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The Beatles, in their native habitat
June 14, 2008 10:30 PM   Subscribe

1964 means the Beatles. But listen to the other #1 hits that year! No wonder Douglas Adams broke into the matron's room. Via my second favorite music blog.
posted by Tlogmer (55 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

 
A good point well made. That first Bobby Vinton track which just starts out with "I leerrrrrrrrrrrvvvvvv yooooooouuuuuu". Man that's awful.

Tangentially - the video accompaniment to the second Vinton track - wow.
posted by awfurby at 10:40 PM on June 14, 2008


Conspicuously missing from this list were any of the three number one hits from The Supremes:
Where Did Our Love Go
Baby Love
Come See About Me
posted by CrunchyFrog at 10:52 PM on June 14, 2008 [4 favorites]


Yeah, despite how people romanticize rock music of the late 1960's, it's instructive to get a more objective overview. I like to study the ads in old magazines. Sometimes you find ads for record clubs like Columbia House or whatnot that feature popular music of that time frame. For every Led Zeppelin number one, you get 4 or 5 Bert Kaempferts or Cowsills.

I suspect many young people of today have no idea how culturally divisive rock music, and in particular the Beatles, were back then. I grew up in an environment in which my mother claimed quite earnestly that "the Beatles caused the drug abuse epidemic". Even by the mid to late 1970's I was not allowed to have "long hair", which meant "hair like Ringo circa 1965".
posted by Tube at 11:07 PM on June 14, 2008 [2 favorites]


"In the future, when people are asked what was best about the music of the sixties, they will play Beatles music" [paraphrase but close] --

-- Leonard Bernstein, 1965
posted by Seekerofsplendor at 11:16 PM on June 14, 2008


Huh. That is a pretty glaring oversight, CrunchyFrog. (The supremes are one of my favorite groups, though I like the stuff they did in 1966 best.)
posted by Tlogmer at 11:53 PM on June 14, 2008


This is a cheap shot. Ignores 2 of the top 5 singles -- "House of the Rising Sun", by the Animals, and "Oh Pretty Woman", by Roy Orbison, both of which stand up pretty well. Also -- "It's All Over Now" by the Rolling Stones, "You Really Got Me" by the Kinks, "I Get Around" by the Beach Boys, and "Gloria" by Them.

Even the sillier hits were pretty good - "Doo Wah Diddy" by Mannfred Mann, "Little Old Lady From Pasadena" by Jan and Dean, "Goldfinger" by Shirley Bassey. 65 was amazing but I'd call 64 pretty solid.
posted by msalt at 11:53 PM on June 14, 2008 [4 favorites]


I was born in 1960 and I loved hearing the music of the mid and late 60's as rainbow streaming golden colors out of my parents car's dashboard radio. I still maintain that much of this music cannot be understood except through such a "primitive" sound device.

But there was a lot of mud too, don't let'em kidya.
posted by telstar at 1:24 AM on June 15, 2008


Good points there msalt and CrunchyFrog.

Three of the tunes from the blog link, though, perfectly encapsulate my personal family music dynamic from that year, though. I was a 7-year Beatles freak, stacking up pots and pans to play like I was Ringo Starr. My older teen sisters were listening to "Chapel of Love", which I remember them singing in the car. And my dad listened incessantly to "Everybody Loves Somebody Sometime" by ol' Dino. So, that little blog post might not have been nearly as inclusive as it could've been, still, they nailed 1964 for me.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 1:30 AM on June 15, 2008


Good point, but better made using 1955. What the hell did "Rock Around The Clock" and "Maybelline" sound like compared to all this?
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 1:45 AM on June 15, 2008


1955 seems to be characterised by hits from white cover versions of black records. Dance With Me Henry by Georgia Gibbs? Aint That a Shame by Pat Boone? Earth Angel by the Crew Cuts?

Not that this is a tradition that died out in 1955. Who can ever forget the insipid covers of Sterling Void's It's Alright by the Pet Shop Boys and Joe Smooth's Promised Land by Paul Weller?
posted by PeterMcDermott at 2:19 AM on June 15, 2008


1955 seems to be characterised by hits from white cover versions of black records.

