Tuesday, January 4, 2011
THE ZEPHYRS - WONDER WHAT I'M GONNA DO
Before I get to the task at hand, I want to wish everyone reading this (all nine of you) a Happy New Year!! Secondly, since I didn't have the chance to post LAST week (due to the holidays, natch), we're gonna have TWO posts this here week! Whoopee!! Yay! Hooray....woo....yip.........hey, WHERE DID YOU NINE PEOPLE GO????
Anyway, since this is a new year, I just thought I'd start with the letter Z and feature this undeservedly obscure 45 by the undeservedly obscure British group, The Zephyrs. These guys were best known for having Mick Jagger shooting off his big-lipped yap about how much he HATED them and their remake of Bo Diddley's "I Can Tell". Of course, if the Stones had made a record anywhere NEAR as good as the above illustrated in the last, oh, 30 YEARS or so, I'd be writing about them instead of The Zephyrs. While there's more information about Mick and the boys than you'd ever need, there's almost NOTHING about this group to look up, except for here.
If you can't be bothered to click the above link, here's a short summary: The Zephyrs put out 6 singles in the UK between 1963 and 1965. They were produced by Shel Talmy, expatriate American working and living in the UK as an independent producer. After their first 45 ("What's That All About") was put out on UK Decca, the group switched labels to UK Columbia (reportedly because Shel and the head of Decca did NOT get along at all, with Talmy referring to Decca's head in later years as a "creep and a bastard") where their first single for that label, the aforementioned cover of Bo Diddley's "I Can Tell", stiffed because of Mr. Jagger's criticism of it to anyone who would listen. The group only had one hit, in 1965, with "She's Lost You", which peaked at #48 on the UK charts. Talmy decided that the record might fare better in America, but none of the major American labels wanted The Zephyrs. Talmy finally got "She's Lost You" released on Rotate Records in America, which apparently was used as a "tax write-off" label by its distributor, Colpix/Columbia Screen Gems, who were also distributing the fast-fading Dimension label (who were known for releasing records by The Cookies, Little Eva, Carole King, etc.). Other acts on Rotate included Vic Fontaine and The Montaines, The Candy Girls, Roberta Sherwood, and Bobby Lindsay and The Orchids! I know this because I actually own all those records, strangely enough. Anyway, "She's Lost You", while a good record, hardly made a dent in the charts, though it DID get airplay on WMCA radio in New York in April 1965 and made their "Good Guy" charts for a couple of weeks.
I guess the folks who ran Rotate were excited about the "action" that was stirred up by "She's Lost You", and so the label decided to ask Talmy for the follow-up. Unfortunately, by that time, The Zephyrs had broken up, releasing one last single, "I Just Can't Take It" (probably about Mick Jagger's arrogance) which wasn't considered strong enough for release in the US. So Rotate went through the tapes they already had and put out "Wonder What I'm Gonna Do" as the follow-up. Never mind that in the UK it was the single that was released BEFORE "She's Lost You"!
Well, Rotate put it out in July, 1965, and it sank without a trace. A shame, really, because this 45's a real Brit STOMPER, with killer, jangly guitar, good vocals, and a bass guitar and bass drum that just won't quit! Unfortunately, it was to be the last time anyone heard from The Zephyrs.
Another one of those "shoulda been a hit" tunes that got lost in the shuffle in those heady days of 1965......
By the way, I just found another blog that featured "She's Lost You" - and has a VIDEO of The Zephyrs! Dig it here.
The Zephyrs - Wonder What I'm Gonna Do (Rotate 5009) - 1965