WEDDING BELL BLUES
A hit for the 5th Dimension, I always preferred Laura's take.
It's the simple piano intro, which draws you in, you know you're gonna hear a story. Great music swings, there's something more than the notes. "Wedding Bell Blues" is a performance, something that picks you up and carries you away. You get the message without even comprehending the lyrics.
15 years ago today, Matchbox 20 utilized the forward momentum they’d accumulated from the four – count ‘em – four top-40 singles that emerged from their debut album, Yourself or Someone Like You, not to mention the success that frontman Rob Thomas experienced through singing “Smooth” for Santana, and found themselves atop the Billboard Hot 100 with the first single from their sophomore release, Mad Season.
49 years ago today, Tommy James and the Shondells arrived at the top of the Billboard Hot 100 with a song that had actually been composed in 1963, recorded and released by James and his gang in 1964, and required a re-release two years later before finally making it to #1.
Written in all of 20 minutes by Jeff Barry and Ellie Greenwich when they suddenly discovered that they needed a B-side to a single they were recording for their group, The Raindrops, “Hanky Panky” was quickly written off by Barry, who – per a conversation with Fred Bronson for the writer’s invaluable tome The Billboard Book of Number One Hits – thought of it as “just a B-side” and said, “As far as I was concerned, it was a terrible song.”
The Mississippi River Festival (MRF) was an outdoor summer concert series held at Southern Illinois University between 1969 and 1980 - renowned for big name acts and great performances. In 1973, America to take to the stage - this is their setlist from that night.
Turning 69 today: a woman whose lovely voice started to become a radio staple in the late 1960s when she was part of the Stone Poneys, ruled the airwaves throughout the ‘70s and early ‘80s, and from there began to explore big band standards, Spanish songs, and…well, basically, there aren’t many musical genres that Linda Ronstadt didn’t try her hand at during the course of her career. At present, it appears that her battles with Parkinson’s disease will keep her from further recording, but there’s certainly an amazing back catalog of material out there for her fans to enjoy for years to come.
Today marks the 70th birthday of an extremely talented musician and a very troubled man, but given the site on which you’re reading this piece, you will hopefully not be surprised that we prefer to focus on the remarkable amount of work he’s done over the years as a drummer and a pianist rather than the fact that…well, look, just read this and you’ll know what we’re desperately not talking about.
Gordon was raised in California and was on track to attend UCLA on a music scholarship, but he opted to take a pass on it in favor of actually making music, and given that the music he was making was for The Everly Brothers, it’s hard to say that he made the wrong decision, especially since it soon led him to play with numerous other classic artists. Perhaps you’ve heard of a little album called Pet Sounds? Yep, he’s on there. George Harrison’s All Things Must Pass? Yessir, and John Lennon’s Imagine, too.
31 years ago today, the world lost one of the most memorable voices of ‘70s R&B: Philippé Wynne, who spent half of the decade – from 1972 to 1977 – as one of the frontmen for The Spinners.
Born in Detroit, Michigan on April 4, 1941 as Philip Walker, the future Mr. Wynne started his musical career in the gospel milieu, but it wasn’t long before he shifted his focus to R&B, teaming up first with Bootsy Collins as part of his band, The Pacemakers, and then becoming part of James Brown’s J.B.’s, which two pretty amazing credits for any singer to have on their résumé. From there, he went overseas and fronted a German-based Liberian band (don’t ask) called The Afro Kings, but by 1972 he was Stateside once more and filling the void left in The Spinners by the departure of his cousin, G.C. Cameron.