Well, to be fair, Peter, outside of the odd picture disc or novelty red vinyl, they were pretty much all black records.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 2:38 AM on June 15, 2008 [2 favorites]


This is a cheap shot.

You are definitely right, but maybe it's an exaggeration, rather than a cheap shot.
posted by ibmcginty at 4:06 AM on June 15, 2008


House of the Rising Sun is far better than many of those Number 1 Beatles songs from that year. Dylan hadn't even given the Beatles marijuana yet.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 4:08 AM on June 15, 2008 [2 favorites]


What is this madness... Chapel of Love is awesome! It's in The Wanderers...er, I think... not watched for a while. Anyway, it's still awesome!
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 4:09 AM on June 15, 2008


top 100 songs of 1964

and 1963

hardly a wasteland of un-rock
posted by pyramid termite at 4:24 AM on June 15, 2008


Here's the complete list of #1 singles for 1964.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 4:25 AM on June 15, 2008


...and then "Heartbreak Hotel" came and fucking saved us all...
posted by Joey Michaels at 5:03 AM on June 15, 2008


Vinton's "Mister Lonely" is oddly touching, but maybe I just like it because Harmony Korine used it so well in his last movie.
posted by inoculatedcities at 5:23 AM on June 15, 2008


I suspect many young people of today have no idea how culturally divisive rock music, and in particular the Beatles, were back then.

I suspect many of them don't care, because it's ancient history to them. Rock music itself is starting to sound an awful lot like Bobby Vinton.

I mean, when you grow up listening to Autechre and Public Enemy, the difference between Dean Martin and the Beatles is purely academic.
posted by greenie2600 at 6:09 AM on June 15, 2008


"the difference between Dean Martin and the Beatles is purely academic"

That's really creepy to think. I personally can't hear an awful lot of difference in orchestral classical music. I understand academically that there is a difference between Baroque music from the 1600s and Romantic music from the 1800s, but it all kinda blurs for me when I listen to it. We're talking centuries of difference here but my brain has pretty much lumped everything from medieval chants to Stravinsky, Gershwin, and Bernstein into the same mental record bin.

However, for me, Dean Martin and John Lennon don't belong in the same record bin. They don't belong on the same wall in a record store. However, to the next generation, I fear they do. Janice Joplin and Doris Day. Jimi Hendrix and Nat King Cole. To me there's a distinct difference, but to future generations, that delineation will fade with time. That's really creepy to think.
posted by ZachsMind at 6:25 AM on June 15, 2008 [4 favorites]


...Penn Jillette did a piece for YouTube awhile back where he talked about a discussion he had with a teacher for his children. Smart woman. He made it clear she was intelligent and not a nutter, but when he asked her about the Beatles, she didn't know. She didn't know much about a bunch of people who Penn takes as given were important to 20th century history. She's like maybe thirty years younger then Penn, and what Penn presumed would hold as relevant to future generations is already NOT passing down to the future.

By 1940, The Andrews Sisters were a household name. Today, I doubt half of you reading this even know who they were. Less than half of you would know about The Boswell Sisters, whom the Andrews Sisters wished to emulate. There were hundreds if not thousands of acts back in the first half of the 20th century who competed for America's love and money. History says The Andrews Sisters won that battle, but for what?
posted by ZachsMind at 6:33 AM on June 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


I loved hearing the music of the mid and late 60's as rainbow streaming golden colors out of my parents car's dashboard radio.

So true, my dear! To claim, as seems to be the point of this post, that the early 1960s were some kind of popular music wasteland with the exception of the British Invasion, is one of the more putrid lies of the about that much-written-about decade, and a lie that is easily on a par with all the government lies trying to justify the war in Vietnam. It is easily disproven by even the briefest glance at the top 100 song lists of the era. The early sixties were years of magnificent diversity in popular music and rock, where the top 10 saw everything from Joe Meek's "Telstar" to Johnny Horton's "historicals" ("North to Alaska", "Battle of New Orleans") to Elvis's last great flowering of pop brilliance ("Return to Sender", "Stuck on You", etc.). Then there was the Brill Building! Gene Pitney! Carole King! Del Shannon! Ellie Greenwich! The Everly Brother early Warner Bros. sides... The (drum roll) Four Seasons.

