Night Music: Gary Puckett and the Union Gap, “Young Girl”

This is not an endorsement of this song. But when I was 12 it was a giant hit, and I loved it. But I had limited funds, being 12 and all, and I remember spending an evening in the record department at some local department store while my parents shopped, trying to decide between Gary Puckett and the Union Gap, the Grass Roots, the American Breed and the Who Sell Out.

Here’s Young Girl. I think it’s the record version synced to video from the Ed Sullivan show.

I cannot faithfully reproduce the arguments in favor and against each record that I made that night. I do think I bounced the Who because I didn’t actually know their songs. I just liked the cover and knew they were cool. I also know I held each album, reading liner notes, getting a feel, a number of times. It was agony. I ended up buying the American Breed album, which contained a really excellent one-hit wonderish tune called Bend Me Shape Me. But what interests me now is that both Young Girl and Bend Me Shape Me feature classic rock band configurations and lots of offscreen horns. This is not unlike the window dressing of other instruments and sounds on every one of the Top Hits of 2013, which include lush orchestration and giant beats to pump up their profile.

That’s what people want now. Then, I made the right choice. All the same difference.

Today, of course, I own both the Who Sell Out, on vinyl and CD, and Petra Hayden Sings The Who Sell Out, on CD. And nothing by the band my buddy Bobby Grecco called the Union Crap or the American Breed. But I can listen to all of them whenever I want.

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