More twilight doowop like this please
November 18, 2018 3:14 PM   Subscribe

I have loved The Flamingos - I Only Have Eyes For You for as long as I can remember. Tonight listening to WFMU I heard Anyone Who Knows What Love Is (Will Understand) by Irma Thomas. I had no idea that there was more than one song with the feel of I Only Have Eyes For You. There are two! Are there more? Is this a sub-genre that I've somehow managed to remain criminally unaware of? What old spooky, dreamy, delicious soul/doowop songs similar to these have you all been keeping from me?
posted by merocet to Media & Arts (38 answers total) 64 users marked this as a favorite
Phil Phillips - Sea of Love.
The Skyliners - Since I Don't Have You.
I Don't Want To Set The World On Fire - The Ink Spots.

I don't know if any of these songs are quite what you're looking for, but to me they all sound like songs that would be playing in a David Lynch roadhouse while it burns to the ground in slow-motion.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 3:38 PM on November 18, 2018 [3 favorites]

Nicole Willis & The Soul Investigators - No One's Gonna Love You
posted by fuse theorem at 3:42 PM on November 18, 2018 [2 favorites]

The Flamingos version is kind of in a class by itself, but

The Ravens - Count Every Star is a ballad in that vein I like
posted by rhizome at 3:44 PM on November 18, 2018

I like the Solitaires' I Don't Stand a Ghost of a Chance and Nolan Strong and the Diablo's The Wind.
posted by pinochiette at 4:02 PM on November 18, 2018 might try.

One Less Bell to Answer by The Fifth Dimension
I'll Get Along Somehow by Ruth Brown
All Night Long - Nancy Wilson
posted by brookeb at 4:02 PM on November 18, 2018

Oh, and one of my favorite songs is this duet, which seems sort of similar.
posted by pinochiette at 4:03 PM on November 18, 2018 [2 favorites]

Devil or Angel by the Clovers
posted by pH Indicating Socks at 4:05 PM on November 18, 2018

Made infamous infamous in the new season of Twin Peaks, My Prayer by The Platters.
posted by cakelite at 5:51 PM on November 18, 2018 [1 favorite]

Aaron Neville Tell it like it is
posted by SinAesthetic at 5:54 PM on November 18, 2018 [2 favorites]

Tindersticks, The Turns We Took
posted by vers at 6:06 PM on November 18, 2018 [1 favorite]

Years ago I was watching some TV murder show and there was a song with the same feel.

I'm 99% sure this is it - astonishingly I found it on the first google. "Scarlet Rose," Cold Case.

Here's the bit from the show.
posted by bunderful at 6:21 PM on November 18, 2018 [1 favorite]

You might enjoy Let Me Love You, by George Goodman & His Headliners
posted by muirne81 at 6:21 PM on November 18, 2018 [1 favorite]

Four Walls is not doo-wop but it's got that same chilling feeling for me and an obsessive narrator. This version is by the Secret Sisters.

Trying to see if there was a doo-wop version I found this - different song, same tile, by Eddie Holman
posted by bunderful at 6:30 PM on November 18, 2018

I don't mean this as a commercial plug, but Pandora's basis was the Music Genome Project, which once upon a time was more greatly accessible. It basically meant to classify songs based on about 450 qualities. You might want to see what Pandora does with this as a base song, since it's using that technology.
posted by WCityMike at 6:51 PM on November 18, 2018 [3 favorites]

Also, Wikipedia's entry on the song refers to it being "otherworldly", and a "prominent reverb effect", if either of those descriptions help. I also think your language of "twilight doowop" in the title would be a useful Google term.
posted by WCityMike at 6:53 PM on November 18, 2018

ooh, I like this question! Here are two of my faves that I would add to a playlist with your two original examples: You and Me by Penny & The Quarters and Just One Look by Doris Troy. You might also check out some Jackie Wilson, maybe To Be Loved, but he's got a lot of stuff that would fit that sound. Some of The Drifters old, lesser known stuff might fit too. I'm off to go make this playlist now!
posted by carlypennylane at 7:22 PM on November 18, 2018 [1 favorite]

Brenda Lee I'm Sorry
posted by SyraCarol at 7:31 PM on November 18, 2018 [1 favorite]

Mr. Bungle's Pink Cigarette for a great modern take on this sub-genre (worth paying attention to the lyrics!)
posted by mannequito at 11:13 PM on November 18, 2018

The rest of the Flamingos’ album Flamingo Serenade is in a similar vein. It’s on Spotify if you’ve got that.
posted by STFUDonnie at 3:20 AM on November 19, 2018

Another version of My Prayer - this time by the Inkspots.
The Inkspots also did "My Echo My Shadow and Me"
"Dream a little dream of me" is another song that fits in this context, I think - Doris Day version.
posted by rongorongo at 3:21 AM on November 19, 2018 [1 favorite]

There is also an "exotica" aspect of your query, I think. Here, for example is Martin Denny's "The Enchanted Sea"
posted by rongorongo at 3:24 AM on November 19, 2018 [1 favorite]

Some of Patsy Cline’s ballads where she’s backed by the Jordanaires give me a similar vibe.
You Belong To Me
She’s Got You

Makes me think of this one too
The Little Dippers - Forever
posted by STFUDonnie at 3:43 AM on November 19, 2018 [1 favorite]

