News for August 2015

Song of the Day by Eric Berman – The Jukebox Series #71–The Box Tops: “Cry Like A Baby” b/w “Soul Deep” – Collectables COL-3176 (A8/B8)

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Song of the Day by Eric Berman – The Jukebox Series #71–The Box Tops: “Cry Like A Baby” b/w “Soul Deep” – Collectables COL-3176 (A8/B8)

Today’s jukebox classic was written by legendary songwriters Spooner Oldham and Dan Penn who also wrote such soul classics as “I’m Your Puppet” (for James & Bobby Purify), “A Woman Left Lonely” (for Janis Joplin) and “It Tears Me Up” (for Percy Sledge). The song was recorded by The Box Tops, the purveyors of blue-eyed soul that took the pop charts by storm in 1967 with their debut single “The Letter.” The group’s lead singer, Alex Chilton was only 16 years old when he joined the group.

The Box Tops formed as The Devilles in Memphis, Tennessee in 1963. By 1967, the lineup included Alex Chilton on lead vocals and guitar, Gary Talley on guitar, Bill Cunningham on bass, Danny Smythe on drums and John Evans on keyboards. The following year, Smythe and Evans left the band because they were unhappy with Penn’s penchant for using studio musicians on their records instead of the band. They went back to school in order to avoid the draft and were replaced by Rick Allen (of The Gentrys) on bass and Thomas Bogg on drums.

The A-side of today’s single, “Cry Like A Baby,” climbed to the #2 slot on the pop charts in 1968. It was kept out of the top slot by Bobby Goldsboro’s “Honey.”

Dan Penn was producing The Box Tops and looking for a follow-up to their debut chart-topping hit “The Letter.” He called his friend Spooner Oldham up to help him write a song. The two got together and holed themselves up in a recording studio and worked all night, but alas, nothing came to them suitable for a follow up single.

After working all night to no avail, the two went across the street to a diner for breakfast. Oldham: “I remember I was putting my head on the table. There was nobody in there, I don’t think, but us and the cook. And I tiredly put my head on the table, my arms under my head, just for a few seconds. Then I lifted my head up and looked at Dan, and because I felt sorry that he needed another record and we were no help to each other that evening, I said, ‘Dan, I could just cry like a baby.’ And he says, ‘What did you say?’ And I said it again.” (Songfacts)

Penn: “I said ‘That’s it!’ I’m sure my eyes must’ve flashed. I said, ‘To hell with the food. Here’s some money—just keep it.’ By the time we got halfway across the street, I was already singin’, ‘When I think about the good love you gave me, I cry like a baby.’ And then the key was in the lock to open the studio back up, and I said, ‘Spooner, you run to the organ, piano or whatever you wanna play; I’ll get the lights on and the gear runnin’ again. So I got the lights on and he was crankin’ up the little organ. I had the mike open, I got one of the machines going, I put on a reel of tape, went out into the studio and we wrote it before that reel of tape was done. After we did that, it was just like we’d had eight hours of sleep. Alex was supposed to be there the next morning at 10 o’clock, so my back was against the wall, and it was just like it dropped out of the sky. They came in, I gave it to Alex, everybody loved it and we cut it in a few takes. So there’s nothin’ like right now. When you try your best, I think the Lord just gives you somethin’, you know?” (http://www.conqueroo.com/danpennandspooneroldhambio.html)

The song was recorded at American Studios in Memphis and features an electric sitar played by Reggie Young and Spooner Oldham plays keyboards on the track. It’s been covered by the likes of Cher, Betty Wright, Lulu and Kim Carnes.

The group’s final top 40 hit (and the flip of today’s single), “Soul Deep” was written by Wayne Carson Thompson who co-wrote Willie Nelson’s “Always On My Mind” and also wrote “The Letter and “Neon Rainbow” for The Box Tops. The song was the group’s final US Top 40 hit during the summer of 1969, peaking at #18 on the Hot 100. By 1970, the final original members Chilton and Talley left the band, however their record label kept releasing singles through 1971. The group did not own their name, so recordings followed under The Box Tops name through 1974 featuring studio groups with no original members of the band.

Chilton went on to form Big Star, one of the most influential power pop groups in music history with very little commercial success. After the demise of Big Star, he embarked on a solo career that saw the release of many quirky and inconsistently charming releases. The Box Tops reunited several times during the late 1980s and 1990s (as did Big Star) for tours and performances. They released the album Tear Off! In 1998.

“The Jukebox Series” focuses on the 80 records that inhabit my 1963 Seeburg LPC1 jukebox. I’ve had my jukebox (or as I like to call it “the prehistoric iPod”) for a little over 14 years and in that time I’d like to think that I’ve perfected the mix of 45s within.

Edited: August 30th, 2015

Song of the Day by Eric Berman – The Jukebox Series #70–The Beach Boys: “California Girls” b/w “Let Him Run Wild” – Capitol 5464 (U7/V7)

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Song of the Day by Eric Berman – The Jukebox Series #70–The Beach Boys: “California Girls” b/w “Let Him Run Wild” – Capitol 5464 (U7/V7)

The A-side of today’s jukebox classic, “California Girls” has the greatest introduction to any record I have ever heard, and it’s a sound that slays me every time I hear it, even after all these years. It is indeed pure perfection from the pen of Brian Wilson. Brian Wilson: “I came up the introduction first. I’m still really proud of that introduction. It has a classical feel. I wrote the song ‘California Girls’ in the same key as the introduction. It took me some time. I wanted to write a song that had a traditional country and western left hand piano riff, like an old country song from the early ’50s. I wanted to get something that had kind of a jumpy feeling to it in the verses.” (Goldmine)

No matter how sublime that track is (and it totally is), it’s the single’s B-side that guaranteed it a slot in my jukebox. “Let Him Run Wild” is as close to perfection as it gets. Gossamer harmonies…incredible lyrics…music that superbly captures the mood of uncertainty. It’s hands down, one of their best recordings reflecting a simpler time for the band…and the world.

The 1966 release of The Beach Boys’ masterwork Pet Sounds ushered in a new mature era for the band. Gone were the simple, innocent paeans to girls, fun, sun and cars, and in their place was a new mature sound complete with lyrics reflecting feelings of ennui and uncertainty for the future, combined with complex musical arrangements and instrumentation.

Under closer inspection, the seeds of Pet Sounds were sown on the two previous Beach Boys album, Beach Boys Today! and Summer Days (And Summer Nights!!), where both of today’s jukebox classics were culled from, showing glimmers of the new mature sound and making those two platters every bit as potent and, dare I say it, as good as the coveted masterpiece that followed.

