Johnny Kidd & the Pirates – Shakin’ All Over

This is one of my favorite pre-Beatles UK songs. Great rocker with a cool guitar riff. Johnny’s name was Frederick Heath and he formed his first skiffle group in 1957 called The Five Nutters (great name). He then joined Alan Caddy (guitar), Tony Docherty (rhythm guitar), and Ken McKay (drums) in early 1958 and formed Johnny Kidd & the Pirates who were signed by EMI Records.

Heath went on playing with the Pirates and the New Pirates until he was killed in a car crash on October 7, 1966.

Shakin’ All Over peaked at #1 in the UK charts in 1960. The Who would later do a version on their great live album Live At Leads. The Guess Who did a version that peaked at #1 in Canada and  #22 in the Billboard 100 in 1965.

The bass player Brian Gregg said this about the creation of the song. “Wally Ridley’s (the producer)’s assistant, Peter Sullivan said, ‘We’re going to do the old trad tune, “Yes Sir That’s My Baby”, and you can have the B-side.” The day before the session we were in the Freight Train coffee-bar in Berwick Street and we said, ‘Let’s write any old rubbish’. There was Johnny, the guitarist Alan Caddy and myself. We didn’t have any instruments and we sang the parts to ‘Shakin’ All Over’. We got up early in the morning, had a run through in my front room- not plugged in, and we went to the studio and recorded it. We thought it would be a B-side but Jack Good loved it and pushed it on his new programme, Wham!: And it went straight up the charts.”

From Songfacts

Written by Johnny Kidd, this rocker is about the feeling you get near a great looking girl. It was a huge hit in England, but didn’t make a dent elsewhere until Chad Allen and the Expressions recorded the song in 1965. When their version was released, their label wanted to create some intrigue for the Canadian group and maybe pass them off as a British Invasion band. So, the single was credited to “Guess Who?”, which is what is said on the label. Disc Jockeys thought the group was actually named The Guess Who, and that’s the name that stuck. Their version went to #1 in Canada and hit #22 in the US.

The Guess Who didn’t like their new name, but their record company insisted they keep it, as that’s what every media outlet was calling them. To make things worse, The Who started their rise to fame around the same time, and the groups were often confused with each other. The Guess Who would get requests for “My Generation,” and The Who would be asked to play this song, which they often did: their version can be heard on the 1970 album Live At Leeds

The Swinging Blue Jeans from Liverpool recorded a rockin’ version of this song on their 1964 debut album. 

Clem Cattini’s drum break was added because the song was too short.

Shakin’ All Over

When you move in right up close to me
That’s when I get the shakes all over me
Quivers down my back bone
I’ve got the shakes down the kneebone
Yeah, havin’ the tremors in the thighbone
Shakin’ all over

Just the way you say goodnight to me
Brings that feeling on inside of me
Quivers down my back bone
I’ve got the shivers down the thighbone
Yeah, the tremors in my back bone
Shakin’ all over

Quivers down my back bone
Yeah, I have the shakes in the kneebone
I’ve got the tremors in the back bone
Shakin’ all over

Well, you make me shake and I like it, baby
Well, you make me shake and I like it, baby
Well, you make me shake and I like it, baby

The Box Tops – Cry Like A Baby

It’s hard to believe this voice was coming out of a teenager… An 18-year-old Alex Chilton was singing this song with the Box Tops. The song peaked at #2 in the Billboard 100, #15 in the UK, and #3 in Canada. The band was successful with 10 songs in the top 100, 2 top ten songs and a number 1 (The Letter). The Box Tops were formed in Memphis in 1967. The most famous member would be future Big Star member Alex Chilton.

A bizarre personal story…a one in a million shot…Back in the 90s, I was trying to call a musician that was recommended but I dialed a wrong number and talked to Gary Talley the guitar player for the Box Tops for a good 45 minutes. He laughed and told me that I at least reached a guitar player but in Nashville, my odds were good getting one with any number. He was really cool and we talked about guitars and his touring etc… He was giving guitar lessons at the time.  He told me that other people have called him looking for Garry Tallent the bass player for Bruce Springsteen.

