Music to Watch Lady Marmalade's Silhouette By
April 25, 2008 1:56 PM   Subscribe

Songwriter and producer Bob Crewe is one of those behind the scenes guys who was seemingly everywhere during the rock era. Records written and/or produced by Crewe charted over a twenty year period, including My Eyes Adored You and Lady Marmalade, both in 1975.

Bob Crewe at Wikipedia
Bob Crewe at Songwriters Hall of Fame
Bob Crewe at IMDB

He wrote or co-wrote:

For The Rays
Silhouettes (1957)

As covered by Herman's Hermits (1965)

For Freddy Cannon
Talahasee Lassie (1959)

For The Four Seasons
Bob Crewe wrote a ton of tunes with Bob Gaudio for the Four Seasons, one of the few American groups that consistently placed high in the charts during the British Invasion.

Sherry (1962)
Big Girls Don't Cry (1962)
Walk Like a Man (1963)
Rag Doll (1964)
Ronnie (1964)
Let's Hang On (1965)

For Frankie Valli Solo
Can't Take My Eyes Off You (1967)
My Eyes Adored You (1975)

For Patti Labelle
Lady Marmalade (1975)

With The Bob Crewe Generation
Anna (1967)
Miniskirts in Moscow (1967)

As an 'artist' he's best known for a song he didn't write:
Music to Watch Girls By (1967), which was also used in a sodapop commercial (Diet Pepsi, I think). Andy Williams recorded a version with lyrics.

Crewe also 'discovered' and produced Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels
Jenny Takes a Ride (1965)
Devil with a Blue Dress (1966)
Here's a bar-band cover of
Sock It To Me Baby (1967)

Crewe was also the music supervisor on the Roger Vadim/Jane Fonda film Barbarella (1968).

This song about Barbarella , with Morrisey and Albert Lee was not in the film.
posted by Herodios (12 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
I've always enjoyed this version (with lyrics in German) of "Music To Watch Girls By" sung by yé-yé singer France Gall.
posted by joseph_elmhurst at 2:14 PM on April 25, 2008

No Disco Tex and the Sex-o-lettes?
posted by klangklangston at 2:23 PM on April 25, 2008

Klang, I know Crewe was involved with Disco-tex and other disco artists but I have to plead ignorance of which tunes. I am not programmed to respond in this area.

Meanwhile, here and here are links to a nice Bob Crewe information site I left out. Has a 'disco years' section, so knock yourself out, disco fans.
posted by Herodios at 2:34 PM on April 25, 2008

Fuckin' A.
posted by pracowity at 2:35 PM on April 25, 2008

I can't seem to find the information anywhere on the web, but I definately recall back in 1966, that Bob Crewe was involved in the record contract for the Choir's legendary garage pop single, "It's Cold Outside". (The Choir, of course, morphed into the Raspberries, founding deities of power pop.) Crewe got the single onto mafia-controlled Roulette records. Am I wrong or what? In any case, whatever the man's moral shortcomings (and I understand these are touched upon in Jersey Boys), he deserves to go to heaven for the opening bars of "Rag Doll" alone.
posted by Faze at 3:26 PM on April 25, 2008

Faze, I've never heard of a Bob Crewe connection with The Choir before. They did record for Roulette, though.

Oddly enough, I just played It's Cold Outside this past Sunday at a pick-up pop gig for a charity event. (We did it in a sort-of medley with The Outsiders' Time Won't Let Me). Totally was not expecting to see it mentioned here so soon after!
posted by Herodios at 6:50 PM on April 25, 2008

Oh, and Faze is right about Rag Doll. All of the Four Seasons' tracks linked above are topnotch pop records that stand up with the contemporary efforts of the Beatles and Beach Boys. Some other great ones not listed (because I couldn't confirm Bob Crewe involvement) are:

The Four Seasons original Silence is Golden (1964)
The Tremelos bigger hit version (1967)
Opus 17 (1966) Wikipedia claims that Opus 17 ties Bobby Darin's Mack The Knife for the most chromatic key changes in a pop song (five).
Working My Way Back To You (1966)
The Spinners' fine update (1979) of Working My Way Back To You, with a bridge that doesn't appear in the original.
Save It For Me (1964)
Big Man In Town (1964)
Their cover of The Zodiacs' Stay (1964)
Candy Girl (1963)
Dawn (Go Away) (1964)
Bye, Bye, Baby (1965)
C'mon Marianne" (1967) -- stronger than dirt and predating The Doors' Touch Me by a year (for those keeping score at home).

Unfortunately I can't find a clip of The Four Seasons recording of Bob Dylan's Don't Think Twice It's Alright (under the pseudonym '"The Wonder Who').
posted by Herodios at 8:08 PM on April 25, 2008

Herodios -- You are totally on the ball, here. (Actually, I think the Tremelos "Silence is Golden" is stronger than the Four Seasons version.) Thanks for clearing up the time line difficulties on the "C'mon Marianne" and "Touch Me" similarities.

Here's something for someone to look up: You know how Frankie Valli uses that "little girl" voice on "Don't Think Twice"? He's actually doing a perfect imitation of a certain female Jazz singer of the '50s who had that trademark voice -- I've heard her songs a couple of times on the radio, but never caught her name. I mean, the imitation is PERFECT. But thanks for this terrific post.
posted by Faze at 6:43 AM on April 26, 2008

What's even more strange about the "My Eyes Adored You"/"Lady Marmalade" connection is that they were #1 hits back-to-back in 1975.
posted by jonp72 at 8:04 AM on April 26, 2008

Faze, I'll see what I can find out.
posted by Herodios at 8:59 AM on April 26, 2008

Hey, Herodios, slamming post, bro! Talk about deep excavation from the YouTube mines!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:32 PM on April 27, 2008

Praise from the master! One does what one can.

I get carried away when I see that so much of this stuff from my youth is available. for now.
posted by Herodios at 12:14 PM on April 28, 2008

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