Beach Boys Today! was still pretty much steeped in that good old Beach Boys sound, especially on songs like “Do You Wanna Dance,” “Dance Dance Dance,” “I’m So Young” and “Help Me, Rhonda.” These songs reflected the feelings of teenage innocence that put the band on the map in the first place.

However, behind the scenes things were changing. Certainly, drug use by the band members played a huge part in the maturation of their sound, but they were also beginning to outgrow the dominance of Murray Wilson (their dad), who was a constant impediment to the progress the group was making in the studio.

This can be heard in session tapes for “Help Me, Rhonda” (on the bootleg recording called Capitol Punishment) where Murray can be heard constantly badgering and inserting his influence into the proceedings, much to the chagrin of the band and especially Brian. This was not a new occurrence for the group; they had to put up with Murray’s presence at their sessions since their inception. But during this session you can hear the members of the group cracking wise behind Murray’s back about his suggestions.

Things finally come to a head when (probably) for the first time in his career, Brian has the confidence to tell his father off and sternly ask him to leave the studio. All of this is invisible when playing back the final product, but it is all captured on tape for posterity giving fans a taste of the underbelly of one of their most jovial performances.

Several of the songs on Beach Boys Today! (released in March of 1965) reflect a new mature sound, especially on the wondrous single “When I Grow Up (To Be A Man)” where Brian tackles his uncertainty about the future in the lyrics, while making it all seem easy with its tight intricate harmonies. You can also hear Wilson’s compositional sophistication in the arrangements of “In The Back Of My Mind” and “Don’t Hurt My Little Sister.” In the plaintive “Please Let Me Wonder,” the aforementioned feelings of ennui that began to underpin Wilson’s entire being are perfectly encapsulated.

The first half of the follow up album, Summer Days (And Summer Nights!!) (released in June of 1965), takes a giant step backwards with a clutch of songs that hearken back to the group’s more innocent sound including “Salt Lake City,” “The Girl From New York City,” “Amusement Parks U.S.A.” and “Then I Kissed Her.” And even though jubilance can be heard pouring forth from the record’s grooves the sounds on the flip side of the platter tell a completely different story.

The second side of the record acts as a fairly accurate precursor of what was to come the following year on Pet Sounds. By this point, The Beach Boys’ touring schedule was pretty much non-stop, and Brian felt intense pressure to come up with more hit singles and albums to meet the demands that Capitol Records put upon him. As a result, Wilson began having panic attacks on the road and found it harder and harder to deal with day to day life on the road.

You can hear the pressures of being an in-demand Beach Boy wreaking havoc on him in the songs themselves. Sure, the group was still singing about relationships and girls, but the complex arrangements and instrumentation pointed the group in a new, stylistically bold direction that they would take once Brian Wilson pulled himself off of the road and camped himself inside the studio. You can hear it in the overall feeling of depression and dread inherent in one of their all-time greatest tracks (and the flip of today’s jukebox classic), “Let Him Run Wild.”

Wilson’s arrangements were becoming more sophisticated as heard in the spectacular orchestral intro to “California Girls,” and in “The Little Girl I Once Knew,” which has several false stops that confused DJs who ultimately took a pass on playing it on the radio. And the album’s one goof track “I’m Bugged At My Old Man” wasn’t really a joke after all.

“California Girls” climbed to #3 on the charts in 1965. The song’s inspiration came from an LSD trip of Brian Wilson’s. After initially feeling paranoid and running up to his room to hide, he came down and began to work on piano figure that runs through the song. Within an hour, he had the “East coast girls are hip” part of the song worked out. The following day, he and Mike Love finished writing the song together. (Beautiful Dreamer documentary via Wikipedia) The song was also Bruce Johnston’s first appearance on a Beach Boys record.

The song was very influential at the time and, most notably, The Beatles’ paid homage to it with their song “Back in the U.S.S.R.” from The White Album in 1968. McCartney came up with the idea for the song while in India studying Transcendental Meditation with the Maharishi Yogi with Mike Love, the rest of The Beatles, Mia Farrow and her sister Prudence (of “Dear Prudence” fame). Mike Love: “Paul came down to the breakfast table one morning saying, ‘Hey, Mike, listen to this.’ And he starts strumming and singing, ‘Back in the U.S.S.R.,’ the verses. And I said, ‘Well, Paul, what you ought to do is talk about the girls around Russia, Ukraine girls and then Georgia on my mind, and that kind of thing.’ Which he did.” (Songfacts)

David Lee Roth brought the song back to the #3 position on the pop charts propelled by a hedonistic MTV video that was played in heavy rotation in 1975.

Musicians on the track featured the best of The Wrecking Crew including Hal Blaine on drums, Frank Capp on vibraphone, Jerry Cole on guitar, Al de Lory on organ, Carol Kaye on bass, Leon Russell on piano, Billy Strange on tambourine, plus a whole slew of horn players.

During the tour behind these albums, Wilson’s panic attacks became too much to bare, ultimately forcing him to leave the touring band for good. Glen Campbell was brought in as his replacement on the road and Brian Wilson set up shop full time in the studio to work. The results can be heard on Pet Sounds.

“The Jukebox Series” focuses on the 80 records that inhabit my 1963 Seeburg LPC1 jukebox. I’ve had my jukebox (or as I like to call it “the prehistoric iPod”) for a little over twelve years and in that time I’d like to think that I’ve perfected the mix of 45s within.

Edited: August 26th, 2015

Song of the Day by Eric Berman – The Jukebox Series #69–Barbra Streisand: “He Touched Me” b/w “I Like Him” – Columbia 4-43403 (S7/T7)

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Song of the Day by Eric Berman – The Jukebox Series #69–Barbra Streisand: “He Touched Me” b/w “I Like Him” – Columbia 4-43403 (S7/T7)

I’m not really a fan of Barbra Streisand, but you couldn’t grow up in suburban New Jersey in a middle class home with Jewish parents and not be surrounded by her “like buttuh” voice emanating from the Zenith stereo. Back in the day when there was a real musical generation gap between parents and kids, the sound of Streisand ringing through the walls of my bedroom was anything but music to my ears. To be perfectly honest, it’s not really her voice (which is sublime) that bothered me about ol’ Babs, it’s the shtick that comes with it that to this day, still makes my skin crawl.

