'Thank You, Mister Rogers: Music & Memories' Album Available Now
Nashville, Tenn. — As a new generation is discovering Mister Rogers and his famed neighborhood, another generation of artists are celebrating his tremendous talent, career, and humanity in a newly released album project - Thank You, Mister Rogers: Music & Memories.
Lee Greenwood joins an award-winning cast which includes Kellie Pickler, Vanessa Williams, Rita Wilson, Jim Brickman, Jon Secada, Jaci Velasquez, Micky Dolenz, Tom Bergeron, Sandi Patty, The Cowsills, Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis Jr.
“Mister Rogers was a mainstay in so many households, including my own with my children,” says Grammy award winner Lee Greenwood. “To be included in such a great project that honors a piece of history is wonderful. I can’t wait to see the movie as Tom Hanks is the perfect guy for that role.”
The video for “Thank You for Being You” can be viewed HERE, premiered today by Sounds Like Nashville. The song is the finale from the album, which embodies unforgettable performances by artists performing re-imagined renditions of Fred Rogers classics, as well as uncovered gems from his 200-plus catalog of songs. The album coincides with “Thank You, Mister Rogers Month” – a time set aside to honor Fred’s legacy by encouraging people to act on his simple but eloquent message, “Be kind.” Nashville, Tennessee, where much of the album was recorded, is the first city to proclaim November as a time to ”Be Like Fred.” Two-time Grammy winner Dennis Scott produced the album and wrote the tribute song reflecting the feelings of generations who were touched by Fred’s music and message. Dennis, who was asked to participate in several workshops, heard people share their special memories about Mister Rogers. He reflects, “I understand their desire to reach out in gratitude to Fred because I feel it, too. I hope the song customized for Fred, as well as these new recordings of his songs, bring a smile to Fred’s fans.”
Watch the album trailer HERE.
Thank You Mister Rogers: Music & Memories track listing: 1. “WON'T YOU BE MY NEIGHBOR” — THE COWSILLS 2. “YOU CAN NEVER GO DOWN THE DRAIN” — JACI VELASQUEZ 3. “SOMETIMES PEOPLE ARE GOOD” — RITA WILSON 4. “PERFECTLY BEAUTIFUL DAY” — MICKY DOLENZ 5. “MANY WAYS TO SAY I LOVE YOU” — VANESSA WILLIAMS 6. “SOME THINGS I DON'T UNDERSTAND” — TOM BERGERON 7. “THIS IS MY HOME” — JIM BRICKMAN 8. “LET'S BE TOGETHER” — MARILYN MCCOO AND BILLY DAVIS, JR. 9. “PLEASE DON'T THINK IT'S FUNNY” — SANDI PATTY 10. “IT'S SUCH A GOOD FEELING” — KELLIE PICKLER 11. “WHEN THE DAY TURNS INTO NIGHT” — LEE GREENWOOD 12. “PODEMOS SER AMIGOS” — JON SECADA 13. “THANK YOU FOR BEING YOU” — THE ENSEMBLE
Lee Greenwood on Tour: Nov 30 Hiawassee, GA Anderson Music Hall Dec 03 Guntersville, Ala. / Lake Guntersville State Park Lodge Dec 04 Branson, Mo. / Dick Clark's American Bandstand Theater Dec 05 Cedar Park, Texas / HEB Center Dec 06 Lubbock, Texas / The Cactus Theater Dec 07 Greenville, Texas / Texan Theater Dec 13 Immokalee, Fla. / Seminole Casino Dec 15 Dubuque, Iowa / Diamond Jo Casino For a complete tour schedule, click here.
About Lee Greenwood: Throughout his expansive career, international country music icon Lee Greenwood has earned multiple CMA and ACM Awards, a Grammy Award for Top Male Vocal Performance on “I.O.U,” in 1985, and a multitude of other prestigious award nominations. His discography includes twenty-two studio albums, seven compilation albums, seven No. 1 hits and thirty-eight singles including songs like “It Turns Me Inside Out,” “Ring On Her Finger Time on Her Hands,” “She’s Lyin’,” “I Don’t Mind the Thorns if You’re the Rose,” “Dixie Road,” “Somebody’s Gonna Love You,” “Going Going Gone,” “You Got A Good Love Comin’,” among others. His stand-out hit “God Bless the U.S.A.” has been in the top five on the country singles charts three times (1991, 2001 and 2003), giving it the distinction of being the only song in any genre of music to achieve that feat. It reached the Top 20 of the Billboard Hot 100 chart shortly after 9/11. Known for his stand-out patriotism and support of the U.S. Military, Greenwood has been honored with the Congressional Medal of Honor Society’s National Patriot’s Award, and entertained troops on more than 30 USO Tours. Greenwood was appointed to the council of the National Endowment for the Arts in 2008 by President George W. Bush, confirmed by the United States Senate, and continues to serve on the NEA at the pleasure of the President. His latest book release is a children’s book called Proud To Be An American, which is currently available in stores, on Amazon and leegreenwood.com.
