Sunday, March 20, 2011

Pleasant Valley SUNDAY

Songs for Every Day of the Week: Day 1
Now, shifting gears from the music genres, this week will consist of daily posts featuring one or two songs with the name of that day in the title. Dozens of songs have been written for each day of the week over the decades, however, we're absolutely sticking with tunes just from the 1960's, of course! And as Sunday is technically the first day of the week, let's see how this goes!

So how could we not start with "Pleasant Valley Sunday" by The Monkees? From their fourth album, Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones Ltd., this double-sided hit single was released in July of 1967, peaking at #3 on the charts, and remains a classic example of pure 1960's power pop (a featured genre for another week). Written by prolific songwriters Gerry Goffin and Carole King, it was inspired by a street named Pleasant Valley Way in West Orange, New Jersey, and the lyrics were a social commentary on status symbols and life in suburbia. The Monkees' producer, Chip Douglas (previously bass player for The Turtles), came up with the lead guitar riff based off of the intro from The Beatles' "I Want to Tell You (listen here) which Mike Nesmith then double-tracked to give it that added fullness. Definitely a great tune!

So this blog first introduced the English beat band, Small Faces, back during Harp Week, and "Lazy Sunday" is another interesting song from their concept album Ogden's Nut Gone Flake from 1968. As this hilarious tune was written by the band's songwriting members, Steve Marriott and Ronnie Lane, it's a traditional cockney, East End of London music hall (English vaudville) sound, which Marriott sings with a very exaggerated accent. Inspired by Marriott's feuds with his neighbors (using noticeable vocal changes), this low-budget promotional video for "Lazy Sunday" was filmed at drummer Kenney Jones' parents' home in East London. This psychedelic cockney, knees-up (think "Step in Time" from Mary Poppins) song is definitely one of the more unique songs posted on this blog so far. Is it just me or could these guys maybe use a bath?

Wow, well I realize this post seems very short compared to the norm around here, but the good news is there will be six more posts still to come this week! See ya Monday!

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