January 19, 2018

650 Garnet Mimms (1933- ) and the Enchanters “Cry Baby” 1963

“Garnet Mimms didn’t see himself as a musical trailblazer when he cut the career-making ‘Cry Baby’ in 1963. ‘No, not really, but they told me I was,’ the 74-year-old gospel-soul singer says with a laugh…’ ‘They’ include R&B expert Robert Pruter…Pruter writes…’The song was a gospelized production so full of the soul-saving, fire-and-brimstone ecstasies of the black sanctified church that it singularly stood apart…Never had the public heard anything so intense and so emotional on top 40 radio’” (Nick Cristiano, Philadelphia Inquirer, 1/10/2008).

Garnet Mimms and the Enchanters “Cry Baby”

649 Martha (1941- ) and the Vandellas “Quicksand” 1963

“Reeves went to work at Motown Records in Detroit, Michigan, without much thought of becoming a singer. Rather, she served as a secretary for the company shortly after she left high school. She occasionally sang lyrics on demonstration tapes to enable Motown’s artists to learn new songs, and when one of the company’s regular studio back-up singers was too ill to participate in a recording session, Reeves was allowed to take her place” (Elizabeth Thomas and Ronnie Lankford, Contemporary Musicians, 2006).

Martha and the Vandellas “Quicksand”

648 Martha (1941- ) and the Vandellas “(Love Is Like a) Heat Wave” 1963

Martha Reeves “was one of eleven children of Elijah Joshua and Ruby Lee (Gilmore) Reeves. When she was an infant, the family relocated to Detroit, settling on the city’s eas side. Reeve’s grandfather was a minister at Detroit’s Metropolitan Church, where she began singing in the choir at age three. At Northeastern High School Reeves sang in the choir and took voice lessons from Abraham Silver, who also coached future Motown stars Florence Ballard and Marry Wilson of the Supremes and Bobby Rogers of the Miracles” (Deborah Ring, Contemporary Black Biography, 2011). 

Martha and the Vandellas “(Love Is Like a) Heat Wave”

647 Robert Marley (1945-1981) and Beverly's Allstars “Judge Not” 1962

“By 1961, Bob was working at the welding yard at South Camp Road and beginning to write tunes. Once he was bold enough to scout the action at Beverley’s, a record store owned by a young Chinese entrepreneur named Leslie Kong, who was beginning to record ska songs by Jamaican singers for local consumption. Bob asked someone behind the counter for an audition with Mr. Kong, and was impolitely advised to get lost” (Stephen Davis, Bob Marley, 1990).

Robert Marley and Beverly's Allstars “Judge Not”

646 The Collins Kids “Hop, Skip and Jump” 1957

“Along with Michael Jackson, the Collins Kids may have been the most prodigious sub-15-year-olds in rock history. They were one of the first, if not the first, Los Angeles-based rockabilly act; Larry Collins was, without a doubt, the first rock musician to use a double-necked guitar, long before Jimmy Page was causing Led Zeppelin audiences to gasp at his audacity for bringing the instrument onstage…Lorrie Collins, along with the aforementioned Wanda Jackson, was the only game in town as far as female rockabilly singers were concerned” (Richie Unterberger, Unknown Legends of Rock ‘n’ Roll, 1998).

The Collins Kids “Hop, Skip and Jump”

January 12, 2018

645 Little Peggy March (1948- ) “I Will Follow Him” 1963

“Teen-style solo singers had a keen edge on their immature voices, the quality children have when shouting on the streets. Their major contribution was to the boyfriend literature…they went as far as they could go with the boyfriend theme when the girl’s only ambition in life was stated in the title” (Aida Pavletich, Sirens of Song, 1982).

Little Peggy March “I Will Follow Him”

644 Darlene Love (1941- ) “Today I Met the Boy I’m Gonna Marry” 1963

“The daughter of a minister, Love grew up in Los Angeles and Texas, singing in the choirs at her father’s churches. ‘Mostly all of my singing was in church, for quite a while,’ she said. While she was in high school, she joined a girl group called the Blossoms, and they began touring the circuit for black performers in the segregated musical world of te 1950s and ‘60s…Love’s and the Blossoms’ careers really took off when they met legendary music producer Phil Spector in 1961, and he began to use them in constructing his famous Wall of Sound musical style” (Ryan Marshall, Frederick news-Post (MD), 10/5/2017).

