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

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Six Degrees of The Paris Sisters, Part 2: Decisions...Decisions... One Night in Paris or Past, Present and Future in Shangri-La?


 don't try to touch me, 

 don't try to touch me 

 'cause that will never happen again 

 It's time to continue playing our game 
 of Six Degrees with the Paris Sisters, 
 the early 60s sister act/girl group that 
 was groomed for success by the wizard 
 behind the Wall of SoundPhil Spector. 

 Dell Rat Ron has joined me 
 again and Ron, looks like 
 you've got another great 
 Paris platter cued up! 

 Shady, in our previous 
 post we heard "Be My 
 Boy," the Paris Sisters' 
 initial release for Phil 
 Spector on Gregmark 
 Records as well as 
 their second release 
 and biggest career hit, 
 "I Love How You Love 
 Me."  Both recordings 
 featured the soft purring 
 of lead singer Priscilla, 
 a vocal technique she 
 learned from the group's
 mentor Phil Spector. On 
 "All Through the Night," 
 the B side of their big hit single, The Paris Sisters cut loose 
 and did some uncharacteristic rocking and rolling. 

"All Through the Night" - Paris Sisters (November 1961, 
uncharted B side of "I Love How You Love Me") 

The Paris Sisters' third Gregmark/Spector single, "He Knows 
 I Love Him Too Much," didn't burn up the chart like their 
 previous release, but it was popular enough to make the 
 top 40. It started out as WSBA York's Pick Hit of the 

"He Knows I Love Him Too Much" - Paris Sisters 
(March 1962, highest chart position #34) 

 "Let Me Be The One," the Paris Sisters' 4th Spector/ 
 Gregmark single, I believe also made Pick Hit of the 
 Week on The Mighty 910. It was another excellent 
 recording but one of the least successful Gregmarks, 
 relegated to the lower end of the Billboard Hot 100. 

 Ron, those sistas 
 are sensational and 
 I'll be playing the 
 killer bee of that 
 4th Gregmark 
 single next time! 
 Now, move over, 
 Rover, and let 
 Shady take over! 

Three years after their string of Gregmark hits came to an end the Paris Sisters waxed "Always Waitin'," a quintessential girl group recording that was released on 45 but for some reason never even made the Bubbling Under chart. I found this gem on the girl group anthology Growin' Up Too Fast.

The recording was produced for Mike Curb and the backing track arranged by Jack ("The Lonely Surfer") Nitzsche, one of Phil Spector's famous proteges. Released as a single in 1965 by Mercury Records this one's an under appreciated genre classic.

"Always Waitin'" - Paris Sisters (1965, uncharted) 

 Shady's Rule: Good girls 

 are infinitely more exciting 

 than bad girls. 

The Paris Sisters came across as sweet and wholesome but at the same time there was also a hint of seduction. To me that is the most potent combination.

The Paris Sisters exuded more sex appeal than Spector's Ronettes, more than the Shangri-Las, more than Nancy Sinatra or any other female artist or group that opted for
a tough, bold look and sound. Understated girl power beats overstated girl power every time and Priscilla and the Paris Sisters delivered subtle sexiness!  Here's more evidence of
it in their 5th Gregmark single, "Yes - I Love You."

"Yes - I Love You" - Paris Sisters (1962, uncharted) 

In all fairness there were occasions when those brash and sassy girl groups managed to rival the Paris Sisters in terms of sex appeal. It was when they dialed back the tough girl vibe, revealed a softer side, and allowed themselves to express sadness and vulnerability. The best example I can think of is "Past, Present and Future," a dramatic spoken-word recording by Mary Weiss and the Shangri-Las voiced over Beethoven's "Moonlight Sonata." "Past, Present and Future" was released as a single in the summer of 1966 and enjoyed only modest chart success. Today, however, it is regarded as one of the Shangri-Las' greatest recordings, a teen angst classic, and was named by Mary Weiss herself as one of the top 5 Shangri-Las executions. Please watch this marvelous interpretation of the Shangri-Las' "Past, Present and Future" performed by a gifted YouTube lip sync artist.

