Thursday, April 24, 2014

Bang Records: Shilo

When Neil Diamond had recorded, “Just for You,” his second and final album for Bang Records in 1967, he urged Bert Berns to release one of his new recordings, “Shilo,” as a single from the LP. Preferring to issue more pop oriented songs as singles, Berns refused even though Diamond persisted because he felt that “Shilo” epitomized his growth as a songwriter.

“Just for You” contained two tracks that also appeared on Diamond’s first album “The Feel of Neil Diamond.” Both cuts, “Solitary Man” and “Cherry Cherry,” had been released also as singles in 1966. No doubt their inclusion on the new album was a ploy to boost sales of “Just for You.”

“Just for You” is an uncanny LP, as all eleven tracks ended up being an “A” or “B” side of a Bang single.

The single releases from “Just for You” included the following:
  • B-519 “Solitary Man”/”Do It” – April 1966 #55
  • B-528 “Cherry Cherry”/”I’ll Come Running” – July 1966 #6
  • B-536 “I Got the Feelin’ (Oh No No)”/”The Boat that I Row” – October 1966 #16
  • B-540 “You Got to Me”/”Someday Baby” – January 1967 #18
  • B-542 “Girl, You’ll Be a Woman Soon”/”You’ll Forget” – March 1967 #10
  • B-547 “Thank the Lord for the Night Time”/”Long Way from Home” – July 1967 #13
  • B-556 “Red Red Wine”/”Red Rubber Ball” – March 1968 #62
  • B-561 “Shilo”/”La Bamba” – September 1968 – did not chart
  • B-575 “Shilo”/”La Bamba” – January 1970 #24
  • B-578 “Solitary Man”/”The Time is Now” – July 1970 #21
  • B-586 “I’m A Believer”/”Crooked Street” – June 1971 #51
  • B-703 “The Long Way Home”/”Monday Monday” – June 1973 #91
In addition to these, three other Diamond tunes were culled for single releases during this same period:
  • B-551 “Kentucky Woman”/”The Time is Now” (non album single) – October 1967 #62
  • B-554 “New Orleans”/”Hanky Panky” (from the first LP) – January 1968 #51
  • B-580 “Do It”/”Hanky Panky” (from the first LP) – October 1970 #36

Shilo – Version One (September 1968)

While “Shilo” eventually was released as a single, it was after Bert Berns’ death. Issued in September 1968 after Diamond had moved over to Uni Records, “Shilo” was as Berns had predicted.

In 1968, the world was not ready for the more esoteric Diamond tune about an imaginary friend; consequently, it was his only Bang single that never made it into the Hot 100. “Shilo” was produced by Diamonds Brill Building songwriting friend Jeff Barry.

Shilo – Version Two (January 1970)

When Uni had success with two Top 10 Diamond singles in 1969 (“Sweet Caroline” and “Holly Holy”), Bang reached back into the vaults and rerecorded the backing tracks to match Diamond’s current style.

This time Bang had a hit with the remixed version of “Shilo.” It charted at #24 in 1970. Although it is also in the original version, listen for the toy piano in this release of “Shilo.” A perfect addition for a song about an imaginary childhood friend. Everybody had one - my friend’s name was unusual as well - it was “Corn.”

Bang repacked the material and added the new version of “Shilo” and released a new compilation with the hit single as its title track. The new version was produced by Jeff Barry and his wife Ellie Greenwich - both Brill Building regulars.

Shilo – Version Three (October 1970)

With “Shilo” doing fairly well for Bang, Uni felt that it couldn’t be outdone and Diamond reentered the studio and re-recorded “Shilo.” This third version was then added to a re-release of Diamond’s 1968 Uni LP “Velvet Gloves and Spit.”

For this 1970 album reissue, Uni released the album with a new cover that prominently announced that “Shilo” was on this particular LP. In my opinion, the Uni version has the superior mix. Additionally, another 70s version of “Shilo” appeared on Diamond’s 1972 live album “Hot August Night.”

These three studio versions of “Shilo” provide our Thursday Repeats and Threepeats selection along with our fourth week feature of Bang Records.

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