Facebook R&B crooner Mario has been relatively quiet on the music front for…
- Posted on Apr 6th 2007 5:00PM by Gaylord Fields
In 1961, Spector started his Philles label -- soon to become the home to such hit acts as the Crystals, the Ronettes and the Righteous Brothers -- with business partner Lester Sill (the les in Philles). Having developed and perfected his innovative and hit-making Wall of Sound production technique, and having become a millionaire by age 21, Spector felt no need -- either creatively or financially -- for a silent partner. So in January 1963 he cooked up a scheme to let Sill know where the partnership stood.
Spector gathered his girl group the Crystals, as well as a pianist, bass player and drummer, into a New York studio and cut the track that would be released as Philles 111 -- '(Let's Dance) The Screw,' parts 1 and 2. And a single more lacking in commercial potential that this two-sided deliberate mess probably never had been made by a major producer. Never mind the sparse production totally lacking in Wall of Sound touches, or the running time of six minutes per side -- which was unheard of in 1963: A record titled 'The Screw' wouldn't be touched by a programmer on Earth.
And then there are the lyrics: Over a bouncy yet childishly simple melody, the Crystals intone the following words (double meanings intentional):
Let's do it / C'mon and do it / To the right / To the left / Now front / Now back / Let's do...
Then a male voice (said to be either Spector or his lawyer) bellows in a monotone:
Dance the screw!
And then the girls proceed to chant the single word "dance" over and over and over. Remember, this go on for six minutes! And the b-side is six more minutes of the same, except slowed to a dirge tempo.
Only a handful of copies of 'The Screw' were pressed -- with one presented to Sill -- placing it among the rarest 45s ever. Rumor has it that Spector's aim was to let his partner know he was going to get "screwed" out of his proper share of the revenues from the next Philles release. That record was the Crystals' 'Da Doo Ron Ron,' which Spector rightly predicted would be a smash, reaching No. 3. Whether that rumor is true or not, Sill got the message nonetheless and sold off his share of the label. And all without a single shot being fired.