To say that the Beatles erupted into a jejune musical landscape -- what calumny. It is especially repellent to hear it uttered by inviduals who have lived through that past 30 years of popular music -- an era of unprecedented musical stasis, commercial manipulation, artificiality, and sheer aesthetic ugliness. A generation that allowed itself to be bullied into submission by grotesque fascist fantasies of rap (the glorification of violent musculinity, the fetishizing of weapons, the subjugation of women, the materialist ethic, the love of uniforms, medals, and outward show, grandiose fantasies of power), and worst of all, has permitted its musical life to be infected by those idiotic turntable scratchings -- an insanely expensive and unsatisfactory way of achieving a percussion sound that can be achieved for ten cents by scraping a stick over a rough board, can hardly criticize the tastes of theirparents. That people today put up with looping and sampling instead of demanding that their artists produce original music is astonishing. What sheep you are!

Dean Martin is hardly my favorite singer, and "Everybody Loves Somebody" is banal schmaltz, but compared to 90 percent of, say, Stephen Merritt's "69 Love Songs", it's a musically sophisticated, lyrically rich, historically resonant masterpiece. The whitest, blandest, Pat Booniest, King Familiest, Lawrence Welkiest pap of the early 1960s is Lightnin' Hopkins and Howlin' Wolf compared to the vacant, sterile electronica, dance and house of our day. The entire driveling, puling drone of "alternative" from the first slow-erupting grunt of REM to whatever that crap is they play at the end of network TV dramas these days, isn't worth one split second of Del Shannon's "Runaway" or the opening chords of the Everlys' "Cathy's Clown."

Then, for a generation whose ears have been stuffed full of this unspeakable manure since childhood, to smugly malign the pop musical environment of the early sixties as if they had even the most rudimentary tools of judgement...

But of course, the pop music of the early sixties was unspeakable crap, compared to the era of pop music that preceeded it -- the days of Kern, Gershwin, Warren, Porter, etc. So I guess these things go in cycles. The biggest tragedy of the degeneration of musical values over the past fifty years is the loss of musical skills, the degenerated ability to compose and appreciate melodies apart from the rhythm, the thickening of the popular ear -- none of which has been helping the the cowardice and ineptitude of the composers of contemporary "classical" or theater music... but don't get me started on that.
posted by Faze at 6:37 AM on June 15, 2008 [3 favorites]


This is a cheap shot.

No kidding. You can take any year and find four lousy songs to mock ("Chapel of Love" is definitely not lousy). There was a lot of great rock-n-roll from Elvis on; it's a mindless cliche that it somehow died along with Buddy Holly only to be revived by the Beatles (who made their reputation in part on covering songs by other greats, like the Marvelettes' "Please Mr. Postman").
posted by languagehat at 6:40 AM on June 15, 2008


all i know is that my 12 year old daughter prefers chicago, jimmy buffet, junior senior, the macarena and tons of adult contemporary/soft rock music from the 70s and 80s

i think she's rebelling
posted by pyramid termite at 6:44 AM on June 15, 2008 [2 favorites]


Here's the complete list of #1 singles for 1964.

