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On this day in music history: September 23, 1957 - “That’ll Be The Day” by The Crickets hits #1 on the Billboard Best Sellers chart for 1 week Written by Buddy Holly and Jerry Allison, it is the biggest hit for the rock & roll quartet from Lubbock, TX. Recorded in February 1957 at producer Norman Petty’s studio in Clovis, NM, the song is inspired after Buddy Holly sees the John Ford western “The Searchers” when John Wayne utters the now famous line “that’ll be the day”. Holly had originally recorded the song in Nashville in 1956 while under contract to Decca Records. The deal he signs legally prohibits him from re-recording any of his songs for five years, whether they are released or not. Producer Norman Petty gets around this by crediting the re-recorded “hit” version to The Crickets rather than under Buddy Holly’s name. Released on Brunswick Records (ironically a subsidiary of Decca) in May of 1957, the song becomes a smash. When Decca discovers that The Crickets and Holly are one in the same, they sign him to their Coral Records subsidiary for his solo releases. Entering the Best Sellers chart at #21 on August 18. 1957, it climbs to the top of the chart five weeks later. “That’ll Be The Day” becomes a rock & roll standard and is covered numerous times over the years by artists such as Linda Ronstadt and The Everly Brothers. The song is also one of the first recordings made by the pre-Beatles group The Quarrymen (consisting of John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Colin Hanton and John “Duff” Lowe) in 1958. The Crickets version of “That’ll Be The Day” is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA, and is inducted into the Grammy Hall Of Fame in 1998.

Louis Armstrong on Decca: One Expert’s Favorites

How can you argue with anything the most authoritative Louis Armstrong aficionado and researcher, Ricky Riccardi, can muster about the underrated and underappreciated Decca years of the 1930s and 1940s? His Dippermouth blog post sheds great light on those wonderful years of Satchmo, which are brilliantly preserved in our Mosaic Louis Armstrong Decca Sessions set.

-Scott Wenzel


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Mosaic’s box set The Complete Louis Armstrong Decca Sessions (1935-46) is back in stock. To listen to samples and to order your set, go here.

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Browse Robert Brownjohn’s iconic design work—from the album cover for the Rolling Stones’ Let It Bleed to the title sequence for the James Bond film Goldfinger—in a new digital archive. Brownjohn’s work is part of our architecture and design collection. 


[Robert Brownjohn, Food styling by Delia Smith, Decca Records. Album cover for the Rolling Stones, Let It Bleed. 1969. The Museum of Modern Art, New York. © 2016 Eliza Brownjohn]

Crazy He Calls Me
Billie Holiday with Gordon Jenkins and his Orchestra
Crazy He Calls Me

Song: Crazy He Calls Me / You’re My Thrill

Artist: Billie Holiday with Gordon Jenkins and his Orchestra

Record Label: Decca Records 24796

Recorded: October 19, 1949

Location: Galaxy News Radio

Here’s a nice jazz standard from good ol’ GRN or as Three Dog announces, “It’s Billie Holiday with…”Crazy He Calls Me”.

Earlier this week was Billie Holiday’s 100th birthday.

Whether she sang from BioShock’s Rapture Radio, LA Noire’s KTI Radio, or Fallout 3′s GRN, her voice is always timeless.

Listen to the flip side “You’re My Thrill” here.

A Louis Armstrong Jubilee

In celebration of the day that Louis Armstrong chose as his birthday, July 4th, here’s a look, courtesy of Michael Zirpolo’s swingandbeyond.com site, at one of the great Decca sides that Pops recorded, which is now back in stock on Mosaic. Jubilee is one of those iconic sides, one of many during his 30s and 40s period when Louis continued to lead what was Luis Russell’s band.

-Scott Wenzel


Read and listen…

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AUGUST 5: Ernestine “Tiny” Davis (1909-1994)

Born on this day in 1909, Ernestine Davis was a popular jazz singer and trumpeter of the LGBT music scene. Nicknamed “Tiny,” she gained fame with The International Sweethearts of Rhythm which was the very first fully-integrated, all-female big band in the United States. 

