Discussion:
The Number Ones: Santo & Johnny’s “Sleep Walk”
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Bob Roman
2018-11-17 22:43:39 UTC
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A writer named Tom Breihan has been reviewing, in order, every song to hit #1 in the Billboard Hot 100.

Santo & Johnny – “Sleep Walk”
HIT #1: September 21, 1959
STAYED AT #1: 2 weeks

The steel guitar is a fascinating instrument. Most instruments mimic the human voice in one way or another, but the steel guitar sounds all the more alien for how close it can come to forming words without actually forming those words. It’s a key part of Hawaiian music and of country and western swing, which is just one of those weird musicological odysseys, like how the accordion went from German beer-hall marches to Mexican rancheras via some slow, strange, organic process of cultural exchange. And because it sounds so unlike anything else, the steel guitar can feel both otherworldly and deeply, comfortingly familiar. I think that’s why Santo & Johnny’s “Sleep Walk” works; it uses the instrument for both of those effects at once.

Santo and Johnny Farina were two young brothers from Brooklyn. The legend is that their father decided that they should learn to play steel guitar because he’d heard it on the radio when he was in the Army, stationed in Oklahoma. “Sleep Walk,” their first single, isn’t a country song or a Hawaiian song. Instead, it’s pretty standard of the slow, ornate R&B ballads that were popular in the era. But the difference, of course, is that it’s an instrumental. And in the place where the vocal would ordinarily be, we get that lonely, wandering steel guitar.

On a surface level, “Sleep Walk” is a very pretty, albeit undemanding, piece of music. But there’s something about the sound of that instrument — how central it is to the song, the murmuring melody that it plays — that pushes it toward something dreamlike and Lynchian. (How did people describe things like this before David Lynch was making movies?) Maybe, in the moment, it was just a pretty song. Or maybe people could hear the quiet ominousness in all that beauty even then.

GRADE: 7/10
SavoyBG
2018-11-17 22:48:48 UTC
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I don't even have to look to know that this schmuck is gonna like this piece of shit. At least a 7 I'm sure.
Bill B
2018-11-17 23:06:57 UTC
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Post by SavoyBG
I don't even have to look to know that this schmuck is gonna like this piece of shit. At least a 7 I'm sure.
This might well be the record with the widest gap between your and my opinions, from your "piece of shit" to my "one of the best Rock instrumentals."
It's just tremendous!

And here is one of the best TV commercials ever:


SavoyBG
2018-11-17 23:27:30 UTC
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Post by Bill B
Post by SavoyBG
I don't even have to look to know that this schmuck is gonna like this piece of shit. At least a 7 I'm sure.
This might well be the record with the widest gap between your and my opinions, from your "piece of shit" to my "one of the best Rock instrumentals."
"Rock?"

Are you insane?

It's fucking Hawaiian elevator music. It's got nothing whatsoever to do with rock and roll.
Roger Ford
2018-11-18 05:59:07 UTC
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Post by SavoyBG
Post by Bill B
Post by SavoyBG
I don't even have to look to know that this schmuck is gonna like this piece of shit. At least a 7 I'm sure.
This might well be the record with the widest gap between your and my opinions, from your "piece of shit" to my "one of the best Rock instrumentals."
I tend to agree with Bill on this one. Apart from "Mean Woman
Blues","Mona Lisa" and The Dave Clark Five (and one or two others)
this haunting instrumental that I have liked since Day One also
provides one of the very biggest gaps in our opinions too.
Post by SavoyBG
"Rock?"
Are you insane?
It's fucking Hawaiian elevator music. It's got nothing whatsoever to do with rock and roll.
No it's not "rock" IMO. On that single point we agree.

