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Songs of the Sixties Trivia By John William Tuohy



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The Rose Garden was a folk rock musical group from Los Angeles, California that hit it big with their song "Next Plane To London" which reached #17 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart at the end of that year. The group broke up by the end of 1968.


Nights in White Satin by The Moody Blues came out in 1967. The London Festival Orchestra, which was supposed to have done the back up on this song never actually existed, it was simply a name given to the local musicians put together by the union to make the album and the song.  Group member Justin Hayward wrote the song, having gotten the idea for it after someone gave him a set of white satin sheets. He penned the work in his bed, on the white satin sheets “I wrote our most famous song” he said 'Nights in White Satin' when I was 19. It was a series of random thoughts and was quite autobiographical. It was a very emotional time as I was at the end of one big love affair and the start of another. A lot of that came out in the song.” Sadly, for Hayward, he sold the rights to this song to British singer Lonnie Donegan for a small sum of money and never made any real money from it.

Needles and Pins was written by Jack Nitzsche and Sonny Bono. The song was originally recorded by Jackie DeShannon and then The Searchers, who had a hit with it.
 The Searchers were originally founded as a skiffle group in Liverpool in 1959 by John McNally and Mike Pender, the band took their name from the classic 1956 John Wayne western The Searchers. They were the second group from Liverpool, after the Beatles, to have a hit in the United States when "Needles and Pins" charted during the first week of March 1964. The band's hits included a remake of the Drifters' 1961 hit, "Sweets for My Sweet"; remakes of Jackie DeShannon's "Needles and Pins" and "When You Walk In The Room"; an original song written for them, "Sugar and Spice"; The Orlons' "As musical styles evolved, the Searchers could not keep up and as a result, the hits ran out. While they continued to record for Liberty Records and RCA Records, they ended up on the British "Chicken in a Basket" circuit, although they did score a minor US hit in 1971 with "Desdemona".

No Milk Today is a song that was written by songster Graham Gouldman and originally recorded by Herman's Hermits (Above) and not released as a single in the US ("Dandy" was released in its place) Gouldman also wrote "Listen People” for the group.
No Time is a song by Canadian rock band The Guess Who. Composed by guitarist Randy Bachman and lead singer Burton Cummings, the song is basically a Dear John letter stating, "No time left for you".

Never on Sunday, was recorded for the film of same name. It won the Academy Award for Best Original Song in 1960, a first for a foreign-language picture.  An orchestral version recorded by Don Costa reached number 19 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1960, while it also remained on the chart into 1961

Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye was written and recorded by Paul Leka, Gary DeCarlo and Dale Frashuer and attributed to a fictitious band they named "Steam" and became a number one pop single on the Billboard Hot 100 in late 1969.  The song, issued as filler on the B side of the record, had actually been written in the early 1960s when they were members of a band from Bridgeport, Connecticut, called The Chateaus. The Chateaus disbanded after several failed recordings. The record sold almost 7 million copies.

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Only the Lonely (Know the Way I Feel) was a 1960 hit for Roy Orbison, his first major hit on a 45 record. It reached number 2 on the charts and number one in England. Orbinson had a sad life. His wife was killed in a road accident with a semi-trailer in 1966. While he was on tour in September of 1968 Orbison received the news that his home in Hendersonville, Tennessee had burned down and his two eldest sons had died.  The property was sold to Johnny Cash, who planted an orchard on it.

On Top of Spaghetti is a ballad and children's song written and originally performed by folk singer Tom Glazer (Above) with the Do-Re-Mi Children's Chorus in 1963. The song is sung to the tune of "On Top Of Old Smokey". The song is essentially the tale of a meatball that was lost when "somebody sneezed". The song discusses what happens to the meatball after it falls off of the spaghetti and becomes lost.
All covered with cheese (all covered with cheese)
I lost my poor meatball (I lost my poor meatball)
When somebody sneezed (when somebody sneezed)
It rolled off the table (it rolled off the table)
And onto the floor (and onto the floor)
And then my poor meatball (and then my poor meatball)
Rolled out of the door (rolled out of the door)
It rolled in the garden (it rolled in the garden)
And under a bush (and under a bush)
And then my poor meatball (and then my poor meatball)
Was nothing but mush (was nothing but mush

Oye Como Va is a song written by Latin jazz and mambo musician Tito Puente in 1963 and popularized by Santana's cover of the song in 1970. The title comes from the first words: Oye como va, generally translated means “Listen to this” and/or ‘check this out”

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People Got to Be Free by The Rascals was an upbeat but impassioned plea for tolerance and freedom.

