Showing posts with label 1960's. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 1960's. Show all posts

Monday, 15 May 2017

Death Discs: Leader of the Pack




Lyric Lowdown
The song is about a girl named Betty, who is asked by friends to confirm that she is dating Jimmy, the leader of a motorcycle gang, whose ring they see on Betty's finger. After singing of love at first sight ("(By the way, where'd you meet him?) I met him at the candy store/He turned around and smiled at me/You get the picture?/(Yes, we see) That's when I fell for the Leader of the Pack"), Betty's heart turns to despair as she bemoans her parents' disapproval. The parents claim Jimmy hails from "the wrong side of town" and ask Betty to tell Jimmy goodbye and find someone new. Betty reluctantly does as she is asked, and a crushed and tearful Jimmy speeds off on his motorcycle. Moments later, Jimmy crashes on a rain-slicked surface and dies; Betty's pleas for Jimmy to slow down are in vain.

The Birth of a Classic
The tune of "Leader of the Pack" has been credited to impresario George "Shadow" Morton together with Jeff Barry and Ellie Greenwich. Morton has said that he wrote the song for the Goodies (also known as the Bunnies), but instead it was needed as a follow-up to the Shangri-Las hit "Remember (Walking in the Sand)".



Morton claims he didn't know  he was expected to have a second idea ready to follow up "Remember (Walking in the Sand)" until Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller asked him, "Hey, what do you want to do for the second record?"

Morton said he "got a bottle of champagne, two cigars" and "went into the shower, sat down, drank the champagne, smoked the cigars, and wrote the song on a shirt cardboard with my kids crayons."

Legend Says
To add the authentic sound of a motorcycle engine, one was actually driven through the lobby of the hotel and up to the floor of the recording studio. Although no one was arrested, it didn't stop a ticket being issued.



Four decades later, however, Shangri-Las lead singer Mary Weiss claimed the motorcycle sound was taken from an effects record. Hugh Grundy, drummer for The Zombies, recalls revving up a motorcycle backstage when the Shangri-Las performed on a U.S. tour.

Reception
The record was released as a single by Red Bird Records, which was a Leiber and Stoller label, and hit number one on the Billboard Hot 100 on November 28, 1964.

In the United Kingdom, the single was refused airplay by the BBC, probably due to its death theme, although some have speculated that it was considered likely to encourage violence between mods and rockers.



Interestingly, even though the song had been banned by Auntie Beeb, that didn't stop it intruding on a Sunday morning service broadcast by the BBC from the chapel choir at Keele University. The choir had been singing Christ is Our Cornerstone as part of a commemorative service to mark the passing of Winston Churchill, when suddenly Leader of the Pack came blaring into proceedings, played it is said, by a free spirited drama student over the halls PA system in protest to the song being banned. The choir, in an attempt to drown it out, sang louder but it made no difference and the BBC simply faded the choir out and the recording was never repeated or ever completed.

Regardless, it charted three times on the UK Singles Chart: number 11 in 1965; number 3 in 1972 (by which time the BBC ban had been lifted); and once again at number 7 in 1976, when its sales figures as a reissue on two different labels (Charly and Contempo) were combined to arrive at its chart position.

*



Mm--"Is she really going out with him?
"Well, there she is, Let's ask her"
"Betty, is that Jimmy's ring you're wearing?"
"Mm-hm"
"Gee, it must be great riding with him"
"Is he picking you up after school today?"
"Mm-mm"
"By the way, where did you meet him?"

"I met him at the candy store
He turned around and smiled at me
You get the picture
"Yes, we see"
That's when I fell for the leader of the pack

My folks were always putting him down
They said he came from the wrong side of town
They told me he was bad but I knew he was sad
That's why I fell for the leader of the pack

One day my dad said find someone new
I had to tell my Jimmy we're through
He stood there and asked me why, but all I could do was cry
I'm sorry I hurt you, the leader of the pack

He sort of smiled and kissed me good bye
The tears were beginning to show
As he drove away on that rainy night,
I begged him to go slow, whether he heard,
I'll never know Look out! Look out! Look out!

I felt so helpless, what could I do
Remembering all the things we'd been through?
In school they all stop and stare
I can't hide the tears, but I don't care
I'll never forget him, the leader of the pack

Ooh, the leader of the pack now he's gone
the leader of the pack now he's gone
the leader of the pack now he's gone


***

Previous Songs In This Series:

Johnny Remember Me - John Leyton
Endless Sleep - Jody Reynolds

Monday, 8 May 2017

Ricky Nelson




Eric Hilliard "Ricky/Rick" Nelson
May 8th 1940 – December 31st 1985

Ricky, or Rick as he preferred to be known, was anAmerican actor, musician
and singer-songwriter. He starred alongside his family in the television series
The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet as well as co-starring alongside John Wayne
and Dean Martin in Howard Hawks's western feature film Rio Bravo.


He placed 53 songs on the Billboard Hot 100 between 1957 and 1973 including "Poor Little Fool", which holds the distinction of being the first #1 song on Billboard magazine's then-newly created Hot 100 chart.


He recorded 19 additional Top 10 hits and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on January 21, 1987.

I want to focus for a moment on his role of Colorado Ryan in Rio Bravo.
In the latter part of the film, he sings a duet with Dean Martin and then a song called 'Cindy'

"Cindy hugged and kissed me
She wrung her hands and cried
Swore I was the prettiest thing
That ever lived or died
"

Well she was right there, he was a beauty.
There's just something about his lips ...








Today would have been his 77th birthday, so happy birthday Rick!


