We're back to another episode of Cool & Strange music. Welcome! This chart is the coolest and strangest music chart you'll ever see/hear...For those of you who like rock and pop music, please check out my friend George's Top 5 video chart here. (George Williams Top 5 Countdown: http://georgewilliams.jp/wp/category/ranking/)
Let's get started!
Everyone knows someone who can't sing, has no rhythm and is tone deaf... (Most of us see one every morning when we wake up and look into the bathroom mirror), but how about one who is a nice old lady and actually couldn't sing to save her life but somehow managed to get a recording contract with Columbia and sold over 1 million records! That's right! This lady sold over 1 million records!
Here's what Wikipedia says about Mrs. Elva Miller:
Elva Ruby Connes Miller (October 5, 1907 – July 28, 1996), who recorded under the name "Mrs. Miller", was an American singer who gained some fame in the 1960s for her series of shrill and off-key renditions of then-popular songs such as "Moon River", "Monday, Monday", "A Lover's Concerto" and "Downtown". Singing in an untrained, Mermanesque, vibrato-laden style, according to Irving Wallace, David Wallechinsky and Amy Wallace in The Book of Lists 2, her voice was compared to the sound of "roaches scurrying across a trash can lid." Nevertheless, "Downtown" reached the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart in April 1966, peaking at #82. The single's B-side, "A Lover's Concerto", barely cracked the Hot 100 that same month at #95.
Here's Mrs. Miller doing the Buck Owens classic tune that was made popular again at the time by Ringo singing it for the Beatles:
Most of Mrs. Millers songs have been removed on Youtube by those douchebags at EMI who seem to be unable to grasp the fact that if people can't hear Mrs. Miller's music, they won't buy or download her CDs... Or maybe they're too stoopid to have heard of Monty Python.
Did you know that when Monty Python started their own Youtube channel and started uploading their skits for free, their Amazon sales jumped by 23,000%! Don't believe me? Read this: http://boingboing.net/2009/01/23/monty-pythons-free-w.html... That proves just how dumb these major record labels are when they block sixties and seventies (etc...etc..) artists off the Internet and Youtube! Gee... If people can't hear the music, they'll forget and not buy...
And speaking of people who have no rhythm and can't sing, how about Swedne's own Elvis Presley impersonator, Eilert Pilarm?
Wikipedia says this about this true gem and once in a century talent:
Eilert Dahlberg (born April 4, 1953 in Anundsjö, Sweden), who uses the stage name Eilert Pilarm is a Swedish Elvis impersonator. He gained fame when he performed on Morgonpasset in 1992. Pilarm self-released several cassettes, before his debut CD Greatest Hits was released in 1996 on MCA. Eilert is Back! followed in 1998 and Live in Stockholm appeared in 2000. He stopped performing in 2002 after 600 gigs and six albums. Pilarm is one of several musicians featured in Irwin Chusid's book Songs in the Key of Z, which focuses on outsider music. His album Eilerts Jul ("Eilert's Christmas") frequently appears in internet lists of "worst album covers of all time". He used to own a Royal Enfield motorbike, but has since sold it, and at present it resides in Tavelsjö.
Pretty, er, um, amazing... The guy got so popular that many famous musicians in Europe wanted to be in his backing band...
Even more amazing when you realize that Eilert Pilarm also sold more than a million records!
Funny thing is, though, if you keep listening to Eilert Pilarm, the Elvis Presley covers start to sound like he's singing them correctly... OH, my GOD! Elert Pilarm and Elvis Presley have the same initials!!!! How bizarre!
OK, well, we probably have to adjust our ears and tuning after that classic...
The best use for Eilert Pilarm and Mrs. Miller (besides listening and laughing) is if you have a big party and you want people to go home, just start playing this stuff! Hilarious how fast the room clears out!
Here's an instrumental band that I really like. They are called the Ramonetures, kinda like the Ramones meets the Ventures, get it? Here they are doing the Ramones classic, Rock & Roll High School
AllMusic says this about the Ramonetures:
Created by guitarist Mel Bergman, the Ramonetures are hard to define in simple terms. Essentially an instrumental surf band, the Ramonetures separate themselves from the pack by specializing in "re-imagining" established bands work as, well, instrumental surf rock. On their first release, they -- hence the name of the band -- "surfed up" the Ramones, and on the second, they rework the legendary Los Angeles punk pioneers X. While the first Ramonetures was a purely in-house affair, the second release, Johny Walk Don't Run Paulene, features X guitarist Billy Zoom and drummer D.J. Bonebrake.
Yeah! Rockin'! I could imagine "playing" with her!
Well, so far we've had two werid and twisted songs and one rockin' one. Let's now go to something a tad bit cooler and more exotic with Arthur Lyman.
After World War II, lots of guys came back from the Pacific with good memories of the islands. Arthur Lyman capitalized on that by making a sound that became known as "Exotica" and is probably the classic sound when it come to Cool & Strange music.
Wikipedia says this about Arthur Lyman:
Arthur Lyman (February 2, 1932 – February 24, 2002) was an American jazz vibraphone and marimba player. His group popularized a style of faux-Polynesian music during the 1950s and 1960s which later became known as exotica. His albums became favorite stereo-effect demonstration discs during the early days of the stereophonic LP album for their elaborate and colorful percussion, deep bass and 3-dimensional recording soundstage. Lyman was known as "the King of Lounge music."
If that's not the definitive Cool & Strange sound then I don't know what is!
Finally, I like to always have at least one Japanese song in the Cool & Strange countdown. And this one is definitely cool and strange and is this week's number one. It is dedicated to my friend Jp Valentine.
These days there is a massive Japan boom all over Europe. It seems the Europeans are fascinated with this country and can't get enough. In France there's even annual Japan festivals! I used to think this was a recent craze but evidence shows that the notion is not true. It seems the Europeans (especially the French) are madly in love with Japan and all things Japanese and have been for decades. So much so that even the famed French songstress France Gall sang a song in Japanese and it was a massive hit in Japan in the 1960's!
France Gall, while not so famous outside of France, is a huge star in that country. Here's a brief from Wikipedia....
France Gall (born Isabelle Geneviève Marie Anne Gall on 9 October 1947 in Paris, France) is a popular French yé-yé singer. Gall was married to, and had a successful singing career in partnership with, French singer-songwriter Michel Berger.
Read more about her storied career at Wiki.
Here she is singing that song in Japanese in a very rare video that I just found the other day. The song is called "Yume Miru Chason Ningyo" (Translation: "The Dreams of Chanson Dolls" - I think.....)
For an extra treat, here she is singing the song in it's original French (written by Serge Gainsbourg):
Well that's it for today. Hope you enjoyed the tunes and I hope to see you back here next week!