Cry Like a Baby was recorded at American Studios in Memphis, which was run by Chips Moman, who produced the album. Spooner Oldham played keyboards on the track in addition to co-writing it.

The Box Tops still tour with members Gary Talley and Bill Cuningham.

From Songfacts

This was written by Dewey “Spooner” Oldham and Dan Penn, whose other credits together include the hits “I’m Your Puppet” (a hit for James and Bobby Purify), “It Tears Me Up” (a hit for Percy Sledge) and “A Woman Left Lonely.” In our interview with Spooner Oldham, he told the story: “Dan Penn was producing The Box Tops, he had produced a #1 record called ‘The Letter.’ He recorded that in Memphis when he and I were both living there. So he calls me one day and says, ‘Spooner, will you help me try to write a song for Alex (Chilton) and the Box Tops?’ He says, ‘People have sent me some songs, but I don’t think any of them really fit. This record company’s been after me about three weeks for a follow-up single.’ And I said, ‘Sure, I’ll try to help write a song for you.’ We got together in the studio one evening with our little notes of our five or ten best ideas or titles. We each pulled one out and they eventually ended up in the garbage.

The next morning, we were getting tired and decided to call it quits. So we locked the doors, turned out the lights in the studio, turned off the instruments. Went across the street to the little café – name was Porky’s or something like that – and ordered breakfast. I remember I was putting my head on the table. There was nobody in there, I don’t think, but us and the cook. And I tiredly put my head on the table, my arms under my head, just for a few seconds. Then I lifted my head up and looked at Dan, and because I felt sorry that he needed another record and we were no help to each other that evening, I said, ‘Dan, I could just cry like a baby.’ And he says, ‘What did you say?’ And I said it again. He says, ‘I like that.’ So unbeknownst to me, we had a song started. By the time we walked across the street back to the studio, we had the first verse written. When we got in, he turned on the lights and the recorder, and I turned on the Hammond organ. He got his guitar out, and we put on a quarter-inch 90-minute tape, and we finished the song, just recorded a demo.

The next day or two in the morning Alex Chilton came in. I was so tired and weary I didn’t know what we had, if anything. I played the little tape demo to him and he smiled and reached out his hand, shook my hand, so I knew he liked it, anyway. And then we got in the studio and recorded it shortly, I think that day.”

In the tale of this song, a man previously took for granted the love of his caring, faithful girlfriend. He regrets how terribly he had treated her now that she’s left him. He now cries every time he sees her or even thinks of her.

This song is notable for its electric sitar, which was provided by guitarist Reggie Young. 

It wasn’t worth crying over, but this song stayed at US #2 for two weeks, kept out of the top spot by Bobby Goldsboro’s “Honey,” which held the top spot for five weeks.

Cry Like A Baby

When I think about the good love you gave me
I cry like a baby
Living without you is driving me crazy
I cry like a baby
Well, I know now, that you’re not a plaything
Not a toy, or a puppet on a string

As I look back on a love so sweet
I cry like a baby
Oh, every road is a lonely street
I cry like a baby
I know now that you’re not a plaything
Not a toy, or a puppet on a string

Today we passed on the street, and you just walked on by
how my heart just fell to my feet
and like a fool I began to cry

Oh when I think about the good love you gave me
I cry like a baby
Living without you is driving me crazy
I cry like a baby
I know now,that you’re not a plaything
I cry like a baby, cry like a baby

Every road is a lonely street
I cry like a baby, cry like a baby
Living without you is driving me crazy
I cry like a baby, cry like a baby
I cry, I cry, I cry

 

Van Morrison – Saint Dominic’s Preview

I thought I would do an album track today. If someone asked me what is your favorite Van Morrison song…I might say this one. It’s an epic piece of work that I get lost in.  Van’s imagery in this song reminds me of a few of Dylan’s songs. Everything from Edith Piaf to Hank Williams to Safeway Supermarkets gets a nod.

The album of the same name was released in 1972 and it is not a song on it that I don’t like. From the soulful  Jackie Wilson Said (I’m in Heaven When You Smile) to another epic song that still blows me away, Almost Independence Day.

