1,000 Greatest Songs of the 1960s – 910 to 901

Written by | December 15, 2017 6:12 | No Comments

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Do you like good music?  That sweet soul music.

 

910.  “Crying in the Rain,” The Everly Brothers.  Songwriters:  Howard Greenfield, Carole King; # 6 pop; 1962.  The Everly Brothers were raised in Shenandoah, Iowa and performed on their father’s radio program when they were children.  In their late teens, the family moved to Tennessee and family friend Chet Atkins assisted The Everly Brothers in getting their first two record deals.  The Brill Building composition “Crying in the Rain” was released while Don and Phil Everly were in the Marine Corps and it was their penultimate Top Ten single.  “Crying in the Rain” is a lyric that could easily lend itself to dramatic overstatement, but The Everly Brothers knew the magic was in their harmonies, not histrionics.  Paul McCartney, “Phil Everly was one of my great heroes.  With his brother Don they were one of the major influences on The Beatles. When John and I first started to write songs, I was Phil and he was Don.”

 

909.  “Judy in Disguise (with Glasses),” John Fred and His Playboy Band  Songwriters: John Fred Gourrier, Andrew Bernard; #1 pop; 1967.  John Fred Gourrier, the son of professional baseball player Fred Gourrier, started performing in high school bands.  It’s been often reported that John Fred turned down a shot to appear on “American Bandstand” in 1959, to promote his minor national hit “Shirley,” because of high school basketball commitments.  During 1967, John Fred had another minor hit with the bubblegum psychedelia of “Agnes English,” then topped the charts with his lemonade pies/cantaloupe eyes Beatles parody “Judy in Disguise (with Glasses),” an obvious spoof of “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds.”  John Fred, “John Lennon thought it was great.  He said the first thing he was going to do when he got home was write a song called ‘Froggy in a Pond with Spectacles.’”

 

908.  “I Want You to Have Everything,” Lee Rogers.  Songwriters:  Mike Hanks, Clara Bell # 17 R&B; 1964.  The Detroit label D-Town, obviously named as a reference to Motown, was owned by Mike Hanks who went into business after installing a recording studio in his kitchen.  The label operated from 1963 to 1966 and their catalogue includes a few singles by The Staple Singers in the mid-1960s, as well as then NFL player Roosevelt Grier’s romantic lament “Pizza Pie Man.”  “I Want You to Have Everything” by Lee Rogers is a replication of the type of material that Marvin Gaye was releasing at the time with much more primitive production values. Rogers recorded from 1962 to 1976 on small independent labels, only reaching the charts with this single.

 

907.  “Who Knows Where the Time Goes?”, Fairport Convention.  Songwriter:  Sandy Denny; Did Not Chart; 1969.  Fairport Convention formed in the U.K. in 1967 and is credited with bringing traditional British folk music into a contemporary rock context.  Sandy Denny joined the group after the release of their debut album, adding a distinctive voice and another gifted songwriter to the band.  The Denny composition “Who Knows Where the Time Goes?” is a melancholy ballad contemplating the mysteries of life and love.  Guitar whiz Richard Thompson shows more taste than ego, allowing the spotlight to remain on Denny’s fragile, yet beautiful, voice throughout the song.

 

906.  “Get on Up,” The Esquires.  Songwriters: Johnny Taylor, Gilbert Moorer, Bill Sheppard; #11 pop/#3 R&B; 1967.  The Esquires were a Milwaukee vocal group who had been performing in various incarnations for a decade before hitting the national scene with“Get on Up.”  The single sounded somewhat like The Impressions recording at Stax.  Ken Shane of Popdose, “’Get on Up’ by the Esquires was a huge record on the Atlantic City Boardwalk in the summer of 1967.  It was a perfect song for the a cappella groups that lived for the echo, with its dynamic bass and outstanding group harmonies.  It seemed like everyone in town was singing it all the time.”  The Esquires hit the R&B Top Ten quickly on the heels of “Get on Up” with “And Go Away” (put the two titles together for a theme) and ended their recording career in 1976.

