Wednesday, April 23, 2008

No. 465: Golden Hits

Band: The Drifters
Album: Golden Hits
Why Rolling Stone gets it right: The Drifters vocal style was one that stuck in pop music for a long time. The other side of girl groups, the band sand simple romantic songs for nice folks in the late 1950s.
Why Rolling Stone gets it wrong: Oldies are not really rock and roll. I understand having this type of music here as a place for early vocal rock vocal styles, but the record is just OK.
Best song: Pick one, they're all perfectly pleasant.
Worst song: Pleasant, but not great.
Is it awesome?: Blah.

I am far too young for this album. It comes from the same place as Dick Biondi and "Jingle Bell Rock."

The songs are pleasant and there's a lot of value in Lieber and Stoller's contributions to music. But, mostly, this is the type of thing Tony Kornheiser hypes up on his local radio show. It's radio for people who remember pop music before guitars.


Bradford said...

I bought this album two weeks ago. I've probably listened to it every other day since then, trying to figure it out. Like you said, pleasant.

And incredibly catchy: I caught myself singing "There Goes My Baby" at the gym the other day.

SoulBoogieAlex said...

The Drifters have been important for two BIG reasons. The first are their producers on many of these classic tracks, the great Leiber & Stoller duo, who revolutionized R&B in sound. Making it more lush, mixing it up with classical influences and more.

Second, with songs as "Up On The Roof" and "On Broadway" they were among the first R&B groups to release social conscious material about Ghetto life and the black experience in America.

You may see it as oldies material now, but the Drifters were highly influential not only to the vocal groups that followed but on acts like the Beatles as well. Even today you can hear the Leiber & Stoller influence on the albums of REM and other more sophisticated Rock acts who like to doodle in the studio.