High School Yearbook Photo

"More than a place, the Shady Dell was and will forever remain a state of mind." - Shady Del Knight

"More than a place, the Shady Dell was and will forever remain a state of mind." - Shady Del Knight

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Rat Ron's Retro Rock Reminiscences: Instrumentally Yours, Part 2


Three weeks ago Dell Rat Ron 

wowed the crowd with Part 1

of Instrumentally Yours, a 

post that featured some of the 

great long lost instrumentals. 

Today Ron's back with more 

terrific tunes and I brought 

along a few faves of my own! 

I'd like to get the party started with a shout out to my friend Sush at First Do No Harm. Sush is a North Carolinian who was born and raised in New Orleans. She grew up listening to Al Hirt, the talented New Orleans trumpeter, bandleader and Louisiana Music Hall of Famer. Hirt aka Jumbo aka the Round Mound of Sound scored his biggest hit in the early months of 1964 when his instrumental "Java" wound up in the top 5. Hirt followed-up with "Cotton Candy," a top 20 hit, and "Sugar Lips" which made it to #30 on the pop chart and became the theme of the TV game show Eye Guess starring Bill Cullen.  Early the following year Al Hirt achieved a minor hit with "Fancy Pants" which finished it's run in the top 50.  This one wasn't turned into a game show theme but somehow I can't I listen to it without picturing Gene Rayburn, Fannie Flagg and Charles Nelson Reilly!

"Fancy Pants" - Al Hirt (February 1965, 
highest chart position #47  

One of the dreamiest instrumentals from my teen years was
"(Your kisses take me to) Shangri-La" by Robert Maxwell.

Robert Maxwell - "Shangri-La"(May 1964, 
highest chart position #15) 

Allow me to slip in the vocal version by the Letterman for another dear friend, Amber Blue Bird at, you guessed it, Amber Blue Bird. I'll get you my pretty, and your little dog Oliver, too!

"Shangri-La" - Lettermen (November 1969, 
highest chart position #64) 

Okay Ron, it's time for me to pass the 
turntable over to you. Spin away! 

Shady, some readers 
might not be aware that 
Paul Revere and the 
Raiders started out making 
instrumentals. Their first 
single, released on Gardena 
Records, made it to #1 on 
WSBA. Paul's playing the  
piano.  I had a chance to 
speak to him on the phone 
when he was in Reno. The 
flip song had Mark Lindsey 
recorded at a slower speed
like a chipmunk, and 
dubbed with a normal 
backup. Paul also filled me 
in on that. It was called "Sharon" but it's not the "Sharon" 
on YouTube. Paul said they did that because it was a 
popular gimmick at the time. 

"Like, Long Hair" - Paul Revere and the 
Raiders (live, original studio recording 
April 1961, highest chart position #38) 

I still wish I could learn to play boogie woogie piano. 
This next record was a little more successful than the one 
by Paul Revere and the Raiders and was on the Billboard 
chart around the same time. Of course, you will recognize 
that this is a rockin' arrangement of a classical melody, 
Korsakov's "Flight of the Bumble Bee." 

"Bumble Boogie" - B. Bumble and the 
Stingers (May 1961, highest chart 
position #21) 

Here's one last song in the same genre as "Like, Long Hair" 
and "Bumble Boogie". My boogie woogie version (which 
turned me on to the original Edvard Grieg Piano Concerto 
in A-something), okay A-minor. It made top 10 on 'SBA. 

"Asia Minor" - Kokomo (April 1961, 
highest chart position #8) 

Give your fingers a rest, Ron, while
I play a few. Some of my favorite intrumentals were themes from hit
TV shows and movies. One of the
most recognizable name that tune 
tunes of the 20th century was this
one recorded by Neal Hefti.

"Batman Theme" - Neal Hefti Orchestra 
(March 1966, highest chart position #35) 

The Marketts also laid down a killer rendition of "Batman" and reached the top 20 with it; but they really sent me into orbit with a tune named after the sci-fi series Outer Limits.  The record blasted off two weeks after the assassination of JFK and rocketed into the top 5 at the height of Beatlemania!
I guess you could say it was the rim-shot heard 'round the world!  (Note: those gosh darned teenage punks from Hot Rods to Hell are back for an encore. Gotta love 'em!)

