A Musical Specter on All Saints Day

Today my favorite active musical group, Pink Martini, released two albums. One is literally a retrospective album with some of their best songs and a few oddities, while the other, 1969, is performed with the Japanese singer Saori Yuki filling in for the usual lead singer, China Forbes, who is recovering from throat surgery. I bought all of the new songs on iTunes and started playing them.

There are some truly beautiful songs on offer, such as Du Soleil Plein Les Yeux (Eyes Full of Sun).

But near the end of the album I found myself haunted by Wasuretainoni. Its beautiful melody was so familiar yet I could not place it. It must have been a big hit around 1969 for somebody…

I was being haunted by a specter…make that Spector. The very troubled Phil Spector produced some truly great and truly awful music. He invented the “Wall of Sound” with dense multitracking and echo which propelled many hits a half century ago, and I like some of the songs produced in this manner. But much of his oeuvre sounds dated and predictable to me, and I hate his take on the Beatles’ Let It Be album with the choirs and strings smothering the tunes, preferring the version McCartney released over three decades later, Let It Be… Naked, which finally stripped away much of Spector’s overlays.

But Spector was in top form when he produced two big hits for the Righteous Brothers, Unchained Melody and You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’.  And I even like some Spector oddities, such as his bizarre version of Zip-A-Dee Doo-Dah. For some reason I actually like the controversial album Death of a Ladies’ Man he created with the wonderfully morose poet and songwriter Leonard Cohen. The Wall of Sound is quite evident in Memories and, while it doesn’t at all fit Cohen’s style, the weird result is fascinating.

A little web research reminded me that the song haunting me via Wasuretainoni was I Love How You Love Me, a top ten hit for Bobby Vinton back in 1968. But the song was originally a hit for the Paris Sisters in 1961 on a record produced by, you guessed it, Phil Spector. In that 1961 hit his use of strings was beautiful, not overwhelming.

Old simple songs like this are monuments to the Brill Building era. And as I scoured the web for versions of the song I came across my favorite version of the song, a failed single recorded 13 years after the original, by Priscilla Paris without her sisters. She’d grown up and both her and the song had improved with age. What a shame this beautiful version isn’t for sale at Amazon or iTunes.

I love how your eyes close whenever you kiss me
And when I’m away from you I love how you miss me
I love the way you always treat me tenderly
But, darling, most of all I love how you love me
(Love how you love me)

I love how your heart beats whenever I hold you
I love how you think of me without being told to
I love the way your touch is always heavenly
But, darling, most of all I love how you love me
(Love how you love me)

[Spoken:]
(I love how your eyes close whenever you kiss me)
(And when I’m away from you I love how you miss me)
I love the way your touch is always heavenly
But, darling, most of all I love how you love me
(Love how you love me)

I love how you hug me (love how you hug me)
I love how you squeeze me, tease me, please me
Love how you love me
I love how you love me

I love how you want me
Ooo, never stop loving me
Oh, no, I love how you love me
I love how you want me
Ooo, I love you, I want you
I love how you love me

About Granger Meador

I enjoy day hikes, photography, podcasts, reading, web design, and technology. My wife, Wendy, and I work in the Bartlesville Public Schools in northeast Oklahoma, but this blog is outside the scope of our employment.
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