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162: The Everly Brothers, ‘Crying in the Rain’

Posted by jeff on Apr 24, 2019 in Rock and Roll, Song Of the week

The Everly Brothers – ‘Crying in the Rain’

Rain

The people of our little country are even more diverse than the climates. I have friends here from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe, no exaggeration. But variegated as the terrain and the folk are, we all share one common concern—the water level of that pond. The pond is fed by the Jordan River and some less illustrious streams, but it mostly depends on rainfall. But we’ve had seven years of drought, and the water level has been dropping dangerously. We’re a people who like to drink water and bathe, and even wash our cars and water our lawns on occasion. Well, the government put a stop to that (watering lawns, not drinking and bathing—yet).

Rain usually falls here only in the winter (December–March), and the entire population has been hoping and/or praying for a lot of it. Because, as I said, we like to drink and bathe and flush the toilet, and we have no other source. Lots of our neighbors have a surplus, but they would rather see us dry up than sell us any. So we root for the skies. Go, God!

Ayalon Highway, January 2013

Three weeks ago we had a veritable rainstorm here (in local terms), an entire week of propitious precipitation. The trains closed down, poor neighborhoods flooded, the main artery in the main city was blocked. The country was paralyzed. And everyone celebrated. Because we really do like our water, and we have nowhere to get it other than from God and the desalinization plants that are being built. (God’s prices are much better.) A driver caught in The Jam as interviewed on the news:

”How long have you been stuck here?”
“Three hours.” (Looks at his watch.) “Three and a half.”
“You must be pretty upset.”
(Grinning, raising his eyes to the sky) “Are you kidding? This is great! A few days a year like this, who cares? We need it. Let it rain!!”

More rain

There was a holiday mood throughout the country, a celebration of rain, a groundswell of appreciation for God’s beneficence. National elections were taking place, and no one gave a hoot. The rising level of The Sea was the lead headline, the elections below the fold. And now this week, another round. The media are full of National Pond Water Level graphs and Annual Rainfall tables.

Which brings us to the music. Rain and soppy songs, how well they go together. Our challenge for Song of The Week is to find The Quintessential Rain Song. No, not ‘Singing in the Rain’, dummy. A Rain Song is all about melancholy, a downcast  heart, soggy shoes, sloppy self-indulgent adolescent depression. Yeah, I know, there’s a myriad number of ways to feel about rain and an equal number of songs. I’m talking about the essence of that wet stuff. You can feel any way you want, going in. Love, national pride, it don’t matter. “Snap out of it” just doesn’t work. The essence of rain is grey and the blues.

So in my quest for the grail of The Perfect Rain Song, I ran a search on my music directory and came up with over 500 hits, and another bunch from my analog grey-matter data base.

‘Train’ doesn’t count (strangely I found no songs about a train in the rain). Neither do ‘Rainbow’ songs (a plethora). Knock out all the happy ones, from ‘Singing in the Rain’ to ‘Bus Stop’ to John Sebastian’s ‘Rain on the Roof’ (oh, I love that song so much) to ‘Soon It’s Gonna Rain’ from The Fantasticks.

Right off the bat, I see a couple of great songs about rain that really aren’t Rain Songs – most prominently Buddy Holly’s ‘Raining in My Heart’ (“The weatherman says ‘Clear today’”) and The Beatles’ monolithic ‘Rain’. Out go the Dead’s ‘Box of Rain’, ‘MacArthur Park’, the Rolling Stones’ salacious ‘Rain Fall Down’.

Two masterpieces get dropped because they’re too serious (I hope you’re grasping the logic of the criteria): Randy Newman’s ‘I Think It’s Going to Rain Today’ (see SoTW 85), and ‘Fire and Rain’.

Regretfully, we also have to reject Peter Paul & Mary’s surprisingly dark (and very funny), ‘It’s Raining’. Oh, yeah, a nursery rhyme: ‘Ladybug, ladybug, fly away home – your house is on fire, and your children, they will burn.’

