A Bit Like You And Me Radio

December 31, 2012

Guy Lombardo and his Royal Canadians - Auld Lang Syne (1947)

Born Gaetano Alberto Lombardo in Ontario 1902, this Canadian-American was a largely successful bandleader, violinist, and hydroplane speedboat racer. Coming from Italian parents who had moved to Canada, Guy and his brothers had always been singing since a very young age. Guy himself put on his first vocal performance at the age of twelve, and was recording in studios by twenty-one. He formed The Royal Canadians in 1924 with his brothers Carmen, Lebert, Victor, and other friends from his hometown and led them to international success through the late ‘20s and 1930s. At the time of the band’s success, many jazz and big-band purists had found their music to corny. Fortunately for them, the general public loved it.

Lombardo and his band would also go on to be associated with New Year’s Eve, as they played on the radio (and later television) each New Year’s Eve from 1928 until 1976. This song, now associated with the New Year’s Eve celebration and New Year’s Day itself, was popularized by Lombardo and his band when they began playing it each year starting in 1929. This particular version of the song was recorded on September 29, 1947 and was published by Decca Records as a single. Although Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve would eventually become popular with younger viewers, Lombardo’s New Year’s Specials remained popular with older viewers. Traditionally, Lombardo's version of the song is the first song played after the ball has dropped on midnight in Time Square, New York.

Also, see what other New Year's Eve related music we have.

album art

Guy Lombardo and his Royal Canadians - Auld Lang Syne (1947)

Loading the ABLYAM player...(Might not work on mobile devices)


Lyrics:

Should old acquaintance be forgot
And never brought to mind?
Should old acquaintance be forgot
And days of lang syne?

For auld lang syne, my dear
For auld lang syne
We’ll take a cup of kindness yet
For auld lang syne

December 25, 2012

Elvis Presley - If Every Day Was Like Christmas (1966)

Born Elvis Aaron Presley in Tupelo, Mississippi in 1935, this iconic singer is one of the most popular acts of the 20th century and the best-selling solo artist in the history of popular music. Spending his teen years in Memphis, Tennessee, he disappointingly got a C in his eighth grade music class and was told by the teacher that he had “no aptitude for singing.” He was rejected by local quarters and bands after auditioning, because, as they all noted, he didn’t have an ear for harmony. Not to be deterred, Elvis kept on singing and eventually got his foot into Sun Records. His big break came in July 1954, after “acting the fool” with “Scotty” Moore and Bill Black in a recording session held by Sam Phillips, founder of Sun Studios and Sun Records. Astounded, Phillips asked Elvis what he was doing, to which he was told “We don’t know!” Having been looking for a white performer “with the Negro sound and the Negro feel,” Phillips found his man and the rise to stardom was just beginning.

Written by Red West, this song was recorded on June 10, 1966 and released as a single on November 15th, the same year. Backed by the song “How Would You Like To Be” from Elvis’ 1963 movie, It Happened at the World’s Fair. The backing vocals in the song were performed by The Jordanaires and The Imperials Quartet. The song spent a combined eight weeks on Billboard’s Christmas charts in 1966 and 1967.

Merry Christmas…and a Happy New Year!

album art

Elvis Presley - If Every Day Was Like Christmas (1966)

Loading the ABLYAM player...(Might not work on mobile devices)


Lyrics:

I hear the bells
Saying Christmas is near
They ring out to tell the world
That this is the season of cheer

I hear a choir
Singing sweetly somewhere
And a glow fills my heart
I'm at peace with the world
As the sound of their singing fills the air

Oh, why can't every day be like Christmas?
Why can't that feeling go on endlessly?
For if every day could be just like Christmas
What a wonderful world this would be

I hear a child
Telling Santa what to bring
And the smile upon his tiny face
Is worth more to me than anything

Oh, why can't every day be like Christmas?
Why can't that feeling go on endlessly?
For if every day could be just like Christmas
What a wonderful world this would be

December 24, 2012

The Beach Boys - Mele Kalikimaka (1977)

The Beach Boys had intended to release a Christmas album in 1977 titled Merry Christmas from The Beach Boys. Although it was eventually aborted (as only Al Jardine, Mike Love, and Brian Wilson had shown up for the recording sessions), some of the songs would later appear on their 1978 album, titled M.I.U Album. Heard below is the original version of a song that was later reworked and released on that album. Given that there was quite a bit of Christmas music recorded by the group over the years, Capitol records decided to release Ultimate Christmas in 1998, an album which contained every Beach Boys’ song that had to do with the Christmas topic. In 2004, the album was put out of print and replaced with Christmas with The Beach Boys, an identical album which differed only in its album art and the omission of the song “Christmas Time Is Here Again”.

