Tuesday, July 15, 2014

The Top 200 Songs of the 60's*: #60-51

Inside The Rock Era is presenting a summer spectacular for your musical enjoyment--The Top 200 Songs of the 60's*!  We began on July 1, featuring ten songs per day.  This gives you plenty of time to catch up from previous segments you may have missed.  Here comes ten more great ones!


"The Twist"
Chubby Checker
1960, 1962


Hank Ballard wrote this and recorded it with his group the Midnighters in 1959.  His inspiration was watching the group move onstage like they were "trying to put a cigarette out".  The group's dance was a little different than what evolved, lifting a leg to twist. 

Ballard's version was popular in Philadelphia and Baltimore, where a disc jockey hosted The Buddy Deane Show on television.  Viewer reaction was excellent, and Deane recommended Ballard's song to Dick Clark, who hosted his own show in Philadelphia, American Bandstand.  Clark liked the song as well, but was wary of Ballard and his reputation for raunchy songs.  (In those days, people cared about doing the right thing.)   

So Clark looked for his own artist to record the song.  After auditions, Clark found Earnest Evans, a chicken plucker who liked to sing on the job.  He was great at impersonations, keeping his co-workers in stitches with his imitations of Elvis Presley, Fats Domino and the Coasters.   
Payola laws prohibited Clark from dealing directly with record companies, but he knew people at Cameo-Parkway Records, who recorded Evans' version.  Buddy Savitt played saxophone, Ellis Tollin was on the drums and the Dreamlovers provided backing vocals.  Clark's wife suggested Evans choose a take-off on Fats Domino as his stage name:  Chubby Checker.  
The song was released, and after a performance on American Bandstand, Checker's version took off.  "The Twist" was a worldwide smash, and Checker recorded versions in French, German, and Italian.  It took over at #1 from Elvis Presley's "It's Now Or Never".  But in 1962, after Checker performed the song again on American Bandstand to promote his new song "Let's Twist Again", "The Twist" became popular again, and amazingly hit #1 for two weeks nearly two years after its initial release.  It is one of only two songs (Bing Crosby's "White Christmas" is the other) to reach #1 twice.  
"The Twist" faced its toughest competition the second go-round, out at the same time as  "Big Bad John", "The Lion Sleeps Tonight", "Duke Of Earl", "Hey!  Baby", and "Runaround Sue". 


"Mr. Tambourine Man"

At #59, a song credited with launching the folk-rock movement of the mid-60's.  Because of its influence, some publications and web sites will elevate its ranking, artificially placing it higher than it should be.  An influential song in and of itself doesn't make it good; if it's bad, the fact that other bad artists copy it doesn't change it into being a good song.  Yet some who publish song rankings seem to think that influence should factor in.  We know that you are an individual with your own unique likes and dislikes, and that your opinion is just as important (if not more so) than a critic.  Therefore, we base this and all song rankings on the opinions of you and others like you (the public), based on your purchasing decisions (record sales) and listening habits (radio airplay).

