Posts Tagged ‘Jerry Lieber’

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 #21 – Peggy Lee: “Is That All There Is” b/w “Me And My Shadow” – Capitol 45 RPM Single 2602 (A3/B3)

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Song of the Day by Eric Berman – The Jukebox Series #21 – Peggy Lee: “Is That All There Is” b/w “Me And My Shadow” – Capitol 45 RPM Single 2602 (A3/B3)

Records seldom get any darker than today’s jukebox classic by Peggy Lee. “Is That All There Is” was written by songwriters Jerry Lieber and Mike Stoller, the team who gave us such classic hits as “Hound Dog,” “Jailhouse Rock,” “Searchin’,” “Young Blood,” “Charlie Brown,” “Poison Ivy,” “Kansas City,” “Stand By Me,” “Love Potion No. 9,” “Spanish Harlem” and many others, too numerous to mention here.

The impetus for the song came to Jerry Lieber from his wife Gaby Rodgers, who introduced him to the 1896 short story Disillusionment by Nobel Prize winning author Thomas Mann. Many of the song’s lyrics including its title were picked up directly from the text of the story. Lieber picked two specific incidents in the story, the house fire and the breakup of a romance for the verses, and then he added his own verse about the circus to complete the record. When Mike Stoller read Lieber’s lyrics he said that the story “ached with the bittersweet irony of the German cabaret.” As a result, Stoller based the music on that of Threepenny Opera composers Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill. (songfacts.com)

The song was originally recorded by Georgia Brown, Tony Bennett, Guy Lombardo, Marlene Dietrich and Leslie Uggams before making its way to Peggy Lee. Lieber and Stoller also offered it to Barbra Streisand’s management who turned it down for their charge. When Streisand finally heard the song, she complained that she got passed over for a crack at recording it.

By the time that Lee got around to recording this song in 1969, the big band era from which she got her start as a vocalist with Benny Goodman was long over, as well as the many hit making years that followed during the 1950s. Her last top ten hit before today’s Song of the Day was “Fever” back in 1958.

The song’s orchestral arrangement was written by Randy Newman who also conducted the orchestra on the record. The track was included on Lee’s 1969 album of the same name in which she covers Neil Diamond’s “Brother Love’s Traveling Salvation Show,” George Harrison’s “Something,” Randy Newman’s “Love Story” and Lieber & Stoller’s “I’m A Woman.” She also revisited the song “Me And My Shadow” that she had recorded many years earlier for the album, making it the B-side to the single.

When Lee agreed to record the song, she was very specific as to how many times she would sing the song for them. Jerry Lieber picks up the story in the book Hound Dog: The Lieber And Stoller Autobiography: “I’ll do three takes, she said, and no more … The initial takes weren’t great. She had to ease her way into the mood and find that sweet spot. At take 10, she still didn’t have it. But being a trouper, Peggy kept going. At take 15, I suspect that she took a belt because her takes were improving. Take 30 was good, but take 36 was pure magic. I looked at Mike and Mike looked at me and we could do nothing but jump up and down with joy. This was one of the greatest performances ever. Peggy had done it. We had done it. The enormous potential of this little song had been realized.” (via songfacts.com)

Continues Lieber: “Let’s hear it back, I told the engineer. We waited. Silence. We waited a little longer. More silence. What’s wrong?, asked Peggy. I’m dying to hear the last take. Then came the words that cut through me like a knife. I forgot to hit the record button, said the engineer. What do you mean you forgot to hit the record button?, I screamed at the top of my lungs. This has to be a f*ckin’ prank! No one forgets to hit the record button. This was the greatest take in the history of takes! Stop joking! Let’s hear it! Play the goddamn thing!”

