My quest to identify the 10 Most Exciting Records...Ever! continues now with Part 4. Included in this competition are American and Canadian pop, garage, acid rock, hard rock and psychedelic records released after the Beatles went global at the start of 1964. Let the countdown begin!
11. “In-a-Gadda-da-Vida” – Iron Butterfly (September 1968)
For years this was my favorite album. Remember the video that was produced in 1969 using the full length version of "In-a-Gadda-Da-Vida"? It was a 1960s retrospective covering the major news events of the decade including the assassinations of JFK, RFK, and MLK, the long hot summers of tense race relations and rioting, the Vietnam War, manned space flight and the lunar landing. The video was played several times on the Hy Lit Show. These days I rarely take the entire 17 minute Garden of Eden ride but I have grown to love the songs on side 1 of the album and play them often.
10. “Ain’t That Loving You Baby” – Elvis Presley
As I mentioned in an earlier post, I have a theory called the earlier the better which states that the early career recordings made by a solo artist, group or band are usually their best. Jackie Wilson's early work fronting Billy Ward's Dominoes supports this theory. There are exceptions, however. They include Rick Nelson’s great mid-60s two-sider, "The Very Thought Of You" b/w "I Wonder," Bobby Rydell’s fine rendition of "A World Without Love," and Freddy Cannon’s theme from "Where The Action Is."
Elvis Presley, the King of Rock 'N Roll, was struggling in the new normal created by the Beatles and their British Invasion counterparts. For Elvis and other domestic recording acts, major hits were a lot harder to come by in 1964 than they had been in the 50s and early 60s. With his top 20 hit "Ain't That Loving You Baby," Elvis proved that he still had fire in his belly. This rambunctious Presley platter is a throwback - similar in sound and feel to his best 50s material.
9. “Treat Her Right” – Roy Head & the Traits
Roy Head was a cross between James Brown and Jerry Lee Lewis. When Head performed his hit "Treat Her Right" on The Lloyd Thaxton Show in the fall of '65, he didn't just phone it in. He worked! He made sparks fly! Head's spontaneous soul shouting was accompanied by outrageously gymnastic dance moves. Head lost his mind! Let's give a listen to Roy Head as he conducts his patented male sensitivity workshop on Action.
8. “Lies” – Knickerbockers (December 1965)
With their top 20 hit "Lies," the Knickerbockers did a remarkable job of imitating the sound of the early Beatles. Essentially one-hit wonders, the Knicks might have been more successful if they had released "Lies" a year or two earlier; but by early 1966 when "Lies" was reaching its high water mark on Billboard, the Beatles were transitioning away from boy-girl love songs and taking their music in an entirely different direction.
7. “Louie Louie” – Kingsmen (November 1963)
Note: Although it was released in late 1963, "Louie Louie" fits much better in this post-Beatles category than it would if lumped in with songs of the 50s and early 60s.
"Louie Louie" would probably make more "Most Exciting" lists than any other song. As you recall it was the record that Belushi and his drunken fraternity brothers sang and danced to in the movie Animal House. With its allegedly dirty words hidden in the production mix under wailing guitars, organ, drums, and crashing cymbals, "Louie Louie" was the song that officially ended the tranquil Eisenhower 50s era and ushered in the tumultuous 60s.
I'll finish my countdown of the most exciting post-Beatles American/Canadian pop and rock songs next time. See ya then!
Have a Shady day!