Monday, September 5, 2011

Revenge of the 30 Day Song Challenge - Day 8

Day 8 - A 50's Song

Coming up is a week long decade crawl from the 50's (the dawn of the rock 'n' roll era) to the 10's (you know, our two year old decade). Even though any old songs will do, I've decided to be know-it-all twat and add a little twist to my decade run. In the following seven posts, I'll be examining girl groups and their evolution. And to alleviate any confusion, I will only be writing about vocal girl groups, not all-girl bands so The Runaways, The Bangles, The Donnas, etc. will not be eligible. First a little bit of pre-history.

Girl Groups have been around since the 1920's. According to Wikipedia, the concept started as a sort of Vaudevillian joke: "Haha! Look, girls singing together. Yuk, yuk!" Although why this was funny is completely lost to me. By the 30's and 40's, sister acts such as The Boswell Sisters and The Andrews Sisters made people realize that chicks singing harmoniously was not something to be laughed at. This trend of "close harmony" singing continued into the 50's with The Chordettes ("Mr. Sandman", "Lollipop") and The McGuire Sisters ("Sincerely"). It wasn't until 1958 with popularity of "Maybe" by The Chantels that the girl group sound--which consists of one lead singer and backing vocalists--truly began. 

"Born Too Late" - The Poni-Tails (1958)

Yes, I should write about "Maybe" because history makes it out to be the more important song, but damn it, this is my blog and I choose to write about a forgotten B-Side.

I was about seven when I first heard today's song on an oldies compilation tape entitled 32 Original Hits. Apparently, my father ordered it off of the TV one drunken night back in 1980. Fifteen years later, I was going through a bit of a 50's phase, so the cassette was bestowed upon me.

My Side 2 favorite was "Born Too Late", a simple song about being too young for one's object of affection and the pain of knowing it never can be. Being in love with an older guy was the subject of many a 50's song and I can personally say that this one kept me from liking an older guy until I went to college. It just sounded so damn awful!

"Born Too Late" reached #8 on Billboard's Hot 100 in September of 1958. The Poni-Tails--consisting of high school friends, Toni Cistone, Karen Topinka and Patti McCabe--released a few other singles before and after "Born Too Late", but had no other success. Sadly, very few girl groups of this era had more than one hit.

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