|File:Good Vibrations single.jpg|
|Single by The Beach Boys|
|B-side||"Let's Go Away for Awhile"|
|Released||October 10, 1966|
February 17–September 21, 1966,|
United Western Recorders, CBS Columbia Square, Gold Star Studios, and Sunset Sound Recorders, Hollywood
|The Beach Boys singles chronology|
This page is a soft redirect.}
|"Good Vibrations" on YouTube|
|Problems playing this file? See media help.|
The vocals for "Good Vibrations" were recorded at CBS Columbia Square, starting on August 24 and continuing sporadically until the very last day of assembly on September 21. Evidently the episodic structure of the composition was continuously revised as the group experimented with different ideas. Mike Love later recalled: "I can remember doing 25–30 vocal overdubs of the same part, and when I mean the same part, I mean same section of a record, maybe no more than two, three, four, five seconds long." Dennis Wilson was to have sung the lead vocal, but due to a bout of laryngitis, Carl replaced him at the last minute. The final lead vocal in the verses is largely sung by Carl, with Brian taking over for the "I hear the sound of a" and "when I look in her eyes" falsetto parts. The two bridges and chorus bass vocal are sung by Love, with Brian on top of the harmony stack during the "good, good, good vibrations" part of the chorus.
Brian recalled that before completing "Good Vibrations", he attended an early August session for the Rolling Stones song "My Obsession" at which record producer Lou Adler gave him marijuana, explaining: "They got me all stoned, they laid all this stuff on me and I couldn't find the door. It wiped me out so much I didn't know where the door was to get out of the studio." The following year, Beach Boys press agent Derek Taylor published an article which wrote of an arranged meeting between him, Brian, and Paul McCartney in August 1966, where Brian had played an early acetate record of "Good Vibrations" for McCartney. In 1976, Brian explained that before the final Audio mixdown, he had been confronted with resistance by members of the group whom Brian declined to name. The subject of their worries and complaints was the song's "modern" sound and perceptibly extensive length. "I said no, it's not going to be too long a record, it's going to be just right. … They didn't quite understand what this jumping from studio to studio was all about. And they couldn't conceive of the record as I did. I saw the record as a totality piece." In early September the master tapes for "Good Vibrations" were stolen. Mysteriously, they reappeared inside his home two days later.
On September 21, Brian completed the track after Tanner added a final Electro-Theremin overdub. In 1976 he elaborated on the event: "It was at Columbia. I remember I had it right in the sack. I could just feel it when I dubbed it down, made the final mix from the 16-track down to mono. It was a feeling of power, it was a rush. A feeling of exaltation. Artistic beauty. It was everything … I remember saying, 'Oh my God. Sit back and listen to this!'" Engineer Chuck Britz is quoted saying that Brian considered the song to be his "whole life performance in one track."
|February 17||Partial||"#1–Untitled"||Gold Star Studios||Pet Sounds session; only verse backing track in final mix|
|March 3||13px||N/A||United Western Recorders||Pet Sounds session; vocal overdubs|
|March ??||13px||"Good, Good, Good Vibrations"||N/A||Pet Sounds session; overdubs and early mix|
|April 9||13px||N/A||Gold Star Studios||Pet Sounds session|
|May 4||?||"First chorus"||N/A|
|13px||"Second chorus"||"First episode" in final mix|
|May 24||?||"Parts 1–4"||Sunset Sound Recorders||N/A|
|May 27||13px||"Part C"||United Western Recorders||N/A|
|June 2 (1)||?||(Inspiration) "Parts 1–4"||N/A|
|June 2 (2)||?||(Inspiration) "Parts 1–4"||N/A|
|June 12||?||(Inspiration) "Parts 1–4"||N/A|
|June 16 (1)||13px||"Part 1"||This session was filmed|
|June 16 (2)||13px||"Verse"||This session was filmed|
|June 18||13px||"Part 1"||N/A|
|August 24||13px||N/A||Sunset Sound Recorders||Overdubs and early mix|
|August ??||13px||N/A||CBS Columbia Square||Vocal overdubs|
|September 1||13px||(Persuasian)||United Western Recorders||N/A|
|13px||"New Bridge"||"Second episode" in final mix|
|September 12||?||N/A||CBS Columbia Square||Vocal overdubs; filming|
|September 21||13px||N/A||Vocal and theremin overdubs; final mixdown; filming|
In July 1966, an ad was placed in Billboard for the Pet Sounds album which thanked the industry for the sales of their latest album, and that, "We're moved over the fact that our Pet Sounds brought on nothing but Good Vibrations." This was the first public hint of the new single. Later in the year, Brian told journalist Tom Nolan that the new Beach Boys single was "about a guy who picks up good vibrations from a girl" and that it would be a "monster." He then suggested: "It's still sticking pretty close to that same boy-girl thing, you know, but with a difference. And it's a start, it's definitely a start." Newly employed band publicist Derek Taylor is credited for originally coining the work a "pocket symphony." He promoted the single stating: "Wilson's instinctive talents for mixing sounds could most nearly equate to those of the old painters whose special secret was in the blending of their oils. And what is most amazing about all outstanding creative artists is that they are using only those basic materials which are freely available to everyone else."
