Magazine article Variety

Homegrown Sounds of My Hollywood Life

Magazine article Variety

Homegrown Sounds of My Hollywood Life

Article excerpt

Any boomer lover of pop music growing up in Southern California felt the impact of Capitol Records, and that's especially true if you cut your showbiz teeth as an aspiring songwriter pounding the pavements of Hollywood in the shadow of that beautiful platter-stack edifice on Vine.

Here are 10 Capitol records that changed and/or immeasurably enriched my life and made music history.

MEAN OLD WORLD

T-Bone Walker, November 1945

* It was the Chicago blues masters of the '50s who inspired the Rolling Stones of the '60s, but you can trace the roots of one of Chicago blues maestro Little Walter's greatest hits back to this original Capitol classic, a seminal entry in the West Coast blues style.

ROUTE 66

King Cole Trio, June 1946

* You grow up in San Bernardino, you know this song. The Rolling Stones version is great, but Nat King Cole first breathed state-hopping life into the Bobby Troup classic for Capitol.

HURRY ON DOWN

Nellie Lutcher, June 1947

* Last year, when I interviewed veteran music manager Mort Lewis, who passed away this year, he regaled me with tales of his early career as the East Coast representative for a plethora of Capitol Records' most important artists of the '40s and early '50s. I'd heard the music of all the famous names like Nat King Cole, Peggy Lee, Stan Kenton, et al, but I'd never heard of Nellie Lutcher, whom Mort cited as one of the true greats whose names had faded. Mort was right.

LITTLE BLUE RIDING HOOD

Stan Freberg, September 1953

* It's the B-side of the massive, groundbreaking comedy hit "St. George and the Dragonet," but for my money this mash-up of film noir, cop shows, and fairy tales is even better. Everything the late genius Freberg created was the audio match for my other early worldview-maker, Mad magazine.

BE-BOP-A-LULA

Gene Vincent, June 1956

* I Just heard Van Morrison rave this one up last month in concert in London, so that speaks to the primal rock tune's durability. Gene Vincent's sinewy anthem, recorded in Nashville and released by Hollywood's Capitol Records, came back karmically eight years later when Capitol unleashed Beatlemania on America, a musical phenomenon inspired by early rock maestros like Vincent. …

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