Monday, August 18, 2008
The Boys in the Band - (How Bout A Little Hand For) The Boys in the Band/Sumpin Heavy (Spring)
Here we have a rather unusual two-sider. Unusual in a sense that you would have never thought it charted, but it did. Plus, the A-side is from a flop movie that barely got a release and the song did way, way, WAY better than the movie ever did. Allow me to elaborate further, if I may.
The Boys in the Band were an eleven-person studio group led by Herman Lewis Griffin. According to Joel Whitburn's Top Pop Singles book, Griffin was the first husband of Mary Wells. I don't know much more about Griffin other than he died of a heart attack in 1989. The song "(How Bout a Little Hand For) The Boys in the Band" was written by the team of Jerry Lieber and Mike Stoller for a 1970 Warner Brothers movie called "The Phynx," about a rock group recruited to spy behind the Iron Curtain. It's known for featuring cameos by a variety of pop stars and American Icons from James Brown to Colonel Sanders. Lieber and Stroller wrote all the songs for the film. So, what happened?
Well, the movie was reportedly so bad that Warner Brothers promptly buried it. Today, it can only be seen through bootleg channels, but even there it has a rotten reputation with fans of obscure cinema. The song, however, made it up the Billboard charts all the way up to #48. Not bad for a song from a bomb movie. This would be the only time the group would ever make the Hot 100 in any form. However, they would reach #34 on the R&B charts with a record called "Money Music." After that, nada.
So, what do we have here? We have one side of an upbeat soul stomper (the hit side) and a nice funky instrumental for a flip. Both of which are well worth hearing. I've read that the songs in the film were not particularly memorable, but one listen to "(HBALHF)TBITB" can put you in a good party mood. The B-side has a slow, cookin' groove that really sounds just fine to these ears.
Try 'em both.