Her Name is Melody (Adrian Pride)

30 SEPTEMBER 1966


Adrian Pride - ‘Her Name is Melody’.

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Her Name is Melody (Adrian Pride)

Land of a Thousand Dances (Wilson Pickett)

29 SEPTEMBER 1966


Another one of those all-time, stone-cold soul classics that hit the charts during 1966 - Wilson Pickett’s ‘Land of a Thousand Dances’. It peaked at #22 on the UK charts during this week, and had also been #6 on the US Billboard Hot 100 charts, and was also his third #1 on the R&B charts.

The song was written and originally recorded by Chris Kenner in 1962, when it reached #77. It was covered by other acts, but Pickett's was the most successful. It was also the biggest hit of his own career (this was his tenth single release since his debut in 1962). It was another Muscle Shoals special, full of gritty vocals and pounding beat, and that legendary 'na-na-na-na-na' hook, which was not in the original song and came about by happy accident when Frankie 'Cannibal' Garcia, lead singer of Cannibal and the Headhunters, forgot the lyrics during a performance (his group's version of this song reached #30 in 1965).

B-side: 'You're So Fine'
Released: July 1966
Recorded: 11 May 1966, FAME Studios, Muscle Shoals, Alabama
Length: 2:28 
Label: Atlantic
Writer: Chris Kenner

Land of a Thousand Dances (Wilson Pickett)

I Can’t Turn You Loose (Otis Redding)

28 SEPTEMBER 1966


‘I Can’t Turn You Loose’ by Otis Redding peaked at #29 on the UK charts on this day in 1966. He had just featured as the star of a 'Ready Steady Go' TV special a couple of weeks earlier, during which he gave a high-energy performance of the song, backed by the Mar-Keys. This was one of his faster-paced numbers, with the unmistakably gritty soul sound of Stax, and had previously been to #11 on the US R&B charts in 1965.

 Can’t Turn You Loose (Otis Redding)

Cherish (The Association)

27 SEPTEMBER 1966


The Association’s ‘Cherish’ began a three-week run at the top of the US Billboard Hot 100 charts during this week in 1966. While this group had a total of six Top 10 hits in the US, including two chart-toppers, they rather amazingly never reached the charts in the UK at all. That would seem to be an injustice, especially as this dreamy 'slow dance' ballad about unrequited love was ranked the #2 song for 1966 by Billboard.

'Cherish' gained favourable exposure in the 1980s movie 'Pretty in Pink'.

B-side: 'Don't Blame It on Me'
Released: 1966
Highest chart position: #1 (US)
Length: 3:25 (album), 3:13 (single)
Label: Valiant
Writer: Terry Kirkman
Producer: Curt Boettcher

Cherish (The Association)

How Sweet it is to be Loved By You (Jr Walker and the All Stars)

26 SEPTEMBER 1966


Jr Walker and the All Stars’ ‘How Sweet it is to be Loved By You’ was at its peak UK chart position of #22.

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How Sweet it is to be Loved By You (Jr Walker and the All Stars)

Blowin’ in the Wind (Stevie Wonder)

25 SEPTEMBER 1966


Another Dylan cover for 1966, this time from Stevie Wonder doing a surprisingly upbeat version of ‘Blowin’ in the Wind’, which peaked at #36 in the UK during this month. It reached #9 on the US Hot 100 Billboard chart (and #1 on the R&B chart).

This legendary song had already been covered several times, most notably by folk trio Peter, Paul and Mary, who released the song in June 1963, three weeks after it first appeared on 'The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan' album. They took it to #2 on the Billboard charts. Other versions released before 1966 include one in German by none other than Marlene Dietrich, and a non-charting by-the-book effort from Marianne Faithful in 1964.

Wonder's version does all that a good cover needs to do - interpret the original in a new and attractive way. This retains the melody of the folk song but somehow manages to add a Motown feel and beat.

Blowin’ in the Wind (Stevie Wonder)

Working in a Coal Mine (Lee Dorsey)

24 SEPTEMBER 1966


Lee Dorsey’s pickaxe-clinking single ‘Working in a Coal Mine’ was at its peak UK chart position of #8 during this week in 1966. It also reached #8 on the US Billboard Hot 100, and #5 on the Billboard R&B chart. 

Dorsey had enjoyed only occasional chart success since his recording career had began back in 1959, and this enduring song was to be his biggest pop hit. 