"Out of Limits" - Marketts 
(February 1964, highest chart position #3) 

Rich in legend and lore, Route 66 was the Mother Road, the road west, the Main Street of America. It was also a hit television series. Premiering in 1960 the show about two restless young men searching for meaning as they traveled the famous highway in their Corvette convertible bore similarities to Easy Rider, the 1969 movie about two young men on choppers searching for America and never finding it.

"Route 66 Theme" - Nelson Riddle 
(July 1962, highest chart position #30) 

Craig Stevens starred as Peter Gunn, a handsome, sophisticated, super cool private investigator. Is there any other kind? The show's opening and closing theme was composed and performed by Henry Mancini who won an Emmy and two Grammys as a result. Ray Anthony released the theme on a 45rpm single, my parents bought it, and it's the version that I remember best from childhood.

"Peter Gunn" - Ray Anthony (March 1959, 
highest chart position #8) 

Dragnet, the crime drama that starred Jack Webb as dedicated Los Angeles police detective Sergeant Joe Friday, was on the radio five months before I was born and came to TV when I was two years old. Realism and unpretentious acting made Dragnet different from most other television series and set the standard for shows like Law and Order that came after. Three Dragnet motion pictures were made and my favorite is the 1987 comedy spoof that starred
SNL's Dan Aykroyd and rising superstar Tom Hanks.

"Dragnet" - The Art of Noise (July 1987 
uncharted, from album In-No-Sense? 
Nonsense!, from motion picture Dragnet) 

Ron, back to you, good buddy! 

Here's a little trivia for you, Shady. A news show here in 
Tulsa uses one of Sandy Nelson's hit records as an intro. 

"Teen Beat" - Sandy Nelson (November 
1959, highest chart position #4) 

My last instrumental is a two for the price of one single by 
the Rondels. Both songs are included in this clip: the A side, 
"Back Beat No. 1," and the B side called "Shades of Green." 
I owned this 45 and enjoyed both sides like I did with most 
of my records.

"Back Beat No. 1"/"Shades of Green" 
- Rondels (August 1961, highest chart 
position #66) 

Ron, let's wrap up two terrific volumes of lost instrumentals with a record that's hard to categorize. Is it an instrumental or a vocal? Decide for yourself as you watch this classic performance by Pete Drake and his talking steel guitar!

"Forever" - Pete Drake (May 1964, 
highest chart position #25) 

Thanks again to Dell Rat Ron 

for bringing us a ton of tunes 

that make old school cool! 

Have a Shady day!


  1. Hi Shady, dear friend. Happy Sunday to you. May I just say that it never ceases to amaze me with all the work that you must put into your posts - just for us! Thank you! I love watching the video clips that you pick out for us and well done to Rat Ron as well. I remember Sandy Nelson very well and (I did mention this before) loved B Bumble & The Stingers, which I still have on my jukebox here at home. Who could ever forget the Batman theme! I used to love that original tv series, think it was in the mid-sixties. Thanks again Shady!

  2. Thisisme - Hello, dear friend! So glad sunny skies are yours in Devon. I can just imagine you bopping to rock 'n' roll versions of classical compositions. Sandy Nelson is a musician that I don't hear much about these days and I'm glad Ron included his "Teen Beat." Sandy had subsequent hits with "Let There Be Drums," "Drums Are My Beat" and "Teen Beat '65." I never missed an episode of the original Batman series. FYI - Adam West is now Mayor Adam West on the hit cartoon series Family Guy. Have a delightful day, dear Thisisme!

  3. Well, Shady, you really do perform magic! You and Ron have done a great job! I was granted my wish quickly! Really liked "Bumble Boogie" and "Asia Minor", great black and white images in the video. "Batman Theme" is of course a favorite. "Out of Limits" was special and I think my family had the old Peter Gunn record, too. One of the greatest. What great memories of Dragnet's "The Art of Noise". I got a kick out of Pete Drake's "talking steel guitar". Also, I enjoyed the old Pete Drake color video with its painted background scenery and fake-looking tree. Can't help but notice things like that :~) Very charming and loved the look of innocence. ◄☺► Thanks Ron and Shady! A+ ◄☺►

  4. Cindy - As an artist you have a sharp eye for set design. Isn't it jarring to notice all of the differences between then and now, including the formality of the introduction? As I often describe it there was tacit agreement in this country in the value of goodness and decency. You and I were fortunate to have been steeped in those values and they are revealed in vintage clips like these. Thank you for blessing me with back-to-back comments today, dear friend Cindy, and enjoy the rest of your Sunday!

