Thursday, October 8, 2015

Farewell: "I Knew You When"

This week on October 6th, we lost another voice of the '60s. American pop singer Billy Joe Royal passed away in his sleep at the age of 73 in his North Carolina home. His most successful record was "Down in the Boondocks" from 1965. After hearing a demo he recorded of the song (written by his friend, performer and songwriter Joe South), Columbia Records offered Royal a singing contract in 1965, and released his version of the song. "Down in the Boondocks" remained his best-known song, reaching # 9 on the Billboard chart and # 38 in the UK. He followed up with another hit single in '65 with "I Knew You When" (#14 in US, #1 in Canada), and later, "Cherry Hill Park," #15 in 1969. Royal became a regular performer in Vegas during the 1970s, and reinvented himself as a mainstream country star in the 1980s.

Here's a classic performance of his "wrong side of the tracks" theme, "Down In The Boondocks."

Here's another performance on Shindig! and some great vocals on "I Knew You When," also written by Joe South. (When I didn't know any better, I use to think this was a Tommy James song. My apologies, Mr. Royal). 

And can't forget about this tune with its barely disguised double-entendre lyrics about Mary Hill in "Cherry Hill Park."

Gone, but NOT forgotten! RIP Billy Joe Royal!

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Happy Together Tour 2015

On July 22nd, my college buddy (music major too!) and I enjoyed a groovy night of The Happy Together Concert at a fantastic outdoor venue, Humphrey's-By-The-Bay, in San Diego. Back by popular demand, this year's tour featured regulars like Flo & Eddie of The Turtles and The Grass Roots, as well as The Buckinghams, The Association, Mark Lindsay (former lead singer of Paul Revere & The Raiders), and first-timers, The Cowsills. While I've had the opportunity to see The Turtles and The Grass Roots perform together three years ago, it was a real treat hearing these other great artists as well! The backing band was made up of stellar musicians who helped lock in the sound of the original recordings we all know and love. No doubt the crowd at this sold-out event was really diggin' the perfect weather and classic tunes!

 Our view from the back of the relatively intimate venue. Loved the location right next to the harbor in Point Loma (photo during The Association's set).

The first act of the evening was The Buckinghams, and not only did they sound great, they looked pretty good too! Featuring original members Carl Giammarese and Nick Fortuna, I loved hearing all their hits from "Kind of a Drag," "Susan," "Mercy Mercy Mercy," "Don't You Care," and "Hey Baby (They're Playing Our Song)." It was a crack-up when lead singer Carl brought out an old, retro jacket he wore in concerts in the '60s; he claimed he had to buy it back on eBay! Did I mention his voice sounded superb?! Love this Sunshine pop from Chicago! Here's The Buckinghams' #1 hit from 1967, "Kind of a Drag."

On their debut year with The Happy Together Tour, the next act featured the wonderful Cowsill siblings, Susan, Paul and Bob, whose hits include "The Rain, the Park and the Other Things," "Hair," and "Indian Lakes," to name a few. They even performed "Love American Style," which was the theme they recorded for the 1970s show of the same name. The Cowsills proved they can still harmonize beautifully and were fantastic addition to the Tour. Since the other songs mentioned have already been featured on this blog, here's a classic promo video of The Cowsills' "We Can Fly," a #21 hit in 1967.

Before intermission, we rocked out to Mark Dawson and Dusty Hanvey who have returned to carry on the music of the The Grass Roots. As mentioned in my concert recap from three years ago (here), these guys never disappoint and covered all the great ones including "Let's Live For Today," "Temptation Eyes," "Wait a Million Years," and "Midnight Confessions." I love their moving a cappella tribute to Vietnam vets, particularly to the ones who did not return home. Although it's been featured a few times before on this blog, here's rare footage of The Grass Roots performing their #5 hit "Midnight Confessions" from 1968 (Rob and Warren are enjoying themselves way too much, ha). Love this tune!