To promote the single, four different music videos were shot. The first of these — with Caleb Deschanel as cameraman — features the group at a fire station, sliding down its pole, and roaming the streets of Los Angeles in a fashion comparable to The Monkees. The second features the group during vocal rehearsals at United Western Recorders. The third is footage recorded during the making of The Beach Boys in London, a documentary by Peter Whitehead of their concert performances. The fourth is an alternative edit of the third. Brian also made a rare personal appearance on local television station KHJ-TV for its Teen Rock and Roll Dance Program, introducing the song to its in-studio audience and presenting an exclusive preview of the completed record.
On October 15, 1966, Billboard predicted that the single would reach the top 20 in the Billboard Hot 100 chart. "Penned by Brian Wilson and Mike Love, group has a sure-fire hit in this off-beat and intriguing rhythm number. Should hit hard and fast." "Good Vibrations" was the Beach Boys' third US number one hit after "I Get Around" and "Help Me, Rhonda", reaching the top of the Hot 100 in December, as well as being their first number one in Britain. It sold over 230,000 copies in the US during its first four days of its release and entered the Cash Box chart at number 61 on October 22. In the UK, the song sold over 50,000 copies in the first 15 days of its release. "Good Vibrations" quickly became the Beach Boys' first million-selling single. In December 1966, the record was their first single certified gold by the RIAA. After the criteria for a gold record was modified, the RIAA failed to correct the listing, despite "Good Vibrations" being eligible for status as a platinum record today.
Stebbins writes that the single "vaulted nearly every other rock act in their delivery of a Flower Power classic. It was just strange enough to be taken seriously, but still vibrant, happy, accessibly Beach Boys-esque pop." Both New Musical Express and Melody Maker gave positive reviews at the time of the single's release. Soon after, the Beach Boys were voted the number one band in the world in a readers' poll conducted by NME, ahead of the Beatles, the Walker Brothers, the Rolling Stones, and the Four Tops. Billboard speculated that this was influenced by the success of "Good Vibrations", and that "The sensational success of the Beach Boys, however, is being taken as a portend that the popularity of the top British groups of the last three years is past its peak." In a Danish newspaper, readers' polls voted Brian the winner of its "best foreign-produced recording award" for the single, its first that the publication awarded to an American.
When asked about the song in 1990, Paul McCartney of the Beatles responded "I thought it was a great record. It didn't quite have the emotional thing that Pet Sounds had for me. I've often played Pet Sounds and cried. It's that kind of an album for me." Pete Townshend of the Who was quoted at the time as saying "'Good Vibrations' was probably a good record but who's to know? You had to play it about 90 bloody times to even hear what they were singing about," and feared that the single would lead to a trend of overproduction. In an Arts Magazine issue published in 1966, Jonathan King said: "With justification, comments are being passed that 'Good Vibrations' is an inhuman work of art. Computerized pop, mechanized music. Take a machine, feed in various musical instruments, add a catch phrase, stir well, and press seven buttons. It is long and split. ... impressive, fantastic, commercial — yes. Emotional, soul-destroying, shattering — no." In the 2000s, record producer Phil Spector criticized the single for depending too much on tape manipulation, negatively referring to it as an "edit record ... It's like Psycho is a great film, but it's an 'edit film.' Without edits, it's not a film; with edits, it's a great film. But it's not Rebecca ... it's not a beautiful story."