However, I must give Streisand credit because she actually could (and still can) sing. After being bombarded by the likes of Katy Perry, Miley Cyrus and even Rhianna, whose recordings are so processed that any sense of reality have been squeezed out of the grooves, I’ve come to appreciate real vocal talent…and Streisand’s had it then, and still has it to burn today.

That said, there are a few Streisand recordings that have become part of my musical DNA, and one of them is the A-side of today’s jukebox classic. “He Touched Me” was the lead track on Streisand’s fourth album My Name Is Barbra…Two” which was released by Columbia Records in 1965. The album was the second soundtrack album from Streisand’s first TV special called My Name Is Barbra, but only the medley at the end of the album was actually featured in the show. The rest of the album was comprised of all-new Streisand recordings. The album peaked at #2 on the U.S. album charts and was certified platinum for over one million copies in sales. It was produced by Robert Mersey with arrangements by Peter Matz and Don Costa.

“He Touched Me” was written by Ira Levin and Milton Schafer, and was from the Broadway musical Drat! The Cat. The musical was about a cat burglar that was plundering the upper crust society folk of New York City during the late 1800s. The musical opened on October 10, 1965 and ran for only eight performances before closing. In the show, the song was called “She Touched Me” and was sung by Elliot Gould, who was Streisand’s husband at the time. Additionally, Columbia Records, which was Streisand’s record label, invested $50,000 into the show, which is probably why both sides of today’s jukebox single were comprised of songs from the show.

The single reached #53 on the singles charts in October of 1965. The flip of the single, “I Like Him” was also from Drat! The Cat and never appeared on a Streisand album. In England, “He Touched Me” was released as the flip side of the “Second Hand Rose” single which was also from the My Name Is Barbra…Two album.

“The Jukebox Series” focuses on the 80 records that inhabit my 1963 Seeburg LPC1 jukebox. I’ve had my jukebox (or as I like to call it “the prehistoric iPod”) for a little over twelve years and in that time I’d like to think that I’ve perfected the mix of 45s within.

Edited: August 25th, 2015

Song of the Day by Eric Berman – The Jukebox Series #68–The Rascals: “A Beautiful Morning” b/w “I’ve Been Lonely Too Long” – Atlantic Oldies Series OS 13039 (Q7/R7)

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Song of the Day by Eric Berman – The Jukebox Series #68–The Rascals: “A Beautiful Morning” b/w “I’ve Been Lonely Too Long” – Atlantic Oldies Series OS 13039 (Q7/R7)

Before Bruce Springsteen and Bon Jovi, The Rascals were the group that put New Jersey on the musical map. The group consisted of Eddie Brigati on vocals, Felix Cavaliere on keyboards and vocals, Gene Cornish on guitar and Dino Danelli on drums. Cavaliere, Cornish and Danelli were all members of Joey Dee and the Starlighters along with Eddie Brigati’s brother David. The group formed in the basement of Brigati’s house in Garfield, New Jersey calling themselves The Rascals. They changed their name to The Young Rascals after their manager Sid Bernstein found another group called The Harmonica Rascals who objected to them using their original name.

Their sound was pure blue-eyed soul and the group began by performing covers, scoring hits with songs like “I Ain’t Gonna Eat Out My Heart Anymore,” “Good Lovin’” and “Mustang Sally” before trying their own hand at writing songs for themselves. What followed was a string of stunning, indelible original hits including “You Better Run,” “Groovin’,” “A Girl Like You,” “How Can I Be Sure,” “It’s Wonderful,” “People Got To Be Free,” and the two songs that inhabit today’s jukebox single “A Beautiful Morning” and “I’ve Been Lonely Too Long.”

“A Beautiful Morning” was the group’s first “grown up” single, meaning that The Young Rascals drop the “Young” in their name to be forever known as just The Rascals. However, the song was just as innocent and vibrant as many of their many other hit singles, adding a welcome relief to some of the heavier sounds that graced the charts in 1968. It was also the perfect follow-up single to “Groovin’.”

The song, which was written by Cavaliere and Brigati, climbed to the #3 position of the pop charts in 1968 and sold well over a million copies. It was originally released as a stand-alone single with “Rainy Day” on the flip side, and made its first appearance on an album on Time Peace: The Rascals’ Greatest Hits in 1968. The album would go on to be the most popular album in the group’s entire canon topping the charts in September 1968. In its wake, the song has been featured in movies and used countless times to sell products in TV commercials.

The flip of today’s jukebox classic is another stellar single “I’ve Been Lonely Too Long,” which was originally released on the group’s second album Collections. The song was written by Felix Cavaliere, although early copies of the 45 credited it to Cavaliere and Eddie Brigati. The song climbed to #16 on the charts when released as a single in January of 1967.

Cavaliere: “That song was our savior. Before that, there was disgruntled talk in and out of the ranks, and thank God, it was a hit. In retrospect, “Good Lovin”‘ launched The Rascals, but it was “Lonely Too Long” that proved the band was more than a one-hit wonder.” (www.therascalsarchives.com/)

Rock critic Dave Marsh included the song in his book The Heart Of Rock & Soul: The 1001 Greatest Singles Ever Made and said the following: “Holland-Dozier-Holland deserve royalties for the intro, but after Felix’s organ comes in, The Rascals are on their own with one of the most distinctive performances in blue-eyed soul. The highlight, though, is Dino Danelli’s drumming, which merges Benny Benjamin funk with Keith Moon power.”

By the end of the 1960s, The Rascals’ popularity began to wane, leading to the departure of Eddie Brigati in 1970 and Dino Danelli in 1971. The group carried on for a few more years, releasing several really good jazz-rock albums for Columbia Records in a similar vein to Blood Sweat & Tears and Chicago, before calling it quits.

The Rascals went dormant for the next 40 years except for a brief tour that featured three of the members in 1988, a performance at the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame induction ceremony in 1997, and another tour where they were booked as The New Rascals featuring only Cornish and Danelli. Meanwhile, Cavaliere formed his own version of The Rascals (calling it Cavaliere’s Rascals) to perform the group’s repertoire, and Brigati also got in on the acrimonious touring game by putting together a group he called The Boys From The Music House, that also featured his brother to perform the Rascals’ repertoire.

After many years of not speaking to each other, the original quartet reunited in 2009 for a benefit show for Kristen Ann Carr (a member of Bruce Springsteen’s camp) at the behest of Springsteen guitarist Steve Van Zandt who joined the group with Springsteen for their encore of “Good Lovin’.”