Although there is a famous Christmas song with this name that was written by Robert Alex Anderson in 1949 (famously sung by Bing Crosby in 1950, and later many others), this is actually an original song by The Beach Boys that borrows the same title. Written by Mike Love and Al Jardine, it was alternately known as “Kona Christmas” or "Kona Coast" when it was revised and rereleased on the M.I.U. Album in 1978. Love and Jardine provided the lead vocals on this original version, which was recorded on November 18th, 1977 but not released until September 22nd, 1998 on the Ultimate Christmas album.

album art

The Beach Boys - Mele Kalikimaka (1977)

Loading the ABLYAM player...(Might not work on mobile devices)


Lyrics:

It's been my secret passion to try it
To spend my Christmas surfin', I can't deny it
I wanna spend my Christmas on the Kona Coast in Hawaii

For years I saved my pennies and planned it
The great Pacific Ocean, we'll span it
I wanna spend Christmas where I dig it the most, in Hawaii

(Go to Hawaii, Hawaii)
Mele Kalikimaka is "Merry Christmas" in Hawaii talk-a
And at Lahaina we'll count the shooting stars
And it will be just you and me in Hawaii

The suntanned beauties are everywhere
If you're comin' to the islands then you might stare
And find a girl waiting for you there in Hawaii

Kani and Wahini and the haoles, too
Wish a Mele Kalikimaka to you
They're the friendliest people anywhere in Hawaii

(Go to Hawaii, Hawaii))
Mele Kalikimaka is how they say it in island talk-a
The island flower fragrance in the air
We'll write a card and underneath the mango trees
We'll say, "Wish you were here with us in Hawaii"

Winter in the sun and surf'd sure be nice
In a south sea garden paradise
I wanna spend Christmas where I dig it the most, in Hawaii

(Honolulu, Waikiki)
(Do you wanna come along with me?)
(Waimia up to Hanalai)
(I'd love to take you to the islands today)

December 21, 2012

Eric Clapton - Christmas Tears [Live] (1998)

Raised by his grandparents and led to believe that his mother was actually his sister, Eric Clapton received an acoustic Hoyer guitar for his thirteenth birthday, but after becoming frustrated with it, didn’t really dedicate himself to playing it until he was fifteen. By the age of sixteen, he was already earning the reputation of being a fantastic player. Less than four years later, “Clapton is God” was commonly found around London, the graffiti being made by fans when he was barely twenty years old. After starring in numerous bands such as The Yardbirds, Cream, Derek and the Dominos, and others in the ‘60s, he finally turned toward a solo career in the ‘70s onward. As stated in a previous feature on this artist, there is far too much that could be said about this legend that could ever be summarized in this small space.

This song was originally released by Freddie King in 1961. This version of the song was performed by Eric Clapton at a benefit concert in Washington, D.C., celebrating the thirteenth anniversary of the founding of the Special Olympics. Held by then-President Bill Clinton and his wife Hillary in December 1998, the song was one of three that Clapton performed in that night. A year later, in October 1999, the songs performed that night were released on A Very Special Christmas Live, put out by A&M/Interscope Records.

album art

Eric Clapton - Christmas Tears [Live] (1998)

Loading the ABLYAM player...(Might not work on mobile devices)


Lyrics:

I hear sleigh bells ring
I haven’t heard a word from you in years
I hear sleigh bells ringin’
But I haven’t heard a word from you in years
I hear choirs singin’
And I’m just sittin’ here cryin’ Christmas tears

Everybody’s singin’ “Merry Christmas”
As they watch the starry sky filled with reindeer
Everybody’s singin’ “Merry Christmas”
As they watch the starry sky filled with reindeer
I’m smilin’ on the outside
But on the inside I’m cryin’ Christmas tears

You been gone such a long, long time
But it’s Christmas and I can’t get you off of my mind
Seems like you been gone a hundred years or more
But if you were here with me now
I’d hang “Merry Christmas” on my door

I need ya darling
Kiss and hold me tight
I need ya darling
On a lonely Christmas night
And as I sit and think of the lonely years
I can’t help but cry, oh, Christmas tears
Oh, Christmas tears

December 20, 2012

The Kinks - Father Christmas (1977)

In 1965, The Kinks were touring Australia and New Zealand with Manfred Mann and The Honeycombs. At one particular show at The Capitol Theater in Cardiff, Wales on May 19th, Dave Davies was apparently upset about the way Mick Avory was drumming to “You Really Got Me.” In his anger, Davies decided to kick over Avory’s drum set in front of the audience. Now equally angry, Avory picked up his set’s high hat and clubbed Davies over the head, knocking him completely unconscious. Thinking he had just killed his bandmate, Avory fled the scene. Meanwhile, Davies was taken to the nearby hospital, Cardiff Royal Infirmary, and received sixteen stitches to his head. Later on, in an effort to avoid serious punishment, Avory told the local police that the entire event was part of a new act during their concerts in which the members had pre-planned to throw their instruments at one another. Needless to say, events like this led to The Kinks being banned from touring in the United States for four years, late 1965-1969, greatly reducing their exposure during the British Invasion.

