June 22, 2018

750 The Supremes “Where Did Our Love Go” 1964

“It was a dream fulfilled. Three girls rising out of the Detroit ghetto, to notch 12 number one hits, and to be heralded by Dick Clark as ‘the group that put Motown on the map.’ There were indeed Dreamgirls—Diana Ross, Florence Ballard, Mary Wilson—and they reigned Supreme. ‘Where Did Our Love Go?’ was their first spectacular success. It bumped the Beatles out of the number one slot in 1964, and immediately catapulted the girls into the bright lights…There big, all right. Only the Beatles and Elvis eclipsed them” (Ebony, Oct. 1986). Listed on the National Recording Registry of the Library of Congress.

The Supremes “Where Did Our Love Go”

749 Sunny (1943- ) and the Sunglows (aka Sunliners) “Talk to Me” 1962

“Idelfonso ‘Sunny’ Ozuna was born September 8, 1943, in San Antonio, Texas. Ozuna, along with Little Joe, Ruben Ramos, and Augustin Ramirez, is one of the key musicians of the ‘La Onda’ generation…Ozuna was instrumental in the formation of San Antonio’s now-legendary ‘Westside Sound’—a hodge-podge of conjunto, polka, soul, R&B, blues, and rock, as interpreted by (mostly, but not conclusively) young urbanite Mexican-American musicians…Nightclubs, concert halls, and beer joints across the city soon set the stage for what is largely considered the ‘golden age’ of San Antonio music during the 1950s and 1960s” (Kenneth L. Untiedt, Jerry Young, Cowboys, Cops, Killers, and Ghosts: Legends and Lore in Texas, 2013). 

Sunny and the Sunglows “Talk to Me”

748 Terry Stafford (1941-1996) “Suspicion” 1964

Born in Hollis, Oklahoma, “This tall, local sports champion was also a fan of Elvis Presley and Buddy Holly, artists into whose repertoires he would dip when singing with his school group. With his parents’ blessings, he began a show business career in Hollywood where, after two years as a nightclub entertainer, he was spotted by John Fisher and Les Worden who had just founded Crusader Records” (The Encyclopedia of Popular Music, 2006). 

Terry Stafford “Suspicion”

747 Little Millie Small (1946- ) “My Boy Lollipop” 1964

“‘My Boy Lollipop’ was released at a moment of heightened tension over immigration and the politics of British citizenship: the years following World War II had seen an uptick in the number of migrants of color coming to England from the colonies, and by the 1960s, the government was responding to anti-immigrant sentiment by imposing new immigration restrictions…Representations of Millie Small and her voice were contradictory: in some contexts she was represented in ways that bolstered imperial power and respectability politics; in others, she was a symbol of aspiration and new possibilities for black Britons” (Alexandra Apolloni, Journal of Popular Music Studies, Dec. 2016). 

Little Millie Small “My Boy Lollipop”

746 The Shangri-Las “Leader of the Pack” 1964

“‘Leader of the Pack,’ a Morton-Barry-Greenwich collaboration, was another melodramatic epic, a Romeo and Juliet teenage tragedy with all the contemporary trappings—a leather jacketed rebel without a cause, a good girl whose love will save him, and (via the appropriate sound effects), a motorcycle. Released in the fall of 1964, the record’s focus on death…kicked off considerable controversy, resulting in the song’s being banned in Britain. But in the U.S…., it went to number 1, and paved the way for a further two years of hits from the group” (Gillian G. Gaar, She’s a Rebel: The History of Women in Rock & Roll, 2002). 

The Shangri-Las “Leader of the Pack”

June 15, 2018

745 The Shangri-Las “Remember (Walkin’ in the Sand)” 1964

“The records of the Shangri-Las plumbed the depths of teenage angst with a high sense of melodrama that had been completely absent from other girl group records. The group, twins Mary Ann (1948-1970) and Margie Ganser (1948-1996), and sisters Betty (1946- ) and Mary Weiss (1948- ), grew up in Queens, and began singing together in high school, performing at local sock hops and talent shows” (Gillian G. Gaar, She’s a Rebel: The History of Women in Rock & Roll, 2002). 

