#27 The Raindrops – Hanky Panky (1963)

The Raindrops were a 1960s pop group from New York, associated with the so-called “Brill Building” style of 60s pop. This term referred to pop song-writing which originated in the Brill Building in New York City, where numerous teams of professional songwriters penned material for 1960s pop groups. The term has also become a catch-all for the period in which those songwriting teams flourished.

The Raindrops existed from 1963 to 1965, and was made up of Ellie Greenwich and Jeff Barry, who were also both famous songwriters in the Brill Building mode. Barry and Greenwich wrote Hanky Panky when they were in the middle of a recording session for the Raindrops, and realised that they needed a B-side to the single, That Boy John. Legend has it that they penned this song, Hanky Panky, in 20 minutes. Some unkind souls might say that it sounds as though they had spent only that amount of time on it, because it is an unbelievably straightforward piece of music – but that’s kind of the point…It’s a lightweight, fun, smutty piece of candyfloss 60s pop, which gets people on the dancefloor. Job done. Even Barry and Greenwich themselves, however, were among those who didn’t rate the song, and deemed it inferior to the rest of their work. Barry commented to Billboard’s Fred Bronson that, “As far as I was concerned it was a terrible song. In my mind it wasn’t written to be a song, just a B-side.”  (The status of the B-Side has surely never been so cruelly dismissed!) Nevertheless, I love it, and I’m not the only one, because the song has been covered a few times, by the likes of Tommy James & Shondells, and the Summits, to name but two.

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