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Myrmidons Of Melodrama CD

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Product details

  • Audio CD (31 Aug. 1999)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: CD
  • Label: Rpm
  • ASIN: B0000073R4
  • Other Editions: Audio CD
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 237,059 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Peter Durward Harris #1 HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on 16 April 2005
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
That's how co-producer Jeff Barry describes the songs of the Shangri-Las and it's a good description. Certainly, their music was different from anything else around at the time and nobody else has been able to emulate them since.
Only two of their singles made the UK charts although one of them did so on three completely separate occasions. They did better in America, where they had eleven hits, three of which made the top ten. But unlike some of their contemporaries, their B-sides and album tracks are also fascinating with very few covers (although the impressive He cried is a cover of She cried by Jay and the Americans). George Morton, Jeff Barry and Ellie Greenwich between them wrote many of their songs including all the famous hits.
Their most famous song, Leader of the pack, made it to number one in America. It stalled just outside the top ten in Britain, possibly hampered by the success of another motorcycle death song (Terry by Twinkle), which made the UK top five just before Leader of the pack was released in Britain. Re-released in 1972, the song made the UK top three. In 1976, it again made the UK top ten.
The only other Shangri-Las track to make the UK charts is Remember walking in the sand, which was a UK top twenty hit. It made the top five in America but the liner notes give a wonderful description of a seven-minute demo version featuring (maybe) a young Billy Joel on piano. Sadly, that demo version is not included on the compilation.
Of their other American hits, I can never go home anymore made the top ten, Give him a great big kiss made the top twenty, Give us your blessings made the top thirty and Long live our love made the top forty.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 30 Oct. 2000
Format: Audio CD
Johnny and Mary were crying and we think that's why they missed the sign that said 'detour'. I think you can fill in the rest!! They may be singing sad songs with a twist but you can't fault the addictive beat of them all! A must for all those 60s beat boom fans.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 18 reviews
34 of 34 people found the following review helpful
Exceptional tribute to girl-group greats 12 Oct. 2002
By hyperbolium - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
The Shangri-Las, together with producer Shadow Morton, carved out a truly unique sound among the girl-groups of the early '60s. Not only were their songs darker than the rest, but Shadow Morton's production, though perhaps not up to the maniacal standards of Phil Spector's, had an unusual sense of invention. Lead vocalist Mary Weiss not only had the bad-girl lyrics and image, but the voice to put across the songs' melodrama. RPM's 33-track 1994 release (and it's re-configured, 2002 reissue, RPM 506) is far-and-away the best collection of the group's material that's ever been made available.

Included among the tracks are the group's best known hits ("(Remember) Walkin' in the Sand" "Leader of the Pack" "Give Him a Great Big Kiss" "I Can Never Go Home Anymore"), lower-charting singles (a cover of the Chantels' "Maybe," "Out in the Streets," "Give Us Your Blessing," "Right Now and Not Later," "Long Live Our Love," "He Cried," "Past, Present and Future") and superbly selected B-sides and album tracks.

Highlights include Barry & Greenwich's love torn "The Train From Kansas City" (featuring one of their best-ever lines, "I'll be back in the time it takes to break a heart," rendered by Weiss with a wrench of the heart that lingers long after the song ends), Morton's truly bizarre spoken-jazz "Sophisticated Boom Boom" (covered by ex-Box Top Alex Chilton in his solo live set), Ike Turner's fabulous "I'm Blue," and Harry Nilsson's "Paradise."

Morton's production often used sound-effects (like the train of "Train From Kansas City" and seagulls of "(Remember) Walkin' in the Sand"), though at times his arrangements sounded more like Phil Spector's work with The Crystals ("The Dum Dum Ditty," complete with castanets), or even Motown ("Right Now and Not Later," with running bassline, organ, horns and vibraphone). The variety among these tracks is all the more impressive for the short period of time in which they were created.

The songs, filled with over-the-top melodrama, could still be quite chilling. From teens driven to a grisly death by their parents disapproval ("Give Us Your Blessings") to the fractured present of an apparent rape victim ("Past, Present and Future"), the Shangri-Las lived up to this disc's title, "Myrmidons of Melodrama." RPM digs deeply into the vault to extend this collection beyond the group's well-known Red Bird releases. Also included are an alternate version of "Give Him a Great Big Kiss," along with a pre-Red Bird single ("Wishing Well"), and a quartet of radio spots featuring Mary Weiss discussing everything from good taste and dating courtesy to Revlon.

What's missing (and only because they physically wouldn't fit on the CD) are the group's other pre-Red Bird single ("Simon Says"/"Simon Speaks") and their two latter-day singles for Mercury ("Sweet Sounds of Summer" and three other sides). Unfortunately, the only way to accumulate everything is to get this disc (RPM 136), the revised version (confusingly issued in 2002 with the same title, but a slightly different track selection (including, apparently, additional true stereo mixes), a different cover, and a new stock number: RPM 506), and Polygram's "The Best of the Shangri-Las."

