bossa Nova” was a theme used for the 1998 World Cup, the Canadian game show Definition, the Woody Allen film Take the Money and Run, and the Austin Powers film series. Jones’s 1981 album, The Dude, yielded multiple hit singles, including “Ai No Corrida” (a remake of a song by Chaz Jankel), “Just Once,” and “One Hundred Ways”, the latter two featuring James Ingram on lead vocals and marking Ingram’s first hits.

In 1985, Jones wrote the score for the Steven Spielberg film adaptation of the Pulitzer-prize winning epistolary novel, The Color Purple, by Alice Walker. He and Jerry Goldsmith (from Twilight Zone: The Movie) are the only composers besides John Williams to have scored a Spielberg theatrical film. After the 1985 American Music Awards ceremony, Jones used his influence to draw most of the major American recording artists of the day into a studio to record the song “We Are the World” to raise money for the victims of Ethiopia’s famine. When people marveled at his ability to make the collaboration work, Jones explained that he’d taped a simple sign on the entrance: “Check Your Ego At The Door”.

In 1988, Quincy Jones Productions joined forces with Warner Communications to create Quincy Jones Entertainment. He signed a ten-picture deal with Warner Brothers and signed a two-series deal with NBC Productions. Jones produced the highly successful Fresh Prince of Bel Air (discovering Will Smith); UPN’s In the House, and FOX’s Madtv—which did 14 seasons on Fox. In the early 1990s, Jones started a huge, ongoing project called “The Evolution of Black Music.”


Side One

I’ll Be Good to You

Side Two

I’ll Be Good to You


Side One

Stuff Like That

Side Two

There’s a Train Leavin’


Side One

There’s a Train Leavin’

Side Two

Ai No Corrida (I-No-Ko-Ree-Da)

When Ray Charles’s Dreamboat Comes Home It’s Crying Time

Some of the first songs that really stand out in my memories are from Ray Charles. If I had any musical talent or understanding of how to read music, I’d definitely be a musicians of sorts and would name Ray as a major influence. I’m certainly not the only one, as many, super successful musicians consider him one of their influences too.

“This may sound like sacrilege, but I think Ray Charles was more important than Elvis Presley”.

– Billy Joel

Ray Charles possessed one of the most recognizable voices in American music. In the words of Henry Pleasants:

Sinatra, and Bing Crosby before him, had been masters of words. Ray Charles is a master of sounds. His records disclose an extraordinary assortment of slurs, glides, turns, shrieks, wails, breaks, shouts, screams and hollers, all wonderfully controlled, disciplined by inspired musicianship, and harnessed to ingenious subtleties of harmony, dynamics and rhythm… It is either the singing of a man whose vocabulary is inadequate to express what is in his heart and mind or of one whose feelings are too intense for satisfactory verbal or conventionally melodic articulation. He can’t tell it to you. He can’t even sing it to you. He has to cry out to you, or shout to you, in tones eloquent of despair — or exaltation. The voice alone, with little assistance from the text or the notated music, conveys the message.

His style and success in the genres of rhythm and blues and jazz had an influence on a number of highly successful artists, including Elvis Presley, Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder, Van Morrison, and Billy Joel. According to Joe Levy, a music editor for Rolling Stone, “The hit records he made for Atlantic in the mid-50’s mapped out everything that would happen to rock ‘n’ roll and soul music in the years that followed”.

On December 7, 2007, the Ray Charles Plaza was opened in his hometown of Albany, Georgia. The plaza features a revolving, lighted bronze sculpture of Charles seated at a piano and the plaza’s dedication was attended by his daughter, Sheila Raye Charles.

On August 4, 2013, in an interview with the Turkish newspaper Hurriyet, former Pink Floyd member Roger Waters stated: “I was about 15. In the middle of the night with friends, we were listening to jazz. It was “Georgia on My Mind”, Ray Charles’s version. Then I thought ‘One day, if I make some people feel only one twentieth of what I am feeling now, it will be quite enough for me.'”.


Side One

Crying Time

Side Two

When My Dreamboat Comes Home

Robert Maxwell’s Shangri-La

Robert Maxwell (born April 19, 1921, died February 7, 2012) was a harpist and songwriter.

Born Max Rosen he and his two brothers, Abe Rosen (1916-2007) and Myor Rosen (1917-2009), all played the harp professionally. Abe Rosen was known for his work playing in New York shows and Myor Rosen was the principal harpist for the New York Philharmonic for thirty years.