Kicking off the second half of the show, The Association continued with the talents of Del Ramos (brother of the late Larry Ramos), Jim Yester, and Jules Alexander (although a 4th member joined them this particular night and I can't remember who! Maybe Russ Giguere? Feel free to chime in if you were there too!). Performing their four big hits like "Windy," "Along Comes Mary," "Cherish," and "Never My Love," the whole crowd was singing along, no matter that the vocal group didn't have the tightest of harmonies as they did in the '60s. It was a lot of fun and the guys looked cute in their matching white suits.
Because you've got to check out this clever and classic opening from this live performance, here's The Association playing "Along Comes Mary" at the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967.
For the next set, you could feel the crowd's love for Mark Lindsay, original lead singer for Paul Revere & The Raiders. While this guy not only sounds pretty good, he had incredible energy and can still kick higher than a Radio City Rockette. This Raider covered the hits like "Kicks," "Hungry," and "Good Thing," as well as "Arizona" from his solo career in the early '70s. I couldn't
help but laugh at the ecstatic audience when he performed "Indian Reservation." I get this was a #1 hit in 1971, but I have never liked that song for some reason. Sorry, guys! Still a well-done performance for a happy crowd. Considering how much these guys were on TV, it's surprisingly hard to find good quality footage, but here's Mark Lindsay performing the #6 US hit "Hungry" with Paul Revere & The Raiders in 1966.

The night concluded with the entertaining Flo & Eddie (Mark Volman and Howard Kaylan) of The Turtles, who are responsible for keeping this Happy Together Tour together each year. After beginning their set by poking fun at the "lousy" music of today (in this case, Flo wearing a snowman suit and lip-syncing a bit to a certain popular Disney song), the guys jumped into their early folk rock hits like "You Baby" and "It Ain't Me Babe," followed by "Elenore" from the late '60s. They also condensed snippets from their solo show including nods to Frank Zappa and Bruce Springsteen (which I likely would have missed if I hadn't seen their show 3 years ago). Of course, this wouldn't be the Happy Together Tour without their quintessential '60s hit of the same name. Finally, the concert was recapped when each group hopped back onstage and performed a quick segment from one of their top songs, concluding with an all-hands "Happy Together" singalong (The Turtles' #1 hit in 1967). Also a great cover version by Johnny Cash, here's The Turtles performing the Bob Dylan-penned "It Ain't Me Babe" on Shindig! in 1965 (#8 in the US).

 What a fun night hearing all the classics! Thanks to Humphrey's for hosting these great groups! 
And thanks to my buddy, Jenny, for being a good sport as my concert buddy. :)

On a side night, this night holds the record for the most comments about my white go-go boots. I even had someone ask me if these were my original boots that I had kept all these years. Why, yes, thank you. I do look pretty good for 65!

Farewell to a British Star

After 52 years in show business, English singer and actress Cilla Black passed away today at the age of 72. Born in Liverpool and championed by The Beatles, this talented lady scored eleven Top-10 hits on the British charts between 1964 and 1971, hosted her own BBC variety show for several seasons into the '70s, and continued as a prominent TV presenter during the 1980s and '90s. In 1964, "Anyone Who Had a Heart" and "You're My World" were #1 hits, the first single becoming the UK's biggest-selling single by a female artist in the 1960s.
Despite the popularity of all-things British in America, Cilla did not find a huge following in the US, however, "You're My World" was a modest hit in the US, peaking at #26 on the Billboard Hot 100. Although the original Italian version by composer Umberto Bindi was not a hit, even in Italy, the song came to the attention of The Beatles' producer George Martin, who commissioned an English version to be recorded by his protégée Cilla Black.

No doubt that this fine lady had a fantastic voice! Here's a live performance of "Anyone Who Had a Heart" in the mid-60s. 

Farewell, Ms. Black.

Monday, June 15, 2015

The Return of Novelty Songs

Novelty Songs: Part 2
Since this blog is nearly turning into an obituary site for rockers, let's liven things up a bit with classic novelty songs! Last summer, I made a "Silly Songs" playlist for my kiddo and it was a huge hit. And in case you were wondering when Part 1 was posted, it was a special Father's Day post from my first year blogging here, a real hoot. Now onto more hilarious tunes from the back of your memory banks!

Best remembered for originating the Harold Hill role in the musical The Music Man, American stage and film actor Robert Preston was asked to make a recording as part of a program by the President's Council on Physical Fitness in 1961 to get schoolkids to do more daily exercise. The song, "Chicken Fat" (also known as "The Youth Fitness Song"), which was written and composed by Meredith Willson and performed by Preston with full orchestral accompaniment, was distributed to schools across the nation for free and played for students in calisthenics every morning. Willson and Preston volunteered their services on the project, while Capitol Records, which produced and distributed three million copies of the LP, paid for the backup musicians, studio time, and production and distribution. The song later became a surprise novelty hit was widely used in schools in the 1960s and 1970s. "Go, you chicken fat, go!" Can they please bring this back to gym class?!!

