23 February 2008

Only in Melbourne (2) Julie London - I'm Coming Back To You (1963)

Only in Melbournetracks that didn't chart Top 40 in their countries of origin but did better in the capital of my home state, Victoria. See also: Only in Oz.

2. Julie London - I'm Coming Back To You
(Arthur Kent - Ed Warren)
USA 1963
Liberty single #
Also on album The Wonderful World of Julie London

Australian charts: #34 Melbourne (#72 Australia)

Only in Melbourne, Victoria but (as a search of ARSA reveals) also in Bakersfield CA plus who knows what other US cities, towns and hamlets?

Even then, this hardly tore up the charts. Melbourne chart statisticians Gavin Ryan and Tom Guest agree on this one: Gavin has it at #34, Tom at #36. The KAFY chart posted to ARSA snapshots it at #27 in Bakersfield.

Probably because I grew up listening to those very Melbourne radio stations that nudged it into the local Top 40, I'm Coming Back To You has always been the song I associate with Julie London: not her famous hit Cry Me A River (1955, #9 USA, #22 UK, later reworked to good effect by Joe Cocker), and not Desifinado, her single that charted elsewhere in Australia (1962: #38 Sydney, #10 Brisbane).

Julie London's territory was always the adult-oriented album rather than the pop single: Cry Me A River was her only national Top 40 hit in the US, but she was a steady earner for Liberty Records with her LPs. She is also remembered for her acting, notably as Nurse Dixie McCall in Emergency (1972-1976), created by her ex-husband Jack Webb.

The opening "do-doo-doo-doo do-do do-do" from the girls' chorus [Listen] signals that the easy-going I'm Coming Back To You is more in a pop vein than much of Julie London's material, which tended towards sultry nightclub jazz.

The names of the producer and arranger-conductor here, Snuff Garrett and Ernie Freeman, are familiar credits on numerous pop records (including some by Johnny O'Keefe), and it shows. This is 1963, on the cusp of the British Invasion, and this style of nicely crafted pop production would just about sound dated within a year or so. The B-side is When Snowflakes Fall in The Summer,written by Brill Building greats Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil

(Another Only in Melbourne track from 1963, Al Wilson's Do What You Gotta Do, was also produced by Snuff Garrett with arranger and conductor Ernie Freeman.)

Arthur Kent and Ed Warren, the writers of I'm Coming Back To You, also wrote Take Good Care Of Her, the 1961 hit by Adam Wade (#7 USA), also recorded by Elvis Presley and Johnny Mathis, among others.

Arthur Kent wrote at least two well-known songs with Sylvia Dee: The End Of The World, Skeeter Davis's hit (1963, #2 USA), and Bring Me Sunshine, familiar to British comedy fans as the theme song of Eric Morecambe & Ernie Wise, but also recorded by numerous artists from The Mills Brothers to Willie Nelson.

By the way, a search at the US Copyright Office confirms that Arthur Kent's co-writer on I'm Coming Back To You was indeed Ed Warren. Some sources - including All Music Guide - have wrongly assumed that the Warren in the writer credit belongs to the more prolific and famous Diane Warren, born 1956, who would have been about 7 years old at the time of I'm Coming Back To You.

Chart positions from Gavin Ryan's Australian chart books, with a glance at Tom Guest's Thirty Years of Hits 1960-1990: Melbourne Top 40 Research.

Further reading: Biographies of Julie London and Ernie Freeman at All Music Guide. Tom Simon's Snuff Garrett page. Review of The Wonderful World of Julie London by Greg Adams at AMG.

22 February 2008

Only in Oz (8) Roger Roger & his Champs Elysées Orchestra - Dalilia (1962, 1967)

Another in my series of posts about tracks that were more popular in Australia than in their countries of origin. See also: Only in Melbourne.

8. Roger Roger & his Champs Elysées Orchestra - Dalilia
(Roger Roger)
Festival single (Australia) #FK-296 (1962); re-released on FK-1680 (1967)

Australian charts (1962): #8 Sydney #8 Melbourne #16 Brisbane (#26 Australia)

This spaced-out electronic instrumental was familiar in Australia during the 60s as radio filler and as background music on radio and TV. [Listen] I mentioned it in an earlier post as a likely Time-out Instrumental.

Roger Roger (1911-1995) was a prolific French composer for radio, TV and film whose music is often filed these days under Space Age and Library.

Dalilia seems to have started out as a "library" track, a ready-made theme or soundtrack piece, one of numerous tracks Roger Roger composed and recorded for the Chappell Music company's Mood Music series from the mid-50s.

At the time such albums of "stock music" or "background music" were sold to radio and TV stations and film producers, but they are now collected by aficionados of Library Music. Chappell's albums were issued under the label Chappell's Recorded Music Library, established in 1941, so the term "library" has a long history in this context. 

Library Music later became available to the general public through reissues on CD. See, for example, this catalogue from MovieGrooves [archived], which included a Roger Roger collection (Roger Roger is to Library Music what James Bond is to spy movies...). 

[Update, 2020: A lot of library music is now easily accessed on music streaming services. Try, for example, this Spotify playlist of over 1700 tracks from KPM Music.]

Some of Roger Roger's music (SpaceAgePop.com tells us) also fits into a further sub-genre, Test Card, since his work was often heard with test patterns on BBC-TV.

It's possible that the 1962 release of Dalilia as a single was an Australian initiative. The B-side is Cha Cha Charlie, an instrumental by Mel Young, another Chappell library artist.

A US release of the same composition has an altered title, Delilah (1963 on Time). It is either a fresh recording or a remix, with an introduction and some slightly different instrumentation in places [YouTube].

Festival released the single twice, first in December 1962 on #FK-296, when it charted, and again in March 1967 on #FK-1680, again coupled with Mel Young. As I've pointed out previously, one thing Australians loved back then was an instrumental.

The Dalilia tune was used in 1963 for the British TV show The Desperate People, when it was known as The Desperadoes (Theme from Desperate People). Each title is registered to Roger Roger as a separate work at ASCAP, but they do appear to be the same composition. In Australia, The Playboys released a version as Desperado (1965; YouTube).

And the title, Dalilia? The only title resembling Dalilia amongst the hundreds of Roger Roger compositions registered at SACEM (France) is Dalila, the French form of Delilah (the US title). The title Dalilia is, however, registered to Roger Roger at ASCAP, but so is Delila (another form of Delilah/Dalila). I'm wondering whether Dalilia might be an Anglo misprint for Dalila (Delilah).

Roger Roger & his Champs Elysées Orchestra Dalilia

Chart positions from Gavin Ryan's Australian chart books.

References: 1. Roger Roger page at SpaceAgePop.com 2. Roger Roger biography at Robert Farnon Society 3. Roger Roger article at French Wikipedia.
4. ASCAP Title Search 5. The Australian Festival Record Company... 1961-1969, label discography by George Crotty 6. Library Music catalogue and Roger Roger blurb from MovieGrooves.com [now defunct]. 7. Composer search at SACEM, the French performing rights organisation.