I don’t do a whole lot of anniversaries here–and I don’t exactly need an excuse to celebrate the Shangri-Las….
But today is the fiftieth anniversary of the date when their first Red Bird release, “Remember (Walkin’ In the Sand)” peaked at #5 on Billboard‘s Hot 100.
They don’t mean any less now. Everything is still measured against them.
Not just by me.
Cruising around the net this morning I found some of the old encomiums: Joey Ramone pegging them as the source DNA for punk, Dee Snider pegging them as the same for metal and so forth. Knew all that.
Didn’t know about Terry Hall of the Specials naming them as his favorite group ever and the best reason not to commit suicide. Or filmmaker Allison Anders naming them as the source point for her fantastic, overlooked film Grace of My Heart (and reminding me I need to watch it again soon…even if it did end up being about Carole King!).
There’s always something new. There always will be.
Youtube even turned up this (with a commentor indicating that Shadow Morton’s kids are still looking for the original demo):
But I guess the thing that moved me most was this, from their trip to England a few months later. You see, everybody was always insisting they sang about death, but I’m with Terry Hall–what they really sang about was survival:
I wouldn’t be too surprised if the music they made with Mary and Elizabeth Weiss ends up surviving anything that existed in the world fifty years ago today.
Because no matter how long the world lasts, someone will always need saving.