Song Of The Day 9/9/2015: Ann-Margret – “It Do Me So Good”

The Hidden '60s, Part 1 – What can you say about Ann-Margret? She slipped into your subconscious desires when you were a young boy when you didn’t have a clue what your subconscious was for, or that you even had one. And when you learned you had one, she was the perfect culvert for ushering in the great Freudian dichotomy of desire and fear you experienced as a flourishing adolescent. Her purity in Bye Bye Birdie unnerved you; her raw, untempered sensuality in Viva! Las Vegas provoked you; her exposed nerves in Carnal Knowledge displaced you; her psychopathy in Tommy derailed you. Also, she was in Grumpy Old Men.

A-M was more of an all-around entertainer – you can see that for yourself in her impressive act of keeping up with Elvis in Viva! – and her singing voice, strong as it was, had a very precise vibrato that might have undercut her place in the rock pantheon (Tommy excepted). Still, she managed a modest pop hit with “I Just Don’t Understand” in 1961, and had the disco club hit that everyone was required to have in 1979 with ”Love Rush.”

“It Do Me So Good” (#97, 1961) is our concern today. It’s a slinky and gutsy exhibition of barely-restrained eros. But my main concern isn’t A-M’s prurient moan. No, it’s that wildly over-modulated electric guitar in the left channel. You’ll hear it. It’s that jarring, very tinny but very aggressive lead that comes barreling out of the speaker like an antagonized Daschund. The same sound appears in “I Just Don’t Understand,” but its usage in “It Do Me” is far more of a jolt. Remember, this was 1961. We were a good five years away from that kind of amateur but somehow consoling guitar sound making a regular appearance on the radio. In 1961 it must have sounded like the devil incarnate to frowning mothers and deacons with too much investment in their parishes. Tell me if it works for you.

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