Monday, March 27, 2017
The Ames Brothers were quite the popular vocal group in the 1940's and 50's. Like so many others, the hits dried up when rock and roll came along. Ed Ames then got into acting, most notably portraying Mingo, the Native American on "Daniel Boone." This was his biggest solo record, and he just nails it at the end! He had an appearance on "The Tonight Show" bordering on immortality. Johnny Carson thought it was a cutting edge gig for sure. BTW, Ed really WAS Jewish.
Although this was the only hit single for Buffalo Springfield, the band's influence went much deeper. Their members included Stephen Stills, Neil Young, Richie Furay (later with Poco) and Jim Messina (later with Poco and Kenny Loggins). This was a protest song, but not against the Vietnam War - it was written by Stills about a disturbance regarding the closing of a nightclub on the Sunset Strip called Pandora's Box. This was included on the "Forrest Gump" soundtrack.
Sunday, March 26, 2017
"Every time you kiss me, hits me like a punch." These lyrics with such deep meaning were from the latest record by Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels. The band had one more Top 40 tune before their producer Bob Crewe talked Mitch into going solo, whereupon the group broke up soon afterward.
First released by a pre-teen sibling group from Ohio called Gary and the Hornets (picture the Jonas Brothers without the Disney propaganda machine) but Herman's Hermits far overshadowed that version. Better marketing, I guess. By now, their producer Mickie Most worked essentially with Peter Noone alongside top British session musicians. This would be the Hermits' last US Top 10 record.
Saturday, March 25, 2017
Like the 1961 version by the Shirelles, the Mamas and the Papas took this to the Top 5 as well, their fifth such record. It was the first A-side where Michelle Phillips took the primary female lead instead of Mama Cass Elliot. And like the Turtles record we just featured, it's been used a lot in advertising over the years. The song was even featured in a 90's episode of "Knots Landing," the prime time TV soap that starred Michelłe.
Two-fers for the next seven days! The Turtles started out as a surf rock band called the Crossfires. When that group broke up, vocalists Howard Kaylan and Mark Volman tried to ride whatever musical wave happened to be cresting at the moment. Here, they certainly hit upon the sunshine pop style of light, breezy, sunny rock, as this was their only #1 record. It has been used in countless TV commercials since.
Friday, March 24, 2017
There may never be another song so closely associated with a performer than this tune was with Ray Charles. Written in 1930 by Hoagy Carmichael and Stuart Gorrell, there have been literally hundreds of other versions (and Willie Nelson's is just GREAT!), but there is no question who had the definitive recording. Ray took this to #1 on the pop charts in November 1960. He performed it before the Georgia State Assembly in 1979; a month later, it was named the state song. One for the ages.