Fandango’s Friday Flashback for November 15

I have never participated in this challenge before, but last year at this time I was compiling posts of songs that featured a girl’s name in the title.  I wrote 126 posts including Sweet Adeline Traditional, Aja by Steely Dan, Althea by the Grateful Dead, Alexis by James Gang, Amanda by Waylon Jennings, Amoreena by Elton John, Angelina by Louis Prima, Angelica by Scott Walker, Angelique by Badfinger, Farewell Angelina by Bob Dylan, Angie by the Rolling Stones, Anna (Go to Him) by Arthur Alexander, Annie’s Song by John Denver, Aubrey by Bread, Barbara Ann by the Beach Boys, Lady Barbara by Herman’s Hermits, Belinda by Vito & the Elegants, Bernadette by Four Tops, Bertha by Grateful Dead, Black Betty by Leadbelly, Oh! Carol! by Neil Sedaka, Sweet Caroline by Neil Diamond, Carrie Ann by The Hollies, Cecilia by Simon & Garfunkel, Hush, Hush Sweet Charlotte by Patti Page, Lawdy Miss Clawdy by Lloyd Price, Clementine by Bobby Darin, Darlene by Led Zeppelin, Dawn (Go Away) by the Four Seasons, Denise by Randy & The Rainbows, Diana by Paul Anka, Donna by Ritchie Valens, Lady Eleanor by Lindisfarne, Elenore by The Turtles, Elenore Rigby by The Beatles, Emmaretta by Deep Purple, See Emily Play by Pink Floyd, A Rose For Emily by The Zombies, Sweet Lady Genevieve by the Kinks, Georgy Girl by The Seekers, Ginger Faye by Eddie from Ohio, Gloria by Van Morrison, Goodnight Irene by Leadbelly, Jackie Blue by Ozark Mountain Daredevils, Sweet Jane by Velvet Underground, Janine by David Bowie, Jean by Oliver, Jeannie, Jeannie, Jeannie by Eddie Cochran, Jenny by Tommy Tutone, Jeanie With the Light Brown Hair by Stephen Foster, Jennie Lee by Jan and Dean, Jennifer Juniper by Donovan, Visions of Johanna by Bob Dylan, Julia by John Lennon, Suite Judy Blue Eyes by Crosby, Stills & Nash, Kathy’s song by Simon and Garfunkel, Lana by Roy Orbison, Laurie (Strange Things Happen) by Dickie Lee, Layla by Derek and the Dominos, Pictures Of Lily by the Who, Bella Linda by Grass Roots, Sweet Little Lisa by Albert Lee, Dizzy Miss Lizzy by Larry Williams, Sweet Lorraine by Uriah Heep, Loose Lucy by Grateful Dead, The Ballad of Lucy Jordan by Marianne Faithfull, Lucille by B.B. King, Lucille by Little Richard, Maggie May by Rod Stewart, Maggie’s Farm by Bob Dylan, Marcie by Joni Mitchell, Maria by Johnny Mathis, Maria by Blondie, Ave Maria Traditional, Take a Letter Maria by R. B. Greaves, Maria Elena by Lorenzo Barcelata Castro, Marianne by Terry Gilkyson and the Easy Riders, C’mon Marianne by The Four Seasons, So Long Marianne by Leonard Cohen, Along Comes Mary by The Association, Cross-Eyed Mary by Jethro Tull, Proud Mary Creedence Clearwater Revival, Sweet Lady Mary by Rod Stewart and Faces, Take A Message To Mary by the Everly Brothers, The Wind Cries Mary by Jimi Hendrix and the Experience, Mary Danced With Soldiers by Emmylou Harris, Mary Ann by Ray Charles, Mary Ann by Marianne Faithfull, Mary Jane’s Last Dance by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Mary Lou by Young Jessie, Hello Mary Lou by Ricky Nelson, Mary, Mary by The Monkees, Waltzing Matilda by the Seekers, Maxine by the Doobie Brothers, Melissa by the Allman Brothers, Michelle by the Beatles, Good Golly, Miss Molly by Little Richard, Mony Mony by Tommy James, Nadine by Chuck Berry, Ophelia by The Band, Hey Paula by Ray Hildebrand, Peggy Sue by Buddy Holly, Walk Away Renee by the Left Banke, Rhiannon by Fleetwood Mac, Lovely Rita by The Beatles, Rosalita, Come Out Tonight by Bruce Springsteen, Roxanne by the Police, Lay Down Sally by Eric Clapton, Long Tall Sally by Little Richard, Mustang Sally by Wilson Pickett, Sara Smile by Hall & Oates, Sharona by the Knack, Sheila by Tommy Roe, Sherry by Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons, Oh Sherrie by Steve Perry, Hang On Sloopy by McCoys, Stacy’s Mom by Fountains of Wayne, Stella Blue by Grateful Dead, Runaround Sue by Dion, Wake Up Little Susie by The Everly Brothers, Suzie Q by Creedence Clearwater Revival, Sylvia’s Mother by Dr. Hook, Venus by Shocking Blue, Valleri by the Monkees, Valerie by Steve Winwood and Victoria by The Kinks.

