Pop That Goes Crunch!

Seven Decades Of Melodic Rock & Roll

Archive for the tag “Beatles”

A Happy Way To Spend The Fourth Of July

This one was pulled right out of the time machine. The Merry-Go-Round were a great band out of Hawthorne, California. Their “big” hit, “Live” made it to No. 63 on the national charts, and was covered by the Bangles in the early-80s. It’s playing at the beginning of the clip below of their day on The Dating Game in 1967.

The definitive collection from their brief existence is called, naturally, “The Definitive Collection” and is worth checking out. Writing in the All Music Guide, Tim Sendra noted:

The Merry-Go-Round is a breathtaking blend of chiming folk-rock guitars, British Invasion harmony vocals, baroque pop arrangements, and pure pop songcraft that sounds daisy fresh in 2005. The Beatles are a huge influence, there is plenty of Paul McCartney in [Emitt] Rhodes’ sweet vocals and their vocal harmonies. You can hear the Byrds a bit, some Left Banke (especially on the sweeping orchestral pop gem ‘You’re a Very Lovely Woman’), some L.A. garage on rockers like ‘Where Have You Been All My Life’ and ‘Lowdown’; the group definitely didn’t exist in a vacuum.

Rhodes recently released his first recorded material in 35 years.

But, back to the time machine:

After reminding viewers that The Dating Game is “in color,” Johnny The Announcer says “we couldn’t think of a happier way to spend the Fourth of July than with the Merry-Go-Round.” Rhodes is Bachelor No. 2 who, according toJim Lange, projected a “warmth” that made him a teen idol. Bachelor No. 1, the bass player, perhaps took the Sgt. Peppers thing a wee bit too seriously.

The kitsch value of this is spectacular:

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Go-Go Dancing To The Byrds

Groovy 60’s Go-Go Dancing and the Byrds are not often mentioned in the same breath. The Byrds are more associated with folk rock. Their influence can even be heard on The Beatles’ “Help” and “Rubber Soul,” among countless dozens of other records from the mid-60s

Go-Go dancing was big in the mid 60s, and here are the Byrds performing “Feel A Whole Lot Better” in front of a bevy of go-go dancers on a long-forgotten show called “Shivaree.”

The Byrds did, however, help create something brand new in ’65 by adding a back-beat to folk music to make it “danceable.” When Bob Dylan heard their version of “Mr. Tambourine Man,” he supposedly said “Wow, you can dance to that.”

The Byrds’ first four albums with most of the original line-up intact — “Mr. Tambourine Man,” “Turn, Turn, Turn,” “5th Dimension” and “Younger Than Today” — are classics that influenced everyone, most notably R.E.M. and Tom Petty, who covered “Feel A Whole Lot Better” on “Full Moon Fever.”

Some colleagues of mine were exchanging all-time Top Twenty Lists last fall. I put “Feel A Whole Lot Better” on mine. Roger McGuinn’s 12-string Rickenbacker guitar is one of the greatest sounds in rock history, and the song has a great melody and the band’s trademark four-part harmonies. All of that greatness propelled it all the way to Number 103 on the Billboard chart.

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