The Shangri-Las “Remember (Walkin’ in the Sand)”

744 The Searchers “Needles and Pins” 1964

Jack Nitzsche “began working in a steel factory in Muskegon, Michigan, as a dance-band sax player at night. At the same time, Nitzsche took a correspondence course in orchestration, dreaming of working as a film composer. In pursuit of this dream he moved to Los Angeles in the early 1960s, where he began working with the various small labels. He met Sonny Bono (later of Sonny & Cher) who was then working for the small Specialty label, and the duo wrote a pop song, ‘Needles and Pins,’ that was later a top hit for the British Invasion group the Searchers” (Howard Ferstler, Frank Hoffman, Encyclopedia of Recorded Sound, 2005). 

The Searchers “Needles and Pins”

743 The Searchers “Don’t Throw Your Love Away” 1964

“The Searchers were one of the best groups to emerge from the Mersey scene. Mike Predergast (1941- ) and John McNally (1941- ) originally teamed up as an instrumental duo, naming themselves the Searchers after the John Wayne movie…The Searchers toured the States in April 1964 during which time they appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show. After seeing them, noted jazz critic Nat Hentoff commented, ‘the initial impression was more favourable musically than had been the case with the Beatles and the Dave Clark Five’” (Bell Harry, The British Invasion: How the Beatles and Other UK Bands Conquered America, 2004).    

The Searchers “Don’t Throw Your Love Away”

742 Buffy Sainte-Marie (1941- ) “Cod’ine” and “Now That the Buffalo’s Gone” 1964

“Born on the Piapot Plains Cree First Nation Reserve in the Qu’Appelle Valley of Saskatchewan, Buffy Sainte-Marie was part of the mass adoption of Aboriginal children outside of Canada. Raised in Maine, Sainte-Marie considers herself to be fortunate in that her adoptive mother, who was part Mi’kmaq, encouraged her daughter to explore her Aboriginal identity.” Sainte-Marie: “Some men in the Indian movement have not wanted to hand the microphone to me, and never wanted to give credit to women. Just look at the ‘stars’ of the Indian movement in the ‘60s—there were a lot of women feeding those guys, patching them up, being nurses and telling them what to say. Because women—even oppressed women—we are very often the brains behind the whole thing” (Fiona Muldrew, Suzanne McLeod, Herizons, Winter 2018). The album It’s My Way is listed on the National Recording Registry of the Library of Congress. 

Buffy Sainte-Marie “Cod’ine”

Buffy Sainte-Marie “Now That the Buffalo’s Gone”

741 The Ronettes “Walking In the Rain” 1964

Ronnie Spector (1943- ): "when we heard about people being junkies or dope addicts, I would ask my mother, where? Let me see one. Because I wasn't a tough, streetwise kid at all, but I just - we just did all the dances, you know. And by living in Spanish Harlem, you learned all the dances anyway. I mean, you could just look out the window and people were on the corner singing and stuff. And it was just how we—and I loved it, from the time I was 3 years old when my whole family applauded me. I remember the song. It was (singing) Jambalaya and a crawfish pie and a file gumbo 'cause tonight I'm going to meet my ma cher amio...And I said, that's what I want to be the rest of my life. I want to perform" (Fresh Air, 29 Aug 2017).

The Ronettes “Walking In the Rain”

June 8, 2018

740 The Rolling Stones “Time Is On My Side” 1964

“the Stones arrived at Chess Records at 2120 South Michigan Avenue. They walked into the studio and saw a big black man with a familiar-looking face, up on a ladder, painting the place. It was Muddy Waters. Keith: ‘He was painting the goddamn ceiling, dressed all in white, with white paint like tears on his face, ‘cause he wasn’t selling any records at the time. That throws you a curve: here’s the king of the blues painting a wall. When we started the Rolling Stones, our main aim was to turn other people on to Muddy. We named the group after him’” (Stephen Davis, Old Gods Almost Dead: The 40-Year Odyssey of the Rolling Stones, 2001). 

The Rolling Stones “Time Is On My Side”

739 Johnny Rivers (1942- ) “Memphis” 1964

Born John Henry Ramistella, “This handsome, geographically mobile, prolific but unknown composer/performer from southern Louisiana would morph into Johnny Rivers as he meandered from New York City to Nashville to Las Vegas to Los Angeles between 1958 and 1962…Everything changed for Johnny Rivers in 1964 when his lively performances before dance club audiences at the newly opened Whisky a Go-Go created a buzz within the L.A. music community” (B. Lee Cooper, Popular Music and Society, 2013). 

