Sunday, May 6, 2012

1962 lost its mojo (if it ever had it)

The third edition of the Mojo Collection, which I've mentioned previously, presents more than 700 records that the editors believe comprise the ultimate collection of LPs.  Between 1955 and 2003, the year of publication, only one year is missing.  The year 1962 has no mojo.  In fairness, 1962 mostly has no LP mojo.  The editors were rigid (their word, not mine) about the included records all being LPs.

Do You Love Me, by The Contours, is the first record from 1962 in Dave Marsh's book/list of the 1001 greatest singles, coming in at #19.  The Loco-motion by Little Eva at #55 is next, followed by Claudine Clark's Party Lights at #73, Booker T. and the MGs' Green Onions at #110, and The Drifters' Up On the Roof at #116.

I would say the Mojo Collection underrates 1962 and Dave Marsh overrates 1962.  Digitaldreamdoor, which is a rather gaudy but nonetheless interesting site for list lovers, has song lists for each year.  It's much like VinylSurrender, but without the voting.  Some of the best songs of 1962 were instrumentals (The Surfari's "Wipe Out", #11 at digitaldreamdoor, and The Tornadoes' Telstar, #63).  Dick Dale's Miserlou (#120 at digitaldreamdoor) was one of several good Dick Dale songs from 1962.  There was some good jazz that year as well, the best of which was Ellington, Mingus, and Roach's Money Jungle.  That's the record the Mojo Collection really should have included.

Having said all that, I think when we talk about the greatness of 60's music, we're mostly talking about 1964 to 1969, which makes it all the more remarkable what a lasting impact the 60s have had on music.  I had really thought Gene Pitney's Town Without Pity was from 1962, but it's from 1961.  Rockabilly and R&B made the late 50s good and jazz carried 1960 and 1961 pretty well, but 1962 really was the lull before the burst of innovation that followed.  I wrote before about how 1976 was also such a year.  I think maybe 1990 was too.  I need to investigate that.  It could be a trend.

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