About Mister Rogers Neighborhood: Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, a half-hour educational children's program starring Rogers, began airing nationally in 1968 and ran for 895 episodes. The program was filmed at WQED in Pittsburgh and was picked up and aired nationally by National Educational Television (NET), which later became the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS). Its first season had 180 black-and-white episodes. Each subsequent season, filmed in color and funded by PBS, the Sears-Roebuck Foundation, and other charities, consisted of 65 episodes.
Many of the sets and props in Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, like the trolley, the sneakers, and the castle, were created for Rogers' show in Toronto by CBC designers and producers. The program also "incorporated most of the highly imaginative elements that later became famous" on the program, such as its slow pace and its host's quiet manner. The format of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood "remained virtually unchanged" for the entire run of the program. Every episode begins with a camera's-eye view of a model of a neighborhood, then sweeping in closer to a representation of a house as an instrumental piano version of the theme song, "Won't You be My Neighbor?", by music director Johnny Costa and inspired by a Beethoven sonata, is played. The camera zooms to a model representing Mr. Rogers' house, then cuts to the house's interior, panning across the room to the front door, which Rogers opens as he sings the theme song to welcome his visitors while changing his suit jacket to a zippered cardigan (knitted by his mother), and his dress shoes to sneakers, "complete with a shoe tossed from one hand to another".
The episode's theme is introduced, and Mr. Rogers leaves his home to visit another location, the camera panning back to the neighborhood model and zooming to the new location as he enters it. When the visit to the new location ends, Mr. Rogers leaves and returns to his home, indicating that it is time to visit the Neighborhood of Make-Believe. Mr. Rogers heads over to the window seat by the trolley track and sets up the action there as the Trolley comes out. The camera follows it down a tunnel in the back wall of the house as it enters the Neighborhood of Make-Believe. The stories and lessons told there take place over a series of a week's worth of episodes and involve puppet and human characters. The end of the visit occurs when the Trolley returns to the same tunnel from which it emerged, reappearing in Mr. Rogers' home. He then talks to the viewers before wrapping up the episode. He often feeds his fish, cleans up any props he has used, and returns to the front room, where he sings the closing song while changing back into his dress shoes and jacket. He exits the front door as he ends the song, and the camera zooms out of his home and pans across the neighborhood model as the episode ends.
Mister Rogers' Neighborhood emphasized young children's social and emotional needs, and unlike another PBS show, Sesame Street, which premiered in 1969, did not focus on cognitive learning. Writer Kathy Merlock Jackson said, "While both shows target the same preschool audience and prepare children for kindergarten, Sesame Street concentrates on school-readiness skills while Mister Rogers Neighborhood focuses on the child's developing psyche and feelings and sense of moral and ethical reasoning". The Neighborhood also spent fewer resources on research than Sesame Street, but Rogers used early childhood education concepts taught by his mentor Margaret McFarland, Benjamin Spock, Erik Erikson, and T. Berry Brazelton in his lessons. As the Washington Post noted, Rogers taught young children about civility, tolerance, sharing, and self-worth "in a reassuring tone and leisurely cadence". He tackled difficult topics such as the death of a family pet, sibling rivalry, the addition of a newborn into a family, moving and enrolling in a new school, and divorce. For example, he wrote a special segment that dealt with the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy that aired on June 7, 1968, days after it occurred.
According to King, the process of putting each episode of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood together was "painstaking" and Rogers' contribution to the program was "astounding". Rogers wrote and edited all the episodes, played the piano and sang for most of the songs, wrote 200 songs and 13 operas, created all the characters (both puppet and human), played most of the major puppet roles, hosted every episode, and produced and approved every detail of the program. The puppets created for the Neighborhood of Make-Believe "included an extraordinary variety of personalities". They were simple puppets but "complex, complicated, and utterly honest beings". In 1971, Rogers formed Family Communications, Inc. (FCI, now The Fred Rogers Company), to produce The Neighborhood, other programs, and non-broadcast materials.
In 1975, Rogers stopped producing Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood to focus on adult programming. Reruns of the Neighborhood continued to air on PBS. King reports that the decision caught many of his coworkers and supporters "off guard". Rogers continued to confer with McFarland about child development and early childhood education, however. In 1979, after an almost five-year hiatus, Rogers returned to producing The Neighborhood; King calls the new version "stronger and more sophisticated than ever". King writes that by the program's second run in the 1980s, it was "such a cultural touchstone that it had inspired numerous parodies", most notably Eddie Murphy's parody on Saturday Night Live in the early 1980s.
Rogers retired from producing the Neighborhood in 2001, at the age of 73, although reruns continued to air. He and FCI had been making about two or three weeks of new programs per year for many years, "filling the rest of his time slots from a library of about 300 shows made since 1979". The final original episode of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood aired on August 31, 2001.