October 14, 2016

Goodbye to Don Ciccone, the lead singer of The Critters...

That's "Younger Girl," a cover of a Lovin' Spoonful song, written by John Sebastian. That was the first we heard from The Critters in 1966 — my all-time favorite music year, half a century ago. (Compare the Spoonful version, here. And compare "Prison Wall Blues," which some people say is the source of "Younger Girl.")

Ciccone wrote the follow-up single — also from 1966 — which lacks that spritely joy of the Spoonful song, "Mr. Dieingly Sad":

Ciccone was 70.

ADDED: "Younger Girl" gives present-day listeners the impression that the man is singing about underage sex, though it gets no more lascivious than this:
And should I hang around,
Acting like her brother?
In a few more years,
They'd call us right for each other.
And why? If I wait I'll just die.


chickelit said...

If only Madonna had the ciccones be half as good...

Unknown said...

One of the few 60s groups to attempt "Good Vibrations" period Beach Boys inspired songs:

Awake In A Dream (first done by Ryan's sideproject Giant Jellybean Copout)

Rob said...

"Younger Girl" sounds like an anthem for both Donald Trump and Bill Clinton.

Laslo Spatula said...

Lamar Gonna Set You Straight....

So a White Artist that even most White People don't know dies, and now comes the obligatory White Nostalgia. I get it, White People: even your nobodies are Somebody, as long as they're White and remind you of your Privileged White Youth...

That's what's great about White Nostalgia, isn't it? You can control which Black People you even want to bother to think about...

You know what was on the radio in 1966?

"Reach Out I'll Be There" by The Four Tops

"When a Man Loves a Woman" by Percy Sledge

"You Keep Me Hangin' On" by The Supremes

"Ain't To Proud To Beg" by The Temptations

"It's a Man's Man's Man's World" by James Brown

"Try a Little Tenderness" by Otis Redding

And that's just the Blacks you White People would even let on the radio. And any of those songs leave Bob Dylan in the dust, by the way: just sayin'.

But you keep remembering the silly White Boys, with their silly White Boy songs, cause I bet it sure feels Good and White all down inside...

You think you got Problems? Fuck You.

I am Laslo.

Temujin said...

'66 was a great year for music. From The Association to Zappa. (with a little Yardbirds thrown in). Freak Out!

EDH said...

I'm sorry, but that "Younger Girls" recording was a muddled, derivative mess.

William said...

Kind of a downer when rock stars younger than you start dying from age related illnesses. Time's winged chariot drawing near. At least he lived to see Dylan win the Nobel. Dylan won the Nobel for all the rock and folk musicians who have done so much to bring peace to our world. When Dylan makes his acceptance speech he should say he is accepting it in the name of Jim Morrison, Brian Jones, Frank Zappa, John Lennon and all those other brave souls that built the mountain whose peak he stands upon.

EDH said...

The second song sucked even more!

sojerofgod said...

Geez Laz, who shoved a bottle rocket up your ass with a lit fuse?

I believe Ms. Althouse is nostalgic (which means a longing for home, btw)
for music she heard as a youth. They say most people are attached to the music they heard with their peers in the age range of 12 to 16. Personally, I was 8 in 1966 and was playing soldier in the back yard with blowguns and modeling clay.
So I ended up with a mix of Cat Stevens and Black Sabbath (don't ask) which stays with me to this day.
play nice or I will be cross.

chickelit said...

Althouse wrote: That was the first we heard from The Critters in 1966 — my all-time favorite music year, half a century ago.

I missed that 2005 post -- I think it was before I had a blogger account by three months. But, I concurred with you independently about 1966 later on here (see a few comments later). This may be one of our strongest points of agreement. :)

chickelit said...

That's "Younger Girl," a cover of a Lovin' Spoonful song, written by John Sebastian.

The verb "written" seems so right and natural in that context. How can literature not subsume "songwriting"? Opponents of Dylan's prize sound like axe-wielding Pete Seegers.

wild chicken said...

From the obits it sure seems like a lot of boomers are kicking off early. Normal, I guess.

So laslo's not white...who knew.

chickelit said...

@Laslo: My personal 1966 compilation includes all of those. What's your beef again?

cathy said...

In the mid 60's favorites could be James Brown, Aretha, Otis, and Tina, and the Drifters along with Dylan, Jefferson Airplane, and the Byrd's. Too bad black radio got segregated. Everyone lost.

chickelit said...

Rob said...'Younger Girl' sounds like an anthem for both Donald Trump and Bill Clinton.

Don't you mean Gary Puckett and the Thigh Gap Union? link

chickelit said...

Sheesh, I just re-watched that Gary Puckett video...what's up with the Confederate flag panty flashes?


Earnest Prole said...

On an October evening in 1966 someone much like you reminisced about a lilting melody heard fifty years earlier in 1916.

chickelit said...

I feel so...Beguiled...

Earnest Prole said...

