1,000 Greatest Songs of the 1960s – 410 to 401
I could be happy the rest of my life with a cinnamon girl.
410. “Only Daddy That’ll Walk the Line,” Waylon Jennings. Songwriter: Jimmy Bryant; #2 country; 1968. Despite the common narrative that Jennings didn’t have success until he amassed his 1970’s outlaw trappings, he had five consecutive Top Ten country hits in 1967 and 1968 with “Only Daddy That’ll Walk the Line” peaking at #2 in the U.S. and going to #1 on the Canadian country charts. The sound is pure Bakersfield country with Waylon walking the straight and narrow, frustrated by a wild woman. Neat production trick – having a B-3 Hammond organ underscore the vocal hook on the title line. Author Michael Corcoran, “When Waylon Jennings announced his arrival as a country music superstar with 1968’s ‘Only Daddy That’ll Walk the Line,’ he sounded like no one who had come before him. That’s only happened three or four times in the history of country music.”
409. “Rainy Day Women #12 and 35,” Bob Dylan. Songwriter: Bob Dylan; #2 pop; 1966. Producer Bob Johnston envisioned a Salvation Army sound on Bob Dylan’s “Rainy Day Women #12 and 35,” a song that may be about recreational drug use or personal persecution or both or neither. Bassist Charlie McCoy played trumpet on the song after being reassured by Johnston that a professional sound wasn’t required. Bob Dylan in a 1986 interview, “‘Everybody must get stoned’ is like when you go against the tide. You might in different times find yourself in an unfortunate situation and so to do what you believe in sometimes, some people they just take offense to that. You know, I mean, you can look through history and find that people have taken offence to people who come out with a different viewpoint on things. And ‘being stoned’ is like…it’s just a kind of way of saying that.” Wooziness has never sounded more amusing.
408. “Standing In The Shadows Of Love,” The Four Tops. Songwriters: Brian Holland, Lamont Dozier, Eddie Holland; #6 pop/#2 R&B; 1966. Holland/Dozier/Holland didn’t bake a new cake from scratch for the 1966 Top Ten hit “Standing in the Shadows of Love.” They reused the lyrical concept from The Supremes 1964 album cut “I’m Standing at the Crossroads of Love” and used backing music similar to The Four Tops’ previous hit “Reach Out, I’ll Be There.” Many bass aficionados believe that some of James Jamerson’s best work was on “Standing in the Shadows of Love” and The Four Tops’ next single, “Bernadette.” Lamont Dozier, “James and I were in a band together before we got to Motown. Popcorn Wylie was the name of the band. James was the bass, and I was the drummer, so it was easy to work with Jamerson. I would also give the bass lines to James Jamerson, then he would inject his own bass ideas to make it stronger.”
407. “I Need You,” The Kinks. Songwriter: Ray Davies; Did Not Chart; 1965. On this 1965 album cut/b-side, Ray Davies perfected and concluded the band’s original aggressive metallic garage rock sound. Kinks Kronikler John Mendelssohn, “’I Need You’ might be the best track The Kinks recorded in their original style – better, that is, than either ‘All Day and All of the Night’ or ‘You Really Got Me,’ of which it sounds like a streamlined, harder hitting update. The guitars are positively murderous, Ray’s vocal just hysterically snide.” Dave Davies’ guitar riffs sound like the aural equivalent of a facial rug burn. In a good way, of course.
406. “Boom Boom,” John Lee Hooker. Songwriter: John Lee Hooker; #60 pop/#16 R&B; 1962. Getting to gigs in a timely manner wasn’t a top priority for John Lee Hooker, who had a regular slot at the Apex Bar in Detroit in the early 1960s. One female bartender repeatedly told him, “Boom Boom, you’re late again,” and, getting less amused by his tardiness finally commented, “Boom Boom, I’m gonna shoot you down.” Those comments resulted in Hooker’s biggest pop hit, one that went Top Twenty in the U.K. in 1992 after being used in a commercial. Hooker, proving he was no slouch as a businessman, “I finally got it down right, got it together, got it down in my head. Then I went and sang it, and everybody went, ‘Wow!’ Then I didn’t do it no more, not in the bar. I figured somebody would grab it before I got it copyrighted. So, I sent it to Washington, D.C., the Library of Congress, and I got it copyrighted. After I got it copyrighted I could do it in the bar. Then if anybody got the idea to do it I had them by the neck.” If you wanted to write “La Grange” for ZZ Top, you might want to listen to Hooker’s songs “Boogie Chillen” and “Boom Boom” as a starting point.