As they consistently put out albums until the early ‘90s, it’s no wonder that The Kinks have a very large library of music. This song, coming out in time for the holidays, was first released as a single featuring the B-Side “Prince of the Punks.” It was written and produced by Ray Davies and released on the Arista label on November 25th, 1977.

album art

The Kinks - Father Christmas (1977)

Loading the ABLYAM player...(Might not work on mobile devices)


Lyrics:

When I was small, I believed in Santa Claus
Though I knew it was my dad
And I would hang up my stocking at Christmas
Open my presents and I'd be glad

But the last time I played Father Christmas
I stood outside a department store
A gang of kids came over and mugged me
And knocked my reindeer to the floor

They said,
“Father Christmas, give us some money
Don't mess around with those silly toys
Well beat you up if you don't hand it over
We want your bread, so don't make us annoyed
Give all the toys to the little rich boys”

“Don't give my brother a Steve Austin outfit
Don't give my sister a cuddly toy
We don't want a jigsaw or Monopoly money
We only want the real McCoy”

“Father Christmas, give us some money
Well beat you up if you make us annoyed
Father Christmas, give us some money
Don't mess around with those silly toys”

“But give my daddy a job ‘cause he needs one
He’s got lots of mouths to feed
But if you’ve got one, I'll have a machine gun
So I can scare all the kids down the street”

“Father Christmas, give us some money
We got no time for your silly toys
Well beat you up if you don't hand it over
We want your bread, so don't make us annoyed
Give all the toys to the little rich boys”

Have yourself a merry, merry Christmas
Have yourself a good time
But remember the kids who got nothin’
While you're drinkin’ down your wine

“Father Christmas, give us some money
We got no time for your silly toys
Father Christmas, please hand it over
We’ll beat you up, so don’t make us annoyed”

“Father Christmas, give us some money
Don’t mess around with those silly toys
Well beat you up if you don't hand it over
We want your bread, so don't make us annoyed
Give all the toys to the little rich boys”

December 19, 2012

Blues Magoos - Jingle Bells (1967)

Prior to its current spelling, this band was initially using the band name “Bloos Magoos” in the Greenwich Village area of New York. After being discovered by Art Polhemus in mid-1966, the band released their first album Psychedelic Lollipop. It was one of the first albums to ever have the word “psychedelic” in its title, among albums from the 13th Floor Elevators (The Psychedelic Sounds of the 13th Floor Elevators) and The Deep (The Psychedelic Moods of The Deep). The album featured their most famous song “(We Ain’t Got) Nothin’ Yet.” The group would go on to release two more albums, Electric Comic Book and Basic Blues Magoos, before splitting up in 1968.

Written in 1850 by James Lord Pierpont (later the uncle of J.P. Morgan), this song was originally intended to be a song for Thanksgiving. Now known worldwide as the epitome of Christmas music, it was originally titled “One Horse Open Sleigh” when first copyrighted on September 16th, 1857. Its title was revised in 1859 to the current one. This particular version of the song was released as a single in 1967, also featuring the band’s psychedelic cover of “Santa Claus is Coming to Town.”

album art

Blues Magoos - Jingle Bells (1967)

Loading the ABLYAM player...(Might not work on mobile devices)


Lyrics:

Dashing through the snow
In a one horse open sleigh
Over the fields we go
Laughing all the way
Bells on bobtails rings
Making spirits bright
Oh, what fun it is to ride
And sing a sleighing song tonight

Jingle bells, jingle bells
Jingle all the way
Oh, what fun it is to ride
In a one horse open sleigh
Jingle bells, jingle bells
Jingle all the way
Oh, what fun it is to ride
In a one horse open-

A day or two ago
I thought I'd take a ride
And soon Miss Fanny Bright
Was seated by my side
The horse was lean and lank
Misfortune seemed his lot
We got into a drifted bank
And then we got upsot

Jingle bells, jingle bells
Jingle all the way
Oh, what fun it is to ride
In a one horse open sleigh
Jingle bells, jingle bells
Jingle all the way
Oh, what fun it is to ride
In a one horse open-

Jingle bells, jingle bells
Jingle all the way
Oh, what fun it is to ride
In a one horse open sleigh
Jingle bells, jingle bells
Jingle all the way
Oh, what fun it is to ride
In a one horse open sleigh

December 18, 2012

The Crystals - Santa Claus is Coming to Town (1963)

This American vocal group from New York, New York was of the premiere girl groups, which dominated the charts in the first half of the 1960s. When they were first discovered by Phil Spector in 1961, none of the five members were even close to finishing high school. Signed to Spector’s label, Philles Records, the girls shot to stardom with hit songs like “Da Doo Ron Ron” and “Then He Kissed Me.” Although the 1960s saw talent come and go, Dolores “Dee Dee” Kenniebrew rekindled the group in 1971 and still performs with new Crystals members to this day. Eventually the relationship between Spector and the girls soured, as many of the girls believed that Spector was withholding royalty money from them. Spector was also giving the girls far less attention, as his new obsession was on his latest discovery, The Ronettes. The group left Philles Records in 1964 and eventually disbanded in 1967. It wasn’t until 1971, as mentioned above, that they reunited around Dee Dee.

