At last count there are a million and one
songs about love. Lately I've noticed that
there are nearly as many about money.
By now you know how much I love to play six degrees.
I'd like to share with you a few songs and performers that are right on the money along with a few other favorites that are somehow related.
In 1953 the incomparable Clyde McPhatter left his position
as lead singer of Billy Ward's Dominoes and was replaced by Jackie Wilson. Clyde went to Atlantic records where a new R&B vocal group called the Drifters was formed to showcase his vocal talents. The early to mid 50s were the greatest years for the Drifters. Driven by McPhatter's distinctive voice their jump tempo recordings burst with energy. In the late 50s when Ben E. King took over as lead, Atlantic added lush orchestration to Drifters recordings and the group adopted a more polished sound. The new Drifters (the ones with strings attached) appealed to white audiences, enabling them to rack up pop chart hits like "There Goes My Baby" and "Save the Last Dance for Me." The earlier the better I always say and my money is on the authentic R&B sound that the original Drifters produced during the Clyde McPhatter years!
"Money Honey" - Drifters (January 1954,
highest chart position #1 R&B)
EDDIE MONEY &
1986 was one of the most exciting years of my life. Working as production manager of an MTV style television station,
I had the opportunity to meet many of the top power pop, hard rock, glam and heavy metal acts of the day including Kiss, Poison, The Thompson Twins, Ratt, Cinderella, Heart, Ronnie James Dio and Stevie Nicks. My station played the latest music videos supplied by the record companies and had veejays hosting various categories of music according to day part including a heavy metal show late Friday night that was similar to MTV's Headbanger's Ball. One of the videos that burned up the boss lines and crossed over between the power pop and heavy metal audiences was Eddie Money's "Take Me Home Tonight," a single taken from the Brooklyn rocker's album Can't Hold Back. The call-and-response style duet featured a rare, exciting and Spec-tacular appearance by the charismatic, melismatic Ronnie Spector, former lead singer of the Ronettes.
"Take Me Home Tonight" - Eddie Money
featuring Ronnie Spector (October 1986,
highest chart position #4)
Under the tutelage of iconic record producer Phil Spector, the Ronettes developed a bad girl image, rendering their pop love songs in a more seductive manner than most other girl groups of the early and mid 60s. Cloaked in Spector's dense wall of sound, the Ronettes achieved an international smash hit in 1963 with "Be My Baby." I love to dig a little deeper for gold and I struck pay dirt with the Ronettes' less successful follow-up single "Baby I Love You."
"Baby I Love You" - Ronettes
(February 1964, highest chart position #24)
Black independent R&B record label owner John Dolphin, founder of Money Records and Cash Records, is one of the most colorful characters in the annals of rock and roll. The story surrounding his murder includes three famous names from my youth. In the 50s Dolphin operated a 24-hour-a-day Los Angeles record shop called Dolphin's on Hollywood. In a payola scheme to turn records on his labels into instant hits, Dolphin arranged to have popular deejays including Cruisin' 1959's Hunter Hancock, conduct live radio broadcasts from inside his store. Dolphin's history of shady business practices caught up with him in 1958 when a disgruntled songwriter who had been denied royalties shot and killed Dolphin. The murder was witnessed by famed drummer Sandy Nelson and future Beach Boy Bruce Johnston! Sound like a dream you have after eating an anchovie pizza right before bedtime?
Don Julian's R&B vocal group recorded on Money Records. They started out in the early 50s as The Meadowlarks and recorded "Heaven and Paradise" (on Dootone), one of the greatest romantic R&B/doo-wop ballads of the decade.
"Heaven and Paradise" - Meadowlarks
(April 1955, uncharted)
Calling themselves The Larks, Julian's group earned a top ten hit in the mid 60s with a dance record called "The Jerk."
"The Jerk" - Larks (January 1965,
highest chart position #7)
In 1970 the Jackson 5 launched their career with a #1 hit entitled "I Want You Back."
A year later Don Julian and the Larks group brought their doo-wop soul sound into the 70s with a different song of the same name. This beautiful ballad failed to chart but deserves to be heard!
"I Want You (Back)" - Larks
Please stay close.
Part 2's coming soon and you know what that means:
Have a Shady day!
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