Retro Music 36

This song was the soundtrack to my summer in 1963. Another marvellous composition from Holland, Dozier, Holland, performed perfectly by Martha and The Vandellas. Released on the Gordy label in the USA, in Britain it was a Motown record. I cannot keep still when I hear this song, even now. My legs are jiggling away as I type this!

Whenever I’m with him
Something inside
Starts to burning
And I’m filled with desire
Could it be a devil in me
Or is this the way love’s supposed to be?
It’s like a heat wave
Burning in my heart (It’s like a heat wave)
I can’t keep from crying (It’s like a heat wave)
It’s tearing me apart
Whenever he calls my name
Soft, low, sweet, and plain
Right then, right there, I feel that burning flame
Has high blood pressure got a hold on me
Or is this the way love’s supposed to be?
It’s like a heat wave
Burning in my heart (It’s like a heat wave)
I can’t keep from crying (It’s like a heat wave)
It’s tearing me apart
Ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh
Ooh, heat wave
Ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh
Ooh, heat wave
Sometimes I stare in space
Tears all over my face
I can’t explain it, don’t understand it
I ain’t never felt like this before
Now that funny feeling has me amazed
Don’t know what to do, my head’s in a haze
It’s like a heat wave
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
(But it’s all right, girl)
Oh
(Go ahead, girl)
Yeah, yeah
(Well, it’s all right, girl)
Oh
(Can’t miss it, that’s love, girl)
I feel it burning
(Don’t pass up this chance)
Right here in my heart
(It sounds like a true romance)
Don’t you know it’s like a heat wave?
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah (Burning, burning)
Oh (Burning, burning, burning)
Yeah, don’t you know it’s like a heat wave?
Burning right here (Burning, burning, burning)
In my heart (Burning, burning, burning)
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah (Burning, burning)
Oh (Burning, burning, burning)
Source: Musixmatch
Songwriters: Lamont Dozier / Brian Holland / Eddie Holland
Heat Wave lyrics © Stone Agate Music

Retro Music 34

1963 again, (That was a great year for music!) and another pop classic from America. Lesley Gore was just 16 years old when she recorded this song, which was produced by none other than Quincy Jones. She went on to have more hits, including the classic “You Don’t Own Me”. In later life she also acted, and wrote songs with her brother for the musical ‘Fame’. Lesley was also known for being an ‘Out’ Lesbian, and had the same partner for most of her life. She died in 2015, at the age of 68.

It’s my party, and I’ll cry if I want to
Cry if I want to
Cry if I want to
You would cry too, if it happened to you
Nobody knows where my Johnny has gone
But Judy left the same time
Why was he holding her hand
When he’s supposed to be mine?
It’s my party, and I’ll cry if I want to
Cry if I want to
Cry if I want to
You would cry too, if it happened to you
Play all my records, keep dancing all night
But leave me alone for awhile
‘Til Johnny’s dancing with me
I’ve got no reason to smile
It’s my party, and I’ll cry if I want to
Cry if I want to
Cry if I want to
You would cry too, if it happened to you
Judy and Johnny just walked through the door (walked through the door)
Like a queen with her king
Oh, what a birthday surprise
Judy’s wearing his ring
It’s my party, and I’ll cry if I want to
Cry if I want to
Cry if I want to
You would cry too, if it happened to you
Oh, it’s my party, and I’ll cry if I want to
Cry if I want to
Cry if I want to
You would cry too, if it happened to you
It’s my party, and I’ll cry if I want to
Source: Musixmatch
Songwriters: John Jackson / Wally Gold / John Gluck Jr / Taiwan Green / Herb Weiner
It’s My Party lyrics © Emi April Music Inc., Chappell & Co. Inc., J Brasco, Chappell & Co., Inc.

Retro Music 32

Also in 1963, The Ronettes hit the charts with this song. One of the earliest examples of Phil Spector’s ‘Wall of sound’ technique, it was a huge hit almost everywhere.