But it is up there as one of the best pop instrumentals of the 1950's



ROGER FORD
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SavoyBG
2018-11-18 06:21:59 UTC
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Post by Roger Ford
Post by Bill B
Post by SavoyBG
I don't even have to look to know that this schmuck is gonna like this piece of shit. At least a 7 I'm sure.
This might well be the record with the widest gap between your and my opinions, from your "piece of shit" to my "one of the best Rock instrumentals."
I tend to agree with Bill on this one. Apart from "Mean Woman
Blues","Mona Lisa" and The Dave Clark Five (and one or two others)
this haunting instrumental that I have liked since Day One also
provides one of the very biggest gaps in our opinions too.
We clash much more on this than on "Mean Woman Blues." I give the Jerry Lee Lewis version a 7 and it's on my 1957 list. I just don't agree that it's the best version of the song. "Sleep Walk" gets a 4, which on my scale means "okay."

I'm sure there are things that I give a 9 or 10 to that you would give lower than a 4. Like maybe "Whole Lotta Love" by Led Zeppelin (a 10) or some other English record.
Roger Ford
2018-11-18 08:07:47 UTC
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Post by SavoyBG
Post by Roger Ford
Post by Bill B
Post by SavoyBG
I don't even have to look to know that this schmuck is gonna like this piece of shit. At least a 7 I'm sure.
This might well be the record with the widest gap between your and my opinions, from your "piece of shit" to my "one of the best Rock instrumentals."
I tend to agree with Bill on this one. Apart from "Mean Woman
Blues","Mona Lisa" and The Dave Clark Five (and one or two others)
this haunting instrumental that I have liked since Day One also
provides one of the very biggest gaps in our opinions too.
We clash much more on this than on "Mean Woman Blues." I give the Jerry Lee Lewis version a 7 and it's on my 1957 list. I just don't agree that it's the best version of the song. "Sleep Walk" gets a 4, which on my scale means "okay."
I'm sure there are things that I give a 9 or 10 to that you would give lower than a 4. Like maybe "Whole Lotta Love" by Led Zeppelin (a 10) or some other English record.
But Zeppelin (who I detest) are more "recent" than everything else
mentioned and widely varying results such as you described are only to
be expected as you come more up to date

ROGER FORD
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SavoyBG
2018-11-18 14:38:33 UTC
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Post by Roger Ford
But Zeppelin (who I detest) are more "recent" than everything else
mentioned and widely varying results such as you described are only to
be expected as you come more up to date
How about this item from 1962 that gets a 9 from me?


Roger Ford
2018-11-18 14:53:48 UTC
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Post by SavoyBG
Post by Roger Ford
But Zeppelin (who I detest) are more "recent" than everything else
mentioned and widely varying results such as you described are only to
be expected as you come more up to date
How about this item from 1962 that gets a 9 from me?
http://youtu.be/ZXMPoVini4Q
A very small amount of Allan Sherman goes a long,long way for me!

ROGER FORD
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"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!
Roger Ford
2018-11-18 12:46:58 UTC
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Post by SavoyBG
Post by Roger Ford
Post by Bill B
Post by SavoyBG
I don't even have to look to know that this schmuck is gonna like this piece of shit. At least a 7 I'm sure.
This might well be the record with the widest gap between your and my opinions, from your "piece of shit" to my "one of the best Rock instrumentals."
I tend to agree with Bill on this one. Apart from "Mean Woman
Blues","Mona Lisa" and The Dave Clark Five (and one or two others)
this haunting instrumental that I have liked since Day One also
provides one of the very biggest gaps in our opinions too.
We clash much more on this than on "Mean Woman Blues." I give the Jerry Lee Lewis version a 7 and it's on my 1957 list. I just don't agree that it's the best version of the song. "Sleep Walk" gets a 4, which on my scale means "okay."
Jerry Lee's sparkling and definitive "Mean Woman Blues" gets a 10 all
day long from me and makes my personal Top 10 for 1957 (I rate the
still good Elvis original as a 7 with the rather disappointing later
Orbison version lucky to score a 5) .

