Category Archives: 1960s

“Little Stevie Wonder – Fingertips. (Part 2)”

“Little Stevie Wonder – Fingertips. (Part 2)”

Fingertips” is a 1963 hit single recorded live by “Little” Stevie Wonder for Motown‘s then Tamla label. Wonder’s first hit single, “Fingertips” was the first live, non-studio recording to reach No.1 on the Billboard Pop Singles chart in the United States since Johnny Standley‘s 1952 comic monologue “It’s in the Book
Written and composed by Wonder’s mentors, Clarence Paul and Henry Cosby, “Fingertips” was originally a jazz instrumental recorded for Wonder’s first studio album, The Jazz Soul of Little Stevie. The live version of the song was recorded in June 1962 during a Motortown Revue performance at the Regal Theater in Chicago, Illinois. Containing only a few stanzas of improvised lyrics, “Fingertips” is essentially an instrumental piece, meant to showcase Wonder’s talents on the bongosand the harmonica.

“Part 2”

“Part 2” of “Fingertips” is when Wonder shouts “Everybody say ‘yeah!'”, initiating a call and response exchange with the audience. After a couple of sung verses, each followed by Wonder’s brief harmonica playing (solos accompanied only by the audience’s rhythmic clapping), Wonder appears to bring things to a conclusion. On the night of the recording, Wonder, as usual started to leave the stage and the band went into the exit music, as comedian Bill Murray (known professionally as Winehead Willie) exhorted the crowd to “give him a hand”; however, Stevie unexpectedly changed his mind, returning to sing the “goodbye” encore. The other musicians were caught out, and the bass players had changed over to prepare for the next act on the bill, usually slated as The Marvelettes. As Wonder moves into his impromptu encore, the new bass player, Joe Swift, having replaced Larry Moses, can be heard on the recording, yelling out, “What key? What key?”


The live version of “Fingertips” was released on May 21, 1963 as a two-part single, with Part 2 (with the encore) as the B-side. The 707 mono features “Sunset” and “Contract on Love”. By August, the single B-side had reached the top of both the Billboard Pop Singles and R&B Singles charts.

“Fingertips” was Motown’s second number-one pop hit (following The Marvelettes‘ “Please Mr. Postman“), and launched the then 13-year-old Wonder into the pop music stratosphere. The single’s success helped Wonder’s live album, Recorded Live: The 12 Year Old Genius, reach number-one on the Billboard Pop Albumschart, making him the youngest artist to accomplish that feat. Because of Part 2’s success, it would later feature on various compilation albums just as the full recording.

Both the studio and live versions of the song featured drumming by Marvin Gaye, who had been playing drums for Wonder and other Motown artists in 1960 before becoming a famous hitmaker in his own right.





Nathan Jones” is a hit single recorded by The Supremes, released in spring 1971 (see 1971 in music) on the Motown label. Produced by Frank Wilson and written by Leonard Caston – a.k.a. Leonard Caston, Jr. – and Kathy Wakefield, “Nathan Jones” was one of eight Top 40 hits the Supremes recorded after its original frontwoman, Diana Ross, left the group for a solo career.


The song centers around a woman’s longing for her former lover, a man named Nathan Jones, who left her nearly a year ago “to ease [his] mind.” Suffering through the long separation (“Winter’s past, spring, and fall”) without any contact or communication between herself and Jones, the narrator is no longer in love with Jones, remarking that “Nathan Jones/you’ve been gone too long”.

Supremes version

Nathan Jones” is an unusual entry among the Supremes’ singles repertoire for several reasons, not the least of which is the fact that all three members of the group (Jean Terrell, Mary Wilson, and Cindy Birdsong) sing the song’s lead vocal in unison. Clydie King was asked to sing along with the group to give the song a fuller vocal sound. While working on the song, producer Frank Wilson had in mind a rock music style of phrasing for the song, resulting in the unison vocals. The unison vocals would repeatedly be dubbed to create a layered harmonic tone similar to that present in the production of vocal group ABBA[original research?]. In addition, Wilson had his engineer, Cal Harris, use what can (now) be considered classic studio sensibilities to take The Funk Brothers‘ backing tracks for “Nathan Jones” and give them a phase shifting sound at various points during the song. This was accomplished by either using a second recorder (as the Beatles would have done) or (less likely) an outboard processor such as the blue faced MXR flanger.