The Carr benefit led to the creation of a jukebox musical by Steve Van Zandt and his wife Maureen with lighting director Marc Brickman called The Rascals: Once Upon A Dream. The show starred the original lineup of the band performing in front of projection screens and debuted for six performances at The Capitol Theater in Port Chester, New York in December of 2012. After the brief residency, the show moved to Broadway where the group gave 14 more performances the following spring, and then it hit the road and toured throughout North America to rave reviews.

As a longtime fan of the group, I never thought the day would come that I would actually ever get the opportunity to see the group in action…in any form. However, I was fortunate enough to catch them a few years ago in Chicago. The group was every bit as good as they ever were, and the material has surely stood the test of time. If the show comes around again, I urge any fan of the group to go see it at once.

“The Jukebox Series” focuses on the 80 records that inhabit my 1963 Seeburg LPC1 jukebox. I’ve had my jukebox (or as I like to call it “the prehistoric iPod”) for a little over 14 years and in that time I’d like to think that I’ve perfected the mix of 45s within.

Edited: August 24th, 2015

Song of the Day by Eric Berman – The Jukebox Series #67–Jeannie C. Riley: “Harper Valley PTA” b/w “Yesterday All Day Long Today” – Plantation #3 (N7/P7)

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Song of the Day by Eric Berman – The Jukebox Series #67–Jeannie C. Riley: “Harper Valley PTA” b/w “Yesterday All Day Long Today” – Plantation #3 (N7/P7)

Today’s jukebox classic goes out to all of those “Harper Valley hypocrites” who scorn mini-skirts, casual sex and social drinking.

Jeannie C. Riley’s recording of “Harper Valley P.T.A.” sold six million copies worldwide in 1968 and catapulted her to instant notoriety, earning her a Grammy Award for Best Female Country Vocal Performance and the Country Music Association Single of the Year award. The Tom T. Hall-written ditty topped both the Country and Pop charts in 1968, a feat that would not be repeated by a song until Dolly Parton did the trick with “9 to 5″ in 1981.

Jeannie C. Riley had been a receptionist at Passkey Music on Music Row in Nashville before recording the song. She came to the attention of Plantation Records chief Shelby Singleton from a demo she recorded called “Old Town Drunk.” Singleton thought that Riley would be perfect for another demo he was sitting on called “Harper Valley P.T.A.” written by a then-unknown Tom T. Hall.

The song was literally recorded in 15 minutes right after Riley left work at Passkey and walked into the studio that just happened to be next door. After it was recorded, it was suggested that Riley change the song’s final line from “the day that momma broke up the Harper Valley P.T.A.” to “the day my momma socked it to, the Harper Valley P.T.A.” The line sealed the deal on the song, as well as Jeannie C. Riley’s fate as the notorious vixen of Harper Valley.

Before the song got to Riley, it was originally given to Skeeter Davis who passed on it. In the meantime Billie Jo Spears and Margie Singleton also recorded versions of the song, but Riley’s recording not only topped the charts, but gave her a TV variety show of her own to star in. Later, it was turned into a 1978 major motion picture and a 1981 TV series, both starring Barbara Eden.

While Riley went on to have hit records with “The Girl Most Likely,” “There Never Was A Time,” “The Rib,” “The Back Side of Dallas,” “Country Girl,” “Oh Singer” and “Good Enough to Be Your Wife,” she will always be remembered by today’s Song Of The Day.

The flip of today’s single is a Clark Bentley-penned tune that was featured on her 1970 album, Country Girl. Today’s video is not the actual 45 rpm version. This one has some great dobro work of Harold Morrison.

“The Jukebox Series” focuses on the 80 records that inhabit my 1963 Seeburg LPC1 jukebox. I’ve had my jukebox (or as I like to call it “the prehistoric iPod”) for a little over 14 years and in that time I’d like to think that I’ve perfected the mix of 45s within.

Edited: August 19th, 2015

Song of the Day by Eric Berman – The Jukebox Series #66–Raspberries: “Go All The Way” b/w “Let’s Pretend” – Capitol/Collectables COL-63367 (L7/M7)

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Song of the Day by Eric Berman – The Jukebox Series #66–Raspberries: “Go All The Way” b/w “Let’s Pretend” – Capitol/Collectables COL-63367 (L7/M7)

Power pop never came more powerful, and yes, more poppier than today’s jukebox classic “Go All The Way” by Raspberries. And if there ever was a song that summed up the sound of ‘70s AM radio, this is the track with its crunchy guitar riff designed to instantly get your attention, and its soaring, stacked Beach Boy-inspired harmonies that pretty much paved the way for groups like Electric Light Orchestra and Queen. Over their five year existence, Raspberries pretty much invented their own brand of ultra-melodic rock with indelible singles like “Go All The Way,” “I Wanna Be With You,” “Let’s Pretend” and “Overnight Sensation (Hit Record).”

Like many groups from the 1970s, Raspberries were inspired by The Beatles, even going as far as wearing matching suits early on. While the repeated “come on” chants in today’s song paid homage to the fabs’ first single “Please Please Me,” the lyrics were inspired by The Rolling Stones’ performance of “Let’s Spend the Night Together” on The Ed Sullivan Show when the band had to change the song’s lyrics to “let’s spend some time together.” Carmen: “I knew then that I wanted to write a song with an explicitly sexual lyric that the kids would instantly get but the powers that be couldn’t pin me down for.” (Blender Magazine) As a result, the song was banned by the BBC in England for its suggestive lyrics.

Carmen: “I remember ‘Go All The Way’ vividly. The year was 1971. I was 21. I had been studying for years. I had spent my youth with my head between two stereo speakers listening to The Byrds and The Beatles and later on The Beach Boys – just trying to figure out what combinations of things…I must have worn out 10 copies of that first Byrds album listening to it over and over, and turning off the left side and turning on the right side trying to figure out why these certain combinations of instruments and echo and harmonies made that hair on your arms stand up. I did the same thing with Beatles records, and I tried to learn construction. Then I went to school on Brian Wilson. That was a real breakthrough for me because he was doing things that I thought were so incredibly sophisticated before anybody was doing anything even close. The Pet Sounds album is, to me, the best pop album of all time…So when I sat down to write ‘Go All The Way,’ there were a couple things I had in mind. I thought, ‘What part of the song is it that people really want to hear? It’s the chorus.’ As a result of all that, ‘Go All The Way’ has a 10 second verse, and then the chorus is a minute long. I figured just to get to the chorus as fast as I can. That was the plan behind the song. I repeated that when I wrote ‘I Wanna Be With You.’” (EricCarmen.com)

The group formed in the early 1970 in Cleveland, Ohio and consisted of Eric Carmen on vocals and bass, Wally Bryson on guitar, Dave Smalley on guitar and Jim Bonfanti on drums. While trying to come up with a moniker for the band, one of the members responded to a suggestion he didn’t like by saying “ahh, raspberries,” hence their name.

