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

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Perfect Storms: The 10 Most Exciting Records...Ever! (Part 13)

Back in January I began counting down a list of songs that I consider to be the most exciting of the rock 'n roll era.
I divided the entries into 4 categories: pre-Beatles, post-Beatles, Soul/R&B, and songs that originated in the UK.

After determining the most exciting songs in each category,
I conducted a spin-off competition to determine which ones are the most exciting of all. Now at long last I am ready
to reveal my Top Ten. So here it is...the final countdown. Shady Del Knight proudly presents The 10 Most Exciting Records...Ever!

10. “I Only Want to Be With You” - Dusty Springfield (February 1964)

This, ladies and gentlemen, is called talent. The song itself is great, but Dusty's live performance stands as one of the greatest moments in pop history. This is what is meant by nailing it.

9. (tie) "Hey Sah-Lo-Ney"/“Shaggy Dog” – Mickey Lee Lane (September 1965/October 1964)

The ultra cool hipster in leather jacket and shades used his Brill Building experience and aesthetics to crank out two of the most infectious dance records of the boomer years!

8. “Shakin’ All Over”- Chad Allan & the Expressions aka
Guess Who? (May 1965)

Swore they were the Beatles but guess what?...they were Canada's Chad Allan & the Expressions, the original personnel of the band that shortly thereafter became known in the USA as Guess Who? This record is electrifying! I still get quivers down my backbone, shakes in my thigh bone, and shivers in my knee bone every time I hear it!

7. (tie) “The Hootch”/“It’s Summer Time, U.S.A.”
– The Pixies Three (July 1964)

You often got them when you bought Lesley Gore on 45rpm. Here's another two for the price of one special from Mercury.

York County's vivacious teen queens put the Glee club to shame and sent the Cheerios to the showers with their rockin' rollin' pep rally... two of the most effervescent girl group toe tappers of the 60's!

6. “Nothing But a Heartache” – Flirtations (March 1969)

Transcendent. Ethereal. The power of the song is augmented by a brilliant conceptual performance video that takes you Beyond the Valley of the Dolls!

Please allow me to interrupt the countdown for a late entry to the competition, and a very worthy contender indeed. When "Nothing But a Heartache" was released as a single in the UK there was a Christmas song on the flip side; but when the 45 hit the street in America, "Heartache" was backed with a killer bee that I find equally irresistible. Please listen
to "How Can You Tell Me."

5. “Jailhouse Rock” – Elvis Presley (October 1957)

The song and the movie clip are inseparable. The impact undeniable. This was the King at his very best!

4. (3-way tie)
"You Can't keep a Good Man Down" (Fall 1953)
"Give Me You" (January 1955)
“St. Louis Blues” (March 1954)
– Jackie Wilson singing lead with Billy Ward & his Dominoes

Listening to this triple play featuring the scintillating sound
of young Jackie fronting the Dominoes before embarking on
a solo career proves my earlier the better adage more convincingly than any other song set!

3. "Village of Love" - Nathaniel Mayer & the Twilights
(May 1962)

Waaay too cool for old school. "Village" shreds!

2. “Get Up, Get Into It, Get Involved” James Brown with backing vocals by Bobby Byrd (January 1971)

Mr. Dynamite built this tower of power on a foundation of funk. With this blistering two parter, JB reached the peak of his authority, influence and street cred.

1. “My Baby Likes to Boogaloo” – Don Gardner (January 1967)

Unstoppable! Don Gardner is.

The gravel voiced R&B man beat the Emperors of Harrisburg. He beat the British invaders. He beat the hardest working man in show business. He beat everybody with this flat out, low down, nitty gritty, snake in the grass barn burner.

Ain't no doubt about it. T-G-T 501 is a power platter that rules and rocks!

Okay, I know that my 10 Most Exciting list actually contains 15 songs. So sue me, Skippy!

Wait a minute, Do I hear murmurs of discord coming from the peanut gallery?  Beg to differ, Willy Wonka? Think "My Old Kentucky Home" should top the Most Exciting list, Sparky? Can't believe "Battle Hymn of the Republic" isn't in the top 10, Tweedle Dum? Where's "Pop! Goes the Weasel?", Timmy wants to know. Why didn't
"Row, Row, Row Your Boat" make the cut, SpongeBob? You say "A Bicycle Built for Two"
is more your speed, Magoo? Run and tell mommy and she'll kiss and make it all better, Lamb Chop!

Folks, I humbly apologize for those unfortunate, childish remarks. What Mighty Mouth meant to suggest is that you conduct your own experiment and try to figure out which songs would be on your list of 10 Most Exciting Records
Send me your list and I'll be happy to publish it!

Have a Shady day!


