Bob Lefsetz: Welcome To My World - "Top Ten - September 25, 1965"
1. "Eve Of Destruction" Barry McGuire
"The Eastern world it is exploding"
One can argue strongly that music took hold, evidenced its potency, with this 1965 "protest" single. The Vietnam war was amping, the baby boomers were aging, everybody looked around and said...WE HAVE THE POWER!
There's not a boomer alive who doesn't know this track, from the acoustic intro to the above first lyric. It emanated from transistors all over the beach, when it first made inroads during the summer, and then it went all the way to number one.
The way Barry McGuire emoted...it sounded like he believed it. And if he did, couldn't you?
Barry never had another hit. He went on to star in "Hair." But the song's writer, P.F. Sloan, had numerous successes, when records were not about the beat, but the melody, when they had something to say.
Could this happen again today?
That would require listeners to question authority, acts to challenge the baby boomer rulers only interested in cash.
But one thing's for sure, when something like this comes out of the speaker, you never forget it.
2. "Hang On Sloopy" The McCoys
Was that the REAL McCOYS? Like the TV show with Walter Brennan?
Or was it "Sloopy," like the star of "Peanuts"?
Meanwhile, no one in the band was named "McCoy." And the Derringers in the band were really named "Zehringer." And they didn't write it. But it was on Bert Berns's Bang Records.
This was a staple of basement and bar mitzvah parties, if you didn't slow dance to this one, if you didn't make out to this one, you missed a rite of passage.
The band was all over TV, we couldn't believe how young they were. And we were stunned when Rick Derringer went on to his own success, years later, with "Rock and Roll, Hoochie Koo," which he wrote and Johnny Winter covered, but I still prefer Rick's solo take.
3. "You Were On My Mind" We Five
Yes, the original was written by Sylvia Tyson, of Ian and Sylvia, but this cover had magic their initial iteration did not, proving that arrangement makes a difference.
This cover by We Five is so magical, it will put a smile on your face and have you believing life is an endless series of upbeat moments, after all, with stuff like this pouring into your ears, how could life go wrong?
This hits the same note as Herman's Hermits' "I'm Into Something Good," but from a slightly older perspective.
Hearing this on the radio just made you feel good.
It still does today.
And no one who wasn't there knows it.
Come on, the breathy, intimate vocal...you just wanted to know these people, you just wanted to sing along yourself!
4. "Catch Us If You Can" The Dave Clark Five
From the movie, the echo of "A Hard Day's Night," and I still haven't seen it, but I want to.
Really the band's last big hit. After this, they faded. But this delivered.
Not on Spotify, Dave Clark licenses last.
From the film:
5. "Help" The Beatles
Come on, when they enter through four different doors and it's the same apartment?
Originally entitled "Eight Arms To Hold You," that's what it said on the "Ticket To Ride" single, "Help" was not quite as good or as big as "A Hard Day's Night," but that did not mean it was not monstrous. This was an obvious hit single, but really the album tracks were the essence, from "You've Got To Hide Your Love Away" to "The Night Before" to "I Need You"...
6. "The In Crowd" The Ramsey Lewis Trio
A live instrumental that SWINGS!
Back when this was still possible, to hit the top ten without words.
Meanwhile, Dobie Gray's original, with lyrics, made it to number 13 in the same year!
7. "Like A Rolling Stone" Bob Dylan
The victory lap, when Dylan went from underground folkie, writer of classics, to a star in his own right.
It didn't sound so different musically from the rest of what was on the airwaves, but the words and the nasal vocal...they were unique! Many people hated this record, they imitated Bob's voice, but through sheer repetition we knew every lyric, and the words pop up in our brains on a regular basis.
I mean once upon a time...
8. "It Ain't Me Babe" The Turtles
The name seemed a cheap shot rip-off of the Beatles, but Howard Kaylan's heartfelt vocal was so endearing... We ultimately learned it was a Bob Dylan song, but the Turtles definitely made it their own. And when they hit, we had no idea they'd continue to have success, when so many non-writers were one hit wonders, and we certainly were not prepared for their "original" nearly two years later, "Happy Together," which is seen as lightweight fluff all these years later, almost a joke, but in 1967 it was seen as touchingly sincere...the soundtrack to one of my very first romances.
9. "Heart Full Of Soul" The Yardbirds
Yes, that's Jeff Beck's stinging guitar, but really it's Keith Relf's vocal delivery that pushes this Graham Gouldman song over the top.
Meanwhile, as great as the song is, this is definitely a record. Something otherworldly you heard on the radio which made you want to immediately fly to England to get closer, at least go to the show.
10. "Laugh At Me" Sonny Bono
Where Sonny tries to prove he doesn't need Cher, and does an admirable job of it!
Sure, he was too old, he didn't have the look, but he definitely had the sneer, check out this video!