The Beatles fucking owned that list from January 25th to May 9th. Has there ever been a streak like that before or since, regardless of what else came out that year?
posted by Devils Rancher at 6:50 AM on June 15, 2008


The whitest, blandest, Pat Booniest, King Familiest, Lawrence Welkiest pap of the early 1960s is Lightnin' Hopkins and Howlin' Wolf compared to the vacant, sterile electronica, dance and house of our day. The entire driveling, puling drone of "alternative" from the first slow-erupting grunt of REM to whatever that crap is they play at the end of network TV dramas these days, isn't worth one split second of Del Shannon's "Runaway" or the opening chords of the Everlys' "Cathy's Clown."

you don't know it, but you're really dating yourself here
posted by pyramid termite at 6:50 AM on June 15, 2008


top 100 songs of 1964
and
Here's the complete list of #1 singles for 1964.
and so on.
Are these charts based only on sales (the top selling 45s that year) or are they segregated by type of music (are they actually, for example, ignoring, R&B and country)?
posted by pracowity at 7:03 AM on June 15, 2008


My 15 year old son likes to listen to the early Beatles. One day I asked him why, and he said "Cause it's happy music", he went on to explain that Beatle music isnt full of hate and the guitar licks are easier to learn! (He's learning the guitar)
posted by BillsR100 at 7:57 AM on June 15, 2008


Then, for a generation whose ears have been stuffed full of this unspeakable manure since childhood, to smugly malign the pop musical environment of the early sixties as if they had even the most rudimentary tools of judgement...

Faze, you may be dating yourself, but I agree.

I discovered records when I was 3 years old, in 1952. My parents had a big green upholstered box 3 feet long with a hinged lid that was full of 78s from the 1940's. I sat entranced, listening to that stuff for hundreds of hours before I could even ride a bike. This gave me an appreciation for songwriting, (which has given way to song manufacturing for maximized profitalbility). It was the start of my cursed life as a musician, which I wouldn't change for the world.

It is also why I loved so much of the music from the 60's, from all the different genres. Having a broad appreciation of the craft of music making let me recognize the talent that was behind the music that was emerging back then.

I work with teenagers on a daily basis and am constantly astounded at how little they know of what went before (not just musically), and, tragically, how little they care. Anything older than 6 months is dismissed as "old school", without merit, and treated like an historical curiosity. A few kids are different, usually those who have parents that played older music for them when they were young. I feel sorry for the other ones, who may never know what they're missing.
posted by Enron Hubbard at 8:13 AM on June 15, 2008


Thanks Enron Hubbard! (Alas, I have to date myself. No one else will.)
posted by Faze at 8:25 AM on June 15, 2008


For the record, I really wasn't trying to say the music of the early '60s sucked -- just that the beatles blew a lot of it out of the water in terms of newness.

Also for the record, I like debussy, bach, the beach boys, blackstar, etc. And I will say that if you think that electronica and hiphop are totally worthless, you're closed your ears.
posted by Tlogmer at 8:52 AM on June 15, 2008


What sheep you are!

"Get off my lawn with your goddamn hippity-rap! Kids these days! Where's my damn Social Security check? Boy, things have really gone downhill in this country since the Eisenhower administration!"
posted by nasreddin at 8:53 AM on June 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


For example:

idiotic turntable scratchings -- an insanely expensive and unsatisfactory way of achieving a percussion sound that can be achieved for ten cents by scraping a stick over a rough board

The "scratches" of a turntable are a particular sound being repeated with different time-compressions, undergoing reversals, etc. If you've grown up listening to it, your brain automatically picks out and sorts the similarities between even extreme variations of the same basic sound.
posted by Tlogmer at 8:57 AM on June 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


Faze: Not only are you dating yourself, you sound much like every older generation who ever heard what the youngsters were listening to and said, "Ahhhh....back in my day...." Everybody's parents hated the Beatles (who are everyone's example of great pop music).

I'll be the first to agree that the vast majority of music that you hear on the radio is vacuous and probably even dangerous, but if that's all you're hearing of contemporary music, you're really missing out. Not that it matters, I guess.
posted by nosila at 8:57 AM on June 15, 2008


Seriously, Faze... Don't confused what's on the radio with the whole music scene... If anything, the share an inverse relationship...

But what does the guy who loves music ranging from Buck Owens to Cattle Decapitation know about diversity.
posted by Dark Messiah at 10:31 AM on June 15, 2008


Facebook is hiding the "network stats" pages, probably because they realized that they were giving away even that paltry amount of demographic data without enriching Zuckerberg. But when they were up, I never saw the college where the Beatles weren't in the top 10.