The album was the follow up to Tupelo Honey released in 1971. Van used some of the same musicians on both albums and the same producer, Ted Templeman. This song was not released as a single. The album peaked at #15 in the Billboard 100 in 1972.

What’s hard to believe is this album was his highest charting album until “Keep It Simple” in 2008…after that he had two more top ten albums.

 

I saw this interview that Van did with  Rolling Stone talking about this song right before he recorded it.

RS: Are you sometimes surprised by some of the things that come out when you’re writing?

Really. There are times when I’m mystified. I look at some of the stuff that comes out, y’know. And like, there it is and it feels right, but I can’t say for sure what it means. Like take…take “Crazy Face.” Y’know, where does that come from?

RS: There’s unquestionably a strong mystical and visionary quality to your music.

Yeah, it’s there. That’s what it is, I guess. It’s strange because I don’t see myself as a mystical type person. But then every now and then these weird experiences happen. Like I’ll be lying down on the bed with my eyes closed and all of a sudden I get the feeling that I’m floating near the ceiling looking down. I couldn’t say whether that’s supposed to be astral projection but it’s pretty freaky when it happens.

RS: Have you ever had any similar experiences that seem related to your writing?

I had one just recently. I’d been working on this song about the scene going down in Belfast. And I wasn’t sure what I was writing but anyway the central image seemed to be this church called St. Dominic’s where people were gathering to pray or hear a mass for peace in Northern Ireland. Anyway, a few weeks ago I was in Reno for a gig at the University of Nevada. And while we were having dinner I picked up the newspaper and just opened it to a page and there in front of me was an announcement about a mass for peace in Belfast to be said the next day at St. Dominic’s church in San Francisco. Totally blew me out. Like I’d never even heard of a St. Dominic’s church.

RS: How did the song turn out?

Great. In fact I’m gonna be recording it in a couple of days.

RS: What did you end up titling it?

“St. Dominic’s Preview.” You know something? I haven’t a clue to what it means.

 

Saint Dominic’s Preview

Shammy cleaning all the windows
Singing songs about Edith Piaf’s soul
And I hear blue strains of no regredior
Across the street from Cathedral Notre Dame

Meanwhile back in San Francisco
We’re trying hard to make this whole thing blend
As we sit upon this jagged
Storey block, with you my friend

And it’s a long way to Buffalo
It’s a long way to Belfast city too
And I’m hoping the choice won’t blow the hoist
‘Cause this town, they bit off more than they can chew.

As we gaze out on, as we gaze out on
As we gaze out on, as we gaze out on
Saint Dominic’s Preview
Saint Dominic’s Preview
Saint Dominic’s Preview

All the orange boxes are scattered
Against the Safeway’s supermarket in the rain
And everybody feels so determined
Not to feel anyone else’s pain

No one’s making no commitments
To anybody but themselves
Talkin’ behind closed doorways
Tryin’ to get outside, get outside of empty shells

And for every cross cuttin’ country corner, country corner
For every Hank Williams railroad train that cried
And all the chains, badges, flags and emblems
And every strain on brain and every eye

As we gaze out on, as we gaze out on
As we gaze out on, as we gaze out on
Saint Dominic’s Preview
Saint Dominic’s Preview
Saint Dominic’s Preview

And the restaurant tables are completely covered
The record company has paid out for the wine
You got everything in the world you ever wanted
Right about now your face should wear a smile

That’s the way it all should happen
When you’re in, when you’re in the state you’re in
You’ve got your pen and notebook ready
I think it’s about time, time for us to begin

And meanwhile, we’re over in a 52nd Street apartment
Socializing with the wino few
Just to be hip and get wet with the jet set
But they’re flying too high to see my point of view

As we gaze out on, as we gaze out on
As we gaze out on, as we gaze out on
Saint Dominic’s Preview
Saint Dominic’s Preview
Saint Dominic’s Preview

See them freedom marching
Out on the street, freedom marching
Saint Dominic’s Preview
Out in the street
Look at the man
Turn around
Come back, come back
Turn around
Look at the man
Says hold on
Saint Dominic’s Preview
Saint Dominic’s Preview
Says hold me in
Saint Dominic’s Preview

 

 

 

Monkees – (I’m Not Your) Steppin’ Stone

I’ve been posting some garage band songs lately…the style of this one is close. Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart wrote this but intended it for Paul Revere And The Raiders. Boyce and Hart also wrote The Monkees hits “Last Train To Clarksville” and “Valleri.” The song peaked at #20 in the Billboard 100 in 1967. This was a B side to I’m A Believer.

