Five Songs, Part 100

Joe Franklin — the man, the myth, the legend. But not a singer. He left that to Eddie Cantor and Sophie Tucker.

Well, nothing stupendous or colossal or big! big! big! or any of those other stellar adjectives that Joe Franklin, the self-styled “King of Nostalgia,” used to use on his show as I put together this mini-milestone 100th installment of Five Songs.

(And if you didn’t grow up in the New York area and/or are of a younger generation: The imitable-yet-inimitabe Joe was the king of late-night television, having hosted a talk show in New York (and Jersey, when Channel 9 relocated across the river to Secaucus) for 43 years (1950-93). While he interviewed hundreds of thousands of nobodies, there were a few somebodies as well: Jerry Lewis, boyhood pal Tony Curtis, Paul Newman, Barbra Streisand, Buster Keaton, The Ramones, “Weird Al,” They Might Be Giants, occasional visitor Tiny Tim. First time I really tuned in, in college, The J.Geils Band was on, Freeze-Frame era, splattering the studio with paint and having a couple of beauties present Joe with a six-foot-tall trophy for being the “King of Television.” One day, I’ll tell you about how I helped start an international Honeymooners fan club with his help. And the first link above is to a wonderful documentary called 50,000,000 Joe Franklin Fans Can’t Be Wrong.)

That’s because, well, it’s Thanksgiving weekend, and I’m wondering if anyone would even be looking at what I have to read, since everyone’s wrapped up in the post-holiday. (Hell, I wonder if anyone even reads it in the best of times …)

So, I digressed. Anyway, I wasn’t gonna hit the Christmas tunes yet, but since I butchered this song and smeared the reputation of Ms. Veronica Bennett Spector Greenfield at the tail end of the annual Thanksgiving-night Vomitorium at Cafe Nine in New Haven, I had to somehow make amends. So one Christmas song and the rest totally random. Enjoy the remainder of the holiday:

Frosty the Snowman — The Ronettes

Couldn’t I Just Tell You — Todd Rundgren

Omaha — Moby Grape

Rhythm — Major Lance

On Easy Street — Freda Payne

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