Not A Bright Future

The passing of a year can be marked by the four seasons going by, winter, spring, summer and fall or autumn, but in the 1960s, the Four Seasons were one of the very biggest rock & roll groups around.  Their most distinguishing trademark, came from the high falsetto vocals of their lead singer, Frankie Valli.  They sang doo wop romantic tunes with group harmonies that became a little too clean-cut, once the Beatles invaded.  No other white American group of the time besides the Beach Boys could match their intricate harmonies.  They were four distinctly different voices, unlike The Beach Boys, who had that brotherly sound, or the Everly Brothers, who were hard to tell apart.  They were immensely successful, making the Top Ten thirteen times between 1962 and 1967 with hits like ‘Sherry’, ‘Big Girls Don’t Cry’, ‘Dawn’, ‘Rag Doll’, ‘Walk Like a Man’, ‘Can’t Take My Eyes Off You’ ‘Oh, What a Night’, ‘My Eyes Adored You’, ‘Bye Bye Baby (Baby, Goodbye)’ and ‘Let’s Hang On’.

Francesco Castelluccio was born on May 3, 1934, in Newark NJ, and grew up in a public housing complex.  His manager thought that Castelluccio was too long of a name and that no one would understand it, and while living in Newark, Frankie met a hillbilly singer named ‘Texas’ Jean Valli and Castelluccio, so he borrowed her last name and he changed his name to Frankie Valli.  Frankie was the son of a barber, who at the age of seven decided to be a singer.  In the 1940s, he attended Central High School in Newark and then he enrolled in the American College of Cosmetology to become a hairdresser. Frankie and his good friend Nicky DeVito both had a license to cut hair.  Valli grew up singing on street corners in Stephen Crane Village and in the early 50’s, Valli began singing with the Variety Trio, a vocal group made up of Hank Majewski, and brothers Nick and Tommy Devito, but late 1952, the Variety Trio disbanded.  In 1953, Frankie Valli released his first song ‘My Mother’s Eyes’ which was released under  the name Frankie Valley, but he eventually changed it to the same spelling that Texas Jean Valli was using.

The following year, he and guitarist Tommy DeVito became a team forming The Variatones (with Hank Majewski, rhythm guitar, Frank Cattone, accordion, and Billy Thompson, drums), which between 1954 and 1956 performed and recorded under a variety of names before settling on the name The Four Lovers.  The Four Lovers had a minor hit with ‘You’re the Apple of My Eye’ by Otis Blackwell and they also cut an album called Joyride and appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show.  The Lovers caught a break when a friend named Joe Pesci (yes, the Oscar-winning actor) introduced the Lovers to Bob Gaudio, a piano-playing, song-writing prodigy and former member of the Royal Teens.  He had co-written the monster hit ‘Short Shorts’, but then his Teens had returned to obscurity.  The Lovers started working with Bob Crewe, a brilliant lyricist and producer who had written ‘Silhouettes’ for the Rays signed the Four Lovers to a three-year artist contract.  The Lovers flunked an audition at a cocktail lounge located in a bowling alley named the Four Seasons they decided this would make a good name for their ensemble.  In 1962, Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons came to fame when they had their first hit, the chart-topping ‘Sherry’. Bob Gaudio wrote the song ‘Jackie’ as a tribute to the First Lady, Jackie Kennedy, but Bob Crewe changed it to ‘Sherry’.  The unknown Seasons sang ‘Sherry’ on American Bandstand, and they suddenly became the hottest band in the land, and after nine years as a recording artist, Frankie Valli became an overnight sensation with a No. 1 record. The sound of ‘Sherry” was unlike anything else on the airwaves.

‘Dawn (Go Away)’ entered the Top 40 on February 8, 1964 and climbed to #3 the week of February 22, behind two Beatles songs ‘I Want To Hold Your Hand’ and ‘She Loves You’.  It stayed at #3 for three weeks until March 14, when it was bumped to #4 by ‘Please Please Me’.  By March 28, it was at #5 as ‘Twist and Shout’ entered the Top 5.  On April 4, ‘Dawn’ was out of the Top 10 and The Beatles held all five top positions.  In February 1964, 60% of the singles sold in the US were by the Beatles, but the second-biggest seller was The Four Seasons.  The fateful year of 1964 brought the British invasion, but that didn’t stall the Four Seasons.  With the Gaudio-Crewe engine firing on all cylinders, the group released one smash after another including, ‘Ronnie’, ‘Rag Doll’, ‘Save It For Me’ and ‘Big Man in Town’.

‘Dawn (Go Away)’ was written by Bob Gaudio and Sandy Linzer.  Besides co-writing ‘Dawn (Go Away)’, Sandy Linzer also wrote ‘Let’s Hang On’, ‘Working My Way Back to You’, and ‘Opus 17’ (also known as ‘Don’t You Worry ‘bout Me’) for the Four Seasons.  Bob Gaudio was a performing member of The Four Seasons, the original keyboardist and tenor vocalist, and on most occasions he was also their main composer, and sometimes their lyricist, but he achieved his greatest successes by collaborating with other lyricists.  Charlie Calello is an American, singer, composer, conductor, arranger, and record producer born in Newark, New Jersey who started his career with the Four Lovers and has since worked for superstars such as Barbra Streisand, Frank Sinatra, Bruce Springsteen, Neil Diamond, Glen Campbell and the Four Seasons.  ‘Dawn (Go Away)’was originally written with a totally different feel as a slow folk ballad, but arranger Charles Calello sped it up and at Valli’s suggestion and added a galloping rhythm guitar borrowed from Kai Winding’s version of ‘More’.

Two days before ‘Dawn’ was recorded, Frankie Valli and Charlie Calello were in a car when the song ‘More’ came on the radio and Frankie said, “that’s the kind of feel we need on our next session.”  ‘Dawn’ was recorded with 5 other songs on the same date.  Calello usually worked on the arrangements with Gaudio just before the sessions, but when it came to ‘Dawn’, it just did not feel right and he knew he had to come up with something to meet the challenge.  After Calello came up with the resolution of how to change ‘Dawn”, Frankie and Gaudio were both blown away.  Calello had developed the basic figure that was the glue to the song and the bell sound that became part of the Seasons’ sound for the next few years.  Charlie Calello changed all the chords, and wrote the whole tone scale rise at the end of the bridge.

