Author Topic: An Alternative History of "Pop" Music  (Read 23496 times)

An Alternative History of "Pop" Music
« on: August 15, 2020, 09:27:00 PM »
Ok, so I've been meaning to start a thread about this for a while. I love the thread that's running about number 1's and thought it might be good to have a kind of sister thread, again running chronologically by year, that teases out some of the other, perhaps lesser known but still great, tracks from that year. I've been combing through my collection and have a number already set to go but please join in with your own. Let's see how it goes.

A few guidelines:

1) Try to avoid the tracks we all already know or are aware of.
2) Big artists are fine as long it's lesser known tracks
3) Try to say something about the track and/or the artist
4) I'll do the official 'turning of the year' when we have no new entries


Ok we'll start in 1962 as, totally arbitrarily for me, that's when 'modern' pop music really starts

To start us off, we have this little gem from the US folk revival scene:

Peter, Paul & Mary : Where Have All The Flowers Gone

Written by Pete Seeger in 1955, P, P & M formed in New York City in 1961 and this is from their debut album.
In 1963 they performed at the March on Washington, best remembered for the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QmBLSGy6g58&fbclid=IwAR2OiEHluXc1CdoC0QE9v4DaJR4pn67bwz-IyBRqtBUOg-UagKcaurYpl-A

daf

  • some weirdo taking the piss
Re: An Alternative History of "Pop" Music
« Reply #1 on: August 15, 2020, 09:48:45 PM »
Just the first one that caught my eye :

Neil Sedaka - Breaking Up Is Hard To Do



Got to #7 in the UK in July 1962. This is essentially a girl group record with Neil on lead - the background vocals on the song are performed by the The Cookies.

Quote
Sedaka recalled that the song's iconic scat intro was a result of him and Greenfield being unable to come up with a lyric for that section of the song and Sedaka improvising a vocalise, which they liked so much that they kept it in the finished product.

dirty bastard!

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
(oops - sorry didn't bother reading the rules - I'll try and dig out some more obscure ones in future!)
« Last Edit: August 15, 2020, 09:58:46 PM by daf »

Re: An Alternative History of "Pop" Music
« Reply #2 on: August 15, 2020, 11:01:02 PM »
Check out Tommy Hunt's The work song. There's a lot of what passes for northern soul from the early sixties which i find frankly naff, doesn't charge your loins at all. But here we have a progenitor of the sort of relentless sound which gave us Al Wilson's The snake. That snare is out to get you, none of the gentler percussion that characterises a lot of soul from the early sixties, and the brass has a sneering urgency which builds throughout.

Hunt had split from The Flamingos a couple of years prior, and even ended up settling in Britain for a while due to the work available on the northern soul scene, but still his name doesn't crop up all that often as a solo artist.

Re: An Alternative History of "Pop" Music
« Reply #3 on: August 16, 2020, 05:56:59 AM »
The Crystals - He's A Rebel

Written by Gene Pitney, it was originally recorded by the girl group The Blossoms (featuring lead vocals by Darlene Love) and produced by Phil Spector. For some reason it was then issued as a single credited to the Crystals, who subsequently appeared singing it on TV shows.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TrRCgIaM0ZQ&fbclid=IwAR2-R61-YkGR6uUcpPTyleMVjvKrtpyY-40ahypfLLYk-jEu_qS-3gu1W3U

daf

  • some weirdo taking the piss
Re: An Alternative History of "Pop" Music
« Reply #4 on: August 16, 2020, 07:00:01 AM »
No idea who these were, just liked the sound of the title!

The Orlons - The Wah-Watusi



1962 was red hot for dance crazes, and this got to #2 in the US in May 1962. Here's how you do the dance : Low-Budget Late Show

Quote
In 1962, the group provided back-up vocals for Dee Dee Sharp's hits "Mashed Potato Time" and "Gravy (For My Mashed Potatoes)".

Amusingly, the flip side of their next hit waxing was called 'The Conservative' - get down on it, Lord Carrington!
« Last Edit: August 16, 2020, 07:59:38 AM by daf »

Re: An Alternative History of "Pop" Music
« Reply #5 on: August 16, 2020, 09:33:01 AM »
Screamin' Jay Hawkins - I Hear Voices
https://youtu.be/Wo6YkIsOvM8


This sounds wild now so I can only imagine how it would have sounded at the time: a truly incredible performance. Predates in sound a lot of my favourite things like The Birthday Party or The Gun Club by nearly two decades. There was a lot more going on than The Beatles in 62 that's for sure.