They signed with Capitol records in 1971 and were teamed with producer Jimmy Ienner who helmed all four of their albums. After they broke big with “Go All The Way” which climbed to #5 on the pop charts in 1972, Smalley and Carmen switched instruments so Carmen could be the front man on stage. The song was included on their stellar self-titled debut album which came with a scratch and sniff sticker on its cover. After all these years, the sticker on my copy still carries a hint of raspberry essence. The song has been covered as a duet by Matthew Sweet and Susanna Hoffs and also by The Killers.

The flip of today’s double A-sided reissue single is “Let’s Pretend,” another prime example of the Beach Boys-inspired pop that was Raspberries’ stock in trade. The song was the second single charting at #35 from their second album, Fresh.

With the acrimonious breakup of Raspberries in 1975, producer Jimmy Ienner brought Carmen to the fledgling Arista record label where, under the aegis of Clive Davis, he took on a more baroque ballad style. Carmen hit the ball right out of the park with the first single from his self-titled debut album, “All By Myself,” which went all the way to the number two position on the charts.

After Carmen’s second Arista album, the hits began to dry up. However, he continued to have hits via others covering his songs like Olivia Newton John, Samantha Sang and Mike Reno and Ann Wilson, whose “Almost Paradise” from the movie Footloose was a huge hit in 1984. Carmen returned to the top ten again in 1987 with his singles “Hungry Eyes” and “Make Me Lose Control,” from the movie Dirty Dancing. The original lineup of the group reunited for a tour in 2005. Let’s hope they “go all the way” and do it again soon.

“The Jukebox Series” focuses on the 80 records that inhabit my 1963 Seeburg LPC1 jukebox. I’ve had my jukebox (or as I like to call it “the prehistoric iPod”) for a little over twelve years and in that time I’d like to think that I’ve perfected the mix of 45s within.

 

Edited: August 18th, 2015

Song of the Day by Eric Berman – The Jukebox Series #65–The Drifters: “On Broadway” b/w “I’ve Got Sand in My Shoes” – Atlantic Oldies Series OS-13013 (J7/K7)

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Song of the Day by Eric Berman – The Jukebox Series #65–The Drifters: “On Broadway” b/w “I’ve Got Sand in My Shoes” – Atlantic Oldies Series OS-13013 (J7/K7)

It was one of the greatest songs to emanate from the Brill Building in New York City, and it was recorded by The Drifters, one of the greatest R&B groups of all time. “On Broadway” was written by Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil, with an assist from Jerry Lieber and Mike Stoller, four of the most hit-laden songwriters to come out of the hallowed halls of the Brill Building. The story behind the song’s inception exemplifies the creative and collaborative spirit of the writers who were also very much in competition with each other.

The Brill Building sound actually came from two buildings. There was the actual Brill Building at 1619 Broadway where Lieber and Stoller had their offices, and there was the offices of Aldon Music which were housed at 1650 Broadway. Weil and Mann worked at Aldon Music and originally recorded versions of “On Broadway” with The Cookies and The Crystals. Lieber and Stoller, who were housed at 1650 Broadway had booked a recording session the day after The Cookies’ session in the same studio and put word out that they were still looking for one more song for The Drifters to record. Weil and Mann forwarded “On Broadway” to Lieber and Stoller who liked it, but wanted to make some changes. An all-night writing session ensued with all four songwriters, culminating in a simpler rhythm and different lyrics.

Cynthia Weil: “We originally wrote “On Broadway” for a group called The Cookies. Our friends Carole King and Gerry Goffin were writing for them and Gerry was producing and they were short one song. Barry had this concept of writing a “Gershwinesque” pop song and I, being a Broadway fanatic wanted to write a lyric about my favorite street and all it stood for. The ideas seemed to mesh so we wrote the first version of “On Broadway.” The Cookies and later The Crystals cut it but neither record was released. Then our publisher told us that Jerry Lieber and Mike Stoller were looking for songs for The Drifters. We played them our song and they thought we needed to make some changes for their group. They said we could go home and work on it or rewrite it with them. We idolized them and jumped at the chance to team up. Using the basic melody that Barry had written and my opening lines all we created the “On Broadway” that went on to be a hit by The Drifters and George Benson.” (Barry Mann/Cynthia Weil Website – http://www.mann-weil.com)

The Drifters had an ever-changing lineup (hence the group’s name) that included three main lead vocalists in succession. Their original lead vocalist was Clyde McPhatter who was with the group for one year and sang on the hits “Such A Night,” “Money Honey,” “Lucille” and “Honey Love.” The second main incarnation of the group featured Ben E. King who sang on the hits “There Goes My Baby,” “Dance With Me,” “This Magic Moment,” “I Count The Tears” and “Save The Last Dance For Me.” After King’s departure for a solo career, Rudy Lewis came on board and lent his golden tones to “Some Kind Of Wonderful,” “Up on the Roof” and today’s jukebox classic. Lewis was with the group from 1961 until his untimely death in 1964.

The musicians on the track included Phil Spector who played the guitar solo, Joe Newman and Ernie Royal on trumpet, Billy Butler, Bill Suyker and Everett Barksdale on guitar, Russ Savakus on Bass, Gary Chester on Drums and Phil Kraus, Nick Rodriguez and Martin Grupp on percussion. The song appeared on the group’s 1964 album Under The Boardwalk which featured Rudy Lewis’ last recordings with the group before his death, and the emergence of their next lead singer Johnny Moore, who had been McPhatter’s temporary successor in the 1955 incarnation of the group. (The numerous lineup changes within The Drifters are confusing to say the least and I won’t delve much farther into this here.)

The song reached the #9 position on the pop charts in 1963 and it was covered by George Benson, whose smooth jazz rendition brought it back to the top ten of the charts in 1978. The song has also seen covers by The Coasters, The Dave Clark Five, Eric Carmen, Bobby Darin, Tom Jones, Johnny Mathis, James Taylor, Gary Numan, Tito Puente, Lou Rawls, Neil Young, Buddy Rich, Frank Sinatra and Sly & The Family Stone. Both David Bowie and Genesis quoted the melody and lyrics of this ever popular favorite in their respective songs “Aladdin Sane” and “The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway.”