Darlene Love “Today I Met the Boy I’m Gonna Marry”

643 Trini Lopez (1937- ) “If I Had a Hammer” 1963

“Music got him and his family out of poverty. As the son of Mexican immigrants from Guanajuato, he remembers his challenging beginnings in the Little Mexico barrio in Dallas. Being poor. Violence and prejudice in his neighborhood. But everything seemed to change after his father bought him a $12 guitar from a pawnshop…Lopez stuck to his Latino roots despite growing up in a time where he was once told that no one would buy an album from an artist with a Mexican last name. ‘Lopez has got to go,’ he remembers being told about an album deal…’You know how many [Latino] artists in America that changed their name? Vikki Carr and Freddy Fender. I insisted on keep my name Lopez. I’m proud to be a Lopez. I’m proud to be a Mexicano’” (Cassandra Jaramillo, Dallas Morning News, 9/12/2017).

Trini Lopez “If I Had a Hammer”

642 The Lively Ones “Surf Rider” 1963

“When the Lively Ones were riding the crest of the surf-rock explosion in the early to mid-‘60s, guitarist Jim Masoner was known for his sometimes hyperkinetic stage antics. Jumping on amplifiers and hurling his shoulder into walls to help create outrageous guitar racket, Masoner would often discover that his jacket or pants needed mending following a typical sweaty show” (Jon Matsumoto, Los Angeles Times, 5/27/1996).

The Lively Ones “Surf Rider”

641 Major Lance (1939?-1994) “Um, Um, Um, Um, Um, Um” and “The Monkey Time” 1963

“He was a boxer for a time, and started out singing gospel” (New York Times, 9/5/1994). “Chicago soul singer who for a few short years in the mid-1960s was one of the biggest R&B artists in the country. His thin but interestingly piercing vocals were perfectly showcased by producer Carl Davis, and the result was a series of sparkling and brassy dance records on OKeh Records that virtually defined the more energetic side of the Chicago sound in soul (Encyclopedia of the Blues, 2006). 

Major Lance “Um, Um, Um, Um, Um, Um”

Major Lance “The Monkey Time”

January 5, 2018

640 The Kingsmen “Louie Louie” 1963

“one Friday night in April 1963 at the Chase, the Kingsmen decided to try an experiment. They would play, one time only, a double-length set—an hour and a half—consisting of nothing but one long ‘Louie Louie’…this first of all ‘Louie’ marathons confirms some weird kind of incipient rock’n’roll genius stirred within them” (Dave Marsh, Louie Louie, 1993). 

The Kingsmen “Louie Louie”

639 Jan and Dean “Surf City” 1963

“In the mid 1960s, Jan Berry (1941-2004) was the golden boy of Southern California pop: tall, blond and handsome; a medical student with a genius-level IQ; and a million-selling star as half of the surf-rock duo Jan and Dean. As a singer, producer and song-writer, Berry scored ten Top Thirty hits from 1963 to 1965 with Dean Torrence (1940- ), his best friend since high school…Then, on the morning of April 12th, 1966, nine days after his twenty-fifth birthday, Berry plowed his Corvette into a parked truck in Beverly Hills. He narrowly survived the accident; his career did not. Berry suffered severe brain damage from which he never fully recovered. But despite partial paralysis and impaired speech, Berry fought to make music for the rest of his life” (David Fricke, Rolling Stone, 2004). 

Jan and Dean “Surf City”

638 Lesley Gore (1946-2015) “You Don’t Own Me” 1963

“Her career became shaky” because of “the Beatles and the British Invasion that landed on our shores right at the peak of Gore’s popularity. She continued touring and recording, though on these fronts her star had faded. She even had an acting career, appearing in two episodes of Batman (as Catwoman’s sidekick) in 1967. But her major accomplishments after 1970 were in movie songwriting, which she carried out in collaboration with her brother Michael” (Terri Schlichenmeyer, The Gay & Lesbian Review Worldwide, March-April 2016). 

