Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The Playmates

That a group of guys could call themselves The Playmates is almost inconceivable. Even by 1958 Heffner was a fact of life, though perhaps the term “playmate” hadn’t achieved the ubiquitousness that would render its use all but useless for anything where raised eyebrows were inappropriate.

These guys were a vocal trio, and they had 10 songs in the top 100 between 1958 and 1962, 5 of them in the top 40. I have 4 songs, one of which was never a hit at all. I got them from here and there, as always. I remember that I had no idea when I picked up the single of A Rose And A Star whether the song had been a hit, but I took it on the off-chance. No great loss, I must say…

The Playmates:

Beep Beep – Maybelline revisted. This car chase story, complete with punch-line, is just plain dumb. A top 5 hit in the winter of 1958 / 1959.
Jo-Ann – This story of a rather typical pop song romance was a hit in the winter of 1958. The real story is told not in the lyrics, but in the stop-start singing, in the harmonies, in the soprano sax.
What Is Love? – “Sways with a wiggle when she walks” they sing off the top. Only hip hop gets away with that stuff now. The timeless philosophical question is answered here simply: love is five feet of heaven in a pony tail. That’s one long pony tail. From the summer of 1959. The Shirelles covered this, but they regendered it.
A Rose And A Star – A song about the ideal birthday present. The song doesn’t figure in their top 100 record, but the single dates from 1962

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