Friday, April 28

Friday Filler

More Top 100 from six grade:

21. Paint It Black, Rolling Stones

I am not now, nor have I ever been, what you would term a Stones fan. I've owned precisely three of their albums, the great run from Beggars Banquet to that one with the zipper on the front (Sticky Fingers, I had to look it up), sandwiching Let It Bleed, one of the all-time great rock and roll records. Before that it was singles, admittedly a pile of 'em: "Satisfaction," "As Tears Go By," "Ruby Tuesday". "Paint It Black" is probably my favorite song from that period, and probably my favorite on this list.

The Stones' schtick just never worked on me, even before I was old enough to appreciate that Mick was a London School of Economics boy trying to be ethnic. Maybe it's just that I was always a Brian Jones man, since he seemed like the only one who didn't take himself too seriously, although as we learned later, he had help. And here you've got his weed-wacky, trebly faux-raga noodling with Charlie threatening to crash through the wall behind him, and Mick not too far in front, for once. And sure, they went on to greater things, but they also became the world's most successful self-parodists in short order.

22. My Love, Petula Clark

I dunno. Someone explain to me how a pushing-40, middling musical theater star with a personable but totally unremarkable voice cranked out like two-dozen Top 40 hits? This was Dionne Warwick-Bacharach/David without Warwick and Bacharach.

23. Lightin' Strikes, Lou Christie

The sequel to the scandalous "Rhapsody in the Rain", which featured presumed teenagers presumably doing the Dirty Hula in a definite car. Great bridge (with the syncopated "Stop!" from the background singers) into Lou's incredible falsetto, but in his normal register he simpers rather than sings, and even back then lines like, "If she's put together fine/And she's readin' my mind" creeped me out. Not from a feminist point of view (I was 12 and it was 1966), but from the braggadocio of the thing. Even though, supposing that someone had "given me a sign that she wants to make time", I probably couldn't have stopped, either.

24. Wild Thing, Troggs

What can I say? The height of garage-punk, in popularity, at least, and good dumb fun. Also part of the progression from The Kinks' early stuff to proto-psychedelica, which has pretty much been relegated, unfairly, to Rhino re-release liner notes. Their ballad "Love Is All Around" is a nice piece of work.

25. Kicks, Paul Revere and The Raiders

An anti-drug song before I got my first toke? Say it ain't so, Sixties haters! But look, I don't care what it says about me, for four or five singles these guys rawked, albeit in a white-bread sorta way and tricorn hats.

26. Sunshine Superman, Donovan

I do wish Mr. Leitch hadn't shown up here, because I have always had a visceral dislike for the guy and his namby-pamby flower power lyrics, but for a while he produced an interesting body of work. I just don't like it.

27. Sunny, Bobby Hebb

Covered by everybody, probably because syrupy optimism never really goes out of style. I guess it's R&B, though it sounds at times like a soul singer's attempt to climb the Country charts. One of those songs that just seems inevitable and you'd be hard pressed to put in its proper decade if you didn't know it.

28. Paperback Writer, The Beatles

Another double-A side (with "Rain") and a pointer to Revolver. It's less than six months from the release of Rubber Soul, yet the boys signal they're not slowing down for nothin'. Incredibly dense--sure, they had the best technology of the day, but it's still forty years old now and still no one's done it better.

I remember the first time I heard it, first week of June, last day of school, in the basement rec room of my girlfriend Rhonda (Help me!). She played this side first; I thought it was great, but it didn't make me forget "Norwegian Wood". Then "Rain", and after I picked myself up off the floor I was more interested in music than girls. At least for a day or two.

29. See You In September, The Happenings

See Seasons, The Four, or Freshmen, The Four. Sneaked through a time warp from 1962. Think "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" without the Symbolism.

30. You Keep Me Hangin' On, Supremes

Not sure how this is at #30 while the much-inferior "You Can't Hurry Love" was just out of the Top Ten. The girls at their best, and whenever, as here, Barry managed to keep Miss Ross' emoting to a minimum her natural wounded haughtiness was like a nail gun. If someone said, "There ain't nothin' I can do about it," to you like that you'd check your teeth for loose filings.


Anonymous said...

I've always thought that was a great line. It practically stops the song in its tracks.

As for the Stones, I just heard my kid bludgeoning "Gimme Shelter" and "Brown Sugar" over and over with the amp on 11 and I'm becoming less of a fan by the day...

T.H. said...

sam kinison had a hell of a cover of wild thing. it was just up his alley of screaming at fate/destiny/
the nature of things.

"i don't care when it was it was in the third grade or last week she broke your heart oh oh OHHHHHHHHHHHHHH."

also, the l.a. band x covered wild thing well.

Anonymous said...

1966? Bluesbreakers, Paul Butterfield, the first Yardbirds singles with Jeff Beck...but probably not for sixth graders. Dylan lands a great one in there too, doesn't he?

Lets see, what didn't I appreciate in sixth grade...good god, I can't remember anything from age 12. Ooops, time for a beer.

Steve M. said...

Sunny, Bobby Hebb

Covered by everybody, probably because syrupy optimism never really goes out of style.

Although The Rolling Stone Encyclopedia says he wrote it after his brother was killed in a mugging. (I dunno -- under those swingin' horns, I hear melancholy.)

I guess it's R&B, though it sounds at times like a soul singer's attempt to climb the Country charts.

He recorded a lot of country songs ("A Satisfied Mind" was the follow-up) -- and a book I have called Soul Music A-Z says he played spoons with Roy Acuff at the age of 12(!). R&B singers who were really country? He's not alone -- think Percy Sledge, Solomon Burke, Bobby Womack ...