Song Of The Day 9/6/2015: Bobby Hendricks – “Psycho”

The Hidden '60s, Part 1 – The Hidden ’60s and The Hidden ’70s were concepts I came up with when I was in charge of building playlists for Zune. The general idea was fairly simple, but I could see how, in the greater context of all the joy buzzers and flow charts Microsoft is known for manufacturing, it might have gotten lost in the chemtrails. It was, at the same time, a data-driven initiative and an F-you to the notion that data defines art in even the most meager measure. Should’ve made up a PowerPoint, I know. We live, we learn.

But the playlists I made for the Hidden series were some of my favorite point-and-click work ever. The theme was, again, fairly easy to execute: Songs that made Billboard magazine’s Hot 100 list, but never got any higher than #41. To put it another way, songs that didn’t make the Top 40, but had a chance. Although “Top 40” sounds like an arbitrary delineation these days, it was how the media defined popular hit singles back then: You actually had “Top 40” stations that more or less reflected music that made, or was in the process of making, the list of the forty biggest songs in the nation.

The songs on the Hidden playlists didn’t get that far up the charts and I wondered why. I figured for at least a couple tunes, it had to be the nature of the business: Maybe a certain promo guy was on vacation and the song didn’t get off to the right start that it should have. Or any other political reasons, of which you have to think there were many. But all these songs at least had a sporting chance, and I thought it would be interesting to construct playlists of these near-misses. I imagined them as potential alternate pop culture histories that very plausibly could have become part of our collective nostalgia. ’Cause a lot of these songs were great.

So with SOTD being the personal music blog juggernaut it now is, I thought I’d bring back the Hidden series and see what hackles it raises amongst people who, I like to think, are more attracted to in-depth music analysis than your standard Zune user in 2007. (Not to slight people who were using Zune in 2007 – I wholeheartedly thank all fourteen of you.) In research I came across so many songs I wanted to use that I thought it would make sense to break the ’60s version into three parts: 1960–63 (this one), 1964–66 (in October) and 1967–69 (in, wait for it, November). Or if you prefer: Kennedy’s new hope, the British Invasion and drugs. I’m not judging.

We’ll start off with Bobby Hendricks, an R&B singer from Columbus, Ohio, with one of at least three completely different songs from the ’60s that had the name “Psycho” as the title, inspired no doubt by Alfred Hitchcock’s ringing endorsement of established motel chains released in 1960. There’s nothing very psycho about this charming novelty song at all, but since it came out the same year as the movie, I suppose technically it was first. It was released on Sue Records, one of the labels that came up a lot in my research this week, though nowhere nearly as much as Top Rank Records. It got as high as #73 on the Hot 100. The role of the shrink is played by the very influential New York DJ Tommy Smalls, or as his patients called him, "Dr. Jive." Coming up next, stuff that’s even more dangerous.

Popular Recent Posts