Wednesday, July 9, 2014

The Top 200 Songs of the 60's*: #120-111

Inside The Rock Era is saluting the great music of the 60's with this music spectacular in the Summer of 2014.  We continue with #120*.


"Day Tripper"

Here's half of one of many double-sided hits by the Beatles, but in the U.S., the flip side, "We Can Work it Out", was more popular. 
The Beatles were under pressure to record a new single for the Christmas market.  John Lennon wrote most of the lyrics and much of the music, while Paul McCartney worked on the verses.  The Beatles recorded the song at EMI Studios in London on October 16, 1965.  Lennon sang lead and harmony vocals and played lead guitar, McCartney sang lead on the verses and played bass, George Harrison contributed harmony vocals and lead guitar, and Ringo Starr played drums and tambourine.  George Martin produced "Day Tripper" for Parlophone Records in the U.K. and Capitol Records in the U.S.
"Day Tripper" topped out at #5, with competition from "Barbara Ann", "The Sounds Of Silence", "Turn!  Turn!  Turn!" by the Byrds, "I Hear A Symphony", and the aforementioned "We Can Work It Out".  "Day Tripper" went Gold, is responsible for 18 million in album sales, and has been played on the radio well over one million times.


"My Girl"

Here's one of 26 songs from 1965 to land in The Top 200*.  We're up the top Temptations song, "My Girl", written and produced by Smokey Robinson and Ronald White.  The Temps recorded it at the Hitsville USA Studios in Detroit in September and November of 1964, and released it on Gordy Records, a subsidiary of Motown. 
David Ruffin sang lead for the first time on a Temptations single; in fact, Robinson wrote the song with Ruffin in mind.  Robert White played the guitar riff.  Melvin Franklin, Eddie Kendricks, Otis Williams, and Paul Williams of the group sang backing vocals.  James Jamerson played bass, with drummer Benny Benjamin and the Detroit Symphony Orchestra conducted by Paul Riser.
"My Girl" took a turn at #1 for one week.  The main competition came from "I Feel Fine", "Downtown", "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'", "Stop!  In The Name Of Love", and "Eight Days A Week".


"Do Wah Diddy Diddy"
Manfred Mann

The year 1964 spawned 34 songs that make it in The Top 200 Songs of the 60's*, more than any other year.

The famous songwriting team of Jeff Barry and Ellie Greenwich came up with this gem, originally recorded by the Exciters.  Manfred Mann was far more successful with their cover, released on HMV in the U.K., Ascot Records in the U.S., and Capitol in Canada.  John Burgess produced the song.
"Do Wah Diddy Diddy" spent two weeks at #1 in both the U.S. and the U.K.  It had strong competition, including "Baby Love" and "Where Did Our Love Go" from the Supremes, "Oh, Pretty Woman", "A Hard Day's Night", and "The House Of The Rising Sun".



"Barbara Ann"
Beach Boys

Fred Fassert wrote this song; his brother was in the group the Regents, which did the song originally.  This Beach Boys song is unique in that Dean Torrence (of Jan & Dean fame) sings lead vocals--you'll hear a "Thanks Dean" from Carl Wilson at the end of the album version. 
Al Jardine (guitar), Bruce Johnston, Mike Love, and Brian (bass), Carl (guitar) and Dennis Wilson sing backing vocals, with Hal Blaine on drums. 
Brian Wilson produced the song for Capitol Records.  It landed at #2 for two weeks, with competition from "The Ballad Of The Green Berets", "We Can Work It Out", "Day Tripper", "(You're My) Soul And Inspiration", and "Homeward Bound".


"Sunshine Superman"

One of the Classic Summer Songs*, "Sunshine Superman" is generally considered to be one of the first examples of the genre that came to be known as psychedelia.
It was also the beginning of a three-year partnership between Donovan and producer Mickie Most.  Donovan wrote the song for his future wife, Linda Lawrence.  He recorded the song at London's Abbey Road Studios, for release on Epic Records in the U.S. and Canada, and Pye Records in the U.K.   
Donovan also plays acoustic guitar on the track, and future Led Zeppelin members Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones play lead guitar and bass, respectively.  Eric Ford also plays guitar, with keyboards from John Cameron, Spike Heatley on bass, Bobby Orr (not the hockey player) on drums, and Tony Carr playing percussion.
Amidst competition from songs such as "Paperback Writer, "Summer In The City", "Cherish", "Reach Out I'll Be There", and "Sunny", Donovan hit #1 with "Sunshine Superman".

"Leader Of The Pack"
Jeff Barry and Ellie Greenwich wrote this song along with George "Shadow" Morton, who also produced it.  The Shangri-Las recorded "Leader Of The Pack" at the Ultrasonic Sound Studio on the second floor of a hotel in Manhattan.
Mary Weiss of the Shangri-Las recorded the dynamic lead vocal, with backing vocals from sister Elizabeth "Betty" Weiss and identical twins Marguerite and Mary Ann Ganser.  Roger Rossi played piano on the track, saying he believed there were 63 takes before Morton was satisfied.  The sound of the motorcycle is the engineer's Harley Davidson. This was written by Ellie Greenwich, Jeff Barry and producer Shadow Morton.
"Leader Of The Pack" was released as a single on Red Bird Records.  "I Feel Fine", "Baby Love", "The House Of The Rising Sun", "Oh, Pretty Woman", and "Do Wah Diddy Diddy" were all out at the same time, but the Shangri-Las still hit #1. 

