I saved some of the best (and one of the worst) for last as we wind up our 7-part salute to Lloyd Thaxton and the songs that I remember being played and performed on his 1960s television show.
(January, February 1966)
“Like a Baby” – Len Barry
The third great Len Barry song that is linked in my mind to Lloyd Thaxton is "Like a Baby." Although every bit as good as "1-2-3"..."Like a Baby" wasn't as big a hit for Len, stopping at #27 on the Hot 100.
Len Barry's work still sounds fresh to this day and his solo tracks are heavy hitters on YouTube!
(February, March 1966)
“The Dedication Song” Freddy Cannon
I had dinner with Freddy Cannon in 1984 following one of his concert appearances. Great guy! With a long string of hits skewed toward the novelty category, Freddy's records were a perfect fit for The Lloyd Thaxton Show.
Here's one of my favorites by Freddy, "The Dedication Song," a rousing roll call that stopped just short of the top 40 in March 1966.
(July, August 1966)
“They’re Coming to Take Me Away Ha-haaa” Napoleon XIV
Listen, Marge - they're playing our song!
Who could ever forget (even if they really really tried) the incessant drone of this hellacious hit from the summer of 1966? "They're Coming to Take Me Away, Ha-Haaa" by Napoleon XIV is arguably the most annoying record ever made. The maddening magpie saw his numbing novelty number go all the way to #3 on the Billboard chart!
“Evil Eva” – Newbeats
My 7-part salute to Lloyd Thaxton concludes with another great song that I saw the Newbeats perform on Lloyd's show. The little-known "Evil Eva" is a dynamic rocker and my favorite Newbeats recording; yet in accordance with Shady's Law, the song did not even make a dent in Billboard’s Bubbling Under chart! You're kidding, right?
While other groups were scrambling to adjust to the British invasion by tinkering with their image and their music...
...the Newbeats maintained a wholesome, clean cut, retro image and delivered straightforward, traditional group harmonies reminiscent of the doo-wop era.
The Newbeats’ string of charting singles ended at the close of the turbulent 1960’s decade with the optimistic "Groovin’ (Out On Life)."
As you can probably tell, the Newbeats are my favorite Lloyd Thaxton-linked recording act, with the fabulous Len Barry running a close second. Barry's "Lip Sync" and the Newbeats' "Evil Eva" are my two Picks to Click for the entire Lloyd Thaxton series. Both songs are beyond cool - and both are undeserving victims of Shady's Law.
On the blog that he authored until his death Lloyd Thaxton wrote: “I’ve always maintained that I really don’t care what anybody says about me, as long as they spell my name right.”
That’s what I liked most about Lloyd. He knew that the business he was in was (and still is) 99% b.s. and he wasn’t afraid to clue us in.
Lloyd never took his show, the music, life, or himself too seriously.
With an ever-present twinkle in his eye and toothy show biz grin that made him look like the cat that ate the canary, Lloyd Thaxton enjoyed getting into mischief for our amusement.
Like clown prince Jerry Lewis....
Lloyd invited the kid inside each of us to come out and play. We eagerly did.
I didn’t know Lloyd personally, but I sense that he believed that life was meant to be fun; and if it’s not, you aren’t doing it right - change it.
Thank you, Lloyd Thaxton, for your vast contribution to our lives!
Have a Shady day!