A Few Fun Songs to Start Your Summer and Give Your Right Brain Some Pleasure – you guessed it right: this is a new guest post by Ruddy Adam.
Back in the day we could expect a few “fun songs” to come out of the music industry every month. A lot of them were intended for the uplifting fun days of summer. By the early 1970s, the fun songs were fading out, as the US had rushed into a far less fun world, mainly due to that damnable Vietnam War which turned the whole nation political.
Here are a few “fun songs” from the less-serious era that produced them, which your brain will appreciate your listening to, and ought to help get your warm season off to a good start. It’s not that these are necessarily right-brain songs, but the visuals that they should pull up in your brain are indeed right-brain activators.
Most of the videos are really good. If you watch them while the music is playing, you’ll get plenty of right-brain pleasure. If you spot watch these, be sure to catch 2, 13, & 14; they are exceptional. Enjoy!
I was at the Pavilion Café on the Isle of Palms in Charleston, SC, in the Spring of 1965 when “Wooly Bully” came out. The jukebox man came over to where four of us were sitting and told us he’d just put two new songs in the box and they’d be playing in a minute. On came “Wooly Bully” and we laughed all the way through the song. Actually, it became a big hit and is a really good song.
Every time I see or talk to my old friends from that day, we bring up “Wooly Bully.” When they visit us, I have it playing when they walk in the door. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t love it, as your brain will.
“Wooly Bully,” by Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs, 1965 (2:20)
If you’re from America and old enough, every one of you has cruised the streets listening to this fun beat. The video with this one is unbelievable!! Don’t miss it!! It has so many stars dancing to this perfect beat (in various classic film clips) I can’t name them all. Very provocative! Obviously professionally created.
Remember that instrumental music is better for your brain than music with vocals, unless you have something to watch along with the song. Here you get an instrumental piece with a really, really good video. Your brain will love it!
I hope you can remember the clips from all these movies. Take a close look at the very young Ann Margret; she was a living doll. The first one is Marilyn Monroe dancing with Eli Wallach in the 1961 film, “The Misfits.” You’ll see dancing William Holden with Kim Novak, Virna Lisa (solo dancing), Rock Hudson with Gina Lollobrigida, Jack Lemmon with Romy Schneider, and many others.
“Green Onions,” by Booker T & the MGs, 1962 (2:55)
One of the best fun summer songs ever, and one of the last of the type.
“Summertime,” by Mungo Jerry, 1970 (3:30)
One of Elvis’ favorite songs, when the Beatles visited him, this is the first song he played for them. They loved it. After “Mohair Sam” came out, anyone who thought himself cool, I called Mohair. They didn’t much like it, though. To get those of you up-to-date who weren’t around when mohair was popular, it was very soft, silky hair that came from an Angora Goat, from which coats were made. It was high-fashion — and really expensive. Anyone owning one might be tempted to think of himself as cool.
My music teacher, Miss Buck, said this may be the best short song ever. A couple of years later (1968), though it’s a little longer, she put “Sittin’ on the Dock of the Bay” in “Mohair’s” same class, both short songs (too short, in fact). Short or not they are great songs, but “Mohair” is more fun!
“Who is the coolest guy? That is what I am?
Fast talkin’, slow walkin’, good looking Mohair Sam.”
Charlie Rich has a wonderful, natural voice, perhaps slightly under Elvis. Does he not? But like Ricky Nelson, he can’t do anything with it other than straight intone singing, as he is doing here. Fun, though.
“Mohair Sam,” by Charlie Rich, 1965 (1:30)
A slightly longer, clearer version here: (2:10)
Very exciting, fun video of this great song.
“Do Wah Diddy Diddy,” by Manfred Mann, 1964 (2:05)
“Summer in the City” flew to number one in August, 1966. The lyrics alone justified its ranking. Another uplifting summer song, from back when. The name of the group, “The Lovin’ Spoonful,” came from the lead singer’s love of coffee, especially Maxwell House (that and Sanka were about all coffee drinkers had back then), which he said only took a spoonful to get him ready to sing. Thus, The Lovin’ Spoonful.