B-side: 'Mexico'
Released: July 1966 
Highest chart position: #
Length: 2:42 
Label: Amy Records
Writer: Allen Toussaint
Producers: Allen Toussaint and Marshall Sehorn

Working in a Coal Mine (Lee Dorsey)

Have You Seen Your Mother, Baby, Standing in the Shadow (Rolling Stones)

23 SEPTEMBER 1966


The Rolling Stones released ‘Have You Seen Your Mother, Baby, Standing in the Shadow’ on this day. It reached #5 in the UK, a relatively disappointing outcome for the Stones, who by this time were used to topping the charts.

To be fair, it’s not a very good song by their standards. It feels overproduced and brassy, and even the Stones themselves were unhappy with the final cut, but this proved to be just a blip as the Stones would produce much better material in 1967 as they fully embraced psychedelia.

B-side: 'Who's Driving Your Plane?'
Released: 23 September 1966 (US & UK) 
Highest chart position: #5 (UK), #9 (US)
Recorded: 31 August - 2 September 1966 at IBC Studios, London 
Length: 2:34 
Label: Decca F 12497 (UK), London 45-903 (US) 
Producer: Andrew Loog Oldham


Distant Drums (Jim Reeves)

22 SEPTEMBER 1966


Jim Reeves hit #1 in the UK charts with the single ‘Distant Drums’ and stayed there for a whole five 5 weeks in the face of some quality competition, and was in fact the top-selling UK single during 1966! 

Reeves had died in a plane crash in 1964, and his original recording of this song was really intended for private use of the composer. However, it was later overdubbed with an orchestral backing and released as a single.

The British success of this gentle recording seems quite inexplicable. While it is possible that the lyrics - about a soldier wishing to marry his sweetheart before he is called off to fight in a war - had strong resonance in the US because of the ongoing Vietnam War, that would not have much influence in the UK. Then again, this only reached #45 on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart (although it was #1 on the Country and Western charts).    

Maybe this was a reminder that in the midst of the rise of psychedelia, older people still bought records too. And it was a fitting posthumous tribute to an excellent singer.

B-side: 'Old Tige'
Released: 8 March 1966 
Recorded: c. 1963 (original), March 1965 and February 1966 (overdubs) 
Highest chart position: #1 (UK), #45 (US), #1 (US Country)
Label: RCA
Writer: Cindy Walker
Producer: Chet Atkins


Got to Get You Into My Life (Cliff Bennett and the Rebel Rousers)

21 SEPTEMBER 1966


Cliff Bennett and the Rebel Rousers were at #6 in the UK charts with this brassy cover of ‘Got to Get You Into My Life’, a song from the Beatles’ ‘Revolver’ album. This was a very solid cover version that I actually prefer to the original, maybe because Cliff's vocal has more of a soul feel to it, and it suits the song well. It was produced by none other than Paul McCartney, who wrote the song - he later claimed - as 'an ode to pot'. 

Cliff had formed the band back in 1957, and their biggest hit before this time had been a #9 with 'One Way Love' in 1964. They were under Brian Epstein's management and opened for the Beatles on their final European tour. Cliff got the opportunity to hear 'Got to Get You into My Life' in advance of its release, and so was well placed to get this cover out quickly.

The Beatles' own version was released as a single in the USA in 1976 to promote the compilation album Rock 'n' Roll Music, and it reached #7 the Billboard Hot 100 chart.

Got to Get You Into My Life (Cliff Bennett and the Rebel Rousers)

Echoes (Gene Clark)

20 SEPTEMBER 1966


Singer-songwriter Gene Clark recorded the song ‘Echoes’ during this month in 1966. It featured on his 1967 debut ‘solo’ album 'Gene Clark with the Gosdin Brothers'. Gene had recently departed the Byrds because of ongoing conflict within the group and his noted fear of flying, and as that band's senior songwriter and handsome frontman with a haunting baritone voice he might well have expected further success.

'Echoes' was the kind of mature, melancholic, baroque pop that Scott Walker would soon be recording, but it was not typical of Gene's future career, which lay in country-rock. Unfortunately his first album - released around the same time as the Byrds' 'Younger Than Yesterday' - failed to chart. He never again experienced the dizzy heights of commercial success he enjoyed with the Byrds, although he gained immense respect as an artist and some of his albums are now considered cult classics. He died in 1991, aged just 46, after years of alcohol and drug abuse.

Echoes (Gene Clark)

Daytime (Hedgehoppers Anonymous)

19 SEPTEMBER 1966


English band Hedgehoppers Anonymous' fourth single 'Daytime' was released in August 1966. It never charted, unlike 'Good News Week', their debut from 1965 which had peaked at #5 in the UK. That proved to be their only hit.

