Tag Archives: 45

45: “So Much In Love” b/w “Roscoe James McClain” by the Tymes. Parkway P-871. Recorded in Philadelphia, 1963.

Image courtesy of The Rodgers & Hammerstein Archive of Recorded Sound.

Image courtesy of The Rodgers & Hammerstein Archive of Recorded Sound.

The Tymes were a Philadelphia doo wop group that formed in 1960. They were stuck playing local clubs for a few years, until they were signed to Parkway in 1963; a strong showing in a talent contest sponsored by local radio station WDAS had gotten the label’s attention. Their smooth vocal harmonies and lead singer George Williams’ mellow baritone came together in the studio to create “So in Love,” their only #1 song in the US.

The opening sounds of waves crashing might have been too much studio trickery for Doo Wop purists, but the general public loved it. Continue reading

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45: “Say Goodbye to Hollywood” b/w “Baby Please Don’t Go” by Ronnie Spector and the E Street Band. Epic/Cleveland International 8-50374. Recorded in New York City, January, 1977.

Image courtesy of The Rodgers & Hammerstein Archive of Recorded Sound.

Image courtesy of The Rodgers & Hammerstein Archive of Recorded Sound.

Born Veronica Yvette Bennett in New York City, Ronnie Spector was the lead vocalist of The Ronettes, with her sister Estelle and cousin Nedra on backing vocals. They had some massive hits in the 1960’s, including “Walking In the Rain,” “Baby, I Love You” and, of course, “Be My Baby.” That last number is possibly the best known example of producer Phil Spector’s “Wall of Sound”, a recording formula that incorporated multiple guitarists playing in unison, full string and horn sections, the unusually reverberant echo chamber of L.A.’s Gold Star Studios, and a band of the best studio musicians in the business—The Wrecking Crew. It all came together to create mono recordings that didn’t lose their grandeur, even when played through the tinny speakers of transistor radios. That sound would have a profound influence on the Beach Boys, The Beatles, and countless others.

Phil Spector was a genius, but a mad one. The Ronettes broke up in 1967 and Ronnie married Phil in 1968. It didn’t take long for his possessive, threatening type of madness to surface.  Continue reading

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45: “Dreamin’ About You” b/w “Strummin’ Song” by Annette. Buena Vista Records F-388. Recorded in Burbank, 1961.

Image courtesy of The Rodgers & Hammerstein Archive of Recorded Sound.

Image courtesy of The Rodgers & Hammerstein Archive of Recorded Sound.

By now, you’ve probably heard that Annette Funicello died this week, though perhaps the news was eclipsed by the death of Margaret Thatcher. Obviously, the passing of Britain’s first female Prime Minister should get more press than that of our most successful Mouseketeer. Still, Annette Funicello (or Annette Funny Jello, as she was affectionately known in the pages of Mad Magazine) was, in her time, a cultural force to be reckoned with. As a Mouseketeer, she received 6,000 letters a week and was the only star of that beloved show to continue on to further stardom, as a cinematic ambassador of surf culture. The six “Beach” movies she made with Frankie Avalon were frothy delights—innocent and flirtatious idealizations of southern California life that made the rest of the country’s teenagers want to live there. Annette’s mix of feminine pulchritude and girl next door sensibility was a huge part of the equation; she was one of the few starlets that both teenage boys and their protective mothers could heartily agree upon.

This single finds her in the years between the Mickey Mouse Club and the “Beach” films. Still on contract with Disney, she continued to star in movies like Babes in Toyland and record albums for Disney’s Buena Vista Records. Released in 1961, Annette (note the lack of a last name on the sleeve, probably meant to maintain the first name basis rapport fans felt with her) had already recorded five LPs by the time this single was released. “Strummin’ Song” would appear on the sixth: The Story of My Teens…And the Sixteen Songs That Tell It! and was featured in the 1961 movie The Horsemasters.

All well and good, but kind of “It’s a Small World” in its need to please. Continue reading

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45: “Mom (Can I Talk to You?)” b/w “Chasin’ Honey” by Jan Rhodes. Blue Records 1001. Recorded in 1968.

Image courtesy of The Rodgers & Hammerstein Archive of Recorded Sound.

Image courtesy of The Rodgers & Hammerstein Archive of Recorded Sound.

This one is mysterious. For one thing, the label, according to a few different sources, only released this one single right here. But it had distribution through Atlantic Records, so it clearly had more of a shot at chart success than that of the typical vanity label. Then you have the singer, Miss Jan Rhodes, who was all of sixteen years old when she recorded these two songs, and apparently, she never recorded anything else. Then you have that glorious sleeve: A serious, questioning girl looks towards the future, or her boyfriend, or her mom, for counsel. Just below her chin, the copy reads:

This is Jan Rhodes.

She is 16 years old.

This is her first record.

We believe it is an important record. Continue reading

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45: “Leader of the Laundromat” b/w “Ulcers” by The Detergents. Roulette R-4590. Recorded in New York City, 1964.

Image courtesy of The Rodgers & Hammerstein Archive of Recorded Sound.

Image courtesy of The Rodgers & Hammerstein Archive of Recorded Sound.

The Detergents were comprised of three Aldon Music session singers and staff writers; not bad for three eighteen year-olds. In 1964, Producer Paul Vance pulled them together as The Detergents specifically to record this parody of the Shangri-La’s “The Leader of the Pack,” though they had already recorded some decent surf music as the Cabin Kids. Member Danny Jordan (Vance’s nephew) even had some parody experience already, having recorded “Just Couldn’t Resist Her With Her Pocket Transistor,” a poppin’ retake of “Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini” back in 1960.

Leader of the Laundromat was pretty faithful to the musical style of the original, and it peaked at #19 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Continue reading

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45: No Reservations: “Drunk With Love/Summertime/I Can’t Give You Anything But Love/A Hundred Years From Today” by Frances Faye. Capitol EAP 1-512. Recorded in Hollywood, 1954.

Image courtesy of The Rodgers & Hammerstein Archive of Recorded Sound.

Image courtesy of The Rodgers & Hammerstein Archive of Recorded Sound.

Born in Brownsville, Brooklyn in 1912, Frances Faye quit school at the age of 15 and was playing piano in speakeasies for the likes of Al Capone by the age of 20. She sang cabaret standards in a rough, expressive style that had no room for reverence to the original versions, and she was known to play with such force that any piano she sat at would need to be tuned sooner rather than later.

Faye’s big break out of the club scene was a little number called “After You” with Martha Raye (…denture wearer. Sorry, I grew up in the 70’s. Can’t help it.) and Bing Crosby in 1937’s Double or Nothing.

By the time we get to this Capitol EP, it’s 1954. These are four songs that were on the LP of No Reservations; the other eight were also available on two other EPs. So the listener had the option of paying for the LP all at once or getting all 12 songs in three easy installments—this was a pretty common practice at the time.

Back cover. New Yorkers: Note the Colony Records stamp. Image courtesy of The Rodgers & Hammerstein Archive of Recorded Sound.

Back cover. New Yorkers: Note the Colony Records stamp. Image courtesy of The Rodgers & Hammerstein Archive of Recorded Sound.

Continue reading

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