Thursday, February 7, 2008

Pioneers Of Rock - The Early-To Mid-Sixties

In my previous post, I tried to note some of the very early 1960's songs that were major hits, but have somehow gotten lost amidst the sheer numbers of songs that have been released throughout the years.

As I write this, I'm not working from a list of any kind. I'm just going on memory here. If something rings a bell (ding!) in the recesses of my memory, I try to find it on YouTube.

So, here is where my mind is taking me tonight:


This was the biggest selling song of 1965. 1965? Really? I wouldn't have guessed 1965. I remember hearing the song on the radio. It was catchy. I, at my tender age, didn't know what "sham" meant. So, I just figured they were real Arabian guys - hey, what did I know? I was 10 years old, for pete's sake. In hindsight, I realize that he seemed to be well versed in the English language, with nary a hint of an Arabian accent. Later, much later, I found out that "Sam" was really Domingo Samudio, from Texas. Kind of disillusioning. On a side note, the reason I don't dance anymore is because I would dance exactly like they're dancing in this video. That would kind of date me.


Well, whaddaya know? This song was from 1965! This is one of my all-time favorite songs. I even have it on my MP3 player. I saw the Vogues in concert. They played a gig at Lee's Steakhouse, in the basement (Lissa, help me out here. What was the name of the bar?) This was in the early '70's. They put on a great show, and I was very impressed. Not to digress here, but I saw a few major acts in Lee's Steakhouse basement bar. I saw the Doobie Brothers there, too. I had forgotten about that until just this minute. Admittedly, I was underage, but that's neither here nor there. Geez, I'd totally forgotten about that. I guess I saw some great shows that I didn't even know I'd seen. But back to the song at hand, did I say I love this song? I do.


Okay, this is getting a bit spooky, but apparently, this song was also released in 1965. Here'e what I remember....Shindig was on Wednesday nights. Unfortunately, I also had my accordion lessons on Wednesday nights (DAMN YOU, ACCORDION LESSONS!) The biggest stress I had at that time was that I did NOT want to miss Shindig. And the artists who I remember most vividly from Shindig were The Righteous Brothers. I'm guessing they were on there every week ~ whaddya think? The Righteous Brothers were RIGHTEOUS; there's just no two ways about it. Bill Medley, Bobby Hatfield. Back then, "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'" wasn't even my favorite Righteous Brothers song. It was "(You're My) Soul & Inspiration". Funny story......I had a birthday party when I was nine (I think). I had all my friends from school, plus my best friend, Cathy, who didn't go to my school. Some of my friends asked me what I wanted for my birthday, and I told Cathy I wanted something by Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass (I can't even remember which song it was!) and I told my friend, Debbie Fischer, that I wanted the single, "(You're My) Soul & Inspiration" by the Righteous Brothers. Well, when I opened my gifts, I made the mistake of saying, "Oh, just what I wanted!" (in reaction to the RB song), and that set off a big snit by my friend, Cathy. So, I somehow had to smooth that over. And I haven't heard from Cathy in about 43 years. I guess she really holds a grudge.


Can't actually find a live performance of this song, but it's still kinda cool watching the guy put the record on his turntable (ummm... what's a turntable?) Ha ha - I'm just kidding. This song was NOT from 1965, so that's a plus. I like this one. It reminds me of those JFK years, when my brother was trying to tell me what to think and what was what, and I blindly went along, because I was just a kid. And we were all gung ho about going into space, for whatever reason, but I just liked the song.


I couldn't NOT acknowledge Sam Cooke here. Everyone seems to have forgotten him. That's a real travesty. He was a SUPERB artist. This is not the video I would have chosen, but it's one of the few that actually shows a live performance by Sam. I think we would do well to not forget Sam Cooke. If Sam was alive today, we'd probably all be swooning over his songs. As is, it's good to remind people of what a unique talent he was.


This hit song, from 1963, was produced by Quincy Jones. Yes, THAT Quincy Jones, who also produced Michael Jackson. Lesley does a fine job lip-syncing here, despite the distraction of the dancers, who are over-dancing, if that is a word. I like, though, that the guys on the dance floor are all wearing suits and ties. You just don't see that anymore. Very respectful. Their moms told them to dress up. This created resentment in later years, so they all let their hair grow out and they got tangled up in the drug world of Haight-Ashbury. They are now all mortgage brokers. Just a bit of trivia and follow-up.

I like to end my posts with something special. Here is something special:


My stance has always been this: This is the quintessential rock and roll song. If one was forced to choose one song that represented rock music, I feel this would be the ideal choice.

So, onwards and upwards. There are many songs and artists yet to explore.

P.S. I had originally included Gary Lewis & The Playboys in this post, but some moron deleted the video from YouTube.

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