Showing posts with label Sam Cooke. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Sam Cooke. Show all posts

Monday, September 11, 2023

60 Years of Music • September, 1963 • Surfer Girl

I can feel it, the change from 1950's rock 'n' roll to 1960's rock 'n' roll. The Beach Boys are on to something big. All the other artists featured this week are mainly covering other's hits to make an album around their own hit single. 

Granted, Sam Cooke has the most mature material to go along with his soulful smooth singing voice. Martha and the Vandellas are climbing the pop charts, paving the way for The Supremes, and two songs from their 1963 album would be recorded into monster hits for Linda Ronstadt in the 1970's. And, The Ventures would continue to ride the wave of recording surf tunes and turning current pop hits into instrumental electric guitar gems. Yes, the electric guitar, it was now the main instrument in pop songs.  Goodbye horns, hello Mr. Fender, hello Mr. Gibson. 

Brian Wilson is showing the world the new rock 'n' roll blueprint. He is writing and arranging all the songs on the Beach Boys albums, playing Fender bass in the band, and is their lead singer. How many future rock 'n' roll stars are listening to The Beach Boys and saying, "that's the ticket, that's my path too!"

Brian was often criticized later in the 1960's for his sophomoric lyrics layered within the band's sophisticated harmonies. Screw the critics, Brian was painted into the "surfer" "car" box by a number of people in the record business, notwithstanding his overbearing abusive father as their manager.

But if you listen to Surfer Girl this week in the playlist, you'll hear Brian busting out of that sandbox with songs like In My Room, The Surfer Moon, and Your Summer Dream. Speaking of In My Room, it's one of my top 100 favorite songs of all-time and in My 100 Songs playlist. Like many people, it's my favorite Beach Boys song. For the millions of people who love this song, Brian as the writer puts his listeners in the same cocooned space we have all felt as young people. The power and beauty of this song is timeless, touching countless new young listeners every generation. I never tire of In My Room, and imagine you're probably thinking the same.

Enjoy the playlist this week my friends.

Monday, February 20, 2023

60 Years of Music • February, 1963

We got a couple of big debut rock 'n' roll albums coming next month, but in this journey of 1960's music we are going to encounter albums in months like this. I call these albums, "Under the Influence" to the up and coming stars of the 1960's who had their musical roots in the 1940's and 50's of popular music. These songs embody the fabulous popular singers, musicals and movie scores, soul, R&B and jazz of the time. The mix is all American. As an 8 year old in 1963, these eclectic vibes would not be appreciated until I got older, but they were absorbed instantly and are forever in my soul. Hearing these songs sixty years later, I easily slip into my childhood Chuck Taylor Converse All-Star sneakers and Sony transistor radio.

In listening to the albums of February, 1963 I got a sense that the songs of that time have a door opening with one foot in the 1950's and one stepping into the 1960's.

In 2018, I finally got to see Paul Simon and it was an exceptional evening. One song that I will always remember from that concert was Rene and Georgette Magritte With Their Dog After The War. The song gives tribute to some of Simon's 1950's heroes of R&B harmony- 

Rene and Georgette Magritte
With their dog after the war
Returned to their hotel suite
And they unlocked the door
Easily losing their evening clothes
They danced by the light of the moon

The deep forbidden music
They'd been longing for
Rene and Georgette Magritte
With their dog after the war

So in listening to music of February 1963, this Paul Simon song came rushing up to me. It may seem a bit out of place to put this video here, but maybe you'll get my connection after hearing this song, maybe not. From my experience, the song's a link to 1950's R&B and the appreciation of the sweet harmonies that so greatly influenced a young Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel.

Enjoy the playlist my friends, it will take you back.