Written by John Frederick Coots and Haven Gillespie, this song was first sung in November 1934 on a radio show by Eddie Cantor. Cantor decided to give the song a chance after many other famous vocalists had rejected the song as being “too childish” and “silly.” This particular version of the song was recorded and released in 1963 on the album A Christmas Gift for You from Phil Spector.

album art

The Crystals - Santa Claus is Coming to Town (1963)

Loading the ABLYAM player...(Might not work on mobile devices)


Lyrics:

Jimmy, I just came back from a lovely trip along the Milky Way
I stopped off at the North Pole to spend the holiday
I called on old, dear Santa Claus to see what I could see
He took me to his workshop and told his plans to me

Now Santa is a busy man, he has no time to play
He's got millions of stockings to fill on Christmas day
You better write your letter now and mail it right away
Because he's getting ready his reindeers and his sleigh


You'd better watch out, you'd better not cry
You'd better not pout, I'm telling you why
Santa Claus is coming to town
Santa Claus is coming to town
Santa Claus is coming to town

He's making a list, he's checking it twice
He's gonna find out who’s naughty or nice
Santa Claus is coming to town
Santa Claus is coming to town
Santa Claus is coming to town

He sees when you are sleeping
He knows when you're awake
He knows if you've been bad or good
So be good for goodness sake

Oh, you'd better watch out, you'd better not cry
You'd better not pout, I'm telling you why
Santa Claus is coming to town
Santa Claus is coming to town
Santa Claus is coming to town

With little tin horns and little toy drums
Rooty-toot-toots and rummy-tum-tums
Curly head dolls that toddle and coo
Elephants, boats, and kiddie cars too
Santa Claus is coming to town
Santa Claus is coming to town
Santa Claus is coming to town

The kids in Girl’s and Boy Land will have a jubilee
They're going to build a Toyland all around the Christmas tree
So, you’d better watch out, you’d better not cry
You’d better not pout, I'm telling you why
Santa Claus is coming to town
Santa Claus is coming to town
Santa Claus is coming to town

Santa Claus is coming to town

December 17, 2012

The Drifters - White Christmas (1954)

Created in 1953 by George Treadwell to be a backing group for Clyde McPhatter, this group has never had a consistent lineup. With over sixty people being in various incarnations of the group, they are regarded as one of the least stable groups in doo-wop and rhythm and blues/soul history. As an example of their different lineups, “Money Honey” was released in 1953 by the original Clyde McPhatter and The Drifters; “This Magic Moment” was released in 1960 by Ben E. King with The Drifters, a different incarnation; and “Under the Boardwalk” was released in 1964 by The Drifters featuring Johnny Moore (a previous singer from the group in 1958), also a different incarnation. Although the group has had more than twenty successful songs, it would be far too complex to accurately and clearly explain which members were in which incarnation of the group during the time of each of their many hits. Instead, we’ll just say that there’s a reason so many people wanted to be affiliated with The Drifters’ name: they were known for success.

This song, written and composed by Irving Berlin, was first recorded and released by Bing Crosby in the 1942 film, Holiday Inn. Crosby’s version has sold over fifty million copies and is the best-selling single of all time for any music category. This version of the song, recorded and released by a version of The Drifters that featured Bill Pinkney and Clyde McPhatter, was released in 1954 and topped out at the number two spot on the US R&B charts in December. On the US pop charts, it reached number eighty. In recent years, it has been most memorably associated with Macaulay Culkin’s character, Kevin McCallister, in the 1990 movie Home Alone.

album art

The Drifters - White Christmas (1954)

Loading the ABLYAM player...(Might not work on mobile devices)


Lyrics:

I'm dreaming of a white Christmas
Just like the ones I used to know
Where those treetop glisten and children listen
To hear sleigh bells in the snow
The snow

And I'm dreaming of a white Christmas
With every Christmas card I write
May your days, may your days, may your days be merry and bright
And may all your Christmases be white

I'm dreaming of a white Christmas
Just like the ones I used to know
Where the treetops glisten and the children listen
To hear sleigh bells in the snow

I’m dreaming of a white Christmas
With every Christmas card I write
May those days, may your days, may your days be merry and bright
And may all your Christmases be white

Jingle bells, jingle bells
Jingle all the way

December 14, 2012

Lynyrd Skynyrd - The Ballad of Curtis Loew (1974)

