- Paperback: 276 pages
- Publisher: Krause Publications (September 2000)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0873418166
- ISBN-13: 978-0873418164
- Product Dimensions: 11 x 8.6 x 0.6 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
Amazon Best Sellers Rank:
#872,791 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- #45 in Books > Crafts, Hobbies & Home > Antiques & Collectibles > Records
- #66 in Books > Reference > Writing, Research & Publishing Guides > Publishing & Books > Bibliographies & Indexes > History
- #71 in Books > Reference > Writing, Research & Publishing Guides > Publishing & Books > Bibliographies & Indexes > Music
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Girl Groups: Fabulous Females That Rocked the World Paperback – September, 2000
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Top Customer Reviews
OK, here goes. The strengths of the book are many. It is wonderful to read the stories of these groups from out of the mouths (almost literally of "The Babes") who made them. The discographies allow one to trace lesser know but wonderful tracks from groups which maybe had only one or two hits. My favourites were always the groups with lead singers whose voices were almost, but not quite, like chalk on a blackboard. Maybe, in reverse order, The Angels, Chiffons, Reperata and, all time glass breaking champs, The Shangri Las. You can find wonderful non-hits by all these three from this book. Try turning your modern speakers full on for Till by the Angels or Maybe by the ShangriLas and putting a glass by the speaker!
So what is wrong? For a start the book is not helped at all by some of the gushing reviews. This wasn't an era where the singing was all that mattered. Even in the UK at the time a top five hit meant a million sales. A million! Now it can be as few as 20,000. So this is a period of money making record labels , managers, composers, promoters..all trying to pretty well steal the pot of gold from which often little or nothing filtered to the artists. It is no good trying to describe this as a golden age except for payola and theft!
Then Mr Clemente is not helped by his editors , lay out staff etc at the publishers who have produced a book that often seems to have been mimeographed !
Then onto the "Just can't win" section discussed by Mr Clemente in his introduction. Should he have fixed a period of study (say 50s and 60s) or allowed it to extend onwards....? Should it be all American or should British Invasion groups such as the...er...Australian led Seekers or the Middle of the Road have been in? And what about solo artists whose sound was solidly that of a group? Such as Dee Dee Sharpe or Jackie de Shannon..Or groups that appeared to have just a solo singer such as the very wonderful Rosie and the Originals? Then the writer is great about who did what to whom and when at Philles records but this means no separate entry for Bob B.Soxx and the Blue Jeans and no mention for Bonnie and the Treasures. What to do about songs recorded by two sets of artists? So Hold Back the Light of Dawn (angst of the very best sort) was recorded by a group The Tammys and by Bernadette Carroll ,as a solo artist (not in the Angels discography here)..yet both sound almost the same and neither is in the book...Other critics have mentioned groups not included (yes, I know this could have been a 4" wide encyclopedia) and I wonder why Cathy and the Innocents could not have been included. This whole paragraph, plus every entry being approved by the artist shows the writer in a straightforward 'Can't Win' situation.;damned if he does and damned if he doesn't !
My own feelings is that Mr Clemente should have stuck strictly to the 50s and 60s, probably leaving Motown records to their own book (now there is a basic prejudice of mine!). Also I think he was quite right to leave out non American groups. Pre Beatles, UK girl groups were often awful,awful, awful, sounding like an elocution lesson!
But notice how this wonderful US art form influenced the British Invasion (as you call it in the US). Groups working out of Liverpool and Germany had access to some of these records not readily available in the UK and did their own takes on these songs. eg the Beatles' Baby Its You, The Searchers' Oh My Lover. The rest is history....
have known for years about this wonderful genre of rock and roll and rhythm and blues. As the vinyl age becomes something only
old-timers remember, these artists won't disappear into obscurity with documentation like this book provides. A must have volume.
Through a host of photos in addition to interviews with original group members, Clemente effectively delivers the 411 on the mainstream girl groups and often sheds new light on thier histories. A special bonus is the inclusion of lesser known yet noteworthy girl group acts.
This is a very important book for anyone who loves girl groups in general and girl group afficiandos in particular