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Good Vibrations

“Good Vibrations” is a song composed and produced by Brian Wilson with words by Mike Love for the Beach Boys. Released as a single in October 1966, it was an immediate critical and commercial hit, topping record charts in several countries including the US and UK. Characterized by its complex soundscapes, episodic structure, and subversions of pop music formula, it was the most costly single ever recorded at the time of its release. “Good Vibrations” later became widely acclaimed as one of the greatest masterpieces of rock music.[10][11]

Initiated during the sessions for the album Pet Sounds (1966), it was not taken from or issued as a lead single for an album, but rather as a stand-alone single, with the Pet Sounds instrumental “Let’s Go Away for Awhile” as a B-side. It was considered for the Smile project, but instead appeared on the album Smiley Smile (1967). Most of the song was developed as it was recorded. Its title derived from Wilson’s fascination with cosmic vibrations, after his mother once told him as a child that dogs sometimes bark at people in response to their “bad vibrations”. He used the concept to suggest extrasensory perception, while Love’s lyrics were inspired by the Flower Power movement that was then burgeoning in Southern California.

The making of “Good Vibrations” was unprecedented for any kind of recording, with a total production cost estimated between $50,000 and $75,000 (equivalent to $360,000 and $550,000 in 2015). Building upon the multi-layered approach he had formulated with Pet Sounds, Wilson recorded the song in different sections at four Hollywood studios from February to September 1966, resulting in a cut-up mosaic of several musical episodes marked by disjunctive key and modal shifts. Band publicist Derek Taylor dubbed the unusual work a “pocket symphony”. It contained previously untried mixes of instruments, including jaw harp and Electro-Theremin, and was the first pop hit to have a cello playing juddering rhythms.

For “Good Vibrations”, Wilson is credited with further developing the use of the recording studio as an instrument. The single revolutionized rock music from live concert performances to studio productions which could only exist on record, heralding a wave of pop experimentation and the onset of psychedelic and progressive rock. It is also frequently cited for its use of theremin, which led to the instrument’s revival and to an increased interest in analog synthesizers. Its success earned the Beach Boys a Grammy nomination for Best Vocal Group performance in 1966; the song was eventually inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1994.[12] It has featured highly in many charts, being voted number one in the Mojo “Top 100 Records of All Time” chart in 1997[12] and number six on Rolling Stone’s list of the “500 Greatest Songs of All Time”.[13] The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame included “Good Vibrations” in its list of the “500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll”.[14]

Winchester Cathedral (song)

“Winchester Cathedral” is a song released in late 1966 by Fontana Records, whereupon it shot to the #1 spot in Canada on the RPM 100 national singles charts[1] and shortly thereafter in the U.S. on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. It was released by The New Vaudeville Band, a British novelty group established by the song’s composer, Geoff Stephens. Stephens was a big fan of tunes from the British music hall era (or what Americans would call “vaudeville”), so he wrote “Winchester Cathedral” in that vein, complete with a Rudy Vallée soundalike[2] (John Carter) singing through his hands to imitate a megaphone sound.[3] Although the song was recorded entirely by session musicians, when it became an international hit, an actual band had to be assembled, with Fontana trying unsuccessfully to recruit the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band.[4] The recording is one of the few charting songs to feature a bassoon. [5] The band toured extensively under the tutelage of Peter Grant, who later went on to manage The Yardbirds and Led Zeppelin.[3]

The tune went to No. 4 in the UK Singles Chart.[6] It went all the way to the top in the U.S., however, displacing “You Keep Me Hangin’ On” by the Supremes on December 3, 1966. After a one-week run at No. 1, “Winchester Cathedral” was knocked off the summit by the Beach Boys’ “Good Vibrations”, only to rebound to the top spot the following week. After two additional weeks, it was knocked off the top for good by “I’m a Believer” by The Monkees.

“Winchester Cathedral” topped the Billboard Easy Listening chart for four weeks.[7] Cover records by Dana Rollin and The New Happiness reached no higher than No. 70. The Shadows recorded an instrumental version of this song on their album, Jigsaw. Singer Rudy Vallée, whose voice and style the original recording imitated, did his own cover of the song in 1967 when he was in his late 60s. (It did not chart.) The Four Freshmen recorded a cover of the song on their 1968 album In a Class by Themselves. Frank Sinatra also recorded a version of the song for his 1966 album That’s Life.

