THE LONDON AMERICAN LABEL YEAR BY YEAR 1965.
THE LONDON AMERICAN LABEL YEAR BY YEAR 1965.
For a generation of music lovers, their introduction to American pop, rock ’n’ roll and soul was the London American label. It released the latest American hit singles. This had been the case since the mid-fifties.
London American had been licensing singles by Atlantic, Chess, Dot, Imperial, Speciality and Sun since the fifties. By the sixties, further labels were licensing their releases to London American. This would include Big Town, Hi Records, Monument and Philles Records. For a generation of music lovers, this made anything featuring the London American label essential listening. It was part of their musical education.
Only by listening to London American’s releases, were music lovers able to keep track of the latest music trends. They usually started in America, then took Britain by storm. Time and time again, this proved to be the case. That’s why, for a generation of music lovers, the London American label has a special place in their heart.
It brings back memories of when their love affair with music began. For some music lovers, that was nearly sixty years ago. This was the start of a life long love affair with music. Now it’s possible to relive these memories once again.
Since 2012, Ace Records have been releasing a series of compilations dedicated to the London American label. The first was The London American Label Year By Year 1956, which was released back in 2012. Recently, the tenth instalment in the series, The London American Label Year By Year 1965 has just been released.
The London American Label Year By Year 1965 is a tantalising taste of the soundtrack to a pivotal year in the Swinging Sixties, 1965. By 1965, music was changing, and changing fast.
One of the most important musical events in 1965, was when The Beatles played Shea Stadium. Little did anyone realise it, but the the stadium tour has just been born. Meanwhile, The Beatles and the rest of the British Invasion were still winning friends and influencing people in America. However, one of the most controversial events of 1965, was when Bob Dylan plugged in.
According to large swathes of his fans, when Bob Dylan plugged in, he sold out. Obviously, that wasn’t the case. It was an overreaction. Bob Dylan had to plug in to progress his career. If he hadn’t, he risked the ignomy of irrelevance. For the people’s poet, that was never going to happen. Another thing that many thought would never happen, was psychedelia.
In 1965, music was on the cusp of a psychedelic revolution. This psychedelic revolution would come to fruition, and blossom, a year later. However, some pioneering groups were at the vanguard of the psychedelic revolution. This included The Byrds and The Beatles, who released Rubber Soul later in 1965. Rubber Soul and The Byrds gave a hint at the direction music was heading. However, that was still to come. The music London American was releasing in 1965, was very different to the psychedelic revolution.
The best way to describe London American Label Year By Year 1965, is eclectic. There’s contributions from James Brown and The Fabulous Flames, Jerry Lee Lewis, Burt Bacharach, Dobie Gray, Barbara Mason, The Righteous Brothers and Carolyn Carter. Easy listening, funk, pop, Northern Soul, rock and soul feature on London American Label Year By Year 1965, which I’ll pick the highlights of.
Opening London American Label Year By Year 1965 is Mercy, Mercy, Mercy the first of two tracks from James Brown and The Fabulous Flames. Mercy, Mercy, Mercy was originally released on King in America, reaching number ninety-two in the US Billboard 100. When Mercy, Mercy, Mercy was released on London American, the single failed to chart. That’s despite the impassioned pleas from Mr. Dynamite. The second track from James Brown and The Fabulous Flames, is Papa’s Got A Brand New Bag Part 1. It reached number eight in the US Billboard 100 and number twenty-five in the UK. This is without doubt, one of James Brown’s finest hours. So much so, it’s remembered as a classic funk track.
In 1965, The Righteous Brothers covered Gerry Goffin, Carole King and Phil Spector’s Just Once In My Life. Released on Philles Records, Just Once In My Life reached number nine in the US Billboard 100 charts. The decision was made to release Just Once In My Life in the UK. No wonder. The Righteous Brothers had already enjoyed a trio of hit singles in the UK, during 1965. Promos were pressed, and sent out to DJs. Then for some reason, the single was withdrawn. This was a missed opportunity. Heartachingly beautiful, dramatic and Spectoresque Just Once In My Life could’ve been a huge hit. Sadly, that wasn’t to be. Belatedly, Just Once In My Life was released in 1966, giving The Righteous Brothers a hit single. However, later in 1965, Unchained Melody gave The Righteous Brothers a hit single. This pop classic reached number four in the US Billboard 100 and number fourteen in the UK. Since then, Unchained Melody has been a pop classic, which was one of The Righteous Brothers’ most successful singles.
By 1965, Jerry Lee Lewis was on the comeback trail. He was still persona non gratis in America. This had been the case since he married his younger cousin. However, in Europe and Britain, Jerry was still popular. He’d reinvented himself as a country singer, and rolls back the years on James Bland’s Carry Me Back To Old Virginia. In Jerry’s hands, Carry Me Back To Old Virginia becomes a joyous, hook-laden country track.
