#96 … SPB’s Top 100 Records

#96 Goin’ Out of My Head, Little Anthony and the Imperials

There’s a reason this song, first recorded in 1964, is one of the most–covered songs in pop history (everyone from Petula Clark and the Zombies, to Gladys Knight and the Pips and Luther Vandross have done it): it is, to me, one of the purest pop songs about unrequited love (with one of the purest melodies) that’s ever been written. It makes the list for that reason but also for more personal reasons, because during my post-adolescent quest for other boys like me, I ran into quite a few kats who led me to singing this song to myself more times than I care to remember.  Thus, as you can imagine, it’s imprinted on my psyche like few songs around. I’ve also always been obsessed with high tenor (almost falsetto) vocals, and the way male singers, by reaching into that upper register, can express a kind of sensitivity and vulnerability not usually allowable in everyday performances of masculinity and milk a tune for all its worth. Pop songs, in my opinion, often work best when rendered in the most dramatic, over-the-top fashion, mirroring the dramatic, over-the-top emotions often at play in the lyrics. I call it Kitchen Sink Pop, when you get a little bit—hell, actually more than a little—of everything, including the metaphorical kitchen sink. Sometimes subtlety isn’t the way, and Little Anthony (and probably Don Costa, who directed the orchestra) knew it better than many: that rapturous recitation of “day and night/night and day” over the glorious blend of strings and percussion and background vocals that closes out this record is like an ecstatic call to passion, a deep-seated need to express (and fill in) the absence that’s come even without an original presence to define its loss. (As an aside: as much as I truly love this record, I’m also putting it on the list to annoy a (young) buddy, who sorta criticized me for adding songs by old 50s singers like Dionne Warwick (!) … Take that, Coke Can!)

Hear the song here:

And just cause I’m in a good mood, here’s another version, for your listening pleasure, by Luther:

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Filed under music, Top 100 Records

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