The Monkees influenced many to pick up an instrument and want to be in a  band. I am one of those people…I watched them in syndication and from them, I found The Beatles.  They made it look fun and exciting…of course, they didn’t show the egos and the arguments but that is alright. Artists such as Michael Stipe and Andy Partridge have talked about how the Monkees influenced them.

The Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame seems determined to keep them out which I think is wrong considering some of the bands that they have in there. The influence alone should get them in… Not to mention 20 songs in the Billboard 100, 6 top ten hits, and 3 number 1’s.

Here is a post by Blackwing on the subject.

From Songfacts

This is about a girl who walks all over a guy who decides he’s not going to take it any more.

Monkees drummer Micky Dolenz sang lead, and was the only Monkee to perform on the song. In their early years, The Monkees songs were usually recorded by top session musicians. The Monkees had a popular TV show where their songs (including this one) aired, which helped them climb the charts.

In their later years, The Sex Pistols performed this with Sid Vicious singing lead. 

British group The Farm had their first hit with a 1990 remake of this called “Stepping Stone.”

Monkees keyboardist/bass guitarist Peter Tork on the song’s relevance: “The songs that we got [in the ’60s] were really songs of some vigor and substance. ‘(I’m Not Your) Stepping Stone’ is not peaches and cream. It comes down hard on the subject, poor girl. And the weight of the song is indicated by the fact that the Sex Pistols covered it. Anybody trying to write ”60s songs’ now thinks that you have to write ’59th St. Bridge.’ [Sings] ‘Feeling groovy!’ Which is an okay song, but has not got a lot of guts. ‘Stepping Stone’ has guts.”

(I’m Not Your) Steppin’ Stone

I-I-I-I-I’m not your steppin’ stone
I-I-I-I-I’m not your steppin’ stone

You’re trying to make your mark in society
You’re using all the tricks that you used on me
You’re reading all them high-fashion magazines
The clothes you’re wearing, girl, they’re causing public scenes

I said, I-I-I-I-I’m not your steppin’ stone
I-I-I-I-I’m not your steppin’ stone

(No!)

Not your steppin’ stone
Not your steppin’ stone

When I first met you, girl, you didn’t have no shoes
But, now you’re walking around like you’re front-page news
You’ve been awful careful ’bout the friends you choose
But, you won’t find my name in your book of “who’s-who?”

I said, I-I-I-I-I’m not your steppin’ stone
(No, girl, not me!)
I-I-I-I-I’m not your steppin’ stone

(No!)

Not your steppin’ stone
I’m not your steppin’ stone

Not your steppin’ stone (step-step-steppin’ stone)
Not your steppin’ stone (step-step-steppin’ stone)
Not your steppin’ stone (step-step-steppin’ stone)
Not your steppin’ stone (step-step-steppin’ stone)

No, girl, I’m not your steppin’ stone
Not your steppin’ stone (step-step-steppin’ stone)
Not your steppin’ stone (step-step-steppin’ stone)

Where The Wild Things Are

I loved this book as a kid. When I see it I feel like I’m 7 again. The book came out in 1963. I did know some kids that the book really scared but I thought it was great.

An animated film was made in 1975 and a feature-length movie in 2009.

Where The Wild Things Are was written by Maurice Sendak about a boy named Max who “makes mischief” in his house and is sent to bed without supper all while wearing a wolf suit. His room is then transformed into a magic forest and Max sets off in his very own boat to the land of the Wild Things.

Once there he tames the monsters by staring into their yellow eyes without blinking. Knowing they have met their master, they acclaim Max King of all Wild Things and celebrate their wildness together. When Max decides to return to where someone loves him best of all, the wild things try all their wiles to persuade him to stay, but he sails back into the warmth of his own room and finds supper waiting.

