Tunes Du Jour Presents 1964

In 1964, the musical landscape was undergoing a seismic shift. From the electrifying British Invasion to the soulful sounds of Motown, 1964 was a year that truly had something for everyone.

One cannot discuss the music of 1964 without acknowledging the unparalleled influence of The Beatles. With their chart-topping hit “I Want To Hold Your Hand,” the Fab Four ignited a phenomenon that would forever alter the course of popular music. Their harmonious blend of catchy melodies and innovative arrangements captivated audiences worldwide, laying the groundwork for the British Invasion that would dominate the airwaves in the years to come.

The UK also brought us The Animals, whose “House Of The Rising Sun” captivated audiences with its electrifying intensity, while The Kinks offered a more garage-band, raw sound with “You Really Got Me.”

But 1964 was not just about the British Invasion; it was also a time of soulful sounds and Motown magic. Artists like Martha & The Vandellas, The Supremes, and The Four Tops delivered soul-stirring performances on classic hits.

The surf rock craze was in full swing, with The Beach Boys’ “I Get Around” capturing the carefree California lifestyle. And for those who preferred a more melancholic sound, there were ballads like Dionne Warwick’s “Walk On By.”

Beyond the well-known names associated with 1964, this playlist unearths other soundtracks of the year, like “My Boy Lollipop” by Millie Small, a ska track that became a surprise summer hit, and “The Girl From Ipanema” by Stan Getz & Astrud Gilberto, a bossa nova masterpiece that brought a touch of Brazilian cool to the airwaves.

This playlist is just a taste of the incredible music that 1964 had to offer, though even a brief exploration of 1964’s music reveals a year brimming with creativity and cultural impact. From the infectious melodies of pop anthems to the raw energy of rock and roll, these songs continue to resonate with listeners today, reminding us of the enduring power of music to capture a moment in time and transport us back. It was a year that changed the landscape of popular music forever, leaving behind a legacy that continues to inspire and entertain generations of listeners.

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Your (Almost) Daily Playlist: 2-2-24

The Honey Cone was the first act signed to Hot Wax Records, a label started in 1968 by Eddie and Brian Holland and Lamont Dozier, who previously were staff writers and producers at Motown Records and in that role wrote twelve number one singles between 1962 and 1967, two performed by The Four Tops and the other ten by The Supremes, with lead vocals by Diana Ross, who would soon leave the trio and be replaced by Jean Terrell in 1970, with Terrell being replaced in 1973 by Scherrie Payne, who before then was the singer in a group called Glass House, also signed to Hot Wax Records, who recorded “Want Ads” prior to The Honey Cone, but neither Scherrie nor the track’s producer, Greg Perry, liked their version, leading Scherrie to re-record the song with her sister Freda, who had a number 3 record in 1970 with “Band of Gold,” a song co-penned by Holland-Dozier-Holland under assumed names, but the sisters’ version of “Want Ads” was also discarded, which then led Scherrie to suggest to Perry that he try the song again with Edna Wright singing, Wright being the lead singer for The Honey Cone and the sister of Darlene Wright, the singer for the group The Blossoms, and while you may not recognize the names Darlene Wright or The Blossoms, you may know their music, for producer Phil Spector renamed Darlene Wright Darlene Love (without her knowledge) and released records by The Blossoms under the name The Crystals, who hit number 1 with “He’s a Rebel,” and should not be but will be confused with another group called The Crystals, also produced by Phil Spector at the same time he was working with Wright/Love and The Blossoms, but let’s get back to Edna Wright, who recorded “Want Ads” with backing vocals by the other two members of The Honey Cone, Shellie Clark, who a couple of years earlier was singing backup for Ike and Tina Turner, and Carolyn Willis, who toured as a member of Bob B. Soxx & the Blue Jeans, a group whose records were produced by Phil Spector and featured vocals from Darlene Wright/Love. In June of 1971 The Honey Cone took “Want Ads” to number 1. (This paragraph is pulled from my long-awaited (by me, anyway) book, which I’m trying to get out this year.) 

The late Edna Wright of The Honey Cone was born on this date in 1945. A couple of the group’s best-known songs, including “Want Ads,” are on today’s playlist.

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Your (Almost) Daily Playlist: 12-10-23

“Nightshift” was Commodores’ biggest hit following the departure of usual lead singer Lionel Richie. The group’s Walter Orange, a co-writer of the song, sings lead on verse one. Orange also sang lead on Commodores’ hits “Brick House” and “Too Hot Ta Trot.” So there. 

Commodores’ Walter Orange was born on this date (or maybe yesterday’s date) in 1946. Two of the group’s songs on which he sang lead are included on today’s playlist.

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Throwback Thursday: 1964

Nobody would deny that 1964 was among the most pivotal years in rock and roll. Nobody except Lester, a guy I worked with decades ago. He was an idiot. The Beatles and the other artists who stormed the US pop charts during the first British Invasion made an indelible impact on contemporary music and culture. Motown was ascending and producing classic singles. Girl groups were still hanging around creating pop perfection. Bob Dylan was making himself known, messing with the vocals one expected on a hit record. And Dionne Warwick was already the queen of Twitter.

Here are thirty songs that partly defined 1964. Take note, Lester.

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