Music throwback: When I turned 4 plus 10

Freddie Scott’s best showing on the POP charts was Hey Girl, a song written and composed by him, Gerry Goffin and Carole King

One of the those social media memes claims that the song that was #1 on birthday number 4 plus 10 defines your life. Well, that’s ominous.

If I go to the Billboard Hot 100, it gives me Love Is Here And Now You’re Gone by THE SUPREMES, #1 for just a week. Oh, thanks a lot.

But that’s for the week of March 11, because of the way they calculate these things. What about if I cheat and pick the week before, which actually runs through my natal day? That would be Ruby Tuesday by THE ROLLING STONES. At work, my on-the-phone day has been Tuesday for many years, so maybe that’s significant.

Hey, maybe I should look at the soul charts. (Sigh). Same sad SUPREMES song. But for the FOUR weeks before, there’s Are You Lonely For Me by Freddie Scott. I had heard it, but I don’t KNOW it like I recognize the others. Probably it’s because it only got to #39 on the pop charts.

His best showing on the POP charts was Hey Girl, a song written and composed by him, Gerry Goffin and Carole King, which went to #10 on both the pop and soul charts in 1963.

Not incidentally, the Billboard R&B charts were not published between November 30, 1963 and January 23, 1965, ostensibly because there was so much crossover, though the breakout of both the Beatles and Motown in 1964 would suggest otherwise.

Freddie Scott’s next two top 100 pop hits were I Got A Woman, #48 pop in 1963 and Where Does Love Go, #82 pop in 1964. They did get to #27 and #30 on the comparable Cash Box R&B charts.

The “correct” song on the country charts for me is The Fugitive by Merle Haggard. But the song that was #1 for two weeks before March 11 AND the two weeks afterwards is Where Does The Good Times Go by Buck Owens, not only a sad lyric, but ungrammatical to boot.

Listen to:

The Supremes – Love Is Here And Now You’re Gone
The Rolling Stones – Ruby Tuesday

Merle Haggard – The Fugitive
Buck Owens – Where Does The Good Times Go

Songs by Freddie Scott:
Hey Girl
Are You Lonely For Me Baby
I Got a Woman
Where Does Love Go

Chuck turned 14 in 1977. Poor Chuck.

Conversely, Dustbury was born correctly.

Music Throwback Saturday: Am I Asking Too Much

R Dean Taylor had an unlikely Motown hit of his own, Indiana Wants Me

Supremes.neverOne of the earlier compact discs I bought was The Never-Before-Released Masters by Diana Ross and the Supremes. It was definitely a mixed bag of songs from 1961 through 1969 that represented both major iterations of the group: Mary Wilson and Diana Ross with the late Florence Ballard, and after the group name change, with Cindy Birdsong.

Among other things, the album contains recordings for the unreleased album Diana Ross & The Supremes Sing Disney Classics Continue reading “Music Throwback Saturday: Am I Asking Too Much”

Mary Wilson of the Supremes is 70

Maybe the choreography, with the STOP hand gestures, was corny, but I loved it.

Also used for Round 15 of ABC Wednesday, S is for Supremes.

Flo, Mary, Diana
Flo, Mary, Diana
They were the Primettes, a sister group the pre-Temptations Primes. Shortly after they became the Supremes in 1961, Barbara Martin left the quartet, and they became a trio: Mary Wilson, Florence Ballard and Diana Ross. The nickname around Motown, unfortunately, was the “No-Hit Supremes” in 1962 and 1963 with A Breath Taking Guy their biggest hit (#75 in 1963). Their fate seemed to be backup singers. (LISTEN to Can I Get A Witness by Marvin Gaye from 1963.)

Suddenly Continue reading “Mary Wilson of the Supremes is 70”

Melancholy Quintet of Songs

All you people who complain about all those sappy, romantic songs, these are for you

On Valentine’s Day, people are always playing these lovey-dovey songs. It being roughly six months from that holiday, I thought I would link to some of those songs I used to play when I broke up with someone. Haven’t done that in well over a decade, fortunately, yet the songs themselves still make me melancholy. It’s strange how music still holds its sway.

The Supremes – Remove This Doubt. You may know this from the Elvis Costello cover, but the original is from one of my favorite Motown albums of the 1960s, The Supremes Sing Holland-Dozier-Holland. Continue reading “Melancholy Quintet of Songs”

S is for Songs from the classics

This swing version of the Lizst rhapsody was a major influence on several aspiring arrangers, including Billy Strayhorn and Billy May.


When I was 11 or 12, I took piano lessons for a little over a year. I wasn’t very good, though I did practice. I will say that it was useful for singing. My piano teacher was Mrs. Hamlin, the organist at my church at the time, who was like family; her parents were my godparents, and her sister’s son was my parents’ godson.

One day, I was laboriously trying to play the Bach Minuet in C, which, incidentally, I had danced to in second grade. Mrs. Hamlin said, “It’s like A Lover’s Concerto by the Toys.” At that very moment, I had no idea what she was talking about, though, of course, now I do.

Actually, I first owned A Lover’s Concerto as a cover version by the Supremes on their I Hear A Symphony album, which also contained their version of Stranger in Paradise from the 1953 musical Kismet, which poached Alexander Borodin’s Polovtsian Dances from Prince Igor.

As it turns out, there are a LOT of pop songs that are based on classical music. Some are very obvious, such as Nut Rocker by B. Bumble and the Stingers, based on Tchaikovsky’s “March of the Wooden Soldiers” from The Nutcracker, or a couple songs from the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack, A Fifth of Beethoven by Walter Murphy, and Night on Disco Mountain by David Shire, the latter based on Mussorgsky.

Others may be more subtle. The J. S. Bach piece O Sacred Head, Now Wounded could be the musical inspiration for American Tune by Paul Simon.

Here’s a lengthy list of songs from the classics, which, of course, are in the public domain, and, as such, are not subject to copyright restrictions. This list is slightly shorter but is more in depth. There are a half dozen songs here, but there are samples of each version.

The one example I found on no list was The Hungarian Rhapsody #2 by Liszt (heard here) which “was also the basis for a popular song, ‘Ebony Rhapsody’ by Sam Coslow and Arthur Johnston, introduced in the 1934 film Murder at the Vanities. In the film, it was played by Duke Ellington and his Orchestra, who also recorded it. This swing version of the rhapsody was a major influence on several aspiring arrangers, including Billy Strayhorn (who later became Duke Ellington’s composing partner) and Billy May (who later recorded ‘Ebony Rhapsody’ with Nat King Cole).

ABC Wednesday – Round 8