  5. I fully agree with Thisisme about how much work you must put into these posts and we can't thank you enough for all the joy we receive. Today was awesome and the memories you and Ron brought back to life made me feel so good. Hope you both have a great rest of the weekend.

  6. Thanks, Odie! That's very kind of you. I included Pete Drake and his talking steel guitar with you in mind. Have a great Sunday and a safe and happy week, good buddy!

  7. Hi Shady, you set my heart to pitter patter with your mention of me in your blog! I consider it quite an honor. Merci!
    Al Hirt was indeed a legend in our hometown along with Pete Fountain! Listen to Fountain's rendition of "A Closer Walk With Thee" and you could get all misty eyed!

    Here's to all the great memories your lovely music evokes...thank you so much dear Shady. You make my memories feel like yesterday.

    If you'll excuse me I'll go play some Lettermen tunes and remember what it was like to be a dreamy eyed girl in her bedroom with those sweet songs!


  8. Sush - Hello to you, my new and dear friend! I'm glad that you mentioned the Lettermen because that buttoned down vocal group, as much as any other, epitomized the era of innocence that we so fondly remember. Thank you very much for swinging by on a Sunday, dear Sush, and have a delightful week ahead up in Odie Langley country!

  9. Well, Shady. I must say that I've just enjoyed a nice blend of sweet and rockin'---music with the same two qualities that make up the perfect woman. Well put together, as usual. I have to confess that every song you come up with that I either haven't heard or haven't heard in a long time makes me reminisce more songs. Well, gotta go now. I enjoyed sharing memories with you again. I'm glad for the other bloggers that contribute their ideas and favorite songs as well. Maybe we can all teach the world to boogie together.

    Peace and love,

  10. Ron - I hadn't heard some of these songs for decades until they came to mind while researching this post. The Art of Noise, for example is a video that I haven't seen since I worked at that MTV station in the mid 80s and played it so often. I owned the 45 of "Like, Long Hair" by PR&R (Gardena 116) in Mint Minus condition back in the day and foolishly parted with it. This is so much fun and I again thank you for your many contributions! See you next time, good buddy!

  11. I thoroughly enjoyed the theme songs from TV shows. I remember all these programs and their music. I wasn't allowed to watch all of them, but I probably listened in from my bedroom!

    Bumble Boogie and Asia Minor were special. But I liked all of them.

  12. I'm glad some of these rang a bell, Belle! (LOL) I remember watching Dragnet from earliest childhood and loved the realistic portrayal of police detective work. I also loved Jack Webb's movie -30- that gave a similarly realistic behind the scenes look at all that goes into running a major newspaper (again, Los Angeles). Thank you very much for your visit and comments, Belle!

  13. The lyrics and music to "Your kisses take me to Shangri-La" make my heart swell and ache. So beautiful. Full of longing, Love and that internal pleasure so close to pain.

    Why do songs of today lack that soulful feel? Tragic.

  14. Crystal Pistol - I'm glad you selected "Shangri-La" because both the vocal and instrumental versions zing my heartstrings, too. I agree with you that most of today's songs lack a soulful feel. I think it's because we are celebrating the shallow and superficial rather than the deep and spiritual; instant gratification rather than patience, pain, suffering and sacrifice. Thank you very much for spreading cheer over here, dear friend C-P, and have a super week!

  15. Ummm yeah you are wicked awesome! Thanks so much for the shout out. You know I adore that film so much and I loved the tune, Shangri-La, playing in the background. It fit so well with that scene. I almost shed a tear it was so beautiful. Thanks for thinking of me. Did I mention you are awesome? :)

  16. Amber Blue Bird - Look who's talking! You, my dear friend, INVENTED awesome, awesomeness and WICKED awesome...ness! So glad you liked the video tribute to you and your Oliver. Thanks for winging your way over from Connecticut and please have a safe and happy week, Amber!


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