48 years ago today, the Monkees recorded their version of Michael Nesmith’s “Mary, Mary,” which would go on to appear as a track on their sophomore effort, More of the Monkees.
The Monkees were not, however, the first artist to release the song: that honor went to the Paul Butterfield Blues Band, who – in releasing their version on their East-West album in August 1966 – beat Nesmith’s own band to record store shelves by almost six months. (More of the Monkees didn’t street until January 7, 1967.)
41 years ago today, the Doobie Brothers released the second single from their 1973 album, The Captain and Me, introducing generations of radio listeners to a town in Texas while simultaneously misinforming them about where samurai come from.
It’s relatively common knowledge that the band took their name from a friend’s suggestion – “You guys smoke so much pot, you should call yourselves the Doobie Brothers” – but there’s an unsubstantiated claim on Wikipedia that they got the titles of their demos from whatever cigarettes songwriter Tom Johnston was smoking at the time. We’re a bit doubtful of this assertion, as the only place we can find it is in discussions about “China Grove,” which was reportedly originally entitled “Parliament,” but, hey, maybe somewhere in the Warner Brothers archives there’s a demo for “Listen to the Music” that’ll never be found because the tape box is still labeled “Viceroy.” (We’ll get an intern on that right away.)
Some songs emanate from the speaker and stop you in your tracks, vacate all other thoughts and have you asking WHAT'S THAT?
Like "Laugh, Laugh."
You've got to know, by time we reached the end of '64 an entire generation was addicted to the radio. It's kind of like today, but instead of a transistor now it's a smartphone. And a transistor only did one thing, play radio, and we only listened to music.
Sure, "Laugh, Laugh" was reminiscent of the English sound, but it would have been a hit in any era, like "Walk Away Renee" it's forever, because of the haunting sound...
From the initial notes you were enraptured, as if you were descending into a subterranean spot where all truth would be revealed.
"I hate to say it but I told you so
Don't mind my preaching to you"
29 years ago today, Madonna released what would prove to be the final single from her Like a Virgin album, and while some at the time might’ve argued that it was merely a case of milking the last ounce of commercial worth out of the seven-month-old album, Sire Records got the last laugh when the song went on to be the singer’s sixth consecutive top-five single in America.
Written by Andrea LaRusso and Peggy Stanziale, “Dress You Up” was the last track to be included on Like a Virgin, and it almost didn’t make the cut at all, as LaRusso and Stanziale – who had other projects going on at the time and clearly had no way of knowing how huge the album would ultimately end up being – took longer than intended to finish the lyrics. Although producer Nile Rodgers was ready to set the song aside, Madonna liked the lyrics and pressed for the song’s inclusion.
One of Great Britain’s great comedic exports left us 34 years ago today, leaving behind a wealth of wonderful film work, including Lolita, Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb, Being There, and the Pink Panther films, but he also recorded several albums and singles during his lifetime which – despite many of them charting quite highly in the UK – have been woefully underappreciated here in the States.
With that said, however, if you’ve ever been a fan of The Dr. Demento Show, then you’ve probably heard at least a few of Sellers’ songs, the most likely of them being his unique takes on a couple of the Fab Four’s greatest hits. The most commercially successful of the bunch was “A Hard Day’s Night,” which hit #14 on the UK singles chart in 1965, but we’ve always been quite partial to his versions of “She Loves You” and “Can’t Buy Me Love” as well, and if you dig deep, you can also find his currently-out-of-print cover of “Help!”
Flautist fans! We bet you are dying to get your hands on an Ian Anderson-autographed copy of Jethro Tull's A PASSION PLAY: AN EXTENDED PERFORMANCE, the original 1973 album and Chateau d' Herouville Sessions, remixed to 5.1 surround. Don't think about it, just enter to win already.