Bob Gaudio said that the song ‘Dawn’ was not written about a specific girl. ‘Dawn’ contains happy music with dark, deplorable lyrics that seem to be contradictory at times.   Dawn is told to stay with him, because he’ll be good to her.  If she can hang on, then he will hang on to her.  She should think about what a big man he’ll be and about the places she’ll see.  However, Dawn is then told to think about her future being with a poor boy.  The singer tries to persuade Dawn that she will be better off with someone who can support her in the style to which she is accustomed and someone that her family would approve of.  I think he is trying to conceal his true motives, by choosing to dissemble his real intentions of actually wanting Dawn to be with him.  By telling Dawn to go away or to give him up, because he is too poor for her is a futile attempt, as this will probably not work on Dawn, because the more he protests the more Dawn will want to be with him.

The Four Seasons got a lot of help from some of the top New York session musicians who played on their songs.  ‘Dawn’ was part of the first session for Ralph Casale, a guitarist from Newark, New Jersey who became part of this elite group of studio pros.  Drummer Buddy Saltzman accented the recording with bombastic around the kit fills and ghost notes, while never using a cymbal once.  Saltzman begins with a short drum intro, featuring a louder perhaps even more frantic drum backing.

Frankie Valli along with The 4 Lovers and The 4 Seasons were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame in 1990. The Four Seasons songs appear in a bunch of movies.  Frankie Valli appeared many times as Rusty Millio on the HBO series The Sopranos.

The Deer Hunter

Dirty Dancing

Conspiracy Theory

The Wanderers

Pretty as a midsummer’s morn’

They call her Dawn.
Go away I’m no good for you.
Oh Dawn,
Stay with him, he’ll be good to you.
Hang on,
Hang on to you.
What a big man he’ll be.
Of the places you’ll see.
Now think what the future would be with a poor boy like me.
Dawn go away,
Please go away.
Although I know,
I want you to stay.
Dawn go away,
Please go away.
Baby, don’t cry.
It’s better this way.
Ahh, ahh, ah.

Go away back where you belong.
Girl we can’t,
Change the places where we were born.
Before you say,
That you want me.
I want you to think,
What your family would say.
What your throwing away.
Now think what the future would be with a poor boy like me.

Go away I’m no good for you.
Go away I’m no good for you.

Written for Daily Addictions prompt – Team, for Daily Inkling Prompt – Ensemble, for FOWC with Fandango – Challenge, for Sheryl’s A New Daily Post Word Prompt – Dissemble, for Ragtag Community – Week, for Scotts Daily Prompt – Resolution and for Word of the Day Challenge Prompt – Deplorable.

The First Fake Band

In 1966, the Monkees were the best-selling rock band in the United States and they were the first music act to win an Emmy, of which the band and show earned two, as well as being the only act to have its first four albums go to number one on the Billboard charts, something even the Beatles failed to accomplish.  The Monkees were a manufactured group a Hollywood creation whose only contributions to the records were their voices.  In 1958, two TV producers Bob Rafelson and Bert Schneider formed Raybert Productions.  Bob Rafelson wrote and directed Five Easy Pieces starring Jack Nicholson, and Bert Schneider worked with Rafelson producing Easy Rider.  They wanted to try and create slapstick and absurd comedy something like what the Beatles did in their 1964 film A Hard Day’s NightThey began developing their series and at first, they wanted to hire an established band, such as Herman’s Hermits or the Lovin Spoonful, but they decided against that, because they didn’t want to deal with record company contracts.  They understood the magic of TV, and they knew that their band wouldn’t even have to be musicians, as the instruments would be unplugged and the songs could be re-recorded later in a music studio.  They only had to look convincing and acting experience wouldn’t be necessary, either.  In 1965, they ran an ad in Hollywood looking for Folk & Roll Musicians, Singers for acting roles in new TV series.  After a three-month search interviewing 437 applicants, they ended up with two professional actors and two professional musicians all of whom could sing and they were all funny.

21 year old Micky Dolenz was a former child star, who starred in the adventure series Circus Boy in 1956, where he played the title character, Corky, an orphaned water boy adopted by a traveling circus who worked under the big top, with the stage name Mickey Braddock.  When Micky was 18, he formed his own group called the ‘Missing Links’ where he was the lead singer and guitarist, but the group changed their name to ‘Micky and the One Nighters’ because, they were playing one night stands at bowling alleys.  He was hired to be the drummer, even though he couldn’t play the drums or even make it look like he could.  His singing, however, was top-notch, so he ended up singing on most of the Monkees’ hits.  Davy Jones also 21, from Manchester, England who at the age of 11, starred in the daytime soap opera ‘Coronation Street’, as well as other productions such as ‘June Evening’ and the BBC radio plays, ‘There Is a Happy Land’ & ‘The Morning Story’ and also toured with the musical Oliver! in 1962.  Davy was hired as the “official” lead singer and he also played tambourine capturing the hearts of millions of teen-aged girls with his long hair and charming English accent.

Stephen Stills tried out for the Monkees, but because of his thinning hair and bad teeth, they thought he looked too old, however he recommended an ex-bandmate named Peter Tork who he worked with in Greenwich Village on the East coast and they hooked up again out West in Huntington Beach CA, where they both played in Buffalo Fish which would later become Buffalo Springfield.  Before joining the Monkees, Peter Tork had experience playing bass, guitar, piano, electric keyboards, steel guitar, drums and the banjo.  Tork was 24 and he was working as a dishwasher when he got the audition. He was a guitarist, but in this band, he would play bass.

21 year old Mike Nesmith had worked as a session guitarist up and down the East Coast before moving to Los Angeles with his wife Phyllis Barbour in 1965.  He managed to get a record contract with Colpix Records and released several 45s as well as appearing on ‘Lloyd Thaxton’s’ syndicated teen dance show.  Mike was playing in a band called the Survivors along with Bill Chadwick and John London at the famous Ledbetter’s club in Los Angeles and the Troubadour in Hollywood.  Mike was already a successful songwriter he’d written Frankie Laine’s ‘Pretty Little Princess’ and he was on his way to a successful music career when he auditioned for the show.  Nesmith was the only one who actually saw the ad in Daily Variety and The Hollywood Reporter.  He arrived on a motorcycle wearing his trademark wool cap and he became the lead guitarist.

Raybert having assembled their four musicians, still did not have a name for the band.  Some possibilities that were tossed around were the Creeps, the Turtles, and the Inevitables.  Then Schneider suggested taking a cue from how the Beatles how they had misspelled ‘beetles’, and they turned ‘monkeys’ into Monkees.  Screen Gems’ head of music, Don Kirshner, was hired to develop the band’s sound into something catchy and marketable.  Kirshner tapped top songwriters of the day, including Neil Diamond, Tommy Boyce, Bobby Hart, and Carole King, who contributed to the band’s hits, such as ‘Last Train to Clarksville’, ‘I’m a Believer’, and ‘Daydream Believer’.  As the show progressed, the Monkees began writing their own songs, which the television studio wouldn’t let them record.  By 1967, they’d managed to get enough creative control to play the music as well as sing.  By the band’s third album the musicians were actually playing and singing much of their own music (with the frequent aid of session musicians).  With six albums by the original line-up, a television show that lasted two seasons, a feature length movie and songs still played on the radio today, it’s hard to tell where the actors ended and the real band began.