Encouraged by the success of the song, Brian continued working on the Smile project, intending it as an entire album using the writing and production techniques devised for "Good Vibrations". "Heroes and Villains", a follow up single, continued Brian's modular recording practices, spanning nearly thirty recording sessions between May 1966 and June 1967.
Stebbins reflected that: "This signature sound would be duplicated, cloned, commercialized, and re-fabricated in songs, commercials, TV shows, movies, and elevators to the point of completely diluting the genius of the original. But 'Good Vibrations' was probably the quintessential 'sunshine pop' recording of the century." Former Atlantic Records executive Phillip Rauls is quoted saying, "I was in the music business at the time, and my very first recognition of acid rock — we didn't call it progressive rock then — was, of all people, the Beach Boys and the song 'Good Vibrations'." Author Bill Martin suggested that the Beach Boys were clearing a pathway toward the development of progressive rock, writing: "The fact is, the same reasons why much progressive rock is difficult to dance to apply just as much to 'Good Vibrations' and 'A Day in the Life'." It is believed that "Good Vibrations" was a prime proponent in revolutionizing rock music from live concert performances to studio productions which could only exist on record. Retrospectively, John Bush wrote that the single "announced the coming era of pop experimentation with a rush of riff changes, echo-chamber effects, and intricate harmonies." In a 1968 editorial for Jazz & Pop, Gene Sculatti prophesied:
"Good Vibrations" may yet prove to be the most significantly revolutionary piece of the current rock renaissance; executed as it is in conventional Beach Boys manner, it is one of the few organically complete rock works; every audible note and every silence contributes to the whole three minutes, 35 seconds, of the song. It is the ultimate in-studio production trip, very much rock 'n' roll in the emotional sense and yet un-rocklike in its spacial, dimensional conceptions. In no minor way, "Good Vibrations" is a primary influential piece for all producing rock artists; everyone has felt its import to some degree, in such disparate things as the Yellow Balloon's "Yellow Balloon" and the Beatles' "A Day in the Life", in groups as far apart as (recent) Grateful Dead and the Association, as Van Dyke Parks and the Who.
The song is acknowledged to have further developed the use of recording studios as a musical instrument. Author Domenic Priore argued that the song was advanced for its time, serving as a forerunner to later works such as Marvin Gaye's What's Going On (1971) and Isaac Hayes' Shaft (1971) which presented soul music in a similar, multi-textured context imbued with ethereal sonic landscapes. On the song's historical context, music journal Sound on Sound explained: "This was a period when pop records were either guitar, bass and drum combos or traditional orchestrated arrangements for vocalists … The exotic instruments, the complex vocal arrangements, and the many dynamic crescendos and decrescendos all combine to set this record apart from most pop music. In short, if there's an instruction manual for writing and arranging pop songs, this one breaks every rule." For the AM radio standards of late 1966, the song's final runtime (3 minutes 35 seconds) was considered a "very long" duration. Wilson considered the single a "Modern" record. Others continued to acknowledge the work as such.
Upon release, "Good Vibrations" prompted an unexpected revival in theremins. When the Beach Boys needed to reproduce the sound of the theremin onstage, Wilson first requested that Tanner play the instrument live with the group, but he declined due to commitments. He recalls saying to Wilson, "I've got the wrong sort of hair to be on stage with you fellas," to which Wilson replied, "We'll give you a Prince Valiant wig." The Beach Boys then requested the services of Walter Sear, who then asked Bob Moog to design a ribbon controller, since the group was used to playing the fretboards of a guitar. Sears remembers marking fretboard-like lines on the ribbon "so they could play the damn thing". Moog then set out to manufacture his own models of theremins, but ultimately noted: "The pop record scene cleaned us out of our stock which we expected to last through Christmas."
In 1996, experimental rock group His Name Is Alive recorded an homage entitled "Universal Frequencies" on their album Stars on ESP. Reportedly, Warren Defever listened to "Good Vibrations" repeatedly for one week before deciding that the song "needed a sequel," explaining that: "'Good Vibrations' is one of the first pop hits where you can actually hear the tape edits and I think that's wonderful." "Good Vibrations" inspired the title of French duo Air's fifth LP: Pocket Symphony, released in 2007. The song's lyrics "I'm picking up good vibrations" are quoted in Cyndi Lauper's 1984 single "She Bop".
