Saturday, January 24, 2015

My top ten 50 years back

Now and then I delve back into my list of personal top ten records that I studiously wrote down once or twice a week from 1960 to 1965. Looking at the list for 50 years ago - January 22nd, 1965 to be precise - it's striking how many classic recordings are listed. What also struck me was the important role that the pirate radio stations played in those days. For example, standing at number six in my top ten was Baby Don't You Do It by Marvin Gaye - a great record and a substantial US hit. Yet when I checked the Rare Record Guide I realised that it was never released as a single in the UK. It didn't even come out on an LP until later in 1965 on Marvin's How Sweet It Is To Be Loved By You album. Yet it clearly got significant airplay on the pirates. Why it wasn't released as a single I don't know, but maybe it had something to do with the changeover in distribution in the UK from Stateside to the new Tamla Motown label, which was launched in March, 1965. Here it is.   
Another case in point was Leader Of The Pack by the Shangri-Las, which received a great amount of airplay on the pirate stations (but not, naturally, on the BBC which banned it because of its death theme) before it was belatedly released in the UK and became a hit. By this time the follow up Give Him A Great Big Kiss (with its great line 'You best believe I'm in love, LUV')  was ready for release and both records find themselves listed in my top ten. (Top 12 actually, as there were so many good records around that I had five tied in equal eighth place).
Another point of note is that Sam Cooke's Shake is at joint number one on my chart. This isn't surprising as virtually everything recorded by Sam made it to number one in my top ten. But what is worthy of note is that there's no sign of the B side - A Change Is Gonna Come. It received no airplay that I can recall on first release  and it was only later that it was recognised as one of the great civil rights anthems of all time. The version issued as a 45 was edited to exclude one verse which was on the original LP track. Some people thought that this was because RCA thought the verse too controversial, although Peter Guralnick in his book Dream Boogie says that Sam made the decision in order to make the length of the single more suitable for radio airplay. Check out this great video of Shake.   
Here's my top 12:
1= You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling - Righteous Brothers
1= Shake - Sam Cooke
3. Leader Of The Pack - Shangri-Las
4. Hold What You've Got - Joe Tex
5. Night Train - James Brown
6. Baby Don't You Do It - Marvin Gaye
7. Dance Dance Dance - The Beach Boys
8= Oh No Not My Baby - Maxine Brown
8= Come See About Me - Supremes
8= The Name Game - Shirley Ellis
8= Keep Searchin' - Del Shannon
8=Give Him A Great Big Kiss - Shangri-Las


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