Monthly Archives: February 2021

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Song of the Day #1859

Song of the Day: The Wizard of Oz (“Ding Dong the Witch is Dead”), music by Harold Arlen, lyrics by E. Y. Harburg, is one of the highlights of this 1939 film classic. Check out the original film version [YouTube link], along with many other renditions: Ella Fitzgerald (and here too), Bing Crosby, Rosemary Clooney (with solos by Scott Hamilton on tenor sax, Ed Bickert on guitar, Dave McKenna on piano, Warren Vache, Jr. on trumpet), a swingin’ Sammy Davis, Jr. with the Buddy Rich Band, Barbra Streisand with Harold Arlen himself and alternative versions by The Fifth Estate and Klaus Nomi. And with that, our Seventeenth Annual Film Music February comes to an end! Tonight is the airing of the 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards, where some of the composers we’ve featured in this year’s series are nominated. But we’ll have to wait till Oscar weekend (24-25 April 2021)—at which time I’ll feature a couple of additional Film Music tributes—to find out who takes home the prizes for the cinema music categories. Stay tuned!

Song of the Day #1858

Song of the Day: The Karate Kid (I-II-III-IV) (“Soundtrack Suite”) [YouTube link], composed by Bill Conti (well known for his soundtracks to the “Rocky” franchise), brings a perfect combination of energy, contemplation, and triumph to the whole film series (1984-1994). I recently re-watched the original films in their entirety—the first three with Ralph Macchio—as a prelude to the fun Netflix “Cobra Kai” series, in which Macchio reprises his role as Daniel LaRusso [YouTube link to the hilarious “Sweep the Leg” video by No More Kings]. I enjoyed the films on a whole other level than I did when I first saw them. Maybe it was a wider appreciation for all the wisdom coming out of the mouth of Mr. Miyagi! It’s not Bruce Lee, but it’s got a special poignancy for me.

Elizabeth Ann: Long Live The Ferret—and My Sister!

Whatever your views on cloning endangered species (we’re not talking about bringing back the dinosaurs, here, a la Jurassic Park!), I have to admit that both my sister—who is dealing with her share of health issues—and I got a bit of a thrill from this story about “the first of any native, endangered animal species in North America to be cloned.” A black-footed ferret, Elizabeth Ann was born on December 10, 2020, two days before my sister came home from a difficult one-month stay in the hospital.

As it happens, my sister’s name is Elizabeth Ann Sciabarra. My sister has been emboldened by her namesake’s birth. We all hope that her recovery mirrors that ferret’s fortune!

Three Cheers to Two Elizabeth Anns!

Song of the Day #1856

Song of the Day: Motherless Brooklyn (“Main Theme”) [YouTube link] was composed by Daniel Pemberton, who brings a Miles Davis-influenced sound to this 2019 film. The score also includes some classic jazz recordings along with other original songs, performed by such artists as trumpeter Wynton Marsalis.

Song of the Day #1855

Song of the Day: Ice Station Zebra (“Soundtrack Suite”) [YouTube link] was composed by the late, great Michel Legrand, who was born on this date in 1932. The score to this 1968 espionage film was orchestrated and conducted by Legrand himself with a 75-piece orchestra. It has been described as a brilliant “Cold War ballet.”

Charles Schulz, “Peanuts” — and Hugs!

Twenty-one years ago this month (on 12 February 2000), the famed creator of “Peanuts,” Charles M. Schulz, died. Charlie Brown, Snoopy, and the gang still make me chuckle, while also melting my heart. Thanks to my pal, Merlin Jetton (a long-time contributor to The Journal of Ayn Rand Studies), for emailing me some “Peanuts” gems this morning!

One of those gems I dedicate to a couple of very special people (family and friends), whom I’ve not seen in a long time. I’m sending this out with a Very Warm Big Brooklyn Hug! I miss you all very much—and hope to see you before too long!

Sending “Positivity, Love and all things Good” to my Friends …
(courtesy of Charles M. Schulz and “Peanuts”)

Song of the Day #1854

Song of the Day: Black Panther (“A New Day”) [YouTube link], was composed by Ludwig Goransson, for this 2019 superhero film, based on the Marvel-ous collaboration of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, starring the late Chadwick Boseman. With its predominantly black cast and black director, this trailblazing, absorbing film broke many box office records. The orchestral score embraces a global sound, while also incorporating original songs by Kendrick Lamar.

Song of the Day #1853

Song of the Day: Lady Usher (“A Few Kind Words”) [site link], composed by my friend, Michael Gordon Shapiro, is from a 2020 adaptation [YouTube link] of the Edgar Allan Poe short story, “The Fall of the House of Usher.” The soundtrack to this film won Best Original Score from the New York Cinematography Awards (congratulations, Mike!). As described by the composer, this tender cue offers “a moment of respite before the film’s macabre mood arrives in full force.”