Global sales of the single were over three million, with the RIAA certification of gold disc status.[8]

The song won the 1967 Grammy Award for Best Contemporary (R&R) Recording,[9] despite not being a rock and roll song. An initial long-playing album including the song was issued in late 1966 by Fontana Records, also titled Winchester Cathedral. Stephens received the 1966 Ivor Novello award for “Best Song Musically and Lyrically”.[10]

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the song’s release, a new version by Geoff Stephens was to be[needs update] released on CD by Signum Classics on March 11, 2016, sung by the choristers of Winchester Cathedral. The premier performance of this version was to take place during a Gala Concert in Winchester Cathedral on March 12 to help raise funds for the Cathedral’s Appeal.

You Keep Me Hangin’ On

“You Keep Me Hangin’ On” is a 1966 song written and composed by Holland–Dozier–Holland. It first became a popular Billboard Hot 100 number one hit for the American Motown group The Supremes in late 1966. The rock band Vanilla Fudge covered the song a year later and had a Top ten hit with their version. British pop singer Kim Wilde covered “You Keep Me Hangin’ On” in 1986, bumping it back to number one on the Billboard Hot 100 in June 1987. The single reached number one by two different musical acts in America. In the first 32 years of the Billboard Hot 100 rock era, “You Keep Me Hangin’ On” became one of only six songs to achieve this feat.[1] In 1996, Country music singer Reba McEntire’s version reached number 2 on the US Billboard Hot Dance Club Play chart.

Over the years, “You Keep Me Hangin’ On” has been covered by various artists including a charting version by Wilson Pickett, Rod Stewart, Colourbox and the Box Tops.

Poor Side of Town

“Poor Side of Town” is a song by Johnny Rivers that reached No.1 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 and on the RPM Canadian Chart in November 1966.

It was a very important record for Johnny Rivers and represented a change from the musical style (characterized by a Go Go sound), that provided him with his early hits and acclaim. With “Poor Side of Town”, Rivers moved into the pop-soul style.

The melody is a soulful version of California-based pop, with some strong folk elements as well. Marty Paich provided the song’s string arrangement.

There are two versions of the song. The single edit version fades out earlier, in order to avoid repetition, due to its length, following the repeated lyric line: “Oh with you by my side”. The longer version goes on, finishing up the verse, and following the repeated guitar riff, repeats the sung introduction of the scatting, before the song fades out.

Last Train to Clarksville

“Last Train to Clarksville” was the debut single by The Monkees. It was released August 16, 1966 and later included on the group’s 1966 self-titled album, which was released on October 10, 1966.[1] The song, written by Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart was recorded at RCA Victor Studio B in Hollywood on July 25, 1966[1] and was already on the Boss Hit Bounds on 17 August 1966.[2] The song topped the Billboard Hot 100 on November 5, 1966.[3] Lead vocals were performed by The Monkees’ drummer Micky Dolenz.[4] Clarksville was featured in seven episodes of the Monkees TV show; the most for any Monkees song.

96 Tears

“96 Tears” is a song recorded by the American garage rock band, Question Mark & the Mysterians (also known as “? and the Mysterians”), in 1966 (see 1966 in music). In October of that year, it was number one on the Billboard Hot 100 in the U.S.[5] and on the RPM 100 in Canada.[6] Billboard ranked the record as the number five song for the year 1966.[7] It is ranked number 213 on the Rolling Stone list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. On November 11, 1966 the single was certified as gold by the RIAA.[8]

The song was written by Question Mark (Rudy Martinez) in 1962 in his manager’s living room, under the name “Too Many Teardrops” and then “69 Tears”. Upon changing the name, in fear of loss of radio play, it was recorded in Bay City, Michigan.[9] At first, Question Mark had to insist that “96 Tears” be the A-side over “Midnight Hour”. Once the issue was settled, the band recorded the single for the small Pa-Go-Go label, owned by Lilly Gonzalez. She backed the band financially, and allowed access to her personal studio in her basement. When it began doing well locally, the band took a recording to Bob Dell, the radio director in Flint, Michigan. The song became the most requested, and wider radio play spread into Canada where it was picked up by Cameo Records for national distribution.[10][11]

Known for its signature organ licks and bare-bones lyrics, “96 Tears” is recognized as one of the first garage band hits, and has even been given credit for starting the punk rock movement.[12]