Dylan a priori lacks the soppy, soggy sentimentality, so out with such gems as ‘Buckets of Rain’, ‘It’s a Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall’, ‘Rainy Day Women’, ‘Percy’s Song’ (and its folk source ‘The Dreadful Wind and Rain’).

We’re even going to veto one of the most exquisitely painful songs we know, James Taylor’s ‘Rainy Day Man’ because it’s just too good. The Rain Song is about depression, not about existential angst. Here’s the perfect version from his first (Apple, 1968) album, here’s the revisit from “Flag” (1979), here from a bootleg performance with Joni Mitchell circa 1971. Here’s a fine 1971 video to chill you on a warm day.

I’m sure by now you understand that a real Rain Song has to be about clouds and eyes and crying and tears. So here it comes, the finalists in our unreality competition for the mantle of The Quintessential Rain Song

#7 – ‘Cry Like a Rainy Day‘, Etta James. A bit slick for my tastes, from a distinctly unslick singer.

#6 – ‘Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain’, Willy Nelson. Yeah, it’s a nice song. It meets all the prerequisites. But there are those where the heart is more fully saturated.

#5 – ‘Cry Like a Rainstorm’, sung by Linda Ronstadt, written by Eric Kaz. Lots of violins, and she can really hit those high notes.

#4 – ‘It Might As Well Rain Until September’, 1962, young Carole King’s first solo release, back when she was churning out Brill Building hits. You can read all about it in its very own Song of The Week.

#3 – ‘Early Morning Rain’, written by Gordon Lightfoot, as performed by Peter Paul & Mary. One of my very favorite emotionally sodden songs. It also had its own Song of The Week.

#2 – ‘Raindrops’ by Dee Clark, a one-hit wonder from 1961. I was in the 8th grade, miserable, in the rainy Midwest, and I sure shed a lot of tears to this one. Check out the power soul wailing at the fade. Dee spent the last years of his short life in a welfare hotel in Toccoa, Georgia, impoverished and paralyzed by a stroke. So what was I doing, a Jewish boy, crying in the suburbs?

The envelope, please. Ladies and Gentlemen, the ultimate song of unrequited love and waterlogged self-pity:

#1 – ‘Crying in the Rain’, the Everly Brothers, music by Carole King, lyrics by Howard Greenfield.

Neil Sedaka, Howard Greenfield

Carole King’s corpus needs no elaboration. Howie grew up in Brighton Beach, in the same building with Neil Sedaka. He co-wrote such Brill Building gems as ‘Breaking Up Is Hard to Do’, ’Oh! Carol’, ‘Stairway to Heaven’, ‘Calendar Girl’, ‘Little Devil’, and ‘Happy Birthday Sweet Sixteen’ for Neil; ‘Everybody’s Somebody’s Fool’ and ‘Breakin’ in a Brand New Broken Heart’ (Connie Francis); ‘Love Will Keep Us Together’(The Captain & Tennille); ‘Venus In Blue Jeans’ (Jimmy Clanton); and ‘Foolish Little Girl’ (the Shirelles)., not to mention the theme songs to Bewitched, The Flying Nun and Hazel.

Don and Phil Everly, of course, are charter members of the pantheon of rock and roll. Their career split into two – recording for Cadence Records in 1957-1959 songs written by husband-and-wife team Felice and Boudleaux Bryant (‘Bye Bye Love’, ‘Wake Up Little Susie,’ ‘All I Have to Do Is Dream’–SoTW 186, ‘Bird Dog’ and ‘Problems’), and then songs from a variety of sources in 1960-1962 for Warner Brothers (‘Cathy’s Clown’, ‘So Sad‘, ‘Walk Right Back’, ‘Crying In The Rain’, ‘That’s Old Fashioned’, and ‘When Will I Be Loved’. My, my, what a body of work. You can read all about them in their own dedicated SoTW here.