Johnny Rivers “Memphis”

738 The Righteous Brothers “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’” 1964

“in 1962, Bill Medley (1940- ) and Bobby Hatfield (1940-2003) were singing in a vocal-harmony group in Southern California called the Paramours. When the band broke up later that year, Medley and Hatfield began singing as a duo at local clubs. According to Medley, one night when they finished a song, a Marine from a local base shouted out, ‘That was righteous, brother.’ Soon after, Medley and Hatfield were recording for Moonglow Records when they were asked to come up with a name. ‘The Righteous Brothers’ sounded about right” (Marc Myers, Anatomy of a Song, 2016). Listed on the National Recording Registry of the Library of Congress.

The Righteous Brothers “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’”

737 Martha and the Vandellas “Dancing in the Street” 1964

Martha Reeves (1941- ): “When I heard Marvin’s [Gaye] version it was sung in a male register. I thought it was a good song, but not really in my key. So they said, ‘OK, Martha, give it your treatment,’ and I came up with the melody. To be honest, I didn’t like the song at first, but when I put myself into it and made it my own, it became the anthem of the decade” (Steve Sullivan, Encyclopedia of Great Popular Song Recordings, 2013). Listed on the National Recording Registry of the Library of Congress.

Martha Reeves and the Vandellas “Dancing in the Streets”

736 Otis Redding (1941-1967) “Security” 1964

“Otis Jr attended the Ballard-Hudson Senior High until the tenth grade, but then finances got tighter and he dropped out to help feed the family. ‘My mother and father used to go to parties when I was a kid…We used to go out to a place called Sawyer’s Lake in Macon. There was a calypso song out then called Run, Joe. My mother and daddy used to play that for me all the time. I just dug the groove. Ever since then I’ve been playing music’” (Geoff Brown, Otis Redding: Try a Little Tenderness, 2001). 

Otis Redding  “Security”

June 1, 2018

735 Elvis Presley (1935-1977) “Viva Las Vegas” 1964

The songs written for the film Viva Las Vegas “were a miserable lot, with few exceptions; Elvis’s pell-mell filming schedule was mking it virtually impossible for his publishing companies to live up to their obligations…One of the few exceptions with Viva Las Vegas was Doc Pomus and Mort Shuman’s title cut, a shimmering appraisal of the neon-lit city…which curiously only became a classic decades after its original release” (Ernst Jorgensen, Elvis Presley A Life in Music, 1998).  

Elvis Presley “Viva Las Vegas”

734 Gene Pitney (1940-2006) “I’m Gonna Be Strong” and “It Hurts to Be in Love” 1964

“Pitney’s career initially flourished with two major hits, the Spector-influenced ‘It Hurts to Be in Love’ and the Barry Mann/Cynthia Weil-penned ‘I’m Gonna Be Strong.’ Surprisingly, most of Pitney’s subsequent recordings scored higher on the British charts than at home. In the process, he earned the respect of the Rolling Stones’ Keith Richards and Mick Jagger, who wrote ‘That Girl Belongs to Yesterday’ for Pitney to record, making him the first American to record a Stones composition” (Ken Burke, Contemporary Musicians, 2003). 

Gene Pitney “I’m Gonna Be Strong”

Gene Pitney “It Hurts to Be In Love”

733 The Pilgrims “Heaven’s the Place for Me” 1964

Southeast London Christian band formed in 1962 that transitioned from Shadows beat style to Rolling Stones rhythm and blues (www.1960schristianmusic.com). “On any given night you could see The Who, The Birds or countless other groups playing all over London…but few people know there was another scene going on all over England. A Christian beat scene…One of the best of these Christian beat groups was The Pilgrims” (one-way.org). 

The Pilgrims “Heaven’s the Place for Me”

732 Peter (1944- ) and Gordon (1945-2009) “A World Without Love” 1964

“Peter and Gordon were also known as Asher as Waller (their last names) and, originally, as Gordon and Peter! They were not managed by Brian Epstein. Better yet, Peter’s sister Jane was a sweetheart of Beatle Paul McCartney, so (you guessed it) Peter and Gordon were handed Lennon-McCartney songs to record and release. The first, ‘World Without Love,’ was Top 20 in England, but #1 in the states. These two singers did affect Beatle haircuts, and Peter was probably the world’s first redheaded moptop! They sang deep in an echo chamber, and were about as well received in the United States as any group short of the Beatles themselves” (Michael Bryan Kelly, The Beatle Myth, 1991). 