"Past, Present and Future" - Shangri-Las (July 1966, 
highest chart position #59, lip sync performed by 


 What thoughts and feelings run through you 
 as you listen to the following song? 

"In Dreams" - Roy Orbison (April 1963, highest chart 
position #7) 

I think of a room filled with sickos and I feel sheer terror.


 What kind of images do you see in your 
 mind's eye when you hear this familiar 
 old love song? 

"Blue Velvet" - Bobby Vinton (October 1963, highest chart 
position #1) 

My mind conjures up images of brutal, cruel, sadistic, twisted sociopath Frank Booth unleashing his pent up rage on innocent victims.

 Never underestimate the power of 
 juxtaposition and context to turn beauty 
 into horror.  Ron and I will be exploring 
 that topic in part 3 when we finish playing
 Six Degrees of the Paris Sisters 
this coming 
 Monday. Please join us! 

Have a Shady day!


  1. Shady! I loved listening to the Paris Sister songs and then I got to Roy Orbison's song after I read your comment. Let's just say I'm glad I read it first thing in the morning instead of just before I went to sleep because I got chills running down my spine from the creepiness of it!

    Thank you for sharing another great lineup of songs for us, my friend! (And, your post did show up in my reader today. Hooray!)

  2. Shelly - Any familiar, tender, gentle love song has the power to send chills down your spine when used in combination with images of terror. I love directors like David Lynch who realize that and avoid using a "godzilla" soundtrack every time they want to instill fear in the audience. I'll have more on that in Part 3. I am very relieved to know that my new post showed up in your reader today. Mama always said that Blogger is like a box of chocolates: you never know what you're gonna get. (LOL) One thing I can be sure of is your commitment to be a friend and that means everything to me! Thank you very much for stopping by, Shelly, and have a great day!

  3. I ♥ this post! Ron was right on in saying The Paris Sisters "cut loose" in "All Through the Night". Followed by "Let Me Be the One" in those soft and whispering tones made me think of them as chameleons of the musical world.

    Shady, I liked your description of "the most potent combination" in regards to women. (i venture to say you have described the ideal woman for many)

    You found a gem in the "Past, Present and Future" youtube of the lip-sync performance.

    Within two seconds of hearing "In Dreams", that iconic performance of "Ben" lip synching with the worklight popped in my mind. I laughed when I scrolled down and there was the youtube. Great (sick) minds think alike! ;~D To me this performance ranks among the top scenes of moviedom! The story goes "Ben" was originally to hold a microphone "until David Lynch saw him holding the worklight during a lighting session". Great moments are usually unplanned, aren't they?

    Thank you, Shady, bring on some more spooky songs and scenes!

  4. Cindy - I'm delighted to know that you are also a David Lynch fan and familiar with Blue Velvet, a movie I just finished watching for about the 10th time. I hadn't heard the back story about how that "candy colored clown" scene came together and I thank you for sharing it with all of us. I just finished watching Lynch, the David Lynch documentary that was released a few years ago. In it he offers many other interesting tidbits about how his movies were made. I'm also glad you enjoyed that awesome lip sync performance of "Past, Present and Future." As it turns out that young woman has lip syncs of several other popular records uploaded on YouTube in addition to this one. She's very talented! Cindy, you always get what I'm putting in front of you and that connection pleases me immensely. Thank you and have a super day, dear friend!

  5. Tom...what a gamut of emotions in just one posting...and one song can bring. I was taken to many a place emotionally with Blue Velvet presented in so many ways!
    The lip synching was something to ponder. The young woman was definitely given her interpretation in a very heart felt display.
    So yes sweet and creepy...I'm going to be sure to watch and listen to your next posting in the bright light of day!
    Thanks as always for great music and entertainment!

  6. Hugs right back atcha, Sush! I always loved Alfred Hitchcock but, IMHO, David Lynch is the modern master of suspense and terror. In an interview Lynch, a long time advocate of Transcendental Meditation, described his ability to access very dark and scary places within his own mind as a means of arriving at ideas for his movies. Yes, there'll be more along these lines in Monday's post and I hope you'll be here, dear friend... but, whatever you do, don't come alone! :) Have a splendid day, dear Sush!

