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Revenge of the One-Hit Wonders: "Angle of the Morning" by Merilee Rush

The True Stories Behind Rock’s “1-and-Done” Classics

“Angel of the Morning” (1968)

As is often the case with 1-Hit Wonders, the composer and producers of “Angel of the Morning” actually had long, successful careers, even if the Turnabouts did not.

The song was written by Chip Taylor, the same many who gave us “Wild Thing,” “I Can’t Let Go” and others. He has said the line “There be no strings to bind your hands, not if my love can’t bind your heart” came to him out of the blue one morning. Within ten minutes, he had written the entire song.

He hoped the song would be the breakout single for a young lady named Evie Sands. But Evie would have a career filled with near misses. The small label that produced her version of “Angel of the Morning” went belly-up shortly after they released it. With no push from the label, the song died a swift death.

At this point, Paul Revere of “and the Raiders” fame enters the story. Revere had been pushing a Seattle band he believed in, Merilee Rush and the Turnabouts.  Revere secured them a recording deal with hitmakers Tommy Cogbill and Chips Moman. They gave “Angel of the Morning” to Merilee and her band and that version quickly became a million-selling hit.

Sadly, Merilee never cracked the Top 40 again although she continued to perform for many years.

One other interesting note, the Turnabouts guitarist Carl Wilson (no, not the Carl Wilson of the Beach Boys) eventually hooked up with two sisters named Anne & Nancy Wilson and helped them form a band called Heart.

5 Fun Facts about the Rolling Stones

Early Rolling StonesWe all love the Stones. Here are a few things you might know about them:

  1. Mick Jagger was quite the athlete. He set his grade school’s record for the half-mile.
  2. Early in their career they actually recorded the soundtrack for a Rice Krispies commercial in the UK (You can watch it here,here,)
  3. The Stones’ founder, Brian Jones was once part of a blues duo called Lewis and Ponds. Jones was calling himself Elmo Lewis. He asked his partner, Paul Pond, to become the front man of the new rock band he was forming, but Pond turned him down. That’s when Mick Jagger got the job.
  4. It was Stones’ bassist, Bill Wyman, who coined the term “groupie” back in 1965.
  5. Brian Jones played the oboe on the Beatles’ song “Baby, You’re a Rich Man,” while Mick Jagger sang some of the backup vocals. In return, John and Paul sang back-up on the Stones’ song, “We Love You.”

The Story Behind the Song: Respect (1967)

While everybody regards “Respect” as Aretha Franklin’s signature song, it didn’t start out that way.

The song was written and first recorded by Otis Redding in 1965. A solid tune, it hit the top 10 on the R&B charts and the Top 40 on the pop charts, but it was a typical anthem of male posturing – I’ll buy you anything you want if your respect me when I come home.

Just two years after Otis’ version, Aretha was looking to follow-up her first hit single. After over 10 years of trying, she had finally scored a top 10 success with “I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Love You)” in early 1967. She heard “Respect” and thought, with a little work, it might be perfect for her.

So, she and her sister Carolyn began reworking some of the lyrics to bring the song around to a female point of view. The first line: “What you want, honey, you got it” became “What you want, baby, I got it!” Now it wasn’t about buying your sweetheart something material, but about the things a woman would give to her man IF he showed her some respect.” They also added the gimmick of spelling out the word: “R-E-S-P-E-C-T,” which proved to be the thing most people remembered about the song.
During the recording session headed by master producer Jerry Wexler, Aretha also threw in the “sock it to me” and “TCB” ad libs that added to the song’s energy.

Behind the scenes, Ms. Franklin was in the midst of a troubled marriage that would eventually dissolve in 1969. Most rock historians think that added fuel to Aretha’s no-holds-barred performance.

The song, of course, became a monster hit, Aretha’s first #1 and firmly established her preeminence among female R&B singers. It also was adopted as an anthem in the feminist movement that was just getting underway as the 1960s drew to a close.

In music circles, Aretha has had nothing by r-e-s-p-e-c-t ever since.

Revenge of the One-Hit Wonders; "Wipe Out" by the Safaris

One of the most iconic of all surf instrumentals, “Wipe Out” by the Safaris, almost never came to be.

The song was composed and recorded on the spot when the band was in the Pal Recording studio in Cucamonga, California. The lads thought their first big smash would be “Surfer Joe,” but they needed something for the single’s B-side.

The band members, Bob Berryhill, Pat Connolly, Jim Fuller and Ron Wilson, launched into an enthusiastic bit of a jam, keyed by Wilson’s energetic drum solo. In keeping with the surf theme of the A-side, the boys christened the tune “Wipe Out” after the term surfers used when one of their own fell off their board in an often-painful way.

For a finishing touch, the band added a sound effect they thought sounded like a surfboard breaking up as well as a maniacal laugh and the expression “wipe out” voiced by the group’s manager, Dale Smallin.

To theSafaris’ surprise, “Surfer Joe” failed to get much airplay. But their throwaway instrumental proved to be a different story. Although the single was released by the tiny DFS label, it attracted the attention of Dot Records, a national label. They bought the rights to the single and released it in the summer of 1963. By fall, it had climbed all the way to #2 on the charts, selling well over a million copies. Even more amazing, the song returned to the Top 20 just 3 years later, reaching #16 in 1966.

It sold still more copies when it was featured on the soundtrack of the 1987 film Dirty Dancing.

Unfortunately, the band was never able to duplicate their initial success. They released only 4 other singles and were soon “gone with the wave.”

But for Baby Boomers, there was once only one true test of a great drummer – could he play the drum solo from “Wipe Out?”

Two Rock Super Stars Now

Here is a recent photo of two rock & roll legends, who hadn't met until now. Do you recognize them? Here they are just a few short years ago - Tommy James and Connie Francis!

How much were the Beatles paid for their first 3 appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show?

$10,000 - That works out to about $60,000 in today's money
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