Max eventually found himself in the United States Coast Guard where he performed for servicemen, and he developed a talent for playing in a more down-to-earth style. He entered a contest on radio station KFI in Los Angeles, failing to make the finals but gaining second prize. This led to many appearances on radio, television, and the movies, including one summer as replacement for Frank Sinatra on the CBS.

He went on to devising his own arrangements, and composed three songs which he is remembered: “Little Dipper” (1959), “Ebb Tide” (1953) and “Shangri-La” (1964) which hit #15 on the Billboard Hot 100. Another of his songs, “Solfeggio”, performed by Maxwell’s orchestra and the Ray Charles Singers, gained unexpected fame as the theme for Ernie Kovacs’ regular comedy skit called The Nairobi Trio.


Side One


Side Two

That Old Black Magic

Sammy Davis Jr. Is The Candy Man

I think some of my albums got a little mixed up because I definitely thought that I would have more Sammy Davis Jr.. After I’m done entering all of these lovely “S” singles, I’m going to use the Excel sheet to get everything back in ABC order. It’ll drive me to nutty to not have everything in order!

Samuel George “Sammy” Davis, Jr. (December 8, 1925 – May 16, 1990) was an American entertainer. Primarily a dancer and singer, he was also an actor of stage and screen, musician, and impressionist, noted for his impersonations of actors, musicians and other celebrities.

Davis’s film career began as a child in 1933 but in 1960, he appeared in the first Rat Pack film, Ocean’s 11 and went on to star in several others. After a starring role on Broadway in 1956’s Mr Wonderful, Davis returned to the stage in 1964’s Golden Boy, and by 1966 had his own TV variety show, The Sammy Davis Jr. Show. Davis’s career slowed in the late 1960s, but he had a hit record with “The Candy Man” in 1972 and became a star in Las Vegas, earning him the nickname “Mister Show Business”.

As an African-American, Davis was the victim of racism throughout his life and was a large financial supporter of the Civil Rights movement. Davis had a complex relationship with the African-American community, and drew criticism after physically embracing President Richard M. Nixon in 1972. One day on a golf course with Jack Benny, he was asked what his handicap was. “Handicap?” he asked. “Talk about handicap — I’m a one-eyed Negro Jew.” This was to become a signature comment, recounted in his autobiography, and in countless articles.

After reuniting with Sinatra and Dean Martin in 1987, Davis toured with them and Liza Minnelli internationally, before he died of throat cancer in 1990. He died in debt to the Internal Revenue Service, and his estate was the subject of legal battles.

Davis was awarded the Spingarn Medal by the NAACP and was nominated for a Golden Globe and an Emmy Award for his television performances. He was the recipient of the Kennedy Center Honors in 1987, and in 2001, he was posthumously awarded the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.


Side One

Candy Man

Side Two

The People Tree


Side One

Candy Man

Side Two

I Want to Be Happy

Jingle Bells In July

Merry Christmas To You!

Various Artists

Side One

Frank Sinatra – White Christmas
Les Paul – Jingle Bells
Dean Martin – The Christmas Blues
Nat “King” Cole – My Two Front Teeth
Johnny Mercer – Winter Wonderland
Les Baxter – Santa Claus’ Party

Side Two

Nat “King” Cole – The Christmas Song
Billy May – Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer Mambo
Frank Sinatra – The Christmas Waltz
Yogi Yorgesson – I Yust Go Nuts At Christmas
Margaret Whiting and Jimmy Wakely – Silver Bells
Les Paul and Mary Ford – Silent Night


Bobby Hebb (July 26, 1938 – August 3, 2010) was an American singer and songwriter born in Tennessee. Hebb’s parents, William and Ovalla Hebb, were both blind musicians.

On November 23, 1963, the day after John F. Kennedy’s assassination, his brother Harold Hebb was killed in a knife fight outside a Nashville nightclub. Hebb was devastated by both events and sought comfort in songwriting. Though many claim that the song he wrote after both tragedies was the optimistic “Sunny”, Hebb himself stated otherwise. Hebb also wrote many other songs for other artists, including Lou Rawls’ 1971 hit “A Natural Man” (co-written with comedian Sandy Baron).

“Sunny” was recorded in New York City, after demos were made with the record producer Jerry Ross. Released as a single, it reached #3 on the R&B charts, # 2 on the Billboard Hot 100, sold over one million copies, and was awarded a gold disc. When Hebb toured with The Beatles in 1966 his “Sunny” was as well received as any Beatles tune, as evidenced by tapes of the concerts. “Sunny” has been recorded by, among others Cher, Georgie Fame, Stevie Wonder, Frank Sinatra with Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald, The Four Seasons, the Four Tops, James Brown and Wilson Pickett.