It would also have been my granddad's 86th birthday!
Happy birthday granddad!


And it's the anniversary of VE Day!

Monday, 17 April 2017

Billy Fury & Eddie Cochran


Billy Fury
Born
Ronald William Wycherley
17th April 1940 - 28th January 1983


Billy Fury was an early British rock and roll star who equalled the Beatles' record of 24 hits in the 1960s, and spent 332 weeks on the UK chart, without a chart-topping single or album.
He is also one of my absolute favourite British rock and rollers.


Journalist Bruce Eder stated, "His mix of rough-hewn good looks and unassuming masculinity, coupled with an underlying vulnerability, all presented with a good voice and some serious musical talent, helped turn Fury into a major rock and roll star in short order".


Others have suggested that Fury's rapid rise to prominence was due to his "Elvis Presley-influenced, hip-swivelling and at times highly suggestive stage act."


Today would have been his 77th birthday.
So here's to Billy, happy birthday!


* * *

Today also marks the passing of Eddie Cochran. Last years tribute post can be found here.
 

Photo taken by Andy


Friday, 31 March 2017

Film Friday: Breakfast at Tiffanys 1961


Today on Film Friday: Breakfast at Tiffany's from 1961.

I love this film and even channelled Holly at the Goodwood Revival one year.
My, I was a Skinny Minnie back then!



A lonely, struggling writer becomes enchanted with his neighbour: an independent young woman who strives to be a high-climbing socialite with a penchant for high-fashion and wild parties. But, soon he uncovers the vulnerability she has at heart.


Breakfast at Tiffany's is a 1961 American romantic comedy film directed by Blake Edwards and written by George Axelrod, loosely based on Truman Capote's novella of the same name. Starring Audrey Hepburn and George Peppard, and featuring Patricia Neal, Buddy Ebsen, Martin Balsam, and Mickey Rooney, the film was initially released on October 5, 1961 by Paramount Pictures.


Audrey Hepburn's salary for the film was $750,000, making her the highest paid actress per film at the time.



Holly Golightly wears the same dresses all the way through the movie, simply changing the accessories to give each outfit a different look. Her black shift dress features through the movie at least four times.


Holly Golightly is supposed to be just nineteen years old when she meets with Paul. Audrey Hepburn was thirty-one years old when playing Holly.


Although it's never explained why Holly is wearing a bed sheet at her cocktail party, an earlier scene (cut before release) established she'd been taking a bath and had to improvise a gown on the spur of moment. The cut scene was featured in Life magazine pictorial shortly before film was released.


Did you know ...Tiffany's opened its doors on a Sunday for the first time since the 19th century so that filming could take place inside the store.


***

Is this a film you enjoy?

Sunday, 12 March 2017

Family Fashion Parade!

I thought I would share some family snaps!

This is my maternal grandmother Sarah.


Aged sixteen.
I believe I have the necklace she's wearing.



Holding my mother

  
 No idea who that girl is.

  


 

She's second from the right here.


Second from the left here and apparently my family knew Grandpa Munster! Who knew 😉


On the right here 


On the left holding my mother with three on her sister in laws. Guess this explains my curls!



My granddad is in the middle and that's his sister, June I think, on the left and that's my nan again on the right.
Seriously, how cool is my granddad? I rarely use that word but he looks like a rockabilly here! I'd love for Andy to have a sleeveless cardigan like he's wearing here but alas, I don't knit.


My granddad again, in Germany.


My granddad's brother Ray marrying wife June



My mother



and her again, aged fourteen



and again, marrying my step dad aged twenty three I think.
Fabulous wedding photo isn't it.


My biological father at the Isle of White festival.


My Scandinavian, paternal great grandparents


Great uncle Bert, my nan's brother.



And I saved the best for last.
The In Crowd.
My nan's brothers and sisters plus girlfriend.
That's Bert again second from the right.



Friday, 10 March 2017

Film Friday: Psycho 1960

Film Friday: a little meander through my DVD collection.
Today I am featuring the classic that is 1960's Psycho.
Also home to my favourite screen house, The Bates Mansion.

Psycho is a 1960 American psychological thriller-horror film directed and produced by Alfred Hitchcock, and written by Joseph Stefano, starring Anthony Perkins, Janet Leigh, John Gavin, Vera Miles and Martin Balsam. It was based on the 1959 novel of the same name by Robert Bloch.








The film centres on the encounter between a secretary, Marion Crane (Leigh), who ends up at a secluded motel after stealing money from her employer, and the motel's disturbed owner-manager, Norman Bates (Perkins), and its aftermath.







When originally made, the film was seen as a departure from Hitchcock's previous film North by Northwest, having been filmed on a low budget, with a television crew and in black and white.








The film initially received mixed reviews, but outstanding box office returns prompted reconsideration which led to overwhelming critical acclaim and four Academy Award nominations, including Best Supporting Actress for Leigh and Best Director for Hitchcock.






Psycho is now considered one of Hitchcock's best films and praised as a work of cinematic art by international film critics and film scholars. Ranked among the greatest films of all time, it set a new level of acceptability for violence, deviant behaviour and sexuality in American films, and is widely considered to be the earliest example of the slasher film genre.



Director Alfred Hitchcock was so pleased with the score written by Bernard Herrmann that he doubled the composer's salary to $34,501. Hitchcock later said, "33% of the effect of Psycho was due to the music."



Did you know ... Walt Disney refused to allow Alfred Hitchcock to film at Disneyland in the early 1960s because Hitchcock had made "that disgusting movie, 'Psycho.'"

***

Do you like this film?