Brundle-Fly

  • *Jooolie Andreeeews!! Thhhrrrrp!!!!*
Re: An Alternative History of "Pop" Music
« Reply #6 on: August 16, 2020, 10:55:22 AM »


Sounds Like Locomotion - Sounds Incorporated Released on Decca in November 1962

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=phuLmo1qPM0

This saxophone led mainly instrumental band harked from Dartford. They were very popular on the South London mod scene. TRIVIA: The sax section went on to play on Good Morning... for The Beatles Sgt Pepper album.

I love this because as the YouTube description says, it's a real 'titty shaker'. If you don't know that expression then google it (on private history to be safe) To me, it summons up a monochrome image of a basement nightclub packed with young, sixties hipsters with sullen faces, frugging in a club off their nuts on blues. The moves are all jerky elbows, cute body twists, and their heads are jutting like pigeons. And is that a Farfisa organ on this?
« Last Edit: August 16, 2020, 11:11:24 AM by Brundle-Fly »

daf

  • some weirdo taking the piss
Re: An Alternative History of "Pop" Music
« Reply #7 on: August 16, 2020, 11:01:22 AM »
Christ, that drummer's a bit of alright isn't he!

Brundle-Fly

  • *Jooolie Andreeeews!! Thhhrrrrp!!!!*
Re: An Alternative History of "Pop" Music
« Reply #8 on: August 16, 2020, 11:11:54 AM »
Christ, that drummer's a bit of alright isn't he!

Propah skin basha!

Neomod

  • I'll never make that mistake again
Re: An Alternative History of "Pop" Music
« Reply #9 on: August 16, 2020, 12:10:48 PM »
Booker T and the MG's Green Onions



Released in October 62' and first heard by me when I went to see Quadrophenia at the Worthing Dome in 79. I became the 'Ace Face' at my school shortly afterwards.[1]

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c9y-n9B_XUM

Wanted to start with James Darren's Goodbye Cruel World as featured in Ken Russel's Pop Goes The Easel but it's a year too early. Harumph.
 1. for 5 minutes before getting my hair cut and becoming a skinhead

Ballad of Ballard Berkley

  • a hopeless vanity... a stupefyingly futile conceit
Re: An Alternative History of "Pop" Music
« Reply #10 on: August 16, 2020, 12:55:54 PM »
Misirlou by Dick Dale and His Del-Tones.



Like a lot of folk, I was first blown away by this absolute beast of a surf rock instrumental when Tarantino used it over the opening credits of Pulp Fiction. It's an incredibly powerful piece of music, Dale's guitar still sounds so nasty and humongous.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V4eEqN4HY7Q




purlieu

  • Gertrude Stein said that's enough.
Re: An Alternative History of "Pop" Music
« Reply #11 on: August 16, 2020, 01:21:05 PM »
A couple of extremely well known tracks there.



Continuing the trend of instrumentals (something not likely to happen again until the '90s), The Shadows - Stars Fell on Stockton. A whimsical b-side with group-whistling. Always been fond of this daft little number. Generally fond of whistling in music, to be honest.

Rizla

  • That's not another knife - THIS is another knife!
Re: An Alternative History of "Pop" Music
« Reply #12 on: August 16, 2020, 01:26:09 PM »
Christ, that drummer's a bit of alright isn't he!
Tony Newman, isn't it? Went onto the very heavy May Blitz

Brundle-Fly

  • *Jooolie Andreeeews!! Thhhrrrrp!!!!*
Re: An Alternative History of "Pop" Music
« Reply #13 on: August 16, 2020, 01:53:01 PM »
Screamin' Jay Hawkins - I Hear Voices
https://youtu.be/Wo6YkIsOvM8


This sounds wild now so I can only imagine how it would have sounded at the time: a truly incredible performance. Predates in sound a lot of my favourite things like The Birthday Party or The Gun Club by nearly two decades. There was a lot more going on than The Beatles in 62 that's for sure.

