30 August 2009

Ellie Greenwich RIP

It’s easy for us 80s kids to look down with a little condescension at the music of the 50s and early 60s -- in our minds, although 80s New Wave and other movements were clearly drawn from that period (as opposed to the bluesy rock and R&B that had powered the later 60s and early 70s), our version was more refined and intelligent. At least we thought so.

Of course, this view conveniently forgets that in order to build more literate, urbane pop music, you must first have great pop music. That’s where Ellie Greenwich (pronounced “GREN-itch”) came in.

She, along with her many songwriting partners, singers and producers, really shaped American music culture in the late 50s and early 60s as few other people did. Her string of hits is long and mostly pretty well known, but she wrote a heckuvalotta songs that people no longer remember were hers.

Thus, for this short tribute to the short-lived era of pure pop that she contributed so much to, I reached into the vaults for a bona-fide rarity: Lesley Gore singing one of her lesser-known hits “Maybe I Know,” from “The T.A.M.I. Show” movie, circa 1964. This excerpt (it’s not the whole song I’m sorry to say) shows off the song and the singer at their peak. I came to have this clip courtesy of music god Ron Kane, and heaven only knows where/how he managed to acquire it, but there’s certainly enough of it there to show off a very different, but very catchy, world gone by, so I think it’s high time it made it onto YouTube so that others can enjoy. RIP Ellie Greenwich.

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