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Songs of the Sixties Trivia By John William Tuohy

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The James Bond Theme is the main signature theme of the James Bond films and is featured in every "official"007 film since Dr. No in different versions. At the time of the first film's release, surf rock was a recent craze which gave the tune its distinct surfer sound.

Jackson" is a song written by Jerry Leiber and Billy Edd Wheeler “Jackson' came to me” Wheeler said “when I read the script for Edward Albee's Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf (I was too broke to see the play on Broadway)...When I played it for Jerry Leiber, he said 'Your first verses suck,' or words to that effect. 'Throw them away and start the song with your last verse, "We got married in a fever, hotter than a pepper sprout."' When I protested to Jerry that I couldn't start the song with the climax, he said, 'Oh, yes you can.' So I rewrote the song and thanks to Jerry's “ing” and help, it worked.”

Jimmy Mack was a 1967 pop/soul single recorded by Martha (Reeves) and the Vandellas.  The inspiration for this song came from a 1964 music industry awards dinner, which Lamont Dozier attended. At the ceremony the mother of the songwriter Ronnie Mack accepted an award for her son, who had recently died, for his composition He's So Fine. Under pressure to come up with a hit for Reeves and the Vandellas, Dozier and the team penned this song in part a tribute to Mack the writer. "Jimmy Mack" was originally recorded in 1964 when Annette Beard was still a part of the group. The song was shelved because the Motown Quality Control team felt the recording was not suitable for release since it might be seen as an anti-war song.

Judy in Disguise (With Glasses) was done by the Louisiana-based John Fred and His Playboy Band in early 1968. The song was a parody of The Beatles' hit, "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds". According to The Billboard Book of Number One Hits by Fred Bronson, the song was inspired by Fred's listening to "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" and mistakenly believing that the lyrics to the song were "Lucy in disguise with diamonds" and disappointed when he read the liner notes.

Jumpin' Jack Flash by The Rolling Stones was released as a single in 1968. Keith Richards said that he and Jagger wrote the lyrics while staying at Richards' country house, where they were awoken one morning by the sound of gardener Jack Dyer walking past the window. When Jagger asked what the noise was, Richards responded: "Oh, that's Jack – that's jumpin' Jack." Jagger said that the song arose "...out of all the acid of Satanic Majesties... It's about having a hard time and getting out. Just a metaphor for getting out of all the acid things."

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Kentucky Woman by Neil Diamond was released in 1967 and written while he was on a 32-city tour with the Dick Clark Caravan, sharing a bill with Tommy Roe, Billy Joe Royal and P.J. Proby.  Diamond liked this song, but he wanted the more personal Shilo released as the single. Bert Berns of Bang Records felt Kentucky Woman was the hit, and released it against Diamond's wishes. This caused a rift which led to Diamond's departure from the label a year later. Shilo is song is about a child who makes up an imaginary friend. Diamond later said that he was at least partially addressing his younger self, and called the song a feast for psychological interpretation. Sweet Caroline is about Caroline Kennedy,  the daughter of president John F. Kennedy. Girl, You'll Be A Woman Soon was written to appease Diamond’s large female following

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Lay Lady Lay by Bob Dylan was released in 1969 and rose to number 7. The song was originally written, by Dylan, for the gritty 1969 movie Midnight Cowboy but it was bumped by Harry Nilsson's Everybody's Talkin', which was released the year before. Oddly enough, Nilsson wrote I Guess the Lord Must Be in New York City for the films main song but that was also bumped out by Everybody's Talking.  Pay attention, there’s going to be a test on all of this at the end of the book so….Anyway, Everybody's Talking, won an Oscar. As for Lay Lady Lay, some radio stations refused to play the song because they deemed it to sexual. Dylan said the song was written with his then wife in mind. In fact the Dylan’s did sleep in a big brass bed in their home in Woodstock New York. (Another version is that the song was written about Dylan’s dog, Lady)

