November 10, 2019
There are and have been tens of thousands of local bands trying to make good. Some have a modicum of talent and manage to play local clubs for years and sometimes decades. Every once in awhile, one of them makes good for one shining moment. Enter ? & The Mysterians.
Rudy Martinez was born in Mexico but grew up in Michigan. He formed his own band and wrote “Too Many Teardrops,” which would become “96 Tears.” It was a part of their live set and was the B side of their local single release “Midnight Hour.” It was “96 Tears” that began receiving airplay and the Cameo label picked it up.
“96 Tears” was a surprise national hit and reached number one for the week of October 29, 1966. ? & The Mysterians had a couple more entries into the Top 100, but by the end of the decade they had disbanded.
In 1981 rocker Garland Jeffreys took the song back to the Top 10. The renewed interest enabled Martinez to put the Mysterians back together. He and they have performed of and on since the early 1980’s.
“96 Tears” was named one of the greatest 500 songs of all time by Rolling Stone Magazine and the band was inducted into the Michigan Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame, proving that one shining moment can sometimes can last a lifetime.
November 7, 2019
The Four Tops, Levi Stubbs, Duke Fakir, Renaldo Benson, and Lawrence Payton, were a rare group that performed together 1953-1997 without anyone leaving or joining. Only Payton’s death during 1997 ended their 44 years together. Time passes and as of this writing, 83 year old Duke Faker is the only surfing member and still leads the group.
The Four Tops were part of the Motown machine and were a hit making machine during the second half of the 1960’s.
“Reach Out, I’ll Be There” was their second number one hit. October 15, 1966 was the magic day it hit number one, and there it remained for two weeks.
November 5, 2019
“Cherish” by The Association is on of those pop masterpieces that remains relevant over 50 years after its initial release.
The Association is often somewhat ignored in the history of pop music. They were primarily a singles band who placed a dozen or so songs on the Top 100 Chart. They reached number one twice and just missed when “Never My Love” topped out at number two.
Their most famous release was Cherish, issued during August of 1966. It had a quick ride to the top of the charts as it reached number one September 24, 1966, and remained there for three weeks.
As of this writing, The Association is still on the road over 50 years later.
October 30, 2019
The Supremes were in a slump. Their last two singles, “Love Is Like An Itching In My Heart” and “My World Is Empty Without You” did not reach number on. The slump ended September 10, 1968, When “You Can’t Hurry Love” reached the top of the charts for the first of two weeks. It was their 8th number one single in the United States.
By mid-1966, The Supremes were hit-making machines and helped make Motown one of the leading record labels in the world. Interesting they only had one number one in England when “Baby Love” topped the charts.
October 11, 2019
If there is such a musical category as psychedelic folk, “Sunshine Superman” would be the poster song.
Donovan Phillip Leitch produced a dozed hit singles in the late 1960’s. His “Mellow Yellow” just missed the number one spot.
His early hits “Colours,” “Catch The Wind,” and “Universal Soldier” were straight folk but with “Sunshine Superman,” he changed his style, which hit a commercial chord. It entered the Top 100, July 30 at number 90. On September 3, 1966, it reached the top of the charts for one week.
While his career would slow down in the 1970’s, his unique brand of music would lead to his induction into The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame.
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.