1. Whole Lot Of Shakin' Going On Jerry Lee Lewis
2. Lucille Little Richard
3. Rock And Roll Music Chuck Berry
4. Jailhouse Rock Elvis Presley
5. School Day (Ring! Ring! Goes The Bell) Chuck Berry
6. Great Balls Of Fire Jerry Lee Lewis
7. I'm Walkin' Fats Domino
8. Keep A-Knockin' Little Richard
9.That'll Be The Day Crickets
10. Mean Woman Blues Jerry Lee Lewis

In the US Jerry's "Mean Woman Blues" was only ever available during
the 50's (and nearly all the 60's) on the rare paper cover Sun EP "The
Great Ball Of Fire" released at the end of 1957.

http://www.45cat.com/record/epa107

It was 1969 before it finally appeared on a US LP ("Original Golden
Hits Vol.2" on Sun International)

Here in the UK "Mean Woman Blues" was a single and was substituted for
US flipside "You Win Again" on the London 45rpm of "Great Balls Of
Fire" released in December 1957.

"You Win Again" came out here in Britain in February 1958 as the flip
to "I'm Feelin' Sorry" another track from that 1957 US EP and the
resulting single has long been Jerry's rarest UK release



ROGER FORD
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Bill B
2018-11-18 12:09:43 UTC
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Post by SavoyBG
Post by Bill B
Post by SavoyBG
I don't even have to look to know that this schmuck is gonna like this piece of shit. At least a 7 I'm sure.
This might well be the record with the widest gap between your and my opinions, from your "piece of shit" to my "one of the best Rock instrumentals."
"Rock?"
Are you insane?
It's fucking Hawaiian elevator music. It's got nothing whatsoever to do with rock and roll.
It was on Rhino's "Rock Instrumental Classics" series and, if I recall correctly, Jim Colegrove considers it Rock & Roll.
Jim Colegrove
2018-11-18 15:18:28 UTC
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Post by Bill B
Post by SavoyBG
Post by Bill B
Post by SavoyBG
I don't even have to look to know that this schmuck is gonna like this piece of shit. At least a 7 I'm sure.
This might well be the record with the widest gap between your and my opinions, from your "piece of shit" to my "one of the best Rock instrumentals."
"Rock?"
Are you insane?
It's fucking Hawaiian elevator music. It's got nothing whatsoever to do with rock and roll.
It was on Rhino's "Rock Instrumental Classics" series and, if I recall correctly, Jim Colegrove considers it Rock & Roll.
Is doo-wop R&R? The chord changes to "Sleepwalk" are the same as found
in many doo-wop songs. If doo-wop is R&R so is "Sleepwalk."

Hawaiian guitar music did not feature pedal steel from the 19th
century up until the pedal steel was perfected by Bud Isaaacs in 1953.
What Bud did was considered "un-hawaiian."

