In the early days of the popular music biz, record sales were driven by radio plays and because radio stations and their jocks liked records to be short and sweet – allowing them to fill the time with ads and often mindless banter, songs wers short! Three minutes (at most) is just about what most jocks and stations woud tolerate – their mantra being “the shorter the better”; thus to win needle time, artists, labels and producers perfected the art of capturing their message as briefly as possible – many managing to cuts a disc that clocked in at under two minutes! Of course, musicologists will tell you that the Animals were the first to break that rule. Their 1964 single ‘House Of The Rising Sun’ clocked in at four and a half minutes and despite that, the record went to #1 in the UK! The there was the Fabs’ ‘Hey Jude’ – a massive seven minutes and what about Richard Harris’ ‘MacArthur Park’?
Anyway, if you still hanker for those two minute classic blasts, archive label JASMINE RECORDS can oblige with a new 42 track collection of classic “shorties” – yes a massive 42 tracks on one CD… well they all clock in at under 2 minutes! The album’s called ‘Bernie Keith’s Two Minute Heroes’ – Bernie being a noted R&R DJ – and the collection includes probably the most famous “shortie” of all – Maurice Williams and the Zodiacs’ ‘Stay’ which lasts and impressive 1 minutes 38 seconds! (When the Hollies covered it they stretched it out to a magnificent 2.14!). Other embryonic soul cuts on the album include Ray Charles – ‘Hit The Road Jack’, Nat Kendrick & the Swans – ‘(Do The) Mashed Potatoes (part 1)’ (in reality, James Brown and his band using a scam pseudonym!), the Shirelles – ‘Tonight’s The Night’ and the Clovers – ‘’Love Potion Number 9’. Also plenty of R&R from people like Elvis and Jerry Lee Lewis and lots of classic pop via artists like Ricky Nelson and Bobby Vee.