Coming from Jacksonville, Florida, this legendary band is widely recognized as popularizing Southern rock throughout the entire United States more than any other band in the 1970s. Originally formed as The Noble Five in 1964, the group was comprised of teenage friends Ronnie Van Zant, Allen Collins, and Gary Rossington. In 1965 they accumulated members Larry Junstrom and Bob Burns and changed their name to My Backyard. By 1968, they were opening for Strawberry Alarm Clock after achieving some notoriety for winning a Battle of the Bands competition. When looking for a new band name, the group settled on “Leonard Skinner,” after their high school PE teacher who was a stickler for the school’s rules about males not having long hair. In 1972, the group was signed to the Sounds of the South label by the famous Al Kooper, and changed their name to its final version seen above. With international hits such as “Free Bird” and “Sweet Home Alabama,” the group would go on to enormous success. Sadly, tragedy struck in 1977 when a plane that was carrying the band from South Carolina to Louisiana ran out of gas. While attempting to make an emergency landing, the plane crashed into a Mississippi forest, killing four members (including Ronnie Van Zant), both pilots, and seriously injuring the other twenty people on board. After this tragedy, the band called it quits and wouldn’t fully reunite again until ten years later in 1987. Currently, the band still tours, although numerous personnel changes have occurred over the years.

Released on the band’s second album, Second Helping, this song was written by Allen Collins and Ronnie Van Zant. Curtis Loew, the song’s subject, was said to be a composite of many people who lived in Van Zant’s hometown of Jacksonville, Florida when he was growing up. Many people speculate that the song was based on Shorty Medlock, a delta blues musician and grandfather of Rickey Medlocke, the band’s drummer during a 1970 tour and current guitarist. Although the song was popular upon its release, it was overshadowed by the album’s lead song, “Sweet Home Alabama.”

album art

Lynyrd Skynyrd - The Ballad of Curtis Loew (1974)

Loading the ABLYAM player...(Might not work on mobile devices)


Lyrics:

Well I used to wake the morning before the rooster crowed
Searchin’ for soda bottles to get myself some dough
Brought 'em down to the corner, down to the country store
Cash 'em in and give my money to a man named Curtis Loew

Old Curt was a black man with white, curly hair
When he had a fifth of wine, he did not have a care
He used to own an old Dobro, used to play it ‘cross his knees
I'd give old Curt my money, he'd play all day for me

Play me a song Curtis Loew, Curtis Loew
Well, I got your drinking money, tune up your Dobro
People said he was useless, them people all are fools
'cause Curtis Loew was the finest picker to ever play the blues

He looked to be sixty and maybe I was ten
Mama used to whoop me, but I'd go see him again
I'd clap my hands, stomp my feets, try to stay in time
He'd play me a song or two, then take another drink of wine

Play me a song Curtis Loew, Curtis Loew
Well, I got your drinking money, tune up your Dobro
People said he was useless, them people all are fools
'cause Curtis Loew was the finest picker to ever play the blues

Yes, sir

On the day old Curtis died, nobody came to pray
Ol' preacher said some words and they chucked him in the clay
Well, he lived a lifetime playin' the black man's blues
And on the day he lost his life, that's all he had to lose

Play me a song Curtis Loew, hey, Curtis Loew
I wish that you was here so everyone would know
People said you were useless, them people all were fools
'cause Curtis you're the finest picker to ever play the blues

December 13, 2012

Keith Relf - Mr. Zero (1966)

Born in Surrey, England in 1943, this musician is best remembered as the lead singer and harmonica player of The Yardbirds. Along with guitarist Chris Dreja and drummer Jim McCarty, Keith Relf was a constant member of The Yardbirds from their start in May 1963 until their end, when Jimmy Page took what was left and evolved it into the New Yardbirds and, eventually, Led Zeppelin. After the success of The Yardbirds, Relf went on to many minor successful duos and bands including Together (with Jim McCarty), Renaissance (with his sister Jane Relf), and Armageddon. While rehearsing new material for a reboot of his band Renaissance, which was now going to be called Illusion, Relf was electrocuted to death at his home while playing an improperly grounded electric guitar. He was thirty-three years old.

This song, although often credited to The Yardbirds, was actually a solo release by Keith Relf in May 1966. Written by Bob Lind, it was released in the UK and featured the B-Side “Knowing,” which is also often misleadingly credited to The Yardbirds. There was an attempt to establish Relf as a solo artist, but only two singles were ever released with his name on them. To capitalize and generate more interest in the songs, most of his solo recordings were also released under whichever group he was a member of at the time. This song, his debut single, was released while he was still a member of The Yardbirds, hence the notion that this song was released by the group. It reached number fifty in the UK Singles Chart in May 1966.

album art

Keith Relf - Mr. Zero (1966)

Loading the ABLYAM player...(Might not work on mobile devices)


Lyrics:

Diamonds of silvery rain in the fountains
And ten-cent red roses from department store counters
Watching the moonlight reflect off the river
Beside where the trains cross the bridge and slow down
Trains with white letters on black iron sides
And wild rushing water that all rolls away
And Little Miss Someone does not want to stay
Everyone's moving with places to go
And Mr. Zero, he sadly stands still
As the water goes one way, the train goes another
Mr. Zero stands still and Miss Someone don’t bother

