Y’all. A long time goal of mine is starting to wrap up as we close out the second decade of this century. If you’ve been with me, following and listening, you know that heart & soul of what I love doing is highlighting the efforts by women, primarily Black Women, that crafted and created music some half century ago that get little notice in today’s world.
I started with 1965 . But there’s 1960, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1964, 1968 and 1969. We were missing 1966 until now. And we’ll have 1967 before the year is out and I’ll crown us a new decade in with 1970. It’s a marvel to the ear to hear all of these starting to pile up against each other, seeing names that were in the game just about the full decade in the face of strife and segregation.
1966 is an interesting year to ponder within the context of the proceedings however. Although the predominant narrative told to us is that women were thrown off the charts by The British Invasion in 1964, the charts tell a different story. As we know, it was a year of #1 hits for Mary Wells, The Dixie Cups and The Shangri-Las, as well as 3 # chart toppers that kicked off a run of 12 for The Supremes. Martha & The Vandellas had the biggest pop hit of their career, as did Betty Everett, and Dionne Warwick made the top 40 4 times.
However, 1965 and 1966 slowed considerably, with only Motown’s top ladies The Supremes, Martha & The Vandellas and The Marvelettes making consistent hit records. Other efforts of success, such as The Chiffons “Sweet Talking Guy” or The Toys “Attack” or “Long Live Our Love” pulsed with an energy more like the Motor City than anything unique. Oft at this stage, most of the stage guise for girl groups, but especially Black Girl Groups featured the empire waisted armor pioneered on stage by The Supremes post their landmark engagement at The Copacabana in the summer of 1965.
That however doesn’t translate to the records they produced or songs they committed to tape that year. Still, coast to coast and across the pond, a diversity of sounds sought and fought for attention above the fray. Here we have 40 gathered for you mid-summer’s delight and listening.
- The Sapphires – Slow Fizz
- Madeline Bell – I Really Got Carried Away
- The Marvelettes – Sugar’s Never Been As Sweet As You
- Doris Troy – I’ll Do Anything (He Wants Me To Do)
- Maxine Brown – One In A Million
- Brenda Holloway – He’s My Kind Of Fellow
- The Shirelles – He’s The Only Guy I’ll Ever Love
- The Blossoms – Let Your Love Shine On Me
- Jackie Day – Before It’s Too Late
- The Supremes – Come & Get These Memories
- The Three Degrees – Tales Are True
- Dionne Warwick – I Never Knew What You Were Up To
- Barbara McNair – A World Without You
- The Royalettes – I Don’t Want To Be The One
- Judy Clay – Turn Back The Time
- Barbara Lewis – Baby, What Do You Want Me To Do?
- Patti Austin – Someone’s Gonna Cry
- Mary Love – Lay This Burden Down
- Candy & The Kisses – The Last Time
- Gladys Knight & The Pips – If You Ever Get Your Hands On Love
- Martha & The Vandellas – Happiness Is Guaranteed
- The Exciters – Just Not Ready
- Della Reese – Solitary Woman
- Esther Phillips – Try Me
- Verdelle Smith – You Only See Her
- Mary Wheeler – Prove It
- The Toys – Silver Spoon
- The Chiffons – Just A Boy
- Jean King – Don’t Say Goodbye
- Ruby & The Romantics – Remember Me
- Betty Everett – In Your Arms
- The Fascinations – Say It Isn’t So
- Mary Wells – Hands Off My Baby
- Fontella Bass – You’ll Never Know
- Ketty Lester – Are You Ready For A Woman?
- Patty & The Emblems – Try It, You Won’t Forget It
- Patti LaBelle & The Bluebelles – Family Man
- Jean Wells – Hello Baby, Goodbye Too
- The Mirettes – He’s Alright With Me
- The Apollos – My Soul Concerto