Ronnie (Veronica Greenfield) formed the group with her sister and cousin, and later married Phil Spector the music producer, becoming well-known as Ronnie Spector. They divorced in 1972. Ronnie died in 2022, at the age of 78.

The night we met I knew I needed you so
And if I had the chance I’d never let you go
So won’t you say you love me?
I’ll make you so proud of me
We’ll make ’em turn their heads every place we go
So won’t you, please (be my, be my baby)
Be my little baby? (My one and only baby)
Say you’ll be my darlin’ (be my, be my baby)
Be my baby now (my one and only baby)
Whoa-oh-oh-oh
I’ll make you happy, baby, just wait and see
For every kiss you give me, I’ll give you three
Oh, since the day I saw you
I have been waiting for you
You know I will adore you ’til eternity
So won’t you, please (be my, be my baby)
Be my little baby? (My one and only baby)
Say you’ll be my darlin’ (be my, be my baby)
Be my baby now (my one and only baby)
Whoa-oh-oh-oh
So come on and, please (be my, be my baby)
Be my little baby? (My one and only baby)
Say you’ll be my darlin’ (be my, be my baby)
Be my baby now (my one and only baby)
Whoa-oh-oh-oh
Be my little baby? (My one and only baby)
Oh-oh-oh (be my, be my baby)
Oh (my one and only baby)
Whoa-oh-oh-oh (be my, be my baby)
Oh-oh-oh (My one and only baby)
Oh (be my, be my baby)
Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: Ellie Greenwich / Jeff Barry / Philip Spector
Be My Baby lyrics © Abkco Music Inc., CTM Publishing, Songtrust Ave, Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Spirit Music Group, Warner Chappell Music, Inc

Retro Music 31

A big hit on both sides of The Atlantic in 1963, this song performed by The Chiffons often pops into my head. It crossed over from Doo-Wop into mainstream pop, spanning both musical genres and pleasing listeners all over the world.

It wasn’t their only hit, but it was the first one of their records that I bought.

He’s so fine
(Do-lang-do-lang-do-lang)
Wish he were mine
(Do-lang-do-lang-do-lang)
That handsome boy overthere
(Do-lang-do-lang-do-lang)
The one with the wavy hair
(Do-lang-do-lang-do-lang)
I don’t know how I’m gonna do it
(Do-lang-do-lang-do-lang)
But I’m gonna make him mine
(Do-lang-do-lang-do-lang)
He’s the envy of all the girls
(Do-lang-do-lang-do-lang)
It’s just a matter of time
(Do-lang-do-lang)
He’s a soft [Spoken] guy
(Do-lang-do-lang-do-lang)
Also seems kinda shy
(Do-lang-do-lang-do-lang)
Makes me wonder if I
(Do-lang-do-lang-do-lang)
Should even give him a try
(Do-lang-do-lang-do-lang)
But then I know he can’t shy
(Do-lang-do-lang-do-lang)
He can’t shy away forever
(Do-lang-do-lang-do-lang)
And I’m gonna make him mine
(Do-lang-do-lang-do-lang)
If it takes me forever
(Do-lang-do-lang)
He’s so fine
(Oh yeah)
Gotta be mine
(Oh yeah)
Sooner or later
(Oh yeah)
I hope it’s not later
(Oh yeah)
We gotta get together
(Oh yeah)
The sooner the better
(Oh yeah)
I just can’t wait, I just can’t wait
To be held in his arms
If I were a queen
(Do-lang-do-lang-do-lang)
And he asked me to leave my throne
(Do-lang-do-lang-do-lang)
I’ll do anything that he asked
(Do-lang-do-lang-do-lang)
Anything to make him my own
(Do-lang-do-lang-do-lang)
For he’s so fine
(So fine) so fine
(So fine) he’s so fine
(So fine) so fine
(So fine) he’s so fine
oh yeah
(He’s so fine) he’s so fine
(So fine) uh-huh
(He’s so fine)
He’s so fine…
Source: Musixmatch
Songwriters: Ronald Mack
He’s So Fine lyrics © Abkco Music, Harrisongs Ltd

