Saturday, July 9, 2016

SHG: The Four Lads: "Moments to Remember"

The Four Lads: “Moments to Remember”
Entered the chart on: 9/3/1955
Peaked on: 11/12/1955
Weeks at #2: 6 weeks
Songs at #1: “Autumn Leaves” by Roger Williams and “Sixteen Tons” by Tennessee Ernie Ford.

So, after the breath-taking masterpiece that is “A Blossom Fell,” any follow-up couldn’t help but be a disappointment. Bracing myself for a letdown here.

What is up with all the imported Can-Con back in the 50s? The Crew-Cuts, the Diamonds and now the Four Lads. Did US record companies just want to import talent from a country where the performers were guaranteed to be white? Or is that just me being my usual cynical self?

If you know the Four Lads for anything these days, it’s for their 1953 novelty hit “Istanbul (Not Constantinople),” later covered-up by trendy indie rockers They Might Be Giants. Looking at their discography, it seems as though a lot of their early hits were novelty tunes, since we also have “Two Ladies in de Shade of de Banana Tree” (cringe) and “Gilly Gilly Ossenfeffer Katzenellen Bogen by the Sea” (huh?).

Trivia about “Moments to Remember,” it was originally offered to Perry Como, but he turned it down. Bodes well, doesn’t it? So lets examine the case of the song that wasn’t good enough for the singer of “Ko Ko Mo (I Love You So)”:

One of those lads sounds awfully ladylike. Yes, I know, it’s guest singer Lois Winters. Get off my back!

Eh, this is the kind of sentimentality that hasn’t aged well for me. The lads’ squeaky-clean harmonies aren’t helping any. The spoken-word bit by guest narrator Pat Kirby (who thought this was a good idea? I’m beginning to see why Perry turned this down.) in the middle eight is all kinds of cheesy, though its suggestion of drive-in sex was kind of daring for a tune of this ilk, from this era. I guess they were kind of going for a rousing sing-along feel with this, considering they elected to keep the arrangement simple (is that a ukulele I hear?).

This isn’t doing it for me, I’m afraid. This is the kind of music the rock & rollers were rebelling against. And frankly, I can understand why.

Rating: 2

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