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The Kind of Boy You Can't Forget - the Raindrops

One day in 1962 in the Brill Building, world famous songwriter and record producer Jerry Lieber was working in his office when he heard a woman playing the piano and singing along to it in the adjoining room. He thought it was Carole King and went in to have a chat and remark that the song she was working on was a good'n; he was surprised to see a young woman he'd never met before - Ellie Greenwich. He was so impressed that he signed her up as a songwriter on the spot.

Like Carole King, Ellie went to Queens in New York, and, also like her, teamed up with her husband-to-be, Jeff Barry, who she became involved with while still at college at the age of 19 (he was 21). Like Carole, Ellie initially tried to make it as a performer, but her first singing success came when she and Barry sent a demo of their song "What a Guy" to Jubilee Records, hoping the label's group the Sensations would record it. Jubilee promptly released the demo itself as a single, calling the duo "the Teardrops", and it was a hit, reaching number 41 in the US charts. Despite photos that suggest the group was a trio, the Teardrops were Barry and Greenwich, Greenwich's sister Laurie getting on the album cover because they thought that they'd sell better as a group rather than a duo. As a far as I'm aware, Ellie Greenwich sang double tracked whenever female backing vocals were required.

The follow-up to "What a Guy", "The Kind of Boy You Can't Forget", is a real humdinger of a track and made the US Top Twenty. Ellie's singing is light as lemon souffle, and is anchored by an anonymous drummer who attacks the song as though he's beating the last bit of dust out of the last carpet on earth.

Normally I'm not interested in the accompanying YouTube video, but there is some wonderful rock and roll dancing on this one, including the spectacular crash landing by the girl in the white dress 38 seconds in. Although she's smiling good humouredly as she gets up (they are being filmed after all) you can just catch her being whisked out of camera shot by her partner, not to reappear until the last moments of the film, by which time they've either recovered or promised to try nothing too ambitious. When they return their dancing is certainly much more careful. As Huck Finn memorably put it: "Overreaching don't pay". Good on them for going for it, though.


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