The Music of Lorne Greene

He came from the North to settle in the West and made the whole world happy!
A place to discuss Lorne Greene.

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Jim Barnsby
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Who is your favorite Bonanza character?: Adam
Location: Miami, Florida

The Music of Lorne Greene

Post by Jim Barnsby » Sat Mar 09, 2019 5:09 pm

Let this thread be a place where my fellow Bonanza Boomers can discuss their favorite Lorne Greene songs.

From 1964-1966, Lorne Greene released four Western-themed albums on the RCA-Victor record label.

Like the early 1960s albums of Frankie Laine, Lorne's albums are a world unto themselves in that these albums are not the historical "Wild West" of the 19th Century, but rather the fabricated, "remembered" West of the mid-20th Century with that era's pop culture trademarks. I could not describe this music any better than the back cover liner notes to the 2009 CD reissue of Lorne's album, The Man:

"Here are the virile, invigorating Hollywood Western tales of screen icon Lorne Greene. Recorded in the mid-1960s, at the height of his Bonanza fame, you'll hear a brew of tradition, lounge-pop affectation and spaghetti western mania. Witness the tense fuzz-tone of Pop Goes The Hammer, the chilling conclusion of The Search or the haunting, philosophical I'm A Gun. Bold arrangements by Joe Reisman and Anita Kerr."

On my daily journey to the salt mine that is my job, I listen to the vivid musical landscape that is Lorne's music. Portrait of the West, Lorne's last RCA album, is my most-played album, but I also adore Lorne Greene's American West. I tend to like every single song he does, but my all-time favorite Lorne Greene song is a toss up between "I'm a Gun" and "Endless Prairie." Take special care and listen to Anita Kerr's arrangements for "I'm a Gun"; they're spectacular. The mad whirlwind of "Endless Prairie" is a sound to behold--it features an absolutely brilliant musical accompaniment.

These albums are not just memorable for Lorne's superb vocal performances--the man was a truly great actor--but also for the mid-1960s atmosphere these songs conjure. The aforementioned fuzz guitar, Spaghetti Western mania, and brew of tradition are exactly how I imagine the mid-1960s "sounded" like.

An added quality to these albums is that they were recorded during Bonanza's peak period, in which it was the #1-rated American TV series. Let us never forget that "Ringo" was a US #1 hit single. Given the show's popularity, I would love to know how many copies Lorne's albums sold back then.

What are your favorite songs performed by Lorne? Let's discuss the heck out of these albums!

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