Sunday, May 15, 2011

Top 40 from Mid May, 1967--From the Bottom Up

I used to listen to the top 40 countdown--actually, the KFRC Big 30--and now, with SiriusXM Channel 6, you can do it again. My goal tonight is to listen to a period that was very important to me--from the bottom up. You see, you often hear the top 10 songs, but numbers 35-40 may have disappeared from the airwaves since they dropped off the survey. Those are the ones I want.

Here goes:

40. Every Mother's Son--Come On Down to My Boat. Well, this was a big hit later from this one-hit wonder band.

39. Yellow Balloon - Yellow Balloon. One of my favorite songs of all time. Sort of a Beach Boys sound with rich vocal harmonies and a bouncy 4/4 beat--with 3/4 bridge. By Dean Torrance (of Jan and Dean), which is why it sounds like Southern California in the 60's.

38. Jon & Robin and In Crowd - Do It Again A Little Bit Slower. A little corny... I've heard this a few times recently but didn't know it was from this particular period. Definitely pop--not rock.

37. Otis Redding and Carla Thomas - Tramp. The Stax sound makes it into the Pop chart. Very funky and cool--with their conversation back and forth. "I got six Cadillacs..." So different from "Sitting on the Dock of Bay" from less than a year later.

36. Booker T. and the MGs - Hip Hug-Her. More funky beats. No wonder I love playing the bass. This instrumental has all the greatness of this band. I can see the guy's Fender bass in the photo of the album cover on SiriusXM. Remember it well.

35. Dionne Warwick - Alfie. This song is timeless and is heard often today. From the movie of the same name with Michael Caine. I love Dionne Warwick and have her greatest hits on my iPod.

34. Jerry Jaye - My Girl Josephine. Originally done by Fats Domino in 1960! I don't remember EVER hearing this.

33. The Tokens - Portrait of My Love. The last song by the Tokens. Originally done in 1960 by Matt Monro. The Tokens are known for the big hit "The Lion Sleeps Tonight from years earlier. This didn't move up the chart much, I think. Has a Four Seasons sound to it--lots of trumpets.

32. Lou Rawls - Dead End Street. Very cool. I remember it. "The almight hulk--Mr. Wind." He narrates his way into it. Haven't heard it for a long street. It sounds MUCH better on satellite radio than on my old Panasonic AM six-transistor radio. A Grammy winner.

31. Marvelettes - When You're Young and In Love. Motown. This is one of the ones you never hear anymore. It has the sound of the Funk Brothers, just like so many songs by the Supremes, Four Tops, Marvin Gaye, Smokey Robinson....

30. Turtles - She'd Rather Be With Me. I'm very familiar with this one. It charted higher, I'm sure. This is the year that the group's Happy Together rose to number 1. These guys are the epitome of 1967 pop music.

29. Monkees - A Little Bit, A Little Bit You. A Neil Diamond-penned song, like I'm a Believer. Don Kirshner wanted another hit. I remember it well, but it somehow isn't as good as I'm a Believer. Davy takes the lead. I think Pleasant Valley Sunday--possibly my favorite Monkees song--followed shortly after.

28. Tommy James & the Shondells. I Think We're Alone Now. Very poppy. This one gets played frequently today on the oldies stations. It has a heartbeat in it in the middle. Lots of bass and tambourine. It was on its way down from a higher placement.

27. Parade - Sunshine Girl. Another of my special favorites. Great bass playing. More Southern California happy sound. I hear an oboe! This kind of song disappeared not long afterwards. A bit like the Association.

26. James & Bobby Purify. Shake a Tail Feather. Oh, so funky. "The boogaloo is outa sight!" The bass player is earning his money on this one. Huge energy in this one.

25. Herb Alpert - Casino Royale. An instrumental. I remember it--it's from the movie (which I didn't see). I don't think I've heard this in decades, though. Sounds pretty cool in stereo.

24. Eric Burdon and the Animals. When I was Young. This echoed through my adolescent consciousness. Of course, his youth (in the song) was precocious and intense--I was a nervous suburbanite. I felt this one in my guts.

23. Mitch Ryder & Detroit Wheels. Too Many Fish in the Sea... Other songs of his--and the Marvelettes' version of the first half of this medley--are more frequently played. I'm not sure I remember this. Exhausting--whew. Cool lead and bass part, of course.

