A Piece of Fluff (I Wish I’d Written)

I’m a sucker for the IV minor chord.  It’s just like a IV chord, only with a flattened six that makes a songwriter sound all, like, meaningful and stuff. 

I love it too much, in fact, and had to impose an embargo on myself at one stage, until I could be sure I was using the IV minor responsibly again, as the Skyliners did in ‘Since I Don’t Have You’:  the song has a straightforward doo-wop progression, except instead of I-vi-IV-V, the chords go I-vi-IVminor-V.  One little semitone can make a big difference:

Mmmm, that’s good fluff.  But it takes a surprising number of people to produce such fluff.  Who wrote the song? According to the label on the original 45, the song was written by “J. Rock- The Skyliners”.  ASCAP agrees:
BEAUMONT JAMES L
LESTER WALTER P JR
ROCK JOSEPH V
TAYLOR JOHN H
VERSCHAREN JOSEPH W
VOGEL JANET F

That’s J. Rock, plus the Skyliners all right.

But according to Jay Warner, in his “American singing groups: a history from 1940s to today“, Joe Rock wrote the lyric in his car while between stoplights, and Jimmy Beaumont supplied the music the next night. The group recorded an a capella demo, and Janet Vogel, believing recording had ceased, “kept riffing at the end, weaving up to an incredible high C finale”.

So maybe the rest of the group got writing credit for supplying their own vocal parts?  In any case, it seems I should thank lead singer Jimmy Beaumont for the IV minor chord, and otherwise I have no problem with Warner’s account – except that’s a C sharp on the recording.  Go Janet!

What’s that?  You’d like to see the Skyliners doing the number on Dick Clark’s show, dressed in wild west outfits and walking awkwardly down a flight of stairs?  Oh, alright.

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