The songwriting team of Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart wrote ‘Valleri’ in 1966.  The pair met in 1959 and moved to New York to write songs.  Boyce had previously written a song called ‘Be My Guest’ for rock and roll star Fats Domino, which hit #8 in the US and #11 in the UK, becoming Domino’s biggest hit there in several years, and sold over a million copies.  Hart was involved in the songwriting for Little Anthony & the Imperials’ ‘Hurt So Bad’.  Boyce & Hart were a West Coast equivalent to the kind of craftsmanship and methodology espoused by Brill Building songwriting teams.  In 1964, they had their first nibble on the charts with a minor hit for Chubby Checker called ‘Lazy Elsie Molly’.  They went on to write hits for Jay & the Americans ‘Come a Little Bit Closer’, Paul Revere and the Raiders ‘(I’m Not Your) Steppin’ Stone’ and The Leaves ‘Words’.  They had their greatest success as the musical masterminds of The Monkees.  They wrote the theme song for the TV show and became the group’s producers after attempts with Mickie Most, Snuff Garrett and Carole King didn’t work out.  ‘Valleri’ was a #3 on Billboard Hot 100 hit, and it also spent two weeks at #1 on Cash Box in early 1968.  The song also rose to #1 in Canada, and #12 in the UK.

‘Valleri’ was created at Monkees mastermind Don Kirshner’s request who was looking for a song that had a girl’s-name for the band’s television series.  Valleri was the name of a girl Hart pined for in high school, and it became the title of the song when they were shouting girls’ names back and forth for Kirshner.  Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart delivered one of the group’s best psychedelic rockers, complete with a busy flamenco guitar solo and a rumbling beat.  The original recording was instrumentally backed by the Candy Store Prophets, plus session musician Louie Shelton who added a flamencoesque guitar solo.  The Candy Store Prophets’ rhythm section comprised drummer Billy Lewis, bassist Larry Taylor, a future Canned Heat member and longtime Tom Waits sideman, and guitarist Gerry McGee.

This song was featured in the show’s first season in 1967, but the first version of ‘Valleri’ went unreleased, it received radio airplay because two DJs taped the audio directly from the video, one in Chicago, one in Florida, and as demand for anything Monkees began to spread, they played this taped TV version on their radio shows.  Listeners called the stations airing the rough mix of ‘Valleri’ asking where they could buy a copy of the record that they had just heard.

Nesmith led the fight to have the Monkees play their own instruments and write songs for their albums.  The band’s record label Colgems eventually did acquiesce on their third album Headquarters released in 1967, where the Monkees played their own instruments, wrote eight of the 14 selections, and produced the album (with a little help from their friend Chip Douglas). Kirshner had a falling out with The Monkees (especially Mike Nesmith) and he was fired in early 1967 after releasing ‘A Little Bit Me, a Little Bit You’ without first informing the group, so the song never made it to that second album, which was released in April.  After the Monkees parted ways with Don Kirshner they wanted to write their own material, which meant the end for Boyce and Hart.  Lester Sill head of Colgems Records thought that ‘Valleri’ could be released as a single, but since the track was produced by Boyce and Hart, the original recording couldn’t be released.  Sill approached Boyce and Hart, who agreed to produce a re-recorded unaccredited session track for ‘Valleri’.  The remade ‘Valleri’ made it to Number Three in the US, and was to be the band’s last top ten hit.  It was also their last single to receive a push from their television series and it became the last single to be certified gold.

During the summer of 1967, Hendrix was popular in the United Kingdom, but he was still basically unknown in the United States.  Hendrix ended up as the opening act for The Monkees, who were in the middle of their successful 1966-1968 TV series run and this unexpected pairing seems like serendipity.  In 2012, Davy Jones age 66 passed away in Stuart, Florida from a severe heart attack resulting from arteriosclerosis.  In July of 2018, Mike Nesmith underwent quadruple bypass heart surgery after having trouble catching his breath and having two brief trips to the emergency room.  Hank Cicalo is an American recording engineer who worked with The Monkees, Carole King, Barbra Streisand, and George Harrison.  The original rear album cover for Headquarters featured a mislabeled photo that identified Hank Cicalo as sitting next to Chip Douglas.  This was corrected by substituting a different photo rather than revising the caption.

Valleri I love my Valleri
There’s a girl I know who makes me feel so good
And I wouldn’t live without her, even if I could
They call her Valleri
I love my Valleri

Oh yeah, come on

She’s the same little girl who used to hang around my door
But she sure looks different than the way she looked before
I call her Valleri
I love my Valleri

Valleri I love my Valleri
I love my Valleri
I need ya, Valleri

Written for Daily Addictions prompt – Caption, for Sheryl’s A New Daily Post Word Prompt – Acquiesce, for Ragtag Community – Serendipity and for Word of the Day Challenge Prompt – Emergency.

Poking Fun At Pop

The Turtles might be one of rock’s most misunderstood but yet most beloved bands.  In 1947, both Howard Kaylan and Mark Volman were born on opposites coasts of America, but Kaylan moved from New York to Los Angeles as a child and they ended up singing in the same local a cappella choir.  Howard learned saxophone and Mark took up clarinet and in 1961 at a 10th grade dance Mark Volman saw a local band called The Nightriders, with Howard on stage playing saxophone, and other choir members Al Nichol on lead guitar, Don Murray on drums and Chuck Portz on bass.  Mark eventually became an official member of the group and then in 1963 the instrumental surf group changed their name to the Crossfires.  After high school graduation, the Crossfires continued on while its members attended area colleges picking up rhythm guitarist Jim Tucker along the way and securing a residency as the house band at a club called Revelaire in Redondo Beach.  In 1964, Mark and Howard put down their saxes to concentrate more on singing and they grew their hair long.

In 1965, local disc jockey and club owner Reb Foster became their manager and said he would get a couple of music industry people in to check them out.  Two ex-Liberty record staff, Ted Feigan and Lee Laseff who had just started their own White Whale label, turned up were impressed and signed them as the first act to their fledgling label, but they suggested the Crossfires should change their name.  Someone suggested The Tyrtles employing the tactic that the Byrds used.  Everyone agreed on the name, but preferred the traditional spelling Turtles.

