and now for the songs — August 21, 2021

58) The Artwoods, “Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?”

The Artwoods were founded by, yes, Art Wood, who was the older brother of future Stones guitarist Ron Wood. They were a top touring R&B band, but their success never translated to record.

“Brother” was a Depression-era classic made famous by Bing Crosby in 1932. Art Wood explains their ‘67 A-side cover version: Fontana Records “wanted the band to cash in on the ‘Bonnie & Clyde’ movie. . . . They suggested it would be a great idea if we all dressed up as gangsters . . . . [W]e had a press reception . . . where stuntmen fired blanks from real machine guns. . . . It was exactly the same lineup as the Artwoods, but called the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre!” Alas, the 45 was only successful in Denmark.

“Once I built a railroad, I made it run, made it race against time. Once I built a railroad, now it’s done, brother, can you spare a dime?”

Bing Crosby’s version:

59) The What Four, “I’m Gonna Destroy that Boy”

Sizzling ‘66 single by this Manhattan all-girl garage band.

The song was not the anti-male manifesto the title implies: “I’m gonna destroy that boy, I set a trap so carefully. Till now I kept my ammunition under cover. Tonight I’ll use it all to make that boy my lover. I’m gonna destroy that boy.”

60) Peter Cook & Dudley Moore, “The L.S. Bumble Bee”

“[W]hen you hear him coming, just throw away your tea, that psychedelic humming will mean you’ll soon be free . . . . Freak out baby, the bee is coming . . . . Now is time to fly out of your mind and into the sky with me.”

The legendary British comedy team of Peter Cook and Dudley Moore released this classic psychedelic parody in January of ‘67. It was so spot-on that many believed it to have actually been recorded by the Beatles. Moore later explained that:

“Peter Cook and I recorded that song about the time when there was so much fuss about L.S.D. . . . . I wrote the music to, in some ways, satirize the Beach Boys rather than the Beatles. But I’m grateful if some small part of the world thinks that it may have been them, rather than us!”

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