All Hopped Up Music and Maps: Chapter 10
This Mix accompanies “Crystals, Angels and Raindrops,” Chapter 10 of my book All Hopped Up and Ready To Go: Music from the Streets of New York 1927-77. Specifically, it covers the “girl group” sound of the early-mid 1960s, from the Shirelles to the Shangri-Las, via Phil Spector’s Wall of Sound and the vibrant scenes to be found at the Music and Brill Buildings of Broadway.
Of all the mixes I’ve put together so far (follow this link for the others), this is the longest. I’ve managed to include what I believe is every song referenced in the chapter, a varied collection that includes the critical/commercial breakthroughs by the Crystals (“Uptown”), the Angels (“My Boyfriend’s Back) and the Shangri-Las (“Leader of the Pack” but also “Out In the Streets.”) But I’ve also tried hard to include some obscurities, some novelties and some otherwise important cuts, from Carole King’s version of Neil Sedaka’s chart-topper, “Breaking Up Is Hard To Do” (the original of which is relevant for the fact that the Cookies supplied the backing vocals), to Little Eva’s “Up On The Roof,” through to several original versions of subsequent “British Invasion” hits, including the Exciters’ original recording of “Do-Wah-Diddy.”
I’ve also worked hard to book-end this chapter. The first time you play through the mix, you’ll hear it open with the Shirelles’ 1962 chart-topper “Soldier Boy,” a song that sounds thoroughly dated by the time the mix ends, just three years later, with the Chiffons’ positively psychedelic “Nobody Knows What’s Goin’ On (In My Mind But Me)” and the late Ellie Greenwich’s positively mournful solo cut, “You Don’t Know.” There are 28 tracks in all; given the length of most, you could probably fit them on one modern CD. Enjoy.
As with all the other Music and Maps that I’ve put together thus far for the book, I’ve also included a Google Map to demonstrate the geographical concentration of talent for this chapter. As you’ll see below, in this case it applies largely to the activity around Midtown: Donny Kirshner’s Aldon Music offices in the Music Building at 1650 Broadway, where Barry Mann, Cynthia Weil, Gerry Goffin and Carole King were all based; Leiber and Stoller’s Trio Music offices at the Brill Building down the road, where Jeff Barry and Ellie Greenwich housed their hits, and Mira Sound around the corner, where so many of these songs were recorded. But you can also see the location of the many high schools that produced these wonderful girl groups: the Crystals, Ronettes and Shangri-Las, to name but three, all emerged from specific schools across the five boroughs. And by stretching the map out to Long Island, you can see how the emigration of people like Ellie Greenwich and George “Shadow” Morton from Brooklyn to the new suburbs came to create a new sound that soon enough found its way back into the heart of Manhattan – and the hearts of millions of music fans. I have a special affection for the music of this chapter. I hope it shows.
View 10) Crystals, Angels, and Raindrops in a larger map