Music History 101


Since Microsoft Co-founder, Paul Allen’s link to
architect Frank Gehry has something to do with music (yet another hint:-)*1,
let’s start out by linking Allen with a few classic

Part One—Pre-1965 Songs: This music is elegant and timeless—and well,
it’s just impossible to be in a bad mood when you’re listening to it:).

  1) Sway  Originally recorded by Dean Martin…

a remake of the song was recently performed by the Pussycat Dolls:


History:    “’Sway” is the English version of “Quién Será”, a 1953 Latin pop song with a mambo beat written by Mexican composer and bandleader Pablo Beltrán Ruiz. In 1954 the English lyrics were written by Norman Gimbel and originally recorded by Dean Martin (this recording reached #6 on the UK chart).” ( excerpt fromWikipedia)

Link to Paul Allen:   The song “Sway” is on the soundtrack of the movie, “Shall We Dance,” starring Richard Gere. Richard Gere was a guest at The 20 th  Annual Rock N Roll Hall of Fame Induction Dinner, as was Paul Allen and his friend Dan Aykroyd.

Here is a photo of Paul Allen, Richard Gere and Dan Aykroyd. /tt0358135/soundtrack


2)  Miserlou (Dick Dale and The
Del Tones)


History:    “Misirlou” (Greek: Μισιρλού, ‘Egyptian Girl’; from Turkish “Mısırlı” ‘Egyptian’, from Arabic مصر, Miṣr, “Egypt“), is a popular Greek song with a cult-like popularity in four very diverse styles of music: Greek rebetiko, Middle-Eastern belly dancing, Jewish wedding music (Klezmer), and American surf rock……..

Initially, the song was composed as a Greek zeibekiko dance, at a slower tempo and a different key than the orientalized performances that most are familiar with today. This was the style of the first known recording by Michalis Patrinos in Greece, circa 1930 ……….The song was rearranged as a solo guitar piece by Dick Dale in the 1960s. It was Dale’s version of the piece that introduced “Misirlou” to a wider audience in the United States .”

(   excerpt fromWikipedia)

Link to Paul Allen:    This song was on the soundtrack for “Pulp Fiction,” starring John Travolta, who starred in “The Punisher” with Paul Allen’s friend, Laura Harring.


3)        Now You Has Jazz (Bing Crosby and Louis Armstrong) &search = =


History:      The song, “Now You Has Jazz” was sung by music legends Bing Crosby and Louis Armstrong in the 1956 movie, “High Society.” see…  

Link to Paul Allen:      Bing Crosby’s grandson, Steven Crosby , has worked for Paul Allen for years as Vulcan’s Vice President of Corporate Communications.


     4) At Last   (Etta James)  *2


History:      “Etta James (born Jamesetta Hawkins on January 25, 1938) is an American blues, soul, R&B , and jazz singer and songwriter . In the 1950s and 60s, she had her biggest success as a blues and R&B singer. She is best-known for her 1961 ballad “ At Last “, which has been classified as a “timeless classic” and has been featured in many movies and television commercials since its release. ” (   excerpt from Wikipedia)

Link to Paul Allen:    Etta James was asked personally by Paul Allen’s friend, director Martin Scorsese to sing at “The Blues”  gala in New York City in early 2003 (The  “Year of the Blues”). She actually declined the invitation, but was later inspired by Scorsese’s  PBS series “The Blues” to launch a new Blues album of her own called “Blues to the Bone.” Her song, “I’d Rather Go Blind,” was nonetheless a part of the disconography for the series.  The PBS series was produced by Vulcan Productions, Paul Allen’s movie production company.


5) Mambo Italiano (Rosemary Clooney)  

Here’s the Dean Martin version…. =


History:      “Mambo Italiano” is a popular song, written by Bob Merrill in 1954 . The song itself had been a traditional, danceable folk-like song in Italy for ages (no one knows who had actually written it and there were many versions of the song, including some different lyrics and types of music), but it was Merrill who put it on paper and made the song popular worldwide. The biggest-selling version, recorded by Rosemary Clooney, charted in 1954. Another version was recorded by Dean Martin.”  (  excerpt from Wikipedia)

Link to Paul Allen:       Singer Rosemary Clooney was actor George Clooney’s aunt. George Clooney starred in “Oceans Eleven,” directed by Steven Soderbergh, who was also the Executive Director of Vulcan Production’s “Far From Heaven.” Vulcan Productions is Paul Allen’s movie production company.


6) Rhapsody in Blue (George Gershwin) = =

(And just for fun, here’s Gershwin playing Gershwin) =

History:     “Rhapsody in Blue is a musical composition by George Gershwin for solo piano and jazz band written in 1924, which combines elements of classical music with jazz-influenced effects. The composition was orchestrated by Ferde Grofé three times, in 1924, in 1926, and finally in 1942. The piece received its premiere in a concert entitled An Experiment in Modern Music , which was held on 12 February 1924 , in Aeolian Hall, New York , by Paul Whiteman and his band with Gershwin playing the piano. In the version for piano and symphony orchestra made by Ferde Grofé in 1942, it has become one of the most popular American concert works .” (   excerpt from Wikipedia)

 Link to Paul Allen:    There are a number of connections between musician George Gershwin and Microsoft Co-founder, Paul Allen (See Fascinating Rhythm…Answers to George Gershwin).  But one of the simplest connections to Gershwin’s song Rhapsody in Blue is through a movie by the same name. The movie short was added to Disney’s “Fantasia 2000,” replacing “The Nutcracker Suite” from the original 1940’s “Fantasia.” Allen has a few connections to the Disney Corp., but one of them is through a company he started and later sold to them in the 1990’s called Starwave. Allen’s Starwave was one of the first entertainment sites on the web.  

Stay Tuned for Part Two—Post 1965 songs……


*1 and yes, I am stalling for more time, but these songs are great, aren’t they?…..:-)

*2 Warning: If you don’t like Tom Cruise/Katie Holmes, minimize the screen …right now!  If you do like Tom and Katie, you will love this video, but either way, Etta James’ song is awesome…