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Life IS history in the making. Every word we say, everything we do becomes history the moment it is said or done. Life void of memories leaves nothing but emptiness. For those who might consider history boring, think again: It is who we are, what we do and why we are here. We are certainly individuals in our thoughts and deeds but we all germinated from seeds planted long, long ago.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Legitimate or Illegitimate?

Today in Music History: November 3, 1962

There is always someone trying to beat the system, receive credit when credit is not due, make gains through dishonesty. The music industry is not immune to any of these happenings. Reaching for the dream often finds a recording artist(s) going for, often perhaps receiving, unjustified accolades. Scandals emerge and the legitimacy of such actions is questionable.
It was the late 80s when the real voices behind Milli Vanilli were exposed as not being those belonging to leading faces of the pop group. The discovery that Rob Pilatus and Fab Morvan hadn't sung a single note of their hit songs became the biggest scandal in Grammy history. The duo had earned a #1 hit with "Baby Don' Forget My Number" (1989). This led to their nomination and win of a Grammy Award for Best New Artist on February 21, 1990. Suddenly exposed as illegitimate, the duo was stripped of the award.
By the summer of 1989, some people wondered why Rob and Fab's speaking voices in interviews sounded nothing like their songs, and in July, they were caught lip-synching when their recording skipped during a concert in Connecticut. It wasn't until November, 1990 that the truth came out about the group when Farian admitted that Rob and Fab were not the real singers.
Source: Songacts.com
This was not the first time of a chart-topping act with a scandalous secret nor will it be the last. Pop music hypocrisy doesn't lend itself to finite definitions as to what constitutes legitimate vs. illegitimate. The industry itself is just too flexible.

Another such act scored a #1 hit on this day two decades earlier...or did they?

1962 The Crystals started a two week run at No.1 on the US singles chart with 'He's A Rebel', it made No.19 on the UK chart.
 Legitimate or Illegitimate?
Their name appeared at the top of the Billboard Hot 100 alongside the song 'He's A Rebel'—a record on which the credited artists, the Crystals, had not sung a single note.

  • While at Liberty Records as the company's West Coast A&R head (in 1962), Phil Spector heard Gene Pitney's demo of "He's a Rebel." He promptly resigned his position as his boss, Snuff Garrett, produced a version by Vikki Carr to be released as her first single. Spector assembled his musicians to do HIS version, but the Crystals were 3000 miles away in New York City; so he recruited the Blossoms (Darlene Love, Famita James, and Gracia Nitzschke) to sing "He's a Rebel."
  • The Crystals were credited with six Top 40 hits produced by Phil Spector, even though their voices are heard on only four of them.
  • Phil Spector used the royalties of "He's a Rebel" to buy out his partners, with the stipulation that his ex-partners would share in the profits of the next two Crystals singles. For those singles, he used The Blossoms to pose as the Crystals (again) for the #11 hit "He's Sure the Boy I Love"; but the Crystals actually sang on the next single credited to them, entitled "(Let's Do) The Screw" -- a five-minute song punctuated with the voice of Phil Spector's lawyer saying "Do the Screw." Only one copy of the 45 was pressed and distributed - to ex-partner Lester Sill. It garnered zero airplay and earned zero royalties. Spector was now sole owner of Philles Records.
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And the music goes on beating to the rhythm of the changing times...