Now on Myspace maybe your results would be different.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 10:42 AM on June 15, 2008


I work with teens, too, and a whole lot of them are into the Beatles, many into the Clash or the Ramones or Nirvana...how different it was in the Sixties, such an interesting time to be a teenager (musically). Very few of us listened to music from the Fifties, the Forties, or the Thirties.

Admittedly, it was not the Beatles alone that changed the soundscape of the sixties. Black music was kicking ass in the Sixties. But the constantly changing dynamics of the Beatles' compelling music was a wonderful backdrop for growing up (I graduated from high school the year they broke up, and was listening to nothing but Monk, Trane, Sun Ra, the Last Poets, Ben Webster, Sonny Rollins, Rahsaan Roland Kirk, Jaki Byard, African music, Indian music etc. for the next ten or twenty years...)

That said, my ears having grown beyond those attuned to what makes teenagers happy, it is hard to argue with those who call Cole Porter and the Gershwins and Yip Harburg the kings of melding beutiful melodies with clever words.
posted by kozad at 11:26 AM on June 15, 2008


Seriously, Faze... Don't confused what's on the radio with the whole music scene

faze's view of contemporary music is stuck in the 90s - it's the music he hates that dates him, not the music he likes - sterile electronica? alternative droney rem type bands?

things have moved on since then - which is not necessarily a good thing, but ...

---

I work with teenagers on a daily basis and am constantly astounded at how little they know of what went before (not just musically), and, tragically, how little they care.

i grew up in the 60s and it was no different then - someone who was born in 1995 is going to know about as much of 1964 as i knew about 1926 as a 13 year old in 1970 - the depression and ww2 mean as much to them as the spanish american war meant to me
posted by pyramid termite at 11:30 AM on June 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


I didn't know how much Oklahoma sucked in the '60s until I left, and found out that a) "Baby, I Need Your Lovin'," "Tracks of My Tears," "Memphis," and "Maybelline" were not originally done by Johnny Rivers; b) some national hits which were political or which referenced drugs (or both)--"White Rabbit," "Sky Pilot," et al.--existed; c) there's a verse in "Satisfaction" which contains the phrase "And I'm tryin' to make some girl."

The Gaylord family owned not only the newspapers and main TV station in OKC, but the major top 40 radio station as well. Self-censorship was the order of the day, at least in the mid-60s.

On the other hand, you could hear every bit of songs by Herman's Hermits.
posted by palancik at 12:16 PM on June 15, 2008


The whitest, blandest, Pat Booniest, King Familiest, Lawrence Welkiest pap of the early 1960s is Lightnin' Hopkins and Howlin' Wolf compared to the vacant, sterile electronica, dance and house of our day.

The thought that house music is "vacant and sterile" is too silly to even argue with.
posted by flaterik at 12:25 PM on June 15, 2008


There was quite a bit of schmaltzy music out before the Beatles stormed the US charts, but to imply that it was a wasteland before they arrived is an overstatement. British Invasion rock was my first musical love, and it's amazing how much of it still holds up - far more, I'll admit, than the music from the year or two prior. I didn't live through the era first hand (born a few years later), so it's harder to keep perspective, but the world had already seen some pretty crazy rock and roll by 1964, and many of my favorite songs of the era came from non-Brit Invasion bands. But I'll still say thanks for the link becasue it got thinking about so much music I love.
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 2:35 PM on June 15, 2008


Faze writes: ...those idiotic turntable scratchings -- an insanely expensive and unsatisfactory way of achieving a percussion sound that can be achieved for ten cents by scraping a stick over a rough board...

tlogmer responds: The "scratches" of a turntable are a particular sound being repeated with different time-compressions, undergoing reversals, etc. If you've grown up listening to it, your brain automatically picks out and sorts the similarities between even extreme variations of the same basic sound.