  7. Hi TOm. I'm glad to say that this post was back on my blog roll, as usual, so that's good. I thought Roy Orbison was sensational, and I still have several of his LP's, and I'm not to happy about In Dreams being used in a sinister way!! Interesting to see that you thought The Paris Sisters were more sexy than The Shangri-las and the Ronettes. Now those two groups I have heard of, and I absolutely loved their songs. I also loved The Crystals. I forgot to say in my previous comment that I have just left, that I value your friendship so very much as well my dear friend. Take care.

  8. Thisisme - Yes, I am very happy to know that my latest post didn't get lost like the last one did. Ironically, Desiree in South Africa received the last one with no problem as did some of my other followers but not you nor Belle nor Shelly. I do hope Blogger gets the bugs worked out soon. I know you don't like Roy Orbison's voice being used in the soundtrack of a movie about perverse, violent sickos but I must say that his melancholy vocals do lend themselves to the genre the same as the voices of the Paris Sisters. Thank you very much for a double dose of your bloggy love, dear Thisisme, and good night to you in Devon!

  9. The Paris Sisters were awesome and it is a shame but I don't know that I ever remember seeing them before. Of course the favorite part for me today was Bobby Vinton. He has always been one of my favorites and it was so good sitting here allowing my mind to travel back in time. This was a very good one my friend. Hope you have a wonderful weekend.

  10. Hi, Odie! Bobby Vinton racked up four #1 hit records in the span of two years and "Blue Velvet" was one of them. Who would have thought that listening to the song would someday be a blood curdling experience for a generation of David Lynch fans? I hope everybody played the last video clip on this post, "Velvet Dreams," which is a brilliant mash-up of "Blue Velvet" and "In Dreams." By blending the two mellow love ballads together and illustrating them with clips from the creepy Blue Velvet movie, the mix artist created a disturbing yet very pleasurable and memorable work of art. It's great to see you here, Odie. I thank you for visiting and I bid you a good night, my friend!

  11. Well, the Paris Sisters were amazing again. He Knows I Love Him Too Much reminded me of a boyfriend I had for a year. His name was Mike. Sometimes a song can bring such sharp memories forward.

    I thought that girl did an awesome job on Past, Present & Future! Good for her.

    I've never seen the movie, Blue Velvet. It does look quite frightening. I love all the actors that were in the clips. Isabella looks so much like her mother. When she sang Blue Velvet it reminded me of a blue velvet dress my mother bought for me when I was 11 and going to my cousin's wedding. It was beautiful. Great post Tom!

  12. Belle - I'm glad you agree with me that the lip sync girl does a terrific job. She's quite a versatile actress and performs equally well on hip hop and other types of popular recordings. The movie Blue Velvet was initially blasted by critics but is now considered to be a classic and one of David Lynch's best. Just as Lynch did the unexpected and picked familiar love ballads as the soundtrack for his disturbing film, he also did some imaginative casting, especially in picking Isabella Rossellini. Wiki has more on that: "As an example of a director casting against the norm, Blue Velvet is also noted for re-launching (Dennis) Hopper's career and for providing Rossellini with a dramatic outlet beyond the work as a fashion model and a cosmetics spokeswoman for which she had until then been known." I love it when a director casts against type. Other examples would be using comedians in dramatic roles, mild mannered family guys as villains, beautiful models to portray plain Janes, etc. I am so glad you are finding value in this Paris Sisters series, dear Belle. Thank you again for going to bat for me on your blog. Blog friendships are real friendships and you proved it with your generosity. Have a safe and happy weekend, dear friend!

  13. holy bonkers Past, Present and Future is brilliant. You know how much I love classical music and Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata is an absolute fave so this spoken-word recording by the Shangri-Las has me completely smittened! I also completely agree that good girls are way more sexy than their bad counterparts. Have a fantastic weekend and thanks again for all your support and sweet comments.

  14. Amber Blue Bird - Likewise, I thank you for your support and all of your sweet comments. You are a valuable and very important friend to me. I had a feeling "Past, Present and Future" would grab you as it did me. Agnetha Faltskog, the blonde from Abba, recorded a cover version of the spoken word song and put it on her 2004 album My Colouring Book, but the original's still the greatest. I also dig the fact that you agree with me that good girls rule (shhhhh... don't tell Rockin' Robin!) Thank you very much for visiting, dear Amber, and have a terrific weekend!

