THE BEACH BOYS
Currently making waves around the world with their 50th Anniversary Reunion Tour, the Beach Boys are, as their nickname suggests, America's band. In 1986 I picked the Beach Boys' 1968 hit "Do it Again" as the music bed for a television commercial I produced for a sportswear retailer. Targeting the teen market, the 30 second spot advertised swim suits, T-shirts, shorts, sandals, hats and other articles of casual summer apparel. I chose "Do it Again" because it captures the joy and excitement young people experience
at the start of summer vacation.
Well I've been thinking 'bout
All the places we've surfed and danced and
All the faces we've missed so let's get
Back together and do it again
To produce the commercial I hired a dozen teenage models, dressed them in the store's casual wear, drove them to a beach and spent the afternoon videotaping them as they tossed Frisbees on the sand, played in the water and danced on a pier. It was a tough job but somebody had to do it..... and, by golly, if I had it to do all over I'd do it again!
"Do it Again" - Beach Boys (September 1968, highest
chart position #20)
JAY AND THE AMERICANS
Shady, a while back you
posted the Shangri-las
song "He Cried," a
cover of "She Cried,"
the first hit for Jay and
the Americans with the
original "Jay" (John)
Traynor on lead vocals.
Jerre commented that he
recently saw Jay Traynor
perform at Hershey Park.
I'm posting this one for
Jerre because it's also
my favorite Jay and the
Americans song and, in my opinion, still the best.
"She Cried" - Jay and the Americans (May 1962, highest
chart position #5)
"She Cried" might have been the first hit for Jay and the
Americans but it wasn't their first single. In November of
1961 their version of "Tonight," a song from the musical
West Side Story (a top 10 hit for Ferrante & Teicher),
bubbled under for only one week at #120. The follow-up
to "She Cried" suffered a similar fate. Although it's a great
recording, "This Is It" never rose above Bubbling Under
"This Is It" - Jay and the Americans (August 1962,
highest chart position #109)
The killer-bee side of "This Is It" is a wonderful mid tempo
ballad entitled "It's My Turn To Cry."
"It's My Turn to Cry" - Jay and the Americans (Aug. 1962,
uncharted B side of "This Is It")
I can't get enough of Diane Renay, an all American girl
if ever there was one. Diane was discovered while still a teenager working in her family owned jewelry store.
We last heard from this Philly filly a year ago in my Summer Means Fun series. Diane Renay is best known for the two songs I presented in that post, her two biggest hits "Navy Blue" and "Kiss Me Sailor." Those willing to dig deeper into this young lady's catalog will find treasure. "The Company You Keep," "Words" and "Happy Birthday Broken Heart" were all written and produced for Diane by Bob Crewe and all three are excellent. Two other little known Diane Renay recordings are also considered by many music historians to be among the best girl group sounds of the decade. The first is the title song from Growin' Up Too Fast; the Girl Group Anthology.
"Growin' Up Too Fast" - Diane Renay (July 1964,
highest chart position #124)
The second song is "Watch Out Sally," a bitchin' bad girl anthem, arguably the finest and the most exciting recording of Diane Renay's career.
"Watch Out Sally" - Diane Renay (December 1964,
highest chart position #101)
Those two Diane Renay gems deserved to become hits but both remained locked in the Bubbling Under basement.
Shady, the Manhattans, who later became famous for
(Let's Just) "Kiss and Say Goodbye" had been around
many years before they hit the big time. As it is with so
many of those groups, I believe their earlier songs were
the better ones. This was their second record, "Searchin'
For My Baby".
"Searchin' for My Baby" - Manhattans (May 1965,
highest chart position #135)
The B-side of "Searchin' For My Baby" entitled "I'm the One
that Love Forgot" bubbled under at #135 and was equally if
not more popular among R&B fans. I saw the Manhattans
perform about this time at the Howard in D.C, and got to
hear the Delchords sing both these songs as well. I wish
I could say who sang lead on "I'm the One that Love
Forgot" when the Delchords did it. Was it Buddy? Ike?
Regardless, the memories are in my heart.
"I'm the One that Love Forgot" - Manhattans (July 1965,
highest chart position #135)
Shady, last fall you posted the 1968 Dells' Chicago soul
classic "Stay In My Corner" in your post remembering
Hy Lit. Some of your readers might not know that "Stay
In My Corner" on Chess Records, released off the album
There Is, was actually the second time around for that
song. It was originally released by the Dells in 1965 on
VeeJay 674, but had a running time of less than three
minutes. A beautiful song at the time, but not nearly as
successful as the later 6 minute plus recording.
"Stay in My Corner" - Dells (June 1965, highest chart
position #122/#23 R&B)
The "killer bee" flip side of that original "Stay In My Corner"
became the first big hit for Tom Jones in May of 1965. The
Dells did a nice job with a cover version and it became the
title track for one of their albums.
"It's Not Unusual" - Dells (June 1965, uncharted B side
of "Stay in My Corner")
An interesting note about The Dells' first big hit on Chess
Records is that "O-O, I Love You" was the side that was
first played and enjoyed some very good airplay. It's one
of their many beautiful ballads. However, deejays starting
flipping it over (yes, they find "killer bees" also) and started
playing "There Is" and it's popularity walked all over the
A-side, resulting in the album carrying that name also.
Here is the side that bore "There Is" on the flip.
"O-O, I Love You" - Dells (December 1967, highest
chart position #61/#22 R&B)
Ron, that "O-O" ballad
always gives me chills
and fever. Let me take
us home with two more
all American groups!
From the nation's heartland they came...Five Americans their name...catchy pop recordings their game. We heard from this Oklahoma group a while back when they sang their top 5 hit "Western Union." The guys must have thought they found a winning formula with songs about long distance love affairs facilitated by message delivery systems. "Zip Code" was a nifty number and cracked the top 40 but that's all she wrote.
"Zip Code" - Five Americans (September 1967,
highest chart position #36)
I'm wrapping up this 4th of July all American salute with the American Breed, a band that hailed from the greater Chicago area. The American Breed scored its biggest hit at the start of 1968 with the top 5 million seller "Bend Me Shape Me," a remake of a song released the previous year on an album by the Cleveland group the Outsiders. In mid December 1967 the American Breed appeared on American Bandstand performing their rapidly rising hit single. I never tire of hearing "Bend Me, Shape Me," one of most optimistic and downright listenable recordings of the late 60s.
"Bend Me, Shape Me" - American Breed (Jan. 1968,
highest chart position #5 Billboard, #3 Cash Box)