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"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

Friday, February 28, 2014

Echoes of the Spectorian Era, Vol. 2: Shades of Gray and Madara-White

 Welcome to Volume 2 of my 

 17-part series focusing on 

 Phil Spector's Wall of Sound

 records produced by Spector 

 along with great soundalikes 

 produced by others! 

John Madara and David White were
architects of what became known
as the East Coast Wall of Sound,
inspired by the massive success
of production whiz Phil Spector.
This volume of Echoes focuses
exclusively on records produced
by the team of Madara and White.


One of the best examples of the East Coast Wall
is a magnificent yet uncharted record by the
Bobbi-Pins, a black girl group from Ohio.
The arrangement by Madara and White
could pass for a Spector produced
opus by the Ronettes or Crystals!

  "Why Did You Go" - The Bobbi-Pins 
 (November 1963, uncharted) 


Now meet the Secrets, another girl group from
the Buckeye State - Cleveland to be exact.
In February/March 1964 the Secrets had
their own Spector Sound single in play,
co-written and produced by Madara
and White, "The Other Side of Town"
was the kind of teen melodrama that
gave The Shangri-Las a string of hits
that began a few months later.

It's no secret: "The Other Side of Town" was a great
girl group record that deserved to be heard but it
never even reached the Bubbling Under chart!

 "The Other Side of Town" - The Secrets 
 (February 1964, uncharted) 


Nowhere is the Eastern Wall of Sound more evident
than on "My Girl," a single by Johnny Caswell that
sounds like "Be My Baby," right down to a spot-on
imitation of Ronnie Spector's melismatic vocal style.

 "My Girl" - Johnny Caswell 
 (June 1964, uncharted) 


The Madara-White wall is wailin' on a
stupendous doublesider by Philly vocalist
Ann D'Andre, later known as Ann D'Andrea.
Both songs on Ann's single could have been
substantial hits and it's an outrage that neither
side charted. The plug side is a catchy song
with a returning home b.f. theme similar to
the Angels' "My Boyfriend's Back."  This
one by Ann is "Johnny's Back in Town."
(If it's the same guy from the Angels
record then two-timing Johnny's
 got some 'splainin' to do!)

 "Johnny's Back in Town" - Ann D'Andre 
 (February 1964, uncharted) 


One of the biggest hits for the Madara-White
team was "You Don't Own Me," a song they
wrote and Mercury's mercurial singing star
Lesley Gore recorded when she was 17.

"You Don't Own Me" rocketed to #2 on the pop chart
before hitting a glass ceiling, denied the top spot by
the Beatles' monster "I Want to Hold Your Hand."
To this day "You Don't Own Me" remains
a popular girl power anthem.

 "You Don't Own Me" - Lesley Gore 
 (February 1964, highest chart position #2) 

That same year Lesley recorded
another Madara-White song.

"Live and Learn" was included
on Lesley's album Girl Talk.


In 1966 actress,
dancer and singer
Joey Heatherton released what many people consider to be the definitive version
of "Live and Learn."

 "Live and Learn" - Joey Heatherton 
 (May 1966, uncharted) 


Here's another Spectoresque production by
Madara-White, this one featuring 14 year old
Philadelphia singing sensation Maureen Gray.

"Good-bye Baby" practically oozes the Spector
sound of Darlene Love or the Ronettes and
should have been a colossal hit. It didn't help
that the release of the single coincided with
the eruption of Beatlemania, a phenomenon
that derailed the careers of many domestic
recording artists practically overnight.

 "Good-bye Baby" - Maureen Gray  
 (January 1964, uncharted)  

A sad footnote: Maureen Gray died last month
from a rare type of cancer. She was 65.

 I hope you enjoyed 

 Volume 2 of Echoes - 

 the Eastern Wall-of-Sound  

 painted shades of Gray 

 and Madara-White. 

 Stay tuned for more 

 Spector Sound records 

 coming soon in Vol. 3! 

Have a Shady day!


