October 2, 2009

Mod-A-Day: Bob Crewe Generation

Super! Groovy! Alive! Today! Now! That's pretty much how The Bob Crewe Generation were marketed in 1967, and it was a pretty spot-on description. That was the year that Bob Crewe went from behind the scenes producer genius to center stage as a front man for the aptly named orchestra The Bob Crewe Generation. And it was all thanks to a Pepsi jingle that Crewe turned into the international swingin' song sensation "Music To Watch Girls By", thanks in part to Pepsi's accompanying slogan "Come Alive! You're in the Pepsi Generation".

Crewe got his start as being primarly the producer in several producer/writer teams in the 50s. His big break came when he helped to write and produce a slew of hit songs for bands like The Four Seasons and Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels, Lesley Gore and Bobby Darrin. Songs like "Sherry" which was a #1 single in 1962 for The Four Seasons; "Big Girls Don't Cry," another #1 hit single, "Rag Doll," also a #1 hit, and top ten hits like "Can't Take My Eyes Off of You"Ronnie," "Walk Like a Man," and "Bye, Bye, Baby (Baby, Goodbye)". On into the '70s and '80s he continued to pen hit songs for Frankie Valli, Labelle, and Roberta Flack. The Bob Crewe Generation also recorded Crewe's soundtrack for the Jane Fonda flick Barbarella, which even features Crewe on some vocal tracks.

But it was his 1967 album with its cool, go-go jetsetting sound that made Crewe a fave of lounge lovers all over. The album features some loungy/easy listening arrangements of other Crewe hits like "Let's Hang On," and "A Lover's Concerto." It also includes the song here, "Anna" which seems to borrow from all of the other tracks and has a simple but infectious bass line, and Tijuana Brass like horns, with groovy guitars throughout.

The Bob Crewe Generation -- Anna