The recording was nominated for numerous Grammy awards in 1966, including "Best Performance By a Vocal Group", "Best Contemporary R&B Recording (Single or Album)", "Best Contemporary R&B Recording (Vocal or Instrumental)", and "Best Arrangement Accompanying a Vocalist(s) or Instrumentalist(s)". In 2004, Rolling Stone magazine ranked "Good Vibrations" at number 6 in "The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time", the highest position of seven Beach Boys songs cited in the list. It outranked The Beatles's highest ranking song, "Hey Jude", which was placed at number eight. In 2001, the song was voted number 24 in the RIAA and NEA's listing of Songs of the Century. As of 2014, "Good Vibrations" is ranked as the number three song of all time in an aggregation of critics' lists at acclaimedmusic.net.
|This section needs additional citations for verification. (November 2014)|
- The Beach Boys
- Al Jardine
- Bruce Johnston
- Mike Love – co-lead vocals
- Brian Wilson – vocals, production, mixing
- Carl Wilson – lead vocals
- Dennis Wilson – Hammond organ (during 2:14–2:56)
- Additional musicians and production staff
- Hal Blaine – drums
- Jimmy Bond Jr. – upright bass
- Chuck Britz – engineer
- Frank Capp – bongos, tambourine
- Al Casey – guitar
- Henry David
- Al De Lory
- Steve Douglas – saxophone
- Jesse Ehrlich
- Jim Gordon – percussion
- Billy Green – woodwind
- Sal Frohman
- Jim Horn – woodwind
- Larry Knechtel – organ in verses and choruses
- Mike Melvoin – harpsichord
- Jay Migliori – woodwind
- Tommy Morgan – harmonica, bass harmonica, Jew's harp
- Bill Pitman – guitar
- Ray Pohlman – bass guitar
- Don Randi – piano
- Lyle Ritz – upright bass
- Paul Tanner – Electro-Theremin
- Additional musicians (outtakes)
|Song by The Beach Boys from the album The Smile Sessions|
|Released||October 31, 2011|
|The Smile Sessions track listing|
Smiley Smile marks "Good Vibrations" first album appearance, with no differences from the single version. Both Good Vibrations: Thirty Years of The Beach Boys (1993) and The Smile Sessions (2011) box sets contain extracts and highlights from the song's extensive recording sessions. In early 2011, the single was remastered and reissued as a four-sided 78 rpm vinyl for Record Store Day as a teaser to the forthcoming The Smile Sessions box set. It contained "Heroes and Villains" as a B-side along with previously released alternate takes and mixes. It was the first single issued by the group since "I Just Wasn't Made for These Times" in 1996.
In celebration of its 40th year, the Good Vibrations: 40th Anniversary Edition EP was released. The EP includes five versions of "Good Vibrations" including the original single version; various session takes; an alternate take (previously released on Rarities); the instrumental track in stereo; a live concert rehearsal recorded in August 1967, Hawaii; and the initial B-side "Let's Go Away for Awhile".
There had never been an official true stereo release of the final track until the 2012 remastered version of Smiley Smile. It has been said[by whom?] that not enough stems exist to create a new stereo mix, something echoed by Mark Linett's 1988 rough mixes of the Smile material. This is due to the vocal tracks being currently missing. Bruce Johnston has stated that he believes they were accidentally destroyed in 1967 during a "spring cleaning" of the Columbia studio. The 2012 stereo mix was made possible by newly invented digital technology by Derry Fitzgerald, with the blessings of Brian Wilson and Mark Linett. This software extracted individual instrumental and vocal stems from the original mono master — as the multi-track vocals remained missing — to construct the stereo version that appears on the 2012 re-issue of Smiley Smile.