The first song they recorded at the suggestion of the label was a cover of Bob Dylan’s ‘It Ain’t Me Babe’ which was followed by their big hit ‘Happy Together’, a song that two members of The Magicians, Gary Bonner and Alan Gordon, had written and this song was produced by ‎Joe Wissert.  It reached number 12 in the UK and number one in America knocking the Beatles’ Penny Lane off the top.  Rhythm guitarist Jim Tucker left the group and was not replaced, so the Turtles were a group of five.  Don Murray was replaced by drummer John Barbata and Chip Douglas replaced Chuck Portz on bass for a short time, but Jim Pons soon became the bass guitar player.  The Turtles released 18 US Hit Singles between 1965-1970.

While Howard Kaylan and Mark Volman provided heavenly harmonies, the Turtles became a ubiquitous presence on Top 40 radio for much of the ‘60s.  They were making challenging and adventurous records that were getting played on the radio, but were still experimental, and at the same time commercially successful.  The Turtles were a happy group of guys till things started to spoil in 1967, when Dave Krambeck, their first road manager, suggested very strongly that their manager, Bill Utley (who later went on to manage Three Dog Night and Steppenwolf) was “screwing them over.”  An audit of White Whale that showed a $160,000 shortfall while the Turtles were turning out hit records.  Dave Krambeck borrowed $550,000 of the Turtles’ money to pay Bill Utley off, sold his half-interest in the band to a management firm and then disappeared with the proceeds from a Turtles’ tour.  Suits and countersuits were filed, which led to long legal battles.

The record company was desperate to get another big hit and they told the band to come up with something like ‘Happy Together’.  This manifested itself initially when Howard, in a fit of disgust, wrote the mocking ‘Elenore’, that became a huge hit because record buyers responded to the sincerity of his voice rather than really reading into the tongue-in-cheek lyrics. Mark and Howard were not happy about being hounded in this way, so they decided to throw something together, a really cheesy clichéd song in the hope that it would flop, and that song was called ‘Elenore’.  ‘Elenore’ was written as a parody of ‘Happy Together’ and it was never intended to be a straight-forward song.  It was meant as an anti-love letter to their record company White Whale, who were constantly on their backs to bring them another ‘Happy Together’.  The chords were changed, and all these bizarre words were included to make the song sound stupid in hope that the record company would leave them alone, but they didn’t get the joke, they thought it sounded good, so their plan backfired, because it met the record company’s approval.

Elenore was pretty much the result of Howard Kaylan who wrote this song a half-hour in a hotel room in Chicago saying, “So you want clichéd simplistic pop songs, here is the most clichéd simplistic pop song ever!”  The Turtles sat down and shaped that song into a record that would eventually be produced by Chip Douglas.  In 1968, it became a top 10 hit from the L.A. band’s album The Turtles Present the Battle of the Bands.  This album featured a pair of huge hits ‘Elenore’ and ‘You Showed Me’, but there are too many goofy comedy tracks flanking them (the album’s conceit finds the band impersonating various groups in various genres, Sgt. Pepper-style).  Kaylan said that he virtually rewrote the earlier hit as a joke, in order to show the label executives what dicks they were.  He threw in some nonsense like “pride and joy, etcetera” and “I really think you’re groovy” to make the song cheesier.  The “You’re my pride and joy etcetera” line is ingenious and pretty much the key point in recognizing that this song is sarcastic capturing the insouciance of 1968, that devil-may-care “tune in and drop out” ethos of the hippy era.  ‘Elenore’ had brilliant off-kilter lyrics and it reached #6 on the Billboard Hot 100.  The one thing that did annoy Howard was that the band once had an agreement that any song written by any member of the group then the whole band would be credited and ‘Elenore’ was written solely by Howard.

Mark and Howard became increasingly unhappy with the direction their music had taken and were having endless and tedious litigation over financial issues with White Whale and so they decided in 1970 to disband.  Volman and Kaylan remained friends and were both interested in exploring the edgier side of music, so they both joined Frank Zappa’s Mothers of Invention under the pseudonyms Flo and Eddie.  They later did a lot of session work and provided backing vocals on Alice Cooper’s 1980 album Flush the Fashion and can also be heard on Bruce Springsteen’s 1980 hit Hungry Heart.  Howard Kaylan and Mark Volman also sang backing vocals on a bunch of T. Rex songs.  Drummer Johnny Barbata played with various CSNY folks and he played drums on ‘Ohio’.  Judee Sill was signed to their publishing company and she recorded her song Lady-O.  In the 1980s, the group re-formed hitting the oldies circuit, becoming a popular draw.  The Turtles became a blast from the past touring with five other classic rock legends including Chuck Negron (formerly of Three Dog Night,) The Association, The Cowsills, The Box Tops, and Ron Dante from The Archies.

This song is about a girl named Elenore, who has this thing about her especially at a time in this guy’s life when he wants her near him.  She is able to put life back into his heart, because there is nobody like her.  This guy falls for her, asks her out on a date to go see a movie, then this guy declares his undying love.  There is no heartbreak to be found in Elenore as this song ends happily ever after.  I never knew that Turtles were singing “Elenore really”, as I always thought it was “Eleanor Rigby” that Beetles song, but this is just another example of a modegreen.  A series of words that result from the mishearing or misinterpretation of a statement or song lyric.  For example, ‘lied the pigeons to the flag’ for ‘I pledge allegiance to the flag’, or ‘for Richard Stands’ instead of ‘for which it stands’, in the Pledge of Allegiance.

You got a thing about you
I just can’t live without you
I really want you Elenore near me
Your looks intoxicate me
Even though your folks hate me
There’s no one like you Elenore really

Elenore gee I think you’re swell
And you really do me well
You’re my pride and joy et cetera
Elenore can I take the time
To ask you to speak your mind
Tell me that you love me better

I really think you’re groovy
Let’s go out to a movie
What do ya say now, Elenore can we?
They’ll turn the lights way down low
Maybe we won’t watch the show
I think I love you, Elenore, love me

Elenore, gee I think you’re swell
And you really do me well
You’re my pride and joy, et cetera
Elenore, can I take the time
To ask you to speak your mind?
Tell me that you love me better

One more time!

Elenore, gee I think you’re swell, ah-hah
Elenore, gee I think you’re swell, ah-hah-hah

Written for Daily Addictions prompt – Spoil, for FOWC with Fandango – Draw, for Sheryl’s A New Daily Post Word Prompt – Brilliant, for Ragtag Community – Blast, for Scotts Daily Prompt – Approval and for Word of the Day Challenge Prompt – Conceit.

Unsung And Hung Upon The Scars

A 23 year old Tandyn Almer wrote ‘Along Comes Mary’ which was a big hit for The Association, and later on he had a song ‘Sail on, Sailor’ for The Beach Boys that also made the charts.  In addition to his song writing talents, Almer invented a water pipe called the Slave-Master described in A Child’s Garden of Grass as the perfect bong.  Most people think that ‘Along Comes Mary’ is about marijuana, probably because pot is sometimes referred to as Mary Jane.  When you see the Association, they are usually dressed up real nice wearing suits which makes everyone think that they were straight laced, but the Association had a long and troubled association with drugs that were a lot harder than marijuana, as their bass player Brian Cole overdosed on heroin in 1972.