Bob Dylan’s Like a Rolling Stone (1965) charted, remarkably, at number 2. Like the singer himself, the song lasts to long, 6:13.  It was an unfortunate wonder that it got any airplay at all since most stations in the 1960s refused to play songs much longer than 3 minutes.  Supposedly the title is reference to Hank Williams song Lost Highway, which contains the line, I'm a rolling stone, I'm alone and lost. For those who insist on finding deeper meaning to this ditty, the song is supposed to be about the WASP socialite Edie Sedgwick and blah blah blah.
Unlike conventional chart hits of the time, the lyrics of "Like a Rolling Stone" were not about love, but expressed resentment and a yearning for revenge. Author Oliver Trager describes the lyrics as "Dylan's sneer at a woman who has fallen from grace and is reduced to fending for herself in a hostile, unfamiliar world."  Until now, the song's target, Miss Lonely, has taken the easy way out, gone to the finest schools and had high-placed friends, but now that her situation has become difficult she has no meaningful experiences on which to base her character. The opening lines of the song establish the woman's former condition:
Once upon a time you dressed so fine
Threw the bums a dime in your prime, didn't you?
And the first verse ends with lines deriding her current condition:
Now you don't talk so loud
Now you don't seem so proud
About having to be scrounging your next meal


Troggs lead singer Reg Presley (His real name was Reginald Ball. He adopted the name of Presley in 1966 as a publicity stunt.) wrote the 1967 hit Love Is All Around in 10 minutes, inspired by the Joy Strings Salvation Army band he'd seen on TV. The Troggs were from the town of Andover in southern England, (except bass guitarist Anthony Murray who was born in Ireland) and were originally called The Troglodytes. The band's original drummer, Ronnie Bond, died in 1992. Dave Wright, another founding member, died in October 2008.  The bands other hit song Wild Thing was written by New York City-born songwriter Chip Taylor (The brother of actor Jon Voight). The song was originally recorded by The Wild Ones in 1965. The Troggs were an English rock band from the 1960s that had a number of hits in UK and the US. Their most famous songs include, "Wild Thing", "Love Is All Around" and "With a Girl Like You". They were signed by the manager of The Kinks, Larry Page in 1965. The band's success in the US was also limited by not touring there until 1968.

Paul Mauriat was a French orchestra leader who specialized in light music. He had an enormous hit in the US with the beautiful remake of André Popp's Love is Blue, which was #1 for 6 weeks in 1968. Paul Mauriat died on November 3, 2006 at the age of 81.

Laughing by The Guess (Above) Who was  #1 in their native Canada before it pored over to the US.  The band’s name was actually a marketing gimmick made up by their label, Quality Records.  The idea was to evoke in the fans' minds the suspicion that this might be the Beatles playing incognito. The bands actual name at that time was  Chad Allan & The Expressions, but radio station DJs continued to refer to them as The Guess Who and the name stuck.

Little Deuce Coupe by The Beach Boys was a great song from 1963. A deuce is a car produced by Ford in 1932 (the 2 in 1932 is the deuce). …in case, like me, you didn’t know what the song was about. Also, the line at the end of the song, There's one more thing, I got the pink slip daddy, means that the singer won a race with his Little Deuce Coupe, earning him his opponent's car. The pink slip is the vehicle's registration, so racing for pink slips means the winner gets the other car.

Little Ole Man was a story telling joke more than a record by Bill Cosby that reached number 4 on the charts in 1967.

Lodi by Creedence Clearwater Revival was a reflection song on the group’s salad days playing in small towns before they hit it big. Lodi, (John Fogerty who wrote the song never actually visited the city) by the way, is a city in California located in the central valley, about 30 miles south of Sacramento and 75 or 100 miles east of San Francisco/Oakland. It’s actually a fairly nice place.

