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The Originals – 1960s Vol. 2


In this second volume of Lesser-known Originals of 1960s hits (get Vol. 1 HERE), we look at the first recordings of songs made famous by the likes of The Beach Boys, Simon & Garfunkel,  The Animals, The Mamas & The Papas,  Cilla Black, The 5th Dimension,  Harry Nilson, The Byrds, and many others…


Louie Louie
There are people who like to designate The Kingsmens’ 1963 version of Louie Louie the first-ever punk song. One can see why: its production is shambolic, the drummer is rumoured to be swearing in the background, his diction is non-existent, the modified lyrics were investigated by the FBI for lewdness (the Feds found nothing incriminating, not even the line which may or may not have been changed from “it won’t be long me see me love” to “stick my finger up the hole of love”), and by the time the song became a hit — after a Boston DJ played it in a “worst songs ever” type segment — the band had broken up and toured in two incarnations.

Originally it was a regional hit in 1957 for an R&B singer named Richard Berry, who took inspiration from his namesake Chuck and West Indian music. In essence, it’s a calypso number of a sailor telling the eponymous barman about the girl he loves.

Louie Louie was originally released as a b-side, but quickly gained popularity on the West Coast. It sold 40,000 copies, but after a series of flops Berry momentarily retired from the recording business, selling the rights to Louie Louie for $750. In the meantime, bands continued to include the song in their repertoire. It was a 1961 version by Rockin’ Robin Roberts & the Fabulous Wailers which provided The Kingsmen with the prototype for their cover.


Hang On Sloopy
The McCoys hit it big in 1965 with Hang On Sloopy, a cover version, of The Vibrations’ 1964 US Top 30 hit My Girl Sloopy, written by the legendary Bert Berns and Wes Farrell. The Vibrations were a soul group from Los Angeles which kept going well into the 1970s; one of their members, Ricky Owens, even joined The Temptations very briefly. Several of their songs are Northern Soul classics (which basically means that they were so unsuccessful that their records are rare).

The McCoys version was originally intended for The Strangeloves, who did the original of the Bow Wow Wow hit I Want Candy. While on tour with their group, the producers decided that My Girl Sloopy, the backing track already recorded, should be the band’s follow-up to I Want Candy. But the Dave Clark Five, on tour with the Strangeloves, got wind of it, and said they’d record Sloopy, too.

So the trio, afraid that the Dave Clark Five might have a hit with the song before they could release theirs, acted fast to scoop the English group. They recruited an unknown group based in Dayton, Ohio, called Rick and the Raiders, renamed them The McCoys, and in quick time released the retitled Hang On Sloopy.

But it wasn’t all the McCoys playing on the single. Only singer Rick Zehringer (later Derringer) performed on it — his vocals having been overlaid on the version already recorded by the Strangeloves, and a guitar solo added to it. The single was a massive hit, reaching the US #1. In 1985 it was adopted as the official rock song of Ohio (honestly).


Dedicated To The One I Love
The “5” Royales’ name screams 1950s novelty band. But that they were not. Indeed, they were cited as influences by the likes of James Brown (who recorded their song Think), the legendary Stax musician Steve Cropper, and Eric Clapton. By the time the band from Salem, North Carolina, released Dedicated To The One I Love in 1958, their heyday was past them, and the single did not do much in two releases. It deserved better, alone for that great guitar.

Likewise, The Shirelles’ cover (with Doris, not Shirley, doing lead vocals), recorded in 1959 initially flopped. It became a hit only on its re-release in 1961 to follow up the success of Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow, reaching #3 in the US pop charts.

The Mamas and the Papas’ 1967 cover did even better, getting to #2. As on the Shirelles’ recording, the second banana took lead vocals; it was the first time Michelle Phillips, not Mama Cass, sang lead on a Mamas and Papas track.


Turn! Turn! Turn!
For all their collective songwriting genius, The Byrds were something of an über-covers band. Few acts did Dylan as well as The Byrds did. Some songs they made totally their own. One of these was Turn! Turn! Turn!, a staple of ‘60s compilation written by Pete Seeger (co-written, really: the lyrics are almost entirely lifted from the Book of Ecclesiastes).

Before Seeger got around to record it in 1962, or The Byrds were even formed, a folk outfit called The Limeliters put it out under the title To Everything There Is A Season. The first post-Seeger cover was by Marlene Dietrich as Für alles kommt die Zeit, recorded during the actress’ folk phase which also saw her record German versions of Blowin’ In The Wind and Where Have All The Flowers Gone.