The band had formed while the five members were working as RAF ground crew, and the name 'Hedgehoppers' was taken from the 'V' bombers that were famous for flying low to avoid radar detection. The Anonymous part came because they were still RAF personnel and had not received proper authority to record their first release. 

There were at least five different versions of 'Daytime' released in 1966. The original appears to have been from French band Les 5 Gentlemen's 'Dis-Nous Dylan' (poking fun at Dylan and Donovan). They also released an Italian version ('Dimme Dylan'). There was heavier cover by The Darwin's Theory, and this one from Hedgehoppers Anonymous, both of which had the rewritten lyrics. Les 5 Gentlemen then used the Hedgehopper's English lyrics for their own English-language cover.

This song wasn't too bad, with fuzz guitar and psychedelic undertones, but only made it as a minor hit in Scandinavia. Much like the protagonist in the song, struggling to get his way with a woman - 'She just takes me halfway there/ I tried and tried and tired/ I didn't get anywhere', the Hedgehoppers career didn't get anywhere and after one more failed release they disbanded at the start of 1967.

Daytime (Hedgehoppers Anonymous)

Hold On, I'm Coming (Eric Burdon)

18 SEPTEMBER 1966


On 16 September 1966 the legendary UK music show 'Ready Steady Go' aired an Otis Redding special, with Otis and his backing band the Mar-Keys live in the studio, along with guests Eric Burdon and Chris Farlowe. The show was a rousing success, and demonstrated just why Otis was held in such high regard in the UK. Another highlight was Eric Burdon's solo spot with the Sam and Dave song 'Hold On, I'm Coming', in which he showed just how good his voice really was.

Hold On, I'm Coming (Eric Burdon)

I Had Too Much to Dream [Last Night] (The Electric Prunes)

17 SEPTEMBER 1966


'I Had Too Much to Dream (Last Night)' by the Electric Prunes was released in November 1966. This was a slice of early garage/psychedelia, with a buzzing backward guitar intro and hints of raga-rock throughout. It reached a very respectable #11 on the US Billboard Hot 100, and #49 in the UK during 1967, and turned out to be the biggest of their (two) hits.

The melody of the verses in this song really reminded of something else, and after a while it clicked - Lee Hazlewood's 'Summer Wine', which he released as a single with Nancy Sinatra in 1967, but originally sang in 1966 with Suzi Jane Hokom. That first version was recorded in June 1966, so I'm guessing it just predates 'I Had Too Much to Dream' (both were recorded in Los Angeles, but for different labels*). I'm not suggesting that one deliberately copied from the other, but the similarity is uncanny.

*The 1967 Hazlewood/Sinatra song was on Reprise Records - the same label as 'I Had Too Much to Dream'.

B-side: 'Luvin''
Recorded: 1966, Los Angeles
Released: November 1966
Highest chart position: #49 (UK, 1967), #11(US) 
Length: 2:55
Label: Reprise
Writers: Annette Tucker, Nancie Mantz
Producer: Dave Hassinger

 I Had Too Much to Dream [Last Night] (The Electric Prunes)

Walk In My Shoes (Gladys Knight and the Pips)

16 SEPTEMBER 1966


'Walk In My Shoes' by Gladys Knight and the Pips.

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Walk In My Shoes (Gladys Knight and the Pips)

All or Nothing (Small Faces)

15 SEPTEMBER 1966


The Small Faces reached #1 in the UK during this week with the classic 'All or Nothing'.

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I Just Don't Know What To Do With Myself (Dionne Warwick)

14 SEPTEMBER 1966


Dionne Warwick's version of the Bacharach/David song 'I Just Don't Know What To Do With Myself' was climbing the US charts this week, on its way to an eventual peak position of #26 in November. This was a reasonable success because even though Dionne is remembered today for several classic recordings, the majority of her 1960s released did not break the Top 30.

The song was actually recorded first by Tommy Hunt in 1962, but failed to chart. Dusty Springfield brought it to life in 1964 with an epic rendering that went to #3 in the UK but did not chart in the US (despite her recently having had a #4 there with 'Wishin' and Hopin''). That left the door open for another US-market cover version, which arrived in 1966 from Bacharach and David's favourite singer Dionne Warwick. This recording was much in the same vein as Dusty's, with the epicness toned down just a little bit. As good as this record is, unfortunately it didn't do enough differently as a cover to make it particularly memorable.

