March Madness is the term I use to describe the big bang...
...the music explosion that took place at the Dell starting in the early spring of 1966 and continuing through June. Some of the greatest soul records of the 60s came out during that period as well as releases by soulful white artists with crossover appeal.
The Dell’s blue-eyed soul craze got its start in the months leading up to March with songs like “Peace of Mind” by the Magnificent Men, “Jenny” by Mitch Ryder, and “Unchained Melody,” “Hung on You,” and “Ebb Tide” by the Righteous Brothers all paving the way.
In March, the Young Rascals joined the club and helped to ratchet up the excitement in the barn, and the Righteous Brothers were back with their biggest Dell hit of all.
A record doesn’t make it into the coveted Shady Dell Top Ten unless it kills. “Soul And Inspiration,” a towering wall of sound, kills!
For months on end this exquisite Righteous Brothers ballad kept the Dell’s slow dancers in a blissful state of nirvana. Couples by the score streamed to the dance floor and swayed teary-eyed as “Soul and Inspiration” washed over them like a wave of intense feeling. Bill and Bobby’s dueling vocal harmonies spiraled upward toward the heavens and then fell and rose and fell again until, by song’s end, all within earshot were emotionally depleted.
The Righteous Bros. are shoutin’ the blues on the killer bee...
"B Side Blues" received enough jukebox plays and crowd reax to earn it a spot in the Shady Dell Top 100!
Two more exceptional Righteous Brothers ballads made their mark during my tenure as a Dell rat, and both also made it into my Dell Top 100.
At position #80 is the song mentioned earlier - “Ebb Tide,” one of the Dell’s most frequently played slow songs from December 1965 through the end of winter.
At position #92 is “He,” a ballad with an overtly religious theme similar to that of another Dell classic, ‘Human” by Tommy Hunt.
"He” was a warm weather Dell song, first capturing our attention in June of 1966 and keeping us company until the school bells rang.
Key point: Many of the Dell’s greatest hits were songs that walked the fine line between gospel and secular without becoming preachy or self conscious.
Too late for Halloween, but a Ghost story is coming up next.
(to be continued)