DEAR JERRY: I am often flabbergasted by some great songs that somehow never received any attention at the time, but, decades later, become hot classics. Some are even legendary.
In your archives, I found a mention of “Don't Make My Poor Heart Weep,” by Bobby Rand (1957), one very good example.
But one I'd like your comments about is “Good,” a mid-'60s stomper by Dee Dee Sharp.
As far as I can determine, this great record flopped when originally issued, yet it is now her most sought-after and most valuable record. Fortunately I bought mine long ago, before it got “discovered.”
How could this gem have been so completely overlooked by every radio station at the time?
A friend said to blame it on the Beatles and the British Invasion. What do you think?
Jesse Gillian, Huntsville, Ala.
DEAR JESSE: I think the reasoning behind your friend's comment is somewhat accurate, though I would never put it in those words.
The flood of British artists on the American charts, and broadcast beams, clearly resulted in fewer slots available for homegrown acts. Many great recordings, such as “Good,” that would have probably been Top 40 hits in 1963, just didn't make the cut in '64.
The dramatic changes in the music industry at that time probably account for many a good tune being overlooked, as programmers focused on the big beat imports.
For that admittedly unique year, roughly 15% of the Top 100 hits are by the Brits. And with the Beatles leading the UK invaders, they are likely the first name mentioned or in your friend's case, blamed for the chart congestion.
However, with “Good” (Cameo 335), there is one undeniable fact: it came out in November 1964, smack dab in the middle of a five-week stretch when the Beatles, surprisingly, did not appear anywhere in the Top 100!
Thus from October 31 to December 4, the Fab Four didn't stand in the way of anyone else's releases.
Finally, you are right about “Good” being a high ticket item. It often sells in the $200 to $300 range.
DEAR JERRY: I have read about how the Grammy Award sometimes went to perplexing selections, especially in their early years.
The point is made using “Alley Cat” as an example, a piano instrumental from the early '60s. Apparently this easy listening tune walked off with the “Best Rock and Roll Recording.”
Since there is not a second of “Alley Cat” that anyone would categorize as Rock and Roll, how could this have been the winner?
In your opinion, what should the winner have been that year?
Nan Kirkland, Lakeland, Fla.
DEAR NAN: On May 15, 1963, the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences announced the Grammy Award winners for 1962 releases, and they did indeed proclaim “Alley Cat” the “Best Rock and Roll Recording.”
Obviously, a far more appropriate category would have been “Best Instrumental Theme,” or even “Best Instrumental Arrangement.” But those awards went to “A Taste of Honey” and “Baby Elephant Walk,” respectively.
Regardless, you are right about “Alley Cat” being light years away from anyone's interpretation of Rock and Roll.
Of 39 Grammys awarded that year, not a single one went to what most would consider a Rock and Roll recording.
My choice for 1962's “Best Rock and Roll Recording” is “The Twist,” by Chubby Checker. It not only spearheaded a worldwide dance craze, but also became the first song to reach No. 1 in two separate years: 1960 and '62.
IZ ZAT SO? It's no April Fool joke, but for in first week of April 1964, the Beatles held the Top 5 chart slots. Their records that week are: 1. “Can't Buy Me Love.” 2. “Twist and Shout.” 3. “She Loves You.” 4. “I Want to Hold Your Hand.” 5. “Please Please Me.”
Only two British groups made the Top 10 that week, the other being the Dave Clark Five. At No. 10 is “Glad All Over.”
There is not a single week in '64 when a European act is not represented in the American Top 10. For the first three weeks (pre-Beatles) in January, it is Belgium's Singing Nun, with “Dominique.”