The flip of today’s single is “I’ve Got Sand in My Shoes” was written by Kenny Young and Arthur Resnick who also wrote “Under the Boardwalk.” This sequel is strongly reminiscent of “Under the Boardwalk,” and just as good, to boot! It’s got a great guitar line at the front of the tune, and it appeared on The Drifters’ 1965 album I’ll Take You Where the Music’s Playing. The personnel on the track includes Johnny Moore on lead vocals, Charles Thomas on tenor vocals, Eugene Pearson on baritone vocals, John Terry on bass vocals and Billy Davis on guitar. The album was the first Drifters record to be released after the death of Rudy Lewis.

“The Jukebox Series” focuses on the 80 records that inhabit my 1963 Seeburg LPC1 jukebox. I’ve had my jukebox (or as I like to call it “the prehistoric iPod”) for a little over 14 years and in that time I’d like to think that I’ve perfected the mix of 45s within.

Edited: August 17th, 2015

Song of the Day by Eric Berman – The Jukebox Series #64–The Beatles: “Slow Down” b/w “Matchbox” – Capitol 5255 (G7/H7)

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Song of the Day by Eric Berman – The Jukebox Series #64–The Beatles: “Slow Down” b/w “Matchbox” – Capitol 5255 (G7/H7)

The Beatles not only had three of the greatest songwriters of all time in their band, but early on they were also great tastemakers, choosing unknown American R&B, Country, Blues and Rock ‘n’ Roll tunes and repurposing them for the UK market. As a result of their world domination of the music charts, they pretty much reintroduced songs like “Please Mr. Postman,” “Rock And Roll Music,” “Anna,” “Act Naturally,” “Baby It’s You,” “You Really Got A Hold On Me,” “Money (That’s What I Want),” “Honey Don’t,” “Long Tall Sally,” “A Taste Of Honey,” “Roll Over Beethoven,” “Devil In Her Heart” and even a Broadway tune “Till There Was You” to the American market.

Today’s jukebox classic features two such cover records, although I have taken some liberties and flipped the single in the juke to make the B-side of the single, the A-side instead. Both of today’s songs originally appeared on the British Long Tall Sally EP released in 1964.

“Slow Down” is a cover of a Larry Williams tune from 1958. The Beatles probably first heard it as the flip side of Williams’ single “Dizzy Miss Lizzy” which they also covered. The Beatles would also return to Larry Williams’ cannon of material for a third time to record his song “Bad Boy.” Williams was a New Orleans R&B recording artist who was far more influential across the pond than here in the U.S., which is probably why The Beatles covered three of his songs.

The song has also seen covers by The Young Rascals, The Flamin’ Groovies, The Jam, Led Zeppelin, Golden Earring, Tom Jones, Elvis Costello and many others. Today, The Beatles’ recording can be found on the compilation album Past Masters Vol. 1 and also on the first Live at the BBC album.

The other side of today’s single is one of three Carl Perkins songs that the Beatles recorded. (“Honey Don’t” and “Everybody’s Tryin’ To Be My Baby” were the other two.) The song was first recorded by Blind Lemon Jefferson in 1927, but The Beatles based their version of “Matchbox” on Carl Perkins’ 1956 single version released on the Sun record label.

The Beatles began performing the song as early as 1961 with Pete Best handling the vocal chores. The group continued to perform the song and live versions have turned up from The Star Club in Hamburg, Germany featuring Lennon on vocals. By the time the group got around to performing the song for BBC radio (as heard on the Live at the BBC album), Ringo was featured on vocals. The song later turned up on The Beatles’ Long Tall Sally EP in England, and on the Something New album in America also with Ringo on the vocals.

The Beatles’ recording of “Matchbox” was issued as the A-side of today’s single in a nice picture sleeve and climbed to number 17 on the pop charts. Today, it also can be found on The Beatles’ Past Masters Volume 1 album. For the studio recording, the group was augmented by George Martin who played piano on the track.

The song has also been covered by Jerry Lee Lewis, Ronnie Hawkins, Johnny Rivers, Bob Dylan (unreleased), Derek and the Dominos, Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash, Jeff Beck & The Big Town Playboys, Duane Eddy and “The Silver Wilburys” (featuring George Harrison, Bob Dylan, John Fogerty, Taj Mahal & Jesse Ed Davis).

“The Jukebox Series” focuses on the 80 records that inhabit my 1963 Seeburg LPC1 jukebox. I’ve had my jukebox (or as I like to call it “the prehistoric iPod”) for a little over 14 years and in that time I’d like to think that I’ve perfected the mix of 45s within.

Edited: August 11th, 2015

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – The Jukebox Series #63–Bachman-Turner Overdrive: “Let It Ride” b/w “Tramp” – Mercury 73457 (E7/F7)

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Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – The Jukebox Series #63–Bachman-Turner Overdrive: “Let It Ride” b/w “Tramp” – Mercury 73457 (E7/F7)

There’s something to be said about what I call “big dumb rock records.” They’re the riff-crazy tracks that make you grab for your air guitar whilst rocking your head back and forth…oh, and don’t forget the obligatory pain-ridden facial expressions a la Carlos Santana.

We’ve all been there and I still go there today from time-to-time. Anybody who’s been to a concert with me can attest to this fact. It ain’t pretty…but it’s the rock abandon that tracks like today’s jukebox classic, “Let It Ride” conjures that makes it all happen. Simply put, the track is the consummate air guitar song and one the band’s most riff-heavy moments.

Bachman-Turner Overdrive consisted of Randy Bachman on guitar and vocals, Robbie Bachman on drums, Tim Bachman on guitar and Fred Turner on bass and vocals. During the 1970s, the band sold well over seven million albums while propelling hard rock nuggets like “You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet,” “Takin’ Care of Business,” “Hey You” and “Roll On Down The Highway” up the charts.

The group’s leader, Randy Bachman was a founding member of The Guess Who, who charted with such classics as “These Eyes,” “Laughing, “No Time,” “American Woman,” “Share the Land” and “Albert Flasher.” After his departure from The Guess Who, Bachman recorded a solo album called Axe and then formed the band Brave Belt with Guess Who vocalist Chad Allan. Brave Belt went on to release two albums before Allan left due to creative differences. Bachman brought Fred Turner and his two brothers Tim and Robbie into the lineup forming Bachman-Turner Overdrive. When the band shopped around their debut record, they were turned away by 25 record labels before signing with Mercury Records in 1973.

