Monday, August 9, 2010

LADIES FIRST: 'Softly softly, we'd meet with our lips!'



Grrrl Gang:
Margie and Mary Ann Ganser,
Mary Weiss.


Another classic that 'she did first'.


"Remember (Walking In The Sand)" catapulted THE SHANGRI-LAS and much more.

As the story goes, fledgling producer "Shadow" Morton painted himself into a corner one day while visiting former flame and now hit songwriter Elle Greenwich. Her partner Jeff Barry put him on the spot about what he did and Morton blurted, "Songs."
"What kind?'"
"Hit songs." Then Morton had to scramble to write his first-ever song in a week and under pressure he wrote this one.

For the demo he grabbed an unknown Girl Group called The Shangri-Las and a young piano player named Billy Joel. Then he proved himself to be a worthy rival to Phil Spector with his dramatic arrangement, echo, and sound effects. What he also lucked into was the group themselves. Led by the edgy confessionals of Mary Weiss, they proved to be one of Pop and Rock's greatest goldmines. And Shadow Morton did write hit songs for them, after all.

THE SHANGRI-LAS -"Remember (Walking In The Sand)" (1964)



THE BEATLES loved Girl Groups and covered a number of their songs in the early days.

But I never see anyone remark on "Remember"'s clear influence on this later song, "I Want You (She's So Heavy)"; listen to the famed epilogue (4:45), with those hard descending chords, along with a dramatic building progression and the "aaahhh" background harmonies. It even has a bracketed title!

Oddly enough, the original version of "Remember" is rumored to have been over 7 minutes long, which is another harbinger of this one.

THE BEATLES -"I Want You (She's So Heavy)" (1969)



AEROSMITH is the most famous for covering "Remember (Walking In The Sand)". But it seems clear enough that their Rock chord version hinged off of what The Beatles did with "I Want You (She's So Heavy)". Consider that they had recently covered "Come Together", also from the "ABBEY ROAD" album.

Mary Weiss actually did back-up vocals on this, but was unfortunately uncredited.

AEROSMITH -"Remember (Walking In The Sand)" (1979)



The Shangri-Las' 'tough girl' style had a huge influence on Glam and Punk artists, from The New York Dolls to The Damned, from Suzi Quatro to Blondie. THE GO-GO'S have done a cover of this song since the early LA Punk days, and here they are recently in this version with a lovely intro.

THE GO-GO'S -"Remember (Walking In The Sand)" (live, 2007)



AMY WINEHOUSE, no stranger to mid-60's style and tough girl sass, often interpolates lyrics from "Remember" in live versions of her own song, "Back To Black" (at 3:09).

AMY WINEHOUSE -"Back To Black" (live, 2007)




"(remember) walkin' hand in hand
(remember) the night was so exciting
(remember) smile was so inviting
(remember) then he touched my cheek
(remember) with his fingertips
Softly, softly we'd meet with our lips..."

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