Sunday, April 27, 2008
Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Mason Williams
Album:The Mason Williams Phonograph record
In 1968, comedy writer/musician Mason Williams stumbled into pop music stardom with the smash hit Classical Gas. The song is still very memorable. He was born Aug. 24, 1938 in Abeline, TX. He started out in the early 60s writing folk songs and performing stand up comedy. In 1964, he released a comedy album set to music called Them Poems on VeeJay. Williams' other claim to fame was as head writer of the Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour. He was largely responsible for the Pat Paulsen For President campaign and also hired Steve Martin to write for the show. He has won several Emmys for his writing. He also wrote the show's theme song. Williams got together with producer Mike Post to make an album of experimental music for Warner Bros. Some of the music is just weird but Classical Gas struck a chord with people and reached the top of the pop charts. Obviously the sound of a full orchestra performing a rock song appealed to people and the song is propelled by legendary rock session drummer Jim Gordon. Listen to his playing on this song. Williams won two Grammys and Post won one for his arrangement. Post is best known for TV themes like Hill Street Blues. Williams has continued to record occasionally and a rerecording of Classical Gas with Manheim Steamroller went gold in 1987. His most recent release is 2005's Electrical Gas with British guitarist Zoe McCulloch. The Mason Williams Phonograph Record is only a half hour long. Classical Gas is one of those one hit wonders you might want on a various artists comp. Rhino has issued a 5CD box set called Rock Instrumental Classics and the CDs are available individually. Another one that looks good is Chartbusters USA Vol. 2 on the British Ace label. Here's Mason Williams performing Classical Gas on the Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour in 1968.