Lesley Gore “You Don’t Own Me”

637 Lesley Gore (1946-2015) “It’s My Party” 1963

“Lesley Gore was born in Brooklyn into an upwardly mobile Jewish family, which soon moved to Tenafly, New Jersey, where she attended high school at the Dwight School for Girls. In middle school she had joined a girl group; by high school, where she sang in the chorus, her talent as a singer was apparent. She begged her parents for a vocal coach. They hired one, and he was impressed enough to take Gore to a music studio, where she recorded a small number of songs to pass around to her family. A cousin gave one of these records to a bandleader, who invited Gore to perform at a gig where the president of Mercury Records was seated in the audience” (Terri Schlichenmeyer, The Gay & Lesbian Review Worldwide, March-April 2016). 

Lesley Gore “It’s My Party”

636 Jimmy Gilmer (1940- ) and the Fireballs “Sugar Shack” 1963

“One night while George Tomsco (1940- ) was in his college dorm room listening to an acetate of his band, a fellow student walked by his room and asked who the band was. When the student found out it was Tomsco and The Fireballs, he said they were good and should go to Clovis, N.M., to record with Buddy Holly’s producer Norman Petty….’Sugar Shack’ was written by Lubbock, Texas, songwriter Keith McCormack in 1962. While living with his aunt Fay in Lubbock in 1962, McCormack began every day by trying to write a song. ‘Keith woke up one morning and started with this little ‘Sugar Shack’ thing, and his aunt Fay said, ‘Keith, I really do like that song,’ explains Tomsco. In exchange for forgiving a $40 debt with his aunt, McCormack shared songwriting credits for ‘Sugar Shack’ with her” (Ron Skinner, Mix, June 2011). 

Jimmy Gilmer and the Fireballs “Sugar Shack”

December 22, 2017

635 Gerry and the Pacemakers “How Do You Do It” and “You’ll Never Walk Alone” 1963

“Signed by Beatles manager Brian Epstein in 1962, Gerry and The Pacemakers made their name with ballads like ‘How Do You Do It,’ ‘I Like It,’ ‘Ferry Cross the Mersey,’ ‘Don’t Let the Sun Catch You Crying’ and more. Their biggest hit was the song ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone,’ originally from Rodgers & Hammerstein musical ‘Carousel,’ which had enthralled the group’s lead vocalists and co-founder, Gerry Marsden, when he first saw the film in his youth. The Pacemakers’ rendition of that song has been the anthem of the crowds at Liverpool Football Club for three decades; it is played before kick-off every Saturday, is inscribed on the club gates and has remained the Pacemakers’ most popular concert request” (PR Newswire, 11/17/2011).

Gerry and the Pacemakers “How Do You Do It”

Gerry and the Pacemakers “You'll Never Walk Alone”

634 Freddie (1936-2006) and the Dreamers “I’m Telling You Now” 1963

Freddie And The Dreamers had been traveling the live circuit since 1959 and—though they came from Manchester—rode into the charts on the back of the Merseybeat boom. Having seen the Beatles perform If You Gotta Make A Fool Of Somebody in The Cavern, Freddie and co purloined the arrangement for their own recording, which took them to No 3 in the singles chart in 1963. From here, the group made an easy transition as a family entertainment group, with appearances in UK pantomimes and the US charts. In fact, they proved so popular stateside that Chubby Checker released Do The Freddie in 1965, cashing in on singer Freddie Garrity’s renowned hyperactive stage antics” (Ian Shirley, Record Collector, 2013).

Freddie and the Dreamers “I’m Telling You Now”

633 The Four Seasons “Walk Like a Man” 1963

“Fans noticed the distinctive harmonies and, in particular, Valli’s trademark falsetto, forever cementing the group’s name as one of rock and roll’s most enduring entertainers. Unlike other acts in the 1960s, Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons not only survived the British invasion and the Beatles, but continued to crank out hits along the way” (Louisville Magazine, Nov 2007).

