by Robert Wilkinson
In the newest entry in our string of magical musical birthdays, today we celebrate the birthday of the great Gene Cornish, lead guitarist for the legendary "blue eyed soul" group the Young Rascals.
They hit the charts in 1965, and never looked back! The Young Rascals, later just the Rascals, were one of THE premier "white soul" groups of the 60s, and their music stands up today as some of the best ever made!! Gene Cornish's (May 14, 1944) guitar licks were pretty incredible, given he was the only guitar in the group as counterpoint to Felix Cavaliere's wailing organ.
Here's their first big hit, a major tune with an even bigger attitude! (The Rascals always did songs with attitude, even when they were just "groovin'") From Shindig in 1965 (with Alan King doing a schtick, deleted from this clip) here are the Young Rascals on tv doing their breakthrough tune "I Ain't Gonna Eat Out My Heart Anymore."
Here’s a treat! From Hullabaloo in 1966, a spoof video of the Rascals set to them performing a wailing version of the Larry Williams smash hit, the "B" side of "Ain't Gonna Eat Out My Heart Anymore," “Slow Down”
We'll close this 1965 set of tunes from their first album with the original studio version of a great rave up penned by Gene and the drummer Dino Danelli! One of my faves from that first album, the infinitely danceable tune giving us a hint of things to come, "Do You Feel."
From their second album "Collections," the original studio version of the beautiful "What is the Reason"
The original studio cut of the infinitely danceable "Come On Up."
Here's a great live set showing off Felix's amazing singing and organ work, with some classic and utterly fantastic drumming by Dino Danelli! Seeing this shows how exciting the Young Rascals were at their peak! From 1967 on the Mike Douglas Show, a two-fer of ”Good Lovin’,” "I've Been Lonely Too Long" and "Come On Up."
Here they are live and in color in 1966 on television doing an absolutely electrifying performance two-fer of the soul classics "Mickey's Monkey" and "Turn On Your Love Light." This one's kinetic, and so is Dino’s drumming!
We’ll finish this 1966 set with a great live performance of “Since I Fell”
A great live performance from 1967 by the Young Rascals of the title song of their third album, "Groovin'"
Here's a live performance of "How Can I Be Sure."
Punk attitude with a wailing Hammond B-3 and a guitar riff wound tighter than a watch spring! The original studio cut of "You Better Run."
A live lip-synched performance of "Lonely Too Long."Here’s another great live performance (not lip synched!) of "Lonely Too Long."
From the legendary “Summer of Love,” here are the Rascals in 1967 on Ed Sullivan doing a live performance of their smash hit "A Girl Like You."
Here’s the studio version of the “B” side to “A Girl Like You,” an amazing soulful psychedelic tune featuring the exquisite flute playing of Hubert Laws! One of my all-time favorites, here’s the fantastic “It’s Love”
From 1968's "Once Upon A Dream," one of their obscure gems! Here's the studio version of an archetypal 1967 vibe, "It's Wonderful."
Also from "Once Upon A Dream," the Gene Cornish tune "I'm Gonna Love You."
Here's the original 1968 music video set to the studio version of "It's A Beautiful Morning."
Here they are live in 1969, doing their huge #1 hit from the 1969 "Freedom Suite" album, "People Got To Be Free."
From some point back then, a b/w lip-synched performance of “People Got To Be Free”
Here’s another great live version from 1970 of ”Glory Glory” and “People Got To Be Free”
Original 1968 studio version of "People Got To Be Free" here. (This song was written in reaction to the assassinations that year of Senator Robert F. Kennedy and Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., and went straight to #1 on the charts.)
Last year, I had a live 1969 performance on German tv of the final tracks of “Freedom Suite,” but it’s nowhere to be found. So for your listening pleasure, here’s the original studio track of “Heaven”
From 1969, a live performance of “Carry Me Back”
Couldn’t find a live clip that’s been pulled recently, but here’s the original studio version of “See” (It’s obvious where the J. Geils Band got their sound!)
Here's a clip from 1988, The Rascals on Regis.
We'll close this birthday tribute with a smokin' live performance of 'the Young Rascals and Friends" doing the immortal rock and roll anthem "Good Lovin'" Gene's still got the moves!
Happy Birthday, Gene! You, Felix, Eddie, and Dino made my teen years a true joy!
It also came to my attention this is also the birthday of the great Bobby Darin (May 14, 1936 – December 20, 1973). While I can't do an entire birthday tribute today, here are a few of his greatest!
From the Spring of 1959, live on Dick Clark's Beechnut Show, Bobby giving us a lip-synched live performance of his first huge hit, "Splish Splash."
On the Kraft Music Hall television show, here's Bobby with the great Stevie Wonder in a great 1969 live performance of "If I Were A Carpenter"
Here's a great live performance on television later in his career of his signature hit, "Beyond the Sea"
We'll close this brief birthday celebration with one of his most beautiful tunes, "Simple Song of Freedom"
"Come and sing a simple song of freedom,
Sing it like you've never sung before
Let it fill the air
Tell the people everywhere
That we, the people here, don't want a war...."
© Copyright 2014 Robert Wilkinson