Discussion:
The Number Ones: Joe Powell's "Wooden Heart (Muss I Denn)"
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Bob Roman
2018-12-24 15:34:03 UTC
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The one Roger has been waiting for...

Joe Dowell – “Wooden Heart (Muss I Denn)”
HIT #1: August 28, 1961
STAYED AT #1: 1 week

Joe Dowell snuck into #1 on a technicality. “Wooden Heart (Muss I Denn)” was an Elvis Presley song, one that Presley sang in the movie G.I. Blues. (One of the songwriters was Bert Kaempfert, the German jazz bandleader who’d hit #1 earlier in 1961 with “Wonderland By Night.”) In Europe, it was a huge hit. But Presley’s handlers figured that the song was cheesy enough that it could hurt Presley’s image in America — even though this was an era when Presley was releasing cheesy music almost exclusively.

They were right. “Wooden Heart” is not a good song. It’s a goofy half-polka, with Presley singing half of its lyrics in German. In the movie, he literally sings the song to a puppet. Presley probably recorded it just to pander to a German audience, but Presley was a big enough star that even his goofy regional panders could become global hits, and “Wooden Heart” went to #1 even in Germany. But in the US, “Wooden Heart” never came out as a single. If Presley had released it over here, he would’ve almost certainly earned himself another #1 single, but it wasn’t worth it to him. So someone had to record it, and that someone was a toothy Illinois kid named Joe Dowell.

Dowell recorded his version of “Wooden Heart” during his first-ever recording session, and legend has it that he only had a few hours to learn the bilingual lyrics. You’re never going to believe this, but it’s not any fucking good at all. Dowell’s version of “Wooden Heart” is even thinner and more bloodless than Presley’s. It’s a clumsy, galumphing ballad with a farting tuba that reminds me, more than anything else, of the Curb Your Enthusiasm theme music. It’s not an offensive song or anything, but it drifts by in two minutes without leaving any impression at all. It’s a nonentity.

GRADE: 2/10
Bob Roman
2018-12-24 15:37:55 UTC
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Oops, another autocorrect issue.

Sorry Mr. "Powell"

--
BR
SavoyBG
2018-12-24 17:17:35 UTC
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Post by Bob Roman
The one Roger has been waiting for...
Joe Dowell – “Wooden Heart (Muss I Denn)”
HIT #1: August 28, 1961
STAYED AT #1: 1 week
Curb Your Enthusiasm theme music.



It's from 1974
Roger Ford
2018-12-24 18:50:44 UTC
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On Mon, 24 Dec 2018 07:34:03 -0800 (PST), Bob Roman
Post by Bob Roman
The one Roger has been waiting for...
I did warn everyone yesterday! :)
Post by Bob Roman
Joe Dowell – “Wooden Heart (Muss I Denn)”
HIT #1: August 28, 1961
STAYED AT #1: 1 week
Joe Dowell snuck into #1 on a technicality. “Wooden Heart (Muss I Denn)”
was an Elvis Presley song, one that Presley sang in the movie G.I. Blues.
(One of the songwriters was Bert Kaempfert, the German jazz bandleader
who’d hit #1 earlier in 1961 with “Wonderland By Night.”) In Europe, it wa
s a huge hit. But Presley’s handlers figured that the song was cheesy enough
that it could hurt Presley’s image in America — even though this was an era
when Presley was releasing cheesy music almost exclusively.
When Dowell recorded "Wooden Heart" Elvis was climbing the Billboard
chart with "I Feel So Bad" and when Dowell hit #1 Elvis was just
arriving on the chart with both "(Marie's The Name) His Latest Flame"
and "Little Sister".

Not much "cheesiness" in any of those
Post by Bob Roman
They were right. “Wooden Heart” is not a good song. It’s a goofy half-polka,
with Presley singing half of its lyrics in German. In the movie, he literally sings
the song to a puppet. Presley probably recorded it just to pander to a German
audience, but Presley was a big enough star that even his goofy regional
panders could become global hits, and “Wooden Heart” went to #1 even in
Germany.
In the UK Elvis' "Wooden Heart" had already topped the NME singles
chart for two weeks in March 1961 (released in between "Are You
Lonesome Tonight" and "Surrender") . Therefore despite being a US #1
hit Joe Dowell's version was never released here proving that there is
a God after all!
Post by Bob Roman
But in the US, “Wooden Heart” never came out as a single.
Thjis guy REALLY needs to do research.

Though it wasn't a single at the time Elvis' "Wooden Heart" WAS a US
RCA single on TWO seperate occasions---first as the flip to "Blue
Christmas" in November 1964 then again as the flip to "Puppet On A
String" in October 1965
Post by Bob Roman
If Presley had released it over here, he would’ve almost certainly earned himself
another #1 single, but it wasn’t worth it to him. So someone had to record it,
and that someone was a toothy Illinois kid named Joe Dowell.
Dowell recorded his version of “Wooden Heart” during his first-ever recording
session, and legend has it that he only had a few hours to learn the bilingual
lyrics.
Apparently Shelby Singleton who supervised the session originally had
other songs earmarked for Dowell but the previous night he'd been to
see "G.I Blues" and was enamoured by "Wooden Heart". Divining
(correctly) that RCA would not be putting out the Elvis version as a
single at that time he insisted on Dowell recording the number giving
him three hours to learn the song,German dialect and all. Oh and BTW
that's Ray Stevens on organ. Yes,THE Ray Stevens!
Post by Bob Roman
You’re never going to believe this, but it’s not any fucking good at all.
I knew if I waited long enough Breihan and I would be in 100%
agreement eventually!!! :)
Post by Bob Roman
GRADE: 2/10
I grade it as a 1 (and that is for spelling his name right on the
record label)

When it comes to the 1961 Singles Battle Dowell should definitely have
stayed home!

R1
Post by Bob Roman
23 Ben E.King - Young Boy Blues - Atco 6207
7 Joe Dowell - Wooden Heart - Smash 1708
ROGER FORD
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SavoyBG
2018-12-24 19:01:12 UTC
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Post by Roger Ford
When it comes to the 1961 Singles Battle Dowell should definitely have
stayed home!
R1
Post by Bob Roman
23 Ben E.King - Young Boy Blues - Atco 6207
7 Joe Dowell - Wooden Heart - Smash 1708
Any idea who any of these 7 shitheads were?
Roger Ford
2018-12-24 19:16:07 UTC
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Post by SavoyBG
Post by Roger Ford
When it comes to the 1961 Singles Battle Dowell should definitely have
stayed home!
R1
Post by Bob Roman
23 Ben E.King - Young Boy Blues - Atco 6207
7 Joe Dowell - Wooden Heart - Smash 1708
Any idea who any of these 7 shitheads were?
Nope,my records only show what I voted for

ROGER FORD
-----------------------

"Spam Free Zone" - to combat unwanted automatic spamming I have added
an extra "m" in my e-mail address (***@mmail.com).
Please delete same before responding.Thank you!
Dean F.
2018-12-25 02:07:31 UTC
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Easily the worst #1 hit of 1961. It's right down there with "Teen Angel," "Don't Break the Heart That Loves You," and "Dominique."
md
2018-12-25 05:14:58 UTC
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Just for the record, the song is an adaptation of an old German folk song, “Muss I Denn,” which itself was an adaptation of an even older folk song. It’s as familiar to Germans as, say, “She’ll Be Comin’ Round the Mountain” is to Americans. The melody is actually rather catchy, though I agree with everyone else here that “Wooden Heart” in either version is putrid.

—md

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