Yesterday’s kiss will be cold by tomorrow
As campfires of midnight dissolve in the darkness
The room is deserted, the blinds have been drawn
Little Miss Someone has packed up and gone
Fast moving cars disappear down the highway
With signs that say, “Hitch-Hikers: Do Not Disturb”
Mr. Zero looks quietly up from the curb
Morning has faded and shadows have grown
And Little Miss Someone is on her way home
Mr. Zero stands watching, her plane flies above
And with frost-bitten hands waves goodbye to his love

Walks through the park on a bright summer Sunday
And tapestry kittens that hung on the wall
They all die in the air like a soft minor chord
A vacancy sign and a bulletin board
Mr. Zero is wrapping his jacket around him
Speaking kind words that should have been said long ago
But Little Miss Someone does not want to know
The night is deserted, there's dust on the shelf
Mr. Zero sits lonely and talks to himself
It's too late to change; the fine line has been crossed
The charades are all done, Mr. Zero has lost

December 12, 2012

Love Sculpture - In the Land of the Few (1969)

Formed in Cardiff in the United Kingdom in 1966, this band came about after the demise of fellow-local band, The Human Beans. Composed of the not-yet-famous Dave Edmunds, John David, and Bob “Congo” Jones, they remained together long enough to record and release two full length albums. Although their most popular hit was a 1968 psychedelic reworking of Aram Khachaturian’s “Sabre Dance,” the group (primarily Edmunds) was mainly interested in ‘50s rock and roll. Other notable cover songs released by the band were Gershwin’s “Summertime,” Willie Dixon’s “Wang Dang Doodle,” and Chuck Berry’s “You Can’t Catch Me.” In late 1969, all but Edmunds were replaced and the new group completed a 1970 tour in the United States before officially folding and calling it quits. Edmunds went on to have a successful solo career as well as co-create the band Rockpile with Nick Lowe.

This song, released on the band’s second album, Forms and Feelings, was released in 1969. Differing from the blues and soul covers found on their first album, Blues Helping (1968), this album featured a strong psychedelic and classical music mixture. This song was written by Dave Edmunds, Mike Finesilver, and Peter Ker, originally released on the full length 1969 album, and later released as a 1970 single with the B-Side “People, People.”

album art

Love Sculpture - In the Land of the Few (1969)

Loading the ABLYAM player...(Might not work on mobile devices)


Lyrics:

Tell me again what you told me before
There were so many things, I'm not really sure
See what I mean or forget all I know
Were you trying to tell me I'll have to go?
Oh, oh, do I have to go?
Do I have to go?

I can laugh, I can cry
And they'll never ask me why
In the land of the few
Where they need me

I can dance, I can sing
And they'll never say a thing
In the land of the few
They believe me

I can tell by your smile that you've something to say
Then I’ll hold you the words if you turn away
Speak to me slowly, I'm waiting to know
Won’t they send you to tell me it's time to go?
Oh, oh, do I have to go?
Do I have to go?

I can laugh, I can cry
And they’ll never ask me why
In the land of the few
Where they need me

I can dance, I can sing
And they’ll never say a thing
In the land of the few
They believe me

There are many ways that I could wander
Because they take me for a fool
Though there's only a few to know
How far you have to go
'til you turn around and find there's only you

There were times I could be like the people outside
And then there were times when I had to hide
Some of my friends used to help me, I know
But now you've decided I'll have to go
Oh, oh, do I have to go?
Do I have to go?

I can laugh, I can cry
And they’ll never ask me why
In the land of the few
Where they need me

I can dance, I can sing
And they’ll never say a thing
In the land of the few
They believe me

I can laugh, I can cry
And they’ll never ask me why
In the land of the few
They believe me

I can dance, I can sing
And they’ll never say a thing
In the land of the few
They believe me

I can laugh, I can cry
And they’ll never…

December 10, 2012

Normie Rowe & The Playboys - Sad (1967)

Not to be confused with Gary Lewis & the Playboys, this Australian band is mostly remembered for their best-selling single “Que Sera Sera” / “Shakin’ All Over,” which was one of the best-selling Australian singles in the 1960s. Signing to the Sunshine label in 1964, the band was led by Normie Rowe, who would become one of Australia’s top entertainers in 1966 and ’67. Together, the group gained wide popularity in Australia and decided to try and tap into an international market. Nicknamed The (Australian) Playboys, they toured in England, Canada, and the United States. They performed at Expo ’67 in Montreal and were a part of a five week tour opening for Roy Orbison and Sam the Sham & The Pharaohs. They returned home in July 1967, but were forced into a quick “farewell tour” when Normie Rowe was drafted in September. With Rowe in basic training and eventually Vietnam, The Playboys evolved into the band Procession and this phase of the group was no more. Rowe survived Vietnam and continues to perform to this day.

