There Are Many Renditions Of ‘Easter Parade’

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Has it occurred to you, as it has to me, that Easter Sunday seems to be on the late side this year? Being the curious type, I did a little research on this. What I found was that Easter, this year on April 24, couldn’t possibly occur too much later.

The date of Easter, according to our Gregorian calendar, can range anywhere from March 21 to April 25. The date of our Christian holy holiday is determined by when the first full moon after the vernal (or spring) equinox, March 20 or 21 (the day the sun shines directly on the equator and the length of day and night are equal everywhere in the world), occurs. Easter then falls the following Sunday after the first full moon after the spring equinox.

And that’s how the date of Easter is determined. Simple as lunar pie!

This spring, the first full moon after the spring equinox happened late this year, with the moon having reached its full phase this past Monday at 4:40 a.m. Perhaps you saw nature’s wondrous disco ball rising in the eastern sky at sunset Sunday and Monday, the days the moon appeared its fullest.

Consequently, Easter this year is this Sunday.

You may wonder — are there many songs that have been written about Easter? You bet! For my money, the best secular Easter song ever written was “Easter Parade.” It was originally recorded in 1933 by the Leo Reisman Orchestra, then in the 1940s, this seasonal lilt was also a Top 40 hit for Guy Lombardo, Harry James and Bing Crosby. Judy Garland and Fred Astaire teamed for their version of this springtime favorite in 1948.

To be this week’s music trivia winner, all you have to do is guess the artist, who in 1961, sang my favorite rendition of “Easter Parade.”

This Louisiana R&B singer/songwriter/ pianist was born in 1928 in New Orleans, La. His music was heavily influenced by Fats Waller and Albert Ammons. In the mid 1940s, he joined the Dave Bartholomew Band, then signed with Imperial Records in 1949. He had a dozen Top 10 R&B hits from 1950-55 prior to his first pop hit in the mid 1950s.

From 1955 to 1968, this not-so-slim artist charted 66 pop hits on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart, later earning the Lifetime Grammy Achievement, Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and American Music Legend awards. Among his many Top 10 hits were “I Want To Walk You Home,” “Ain’t That A Shame,” “Walking To New Orleans” and “Blueberry Hill.”

This week’s music trivia question is: Who is this artist who, in 1961, sang my favorite version of “Easter Parade?” Was it A) Ray Charles, B) Fats Domino, C) Sam Cooke, or D) P. Ta’ Rabbitt?

If you’re caller number four this week and have the right answer, you’ll win a great prize — a set of 800 thread-count sheets (your choice of standard, queen or king and color), a $50-$70 value. This week’s prize is courtesy of the Mattress Experts, a new store to Payson this last year and located in the Safeway Shopping Plaza. Owners Kristine McCormack and Cindy Gregory invite you to visit their showroom, take off your boots and Easter bonnets and stretch out on one of the many “aaahingly” comfortable beds that span their spacious showroom floor. You just might not want to get up.

Now, let‘s see how we did with last week’s music trivia question, which was: Which of the following songs was not a top 10 hit for contemporary country artist Billy Dean (who will be coming to Payson as part of next season’s Tonto Community Concert Association’s series? A) “Billy The Kid,” B) “If There Hadn’t Been You,” C) “Let Them Be Little,” or D) “All My Exes Live In Texas”?

The correct answer was “All My Exes Live In Texas,” which was a 1987 hit by country icon, George Strait.

Well ... for the first time in the six years that I have been posing trivia questions in my music column, there was no winner this past week. Perhaps this past week’s question was just too dang difficult. I had an inkling that it might be.

So, with no one to lay claim to last week’s prize, I’ll save that country love song CD (which included Billy Dean’s romantic hit, “If There Hadn’t Been You,” for another column and question.

Lastly, if you were one of the hundreds who attended last week’s TCCA Paul McDermand concert at the Payson High School auditorium, I’m sure you walked away, as Ann and I did, feeling uplifted and very appreciative of McDermand and his band’s talent, class and non-stop energy. We thought the two-hour presentation was just outstanding. And being an old rocker, I really enjoyed guitarist, Billy Abdo’s rock ’n’ roll version of Nat King Cole’s 1950 “Mona Lisa.” For a moment, I thought I was seeing and hearing Buddy Holly perform.

As McDermand ended his concert with Katrina And The Waves’ “Walking On Sunshine,” I thought — what a great deal a season pass is to the TCCA concert series. The price of two season tickets ($170 for eight concerts — about $10 per person per concert) is less than the cost of just one ticket to last month’s Lady Gaga concert in Phoenix (tickets ranged from $180 to $320 for decent seats).

Have a nice Easter weekend!

DJ Craig

Phone: 468-1482

Web site: www.DJCraigInPayson.com

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