Tuesday, March 16, 2010

malt shop melancholy: a 50s/60s tweepop mixtape

C86 was not the beginning of twee, Stephen Pastel wasn't the first guy to mumble into a microphone, and the Shop Assistants weren't the first semi-competent girl band to cause hearts to flutter. It goes back way further than that. Probably the first time a caveman did something like throw a rock at a dinosaur thereby causing all the female cavemen to ooh and aah, there was another guy sitting around in a sweater with too-long sleeves feeling melancholy because the girls didn't notice him. There must be some cave paintings of girls in Hepburn bangs too, a version of "Please Please Let Me Get What I Want" scored for sabertooth tiger bones and coconut shells, or maybe a caveman who used his record label's name for his surname. Jumping ahead to the late 1950s and early 60s, there was a whole bunch of ultra-twee pop music around. Mistakenly derided as the lamest period of rock & roll history by a succession of music critic fools and tools, a good look at what was really going on after the first wave of rock & roll washed out and before the Beatles came around to wreck everything, reveals a ton of brilliant and ridiculous malt shop pop. Sure, a lot of it may sound pretty vanilla on the surface, (and a lot of it is truly terrible) but if you spend anytime at all digging around, you'll find some great songs buried beneath the dust, songs filled with weirdness, heartbreak, and plenty of twee soul. I mean what could be more twee than eating a sad hamburger alone, crying bitter tears into your milkshake, right? (Poor Ricky.) No date from the prom, a lonely night spent waiting for a call,  a day spent under the spell of new love (doomed) with a dreamy boy preferably named Johnny...it's all pretty damn twee and pretty wonderful too. Please enjoy this small sampling of songs from the dawn of twee pop.

Earl Jean - "I'm Into Something"
The Four Coquettes - "Sparkle and Shine"     
The Georgettes - "Oh Tonight"      
Rick Nelson - "Fools Rush In"   
Andrea Carroll - "It Hurts To Be Sixteen"      
Shelley Fabares - "Telephone (Won't You Ring)"   
The Starlettes - "Please Ring My Phone"     
The Sensations - "Please Mr. Disc Jockey" 
Carole King - "Crying In The Rain"  
Del Shannon - "That's The Way Love Is" 
Gloria Dennis - "Richie"    
Paul Petersen - "Mama, Your Little Boy Fell"  
The Paris Sisters - "Be My Boy"  
The Everly Brothers - "Always It's You"


4 comments:

Andrew and Emily said...

Solid.

Daniel Novakovic said...

Sorry to be a spoil sport but Alistair Fitchett has a few points over at Unpopular about this whole making up stuff thats is twee. It's worth a read

http://unpopular.typepad.com/unpopular/2009/06/its-all-punk-rock-to-me.html

Tim said...

the tweeness of this blog is really meant to be tongue in cheek, taking the piss of the idea of twee pop while at the same time celebrating the bands who get tagged as twee. I totally agree that twee without punk is probably not worth a damn.

Daniel Novakovic said...

Haha ok then. I was a bit worried for a while ;)

I liked your slumberland mix