Steel guitar was also used by a number of blues musicians including
L.C. "Good Rockin'" Robinson, Gene Phillips, Freddie Roulette and Hop
Wilson.
Jim Colegrove
2018-11-18 15:25:05 UTC
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On Sun, 18 Nov 2018 09:18:28 -0600, Jim Colegrove
Post by Jim Colegrove
Post by Bill B
Post by SavoyBG
Post by Bill B
Post by SavoyBG
I don't even have to look to know that this schmuck is gonna like this piece of shit. At least a 7 I'm sure.
This might well be the record with the widest gap between your and my opinions, from your "piece of shit" to my "one of the best Rock instrumentals."
"Rock?"
Are you insane?
It's fucking Hawaiian elevator music. It's got nothing whatsoever to do with rock and roll.
It was on Rhino's "Rock Instrumental Classics" series and, if I recall correctly, Jim Colegrove considers it Rock & Roll.
Is doo-wop R&R? The chord changes to "Sleepwalk" are the same as found
in many doo-wop songs. If doo-wop is R&R so is "Sleepwalk."
Hawaiian guitar music did not feature pedal steel from the 19th
century up until the pedal steel was perfected by Bud Isaaacs in 1953.
What Bud did was considered "un-hawaiian."
Steel guitar was also used by a number of blues musicians including
L.C. "Good Rockin'" Robinson, Gene Phillips, Freddie Roulette and Hop
Wilson.
Forgot a very important pedal steel player: Chuck Berry.
Dennis C
2018-11-18 16:13:01 UTC
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Steel guitar playing reached its nadir with that stomach eructing "Sneeky Pete" character in the vastly overrated Flying Burrito Brothers, baby!
Jim Colegrove
2018-11-19 02:55:34 UTC
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Post by Dennis C
Steel guitar playing reached its nadir with that stomach eructing "Sneeky Pete" character in the vastly overrated Flying Burrito Brothers, baby!
You maybe could listen to Lloyd Green or J.D Maness and it might help
brighten the day. If not, just move over to Ralph Mooney or Tom
Brumley or even Jimmy Day, Ben Keith or Buddy Emmons.
SavoyBG
2018-11-18 16:18:59 UTC
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Post by Jim Colegrove
Post by Bill B
Post by SavoyBG
Post by Bill B
Post by SavoyBG
I don't even have to look to know that this schmuck is gonna like this piece of shit. At least a 7 I'm sure.
This might well be the record with the widest gap between your and my opinions, from your "piece of shit" to my "one of the best Rock instrumentals."
"Rock?"
Are you insane?
It's fucking Hawaiian elevator music. It's got nothing whatsoever to do with rock and roll.
It was on Rhino's "Rock Instrumental Classics" series and, if I recall correctly, Jim Colegrove considers it Rock & Roll.
Is doo-wop R&R? The chord changes to "Sleepwalk" are the same as found
in many doo-wop songs. If doo-wop is R&R so is "Sleepwalk."
I don't think that chord changes alone are the determinative factor. I assume that the chord changes in shitty white pop cover versions of black doo wop songs are the same, but that does not make the Crew Cuts versions rock and roll IMO. That doesn't make "Sincerely" by the McGuire Sisters rock and roll.
t***@iwvisp.com
2018-11-18 17:29:09 UTC
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There are other unscientific tests to help determine if Sleepwalk was/is Rock & Roll:

If it was played on Top 40 radio but not MOR stations.

If it was played at sock hop dances and slow danced to

And IF, when my Dad heard it on the radio in my room he yelled, “Turn that crap down!”

Ray
Jim Colegrove
2018-11-19 02:39:38 UTC
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Post by SavoyBG
Post by Jim Colegrove
Post by Bill B
Post by SavoyBG
Post by Bill B
Post by SavoyBG
I don't even have to look to know that this schmuck is gonna like this piece of shit. At least a 7 I'm sure.
This might well be the record with the widest gap between your and my opinions, from your "piece of shit" to my "one of the best Rock instrumentals."
"Rock?"
Are you insane?
It's fucking Hawaiian elevator music. It's got nothing whatsoever to do with rock and roll.
It was on Rhino's "Rock Instrumental Classics" series and, if I recall correctly, Jim Colegrove considers it Rock & Roll.
Is doo-wop R&R? The chord changes to "Sleepwalk" are the same as found
in many doo-wop songs. If doo-wop is R&R so is "Sleepwalk."
I don't think that chord changes alone are the determinative factor. I assume that the chord changes in shitty white pop cover versions of black doo wop songs are the same, but that does not make the Crew Cuts versions rock and roll IMO. That doesn't make "Sincerely" by the McGuire Sisters rock and roll.
Sure. That raises the question is it shitty rock and roll or not. I
can see that discussion.
Dennis C
2018-11-17 23:31:11 UTC
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'Tis a true CLASSIC!

It still captivates the imagination and piques the interest of following generations to this day!