The song appeared on the band’s album, 96 Tears. The follow-up song, “I Need Somebody”, peaked at number 22 later that year, but no other U.S. Top 40 singles followed.[13]

Reach Out I’ll Be There

“Reach Out I’ll Be There” (also formatted as “Reach Out (I’ll Be There)”) is a 1966 song recorded by the Four Tops for the Motown label. Written and produced by Motown’s main production team Holland–Dozier–Holland,[3] the song is one of the most well-known Motown tunes of the 1960s and is today considered The Tops’ signature song. It was the number one song on the Rhythm & Blues charts for two weeks,[4] and on the Billboard Hot 100 for two weeks, from October 15–22, 1966. It replaced “Cherish” by The Association, and was itself replaced by “96 Tears” by Question Mark & the Mysterians. Billboard ranked the record as the no. 4 song for 1966.[5]

Rolling Stone later ranked this version #206 on their list of “The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time”. This version is also currently ranked as the 56th best song of all time, as well as the #4 song of 1966, in an aggregation of critics’ lists at Acclaimed Music.[6][7]

The track also reached no. 1 in the UK Singles Chart, becoming Motown’s second UK chart-topper after The Supremes hit no. 1 with “Baby Love” in late 1964.[8] It had replaced Jim Reeves’ “Distant Drums” at number one in October 1966 and stayed there for three weeks before being replaced by The Beach Boys’ “Good Vibrations” in November.[9]

Cherish (The Association song)

“Cherish” is a pop song written by Terry Kirkman and recorded by The Association.[1] Released in 1966, the song reached number one on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 in September of that year and remained in the top position for three weeks. Billboard ranked the record as the No. 2 song of 1966.[2] In Canada, the song also reached number one.

The single release of the song was slightly edited by removing one of the two “And I do cherish you” lines near the end of the song. This edit was done as a means of keeping the track from exceeding the three-minute mark, as radio programmers of the era frowned upon songs that went beyond three minutes. However, even with the edit, the song still ran over. Instead of editing further, producer Curt Boettcher intentionally listed “3:00” on the label as the song’s running time.

Session musician Doug Rhodes, also member of The Music Machine, played the Celesta on the recording. Studio player Ben Benay played guitar on the recording. Curt Boettcher added some vocals, most notably the high-pitched “told you” and “hold you” on the final verse.[citation needed] The track was recorded at a converted garage studio owned by Gary S. Paxton, who engineered the sessions along with Pete Romano.

In 2012, original Association member Jim Yester said the record label claimed the song sounded “too old and archaic”, but quipped that the song’s success “just showed we can have archaic and eat it, too.”[3]

You Can’t Hurry Love

“You Can’t Hurry Love” is a 1966 song originally recorded by The Supremes on the Motown label.

Written and produced by Motown production team Holland–Dozier–Holland, the song topped the United States Billboard pop singles chart, in the UK in the top 5, and in the Australian Singles Chart in the top 10, released and peaking late summer/early autumn in 1966.[1] Sixteen years later, it would again become a number-one hit when Phil Collins re-recorded the song. It reached number-one on the UK Singles Chart for two weeks beginning in January 1983,[2] and reached No. 10 on the US Singles Chart that same month.

Sunshine Superman

“Sunshine Superman” is a song written and recorded by Scottish singer-songwriter Donovan. The “Sunshine Superman” single was released in the United States through Epic Records (Epic 5-10045) in July 1966, but due to a contractual dispute the United Kingdom release was delayed until December 1966, where it appeared on Donovan’s previous label, Pye Records (Pye 7N 17241). The “Sunshine Superman” single was backed with “The Trip” on both the United States and United Kingdom releases. It has been described as “[one of the] classics of the era,”[1] and as “the quintessential bright summer sing along”.[2]

“Sunshine Superman” reached the top of the Billboard Hot 100 in the United States, and subsequently became the title track of Donovan’s third album, Sunshine Superman.[3] Chart positions were No. 1 (US),[3] and No. 2 (UK) (the single was released in December 1966 in the UK). It was Donovan’s only single to reach No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot 100 survey. A different mix of “The Trip” (without harmonica) is also included in the album. It was the first product from the highly successful three-year collaboration between Donovan and producer Mickie Most and is generally considered to be one of the first examples of the musical genre that came to be known as psychedelia.[4] The song features styles of psychedelic folk,[5][6] psychedelic pop[7][8] and folk rock.[9]

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