Wednesday, October 17, 2012
Rant #825: (You Don't Have To) Paint Me a Picture
Yes, my Yankees are on the blink of obliteration.
The Presidential debates took place in my back yard yesterday, but I fell asleep as they were about to start.
My day started with no hot water, and later yesterday morning, something leaked out of my lunch bag onto my pants, creating a stain that I could not fully remove.
Woe is me.
But I can always go back to my record collection to get back to reality.
Today, another one of my lost treasures that I am going to talk about is one of the hits from Gary Lewis and the Playboys.
Gary Lewis and his band were one of those acts that were made for the mid-1960s.
Lewis was born with something of a silver spoon in his mouth, as the son of comedian Jerry Lewis, but he chose to take a different show biz turn than his dad.
His band got a gig at Disneyland, and not using his connections, became very successful there. They were signed to a recording contract by Liberty Records, and the story goes that only then did the label discover that Lewis was Jerry's son.
Lewis and his bandmates were one of the hottest American rock acts from 1965 to about 1967, when he was drafted into the Army. Lewis resumed his career after his discharge in 1968, but it was never the same as those first glory years.
Bursting onto the scene with the No. 1 hit "This Diamond Ring," Lewis and his band followed that up with a string of big hits, including "Count Me In," "Everybody Loves a Clown," and "She's Just My Style."
Nothing too heady about these songs, but they were pop-radio ready, and were huge hits for the time.
In October 1966, the string was starting to run out on Lewis, but he was still charting hits.
"(You Don't Have To) Paint Me a Picture" reached No. 15 on the charts, a pretty big hit, but not up to the standards of his previous 45s.
It featured something of a staccato delivery by Lewis, not one of the most gifted singers to begin with, but it had a lilt that I kind of liked.
It got lots of airplay, and it was his last Top 20 hit before he went into the service.
And yes, that's my original picture sleeve of the song, which still looks pretty nice.
I remember him appearing on "The Ed Sullivan Show" in sort of a semi-official sendoff for him into the Army.
If I remember correctly, Sullivan allowed some of Lewis' fans--female fans--to come up to the stage and give him one last kiss before he left them.
He came back from Vietnam, happily, and continued to put out records, mainly under his own name.
Lewis had one last Top 20 hit, "Sealed With a Kiss," featuring probably the worst lead vocal of any song to reach such a height on the charts, which made it memorable, sort of.
Anyway, after a couple of more singles and albums, Lewis went on the oldies circuit, and he is still on it today.
This particular single may have represented just about the last gasp of Gary Lewis and the Playboys as a hitmaking machine, but it also represents a different time, when your music didn't have to be deep, full of layers of instruments, and devoid of fun.
This single is fun, and I am glad I re-discovered it.
And yes, the title of the song does signify to me that "you don''t have to paint me a picture," but things look pretty bleak in Yankee land right now.
All one can do is hope for a miracle, I guess ...
Posted by Larry at 3:29 AM