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Straight No Chaser - A Jazz Show

Straight No Chaser is the place for jazz lovers (and those who will soon be jazz lovers) to enjoy podcasts with their favorite music and artists. Winner of the 2017 JazzTimes Readers' Poll for Best Podcast, your host Jeffrey Siegel will take you inside the world of jazz, from the new releases to the best festiva;s to remembrances of jazz legends.

Fifty Years Ago - Sassy On the Pop Charts

Oct 24, 2009

I celebrate my 50th birthday last month, and my brother and sisters presentd me with an area of gifts that turned out to be items that first appeared in 1959. So, I got a cool Barbie Doll, some Jiffy Pop Popcorn, the first season of "The Twilight Zone" on DVD and a burned CD of songs that were on the pop charts at that time.

Music was a little less parochial in those days. The songs making up the top 25 were country, rock & roll, blues, R&B, easy listening, and some oddities in foreign languages. There were, of course, some jazz as well, and so I present the excitement of finding that Sassy herself, Miss Sarah Vaughn, was on the pop charts in the fall of 1959.

 "Broken Hearted Melody" , recorded with the Ray Ellis Orchestra, was her first gold record, and a staple of her concert set lists for years to come. Despite all this success, she allegedly didn't care much for the tune, calling it "corny".  It would be one of her last recordings for Mercury, as she signed with Roulette Records and became, over the next few years, one the label's biggest stars. Her 1960 sessions for Roulette included The Divine One, arranged by Jimmy Jones and a session with Count Basie Band featuring such talents as trumpeters Thad Jones and Joe Newman and saxophonists Frank Foster and Billy Mitchell.

The music was written by Sherman Edwards, and the lyrics by Hal David. David had been writing popular music lyrics since the 1940s for band leaders like Sammy Kaye and Guy Lombardo. In 1957 David met Burt Bacharach at Famous Music in the Brill Building in New York. and began a thirty year partnership, writing some of the most enduring songs in American popular music.