Today’s jukebox classic was certainly not one of their biggest hits, but “Let It Ride” encapsulated all that was good about larger-than-life, radio-ready rock riffage of the mid-1970s. With its meat and potatoes guitar riff combined with totally relatable of-the-people, blue collar lyrics and Fred Turner’s gargled with nails vocals, the song stretched itself right down the center lane of the pop culture highway and onto the charts settling in at number 23 in 1974.

“Let It Ride” was written by Randy Bachman and Fred Turner while the band was on tour in their van. While driving, several truckers boxed the band’s van significantly slowing them down. The band followed the truckers to the next rest stop with the intent to tell them off, however upon catching a glimpse of how big they were, they decided to “Let It Ride.” (songfacts.com)

The band would have to wait for their next single, “Takin’ Care Of Business” (also from BTO II) to firmly establish themselves as top-tier hitmakers, but it was “Let It Ride” that set the groundwork for their enduring popularity.

Randy Bachman left BTO in 1977 and went on to from Ironhorse who recorded two albums that went nowhere. Bachman has since taken on reunion tours with The Guess Who and BTO.

“The Jukebox Series” focuses on the 80 records that inhabit my 1963 Seeburg LPC1 jukebox. I’ve had my jukebox (or as I like to call it “the prehistoric iPod”) for a little over 14 years and in that time I’d like to think that I’ve perfected the mix of 45s within.

Edited: August 10th, 2015

Song of the Day by Eric Berman – The Jukebox Series #62– Johnny Rivers: “Secret Agent Man” b/w “Memphis” – Liberty Silver Spotlight Series 45 XW-101 (C7/D7)

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Song of the Day by Eric Berman – The Jukebox Series #62– Johnny Rivers: “Secret Agent Man” b/w “Memphis” – Liberty Silver Spotlight Series 45 XW-101 (C7/D7)

Johnny Rivers is a singer, songwriter, record producer and record label owner who is probably best known for the numerous live records he released featuring cover versions of popular songs recorded at The Whiskey A Go-Go on the Sunset Strip in Hollywood, California. He scored numerous hits during the ‘60s and ‘70s, including “Maybellene,” “The Midnight Special,” “Mountain Of Love,” “The Seventh Son,” “Where Have All The Flowers Gone?,” “Poor Side Of Town,” “Baby I Need Your Lovin’,” “Memphis” (the B-side of today’s jukebox classic) and today’s song, “Secret Agent Man.”

“Secret Agent Man” was written by P.F. Sloan and Steve Barri for the American adaptation of the British TV spy show Danger Man. The song was picked up for use on American TV for the show Secret Agent which ran from 1964 through 1966. The original demo used the Danger Man title instead of Secret Agent Man.

The original studio incarnation of the song was one verse and the chorus, however once the song and the show gained in popularity, two more versus were written and added to the song. The full version of “Secret Agent Man” was recorded live at The Whiskey A Go-Go and released on the …And You Know You Wanna Dance album in 1966. Personnel on the album included Chuck Day on bass, Mickey Jones on drums, Larry Knechtel on organ, Joe Osborn on bass and guitar and Johnny Rivers on vocals and electric guitar. The song was later retouched in the studio before it was released as a single. The single climbed all the way to number three on the charts in 1966 and sold over one million copies. P.F. Sloan was responsible for the indelible guitar riff that drives the song.

Sloan: “Somebody thought I should do a full length instrumental of the song. So I did. Meanwhile the song was picked by CBS and Johnny Rivers recorded the quick 15-second song for the TV show. The Ventures, the genius guitar instrumental group, heard the demo and recorded and released the song way before Rivers even had a finished song. The publishers asked me to finish the song, Rivers recorded it, not one of his favorite songs back then, but he’s happier with it now.” (P.F. Sloan Website via Songfacts.com)

The song has been covered by the likes of Devo, Mel Tormé, Blotto, The Toasters, Agent Orange, Blues Traveler, Hank Williams Jr., Bruce Willis, Alvin & The Chipmunks, and dozens of punk bands who performed this song live on stage as part of their shows. The song has also been used to hawk everything from Wal-Mart to Chase Bank, and was also featured in the movies Repo Man, Austin Powers: International Man Of Mystery and Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls.

The flip of today’s double A-sided single is Rivers’ recording of Chuck Berry’s “Memphis” which was also recorded live at The Whiskey A Go-Go and featured on Rivers’ debut album the Johnny Rivers Live At The Whiskey A Go Go album. Rivers’ recording of “Memphis” climbed to the number two position of the charts in 1964 and also sold well over one million copies.

In 1966, Rivers’ launched his own record label called Soul City Records and signed The 5th Dimension who scored numerous hit records for the label. As the sixties faded, Rivers’ changed gears and began to record psychedelic music to keep up with the times. His Realization album was not a big hit, but is nevertheless well worth seeking out.

Rivers hit the charts again in the 1972 with “Rockin’ Pneumonia and the Boogie Woogie Flu” which climbed to number six and also sold over a million copies. He continues to perform and record to this day. If ever an artist deserved to be a member of the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall Of Fame, Johnny Rivers is the man.

Growing up, “Secret Agent Man” was my son’s favorite song in the jukebox. When he was small he used to think the lyrics said “Secret Asian Man” and he’d run around the living room whenever it was played singing those lyrics as loud as he could. Today he’s 18 and proud to admit that he now knows better…

“The Jukebox Series” focuses on the 80 records that inhabit my 1963 Seeburg LPC1 jukebox. I’ve had my jukebox (or as I like to call it “the prehistoric iPod”) for a little over 14 years and in that time I’d like to think that I’ve perfected the mix of 45s within.

Edited: August 9th, 2015

Song of the Day by Eric Berman – The Jukebox Series #61– The Shocking Blue: “Venus” b/w “Hot Sand” – Colossus 45 C-108 (A7/B7)

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Song of the Day by Eric Berman – The Jukebox Series #61– The Shocking Blue: “Venus” b/w “Hot Sand” – Colossus 45 C-108 (A7/B7)

The group behind today’s jukebox classic was truly a one hit wonder in the United States, but Dutch band The Shocking Blue scored numerous hits in their native Holland. Even so, their biggest worldwide hit, “Venus” which topped the charts in seven countries, only made it to #8 on the Dutch charts.