One year ago today, I wrote a post titled “Love At First Sight”, which was about the song Hello Mary Lou and here it is again, in case anyone wants to read it.  I also tied this into three prompt words for that day which were “belong, need and orchestrate”.

Love At First Sight
About a year ago, I wrote a post on this same song, but today I have more time, so I will improve on my old post. In 1957, a New Orleans group called The Sparks released a song called ‘Merry Mary Lou’, which goes:
Mary, Mary Lou
Why must you do
The things that you always do
In this song, Mary Lou runs off to marry another man, jilting her previous boyfriend and leaving him heartbroken making him wonder how she could do this to him.  In 1953, Cayet Mangiaracina was 18, fresh out of Jesuit High School and considering a religious vocation when he auditioned as a piano player for the Sparks, a rock ‘n’ roll group whose five members played for $1 an hour at youth dances.  The band’s four other members who were all still in high school included Ronnie Massa on alto sax, Don Bailey on bass, Joe Lovecchio on tenor sax and Don Connell on drums.  In 1954, Cayet sat down at his family’s upright piano and banged out a tune that he titled ‘Merry, Mary Lou’.  Cayet Mangiaracina said there was no Mary Lou and that the lyric just sounded good, and he eventually left the band in 1956 to join the Dominican Order.  After he was gone, the band won a “battle of the bands” competition in New Orleans.  The reward was a trip to New York and a Decca Records recording of my song. ‘Merry Mary Lou’ became a hit in New Orleans.  The Sparks version went nowhere.

In 1957, Bill Haley and the Comets and in 1958 Sam Cooke each liked this song, so they recorded their own versions, both changing the name to ‘Mary, Mary Lou’.  Gene Pitney broke into the music scene writing ‘Hello Mary Lou’ in 1961.  It seems pretty obvious that he must have heard the Bill Haley and the Comets, or the Sam Cooke version of ‘Mary, Mary Lou’ and that he was influenced by this song before he wrote his ‘Hello Mary Lou’.  After ‘Hello Mary Lou’ became a hit, Cayet Mangiaracina’s publisher, Champion Music, took legal action and the lawsuit was settled outside of court, so Mangiaracina got a share of the song, and he is listed as a co-writer along with Gene Pitney.  Pitney died in 2006, and he never spoke of Mangiaracina or the lawsuit.

Pitney started his career as a teenage songwriter, sending self-produced demos to New York publishers from his home in Stanford, Connecticut.  In 1960, one of his early compositions, ‘Today’s Teardrops’ appeared on the B-side of Roy Orbison’s top 10 hit Blue Angel.  Another early success as a writer was ‘Rubber Ball’, a worldwide hit for Bobby Vee and ‘He’s a Rebel’ for the Crystals.  He had a hit with the Carole King and Gerry Goffin ballad ‘Every Breath I Take’ which he recorded in 1961.  Some of Pitney’s biggest hits were ‘Only Love Can Break A Heart’ and ‘(The Man Who Shot) Liberty Valance’, which were both written by the Burt Bacharach-Hal David team.  Pitney had a brief but intense affair with Marianne Faithfull while they were touring the U.K. in 1964.  Gene sang ‘I’m Gonna Be Strong’ which was written by the duo Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil as an ode to Marianne, which went to #2 in the U.K and #9 in the US and was later covered by Cyndi Lauper.  Although Gene wrote and recorded ‘Hello Mary Lou’, his record company never released it. Gene Pitney’s ‘Hello Mary Lou’ was first recorded by Johnny Duncan in 1960.  His publisher shopped the song around to various artists, including Ricky Nelson, whose version became a huge hit.  In 1962, Pitney did record this song on his album Many Sides of Gene Pitney, but it was not nearly as good as Nelson’s cover.