Not even a duo such as Art Garfunkel and James Taylor could match the Everly’s performance. And that’s saying something, because James has been known to rival them at their own game (here’s the Everly’s ‘Devoted to You’; here’s the treatment by James and then-wife Carly Simon).

Pretty as a picture postcard

But no one can beat the Everly Brothers. Simon and Garfunkel admitted to striving to be Everly ver. 2.0. The first time I heard a Beatles song (‘I Want to Hold Your Hand’) on the radio, sometime in late 1963, way before their appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show, I said to myself, “What’s the big deal? They sound like the Everly Brothers with a heavier beat.” Neil Young, inducting them into the Rock and Roll Hall of fame, said that every musical group he belonged to had tried and failed to copy the Everly Brothers’ harmonies.

‘Crying in the Rain’ the perfect soggy, squishy rain song. It’s a pretty perfect song for any season. You just put the needle down on that 45 with the big hole, it brings its own weather system. All the heartache, all the sogginess, all the rain mixed with all the tears. I think we could even declare it as a genre unto itself: ‘Crying In The Rain Songs’. And here’s the best of the bunch.

I’ll never let you see
The way my broken heart is hurting me
I’ve got my pride and I know how to hide
All my sorrow and pain
I’ll do my crying in the rain

If I wait for cloudy skies
You won’t know the rain from the tears in my eyes
You’ll never know that I still love you so
Though the heartaches remain
I’ll do my crying in the rain

Rain drops falling from heaven
Could never wash away my misery
But since we’re not together
I look for stormy weather
To hide these tears I hope you’ll never see

Some day when my crying’s done
I’m gonna wear a smile and walk in the sun
I may be a fool but till then darling you’ll
Never see me complain
I’ll do my crying in the rain

I’ll do my crying in the rain
I’ll do my crying in the rain

 

If you liked this post, you may also enjoy:

002: Buddy Holly, ‘Learning the Game’
076: Roy Orbison, ‘Oh, Pretty Woman’
125: Bee Gees, ‘Holiday’

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3

155: Buddy Holly, ‘It Doesn’t Matter Anymore’

Posted by jeff on Mar 7, 2019 in Rock and Roll, Song Of the week

Buddy Holly – It Doesn’t Matter Anymore

The kids in our mailroom have been on strike now for two days over the massive overload caused by the overflow of letters from readers speculating over The Question That Has The World On The Edge Of Its Figurative Chair: the third and climactic final of that iconic triptych, Spookily Existential Posthumous Hit Records (SEPHR).

We told you about how Otis Redding recorded ‘(Sitting on) The Dock of a Bay’ three weeks before he died in a plane crash.

We told you about how Sam Cooke released ‘A Change is Gonna Come’ weeks before he was shot in a seedy motel in unsavory circumstances.

SoTW mailroom this week

We’re going to skip all the SEPHR runners-up: Hank Williams’ ‘I’ll Never Get Out of This World Alive’; Chuck Willis’ two-sided hit ‘Hang Up My Rock ‘n’ Roll Shoes’ b/w ‘What Am I Living For’; and Eva Cassidy’s ‘What a Wonderful World’). We’ll skip right to the final member of our morbid trilogy. The envelope, please.

This week we’re going to share the story of Buddy Holly’s last recording session and the song ‘It Doesn’t Matter Anymore’, recorded in October 1958 and released in January 1959, exactly a month before ‘the day the music died’.

Show of Stars, including The Crickets

My admiration for Buddy Holly (1936-1959) is immeasurable. I’ve written about his influence on the Beatles and the Grateful Dead and the Rolling Stones (SoTW 70, ‘That’ll Be the Day’), about his originality (SoTW 122, ‘You’re The One’), and about his stunningly beautiful music (SoTW 2, ‘Learning the Game’). If I may quote myself, I wrote in one of them “Could be I invented Song of The Week just to have a platform to sing Buddy Holly’s praises.”

