Archive for June, 2016

Rear View Mirror #25: Blue’s Theme

From the 1966 Roger Corman film “The Wild Angels”, this rocking instrumental was Davie Allen and the Arrows biggest hit — cracking the 1op 40 in 1967.

June 30, 2016 at 7:32 am 1 comment

Rear View Mirror #24: Shape of Things to Come

Okay Geezers — do you remember Abbie Hoffman and Jerry Rubin — the “Yippies”? One of Jerry Rubin’s catch phrases was “Don’t trust anyone over thirty”.

Do you remember that in 1968, the movie “Wild in the Streets” told the story of Max Flatow, a precocious, social miscreant who runs away from home only to emerge seven years later as Max Frost, the world’s most popular entertainer. When a congressman uses Frost as a political ploy to gain the youth vote in his run for the Senate, Frost wills himself into the system, gaining new rights for the young. Eventually, Frost wins the presidency and issues an edict: everyone over 30 is required to live in “paradise camps” where they are forced to ingest LSD.

“Shape of Things to Come” was a single from the film, originally credited to the fictional “Max Frost and the Troopers”. Written by Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil, it peaked at #22 on the US charts in 1968. There is also an instrumental version by Davie Allen and the Arrows.


June 29, 2016 at 5:38 pm Leave a comment

Rear View Mirror #23: Waikiki Wipe Out

“Wipe Out” by the Surfaris probably defines surf rock for most people. I’ve never recorded it before because I never had any ideas for it besides a literal cover version. Today I thought of this approach — replacing the original tom-tom drum riff with a more Polynesian style rhythm.

June 28, 2016 at 3:21 pm Leave a comment

No Exit

“No Exit” is an original instrumental in which I try to combine the feel of 60’s instrumental guitar rock with a somewhat more complex musical and harmonic language than was typical for that genre. With this one I tried to get a feel similar to the early 60’s style of surf rock and the Ventures.


June 27, 2016 at 7:13 pm Leave a comment

Unchained Melody

“Unchained Melody” is a 1955 song with music by Alex North and lyrics by Hy Zaret.It has since become one of the most recorded songs of the 20th century. The title is the result of the music serving as a theme for the little-known prison film Unchained. In 1955, three versions of the song (Les Baxter, Al Hibbler, Roy Hamilton) charted in the Billboard Top 10 in the United States. Ten years later the Righteous Brothers version topped out at #4. There are also versions by Duane Eddy and the Ventures.



June 26, 2016 at 2:32 pm Leave a comment


“Trambone” was a track on Chet Atkins’ 1962 album “Back Home”. It went on to become one of his signature tunes. Duane Eddy and the Ventures covered it as well.

June 25, 2016 at 2:40 pm Leave a comment

Rear View Mirror #19: Dominique

If you were around in 1964, you definitely remember this tune — although I bet you haven’t heard it in a while. It sat at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for four weeks. The artist was Jeanne Decker. In French-speaking countries she was known as “Soeur Sourire” (Sister Smile). In English-speaking countries she was known as “The Singing Nun”.

June 24, 2016 at 5:11 pm Leave a comment

Rear View Mirror #18: Treat Her Right

“Treat Her Right” as recorded by Roy Head and the Traits, reached #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1965. It was kept from the #1 spot by the Beatles “Yesterday”. It is one of my all time favorite tracks. My version is pretty faithful to the original, but since I don’t sing, there are no vocals.

June 23, 2016 at 3:55 pm Leave a comment

(Dance with the) Guitar Man

(Dance With The) Guitar Man” is a song written by Duane Eddy and Lee Hazlewood and originally performed by Eddy. The song reached #4 on the UK Singles Chart and #12 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1962. My version eliminates the vocals but is otherwise pretty faithful to the original. 

June 22, 2016 at 6:06 pm Leave a comment

Rear View Mirror #16: A Surfin’ Summer Song

All the while as I was creating my more conventional arrangement of this tune, a little voice in my head kept whispering “surf rock”. So here it is.

June 21, 2016 at 2:50 pm Leave a comment

A Summer Song

This was a top-10 hit for Chad & Jeremy in 1964 — and their highest USA charting release.

I really loved Chad & Jeremy — even though their music settles a bit on the “easy listening” side of things. I still have their first album with this track on it.

June 20, 2016 at 5:54 pm Leave a comment

Rear View Mirror # 14: Kommotion

“Kommotion” is a song written by Duane Eddy and Lee Hazlewood and performed by Eddy. The song reached #13 on the UK Singles Chart and #78 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1960. The song appeared on his 1960 album, $1,000,000.00 Worth of Twang.

Duane Eddy used a Danelectro 6-string bass on his recording. I used a 6-string bass on mine as well.

June 19, 2016 at 5:34 pm Leave a comment

Rear View Mirror #13: Cannonball

Cannonball” is a song written by Duane Eddy and Lee Hazlewood and recorded by Eddy. The song reached #15 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1958.

In my version I tried to add a little additional interest and rhythmic complexity.


June 18, 2016 at 5:44 pm Leave a comment

Rear View Mirror #12: The Poor Surfers of Paris

The Poor People of Paris” is the English name of a French popular song, which was originally titled “La goualante du pauvre Jean” (“The Ballad of Poor John”), with music by Marguerite Monnot and words by René Rouzaud. Edith Piaf had one of her biggest hits with the original French version.

The song was adapted by American songwriter Jack Lawrence in 1954, and he wrote English lyrics, which are considerably different from the French. The English-language title arises in part from a misinterpretation of the French title, as “pauvre Jean” was taken for the same-sounding “pauvres gens,” which translates as “poor people.”

An instrumental recording of the tune by Les Baxter’s orchestra was a number-one hit on the Billboard chart in the US in 1956.

Seeking to continue the song’s history of misinterpretation, it seemed to me that since surfers in France would have to be seriously disadvantaged, a surf-rock arrangement was called for.

June 17, 2016 at 6:17 pm Leave a comment

Maria Elena

Originally written in 1932 by Mexican composer Lorenzo Barcelata, this tune was recorded numerous times in the 1930’s and 40’s. Boomers will best remember the instrumental version by Los Indios Tabajaras, a classic guitar duo that dressed as Mexican Indians. This version reached #6 on the hot 100 in 1962. My version is less elaborate, with a nod towards the rhythm guitar style of the big band era.

June 16, 2016 at 3:21 pm 1 comment

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June 2016