The lyrics in ‘Along Comes Mary’ are unbelievably vague, but filled with color and life, and all of the internal rhyme is magnificent.  There’s so much going on in this song, that it becomes hard to understand any meaning, as torrents of words are piled together.  Mary gives him comfort and improves his life, but his love for Mary erased some of his memory and all that remains is haunted remnants of the sweet punch that was in his cup.

Not all that much is known of Almer’s origins and upbringing, except that he was a child prodigy who was able to play classical music by ear on piano at the age of 4.  He attended a conservatory in Minnesota in his youth, and became fascinated with the jazz.  About 1961, he went to Los Angeles, where his musical interests shifted to pop and rock music.  In 1964, he graduated from Los Angeles City College and he became a fixture at a Los Angeles folk-music club the Troubadour, and some of Almer’s compositions were sung by a teenage unknown named Linda Ronstadt.  By 1965, he had written ‘Along Comes Mary’ and some people thought he was going to be the next Dylan.  Almer became good friends with Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys and helped him out on a project in 1969 rewriting some of the band’s songs and also performing background vocals.  A&M Records rejected the recording, in part because of the connection to Almer, who was once fired for creating a disturbance in the company parking lot.  Tandyn Almer had some medical issues and he basically dropped off the planet living a solitary life.

The Association’s lead guitarist Jules Alexander met singer Terry Kirkman and the two young musicians jammed together in Los Angeles in the mid-1960s.  Kirkman had played in groups with Frank Zappa for a short period before Zappa went on to form the Mothers of Invention.  In 1964, they eventually, formed a group called The Inner Tubes and played at the Troubadour along with Doug Dillard, Cass Elliot, David Crosby and many others who drifted in and out of this band.  In the fall of 1964, they formed The Men, a 13 piece Folk rock band.  After a short time, The Men disbanded, with six of the members electing to go out on their own in February 1965.  At the suggestion of Kirkman’s then-fiancée, Judy, they took the name The Association.

Like the Grass Roots, the members in this band are practically unknown to most people, and the original lineup consisted of Jules Alexander (using his middle name, Gary, on the first two albums) on vocals and lead guitar, while Kirkman sang vocals and played a variety of wind, brass and percussion instruments, Brian Cole sang vocals, played bass and woodwinds, Russ Giguere sang vocals, played percussion and guitar, Ted Bluechel, Jr. was on drums, guitar, bass and vocals, and Bob Page was on guitar, banjo and vocals.  Page was soon replaced by Jim Yester on vocals, guitar and keyboards before any of the group’s public performances.

In 1965, Jules Alexander was hired by singer, songwriter, musician, and record producer Curt Boettcher to play on a demo of ‘Along Comes Mary’, and he was so impressed by the song he asked if he could pitch it to his group could so they could record it.  Curt also sang lead on the demo.  Released in 1966, the single emerged as a blockbuster, defining the Association’s pioneering harmony pop sound.  It should have made Almer one of the hottest songwriters in Los Angeles, but he never scored a major hit again.

The Association soon had two smash hits ‘Along Comes Mary’ at #7 and ‘Cherish’ charted at #1, making them one of the hottest new bands of 1966.  It was no surprise that their debut album, featuring both of those songs, was also a big success, rising to #5 and remaining their highest-charting LP ever, with the exception of their Greatest Hits compilation.  The record also gave the Association the chance to showcase their versatility on material penned by both group members and outside songwriters, their complex multi-part vocal harmonies being the greatest unifying factor.

Composer and conductor of the New York Philharmonic Orchestra Leonard Bernstein, recognized the song’s musical sophistication and he became one of Almer’s biggest fans.  During one of the latter’s famed Young People’s Concerts, he illustrated a musical concept called the Dorian mode (an ancient scale that was neither major or minor) by performing a sample of ‘Along Comes Mary’ on the piano to demonstrate the freshness of this mode.  Bernstein implied that the most relevant exploration for the revitalization of music had come recently through certain pop songs and that they were much more than simply catchy tunes.

Every time I think that I’m the only one who’s lonely
Someone calls on me
And every now and then I spend my time in rhyme and verse
And curse those faults in me

And then along comes Mary
And does she want to give me kicks , and be my steady chick
And give me pick of memories
Or maybe rather gather tales of all the fails and tribulations
No one ever sees

When we met I was sure out to lunch
Now my empty cup tastes as sweet as the punch

When vague desire is the fire in the eyes of chicks
Whose sickness is the games they play
And when the masquerade is played and neighbor folks make jokes
As who is most to blame today

And then along comes Mary
And does she want to set them free, and let them see reality
From where she got her name
And will they struggle much when told that such a tender touch as hers
Will make them not the same

When we met I was sure out to lunch
Now my empty cup tastes as sweet as the punch

And when the morning of the warning’s passed, the gassed
And flaccid kids are flung across the stars
The psychodramas and the traumas gone
The songs are left unsung and hung upon the scars

And then along comes Mary
And does she want to see the stains, the dead remains of all the pains
She left the night before
Or will their waking eyes reflect the lies, and make them
Realize their urgent cry for sight no more

When we met I was sure out to lunch
Now my empty cup tastes as sweet as the punch

Written for Daily Addictions prompt – Solitary, for FOWC with Fandango – Parking, for Sheryl’s A New Daily Post Word Prompt – Haunted, for Ragtag Community – Color and for Scotts Daily Prompt – Pitch.

Is This A Lasting Treasure

In 1958, ‘Will You Love Me Tomorrow’ became the first #1 hit by a black female group The Shirelles, topping the Billboard Hot 100 chart.  It is a pop masterpiece that was ranked at #126 among Rolling Stone’s list of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.  Billboard named the song #3 on their list of 100 Greatest Girl Group Songs of All Time.  The Shirelles were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1989.  This song was written by the husband and wife songwriting team of Gerry Goffin lyrics and Carole King music and it became their first #1 hit.  At first this song met with some resistance from radio stations, but not enough to stop it from becoming a huge hit, selling over a million copies.  From the moment Shirley Owens sings her first line the listener is captured.  The melodious backing vocals, swirling violin break and poetic lyrics made the song a real lasting treasure.