22. Lovin' Spoonful - Six O'Clock - Another of my favorites. I heard this one over and over. It starts out with a high bass part. Now I realize what that is. Much of the same sound as "Summer in the City."

21. Dave Clark 5 - You've Got What It Takes. This was originally recorded by another artist in 1959. It's a surprising cover--updated. I remember it well, but didn't love it like, say, Nos. 22, 27 and 39 above. This was the group's last hit.
20. Whistling Jack Smith - I Was Kaiser Bill's Batman. What an oddball instrumental this was. But it was everpresent in it's day. Hey--Where's the Rock and Roll I remember?

19. The Who - Happy Jack. It was the Who's first big song in America. It was like nothing else at the time. Bum Bum Bum Bum went John Entwistle's bass.

18. The Temptations - All I Need. This is the 1967 sound of the group, but I don't think you hear this one near as often as some of their others. It doesn't carry any associations for me--just the sweet Motown Funk Brothers sound itself.

17. Hollies - On a Carousel. I liked this one pretty well. Young Graham Nash is the lead singer. Good solid bass part; I think he's using a pick.

16. Easybeats - Friday on My Mind. Another of my favorites. A group from Australia. I mentioned this song in a blog post recently. Great ringing guitars and lots of energy.

15. Peaches & Herb - Close Your Eyes. This song sounds old--in 6/8 time--like the 1950's--when it was originally recorded by another artist. Sweet, romantic, but after the Easybeats, I feel sleepy. They take a deep breath in the middle of the song.

14. The Tremeloes - Here Comes My Baby. This was written by Cat Stevens (I just learned). Peppy--sounds like it recorded in one take with no overdubs. "Ha Ha Ha."

13. Jefferson Airplane - Somebody To Love. Oh my--this song changed my life. The Airplane were local San Francisco heroes and altered the sound of pop music. Grace Slick's voice was incredible. This stood out of the survey then--and still does. And Jack Cassidy's bass...

12. Tommy James & the Shondells. Mirage. I don't remember this one as well as I Think We're Alone Now but it really sounds like 1967. I like that.

11. Frank & Nancy Sinatra - Something Stupid. This was EVERYWHERE. Nancy and Dad didn't sing much together. Sweet and pretty--but sounds pretty dated. It was on top of the Easy Listening Chart at the same time--no surprise.

10. Buckinghams - Don't You Care. I like to sing along with this one. These guys had a huge hit with Kind of a Drag, and in 1968, Susan. This has the Chicago horn sound. The singing sounds like Neil Diamond to me in the middle. Lots of vocal harmonies.
We're in the top 10 now -- these will all be huge hits, I assume... Let's see...

9. Neil Diamond - Girl You'll Be a Woman Soon. This is another one I loved then. It was Neil's 2nd top 10 song. Still pretty simple, pretty production. The old "you're too young" theme.

8. Paul Revere & the Raiders - Him or Me. This one rocks, in a 1967 kind of way. It sounds like it was produced by the same folks who brought us Monkees songs.

7. Mamas and the Papa's - Creeque Alley. This got lots of airplay. It mentions members of the Byrds and Lovin Spoonful. I found the story kind of annoying, but it sounds friendly and familiar. I have no idea where Creeque Alley is. Michelle Philips, the only survivor today, was HOT then.

6. Arthur Conley - Sweet Soul Music. Sexy. A big thumpin hit. He lists lots of other Soul artists--it's like reading a juke box. Very cool and memorable. Otis Redding, Wilson Pickett, James Brown...

5. Engelbert Humperdinck - Release Me. Originally recorded in the 1950's and early 1960's. But here it is again! It launched Engelbert's career. When I think of 1967 this isn't what I remember, as lovely as it is.

4. Supremes - The Happening. Now this is more like it. Pure Motown. The other ladies got a word in edgewise still, although their next record would be by Diana Ross & the Supremes. Jamerson's finger goes wild on the bass part.

3. The Happenings - I Got Rhythm. This song goes back to 1930 and the Gershwins. Dit dit dit dit dit dit...... No relation to song number 4

2. Aretha Franklin - Respect. One of the greatest pop songs ever recorded--period. Still played all the time. Talk about respect. The Queen of Soul is coronated here.

1. The Young Rascals - Groovin'. Talk about frequent airplay. This is this group's signature song, but they had some other great ones.

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