He was a true original.

Brundle-Fly

  • *Jooolie Andreeeews!! Thhhrrrrp!!!!*
Re: An Alternative History of "Pop" Music
« Reply #14 on: August 16, 2020, 01:57:44 PM »
I think we have to remember the OP remit. No famous tracks otherwise it ain't an alternative history, it will just turn into Lauren Laverne's history of "pop" music

famethrowa

  • mere rhetorical frippery
Re: An Alternative History of "Pop" Music
« Reply #15 on: August 16, 2020, 02:01:08 PM »


 And is that a Farfisa organ on this?

I definitely think so! Usually the "beat" groups used the Vox organs more, but here we have that thick Farf sound, more like Piper at the Gates than House of Rising Sun.

Ballad of Ballard Berkley

  • a hopeless vanity... a stupefyingly futile conceit
Re: An Alternative History of "Pop" Music
« Reply #16 on: August 16, 2020, 02:35:48 PM »
A couple of extremely well known tracks there.

Soz, I forgot that we're supposed to be choosing songs which aren't particularly well-known. I will now save face by choosing...

Every Breath I Take by the aforementioned Gene Pitney.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RWF3Y2VEl2E

Another Spector production. Pitney specialised in borderline hysterical angst and intensity, a perfect match for Spector's similarly dramatic style. I love this record, the string arrangement is sublime and Pitney is on especially fraught form. A fantastic moment occurs towards the end, when the 24 Hours from Tulsa hit-maker breaks into an anguished falsetto. The whole thing is great.

Ballad of Ballard Berkley

  • a hopeless vanity... a stupefyingly futile conceit
Re: An Alternative History of "Pop" Music
« Reply #17 on: August 16, 2020, 02:41:12 PM »
Check out Tommy Hunt's The work song.

That's brilliant. As you say, it's the blueprint for stuff like The Snake by Al Wilson. Those horns!

Re: An Alternative History of "Pop" Music
« Reply #18 on: August 16, 2020, 02:49:36 PM »

Ballad of Ballard Berkley

  • a hopeless vanity... a stupefyingly futile conceit
Re: An Alternative History of "Pop" Music
« Reply #19 on: August 16, 2020, 03:00:39 PM »
Bad Boy - The Donays

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HQ2tne7stvw

Nice, I've never heard that before. When I saw the title I assumed it was going to be a cover of the Larry Williams tune later covered by The Beatles. But it's not.

I've just Googled The Donays. Turns out that Bad Boy was the B-side of Devil in His Heart, which was later covered by The Beatles. Well fancy that. It's a funny old pop world.

daf

  • some weirdo taking the piss
Re: An Alternative History of "Pop" Music
« Reply #20 on: August 16, 2020, 03:08:16 PM »
No idea if this is any good - but it's called Wiggle Wobble!

Les Cooper & the Soul Rockers - Wiggle Wobble 



Quote
Cooper was born in Norfolk, Virginia, United States. He sang in several New York doo wop groups, including The Empires and The Whirlers, and was the manager of the group The Charts.

In 1962 he released the single "Dig Yourself" b/w "Wiggle Wobble", billed with his band as Les Cooper & the Soul Rockers. Both sides were produced by Bobby Robinson. The B-side was an instrumental featuring the saxophone playing of Joe Grier (formerly of The Charts); it caught on at radio and became a nationwide hit, peaking at No. 12 on the US Billboard R&B chart in 1962, and No. 22 on the Billboard Hot 100 early in 1963.
« Last Edit: August 16, 2020, 03:23:21 PM by daf »

Brundle-Fly

  • *Jooolie Andreeeews!! Thhhrrrrp!!!!*
Re: An Alternative History of "Pop" Music
« Reply #21 on: August 16, 2020, 04:43:54 PM »


That Noise - Anthony Newley Released in 1962 on Decca. Only reached UK charts at No 34.

It's impossible to talk about this record without mentioning a certain Davy Jones who at age 15 must've been seriously making notes somewhere in a bedroom in Bromley. Bowie, of course, was a Newley fan and this novelty number was clearly the template for The Laughing Gnome.  I love it but can understand if people might want to fill their ears with cavity wall insulation foam to never hear it again. A nice hint of Gurney Slade meta humour at the end and a mischievous almost swear word thrown in.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VzvW4jD8SY4

daf

  • some weirdo taking the piss
Re: An Alternative History of "Pop" Music
« Reply #22 on: August 16, 2020, 05:27:31 PM »
Not quite the taboo-busting novelty I was hoping for . . .

