I got almost to the end of this journey before I came to a set of records with no obvious theme to impose upon them. So let’s just take a look at a (very) disparate collection of five cuts that essentially span the entire 1960s.
Hayley Mills, “Let’s Get Together” (#8, October 1961)
Sometime in the first half of the 1970s I saw The Parent Trap on television and instantly started crushing on Hayley Mills. That said, “Let’s Get Together” isn’t a great single (one reason is that Mills doesn’t have too much of a voice). Yet, two things still happened: 1) it got propelled into the Top 10, and 2) my father was compelled to purchase it.
Henry Mancini, “Moon River” (#11, December 1961; #32, May 1962)
Jerry Butler had a version of “Moon River” that also peaked at #11, two weeks prior to Mancini making it there on Christmas weekend of 1961. It won an Oscar for Best Original Song, in addition to Song and Record of the Year at the Grammys–I guess all that hardware led to a re-release the following spring.
It’s one of those songs that takes me back to a very young age; for whatever reason, it evokes a feeling of wistfulness, I assume for days long gone.
Marv Johnson, “I Love the Way You Love” (#9, April 1960)
Produced and co-written by Berry Gordy, Jr. A very nice piece; has a Sam Cooke feel to me. It was Johnson’s second and last Top 10 hit. He died of a stroke at age 54 in May 1993.
Donovan, “Atlantis” (#7, May 1969)
Dad has managed to surprise me over and again as I’ve listened to the songs in his stash of 45s, and he’s done it one more time here. “Atlantis” is an odd duck, with a long spoken intro leading in to a repetitive chorus. I’m guessing it’s the only U.S. Top 10 hit to feature the phrase “antediluvian baby.”
It was originally the B-side: “To Susan on the West Coast Waiting,” an anti-war song told from the point of view of a Vietnam soldier writing home to his girlfriend, made #35 a few weeks before “Atlantis” rose from the depths.
Barry McGuire, “Eve of Destruction” (#1, September 1965)
Speaking of protest songs…
Dad was too old to have worried about being drafted for Vietnam (he turned 33 in the middle of 1964). While I don’t recall having many general conversations with him about war, my overall sense is he was more peacenik than hawk; the presence of “Eve of Destruction” here lends credence to that thought. The sleeve suggests he bought this a few years after it was a hit, though.
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