Between Doo Wop & Disco: R&B Hits From The Jukebox

Taylor LaShae
R&B songs (mostly) from the pre-disco era (1958-1978), when you had to put a coin in the jukebox to hear the latest hits. It was before disco broke loose (after the success of 'Saturday Night Fever') and discotheques were all over the place. The songs were about high school love and holding hands, with only a little sexual innuendo here and there. The classic ‘Will you love me tomorrow’, composed by Gerry Coffin and Carole King, and sung by The Shirelles, contains the line ‘the magic of your sigh’, for instance. The song is about respecting a woman after the act of love. These mere two lines sum up the impact that two people can have on each other's feelings. 'Tonight with words unspoken,' sings the narrator. 'You say that I'm the only one.' Words unspoken? She is vulnerable, perhaps kidding herself, and she knows it: she is wishing for the best.

Another epic track I selected is the ultra dynamic ‘Tell him’ from The Exciters:

"Tell Him" was one of the great girl-group hits, making #4 in 1963 and giving the Exciters -- actually a group with three girls and one guy -- their only big single. "Tell Him" was indicative of how the production of soul-pop music was getting more sophisticated in the early 1960s without compromising its best earthy qualities. It was produced by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, and there are similarities in "Tell Him" with the duo's work with the Drifters. That's particularly present in the Latin-ish triplet rhythm that runs throughout the song, reminiscent of the beat used in Drifters hits like "Save the Last Dance for Me," though more nervous and urgent as deployed in "Tell Him." There are also the dramatic, almost threatening violin staccato riffs, particularly in the song's opening instrumental section, but also cropping up throughout the rest of the track. It had an influence the originators weren't aware of at the time, as well. Dusty Springfield heard the song in New York while visiting America as part of her early-1960s folk-pop group the Springfields, and cited the tune as one that inspired her to move into rock and soul music (Quote from

Track 9 is 'His Latest Flame', desperately sung by 'Runaway' Del Shannon. It's from 'The Complete UK Singles (And More) 1961-1966', that is recently released on Ace Records:

"This new Ace set is the first to present Del’s UK 45s, as released between 1960 and 1966, in the order they appeared here and in the same couplings used on the original London and Stateside pressings (which often differed from their US counterparts). Listening to them in sequence, it’s easy to build a mental picture of an artist who was always looking to stretch his creativity and to find new sounds to keep him in the charts long after many of his peers had waved goodbye to the Hot 100." (Quote: Ace Records).

Enjoy the sounds of the jukebox! Next week part 30 of ‘Groovy, sexy & soulful’.


The Trammps – Trammps Disco Theme / Zing Went The Strings Of My Heart [A Tom Moulton Mix] (1975)
Gladys Knight & the Pips – Baby Don’t Change Your Mind (1977)
The Lollipops – Look What You Done Boy (1969)
The Exciters – Tell Him (1963)
The Shirelles ‎– Will You Love Me Tomorrow (1961)
Al Wilson – Love Me Gently, Love Me Blind (1973)
Brenda Holloway – My World Is Crumbling (1960s)
Sam Cooke – Cupid (1961)
Gene Pitney ‎– If I Didn't Have A Dime (To Play The Jukebox) (1962)
Del Shannon – (Marie's The Name) His Latest Flame (1961)
Marvin Gaye – When I Had Your Love (1966)
She & Him – I’ve Got Your Number, Son (2013)
Janelle MonĂ¡e – Can’t Live Without Your Love (2013)
Summer Camp – Fresh (2013)
Jay Brannan – Somebody That I Used To Know (2013)
Goldfrapp – Jo (2013)
Brenda Lee – Sweet Nothin’s (1959)
Milton Wright ‎– Ooh Ooh Ooh I Like It (1976)
Shuggie Otis – Aht Uh Mi Hed (1974)
Michael Kiwanuka – Always Waiting (2012)
The Four Seasons – Bye, Bye, Baby (1964)


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