Goffin’s lyrics deftly touch on the doubt that lurks behind all new romances and this is a benignly sexual song with the singer wondering what will happen the day after an encounter with her man, praying that the heat of the moment won’t leave her embarrassed in the morning.  She is nervous and insecure and she feels vulnerable, which are normal reactions to being with someone for the first time, especially for a girl that has decided that she will make love not because she is caught up in a moonlit evening.  The woman is amenable to having sex and she seems to know what she is doing, but she could also be a young girl on the brink of surrendering her virginity.  This song was an anthem of female adolescence, a manifesto to women’s liberation that gave a voice to the challenges of being a girl who longed for both love and sex at a time when only bad girls would admit such a thing.  This song features lyrics that were ahead of their time in subject matter and it captures the bitter sweetness of being a sexually liberated woman, as she is going to give it up to this man tonight and coincidentally it was released in the same year as the first oral contraceptive pill.

In 1957, Kirshner who was from East Orange, New Jersey met Robert Casotto better known as Bobby Darin, and together they went door to door, offering to write commercials for shops and businesses.  On one of their trips, they encountered Concetta Franconero better known as Connie Francis, a New Jersey friend of Kirshner’s who also helped Kirshner.  In 1958, at the age of twenty-one, Kirshner formed Aldon music.  Kirshner an American music publisher, rock music producer, talent manager, and songwriter known as the ‘Man with the Golden Ear’ assigned King and Goffin to write a song for the Shirelles as a follow-up to their previous song ‘Tonight’s The Night’.  King and Goffin had hastily married in 1958 after King became pregnant at the age of 17, while Goffin was still working at a chemical company and they worked at night for Don Kirshner’s Aldon music, in the Brill building, which was the center of the songwriting universe in the early ‘60s.

The song was originally written with the title ‘Tomorrow’ which was lengthened later.  It remained on the charts for 15 weeks and it was revolutionary in a way, as most popular songs of the time defined women as conquests or aspirations, mere objects of male desire.  There had been very little music made for girls, by girls and about girls.  When the Shirelles were first presented with the song, lead singer Shirley Owens did not want to record it, because she thought it was ‘too country’ sounding for their blend of pop/rock and R&B.  She asked if King and Goffin if they could add strings and turn it into a more up-tempo song, which they did and it went on to become an immense hit.  King’s devotion to the song was so strong that she replaced a subpar percussionist and played kettledrum herself on this song.

Around 1957, 4 girls from Passaic, New Jersey, Shirley Owens (later Shirley Alston), Doris Coley (later Doris Kenner-Jackson), Addie ‘Micki’ Harris and Beverly Lee met at their high school talent show calling themselves The Poquellos (meaning birds) and they did their song ‘I Met Him on a Sunday’.  Classmate Mary Jane Greenberg convinced them to sign with her mother’s Florence Greenberg’s small record label Tiara Records, which was quickly sold to Decca.  Florence Greenberg became the group’s manager, and changed their name to the Shirelles by combining frequent lead singer Owens’ first name with doo woppers the Chantels.  Greenberg started her own Scepter label, where she drafted Luther Dixon, who had previously worked with Perry Como, Nat King Cole, and Pat Boone to work with her Shirelles.

In 1958, the Shirelles’ recording of ‘I Met Him on a Sunday’ climbed into the national Top 50.  Two of their singles ‘My Love Is A Charm’ and ‘Lonely Nights’ both failed to chart and the Shirelles were dropped by Decca by the end of 1958.  Follow up songs, ‘Dedicated to the One I Love’ (1959) and ‘Tonight’s the Night’ (1960) with Doris Coley on lead, reached #83 not making much of an impact on the pop charts, however ‘Tonight’s the Night’ was re-released after ‘Will You Love Me Tomorrow’ became a hit and it went into the Top Five on both the pop and R&B charts in 1961.  ‘Dedicated To the One I Love’ ‎is a cover song written by Lowman Pauling‎ and ‎Ralph Bass and ‘Tonight’s the Night’ was written by Luther Dixon and Shirley Owens and both songs certified gold in 1961.

The Shirelles were the first major female vocal group of the rock era, defining the so-called girl group sound with their soft, sweet harmonies and yearning innocence.  Their music appealed to listeners across the board, before Motown ever became a crossover phenomenon with white audiences.  Even if the Shirelles were not technically the first of their kind, their success was unprecedented, paving the way for legions of imitators, establishing a musical blueprint that has had an enduring influence not just on their immediate followers, but on future generations of female pop singers, who often updated the style with a more modern sensibility.

In their most exceptional moments, this girl group made words of young love feel like pure transcendent joy and supplementing their matching dresses, stylized hairdos, and lyrics about teenage romance their voices were enough to make listeners shiver and quiver.  A constraint that the Shirelles had to deal with was their songs were all about a girl who meets her dreamboat who has the power to make her life a heaven on Earth.  The Shirelles became the first musical effort to capture the real experience and dreams of teenage girls.  They broke through a barrier that some rock critics put forth about girl groups having to rely on romantic delusion, because of their brave rugged individualism.

In 1963, ‘Foolish Little Girl’, which went to # 4, but it was to be the group’s last Top 10 hit and they have remained largely silent since.  They still had nine more (modest) chart entries in 1963-1964, but the end of their hit-making days was written on the wall, due to the British Invasion and the heavy competition from other girl groups like the Supremes, the Crystals and the Dixie Cups.  The Shirelles broke up in the late 1960s but re-formed later for ‘oldies’ shows and different Shirelles lineups toured the oldies circuit in the ‘90s, though Beverly Lee eventually secured the official trademark.  Micki Harris died of a heart attack during a performance in Atlanta on June 10, 1982 and Doris Kenner-Jackson passed away after a bout with breast cancer in Sacramento on February 4, 2000.

Tonight you’re mine, completely
You give your love so sweetly
Tonight the light of love is in your eyes
But will you love me tomorrow

Is this a lasting treasure
Or just a moment’s pleasure
Can I believe the magic in your sighs
Will you still love me tomorrow

Tonight with words unspoken
You say that I’m the only one
But will my heart be broken
When the night meets the morning sun

I’d like to know that your love
Is a love I can be sure of
So tell me now and I won’t ask again
Will you still love me tomorrow

So tell me now and I won’t ask again
Will you still love me tomorrow
Will you still love me tomorrow
Will you still love me tomorrow

Written for Daily Addictions prompt – Immense, for FOWC with Fandango – Silent, for October Writing Prompts – Shiver and Quiver, for Sheryl’s A New Daily Post Word Prompt – Moonlit, for Ragtag Community – Rugged, for Scotts Daily Prompt – Constraint and for Word of the Day Challenge Prompt – Manifesto.

