The Music of Glee: Episode 1×12 – “Mattress”

I honestly can’t remember what happened in this episode, beyond a dance number performed on mattresses. Oh, wait, this is the one with the yearbook! And, Will found out Terri was faking her pregnancy. Classic.

Written by L. Allen, I. Babalola and D. Lewis
Performed Most Notably by Lily Allen
Performed on GLEE by Lea Michelle and Cory Monteith

“Smile” was the lead-off single from Lily Allen’s Alright, Still. It samples the Soul Brothers’ Free Soul, and was released in 2006. The song incorporates Rocksteady music with lyrics about Allen’s dealing with a lover’s betrayal and taking joy in his misery. It was a #1 hit in the UK and a Top-50 hit in the US.

Josh Note: Alright, Still was an outstanding album. Smile, LDN, Shame on You. Amazing. Honestly, get it now. The followup, It’s Not Me, It’s You was poppier and less memorable, but stuff like Everyone’s At It, The Fear and Not Fair were freakin’ great. Two records with more depth and originality than Miley Cyrus ever dreamed… and then she retired. She’s designing clothes, did some television, started a record label, but no more music. What the hell?!

“When You’re Smiling”
Written by Larry Shay, Mark Fisher and Joe Goodwin
Performed Most Notably by Louis Armstrong
Performed on GLEE by Lea Michelle

Louis Armstrong recorded “When You’re Smiling” for the first time in 1929. He would do so again in 1932 and 1956. Since then, it’s become a jazz standard recorded by dozens of artists, including Duke Ellington, Louis Prima, Frank Sinatra and Judy Garland on her 1961 classic Judy at Carnegie Hall.

Josh Note: Why wasn’t this episode called “Smile”? This is before the Madonna episode, the Christmas episode and the Bad Reputation episode. Just two episodes later we got Hell-O, wherein every song had the word “hell” in the title. Of course, not every song in this episode had “smile” in the name, as we’ll see in…

Written by Eddie Van Halen, Alex Van Halen, Michael Anthony and David Lee Roth
Performed Most Notably by Van Halen
Performed on GLEE by New Directions

Van Halen’s only #1 single, “Jump” was released in 1984 on a record called 1984. It differed from their previous work, based around a synthesizer riff, although it’s not lacking in Eddie Van Halen‘s signature guitar solo. It changed the band’s style thenceforth from being a predominantly hard rock band to one of more radio-oriented popular music and synth-driven melodies.

Josh Note: Van Halen has, probably, the most melodramatic Wikipedia entry on the site. It’s updated almost weekly, as the band’s drama seems to change that fast. First they conquered the world with David Lee Roth, then fired him and hired Sammy Hagar, who was under contract to another record company, then he left under conflicting circumstance (Hagar says he was fired, the band says he quit), the reunited with Roth for two songs, though he thought they were back for good, then hired Gary Cherone and recorded an album on which almost nobody played by Eddie (he even sang on two tracks). Since then it’s been a decade of reunions and break-ups and tours that get cancelled early. Members of the band say Eddie’s just fine, while everyone else says he’s lost his mind. They fired Michael Anthony in 2004 and brought in Eddie’s son to play bass. Now, there’s talk of a new record, with Roth back on vocals, but my guess is we’ll talk about it like we did Chinese Democracy. It’s like a Glee spin-off, I’ll believe it when I see it.

Other Josh Note: I’m a big Van Halen fan.

Written by Charlie Chaplin, John Turner and Geoffrey Parsons
Performed Most Notably by Nat King Cole
Performed on GLEE by New Directions

Charlie Chaplin wrote “Smile” as an instrumental for the soundtrack of his 1936 film Modern Times. John Turner and Geoffrey Parsons then added the lyrics in 1954 for Nat King Cole. It has become a popular standard recorded notably by Michael Jackson, Neil Sedaka, Eric Clapton, Elvis Costello, Jim Carrey, Bobby McFerrin, Robert Downey Jr… I can go on.

Josh Note: I have no comments on this song. It’s great.

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