B-side: 'In Between the Heartaches'
Recorded: August 1966
Released: September 1966
Highest chart position: #26 (US)
Length: 2:50
Label: Scepter
Writers: Burt Bacharach and Hal David
Producers: Burt Bacharach and Hal David

I Just Don't Know What To Do With Myself (Dionne Warwick)

Born a Woman (Sandy Posey)

13 SEPTEMBER 1966


Sandy Posey's 'Born a Woman' reached its highest US Billboard chart position of #12 during this week.

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Born a Woman (Sandy Posey)

[Theme From] The Monkees (The Monkees)

12 SEPTEMBER 1966


The Monkees’ TV show aired for the first time, on the tail of their success with ‘Last Train to Clarksville’.

First Star Trek, then the Monkees. What a week for new TV shows this was. Both shows only ran for a few seasons but are still massively popular 50 years later.

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[Theme From] The Monkees (The Monkees)

Ooh Baby (Bo Diddley)

11 SEPTEMBER 1966


Bo Diddley recorded ‘Ooh Baby' on this day in 1966. Released in November, it went to #88 on the US Billboard Hot 100 charts, and #17 on the R&B, which was quite respectable since this was his first charting single since 1962's 'You Can't Judge a Book by the Cover'. Unfortunately it was also his last ever entry in those charts. Despite this, he remains a hugely respected and influential figure in R&B and rock history.

Diddley (real name Ellas Otha Bates) had originally broke through back in 1955 with his #1 R&B hit 'Bo Diddley'. His signature sound featured a simple five-accent hambone rhythm.

B side: 'Back to School'
Recorded: 11 September 1966
Highest chart position: #88 (US)
Label: Checker
Produced by: M Chess, E Edwards
Writer: Elias McDaniel

Ooh Baby (Bo Diddley)

That's When Happiness Began (The Montanas)

10 SEPTEMBER 1966


The Montanas’ heavy mod-rocker single ‘That's When Happiness Began’ was released during this month. It received a lot of airplay and sold steadily but had little impact on the charts. They were a Wolverhampton band whose biggest hit came in 1967 when they reached #58 on the US Billboard charts with 'You've Got to Be Loved'.

That's When Happiness Began (The Montanas)

I Saw Her Again (The Mamas and the Papas)

9 SEPTEMBER 1966


The Mamas and the Papas hit the British charts for the third time this year with ‘I Saw Her Again’, which was at its peak position of #11 during this week in 1966. It had also reached #5 on the US Billboard Hot 100 charts in July. It also appeared on their self-titled second album, which was released during this month.

This was another rich, multi-layered slice of 'sunshine pop' from a group enjoying a brilliant breakthrough year. Things weren't so rosy behind the scenes, however. The lyrics (about a man's guilt over seeing a woman he shouldn't be seeing) were inspired by Denny Doherty's brief affair with Michelle Phillips, singer and wife of song co-writer John Phillips. She'd also had a recent affair with former Byrds man Gene Clark and she was expelled from the group for a few weeks, during the recording of their album. As a result of this, some of the songs on that album were sung by her temporary replacement, Jill Gibson. Weirdly, Michelle sang on this one. John later claimed that he slept with the other M&P singer (and Denny's best friend) Cass Elliott as an act of 'revenge' for Denny and Michelle's affair. It's hard to believe this group stayed together as long as they did.

The false start on the third verse was the result of an engineering mistake in the studio, but the producer Lou Adler liked it and left it in.

B-side: 'Even If I Could'
Recorded: April 1966
Released: June 1966
Highest chart position: #11 (UK), #5 (US)
Length: 3:10 (album), 2:50 (single)
Label: Dunhill (U.S.), RCA Victor (Europe)
Producer: Lou Adler


Theme from Star Trek

8 SEPTEMBER 1966


The first episode of a new TV series called Star Trek was broadcast on 8 September 1966. It was cancelled after just two seasons because of low ratings, brought back after a letter-writing campaign from fans, but cancelled again after the third season. The theme music, written by Alexander Courage, became became one of the most recognisable and iconic pieces of 20th-century TV music.


Ain’t Too Proud to Beg (The Temptations)

7 SEPTEMBER 1966


The Temptations’ ‘Ain’t Too Proud to Beg’ was at its peak UK chart position of #21.

