Saturday, January 21, 2012

New Oldies - Daydreams by Charlotte O'Hara


There's a wild and crazy story behind the girl singing this song. I'll tell you all about it. But first, lets hear today's New Oldie. This is Daydreams by Charlotte O'Hara on Ava 126 from 1963:



The girl singing this song is actually Charlotte Ann Matheny from Los Angeles. She was a regular backup singer for Phil Spector at his recording sessions.


She was also very active in the "song poem" world. That's where a production company, for a fee of course, will turn poems that you've written into songs and publish them on a single. After recording this song as Charlotte O'Hara, she began cutting more records using different names, such as Bonnie Graham, just Bonnie, Bonnie And Nita (with her very close friend Nita Garfield), and Bonnie And The Treasures. Yes, Charlotte was, in fact, Bonnie of Bonnie And The Treasures, even though Ronnie Bennett of the Ronettes has often claimed that SHE was Bonnie in that group.

Ronnie Bennett, of course, was married to Phil Spector from 1968 to 1974, becoming Ronnie Spector. If you have any doubt that Phil Spector was capable of shooting a woman in his home, you will put away all doubts if you read about Ronnie Spector's personal life. You can get a nice idea of what Phil was like as a husband and a person by clicking here.

Bonnie And The Treasures recorded a song written by Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil called Home Of The Brave and released it in 1965 on Phil Spector's Phi-Dan label. It was produced by Jerry Riopelle and arranged by Nick DeCaro. If you listen to the song, you will clearly hear the famous "Wall of Sound" production that was characteristic of Phil Spector. Despite the fact that Phil Spector owned the label, the production of THIS Wall of Sound record was all Jerry Riopelle's work.

Here's Home Of The Brave by Bonnie And The Treasures on Phi-Dan 5005 from 1965:



Very shortly after this record was released, and unaware of the fact the song had already been recorded by someone else, producer Steve Douglas recorded the same song with singer Jody Miller and arranger Billy Strange, releasing it on Capitol 5483. Possibly due to the fact that Capitol had more "capital" to invest, along with an established nation-wide promotional network, Jody's version became a much bigger success, peaking at #25 on Billboard's Hot 100. The same song by Bonnie And The Treasures topped out at #77 and only survived five weeks on the charts.

Here's Home Of The Brave by Jody Miller on Capitol 5483 from 1965:



Both labels thought they had an "exclusive" when they released the song. In fact, the Bonnie And The Treasures version was almost certainly issued first. But the success of Jody Miller's version, and the fact that both versions debuted on the charts in the same week, led many in the industry to think Jody Miller's version was the original and that Bonnie And The Treasures had copied it. This really irritated Phil Spector, who we now know is a man you dare not irritate! He reacted by taking out ads in the trade magazines to make sure everyone knew his label's version was the original.

Despite her many attempts, Charlotte failed to get any more of her own records on the chart. This really frustrated her. She was especially annoyed that a song like Me And You And A Dog Named Boo by Lobo, which she detested, could become a big hit. Actually, I have to agree with her. Charlotte's work is considerably better!

Charlotte did become an accomplished composer. She and Keith Colley wrote Love Bells which was a hit for The Galens in 1963. Charlotte and her friend Nita also wrote We're Here To Entertain You for the Jackson Five, along with other songs for Jean Knight, Bobby Bland, and Jermaine Jackson. If you want to read a lot more about Charlotte, click here.

Sadly, Charlotte's career and life were both cut short by breast cancer. After the cancer spread to her brain, she passed away in 1976 while still in her 30's.

If you like Phil Spector's Wall of Sound, you'll hear every single record he ever produced on MusicMaster Oldies, along with many other records that tried very hard to imitate that sound throughout the 1960's!

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