iheartpoptarts enters the stage and loses an almost 10!
Patti LaBelle & The Blue Belles – I Sold My Heart To The Junkman
Average Score: 6.309
Highest Score: 9.5 x 1 (@iheartpoptarts
Lowest Score: 1 x 1 (@Conan
What a terrible day this is! Not only are we 3 for 3 in consecutive 60s eliminations but we are actually saying goodbye to legend Patti Labelle! This number has all the fun and bop elements of the 60s doo wop sound done perfectly right. The question is though – who are we really listening to here? Rumour has it only a live recording with Patti’s voice ever existed and the studio recording was not so, so let’s go on a journey!
We are again eliminating a cover with this one, is this our rate’s equivalence to misandry? This is potentially the song tied with the most controversy in the rate! Although I Sold My Heart To The Junkman is a cover of the 1946 recording by The Basin Street Boys feat Ormonde Wilson (keep these names in mind for future PJOP entries), its true notoriety is centred around the 1962 recording we are rating today. Chicago-based The Starlets (not The Angels from the previous elimination) recorded a version of the track for Harold Robinson (president of Newtown Records) but when Mr. Robinson subsequently released it, he credited The Ordettes (the old name of the Blue Belles, later again changed to Patti Labelle & The Blue Belles due to threats from another record boss). I swear, this makes MKS look tame!
The Starlets never recovered from this controversial mess and disbanded shortly after. They did sue Robinson for song ownership and each received $5000 from the suit, which would have been a fair amount of money at the time. All this being said, I Sold My Heart To The Junk Man became a hit for The Blue Belles due to their struth getting that promotion, including a TV appearance of American Bandstand.
This debut single really helped launch the Patti Labelle and the Blue Belles we love today, the quick success of follow up Down The Aisle saw them survive and really build from the Junkman controversy. They would go on to have a fantastic career for 14 years (culminating [among many achievements] in being the first African American vocal group to make the cover of Rolling Stones magazine in 1975) and eventually reuniting in 2008. Their sound over their band (and solo) careers covered diverse genres; and of course gave us their signature Lady Marmalade. Their influence is reflected among some bands we are yet to discuss such as En Vogue, Destiny’s Child and Pussycat Dolls – which we will get to #SOON.
What did PopJustice have to say for itself about getting rid of Patti so soon?
You wont get much of a proper reason from Zar-Unity (5) - Cute pop song! Tech: 3 Taste: 2 = 5 points. Let’s turn to Kermit_The_Frog (8) - An artist that I’ve criminally never taken the time to explore - this bop has reminded me that I MUST INVESTIGATE PATTI’S DISCOGRAPHY!!!! Yes indeed you must! If only others had followed your lead in the scoring… Saviodxl (6.4) isn’t wrong but don’t remind me that PCD outlasted Patti! - The name of this group suggests that the Pussycat Dolls could've been named "Nicole and The Pussycat Dolls"
Spillett (6) - (it's like they are trying to better 'Mr Postman' but failing), well good on you comparing with only the song before it on the playlist and making that statement! Filippa abandons the rate villain persona for a second (8) - Didn’t know that Patti Labelle was in a band. Didn’t know the song. But I liked it! Trouble In Paradise (7) gives us an education - I LOVE Patti Labelle and all the bands she’s been a part of (Labelle’s album with Laura Nyro is sublime) so it kind of pains me that this is the song to represent them. It’s definitely a little too kitschy for me to really stan.
Empty Shoebox (4) opened the shoebox and found something not quite right - When you read the story behind this song, it's a mess. When I listen to it, I don't really like it. Maybe it's 'before my time', but it sounds so similar to other songs of the time that I'd be hard pressed to pick it out in a medley. Londonrain (6) isn’t too fond - Patti LaBelle can literally make the alphabet sound amazing (there’s a video somewhere of her doing just that) but this song is just okay. Baby Clyde (6) spills quite scolding hot tea - (I've never like this much and it's all a bit screechy which is ironic as Patti isn't even singing. It's not even The Bluebelles at all, but I'm sure you'll come to that story during the reveal)
DominoDancing (6) is a little perplexed at these feelings - Surprisingly Patti Labelle's breakthrough leaves me a bit cold. A shouty piece built around that standard doo-wop progression, it doesn't stand out among the other songs in this collection. Iheartpoptarts (9.5) loses a favourite but inspires the new thread title - So who else had to Google what a junkman was? Ufint (7) - WHERE MY BACKGROUND SINGERS? Yeah, I know, I’ll probably be the tenth person to say that. But it’s Patti and she’s one of the greatest ladies to ever grace this earth, so… The song itself is nothing special, but it’s nice to hear real old-skool Patti. Unnameable (9) just ends with – excellent song!