This song was released on the 1967 single that featured “Black Sheep RIP” on the flip side, a reading of the poem “Baa, Baa, Black Sheep.” This song, released in August of ‘67, is now considered a freakbeat classic. The original single is highly sought after by collectors, despite it failing both critically and commercially upon its initial release. Written by Brian Peacock, the song has appeared on quite a few ‘60s music compilation collections.

album art

Normie Rowe & The Playboys - Sad (1967)

Loading the ABLYAM player...(Might not work on mobile devices)


Lyrics:

See Sad
Sitting with his head in his hands
See Sad
Pity no one understands

Look at the sad man (look at the sad man)
“Sad” is his name
Look at the sad man (look at the sad man)
He’s not to blame

Sad walkin’
With his shadow
Sad talkin’
There’s nobody there to hear
Nobody’s near

See Sad
Missing out on all of the fun
See Sad
Trouble is, he’s not the only one

Look at the sad man (look at the sad man)
He’s all alone
Look at the sad man (look at the sad man)
Nobody phones

Sad mending
Washing dishes
Pretending
There’s somebody there to hear
Nobody’s near

Look at the sad man (look at the sad man)
“Sad” is his name
Look at the sad man (look at the sad man)
He’s not to blame

See
See Sad

December 07, 2012

Los Bravos - Black Is Black (1966)

This band was the first group from Spain to have an international hit single, reaching that milestone with their signature song heard below. Formed in 1965 from two local pop bands, Los Sonor and The Runaways, the group featured the German-born Mike Kogel on lead vocals who had moved to Spain in 1960 when he was fourteen or fifteen. Although primarily remembered to be a one-hit wonder, the group actually released a successful single, “I Don’t Care,” in October 1966 to follow-up their hit heard below. “I Don’t Care” reached number sixteen in the UK, but their subsequent singles didn’t fare nearly as well, reaching number ninety-one (“Going Nowhere”) and number fifty-one (“Bring a Little Lovin',” a cover of The Easybeats). Sadly, Manuel Fernandez, the band’s organist, took his own life in May 1967 after learning of the death of his wife, Lottie, who had died in an automobile accident. The band officially called it quits in 1968.

Released as the A-Side of their debut single in 1966 for Decca Records, this song was written by Michelle Grainger, Tony Hayes, and Steve Wadey. After having worked with the Spanish division of Decca, the group wanted to tap into the English-language market and went to England to work on a song. Kogel’s vocals were so close to sounding like Gene Pitney’s, many people believed the song was a Gene Pitney single when they heard it on the radio. The song reached number four in the US, number two in the UK, and number one in Canada. It featured the B-Side “I Want a Name.”

album art

Los Bravos - Black Is Black (1966)

Loading the ABLYAM player...(Might not work on mobile devices)


Lyrics:

Black is black
I want my baby back
It's gray, it's gray
Since she went away, oh, oh
What can I do?
'cause I- I'm feelin' blue

If I had my way
She'd be back today
But she don't intend
To see me again, oh, oh
What can I do?
'cause I- I'm feelin' blue

I can't choose
It's too much to lose
My love's too strong
Wow!
Maybe if she
Would come back to me
Then it can't go wrong

Bad is bad
That I feel so sad
It's time, it's time
That I found peace of mind
What can I do?
'cause I- I'm feelin' blue

I can't choose
It's too much to lose
My love's too strong
Wow, maybe if she
Would come back to me
Then it can't go wrong

Black is black
I want my baby back
It's gray, it's gray
Since she went away, oh, oh
What can I do?
'cause I- I'm feelin' blue
'cause I- I'm feelin' blue

December 06, 2012

The Bel-Airs - Mr. Moto (1961)

One of the world’s first surf bands, this group was among Dick Dale & the Del-Tones and The Ventures to influence the popular surf genre of the early 1960s. Coming out of Southern California, they are primarily remembered for their biggest hit, heard below. The group’s original guitarist, Eddie Bertrand, would later go on to form Eddie & the Showmen in 1964, while their other guitarist Paul Johnson went on to join Cat Mother & the All Night Newsboys in 1970. Eddie Bertrand passed away from cancer in November 2012.

The group’s most successful hit, this song was originally released in 1961, a full six months before Dick Dale & the Del-Tones released “Let’s Go Trippin',” the widely accepted “first” surf rock song, which had been being played live since 1960. So although this song may have been the first surf rock song released on a single, I don’t believe it was the actual “first surf song.” I can’t find very much information regarding the subject.

album art

The Bel-Airs - Mr. Moto (1961)

Loading the ABLYAM player...(Might not work on mobile devices)


Lyrics:

(instrumental)

December 05, 2012

The Standells - Sometimes Good Guys Don't Wear White (1966)

Coming from the ashes of a group known as the Starlighters, this band was formed in Los Angeles, California in 1962. Their name came about when they noticed often they had to “stand” around outside of booking agents’ offices while attempting to find work. In their earliest performances, they used an alternate spelling, The Standels, but adopted their finalized spelling in 1963. In 1964, the band performed “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” written by Lennon/McCartney on the popular television show The Munsters. Although the band had numerous songs which reached moderate levels of popularity, they only reached the Top 40 once, with their most well-known hit “Dirty Water.” That song, now associated with nearly all professional Boston sports teams in the United States, reached number eleven on June 11, 1966, after having been released in late 1965.

