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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mini soap operas set to music, 16 April 2005
Peter Durward Harris "Pete the music fan" (Leicester England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Myrmidons Of Melodrama (Audio CD)
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. Four minor hits (Maybe, Right now and not later, He cried, Past present and future) complete their American chart statistics, although they bubbled under with Sweet sounds of summer (not included here) after they switched record labels following the demise of Red Bird, the label on which all their classic recordings were released.
Notable B-sides include Paradise (written by Nilsson for the Ronettes), Train from Kansas City, Heaven only knows, Sophisticated boom boom and Dressed in black. Among their best album tracks are What's a girl supposed to do (also recorded by Lesley Gore), Never again and Sophisticated boom boom.
All those tracks and plenty of others can be found on this magnificent compilation, which even includes some commercials and public notices that you might think would be best avoided. Not so - even these are great performed by the Shangri-Las.
The Shangri-Las were truly unique and this is the best compilation of their music.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Every drama queens library of song in one CD!, 30 Oct 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Myrmidons Of Melodrama (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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Myrmidons Of Melodrama
Myrmidons Of Melodrama by Shangri-Las (Audio CD - 1999)
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