“But there was nothing to play. Nothing to do. Nothing had been recorded. Killing this kid would have been too kind. Yet Peggy, bless her heart, was stoic. Guess I’ll have to sing it again, she said bravely. And she did. Take 37 was nothing short of marvelous. That’s the take the world knows today. She is melancholy, she’s sultry, she’s fatalistic, she is in tune, and she delivers the song with a wondrous sense of mystery. It is good — it is, in fact, very, very good — but it is not, nor will ever be, take 36.” The 37th take was thus used as the master, with various splices from the other takes. (via songfacts.com)

Lee’s recording climbed to the #11 position on the pop charts and topped the easy listening charts in 1969. The song also went on to win a Grammy Award for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance the following year. Throughout the years, it has been covered by the likes of Chaka Khan, Sandra Bernhard, P.J. Harvey, Bette Midler and rock group Giant Sand.

“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: April 26th, 2015

Song of the Day by Eric Berman – The Jukebox Series #5 – Ben E. King – “Spanish Harlem” b/w “Don’t Play That Song (You Lied)” – Atlantic Oldies 45 OS-13068 (I1/J1)

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Song of the Day by Eric Berman – The Jukebox Series #5 – Ben E. King – “Spanish Harlem” b/w “Don’t Play That Song (You Lied)” – Atlantic Oldies 45 OS-13068 (I1/J1)

Today’s Song of the Day exposes me for who I really am…a sucker for a great pop song. Give me a lush hummable melody and a simple lyric that I can relate to, add to it some strings for sweetening, and I’m a happy boy. So it should come as no surprise that the music that emanated from The Brill Building in New York City (1619 Broadway on 49th Street) from the late 1950s through the mid-sixties is right up my alley.

I think that growing up in proximity to New York City gave me an added appreciation of the music that came from that building’s hallowed halls, as the rhythm of the streets, the vibe and sounds of the city are inherent in every recording, and “Spanish Harlem” is certainly no different.

Today’s jukebox classic is from a double A-sided single I purchased cheaply on line when I first got the juke. It is one of the original records I put in there, and it is also one that I can’t see myself ever taking out. I just never tire of Ben E. King’s classic “Spanish Harlem.”

The Spanish Harlem section of New York City was a crime-ridden Latino neighborhood, and the 1960 hit was written by Jerry Leiber and Phil Spector and released on the burgeoning Atco record label. Leiber’s partner Mike Stoller, did the arrangement on the track and came up with the song’s signature intro fill that runs throughout; however he does not receive a composer credit. Mike Stoller: “I presumed my contribution was seminal to the composition, but I also knew that Phil didn’t want to share credit with anyone but Jerry, so I kept quiet.” (Songfacts.com)

The song was King’s first hit after leaving The Drifters, climbing to the #15 position on the R&B charts and #10 Pop, and it also served as the title track of his debut solo album. Singing background vocals was a then-unknown Dionne Warwick (as a member of The Gospelaires). The day the track was cut was indeed very productive, as King also recorded his follow-up single “Stand By Me” during the same session.

“Spanish Harlem” was also covered by Aretha Franklin in 1971 who scored an even bigger hit with it climbing to the #1 position on the R&B charts and #2 on the Pop charts. Dr. John is also heard playing piano on her version. The song was also covered by the likes of Laura Nyro (on her essential 1971 album Gonna Take A Miracle), Jay And The Americans, The Mamas & The Papas, Leon Russell, Chet Atkins, Neil Diamond, Tom Jones, Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass and even Led Zeppelin, who used to incorporate the song’s melody into live performances of “Dazed And Confused.”

The flip of this double A-sided 45 is King’s 1962 version of “Don’t Play That Song (You Lied)” which was written by Atlantic Records head honcho Ahmet Ertegun and Betty Nelson (although my 45RPM copy is credited only to “Nugetre” which is Ertegun backwards). King’s version of the song climbed to the #2 position on the R&B charts and up to #11 on the Pop side. The song was also covered again by Aretha Franklin on her 1970 album Spirit in the Dark. Her version peaked at #1 on the R&B charts and went to #11 Pop.

“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: March 15th, 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)

“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.

It was one of the greatest songs to emanate from the Brill Building in New York City, and it was recorded by one of the greatest R&B groups of all time, The Drifters. “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 were 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 also saw 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” which 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 included 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.