A Good Education

When I was away last weekend, I discussed my time at school with a friend who I met there, 58 years ago. That discussion has prompted me to reblog this post. A tribute to my education, originally posted in 2012.

beetleypete

I confess that I know little of the school system today. I am aware that many teachers are unhappy, that exam results are possibly being manipulated, and Department of Education targets seem to be the driving force behind teaching. I also see that standards of spelling, literacy, numeracy, and general knowledge have fallen, and students rely heavily on the Internet for information that they might once have learned. University degrees have lost their status and potential graduates now have to face the prospect of years of debt ahead of them. Things have changed, of that there can be little doubt. There is a distinct lack of Historical knowledge, and little regard for the relevance of the subject. Geography, and geographical awareness, has reached a low, to the extent that many young people could not place themselves on a World map.

I do not have statistics to support these claims, but…

View original post 1,690 more words

Significant Songs (183)

Our Day Will Come

I was recently reminded of this song when it was featured on Thom Hickey’s excellent music blog.
https://theimmortaljukebox.com/
I knew it from my youth, originally released by Ruby and The Romantics, in 1963. I loved it then, and love it just as much today. Few songs can really endure a span of 56 years, with numerous cover versions, each in their own way a significant hit at the time.

The list of artists who also recorded this song is too long to include in full, but here are some highlights.
1963, Bobby Darin
1963 Julie London
1965 Doris Day
1966 Cher
1973 The Carpenters
1975 Frankie Valli
And there were dozens of others too.

You may recall my love for the voice of Amy Winehouse. She also recorded this song, which wasn’t released until after her death, in 2011. So naturally, I am going to feature her version, but I will also add Ruby’s original, because the song is just that good.

Significant Songs (172)

It’s My Party

I was only ten years old in 1962, but when I heard a new song from The Chiffons, I immediately knew it would be a hit. Catchy pop was all the rage back then, and teen angst was behind many of the tunes popular at the time. But it didn’t capture the imagination of the record-buying public, so another version was released, this time by the British singer, Helen Shapiro. That version was tucked away as an album track, and remained a chance missed for young Helen.

In the same year, 1963, Quincy Jones got hold of the song, and produced the definitive version, with Lesley Gore singing. Suddenly, it was a huge hit, reaching the charts on both sides of the Atlantic, and thrusting the little-known Lesley Gore into the limelight. Over fifty years later, I can recall all the lyrics at will, and the catchy chorus has never lost its appeal.

Despite numerous covers since, the last as recently as 2010, by Amy Winehouse, and as a download in 2013 from Jessie J, Gore’s version remains the best known. Priceless pop.

Retro Review: Jason And The Argonauts (1963)

Long before the days of computers and green screens, when special effects had to be achieved using superimposed images, stop-motion models, and colour-changing imagery, I went to see an exciting new epic at the cinema. I was 11 years old at the time, and my parents promised me that I would enjoy the film they were taking me to see.

And they were right.

I didn’t care that some of the lead actors were dubbed into English. I wasn’t in the least bothered by the fact that no big Hollywood stars were on screen, though of course recognised some well-known British faces, like Honor Blackman, Nigel Green, and Patrick Troughton. This was the cinema experience at its best. Vivid colours, beautiful blue skies, legendary Gods and monsters, and wonderful music from Bernard Hermann filling the auditorium.

The story is a version of the search for the Golden Fleece, familiar from Greek Mythology. Jason is transported to Mount Olympus, and given an audience with the gods of Ancient Greece. He is commanded by Hera to find the Golden Fleece, and she tells him that he can call upon her help five times as he does so. Jason sets about finding the strongest and bravest men in the land to form his crew, with heroes competing to join him in the search.