When the book came out some were not happy. Many psychologists thought that the book would be very traumatizing for young children. Sendak has said that the book was banned by libraries for a couple of years and then it started to be accepted and take off.

 

The Electric Prunes – I Had Too Much to Dream (Last Night)

1960’s garage band music with a Psychedelic edge. This group came from Los Angeles first named The Sanctions and in 1966 renamed themselves to the Electric Prunes. The first two hit singles, “I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night)” and”Get Me To The World On Time.” were on their first album (The Electric Prunes).

The entire album and those two songs were recorded in late summer and the fall of 1966. They were released before Christmas of 1966 and climbed up the Billboard charts very slowly. The first hit, “Too Much To Dream” peaked in February of ‘1967 at #11 in the Billboard 100.

the song was written by Annette Tucker and Nancie Mantz.

I had Too Much To Dream (Last Night)

Last night your shadow fell upon my lonely room
I touched your golden hair and tasted your perfume
Your eyes were filled with love the way they used to be
Your gentle hand reached out to comfort me
Then came the dawn
And you were gone
You were gone, gone, gone

I had too much to dream last night
Too much to dream
I’m not ready to face the light
I had too much to dream
Last night

The room was empty as I staggered from my bed
I could not bear the image racing through my head
You were so real that I could feel your eagerness
And when you raised your lips for me to kiss

Came the dawn
And you were gone
You were gone, gone, gone

Oh, too much to dream
Oh, too much to dream
Too much to dream last night
Oh, too much to dream

 

The Who – Bargain

The most aggressive love song I’ve ever heard. The song did not chart but it was on the classic album Who’s Next. There is not a weak song on the album. Bargain has some of Moon’s best drumming and a strong performance from Daltrey. Townshend has said that the song was influenced by  Meher Baba and the subject of the song is God.

Townshend’s use of the ARP synthesizer on Who’s Next was groundbreaking. He didn’t just add texture with it but the ARP became part of the structure of the songs. This was not like today’s synthesizer where you just took it out of the box. It had to be programmed and connected together…and not many people knew how to do it. He took a risk using it because of technology in general always moving ahead, Who’s Next could have sounded dated in a few years afterward but it still sounds fresh and interesting today…unlike some 1980s synth music.

Related image

Pete Townshend’s lead guitar was played on a vintage Gretsch, a gift from Joe Walsh, who had just formed Barnstorm that same year and would later join the Eagles.

From Songfacts

Pete Townshend wrote this as an ode to Meher Baba, who was his spiritual guru. Meher Baba was from India, where he worked with the poor and served as spiritual adviser to Mahatma Gandhi. He developed a worldwide following by the ’60s, and died in 1969 at age 75. Townshend believed in his message of enlightenment, which was a big influence on Who songs like “Baba O’Riley” and “See Me, Feel Me.”

The song is about losing all your material goods for spiritual enlightenment, thus being a “bargain.”

Roger Daltrey sings most of this, but Townshend sings the part that starts, “I sit looking ’round, I look at my face in the mirror…”

The first line of the song, “I’d gladly lose me to find you” is from one of the teachings of Meher Baba.

Bargain

I’d gladly lose me to find you
I’d gladly give up all I had
To find you I’d suffer anything and be glad

I’d pay any price just to get you
I’d work all my life and I will
To win you I’d stand naked, stoned and stabbed

I’d call that a bargain
The best I ever had
The best I ever had

I’d gladly lose me to find you
I’d gladly give up all I got
To catch you I’m gonna run and never stop

I’d pay any price just to win you
Surrender my good life for bad
To find you I’m gonna drown an unsung man

I’d call that a bargain
The best I ever had
The best I ever had

I sit looking ’round
I look at my face in the mirror
I know I’m worth nothing without you
And like one and one don’t make two
One and one make one
And I’m looking for that free ride to me
I’m looking for you

I’d gladly lose me to find you
I’d gladly give up all I got
To catch you I’m gonna run and never stop

I’d pay any price just to win you
Surrender my good life for bad
To find you I’m gonna drown an unsung man

I’d call that a bargain
The best I ever had
The best I ever had