Tag Archives: May Music et al

Mamas Papas Monday Monday

Mamas Papas Monday Monday

If you were near a radio in May 1966 (and who wasn’t?), “Monday Monday” was the song you heard. John Phillips wrote it and it became the single off the Mamas and the Papas’ debut album, If You Can Believe Your Eyes and Ears.

Mamas Papas Monday Monday

No toilets permitted, but

Like many 60s counterculture pieces, the album cover became controversial. It is humorous to me that the controversy did not involve the fact that four adults–two men and two women–sat together in a bathtub. I guess keeping their clothes on avoided any issue. (I wonder whose idea it was to use a bathtub to begin with?)

Mamas Papas Monday Monday

But including the toilet in the picture ruffled feathers and subsequent covers included a scroll to cover the toilet.

Mamas Papas Monday Monday

toilet valves are OK

The fact that you could still see the toilet valve mechanism apparently was OK. Ah well… [Thank you Cliff Lubin (Facebook page) for pointing out that the possessive apostrophes after their names are also an error. New groups suffer such calamities.

Second thank you to Edward David Jennings who pointed out that legendary photographer Guy Webster shot the photo]  As popular as they were, “Monday Monday” was the only #1 hit by the Mamas and Papas.  Dunhill released it in March and hit #1 on May 7, 1966. It remained there for three weeks. Those of you familiar with the song already know that it has a false ending. The song pauses for a moment, then actually closes. Ironically, the previous Billboard #1 song, “Good Lovin'” by the Rascals, did the same thing.

Mamas Papas Monday Monday

Monterey International Pop Music Festival

The Mamas and the Papas helped organize the Monterey International Pop Music Festival in June 1967. Their performance included “Monday Monday.” It was a bit simpler sound than their single which the Wrecking Crew, those ubiquitous and amazing session musicians, backed.

Here is that Monterey performance:

On March 2, 1967, the Mamas and the Papas won a Grammy Award for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal for this song.

Mamas Papas Monday Monday

Divorce

As is often the story, the Mamas and the Papas broke up in 1968 due to infighting. They reunited briefly in 1971 for contractual obligations

John Phillips re-formed a Mamas and the Papas in 1982. The group included founding member Denny Doherty and two new “Mamas”: Mackenzie Phillips (daughter of John) and Elaine “Spanky” McFarlane.

The original Mamas and the Papas were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame at New York’s Waldorf-Astoria on January 12, 1998. The three surviving members [Mama Cass had died in 1974] sang “California Dreamin’,” after Denny Doherty exclaimed, “We’ve been waiting here all day to do this, as most of you have, so without further ado, we’ll try to get on with this!”  [Rock and Roll Hall of Fame bio]

Today only Michelle Phillips is alive. John Phillips died in 2001 and Dennis Doherty in 2007.

Mamas Papas Monday Monday
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Johnnie Ray Banned

Johnnie Ray Banned

May 8, 1954

BBC Bans Ray’s “Such a Night”

Johnnie Ray Banned

Even though rock music was just learning to walk in 1954, we could see its future youthful swagger.

Johnnie Ray Banned

Drifters

Lincoln Chase wrote “Such a Night” in 1953. The Drifters, with Clyde McPhatter, released it in January 1954. It was a hit despite its “racy” lyrics. At least that’s what some listeners thought.

It was a night, ooo what a night it was
   It really was, such a night
   The moon was bright ooo how bright it was
   It really was, such a night
   The night was alive with stars above
   And when she kissed me I had to fall in love

It was a kiss mmmm what a kiss it was
   It really was, such a kiss
   How she could kiss ooo what a kiss it was
   It really was, such a kiss
   Just part of her lips that sets me on fire
   I reminisce and I feel desire

I'd give my heart to her in sweet surrender
   How well I remember , I'll always remember
   Ooo that night, ooo what a night it was
   It really was, such a night
   Came the dawn and my heart and my love and the night was gone
   But I'll never forget that kiss in the moonlight
   Ooo such a kiss, ooo such a night

Now she's gone, gone gone
   Yes she's gone, gone gone
   Came the dawn, dawn dawn
   And the night was gone
   And my heart was gone
   And her love was gone
   But before the dawn oo oo oo oo such a night 

The Drifters had a hit despite the fear, but as often happened in early rock, Johnnie Ray, an American white singer, covered the song the same year. He too ran into issues with the lyrics, On this day, May 8, 1954, the BBC radio banned the song after listener complaints.