Todd Rundgren version
|Single by Todd Rundgren|
|from the album Faithful|
|Todd Rundgren singles chronology|
This page is a soft redirect.}
In 1976, a nearly identical cover version was released as a single by Todd Rundgren for his album Faithful. When asked for an opinion, Brian responded: "Oh, he did a marvelous job, he did a great job. I was very proud of his version." The single peaked at 34 on the Billboard Hot 100 Pop Singles. Rundgren explained:
I used to like the sound of the Beach Boys, but it wasn't until they began to compete with the Beatles that I felt that what they were doing was really interesting – like around Pet Sounds and "Good Vibrations" ... when they started to shed that whole surf music kind of burden and start to branch out into something that was a little more universal. ... I wanted to reproduce that era, so I just took a handful of songs at random that were all hits on the radio and that you were likely to hear wherever you went. I tried to do them as literally as I could because in the intervening 10 years, radio had changed so much. Radio had become so formatted and so structured that that whole experience was already gone.
Brian Wilson version
In 2004, Wilson rerecorded the song as a solo artist for his album Brian Wilson Presents Smile. It was placed as the album's closer, immediately following the track "In Blue Hawaii". Prior to its release, it was issued as a single, where "In Blue Hawaii" served as its B-side. A different issue of the single included a live version of "Good Vibrations".
According to Wilson, his wife Melinda suggested that he use the original lyrics written by Tony Asher. However, it was necessary to augment Asher's lyrics with Mike Love's, which include the opening line ("I, I love the colorful clothes she wears,") the chorus couplet ("I'm pickin' up good vibrations / She's givin' me the excitations") and the two bridges (the "I don't know where but she sends me there" section, and the "Gotta keep those lovin'-good vibrations happenin' with her" section.) Love was also credited on the 2004 album version, along with Asher.
"Good Vibrations" is the only track on Brian Wilson Presents Smile which eschewed the modular recording method. Its verses and chorus were recorded as part of one whole take, and were not spliced. In addition, the arrangement differs from the original by including an extra "hum-be-dum" harmony section based on a bridge outtake recorded in September 1966.
Other cover versions
The song has also been covered by a range of artists including Groove Holmes, the Troggs, Charlie McCoy, and Psychic TV. John Bush argued "'Good Vibrations' was rarely reprised by other acts, even during the cover-happy '60s. Its fragmented style made it essentially cover-proof."
- Keith Badman reported that "Here Today" from Pet Sounds was a reworking of the earliest "Good Vibrations" session, conducted less than a month later, and that phrases originating from "Here Today" would reappear in subsequent recordings for "Good Vibrations". Andrew Doe and John Tobler have noted that the two songs share the same chord progression. Musicologist Philip Lambert said that a resemblance between the two songs is "apparent, especially in their opening bars." Lambert also observed some stylistic overlap in "Look (Song for Children)", another Brian Wilson composition written and recorded between sessions for "Good Vibrations". Lambert speculates that the ending choral fugato of "Good Vibrations" could have originated directly from a similar melodic section in "Look".
- Parks says to have suggested the idea of cello triplets to Brian and believes that having Brian exploit the cello "to such a hyperbolic degree" was what established the musical credulity between the duo.
- According to Parks, he was offered the opportunity to rewrite Love's lyrics because "[Brian] was embarrassed with the 'excitation' part Mike Love had insisted on adding. But I told Brian that I wouldn't touch it with a 10-foot pole and that nobody'd be listening to the lyrics anyway once they heard that music."
- The verses of "Good Vibrations" are in the key of E♭ minor.
- A memo dated February 23 was sent to Capitol that "Good Vibrations" would be included on the Pet Sounds album. Sessions would continue to be logged for Pet Sounds until after April.
- Additional sessions occurred on April 9; May 4, 24–27; June 2, 12, 16, and 18, 1966.
- Before the completion of "Good Vibrations", this included "Heroes and Villains", "Wind Chimes", "Look", "Holidays", and "Our Prayer".
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"Good Vibrations" by The Beach Boys is harmonically perfect, a fugue with a rhythmic beat.
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- Brend, Mark (2005). Strange Sounds: Offbeat Instruments and Sonic Experiments in Pop (1. ed. ed.). San Francisco, Calif.: Backbeat. ISBN 9780879308551.
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- Cunningham, Mark (1998). Good Vibrations: a History of Record Production. Sanctuary. ISBN 9781860742422.
- Doe, Andrew; Tobler, John (2009). "The Beach Boys – Pet Sounds – May 1966". In Charlesworth, Chris. 25 Albums that Rocked the World. Omnibus Press. ISBN 978-0-85712-044-1.
