Sunday, June 14, 2020

June 13, 2020 - JS _ Whistlin' Oldies

Rockin' Remnants

Rockin' Remnants is broadcast from WVBR-FM Ithaca. Check out our webpage, like us on Facebook, and tune in to 93.5 or stream the show every Saturday night from 6-9pm! (Or download the WVBR+ app now available for iOS and Android!)


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Date:  6/13/20

Host:  John Simon

Feature:  Whistlin' Oldies


Some people do it while they work. Some do it in the dark. Some do it to call their dog. Otis Redding did it when he ran out of words about sitting on the dock. You know: just put your lips together and blow! Saturday night with JS from 6-9pm.





(scroll down to find the answer below the playlist – and to find a glossary of terms)








·      yellow song titles are YouTube links

·      songs with * were requests

·      all chart information comes from the Billboard Top 100 (for chart dates before/during July 1958) or Billboard Hot 100 (for chart dates during/after Aug 1958) unless otherwise noted

·      a glossary of terms is below the playlist










OPENING THEME:  Good Old Rock ‘n’ Roll – Cat Mother & the All-Night Newsboys (1969, #29, produced by Jimi Hendrix)


Sukiyaki - Kyu Sakamoto (6/63; #1 for three weeks - the first - and only - Japanese #1 record on the Billboard chart. The words had nothing to do with food, but the whistling transcended borders and language issues. A beautiful song to start off tonight's show.)

The Number Ones: Kyu Sakamoto's “Sukiyaki” - Stereogum  JOHNNY MATHIS - WONDERFUL WONDERFUL by Johnny Mathis - ...

Wonderful, Wonderful - Johnny Mathis (2/57; #14 - this was the first of many charting records for the smooth crooner. Note the haunting whistle that runs through the whole song.)

Only Love Can Break Your Heart - Gene Pitney (9/62; #2 - this is a case where the cheerful whistling can't cover the heartbreak of the lyric.)

Georgy Girl (12/66; #2 - here you have human whistling combined with a keyboard line, and it's one of the few songs tonight with a woman's voice prominent in a song with whistling in it. More on that later....)

The Seekers - Georgy Girl | Georgy girl, Album covers, Hit songs

Montego Bay - Bobby Bloom (9/70; #8 - this was the first charting record for the Brooklyn-born session singer. His career was abruptly cut short when he died in a shooting accident at age 28.)

Montego Bay Bobby Bloom 1970s Sheet Music: Very good | Postcard Finder

* Singing The Blues - Guy Mitchell (12/56; #1 for ten weeks - suggested by my buddy JR, this is a case where the whistling belies the fact that this guy is miserable!)

Hey Leroy (Your Mama's Callin' You) - Jimmy Castor Bunch (1/67; #13 - here we hear another kind of whistle: the hey-I-need-your-attention whistle. It's part Novelty record, part Jazz record, part Latin Dance record. Jimmy Castor would return to prominence in the Seventies with Bertha Butt's Boogie.)

* Walkin' the Dog - Rufus Thomas (10/63; #10 - this one was suggested by my friend GJ the DJ. Every fledgling dance band in the Sixties took a stab at this one. Check out this version by Georgie Fame & The Blue Caps, suggested by contributor Bob Keefe:

click the link.)

Rockin' Robin - Bobby Day (8/58; #2 Pop and R&B - the bird "whistle" is done by a piccolo, but the whistle at the end comes from "putting your lips together and blowing." Click below to see Lauren Bacall describe it more succinctly.)

* (Sittin' On) The Dock of The Bay - Otis Redding (3/68; #1 for four weeks - Otis' first #1 record was also his first posthumous release, co-written with guitarist Steve Cropper. The carefree whistling at the end was actually a function of Otis having run out of words while the music was still going. It's become one of the most famous whistling lines in popular music.)

Certain Songs #1413: Otis Redding - "(Sittin' On) The Dock of The ...

Where Have All the Average People Gone - Roger Miller (10/69; #14 C&W - Roger was an exceptional whistler and we'll hear from him again later during the show. This was a hit on the Country stations, but got no traction on Pop radio.)

The Stranger - Billy Joel (10/77; dnc - the only reason this one didn't chart is that it was never released as a single. It got lots of play on FM radio, though, and many people know it well because they went out and bought the album.)

