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!