To which I would only add: you don't have to "grow up" listening to it to appreciate it. You just need to be receptive to new types of sonic expression. You need to keep your ears open and attuned to new sounds just as you would to new tastes in cooking. That's the only way you'll learn to appreciate new types of musical expression, as opposed to dismissing them in the flip and uninformed way that Faze does with scratching. If he really thinks that "the same sound" can be achieved with a stick on a rough board, that's simply proof that he hasn't attuned his ears to the sonic vocabulary of the art of turntable record manipulation that has come to be known as scratching.

And let me be clear, I'm not saying there's any particular reason that Faze should like scratching. That's purely a matter of personal taste. But his dismissal of it as intrinsically worthless is simply proof that he hasn't really listened to it, hasn't made any attempt to educate his ears. Oddly, it's a kind of ignorance that he loudly proclaims as a point of pride, as proof that his musical perception and appreciation is of some higher order than the kids (and the not-kids, like me, for example) who do enjoy and appreciate it.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:37 PM on June 15, 2008


I believe the thing is that both Faze and the original post are making the exact same point. Even taking the best of the best at any given time, the ratio of all-time-classics to less lasting hits is going to be low. This majority will not appeal to those who don't know how to appreciate them, those who understand their context. As flapjax keenly pointed out, you don't have to grow up with music (though it certainly helps) but you must be receptive.

In this case we may look back and say "wow most of the stuff back then was crap." But we don't appreciate its context. We don't appreciate people gathered around watching a record player spinning in the middle of the room from start to end. We can't imagine our mom and dad sitting together in the living room on an evening to listen to the radio. We aren't introduced to the latest biggest hit by the DJ we have grown to trust.

And the old school says "most of the stuff today is crap too." But one must realize realize how weak Del Shannon plays on the dance floor at the club, that technology has progressed since last year and we're keen to play with it, and that as musical distribution decentralizes even the methodology for measuring "popularity" is growing uncertain.

"Current" music is a response to what came before. Artists and audiences can still grow together (see: Andrew Bird). Remember, recording technology is fairly new! We are luckier than most generations, we have more music available than we can possibly listen to in a lifetime. Perhaps it's convenient and natural at a gut level just to write off wide swathes as 'rubbish,' but I'd rather try to appreciate and be informed by whatever I can get into my ears.

--Listened until only oldies until age 13. Discovered dad's Beatles collection. Never been the same
posted by damo at 9:53 PM on June 15, 2008


We don't appreciate people gathered around watching a record player spinning in the middle of the room from start to end.

Probably because in 1964, nobody over age four ever did that.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 3:02 AM on June 16, 2008


flap -- I've knocked myself out trying to appreciate scratching. Believe me, I've listened. And I've come to the conclusion that the ubiquity of scratching on records since the 1980s is more of a sociological phenomenon than a musical one.
posted by Faze at 3:57 AM on June 16, 2008


Well, alright then, Faze, as long as you've tried... Still, I think there's a lot more there than you're hearing!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 4:12 AM on June 16, 2008


Probably because in 1964, nobody over age four ever did that.

Well, I was only 2 in 1964, so the Beatles hadn't exactly registered onthe radar, but by the time I was six, I can tell you I was still doing that with Hey Jude and my brand-new long-palying, STEREOPHONIC version of Help!

And again, 13 years later, when I plopped the needle down on the firs track of side 2 of XTC's English Settlement. Melt the Guns caused me to just stare in disbelief at my turntable for almost 6 minutes.
posted by Devils Rancher at 5:22 AM on June 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


And what were you smoking?
posted by Kirth Gerson at 6:22 AM on June 16, 2008


Probably because in 1964, nobody over age four ever did that.

Well, anyways I did it because I had to pull my dad's record player out of the closet every time I wanted to listen. <-- 10 years ago
posted by damo at 7:26 AM on June 16, 2008


So you watched it play a record from start to finish, in case it made a break for the closet?
posted by Kirth Gerson at 7:51 AM on June 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


I'd never heard Lorne Grenne's "Ringo" before, but now songs like Benny Hill's Ernie (The Fastest Milkman In The West) and Frank Gallop's The Ballad Of Irving make a lot more sense and are actually almost funny. Looks like they were parodies of "Ringo."

