Tuesday, December 30, 2008

2008: Great Vinyl Countdown

Before I delve into reader favorites, I want to wrap up a couple of themes from Blog Year 2008 (which I could call BY1 if I wanted to feel self-important). First, I want to point out that I have reacquired a lot of my childhood 45s, but at this point I own about 50 of 300+ records. I suspect that total included about 50 LPs, but even so, there are a lot of 45s I can’t remember.

I do know some labels, and even some titles, of lost 45s. I owned titles on Argo and Wand, for example, and while I have perused discographies, I haven’t had success in recalling which 45s I might have owned. Roulette presents even greater difficulties, since I know a number of songs released on that label, and my memory of what I owned can become intertwined with the songs I’ve known.

I might have a bit more luck with Cub (an MGM subsidiary) and Soma (or is it SOMA?). If I dig out the proper memories there, I’ll tell you. I haven’t tried to find thorough discographies yet.

I blogged about “Beans in My Ears,” but in addition to the hit version, I owned the HIT version. I may buy it someday to compare the two recordings, but it’s not as critical as some songs I haven’t heard at all since 1972.

For example, there’s “Can’t See the Forest (For the Trees),” or something very similar to that. The 45 had a red label with a black serrated edge. That’s what I know. The phrase is such a cliché that search engines aren’t much help. If I get a Goldmine book, I may have a chance of finding the record, but for now, it’s a dead end.

Another cliché title, but this time, one with a melody I can recall, is “Holy Mackerel, Andy.” The obvious problem is that the title refers to Amos ‘n’ Andy, whereas the song may not be related to the duo. The singer sort of yells the title, then says, “Dig that crazy beat.” Overall, the song reminds me of “People Sure Act Funny (When They Get a Lotta Money)” by Titus Turner, but I can’t pin this one down.

And finally, I enjoyed a version of “Money Honey” that I had on a 4-song EP with a green label. This one makes for another rough, cluttered search.

If you have been reading the blog since early days, you know I posted two mystery sides from a 45 whose label fell off before I learned to read. While a couple of good educated guesses led me down some valid avenues of research, no encyclopedic pop musicologist stepped forward to solve the mystery. And so, my thirty years of sleepless nights continue. That would be my one disappointment about getting into this blogging thing.

Preamble over. Now, the results of the voting for the Great Vinyl Countdown.

First, note that the methodology used for the GVC is completely ridiculous. It’s not based on sales, or downloads (which would favor the later songs), or Arbitron ratings. I didn’t force a poll on anyone. So the votes came from readers who like to puzzle out lists of favorite songs.

Most of them like the work of Jeff Barry, so he is well-represented here. As much of his stuff as I featured on the blog, it still accounted for no more than ten percent of the available choices. So don’t blame me for that one.

Speaking of that, I didn’t vote. I did break a four-way tie for tenth place, ’cause it’s my blog, and I didn’t want to post 13 songs.

One thing I did was create an audio countdown of the songs. I split it into two files, 10-6 and 5-1, and they both run around 17 minutes. If you listen to it, you’ll hear the songs in order. For the sake of not spoiling the audio countdown for readers, I’ll post the ten songs here in alphabetical order now. I’ll list them in order at midnight, US Eastern time, on December 31.

When it comes to radio technique, I’m no jb or Yah Shure, so don’t expect an American Top 40 clone for this countdown. I could have tried to run it that way, but I wanted to include more background on the songs than such a format would have allowed. I sound much more community radio than Top 40 here, and my experience is in community radio anyway.

Here are the ten songs that ranked highest among voting readers. I received more votes than I expected, and fewer than I could accommodate, but it was fun to see what people liked, especially when such completely unpredicted choices as “Pony Boy” and “Uh Oh” emerged. Thanks for your votes, and here’s what you chose:

ABBA: I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do
Archies: Sugar, Sugar
Greene, Marlin: General of Broken Hearts
Hefti, Neal: Batman Theme
Highwaymen: The Gypsy Rover
Kim, Andy: Baby, I Love You
Kim, Andy: Be My Baby
McNamara, Robin: Lay a Little Lovin’ on Me
Mellencamp, Johnny Cougar: Under the Boardwalk
Pérez Prado: Why Wait

For Saturday, I’ll initiate a new weekly feature called 1950s Chart Quirks. Eventually I hope to expand it into a “This Week on the Charts in 195X,” but I am waiting for the legal blessing of the various charts compilers before I get too deep into that concept. On Wednesdays, I’ll alternate between profiles of music pioneers and female artists you may or may not know.

Thanks for your patronage in 2008. I’m looking forward to expanding your musical consciousness further in 2009, this time with songs that have actual legacies. Happy New Year, and I’ll see you Saturday!

Great Vinyl Countdown audio 10-6
Great Vinyl Countdown audio 5-1

ABBA: I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do
Archies: Sugar, Sugar
Greene, Marlin: General of Broken Hearts
Hefti, Neal: Batman Theme
Highwaymen: The Gypsy Rover
Kim, Andy: Baby, I Love You
Kim, Andy: Be My Baby
McNamara, Robin: Lay a Little Lovin’ on Me
Mellencamp, Johnny Cougar: Under the Boardwalk
Pérez Prado: Why Wait

5 comments:

whiteray said...

You ended up with a pretty good list. My vote was to be delivered by Pony Express but got lost in the Swamp of Good Intentions! Congrats on a great year of blogging! Here's to 2009 and another fun year!

Lizzle-ba-Dizzle said...

Great Top 10! I *may* have cheered out loud when I got to "Batman" on the countdown. And I *may* have cranked the volume, because the cry "Nanananana, BATMAN!" cannot be a quiet one.

Anyway, great job in 2008. I'm excited about 2009. Oh, but one question: what is the difference between "the hit version" and "the HIT version" of "Beans in My Ears"?

caithiseach said...

Sorry, LBD, I was punning "hit" vs. "HIT." I'm sure that clears things up. The "hit" versions was by the Serendipity Singers. "HIT Records" was a label known for creating soundalike versions of chart songs, sold at a discount yet rather profitable, I would say. Here's my post about HIT Records:

http://greatmeltdown.blogspot.com/2008/04/my-dad.html

And thanks for reading!

Stephanie said...

AWESOME Top Ten List!

Keep these hits comin'...thanks for a GREAT 2008!

Here's to an AWESOME 2009!

Lizzle-ba-Dizzle said...

Ahh, mystery solved. I read that post the first time 'round, but. . . mind like a sieve. :) Gracias!