Forever Plaid

July 2nd, 2009

Forever Plaid is promoting their live event in movie theatres across America. Do you have nostalgia — real or imagined — for high school in the old days? Want to dress like a preppy? Love to sing in four-part harmony? Check out all things Plaid:

Scotland the Brave

July 5th, 2009

Throughout multiple productions of Forever Plaid over the past twenty years, a key question comes to mind: what is the tartan that should be worn by the lads? The reds of MacDonald of Glencoe? The martial greens and blues of Campbell? Whatever the official answer, you should feel free to wear the colors of your own clan as you intone the (unofficial) national anthem of Scotland.

Heart and Soul

July 5th, 2009

Time for another icon of the 50’s — the 50’s progression. Of course, use of this particular catchy little four-chord sequence predates the fifties by quite a bit - roughly 150 years, in fact. Whether you think “Heart and Soul” deserves credit for making the sequence popular, or whether your vote goes to “Blue Moon” instead is a question open for debate:

Lady of Spain

July 5th, 2009

There’s something irresistible about a novelty song that:

  • was created by Englishmen who had never been to Spain;
  • was written by them in the form of a Paso Doble in 9/8 in rebellion against, and as a reaction to, the influx of American music flooding Merrie Old England in the Thirties;
  • became widely popular in the USA as an accordion piece;
  • inspired some of the most over-the-top faux Latin choreographies ever to be seen.

Of course, the Plaids, being good earnest boys, would have known nothing of this — nor the (considerably naughtier) alternate lyrics for the song that begin:

“Lady of Spain, I adore you!
Lift up your skirt — let’s explore you!”

However, if you would like to use these alternate lyrics, singalong — who are we to stop you.

Shangri-La

July 5th, 2009

What’s in a song? To paraphrase the famous joke about Carnegie Hall: Harmony, harmony, harmony. While the Plaids may have chosen to emulate The Coins for this song, The Lettermen offer an equally enticing alternative — you wouldn’t have thought that going from four voices to three would make that much of a difference. Four or three - your choice:

Rags To Riches

July 5th, 2009

The title says it all — and this song has received its richest, most powerful performances from singers whose careers have literally embodied it. Need proof? Check out the two performances by Tony Bennett (with Elton John as his sidekick) and Elvis Presley.

Love Is a Many Splendored Thing

July 5th, 2009

How many songs can lay claim to have set the stage for an audience’s recollections of a box office hit, then go on to fulfill the same role for a soap opera? Few songs have come to be identified with an era as thoroughly as “Love Is A Many Splendored Thing.”

The Singing Revolution

July 5th, 2009

Sing-a-longs are generally light-hearted affairs, creating a general sense of goodwill and community. However, at least one set of sing-a-longs had an amazing impact: from 1987 through 1991, people throughout Estonia gathered to sing songs forbidden by the Soviet authorities as a way of expressing their rejection of the occupying power. The singing bore fruit: in 1991, Estonia regained its independence.

Sing High, Sing Lo

July 5th, 2009

The Hi-Lo’s, founded in 1953, sang a range of music including pop, jazz, barbershop and bossa nova. Check out their performance with incomparable 50’s icon, Frank Sinatra:

Their complex arrangements and earnest performance style, spearheaded by Gene Puerling, placed them head and shoulders above the many four-part harmony groups of the time:

Are You Proud of Your Plaid?

July 4th, 2009

The textile pattern “plaid” is most closely associated with Scotland and a staple of the Highland costume. During British repression of the region in the mid 1700s, wearing or weaving tartan fabric was prohibited. How it was appropriated by 1950s America is anyone’s guess. Its anti-establishment symbolism was later resurrected by the British punk movement when a kilt pin would more likely be worn through the nose. Are you ready for your Vivienne Westwood outfit?

Sing To Me Mr. C.

July 4th, 2009

Ah, Perry Como — how many artists can claim as devoted a following, even now, fifteen years after his last recordings? As the song says, “Sing to me Mr. C… and everybody else will disappear…” The Plaids do justice to Mr. C.