This for me is significant cuz I'm a hobbyist of comedy. For me this is like how unearthing a fossil must be to an archeologist.

However, by 1960, Richard Starkey already had the nickname of Ringo in the clubs around Liverpool, cuz he used to wear a lot of rings. So by 1964 when Lorne Greene's "Ringo" came out, Starr was already being called Ringo. There's no correlation there. Strange, that. I was trying to figure out if one happened because of the other but they're completely unrelated.

I mean, some online sources indicate that the name Ringo Starr stuck cuz "it sounded cowboyish" but I think that connection was actually made after the name had already stuck, perhaps because of Greene's influence. Did Lorne Greene's people pick the name "Ringo" cuz of the recent news about a foursome out of Liverpool? Not exactly. The song is based loosely on the historical events of an actual outlaw in U.S. Old West history: Johnny Ringo. They didn't make up the name cuz of Ringo Starr. Did they choose the Johnny Ringo story because of the Ringo Starr connection? I think serendipity had more a part to play than actual manipulative marketing.

The thing is, the name recognition of Ringo among the fans may have assisted Lorne Greene's song hitting number one, because the audience saw a correlation. However, that alone would not have been enough to launch Lorne Greene's "Ringo" into number one status. Of course, Greene obviously had a following of his own in the early sixties that pre-dates the British Invasion. These two separate elements launched Greene's "Ringo" to number one status. I find it interesting that a song like Greene's wouldn't even get the attention of radio stations today. The closest thing to it we've had in the past decade or so was the "Wear Sunscreen" voiceover to music. Although there has been a resurgence of spoken word genre entertainment, it's never quite hit the mainstream like it had back in the 1960s.
posted by ZachsMind at 10:06 AM on June 16, 2008


"Although there has been a resurgence of spoken word genre entertainment, it's never quite hit the mainstream like it had back in the 1960s."

Before people jump the gun, there are exceptions. Ani DiFranco for example. However, even her popularity with spoken word hasn't hit the mainstream like the Beat Generation influence did forty years ago. There aren't enough Ken Nordines in the world today. That's what I mean.
posted by ZachsMind at 10:10 AM on June 16, 2008


scratching

Well, I can kind of see both sides of this one. It's an easy target for ridicule, and I'm sure there are nuances I don't appreciate. I'd love to hear some pointers to tracks with epic scratching that will educate me.

BUT -- c'mon, it has a pretty limited range compare to other sources of musical sounds, don't you think? I mean, it's basically percussion. Seems like common sense that music built around, say, the guitar is going to be a bit richer or at least more melodic than music built around scratching. Some of the kids seem to like those crazy Shins.
posted by msalt at 10:24 AM on June 16, 2008


Some of the comments remind me of this New York Times article (from February 1957):

Psychologists suggested yesterday that while the rock'n'roll craze seemed to be related to "rhythmic behavior patterns" as old as the middle ages, it required full study as a current phenomenon ....

One educational psychologist asserted that what happened in and around the Paramount Theatre yesterday struck him as "very much like the medieval type of spontaneous lunacy where one person goes off and lots of other persons go off with him."

Dr. Joost A.M. Meerlo, associate in psychiatry at Columbia University ... concluded in this way:

"Rock'n'roll is a sign of depersonalization of the individual, of ecstatic veneration of mental decline and passivity.

"If we cannot stem the tide with its waves of rhythmic narcosis and of future waves of vicarious craze, we are preparing our own downfall in the midst of pandemic funeral dances.

"The dance craze is the infantile rage and outlet of our actual world. In this craze the suggestion of deprivation and dissatisfaction is stimulated and advertised day by day. In their automatic need for more and more, people are getting less and less."

posted by blucevalo at 10:58 AM on June 16, 2008 [2 favorites]


And what were you smoking?

My hitherto preconceived notions about what pop music was supposed to be. Both times.
posted by Devils Rancher at 2:16 PM on June 16, 2008


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