October 8, 2014
There are niche releases and then there are niche releases. If you are a fan of Annette Funicello or the Beach Party series of movies released during the 1960’s, then this CD reissue will bring back some memories. If not, then this 25 minute soundtrack with no bonus material will probably have little appeal.
Released in 1965, How To Stuff A Wild Bikini was the sixth of seven Beach Party movies. Annette was four months pregnant and Frankie Avalon only made several cameo appearances. Dwayne Hickman of Dobie Gillis fame stood in as the male lead. The movie was a commercial failure and the soundtrack with songs by Annette, Mickey Rooney, Harvey Lembeck, and The Kingsmen was among the weakest in the series.
One of the problems is Mickey Rooney and Harvey Lembeck, who played the character Eric Von Zipper, really couldn’t sing and their four songs comprise one-third of the soundtrack.
The best track is “If It’s Gonna Happen” by Lu Ann Simms, who was best known for her time as a regular on the 1950’s Arthur Godfrey Show. She has a strong pop voice that propels the song along, plus it stands out among the tracks that surround it.
There are two Annette tracks for her fans. “The Perfect Boy” and “Better Be Ready” are the typical type of inoffensive light weight pop that she tended to produce. Both tracks are among the more difficult to find in her catalogue of material.
The album ends with two tracks by The Kingsmen of “Louie Louie” fame. Their inclusion was probably due to the fact that the original album was released on the Wand label to which they were signed at the time. They may not have been the most talented band of the era but they had a gritty type garage sound that was perfect for parties. “Give Her Lovin’” and “How So Stuff A Wild Bikini” are far different from the rest of the soundtrack as they are rock and roll tracks. It may be a sixties sound but at least it was a good 1960’s sound.
It all comes back to the niche. If you are a fan, then this long out of print album will be a treat. So, if you have too then … KOWABONGA
April 19, 2013
Long after their series of BEACH PARTY films had run their course and before they reunited for BACK TO THE BEACH, Frankie and Annette issued the single, “(Together We Can Make A) Merry Christmas.”
While it received no chart action and little airplay, it was a nostalic blast from the past from the two 1950s and 1960s icons. It was simple-minded fun and sometimes that is enough.
March 21, 2013
Annette Funicello will always be remembered for her time on the original MICKEY MOUSE CLUB television show and as the star of the series of BEACH PARTY movies. What is sometimes forgotten is that she released 15 albums and dozens of singles. Oddly, despite her being a huge star, her records were only moderately successful. Ten of her singles managed to chart on the BILLBOARD MAGAZINE Hot 100 but only four reached the top 20.
“Indian Giver” was representative of her music as it was a light weight pop tune with simple lyrics and melody. Many of her single releases came with a picture sleeve but few so hokey as the one pictured here.
Annette the televisio starn and movie actor was symbolic of an era while Annette the singer remains an after thought. Still, many of her releases remain collectable with the legion of fans that have stuck with her through the years.
January 22, 2013
Annette Funicello became a star during the last half of the 1950s when she was a mouseketeer on the Disney television series, THE MICKEY MOUSE CLUB. During the early 1960s she starred in a series of popular BEACH PARTY movies.
During these two periods of her career, she had a series of songs reach the BILLBOARD MAGAZINE Pop Singles Chart. “O Dio Mio” was typical of her sound as it was bright and catchy light weight pop. It reached number 10 on the Pop Singles Chart during early 1960.
She would place 10 songs on the Singles Chart, 1959-1961.
January 22, 2012
Annette Funicello was a teen and pre-teen idol of the 1950s as one of the star os THE MICkEY MOUSE CLUB. She went on to star with Frankie Avalon in the series of BEACH PARTY movies.
“Teenage Wedding” was released during 1962 just when Annette was turning 20 years old. It did not chart but the picture sleeve was a classic.
January 19, 2012
The young Frankie Avalon will be a late-night TV star, probably forever, as the star of the sereis of BEACH PARTY movies with Annette Funicello.
He was one of the teen idols of the Pre-Beatles era in the United States placing 24 singles on the BILLBOARD NAGAZINE Pop Singles Chart, 1958-1962.
“Bobby Sox To Stockings” was the follow-up single to his biggest hit “Venus.” Released May 25, 1959, it reached number eight on the charts.
His music is considered light weight pop today but it was very representative of late 1950s and early 1960s pop, which dominated the charts.
September 29, 2011
Annette Funicello became a teen or pre-teen idol during her time with The Mickey Mouse Club during the 1950s. She continued her idol status during the 1960s as the star of the series of BEACH PARTY movies.
In between, 1959-1961, she established a credible singing career, recording a number of albums, plus placing 10 singles on the BILLBOARD MAGAZINE Pop Singles Chart.
“Lonely Guitar” was not her biggst hit as it only reached number 50 during its 11 weeks on the Pop Singles Charts, yet it contained one of her better vocals.
The picture sleeve showed Annette just between being a teenager and a woman. It spoke to millions of late 1950s teenagers who were also growing up at the time.