Aug 022013
 

Greetings, seekers of the rare, the unusual, the putatively worthless! I come before you once again with a pair of fine, obscure tunes — both from the same, excellent single — collected at a garage sale I chanced upon a few weeks ago.

I make no claims about the catalog depth of the Shangri-Las, a girl group most famous for their mega-smash hit, “Leader Of the Pack.” But I can say that all the Sharngri-Las material I have found in my thrifty peregrinations has provided excellent entertainment, and Mrs. Bakshi concurs. This single is no different. The A-side, “Love You More Than Yesterday,” is catchy and hook-laden, and features just enough — how shall I say it? — girlish naivete to amuse.

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The B-side, however, was a real WTF moment for me. And I mean that in a good way! As you’ll hear, “Past, Present & Future” isn’t really a “song” at all. It’s a spoken word piece, about… uh… about the emotional impact of being raped, as far as I can tell. Seriously.

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The first time I heard it, I had a hard time getting past the melodrama, and I suspect you’ll have the same reaction. But if you have it pop up on CD mixes in the car for a month as I did, you may find yourself appreciating its subtler charms. I cannot tell a lie; I love the extreme girly drama of it. As I get older, I find myself losing patience with the supposed drama of the gang-banger, the beer-drinker, the hell-raiser, and I enjoy the simple charm (if you can call it that) of a girl’s lament, ca. 1965. And as far as girl’s laments go, this one is a corker. See what you think.

As always, I look forward to your responses.

HVB

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  7 Responses to “Thrifty Music: In Praise of the Shangri-Las”

  1. hrrundivbakshi

    Forgot to call out the extremely wonderful guitar solo in “Love You More Than Yesterday.” Guitar nerds, appreciate!

  2. ladymisskirroyale

    I always enjoy this series, hvb. You’re right, “Love You More Than Yesterday” is great. Side b is interesting, (is it definitely about rape? It’s pretty vague) but what struck me the most was the use of Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata” (and variation) as the background music. It got me and Mr. Royale thinking about how many other Rock or Pop songs have riffed on that melody or those chords. Mr. Royale commented that Radiohead’s “Exit Music For A Film” seems to harken back to the melody. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iHaaZ1IwH1g

  3. H. Munster

    Are you sure “Past Present and Future” was the B side? I remember hearing that one on the radio, but not “Love You More Than Yesterday”.

    • cliff sovinsanity

      I was on the same trail Herman because I’m into all nerdery about labels and release dates. Past Present and Future was originally the A-Side with the song Paradise on the B-side and later I Love You More Than Yesterday. Although the subject matter is touchy it is still 3 years after He Hit Me (and It Felt Like A Kiss). Still this is risky subject matter for a single. The song was later covered by Agnetha from ABBA who adds whipsery Brigitte Bardot-esque vocals.
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3rze_eQkMSA

      The song was written by the team of Shadow Morton, Tony Michaels and Vinnie George who would pen most their hits as well as others on the Red Bird label. Morton, who produced most of the Shangri-Las singles, would eventually go on to produced In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida as well the NY Dolls album Too Much Too Soon.
      Thanks for sharing these treasures.

  4. hrrundivbakshi

    Thanks for all the sleuthing re: A- and B-sides, people. More Thrifty stuff real soon. I have a huge backlog, in fact!

  5. BigSteve

    You should check out lead singer Mary Weiss’ solo album from 2007 on Norton Records called Dangerous Game, where she’s backed by garage rockers The Reigning Sound. It’s pretty cool.

 
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