I think he’s one of the finest artists in popular music, period. I’m not alone in that appraisal. Bruce Springsteen: “I play Buddy Holly every night before I go on – it keeps me honest.” Buddy Holly was the John Keats of rock and roll, a pure artist, with an innocent, disinterested aesthetic. Keats (1795-1820) lived to the age of 25, but was too sick with tuberculosis to write for the last year and a half of his life. Buddy Holly’s life was truncated at 23 in a plane crash on February 3, 1959.

(Back of the bus) Paul Anka, Buddy Holly

Buddy Holly made his money travelling by bus on endless one-night Rock and Roll tours with the likes of Fats Domino, Jerry Lee Lewis, the Everly Brothers, Chuck Berry, Dion and the Belmonts, and wunderkind Paul Anka (b. 1941). By the age of 17 he already had a remarkable string of self-penned hits, including ‘Diana,’ ‘Puppy Love,’ ‘Put Your Head on My Shoulder,’ and ‘You Are My Destiny.’ Okay, they’re not ‘Blowing in the Wind’ or ‘All My Loving’, but give the kid credit; he was one of the first singers to write his own material.

But he was a pill. Nikki Sullivan, Buddy Holly’s rhythm guitarist: “Paul was a brat. All the time he was getting into trouble, or doing something wrong. He just couldn’t sit still–a thousand, billion volts of energy. We were onstage in St. Louis, and Paul was horsing around backstage when he kicked the microphone plug out of the floor and all the mikes went dead. We just stood there onstage, helpless. It was just a few minutes, but it seemed like three or four days until the microphones got plugged back in and we could start over. At this point, Buddy was boiling up inside, just ready to explode. When we walked off, the clapping stopped the minute we got offstage, into the curtains–it wasn’t a very long clap. So it’s totally quiet, and the MC is walking out on to the stage to introduce the next act, and Buddy yells, ‘Who in the hell kicked out the goddamn plug?’ It rang throughout the auditorium. He calmed down after a bit and went back to the room, and later Paul Anka came back and apologized. And in fact, from that incident, Buddy and Paul became very close, and even rehearsed a few songs together from then on.”

LtoR: Buddy Holly, Paul Anka, Jerry Lee Lewis

Anka asked Holly if he’d record a song he’d written. “Sure, why not, let me see it,” said Buddy. “Oh, but it’s not finished yet. I’ll bring it to you when I’m done with it,” said Paul.

Buddy Holly’s final recording session was his first and only with strings, October 21, 1958. Anka finally finished the song and brought it to Buddy on the very day of that session. Buddy quickly learned it from him and ran to Dick Jacobs, the arranger/producer. Holly played it on guitar and sang it, and Jacobs worked out a quick arrangement. Dick Jacobs: “I had no time to harmonize the violins or write intricate parts, so I wrote them all pizzicato. That was the most unplanned thing I have ever written in my life.” (Pizzicato means ‘plucked’, for all you who don’t speak Italian or Music.)

Four songs were recorded: the lightweight ‘Moondreams’; the lush ‘True Love Ways’ (a college friend said on hearing it for the first time, ‘A girl could get pregnant just listening to that’); the wondrous, heart-wrenching ‘Raining in My Heart’; and ‘It Doesn’t Matter Anymore’.

Three weeks later, Buddy recorded ‘You’re the One’ in a radio studio back home in Lubbock, Texas. In December, he recorded six songs in his New York apartment, including his compositions ‘Learning the Game’, ‘What to Do’, and ‘That Makes it Tough’.  Buddy was 22 and a half when he recorded these songs. At that age, John Lennon was recording “Love Me, Do”, and Dylan had recorded one album of original material.

On January 5, the single of ‘Raining in My Heart’ b/w ‘It Doesn’t Matter Anymore’ was released. A month later, Buddy Holly was dead.