The same year, 1963, Judy Collins also issued a version, arranged by Jim McGuinn, who had played on The Limelighters recording. After Collins’ version, McGuinn co-founded The Byrds, for whom Turn! Turn! Turn!, released in October 1965, became their second hit. Jim turned turned turned into Roger in 1968.


I Am A Rock
After the disappointing sales of Simon & Garfunkel’s Wednesday Morning, 3 A.M. album, the duo split and Paul Simon went to England on his own. He played gigs (some with Garfunkel), made friends, fell in love, and wrote a handful of future classics, including Homeward Bound, which was first recorded by folk-duo Chad & Jeremy (but released after Simon & Garfunkel’s version).

Simon also released a solo album in Britain, The Paul Simon Songbook, which was recorded in June 1965 in Levy’s Recording Studio in London. The LP, which featured girlfriend Kathy Chitty on the cover, included three future S&G staples: I Am A Rock (which also was released as a single, to no chart action), April Come She May, Kathy’s Song, as well as A Most Peculiar Man, Patterns, A Simple Desultory Philippic, and a re-recording of The Sound Of Silence. The LP did little business, and later Simon resisted re-releases until 1981, when it came out as part of a boxed set of albums by the singer.

When a remix of The Sound Of Silence from Wednesday Morning by producer Tom Wilson became a hit, Simon abandoned his solo career and joined up with Garfunkel again.


A Different Drum
A breakthrough hit in 1967 for Linda Ronstadt as the singer of The Stone Poneys, A Different Drum was written by Mike Nesmith in 1964, before he became a fourth of The Monkees. He gave the song to his friend John Herald, singer of the folk-bluegrass band The Greenbriar Boys, who recorded it as an album track in 1966.

Once Nesmith was a Monkee, he offered the song to the group, but the producers of the TV show rejected it. Nesmith got to feature it briefly in one episode, but only for comic effect. He’d eventually record A Different Drum in 1972.

By then, The Stone Poneys had enjoyed their big hit with it. Their recording was aided by session musicians such as jazz great guitarists Al Viola and future Eagles co-founder Bernie Leadon on guitar, and the legendary Wrecking Crew drummer Jim Gordon wielding the sticks (read his bizarre story HERE and HERE)


Leaving On A Jet Plane
Recorded three times by its writer, John Denver, Leaving On A Jet Plane was still the biggest hit in the hands of another act: folk trio Peter, Paul & Mary, who had their biggest, and last, hit with it in 1969. Originally Denver recorded it as Babe I Hate To Go in 1966. Three years later he re-recorded it for his Rhymes & Reasons album, and again in 1973 for his Greatest Hits LP.

The song also earned Denver a songwriting credit on a New Order song, when he sued the English band for their use of his guitar break on Jet Plane for their 1989 track Run 2. The matter a settled out of court.


There Goes My Everything
This song is probably most famous in its incarnation as Engelbert Humperdinck’s gaudy 1967 hit, or maybe Elvis’ 1971 cover. In its original form, however, it is a country classic, written by Dallas Frazier.

It was first recorded in 1965 and released the following year by that great purveyor of unintentionally funny songs and owner of the hickiest of hick accents, Ferlin Husky. His version was an album track; fellow country singer Jack Greene turned it into a hit in 1967. Elvis’ version, which appeared on the quite excellent 1971 Elvis Country album (after being a 1970 b-side of I Really Don’t Want To Know) and was a UK top 10 hit that year, certainly draws from the song’s country origins — though surely more from Greene’s hit than from Husky’s original.


Limbo Rock
One of the most iconic songs of the early 1960s was the result of a bet, and the subject of contempt by its writer. The story goes that in 1960 the Wrecking Crew session guitarist Billy Strange and a friend heard what they thought was a particularly terrible song on the radio. Strange suggested that he could write something better than that in five minutes, whereupon the friend put on a bet, for $100, that Strange couldn’t. But Strange could and did.

Strange didn’t rate his composition: for every line, the lyric was “What a monotonous melody” for every line, and pocketed the money. Later, during a recording session, Strange was asked if he had any songs that could be used. He didn’t, other than “What A Monotonous Melody”, which he offered as a joke. Others thought more of the melody than its composer did, and in 1961 an instrumental calypso version was recorded by The Champs, of Tequila fame.

