_________________________________________________________________ ______________ _____________ ______________ _____________ ______________ S P E C T R O P O P _____________ ______________ _____________ _________________________________________________________________ Volume #0215 January 21, 1999 _________________________________________________________________ To prevent scratching surface, hold by center hole and outer edgeSubject: Beach Party on AMC Received: 01/21/99 12:27 am From: Paul Urbahns, PaulurbXXXXXXXXom To: Spectropop List, spectroXXXXXXXXties.com I received this information from the cable movie channel AMC concerning february dates for some films. I have caught most of them this month and they are well worth watching, if you haven't seen them before. This advance notice allows you to either mark your calendar or figure out how to work the timer on your VCR... just kidding. Paul Urbahns paulurbXXXXXXXXom "Thank you for your interest in AMC and American Pop. "The Lost Beach Boys Concert" will air on Saturday, February 6 at 10:00pm EST (and 4:00am EST) followed by "The Girls on the Beach" at 10:30pm EST (and 4:30am EST). "Beach Ball" will air on Saturday, February 13 at 10:00pm EST and 4:00am EST. "Beach Party" wil "Beach Blanket Bingo" will air on Saturday, February 27 at 10: 00pm EST and 4:00am EST. Thank you for watching American Movie Classics." --------------------[ archived by Spectropop ]-------------------- Subject: He Hit Me an intentional flop? Received: 01/21/99 12:27 am From: Jamie LePage, le_page_XXXXXXXXties.com To: Spectropop List, spectroXXXXXXXXties.com Going way back to when Barbara Alston wrote: >Why would five (possibly four at the time) young girls sing >something extraordinary like "he hit me and it felt like a kiss" >-- yuk, was what I truly felt...There's plenty more to this story, >but I guess you have an overall sense of how I felt about >singing any of those songs. Well, my own overall sense comes only from reading books and articles and listening to the records. Hearing it straight from you is brilliant! Welcome back, Barbara. >Finally, we found out years later that Phil made us do "He Hit >Me" to make a flop record. He wanted to get rid of his partner >(Lester Sill) and if we had a flop, he would be in a better >position to buy Lester's share out. Isn't that amazing? He >actually used us for his personal gain in more ways than one. I can safely say most of us on the list do not take as gospel what is written in books. Still, I seriously doubt "He Hit Me" was intended to flop. My guess is you have the right idea, but the wrong record. Here's why: 1. In September 1962 Spector decided that Lester Sill had to go. By this time, He Hit Me had already been withdrawn and He's a Rebel had already hit. Over the next several months, Phil negotiated a buy-out, and part of the agreement was that Sill would get a share of the next two Crystals records. By this time, Da Doo Ron Ron was slated for release, and Phil still owed one more Crystals single to Lester. He recorded the Crystals record (Let's Dance) the Screw, which was a throwaway recording using a skeleton crew of musicians playing a 12 bar blues. It is fairly well documented that the record Phil intended to flop for reasons of buying out Lester Sill was indeed (Let's Dance) the Screw. Reportedly, only a handful of copies were pressed. Mark Ribowsky in his book "He's a Rebel" goes so far as to say only one copy was made and it was given to Lester, but I guess that's probably not accurate. 2. Lester Sill hated He Hit Me and, still actively involved with Philles at the time, he confronted Spector about it. Once Spector negotiated a buy-out, Sill was no longer in a position to voice an opinion. 3. The arrangement on He Hit Me is beautiful. Embellished with a (costly) string section. The production is very polished. Top notch. Why would Phil go to all that trouble (and spend all that money) if he intended He Hit Me to flop? 4. He Hit Me actually started to get airplay and was bubbling under the charts when the backlash came. Philles pulled 1,000's of copies from retailers and one-stops. If Spector from the beginning planned to kill the record, he surely wouldn't have gone to the trouble of "setting up" its release properly. It would never have gone past DJ/promo copies. 5. Even if public sentiment against the lyric content was overwhelming, the record could have easily been flipped by DJs. If Phil wanted it to flop, he definitely would not have put the fantastic No One Ever Tells You on the B. 6. Both sides of He Hit Me 45 were less than 3:00. Yet, when Phil recorded (Let's Dance) The Screw he made sure that both sides were 5:00+, too long for radio, thus ensuring the record would not get any radio airplay - at all. 7. Crystals were his only hit act at the time. The label was only 5 singles deep. Phil wouldn't have jeopardized the name value of the Crystals so early. He hadn't even made the Bob B. Soxx hits yet. 8. Most importantly, both sides are wonderfully written Brill Building classics. No matter what Spector's agenda was, Carole & Gerry had no reason to intentionally write a flop song. In fact, Goffin spoke of the song saying that working with Spector gave Carole and him the opportunity to explore darker themes (besides He Hit Me, Goffin/King gave Spector No One Ever Tells You and Please Hurt Me; with He Hit Me, these three songs are the Crystals/Goffin-King "dark" trilogy). I personally believe He Hit me was a very sincere attempt at writing a song with social commentary, much as Spanish Harlem was (and Black Pearl much later). A misdirected attempt, perhaps, but nevertheless a great piece of songwriting. Spector of course would have recognized this (he co-wrote the song) and I can't think of any reason why he would have bothered to use such a well-written song for an intentional flop. A twelve bar blues would certainly suffice for that purpose. As it did for The Screw. So, that's my theory! Barbara, you did say "there's plenty more to this story," and any further comment on this would be most appreciated. -- All the best, Jamie LePage
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