Ricky Nelson did not have to work his way up from the bottom, he got his opportunity to make records, because he was the son of Ozzie and Harriet Nelson.  They had a TV show which was watched by millions of Americans every week called The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet.  Born Eric Hilliard Nelson in Teaneck, New Jersey, on May 8, 1940, Ricky began appearing on his parents’ radio show in 1949, and then on the TV series which aired from 1952 to 1966.  Ricky was known for playing himself on the TV show and he also costarred in the movie Rio Bravo with Dean Martin and John Wayne.  He was also in The Wackiest Ship in the Army with Jack Lemmon, and Love and Kisses with Jack Kelly.  Ozzie played tenor guitar on this song and he had been a successful bandleader in the 1930s, with Harriet being his featured girl singer, so Ricky had plenty of musical experience to call on for advice.  The guitar solo is by James Burton, who later joined up with Elvis Presley.  Burton made his reputation before age eighteen with his guitar soloing on Dale Hawkins’ 1957 hit ‘Suzie-Q’. James Burton set the tone for future country-rock classics and was widely imitated by later musicians and he also played with Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard, Jerry Lee Lewis, Roy Orbison, Vince Gill, Emmylou Harris and Elvis Costello.  The song makes a liberal use of a cowbell and the piano is by Ray Johnson, and other musicians on the record include Joe Osborne on bass and Ritchie Frost on drums.

Ricky was good looking and he had a pleasing voice and he sang with conviction, and after Ricky’s cover of Fats Domino’s ‘I’m Walkin’ made it into the Billboard Top 10 in 1957.  Ozzie began featuring Ricky singing on his TV show, where he quickly became a teen idol.  Nelson had already run off twelve Top Ten singles before scoring with his biggest double-sided hit in 1961, ‘Travelin Man’, the A side of ‘Hello Mary Lou’ which went to #1.  ‘Hello Mary Lou’ reached #9 in the US charts and it went to #2 in the U.K. in the spring of 1961.  The song appeared on Nelson’s sixth album Rick Is 21.  Nelson was second only to Elvis Presley during rock ‘n’ roll’s ‘50s pinnacle, putting out 52 singles on Billboard’s Hot 100 between 1957 and 1973.  Nelson was killed on December 31, 1985 when a malfunctioning heater aboard a dilapidated behemoth DC-3 he was riding in caught fire spreading to the cabin killing everyone aboard.  When Ricky Nelson entered the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987, he was inducted by John Fogerty of Creedence.

In this bubbly, bouncy song, a guy falls in love with Mary Lou, a girl that he just set his eyes upon.  They passed by each other one sunny day and she flashed her big brown eyes which made him want her and he felt like they will always belong together.  He saw her lips, heard her voice and felt like this gave him no choice.  Wild horses couldn’t make him stay away and he thought about a moonlit night as a way to orchestrate his affections, where he would have his arms around her good and tight and this made him speechless.  The Statler Brothers and Creedence Clearwater Revival both had hits with this song.  Led Zeppelin did a cover of ‘Hello Mary Lou’ on their triple live album How the West Was Won.  James Burton was one of Jimmy Page’s idols as a youth and he said that he carried a picture of James in his wallet.  My last time about this song Hello Mary Lou, included the Ricky Nelson version, so if you need to listen to that, you can go there.  Today I have the New Riders of the Purple Sage, which I think is better.

Hello Mary Lou, goodbye heart
Sweet Mary Lou, I’m so in love with you
I knew Mary Lou, we’d never part
So hello Mary Lou, goodbye heart
You passed me by one sunny day
Flashed those big brown eyes my way
And oo I wanted you forever more
Now I’m not one that gets around
Swear my feet stuck to the ground
And though I never did meet you before
I said, hello Mary Lou, goodbye heart
Sweet Mary Lou, I’m so in love with you
I knew Mary Lou, we’d never part
So hello Mary Lou, goodbye heart
I saw your lips I heard your voice
Believe me I just had no choice
Wild horses couldn’t make me stay away
I thought about a moonlit night
My arms about good an’ tight
That’s all I had to see for me to say
Hey, hey, hello Mary Lou, goodbye heart
Sweet Mary Lou, I’m so in love with you
I knew Mary Lou, we’d never part
So hello Mary Lou, goodbye heart
So hello Mary Lou, goodbye heart
Yes hello Mary Lou, goodbye heart

Written for Fandango’s Friday Flashback.

4 thoughts on “Fandango’s Friday Flashback for November 15

  1. Ricky Nelson is one of my favorite 50’s artists. He had some quality songs and I wonder being on that show hurt him, in the long run, being taken seriously as he got older?

    I like Creedence’s version of Hello Mary Lou also.

    Liked by 1 person

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