Friday, May 19, 2017


    There was a weird time in pop music when ROCK collided with POP. Thus, we had Carnaby fashions almost at the same time as we had hippie grunge. You remember The Beatles wearing those adorable Sgt. Pepper costumes and singing “Good Day Sunshine?” Retro was fine, too. The Kinks wore ruffled shirts and extolled Queen Victoria. The odd meld of rock and pop even had “bad boy” Mick Jagger singing a sanitized “Let’s Spend Some Time Together” on Ed Sullivan’s show.

    In 1966, the retro “Winchester Cathedral” was on the charts, and in 1968, Tiny Tim made a hit out of a song popular in 1929: “Tip Toe Through the Tulips.” Mainstream Kate Smith sang Beatles songs, and Andy Williams sang “MacArthur Park.” Even a dominatrix-kiss off like Nancy Sinatra’s “These Boots Are Made for Walking” was consider cute. In 1968, cute mainstreamer Michele Lee made the Top 100 by singing “L. David Sloane…leave me alone!” 

     Who this putz L. David Sloane was, we don’t seem to know. It’s a Jewish name, though. The singer is Jewish. She was born Michele Lee Dusick. The song wasn’t a major hit (that’s why it’s here) but anyone who heard it, for better or worse, remembers it. Michele has very much out-lived it. Lee was only 19 when she came to Broadway in “How to Succeed in Business…” and had appeared in “The Comic” with Dick Van Dyke and Disney’s “The Love Bug” with Dean Jones while simultaneously jump-starting her singing career. 

    Her pert praise and put-down of L. David Sloane stalled outside Billboard’s Top 50 (at #52) but it did sell a pretty fair amount of copies. She, Liza, Barbra, Vicki Carr, Peggy Lee and even Patti Page continued to toss pop 45’s into the market even if it was becoming more and more dominated by rock. 

    Over in England there was a rather unlikely interest in strutting around and putting down L. David Sloane. But you know the Brits. Back then, it was their custom to peer across the pond, check the Hot 100, anticipate a potential Top Ten, and have one of their own do a cover version before the original artist could score a U.K. deal. Enter Kay Garner. 

      Kay grew up in Hull, which Craig Ferguson, in his memoir, called the the worst town in England. This may only mean that he didn’t spend any time in Grimsby.

    Kay didn’t seem to want to stay in Hull either, and came to London to work with The Rabin Band, broadcast on a 1962 radio show called ‘Go Man Go,” and end up a regular at “The Monkey Island Hotel,” along with the infamous Frazer Hayes (whose annoying group used to break up the comedy on “Round the Horne”). Kay sang tons of commercial jingles, recorded quite a bit, appeared on a variety of TV shows (with Benny Hill and Dusty Springfield among others) and passed on ten years ago (July 16, 2007).

    Michele Lee is very much with us. In 1974 she was nominated for a Tony, starring in “Seesaw.” She became a star on the TV night time soap opera “Knots Landing” through the 80’s, and received another Tony nomination for “Tale of the Allergist’s Wife” in 2001. More recently, she’s s been in the hit show “Wicked.” Playbill bios on her do not seem to have room to mention “L. David Sloane.” 

    Whimsical, kinda funny, a bit sexy, somewhat feminist, a bit hapless, “L. David Sloane” is still an amusing novelty. And if you’d like to sing along, why, there’s The Electric Junkyard, a group that didn’t quite rival the Chocolate Watchband, Strawberry Alarm Clock, Corcheted Doughnut Ring, Clockwork Oranges, Applie Pie Motherhood Band or eben Heironymous & the Dharma Bums. 

Michele Lee
L. David Sloane   Instant download or listen on line. No Zinfart egocentric passwords. No malware or spyware anywhere.
Kay Garner
L. David Sloane   Instant download or listen on line. No ransom demands.
Electric Junkyard
-L. David Sloane  Instant download or listen on line. No Dutch douchery.

1 comment:

Timmy said...

I seem to vaguely recall Kay's version from the distant past, circa 60's California radio, rather than Michelle's. Kay's version is far superior to that of Michelle's. Aside from the production & recording, I feel Kay is a better singer, as well. Kay's version is also something that The Monkees could have put on one of their albums as filler & made into a hit record. Then, lastly, the version by The Electric Junkyard is not very enlightening, to me as it's a purposely, completely "Novelty" type. Anyway, my 2 centavos ~