The Soundtrack For The Baby Boomer Generation

Step back to a time when singers were as bright as the stars in the heavens
and the music they sang was really swingin'. Stacks of wax to fit every occasion!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Alert!

Artist: Santo and Johnny
Song: Twistin' Bells (a-side) (b-side is Bullseye)
Label: Canadian American Records, Ltd. 120
Number: 6004
Songwriters: Farina, Farina, Farina
Time: 2:15
Released: 1960

Today's post is a special Christmas recording. Since it's Christmas Eve as I post this, I thought it quite appropriate. Everyone will remember Santo and Johnny from their greatest hit, Sleepwalk. Santo and Johnny Farina, brothers, were born in Brooklyn, New York on October 24th, 1937 and October 30th, 1941 respectively. It was Santo who played steel guitar and Johnny who mostly played rhythm guitar, along with the steel guitar. Their record label, Canadian American, and the publicity they released about them at the time referred to a third composer, Ann Farina, who was supposedly a sister. This was a mistake as they did not even have a sister! Their father, a serviceman, had found that the sound of the steel guitar on country and western records was quite soothing and so he encouraged them to learn this instrument. They learned the instrument and then wrote an instrumental featuring the sound of the steel guitar called Sleepwalk, which was released on the Canadian American label. With it's haunting sound, it topped the US charts and went on to sell 2 million copies. Needless to say, this solidified their position in music!
In their later years together, they tried to shake their "easy listening" tag by adding fuzz guitar and doing songs by Deep Purple and Led Zeppelin. They also recorded many Italian tunes as they established a huge following there, being awarded 33 gold discs. They continued to record popular albums until finally splitting up in 1976. They have since released their own solo albums. In 2002, the duo were inducted into the Steel Guitar Hall of Fame.
Today's song has a familiar melody - you might recognize it. It is the familiar classic Jingle Bells, speeded up and given the Santo and Johnny instrumental treatment. The Twist was popular in 1960, so they added this onto the name and before you can say Jingle Bell Rock, you've got a best selling song for the holidays - an instant classic. So, while you're welcoming faithful friends and family who are dear to you, please play Santo and Johnny's song for the Christmas season, Twistin' Bells and have an eggnog on me.
Merry Christmas to all my faithful blog readers!

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