Thursday, January 27, 2011

"Cheryl's Going Home"

"Cheryl's Going Home" was released at the end of 1965 by a young singer named Bob Lind, but went nowhere. In early 1966 a Miami DJ turned the record over and played the flip side, and soon radio stations all over the country were playing that flip, a song called "Elusive Butterfly" -- which would eventually flutter to #3 on the national charts. "Cheryl's Going Home" is better, but that's the way things go sometimes.

In the the spring of '66 The Cascades ("Rhythm Of The Rain"), valiantly attempting to continue the group harmony tradition in the face of the British Invasion, gave the song a shot:

Adam Faith, still fairly popular in the UK in the age of The Beatles, made the British top 50 with a cover:

In November of that year The Blues Project took a crack at Cheryl, resulting in my favorite version, though it did no better on the US singles charts than the others:

A band called The Rokes cut am Italian-language cover that was apparently very successful in Italy, the only version I know of to become a hit:

But the oddest version of "Cheryl's Going Home" is probably the mid '70s cover by British singer John Otway:

Monday, January 17, 2011

The Wall-o-Bees - "The Ugliest Girl In Town" (1968)

The Ugliest Girl In Town was a short-lived sitcom of the late '60s, remembered now for two things. The first is its whacked-out premise. A gofer at a Hollywood talent agency (the late Peter Kastner,  star of Francis Ford Coppola's You're A Big Boy Now) falls in love with an English actress making a horror movie in the US. When she goes back to Swinging London, he follows her by dressing as a girl (?), and -- through a series of plot devices too  mind-bogglingly complicated to list here -- becomes a Twiggy-like sensation as a fashion model.

As ludicrous as TUGIT sounds, it actually seems to have had some of its basic premise  "borrowed" by the megahit Tootsie.

But the most fondly remembered aspect of The Ugliest Girl In Town is its theme song, written by Howard Greenfield and Helen Miller. Greenfield (1936-1986) is a legend among Brill Building rock aficionados, writing the lyrics for longtime collaborator Neil Sedaka's hits as well as classics like "Crying In The Rain" with Carole King.

Who owns that fabulous face?
The Ugliest Girl in Town
Who’s clothes are setting the pace?
The Ugliest Girl In Town 

You don’t have to be a 
Mia or Sophia
This is the year of the clown
Be the chickiest, freakiest
Ugliest Girl In Town!

Musically the theme is a catchy if blatant cop of "Georgy Girl", sung by a group of Seekers imitators called The Wall-o-Bees. about whom I know nothing.

Does anybody have the long version?

Was there a long version?

Thursday, January 13, 2011

The Index -- "Fire Eyes" (1968)

The Index were a peripheral part of the great '60s Detroit scene. This album was allegedly recorded in a basement at home. Supposedly 100 copies were sold and the rest thrown out by the parents of the band members when they moved out of the house.

An original of the album was recently offered on eBay for over $3,000.

For an informative article about the band,  go here.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Unknown Artist - "It Could Have Been Me" (1965)

Juliet Prowse and Sal Mineo dancing to the dynamite "It Could Have Been Me", in a scene from the notoriously sordid movie shocker Who Killed Teddy Bear.

I don't know who that is singing. Bob Gaudio of the Four Seasons may have co-written it (the opening credits imply this) with New York session vet Al Kasha -- who may be singing. But really your guess is as good as mine.

Monday, January 10, 2011

The Mascots -- Swedebeat

The Mascots were one of Sweden's most popular bands during The British Invasion, notable for their steadfast devotion to the Merseybeat sound (and for having a drummer who looked like he was about 14 years old).

"Call Me Your Love" (1964):

"Sad Boy" (1965):

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Frank Albertson & Marjorie White - "Never Swat A Fly" (1930)

A DeSylva, Brown and Henderson (they wrote Good News) song from the 1930 movie Just Imagine, a science fiction musical (yes, you heard me right -- a science fiction musical).

1960s folkies may know the song from Jim Kweskin's 1967 cover -- although his version strikes me as very smirking and arch. This original has a nice innocence and sincerity to it.