 A trio of cousins from New Jersey, The Ran-Dells scored a one-hit wonder novelty song in 1963 with "Martian Hop," which reached #16 on the Billboard chart. At an era when pop culture was saturated with the beginning of the Space Age, the song is a product of impromptu beach jam sessions when the three band members joked around about Martians throwing a dance party for "all the human race." Though the Ran-Dells have been recognized for innovative and pioneering use of a sine wave generator (a first for the pop music genre), the 12-second introduction at the beginning of the song is an uncredited sample from the first 30 seconds of "Moon Maid" by Tom Dissevelt and Dick Raaymakers from their 1962 experimental album, one year before "Martian Hop" (check it out here).

A successful pop singer and actor in the late 50s and early 60s, Pat Boone had 38 Top-40 hits and still holds the Billboard record for spending 220 consecutive weeks on the charts with one or more songs each week. In 1962, Boone found a hit with novelty tune with a cover of "Speedy Gonzales" about the "fastest mouse in all Mexico." The Boone version peaked at the #6 on the Billboard chart during a total chart run of 13 weeks, doing better in many national charts in Europe, where it sold a million copies.The female voice ("La-la-la...") on this song was of session singer Robin Ward (Elton John stated that the "hook" in his best-selling single "Crocodile Rock" was inspired by his listening to Ward's vocal on "Speedy Gonzales"). This song also incorporated Mel Blanc voicing Speedy Gonzales as he did in the Warner Brothers cartoons.
American folk singer and songwriter Tom Glazer found his greatest commercial success with his original 1963 recording of the song parody "On Top of Spaghetti" based on the "On Top of Old Smoky," which he recorded with the Do-Re-Mi Children's Chorus. It is the tale of a meatball that was lost when "somebody sneezed," and discusses what happened to the meatball after it fell off of a pile of spaghetti and rolled away. Call and response songs are always a hit with the kids!
Although definitely not a one-hit wonder, American soul music singer and songwriter Shirley Ellis capitalized on her novelty hits like "The Clapping Song" (previously featured here during our Dance Craze post) and "The Name Game." Written by Ellis with Lincoln Chase and recorded in late 1964, this record went to #3 on the Billboard chart and #4 on the R&B charts in 1965. With lyrics featuring a rhyming game that creates variations on a person's name, Ellis performed this novelty hit on the major television programs of the day, including Hullabaloo, American Bandstand and The Merv Griffin Show. The song later became a popular children's singalong.

Known as the King of Skiffle, Scottish singer-songwriter Lonnie Donegan was probably Britain's most successful and influential recording artist before The Beatles, with 31 Top-30 UK hits, 24 being successive and three at #1. He scored his biggest US hit with the novelty song, "Does Your Chewing Gum Lose Its Flavour (On the Bedpost Overnight)?" first hitting #3 on the UK chart in 1959 and then peaking #5 on the US chart in 1961. The song is a cover version of "Does The Spearmint Lose Its Flavor on the Bedpost Overnight?" first released in 1924 by The Happiness Boys. The title and lyrics of the Donegan version were changed in the UK because "Spearmint" is a registered trademark there, and the BBC would not play songs that mentioned trademarks. 

American country music singer-songwriter Roger Miller is best-known for his chart-topping country pop hits and honky-tonk-influenced novelty songs. In fact, I enjoy this novelty tunes so much, I couldn't pick just one! From his classic 1965 album The Return of Roger Miller, two singles were released including his biggest hit "King of the Road" (previously featured during our Country Crossovers posts here) and this novelty hit "(And You Had a) Do-Wacka-Do" (#15 on the country chart and #31 on the Billboard chart). The expression "do-wacka-do" is a funny way of saying "do-like-I-do," and the song itself expresses envy in a humorous way. Here's great live footage of this classic.