During the sixties, the Burt Bacharach and Hal David enjoyed a successful songwriting and production partnership. Burt was also a successful artist in his own right. Billed as Burt Bacharach, His Orchestra and Chorus he enjoyed a hit single with an easy listening version of Trains and Boats and Planes. It reached number four in the UK. Later in 1965, Burt Bacharach and His Orchestra Featuring Tony Middleton released My Little Red Book, a track from the What’s New Pussycat soundtrack. On the soundtrack, Manfred Man perform this track. Here, veteran cabaret singer, Tony Middleton, takes charge of the vocal, injecting urgency and drama. Despite this, the single failed to chart.
The Ronettes are synonymous with the girl group sound of the early, to mid sixties. They were guided by Phil Spector, the man behind the legendary Wall of Sound. As 1965 dawned, his roster featured just two groups. One of these groups were The Ronettes. He cowrote You Baby with Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil. It was recorded by The Ronettes and released on Philles Records. However, despite its undoubtable quality, You Baby failed to chart. Music had moved on. The problem was, Phil Spector hadn’t kept up with these changes.
For a while, Ruby and The Romantics could do no wrong in America. Each of their singles charted. Then they released You’re Baby Doesn’t Love You Anymore, which failed to chart. For Kapp, this was a disaster. Ruby and The Romantics were one of Kapp’s most successful acts. So, a new version of You’re Baby Doesn’t Love You Anymore was pressed and released in Britian on London American. However, Ruby and The Romantics weren’t as popular in the UK. Their only single to chart was Our Day Will Come. Sadly, Ruby and The Romantics’ luck didn’t change with the dreamy, yet dramatic You’re Baby Doesn’t Love You Anymore.
Mention Dobie Gray’s The In Crowd to anyone with a passing interest in Northern Soul, and they’ll wax lyrical about the track. It’s a Northern Soul classic. Originally released on the Charger label, it reached number thirteen in the US Billboard 100 and number twenty-five in Britain in 1965. In the intervening forty-nine years, The In Crowd has continued to fill dance floors with “The In Crowd.”
Lenny Welch’s highest profile fan was Paul McCartney. He introduced the rest of The Beatles to the New York based singer. One of Lenny’s finest performances is on Run To My Loving Arms. Penned by George Fischoff and Tony Powers, it stalled at number ninety-two in the US Billboard 100. Later in 1965, Run To My Loving Arms was released Britain. There was a problem though. Billy Fury had covered Run To My Loving Arms. So when Lenny’s version was released, it failed to chart. Since then, Lenny’s version of Run To My Loving Arms has remained a hidden gem, which makes a welcome return on The London American Label Year By Year 1965.
Philly born Barbara Mason released her original version of Yes, I’m Ready in 1965. She was just eighteen. Yes, I’m Ready was her third single, and would become a song that was synonymous with Barbara Mason. She recut the song when she signed to Buddha Records. The version on The London American Label Year By Year 1965 is the original. It reached number five in the US Billboard 100, and was Barbara Mason’s breakthrough single. Yes, I’m Ready also lent its name to Barbara’s debut album, which was released on Arctic Records.
Carolyn Carter’s It Hurts is another of the hidden gems The London American Label Year By Year 1965. Originally released on the Philly based Jamie label, It Hurts failed to chart. It sees Carolyn Carter fuse soul with a Spectoresque girl group sound. Sadly, It Hurts passed British record buyers by and it failed to chart. However, forty-nine years later, and It Hurts is a case of what might have been for Carolyn Carter.
Charles Boyer is best known for his acting career. In 1965, he released Where Does Love Go, which closes The London American Label Year By Year 1965. It’s very different to anything that’s gone before. There’s an air of mystery as Charles’ half-spoken vocal sits above an orchestral arrangement. Harmonies are added. They sweep in, and add to the lush backdrop. Despite Charles Boyer’s popularity in Hollywood, the single failed to chart. It remains an interesting reminder of Charles Boyer’s second career.
Just like The London American Label Year By Year 1964, The London American Label Year By Year 1965 is a fascinating and eclectic musical document. It demonstrates the sheer variety of music being released in 1965. There’s everything from country, easy listening, funk, pop, R&B, rock ‘n’ roll, pop and soul. Eclectic is the best way to describe The London American Label Year By Year 1965.
There’s contributions from James Brown and The Fabulous Flames, Jerry Lee Lewis, Burt Bacharach, Dobie Gray, Barbara Mason, The Righteous Brothers and Carolyn Carter. Hits sit side-by-side with misses. Similarly, classics and hidden gems rub shoulders on The London American Label Year By Year 1965, which was compiled by Tony Rounce.
Tony should be congratulated for the way he’s approached The London American Label Year By Year 1965,. Rather than choose the most successful singles released by London American during 1965, Tony has chosen an eclectic and captivating selection of tracks. Forgotten favourites and familiar faces feature, during The London American Label Year By Year 1965, which is eclectic and compelling compilation that’ll bring back memories for anyone introduced to American pop, rock ’n’ roll and soul by the London American label.
THE LONDON AMERICAN LABEL YEAR BY YEAR 1965.