That said, obviously "Mr. Tambourine Man" is a great song; it was a #1 song at the time and continues to sell and be played on the radio.  In 1964, Jim Dickson, the manager of a trio called the Jet Set (Jim McGuinn (now Roger, after a religious conversion), Gene Clark and David Crosby), acquired "Mr. Tambourine Man" from Bob Dylan's publisher (Dylan wrote the song.)  While group members were unimpressed with it at first, they agreed to work on it.  They wanted the song to sound more like the Beatles, and added the electric sound that only rock & roll can provide.
In so doing, the Byrds essentially launched the folk-rock movement.  Dickson's effort to persuade the group to record it included an invitation to Dylan to hear the cover version.  When Dylan was enthusiastic, the group was convinced.  About this time, the group added drummer Michael Clarke and bassist Chris Hillman and changed their name to the Byrds.  
The term "folk rock" was coined by the music press in the United States to describe the band's sound about the same time as Mr. Tambourine went to #1.    Billboard said, "The group has successful combined folk material with pop-dance beat arrangements", Time declared, "To make folk music the music of today's folk, this quintet has blended Beatle beats with Leadbelly laments, created a halfway school of folk-rock...", and NME commented "They look like a rock group but are really a fine folk unit...As the first group to bridge the gap between beat and folk, they deserve to be winners."
Many acts of the mid-60's tried to combine the Byrds' mix of rock, jangly guitar playing, and socially important lyrics.  The birth of the Byrds had roots in the folk revival of the early part of the decade (Peter, Paul & Mary, the Kingston Trio, and others), the Animals' classic rock remake of the folk song "The House Of The Rising Sun", the folk-influenced music of the Beatles, and the twelve-string guitar sounds of the Searchers.  But it was the Byrds who combined these disparate elements into a unified whole, creating the model for Folk Rock that others would follow.
Dylan's song was inspired by a folk guitarist by the name of Bruce Langhorne.  As Dylan said, "Bruce was playing with me on a bunch of early records.  On one session, [producer] Tom Wilson had asked him to play tambourine.  And he had this gigantic tambourine.  It was, like, really big.  It was as big as a wagon wheel.  He was playing and this vision of him playing just stuck in my mind." 
In recording "Mr. Tambourine Man", the Byrds took most of the lyrics out (Dylan's version had four verses, while the Byrds used only one with the chorus) and added the 12-string guitar lead of McGuinn.  As the group was just beginning, they brought in members of The Wrecking Crew to play the other instruments:  Hal Blaine on drums, Leon Russell on electric piano, Larry Knechtel on keyboards, and Jerry Cole on rhythm guitar.
McGuinn, in an interview with Let It Rock, described what the group was striving for:  "To get that sound, that hit sound, that 'Mr. Tambourine Man' sound, we just ran it through the electronics which were available to us at that time, which were mainly compression devices and tape delay, tape-sustain. That's how we got it, by equalizing it properly and aiming at a specific frequency.
The Byrds recorded the song at Columbia Studios in Hollywood, California, with Terry Melcher producing.  McGuinn sang lead vocals, with backing vocals by McGuinn, Gene Clark, and Crosby. 
"Mr. Tambourine Man" spent one week at #1 in a great time for music that included "Stop!  In The Name Of Love", "Satisfaction", "I Can't Help Myself", 'Help Me Rhonda", "Wooly Bully", and "Ticket To Ride".
Besides influencing numerous artists, such as the Lovin' Spoonful, the Mamas & the Papas, Simon & Garfunkel, the Grass Roots, the Eagles, and the Beatles themselves, "Mr. Tambourine Man" convinced Dylan to "go electric".  The song was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1998, and the following year, National Public Radio cited "Mr. Tambourine Man" as one of the 300 most important American records of the 20th century. 


"Stop!  In The Name Of Love"

As was the case with most of their songs, the famous Motown songwriting trio Holland-Dozier-Holland wrote this for the group.  Diana Ross sang lead, with Florence Ballard and Mary Wilson singing backup, and instrumentation by the Funk Brothers.  The Supremes recorded it at the Hitsville U.S.A. Studios in Detroit, Michigan. 

"Stop!  In The Name Of Love" was the fourth of five consecutive #1 songs for the Supremes.  In addition to besting the song we just heard ("Mr. Tambourine Man"), it fought off competition such as "You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling", "Downtown", "Eight Days A Week", and "My Girl".  It sold over one million copies, and was nominated for Best Contemporary Performance--Group.  Thomas Ryan, in his book American Hit Radio says:


 "Stop!  In The Name Of Love" further cemented the impression that the Supremes were 'supremely talented'.  Unlike previous songs, songwriters Eddie Holland, Lamont Dozier, and Brian Holland had penned a full song as opposed to a series of verses.  This gave the Supremes something to sink their teeth into, and they did so with relish.  For the first time, Ross projected herself willfully, and her confidence shows all over this record.   