I can’t say ‘It Doesn’t Matter Anymore’ presents any earthshaking ontological or eschatological world view. After all, it was written by the 17-year old Paul Anka. But I think a case could be made to draw a line from it to ‘Like a Rolling Stone’ via ‘Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right’: “With all due pain and regret, screw you, honey.”

But there isn’t much music that affects me as strongly as this song does. Back in the days when I played guitar, it brought me to tears more than once.

There are a number of noteworthy covers. Here’s Paul Anka telling the back-story and singing it at a Buddy Holly tribute. Here’s Linda Ronstadt singing it early on in her career, and here she is ten years later. I sure wish she’d kept those boom-chukka drums out of the arrangement, because it’s fine up till then. Eva Cassidy showed better taste in her impeccable treatment.

But of course we’ll always go back to the original, the utterly honest Buddy Holly version, with all its helplessness and hopelessness, regret and resignation, passion and pain.

There you go and baby here am I.
Well, you left me here so I could sit and cry
Golly gee, what have you done to me?
Well I guess it doesn’t matter anymore.

Do you remember baby, last September
How you held me tight each and every night?
Oh baby how you drove me crazy,
But I guess it doesn’t matter anymore.

There’s no use in me a-cryin’.
I’ve done everything
And now I’m sick of trying.
I’ve thrown away my nights
Wasted all my days over you.

Now you go your way baby and I’ll go mine
Now and forever ’till the end of time
And I’ll find somebody new and baby
We’ll say we’re through
And you won’t matter anymore.

If you liked this post, you may also enjoy:

002: Buddy Holly, ‘Learning the Game’
070: Buddy Holly, ‘That’ll Be the Day’
122: George Harrison (The Beatles), ‘You Know What to Do’ b/w Buddy Holly, ‘You’re the One’

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2

152: Sam Cooke, ‘A Change is Gonna Come’

Posted by jeff on Feb 28, 2019 in Rock, Rock and Roll, Song Of the week

Sam Cooke, ‘A Change is Gonna Come’

Sam Cooke, smiling

As promised, we’ve embarked on a visit to three “spookily existential posthumous hits”. Last week we visited Otis Redding, an artist I’m still learning to fully appreciate, and ‘(Sitting on) The Dock of a Bay’, which he recorded 18 days before he was killed.

This week, we’re going to pay homage to an artist I’ve long held in the highest esteem, Sam Cooke, and to his universally acclaimed Civil Rights anthem ‘A Change is Gonna Come’, recorded a year before his death but released only posthumously.

We’ve written several times about Sam Cooke (1931-1964) – about his gospel roots, his crossover to rhythm and blues (for example, SoTW 048, ‘Bring It on Home to Me’); his success as a genteel creator of pop hits (SoTW 136, ‘Wonderful World’); and his incredible talent as a singer (SoTW 120, ‘Shake, Rattle and Roll’).

Schmuck

In 1963, Cooke was at the top of his game–hits galore, successful nightclub and concert gigs, and a major-league shmuck manager (Allen Klein, later of Beatles infamy), the highest-earning black entertainer in the world. But while on tour (which he did non-stop to keep away from his crumbling marriage), his 18 month old son, Vincent, drowned in their front yard pool. Sam blamed Mrs Barbara Cooke, and sank into depression, requesting that no one wear black to the child’s funeral.

According to his biographer, Cooke had been profoundly affected by Bob Dylan’s ‘Blowin’ in the Wind’ (a hit at the time for Peter, Paul and Mary), moved that such a poignant song about racism in America could come from someone who was not black. While on tour in May 1963, and after speaking with sit-in demonstrators in Durham, North Carolina following a concert, Cooke returned to his tour bus and wrote the first draft of what would become “A Change Is Gonna Come”. Then in October 1963, he was arrested and thrown in jail after refusing to be turned away from a Shreveport, La., hotel which had initially accepted his reservation.

