One Kiss Can Lead to Another: Girl Group Sounds, Lost and Found

First revelation: Neil Young stole the melody for "Pocahontas" from Carole King’s "He’s a Bad Boy." Second: Evie Sands’ "I Can’t Let Go" was featured in a car commercial (the Hollies had the bigger hit). Third: Earl-Jean’s version of Goffin-King’s "I’m Into Somethin’ Good" shreds the Herman’s Hermits hit. Fourth: Barbara Lewis’ "Don’t Forget About Me" remains one of my favorite songs (again, written by Goffin-King).

This is what music geeks want from a boxed set. After all, what casual fan would splurge for a 120-song, four-CD collection of girl groups from the early- to mid-1960s? Hits are fine, well-known artists welcome (Shirelles, Supremes, Shangri-Las), but it’s the obscure revelations — the stuff that fulfills the late-night TV ad claim that it would cost hundreds, maybe thousands of dollars to assemble this collection yourself — that make for rewarding listening, that urge the obsessive, amateur and pro musicologist alike to hunt. Whether it’s Cilla Black with George Martin’s orchestra working through Randy Newman’s "I’ve Been Wrong Before" or The What Four being aided by Teo Macero’s production and orchestration for "I’m Gonna Destroy That Boy," the feeling of discovery is powerful and, in this case, frequent.

Rob O'Connor writes about music for Metro Times. Send comments to [email protected].

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