Monday, December 03, 2012

A Top Five Jukebox Favourites

I'm not thinking about just any old jukebox here, but the wondrous contraption they used to have in one of my all-time favourite bars, The Black Swan in East Oxford - a principal hangout of mine in the early 1990s. As I described in that early post on here, one of its unique attractions was an old 1950s style jukebox that contained a record-player and a stack of 45rpm vinyl singles. The machine might indeed have been that old, a gorgeous vintage piece. And many of the records were too: personal favourites, I suppose, of the elderly Irish landlady. There was some fantastic stuff on there, though - records I remember fondly from my childhood, when, from a very early age, I was given free run of my parents' music collection for hours at a time.

One of my happiest discoveries here - the song that I probably used to play on that machine the most - was Roger Miller's King of the Road. But I've already done a post on that; so, here's a rundown of the next best songs from that marvellous selection.

Top Five 'golden oldies' from The Black Swan's jukebox

5)  Frank Sinatra - New York, New York
A great drunken singalong, almost as brashly self-assertive as My Way. This would probably have made it into my 'Great Drinking Songs' series one day, but... I've run out of time.

4)  Sam Cooke - Wonderful World
Which, of course, always calls to mind the cafeteria sequence in Animal House....

3)  The Bellamy Brothers - If I Said You Had A Beautiful Body (Would You Hold It Against Me?)
This cheesy Country classic was a favourite pick of my buddy, The Bookseller - who had a touching but entirely misguided optimism that if he used this line often enough, it would eventually work for him.

2)  Pérez Prado - Cherry Pink (and Apple Blossom White)
The Cuban 'King of the Mambo' has enjoyed a bit of resurgence in popularity in the last couple of decades through tracks like his Mambo No. 5 and Guaglione, but this has always been my favourite - for the exuberantly drunken lurch of the lead trumpet (not sure who's playing this [Pete Candoli, possibly?]; Prado the bandleader played keyboards).

And in the top spot this time (well, No. 2, behind Roger Miller) we have....

1)  Guy Mitchell - Singing The Blues
Not a blues song at all, but I forgive it - because it is the most absurdly perfect little pop song. It was a huge worldwide hit in 1956, a simultaneous No. 1 in the UK and the US - and a great favourite of my parents, from their young married life together, before my brother and I came along to spoil things for them.

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