The Stranger - Billy Joel | Songs, Reviews, Credits | AllMusic

VINYL CORNER:  The Merry Minuet - Kingston Trio (1962; dnc - his comedy/novelty number was included in their Greatest Hits album, and was probably recorded in 1958 or so.)

Happy Whistler - Don Robertson (4/56; #6 - this is a peppy happy whistling instrumental that was a big, big hit back in the day.)

Don Robertson - The Happy Whistler | Releases | Discogs

Love Letters In The Sand - Pat Boone (6/57; #1 for seven weeks - my buddy JR tells me that the original 45 didn't have the whistling intro, but I've never heard it any other way. Seven weeks at the top!)

Save Your Heart for Me - Gary Lewis & The Playboys (7/65; #2 - this one has one of the most memorable whistling introductions of them all. Here's an amazing fact: these guys' first seven singles reached the Top Ten!)

Save Your Heart For Me - Gary Lewis And The Playboys (1965 ...

Whistle While You Work - The Supremes (rec. 1967; NR - this was from the unreleased album called The Supremes Sing Disney Classics. I was having the hardest time finding any whistling songs by female artists. An exhaustive search led me to an article called "Good Girls Don't...Whistle." And this anecdote from a listener came in after the show aired: "I was listening to you on the radio last night.  When you were talking about not being able to find women's music that included whistling.  I laughed, because when I was about 8 or 9  years old, the girl across the road and I spent a lot of time trying to learn how to whistle.  We finally managed to become fairly proficient at it.  I was whistling at home one day and my Mom went ballistic!  She told me never, never to whistle!  It was not "ladylike!")

Motown 659 - SUPREMES - Sing Disney Classics - F | THE SUPRE… | Flickr

Fishin' Pole (Theme from "The Andy Griffith Show") - this show ran from 10/60 - 4/68, and this theme music is heard every day to this day on nostalgic TV. The whistling on the original was done by the songwriter Earl Hagen. Can you picture Opie throwing the rock in the river?)






 Birthday Calendar



June 8 – Nancy Sinatra – age 80

            – Boz Scaggs – age 78

            – Bonnie Tyler – age 67


June 9 – Les Paul – born in 1915

            – Jackie Wilson – born in 1934


June 10 – Shirley Alston (Shirelles) – age 79

            – Janet Vogel (Skyliners) – born in 1942



June 12 – Len Barry – age 78

            – Chips Moman – born in 1937

June 13 – Marv Tarplin (Miracles) – born in 1941

            – James Carr – born in 1942


How High the Moon - Les Paul & Mary Ford (1/51; #1 for nine weeks - Les Paul designed and played a widely-copied guitar, and was an early pioneer of multi-track recording. This record spent 25 weeks on the Pop chart and tonight we hear it in stunning first-time stereo thanks to our friends at Eric Records.)

Dave's Music Database: Les Paul & Mary Ford hit #1 with “How High ...

Reet Petite - Jackie Wilson (11/57; #62 Pop, #10 R&B - more first-time stereo. This was written by songwriter Berry Gordy, Jr., who used the royalty payoff to found a small record label in Detroit. Within five years it would become the Motown Records empire!)

Since I Don't Have You - The Skyliners (2/59; #12 - one last stereo gem from Eric Records, this one was co-written by all five Skyliners and ends with the soaring soprano notes of Ms. Vogel.)

Foolish Little Girl - Shirelles (3/63; #4 - they were the crown jewels of Scepter Records "Girl Group" stable, and many of their songs have become classics recorded by other artists. They may have been Passaic, NJ's greatest export!)

The Shirelles - Foolish Little Girl / Not For All The Money In The ...

You Baby - Len Barry (7/66; dnc - Len's career was pretty much ended by the British Invasion. This was released on the Decca label and had been first recorded as an album track by the Ronettes. From the pens of Barry Mann, Cynthia Weil and Phil Spector, it's....You Baby!)

Hook & Ladder - Nancy Sinatra (2/71; dnc - here's another one that should've been a hit, but her hit-making days had passed. Ry Cooder is the session guitar player who elevates this one notch higher. Written by label-mate Norman Greenbaum, it helps us celebrate her 80th birthday.)

Hot blood runnin' through me”: “Hook and Ladder” | The Official ...

It's Over - Boz Scaggs (4/76; #38 - this was the first of four singles released from his Silk Degrees album. The next one would win the Grammy for R&B Record of the year. Not bad for a white kid from Plano, Texas!)

