Tuesday, August 12, 2014

August 9, 2014 - JR - Spotlight on Gerry Goffin AND '70s Blue-Eyed Soul

Rockin' Remnants

Rockin' Remnants is broadcast from WVBR-FM Ithaca. Check out our
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Date:  8-09-14
Host:  John Rudan
Feature:  Spotlight on Gerry Goffin AND '70s Blue-Eyed Soul

Tribute to Gerry Goffin


Gerry Goffin was one of the great lyricists of the Rock and Roll era, and starting with his partner (and wife), Carole King in the late 50’s to writing with other partners in the late 70’s, he gave us some of most well known and best loved songs of the era.

Goffin and King were part of the New York City “BrillBuilding” songwriters who worked under the auspices of Don Kirshner and Al Nevins “Aldon Music”.


 Among the other songwriting teams were Barry Mann/Cynthia Weil, Jeff Barry/Ellie Greenwich and Neil Sedaka/Howard Greenfield.
The songs of these young and prolific songwriters were pitched at first to “local” artists like The Chiffons, The Shirelles, The Drifters, Little Eva, The Cookies, Tony Orlando, Steve Lawrence, etc.  But as their reputation grew, the songs expanded cross country to include Bobby Vee, The Everly Brothers, The Byrds, The Righteous Brothers, The Monkees and even across the pond with their songs recorded by The Beatles, The Animals, Dusty Springfield, Herman’s Hermits and The Hollies among others.
Although most of Goffin’s lyrics were set to the music of King, he also wrote with other partners including Barry Mann, Phil Spector, and Jack Keller.  When the Goffin /King partnership broke up along with their marriage in 1968, Gerry moved to California and continued to write with others like Barry Goldberg, Michael Masser, Wes Farrell and Preston Glass.
Gerry Goffin passed away on June 19th at the age of 75.

For the first half of Remnants tonight we’ll be listening to the songs of Gerry Goffin.  Some you’ll know, some you won’t, and some may even surprise you.  
Gerry Goffin and Carole King were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990.

For a full listing of the songs co-written by Gerry Goffin, click here.

If you’d like to check out the fuller scope of Goffin/King on CD, here is the link to Ace Records:

 [ yellow song titles are YouTube links; all chart information comes from the Billboard Top 100 (for chart dates before/during July 1958) or Billboard Hot 100 (for chart dates during/after Aug 1958) unless otherwise noted]


OPENING THEME:  Good Old Rock ‘n’ Roll – Cat Mother & the All-Night Newsboys (1969, #29, produced by Jimi Hendrix)

“Oh, Neil” – Carole King, 1959; written with Neil Sedaka and Howie Greenfield. 


The answer record to Neil’s “Oh! Carol” DNC on the BB Hot 100, while Neil’s ode to his friend peaked at Hot 100 #9.

“Will You Love Me Tomorrow” – The Shirelles, 1961.


The first BB Hot 100 #1 and most often covered song in the Goffin/King repertoire;  #1 for 2 weeks in January, 1961.

“Who Put The Bomp (In The Bomp, Bomp, Bomp) – Barry Mann, 1961; written with Barry Mann.

Peaked at BB Hot 100 #7.

“Chains” – The Everly Brothers, 1961

Many Goffin/King songs were plugged to the Everlys, but none were chart hits.  This is actually the original version of this 1960’s classic recorded by The Cookies and The Beatles!

“The Loco-Motion” – Little Eva, 1962


The second BB Hot 100 #1 for Goffin/King, sung by their babysitter, Eva Narcissus Boyd.  Dee Dee Sharp (“Mashed Potato Time”) also did a version which DNC.  Grand Funk took a cover version of this to BB Hot 100 #1 on 5/4/1974.

“It Might As Well Rain Until September” – Bobby Vee, 1963

This song was pitched to Vee for a single, but he declined; eventually released by Carole as a 45, peaked at BB Hot 100 #22 in 1962, her first hit.  Bobby’s version only appeared on LP a year later.

“Up On The Roof” and “At The Club” – The Drifters, 1962, 1964


Being closely associated with the denizens of the Brill Building, The Drifters recorded many Goffin/King songs.  “Roof” peaked at BB Hot 100 #5, “Club” at BB Hot 100 #43.

“I’m Into Something Good” – Earl-Jean, 1964


This version peaked at BB Hot 100 #38.  An almost note for note cover version by Herman’s Hermits peaked BB Hot 100 #13.

“Just Once In My Life” – Righteous Brothers, 1965; written with Phil Spector


Producer Phil Spector was a sometime collaborator with the Brill Building songwriters.  This “Wall Of Sound” gem peaked at BB Hot 100 #9. 

“Honey And Wine” – The Hollies, 1965

Originally released on a 4 song EP 45 in the U.K.; DNC either there or in the U.S.

“Don’t Bring Me Down” – The Animals, 1966


The Animals had previously tapped into the Brill Building scene for “We Gotta Get Out Of This Place” and “It’s My Life”; they took this Goffin/King composition to BB Hot 100 #12. 