  1. Oh my, I'm not fashionably late for once! As I was on this lovely trip back in time to some super sounds I was ready to hang my head in shame...yes, I was a squealing Beatles fan in '64. But I was only 11 so I hope some slack will be given here! I enjoyed the tunes picked and still marvel at how timing is everything in the entertainment business. I can't imagine how these artists must have felt to know how good they were, yet to be shut out. Well, they have a voice today! I do remember quite fondly Lesley Gore and I loved that song. (Beatles or no Beatles!) I remember Joey Heatherton more as an actress. So pretty! Maureen Gray was only 14? Wow...her dimples weren't the only impressive quality! Thanks for the tunes today and the lessons! Have a good weekend!

    1. Hi, dear YaYa! Thank you very much for being the early bird today, my friend. I was wondering if you ever heard of those first two girl groups, the Bobbi-Pins and the Secrets, since they were from Ohio. I suppose not. (Check with your brothers. Maybe they heard of them.)

      I remember Joey Heatherton more for her distinctive modern dance routines on music variety programs. These are all great recordings, but her version of "Live and Learn" is really a treat. Poor Maureen Gray died just a few weeks ago at age 65 and it made me very sad to read about it. As you pointed out in your post today, there are worse things than growing older every year.

      Happy birthday once again, dear friend YaYa, and thank you very much for spending a portion of it here in the Shady with me! Take care of yourself and have a safe and nurturing weekend!

  2. I like The Other Side of Town -- a good story song. I quite often burst into song, and one of my favorites is You Don't Own Me. I always imagine I'm singing it to X. I go with other boys now. Strangely, I don't remember Joey Heatherton singing. I remember her as a dancer.


    1. Hi, Janie Junebug! Thank you for swinging over, dear friend. I'm glad you singled out that Secrets side because it's killer. So is "My Girl" by Johnny Caswell and so are all the rest, IMO. It astonishes me that all of these outstanding recordings didn't wind up in the top 10. Instead, most were banned to obscurity because their release coincided with the JFK assassination, the Beatles revolution and other factors.

      Triple threat Joey H was also an actress but, like you, I remember her more as a mod dancer. Thanks, JJ, and have a great weekend!

  3. more great stuff, Shady! I like the minor chords in some of the songs as well as 'You Don't Own Me'. I really enjoyed that one. I've heard it before, but can't quite remember where...

    1. Hi, dear Abigail! I'm very excited to see you again, my friend! Your experience as a musician is revealed in your comment. I don't know why but I seem to favor recordings with minor chords. I think it's because I appreciate a hint of melancholy and drama. Lesley Gore is the best known recording artist on this list and "You Don't Own Me," a #2 charting pop hit, is by far the most successful and best known record in this batch. You probably heard it on the radio or used in the soundtrack of a movie or TV series. Although she never gained another top 5 hit after this one, Lesley was among the relatively few domestic recording artists able to withstand Beatlemania and the British invasion.

      Thank you ever so much for coming, dear friend Abigail. Please give Daisy a Milk Bone and have yourself a safe and happy weekend!

  4. Hi there dear Shady. I just love the wall of sound as created by Phil
    Spector. Such an amazing sound and one that I will never tire of. Always loved Lesley Gore. In particular , It's My Party. It's wonderful
    How you keep finding all these Artists for us , especially as most of them never made the Charts. I loved Hey Big Boy and the Bobbi-Pins! Such cool
    Names they had back them. Thank you for another great post my friend.

    1. Hallo, dear Thisisme, and thank you for joining the fun at my bop till you drop Spectorian record hop! Yessum, there are oodles and oodles of high quality Spector style recordings and it's exciting to unearth them. Madara and White worked with our local Hanover Honeys the Pixies Three, Len Barry and many other artists and produced some of the finest records of the genre. Many went uncharted at the time but have since become highly sought after collectibles.

      Thank you again for being an exceptionally good friend, dear Thisisme. I hope you are enjoying your stay in France and I look forward to hearing from you again soon! Love, hugs and smooches to you, my special friend!