Boz Scaggs Silk Degrees 35th Anniversary 180g LP

It's a Heartache - Bonnie Tyler (3/78; #3 - I still have to confess that I thought this was the latest Rod Stewart single when I first heard it. Oops!)

Tracks of My Tears - Miracles (7/65; #16 - this was co-written by the man who plays the opening guitar lick: Marv Tarplin was his name, and he was known around the Motown compound as "the Miracles' secret weapon!")

Spotlight on Chips Moman

Chips Moman was born and would eventually die in LaGrange, GA. In between, he'd play on a slew of records, write some amazing songs and open his own American Sound Studios in Memphis, TN. Here are a couple of the the records he worked on. We'll play a couple more near the end of the show. He had a gift....

Lincoln 'Chips' Moman: Elvis Presley producer Lincoln 'Chips ...

The Dark End Of The Street - James Carr (2/67; #77 Pop, #10 R&B - this oft-recorded song by artists including Aretha, Flying Burrito Bros., Clarence Carter and others, was co-written by Chips Moman, who also produced the record. Don't let its low chart position fool you. It's an American Classic.)

Suspicious Minds - Elvis Presley (11/69; #1 - Chips Moman was the man who created the space and the sound for Elvis' big Memphis comeback. He assembled the musicians and singers and engineers and produced this one, In The Ghetto and Kentucky Rain, among others.)

Chips Moman, Hit-Making Producer and Songwriter, Dies at 79 - The ...

Michael - Highwaymen (9/61; #1 for two weeks - this campfire singalong favorite has one of the most instantly-recognizable whistling intros of the Folk genre.)

I Was Kaiser Bill's Batman - Whistlin' Jack Smith (4/67; #20 - there was a time when records like this would fit right in with The Beatles, The Temptations, Aretha Franklin and Every Mothers' Son. Times have changed....)

Me & Julio Down By The Schoolyard - Paul Simon (4/72; #22 - Simon and Garfunkel had recently parted ways, but he was far from being done as a songwriter and recording artist. In fact, he was just getting started. Note that this one has a whistling break in lieu of a guitar or sax solo.)

Paul Simon: Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard (Video 1988) - IMDb

 Good-Time Charlie's Got The Blues - Danny O'Keefe (9/72; #9 - this mournful pedal-steel lament ends with a beautiful whistling fade-out. It leaves you longing for more....)

Clair - Gilbert O'Sullivan (10/72; #2 Pop, two weeks at #1 in the UK - it starts with carefree whistling and ends with the giggling sounds of the kid it's about: his young niece Clair.)


Here Comes My Baby - Tremeloes (4/67; #13 - written by young Cat Stevens, this one starts with laughter and excited whistling and also has a whistling middle in lieu of a guitar solo.)

 Here Comes My Baby / Gentleman of Pleasure by The Tremeloes ...




Col. Bogey's March - Mitch Miller (1/58; #20 - better known as "The Theme From Bridge On The River Kwai," this was really popular from the hit movie. Apparently, a record executive noticed many theater goers whistling this on their way out through the lobby, and said "Let's release it as a single!")

The Bridge on the River Kwai - Wikipedia

Theme From "The Good The Bad and the Ugly" - Hugo Montenegro Orchestra (2/68; #2 Pop, #1 UK for four weeks - again proving the power of the pairing of cinema and popular music, this one has become a lasting bit of international Pop Culture.)

Jealous Guy - John Lennon & The Plastic Ono Band (10/88; #80 - this had been recorded in 1971 as part of John Lennon's Imagine LP. Upon wide release of the documentary of the making of that album eight years after John's death, Capitol released it as a single.)

John Lennon "Jealous Guy" 45 RPM, 7", Nice NM!,1988 Capitol ...

Two of Us - The Beatles (1/69; dnc - never released as a single, but one of their many beloved album tracks features some tasty whistling as it fades out.)

England Swings - Roger Miller (11/65; #8 - Roger Miller had a number of songs with him whistling on them, but this one has even has whistling-in-harmony! It was a bold and clever move to capitalize on the British Invasion by evoking a bunch of postcard images of a stroll down a crowded London street. It paid off in spades!)