405. “As Tears Go By,” Marianne Faithfull. Songwriters: Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Andrew Loog Oldham; #22 pop/1964. Rolling Stones manager Andrew Loog Oldham spotted a 17 year old Marianne Faithfull at a London party and immediately thought that she was someone who Mick Jagger should meet. The two developed a romantic relationship and Faithfull became a pop star, placing four singles on the Top Ten of the U.K. pop charts in 1964 and 1965. Keith Richards wasn’t impressed with “As Tears Go By,” writing in his autobiography, “We thought, what a terrible piece of tripe. We came out and played it to Andrew [Oldham], and he said ‘It’s a hit.’ We actually sold this stuff, and it actually made money. Mick and I were thinking, this is money for old rope!” Despite Keef’s opinion, the Faithfull record is beautifully contemplative chamber pop. Faithfull, “It’s an absolutely astonishing (song) for a boy of 20 to have written, or for a girl of 17 to be singing.”
404. “My Back Pages,” The Byrds. Songwriter: Bob Dylan; #30 pop; 1967. One possible interpretation of “My Back Pages,” and there could be dozens, is that Dylan was choosing to move away from “protest” music with this song. During the timeframe that the “Another Side of Bob Dylan” album was released, Dylan stated, “There aren’t any finger pointing songs (here). Now a lot of people are doing finger pointing songs. You know, pointing to all the things that are wrong. Me, I don’t want to write for people anymore. You know, be a spokesman.” There was some friction within The Byrds about covering the older then/younger now “My Back Pages,” since the band had recorded six Dylan songs on their first two albums. However, this was The Byrds’ last Top 40 single, as they moved away from pop commercial songwriting on their highly regarded albums “The Notorious Byrd Brothers” and “Sweetheart of the Rodeo.”
403. “I Do,” The Marvelows. Songwriters: Jesse Smith, Johnny Paden, Frank Paden, Willie Stephenson, Melvin Mason; #37 pop/#7 R&B; 1965. The Marvelows were a Chicago act who were signed by producer Jerry Pate in the mid-1960s (unfortunately, after they had dropped the name Little Satan & The Demons). “I Do,” their biggest hit, started as a vocal warmup routine and was developed into an R&B doo wop number. The J. Geils band recorded a flat version of “I Do” for their 1977 “Monkey Album” and a 1982 live release was their final Top 40 single. Melvin Mason of The Marvelows on his original ambition, “I was singing because I loved to sing. I saw so many groups under the streetlights, so that’s where I wanted to be, under the streetlights.”
402. “Brown Eyed Girl,” Van Morrison. Songwriter: Van Morrison; #10 pop; 1967. Van Morrison on his solo pop breakthrough hit, “It was like a throwaway song. I’ve got about 300 other songs I think are better than that. I never wanted to be commercial, and suddenly ‘Brown Eyed Girl’ was making me even more commercial. The reason I wrote it was to get out of handcuffs. It was to get out of being enslaved (by Bang Records). I was never paid for ‘Brown Eyed Girl.’ (Bang) sold it to CBS, and they still aren’t paying me record royalties.” The radio stations that banned the song for the line “Making love in the green grass” would have loved Morrison’s working title: “Brown Skinned Girl.” On the business side of the house, Bang Records executive Carmine “Wassel” DeNoia was once so annoyed with Morrison’s drunken antics that he ended an evening by smashing an acoustic guitar over the singer’s head. It’s safe to say that none of the involved parties were basking in delight during the summer of love.
401. “Cinnamon Girl,” Neil Young. Songwriter: Neil Young; #55 pop; Released in 1969, peaked on the charts in 1970. Neil Young, channeling his inner Bob Dylan, “Wrote this for a city girl on peeling pavement coming at me thru Phil Ochs eyes playing finger cymbals. It was hard to explain to my wife.” Author Nigel Williamson, “The glory of ‘Cinnamon Girl’ is enhanced by the open guitar tuning in which it was written, something which Young had first used when playing on (Stephen) Stills’ composition ‘Bluebird’ on ‘Buffalo Springfield Again.’ Young, ‘We discovered this D modal tuning around the same time in 1968. That was when ragas were happening and D modal made it possible to have that droning sound going all the time. That’s where it started, only I took it to the next level, which is how ‘The Loner’ and ‘Cinnamon Girl’ happened.” This was Young’s first recording with Crazy Horse. David Crosby’s assessment of their talent, “They should’ve never been allowed to be musicians at all. They should’ve been shot at birth.” The Gentrys of “Keep on Dancing” fame, featuring lead singer and future professional wrestling manager Jimmy Hart, rush released a cover of “Cinnamon Girl” and their version peaked higher on the pop charts (#52) than Young’s original.