Scene of the crime (the one shoe not visible)

He recorded ‘A Change is Gonna Come’ on December 21, 1963 (arrangement by René Hall), a month after Kennedy’s assassination. But Klein kept it under wraps for a year, till it was finally released as the B-side of a vibrant single, ‘Shake’ (which we heard last week in Otis Redding’s version). The original version of ‘A Change is Gonna Come’ was shortened by 30 seconds for the single, deleting the most explicitly anti-segregation verse: I go to the movie and I go downtown/Somebody keep telling me, “Don’t hang around”/It’s been a long, a long time coming/But I know a change gonna come, oh yes it will.

Apparently Sam wasn’t finished twisting the night away, because on December 11, 1964, he took a hooker to his motel room. When he stumbled into the bathroom (highly intoxicated), she grabbed her clothes, his clothes and his cash and ran off. She either did or didn’t stop in the motel office, but Sam was convinced she was hiding there. He barged in, clad in the only clothes Ms Elisa Boyer had left (a sport jacket and one shoe). He vociferously demanded an explanation from the manager, Ms Bertha Franklin. There was a struggle, during which Ms Boyer shot and killed Cooke. The verdict was justifiable homicide. Of course, other versions are rife, including even a conspiracy theory. Cooke was 33.

Ms Boyer at inquest

‘A Change is Gonna Come’ was only a moderate hit at the time, but it was quickly adopted as an anthem by the Civil Rights movement, recorded and performed by everyone. Its status continues to grow today, despite the fact that Allen Klein refuses to allow the use of the original. Rolling Stone ranked it #12 in its list of 500 greatest songs, and ‘the Greatest Soul Song Ever’.

It was selected by the Library of Congress as one of twenty-five selected recordings for the National Recording Registry. Here’s a nice NRP program on the song, including Aretha Franklin saying “Sam Cooke, bar none, was one of the greatest singers of all time.” Here’s Aretha’s own very beautiful version of ‘A Change is Gonna Come’. Here’s another very gospel treatment by Patti LaBelle.

Miss Kentuckey, Djuan Trent

The song has had more cover versions than the number of ants on a Tennessee anthill, so we’ll just give you a little sampling. Here’s Otis Redding. Here’s Aaron Neville. Here are The Righteous Brothers. Here’s Tina Turner. Here’s Bob Dylan (how’s that for irony?–the wheel’s still in spin), and here’s The Band. Here’s James Taylor’s version, first time ever on the internet.

Here’s Seal. He tied his cover of the song to Barack Obama’s statement in his 2008 victory speech “change has come to America.” Bettye LaVette and Jon Bon Jovi performed this song at President Obama’s inauguration celebration. In case you didn’t notice, she’s black and he’s white and they’re both EQUAL-ly soulful and passionate. Gee, do you think there might be a message hiding there?

Heaven

‘A Change is Gonna Come’ was performed in the 2011 Miss America Pageant by Miss Kentucky, Djuan Trent, during which she maintained that her grandparents wrote the song.  It was even performed in the finals of American Idol by Adam Lambert, provoking “ervin” of Indianapolis to write: “when i first heard this song it was on “American Idol” i really think that this song has alot of meaning. i started to cry because i felt where the song was coming from. just the title made me think. the song makes me think. this song is whats hot i would put this on my mp3 player”

But it’s not Sam’s fault that ervin was inspired to think (and to cry). It’s enough to make you think that perhaps Allen Klein had the right idea, to keep the song under wraps, because ‘A Change is Gonna Come’ really is too noble to be performed on American Idol. But it’s in the public domain, and we’ll just have to live with that. Because we don’t know what’s up there beyond the sky. And because we need music like this to remind us just how difficult it is for any man, black or white or plaid, to maintain his dignity in this world.