Johnnie Ray Banned

Johnnie Ray

Johnnie Ray had first become a sensation with a two-sided-hit that reached No. 1 on the pop charts. The record, ”Cry” backed by ”The Little White Cloud That Cried.” It sold more than two million copies.

Ray continued to have hits during the 50s and was particularly popular in Great Britain. According to a 1981 New York Times article stated that, “…it was his [Rays’] rhythm and blues style of singing that help lay the groundwork for the rock-and-roll that turned Mr. Ray’s entertainment world around. Recently, Ringo Starr of the Beatles pointed out that the three singers that the Beatles listened to in their fledgling days were Chuck Berry, Little Richard and Johnnie Ray.” 

Johnnie Ray Banned

Ridicule as well as popularity

Johnnie Ray died on February 24, 1990.  He was 63 years old. His animated showmanship had been both a boon and a curse to his career. Again the New York Times, “His mannerisms earned him ridicule as well as popularity, and he was a favorite subject of impersonators.

Johnnie Ray Banned
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Elvis Presley Album Elvis

Elvis Presley Album Elvis

Hits #1 on May 5, 1956
Happy Anniversary
Elvis Presley album Elvis
album cover photo by William V. “Red” Robertson
Elvis Presley album Elvis

Elvis on the cusp

In early 1956, Elvis’s popularity was, like the Beatles seven years later, about to run wild. No one had coined a term like Elvis-mania, but it could have been that.

Elvis’s 1955 singles (“Baby Let’s Play House” and “I Forgot to Remember to Forget”) with Sam Phillips’s Sun Records had done well on the country charts.

Elvis Presley album Elvis

RCA

Colonel Tom Parker, Presley’s new manager, had grand plans and the chutzpah to carry them out. His first move was to have RCA records buy Elvis’s contract from Phillips. It cost RCA $35,000 and with the omniscience of retrospect, we might say that that was quite a good deal for RCA. At the time it was an expensive risk.

Rock and Roll, derived some many sources, was just beginning to make mainstream headway despite mainstream suspicions.  Editorials suggested that the music was immoral, that the music turned teenagers into juvenile delinquents, and that the music was simply devil music. These phobic fears did more to entice than dissuade young people.

On September 9, 1956, Elvis appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show. The appearance marked, as the Beatles in 1964, a huge step in Elvis’s success. It was on that show that the cameras kept the image above Elvis’s swaying waist.

Elvis Presley album Elvis

Elvis Presley

The album had 12 songs, some that Elvis had done with Sun Records before moving to RCA as well as with RCA after the move. Elvis composed none of the songs. In fact, a different person or group wrote each song.

Side one:

  1. Blue Suede Shoes
  2. 2. I’m Counting on You
  3. 3. I Got a Woman
  4. 4. One-Sided Love Affair
  5. 5. I Love You Because
  6. 6. Just Because
Side 2:

  1. Tutti Frutti
  2. Tryin’ to Get to You
  3. I’m Gona Sit Right Down and Cry (Over You)
  4. I’ll Never Let You Go (Little Darlin’)
  5. Blue Moon
  6. Money Honey

The entire album clocked in at 28:03 seconds (the Beatles “Meet the Beatles” album totaled 26:43). Unlike what the Beatles would begin to do with pop albums with their 1965 Rubber Soul, much more a unified album, Elvis Presley became a collection of singles. That’s where financial success was.

And the album was a success.

Elvis Presley album Elvis

Wikipedia

             According to Wikipedia The album spent ten weeks at number 1 on the Billboard Top Pop Albums chart in 1956, the first rock and roll album ever to make it to the top of the charts and the first million-selling album of that genre. In 2003, it was ranked number 56 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.  

Elvis Presley album Elvis
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