I am not sure why pop/soul songs of the early 60’s have been jumping into my brain of late.
Earlier this week it was Dick and DeeDee’s The Mountains High. This morning it was Ruby and the Romantics Our Day Will Come, which I promptly went to on YouTube.
I found the original, plus a pretty good cover by Amy Winehouse, but in the process, there popped up a bunch of other great like songs from the era. Tell Him, by the Exciters, One Fine Day, but the Chiffons, Easier Said Than Done, by the Essex, and this tune.
The songs, and those of the Brill Building and Motown were not only so finely written and crafted, but they were a lot like the movies of the Hollywood system in the late 30’s and 40’s, when it just seemed the competition was tight and everything produced–or at least released–was a the top of its respective game.
It did make me realize that times have changed, and there is no real vehicle for simple pop tunes like these any more. It is rock, or alt, or headbanger, or rap, or house music, but the old homogenization of the pop charts where The Impressions and Conway Twitty and the Beachboys and the Four Seasons and Marvin Gaye could all share Billboard space seems to be long gone.
For, though there were specific genres back in the 60’s, the big deal was to have a cross-over hit, like A Little Bit of Soap, which made it on the soul charts, but also made it on the Billboard Top 100 as well.
Maybe with the death of radio it was inevitable for genre selection to be driven by Pandora and her ilk, but irrespective, it doesn’t seem like bands and songwriters and producers labor to produce little two-minute-plus gems as they did when radio was in its heyday. Not that I am longing to return to those old times, but I did start a new category call “Classic Nuggets” just to cover these lovely little works of musical art.
Let’s start here, anyway, with the Jarmels.