The Four Seasons “Walk Like a Man”

632 The Five Du-Tones “Shake a Tail Feather” 1963

“Formed in St. Louis, Missouri, USA, around 1957…Originally a doo-wop group, the Five Dutones moved to Chicago in the early 60s. Their exhilarating single ‘Shake A Tail Feather’ was released in 1963. Later revived by James and Bobby Purify and Mitch Ryder, this definitive early version was a US top 30 R&B hit. James West died of a heart attack in 1963 and was replaced by David Scott. The Five Dutones recorded a total of nine singles, most of which were based on local dance crazes” (The Encyclopedia of Popular Music, 2006). 

The Five Du-Tones “Shake a Tail Feather”

631 Bob Dylan (1941- ) “Masters of War” 1963

Dylan “begged and borrowed from the established ballad styles of the past…But the stories he told in his songs had nothing to do with unrequited Appalachian love affairs or idealized whorehouses in New Orleans…They went right to the heart of his decade’s most recurring preoccupation: that in a time of irreversible technological progress, moral civilization has pathetically faltered” (Younger Than That Now: The Collected Interviews with Bob Dylan, 2004). 

Bob Dylan “Masters of War”

December 8, 2017

630 Bob Dylan (1941- ) “Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right” 1963

“I agonized about making a record, but I wouldn’t have wanted to make singles, 45s—the kind of songs they played on the radio…I had no song in my repertoire for commercial radio anyway. Songs about debauched bootleggers, mothers that drown their own children, Cadillacs that only got five miles to the gallon, floods, union hall fires, darkness and cadavers at the bottom of rivers weren’t for radiophiles” (Bob Dylan, Chronicles, Volume One, 2004). 

Bob Dylan “Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right”

629 Bob Dylan (1941- ) “Blowin’ in the Wind” 1963

“I’m not sure people understood a lot of what I was writing about. I don’t even know if I could understand them if I believed everything that has been written about them by imbeciles who wouldn’t know the first thing about writing songs. I’ve always said the organized media propagated me as something I never pretended to be” (Bob Dylan, Inspirations, 2005). 

Bob Dylan “Blowin’ in the Wind”

628 Bob Dylan (1941- ) “A Hard Rain’s a Gonna Fall” 1963

“I’ll tell you how I come to write that [A Hard Rain’s a Gonna Fall]. Every line in that really is another song. Could be used as a whole song, every single line. I wrote that when I didin’t know how many other songs I could write. That was during October of last year and I remember sitting up all night with a bunch of people someplace. I wanted to get the most down that I knew about into one song, so I wrote that. It was during the Cuba trouble, that blockade, I guess is the word. I was a little worried, maybe that’s the word” (Jonathan Cott, ed., Bob Dylan: The Essential Interviews, 2006).

Bob Dylan “A Hard Rain’s a Gonna Fall”

627 The Drifters “On Broadway” 1963

“Faye Treadwell inherited the job of managing the group from her husband and fought numerous legal battles in order to hang on to the rights to a name that became, in effect, a franchise. In the 1960s, when the group’s reputation was riding high with such hits as Save the Last Dance for Me and Under the Boardwalk, several outfits calling themselves the Drifters toured the US and Europe…It was such apparent abuses of what would now be called intellectual property that Treadwell spent much of her life attempting to counter. The confusion was intensified by complicated bloodlines which entitled some of the splinter groups to a moral share of the trademark. Black vocal groups were frequent victims of this form of counterfeiting, and others to suffer included the Coasters, the Temptations and the Isley Brothers” (Richard Williams, The Guardian, 6/15/2011). 

The Drifters “On Broadway”

626 The Dave Clark Five “Glad All Over” 1963

“The DC5 began as a fairly ordinary American-styled 1950’s rock group in London that underwent a series of personnel changes before settling on the core quintet of Mike Smith (lead vocal and organ), Denis Payton (saxophones, harmonica, and guitar), Lenny Davidson (lead guitar), Rick Huxley (bass) and the leader on drums and vocal. While comparisons with the Beatles are inevitable, the musical style of the two groups was quite distinct” (John Clark, Notes, March 2015). 

The Dave Clark Five “Glad All Over”