It doesn't really sound that much like Ronnie Spector, does it? Rumors to the contrary apparently notwithstanding, Charlotte O'Hara (née Matheny) sang lead on this Mark II version of Phil Spector's Wall of Sound, produced by Spector protégé Jerry Riopelle and issued on a short-lived Philles subsidiary label. Behind Charlotte were Sherlie Matthews and Clydie King. The song, by Brill Building experts Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil, is a Shangri-Las-y tale told by a teenage girl who can't understand why her boyfriend was suspended from school for the length of his hair, fercrissake. "Land of the free," indeed. This little story was full of contemporary resonance, and I don't mean recording-studio echo either, and it probably would have been an enormous hit had Capitol not released a far blander version with country-crossover artist Jody Miller, who charted at #25. Charlotte, alas, is no longer with us. Clydie and Sherlie went on to the Blackberries and sustained lengthy careers as backup singers. Sherlie also piled up extensive production and songwriting credits, the latter often with Marva Holiday, who was part of a "touring" version of the Treasures and who eventually cut a single herself ("Hang Around"/"It's Written All Over My Face", GNP Crescendo 411). The team at the Spectropop mailing list have compiled a frighteningly-complete history of this track and Charlotte O'Hara's recording career.
Where can I get this on CD?
There hasn't been a "legitimate" CD issue to my knowledge, but "grey area" CDs rush in to fill gaps like this. The European (it says) Flip label is offering a compilation called Phil Spector's Flips and Rarities (CD-001). See your import dealer.
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Copyright © 2000-02 by Charles G. Hill
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Thanks to Marva Holiday.