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Ain’t Too Proud to Beg (The Temptations)

Mr Spaceman (The Byrds)

6 SEPTEMBER 1966


The Byrds’ ‘Mr Spaceman’ - a rather whimsical and jaunty song about alien abductions - was released in the US, where it reached #36 in the Billboard Hot 100 charts. It was not released as a single in the UK. This was their second consecutive single to fall outside the Top 30, and an ominous sign that their commercial career was on a downturn after the incredible chart-topping success they had enjoyed during the previous year.

This track was taken from their third album, 'Fifth Dimension', and the hints of country rock in this song indicate the future musical direction that the band would take, although they still had a couple of psychedelic-folk albums to come before they made the full switch. Both Jim (later 'Roger') McGuinn and Dave Crosby had a strong interest in the subject of extra-terrestrial intelligence, and 'Mr Spaceman' had started life as a much more serious 'melodramatic screenplay' concept before being whittled down to almost a novelty song.

Coincidentally, just two days later a new TV show called ‘Star Trek’ was aired for the first time.

B-side: 'What's Happening?!?!'
Recorded: 28-29 April, 3-6 May 1966, Columbia Studios, Hollywood
Released: 6 September 1966
Highest chart position: #36 (US)
Length: 2:09
Label: Columbia
Writer: Jim McGuinn
Producer: Allen Stanton

Mr Spaceman (The Byrds)

My Group and Me (Raga and the Talas)

5 SEPTEMBER 1966


One-off studio band Raga and the Talas released their only single - 'My Group and Me' during September 1966. It went nowhere (chartwise) but is still two minutes of rather enjoyable, west-coast chimey garage guitars and la-la-la harmonies. This was actually written and produced by Jackie de Shannon, and reportedly featured her younger brother. Randy Myers. Not much else is known about this record, but it did turn up of volume 10 of the excellent 'Pebbles' compilation series of '60s garage and psychedelic obscurities.

Ragas and Talas was the name of 1964 album from Ravi Shankar.

Raga and the Talas (My Group and Me)

Some of Your Lovin' (Dusty Springfield)

4 SEPTEMBER 1966


In the clip above, Dusty Springfield sings the Goffin/King song 'Some of Your Lovin'' on one of her 'Live at the BBC' TV specials of 1966. This was from the 1 September show. As usual, she looks and sounds absolutely stunning, showing that she could sing soul as well as anyone at that time. The studio band and orchestra are on top form too, no doubt drilled through hours of rehearsals by Dusty, who was a strict perfectionist.

This song had been a #8 in the UK during the previous year but had not charted at all in the US (she only ever had three Top 10 songs in that country during the sixties). This is a bit of a lost classic.

Gimme Some of Your Loving (Dusty Springfield)

Got To Get a Hold of Myself (Zombies)

3 SEPTEMBER 1966


After huge early success in 1964-65 (especially in the US) with songs such as 'She's Not There' and 'Tell Her No', the English band The Zombies bombed in '66. This single, ‘Got To Get a Hold of Myself’, was the fifth in a series of 11 single releases from them that failed to chart. They had all but split up when 'The Time of the Season' became a surprise #1 hit in the US in 1969, but it came too late to save their careers, which is a massive shame because their 1968 album 'Odessey and Oracle' showed they had a lot to offer.

The video clip above is of a live performance of 'Got To Get a Hold of Myself' on a US TV show. The band look good, but the song itself is flat and lacks any kind of hook or melody to make it memorable. It sounds better on vinyl, but it's easy to understand why this did not chart.

Got To Get a Hold of Myself (Zombies)

We Could Be Happy (The Cryin' Shames)

2 SEPTEMBER 1966


'We Could Be Happy' by the Cryin' Shames.

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We Could Be Happy (The Cryin' Shames)

Spicks and Specks (The Bee Gees)

1 SEPTEMBER 1966


The Bee Gees released their album ‘Spicks and Specks' in their adopted homeland of Australia (they were originally from Manchester) on this day. The single of the same title went to #1 there, prompting it to be released internationally in early 1967 and kicking off their amazing career. They were actually quite a brilliant pop band and songwriters in the 1960s. long before their disco days, and released a successful series of mid-tempo classics.

The above video features the standard but dated 'larking about being zany' style that most bands of the time adopted for these things.

B-side: 'I Am the World'
Released: September 1966 (Australia), February 1967 (United Kingdom)
Highest chart position: #1 (Aus), #2 (Netherlands)
Recorded: St. Clair Studio, Hurstville, near Sydney, July 1966
Length: 2:52
Label: Spin (Australia), Polydor
Writer: Barry Gibb
Producer: Nat Kipner

Spicks and Specks (The Bee Gees)