 

905.  “Black is Black,” Los Bravos.  Songwriters:  Michelle Grainger, Tony Hayes, Steve Wadey; #4 pop; 1966.  Los Bravos was a Spanish quintet, brought to the United States by Decca Records.  Their sound wasn’t unfamiliar to AM music fans, since the lyrics were in English and lead singer Mike Kogel had a vocal style similar to Gene Pitney.  The heartbreak doesn’t sound convincing on “Black is Black,” but the performance is incredibly sharp, thanks to top rate session men including the future guiding light of The Mahavishnu Orchestra, John McLaughlin.  Los Bravos had a second hit in the U.K., peaking at #16 with “I Don’t Care” in 1966, then disbanded in 1968.  Frontman Mike Kogel played the role of “hippie guy” in the 1971 Italian film “A Lizard in a Women’s Skin.”  Avoid the dog scene on YouTube.

 

904.  “Don’t Hang Up,” The Orlons.  Songwriters:  Dave Appell, Kal Mann; #4 pop/#3 R&B; 1962.  The Orlons were a Philadelphia high school R&B vocal group who signed with Cameo-Parkway Records in the early 1960s.  Contributing to the dance fad craze of that time, they provided backing vocals on the Dee Dee Sharp 1962 #2 pop hit “Mashed Potato Time,” then had their own #2 pop hit that year with “The Wah-Watusi.”  “Don’t Hang Up,” an upbeat number about teen relationship angst was the second of the act’s three Top Five singles (“South Street” peaked at #3 in 1963).  Whoever performed the studio saxophone work on “Don’t Hang Up” could have righteously wailed if it had been his job to do so.  The Orlons disbanded in 1968 and lead singer Rosetta Hightower became a session singer, working with Joe Cocker and John Lennon, among others.

 

903.  “Expressway to Your Heart,” Soul Survivors.  Songwriters: Kenny Gamble, Leon Huff; #4 pop/#3 R&B; 1967.  The Soul Survivors were three white boys from New York who sang R&B material.  A move to Philadelphia created a connection with Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff, who had their first hit record with “Expressway to Your Heart,” sounding more like The Rascals than the smooth soul music that would become their forte.  Kenny Gamble, “I was on my way over to see a young lady, and the expressway was backed up. This is when they just started the expressway in 1967 – I was sitting there for what seemed like hours, so I started beating on the dashboard and singing, ‘Expressway to your heart, trying to get to you.’ Songs come from your imagination. You have to be quick to capture the moment.”  The Soul Survivors had a minor 1967 Top 40 followup hit with the inept “Expressway” soundalike “Explosion in Your Soul,” then faded away from the airwaves.

 

902.  “Little Deuce Coupe,” The Beach Boys.  Songwriters: Brian Wilson, Roger Christian; #4 pop; 1963.  Roger Christian was a California radio personality who became a songwriting partner with Brian Wilson, primarily because of his comprehensive knowledge of automobiles.

Christien, “Everyone wanted a 1932 Force Coupe because they had great lines, and you could make street rods out of them that looked so pretty. Nowadays, most people don’t know what they look like, but if you saw ‘American Graffiti,’ you saw a beauty. The yellow hot-rod the cowboy drove? That was a deuce coupe.”  Christian kept a notebook of poems and Brian Wilson wrote “Little Deuce Coupe” based upon Christin’s lyrics.  Wilson’s personal touch was adding the line, “And, one more thing, I got the pink-slip, daddy,” a reference to drag racing.  This was the first Beach Boys record that included session drummer Hal Blaine.

 

901.  “Sweet Soul Music,” Arthur Conley.  Songwriters:  Sam Cooke, Arthur Conley, Otis Redding; #2 pop/#2 R&B; 1967.  Sam Cooke was murdered in December of 1964, an inconvenient reality for RCA who still had product to push.  In early 1965, RCA released the “Shake” album, a collection of unreleased tracks from the previous six years.  Two years later, Otis Redding and Arthur Conley rewrote the lyrics of the posthumous Sam Cooke track “Yeah Man” as the R&B homage “Sweet Soul Music.”  Showing the depth of that era, danceable shout outs were given to The Miracles, Lou Rawls, Sam and Dave, Wilson Pickett, Otis Redding and James Brown.  The attention getting horn intro was cribbed from Elmer Bernstein’s score from the 1960 movie “The Magnificent Seven.”  Conley had another Top Twenty hit with the upbeat soul of “Funky Street” in 1968.  He later moved to Europe and had a second career using the name “Lee Roberts.”  There is some speculation that Conley changed his location and identity looking for a more acceptable culture as a gay man.