Louie Louie is the ultimate 6o’s song. It was recorded in 1964 by The Kingsmen. The song was written by an R&B singer named Richard Berry in 1955 (It was released in 1957) for his group, The Pharaohs. The song's notoriety comes from the indecipherable lyrics but in the original version the words are very clear and its evident that the song is about a sailor who spends three days traveling to Jamaica to see his girl. Dwight Rounds, author of The Year The Music Died, 1964-1972, wrote “The words to Louie, Louie are almost impossible to understand, and are rumored to be obscene. No question that this added significantly to the sales of the single.     There was probably a leak somewhere that the lyrics were obscene; otherwise no one would have realized it. This was the most ingenious marketing scheme ever. The FBI tried to track down Richard Berry, The Kingsmen, and various record company executives. They were never able to determine the actual lyrics used.
 To this day, the Kingsmen insist they said nothing lewd, despite the obvious mistake at the end of the instrumental, where Jack Ely started to sing the last verse one bar too soon, and can be heard yelling something in the background. Ely also said that he sung far away from the microphone, which caused the fuzzy sound, and that the notoriety was initiated by the record company. The words sound much more like the official version seen below, especially the word rose instead of bone. The lyrics rumor was a sham. The official lyrics are in plain print, and one of the many alternative versions are in.”
In 1966, The Sandpipers took the song to #30 in the US.

Love Child was the Supremes' first number #1 hit not written by the team of Brian Holland, Lamont Dozier and Eddie Holland who had already left Motown when this song was being recorded. Motown founder Berry Gordy wrote this with staff songwriters. A year after this came out, The Supremes released a sequel song called I'm Livin' In Shame, which told the story of the child growing up embarrassed by her mother.

Last Kiss by J. Frank Wilson & the Cavaliers was released in 1964. This song was written by Wayne Cochran of Barnesville Georgia who saw an accident that involved two teens, Jeanette Clark and J.L. Hancock, who were both 16 years old. Their car hit a tractor-trailer a few days before Christmas in 1962. J.L. Hancock and Jeannette Clark's friend Wayne Cooper, who was riding with them, was killed instantly. Their two other friends, Jewel Emerson and Ed Shockley, survived with serious injuries. A local gas station attendant helping with the recovery of the bodies did not recognize his own daughter. Clark, who lived near the road and whose friend had been dating Jeannette Clark's sister at the time of the wreck, wrote the song and dedicated it to Jeanette Clark. The song was a local hit in Georgia when Major Bill Smith, the producer of Hey Paula by Paul and Paula bought a copy and persuaded J. Frank Wilson & the Cavaliers to cover it.  Four months after the release of this song, J. Frank Wilson & the Cavaliers were touring in Ohio. At about 5:15 a.m., their driver fell asleep at the wheel. The car drifted left of center and rammed head-on into a trailer truck. The driver was killed instantly. Wilson survived with a few broken ribs and a broken ankle and went on with the tour, taking only a week off. The second accident is what pushed this to #2 on the national charts.  Wilson later left music and went to work in a nursing home.

Last Train to Clarksville by the Monkees came out in 1966 and was written by Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart, the songwriting team that wrote a great many of the songs for the Monkees. (As well as Chubby Checker and Jay and the Americans.) Boyce and Hart wrote this as a protest to the Vietnam War. They had to keep this quiet in order to get it recorded, but it is about a guy who gets drafted and goes to fight in the war. The train is taking him to an army base, and he knows he may die in Vietnam. At the end of the song he states, I don't know if I'm ever coming home. Bobby Hart said “ We were just looking for a name that sounded good. There's a little town in Northern Arizona I used to go through in the summer on the way to Oak Creek Canyon called Clarksdale. We were throwing out names, and when we got to Clarksdale, we thought Clarksville sounded even better. We didn't know it at the time, but there is an Air Force base near the town of Clarksville, Tennessee - which would have fit the bill fine for the story line. We couldn't be too direct with The Monkees. We couldn't really make a protest song out of it - we kind of snuck it in.” Hart got the idea for the lyrics when he turned on the radio and heard the end of The Beatles' Paperback Writer. He thought Paul McCartney was singing Take the last train, and decided to use the line when he found out McCartney was actually singing Paperback Writer. The Monkees didn't play on this. The 4 members of the group were chosen from over 400 applicants to appear on a TV show based on The Beatles movie A Hard Day's Night. The show was about a fictional band, so the members were chosen more for their looks and acting ability than for their musical talent. Session musicians played on their albums. This was The Monkees' first single. It was released shortly after their TV show started on NBC and got a lot of publicity as a result. The Monkees followed this up with another hit, I'm A Believer, and had several more hits before their show was canceled in 1968. Eventually, the group wrote their own songs and played their own instruments.