- Henke, James; George-Warren, Holly (1992). DeCurtis, Anthony, ed. The Rolling Stone Illustrated History of Rock & Roll: The Definitive History of the Most Important Artists and Their Music (rev. & updated ed. ed.). New York: Random House. ISBN 9780679737285.
- DeRogatis, Jim (2003). Turn on Your Mind: Four Decades of Great Psychedelic Rock. Hal Leonard Corporation. ISBN 978-0-634-05548-5.
- Everett, Walter (2008). The Foundations of Rock: From "Blue Suede Shoes" to "Suite: Judy Blue Eyes". Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780199718702.
- Gaines, Steven (1986). Heroes and Villains: The True Story of The Beach Boys (1. Da Capo Press ed.). New York: Da Capo Press. ISBN 0306806479.
- Golden, Bruce (1976). The Beach Boys: Southern California Pastoral. Borgo Press. ISBN 978-0-87877-202-5.
- Greene, John Robert (2010). America in the Sixties. Syracuse University Press. ISBN 978-0-8156-5133-8.
- Hickey, Andrew (2011). The Beach Boys On CD vol 1: The 1960s. Lulu. ISBN 9781447542339.
- Hoskyns, Barney (2009). Waiting for the Sun: A Rock 'n' Roll History of Los Angeles. Backbeat Books. ISBN 978-0-87930-943-5. Retrieved 2 August 2013.
- Kent, Nick; Pop, Iggy (2009). The Dark Stuff: Selected Writings on Rock Music (Updated ed.). Perseus Books Group. ISBN 978-0-7867-3074-2.
- Lambert, Philip (2007). Inside the Music of Brian Wilson: the Songs, Sounds, and Influences of the Beach Boys' Founding Genius. Continuum. ISBN 978-0-8264-1876-0.
- Martin, Bill (1998), Listening to the Future: The Time of Progressive Rock, Chicago: Open Court, ISBN 0-8126-9368-X
- Perrone, James E. (2004). Music of the Counterculture Era. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 22. ISBN 0-313326-89-4.
- Pinch, T. J; Trocco, Frank (2009). Analog Days: The Invention and Impact of the Moog Synthesizer. Harvard University Press. ISBN 978-0-674-04216-2.
- Priore, Domenic (2005). Smile: The Story of Brian Wilson's Lost Masterpiece. London: Sanctuary. ISBN 1860746276.
- Romano, Will (2010). Mountains Come Out of the Sky: The Illustrated History of Prog Rock. Milwaukee, WI: Backbeat Books. ISBN 978-0879309916.
- Rooksby, Rikky (2001). Inside Classic Rock Tracks: Songwriting and Recording Secrets of 100 Great Songs from 1960 to the Present Day. Backbeat Books. ISBN 978-0-87930-654-0.
- Sanchez, Luis (2014). The Beach Boys' Smile. Bloomsbury Publishing. ISBN 9781623567996.
- Siegel, Jules (2011). Goodbye Surfing, Hello God!. Atavist Inc. ISBN 978-0-9834566-7-4.
- Stebbins, Jon (2011). The Beach Boys FAQ: All That's Left to Know About America's Band. Backbeat Books. ISBN 9781458429148.
- Stuessy, Joe; Lipscomb, Scott David (2009). Rock and Roll: Its History and Stylistic Development. Prentice Hall Higher Education. ISBN 978-0-13-601068-5.
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- Greg Panfile's Musical Analysis of "Good Vibrations"
- "Good Vibrations: The Lost Studio Footage (1966)" on YouTube
- Full lyrics of this song at MetroLyrics
"Winchester Cathedral" by The New Vaudeville Band
|US Billboard Hot 100 number-one single
December 10–17, 1966
| Succeeded by|
"I'm a Believer" by The Monkees
"Reach Out I'll Be There" by Four Tops
|UK Singles Chart number-one single
November 19 – December 3, 1966
| Succeeded by|
"Green, Green Grass of Home" by Tom Jones
"No Milk Today" by Herman's Hermits
|Australian Singles Chart number-one single
December 10–17, 1966
| Succeeded by|
"Ooh La La" / "Ain't Nobody Home" by Normie Rowe