Switch that light on on your mask "Blue" and see something,baby!!
SavoyBG
2018-11-17 23:32:23 UTC
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Post by Bill B
http://youtu.be/s-dN4kVGPT8
What does this have to do with 50s music?
Bill B
2018-11-18 12:07:29 UTC
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Post by SavoyBG
Post by Bill B
http://youtu.be/s-dN4kVGPT8
What does this have to do with 50s music?
Don't know what happened. Here's the correct link:


Steve Mc
2018-11-17 23:56:41 UTC
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Post by Bill B
Post by SavoyBG
I don't even have to look to know that this schmuck is gonna like this piece of shit. At least a 7 I'm sure.
This might well be the record with the widest gap between your and my opinions, from your "piece of shit" to my "one of the best Rock instrumentals."
It's just tremendous!
http://youtu.be/s-dN4kVGPT8
Nah !! This one is.


--
Steve Mc

DNA to SBC to respond
Mark Dintenfass
2018-11-18 01:58:12 UTC
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Post by Steve Mc
Post by Bill B
Post by SavoyBG
I don't even have to look to know that this schmuck is gonna like this
piece of shit. At least a 7 I'm sure.
This might well be the record with the widest gap between your and my
opinions, from your "piece of shit" to my "one of the best Rock
instrumentals."
It's just tremendous!
http://youtu.be/s-dN4kVGPT8
Nah !! This one is.
http://youtu.be/0nidTullrcM
Certainly one of the funniest.
--
--md
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Steve Mc
2018-11-18 04:41:37 UTC
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Post by Mark Dintenfass
Post by Steve Mc
Post by Bill B
Post by SavoyBG
I don't even have to look to know that this schmuck is gonna like this
piece of shit. At least a 7 I'm sure.
This might well be the record with the widest gap between your and my
opinions, from your "piece of shit" to my "one of the best Rock
instrumentals."
It's just tremendous!
http://youtu.be/s-dN4kVGPT8
Nah !! This one is.
http://youtu.be/0nidTullrcM
Certainly one of the funniest.
Glad to hear that someone else agrees, because I'm a bit biased, having
had my '71 Ghia Convertible for 44 years :).
--
Steve Mc

DNA to SBC to respond
Bill B
2018-11-18 12:06:54 UTC
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Post by Steve Mc
Post by Bill B
Post by SavoyBG
I don't even have to look to know that this schmuck is gonna like this piece of shit. At least a 7 I'm sure.
This might well be the record with the widest gap between your and my opinions, from your "piece of shit" to my "one of the best Rock instrumentals."
It's just tremendous!
http://youtu.be/s-dN4kVGPT8
Nah !! This one is.
http://youtu.be/0nidTullrcM
It is indeed funny, but the "Sleepwalk" commercial is more effective in my opinion.
Bob Roman
2018-11-18 01:57:40 UTC
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Post by SavoyBG
I don't even have to look to know that this schmuck is gonna like this piece
of shit. At least a 7 I'm sure.
From what I've noticed, a statistical comparison of Roger's rankings to Breihan's (using a Spearman rank-order correlation, for example) would likely not show a significant difference between the two. They agree much more than they disagree.

--
BR
RWC
2018-11-20 00:31:22 UTC
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Post by Bob Roman
From what I've noticed, a statistical comparison of Roger's rankings to Breihan's (using a Spearman rank-order correlation, for example) would likely not show a significant difference between the two. They agree much more than they disagree.
https://statistics.laerd.com/statistical-guides/spearmans-rank-order-correlation-statistical-guide.php

this easy to follow 2-page well spaced article includes a simple worked example
where the pairs of English and maths test results for 10 people could be
replaced with Breihan's and Roger's scores for 10 or more Billboard #1s.

