Sunday, November 07, 2010
Jango Song Of The Day-Bob Newhart
Song:The Driving Instructor
Album:Something Like This: The Bob Newhart Anthology
Most folks should be familiar with Bob Newhart from his hit sitcoms The Bob Newhart Show and Newhart. But you may not know that back in 1960, Newhart was the first comedian to top the Billboard Hot 200 and paved the way for many other comedians like Bill Cosby and George Carlin. Why was Newhart so popular? It's all in the deadpan delivery. And if he seems like an accountant, that's what he was before he became a comedian. He was born Sept. 5, 1929 in Oak Park, IL. He served in the US Army during the Korean War. After his 1954 discharge, he worked as an accountant for US Gypsum. In 1958, he worked for Chicago TV producer Fred Niles as a copywriter. It was during this time that he started doing comedy over the phone. He recorded the routines and sent them to a Chicago radio station. DJ Dan Sorkin sent the tapes to Warner Bros. Records head of A & R George Avakian. Newhart signed with Warners and started working on his routines in clubs. His 1960 debut album The Button Down Mind Of Bob Newhart topped the Billboard Hot 200 beating out Elvis Presley and The Sound Of Music. Newhart also won the 1961 Album Of The Year Grammy and Best New Artist Grammy. The Driving Instructor is one of his funniest routines and is on that album. This led to an NBC variety show that didn't do well. But his albums continued to sell very well through the mid-60s. And it paved the way for other comics to make their mark on the album charts as well. This Rhino 2CD comp is available at a budget price. Of course Newhart got more into acting and became a big sitcom star in the 70s. But I think if you look at those shows and Newhart's comedy routines, the character tone is very similar. And it all started on the phone. Here's Bob Newhart with Dean Martin in drag performing The Driving Instructor on The Dean Martin Show probably late 60s.