A few minutes at Baby’s Named a Bad Bad Thing will reveal the depths to which some parents are willing to sink for the sake of giving their child a unique or memorable name. To me, it’s better if your kid becomes unique and memorable based on what he does than to have you give him a name that’s likely to get him beaten up twice a week for his entire childhood. (Perhaps I’m prejudiced, as the possessor of a fairly generic first name.) All this is by way of introduction to a post mentioning some regular guys with regular names.
Bob: The Mrs. and I caught Bob Newhart doing his standup show over the weekend. I was a Newhart fan before his 70s TV show, thanks to my parents’ copies of The Button-Down Mind Strikes Back and The Button-Down Mind on TV. Newhart’s recording career began with a series of prank phone-call tapes he made with a partner that got some radio airplay in Chicago. Warner Brothers Records, which had been left behind as record sales exploded in the 1950s, signed him and told him they’d record his first album at his “next live appearance.” Trouble was, he’d never done a live appearance, so his first album, The Button-Down Mind of Bob Newhart, is actually a recording of his first gigs. After it went to Number One, The Button-Down Mind Strikes Back followed it up the charts. Newhart held down both Number One and Number Two on the album chart for something like eight months in 1960 and 1961–the Beatles didn’t do that, Elvis didn’t do it, nobody else did it until Guns ‘n’ Roses in the 90s. Newhart’s show Saturday night was a bit light on his famed one-sided phone conversations, although he did a reprise of the famous “Driving Instructor” bit. One quibble was that he relied on creaky ethnic stereotypes for several jokes, but I’d chalk that up to generational differences–the man is 77 years old. In general, he was the same funny guy he’s been, in various incarnations, for over 45 years.
John: Chicago radio legend John Landecker is officially back on the air, doing 3-7pm weekdays at WZZN in Chicago. His show is only the second local show on the station. It’s had a live morning show for a while, but has been voice-tracked the rest of the day by one guy–New York DJ Scott Shannon. If the reason isn’t extreme cheapness, I’m not sure why a major-market radio station would want to have the same voice on the air for 20 hours a day–especially one with no Chicago pedigree, no matter how famous he might be elsewhere. Landecker’s arrival ought to liven things up considerably. (Now Shannon’s only on for 16 hours a day, though, so clearly WZZN is on its way to the top.)
Dave: A few weeks back, Aaron Sorkin ended an episode of his Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip with Dave Mason’s gorgeous cover of “Will You Love Me Tomorrow?” I promised to post it when I got it, and here it is. Sometimes the long version of a song represents more of a good thing, but I’m not sure that’s true with this tune. The 45 version, which is a little over a minute shorter, benefits from being tighter–but the full-length version is what I got, so it’s what you’re getting, too. (Chart peak: 39, July 8, 1978)
(Buy Dave Mason here.)