Monday, May 28, 2012

Denise: The "Rare" Not-So-Great Version from 1973

Randy and the Rainbows scored their only real hit in 1963 with "Denise".  You know the song.  It goes, "Oh Denise, shoo-bee-doo, I'm in love with you Denise..."  Blondie covered it which maybe made it a little more popular, but it's in constant rotation on oldies radio, basically since the day.  It's great, slightly magical, kind of perfect.

In 1973, Randy and Co. decided to re-record with something of a more dancy sound - disco is approaching fast and this has that bad step beat to guide dum-dums on the dance-floor.  Because the original song is good, this version is kind of good, but it sounds like junk cuz it's off an old acetate cuz I don't think it ever saw the light of day.

FACT: 1963 was the year for oldies.  More of the good stuff was packed into 1963.  Cross influencing, copy-cats, lots of talent, payola - all came together to make '63 the year.

NOT A FACT, BUT I THINK: This version of "Denise" predates the Four Seasons song "1963 (Oh What a Night)" by 2 years.  But the two groups were thinking the same way - The Seasons just made a new, better good song, while The Rainbows chumped it and made their old song worse.  "1963" was a smash hit that takes the oldies formula THEN totally makes it disco AND romanticizes that great year of 1963.  Which all the oldies guys were probably doing at that point - meeting up in diners and bowling alleys, getting chubby, and saying, "Man, remember 1963!?"  Spector was still working in a sort of cool way in '75 but only because he'd totally lost his mind - probably in 1963.

The Rainbows in '73.