Saturday, January 9, 2010

The Music of the 60's - Who Wrote the Songs?

By Phil McMillan

Four singer-songwriters and one record producer seemed to dominate the 60's music scene. Phil Spector, the record producer, became very successful (and wealthy) with his many ideas for getting hit records out on his record labels. Spector became widely known for his bizarre behavior and eventually killed a woman in his own home. He is now serving a 19 year prison sentence. He always came across as a spook to me but the guy was a music production genius.

Bob Dylan ended up writing more songs for others than he did for himself. He created music for the Byrds, Mannfred Mann, Peter Paul and Mary, Sonnie and Cher, the Hollies, and the Turtles. His music inspired many other groups as well.

Neil Sedaka also had a string of his own hits and, at the same time, wrote several big hits for several music groups and singers. Sedaka produced for Connie Francis, the Monkees, Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, and the Fifth Dimension. Sedaka is, by the way, a trained classical pianist.

The great Neil Diamond wrote many, many songs for others before he started his own singing career. Diamond, a high school classmate of Barbra Streisand, produced music for Jay and the Americans, the Monkees, Elvis Presley, Paul Revere and the Raiders, Deep Purple, Lulu, and Cliff Richards.

But the champion song writer of the 60's, in my mind, had to be Carole King. Carole not only wrote or collaborated on hundreds of songs from the 60's, she also found singing talent and got several groups started in the music business. Would you believe that Little Eva ("Locomotion") was Carole's baby sitter? Carole King made music for the Drifters, Bobby Vee, Ben E. King, Tony Orlando, Gene Pitney, Steve Lawrence, The Everly Brothers, Skeeter Davis, the Chiffons, the Animals, Dusty Springfield, Aretha Franklin, and the Byrds (among others). How's that for production?

These people did so much and now forty some years later they still have an impact because they still write.

Phil McMillan is a writer who maintains a daily blog entitled "Baby Boomer Baloney" ( ). He provides daily humor videos for his readers as well as his own personal comments.

Phil McMillan

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