The Singles Era
Updated: Feb 6
These days when everyone has GarageBand in their pocket and easy access to world-class audio editing software, it’s easy to forget that there was a time when a recording studio was inaccessible to all but the most successful musicians. In the ‘50s and ‘60s, many successful live acts had long runs but were never able to make any recordings, let alone record a full album. If they were lucky, a label would offer to finance a single to see if it would sell enough to make a full length worthwhile (or a series of singles that would then make up an album, as was the case with Rusty Bryant’s first album). Starting with the release of the critically acclaimed Nuggets compilation, labels like Numero Group have begun to reissue some of these obscure tracks, but there remains a ton of relatively unknown singles by Columbus artists.
Can't Get Enough Of Your Love/80-96
Jamie - 1314
I think we’re coming full circle. As we enter the “post-album” era, singles are sort of a thing again. Not in a physical sense, but artists frequently release individual tracks. In yesteryear, radio stations had local charts. Today, Apple Music has City Charts tracking the top songs in specific cities. What’s old is new again, and I think it’s a good thing. The interesting thing about the global society we now live in is that the focus turns inward. It’s just overwhelming otherwise. I truly think radio will follow suit if it’s to survive. The deregulated conglomerate Clear Channel model isn’t sustainable. We’ll see.
In any case, bands used to have the opportunity to gain some recognition on local charts. WCOL was the station in Columbus. Several local bands would reach the top of WCOL’s local chart (or survey, as they were called then) and the first was The Dantes in April 1966. The Dantes were a Worthington band formed in 1964 and included several members that would be Columbus stalwarts for many many years - Dave Workman and Barry Hayden. There’s an excellent overview of the band on the Ohio History Connection site. There’s another great piece at Garage Hangover.
After The Dantes’ Can’t Get Enough Of Your Love hit #1 on WCOL’s survey in April 1966, a 23-year-old A&R man for Cameo Records named Neil Bogart (later to found Casablanca Records) would release their follow up, a cover of the Stones’ Under My Thumb which would also hit #1 at WCOL. Eventually, The Dantes would open for Jimi Hendrix at Vets Memorial and hang out at their house in Linden afterward. Quite the story for parties.
The Fifth Order
A Thousand Devils (Are Chasin' Me)/Today (I Got A Letter)
Counterpart Records - C-2595
One of the other hot Columbus bands at that time was The Fifth Order. After hitting #1 locally in August 1967 with their single A Thousand Devils (Are Chasin’ Me) on Cincinnati’s Counterpart Records, Laurie Records out of New York would pick up the single for national release. Ohio Express would also hit #1 with Beg, Borrow And Steal, but we’ll leave it at that since Ohio Express didn’t record the song (long story).
Go On Fool/Who Knows
Capsoul - CS 20
While most local hit singles didn’t make much noise nationally, some singles would achieve success long after their release. In some cases, songs wouldn’t even be released until long after they were recorded. A local soul singer/songwriter named Marion Black put out a song called Who Knows on Bill Moss’ Capsoul label in 1970. That song would have a pretty extraordinary run beginning in 2002 when RJD2 sampled it in the Deadringer track Smoke And Mirrors. It would be reissued on Numero Group’s Eccentric Soul compilation of Capsoul tracks leading to an appearance in an episode of Showtime’s Weeds series in 2005, a 2013 BlackBerry Super Bowl ad, and most recently a 2016 episode of Hulu’s series Casual. I hope Black made some of that money. That would be nice fifty-plus years later.
Penny & The Quarters
You And Me/You Are Giving Me Some Other Love
Numero Group - ES-018
Then there's Penny & The Quarters, whose 1970ish recording of You And Me would first be heard in the 2010 film Blue Valentine on the recommendation of Ryan Gosling. Numero Group would then release it as a single in 2011. I find the story of this track particularly fascinating as its discovery is pretty miraculous. The song has since been sampled, covered and used in Ikea and Oreo ads (and has almost seven million YouTube views). You And Me was heard in a November 2021 L.L. Bean ad and popped up again in a 2023 episode of the ABC procedural Will Trent. Although with today’s technology, stuff disappearing like that will be rare, there is such an overwhelming amount of stuff being recorded that I think 50 years from now, obscure stuff will be appearing like this. Pretty remarkable and exciting, I think.
Many of these artists continued performing for many years. The Dantes’ guitarist Dave Workman moved to San Francisco in the ‘80s and continues performing regularly at The Saloon there. So here we are in 2021, what some would call the post-album era. But I don’t think we’re quite there yet with the resurgence of vinyl and the younger generations’ recognizing the appeal of having something physical to hold, look at, and read while listening to music. But singles are important again, physical copies or not, as my wife Elisa Nicolas found out with her new recording. It is an album, but she found out a single was needed and No Answers was just released on September 30. I’m biased, but I think it’s pretty amazing. Check it out.
The Dantes – Can't Get Enough Of Your Love Label: Jamie – 1314 Format: Vinyl, 7", 45 RPM, Single Released: 1966
Tracklist A Can't Get Enough Of Your Love 2:31
B 80-96 3:15
Manufactured By – Jamie Record Co.
Mastered At – Longwear Plating
Mastered At – Bell Sound Studios
Published By – Doraflo Music
Produced For – B.J.R. Productions
The Dantes – Under My Thumb / Can I Get A Witness Label: Cameo – C-431 Format: Vinyl, 7", 45 RPM, Single Released: 1966
Written-By – Jagger / Richard*
Written-By – Holland / Dozier / Holland*
Record Company – Cameo-Parkway Records, Inc.
Published By – Gideon Music
Published By – Jobete Music Corp.
Mastered At – Audio Matrix, Inc.
Producer – A Richards Production
The Fifth Order – A Thousand Devils (Are Chasin' Me) Label: Counterpart Records – C-2595 Format: Vinyl, 7", 45 RPM Released: 1967
A A Thousand Devils (Are Chasin' Me) 2:06
B Today (I Got A Letter) 2:00
Published By – Counterpart
Published By – Falls City Music
Producer – Ray Allen
Marion Black – Go On Fool / Who Knows Label: Capsoul – CS 20 Format: Vinyl, 7", 45 RPM, Single Released: 1970
Tracklist A Go On Fool
Published By – Danmo Pub. Co.
Written-By – M. Black
A Capsoul Production Published by Danmo Capsoul Recording Studio, Columbus, Ohio
Penny & The Quarters – You And Me Label: Numero Group – ES-018 Series: Eccentric Soul 45s – ES-018 Format: Vinyl, 7", 45 RPM Released: 2011
Tracklist A You And Me
B You Are Giving Me Some Other Love
Published By – Dust Index
Licensed To – Numero Group
Written-By – Jay Robinson