Hey, I just picked up the below Johnny Mathis LP -- and lo and behold, it appears Ernie Freeman "borrowed" Herb's arrangement. Mathis recorded this 10JUN69. The 45Cat database lists Herb's 45 release date as 19MAY69.
Reflecting on when he returned to Columbia in late '67, Johnny wrote something along the lines that to stay viable, a singer had to essentially be a top-40 cover artist. Therefore, gone from his musical palate were all those unique and esoteric pop songs that he would introduce. While hearing Johnny sing Up, Up And Away and The Look Of Love is, of course, interesting (well, may not The Look Of Love if you're Rudy...), one can easily tell these dates were churned out with little-to-no inventiveness. Like Tony Bennett, who was also at Columbia at that time, it's clear Johnny's not fully sold on the "new" (i.e., post-1964) pop from the young songwriters of the day. Compared to Open Fire, Two Guitars ('59) or I'll Buy You a Star ('61), Johnny's LP, Close To You ('70), seems more akin to a working session of read-throughs. In addition to what Mike pointed out, it's evident that the same 1950s staff arrangers are on hand for these late '60s LPs working over the new material -- and it's painfully obvious that their music acumen doesn't lend itself to thoroughly understanding the new pop from the young songwriters: the rhythms, voicings, counterpoint, even the melodic articulation are very much foreign to the world of Harold Arlen.Someone, reviewing Columbia's MOR albums from this period (it may have been specifically Andy Williams), said they sounded like they just went with whatever played on the radio during the drive from the house to the studio. The cover mentality had morphed by '69-'70 to the point where they weren't even trying to switch up the arrangements.
I read somewhere (and can't find it now) that this was all Clive Davis---which explains the uniformity of the Columbia MOR product of the time.Reflecting on when he returned to Columbia in late '67, Johnny wrote something along the lines that to stay viable, a singer had to essentially be a top-40 cover artist.
The absolute nadir, at least to me, was THE ANDY WILLIAMS SHOW album.Close To You ('70), seems more akin to a working session of read-throughs.
Correct. From what I've read (liner notes) Goddard Lieberson and Mitch Miller basically handed artistic control to Davis round about 1966. The less-flattering reviews label Davis "an accountant". Davis was reported to have asked Monk to do an LP of Beatles covers (?!?!) -- which is tantamount to asking the Beatles to do an LP of Monk covers. Sounds like an accountant to me.I read somewhere (and can't find it now) that this was all Clive Davis---which explains the uniformity of the Columbia MOR product of the time