Daily Archives: July 28, 2008

Three Cheers for Canonsburg!

Ah, Canonsburg, Pennsylvania.  A half an hour southwest of Pittsburgh.  Population currently less than 9,000. 

Why should you care about Canonsburg?  Musically speaking, here are 3 very good reasons:

1.  Perry Como

2.  Bobby Vinton

3.  The Cynics and Get Hip Recordings

You can’t argue with the success of Como seeing as he had over 80 hits on the charts including a streak between 1945 and 1954 where he had 36 hits in the Top 5.  (For Billboard chart stats such as these, the books of Joel Whitburn are invaluable.)  Some of my favorite Perry Como songs are “Let’s Take an Old Fashioned Walk,” “Don’t Let the Stars Get in Your Eyes,” and “You Won’t Be Satisfied (Until You Break My Heart),” but the one I like best is “Magic Moments.”  “Magic Moments” was an early triumph for the one of the best songwriting teams ever, Burt Bacharach and lyricist Hal David, and features whistling and a bassoon.  How can you not like a nostalgic, romantic song with whistling and a bassoon?

In front of their borough building, in Perry Como Plaza, Canonsburg has a “singing statue” of Perry Como. Enough said.

Bobby Vinton had eleven Top 10 hits between 1962’s “Roses Are Red (My Love)” and “My Melody of Love” in 1974. Called “The Polish Prince,” Vinton sung part of the latter hit in Polish. How many top 10 singles can you think of that are sung partially in Polish? Go Bobby Vinton! Go Canonsburg! Go Western Pennsylvanians from Eastern Europe!

Speaking of Europe, the underrated Cynics are bigger there than they are here. Emerging out of Canonsburg, The Cynics and the record label they created, Get Hip, have been garage rock institutions for over 25 years.

Canonsburg, you emit more than just radiation. You emit some terrific musicians.

— Tim

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