"Stop!  In The Name Of Love" was included in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's collection of the 500 Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll


"Paperback Writer"

The Liverpool group places 28 songs in The Top 200* for the decade, and if anything, their music is more popular now than it was then, as a new generation has discovered the group. 
But success isn't just about quantity, but quality.  Nineteen of those 28 are in The Top 100*, including song #57*.  McCartney wrote this song after helping friends set up the Indica Bookshop in January of 1966.  The Indica gallery was in the basement of the building, where John Lennon would meet Yoko Ono. 
Lennon helped out with some parts of the song, but it was essentially Paul's.  The Beatles recorded "Paperback Writer" at EMI Studios in London, and George Martin produced it for Parlophone Records in the U.K. and Capitol in the U.S.
McCartney sang lead and played bass, while Lennon played rhythm guitar and sang backing vocals, George Harrison was on lead guitar and also sang backing vocals, and Ringo Starr played drums and tambourine.
"Paperback Writer" went to #1 for two weeks in the United States, and also hit the top in the U.K., Germany, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, and Norway.  The Beatles contended against "Summer In The City", "Wild Thing", "When A Man Loves A Woman", "Monday, Monday", and "Sunny".  The competition was weaker than some in this range, but "Paperback Writer" has helped sell 38 million albums.

The picture sleeve on the sleeve is an oddity; it shows Lennon and Harrison playing left-handed.  (The art department at Capitol mistakenly reversed their photos...)


"People Got To Be Free"

Here's one of 20 songs in our special from the year 1968.  Written by group members Felix Cavaliere and Eddie Brigati, "People Got To Be Free" is a musically upbeat and yet impassioned plea for tolerance and freedom:

All the world over, so easy to see!
People everywhere, just wanna be free.
Listen, please listen! that's the way it should be
Peace in the valley, people got to be free.

Cavaliere explains his inspiration for the song:

- Basically, I was working for the Robert Kennedy campaign. The sequence of events that took place, obviously the first was Martin Luther King's death.  Second was Robert Kennedy's assassination.  So there was a woman that got me involved with the whole Kennedy people.  She was there when he was assassinated.  As a matter of fact, I was in Jamaica on a vacation.  She called me up and told me this and was hysterical.  I don't think she's ever recovered from it. Everybody was so wrapped up in the moment and all of a sudden - Bang!  Interesting that that event may have some bearing on what's happening in our world today.  That (song) was a real conscious effort to get a point across that was burning inside of me.  And again, I collaborated with Eddie on that.  But on that one, the majority of the lyric is mine.  You kind of mix and match.  The statement was just burning inside and had to come out.  A very important song.

No decade so expressed what it was like to be human more than the 60's--the deep effect that the decade's lyrics had on people both then and now cannot be understated.  And for songs ranked this high, the song better have some significant meaning to millions of people.  One listener states that "This song impacted me powerfully when it was released and it still does today!  It states God's desire for our lives and how God calls us to help lift others. It describes our essential purpose on earth.
Cavaliere sang lead on this classic, produced by Arif Mardin for release on Atlantic Records.  Brigati also lends backing vocals, while Cavaliere played keyboard, Gene Cornish was on guitar, and Dino Danelli played drums.
"People Got To Be Free" reigned supreme for five weeks in the summer and early spring of '68, facing other great songs such as "Hey Jude", "This Guy's In Love With You", "Born To Be Wild", "Classical Gas", "Hello, I Love You", "Jumpin' Jack Flash", and "The Horse".  The Rascals' song went Gold immediately, and has now sold over four million copies. 
As Dave Marsh says, in his book Heart of Rock and Soul:  The 1001 Greatest Singles of All Time, "Ask me my opinion, my opinion will be:  Dated, but NEVER out of date."