“Goin’ Back” – The Byrds, 1967


There was a lot of disagreement amongst the group members about recording this song, which only peaked at BB Hot 100 #89.  It’s a beautiful rendition of the song, though, with The Byrds trademark guitar and harmonies.

“I Don’t Think You Know Me” – The American Breed, 1967


This was released on Acta Records 45-802 by the Chicago garage-rock band and it DNC.

“Porpoise Song” – The Monkess, 1968


From the Monkees trippy movie, Head, this was no “Pleasant Valley Sunday”, peaking at BB Hot 100 #62.


“Hi-De-Ho” – Blood, Sweat & Tears, 1970 


Original title: “That Sweet Old Roll”.  This jazzy version peaked at BB Hot 100 #14.

“I’ll Meet You Halfway” – The Partridge Family, 1971; written with Wes Farrel


Songwriter/Producer Farrel was in Hollywood cranking out songs for this TV family, and turned to his old New York pal for some deep lyrics!  Peaked at BB Hot 100 #9.

“Go Away Little Girl” – Donny Osmond, 1971

The second go-round at BB Hot 100 #1, 9/11/71 for 3 weeks; first trip to the top was by Steve Lawrence, 1/12/63 for 2 weeks.

“Wasn’t Born To Follow” – Dusty Springfield, 1972

The Byrds originally recorded this lyrically imaginative tune (written by Goffin on an LSD trip), but it did not chart.  Dusty’s version was on the LP See All Her Faces.

“I’ve Got To Use My Imagination” – Gladys Knight & The Pips, 1973; written with Barry Goldberg


Goldberg was a former member of The Electric Flag.  This soulful version of “Imagination” peaked at BB Hot 100 #4 in 1973

“Theme From Mahogany (Do You Know Where You’re Going To)” – Diana Ross, 1976; written with Michael Masser


BB Hot 100 #1 on 1/24/1976 for 1 week.

“Smackwater Jack” – Carole King, 1971


Goffin and King reunited in the 70’s to pen this track on Tapestry; peaked at BB Hot 100 #14, although the writing credits were reversed!

“One Fine Day” – Carole King, 1980

Carole’s own interpretation of The Chiffons 1963 hit peaked at BB Hot 100 #12; “Shoo-be-do-be-do-wop-wop”, indeed…

Blue-eyed Soul 70’s & 80’s

KC And The Sunshine Band (“Get Down Tonight”; Hot 100 #1, R&B #1) 1975

Wild Cherry (“Play That Funky Music”; Hot 100 #1, R&B #1) 1976 


Hall & Oates (“I Can’t Go For That [No Can Do])”; Hot 100 #1, R&B #1) 1981 

-These 3 songs were #1 both on the Hot 100 and the Billboard R&B chart.

Cold Blood (“You Got Me Hummin”; Hot 100 #52) 1970 


Rare Earth (“Get Ready”; Hot 100 #4, R&B #20) 1971 

J. Geils Band (“Looking For A Love”; Hot 100 #39) 1972


Gino Vanelli (“People Gotta Move”; Hot 100 #22) 1974 


Average White Band (“Pick Up The Pieces”; Hot 100 #1, R&B #5) 1974 

David Bowie (“Young Americans”; Hot 100 #26) 1975 

The Elton John Band  (“Philadelphia Freedom”; Hot 100 #1, R&B #32) 1975


-The four artists above (a Canadian, a group of Scots and two Brits) all appeared on Soul Train in the 1970’s!

Bee Gees (“You Should Be Dancing”; Hot 100 #1, R&B #4) 1976 


Sanford/Townsend Band (“Smoke From A Distant Fire”; Hot 100 #9) 1977  

Peter Brown (“Do You Wanna Get Funky With Me”; Hot 100 #18, R&B #3) 1977


Rolling Stones (“Miss You”; Hot 100 #1, R&B #33) 1978

Joe Cocker (“Fun Time”; Hot 100 #43) 1978 


Player (“Baby Come Back”; Hot 100 #1, R&B #10) 1978 

Queen (“Another One Bites The Dust””; Hot 100 #1, R&B #2) 1981 


Billy (Vera) & The Beaters (“At This Moments; Hot 100 #1, R&B #70) 1981 


Michael McDonald (“I Keep Forgettin” (Every Time You’re Near); Hot 100 #4, R&B #7) 1982 

Steve Winwood (“Roll With It”; Hot 100 #1, R&B #30) 1988 


-“Roll” was the #1 BB Hot 100 single of 1988!

 CLOSING THEME:  Sleepwalk – Santo & Johnny (1959, #1 for two weeks)

Host Next Week (8/16):  Kim Vaughan with a spotlight on August 1958

Thanks for tuning in! You can listen to Rockin' Remnants every Saturday night from 6-9pm on WVBR (93.5 FM in Ithaca, NY) or at wvbr.com/listen.

“Oh, Neil” – Carole King, 1959; written with

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