  1. I love your selections and the memories they conjure up. Always a pleasure stopping by here.

  2. In this case, Odie, the music and memories span three decades. I'm glad you enjoyed the tunes. Stay warm and have a great day in Carolina, my friend!

  3. I couldn't agree with you more about your number 1 Shady, with Dusty Springfield. I love that particular song of hers. Unfortunately, there are a few songs on the list that I haven't heard of - guess that a British/American thing, but I really enjoy reading all about the old tunes. Nostalgic reading indeed. Nothing But A Heartache was another favourite of mine. Did Jerry Lee Lewis do Shakin All Over (I know I have a copy of the Beatles' version).

  4. Hi, Thisisme! This specific Dusty Springfield performance of "I Only Want to Be With You" is every bit as exciting to me as Michael Jackson's surprise moonwalk during "Billie Jean" on Motown 25. When I watch this clip of Dusty I say to myself "a star is born."

    The Flirtations performing "Nothing But a Heartache" amidst the ruins of Tintern Abbey at Monmouthshire, South Wales is one of the most exciting and surrealistic concept clips ever produced.

    Jerry Lee Lewis recorded "Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On" which was a different song but one that certainly would be included on many Most Exciting lists.

    Thank you very much for your comment, Thisisme, and have a splendid day in the UK!

  5. Oh, that was TERRIFIC!! I'm like Thisisme, I haven't heard some of these before, what a great treat, hearing them for the first time! Thanks, Shady!!

  6. You're very welcome, Joan! Many of the songs that I present here on SDM&M were quite popular at the Dell and in Central PA but were less popular or, in some cases, completely unknown in other parts of the country. My hope is that people who are listening to these songs for the first time will get a sense of their greatness and understand why we loved them. Thank you very much for your comment, Joan!

  7. great tunes as usual :) and I want to be Dusty Springfield, is that too much too ask.

  8. You could do a lot worse than wishing to be Dusty Springfield, Amber. Actually, I see similarities between the two of you. Dusty had heart and soul and, from what I've seen of your fine blog, so do you. Thank you very much for your comment, Amber Blue Bird, and stay warm in New England!

  9. My heart jumped when I saw Dusty Springfield and "I Only Want to be with You." Oh, how I love that song. I'm sure she wasn't lip-syncing(?). I've never seen her sing it live. She has such an unusual and strong voice.

    Loved the Flirtations, although I'd never seen or heard them before. The Pixies Three were a cute band. Elvis - just a live wire. Wow! Great pics Shady.

    Oh yeah, the dancing skeletons were fantastic. And what a song.

  10. Oh how I used to love Shakin' All Over when I was a kid. I used to stand on my kitchen table and belt it out. So there's no murmurs of discord, from me good sir! I find your list, extremely exciting indeed.

  11. Belle - Yeah, I got your Canadian boys The Guess Who in this one for you. Dusty definitely wasn't lip syncing that song and that's why I picked that specific performance. I'm glad you liked the tunes and I thank you for making time to come over and visit!

    Alabee - Ditto, I find your comments extremely exciting indeed! First of all I'm glad that you got a kick out of my Don Rickles piece at the end of the post. Don was a sweet man who built a career on insulting people. He was a frequent guest on Johnny Carson's Tonight Show and I loved to watch him work. Secondly, it amazes me that somebody your age remembers "Shakin' All Over." Believe me, I STILL stand on my kitchen table and belt it out! (LOL) The song was actually first recorded by a UK act called Johnny Kidd & the Pirates and then covered by the Canadian group Chad Allan & the Expressions who later changed their name to Guess Who in hopes that Americans would buy the record thinking it was the Beatles. Thank you very much for your kind remarks, alabee!

  12. Behold my list of best songs ever:
    1. Belle - Notre Dame de Paris (musical)
    2. My way - Frank Sinatra
    3. For no one - The Beatles
    4. One - U2
    5. Shine on you Crazy diamond - Pink Floyd
    6. Golden Slumbers/Carry that weight/ The end - The Beatles
    7. The end - the Doors
    8. Total eclipse of the heart - Bonnie Tyler
    9. Civil War - Guns'n Roses
    10. Memories - Cats (musical)

  13. Wanilianna - that is a super list of best songs ever! I can relate to several of your picks. I went to see the musical Cats in New York City. You can't miss with the empowering "My Way" by Old Blue Eyes, a pop standard that's on many favorites lists. I love the Doors first two albums, especially the dark and disturbing opus "The End." You already told me in a previous comment how much you love the Abbey Road album and the three tracks you mentioned here represent five minutes of magic. I also very much like the Beatles Revolver album and agree with your choice of "For No One." Thank you ever so much for submitting your own faves list, wanilianna, and have a wonderful evening in Poland!

  14. with every your comment, my humble blog becomes more and more valuable:-)


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