Not long after they set off, they begin to encounter all sorts of dangerous events, and various villains and monsters. The huge metal statue Talos comes alive, and they have to fight desperately to overcome it. The ship is almost crushed by the terrifying Clashing Rocks, only saved by the appearance of the undersea god, Triton. Later, they have to fight off vicious flying Harpies too. Then the climactic ending, when the dastardly King Aeetes sows the teeth of the Hydra into the ground, and they grow into an army of sword-wielding skeletons who attack Jason and his men.

The stop-motion models of the legendary Ray Harryhausen bring all those creatures to life, and are a sight to behold, even now. The cast does a fine job of fighting thin air, looking genuinely terrified as they battle monsters that only existed once the effects were edited in. It won’t win any prizes for the acting of course, but this film is a fun and exciting sword and sandals romp for all ages, and I never tire of seeing it.

Significant Songs (129)

Louie Louie

This is the second time this song has been mentioned on my blog, indicating the significance it has held for me for many years. Since 1963 in fact, when I was eleven years old, and heard it for the first time. Although I didn’t know back then, this was not the original, which was written and recorded by Richard Berry in 1955, and released in the UK two years later. Then came the second version, from Robin Roberts, in 1960. I didn’t hear that one either.

I had to wait another few years, for the cover by The Kingsmen, which became the most popular recording of the song, and gave the band a worldwide hit, that endures to this day. This group from Oregon went on to make many records after that, but I never heard any of them. For me, one was enough. A driving beat, some not-so great organ playing, and somewhat meaningless (and hard to decipher) repetitive lyrics, all adding up to a timeless classic that was also something of an anthem for the Mods in Britain during the 1960s. And it is much less than three minutes long too.

I carried on playing this well beyond my teens, and never tired of it. I didn’t attempt to delve into it, and never tried to analyse it. I simply enjoyed the good feeling it gave me. It seemed that many others agreed, and the song became lauded as the most covered record in history, with over 1,500 versions known to have been made, including those by Otis Redding, The Beach Boys, and British band The Kinks. Years later, it was again covered by artists as diverse as Motorhead, John Lennon, and Blondie.

It was also brought to new audiences on film soundtracks, including ‘American Graffiti’, ‘This Is England’, ‘Police Squad, and ‘Quadrophenia’. It was also sung by John Belushi’s character in the film ‘National Lampoon’s Animal House’, and there is an instrumental version played by the marching band in the film ‘The Naked Gun’. The song had stood the test of time, and become a cultural icon in the process.

I love it as much today as I did 53 years ago. Can’t say that about many songs.
Here is a clip of the band miming to the song on a TV show.

Significant Songs (110)

(Love Is Like A) Heatwave

My liking for the sound of Tamla-Motown is no secret to any readers of this blog. From my first year at secondary school, through to today, I have always loved to be immersed in the magic of Motown. There are so many successful and enduring Motown stars and groups, I would need a whole new blog just to list them all, and to discuss their recordings. There have been a few Motown groups that I liked better than others, and Martha and The Vandellas feature high on that list.

Early Motown records arrived in the UK around 1963, and had an immediately recognisable sound, whoever featured on them. Whether it was the Four Tops, The Supremes, or any of the other amazing line-ups from the Tamla-Motown stable, it had obviously come from the team at Hitsville USA, in Detroit. This was perhaps the first one I ever heard that could claim to have introduced this distinctive style and sound, and my liking for it has never diminished.

From 1963 until 1972, Martha Reeves and The Vandellas provided fans like me with a string of hits to listen to. Some of the titles might sound familiar. Even if you are not a natural Motown fan, you may well know the cover versions; ‘Nowhere to run’, ‘Quicksand’, and ‘Dancing in the street’, to name but a few. They continued with some personnel changes, but when Martha Reeves wanted to embark on a solo career, and Motown intended to move operations to the west coast, the group split, with their last concert in December 1972.

Here is the group performing this song, in 1965. I couldn’t keep my feet still, fifty years later.