Edited: January 23rd, 2014

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – The Jukebox Series #21 – Peggy Lee: “Is That All There Is” b/w “Me And My Shadow” – Capitol 45 RPM Single 2602 (A3/B3)

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Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – The Jukebox Series #21 – Peggy Lee: “Is That All There Is” b/w “Me And My Shadow” – Capitol 45 RPM Single 2602 (A3/B3)

“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.

Records seldom get any darker than today’s jukebox classic by Peggy Lee. “Is That All There Is” was written by songwriters Jerry Lieber and Mike Stoller, the team who gave us such classic hits as “Hound Dog,” “Jailhouse Rock,” “Searchin’,” “Young Blood,” “Charlie Brown,” “Poison Ivy,” “Kansas City,” “Stand  By Me,” “Love Potion No. 9,” “Spanish Harlem” and many others, too numerous to mention here.

The impetus for the song came to Jerry Lieber from his wife Gaby Rodgers, who introduced him to the 1896 short story Disillusionment by Nobel Prize winning author Thomas Mann. Many of the song’s lyrics including its title were picked up directly from the text of the story. Lieber picked two specific incidents in the story, the house fire and the breakup of a romance for the verses, and then he added his own verse about the circus to complete the record. When Mike Stoller read Lieber’s lyrics he said that the story “ached with the bittersweet irony of the German cabaret.” As a result, Stoller based the music on that of Threepenny Opera composers Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill.

The song was originally recorded by Georgia Brown, Tony Bennett, Guy Lombardo, Marlene Dietrich and Leslie Uggams before making its way to Peggy Lee. Lieber and Stoller also offered it to Barbra Streisand’s management who turned it down for their charge. When Streisand finally heard the song, she complained that she got passed over for a crack at recording it.

By the time that Lee got around to recording this song in 1969, the big band era from which she got her start as a vocalist with Benny Goodman was long over, as well as the many hit making years that followed during the 1950s. Her last top ten hit before today’s Song Of The Day was “Fever” back in 1958.

The song’s orchestral arrangement was written by Randy Newman who also conducted the orchestra on the record. The track was included on Lee’s 1969 album of the same name in which she covers Neil Diamond’s “Brother Love’s Traveling Salvation Show,” George Harrison’s “Something,” Randy Newman’s “Love Story” and Lieber & Stoller’s “I’m A Woman.” She also revisited the song “Me And My Shadow” that she had recorded many years earlier for the album, making it the B-side to the single.

When Lee agreed to record the song, she was very specific as to how many times she would sing the song for them. Jerry Lieber picks up the story in the book Hound Dog: The Lieber And Stoller Autobiography:  “I’ll do three takes, she said, and no more … The initial takes weren’t great. She had to ease her way into the mood and find that sweet spot. At take 10, she still didn’t have it. But being a trouper, Peggy kept going. At take 15, I suspect that she took a belt because her takes were improving. Take 30 was good, but take 36 was pure magic. I looked at Mike and Mike looked at me and we could do nothing but jump up and down with joy. This was one of the greatest performances ever. Peggy had done it. We had done it. The enormous potential of this little song had been realized.”

Continues Lieber: “Let’s hear it back, I told the engineer. We waited. Silence. We waited a little longer. More silence. What’s wrong?, asked Peggy. I’m dying to hear the last take. Then came the words that cut through me like a knife. I forgot to hit the record button, said the engineer. What do you mean you forgot to hit the record button?, I screamed at the top of my lungs. This has to be a f*ckin’ prank! No one forgets to hit the record button. This was the greatest take in the history of takes! Stop joking! Let’s hear it! Play the goddamn thing!”

“But there was nothing to play. Nothing to do. Nothing had been recorded. Killing this kid would have been too kind. Yet Peggy, bless her heart, was stoic. Guess I’ll have to sing it again, she said bravely. And she did. Take 37 was nothing short of marvelous. That’s the take the world knows today. She is melancholy, she’s sultry, she’s fatalistic, she is in tune, and she delivers the song with a wondrous sense of mystery. It is good — it is, in fact, very, very good — but it is not, nor will ever be, take 36.” The 37th take was the one that was used as the master, with various splices from the other takes.