And the other novelty tune I couldn't leave out is this other Roger Miller gem that my kid adores too.
From the same album, the track "You Can't Roller Skate in a Buffalo Herd" was later released as a single in 1966. This wacky tune was actually Miller's favorite song that he wrote. Here's a live performance for a bit later, Miller still sounding great. Not that the lyrics are meant to make sense,, but the part where "you can't change film with a kid on your back" is an especially mind-boggling line for the youngsters these days! Haha.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Farewell to the King of the Blues

On May 14th, the world lost one great artist, B.B. King, at the age of 89. Born Riley B. King and raised in Mississippi, he was American Hall of Fame blues singer, songwriter, and guitarist, and is regarded as one of the most influential blues guitarists of all time, inspiring countless other electric blues and blues rock guitarists. With his first recordings in 1949, King went on to have a successful career, performing in countless concerts with his famous guitar, Lucille. 1956 became a record-breaking year, with 342 concerts booked and three recording sessions.

From the late '60s, new manager Sid Seidenberg pushed King into a different type of venue as blues-rock performers like Eric Clapton and Paul Butterfield were popularizing an appreciation of blues music among white audiences. King gained further visibility among rock audiences as an opening act on the Rolling Stones' 1969 American Tour. He won a 1970 Grammy Award for the song "The Thrill Is Gone," which became a hit on both the pop and R&B charts. It also gained the number 183 spot in Rolling Stone magazine's 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. King was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in 1980, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987, and the Official Rhythm & Blues Music Hall of Fame in 2014. Until his death in 2015, he maintained a highly visible and active career, appearing on numerous television shows and performing 300 nights a year.
Originally a Roy Hawkins' song from 1951, here's B.B. King's hit version of "The Thrill Is Gone," released in December 1969 and performed live on the Ed Sullivan Show in '70.

 Another classic King tune, "Sweet Little Angel" was a #8 hit on the Billboard R&B chart in 1956, and is included in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's list of "500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll."

RIP to the King of the Blues. For your numerous fans, the thrill will never be gone as long as your music lives on.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

A Triple Farewell

Last month, we sadly lost three iconic voices of the 1960s. On April 30th, American soul and R&B singer Ben E. King passed away at the age of 76. Growing up in Harlem, New York, King is best known as the singer and co-composer of "Stand By Me" (with Leiber and Stoller), which was a US Top-10 hit in 1961 and again in 1986. Just this year, King's original version was inducted into the National Recording Registry by the Library of Congress for being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant," just under five weeks before King's death. Who doesn't love this timeless classic?

In 1958, King became one of the principal lead singers of the R&B vocal group The Drifters. He sang lead on a succession of hits including "There Goes My Baby," "Save the Last Dance," and "I Count the Tears." Although he only recorded 13 songs with The Drifters, this is the sound I know so well and have loved from childhood. Seriously, this sound really drew me in as a kid, and I love these tunes so much, especially "Up On the Roof" (featured here), and "This Magic Moment," a Top-20 hit in 1960.
 RIP, Mr. King! Your smooth voice is unforgettable.
Jack Ely was an American guitarist and singer, best known for singing The Kingsmen's version of "Louie Louie" (featured here). From Portland, Oregon, Ely was classically trained in piano and began playing guitar after seeing Elvis Presley on television. In 1959, he co-founded The Kingsmen and with them recorded "Louie Louie" in 1963; Ely's famously incoherent vocals were partly the result of his braces and the rudimentary recording method. Before the record became a hit, Ely was forced out of the group and began playing with his new band, The Courtmen. Ely passed away on April 28, 2015 at age 71. Often lip-synced by another band member, here's the original recording with Jack Ely's voice.

Farewell to the voice of The Kingsmen.
On April 14th, R&B and soul singer Percy Sledge passed away at the age of 74. He was best known for the song "When a Man Loves a Woman," a #1 hit on both the Billboard chart and R&B singles charts in 1966. It was awarded a million-selling, Gold-certified disc from the RIAA. Having previously worked as a hospital orderly in the early 1960s, Sledge achieved his strongest success in the late 1960s and early 1970s with a series of emotional soul songs. In later years, Sledge received the Rhythm and Blues Foundation's Career Achievement Award, and was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2005. Previously mentioned in this post here, it's worth acknowledging again Sledge's impressive songwriting skills as he improvised the lyrics during the recording of this song with minimal planning. Here's a great live performance of Sledge's signature song (looks like an introduction by Otis Redding to boot).
 And here's his second biggest US hit, "Take Time to Know Her," which reached #11 in the 1968.

