I saw the play “Tribes” over the weekend. I will blog about it shortly. Music is a metaphor in the play and the audience was treated to a very eclectic collection of pre-show tunes. It included a wide variety of styles and spanned almost 100 years of musical tastes from Puccini’s 1920’s tenor aria “Nessun Dorma” to Daniel Zaitchik’s 2013 recording of “Headphones“. There was a heavy emphasis of the music of Janis Joplin; a Harper’s Keeper favorite. The song that has gotten stuck in my brain, however, as earworms will, is the 1969 recording of “Baby It’s You” by the group Smith.
Written Burt Bacharach, “Baby It’s You” was first recorded in 1961 by The Shirelles. The Beatles recorded it a couple of years later. The Beatles version was a different take on the song and has the distinction of having the most saccharine background vocals (sha-la-la-la-la….cheat cheat”) to John Lennon’s lead of any Beatles song I can recall. The most successful version, however, and the one with which I am most familiar, is by Smith. I recognized it even before Gayle McCormick’s vocals started.
I liked the song when it came out. I was 13. It certainly didn’t have the edginess of Janis Joplin but most of her recordings weren’t getting much radio play. “Baby It’s You” reached #5 on the Billboard Chart. Of course The Archie’s “Sugar Sugar” was the #1 song that year so one must take the collective taste with a grain of salt.
The video shows the group with the sanitized fringe & headband look that was popular at the time. It looked young and evoked the hippies of the earlier part of the decade in a way that was scrubbed-up enough not to scare the television audience.
In any case, I saw a very good production of a really interesting play with a lot of great music but this is what has been stuck in my head since Saturday night.