out onto Lexington 64th Street
In the last year, with the help of Martin Roberts and other ‘Spectropop’ collectors we have been able to re-acquaint Jean with nearly 200 tracks that she wrote or worked on and hadn’t heard in over 40 years. She is very happy to hear tracks she had completely forgotten but thanks to her log books and Spectropop’s music detectives she has re-discovered lots of her past work.
“Two things struck me as I listened to
Volumes 7 and 8 of your ‘Lost and Found’ CD compilations”, she said. “Firstly how much really strong work Ellie
Mikie (Harris) and I did between 1964 and 1967 and, secondly, that the sound we
had, I feel, shines through on so many of the recordings. You don’t realize many of these things while
they’re happening, only in retrospect.”
I told Jean about the recent ACE release release
Words & Music by Ellie Greenwich & Jeff Barry” which features this trio’s backing vocals on
theTony Pass recording of ‘True, True Love’ (recorded 10th October 1964) which we featured in our ‘Out of the
Closet – Part 1’ blog post.
“Ellie was such a talent. Alongside Carol King
she is arguably one of the most important female writers, producers, performers
in New York during the 60s….I can remember when she had nine Top Ten hits on the Hot 100
charts in one year.” I suggested that
maybe ACE should pull together the best of the backing work they did together
in the future…if not well we will.
“The other thing that surprised me was how many tracks I sang lead on without getting credit. Many times I knew this was happening and agreed to it, but, I find, that other times I didn’t know this was happening.” What our research has shown is that Jean’s vocals were featured on recordings using the name of another artist or as a fictitious group.
We recently re-acquainted Jean with ‘Priceless Possession’ (United Artists UA 649 by Janie Grant) a song she and brother Don wrote back in 1963. “This recording of ‘Priceless Possession’ sounds more like me than Janie Grant.’ Jean told me. “I really like the song and think it's one of the best that Don and I wrote. I can't remember whether they recorded over my demo and added some orchestra or if I did the actual master session with her, but they sure left my voice up front. At first I thought it was all me and then I saw her name on the label. But it wasn’t until I listened to her other recordings that I realized she has a very different voice. The record company chose to feature my vocal. I take that as a compliment”
Another release in 1966 by a group called The
Cheese Cakes is another example of Jean recording with a fictitious group by
producers trying to find a hit. Laurie 3336 – Heading For a Heartbreak b/w Bye
Bye Little Boy, was recorded for
Napam Music on 21st and 27th January 1966 according to
Jean’s log as a master session. Jean cannot recall who the other group members
might be. Another ‘lost gem’ re-discovered. “I can’t remember this session or these songs
but’ yes’ that is me singing ‘lead’ "
perhaps the most obvious example of this approach was the attempt to promote a
trio of Broadway models as pop stars by Kama Sutra on Roulette R7003 . Jean recalls…… “There was one
occasion when I was asked to help a group of models get a hit record. The group
was ‘The Loved Ones’ and comprised 3 models from the Stewart Models Agency. We recorded ‘I Love How You Love Me b/w Do You Know What I Think’” This was on 22nd and 29th September
1967….but when you listen Jean is on
lead and the models and others are on backing vocals. “I found I still
had the press release and photo from that time. They mixed my voice in with the
lead singer……and left more of me than her.”
“The 60s was an amazing time to be in the music industry. There were new sounds coming from everywhere and many new, small record companies popping up to give almost everyone who had something to record an opportunity to do just that. You didn’t have to have a big orchestra behind you or record in a studio with 16 or 32 tracks. Many of the hits of the day were made in 2- track or 4-track studios for under $1,000.00. And it was fun!!!!!!! We all did a lot of singing (solo lead vocals or group lead vocals) we never got credit for, but it didn’t matter. We loved it!!!! And we would all do it over again today, if given the opportunity.”
Wonderful stories of the music industry in NYC during the 60s. But unfortunately my meeting with Jean had to end and it was time to hail a yellow cab to head back to our hotel.
We’ve featured some of the sides mentioned above in a player so you can hear for yourselves below. Maybe we’ll find more examples of our songstress in another disguise as we continue to document her sessions from 1966 to 1968.
of the way reveals surprises and great finds. And Jean would go on to become
the voice of so many commercials on TV and radio in the second part of the
decade. Just another example of how this often ‘hidden gem’ became New York’s ‘Priceless
Every step of the way reveals surprises and great finds. And Jean would go on to become the voice of so many commercials on TV and radio in the second part of the decade. Just another example of how this often ‘hidden gem’ became New York’s ‘Priceless Possession.’
|Powered by eSnips.com|