Rest in peace to the soulful Mr. Sledge.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Farewell to a Sweet Singer

This week on February 16th, New Jersey pop singer Lesley Gore died of cancer at the age of 68. In 1963 when she was 16 years old, Gore recorded the hit "It's My Party," and followed it up with other hits including "Judy's Turn to Cry" and "You Don't Own Me." She also worked as an actress and composed songs with her brother Michael Gore for the 1980 film Fame, for which she was nominated for an Academy Award.

Gore was a junior at an all-girls' school when "It's My Party" (produced by Quincy Jones) became a #1 hit. It was later nominated for a Grammy Award for rock and roll recording, sold over one million copies, and was awarded a gold disc. Here's a cute live performance of the tune that continues to have quite a legacy.

Gore's second most successful hit was "You Don't Own Me," released in late 1963 and reached #2 on the Billboard chart right behind The Beatles' "I Want To Hold Your Hand." The song's lyrics became an inspiration for younger women and played in a major factor in the rise of the second wave feminist movement. Here's more live footage from the T.A.M.I. Show concert film in 1964.
Gore recorded composer Marvin Hamlisch's first hit composition, the Grammy-nominated "Sunshine, Lollipops and Rainbows" (#13), and as well as other Hamlisch tunes like "California Nights," which reached #16 on the Billboard chart in 1967 (produced by Bob Crewe). A shorten version of the song was lip-synced by Gore on an episode of the TV series Batman. She played Pussycat, the Catwoman's protégé, who also wanted to be a singer. From the January 19, 1967 episode, "That Darn Catwoman," here's a clip of "California Nights."

Farewell to a sweet singer we will never forget!

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Double Farewell

A little behind here, but better late than never in paying my respects.
On December 22nd 2014, English rock and blues singer Joe Cocker lost his battle with cancer at the age of 70. Considered one of the greatest rock singers of all time, he began his career performing in pubs and clubs, propelling to stardom with his memorable cover of The Beatles' "With a Little Help From My Friends" (previously featured here). Sir Paul McCartney said he would be "forever grateful" to Cocker for turning this tune into a "soul anthem." Reaching #1 in the UK and later becoming the theme of The Wonder Years TV series, here's his infamous performance at Woodstock in 1969.

Cocker also enjoyed other big hits like "You Are So Beautiful" in 1974 (#5 in the US), and the chart-topping, Grammy Award-winning duet with Jennifer Warnes, "Up Where We Belong" in 1982. Another great live performance by the iconic singer, here's Cocker's cover of Leon Russel's "Delta Lady" in 1969.
Rest in peace, Joe. Your fans are missing you.
On January 13th, Trevor Ward-Davies (aka Dozy) passed away, also at the age of 70, after a short illness. He was the bassist for the British pop/rock group Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick, & Tich, who enjoyed successful UK hits including the chart-topping single, "The Legend of Xanadu" in 1968. The distinctive name (their actual nicknames), coupled with well produced and catchy songs by songwriters Howard and Blaikley, quickly caught the UK public's
 imagination and their records started to sell in abundance. Although the group failed to break out in the US, they were big sellers elsewhere in the world, particularly in British commonwealth countries like Australia, Canada, and New Zealand. Ward-Davies had acquired his nickname "Dozy" when he unwrapped a chocolate bar before absent-mindedly discarding the bar and attempting to eat the wrapper. With novelty elements like many of their songs, here's Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick, & Tich performing "The Legend of Xanadu," featuring a trumpet section and the distinctive sound of a whip cracking in the chorus. 
Farewell, dear Dozy.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Batgirl's Playlist

Last month, we celebrated my 5-year-old's birthday with a Batgirl party! Continuing with the tradition, here's another full post of Zoe's current favorite tune. Like her mama, my little Batgirl loves the classic stuff, and I'm sure you will appreciate her selection as well!

So most of you guys know we moved to Virginia last year, but I don't think I've mentioned that we're already back in Southern California (thanks to military life)! During our East Coast stint, this Batgirl enjoyed identifying with her roots as a California Girl and regularly requested this Beach Boys standard. A #3 summer hit in 1965, gotta love The Beach Boys performing "California Girls" on The Jack Benny Show, the ultimate "California Sound" from the 1960s.