Sam Cooke, not smiling

I was born by the river in a little tent
Oh and just like the river I’ve been running ever since
It’s been a long, a long time coming
But I know a change gonna come, oh yes it will

It’s been too hard living but I’m afraid to die
‘Cause I don’t know what’s up there beyond the sky
It’s been a long, a long time coming
But I know a change gonna come, oh yes it will

I go to the movie and I go downtown
Somebody keep telling me, “Don’t hang around”
It’s been a long, a long time coming
But I know a change gonna come, oh yes it will

Then I go to my brother
And I say, “Brother, help me please”
But he winds up knockin’ me
Back down on my knees

Oh there been times that I thought I couldn’t last for long
But now I think I’m able to carry on
It’s been a long, a long time coming
But I know a change gonna come, oh yes it will.

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6

137: Patience and Prudence, ‘Gonna Get Along Without You Now’

Posted by jeff on Dec 20, 2018 in Rock and Roll, Song Of the week

Patience and Prudence, ‘Gonna Get Along Without You Now’

In 1955, Frank Sinatra’s pianist, Mark McIntyre, sent his two daughters away to summer camp. I’ll bet you didn’t know that.  They came back singing a 1927 hit song they’d learned, ‘Tonight You Belong to Me.’ The girls were twelve and nine, so I’m guessing they were singing about their teddy bears. I hope so, anyway, because I’m guessing this was a good Christian camp. The girls were named Patience and Prudence, respectively and respectfully.

In Aristotle and Plato’s original configuration, the Seven Virtues were Prudence, Justice, Restraint, Fortitude, Faith, Hope, and Charity; later evolving in the Catholic catechism into Chastity, Temperance, Charity, Diligence, Patience, Kindness, and Humility. I guess even virtues evolve over time. They don’t name girls like that anymore, do they? Picture a character in Beverly Hills 90210 named Chastity (although there was a 1969 Cher film by that name). Or a singing duo on MTV named Humility & Diligence. More of a chance nowadays of running into Gluttony, Lust & Sloth.

Anyway, Mark took a shine to the song and wanted to cut a demo of it, so he brought the girls into the studio (not on a school day, of course), the result of which was a million-seller. But this week we’re paying homage to their follow-up hit, that iconic, mindless, vapid ditty ‘Gonna Get Along Without You Now’.

Kindness is also a virtue

The song was originally a hillbilly boogie done by one Roy Hogsed in the very early 1950s.  It was next a minor hit in big-band swing style for young Teresa Brewer in 1952.  Skeeter Davis (of ‘End of the World’ fame) and Tracey Dey (in a girl-group qua Wall of Sound treatment) also squeezed hits out of it in the mid-1960s. One Viola Wills had a well-known minor hit in classic Disco style with it in 1979. When she was discovered by Barry White in 1965 at the age of twenty-one, she already had six children. I’d like to repeat that, just in case you weren’t paying attention the first time. She had six children by the time she was twenty-one. I guess she deserved a hit for her fecundity alone. If her mom had wanted to name her after one of the virtues, I suppose it should have been Kindness rather than Chastity. She later became a member of Joe Cocker’s backing chicks, The Sanctified Sisters. Maybe their names were Temperance, Fortitude, Humility and Viola.

The Guy who invented radio

I first learned the Patience and Prudence song when I was knee-high to a lawn-mower, and I still hum it on occasion. The Beach Boys just released a pretty darned good 50th anniversary reunion CD, the title tune of which is ‘That’s Why God Made the Radio’: “He waved His hand, gave us rock’n’roll.” Well, to all those responsible – The Big Boy, Patience and Prudence and their dad, Viola Wills, everyone – thanks for providing the sound track of our lives, and have a good week.

If you enjoyed this post, you may also like: 

023: Tommy Edwards, ‘It’s All In the Game’
034: Dionne Warwick, ‘Walk On By’ (Burt Bacharach)
054: Mickey & Sylvia, ‘Love is Strange’

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