  5. What makes a sound, unique, so much more than another sound? For example: Why was 'Going to The Chapel' by the Dixie Cups more marketable than 'Johnny's Back in Town' by Ann D'Andre? Well, obviously we don't have the answers. 'Going to the Chapel' is one of my favorites though. And, 'Johnny's Back in Town' was a good song as well!

    I like Leslie Gore still...girlfriend's and I just adored and sang all of her songs that showed up on the scene. And, that little Maureen Gray was a cute little girl. As you said, what a shame she wasn't brought out to the forefront. Joey Heatherton? I don't know Shady! She was gorgeous, her acting and dancing was great...but, I don't know about her singing, lol! I think she was right where she should have been.

    And, I have to agree about Johnny Caswell...too much like Ronnie Spector, but not as dynamic! I think the title 'My Girl' demands too much in expectations, and, this song just didn't deliver.

    Goodness, you just bring 'em out of the woodwork, don't you? I guess, it's just all a part of being Shady! Well, keep it up my friend, This was truly good, always a treat to see new people, and surprises from those who have come and gone!

    Well, you're going to have to give me a new stamp on my hand...the old one is fading, lol! I know, I know-two days behind this time! We've got sleet going on right now...all is covered in the neighborhood. So good to see you, take care (we are having a Shady day!) ♫

    1. Hi, dear Suzanne, and thank you for coming by to help me raise the Spector of great music. You can be a tough audience at times but I admire your honesty. Shucks, I've seen some very favorable comments on YouTube about Joey Heatherton's singing style and I happen to think she's swell. Sorry you don't agree. I also think Johnny Caswell's "My Girl" is a sensational Wall Of Sound recording. Again, our ears are designed differently but I respect that you don't hear what I hear. Isn't it a shame Maureen Gray died a few weeks ago at only 65 years of age? That really tore me up when I read about it because I was right in the middle of composing this post.

      You have sleet? Gosh, it's sunny here and we have the old air conditioner working overtime again today - very balmy - in the upper 70s.

      Hey, thank you again, dear friend Susanne, for coming here and listening and telling the truth about what you encountered. I couldn't ask for more and I appreciate it. Take good care of yourself, Karo and Scootie and I'll talk to you again soon!

  6. Hi Shady, I really enjoyed the Bobbi-Pins and The Secrets. They were great girl groups. Ann's song, 'Johnnys Back in Town' should have been a hit for sure.

    'You Don't Own Me," is such a good song and Lesley's voice was so clear and strong. I remembered Joey Heatherton but had to look her up to see where I had seen her. It must have been the Perry Como show and Dean Martin's show. Our family watched those each week. I also have a vague memory of Route 66 which she acted on.

    Thanks for the "wall of sound" songs. They are great fun!

    1. Hi, dear Belle, and thank you for joining the fun in Volume 2 of The Spector Sound. Those Ohio girl groups sounded great, didn't they? The Madara-White team brought out their very best and the recordings they made belonged in the top 40 if not the top 10. As you can see by the dates I posted with the songs, the Bobbi-Pins single had the misfortune of being released around the time President Kennedy was assassinated. That tragic event derailed many fine records that came out in November and December of 1963. The record by the Secrets was issued around February 1964 and had to compete with the Beatles who were turning even established American hit makers into old school relics practically overnight.

      I have memories of Joey Heatherton performing her eyebrow raising modern dance routines on TV and you helped pinpoint which ones because my parents and I watched Perry Como and Dean Martin regularly.

      Thank you again for your kind visit and your superb comments, dear friend Belle. Enjoy the rest of your Sunday and have a wonderful week ahead!

  7. I had never heard of the Bobbi Pins but I have to say that's probably one of the best band names ever! How sad that Maureen Gray died recently. At least her music lives on with fans such as yourself Tom! I hope you had a lovely weekend!

    Emma x

    1. Hello, Emma! Thank you very much for paying me a late visit before your Irish weekend ends. You're right about the Bobbi-Pins. It was a great name for a girl group back then and it would work well today as as the name of a retro girl group. I hope you liked their sound as much as their name.

