Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The Teddy Bears

Remember Napster? Oh there’s still a Napster, but you know that’s not what I’m talking about. Hey, we all know that Fisher used to make high quality electronics, right?

But Napster – music publishers had us believing that the world was coming to and end, and only they could save us, by getting rid of the evil Napster.

Napster is gone, but now what. Everywhere there’s blogs and blogs and blogs offering free music downloads. Most of them have disclaimers, this music is for sampling only, just to listen to once, then to delete, and if anyone objects, or if it violates a copyright, then tell me, and I’ll remove it.


I don’t care. I just wonder what happened to the men in suits, how they seem to let this go by. I get it, you know, how music is a commodity, how it costs money to produce and sell, how it’s for sale, not for free. I have views though, and I won’t share them, because I don’t anyone to shut down my blog.

But it’s amazing how much music is out there, and how free it is. Get an account on Rapidshare (I don’t have one), and the world is your oyster.

I sampled this music, The Teddy Bears, on someone’s blog. The album is called Original Collection, and it has all 3 of their chart singles, or I should say all 2, because 2 songs were on one single. It’s Phil Spector, not singing, at least not lead, that’s Annette Kleinbard, but he’s there, he wrote the hit, produced it (I’m told), got it out there. I don’t think he was 20 yet. Phil Spector’s Greatest Hits came out in the 70s. That’s when the idea of producer as artist really took hold. And then the box set came later, Back To Mono. I had my hands on both collections at one time or another.

Let It Be, I got it in 1970, I was 13. Phil Spector was credited as producer, (justifiably, since he was the producer) and as far as I know that was the first time I’d heard of him. I knew The Righteous Brothers, and barely some of the girl groups he did, The Ronettes, The Crystals, but I had no idea till much later of the connection. After Let It Be he produced Lennon, Harrison. Now he’s in jail, convicted of murder in the second degree. I read Ronnie Spector’s autobiography; she was married to him, Veronica Bennett, of The Ronettes. She does not paint a charming portrait of the man. But nobody said that there was a correlation between artistic genius and personal integrity…

The Teddy Bears:

To Know Him, Is To Love Him – A statement of such unabashed romantic idealization that it’s tantamount to idol worship, or a teenage crush, whichever comes first. Surprisingly few pop songs use waltz time, but this is one that does. A number one hit as 1958 drew to a close. Both Peter & Gordon and Bobby Vinton put it back on the charts in the 60, and in both cases it was titled To Know You Is To Love You, with the brain-dead comma removed. Also The Beatles did it, just switching around the gender (To Know Her...) and it was on their Decca audition, which can be had by the astute searcher, and on their BBC album.
Don’t You Worry My Little Pet – Just to prove that they didn’t just do ballads, this is flat out rock and roll. A bit weird, but still. This was the flip side of To Know Him, Is To Love Him, and it’s been alleged that Spector played all the instruments on it.
Til You Be Mine – An instrumental, very strange for a vocal group.
Oh Why – This song, another ballad, was the one side of the only other record besides the first one to reach the top 100. The tune and arrangement suggest a rewrite of To Know Him, but the words are a different story altogether. From the winter of 1959.
Unchained Melody – This was Spector’s first crack at this. It’s a bit odd, more of a rock band version than the one he was to do so spectacularly with The Righteous Brothers about 8 years later.
My Foolish Heart – Head vs. heart, an unfair contest…
You Said Goodbye – The post-mortem.
True Love – Extraordinary. Patsy Cline did this, and Annette is no Patsy…
Little Things Mean A Lot – Another cover, this one originally by Joni James, though I only have the version by The McGuire Sisters. She sings a bit off key I think, but it’s true, little things do mean a lot…
I Don’t Need You Anymore – About the sudden dissolution of a relationship. And yes, it really happens. This was the other side of Oh Why, and both sides hit the top 90 in the winter of 1959.
Tammy – The Debbie Reynolds hit, the Ames Brothers hit. Annette sounds a bit like Debbie.
Long Ago And Far Away – Seems there are a few songs called that. James Taylor did one, Mantovani did one. Maybe this is the same as Mantovani, I can’t tell.
Don’t Go Away – A straightforward request.
If I Give My Heart To You – I have a version of this by Doris Day, and I don’t know who else did it, but Doris is all you need…
Seven Lonely Days
Wonderful Loveable You – A shameless slow dance…

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