I was listening to an oldies station on the way to work this morning and Keep On Dancing by The Gentrys (1965) came on. A simple tune but I’ve always liked it. After a little research, I discovered it was a cover of the original by The Avantis (not to be confused with the surf rock band with the same name) It was written by Allen A. Jones, Andrew Love and Richard Shann and released in 1963. But that’s not all! I found a song called Rinky Dink by “Baby” Cortez. It’s an instrumental song that pre-dates them both. While it’s an instrumental, it’s clear that’s where the idea for Keep On Dancing was influenced by.
Another song I’ve always liked is a rockin’ little number from Led Zeppelin called Boogie with Stu. I loved it for many, many years before I discovered it borrowed heavily from Ritchey Valens’ Ooh My Head. Yes, to be (somewhat) fair, they did give writing credit to “Mrs. Valens” on the original record but I have to think that was to hopefully stave off the inevitable lawsuits.
Songfacts says this:
“The song was recorded when Led Zeppelin was set up in Headley Grange. They were using the Rolling Stones mobile recording unit and Stu stopped in. There was an old piano in the main room that was slightly out of tune. Stu was playing it and Jimmy Page was tuning his guitar to how the piano was out of tune. Tape was rolling and everything was pretty much improvised from Bonzo’s drumming to the lyrics Plant was singing.”
Given that Plant knew the enough of the words, “improvised” is being charitable.
(Speaking of out-of-tune pianos, that de-tuning pianos is a thing was news to me. There is a whole world about it whose adherents can get quite passionate. A good place to start is here)
Anyway, back to Ritchey Valens, it appears he got the idea for the song from the Little Richard’s song “Ooh My Soul”.
And so it goes. Anyone got a favorite musical rabbit-hole?