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Friday, October 2, 2009

Former San Francisco Supervisor Sends Out E-Mail Blast of Favorite Songs Through the Decades -- Because Everyone Deserves a Little Joy

Posted By on Fri, Oct 2, 2009 at 6:30 AM

Tony Hall during the height of the Disco Era
  • Tony Hall during the height of the Disco Era
If you're on former Supervisor Tony Hall's e-mail list, you can count on a few sternly worded missives about San Francisco land use every week. So it came as something of a surprise that Hall fired out links to an e-jukebox, putting his audience of policy mavens and City Hall critics one click away from thousands and thousands of songs hailing from 1950 to 1989. Complex treatises on city governmental matters of yore have their place -- but, hey, sometimes you've just gotta have a little fun!

(If you're interested, visit years 1950-54; 55-59; 60-64; 65-69; 70-74; 75-79; 80-84; and 85-89).

click to enlarge Hall today
  • Hall today
For Hall, it was an e-mail blast from his past. He has a pedigree unusual for a public servant even in this city: He's fronted a band with the same group of local guys since 1967, Tony Hall and the Hallmarks. He estimates his band has performed around half of all the songs on the e-jukebox and have a repertoire of more than 5,000 numbers (though we're betting Hall hasn't belted out the vocals for "Love In An Elevator," "Take On Me," "You Give Love a Bad Name," or a good many of the late '80s hits. And if he has -- we want it on YouTube. Stat.).

So, what songs should you request of a wedding, bar mitzvah, or corporate event band if you want to make everyone happy (including the musicians)? Hall doesn't have to think hard about that one:

"Louie Prima, Tommy Edwards, Fats Domino, Elvis -- of course -- and Jerry Lee Lewis, too," he says.

As for the Hallmarks' hallmark, it's hard to choose one number out of 5,000 -- but you could do worse than request the band's "real jazzy version of "When You're Smiling" (that's a Louie Prima number).

Or you could request "Jump, Jive, and Wail" (also Louie Prima).

In short: Louie Prima.

click to enlarge Tony Hall and the Hallmarks, circa 1967
  • Tony Hall and the Hallmarks, circa 1967


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About The Author

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi was born in San Francisco, raised in the Bay Area, and attended U.C. Berkeley. He never left. "Your humble narrator" was a staff writer and columnist for SF Weekly from 2007 to 2015. He resides in the Excelsior with his wife, 4.3 miles from his birthplace and 5,474 from hers.


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