Song Of The Day 5/2/2014: Bobby Vinton - "There! I've Said It Again"

Pre-Fab Four: This was it, children of the sun: the last gasp of the old guard before Beatlemania crashed the split-level castle gates. Bobby Vinton's "There! I've Said It Again," a recycling of a tune from the big band era, was the last song to hit #1 on the Billboard charts before the Beatles ever did. It spent four weeks at the top of the charts before being dethroned by "I Want To Hold Your Hand." "T!ISIA" revels in just about every bullet point of early 60's easy listening pop: drumless, earnest, quivering vocals, a rounded, high-frequency female chorus almost pushing themselves into hysterics with their dramatics, and the vague, post-event feeling that you've just spent an hour in a dentist's office without realizing it. This was the music the Beatles were destined to call shenanigans on, and it survived until the very last minute that it could.

Vinton, by most accounts an unassuming and decent chap, was graciously allowed to have a fertile career even after the Beatles arrived. "Mr. Lonely" was a #1 song in 1964, and he continued to hit the charts into the mid-'70s, when he defined himself along the lines of his Polish heritage and almost topped the charts again with the polka-citing "My Melody of Love." He also got a TV show (a Chuck Barris production!), and was retroactively exalted via art house cinema when David Lynch used his song "Blue Velvet" as the centerpiece of the film of the same name.

This concludes our study of the music that ruled the pop charts in the months before the Beatles started doing so. I'd present even more examples, but I'm on saccharin overload as it is. Endurance, all. And if you haven't read the Michael Tomasky ebook Yeah! Yeah! Yeah!, which also has a nuanced discussion of "There! I've Said It Again," please do so now.

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