The Shocking Blue consisted of Mariska Veres on lead vocals, Robbie van Leeuwen on guitar, Klaasje van der Wal on bass and Cor van Beek on drums. The record was produced by Jerry Ross who also found success on these shores producing “Ma Belle Amie” by Tee Set.

“Venus” is an infectious power pop confection that was based on a 1963 folk song called “The Banjo Song” which was originally released in 1963 by The Big 3 (the group that introduced Mama Cass Elliot to the world). The guitar riff also bears a strong resemblance to The Who’s “Pinball Wizard,” however all that “borrowing” shouldn’t stop anyone from loving this chart-topping single that sold well over one million copies in 1970.

A typo in the English translation of the song resulted in lead singer Mariska Veres pronouncing the word “Goddess” in the song’s first line as “Goddness.” (Listen for yourself!) (songfacts.com)The song appeared on the group’s second album At Home, which was released in 1969 and also holds the distinction of containing the original version of “Love Buzz” which Nirvana covered as their debut single in 1988.

Bananarama brought “Venus” back to the top of the US charts in 1986, and it was also brought back into the UK top ten in 1990 by dance producers The BHF (Bisiach Hornbostel Ferucci) who gave the track a house arrangement. The song has also been covered by Southern Culture On The Skids, Tom Jones and Jennifer Lopez.

The flip side of today’s single “Hot Sand,” is a fuzzed out, sitar-driven track that is every bit as good as the A-side and was not included on American copies of their debut album. It was later amended to the CD release.

The song also holds the distinction of sharing its title with another big hit from a different era, in this case “Venus” by Frankie Avalon. Other songs that hold this distinction are “My Love” by Petula Clark and Paul McCartney and “Best Of My Love” by The Emotions and The Eagles. Can you name any others?

“The Jukebox Series” focuses on the 80 records that inhabit my 1963 Seeburg LPC1 jukebox. I’ve had my jukebox (or as I like to call it “the prehistoric iPod”) for a little over 14 years and in that time I’d like to think that I’ve perfected the mix of 45s within.

Edited: August 4th, 2015

Song of the Day by Eric Berman – The Jukebox Series #60– Bobbie Gentry: “Ode To Billie Joe” b/w “Mississippi Delta” – Capitol 45-5950 (U6/V6)

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Song of the Day by Eric Berman – The Jukebox Series #60– Bobbie Gentry: “Ode To Billie Joe” b/w “Mississippi Delta” – Capitol 45-5950 (U6/V6)

Over 45 years after its release, people still wonder what Billie Joe McAllister and his girlfriend threw off the Tallahatchie Bridge which led to Billie Joe’s suicide the following day in today’s jukebox classic, “Ode To Billie Joe.” The song is perhaps one of the greatest story songs of all time, and it unfolds over a family dinner conversation about Billie Joe’s suicide that might implicate one of the members sitting around the table.

It is one of the most asked questions Bobbie Gentry gets when people meet her, and over 45 years later, she’s still not telling. When the song was turned into a novel and then a screenplay for the 1976 movie by Herman Raucher, he met with Gentry who stated that she had no idea what was thrown off the bridge. In the book and film, Billie Joe kills himself after a homosexual experience and the object he’s seen throwing off the bridge is the narrator’s rag doll.

Gentry has gone on to say that the song was really about the indifference reflected during the casual dinner conversation relating the tale of a suicide by someone the family sitting around the table apparently knew well. Gentry: “The story of Billie Joe has two more interesting underlying themes. First, the illustration of a group of peoples’ reactions to the life and death of Billie Joe, and its subsequent effect on their lives, is made. Second, the obvious gap between the girl and her mother is shown when both women experience a common loss (first Billie Joe, and later, Papa), and yet Mama and the girl are unable to recognize their mutual loss or share their grief.” (Wikipedia)

Nevertheless, “Ode To Billie Joe” earned eight Grammy nominations, and won three for Gentry and one for arranger Jimmy Haskell in 1968.

Bobbie Gentry performed one of the greatest disappearing acts in all of music history. Unlike Elvis Presley and the still persistent Elvis sightings, Gentry really is alive and well and living in California…in glorious obscurity.

But back in 1967, you couldn’t turn a radio on without hearing her single “Ode To Billie Joe,” or tune into a variety show on TV without seeing her performing it. In her wake, Gentry left seven interesting albums of varying quality including Ode To Billie Joe, the album that established her, a duet album with Glen Campbell, and one bona-fide lost classic, The Delta Sweete, which is the criminally unknown concept album she released in 1968 about growing up in the deep South of the Mississippi Delta.

While “Ode” established Gentry with the American public, the song pretty much overshadowed the album it was culled from, as well as everything else that came after it. However, the album does hold the distinction for being the record that knocked The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper off the top of the charts after holding that position for 15 weeks in 1967.

The song was originally the B-side of a demo recording of “Mississippi Delta” that Gentry made as an audition record for Capitol. It was said to be a straight guitar and voice recording that lasted over seven minutes, encompassing eleven verses. Capitol Records realized how strong “Ode” was and had Gentry cut the song’s length in half and re-record it with strings. It was then released as the A-side with “Mississippi Delta” on the flip. The original long version of the song has never been released and it is questionable if it actually still exists at all. (songfacts.com)

Bob Dylan paid tribute to Gentry’s “Ode” with the song “Clothes Line Saga” which was recorded with The Band during the 1967 sessions for what became The Basement Tapes. The song carried the working title of “Answer To Ode” and in it Dylan parodies the conversational tone of Gentry’s song. (songfacts.com)

Gentry would go on to release six more albums before removing herself from the spotlight entirely after years of performing in Vegas and a failed TV career. She retired in 1978 at the age of 36, never to be professionally heard from again.

Both of today’s songs were culled from Gentry’s first studio album Ode To Billie Joe, and the flip of today’s single is the swampy confection “Mississippi Delta,” that kicked off the album with a very sinister horn part and infectious hook spelling Mississippi as “MI-double S-I-double S-I-double P-I.”

Today, Bobbie Gentry’s career is ripe for rediscovery. Come back Bobbie, the world is still waiting…

“The Jukebox Series” focuses on the 80 records that inhabit my 1963 Seeburg LPC1 jukebox. I’ve had my jukebox (or as I like to call it “the prehistoric iPod”) for a little over 14 years and in that time I’d like to think that I’ve perfected the mix of 45s within.

Edited: August 2nd, 2015