And while on the subject of California, she (and me too) also found a whole new appreciation for this classic, especially after experiencing a chilly winter in Virginia. The Mamas & The Papas convey that feeling of longing for the California warmth all too well in this beauty, and my kid perked up every time it came on the radio. Peaking at #4 on the US chart in '65, "California Dreamin'" is truly one of the greatest songs of all time (classic performance on Hullabaloo).

 While there are quite a few Manfred Mann tunes that Zoe loves like the hilarious "My Name Is Jack" and the catchy "Do Wah Diddy Diddy," this minor US hit really caught her attention. Released in spring of 1966, "Pretty Flamingo" reached #1 in the UK (#29 in the US) and features future Cream bassist Jack Bruce, who briefly joined the band in '65. Thank goodness for satellite radio (the '60s on 6 channel) which introduced us to this gem!

And now for something completely different, here's a little something from American country music singer Sonny James. Originally an instrumental by British guitarist Bert Weedon, the 1954 American western film Apache was the inspiration for this tune. Referred to as the "Indian song" by my kiddo (yeah, sorry, not political correct), here's Sonny James' 1961 version of "Apache." (Love The Ventures' cover too!)

 Well, here's a cute ditty that Zoe loves to bop around to. Seriously, what youngster wouldn't like a gum-smacking tune like "Sweet Pea?" Written and performed by American pop music singer-songwriter Tommy Roe, "Sweet Pea" reached #8 on the Billboard chart and #1 in Canada in 1966. Singing with a young girl from Santa Monica in '67, here's a cute video of the innocent days of yesteryear.

Now here's a real hoot: a little psychedelic made this playlist! I'll never forget hearing this tune come on the radio while driving in the car and Zoe was immediately interested, asking to hear it again. Reaching #11 in 1967, here's The Electric Prunes performing their psychedelic rocker "I Had Too Much to Dream (Last Night)" on American Bandstand. Can't say I've seen a garage band with an autoharp before. Gotta appreciate this kid's variety!


Here's another catchy tune that Zoe loved belting out in the car this past year (notice we're always listening to music in the car?!). British sweetheart Petula Clark had a huge international hit in 1964 when "Downtown" reached in #1 in the US and #2 in the UK. What a classic song by a lovely singer. Enough said.


Being familiar with fairy tales, this Batgirl loves this garage rock song by Sam the Sham & The Pharaohs. "Lil' Red Riding Hood" was the group's second Top-10 hit, reaching #2 on the Billboard chart and in Canada. It might be the wolf howls, but I was a sucker for this classic tune at her age too. Excited I finally found footage of a performance but too bad the audio is out of sync.
 Next up is an English beat group that always sounds like they're having a great time. Written by Cat Stevens (ya learn something new every day!), The Tremeloes' cover version of "Here Comes My Baby" reached #4 in the US and #13 in the US in 1967. Zoe insists that her dad and his Marine buddies sang this song to her as a baby. Cute story, but we'll give all the credit to this spunky group. Love their energy in this live performance! (And check out Cat Stevens' original version here with a bit of a baroque pop sound).

 Now can't forgot this totally groovy tune: "Crimson and Clover" by Tommy James & The Shondells. Written by frontman James and drummer Peter Lucia Jr, this psychedelic pop tune reached #1 on the charts after its release in late 1969, selling 5 million copies. Batgirl can't get enough of the super-cool tremolo effect on the vocals at the end of the song, however, I haven't shown her this little creepy performance from The Ed Sullivan Show. 
And the most recent song added to Batgirl's playist is The Monkees' garage rock tune "(I'm Not Your) Steppin' Stone." Written by Tommy Boyce & Bobby Hart, it was first recorded by Paul Revere & The Raiders, but with the help of The Monkees TV series, this B-side single made it to #20 the charts in 1966. Sometimes all it takes is a simple lyric like "I-I-I-I-I'm not your steppin' stone" to get a kid bouncing. Such a blast from the past getting to watch this groovy show with my kiddo!

And finally, in honor of my Batgirl's birthday, here's the opening credits to the campy but classic Batman TV series, which included Yvonne Craig as Batgirl in Season 3 in 1967/'68. We totally had this footage playing in the background at Zoe's party, what a blast! Composed by Neal Hefti and using a guitar hook similar to spy film scores and surf music, this classic tune continues to be one of the most recognizable of TV themes.

Happy Birthday to my groovy, 5-year-old Batgirl!