Here She Come Down

Today we get a party rock record from 1968 that is pretty much of a throwback to the early ‘60s, which I hope brings back memories of the kind of fun that rock & roll represented before it redefined itself on more serious terms.  Tommy James & the Shondells went in the studio, and they pasted this thing together out of drums here, and a guitar riff there.  They called it sound surgery, and they were able to put this song together through a trial and error basis in about a month.  They wanted to do more fun music, like a song similar to ‘Hanky Panky’, which they did two years earlier and they had most of the words to their song, but they still lacked a title for this new song.  This was driving them nuts, because they were looking for something catchy like a ‘Sloopy’, or something akin to ‘Bony Morony’, or just some crazy name that would work for them, however it had to be a two-syllable girl’s name that was memorable and silly and kind of stupid sounding.  They had to work within these constraints, but everything they came up with just sounded awful.  One late chilly night in January, Ritchie Cordell and Tommy James got frustrated because nothing was working, so they threw down their guitars, went out on the terrace of Tommy’s apartment up on the 18th floor at 888 Eighth Avenue in New York to smoke cigarettes and they looked up into the sky.  The first thing that they saw was the flashing neon sign for Mutual of New York Insurance Company and they laughed when they came up with M-O-N-Y.  The sign had a dollar sign in the middle of the O, and it displayed the time and the temperature.

The song ‘Mony Mony’ was written by James with producers Bo Gentry and Ritchie Cordell with the exception of one line “I love you Mony, Mo Mo Mony”, which is credited to Bobby Bloom, who was also working for Roulette Records.  This song came out on the Mony Mony album and it charted #1 in the UK and #3 in the US.  They recorded this song as a throwaway B side of a record with ‘One Two Three and I Fell’ being the A side, because they had no idea that it would become such a huge hit.  I thought that this would be a good spot for me to end this post, but hell it is Friday and the weekend is here, everyone wants to party and since I can’t get this song out of my head, I thought, “Shot gun, get it done, come on, honey Don’t stop cookin’, it feels so good, yeah”, so I will continue.

Tommy James and the Shondells are an American rock band, that formed in Niles, Michigan in 1964.  Tommy James & The Shondells played what is now known as Garage Band music which was rooted in pop/rock & roll and they were primarily known as a singles artists, as their albums were considered a secondary concern to them.  They had two No. 1 singles in the U.S., ‘Hanky Panky’ (July 1966, their only RIAA Certified Gold record) and ‘Crimson and Clover’ (February 1969), and also a cluster of twelve other Top 40 hits that charted, including five in the Hot 100’s top ten which are, ‘I Think We’re Alone Now’, ‘Mirage’, ‘Mony Mony’, ‘Sweet Cherry Wine’, and ‘Crystal Blue Persuasion’.  I like to tie in the prompts from the day when ever I can, so it is a good thing that I kept going, as otherwise I would not have been able to use crystal cloves which is where crystal blue persuasion is found.  Imagine that a cave containing amphetamines!

This party song is similar to the Kingmen’s ‘Louie Louie’, because it was played at a lot of Frat houses where people got drunk and started to make up their own lyrics, as they tried to sing along.  The more drunk they got, the more vulgar the lyrics became and they were singing stuff like, “Hey, motherfucker!  Get laid, get fucked!”, or “Hey, what’s that?  Get laid, get fucked!”, and “Come on, everybody!  Get laid, get fucked!”, or “Hey, hey, slut!  Get laid, get fucked!”, or even “Hey, hey what? Get laid, get fucked!” and “Hey, get drunk, get laid, get fucked!”.  In 1968, Tommy James and The Shondells became one of the first acts to experiment with music videos, creating a mini-film around ‘Mony Mony’ for theatrical showings, thirteen years before MTV hit the airwaves.  Lunch time arrived while they were recording ‘Mony Mony”, so the group took a break and went up to Broadway and they talked to all these strangers that were having lunch and invited them into coming down to the studio and start going ‘Mony, Mony!’ for their song.  There weren’t a lot of places to show music videos in 1968, but James thought it was important to have one.  ‘Mony’ was not the first video the Shondells ever did, but they couldn’t get the others played anywhere.  They hired a film company, went in and did the video, but the only place that they could get their video played was over in Europe in the movie theatres in between double features.

‘Mony Mony’ literally means nothing, it is not enigmatic, mysterious or difficult to interpret or understand, as Tommy James and the Shondells crafted the tune as a party song, to become something that would not deplete over time giving an emphasis on the beat while little thought was given to the shout-along nonsense lyrics.  To a 14 year old named William Michael Albert Broad, who is better known as Billy Idol the song ‘Mony Mony’ always meant sex.  That’s because when young William lost his virginity in a public park via a tumble with a more experienced partner, ‘Mony Mony’ was playing on someone’s transistor radio nearby.

In 2008, Tommy James and The Shondells were voted into the Michigan Rock and Roll Legends Hall of Fame.  Tommy released the HI-FI album in the summer of 1990 where him and his band drove thru the streets of Manhattan on a flatbed truck playing live music.  The video of ‘Go’ is shown below which is a smokin’ hot get outta your seat and dance song.

Here she come down, say Mony Mony
Well, shoot ‘em down, turn around come home, honey
Hey, she gimme love an’ I feel alright now
Everybody! You got me tossin’ turnin’ in the night
Make me feel alright

I say yeah, (yeah), yeah, (yeah)
Yeah, (yeah), yeah, (yeah), yeah

Well you make me feel Mony, Mony
So Mony, Mony
Good Mony, Mony
Yeah, Mony, Mony
So good, Mony, Mony
Oh, yeah, Mony, Mony
Come on, Mony, Mony
All right, baby Mony, Mony
Say yeah, (yeah), yeah, (yeah)
Yeah, (yeah), yeah, (yeah) , yeah (yeah), yeah

Break ‘dis, shake ‘dis, Mony, Mony
Shot gun, get it done, come on, honey
Don’t stop cookin’, it feels so good, yeah
Hey! well don’t stop now, hey, come on Mony,
Well come on, Mony

I say yeah, (yeah), yeah, (yeah)
Yeah, (yeah), yeah, (yeah), yeah, (yeah)

Well you make me feel Mony, Mony
So Mony, Mony
Good Mony, Mony
Yeah, Mony, Mony
Oh, yeah, Mony, Mony
Come on, Mony, Mony
So good, Mony, Mony
All right, Mony, Mony

I say yeah, (yeah), yeah, (yeah)
Yeah, (yeah), yeah, (yeah), yeah, (yeah)

Oh, I love your Mony, moan, moan, Mony (so good)
Oh, I love your Mony, moan, moan, Mony (so fun)
Oh, I love your Mony, moan, moan, Mony
Oh, I love your Mony, moan, moan, Mony

Yeah, (yeah), yeah, (yeah)
Yeah, (yeah), yeah, (yeah), yeah, (yeah)

Come on! Mony, Mony
Come on! Mony, Mony
Come on! Mony, Mony
Everybody, Mony, Mony
All right, Mony, Mony
Mony, Mony
Mony, Mony

Written for Daily Addictions prompt – Deplete, for FOWC with Fandango – Trial, for October Writing Prompts – Crystal cloves, for Sheryl’s A New Daily Post Word Prompt – Chilly, for Ragtag Community – Truck, for Scotts Daily Prompt – Cluster and for Word of the Day Challenge Prompt – Enigmatic.

