Friday, March 19, 2010
Jango Song Of The Day-The Mash AKA The Ron Hicklin Singers
Song:Suicide Is Painless
Album:M*A*S*H: Original Soundtrack Recording
Here's a very famous song from a very famous film. But I'll bet most of you don't know who sang it. It has been erroneously credited to composer Johnny Mandel. He's a very good singer and a legendary songwriter. He was born Nov. 23, 1925 in New York City. He started out in jazz in the 40s with guys like Woody Herman. But by the 50s, he was more in demand as a composer and arranger. His more notable films included I Want To Live (1958) and the 1965 hit film The Sandpiper which included The Shadow Of Your Smile. Robert Altman hired him to write the score for his 1970 film M*A*S*H and Altman's 14 year old son Mike Altman wrote the lyrics. Altman said in the 80s that Mike made millions from the song and he was only paid $70K to direct. There's a vocal version on the soundtrack album credited to The Mash. They are actually led by Ron Hicklin along with John Bahler, Tom Bahler and Ian Freebairn-Smith. Hicklin contracted and arranged backup vocals for many years and he even sang the lead vocal on the theme for the TV series Happy Days. On the soundtrack CD released by Sony/Legacy in 2000, there's also an instrumental version played by jazz pianist Ahmad Jamal and plenty of incidental music and dialogue. Pianist Al DeLory had a hit single with his version and so did The Manic Street Preachers with their 90s cover. And of course M*A*S*H spun off into a long running TV series. Here's Suicide Is Painless as it played over the opening credits of the 1970 film M*A*S*H.