Just a breeze will muss your hair
But you smile away each little care
And if the rain should make you blue
You say tomorrow is anew
Blue be your eyes, blonde your hair
You realize beyond a care
Life's in a hurry, but
You've got no worry, you're
So mystifyingly glad
I'm Mr. Dieingly Sad

And when the leaves begin to fall
Answering old winter's call
I feel my tears, they fall like rain
Weeping forth the sad refrain
Blue, dark, and dim it may seem
You mark a grin, a moonbeam
Brightens your smile, pray tell me
How all the while you can be
So mystifyingly glad
I'm Mr. Dieingly Sad

You say, take my hand and walk with me
Wake this land and stop the sea
Show me love, unlock
All doors, I'm yours

Then the tide rolls up to shore
I whisper low, I love you more
More than even you could know
Adore me do so I could show
I'm so mystifyingly glad
Not Mr. Dieingly Sad

sane_voter said...

Never heard of the Critters or those songs until now. And why were some of those kids fast dancing to Mr. Dieingly Sad? Talk about a party killer

Here is the Billboard Top 100 from 1966.

sane_voter said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Earnest Prole said...

Laslo sounds so much more authentic . . . funky, natural, scraggly . . . wild . . . than the anemic whiter shade of pasty-pale nostalgia we all should feel guilty about.

sane_voter said...

No. 1 song in 1966

The Ballad of the Green Berets, Sgt. Barry Sadler

David Begley said...

Ann is just like Kevin Kline in "The Big Chill." The best music was in the 60's.

David Begley said...


You got that right, brother. But what has happened to Black music since about 1990? How did Motown turn into rap?

Serious question!

From "Love Child" to "Pimp a Butterfly."

chickelit said...

Begley begs: How did Motown turn into rap? Serious question!

Berry Gordy moved to L.A.?

Ipso Fatso said...

Here is a link to a music oriented TV show that ran for one year and one year only-1966. The Beat!!! was produced in Dallas, TX and featured the leading soul and blues artists of the day. This show features the great Barbara Lynn, "Queen of the Gulf Coast Blues" who is still active today. The back up band featured Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown, a terrific blues guitarist. Enjoy.


Guildofcannonballs said...

How can people not understand beta has different characters he writes using that characters unique voice? Is beta a girl with a pony tail? Weird dude who likes girls with blue hair working at the Micky Dee's?

Hey Mr. Coen, how can you write a movie staring Nic Cage promoting convenience store robberies? YOU HAVE NEVER ROBBED ANYTHING SIR!

rcommal said...

Far better to die just in time, as opposed to too early or too late.


Also, may the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.

rcommal said...

Blogger chickelit said...

If only Madonna had the ciccones be half as good...


So funny. I get it.



rcommal said...

Separately, viewing a particular part of history in its time, through two who have been dead as door-nails for quite a while, this I also link:


rcommal said...

(This is me, being all pop-cult 'n' all. Lawdy, sweet sheesh, have too many of you been so silly 'n' all to be so determined not to "get" anything other than your own precious selves? I would "wish" otherwise. That said, I've know better than "to wish" for more than 50 years. Why so dilly-dallying, the rest of you?)

Aussie Pundit said...

"my all time favorite music year."

What an intriguing concept; a personal favorite music year!
Mine is 1985, but it's hard to argue with 1966 as it's also a good choice.

tim in vermont said...

I saw John Sebastian a few years back in a little concert with just him and his guitar. He couldn't sing anymore, but he could make that guitar sound like the whole Lovin' Spoonful. He told a lot of great stories about the music business in the '60s between songs.

From an interview:
What do you think was the pinnacle for the Lovin' Spoonful?
1966 was our apex.
- John Sebastian.

Laslo Spatula said...

chickelit said...
"@Laslo: My personal 1966 compilation includes all of those. What's your beef again?"

chickelit, I know your reading comprehension is better than that. My character was responding to Althouse's referenced "my all-time favorite music year" post, and the "reasons best illustrated here, here, here, and here."

"Reasons best illustrated" was mostly void of any black artists. You can look yourself.

After multiple posts of Bob Dylan "Lamar" was going on about the White-centric Love of Such. Just carried it on to an obscure white artist being posted, and the links therein.

I love Althouse, just noting -- through satire -- her background in a context that doesn't really raise it's head here.

The fact that those songs are on YOUR list is a separate thing.

With respect,

I am Laslo.

Roughcoat said...

Any year with a Dusty Springfield song in it is a good year.

Ann Althouse said...

On the topic of black artists I cared about when I was younger than 15: I loved Sam Cooke in the early 60s. I loved The Miracles and The Crystals and The Shirellls. I bought the the first Marvin Gaye single when it came out. I loved Stevie Wonder when Fingertips came out and remember seeing him on Bandstand on his 13th birthday.

But by the mid60s, I thought what was called Motown was old fashioned and something that had gone out of style, a decline from the early 60s.

The British invasion had happened, I liked the mod fashion look and the rebelllious attitude and the Motown songs were love songs sung by men in suits and women in evening gowns. I particularly disliked The Supremes. Overdressed and whining about boyfriends not being good enough. That did not speak to me. I also disliked The Four Tops, who have always sounded corny and old fashioned to me. The soul music of the time sounded way too adult for me at the time. These singers souded like they were married people dealing with adultery. I couldn't built my fantasy world around that.

George Leroy Tirebiter said...

Returning to The Critters music, I always loved particular song, also from 1966 & written by their guitarist Jim Ryan.

Forever Or No More

MPH said...

I also believe that 1966 was the greatest year in modern music history.