  15. Blue Velvet is such a great film (despite the creepiness) What a great soundtrack, In Dreams is my favourite Roy Orbison song! Great post!

    Emma x

  16. I'm beginning to feel out of my depth in the company of all of your knowledgeable Followers, Tom. I fear that anything I add may sound paltry! So, to save myself additional embarrassment, let's leave it at...I came, I saw, I sadly wasn't able to conquer...OK? Be back next time and hope I bring a brain with me :)

  17. Emma - Hello, dear friend! It's funny how we can never think of a song the same way again after it's been used in a movie soundtrack or as a commercial jingle. I hated hearing the Temptations sing "My Girl" after it became the theme of a popular Dan Aykroyd movie of the same name. The use of Aretha's "Freeway of Love" to advertise Burger King, the Beatles' "Revolution" to market Nike, and Bob Seger's "Like a Rock" used as a jingle by the Chevy Truck Division are other examples. Hey, Madison Avenue - leave my music alone! :) I am delighted to see you back here, dear friend. I missed you! I hope you will tune in again for Part 3 because you'll find some very familiar names and faces in it, including yours! Have a wonderful weekend, Emma!

    Desiree - Please don't ever feel that your comments won't add anything to the discussion. It's valuable for me and everybody else to know which material you have been exposed to in your life and which you haven't. The most important thing to me is that you took the time to show up to say hello. It means the world to me, Desiree, because I treasure your friendship! Good night to you and have a safe and happy weekend, dear friend!

  18. Hi, Shady! I thoroughly enjoyed Part 2, especially learning most of the Paris Sisters and Shangri-Las songs I'd never heard. That young lady is probably the best lip-syncer I've ever seen. Hope the lady in the song eventually changed her mind about giving up on love and found happiness, though. I'm a big Roy Orbison fan, used to have "Blue Velvet" on VHS. Kyle MacLachlan's best movie, I think, is "The Hidden", a sci-fi flick which also introduced Claudia Christian as one very sexy and talented actress. I've enjoyed Bobby Vinton's music, aka "The Polish Prince". Used to have "Rain, Rain, Go Away", his second song, but my favorite is the one he sings half in Polish, "My Melody of Love". I knew that Bobby was from Canonsburg, Pa., next door from Pittsburgh, but learned that Canonsburg was also Perry Como's birthplace. Como lived on Long Island his later years. I used to work with a lady who went to the same church as Perry did, and she told me that people used to flock to the church just to hear him sing on the choir. I thought that was interesting, given his popularity. I also enjoy the comments, and we all learn from each other---everybody has something to offer. Half the fun is learning songs and other things about each other that we didn't know or weren't familiar with before. Peace!

  19. Hi, Ron! I absolutely agree with you about The Hidden. I loved that movie! The evil, hedonistic, unstoppable alien that inhabited earthlings and drove them to violence and murder was 100X more terrifying than any monster stomping buildings and eating busloads of people. The violence was over-the-top and the suspense palpable the whole way through. Terrific stuff! I also agree that the comments section of a blog is where the action is. It is a place to follow threads, introduce sidebars and get to know each other better. Commenting is an important part of blogging and I regard it as art form. Thanks so much, Ron, for your comments and for helping me put this series together. I'll be seeing you Monday in Part 3!

  20. Whenever I read your blog truthfully it makes me a bit sad! It makes me sad because you got the chance to grow up with such beautiful, exciting, and totally original music. Not the trash that's played today. I greatly envy you Mr. Anderson! However, I do get to pretend I live in a different era through your blog, so thank you! :)

  21. Hi, Lauren! Yes, I feel fortunate for having come of age when I did... during the Elvis Presley and Beatles revolutions. As I have stated before, Someone Like You would have been a great fit for that era. I admire you very much for opening your eyes and ears to all that went before and finding value in things of the past. I greatly appreciate your visit today and I hope you have an excellent week of school ahead. Stop back again soon, dear friend Lauren!


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