Sunday, January 27, 2008

FEATURE ARTIST/RECORD: "Believe Me" by The Royal Teens

I got caught in a bit of a time warp with this song, which makes it the perfect one to talk about today, since last night I watched the movie "The Fountain" (2006, Hugh Jackman, Rachel Weisz). Man, that movie is so bizarre it made me yearn for something simple to figure "2001 -A Space Odyssey." But let's stay on topic. Here's the story...

You may have noticed on the left hand side of this blog that there's a list of my Top10 favorite vintage oldies, and that "Believe Me" is on that list. "Believe Me" was released in late 1959 and became a hit for the group in 1960, when I was in the 8th grade. I have very fond and specific American Graffiti-type memories of that song, so I really hope nobody uses it in some hokey commercial (see Jan7th 2007 post). The other song we all remember by the Royal Teens is a sassy little number called "Short Shorts." I never liked the song "Short Shorts" quite as much. Even the group thought it was a throw-away instrumental until, on a whim, they added the wolf-whistle and that back-and-forth with the girls (Q: Who wears short shorts? A: We wear short shorts). It was a huge hit.

Now, here's the time warp part. Over the years, whenever I heard "Short Shorts" I always assumed it came out after "Believe Me," in about 1970 or so. Why did I think that? Because I used to wear short shorts back in the early 70s. They were a big thing. But somehow I could never quite reconcile how a group could have such a doo-wop hit like "Believe Me" in 1960, and then a decade later, record "Short Shorts." After all, 1970 was the psychedelic heyday. Well, the reason I couldn't reconcile it is because I was wrong. "Short Shorts" was a hit in 1958, a whole year before "Believe Me." How could that be? Well, I have since realized I got it wrong because I was confusing the earlier (and redundant) fashion statement, short shorts, with the decade-later version, known as hot pants. I'd forgotten all about that important difference. So, in 1970, I had hot pants (don't go there) not short shorts. I'm so glad that got cleared up! Anyway, the Royal Teens didn't go on to have as successful a career as I think they should have; they had only a few other minor hits. But two of their personnel went on to further fame and glory - Bob Gaudio (The Four Seasons) and Al Kooper (Blues Project). Okay, time for the music. As usual, YouTube didn't let us down...

Short Shorts

Believe Me

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