Sunday, November 09, 2014

The Astronauts - The La La La Song

Way back in the 1960s regional top 40 hits were the norm. In Albany, NY there were #1's by groups like The Myddle Class ("Free As The Wind" and "Don't Let Me Sleep Too Long") , The Knickerbockers (all their 45s before "Lies"),  The Gray Things ("Charity"), Tim Rose ("Hey Joe" - the version Jimi Hendrix covered) and David McCallum ("Communication" #1 in Albany, #117 nationally), Fever Tree: singles*  that didn't always chart nationally. Local 5-thousand watt WTRY and pd Lee Gray (Did that sink in yet, CBS6?) had incredible hitmaking (and breaking) power. For some reason, WTRY didn't like and didn't play the Lovin' Spoonful's first national hit. 980 avoided The Gentrys and Moby Grape as well.

In other parts of the USA - there were top 10 artists we never heard of on the east coast. Cole's IGA market on Ontario Street used to carry KRLA's "The Beat" weekly music newspaper - (why they sold it, I don't know... someone said Mrs. Cole's son traveled back and forth to L.A.)- my first introduction to one of San Francisco's biggest acts was the group's name mentioned on the top 10 list: "4. Come Up The Years ~ Jefferson Airplane"

From Airplane to Astronauts: the nauts' first single on RCA was "Baja", an instrumental written by Lee Hazlewood originally for his friend, guitarist Al Casey.[wikipedia] Released in early 1963, the track was described as "a typical surf instrumental with a reverberation-heavy twangy guitar and driving drumbeat", and reached # 94 on the Billboard Hot 100 for just one week... Their 1965 song "Tomorrow's Gonna Be Another Day was covered by The Monkees in 1966.

The last regional hit in New York I am aware of is "Last Night A Deejay Saved My Life", which hit #1 in New York City and got to #101 on the national charts. (Although it did hit the R&B top ten, which did not translate into radio play in Albany, NY) Rolling Stone magazine declared the song "one of the greatest songs ever written about being a girl, listening to the radio, or any combination of the two,

And other odditites, like the Beatles' original recording of "The Night Before" - the link to that on youtube now reads "This video is no longer available because the YouTube account associated with this video has been terminated." The 'video' was actually snapshots of singles covers and fan mag material. submit to reddit
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