Roger Miller - England Swings (1965, Vinyl) | Discogs

Can't Smile Without You - Barry Manilow (2/78; #3 for three weeks - this former jingle write and pianist for Bette Midler's bath house revue was a regular hit-making machine in the mid-late Seventies. I can't confirm, but I'll bet it was only the Bee Gees who kept him out of the top slots on the chart....)

Walk Like An Egyptian - Bangles (12/86; #1 for four weeks - just when I was about to give up on finding whistling women, I looked ahead to The Eighties. Bingo, Bangles!)

The Bangles - Walk like an Egyptian (Bass Line & Tabs) - YouTube

Don't Worry Be Happy - Bobby McFerrin (9/88; #1 for two weeks - it a Novelty Record? Is it Jazz? Is it Social Commentary? It's the genius of Bobby McFerrin, that's what it is! How many times did you catch yourself humming this, or quoting it in 1988?)

Sock It To Me Baby - Mitch Ryder & The Detroit Wheels (2/67; #6 - let's switch away from melodic whistling for a little while and focus on exciting bells and whistles of another variety, starting with this kick-ass dance record from early '67. As soulful and hard-rockin' as these guys were, they never appeared on the R&B charts. Turn it up!)

Mitch Ryder & The Detroit Wheels - Sock It To Me - Baby (Vinyl ...

Tighten Up (Pt. I) - Archie Bell & The Drells (2/68; #1 - let's drop down to Houston for this party record and listen to one of the members of the TSU Tornadoes urge his bass-player buddy on to greater heights with a series of excited whistles).

Hitch It To The Horse - The Fantastic Johnny "C" (7/68; #34 Pop, #25 R&B - those with discriminating ears might recognize this as the bed we use for our recent radio promo, although we used the instrumental version which was released as "The Mule" by the James Boys. Philly was a-rockin'!)

45cat - The Fantastic Johnny C - Hitch It To The Horse / Cool ...

Return To Chips Moman, who had a birthday on the 12th and died four years ago today on June 13, 2016.

I Never Loved a Man the Way I Love You - Aretha Franklin (3/67; #8 Pop, #1 for seven weeks on the R&B chart - Chips co-wrote the B-Side and he played the lead guitar on both sides. Most of Aretha's subsequent recording would happen in NYC, but she broke through as "The Queen of Soul" on Atlantic Records with this Memphis recording.)

It Was 50 Years Ago Today: With "I Never Loved a Man," Aretha ...

Fly Me To The Moon - Bobby Womack (4/67; #52 Pop, #16 R&B - Bobby & Chips had been session guitarists together. Chips produced Bobby's first solo album, and the rest is history.)

(Ghost) Riders In The Sky - Ramrods (1/61; #30 - they were a one-hit wonder and this was the one. Twangy guitar, whistling horsemen, haunting melody.)

It's Wonderful - Young Rascals (12/67; #20 - This was their last hit as the "Young" Rascals, and it was one of the strangest sounding Top 20 hits of the era once the musical part was winding down. The last whistles you'll hear tonight are Eddie & Felix and the boys.)

The Young Rascals - It's Wonderful (1967, Vinyl) | Discogs


CLOSING THEME:  Sleepwalk – Santo & Johnny (1959, #1 for two weeks)


Special thanks to everyone who suggested tunes for tonight's show, including : John Rudan, Gregory James, George Nettleton, Dan Lashkoff, Mary Stein, Bryan Van Campen, Lew Ward, Jon Armstrong, Tom Meyers and Gary Lowenthal.



Glossary of Terms:

dnc = did not chart

nr = not released as a single at the time

AC = Billboard’s chart for “Adult Contemporary” records

BB = Billboard Magazine, which publishes the Hot 100 chart (previously known as the Top 100), along with several other charts

Bubbling Under = songs that were ranked but fell below the top 100

C&W = Billboard’s chart for “Country & Western” records

R&B = Billboard’s chart for “Rhythm & Blues” records

RRHOF = Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

RS500 = Rolling Stone Magazine’s ranked list of the top 500 singles of all-time





Host Next Week (6/20/20):  Jan Hunsinger with a special re-airing of his radio debut (along with JR & JS)




Thanks for tuning in! You can listen to Rockin' Remnants every Saturday night from 6-9pm on WVBR (93.5 FM in Ithaca, NY) or at


Thanks again to our sponsors Island Health & Fitness and Rasa Spa for their support every week!

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