With its stellar track selection and detailed, well-illustrated, humorous liner notes, this disc (or the revised RPM 506 version) is the first one to buy, whether you're just interested in digging past the well-known hits, or you're starting on the road to fanatical completist. RPM's slogan says it all: "By collectors, for collectors." 'Nuff said.
26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
Differences Between The Two Versions of "Myrmidons of Melodrama" 5 Oct. 2007
By Jessica Winney - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
As most buyers of Shangri-Las music have already discovered, there are two versions of the group's greatest hits collecton "Myrmidons of Melodrama," one released in 1995 that sports a color, pop art-inspired cover and one released in 2002 that sports a black-and-white cover with a photo of the group. Although both versions have essentially the same tracks on them, there are some minor differences that could influence a customer's decision to purchase one over the other. These differences are listed below:

Original version with color artwork released in 1995: This version includes the singles "Maybe," "Wishing Well," and "Hate To Say I Told You So," which are NOT included on the 2002 re-release. This version, however, lacks any stereo mixes of the songs and does not include the single "Simon Says/Simon Speaks."

2002 re-release with the black-and-white cover: This version includes stereo mixes of some of the group's singles and includes the single "Simon Says/Simon Speaks." Excluding the three songs mentioned above, the track listing is identical to the original version (taking into account the fact that the tracks are listed out of order on the back of the CD). This is a minor, albeit irritating, clerical error.

So the question really becomes one of importance. If it is more important to you to have the three songs that are included on the 1995 version, then that is the one you should buy. If having stereo mixes of the songs is what you're after, then the 2002 re-release is for you. Personally, I would rather have the stereo mixes of some of the group's classic hits than have three songs that I have never heard before, but that it merely my preference. Collectors will probably want to buy both versions.
25 of 25 people found the following review helpful
Drama Queens 4 Nov. 2001
By W. Davidson - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Probably more so than any other sixties girl group The Shangri-las have suffered at the hand of poor quality CD reissues that usually make their music sound like it was recorded down the end of a very long corridor. RPM promised vastly improved sound quality with this release and they deliver (well they do their best given the quality of the source material).
This CD offers a mega 33 tracks, practically everything the Shangs recorded (except for the live version of `Twist and Shout', but trust me, you'll live) and even includes several absolute obscurities such as `Paradise', `Wishing Well' and `Hate To Say I Told You So', all of which are fab. All the regular Shangri-Las favourites are here including `The Leader Of The Pack', `Give him A Great Big Kiss', `Give Us Your Blessings', `Remember (Walkin' In The Sand)' and the list goes on. I particularly like the numbers where the girls really let loose their primal wailing like on "He Cried", "Dressed In Black" and "Out In The Streets". Their brand of effect laden tragi-pop is without equal, there's so many great songs on here it's pointless trying to list them all and work out what makes them so great.
The liner notes are comprehensive and as an added bonus you also get four radio ads that lead-La Mary Weiss recorded in the sixties, and she offers "good taste" tips no teen would want to be without. But the burning question is : how do you dance to this? Answer: Close, very, very close.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Bad Girls of Rock.......... 31 July 2001
By John W. Marshall - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
This cd is one of the best of the lot out there. Lots of great notes and info concerning the girls. Of the 4 Shangri-las, only 2 are still alive....Plenty of "fake" Shangri-las out there touring. This cd includes about all they recorded...their Red Bird stuff is the best, when they worked with Shadow Morton. This is the one in collecting The Shangri-las recordings.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
"Close ... Very, Very Close !" 28 Feb. 2010
By KC Ryan - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
The Shangri-Las "Myrmidons of Melodrama" CD with the Pop-Art color cover, RPM Catalogue Number 136, was released by RPM in 1994. It is the self-described definitive Shangri-Las collection, and it is "Close ... Very, Very Close" to succeeding. This CD was compiled by Mick Patrick and Roger Dopson, and features superb illustrated liner notes. Of the 29 songs on the CD, 26 of the songs were originally released on the Red Bird label between August 1964 and June 1966; they are presented on this CD in the order of their original release. Also, there are two songs, "Wishing Well" and "Hate to Say I Told You So" that were originally released on the Spokane label in April 1964 (before the Shangri-Las recorded any songs for Red Bird) and then re-released on the Scepter label in January 1965; and there is one alternate take of "Give Him A Great Big Kiss." There are 4 radio spots also. All the song tracks are in mono. As discussed in detail by other reviewers, the only rival for best compilation is The Shangri-Las "Myrmidons of Melodrama" CD released in 2002 by RPM with the black-and-white photo cover, RPM Catalogue Number 506. That 2002 CD has six tracks in stereo. There are three songs on the 1994 CD: "Maybe" and "Wishing Well" and "Hate to Say I Told You So" that are not on the 2002 CD. The latter CD includes the single "Simon Says/Simon Speaks" which was originally released in December 1963 on the Smash record label, and which is not on the 1994 CD. Mono or stereo? Three songs v. two songs? 33 total tracks, or 32? The reviews for this 1994 CD, and the reviews for the 2002 CD, can be helpful in making your choice. Either way, you will own a great tribute to the Shangri-Las.
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