01/09/13 - NNHS Newsletter -
The Leader of the Pack
“Work is a dull thing; you cannot
get away from that. The only
Dear Friends and Schoolmates,
We take you back now to 1964...
BONUS - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=McvWodRXA7k - The Leader of the Pack - Shangri-Las, 1964
|"Leader of the Pack" is a 1964
pop song recorded by
The tune was credited to producer George "Shadow" Morton with Jeff Barry and Ellie Greenwich. According to Morton, he wrote the song for the Goodies (also known as the Bunnies), but instead it was needed as a follow-up to the Shangri-Las hit "Remember (Walking in the Sand)". Morton himself wrote the song. He said he did not know that he was supposed to have a second idea ready to follow up "Remember (Walking in the Sands)" until Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller (Red Bird Records co-owners with George Goldner) asked him "Hey What do you want to do for the second record?" Morton said he "got a bottle of champagne, two cigars" and "went into the shower, sat down, drank the champagne, smoked the cigars, and wrote the song on a shirt cardboard with my kids crayons." Morton claimed he credited Barry and Greenwich as co-writers for business reasons; his recollection has been questioned by Ellie Greenwich.
In July 1964, Morton recorded the vocals for the song with the Shangri-Las at the Ultrasonic Sound studio on the second floor of a Manhattan hotel. These vocals were dubbed over the instrumental parts which had been previously recorded at the Ultrasonic Recording Studios in Hempstead, New York. Billy Joel, then a young session musician, claimed on November 16th, 2010 during an interview with Howard Stern that he played piano on one of the demos for "Leader of the Pack" and is not sure if any of his parts made the final recording. In fact, the piano part was played by Roger Rossi, a staff musician for Ultrasonic Recording Studios at the time. Rossi said, "I remember the date like it was yesterday, there were no written charts, so unfortunately, some musicians kept making mistakes. As I recall, it took 63 recording takes before Shadow Morton was satisfied." Rossi added, "By the end of the session, in take 62, I also messed up and Morton laughingly yelled out, Ohhhh, noooo. Not you, too!!"
According to legend, to add the authentic sound of a motorcycle engine, one was driven through the lobby of the hotel and up to the floor of the recording studio. No one was arrested, but a ticket was issued. However, in an interview four decades later, Shangri-Las lead singer Mary Weiss said the motorcycle sound was taken from an effects record. The Zombies' drummer Hugh Grundy recalls revving up a motorcycle backstage when the Shangri-Las performed on a U.S. tour.
In the United Kingdom, the song was refused airplay by the BBC, probably due to its death theme, although some have speculated that it was considered likely to encourage violence between mods and rockers. It charted three times: #11 in 1965; #3 in 1972 (by which time the BBC ban had been lifted); and once again at #7 in 1976 when its sales figures as a reissue on two different labels (Charly and Contempo) were combined to arrive at its chart position. The record also reached number 1 in Australia. In 1990, it featured in the soundtrack of the Martin Scorsese film Goodfellas.
The song is about a girl named Betty, asked by friends to confirm that she is dating Jimmy, the leader of a motorcycle gang. After singing of love at first sight ("I met him at the candy store/He turned around and smiled at me/You get the picture?/That's when I fell for the Leader of the Pack"), Betty's heart turns to despair as she bemoans her parents' disapproval. The parents claim Jimmy hails from "the wrong side of town" and ask Betty to tell Jimmy goodbye and find someone new.
Betty does as she is asked, and Jimmy speeds off on his motorcycle.
Moments later, he crashes on a rain-slickened surface and dies; Betty's
pleas for Jimmy to slow down were in vain...
From Butch Ragland ('63) of CO - 01/04/13, 2:18 AM - "Emergency Surgery":
I wanted to let you know I am in room 725 at Penrose Hospital after undergoing emergency gangrene surgery to amputate my left foot which originally started with me stepping on a nail a couple days before Labor Day and which later was complicated by my 20 year battle with diabetes. I ask for our Typhoon Family's prayers that I can keep up a positive attitude while I continue to deal with the handicap adaptations that I will face next! I thank God for pulling me thru surgery and have a strong group of family around me. Thanks for placing me in your prayers & God Bless!
Butch! I'm so very, very sorry to hear this!
I think Butch can be reached at this address, should you want to send him cards and notes:
THIS WEEK'S BIRTHDAYS:
Happy Birthday today to Joan Burcher Green ('57) AND Joe Dickson ('66) of VA!
Happy Birthday tomorrow to Peggy Taylor Hudson ('57) AND Bob Parrish ('68) of Northern VA!
Happy Birthday this week to:
11 - My Brother-in-Law, the late Miles Nowitzky (Granby HS - '50) (deceased 07 May 2005) AND Frances Goodson Wang ('65) of MD AND Ron Haney ('65) of VA AND Ron Smith ('65) of VA AND Barbara Dye Hensley ('69) of VA AND FlyLady of NC;
15 - The late Skippy Weitz ('57) (deceased 22 Nov 2012) AND/font> Mary Markiewich Hux ('67) of VA;
16 - Johanne Coates Richardson ('57) AND Steve Kiger ('66) of VA!
Many Happy Returns to You All!
YESTERDAY IN WWII:January 08, 1940 - Britain introduced food rationing.
January 08, 1940 - Italian dictator Benito Mussolini sent a message to Adolf Hitler that cautioned against waging war against Britain.
January 08, 1945 - Philippine Commonwealth troops under the Philippine Commonwealth Army units entered the province of Ilocos Sur in Northern Luzon and attacked Japanese Imperial forces.
THIS DAY IN WWII:January 09, 1941 - First flight of the Avro Lancaster.
January 09, 1941 - The Greek Triton (S.112) sank the Italian submarine Neghelli in Otranto.
January 09, 1945 - The United States invaded Luzon in the Philippines.
YESTERDAY IN 1963:
|Tuesday, January 08, 1963 - Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa was exhibited in the United States for the first time, at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.|
THIS DAY IN 1963:
|Wednesday, January 09, 1963 - American-Irish linguist Michael Everson was born in Norristown, Pennsylvania.|
We will keep him in our prayers.
Carol and Mickey
Thank you so much, Sweetie-Pies! I certainly appreciate that, and I'm sure Butch will!
DATES TO REMEMBER:
Words and Music by George "Shadow" Morton, Jeff Barry and Ellie Greenwich
Recorded by The Shangri-Las, 1964
"The Leader of the
Pack" midi (sequenced by Ron Tilden) courtesy of
"The Leader of the
Pack" lyrics courtesy of
Shangri-Las' Record Album Cover Image courtesy of http://www.recordresearch.com/Album_Photos/pages/Shangri_Las.htm - 01/06/06
Spark Bar Divider Line clip art courtesy of http://www.wtv-zone.com/nevr2l82/bars3.html - 01/06/06
Tiny Birthday Cake clip art courtesy of Sarah Puckett Kressaty ('65) of
VA - 08/31/05
Navy Seal clip art courtesy of http://www.onemileup.com/miniSeals.asp - 05/29/06
Animated Army Flag clip art courtesy of http://www.angelfire.com/ny4/KevsGifsGalore/Patriotic.html - 06/18/03
Army Seal clip art courtesy of Al
Farber ('64) of GA - 05/24/06 (still missing...)