Some time later Chubby Checker’s manager, Kal Mann, asked Strange if he could add proper lyrics to the song. Permission granted, Mann wrote the lyrics (under a pseudonym), and Checker had another mega hit.


Keep On Dancing
For The Gentrys, Keep On Dancing was the one shot at having a big hit. Unusually, their hit was the same sing played twice, to make it stretch to single-length (listen out for the mid-song drum fill, which signals the repeat of the first half). Six years later the song served as the first UK hit for the pre-teenybopper Bay City Rollers.

Written by Allen Jones — the producer of Albert King and the Bar-Keys, and writer of the Sam & Dave and later Elvis Costello song I Can’t Stand Up for Falling Down — Keep On Dancing was first recorded by a soul act called The Avantis (not to be confused with the surf rock act by that name).


By The Time I Get To Phoenix
Johnny Rivers is mostly remembered as the ’60s exponent of rather good rock & roll covers, especially on his Live At The Whiskey A Go Go LP. He was also the owner of the record label which released the music of The 5th Dimension. In that capacity, Rivers gave the budding songwriter Jimmy Webb his first big break, having The 5th Dimension record Webb”s song Up, Up And Away and thereby giving Webb (and the group and the label) a first big hit in 1967.

By The Time I Get To Phoenix is another Webb composition, and this one Rivers recorded himself first for his Changes album in 1966 (when Webb was only 19!). Rivers’ version made no impact, nor did a cover by Pat Boone.

The guitarist on Boone’s version, however, picked up on the song and released it in 1967. Glen Campbell scored a massive hit with the song, even winning two Grammies for it. In quick succession, Campbell completed a trilogy of geographically-themed songs by Webb, with the gorgeous Wichita Lineman (written especially for Campbell) and the similarly wonderful Galveston (originally recorded by Don Ho).

Another seasoned session musician took Phoenix into a completely different direction (if you will pardon the unintended pun). Isaac Hayes had heard the song, and decided to perform it as the Bar-Keys’ guest performer at Memphis’ Tiki Club, a soul venue. He started with a spontaneous spoken prologue, explaining in some detail why this man is on his unlikely journey.

At first the patrons weren’t sure what Hayes was doing rapping over a repetitive chord loop. After a while, according to Hayes, they started to listen. At the end of the song, he said, there was not a dry eye in the house (“I’m gonna moan now…”). As it appeared on Ike’s 1968 Hot Buttered Soul album, the thing went on for 18 glorious minutes.

See also the Song Swarm of By The Time I Get To Phoenix.


1. Richard Berry & The Pharaohs – Louie, Louie (1957)
The Usurper: The Kingsmen (1963)

2. Chan Romero – Hippy Hippy Shake (1959)
The Usurper: The Swinging Blue Jeans (1963)

3. The Vibrations – My Girl Sloopy (1964)
The Usurper: The McCoys (as Hang On Sloopy, 1965)

4. Joe Jones – California Sun (1961)
The Usurper: The Rivieras (1963)

5. The Ronettes – I Can Hear Music (1966)
The Usurper: The Beach Boys (1969)

6. Sugar Boy Crawford & The Cane Cutters – Jock-A-Mo (1953)
The Usurpers: The Dixie Cups (as Iko Iko, 1964), Natasha England (1282), Belle Stars (1982)

7. The Tempos – See You In September (1959)
The Usurper: The Happenings (1966)

8. The Four Seasons – Silence Is Golden (1964)
The Usurper: The Tremeloes (1967)

9. The Limeliters – Turn! Turn! Turn! (To Everything There Is A Season) (1962)
The Usurper: The Byrds (1965)

10. Paul Simon – I Am A Rock (1965)
The Usurper: Simon & Garfunkel (1966)

11. Greenbriar Boys – Different Drum (1966)
The Usurper: Stone Poneys (1967)

12. John D. Loudermilk – Tobacco Road (1960)
The Usurpers: The Nashville Teens (1964), The Animals (1964)

13. Ferlin Husky – There Goes My Everything (1966)
The Usurpers: Jack Greene (1966), Engelbert Humperdinck (1967), Elvis Presley (1971)

14. Johnny Rivers – By The Time I Get To Phoenix (1966)
The Usurpers: Glen Campbell (1967), Isaac Hayes (1969)

15. Fred Neil – Everybody’s Talking (1966)
The Usurper: Harry Nilsson (1969)

16. John Denver – Babe I Hate To Go (1966)
The Usurpers: Peter, Paul and Mary (as Leaving On A Jet Plane, 1969), John Denver (1969 & 1973)

