Wednesday, August 17, 2016

"Strangers in the Night" Vs. "Eleanor Rigby"

Putting things into perspective is something that research makes pervasive. Over the past year writing this blog, I have begun to think about my connection to the music. Is it my music? Is it music that I inherited based on my mother's association with people in the industry? Where was I living? What songs were on the radio? I research and contemplate LPs for the most part, but in the 1960s (and once again in the 80s, due to the advent of the 12 in.), it was individual titles that impressed me more. Today it surely seems as if the LP has seen its day, and yet, I'm also noticing many more people, young people, walking around with books rather than iPads, indeed, reading on paper; and so many of them are into vinyl as well. There is hope.

50 years ago, the 93 KHJ (Los Angeles) Boss 30 looked like this: 1. "California Dreamin'" 2. "Daydream" (Lovin' Spoonful) 3. "(You're My) Soul and Inspiration" (Righteous Brothers) 4. "The Ballad of the Green Berets" (Staff Sergeant Barry Sadler) 5. "19th Nervous Breakdown" 6. "Nowhere Man" 7. "Bang, Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down)" (Cher), 8. "I'm So Lonely I  Could Cry)" (BJ Thomas) 9. "Secret Agent Man" (Johnny Rivers) 10. "Homeward Bound" (Simon and Garfunkel).

With the exception of The Beatles' double A-Side single "We Can Work it Out"/"Day Tripper" (the 2nd biggest song of '66), the biggest sellers of the year had not yet been released. The year's top single, Frank Sinatra's "Strangers in the Night" would be released in May. The double A "Yellow Submarine"/"Eleanor Rigby" would come in at No. 3. No. 4 was The Beach Boys' "Good Vibrations," followed by The Beatles, once again, with "Paperback Writer"/"Rain." The biggest LPs of the year were The Beatles' Revolver and Simon and Garfunkel's Sound of Silence; keep in mind that both Rubber Soul and the soundtrack to The Sound of Music each sold more copies than either release, but were released in 1965. In addition, these two studio LPs did not sell as well as The Beach Boys Greatest Hits, which in my book (post) doesn't count.

It's not the generated sales in reality, and of course it has nothing at all to do with Frank Sinatra taking on The Beatles; what is truly mind boggling is the density of the music 50 years ago. I remain a champion of modern music and as we speak I play an awful lot of Weezer and The Last Shadow Puppets, but (here we go again)... Blonde on Blonde, Revolver, Pet Sounds, Freak Out, Aftermath, If You Can Believe Your Eyes and Ears, Fresh Cream, DaCapo, Sounds of Silence, Buffalo Springfield. That's 10 LPs for which one does not even have to offer up the artist. Three of these are on Rolling Stone's Top 10 LPs of all time (1965 has 2; no other year has more than 1).