:-)
Mark Dintenfass
2018-11-18 02:01:57 UTC
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Post by SavoyBG
I don't even have to look to know that this schmuck is gonna like this piece
of shit. At least a 7 I'm sure.
Actually, you should look because it's his best description of a record
in what we've seen so far. I won't argue about whether "Sleep Walk" is
r'n'r or not, but it certainly had one of the most compelling original
"sounds" in a year, as I said previously, when a new "sound" seemed
like big deal.
--
--md
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Remove xx's from address to reply
SavoyBG
2018-11-18 03:20:24 UTC
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Post by Mark Dintenfass
Post by SavoyBG
I don't even have to look to know that this schmuck is gonna like this piece
of shit. At least a 7 I'm sure.
Actually, you should look
I looked after I posted.
Roger Ford
2018-11-18 08:13:41 UTC
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On Sat, 17 Nov 2018 14:43:39 -0800 (PST), Bob Roman
A writer named Tom Breihan has been reviewing, in order, every song to hit =
#1 in the Billboard Hot 100.
Santo & Johnny =E2=80=93 =E2=80=9CSleep Walk=E2=80=9D
HIT #1: September 21, 1959
STAYED AT #1: 2 weeks
The steel guitar is a fascinating instrument. Most instruments mimic the hu=
man voice in one way or another, but the steel guitar sounds all the more a=
lien for how close it can come to forming words without actually forming th=
ose words. It=E2=80=99s a key part of Hawaiian music and of country and wes=
tern swing, which is just one of those weird musicological odysseys, like h=
ow the accordion went from German beer-hall marches to Mexican rancheras vi=
a some slow, strange, organic process of cultural exchange. And because it =
sounds so unlike anything else, the steel guitar can feel both otherworldly=
and deeply, comfortingly familiar. I think that=E2=80=99s why Santo & John=
ny=E2=80=99s =E2=80=9CSleep Walk=E2=80=9D works; it uses the instrument for=
both of those effects at once.
Santo and Johnny Farina were two young brothers from Brooklyn. The legend i=
s that their father decided that they should learn to play steel guitar bec=
ause he=E2=80=99d heard it on the radio when he was in the Army, stationed =
in Oklahoma. =E2=80=9CSleep Walk,=E2=80=9D their first single, isn=E2=80=99=
t a country song or a Hawaiian song. Instead, it=E2=80=99s pretty standard =
of the slow, ornate R&B ballads that were popular in the era. But the diffe=
rence, of course, is that it=E2=80=99s an instrumental. And in the place wh=
ere the vocal would ordinarily be, we get that lonely, wandering steel guit=
ar.
On a surface level, =E2=80=9CSleep Walk=E2=80=9D is a very pretty, albeit u=
ndemanding, piece of music. But there=E2=80=99s something about the sound o=
f that instrument =E2=80=94 how central it is to the song, the murmuring me=
lody that it plays =E2=80=94 that pushes it toward something dreamlike and =
Lynchian. (How did people describe things like this before David Lynch was =
making movies?) Maybe, in the moment, it was just a pretty song. Or maybe p=
eople could hear the quiet ominousness in all that beauty even then.
GRADE: 7/10
"Sleep Walk" performed pretty well in the "Strictly Instrumental"
Singles Battle that featured on here some years ago

Here's how the results for each round went :-

Round One
15 Santo & Johnny -- Sleep Walk -- Canadian-American 103 -- 1959
3 Perez Prado -- Mambo #5 -- RCA 47-3782 -- 1950
Round Two
16 Santo & Johnny -- Sleep Walk -- Canadian-American 103 -- 1959
3 Hal Singer -- Hot Rod -- Savoy 1179 -- 1955
Round Three
3 Jimmy & Walter -- Easy -- Sun 180 -- 1953
19 Santo & Johnny -- Sleep Walk -- Canadian-American 103 -- 1959
Round Four
17 Santo & Johnny -- Sleep Walk -- Canadian-American 103 -- 1959
5 Tommy Ridgley -- Jam Up -- Atlantic 1039 -- 1954
Finally it got beat (just!) in Round Five........
11 Freddy King -- Hideaway -- Federal 12401 -- 1961
10 Santo & Johnny -- Sleep Walk -- Canadian-American 103 -- 1959
ROGER FORD
-----------------------

