Behind The Music: The Death At The Howard Soundtrack – Vol. 2

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Behind The Music: The Death At The Howard Soundtrack – Vol. 2

death_at_the_howard_coverAs I noted in my previous blog, Death At The Howard (DATH) refers to 34 songs that were – or should have been – popular on the rock or rhythm & blues charts of the day.  That blog showcased Vol. 1 of DATH’s Greatest Hits. Here’s Vol. 2, just to make sure you have the right pep in your step, cut in your strut, and glide in your stride. Click on each song in the countdown to watch the music come alive again.

1. For What It’s Worth: Buffalo Springfield drew a bead on police anti-protest tactics during the Vietnam war in this tense 1967 song featuring Stephen Stills, who wrote it, on vocal and guitar, Neil Young, Jim Messina, Jim Fielder, and Richie Furay.

Gladys Knight & The Pips

2. I Heard It Through The Grapevine: Although it’s been eclipsed in popularity over the years by the sinuous version Marvin Gaye released a year later, Gladys Knight and the Pips’ original 1967 version is still the tightest, the funkiest, simply the best. 500 words. Discuss.

3. Honey: Bobby Goldsboro. 1968. Nuf sed.

4. I Want To Take You Higher: was unleashed upon the world by Sly and the Family Stone in 1968, but it would be at the top of any rock or r&b chart whenever it was released. Savor a live version of this still unique, timeless classic on Soul Train.

The Beatles’ great re-makes of the following r&b classics (numbers 5-9) told audiences where the Fab Four’s roots were, and convinced almost everyone that they had soul, rubber or otherwise. Their versions stand up well to the originals (although no one has ever done or will ever do “Long Tall Sally” as well as Little Richard, which you’ll see below)

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5) Chuck Berry’s “Roll Over Beethoven” (1956) (complete with duck walk).

6) The Miracles’ “You Really Got A Hold On Me” (1962) although the video does not include Claudette, Smokey’s wife and a Miracle at the time the song was recorded.

7) Barrett Strong’s “Money”: Co-written by Berry Gordy, the founder of Motown, and released in 1959.

8) Little Richard’s “Long Tall Sally”: From 1956.

9) The Marvelettes’ “Please Mr. Postman” From 1961.

Bobby Darin

10) Mack the Knife: Bobby Darin’s recording of a song written by German composer Kurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht in 1928 for “The Threepenny Opera” became a giant hit in 1959. With an introduction by Dick Clark on the original “American Bandstand.”

11. Donna: Ritchie Valens’ eternal classic from 1958.

12. Come Go With Me: This was a giant hit in 1957 for the Del-Vikings, one of the first integrated rock ’n’ roll groups.

13. Sweet Soul Music: This 1967 tribute to the legends of soul music was Arthur Conley’s first and biggest hit.

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14. Take Some Time Out For Love: The Isley Brothers’ 1966 followup to their hit “This Old Heart of Mine,” the song went nowhere on any charts, but everything about it is great, especially the lead vocal by Ronald Isley. If you listen to any song on this list, listen to this.

15. B-A-B-Y: Carla Thomas had numerous hits on the r&b charts, both alone and with Otis Redding, but this one crossed over to the rock charts too, in 1966.

16. Hello Muddah, Hello, Faddah: Allan Sherman’s comic classic from 1963.

17. Got To Be Some Changes Made: This was the only song I did not know before I wrote DATH. I was looking for the right song to capture a moment in the book and this fit perfectly. By the Staple Singers in 1966.

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Happy listening and stay tuned for more to come on both books!

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