Tiny was often called “the female Louis Armstrong” (x).

Tiny was born on August 5, 1909 in Memphis, Tennessee. She was her parents’ youngest child out of seven and grew up with 4 older sisters and 2 older brothers. She attended Booker T. Washington High School and it was there where Tiny first picked up a trumpet and discovered her natural musical abilities. When the family moved to Kansas City in 1935, Tiny joined a band called the Harlem-Play Girls but she was forced to leave the group a year later with the birth of her first child from her marriage to Clarence Davis.

In 1941, The International Sweethearts of Rhythm jazz band severed its ties with the Piney Woods Country Life School of Mississippi which had founded the band back in 1937. Now based in Virginia and free of all financial responsibilities to Piney Woods, the 16-piece band began recruiting new members. Tiny was one of three musicians who the band picked up for this new era and during her 7 years with The International Sweethearts, Tiny toured all across the United States, performed at The Apollo for celebrity musicians such as Louis Armstrong and Eddie Durham, and took part in a USO tour during World War II.

Tiny performs “How ‘Bout That Jive?” with The International Sweethearts of Rhythm.

In 1947, Tiny left The International Sweethearts and started her own band called The Prairie Co-Eds, which was later renamed to The Hell Divers. Her new band enjoyed a successful career of touring throughout the Caribbean and Central America and recording for Decca Records before disbanding in 1952. From the mid-1950s until their deaths, Tiny and her partner Ruby Lucas – who was also a musician and was the bassist for The Hell Divers – operated a club in Chicago called Tiny & Ruby’s Gay Spot. Tiny regularly performed at the club well into her old age and passed away on January 30, 1994. You can learn more about Tiny in the 1988 documentary dedicated to her over 40-year long relationship with Ruby titled Tiny & Ruby: Hell Divin’ Women!

-LC

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Una Healy - Battlelines (Official Video)

The Who, Who’s Next
It was my first Who album in high school, and still my favorite. I’ve been holding out for one on Decca instead of MCA, and I’m not disappointed–this sounds glorious.
Also, I am upset that after almost fifteen years of looking at this album cover, I’ve only now realized that they’re supposed to have just peed on the pylon. IT’S COMPLETELY OBVIOUS AND I NEVER SAW IT.

Memories of You
Ink Spots
Memories of You

Song: Memories of You / I‘m Through

Artist: Ink Spots

Record Label: Decca Records 2966

Recorded: October 3, 1939

Released: January 1940

Location: Dionysus Park Atlantic Express station

When the Park finally drains, you’ll hear a voice on the radio asking you to come by the train station to cut a deal and get rid of the wandering Little Sisters. Before you get the chance to meet him in the flesh, several splicers try to work on a turret as this song plays in the background. The former temporary head of Dionysus Park, Stanley Poole has locked himself in the Security Booth.

As Augustus Sinclair says, “Well, I’d say ‘he’s hidin’ somethin'’ — but he sort o’ took the fun outta that one.” The ADAM memories from the Little Sisters will reveal the secret of Dionysus Park.

This song is also playable on the jukebox in the Triton Cinema lounge. If you’ve dispatched one of the dancing splicers, the other will kneel on the floor and weep.

Fans of Manhattan may recognize this song in the opening scene of S1E5 “A New Approach to Nuclear Cosmology”.

You may remember this song sung by Rosemary Clooney on the flip side of “It’s Bad for Me”.

The Ink Spots in 1940 - Left to right: Charlie Fuqua, Deek Watson, Hoppy Jones, Bill Kenny - Robert Benson seated at piano

Here’s an unusual arrangement where tenor Bill Kenny sings the entire lyrics instead of handing it off to the bass line in the celebrated Ink Spots “Top and Bottom” fashion.

This song was recorded the same year as the Ink Spots’ breakout hit “If I Didn’t Care”. It would be released the following year in 1940 where the tune peaked on Billboard at No. 29.

Listen to the flip side “I’m Through” here.