Saturday, February 26, 2011

Ferrante & Teicher

Ferrante & Teicher There are two guys who play piano. You need one, you get two. So what we get ultimately is a lot of flourishes, a lot of cascading runs, many thunderous chords, and no shortage of bombast. Elevator music doesn’t get better than this. The orchestration is worthy of Gustav Mahler.

This collection is an assembly of two double albums, The Best Of Ferrante & Teicher, and 10th Anniversary Collection, and still it only manages to include five of the eleven songs they put on the charts.

Ferrante & Teicher:

Tonight – From West Side Story, one of their three top 10 hits. From the winter of 1961 / 1962.
The Windmills Of Your Mind – A hit for Dusty Springfield on this side of the Atlantic, for Noel Harrison on the other. Originally from The Thomas Crowne Affair. I’ve always loved this melody.
Tara’s Theme – From Gone With The Wind.
More – The theme from Mondo Cane, again. A hit for Kai Winding.and recorded my millions.
Oliver – Very chirpy, this one. From Oliver, obviously
The Impossible Dream – From Man Of La Mancha, a hit for Jack Jones.
Theme From “The Apartment” – Their first hit, from the fall of 1960. From the movie where Jack Lemmon played a nebbish, and Fred McMurray, everyone’s favourite good guy TV father, played the scoundrel. Shirley McLaine was the girl.
Aquarius – From Hair, and a hit for the Fifth Dimension
Lara’s Theme – aka Somewhere My Love, a hit for Ray Conniff, and originally from Dr. Zhivago.
What Now My Love – A 60s standard, and a hit for Mitch Ryder, for Sonny & Cher, and for Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass, none of which version became standards.
Greensleeves – English folk music
Exodus – There’s so much drama in this song you’d think it was the original exodus. This was the theme from the movie, written by Elmer Bernstein, and hit also for Mantovani and for Eddie Harris. Apparently Pat Boone did a hit version, which I assume had the words, thought the only vocal version I’m aware of is the one by Sammy Davis Jr.
Alfie – From Alfie. A hit for Dionne Warwick, and a lesser hit for Cher, whose version graced the movie.
A Man And A Woman – Another movie theme, but this wasn’t a hit for anyone.
Clare de Lune – The boys go classical. This is Debussy, with orchestra added for good measure.
Spanish Eyes – A Bert Kaempfert composition. It was a hit for Al Martino. The pianos on this are surprisingly subdued, and there is some great percussion.
Yesterday – The Beatles’ hit of course. They do a surprisingly moving version, with a brief symphonic intro, slightly reminiscent of Beethoven’s 9th. Not what Paul had in mind perhaps, but he wasn’t consulted.
Moon River – They wouldn’t be true muzak impresarios if they didn’t have a crack at this. Originally a hit for composer Henry Mancini, and, though long forgotten, by Jerry Butler. It's from Breakfast At Tiffany's.
Those Were The Days – Mary Hopkins’ hit from 1968.
The Girl From Ipanema – The bossa nova classic, originally a hit for Stan Getz and Astrud Gilberto. They lose the bossa nova.
Misty – A hit for Johnny Mathis, and Ray Stevens did a great country version.
Mozart Piano Concerto No. 21 in G Major – This is actually an expert from the 2nd movement, known in the pop music world as “Elvira Madigan” after a movie in which it was featured. Surprise, this is not Mozart’s original orchestration, or piano arrangement.
Can’t Stop Loving You – The Tom Jones hit, not the Don Gibson song / Ray Charles hit.
El Condor Pasa – Simon & Garfunkel’s hit from 1970
He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother – The Hollies’ hit from 1970, and also a hit by Neil Diamond in the same year.
Midnight Cowboy – From the tale end of 1969. Midnight Cowboy was a novel by James Leo Herlihy and a movie with Dustan Hoffman and Jon Voigt, and it was a rare instance of the movie matching the novel for power. They used Harry Nilsson’s recording of Fred Neil’s Everybody’s Talking as the theme music, and this song, written by John Barry, who did the soundtrack, was used in the background.
(They Long To Be) Close To You – Bacharach & David’s song floated around for a few years before The Carpenters chopped off the parenthetical section of the title and used the song to kick start an amazingly successful career.
MacArthur Park – Another version of Jimmy Webb’s hated song, a hit for Richard Harris in 1968.
Honey – Hearing their version of the Bobby Russell song / Bobby Goldsboro hit, one realizes two things: There isn’t all that much of a melody to it, and it’s better without the words.
Sunny – Bobby Hebb’s hit from 1966.
For Once In My Life – Stevie Wonder’s hit from 1968.
A Familiar Concerto – This is the section of Bach’s Anna Magdalena Notebooks that was used by Sandy Linzer and Denny Randell when they “wrote” it and handed it to The Toys, whose version went top 10 in 1965. It was called A Lover’s Concerto.
Lay Lady Lay – Bob Dylan’s hit from 1969. It was a hit by our boys in the spring of 1970, if you can call a song that reached number 99 on the top 100 a hit.
Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head – From Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid, and a hit for B. J. Thomas in 1970.
Something – George Harrison’s only number 1 hit with The Beatles. Sinatra even covered this. Ferrante & Teicher
Little Green Apples – Bobby Russell again. A hit for O. C. Smith and for Roger Miller.
Love Theme From Romeo And Juliet – Henry Mancini’s hit from 1969. Nice, but Hank had the last word.
Goin’ Out Of My Head – A hit for Little Anthony & The Imperials, and a 60s pop standard. Sinatra did this one too.
The Sounds Of Silence – Simon & Garfunkel’s hit from 1965.
Born Free – From the movie and another John Barry soundtrack. Roger Williams had the hit in 1966.
By The Time I Get To Phoenix – Another Jimmy Webb song, and a hit for Glen Campbell in 1968.

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