Bruce Brown made a splash in
1966 with his documentary film,
The Endless Summer.
The movie followed a couple of surfer dudes on a safari around the globe in search of the perfect wave. As the
pair hop scotched from one exotic locale to another
(Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Tahiti, Hawaii and
California) they managed to stay one step ahead of
winter’s chill. For those lucky guys the fun never had
The idea of an Endless Summer captured
my imagination back then. It has since
became a powerful metaphor for keeping
the spirit of youth alive no matter what
Do it, Dell rats! Just do it!
For those of us living in the northern hemisphere the warm weather has finally arrived! To help you spring into the Endless Summer of 2011, I'm kicking off a 12-part series called Summer Means Fun. All summer long I'll be sharing my favorite songs of the season and the special memories that go along with them.
What better way to begin our summer celebration than with a Beach Boys medley? Please disregard the graphics at the beginning and end of our first video. You won't be hearing Stars on 45. The medley is actually performed by Gidea Park, a Beach Boys/Four Seasons tribute band led by English singer/songwriter/producer Adrian Baker who sang with both American groups during his career.
LET THE PARTY BEGIN!
"Beach Boy Gold" - Gidea Park (1978)
Warm California nights,
With the breeze blowin' in
time for love to begin.
Sunset walks on the beach that last till well after dark.....
I - am - so - THERE! Here's little miss sunshine, lollipops
and rainbows, Lesley Gore!
"California Nights" - Lesley Gore
(April 1967, highest chart position #16)
The greatest summer of your life might start while you're
still sitting in the classroom. As legendary masked surfers Jan and Dean explain, the catalyst could be the new girl in school.
"The New Girl in School" - Jan and Dean
(April 1964, highest chart position #37)
Let's keep things rolling along with a rousing piece of pop from Philadelphia songbird Diane Renay, the perky, bubbly little lady with the powerful pipes.
Although Diane Renay was a solo artist, her recordings are categorized as girl group. Unfairly dismissed in some circles as a one-hit-wonder, Diane was one of the best female vocalists of the girl group era.
As was the case with many other domestic artists and groups, Diane's career suffered collateral damage from Beatlemania and the ensuing British invasion. Diane Renay
is best known for her most successful recording "Navy Blue."
"Navy Blue" - Diane Renay
(March 1964, highest chart position #6)
A pop classic, "Navy Blue" deserved to be #1 in the land. Instead, it got bogged down at #6 on the Billboard chart.
In the wake of the Beatles phenomenal success, the deck was stacked against recording artists like Diane.
In 1964, the U.S. pop charts became infested with Beatles. At one point in April, the Liverpoolians held down all 5 of the top positions on Billboard:
1) “Twist And Shout”
2) “Can’t Buy Me Love”
3) “Please, Please Me”
4) “She Loves You”
5) “I Want To Hold Your Hand”
Later that same month, the Beatles heaped on two more top 10 hits: “Love Me Do” and its flip side, “P.S. I Love You.“
The Beatles' dominance of the mass media, the record charts and radio playlists had many American born teen idols and old fashioned doo-wop style vocal groups entering Pleas of Nolo Contendere.
As much as I liked "Navy Blue," it was Diane Renay's less successful follow-up single, "Kiss Me Sailor" that really blew me away. It’s another example of the sparkling clean Brill Building production style that I love. “Kiss Me Sailor” is an expertly crafted song, with the diminutive thrush delivering even more vocal punch and pizazz than she did on “Navy Blue.” Breaking into the top 30 in May of 1964 with no less than 8 songs by UK artists forming a glass ceiling above her, Diane's "Kiss Me Sailor" was one of the top feel-good songs of the decade!
"Kiss Me Sailor" - Diane Renay
(May 1964, highest chart position #29)
Love springs eternal.
It's as perennial as the grass.
Springtime brings young lovers out of the woodwork and out of the house. Jumping ahead in time to the spring of 1966, here's one of Jerry's kids, Gary Lewis, with a WSBA Land favorite..."Green Grass."
"Green Grass" - Gary Lewis & the Playboys
(June 1966, highest chart position #8)
Don't go anywhere.
We're just getting started.
More great summer sounds
are just ahead in Part 2!
Have a Shady day!