Sunday, November 20, 2016
SHG: Len Barry: "1-2-3"
Len Barry: “1-2-3”
Entered the chart on: 10/23/65
Peaked on: 11/20/65
Weeks at #2: 1
Song at #1: “I Hear a Symphony” by the Supremes
We have reached the end of 1965 and with it, the end of “short” years of the 60s. The reason 1965 seems to have generated few #2 hits looks like it’s because most songs didn’t seem to be spending much time at #2; that is, most songs that made it to #2 eventually peaked at #1. We’ll see the opposite over the ensuing years of the 60s, which are choked with songs that stalled at #2 behind long-runners in the top spot.
Having said that, let’s examine the case of Len Barry, probably the first alumnus of Second Hand Goods to chart with two different acts: first as the lead singer of the Dovells (remember “Bristol Stomp”?) and now as a solo act. This is another one of those songs where I kind of remember the main hook, but I don’t have a clear picture of the entire song. Methinks I need to refresh my memory...
Appropriately, starting off with someone counting in the song, a la “Wooly Bully.” Appropriate also that this should come second to the Supremes, as the arrangement here is so very Motown. The horns on this really sparkle, piano and guitar handle the rhythm with those slamming drums, and there’s even some vibes for color.
This one’s coming back to me now. I think Len’s voice has improved a good deal from the uncontrolled wail on “Bristol Stomp.” He has learned a lot more technique in the interim, and puts in a very impassioned performance here, reaching its peak with the “It’s easy, like taking candy from a baby” climax.
Better than I had remembered. A total production with an excellent vocal. Ending ’65 in style.