Lately, it seems that whenever I open a Newspaper or Magazine there’s a sober article warning that there is a, ‘Sleep Crisis’ which is increasingly manifested in physical and mental ill health.
People, working all hours and glued to glowing digital devices into the wee hours just aren’t getting enough shuteye!
I read such Jeremiads with much personal puzzlement.
I have never had any problem in sleeping 8 hours or more every night.
Some people have asked me how do I manage this?
Well, my infallible technique is to lie down on a reasonably flat surface and close my eyes!
Sleep follows within a minute – so long as there isn’t prolonged gunfire or searchlights trained directly at me I’m off in a trice.
Drinking alcohol or coffee doesn’t make any difference either.
When it’s time to sleep – I sleep.
Learning of how unusual this appears to be I am grateful for my good fortune.
I tip my hat to The Sandman.
Of course, on The Jukebox, I’ll do far more than that.
I’ll serenade him in jubilant song.
Let’s start with the charming, chiming, circle of fifths, Chordettes from 1954.Embed from Getty Images
Pat Ballard wrote the song and a scramble started to get the hit.
Vaughan Monroe was first out of the blocks closely followed by The Four Aces.
But the clear winner was the zing go the strings of my heart version by The Chordettes.
Jinny Osborn, Janet Ertel, Carol Buschman and Lynn Evans had a collective spellbinding magic that took Mr Sandman to the top of the Charts.
In late ’54 the record flew off the shelves and was an ever present on the airwaves and the jukeboxes.
The Chordettes magic beam gave everyone a peachy dream.
They came out of Sheboygan Wisconsin (like E E Smith and Jackie Mason).
National prominence arrived in 1949 when they were winners on the hugely popular Radio Show, hosted by Arthur Godfrey, – ‘Talent Scouts’.
The Musical Director for the show was Archie Bleyer who was struck by their winning sound.Embed from Getty Images
He also fell in love with and married Janet Ertel.
Archie was a canny cove who had been a professional musician/arranger/Bandleader since tne early 1930s.
To capitalise on his musical and business smarts he founded Cadence Records in 1952. His biggest sellers on the label were Rock ‘n Roll Immortals The Everly Brothers.
Archie became Phil Everley’s father in law when Phil married Janet Ertel’s daughter from her first marriage.
The Cadence cash registers were also kept busy counting up the hits from Johnny Tillotson and Lenny Welch.
Mr Sandman benefit from an airy menthol cool production featuring percussion by Archie Rhythmically slapping his knees!
It’s one of those records that instantly calls to mind the I Like Ike American 1950s.
I suspect the, ‘You Never Can Tell ‘ couple from a recent Jukebox post sashayed to this one in their two room appartment.
The great guitar stylist Chet Atkins cut a distinctive, characteristically fluid, instrumental version in November 1954 which gave him his first solo hit on the Country Music Charts.
Here’s Chet fleet fingers playing the song live.
Now, loyal Jukeboxers will have guessed by now that I have more than a penchant for the divine Emmylou Harris.
In addition to her beauty and glorious musicality she is a Jukebox Star because she has exquisite taste across myriad genres.
Emmylou knows a good song when she hears one and she has the knack of making familiar tunes fresh through the purity of her vocals and the carefully chosen musicians she plays with.
Here she is magic beaming all our hearts away.
Roses and Clover. Roses and Clover.
Well there can’t be any doubt about who I’m choosing for Prom Queen!
Emmylou had a multi tracked vocal version solo hit with Mr Sandman but she first recorded it with her sisters in music Linda Ronstadt and Dolly Parton for their wonderful ‘Trio’ project.
Unfortunately the Corporate Dudes at Warner Chappel aren’t keen on any of their versions of Mr Sandman escaping their clutches so I’ll leave you to search out that ambrosial version for yourselves.
I’ll leave you with a perfectly peach instrumental version from yet another Wizard from New Orleans – Snooks Eaglin.
May you all get a good night’s nurturing sleep filled with inspiring dreams.
Turn on that Magic Beam!
Details about the amazing special effects and studio musicians and layered production of the Chordettes’ Mister Sandman (other than the knee-slapping, thanks) are probably lost forever. I think the clever production was at least as important as the group’s voices in making this song their most popular.
LikeLiked by 1 person