July 21, 2019
The Lovin’ Spoonful’s entrance into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame was based on their series of smooth and polished fusion of folk and pop singles. Top ten songs such as “Do You Believe In Magic,” “You Didn’t Have To Be So Nice,” “Daydream.” and “Did You Ever Have To Make Up Your Mind” were perfect radio fare during the mid-1960’s. The last two songs reached number two on the Top 100 Chart.
The band went in a different direction with their fifth single. “Summer In The City” was a gritty, mostly rock song complete with traffic sounds. It proved to be their most popular song and only number one.
“Summer In The City” reached the top of the charts August 13, 1966, and there it remained for three weeks. It is a half-century plus song that holds up well.
June 2, 2019
“Wild Thing” is one of those songs that is so simple that thousands of local bands have included it in their sets. Even Reg Presley, the lead singer of the British band, The Troggs, thought it was overly simplistic.
The Troggs quickly found out that simple is best, at least in America, as “Wild Thing” reached number on the Billboard Top 100, July 30, 1966, and remained there for two weeks. Their only other top ten hit was the beautiful ballad, “Love Is All Around,” which proved they were not a one track pony.
The oddity of their number one song was both the Fontana and Atco labels had the band signed to contracts, so both released the song as a single. It was the only number one song to be released on two different labels.
May 12, 2019
“Hanky Panky” was written by the legendary song writing duo of Jeff Barry and Ellie Greenwich as a throwaway B side in 1963. Tommy James and The Shondells released the song while in high school and it became a regional hit in the upper mid-west during 1964. It never broke out nationally and the band members went their separate ways.
The lights went back on in 1966 when a Pittsburgh disc jockey found an old copy of the record and began playing it regularly and the rest is, as they say, history. James had to form a completely new version of the Shondells.
It reached number one July 16. 1966 and remained at the top of the charts for two weeks.
It may have been an amateurish release but better times were ahead for Tommy James and The Shondells and they went on to become one of the better singles bands of the late 1960’s and early 1970’s.
The band did make one mistake as they turned down an invite to perform at Woodstock, although “Hanky Panky” being performed at the festival boggles the mind.
December 29, 2018
Frank Sinatra was “the” teen idol to what was called the “Bobby Soxer” crowd during the 1940’s.
Sinatra had not had a number one song in over a decade when “Strangers In The Night” hit the tops of the charts for the week of July 2, 1966.
“Strangers In The Night” was originally an instrumental written and recorded by German orchestra leader Bert Kaempfert. English lyrics were later added.
It was said that Sinatra did not like the song but nonetheless it helped him re-establish himself as a major artist.
December 27, 2018
The Rolling Stones topped the Billboard Hot 100 for the third time when “Paint It Black” reached number one on June 11, 1966, for a two week stay.
It was and remains one of the more ominous songs in their catalogue. What really made the song unique, hover, was the use of a sitar buy Brian Jones as the lead instrument. It was a fusion of western rock with eastern music.
Jagger and Richard were now producing more original material, which in turn would allow The Rolling Stones to assume the title of the world’s greatest rock and roll band.
May 15, 2018
If you want a quick lesson in what soul music is all about; “When A Man Loves A Woman” by Percy Sledge is a place to start.
The song has sparse instrumentation with Sledge pouring out his heart over the top.
It debuted on the Billboard hot 100 April 9. Seven weeks later it was number one for the first of two weeks. It would prove to be double hit as it topped the R&B chart as well.
He would never have another top ten pop hit, but his one huge hit was eternal.
January 5, 2018
“Monday Monday” reached number on the Billboard Magazine Top 100 on May 7, 1966 for the first of three weeks.
John Phillips had the ability as a producer to combine his own voice with that of Mama Cass, Denny Doherty, and Michelle Phillips into a virtual pop choir.
Safely ensconced in the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame, “Monday Monday” was their first and only number one song and one of the smoothest performances in pop history,