Song of the Day: Archie Bell & The Drells, “Tighten Up”

I had seriously considered doing the song that followed “Dock Of The Bay” atop the Hot 100, Bobby Goldsboro’s “Honey”, today, but I knew you’d be after me with pitchforks, so I chose instead to go with the song that followed “Honey” on the Hot 100, Archie Bell & The Drells’ “Tighten Up.”

Archie Bell & The Drells were from Houston, Texas (as he says at the beginning of “Tighten Up”) and were one of the key groups on Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff’s Philadelphia International records. Originally it was the B side to a song called “Dog Eat Dog,” but they were convinced to do otherwise, and it paid off, as the song went to #1 on the Hot 100 and the R&B chart. This belongs to the “everybody but the drummer stop, then come back in one at a time” genre. In this case, the band is the T. S. U. Tornadoes.

Song of the Day: Otis Redding, “(Sittin’ On) The Dock of The Bay”

Mentioned this yesterday, that this was one of the two songs that kept “Young Girl” out of the top spot on the Hot 100. Otis wrote this song with guitarist Steve Cropper in 1967, and it seemed no one liked it: his wife Zelma didn’t like the melody, Jim Stewart (one of the co-founders of Stax Records) didn’t think it was R&B, and bassist Donald “Duck” Dunn thought it might damage Stax’s reputation. However, Otis wanted to expand his style, and they recorded the song with backing by Booker T. & The MG’s, Isaac Hayes, and The Memphis Horns (Wayne Jackson and Andrew Love) in November, completing the overdubs in early December, right before his untimely death in a plane crash. Stax released it on its Volt label in 1968, and it became the first posthumous release to reach #1 on the Hot 100. It also reached #1 on the R&B chart.

Song of the Day: Gary Puckett & The Union Gap, “Young Girl”

Gary Puckett & The Union Gap (named for Union Gap, Washington, from whence they came) is a band that was only active in the late ’60’s, but in that short amount of time they released seven singles, five of which reached the Top 10. “Young Girl” was probably their most popular song, reaching #2 for three weeks on the Hot 100 and topping the chart in the UK. The songs that kept it out of the #1 spot in the US were Otis Redding’s “(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay” the first week and Bobby Goldsboro’s “Honey” the next two. (It did reach #1 in Canada and on the Cash Box survey.) Gary and The Gap recorded a version of “Honey” themselves but never issued it as a single.

Song of the Day: The Grass Roots, “I’d Wait A Million Years”

Badfinger, whose real name I believe is Max, and I were talking about great bands from the ’60’s, and he mentioned that a band that was popular then that doesn’t seemed to be remembered today was The Grass Roots. I had to be a wise guy and ask if he meant The Grassroots or The Grass Roots, knowing they used both spellings over the years…

Anyway, the Grass Roots were popular from the mid ’60’s to the mid ’70’s, and had a number of singles chart, although only three Top 10 hits (four, if you ask Cash Box), their most popular being “Midnight Confessions,” which peaked on the Hot 100 at #5 in 1968. This was their best selling single in 1969, peaking at #15 on the Hot 100, #12 according to Cash Box, and #11 according to Record World.

Since it’s just about midnight on the West Coast, I want to be the first to wish my brother Kip a very Happy Birthday!

Song of the Day: Freddie & The Dreamers, “Do The Freddie”

G-Bear mentioned that she had been to an oldies concert, and that of all the acts she could only remember Freddie & The Dreamers. Naturally, I asked if they did the Freddie, which you’ll see in the following video. You have to really appreciate how fit they were; if I tried this, I’d be on the floor in 15 seconds. Freddie was 5-foot-3-inch (if you insist, 160 cm) Freddie Garrity, the lead singer and crazy front man. The band hailed from Manchester, England and were best-known in the US for 1963’s “I’m Telling You Now,” which reached #1 on the Hot 100. “Do The Freddie” reached #18 in 1965.