      Yessum, it's very sad about Maureen Gray. I still picture her as the 12 year old who walked into John Madara's Philadelphia record shop in the early 60s and told him she could sing. She auditioned for him, he liked her and worked with her to produce a batch of excellent recordings that went nowhere but are today regarded as fine examples of the Spectorian Wall Of Sound.

      I love all the music I present to you but I regard this set of recordings as the best I've ever offered in a single post.

      Good night and have a safe and happy week, dear friend Emma!

  8. Hi Shady,
    It seems as though Madara and White have the same musical ear to find wonderful(and some so young) talent. My favorite on this post was, "You don't own me" by Leslie Gore. I must give praise to Joey Heatherton, as a young girl, I can remember her well! I looked up to her beauty and talent. She seemed to have it all! Wonder where she is now?
    Toni Deroche

    1. Hi, Toni! Thanks for coming to this month's Spector fest. I love the studio sound achieved by Marada and White. They did indeed have an ear for talent, discovering unknown singers like Maureen Gray and Johnny Caswell and groups like the Secrets and Bobbi-Pins and making great records with them. A surprisingly low number of those recordings became hits and many never made the chart. The Lesley Gore single you like was one of their biggest career successes.

      Madara and White produced records for our Hanover Heroines, the Pixies Three, and the Pixies, Len Barry and other artists not included in this post be featured in an upcoming expanded three part series on Madara-White.

      I'm glad you remember Joey Heatherton. I don't know where she is now but she turns age 70 later this year and hasn't done any singing or acting lately. As Belle noted, Joey danced and/or sang on TV music variety shows that included Perry Como and Dean Martin. She also appeared on various Bob Hope Specials, The Andy Williams Show, Hollywood Palace and The John Davidson Show. I KNOW you remember him! :)

      Thank you again for your kind visit and comments, dear Toni, and enjoy the rest of your week!

  9. Hi Shady, Late to the post again, but enjoyed it. Some new groups for me to enjoy and some ones I knew. Dancin the Strand was my favorite Maureen Grey recording. How could anyone ever forget Joey Heatherton? I don't know if it was her singing or acting or other that I enjoyed the most. As Sam of Sam the Sham once said "I'm old, but I'm not cold!"

    1. My gal is red hot
      Your gal ain't doodley squat
      My gal is red hot
      Your gal ain't doodley squat
      Well she ain't got the money
      But man she's got a lot - Sam the Sham

      Hey, Jerre! Thanks for coming over to wallow in Spectorian splendor! I don't know about you, good buddy, but when it comes to Joey Heatherton, I proudly cast my vote for OTHER. Joey's terpsichore was second to none! :)

      I recently purchased The Best of Philly Soul Vol. 3: Maureen Gray and it includes "Dancing the Strand." The CD is all killer - no filler. (BTW, the girl group The Sherrys also do a fine rendition of "Dancing the Strand" on their Madara-White produced compilation.

      Thanks again for helping me paint the town shades of Gray and Madara-White. Take care, good buddy, and come back and see us soon!

  10. Hi :) I'm Iwona and I am a blogger and illustrator :) I just found your blog, which is interesting and cute:) I really like it :) I would like to show you my blog and my illustrations and If you get a second, I' d love to hear your thoughts on topic my illustrations and blog:) I greet:)

    1. Iwona - Hello, my friend in Poland! Welcome to Shady Dell Music & Memories. I hope you will visit often. I love the pictures and illustrations on your blog and have decided to follow you on Bloglovin. Thank you again for your visit and comment and I hope to see you again soon!

  11. Another great Wall of Sound post Shady! How sad that Maureen Gray died recently, I hadn't heard of her until this post.

    1. Hi, dear Sarah! I'm very happy to see you here and I thank you for coming. Yessum, it's only part 2 of my 17 part series on Spector Sound recordings with at least 75 more fine examples yet to come. I'm glad you're enjoying these fabulous lost relics that classic oldies channels never bother to play.

      Dear friend, I see you have a new look for yourself and your blog. How exciting! I'll be right over to check it out and I invite everybody else to do the same. Have a nice evening and a wonderful Thursday, dear friend Sarah!

  12. Here's a link to a Joey Heatherton "highlights" video


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