November Declared 'Thank You, Mister Rogers' Month, Tribute Album Released
Nashville Mayor John Cooper has issued a proclamation that October 25th is "Mister Rogers' Music Day." And, today, a newly recorded collection of Fred's songs, Thank You, Mister Rogers: Music & Memories, is available wherever music is sold or streamed.The album's arrival ushers in "Thank You Mister Rogers Month" in November, a time set aside to honor Fred's legacy by encouraging people to act on his simple but eloquent message, "Be kind." Nashville, where much of the album was recorded, is the first city to proclaim November as a time to "Be Like Fred."
Providing delightful listening for the whole family, the album embodies unforgettable performances by award-winning artists performing re-imagined renditions of Fred Rogers classics as well as uncovered gems from his 200-plus catalog of songs. The cast includes Kellie Pickler, Vanessa Williams, Rita Wilson, Lee Greenwood, The Cowsills, Jaci Velasquez, Jim Brickman, Jon Secada, Marilyn McCoo & Billy Davis Jr., Micky Dolenz, Tom Bergeron, and Sandi Patty. The songs are now spinning on radio shows nationwide, and a new "Thank You, Mister Rogers" Youtube channel features these artists talking about what Fred Rogers' songs mean to them.
Fred Rogers wrote more than 200 of the songs made popular on his PBS television show, Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, which celebrated its 50th anniversary last year. Two-time Grammy winner Dennis Scott produced the album, observing, "Fred was a gifted songwriter and understood how music could serve as an effective way to teach and share important life lessons. We hope that both adults and children familiar with Fred's songs will enjoy hearing how well they lend themselves to a variety of musical styles and genres."The delights of the album begin with the first track, "Won't You Be My Neighbor?" performed by The Cowsills. As Paste magazine notes, "The sibling singers apply their '60s-sunshine sound to Rogers' already-delightful invitation to caring companionship, slowing the jaunty Mister Rogers' Neighborhood theme song down, as if to bask in its warmth for as long as they can. And COUNTRY MUSIC star Kellie Pickler recalls singing along to the iconic Fred Rogers song, "It's Such a Good Feeling" with her granny when she was young. As Billboard says, Pickler gives the song "a robust delivery that begins with a measured, soulful gospel flavor that builds into a rolling, ebullient Pop anthem."
Billboard Latin features the first Spanish version of the tune of "Won't You Be My Neighbor," which features a heartfelt performance by Cuban-born Pop artist Jon Secada. And TV spokesperson Tom Bergeron, best known for hosting "America's Funniest Home Videos" and "Dancing with the Stars," makes his singing debut with a jazzy rendition of "Some Things I Don't Understand." It's also the first-time audiences will experience his talent as a gifted whistler. As Kids Rhythm and Rock says, this new arrangement "maintains all of the original lyrics but is given an updated jazzy feel that still treats the wonderances seriously, while giving them a more lighthearted melody to be posed against."
Actor and singer Rita Wilson delivers a touching performance of "Sometimes People Are Good," a sentiment also reflected in Tom Hanks' on-screen portrayal of Fred. Wilson aptly observes, "Mister Rogers' melody and lyrics are beautifully integrated together. His words of kindness, acceptance, and peace are a classic message."
David Newell, who portrayed Mr. McFeely on the show, describes the eclectic and joyful nature of this album: "Each song in this collection is different from the other...and each singer has made it their own. Fred would be delighted to know that his music lives on to new generations."
In the words of Fred Rogers, "It's such a good feeling"to know that Thank You, Mister Rogers - Music & Memories is now available on CD and all digital platforms soon. Mister Rogers fans are invited to submit their own happy memories of the show and Fred's music at: http://www.thankyoumisterrogers.com. Fans may also keep up to date on the #ThankYouMisterRogers release on Facebook and Twitter via @thankyoumisterrogers.