"Spam Free Zone" - to combat unwanted automatic spamming I have added
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SavoyBG
2018-11-18 14:41:10 UTC
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16 Santo & Johnny -- Sleep Walk -- Canadian-American 103 -- 1959
3 Hal Singer -- Hot Rod -- Savoy 1179 -- 1955
17 Santo & Johnny -- Sleep Walk -- Canadian-American 103 -- 1959
5 Tommy Ridgley -- Jam Up -- Atlantic 1039 -- 1954
So, did you vote for "Sleep Walk" over these two actual killer rock and roll instrumentals?
Roger Ford
2018-11-18 15:01:02 UTC
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Post by SavoyBG
16 Santo & Johnny -- Sleep Walk -- Canadian-American 103 -- 1959
3 Hal Singer -- Hot Rod -- Savoy 1179 -- 1955
17 Santo & Johnny -- Sleep Walk -- Canadian-American 103 -- 1959
5 Tommy Ridgley -- Jam Up -- Atlantic 1039 -- 1954
So, did you vote for "Sleep Walk" over these two actual killer rock and roll instrumentals?
I voted for "Sleep Walk" up to Round Three.

Tommy Ridgley got my vote in Round#4 and Freddy King in Round#5

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!
Tony
2018-11-18 09:51:33 UTC
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Post by Bob Roman
A writer named Tom Breihan has been reviewing, in order, every song to hit #1 in the Billboard Hot 100.
Santo & Johnny – “Sleep Walk”
HIT #1: September 21, 1959
STAYED AT #1: 2 weeks
The steel guitar is a fascinating instrument. Most instruments mimic the human voice in one way or another, but the steel guitar sounds all the more alien for how close it can come to forming words without actually forming those words. It’s a key part of Hawaiian music and of country and western swing, which is just one of those weird musicological odysseys, like how the accordion went from German beer-hall marches to Mexican rancheras via some slow, strange, organic process of cultural exchange. And because it sounds so unlike anything else, the steel guitar can feel both otherworldly and deeply, comfortingly familiar. I think that’s why Santo & Johnny’s “Sleep Walk” works; it uses the instrument for both of those effects at once.
Santo and Johnny Farina were two young brothers from Brooklyn. The legend is that their father decided that they should learn to play steel guitar because he’d heard it on the radio when he was in the Army, stationed in Oklahoma. “Sleep Walk,” their first single, isn’t a country song or a Hawaiian song. Instead, it’s pretty standard of the slow, ornate R&B ballads that were popular in the era. But the difference, of course, is that it’s an instrumental. And in the place where the vocal would ordinarily be, we get that lonely, wandering steel guitar.
On a surface level, “Sleep Walk” is a very pretty, albeit undemanding, piece of music. But there’s something about the sound of that instrument — how central it is to the song, the murmuring melody that it plays — that pushes it toward something dreamlike and Lynchian. (How did people describe things like this before David Lynch was making movies?) Maybe, in the moment, it was just a pretty song. Or maybe people could hear the quiet ominousness in all that beauty even then.
GRADE: 7/10
GRADE: 10/10
Roger Ford
2018-11-24 17:06:40 UTC
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On Sat, 17 Nov 2018 14:43:39 -0800 (PST), Bob Roman
A writer named Tom Breihan has been reviewing, in order, every song to hit =
#1 in the Billboard Hot 100.
Santo & Johnny =E2=80=93 =E2=80=9CSleep Walk=E2=80=9D
HIT #1: September 21, 1959
STAYED AT #1: 2 weeks
Here's how it did in the 1959 Singles Battle

R1 S & J 26
Cadillacs - Jay Walker 2

2 S & J 19
Flamingos - Goodnight Sweethert 6

3 Ronnie Hawkins - Mary Lou 7
S & J 20

4 Rosco Gordon - Just A Little Bit 14
S & J 16

5 S & J 14
Dion & The Belmonts - Where Or When 16

ROGER FORD
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