Friday, November 11, 2016

SHG: Gary Lewis & the Playboys: "Save Your Heart for Me"

Gary Lewis & the Playboys: “Save Your Heart for Me”
Entered the chart on: 7/17/65
Peaked on: 8/21/65
Weeks at #2: 1
Song at #1: “I Got You Babe” by Sonny & Cher

One of those wags over at RateYourMusic said of this song:

Gary Lewis & the Playboys' string of hits were some of the dullest and weakest the 60's produced. There's a reason you don't hear them on Oldies radio. Take this one for example. Somehow this lame little ditty got all the way up to #2. Anyone remember it?

(sound of crickets chirping)

I didn't think so.

Harsh? Perhaps. But he has a point. I certainly am conjuring up no memories of this tune. I’m sure it must have been the likes of Dick Bartley or Casey Kasem that are responsible yet again for me hearing it at all. Because it does have a check-mark next to it in the Whitburn book. But I’m not linking the title with any melody.

That’s the thing about Gary Lewis & the Playboys. They charted twelve hits in the top 40, but how many of them do you actually remember? Personally, I remember “This Diamond Ring,” “Count Me In” and “Everybody Loves a Clown.” Beyond that, I’m drawing a blank. You can blame payola, or Lewis’ famous father giving his career a boost if you wish, but the truth of the matter is, no matter the reason for their popularity back in the day, their output just hasn’t really stood the test of time.

Lewis himself credits this song’s brevity (one minute and fifty six seconds) to its great success (“DJs loved it,” he claimed). Oh and...sigh, it’s a cover. Brian Hyland—yes, the “Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny Yellow Polka-Dot Bikini” guy—got to this first. So I need to listen to both versions for context.

All right, listening to two versions of this song is one too many. Possibly two too many. Especially considering the Lewis version pretty much clones the arrangement of Hyland’s, even throwing in the whistling intro. Anyway, we’ve heard what Lewis sounds like paired up with a good song with his first two hits, and the two don’t completely cancel each other out. Here we get to hear him paired up with a substandard song, and the results are absolutely dreary.

Seriously, I’m trying to think of a reason this charted so high and I’m drawing a blank. I could actually hear why this groups first two hits were such smashes; they were good songs and the production made them really sparkle. This one just lies there like a dead fish. The best I can say about this is a) it’s well-produced and b) it’s mercifully short.

Especially letter “b” above. Thank the Stars for small mercies.

Rating: 1

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