Monday, September 5, 2016

Music Monday - Labor Day

Today is  Labor Day in the United States. 

It is a federal holiday, and has been since 1894.  Many of us have it off (ironically, few in the retail business, though).  The history has many violent components, but, in recent times it is more of a "last day of summer" holiday.

For many of us of a "certain age" living in the United States, Labor Day meant one thing - the Jerry Lewis Telethon.

Jerry Lewis is 90 now, and he is still working.

He has seven children and one of them is a musician who had several hit songs in the 1960's:  Gary Lewis.

Today, a short tribute to Gary Lewis and the Playboys (who played our area recently) in honor of his father, before I swing into songs of labor.

Everyone Loves a Clown (complete with a little girl).

This Diamond Ring was a hit song in 1965, and one of my favorite songs.

And, in honor of Labor Day, a couple of songs about labor.  There is a nice collection of classics here - so much could be written about the labor movement in the United States.  Here are three:

The late Paul Robeson, singing a song called "Joe Hill". No, it isn't about Stephen King's son but, rather, a Swedish-American labor activist who was put to death in 1915 for murders he may have been innocent of.  The story of those murders, and what happened to Joe Hill after he died, make a most fascinating story to read on Labor Day.

Sixteen Tons -  written by Merle Travis in 1946, here performed by Tennessee Ernie Ford.  This is a song about the life of a coal miner.  The story of its writing is also a fascinating one.  This was a song of my early childhood.

And, on a lighter note, 9 to 5 - Dolly Parton (how many people recognize the sound at the beginning few seconds of the song?)

In my part of upstate New York, we will have fireworks later tonight to celebrate this day devoted to labor.

Let's take a minute, this Labor Day, to honor all working people around the world.

14 comments:

  1. I love these songs! I never put it together that Gary was Jerry's son.

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    1. Gary has tried very hard not to be connected with his father as far as his own career - he wanted to make it strictly on his own merits.

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  2. Now, bringing in Gerry Lewis was a true diagonal thought!
    Happy Labor Day, Alana...

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    1. High praise from you. Happy Labor Day to you also, Roy.

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  3. When I retired my staff put together a video with the 9 to 5 song. There was an article in the paper recently about the MDS telethon and impact Jerry Lewis had on its success.

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    1. Sunday morning on CBS had a feature yesterday on Jerry, and how involved in the lives of some of the children who were then called "Jerry's kids", to where he would visit them in hospitals and mourn when one passed away.

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  4. I love all of these songs too and I miss the telethon. When I was young I thought that's what Labor Day was about. Thanks to all those who fought so hard for labor laws we Don't even need unions anymore.

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    1. I miss the telethon in some ways. It was such a fixture of my youth, and could have been modernized.

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  5. Good choices for today. Gary Lewis really looked like his father, didn't he?

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    1. Gary, indeed, looks like his father. I respect him greatly for wanting to make it totally on his own - enough so that many don't even know he is Jerry's son.

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  6. Having seen both Gary Lewis abd Jerry Lewis perform live, I can say that there can be no doubt that Gary is Jerry's son. I think i saw a clip once, of Gary popping in to the telethon. Embarrassing how MDA treated Jerry when they decided to remove him from the telethon. Jerry has a movie coming out this month, can you believe it?

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    1. I think (the movie)is why CBS Sunday morning did the feature on Jerry Lewis. More power to him, acting in a movie at his advanced age, and still performing live.

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