High School Yearbook Photo

"More than a place, the Shady Dell was and will forever remain a state of mind." - Shady Del Knight

"More than a place, the Shady Dell was and will forever remain a state of mind." - Shady Del Knight

Saturday, November 1, 2008

On the Record: Brill Building Beat Down - Raindrops vs. Jelly Beans

As the late great Philly deejay Joe "the Rockin' Bird" Niagara might have said, "44 years ago today, this song was rockin' you!" Let's go back to October/November of 1964 when a sensational girl group recording was riding high all across WSBA land. “The Kind Of Boy You Can’t Forget” by the Jelly Beans is a great example of the "killer bee" phenomenon that I mentioned before.

New York’s Red Bird and Blue Cat labels cranked out some of the best girl group teen pop and soul music of the early and mid 60s. For one reason or another, many of those excellent recordings sold modestly or poorly. Vindicated by history, the artists that recorded on Red Bird and Blue Cat are today recognized for their contributions to popular music, and original 45s on both labels are in great demand among record collectors around the globe.

Fresh out of high school, the Jelly Beans were a mixed voice (one boy/four girl) vocal group from Jersey that recorded material in New York penned by the prolific Brill building singing/songwriting team of Ellie Greenwich and Jeff Barry. The Jelly Beans earned a top 10 hit with their first Red Bird release, “I Wanna Love Him So Bad.”

Greenwich and Barry, the focus of a newly released CD anthology, were one of the three husband and wife songwriting teams that ruled the airwaves of the Kennedy era, the other famous pairs being Gerry Goffin & Carole King and Barry Mann & Cynthia Weil.

Greenwich and Barry, recording under the group name “the Raindrops” had scored a top 20 hit the previous year with “The Kind Of Boy You Can’t Forget” and they offered the song to the Jelly Beans as the designated B side of “Baby Be Mine”.

"The Raindrops"

Ellie Greenwich

Jeff Barry &

Laura, Ellie's kid sister

For a while, “Baby Be Mine” seemed destined to become another big hit for the Jelly Beans, but when the song stalled half way up the Billboard and Cash Box charts, some radio stations, including the Mighty 9-10 in York, flipped the single and found a killer bee on the other side.

Katy, bar the door - we be havin' a 'Brill Building beat down' - a playoff between the two versions of “The Kind of Boy You Can’t Forget.” Click on the links below, have a listen, and determine which song you like better. The first is the Raindrops (Greenwich/Barry) hit version:

Now, listen to the Jelly Beans rendition:

Shady Del Knight's Pick to Click
is the version by the Jelly Beans.

To my ear, the Raindrops recording sounds like a demo session while the JBs waxing has a dash more flava. I’m sweet on this Jelly Beans confection and consider it to be one of the greatest girl group sounds of the 60s - the kind of song I can’t forget!

Have a Shady day!

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