"We Can Work It Out"
Song #55* is unique in that it was part of a "double A-sided" single with "Day Tripper", the first time that both sides of a single were so designated in an initial release.  This was because Lennon argued "vociferously", according to Barry Miles in his 1997 book Paul McCartney:  Many Years From Now, for "Day Tripper" to be the "A" side, which differed with the majority view that "We Can Work It Out" was a more commercial song.  The promotion as a "double A-sided" single was a compromise.
Paul McCartney wrote the words and music to the verses and the chorus, with lyrics that many think reflected his relationship with Jane Asher at the time.  According to McCartney in the Miles book, "I took it to John to finish it off, and we wrote the middle together.  Which is nice: 'Life is very short.  There's no time for fussing and fighting, my friend.' Then it was George Harrison's idea to put the middle into waltz time, like a German waltz.  That came on the session, it was one of the cases of the arrangement being done on the session."
With its intimations of mortality, Lennon's contribution is a stark contrast to McCartney's opening, in which Lennon saw as the unbridled optimism of Paul.  Lennon explains (in David Shelf's book All We Are Saying:  The Last Major Interview with John Lennon and Yoko Ono), "But you've got Paul writing, 'We can work it out / We can work it out'—real optimistic, y'know, and me, impatient: 'Life is very short, and there's no time / For fussing and fighting, my friend.'"
Thus, "We Can Work It Out" is one of the best illustrations of the different perspectives that John and Paul brought to their collaboration.  But some critics overemphasized McCartney's optimism, forgetting to mention the toughness in passages such as "Do I have to keep on talking until I can't go on?"  The middle portion from Lennon shifts our focus from a concrete reality to a more philosophical perspective, illustrating this with the waltz-time section suggested by Harrison, possibly meant to suggest a tiresome struggle. 
As for Lennon's part, critic Ian MacDonald wrote:  "Lennon's] passages are so suited to his Salvation Army harmonium that it's hard to imagine them not being composed on it.  The swell-pedal crescendos he adds to the verses are, on the other hand, textural washes added in the studio, the first of their kind on a Beatles record and signposts to the enriched sound-palette of (the album) Revolver.
The Beatles spent nearly 11 hours recording the song (at London's EMI Studios in October of 1965), by far the longest studio time up to that point.  McCartney sang the double-tracked vocal and played bass, Lennon sang harmony and played the acoustic rhythm guitar and harmonium, George Harrison played tambourine, and Ringo Starr was on drums.  George Martin produced it for release on Parlophone in the U.K. and Capitol in the U.S.
"We Can Work It Out" competed with "The Sounds Of Silence", of course the Beatles' own "Day Tripper", "Turn!  Turn!  Turn!" by the Byrds, and "Barbara Ann".  "We Can Work It Out" sold over one million copies in the U.S. alone and over one million in the U.K.  It was the fastest-selling Beatles single since "Can't Buy Me Love".


"All You Need Is Love"

Speaking of timeless songs...