Do you like good music? That sweet soul music.

910. “Crying in the Rain,” The Everly Brothers. Songwriters: Howard Greenfield, Carole King; # 6 pop; 1962. The Everly Brothers were raised in Shenandoah, Iowa and performed on their father’s radio program when they were children. In their late teens, the family moved to Tennessee and family friend Chet Atkins assisted The Everly Brothers in getting their first two record deals. The Brill Building composition “Crying in the Rain” was released while Don and Phil Everly were in the Marine Corps and it was their penultimate Top Ten single. “Crying in the Rain” is a lyric that could easily lend itself to dramatic overstatement, but The Everly Brothers knew the magic was in their harmonies, not histrionics. Paul McCartney, “Phil Everly was one of my great heroes. With his brother Don they were one of the major influences on The Beatles. When John and I first started to write songs, I was Phil and he was Don.”

909. “Judy in Disguise (with Glasses),” John Fred and His Playboy Band Songwriters: John Fred Gourrier, Andrew Bernard; #1 pop; 1967. John Fred Gourrier, the son of professional baseball player Fred Gourrier, started performing in high school bands. It’s been often reported that John Fred turned down a shot to appear on “American Bandstand” in 1959, to promote his minor national hit “Shirley,” because of high school basketball commitments. During 1967, John Fred had another miner hit with the bubblegum psychedelia of “Agnes English,” then topped the charts with his lemonade pies/cantaloupe eyes Beatles parody “Judy in Disguise (with Glasses),” an obvious spoof of “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds.” John Fred, “John Lennon thought it was great. He said the first thing he was going to do when he got home was write a song called ‘Froggy in a Pond with Spectacles.’”

908. “I Want You to Have Everything,” Lee Rogers. Songwriters: Mike Hanks, Clara Bell # 17 R&B; 1964. The Detroit label D-Town, obviously named as a reference to Motown, was owned by Mike Hanks who went into business after installing a recording studio in his kitchen. The label operated from 1963 to 1966 and their catalogue includes a few singles by The Staple Singers in the mid-1960s, as well as then NFL player Roosevelt Grier’s romantic lament “Pizza Pie Man.” “I Want You to Have Everything” by Lee Rogers is a replication of the type of material that Marvin Gaye was releasing at the time with much more primitive production values. Rogers recorded from 1962 to 1976 on small independent labels, only reaching the charts with this single.

907. “Who Knows Where the Time Goes?”, Fairport Convention. Songwriter: Sandy Denny; Did Not Chart; 1969. Fairport Convention formed in the U.K. in 1967 and is credited with bringing traditional British folk music into a contemporary rock context. Sandy Denny joined the group after the release of their debut album, adding a distinctive voice and another gifted songwriter to the band. The Denny composition “Who Knows Where the Time Goes?” is a melancholy ballad contemplating the mysteries of life and love. Guitar whiz Richard Thompson shows more taste than ego, allowing the spotlight to remain on Denny’s fragile, yet beautiful, voice throughout the song.

906. “Get on Up,” The Esquires. Songwriters: Johnny Taylor, Gilbert Moorer, Bill Sheppard; #11 pop/#3 R&B; 1967. The Esquires were a Milwaukee vocal group who had been performing in various incarnations for a decade before hitting the national scene with “Get on Up.” The single sounded somewhat like The Impressions recording at Stax. Ken Shane of Popdose, “’Get on Up’ by the Esquires was a huge record on the Atlantic City Boardwalk in the summer of 1967. It was a perfect song for the a cappella groups that lived for the echo, with its dynamic bass and outstanding group harmonies. It seemed like everyone in town was singing it all the time.” The Esquires hit the R&B Top Ten quickly on the heels of “Get on Up” with “And Go Away” (put the two titles together for a theme) and ended their recording career in 1976.

