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.
Perhaps I've been doing this too long because I'm about to quote myself. The first time through for 1962 I said, "1962, what a dreary old year you were musically. This year could be considered the nadir of the sixties.”
I don't know if I succeeded but I found enough so I wasn't disappointed. Let's see if they are worth including.
Over the years there have often been "the next" when it come to popular music – the next Elvis, the next Bob Dylan, the next Beatles and so on. I'll start with one of those, the next Buddy Holly, BOBBY VEE.
That's not too surprising as Bobby was quickly substituted on the tour after Buddy was killed in the plane crash. Fortunately, Bobby evolved into a decent artist in his own right.
He was already established by 1962, and the song The Night Has a Thousand Eyes was probably the biggest of his career. He was one of the most underrated performers of this era.
THE CRYSTALS were a real group who had a number of hits.
However, their producer was Phil Spector and he really didn't care about the personnel of his various groups as long as they sounded good. That means that on a number of their records, it was actually Darlene Love and/or The Blossoms singing.
Not on this one though. It's the actual Crystals with one of their hits written by Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil, Uptown.
DEL SHANNON was one of the few bright lights who turned up between fifties rock & roll and sixties rock.
Del had a bunch of fine songs during his career. This wasn't his best but it was the one from this year and we can't have everything. Little Town Flirt.
BARBARA LYNN wrote and recorded You'll Lose a Good Thing, and took it up to the pointy end of the charts.
It was later covered by Aretha Franklin and Freddy Fender who both had success with the song. Others have performed it too.
Barbara started out playing piano but later switched to electric guitar – it was unusual at the time for a woman to be out front playing lead. We hope things have changed but they may not have progressed to the point where this isn't remarked upon.
MARY WELLS had a huge hit with the song My Guy, but that was in 1964.
As she was on Motown Records, that song and most of her other hits were written by Smokey Robinson, including the one from this year, You Beat Me to the Punch.
Any year with the EVERLY BROTHERS having a hit can't be a complete write-off.
Most of their big hits were behind them by this year but they were still bringing out good music in spite of barely tolerating each other. This, alas, continued for the rest of their lives. Here is Crying in the Rain.
JOANIE SOMMERS made a singing career (she was also an actress) singing jazz and standards.
However, she'll always be remembered (at least by me, and probably others around my age) for singing her only number one hit, Johnny Get Angry. Sorry, Joannie.
ETTA JAMES can be pretty much guaranteed to shake things up, and she does so today.
Something's Got A Hold On Me was written by Etta along with Leroy Kirkland and Pearl Woods. It was recorded at the home of the blues, Chess records. It's been covered by many others but Etta did it first and did it best.
As they always did, New Orleans musicians were guaranteed to produce good music, and they did it this year as well. One of those was BARBARA GEORGE.
Barbara wrote the song, I Know (You Don't Love Me No More) and it became quite a hit for her. It's been covered by quite a few others over the years.
Barbara wasn't able to match that song's success and she faded somewhat and retired from the music biz.
There were no better singers this year than HELEN SHAPIRO.
Actually, there have been few better singers than she in the history of popular music. The song I've chosen wasn't one of her biggest hits but I like it as I liked most of hers from around this time (before she became an "all round entertainer").
It is Little Miss Lonely.
Thank heavens for the women, they made this year acceptable.