Kenny Lynch - Puff



Quote
"Puff (Up in Smoke)" was written by Bill Giant, Bernie Baum and Florence Kaye - who also wrote some tremendous stinkers for Elvis.

Performed by Kenny Lynch, and released as his second single, it reached number 33 in the UK Singles Charts in 1962 staying in the charts for 6 weeks.
« Last Edit: August 16, 2020, 05:51:30 PM by daf »

Ballad of Ballard Berkley

  • a hopeless vanity... a stupefyingly futile conceit
Re: An Alternative History of "Pop" Music
« Reply #23 on: August 16, 2020, 06:14:32 PM »
That Noise - Anthony Newley Released in 1962 on Decca. Only reached UK charts at No 34.

I blummen love Anthony Newley, such a fascinating character.

That nomination put me in mind of another eccentric novelty record from 1962: Time Beat by one Ray Cathode. In reality, a pseudonym for a slightly pre-Beatles George Martin and Maddalena Fagandini from the BBC Radiophonic Workshop.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RYGrXrPlrFg

It sounds like a crash-landed comedy Martian trudging through a Mexican desert.

Re: An Alternative History of "Pop" Music
« Reply #24 on: August 16, 2020, 06:26:45 PM »
This thread is already worth it for I hear voices and Sounds like locomotion. Great choices.

I've just Googled The Donays. Turns out that Bad Boy was the B-side of Devil in His Heart, which was later covered by The Beatles. Well fancy that. It's a funny old pop world.

I was thinking about putting Devil in his heart forward but wasn't sure how well-known it was on account of The Beatles covering it. That and Bad boy are the only Donays songs i know.

Some of the fabs covers made sense as the kind of stuff they could get their teeth into in two minutes, but this one did them no favours in comparison to the original. It still sounds staggeringly fresh - the rhythm constantly catches me off guard, while the guitar and piano sound like they're peering into a hole through which 60s pop could have totally tumbled down.

Re: An Alternative History of "Pop" Music
« Reply #25 on: August 16, 2020, 06:58:56 PM »
I'm cheating because this is 1961, but it is featured in Hairspray which is set in 1962, so

Footstompin' The Flares

Re: An Alternative History of "Pop" Music
« Reply #26 on: August 16, 2020, 09:22:47 PM »
Peter, Paul and Mary - 500 miles

Not the Proclaimers song! This is another from their debut album.

https://youtu.be/ADN1lLEp3H0


famethrowa

  • mere rhetorical frippery
Re: An Alternative History of "Pop" Music
« Reply #27 on: August 17, 2020, 12:14:20 AM »

That Noise - Anthony Newley Released in 1962 on Decca.

Yep love a bit of Newley. The meta-self-referencing was always his thing, I don't think he could turn it off. I guess that's what happens when you're a brilliant mind stuck in a cheesy showbiz world.

Also, maybe a young Jim "Paul" McCartney was listening to the intro and kept it in his mind until he wrote Silly Love Songs?

Neomod

  • I'll never make that mistake again
Re: An Alternative History of "Pop" Music
« Reply #28 on: August 17, 2020, 12:26:32 AM »


The Fleetwoods Lovers by Night, Strangers By Day

Total Banger and paen to infidelity from the family trio/parents of Mick Fleetwood (Mac)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WknrMptKCbc

« Last Edit: August 17, 2020, 12:51:14 AM by Neomod »

Re: An Alternative History of "Pop" Music
« Reply #29 on: August 17, 2020, 11:07:21 AM »
There Oughta Be A Law - Yolanda and the Charmaines
https://youtu.be/c8kSd9TGpFI

With a name like that even if it was shit I'd still check it out. Thankfully it's not which is a given: I don't think it's possible for a 60s girl group record to be entirely without charm. The lyrics are charmingly bonkers and it's been stuck in my head since I discovered it yesterday. The drumming is always top notch on these records as well isn't it?

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