Leader of the Pack was a 1964 tune by the Shangri-Las that hit number 1 for three weeks. British radio and TV stations banned the song because of the mod Vs. rocker rumbles going on in England at the time….yeah, they had had Mod versus rockers riots in England. The sound of the motorcycle is the engineer's Harley Davidson. Legend has it that that’s a young Billy Joel played the piano on this song . Joel said “I know I played piano on a session. The girls themselves weren't at the session, but that kinda happens all the time, the singers come in later. I played note for note what is on the record, but I wasn't in the musician's union – I was about 14 or 15 – so for all I know they may have got a union guy in to do it later. I never got paid, never got a form to show it was me on the record, so I can't say for sure it's me, but I like to think it was. Actually, it was my very first recording session – a guitar player friend got me in. I also did 'Remember (Walkin' in The Sand)'. The producer, Shadow Morton, was a strange guy. He had a very theatrical way of producing, he used to wear a cape in the studio. I don't know if he'd been taking any intoxicating substances – what did I know at that age? – but he was very intimidating to a young kid like me. I just kept my head down hoping no one would find out I wasn't in the union, but I never got paid, so maybe someone squealed on me.”

Let's Dance is a wonderful song by Chris Montez that came out in 1962. Most young boys turned the lyric  “hey baby won't cha take a chance/ say that you'll let me have this dance” to “hey baby won't cha take a chance/ I left the rubbers in my other pants” You had to be there.

Light My Fire was a smash hit for the Doors in 1967 that took the Doors from being a local LA underground band to super star status. Originally the record company thought the song was too long to get radio play, so the guitar solos were edited to make the record considerably shorter. Jim Morrison disliked this song and hated performing it, most think, because he hadn’t played any part in writing the tune. Yeah, his ego was that big. The Doors sold the recording rights to Jose Feliciano who had his own hot with the record. Buick, the car company,  offered The Doors $100,000 to use this in a commercial as Come on Buick, light my fire. This was at a time when a very high yearly income was $15,000.00 a year.  Morrison was away in France at the time the offer came in. When he returned and learned about the deal, he threw his usual fit and killed the deal.

Letter to the Beatles by The Four Preps. It was released on March 9, 1964 by Capitol Records. The song is about a boy who lost his girlfriend to the Beatles. On its first day, it went to number 85 on the Billboard Hot 100, and it seemed the song would be a hit. However, the song was pulled from shelves a few days after it was released per The Beatles. The Beatles management, primarily Brian Epstein, requested the song be removed stating it labeled The Beatles as "blatantly commercial". The song is still not sold in stores as a single, but it is included in a CD by the Four Preps

Love Me with All Your Heart was based on the Spanish language song "Cuando calienta el sol". The music was written by Rafael Gaston Perez, a Nicaraguan songwriter and bandleader, and made famous first by the Rigual Brothers and was published in 1961. Although both the Spanish and the English versions are love songs, the lyrics are not translations of each other.  A version recorded by The Ray Charles Singers went to number three on the Billboard Hot 100 and spent four weeks at number one on the Pop-Standard singles chart in June 1964


Let's Live for Today was first recorded by the English band the Rokes in 1966. It was a hit for The Grass Roots in May of 1967. The original song had Italian lyrics and the Italian title of "Piangi Con Me" (translated as "Cry with Me"). 

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