Peter and Gordon “A World Without Love”

731 Roy Orbison (1936-1988) “Oh, Pretty Woman” 1964

“In ‘Oh, Pretty Woman,’ Claudette inspired not only the biggest hit Roy would ever have; for years to come, ‘Pretty Woman’ would occupy a special place in the hearts of all pop and rock fans…it came directly form Roy’s heartfelt adoration of women in general and of Claudette in particular. That he should have let ambition come between him and his wife when he obviously worshiped her made the steady, irreversible erosion of their marriage even more poignant” (Ellis Amburn, Dark Star: The Roy Orbison Story, 1990). Listed on the National Recording Registry of the Library of Congress.

Roy Orbison “Oh, Pretty Woman”

May 25, 2018

730 Phil Ochs (1940-1976) “There but for Fortune” 1964

“Smart, funny, good looking and blessed with a distinctive voice, Phil Ochs (1940-76) moved from his family’s home in Ohio to New York’s Greenwich Village in the early 1960s, where his apartment became the epicenter of the folk music scene. Ochs gained fame for his political songs, often drawn directly from the newspaper…Ochs was ambitious and to further his career moved in 1967 to Los Angeles, where his material, previously accompanied by his solo guitar, came to be swathed in orchestral arrangements, which was not always well received. A bipolar alcoholic, he took this hard, though he stayed active in anti-war protests and helped organize the Youth International Party (Yippies) in 1968” (John Hiett, Library Journal, 15 October 2011). 

Phil Ochs “There but for Fortune”

729 Manfred Mann “Do Wah Diddy Diddy” 1964

“Manfred Mann was one of the biggest bands of the 1960s, along with The Beatles and the Stones. And Paul Jones, the band’s original lead singer, could easily have been the front man for the Rolling Stones instead…’When it all happened for the Stones, I didn’t feel the least bit envious. I just thought, ‘Okay, well maybe I made the wrong decision, but perhaps it will turn out to be the right one. Let’s wait and see what happens. However, the next time somebody asked me to be in their band, I said yes!’ It was an invitation to sing and play harmonica with Manfred Mann (1940- ), an accomplished South African jazz pianist who was forming a group with drummer Mike Hugg, saxophone player Mike Vickers and bass guitarist tom McGuinness” (David Wigg, Daily Mail (London), 17 June 2006). 

Manfred Mann “Do Wah Diddy Diddy”

728 Little Anthony (Gourdine) (1941- ) and the Imperials “Goin’ Out of My Head” 1964

“Mr. Gourdine grew up in the Fort Greene projects in Brooklyn. His father was a saxophone player and his mother a gospel singer…Little Anthony and the Imperials had their greatest success during their brief association with the songwriter and producer Teddy Randazzo and Don Costa, a regular arranger for Frank Sinatra…When it ended in a dispute over royalties,” their “hit-making days were over” (Stephen Holden, The New York Times, 3/31/1989). 

Little Anthony and the Imperials “Goin’ Out of My Head”

727 The Kinks “You Really Got Me” 1964

Dave Davies: “I always like how our band sounded at clubs—coarse and sort of stripped down. Months earlier, I had passed a radio shop a few doors up from my parents’ house on Denmark Terrace. In the window I saw a small teal space-age Epico amp for 10 quid. I bought it, but when I got home, I was alone and had a moment of teenage inspiration or rage. I had just learned to shave, so I took one of my razor blades and slashed up the amp’s speaker cone. I had no idea whether what I had done would work, but when I plugged in the guitar, I was blown away by the raucous sound that came out. It was gritty” ” (Marc Myers, Anatomy of a Song, 2016).  

The Kinks “You Really Got Me”

726 The Kinks “All Day and All of the Night” 1964

Ray Davies: “Shortly after I formed the Ravens in 1963 with my brother Dave and bassist Pet Quaife, we began wearing colorful outfits we had bought in boutiques on London’s Carnaby Street. Dressed in these flamboyant clothes at a pub with our manager, Larry Page, I loudly insisted we needed an edgier name than the Ravens. A drunk who had been watching us remarked that we looked more like kinks to him—short for ‘kinky,’ or ‘weird.’ Larry picked up on that and said, ‘The Kinks! That’s perfect!’” (Marc Myers, Anatomy of a Song, 2016). 

The Kinks “All Day and All of the Night”