Released in 1966, this song was one of the group’s intended hits after the success of “Dirty Water.” It was released on an album featuring ten tracks, the most notable other than this one being “Why Pick On Me.” The song was later covered by the Washington D.C. punk band Minor Threat.

album art

The Standells - Sometimes Good Guys Don't Wear White (1966)

Loading the ABLYAM player...(Might not work on mobile devices)


Lyrics:

I'm a poor boy born in the rubble
And some say my manners ain't the best
And some of my friends, yeah, they've been in real trouble
And some say I'm no better than the rest
But tell your mama and your papa
Sometimes good guys don't wear white
Yeah

Every day, baby, I work hard
And, it's true, at night I spend a restless time
But those rich kids and all that lazy money
Can't hold a candle to mine
So tell your mama and your papa
Sometimes good guys don't wear white

Good guys, bad guys, which is which?
The white collar worker or the digger in the ditch?
Hey, and who's to say who's the better man
When I've always done the best I can?

How bad was his dirty mind?
All those messed up chicks of the changin' times
White pills and easy livin'
Can't replace the love I've given
So tell your mama and your papa
Sometimes good guys don't wear white

Ha, I mean to tell ya
You better tell your mama and your papa somethin'
I'll split off by myself with another chick, yeah
Ah, just a kick
You think those guys in the white collars are better than I am, baby?
Then flake off
You don't dig this long hair?
Get yourself a crew-cut, baby
Yeah
I mean what I said…

December 04, 2012

John Denver - Babe, I Hate to Go [Demo] (1966)

Born Henry John Deutschendorf, Jr. in 1943, this American singer and songwriter began his musical career by singing folk music in the late 1960s. With a penchant for nature, the acoustic guitar, and his adopted home of Colorado, he wrote and sang his way toward four platinum albums and twelve gold albums with signature songs such as “Take Me Home, Country Roads,” “Annie’s Song,” “Sunshine on My Shoulders,” “Rocky Mountain High,” and more. Later, in the ‘70s and ‘80s, he branched out into small television acting roles and fighting for charitable causes. An avid pilot, his life ended prematurely at the age of fifty-three after crashing an experimental plane he was flying on October 12, 1997. As one of the most popular artists in the 1970s, he had released a total of thirty studio albums, eight live albums, and numerous singles.

Although this song is most associated with Peter, Paul and Mary for their version released as a single in 1969, it was originally written and recorded in 1966 by today’s artist. Back in ‘66, a few years before becoming famous, John Denver recorded a long list of folk songs on a demo, many of which were covers and some of which were originals, such as this one. That same year, he took the songs and used his own money to have 250 records pressed onto vinyl for distribution to his friends and family, naming it John Denver Sings. Later renamed “Leaving on a Jet Plane,” this song made such a large impression on Peter, Paul and Mary, that they recorded the song for their 1967 album, Album 1700. In the same month, the song was re-recorded and released by Denver for his debut 1969 album Rhymes & Reasons. This version is the earliest known recording.

album art

John Denver - Babe, I Hate to Go [Demo] (1966)

Loading the ABLYAM player...(Might not work on mobile devices)


Lyrics:

All my bags are packed, I'm ready to go
I'm standing here outside your door
I hate to wake you up to say goodbye
But the dawn is breaking, it's early morn'
The taxi's waiting, he's blowin' his horn
Already I'm so lonesome I could die

So kiss me and smile for me
Tell me that you'll wait for me
Hold me like you'll never let me go
'cause I'm leavin’ on a jet plane
Don't know when I'll be back again
Oh babe, I hate to go

There's so many times I've let you down
So many times I've played around
I tell you now, they don't mean a thing
Every place I go, I'll think of you
Every song I sing, I'll sing for you
When I come back, I'll bring your wedding ring

So kiss me and smile for me
Tell me that you'll wait for me
Hold me like you'll never let me go
'cause I'm leavin’ on a jet plane
Don't know when I'll be back again
Oh babe, I hate to go

Now the time has come to leave you
One more time, let me kiss you
Then close your eyes and I'll be on my way
Dream about the days to come
When I won't have to leave alone
About the times I won't have to say

Kiss me and smile for me
Tell me that you'll wait for me
Hold me like you'll never let me go
'cause I'm leavin’ on a jet plane
Don't know when I'll be back again
Oh babe, I hate to go

Well, I'm leavin' on a jet plane
Don't know when I'll be back again
Oh babe, I hate to go