"Somebody To Love"
Jefferson Airplane

There are 26 songs from 1967 to make The Top 200 Songs of the 60's*, but 13 of those lie ahead in The Top 100*.  A strong case can me made that it was the best year of the entire Rock Era.

Grace Slick delivered one of the dynamite performances on lead vocal on "Somebody To Love".  Her brother-in-law, Darby Slick, wrote the song and Grace began performing the song when she was in the group The Great Society.  When Slick joined Jefferson Airplane, she brought the song with her.
Paul Kantner was on rhythm guitar, with Jorma Kaukonen playing lead, Spencer Dryden on drums, Jack Casady on bass, and Marty Balin playing tambourine.  Rick Jarrard produced the most exemplary song of the counterculture in the Haight-Ashbury district of San Francisco for RCA Victor Records. 

"Somebody To Love" peaked at #5 at the time, facing competition from "Respect", "Happy Together", "Penny Lane", "Windy" and "Can't Take My Eyes Off You".  "Somebody To Love" has proven it can stand with the heavyweights of the decade, having been played over two million times since its release.


"I Will Follow Him"
Little Peggy March

Using the pseudonym of J.W. Stole, Franck Pourcel and Paul Mauriat (who used the pseudonym Del Roma) wrote this French song (called "Chariot"), which was first recorded by Paola Neri.  The English lyrics were translated by Normal Gimbel, and Arthur Altman arranged it.  The team of Hugo Peretti and Luigi Creatore produced the song for RCA Victor Records.
Just a year before, Petula Clark had recorded the song with French (#1), Italian (#4 as "Sul Mio Carro"), and German (#6 as "Cheerio") versions, but her English version was not successful.
Peggy March recorded it, and in 1963, the 15-year-old became the youngest female artist to score a #1 hit, a record that still stands.  "I Will Follow Him" stood tall for three weeks at the top, competing against songs such as "He's So Fine", "It's My Party", "Rhythm Of The Rain", and "Hey Paula".
However, all was not well.  March was a minor, and the Coogan Law kept her parents from managing her money.  Thus, the responsibility was given to her manager, Russell Smith, who proceeded to squander the fortune away, leaving March with $500.  So if you believe March should be rewarded for her effort, go buy the record!

Bobby Hebb

Bobby Hebb wrote this song in tribute to John F. Kennedy, but also in tribute to Hebb's brother, who was killed by a mugger on the same day, November 22, 1963.  Hebb was devastated by both, and wanted to present a "sunny attitude rather than a lousy one."

Hebb recorded it a Bell Sound Studios in New York City.  Burt Collins played trumpet, Micky Gravine was on trombone, Joe Shepley and Joe Grimaldi and Artie Kaplan played sax, Artie Butler played piano, Al Gorgoni and Joe Renzetti played guitar, Joe Macho was on bass, Al Rogers played drums and George Devens played percussion.     Jerry Ross produced the song for Philips Records.

"Sunny" stopped at #2 for two weeks, and it had strong competition:  "Paperback Writer", "When A Man Loves A Woman", "Cherish" by the Association, "Monday, Monday", "You Can't Hurry Love", "Summer In The City", and "Reach Out I'll Be There".

In addition to being one of the most covered songs, with hundreds of versions released, "Sunny" is also one of the most-played songs of the Rock Era; in fact, BMI rated the song #25 in its Top 100 Most-Played Songs of the Century.


"Fortunate Son"

Creedence Clearwater Revival
If you blinked during this group's run, you may have missed them.  They spent less than five years recording (less than even the Beatles), but in that time, they were one of the top acts in the world. 
"Fortunate Son" is an anti-war anthem which criticizes militant patriotic behavior and those who support military force without having to "pay the costs" themselves (it is rare for United States Senators and Congressmen to see their children serve in combat zones.)
John Fogerty was inspired by the wedding of David Eisenhower, the grandson of U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower, to Julie Nixon, the daughter of President Richard Nixon.  As Fogerty said, "Julie Nixon was hanging around with David Eisenhower, and you just had the feeling that none of these people were going to be involved with the war."
As usual, Fogerty played lead guitar, while his brother Tom played rhythm, Doug Clifford was responsible for that great beat, and Stu Cook played bass.  "Fortunate Son" was released on Fantasy Records.

It was part of one of CCR's many double-sided smashes.  Officially, "Fortunate Son" peaked at #14 before Billboard changed its methodology for double-sided hits.  "Fortunate Son" sold over one million copies.  Unfortunately, Fogerty doesn't own the publishing rights to the song, or any he wrote while with Creedence.  The band signed them over to Fantasy when they were struggling just prior to hitting it big.  
In 2014, the Library Congress added the song to the National Recording Registry for being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant."

Great music, huh?  Be sure to alert your friends to this music special, and come back yourself tomorrow to Inside The Rock Era, as we present numbers 110-101.

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