Modesty Keeping A Low Profile

The group known as Humble Pie was worried about being branded as a ‘super group’ (an exceptionally successful rock group, in particular one formed by musicians already famous from playing in other groups).  They decided to take an unassuming name in order to brace them from becoming a disappointment for any high expectations that people might have of them, as many groups in that category did not always end up meeting with the success that fans thought should happen.  They chose this name Humble Pie so their band could express modesty and so they could try to keep a low profile. A showcase for former Small Faces’ frontman Steve Marriott and one-time Herd guitar virtuoso Peter Frampton, the hard rock outfit Humble Pie formed in Essex, England in 1969.  Also featuring ex-Spooky Tooth bassist Greg Ridley along with seventeen-year-old drummer Jerry Shirley.

In mid-1965, four like-minded rockers came together to form one of the greatest bands of the era.  They called themselves the Small Faces, because all the members were small in physical stature, being shorter in height than the average person and a ‘Face’ represented somebody who was special, and cool.  Steve Marriott played guitar, harmonica, keyboards and he had one of the most incredible and powerful voices ever in rock n’ roll, and the rest of the band included drummer Kenny Jones and Ronnie Lane who played bass, sang vocals, and played rhythm guitar, and keyboardist Ian McLagan.  By the beginning of 1969, Steve Marriott was really growing tired of what he saw as the limitations of the Small Faces.  Marriott did not vacillate about leaving the group, as one night he dropped his guitar on stage, because his heart just wasn’t in it and his participation in the band came to an end by March 1969.

Marriott and bassist Ronnie Lane had produced a single called ‘Sunshine Cottage’ for the Herd, a pop group that featured a young Peter Frampton.  Marriott was suitably impressed by the young guitarist, and pondered bringing him into the band.  Both Lane and keyboardist Ian McLagan, however, disagreed with the idea.  When Steve Marriott left the Small Faces to form Humble Pie he was replaced by Rod Stewart and Ronnie Wood and the group was now known as Faces.  Small Faces had several hits and they were even mentioned in the Byrds song ‘Eight Miles High’ with the line “Small faces unbound”.  While Steve Marriott was in Small Faces, he was able to emulate black vocalists, producing an emotional, soulful, highly mature sound that seemed implausible from such a pocket-sized body and his onstage appearance was dazzling, revealing and filled with physical confidence.

Peter Frampton started playing guitar in the Heard at the age of 15.  Frampton’s primary motivation for joining Humble Pie was to escape the teen idol status he’d been pegged with by his former band, the Herd, and indeed, his songs provided a welcome, milder foil for Steve Marriott’s wild-eyed, irrepressible energy.  The fledgling group Humble Pie spent the first several months of its existence locked away in Marriott’s Essex cottage, desiring to be left alone like a lamppost, while maintaining a relentless practice schedule.  They were signed to the Immediate label, and Humble Pie soon issued their debut single ‘Natural Born Bugie’ (often misspelled as Boogie), which hit the British Top Ten and paved the way for the group’s debut album, ‘As Safe as Yesterday Is’.

Humble Pie toured the U.S. and returned home to discover that their record company Immediate had declared bankruptcy. The band recruited a new manager, Dee Anthony, who helped land them a new deal with A&M.  As Marriott’s raw blues shouting began to dominate subsequent LPs like 1970’s eponymous effort and 1971’s Rock On, Frampton’s role in the band that he co-founded gradually diminished.  After the group’s performance ‘Rockin’ the Fillmore’, Frampton left Humble Pie to embark on a solo career.

Released in 1971, Rock On was the fourth studio album by the English rock group Humble Pie, and saw them establishing the heavy blues/rock sound they became famous for.  It reached #118 on the Billboard 200.  This was the final studio album to feature guitarist and vocalist Peter Frampton.  Peter Frampton wrote the song ‘Shine On’ which was the chosen as the opening track on Rock On and this signaled Frampton’s readiness to step out from under Marriott’s shadow and embark on his own lucrative solo career.  The Soul Sisters which included, P P Arnold, Doris Troy and Claudia Lennear were the backing vocals on this song.  This song did not make the charts, but Frampton would later perform ‘Shine On’ in his concerts.

‘Shine On’ is a fun song that the audience usually sings along with the band during concerts.  I think that Frampton wrote the song ‘Shine On’ about a muse who he considered to be a source of inspiration for creativity.  He is not able to see her in the dark, but she is beside him using her helping hand to guide him.  He asks her to look about and tell him what she sees. He thinks that she will be able to filter out all noise and dirt and plastic people to reach a bluer shade of jade, which is better than black or white is.  He asks his muse to take him on a ride, be there by his side and let it shine on.

Marriott died in a house fire in 1991 and he was inducted posthumously into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2012 as a member of Small Faces.  Preliminary reports said the fire was caused by smoking in bed, as it was thought that Marriott was probably too lazy to put out his cigarette before he fell asleep.  The iconic guitarist with a distinctive sound, Peter Frampton is still alive and kicking, and in 2011 he won a Grammy Award, but he is not a member of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame yet. Frampton is only 68 years old and since Rolling Stone magazine rated his 1976 album ‘Frampton Comes Alive’ as number 46 out of the greatest live albums of all time and his abundant talent, I anticipate that one day he will make it to the shrine in Cleveland.

Find it hard to see you in the dark
I looked around
You were beside me

Don’t you realize it’s hard to dream
Without your helping hand to guide me

This could be the one, girl
If you will be my sun

Shine on
Me, shine on me
Let it shine on
Shine on
All I have to do is let it shine on

Please look about and tell me what you see
All noise and dirt and plastic people
Cause love is clean
And ours has been a bluer shade of jade
Than black or white is

Take me on a ride, girl
Right there by my side, Oh

Shine on
Shine on me, shine on you
Let it shine on
Shine on
All I have to do is let it shine on

Shine on
Shine on me, shine on you
Let it shine on
Shine on
All I have to do is let it shine on

Written for Daily Addictions prompt – Anticipate, for FOWC with Fandango – Lamppost, for Sheryl’s A New Daily Post Word Prompt – Abundant, for Ragtag Community – Brace, for Scotts Daily Prompt – Lazy and for Word of the Day Challenge Prompt – Vacillate.