Sometimes you starve for years before success happens. Sometimes you catch a lucky break. And sometimes your millionaire dad from Dallas owns a record label, as it was with Jon Abdnor, half of the one-hit wonder duo Jon and Robin. Written by Wayne Carson Thompson, who also wrote "The Letter" for the Box Tops.
Saturday, June 24, 2017
The first hit for Spanky and Our Gang - the band, not the kids from those 20's and 30's Hollywood shorts, though lead singer Elaine McFarlane took her nickname from one of those little rascals. The song was offered to the Mamas and the Papas, and to the Left Banke, but both groups passed on it. Their loss.
Friday, June 23, 2017
Two days before the Beatles started their first world tour in 1964, Ringo developed tonsillitis. Rather than postpone any gigs, Jimmie Nicol was brought in last-minute for the first few shows until Ringo rejoined them 10 days later. Paul would ask Jimmie how he was dealing with the sudden fame. He always replied, "It's getting better," and that little exchange led to this "Sgt. Pepper" track. Michael Jackson eventually obtained the rights to most of the Beatles catalog (though he still almost went broke) and this song was licensed for a Phillips lighting ad in 1999. Video is Paul doing the track live.
Thursday, June 22, 2017
The Five Americans started out as the Mutineers, a frat party band at Southeastern Oklahoma State University. They moved to Dallas and hooked up with Dale Hawkins (original singer of "Susie Q") as their producer. The band broke up in 1969 amid questions over how their finances were administered. Seems like that happened a lot.
Wednesday, June 21, 2017
Second only to the Temptations, the Four Tops were Motown's biggest male vocal group, due in no small part to the songwriting/production team of Holland-Dozier-Holland. This was the ninth Top 20 pop record for the Tops written by H-D-H, who soon left the label in a dispute over profit sharing and royalties.
Tuesday, June 20, 2017
Here's one from Tommy James and the Shondells that came about as the result of a happy accident. They were at the studio when co-producer Bo Gentry accidentally loaded a tape of their previous single, "I Think We're Alone Now" backwards on the reel-to-reel. The group liked it, and "Mirage" was pretty much written on the spot as it sounds like "Alone Now" turned inside out.
Monday, June 19, 2017
David Ruffin was featured once again here on lead for the mighty Temptations. By now, he had become aloof from the rest of the Temps, taking a separate mink-lined limo to the gigs, and also developed a pronounced cocaine habit. Ruffin demanded that he receive top billing in the manner of Diana Ross and Smokey Robinson. He didn't get top billing, and was eventually dismissed from the group.