Released as a single on April 15, 1971 with “Happy is a Bumpy Road” as the B-side, “Nathan Jones” peaked at number sixteen on the Billboard Pop Singles chart, number-eight on the Billboard R&B chart.[1] Overseas, the single went to number five on the UK Singles Chart. “Nathan Jones” was the most successful single released from the Supremes’ fourteenth regular studio album, Touch.


Posted by on March 19, 2018 in 1960s, pop music/motown, retro



“Shake Me, Wake Me” The Four Tops

“Shake Me, Wake Me” The Four Tops

Shake Me, Wake Me (When It’s Over)” is a 1966 song written and produced by Holland–Dozier–Holland and released as a single by the Four Tops on the Motown label. The song peaked at number eighteen on the US Pop Singles chart. It peaked at number five on the R&B singles chart.

Barbra Streisand recorded her version in her 1975’s album Lazy Afternoon, it was the second single of the album and peaked #14 on Dance Music/Club Play Singles and #10 on Disco Singles charts.


Tags: ,

“Fannie Mae-Buster Brown”


Buster Brown (August 15, 1911 – January 31, 1976)[1] was an American blues and R&B singer best known for his hit, “Fannie Mae”.[1]

Brown was born in Cordele, Georgia.[1] In the 1930s and 1940s he played harmonica at local clubs and made a few non-commercial recordings. These included “War Song” and “I’m Gonna Make You Happy” (1943), which were recorded when he played at the folk festival at Fort Valley (GA) State Teachers College, for the Library of Congress’ Folk Music Archive.[2]


Brown was born in Cordele, Georgia. In the 1930s and 1940s he played harmonica at local clubs and made a few non-commercial recordings. These included “War Song” and “I’m Gonna Make You Happy” (1943), which were recorded when he played at the folk festival at Fort Valley (GA) State Teachers College, for the Library of Congress’ Folk Music Archive.

Brown moved to New York in 1956, where he was discovered by Fire Records owner Bobby Robinson. In 1959, at almost fifty years of age, Brown recorded the rustic blues, “Fannie Mae”, which featured Brown’s harmonica playing and whoops, which went to # 38 in the U.S. Top 40, and to #1 on the R&B chart in April 1960. His remake of Louis Jordan’s “Is You Is or Is You Ain’t My Baby” reached # 81 on the pop charts later in 1960, but did not make the R&B chart. “Sugar Babe” was his only other hit, in 1962, reaching # 19 on the R&B chart and # 99 on the pop chart.

In later years he recorded for Checker Records and for numerous small record labels.[5] He also co-wrote the song “Doctor Brown” with J. T. Brown, which was later covered by Fleetwood Mac on their 1968 album, Mr. Wonderful.

Brown died in New York in 1976, at the age of 64.

It is often erroneously cited that Brown’s real name was “Wayman Glasco” – however, that was Brown’s manager who, after his death, bought all of Brown’s publishing – thus unintentionally creating the confusion. Though likely a nickname, or alias, Buster Brown may have been his birth name.[citation needed]

Fanny Mae-Buster Brown-original song-1959


Tags: ,

“Archie Bell & The Drells – Tighten up (1968)”

“Archie Bell & The Drells – Tighten up (1968)”

“Tighten Up” was written by Archie Bell and Billy Buttier. It was one of the first songs that Archie Bell & the Drells recorded, in a session in October 1967 at the Jones Town Studio in Houston, Texas, along with a number of songs including “She’s My Woman”. The instrumental music for “Tighten Up” had been developed by the T.S.U. Toronadoes in their live shows before and they brought it to Archie Bell & the Drells at the suggestion of Skipper Lee Frazer, a Houston disk jockey who worked with both groups.

Soon afterwards Bell was drafted into the U.S. Army and began serving in Vietnam. The song became a hit in Houston, and was picked up by Atlantic Records for distribution in April 1968. By the summer it topped both the Billboard R&B and pop charts. It also sold a million copies by May 1968, gaining an RIAA gold disc.

In the beginning of the song, Bell introduces himself and the Drells as being from Houston, Texas. According to the Billboard Book of Number One Hits by Fred Bronson, Bell had heard a comment after the Kennedy assassination in Dallas that “nothing good ever came out of Texas.” Bell wanted his listeners to know “we were from Texas and we were good.”

Bell continues in the song by stating, “We don’t only sing, but we dance just as good as we want.” This line is often misheard, and mis-transcribed, as “dance just as good as we walk”. Asked to clarify by writer Michael Corcoran, Archie Bell responded, “We dance just as good as we want. Hell, we dance a lot better than we walk.”