Lee’s recording climbed to the #11 position on the pop charts and topped the easy listening charts in 1969. The song also went on to win a Grammy Award for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance the following year. Throughout the years, it has been covered by the likes of Chaka Khan, Sandra Bernhard, P.J. Harvey, Bette Midler and rock group Giant Sand.

Edited: November 4th, 2013

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – The Jukebox Series #5 – Ben E. King – “Spanish Harlem” b/w “Don’t Play That Song (You Lied)” – Atlantic Oldies 45 OS-13068 (I1/J1)

45 adapter001BenEKingspanishharlem

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – The Jukebox Series #5 – Ben E. King  – “Spanish Harlem” b/w “Don’t Play That Song (You Lied)”  – Atlantic Oldies 45 OS-13068  (I1/J1)

“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.

Today’s Song Of The Day exposes me for who I really am…a sucker for a great pop song. Give me a lush hummable melody and a simple lyric that I can relate to, add to it some strings for sweetening, and I’m a happy boy. So it should come as no surprise that the music that emanated from The Brill Building in New York City (1619 Broadway on 49th Street) from the late 1950s through the mid-sixties is right up my alley.

I think that growing up in proximity to New York City gave me an added appreciation of the music that came from that building’s hallowed halls, as the rhythm of the streets, the vibe and sounds of the city are inherent in every recording, and “Spanish Harlem” is certainly no different.

Today’s jukebox classic is from a double A-sided single I purchased cheaply on line when I first got the juke. It is one of the original records that I put in there, and it is also one that I can’t see myself ever taking out. I just never tire of Ben E. King’s classic “Spanish Harlem.”

The Spanish Harlem section of New York City was a crime-ridden Latino neighborhood, and the 1960 hit was written by Jerry Lieber and Phil Spector and released on the burgeoning Atco record label. Lieber’s partner Mike Stoller, did the arrangement on the track and came up with the song’s signature intro fill that runs throughout the song; however he does not receive a composer credit. Mike Stoller: “I presumed my contribution was seminal to the composition, but I also knew that Phil didn’t want to share credit with anyone but Jerry, so I kept quiet.”

The song was King’s first hit after leaving The Drifters, climbing to the #15 position on the R&B charts and #10 Pop, and it also served as the title track of his debut solo album. Singing background vocals was a then-unknown Dionne Warwick (as a member of The Gospelaires). The day the track was cut was indeed very productive, as King also recorded his follow-up single “Stand By Me” during the same session.

Aretha Franklin covered the song in 1971 and scored an even bigger hit with it climbing to the #1 position on the R&B charts and #2 on the Pop charts. Dr. John is also heard playing piano on her version. The song was also covered by the likes of Larua Nyro (on her essential 1971 album Gonna Take A Miracle), Jay And The Americans, The Mamas & The Papas, Leon Russell, Chet Atkins, Neil Diamond, Tom Jones, Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass and even Led Zeppelin, who used to incorporate the song’s melody into live performances of “Dazed And Confused.”

The flip of this double A-sided 45 is King’s 1962 version of “Don’t Play That Song (You Lied)” which was written by Atlantic Records head honcho Ahmet Ertegun and Betty Nelson (although my 45RPM copy is credited only to “Nugetre” which is Ertegun backwards). King’s version of the song climbed to the #2 position on the R&B charts and up to #11 on the Pop side. The song was also covered again by Aretha Franklin on her 1970 album Spirit In The Dark. Her version peaked at #1 on the R&B charts and went to #11 Pop.

Edited: October 11th, 2013

Song Of The Day – 8/23/11

Song Of The Day – “Smokey Joe’s Cafe” by The Robins

Jerry Lieber has died at the age of 78. He was the lyricist on countless classics including “Stand By Me,” “Hound Dog,” “Jailhouse Rock,” “Yakety Yak,” “Youngblood,” “On Broadway,” “Kansas City,” “Love Potion No. 9,” “Charlie Brown”… the list goes on and on. With his partner Mike Stoller he introduced a host of black artists to the masses.

Edited: August 23rd, 2011