Some of the songs that earned a spot on my list of
The 200 Greatest Hits of the Shady Dell were big
national hits recorded by well known artists.
Others generated only limited regional or local
interest. Several records that were virtually
unknown outside of Central Pennsylvania
became monster hits at the Dell!
Those obscure, seldom heard recordings are the true Dell songs. They are linked in my memory to the Dell more so than to the outside world and are an inexorable part of my Shady Dell experience. The highest ranking songs on my list, therefore, are the hardcore Dell songs that epitomize the time, the place, the people, the mood, the attitude - everything that was the Shady Dell of the mid 60s. These special songs seem to have magic Dell dust sprinkled all over them and they trigger my most powerful Shady Dell memories.
As a practical matter, I had to eliminate from my survey some of the usual suspects - the more obvious national hits that were popular during the period. I needed to disqualify those widely known chart toppers in order to make room for the esoteric Dell songs. In the interest of full disclosure and fair and balanced reporting I will occasionally post a random sampling of the popular songs that kept Dell rats dancing but were not included in my survey. Here's the first batch!
Frankie Valli's voice can be heard on some of the best commercial pop music of the 1960s. Seldom heard gems include "Bermuda"/"Spanish Lace," the Four Seasons' doublesider on the Gone label, and "Ain't That a Shame,"
a cover of the Fats Domino million seller. My favorite solo recording by Frankie Valli is "The Proud One," a sensational song that fizzled one third of the way up the Billboard chart. Valli hit paydirt with his next Philips release, "Can't Take My Eyes Off You." The song made it to #2 on Billboard and all the way to #1 on Cash Box two separate weeks in July of 1967, with "Windy" by The Association reclaiming the top
spot during the week in between. The popularity of Valli's solo smash rubbed off on the Dell crowd, earning it an
honorable mention on my bubbling under list.
DELL SONG #247
"Can't Take My Eyes Off You"
- Frankie Valli (July 1967, highest chart
AND THE SUPREMES
of 1967 "Reflections" brought a refreshing new sound to the Dell dance hall. Dellions could name that tune
in one second flat because of the wierd synth sounds at the beginning of the record, one of the earliest uses of an oscillator in a major recording. This single also marked the first time that the veteran Motown girl group was billed as Diana Ross and the Supremes. "Reflections" was released at a time when Motown was in transition, beginning to pull away away from its traditional sweet soul roots and starting to follow current trends, dabbling in psychedelia, social commentary and antiwar protests. "Reflections" shot up the chart on its way to number one but hit the glass ceiling at #2, held back from the top spot by crossover country singer Bobbie Gentry's evocative "Ode to Billie Joe."
DELL SONG #240
"Reflections" - Diana Ross and the
Supremes (September 1967, highest chart
AND OUR GANG
In recent years I have gained a whole new appreciation of this jazz influenced, Chicago based, folk rock/sunshine pop group. Although they never emerged from the shadow of the more successful Mamas and Papas, I like the music of Spanky & Our Gang just as much. I never tire of listening to tracks like "Making Every Minute Count," "Like to Get to Know You," "Lazy Day," "Sunday Mornin'," "And She's Mine," "Yesterday's Rain," "Without Rhyme or Reason," and "Give a Damn." The group's first release, "Sunday Will Never Be the Same," was also their biggest career hit, breaking into the top 10 during the Summer of Love and bringing Dell dancers to the floor in line dance formation.
DELL SONG #230
"Sunday Will Never Be The Same"
- Spanky & Our Gang (June 1967, highest
chart position #9)
Brenton Wood's "The Oogum Boogum Song" cracked the top 40 in 1967 and showed up 30 years later on the soundtrack of The Last Days of Disco, one of my favorite and most highly recommended movies. The film's principal characters danced to this oldie as it played on the jukebox at a bar. When it turned up in the Dell jukebox in the spring of 1967 "Oogum Boogum" gave Dell rats a preview of the smooth, slick, sophisticated soul sound that would sweep the nation in the 1970s.
DELL SONG #228
"The Oogum Boogum Song" - Brenton Wood
(May 1967, highest chart position #34)
"Stop Stop Stop" by the Hollies is permalinked in my mind to "Lady Godiva," a similar themed song performed by another English act, Peter and Gordon. Both records landed on the chart in October of 1966, both made it into the top 10 in the U.S.A. and both remained popular through the Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday season. Dell rats had radar for novelty numbers and they took this Hollies' vehicle for frequent spins.
DELL SONG #223
"Stop Stop Stop" - Hollies
(November 1966, highest chart position #7 )
THE ROLLING STONES
The testosterone injected "Let's Spend the Night Together" stirred controversy and had censors on The Ed Sullivan Show clutching their hearts. Not easily offended, the Dell gentry turned the provocative Rolling Stones record into an instant hit. "Ruby Tuesday," the kinder, gentler, shuffle paced A side of the 45, got its fair share of plays as well. On the national chart "Ruby" became the Stones' 4th number one single.
DELL SONG #214
"Ruby Tuesday" - Rolling Stones
(April 1967, highest chart position #1)
"Day Tripper" and "We Can Work it Out" are unique in that they were part of Capitol Records' historic double A-sided single release. Both songs were deemed so strong that they were both promoted as the A side. "We Can Work it Out" outperformed "Day Tripper," topping the domestic chart 4 weeks in a row at the start of January 1966. "Day Tripper" went top 5. Of the two songs "Tripper" was hipper and was played slightly more often by the Rodentia Intelligentsia.
DELL SONG #201
"Day Tripper" - Beatles (January 1966,
highest chart position #5)
Stay right there,
brother rat! More
from the Dell's
Bubbling Under list
are coming soon!
Have a Shady day!