The Beatles played this for the first time on "Our World", the first worldwide television special.  The show was broadcast in 24 countries on June 25, 1967, and featured music from six continents, with the Beatles representing Great Britain. 
The Beatles were asked to come up with a song with a message understood by people of all nations.   "It was an inspired song and they really wanted to give the world a message," said manager Brian Epstein.  According to journalist Jade Wright, John Lennon was fascinated by the power of slogans to unite people and never afraid to create art out of propaganda.  "The nice thing about it is that it cannot be misinterpreted.  It is a clear message saying that love is everything."
Lennon wrote this as a continuation of an idea he was trying to express in his 1965 song "The Word".  He felt that a good song must have a rise of excitement, climax and redeeming, and the orchestral ending.
The song begins with a clip from "La Marseillaise", the French national anthem, which was written and composed by Claude Joseph Rouget de Lisle.  The song was written in 1792, dedicated to Marshal Nicholas Luckner, a Bavarian-born French officer.  It became the rallying cry of the French Revolution, and got its name because it was first sung on the streets by troops from Marseilles upon their arrival in Paris. 
"All You Need Is Love" is famous for its asymmetric time signature and complex changes.  The main verse pattern contains 29 beats, split into two 7/4 measures, a single bar of 8/4, followed by a one bar return of 7/4 before repeating the pattern.  The chorus, which consists of just one note, features a standard 4/4 signature with the exception of the last bar ("love is all you need"), which is in 6/4 time.  The cello line throughout draws attention to this unique departure from conventionality.  Seven/four time is very difficult to pull off, and is extremely rare in a love song--more evidence of the Beatles' incredible talent and accomplishment.
Not to get too technical, but it bears discussing it here to point out the musical genius displayed.    While the song is in the key of G and the verse opens with a G chord and D melody note, the chords shift in a I-V/VII-VI progression, with the bass simultaneously following the tonic (G) to the relative minor (Em), but it does so via an F#.  "(Paul) McCartney's bass line implies many additional chords over those played by the other instruments," says Dominic Pedler in his book, The Songwriting Secrets of the Beatles.  The Beatles were famous for including the same melody note with chords that were out of the ordinary, not what the listener expects to hear. 
In the orchestral ending, you can hear "Greensleeves" and Glen Miller's "In The Mood".  McCartney sings the chorus of the Beatles' earlier hit "She Loves You" at the end.
Lennon sang lead and backing vocals and played the banjo and harpsichord, McCartney played bass and double bass and sang backing vocals, George Harrison played lead guitar and violin and sang backing vocals, and Ringo Starr was on drums and percussion.  Keith Moon played brush drums, while George Martin played piano and was responsible for the orchestration.
David Mason played piccolo trumpet, Patrick Hailing, Jack Holmes, and Sidney Sax played violin, Harry Spain and Evan Watkins played trombone, Stanley Wood played trumpet and flugelhorn, Don Honeywill played the tenor saxophone, and Mike Vickers was the conductor of the orchestra.  Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Keith Moon, Graham Nash, Eric Clapton, Gary Leeds of the Walker Brothers, Marianne Faithfull, Mike McGear (McCartney's brother), Jane Asher, and Hunter Davies sang background vocals.  Martin produced the song for Parlophone Records in the U.K. and Capitol in the U.S.
"All You Need Is Love" was released in the middle of the famous Summer of Love, and sold over one million copies.  It topped the charts in that magical time against competition from "Groovin'", "Respect", "Ode To Billie Joe", "Light My Fire", "The Letter", "Windy" and "Never My Love" by the Association, "Can't Take My Eyes Off You", and"Reflections" by the Supremes.
In 1981, George Harrison alluded to this song in his tribute to the late Lennon, "All Those Years Ago", in which he says "But you point the way to the truth when you say 'All you need is love.'"
In 2005, Lennon's hand-written lyrics to the song were sold for one million pounds.  Lennon had left them in the BBC studios after the Beatles' last live television appearance, and an employee salvaged them.