Although their leader was unavailable, the phenomenal success of the single prompted the band to rush out their first album, which included the songs they had recorded in late 1967 and early 1968 with The Toronadoes.

In 1969 the group recorded their first full album with Gamble and Huff, I Can’t Stop Dancing, which reached number 28 on the R&B chart.





“Good Vibrations” is a song composed and produced by Brian Wilson with words by Mike Love for the Beach Boys. Released as a single in October 1966, it was an immediate critical and commercial hit, topping record charts in several countries including the US and UK. Characterized by its complex soundscapes, episodic structure, and subversions of pop music formula, it was the most costly single ever recorded at the time of its release. “Good Vibrations” later became widely acclaimed as one of the greatest masterpieces of rock music.[10][11]

Initiated during the sessions for the album Pet Sounds (1966), it was not taken from or issued as a lead single for an album, but rather as a stand-alone single, with the Pet Sounds instrumental “Let’s Go Away for Awhile” as a B-side. It was considered for the Smile project, but instead appeared on the album Smiley Smile (1967). Most of the song was developed as it was recorded. Its title derived from Wilson’s fascination with cosmic vibrations, after his mother once told him as a child that dogs sometimes bark at people in response to their “bad vibrations”. He used the concept to suggest extrasensory perception, while Love’s lyrics were inspired by the Flower Power movement that was then burgeoning in Southern California.

The making of “Good Vibrations” was unprecedented for any kind of recording, with a total production cost estimated between $50,000 and $75,000 (equivalent to $360,000 and $550,000 in 2015). Building upon the multi-layered approach he had formulated with Pet Sounds, Wilson recorded the song in different sections at four Hollywood studios over an eight-month period, resulting in a cut-up mosaic of several musical episodes marked by disjunctive key and modal shifts. Band publicist Derek Taylor dubbed the unusual work a “pocket symphony”. It contained previously untried mixes of instruments, including jaw harp and Electro-Theremin, and was the first pop hit to have a cello playing juddering rhythms.

For “Good Vibrations”, Wilson is credited with further developing the use of the recording studio as an instrument. The single revolutionized rock music from live concert performances to studio productions which could only exist on record, heralding a wave of pop experimentation and the onset of psychedelic and progressive rock. It is also frequently cited for its use of theremin, which led to the instrument’s revival and to an increased interest in analog synthesizers. Its success earned the Beach Boys a Grammy nomination for Best Vocal Group performance in 1966; the song was eventually inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1994.[12] It has featured highly in many charts, being voted number one in the Mojo “Top 100 Records of All Time” chart in 1997[12] and number six on Rolling Stone’s list of the “500 Greatest Songs of All Time”.[13] The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame included “Good Vibrations” in its list of the “500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll”.[14]


The Beach Boys’ leader Brian Wilson was responsible for the musical composition and virtually all of the arrangement for “Good Vibrations”. His cousin and bandmate Mike Love contributed the song’s lyrics and its bass vocalization in the chorus.[15][16] During the recording sessions for Pet Sounds (1966), Wilson began changing his writing process. Rather than going to the studio with a completed song, he would record a track containing a series of chord changes he liked, take an acetate disc home, and then write the song’s melody and lyrics.[17] For “Good Vibrations”, Wilson said, “I had a lot of unfinished ideas, fragments of music I called ‘feels.’ Each feel represented a mood or an emotion I’d felt, and I planned to fit them together like a mosaic.”[17] Most of the song’s structure and arrangement was written as it was recorded.[18][nb 1] Engineer Chuck Britz is quoted saying that Wilson considered the song to be “his whole life performance in one track”.[6] Wilson stated: “I was an energetic 23-year-old. … I said: ‘This is going to be better than [the Phil Spector production] ‘You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin”.'”[22]


Tags: ,

“Burn – Vintage ‘1960s Girl Group Ellie Goulding Cover with Flame-O-Phone”


Robyn Adele Anderson (born February 19, 1989) is a multilingual vocalist based in New York City. She is a cast member and featured artist for Postmodern Jukebox with over 145 million YouTube views of her music videos. She is credited with the band’s breakthrough cover of “Thrift Shop” and “We Can’t Stop” in 2013.[1][2][3][4]Anderson also performed lead vocals for performances on Good Morning America (ABC) in 2013,[5] and TEDx in 2014.[6]

Robyn Adele Anderson
Robyn Adele Anderson on stage w Postmodern Jukebox.jpg

Anderson with Postmodern Jukebox in 2014 


Tags: , ,

%d bloggers like this: