This Sunday Elder Music column was launched in December of 2008. By May of the following year, one commenter, Peter Tibbles, had added so much knowledge and value to my poor attempts at musical presentations that I asked him to take over the column. He's been here each week ever since delighting us with his astonishing grasp of just about everything musical, his humor and sense of fun. You can read Peter's bio here and find links to all his columns here.
What happened in 1964?
- Tracy Chapman was born
- The Olympic Games were held in Tokyo
- The Rolling Stones released their first album
- The Mavis Bramston Show premiered
- BASIC programming language was released. It became a lot less basic over the years.
- Dr Strangelove was released
- Melbourne were premiers
There's a terrific quote (well, I think it is, others will probably disagree) from a book called Rock of Ages – History of Rock & Roll that says:
"[In 1964] whenever You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin' came on the radio, it reduced, for its three minute span, The Supremes to little girls and The Beatles to fey pretenders.”
Couldn't put it better myself. Here are THE RIGHTEOUS BROTHERS with that song.
A couple of Brazilian composers, Antonio Carlos Jobim and Vinicius de Moraes, used to sit on an obscure stretch of beach in Rio de Janeiro and watch the girls go by. One was Helô Pinheiro, who'd walk by in her bikini pretty much every day. They wrote a song about her called The Girl From Ipanema.
Due to the success of the song, it is not an obscure stretch of beach any more. Many people have recorded the song, but the fist and best was by STAN GETZ and ASTRUD GILBERTO.
Baby I Need Your Loving was THE FOUR TOPS first, but far from last, hit.
It was written by the distinguished Motown writing team of Holland, Dozier, Holland. They wrote this especially for the Tops after they saw them perform in a club in Detroit.
CHUCK BERRY was still making great music in 1964; he wasn't resting on his laurels (not yet, anyway).
The song is No Particular Place to Go. Keen-eared listeners will recognize the tune – Chuck recycled School Days for this one. It wasn't the only time he plagiarized himself.
Walk on By was one of a bunch of songs that Burt Bacharach and Hal David wrote for DIONNE WARWICK.
There was some kind of chemistry between the songwriters and the singer. Pretty much every song they wrote for her became a hit. Not just a hit but a fine piece of music as well.
The British invasion of the world's music was in full swing by 1964. One of those, not just along for the ride, but serious talents in their own right is THE KINKS.
They started out as a sort of proto-punk band and evolved into a serious contender with several of the finest songs of the sixties. This is one of the early ones, You Really Got Me.
Another British group, but one you would never call punk is HERMAN'S HERMITS.
The song I'm Into Something Good was recorded when singer Peter Noone was just 16. It's a Gerry Goffin and Carole King song first recorded by Earl-Jean (or Ethel McCrea to her folks), who had been the lead singer for The Cookies.
The Herms' producer heard it and thought it'd work for the group. He was right.
TERRY STAFFORD is yet another who sounds suspiciously like Elvis.
Not just his voice, but the song, Suspicion, was written for The King by Doc Pomus and Mort Shuman. Terry got a hold of it a couple of years later and took it up the charts – Elvis's version was only on an album.
My Guy was the last record MARY WELLS recorded at Motown records. She left for a better deal elsewhere. The move didn't quite turn out as she hoped as she didn't repeat her Motown success.
Smokey Robinson wrote the song and produced the record. He later wrote My Girl, sort of an answer song that was big for The Temptations. The song hit number 1 everywhere and was Mary's shining moment.
You have to expect a bit of trash in these columns and who better to supply it than THE TRASHMEN.
Their claim to fame is a little ditty called Surfin' Bird. Rather surprisingly they released half a dozen albums. I haven't heard any of them so I can't tell you what they're like. In the mean time, the bird is the word.
You can find more music from 1964 here. 1965 will appear in two weeks' time.