Puppy Love was written by Canadian Paul Anka in 1960 for Annette Funicello, (From the Micky Mouse Club) whom he was dating at the time. It hit number 2 on the charts and was a hit again a few years later for Donny Osmond.

Purple Haze was recorded in 1967 by The Jimi Hendrix Experience. Reportedly, the song came into being after his manager Chas Chandler heard Hendrix playing the riff backstage and suggested that he write lyrics to go with it.  Hendrix denied the drug relation of the song claiming it to be merely another love song. He said that the line "Whatever it is, that girl put a spell on me" is the key line to the lyrics.

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Rag Doll by the Four Seasons was written by band member Bob Gaudio in 1964. Gaudio was driving his car in New York City when he was stopped at a red light and a little girl with ragged clothes and dirty face  ran up to the car and cleaned the windshield and asked for money.  Gaudio gave her five dollars bill and when to the studio and composed the song.  Because their regular studio was closed on Sundays, they recorded this in the basement of a Manhattan demo studio, using a production crew with whom they had never worked before. The B-side was the original version of Silence Is Golden, a big hit with the English group Tremeloes in 1967.

Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head by B.J. Thomas was a hit in 1969. It was written by Burt Bacharach and Hal David wrote this for the film Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid.  Thomas was recording for Scepter Records, which also recorded Dionne Warwick, a favorite of Bacharach and David (I Say A Little Prayer.) Warwick took a copy of Thomas' song Hooked on A Feeling to Bacharach and convinced him to consider Thomas for Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head. (At that point the song had already been turned down by Bob Dylan and Ray Stevens.) Thomas got the song but was getting over laryngitis when he recorded it which gave the song a deeper sound.

Running Bear was a song written by radio DJ The Big Bopper( J. P. Richardson) and sung by Johnny Preston. (Above)  Richardson and George Jones are heard in the back of the song chanting of UGO UGO during the three verses, as well as the Indian war cries. It was number one for three weeks in January 1960.  Richardson was killed in the plane crash that also killed Buddy Holly and Ritchie Valens.

 Rubber Ball was a 1961 hit for Bobby Vee. (Robert Thomas Velline above)  The song was produced by Thomas Snuff Garrett, a 19-year-old Texan, and co-written at the Brill Building in New York by Gene Pitney, using his mother's maiden name, (Orlowski). Bob Dylan toured with Vee as a backup musician under the name Elston Gunnn.

Ringo, I Love You by American Cher and released under the pseudonym "Bonnie Jo Mason". This pseudonym was used at the start of Cher's career when she was based in Los Angeles, CA. The song was released in 1964 during the height of Beatle mania. The original vinyl released in 1964 in now a rarity "Beatle Blues" is on its B-side, a typical Spector instrumental song, which was always made so that it wouldn't receive any attention, and so that the A-side would get all the attention.

Rainy Night in Georgia was written by Tony Joe White in 1962 and popularized by R&B vocalist Brook Benton in 1970. Tony Joe White was best known for his 1969 hit "Polk Salad Annie


Ruby Tuesday by The Rolling Stones is a song about a groupie although it may have been inspired by Linda Keith, who was Keith Richard's girlfriend. Linda had taken up with Jimi Hendrix, and had gotten involved with drugs. She left Keith, and he tried to get her back. He eventually went to her parents and told them she was going down a dark path. Linda's father went to New York to collect her, and by order of court she was grounded, something she would never forgive Keith for.   Richards said in According to Richards: It was probably written about Linda Keith not being there (laughs). I don't know, she had pissed off somewhere. It was very mournful, very, VERY Ruby Tuesday and it was a Tuesday. That's one of those things - some chick you've broken up with. And all you've got left is the piano and the guitar and a pair of panties. And it's goodbye you know. And so it just comes out of that. And after that you just build on it. It's one of those songs that are easiest to write because you're really right there and you really sort of mean it. And for a songwriter, hey break his heart and he'll come up with a good song. “Originally the song was called Title B.  Brian Jones plays the recorder (it sounds like a flute) in this song. 

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