905. “Black is Black,” Los Bravos. Songwriters: Michelle Grainger, Tony Hayes, Steve Wadey; #4 pop; 1966. Los Bravos was a Spanish quintet, brought to the United States by Decca Records. Their sound wasn’t unfamiliar to AM music fans, since the lyrics were in English and lead singer Mike Kogel had a vocal style similar to Gene Pitney. The heartbreak doesn’t sound convincing on “Black is Black,” but the performance is incredibly sharp, thanks to top rate session men including the future guiding light of The Mahavishnu Orchestra, John McLaughlin. Los Bravos had a second hit in the U.K., peaking at #16 with “I Don’t Care” in 1966, then disbanded in 1968. Frontman Mike Kogel played the role of “hippie guy” in the 1971 Italian film “A Lizard in a Women’s Skin.” Avoid the dog scene on YouTube.

904. “Don’t Hang Up,” The Orlons. Songwriters: Dave Appell, Kal Mann; #4 pop/#3 R&B; 1962. The Orlons were a Philadelphia high school R&B vocal group who signed with Cameo-Parkway Records in the early 1960s. Contributing to the dance fad craze of that time, they provided backing vocals on the Dee Dee Sharp 1962 #2 pop hit “Mashed Potato Time,” then had their own #2 pop hit that year with “The Wah-Watusi.” “Don’t Hang Up,” an upbeat number about teen relationship angst was the second of the act’s three Top Five singles (“South Street” peaked at #3 in 1963). Whoever performed the studio saxophone work on “Don’t Hang Up” could have righteously wailed if it had been his job to do so. The Orlons disbanded in 1968 and lead singer Rosetta Hightower became a session singer, working with Joe Cocker and John Lennon, among others.

903. “Expressway to Your Heart,” Soul Survivors. Songwriters: Kenny Gamble, Leon Huff; #4 pop/#3 R&B; 1967. The Soul Survivors were three white boys from New York who sang R&B material. A move to Philadelphia created a connection with Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff, who had their first hit record with “Expressway to Your Heart,” sounding more like The Rascals than the smooth soul music that would become their forte. Kenny Gamble, “I was on my way over to see a young lady, and the expressway was backed up. This is when they just started the expressway in 1967 – I was sitting there for what seemed like hours, so I started beating on the dashboard and singing, ‘Expressway to your heart, trying to get to you.’ Songs come from your imagination. You have to be quick to capture the moment.” The Soul Survivors had a minor 1967 Top 40 followup hit with the inept “Expressway” soundalike “Explosion in Your Soul,” then faded away from the airwaves.

902. “Little Deuce Coupe,” The Beach Boys. Songwriters: Brian Wilson, Roger Christian; #4 pop; 1963. Roger Christian was a California radio personality who became a songwriting partner with Brian Wilson, primarily because of his comprehensive knowledge of automobiles.

Christien, “Everyone wanted a 1932 Force Coupe because they had great lines, and you could make street rods out of them that looked so pretty. Nowadays, most people don’t know what they look like, but if you saw ‘American Graffiti,’ you saw a beauty. The yellow hot-rod the cowboy drove? That was a deuce coupe.” Christian kept a notebook of poems and Brian Wilson wrote “Little Deuce Coupe” based upon Christin’s lyrics. Wilson’s personal touch was adding the line, “And, one more thing, I got the pink-slip, daddy,” a reference to drag racing. This was the first Beach Boys record that included session drummer Hal Blaine.

901. “Sweet Soul Music,” Arthur Conley. Songwriters: Sam Cooke, Arthur Conley, Otis Redding; #2 pop/#2 R&B; 1967. Sam Cooke was murdered in December of 1964, an inconvenient reality for RCA who still had product to push. In early 1965, RCA released the “Shake” album, a collection of unreleased tracks from the previous six years. Two years later, Otis Redding and Arthur Conley rewrote the lyrics of the posthumous Sam Cooke track “Yeah Man” as the R&B homage “Sweet Soul Music.” Showing the depth of that era, danceable shout outs were given to The Miracles, Lou Rawls, Sam and Dave, Wilson Pickett, Otis Redding and James Brown. The attention getting horn intro was cribbed from Elmer Bernstein’s score from the 1960 movie “The Magnificent Seven.” Conley had another Top Twenty hit with the upbeat soul of “Funky Street” in 1968. He later moved to Europe and had a second career using the name “Lee Roberts.” There is some speculation that Conley changed his location and identity looking for a more acceptable culture as a gay man.

 

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