“Summer in the City,” by The Lovin’ Spoonful, 1966 (2:40)
This is a song that came out in 1962. Here, it is sung later by the Lennon Sisters on the Lawrence Welk Show. It’s definitely one of those wonderful dance songs that came out back in the `60s. For the next several years, everybody did the Watusi (or tried to) at the beach. Fun video by the girls.
“Wah Watusi,” by The Lennon Sisters, 1962 (2:30)
Always one of mine and El’s favorites, when we were young and she would pout (still does!!), I would say, “Oh, my, Little Puff has come out.” The story is a sad one, but it’s really a fun song. You don’t see this type of imaginative lyrics put in songs anymore. Straight out of the beatnik era, this trio had some of the better acoustical songs of the period.
“Puff The Magic Dragon,” by Peter Paul and Mary, 1965 (3:50)
Yes, you better believe that parties of us would get together and try to rhyme names, as this song does. You have to remember that at this time the world for most of us was about the size of our backyards — tiny. A lot the people living around me still didn’t have TVs or phones in 1965. Getting together and socializing by listening to music, dancing, and singing the lyrics were all a lot of youngsters had to do back then. It was fun!
The young folks in this video are surely having a fun time. Great beat!
“The Name Game,” by Shirley Ellis, 1965 (3:00)
In college, our Entertainment Chair, the late Ray McCreedy, normally booked Southern bands, the Medallions being one of them. We learned from them that all White Southern Bands were barred from American Bandstand, one of the reasons Elvis would not do the show, and there was no way they could get a contract from a major label. This song was so popular, though, there was no way they could stop it from becoming a hit.
The first time I saw the Medallions the boys had on madras pants; the next time they had on madras jackets. Man, let me tell you we thought they had to be really rich, because real madras was expensive back then. A lot of us had a real “bleeding madras” shirt or two. But pants and jackets? No way! They were way too costly.
Good video of the boys playing around; they were a fun group. Great organ! Great beat! If the video doesn’t come up properly, there is a second recording of the song below without the video.
“Double Shot of My Baby’s Lovin’,” by the Swinging Medallions, 1965, (2:20)
A picture of the boys, Brent, Carroll, Irven, John, Josh, Perrin, Rick, and Steve, in their famous Madras pants here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1CdPVsQLCIQ
This 1960 version is the first one I heard of the 1951 song, “Hot Rod Lincoln.” When this song came out young folks would buy an old jalopy, such as a `32 Ford (one of the more popular ones used), “chop it down” by trimming the roofline, take the fenders off the front and rear, either take the hood off or cut the sides out, then put in a big 1950s engine. The result: a Hot Rod. The advent of the GTO in 1964 presaged the end of the Hot Rod Era, and what is now called the Muscle Car Era began, in which the major car companies produced “hot rods” (Muscle Cars) from the factory.
With this melody, it’s not difficult to imagine yourself speeding down an old tar and gravel road with the wind swirling around you and the exhausts bellowing away. For most of you this is a good right-brain piece to help you visualize those days. It does us!
“Hot Rod Lincoln,” Johnny Bond, 1960 (2:55)
This is one of the songs that started the fun songs of the summer, by the Boys of Summer Themselves, “The Beach Boys.” The other was “Surfin’ Safari,” also by the Beach Boys. Having come out in `72, the album “Endless Summer” has the whole collection of summer songs on it.
This is another song that for most of us evokes memories of times when having fun was a trip to the beach. Good right-brain activator song!
“Surfin’ USA,” by the Beach Boys, 1963 (3:40)
One of the most underrated groups of all-time, and one of our favorites, other artists have covered more of Credence Clearwater Revival’s (CCR) songs than any other. That is the proof that the group wrote and played some magnificent music.
In this very uplifting song, written and sung (as always by the innovative John Fogerty in his prime), you get CCR live, along with one of the most famous sexpots of the era, Jayne Mansfield, dancing to the song in the video. Beat that!
“Travelin’ Band,” by CCR, 1970 (2:00)
Saving the best for last, absolutely no way to leave this one out of fun summer songs. The video will get the fellows ready for the beach. I promise!
“California Girls,” by the Beach Boys, 1965 (2:40)
I realize it’s still cold in Canada, Europe, and the Northern US, but the warm weather is wonderfully in sight, and it’s something to look forward to. Have an endless summer by staying positive, externalizing positive comments to others, socializing with positive people, and listening to uplifting music!