"Crimson And Clover"
Tommy James & the Shondells

And on to another musical genius.  Tommy James was inspired to write "Crimson And Clover" from his favorite color and his favorite flower.  In an interview with Songfacts, James said:
"They were just two of my favorite words that came together. Actually, it was one morning as I was getting up out of bed, and it just came to me, those two words.  And it sounded so poetic.  I had no idea what it meant, or if it meant anything.  They were just two of my favorite words.  And Mike Vale and I – bass player – actually wrote another song called 'Crimson and Clover.'  And it just wasn't quite there.  And I ended up writing 'Crimson and Clover' with my drummer, Pete Lucia, who has since passed away.
 Kenny Laguna is a songwriter and producer who has worked with Joan Jett ever since she started as a solo artist.  He played keyboards and sang backup as a member of The Shondells.   Kenny told Songfacts how this song came together:
"Bo Gentry wrote all these songs for Tommy James, from 'I Think We're Alone Now' right on through 'Mony Mony.'  There were other co-writers, but Bo was the genius, the driving force.  Bo wasn't getting paid from Roulette Records, so he went on strike and refused to make any more Tommy James records.  In those days, the legend, Morris Levy, said he was not going to be pushed around and said, 'Fine, you want to quit, quit.  It will be the end of your career.'  We went to Tommy and said, 'Look Tommy, if you don't get someone to write the songs for you, you're going to be dead meat.  You can't go trying to do it yourself, you don't know how to write hit songs.'  So he went off with the drummer and created this song.  I'll never forget it, it was in Allegra studios on 1650 Broadway.  There was the Brill building, and in the basement was this great studio.  Tommy says, 'come here,' so I went in the room, listened to what he'd been doing and said, 'Oh, my God.'  Everybody kind of deserted Tommy, and he went off and just did this incredible song.  He wrote it, produced it, and played all the instruments with the drummer."
James used "Crimson And Clover" to make the move from hit singles to album music.   Presidential candidate Hubert Humphrey had named James as his "Youth Affairs" commissioner and the group had joined Humphrey's campaign.  When they left in August, the big acts were the Association, Tommy James & the Shondells, Gary Puckett & the Union Gap, and the Rascals.  But 90 days later, the focus in Popular music had sifted to albums--Led Zeppelin, Crosby, Stills and Nash, and Blood, Sweat and Tears.
James explained this radical change to Songfacts:
And there was this mass extinction of all of these other acts.  It was just incredible.   Most people don't realize that that was sort of the dividing line where so many of these acts never had hit records again.   And we realized while we were out on the campaign that if our career was gonna continue, we had to make a move.  Also that year, the industry went from 4-track to 24-track in about the same period of time.  So if we were gonna sell albums, we had to completely reinvent ourselves.  And so it was a very dramatic moment.  And the record we just happened to be working on at that moment, at the end of the campaign, was 'Crimson and Clover.'"
James was given complete musical freedom for the first time from Roulette Records.  The group recorded the song in about 5 1/2 hours, with James playing most of the instruments.  Mike Vale played bass, and Lucia Jr. played drums.  "Crimson And Clover" includes  a guitar effect known as a tremolo, set so that it vibrated in time with the song's rhythm. 
The group then came up with the idea of using the tremolo effect with vocals.  To do this, the voice microphone was plugged into a guitar amplifier with the tremolo turned on, and the output from the amp was recorded while James sang "Crimson and Clover, over and over".   James produced the song as well (or at least began to produce it); the group even designed the album cover.  But that is when reality diverted from plan.
James did a rough mix, with no echoes, no special effects, nothing.  He put the tape in his briefcase and the group traveled to Chicago, Illinois the following day.  While in Chicago, James went to John Rook, program director of WLS, one of the top radio stations in the nation at the time.  Rook loved it, and asked him to play it again for Larry Lujack, popular disc jockey who happens to have been the uncle of a friend and co-worker of mine. 
What James didn't know is that Rook and Lujack were taping the song the second time through, and as James is driving off from the station, he heard the rough mix on the radio.  That rough mix ended up being the record, because the record broke then and there (WLS played it every half hour), and exploded out of Chicago in a hurry (radio talk for "the song's popularity spread like wildfire.")
"Crimson And Clover" went to #1 in the U.S., Canada, Germany, New Zealand, and Switzerland.  The song competed against "Hey Jude", "Those Were The Days", "Love Child", Marvin Gaye's "I Heard It Through The Grapevine", "Everyday People", "Proud Mary", and "Dizzy".  "Crimson And Clover" sold 2.5 million copies by summer, and it is now over the 5.5 million mark.


