Spectropop is a nickname given to full-sounding orchestral pop songs of the 1960’s, as if the track was augmented with rock instruments and plenty of reverb. You might also know it as a “Gold Star Single” or a “Wall of Sound” track. In Spectropop songs, the singer was as much an instrument as the drums and the guitars and piano and violins. And they were magnificent tracks.
Now normally Spectropop would be the purview of producer Phil Spector, and it would be so easy to just do a K-Chuck Radio featuring his work with the Ronettes, the Crystals, Bobb B. Soxx and the Blue Jeans, the Righteous Brothers – heck, I could just post Phil Spector’s Christmas Album and we’d be done with the blog post.
Nah, that’s too easy.
Instead, let’s hear some rare Spectropop on K-Chuck Radio, shall we?
And we’ll start with …
Missin’ My Baby
This is so smooth… Clydie King was an original member of Ray Charles’ Raelettes, and sang background vocals on such songs as Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Sweet Home Alabama” and Joe Cocker’s Mad Dogs and Englishmen album.
Better Off Without You
If I told you that Beverly Noble was only fourteen years old when she recorded this sonic masterpiece, would you believe me?
Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?
True story… back in her salad days, Cher was a session singer for Phil Spector. She even recorded a novelty single, “I Love You Ringo” under the name of Bonnie Jo Mason.
THE WALL OF SOUND
Oh man I wish this had been a bigger hit than it was. A great Spectropop jam with time signature changes in the refrain! You always wanted to know what the Wrecking Crew sounded like as their own group … here’s your chance.
When You Gonna Tell Her
Listen to the song first … then listen to it again after I tell you that “Yvonne Vaughn” is actually 70’s country superstar singer Donna Fargo. Yes, Miss “Happiest Girl in the Whole U.S.A.” Donna Fargo. Mind blown, eh?
Something Happens To Me
Jean King was a member of the Blossoms, a group who did a tonload of vocal work for Phil Spector and for other artists. She recorded this Spectropop single for Hanna-Barbera Records, a tiny independent label that tried to branch out from cartoon soundtracks.
I’d Be So Good For You
This is about a hundred miles from “Johnny Get Angry,” Joanie Sommers’ only Top 40 hit. Even listening to it today, I’m still nodding my head from side to side. 😀
Here Comes The Night
This is Jill Jackson under her real name … prior to this, she was the eponymous “Paula” of the Paul & Paula “Hey Paula” #1 hit. Sure sounds superb once she cut Paul to the curb, eh?
Enjoy these delicious tastes of Spectropop, and if you want more of this wonderful sound, visit Anthony Reichardt’s YouTube page, where he’s curated hundreds of classic Spectropop tracks.
Enjoy these amazing sounds…
On K-Chuck Radio!