“Teen Angel?” Copyright 2019 00individual TLL
1960’s Top 11 Teen Tragedy Doom Tunes
00individual is lenient with ending decade’s influence that continues on into the beginning of another decade; such as the late ’60s into the early ’70s, or in this case, the late ’50s into the early ’60s.
The Kingston Trio’s 1958 “Tom Dooley” began the morbid allure of the “Doom Tune”, whereby someone, usually a teenager, male or female, falls prey to love’s ultimate price – tragic death.
There were many entries into this short-lived genre – here’s the Top 11:
Jody Reynolds 1958 U.S. #5
Genre originator with great guitar! The singer’s sweetheart is saved in the last verse; in Reynolds’ original version, she dies.
Marty Robbins 1959 #1 Country and Pop Classic.
Obsessive love dooms a young man.
Johnny Preston 1959 J. P. Richardson (The Big Bopper) U.S. #1
Young Native brave and squaw “White Dove” separated by a river dive in to try and reach each other, but “as their hands touched and their lips met, the ragin’ river pulled them down, now they’ll always be together in that happy hunting ground.”
Mark Dinning 1959 Jean Dinning, Red Surrey U.S. #1
The Classic – title tells it all!
TELL LAURA I LOVE HER
Ray Peterson 1960 Jeff Barry, Ben Raleigh U.S. #7
Teen dies in an automobile racing accident trying to win money for a wedding ring. Heart-wrenching vocal.
Pat Boone 1961 Gary D. Bruce U.S. #1
Singer’s guilt-ridden unfaithful girlfriend commits suicide by drowning.
J. Frank Wilson and the Cavaliers 1964 U.S. #2
“The cryin’ tires, the bustin’ glass the painful scream that I heard last.”
DEAD MANS CURVE
Jan and Dean 1964 Jan Berry, Roger Christian, Brian Wilson, Artie Kornfeld U.S. #8
The protagonist survives but is severely injured; his racing opponent is killed. Jan Berry ironically nearly died in a similar scenario.
LEADER OF THE PACK
The Shangri-Las 1964 George “Shadow” Morton, Jeff Barry, Ellie Greenwich U.S. #1, Can. #3
The Shangri-las were the tough girls who sang of tragedy, misgivings, and memories – life’s deeper issues. “Look out! Look out! Look out!”
Twinkle 1964 Lynn Ripley (Twinkle) UK #4
Banned by the BBC! Jimmy Page was a session player on the single! UK version of Leader Of The Pack!
Dickey Lee 1965 #1
A hit take on a classic urban legend.
A YOUNG GIRL (OF SIXTEEN)
Noel Harrison 1965 Charles Aznavour, Oscar Brown Jr., Robert Chauvigny U.S. #51, Can. #5
“A young girl, A young girl of sixteen, Child of springtime, still green, Lying here by the road.
ODE TO BILLIE JOE
Bobbie Gentry 1967 Bobbie Gentry U.S. #1, Can. #1
And here is the fitting end, the height of the genre, just oozing with Gothic mystery with a sublime vocal accompanied by moody guitar and strings – an absolute gem. And Bobbie was the real deal; a talented, sexy babe whose looks matched her creativity and accomplishment of being one of the first females who wrote and performed her own songs.
Whatever did happen up on Choctaw Ridge?
And what was thrown off the Tallahatchie Bridge?
Then . . .
Let’s forget about the whinin’ and the cryin’
And the shooting and the dying
And the fellow with a switchblade knife
Let’s think about living
Let’s think about life!
Bob Luman – LET’S THINK ABOUT LIVIN’ – (#7 – 1960)
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