17. Melina Mercouri – Ta Pedia Ton Pirea (Never On Sunday) (1960)
The Usurper: The Chordettes (1961)

18. Gilbert Bécaud – Et Maintenant (What Now My Love?) (1961)
The Usurper: Shirley Bassey (1962)

19. Patti Drew – Workin’ On A Groovy Thing (1968)
The Usurper: The 5th Dimension (1969)

20. The Ever-Green Blues – Midnight Confessions (1967)
The Usurper: The Grass Roots (1968)

21. The Avantis – Keep On Dancing (1963)
The Usurpers: The Gentrys (1965), Bay City Rollers (1971)

22. The Drifters – Sweets For My Sweet (1961)
The Usurper: The Searchers (1963)

23. Umberto Bindi – Il Mio Mondo (You’re My World) (1963)
The Usurper: Cilla Black (1964)

24. Glen Campbell – Turn Around, Look At Me (1961)
The Usurper: The Vogues (1968)

25. Johnny Smith – Walk, Don’t Run! (1954)
The Usurper: The Ventures (1960)

26. The ‘5’ Royales – Dedicated To The One I Love (1957)
The Usurpers: The Shirelles (1959), The Mamas & The Papas (1967)

27. Little Darlings – Little Bit O’Soul (1965)
The Usurper: The Music Explosion (1967)

28. Bruce Bruno – Venus In Blue Jeans (1962)
The Usurper: Mark Wynter (1962)

29. The Champs – Limbo Rock (1961)
The Usurper: Chubby Checker (1962)

30. David Dante – Speedy Gonzales (1962)
The Usurper: Pat Boone (1962)



More Originals:
The Originals: The Classics
The Originals: Soul
The Originals: Motown
The Originals: Country
The Originals: The Rock & Roll Years
The Originals: 1960s Vol. 1
The Originals: 1970s Vol. 1
The Originals: 1970s Vol. 2
The Originals: 1980s Vol. 1
The Originals: 1990s & 2000s
The Originals: Beatles edition
The Originals: Elvis Presley Edition Vol. 1
The Originals:  Elvis Presley Edition Vol. 2
The Originals: Carpenters Edition
The Originals: Burt Bacharach Edition
The Originals: Rat Pack Edition
The Originals: Schlager Edition
The Originals: Christmas Edition

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  1. halfhearteddude
    July 30th, 2020 at 10:19 | #1

    PW = amdwhah

  2. J. Loslo
    July 30th, 2020 at 15:50 | #2


    I only discovered The Five Royales about fifteen years ago, and now I can’t understand why they aren’t one of the most famous bands ever. They’re wonderful.

  3. puternut
    August 1st, 2020 at 09:52 | #3

    As a very weak leak to a song on Vol 1 – I seem to recall Mary Hopkins ‘Those Were The Days’ single had ‘Turn Turn Turn’ as the B-side. In the UK and from my failng memory though. :)

  4. Iggy
    August 1st, 2020 at 13:51 | #4

    Hey Dude. Thanks for this collection. Just an FYI, the hometown of the Five Royales was Winston-Salem, North Carolina. That’s also my hometown, and several years ago I did an extensive interview with Johnny Tanner, the group’s lead singer. They have finally been recognized in their hometown, with a street named after them and other civic honors. J. Loslo is absolutely right about their magnificence. All good wishes, Iggy

  5. halfhearteddude
    August 1st, 2020 at 21:57 | #5

    Oh, what good news!

  6. Rhodb
    August 2nd, 2020 at 00:03 | #6

    Thanks for the original I really enjoy these posts



  7. Pim
    September 9th, 2020 at 19:12 | #7

    Berry’s Louie Louie isn’t exactly the original, as he was inspired by René Touzet’s El Loco Cha Cha. That’s where the riff comes from anyway.

  8. JJWombat
    November 8th, 2020 at 18:08 | #8

    The links for The Originals 1960s Vol. 2 appear to be down
    I would be most grateful if you could reinstate them

  9. amdwhah
    November 9th, 2020 at 09:57 | #9


  10. JJWombat
    November 9th, 2020 at 14:39 | #10

    @amdwhah Thank You, File Factory link downloading now
    Great series and very informative!

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