Playing DJ with the so-called dead years

Lawr mentioned some of the godawful music between 1959 and the Beatles. True, but pick any week in any year and you will see garbage. Take August 6, 1967, when “Windy” and “My Mammy” by the Happenings and “Pleasant Valley Sunday” were all in the Top 10. In 1968 that week were “Lady Willpower” (OMG) and “Turn Around, Look At Me” by the Vogues. 1969 was not bad at all but damn there are Zager & Evans, Neil Diamond was an asshole even then, and Andy Kim was #1:

1. Baby I Love You – Andy Kim

2. Honky Tonk Women

3. My Cherie Amour

4. Sweet Caroline

5. Crystal Blue Persuasion – Tommy James & the Shondells

6. Put a Little Love in Your Heart – Jackie DeShannon

7. Get Together – The Youngbloods

8. a Boy Named Sue – Johnny Cash

9. In The Year 2525 – Zager and Evans

10. My Pledge of Love – Joe Jeffrey Group

So yeah, there was more crap in 1960, but the shit is always with us. I was cherry picking some tunes from itunes tonight and gathered a few 1959-1964 gems. I started with The Regents and this slice of punk from California 1961. I know for a fact that The Ramones loved this and I’m amazed that they never covered it, although it requires a killer sax player like whoever is whaling (not “wailing”) this:

I do like my girl groups and the Chiffons were a good one. This was a follow-up song that was not as successful as their three big hits which were He’s So Fine, One Fine Day and Sweet Talking Guy. But I think it’s their best. Big beat, tear offs on the guitar, and later in the song I think what is the first time anybody played a guitar through a Leslie speaker. Used primarily for organs, these speakers have a fan in them and it creates a distinctive sound which has been used dozens if not hundreds of times since. The tune is Jeff Barry-Ellie Greenwich:

I’ll finish off with one I used to play with Nicky D’Amico when we were between bands. We just loved it and still do. Smoking rhythm section with more punk guitar, more killer sax, and up yours with an electric shaver. It got the people out on the floor:




4 thoughts on “Playing DJ with the so-called dead years

  1. Crazy column. I had a few thoughts while reading
    First, if you think you had it bad with the occasional Andy Kim ditty sending you howling to the can to plunge your head into the toilet water, have some sympathy for your many Canadian friends.

    Andy is a Canadian, and in the 1970s we had some very strict “Canadian Content” rules for broadcasters, meaning that we got a double dose of the Kim portfolio, which included such reprehensible shite as “Rock Me Gently” and “Sugar, Sugar,” by The Archies, which Kim co-wrote.

    He changed his performing name to “Baron Longfellow” sometime in the 1980s and then to just “Longfellow” in the 1990s. One can but hope that he continues this pattern of truncation and becomes just another “Fellow.” (“Andy Kim” is itself a nom de plume; his real name is Andrew Youakim. He changed it for stage purposes to disguise his Lebanese background. In parts of Arkansas, they’d have thought he was a woman who liked other women.)

    The Regent second from the right looks like Cosmo Kramer.

    Your note about the Leslie organ speaker reminded me that some guy turned up with one on the reality show “Pawn Stars.” They had it refurbished. The cool thing was the tweeter on the top—it was attached to a fairly powerful motor that whirled the horn around at about 2,000 RPM. The theory is that the highs would be better dispersed if the horn was spun around. I also saw Mary Ford’s nephew sell the shop his Aunt’s Les Paul for tens of thousands.

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