Ola & the Janglers — “La La La La La”: Brace for the Obscure (60s rock)! — January 18, 2022

323) Ola & the Janglers — “La La La La La”

Not to be confused with Marianne Faithful’s “Sha La La Song” (see #111). the Janglers’s ‘66 A-side/album track is actually a cover of a number that Stevie Wonder recorded when he was 12 years old, written by Wonder’s mentor and Motown producer/songwriter Clarence Paul. The Janglers turn the song into a mod stomper, in my mind outdoing the original. German rockers the Rattles also recorded the song, but with lackluster results.

Ola & the Janglers were a leading Swedish pop group (see also #196) founded in Stockholm in 1962 (the year I was born!). They are most well known for being the first (though certainly not the last!) Swedes on the US Billboard top 100 chart (reaching #82 with Chris Montez’s “Let’s Dance” in ‘69). But they were much more than that:

The breakthrough for Ola & The Janglers came in 1965 when their second single She’s Not There was released . . . . This cover of the Zombies[‘s] song went up to . . . 10th place . . . . Of the six singles released in 1966, five ended up [in Sweden’s top 10]. . . . [They] were now one of Sweden’s four biggest pop bands together with The Hep Stars, Shanes and Tages. The band’s enormous popularity with thousands of young teenage fans in the audience created almost hysterical events at the pop band’s gigs in the Swedish folk parks. During the years 1966 and 1967, Ola & The Janglers stood at the absolute top. Two LPs and five singles were produced and released in 1967. Despite the England tour and songs played on Radio Luxemburg and not least the hit with Let’s Dance in 1969, Ola & The Janglers never broke through abroad.*


Richie Unterberger gives the Janglers a wholly unjustified write-up in All Music Guide:

[L]ike numerous Continental bands, they were pretty derivative of British and American rock trends. Even stacked up against other long-lived Swedish bands of the era, such as Tages, they don’t stand up as among the best, or certainly among the more original. Still, for the most part, they have an enjoyably competent period sound, more influenced by the moody, keyboard-driven sound of the Zombies than many groups were. . . . There are too many non-notable covers of American rock and soul hits, but even some of these have bashing energy that make them a little better than you’d expect . . . .


“Enjoyably competent” — I want that to be my epitaph!

The lyrics, well they were in a class all by themselves, predominantly consisting of “la, la, la, la, la”.

* Please bear with the Google translation of a Swedish site.

Here is Stevie Wonder:

Here are the Rattles:

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