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Underrated and perhaps Important Songs in Music History?

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  • Underrated and perhaps Important Songs in Music History?

    I'm really into musical history. How songs were recorded, unique background to making of certain songs, the nuances of the recording session, etc. There are many songs that are grounding breaking in their unique musical arrangement, musical members or melodic progression. Some are well known (such as the musical arrangement of "Good Vibratons" from the genius of Brian Wilson & the Beach Boys) while others have a role in musical history that are less known, paving the path for future artists and musical genres. Here is an underrated song with a groundbreaking style for its time: The Skyliners, "Since I Don't Have You."

    "Since I Don't Have You" wasn't just one of the greatest doo wop hits of the 1950s. It was a landmark in rock production, as one of the first records classified as rock'n'roll to feature a string arrangement. It's one of several records that prove rock music was well on its way to integrating orchestral production before the ascent of Phil Spector's Wall of Sound in the early 1960s. Aside from its historical importance, "Since I Don't Have You" was a great song on its own terms, with an aching sadness, superb melody, and sophisticated group vocal delivery that avoided becoming maudlin in spite of the sad subject matter. The song's majesty is evident in the first few bars, where a typically four-to-the-bar pounding doo wop piano is joined by swimming strings, and then the group's high, powerful harmonies. The minor-keyed melody of the verse might have been from a pre-rock World War II torch song standard, and the non-rock elements were amplified by the rising clarinet that takes the song from verse to bridge, as well as the raindrop-plucking violin on the bridge. Not that it's been the subject of great debate, but it is, however, a rock song: there's a drum keeping the backbeat, and the doo wop harmonies are right from the street corner, if extremely polished. The song kicks into extra gear for the final verse, where lead singer Jimmy Beaumont breaks into one of the finest doo wop falsettos. But what really puts the seal on the song's classic status is the unexpected, inventive final chorus, where Beaumont emotionally repeats the word "you" a dozen times while Janet Vogel unleashes particularly stratospherically-high winding backup vocals. Beaumont then soars into ultra-high notes of his own for a thirteenth "you," stretching out the word to eight syllables without sounding like he's being overly melodramatic, ending on a particularly high tone. As with so many great moments in rock music, that ending section was unplanned; originally they were going to fade out the track, but when Vogel thought the tape was over, she adlibbed the ending that ended up on the final single. The Four Seasons, Art Garfunkel, Chuck Jackson, Jay & the Americans, Patti LaBelle, Manfred Mann, Don McLean, and Rick Nelson are among the numerous stars who covered the song.

    FYI - the final climax of the song with Janet Vogal soaring into the HIGH C NOTE! is amazing in and of itself. Also amazing that they were teenagers who dropped out of Carrick High School in Pittsburgh. I still can't believe how young some of the artists were in the 50s. Such incredible talent that era produced. Just a beautiful song.
    Last edited by Analog21; 06-12-2016, 11:34 PM.

  • #2
    I always thought "Phenomenal Cat" by the Kinks was underrated, "Victoria" too. From Village Green Preservation Society and Arthur, respectively.

    Fum, fum, diddle-um di
    He ate himself through eternity


    • #3
      Being a bit younger than most here my nomination is from the 80s. While many here are familiar with Dead Can Dance, which for the life of me still has me scratching my head as to how they entered the audiophile mainstream (was it because of the Gladiator sound track?) many are not familiar with the label they sprang from. Meant as the equivalent of an NBA D-league team to a franchise team, this label was meant to be a testing ground for new bands. The baby team was 4AD and the daddy, Beggar's Banquet.

      Sampling is not a new thing. Folks have been doing it since the 40s. The Beatles did it on the White Album so on and so forth. Things went nuts sampling wise in the late 70s and 80s however when Hip-Hop hit the scene. Disco was dead, Rock going through some strange times, smooth jazz was flooding the airwaves and out of nowhere 4AD, a label known for deep electronica and droning goth soundtracks releases something pretty different from practically everything else. Comprised of a hodgepodge of artists from a couple of bands on its roster, Pump Up the Volume was released in 1987 by MARRS, the first letters of the first names of the project members. This song would later become the anthem, the grand daddy, for what is now known as electronic dance music.

      Nominated a year or two later for a Grammy for best Pop instrumental, MARRS lost eventually to David Sanborn whose song I think hardly anybody remembers if anyone does at all. PUTV however remains today still used in things like TV commercials and movie soundtracks. Enduring? check. Influential? It opened an all new genre. double check. Part of an actual cultural movement? triple check. Underrated? IMO most definitely.


      • Socrates
        Socrates commented
        Editing a comment
        Before Gladiator they featured in Ron Fricke's Baraka