Side One

Where Are You
Got You On My Mind
Yes Or No Or Maybe Not
Good Good Lovin’
Love Love Love

Side Two

A Satisfied Mind
You Don’t Know What You Got Until You Lose It
I Am Your Man
Crazy Baby
For You

Georgia On My Mind

“This may sound like sacrilege, but I think Ray Charles was more important than Elvis Presley. I don’t know if Ray was the architect of rock & roll, but he was certainly the first guy to do a lot of things . . . Who the hell ever put so many styles together and made it work?”

Billy Joel

Ray Charles Robinson (September 23, 1930 – June 10, 2004), known by his shortened stage name Ray Charles, was an American musician. He was a pioneer in the genre of soul music during the 1950s by fusing rhythm and blues, gospel, and blues styles into his early recordings with Atlantic Records.

He also helped racially integrate country and pop music during the 1960s with his crossover success on ABC Records, most notably with his Modern Sounds albums. While with ABC, Charles became one of the first African-American musicians to be given artistic control by a mainstream record company. Frank Sinatra called Charles “the only true genius in show business.”

Ray’s legacy continues to live on. His version of “Georgia On My Mind” was made the official state song for Georgia. In 1987, he was awarded the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. Rolling Stone ranked Charles number ten on their list of “100 Greatest Artists of All Time” in 2004, and number two on their November 2008 list of “100 Greatest Singers of All Time”. The biopic Ray, released in October 2004, portrays his life and career between 1930 and 1979 and stars Jamie Foxx as Charles. Foxx won the 2005 Academy Award for Best Actor for the role.

Honestly, I wish I had more of his albums, but these two will need to do for now:

What’d I Say

Greatest Hits

Paul Anka

Paul Albert Anka, OC (born July 30, 1941 Ottawa) is a Canadian singer, songwriter, and actor.

Anka first became famous as a teen idol in the late 1950s and 1960s with hit songs like “Diana”, “Lonely Boy”, and “Put Your Head on My Shoulder”. He went on to write such well-known music as the theme for The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson and one of Tom Jones’s biggest hits, “She’s a Lady”, and the English lyrics for Frank Sinatra’s signature song, “My Way” (originally French song “Comme d’habitude”).

In 1983, he co-wrote with Michael Jackson the song “I Never Heard”, which was retitled and released in 2009 under the name “This Is It”. An additional song that Jackson co-wrote with Anka from this 1983 session, “Love Never Felt So Good”, has since been discovered, and will be released in the near future. The song was also released by Johnny Mathis in 1984.

The Original Hits of Paul Anka

Side One

Put Your Head on My Shoulder
Crazy Love
I Love You Baby
Puppy Love
My Home Town

Side Two

Lonely Boy
Adam and Eve
You Are My Destiny
Tonight, My Love, Tonight
Just Young
Dance On Little Girl

Nelson Riddle

Nelson Smock Riddle, Jr. (June 1, 1921 – October 6, 1985) was an American arranger, composer, bandleader and orchestrator whose career stretched from the late 1940s to the mid 1980s. His work for Capitol Records kept such vocalists as Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Nat King Cole, Judy Garland, Peggy Lee, Johnny Mathis, Rosemary Clooney and Keely Smith household names. He found commercial and critical success again in the 1980s with a trio of Platinum albums with vocalist Linda Ronstadt.

The Best of Nelson Riddle

Side One

Lisbon Antigua
The Green Leaves of Summer
Naked City Theme
Younger Than Springtime
The Untouchables

Side Two

Route 66 Theme
I’m Getting’ Sentimental Over You
Brother John
Life is Just a Bowl of Cherries
De Guello

Lou Rawls

Louis Allen “Lou” Rawls (December 1, 1935 – January 6, 2006) was an American soul, jazz, and blues singer. He was known for his smooth vocal style: Frank Sinatra once said that Rawls had “the classiest singing and silkiest chops in the singing game”. Rawls released more than 60 albums, appeared as an actor in motion pictures and on television, and voiced-over many cartoons. He was also known for his frequently used expression,”Yeah buddy!”

Unmistakably Lou

Side One

See You When I Get There
Spring Again
Early Morning Love
Some Folks Never Learn

Side Two

Some Day You’ll Be Old
Secret Tears
We Understand Each Other
It’s Our Anniversary Today
All the Way