"Unchained Melody"
Righteous Brothers
This song first appeared in the obscure movie Unchained in 1955, starring former football star Elroy "Crazy Legs" Hirsch.  Hy Zaret wrote the lyrics, while Alex North wrote the music, and Todd Duncan sang the movie version.
Several artists rushed to cover it, including Les Baxter and Al Hibbler.  This remake still has music historians and statisticians scrambling to assess its true popularity.  Because the Righteous Brothers' version only reached #4, websites and publications that don't bother to do any research discount the song, because they place far too much importance on "chart ranking".  What they fail to take into account is the song's competition and the amount of airplay the song has received since its release.
But common sense should have told them about the song.  First off, it was released as the "B" side to a Phil Spector single called "Hung On You".  That 45 was mailed to radio stations by Phillies Records (Spector's label) with the hope they would play it.  Instead, diligent DJ's started flipping the single over and discovering this diamond in the rough.  So, much to Spector's annoyance, it was "Unchained Melody" that started getting airplay and not "Hung On You".
If you're aware of chart methodology (which takes into account single sales and radio airplay), you'll intuitively understand why "Unchained Melody" was severely underrated, even at #4.  As the "B" side, it didn't get credit for sales of the single unless or until its radio airplay exceeded that of the "A" side. 
Now you'll notice I used the term "diligent" to describe the DJ's who flipped the song over.  Not all DJ's back then were "diligent", and there are almost none today.  They either played the "A" side because that was what the record company wanted them to do, or they ignored the song completely.  In either case, both radio and airplay statistics for "Unchained Melody" were deflated because it was originally a "secondary single", or the "B" side. 
When the song experienced a resurgence after being featured in the 1990 movie Ghost, it again was devalued, but this time for a different reason.  Hoping to capitalize on newfound popularity, the record company re-released the song, of course this time marketing it as the "A" side.  Record company management is often naive, but they usually don't make the same mistake twice!
But the Righteous Brothers, who by this time weren't making a penny in royalties on the song, re-recorded it on Post Records and released that single as well in cassette form.  By 1990, sales of vinyl were almost non-existent.  Radio stations began playing the original version of "Unchained Melody" again, and it ranked high in airplay statistics.  But because it was only available as a 45, it did not sell well.  The reverse was true for the re-recorded version; as a cassette, it sold well, but did not receive a lot of airplay because naturally listeners preferred the original.
Yet, if one added together the airplay of the original and the sales of the new version, it would been a #1 song in 1990.  One has to know about stories such as this to know that to properly rank songs, you have to look at the total airplay since its release, and the total sales (both single and album) since its release.  All of this and more is built into Inside The Rock Era's copyrighted mathematical formula that ranks The Top 200 Songs of the 60's* as well as our other music specials.
You didn't know you were viewing and listening to something so complex, did you? 
As for "Unchained Melody" itself, Bobby Hatfield, the tenor of the Righteous Brothers, sang this song by himself, while Bill Medley produced it, even though Phil Spector took credit for it.  As Medley said to the newsletter Forgotten Hits 

You have to remember that I was producing our stuff before Phil Spector... I mean I produced 'Little Latin Lupe Lu,' 'My Babe' and all that stuff.  Then when we went with Phil, Phil asked me if I would produce the albums because it was too time consuming for him to produce the entire albums.  So he was going to do the singles and I would do the album.  And so that's how that happened and that's how I produced 'Unchained Melody,' which Phil Spector apparently now takes credit for.  He can have the credit.  And I'm not a producer.  I know how to produce.  But it's obviously not a Spector production.  "Unchained Melody" was never intended to be the single... it was produced to be on the album.  It was put on the B side of a Phil Spector single "Hung On You" and the minute it was released 'Unchained Melody' just went through the roof.

Then you consider competition, such as "Satisfaction", "Mr. Tambourine Man", "I Got You Babe", "I Can't Help Myself", "Like A Rolling Stone", "Wooly Bully", California Girls", "Help!" and others, and you realize that #4 was a solid rank for the Righteous Brothers, even with deflated numbers.



"Daydream Believer"

One of the Monkees' biggest career hits was written by John Stewart.  Formerly with the Kingston Trio, Stewart became the "official musician" of the Democratic Party and traveled the U.S. with Robert Kennedy during his 1968 presidential campaign, and enjoyed solo success in 1979 with "Gold". 
Chip Douglas, producer of the Monkees, was a friend of Stewart's, and asked Stewart if he had any songs for the group.  "Daydream Believer" had been turned down by We Five and Spanky and Our Gang, but Douglas was interested.  RCA Records had a problem with the word "funky" in Stewart's original lyrics (which went "You once thought of me as a white knight on a steed, Now you know how funky I can be").  Stewart at first refused to give permission to change the wording, but he changed his mind.
The group recorded "Daydream Believer" at the Victor Recording Studios in Hollywood, California.  Michael Nesmith played lead guitar, Peter Tork was on piano, Davy Jones sang lead, and Micky Dolenz contributed backing vocals.  he song was released on Colgems Records.
"Daydream Believer" occupied the #1 position for four weeks against songs such as "To Sir With Love", "Love Is Blue", "Hello Goodbye", "Never My Love", "Incense And Peppermints" and "Judy In Disguise".

Hear some classics in there, did ya?  A clear sign that we are getting into the heavyweights of the decade.  Join Inside The Rock Era tomorrow as we plunge into The Top 50 for the 60's*!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.