I think Going Out of My Head by Little Anthony and the Imperials has sort of the same feeling.
Also Ooo Baby Baby by the Miracles.
posted by heatvision at 3:50 AM on November 19, 2018 [3 favorites]

Sorry, wrong link to the Little Dippers in my comment above - here it is
posted by STFUDonnie at 3:55 AM on November 19, 2018

I have long shared your belief that I Only Have Eyes for You is its own genre! Some songs that get close for me are Need Your Love So Bad by Little Willie John and Crimson and Clover by Tommy James and the Shondells.
posted by telegraph at 8:46 AM on November 19, 2018 [1 favorite]

Great thread, great answers! I don't have one, but here's a little more about the song, from the "Sounds" chapter of The Catalog of Cool (which is where I first became aware of it):
Sometimes "I Only Have Eyes For You" (1959) sounds like a transmission from outer space. Sometimes it sounds like the spookiest record ever made.
posted by Rash at 9:34 AM on November 19, 2018

It’s not as creepy/otherworldly, but I always associate Skeeter Davis / End of the World with this vibe.
posted by stoneandstar at 9:39 AM on November 19, 2018 [1 favorite]

I'm not good at precise subgenre categorizing, but by instinct I'm thinking this might fall under it: Mad Lads - "Don't Have To Shop Around"
posted by ifjuly at 3:13 PM on November 19, 2018

You Belong to Me by the Duprees

Kinda sorta in the same vein, but not doowop:
California Nights by Leslie Gore
Sleep Walk by Santo and Johnny
In My Room by the Beach Boys
Count on Me by Gary Lewis and the Playboys
Ebb Tide by the Righteous Brothers
Color My World by Chicago
posted by cadge at 5:36 PM on November 19, 2018

This is highly dependent on your tolerance for remixes, but if you do like them, some of the Verve series maybe fit that same general vibe of classic but off:
Dinah Washington - Cry Me A River (Truth & Soul Remix)
Astrud Gilberto - The Gentle Rain (RJD2 Remix)
Billie Holiday - Yesterdays (Junior Boys Remix)
posted by eponym at 6:41 PM on November 19, 2018

Kinda different but what are your thoughts on Ariel Pink? Try Round and Round and maybe a couple others.
posted by cybertaur1 at 6:49 PM on November 19, 2018

The Crystals - He Hit Me (And It Felt Like A Kiss)

EDIT for triggers – this song deals with deeply unpleasant and complicated emotions that might not sit well with everyone.
posted by MikePemulis at 1:35 AM on November 20, 2018

Oh, and Spooky By the Classics IV. But the Atlanta Rhythm Section and Doris Day have great versions too.
posted by MexicanYenta at 5:09 AM on November 20, 2018

Moby made a tiny playlist for a little NPR bit years ago that lead off with "I Only Have Eyes for You" as songs that "sound good in an abandoned factory at 4:30 am." Another song on his playlist that has stuck with me is "Cheree" by Suicide. He also includes Julee Cruise, who came to fame through her collaboration with Angelo Badalamenti for Twin Peaks music. When I think of spooky, otherworldly doowop, I almost always think of Twin Peaks and Cruise and Badalamenti's music. Lastly, a song I find sorta spooky that came to mind from your prompt is "Jesus' blood never failed me yet" by Gavin Bryars and Tom Waits.
posted by Slothrop at 7:09 AM on November 20, 2018

I've picked up some gold from the suggestions so far!

For my own part, I'd think the Flamingos own Mio Amore would fit the bill pretty well.

Other thoughts:
The Earthquakes- This is Really Real
Flames (a few different takes on this one, you could try The Five Sharks or The Reminiscents)
The Vibrations- So Blue
Utopians- Along My Lonely Way
The Bel-Aires- This Paradise

These all hit the spooky, atmospheric dreamy note for me. (Twilight doowop, I'm so borrowing that.)
posted by psychostorm at 2:43 AM on November 22, 2018

I think all I really want in life is a "David Lynch roadhouse while it burns to the ground in slow-motion" playlist.

Little Ann - Deep Shadows
Jackie Shane - Any Other Way (There have been a few FPP's about Jackie, here's a good one)
Roy Orbison - In Dreams (not doo-wop or soul but it fits the playlist, I think. Also p.s. what on earth is this song structure)

Newer stuff:
Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings - You're Gonna Get It or If You Call
Thee Lakesiders - Parachute
The Sentiments - She Won't Be Gone Long
Amy Winehouse - Love Is a Losing Game (this live version is saaaaaaaad)
posted by bcwinters at 2:22 PM on November 28, 2018 [1 favorite]

Some more:
Cry Baby - Garnet Mimms and the Enchanters
All I have to do is Dream - The Everly Brothers
Goodnight Sweetheart Goodnight - The Spaniels
You Still Believe in Me - The Beach Boys
Stay with Me -Lorraine Ellison

The track also has a LastFM entry which could be useful:
This track is an early example of what is now termed "Smooth Soul." Through the '50s and '60s, if you sang R&B or Soul, this is the sound you were compared to and sought to perfect. Later groups featuring a similar sound, from the '60s thru the '80s, would include The Spinners, Stylistics, Ace Spectrum, Blue Magic,etc.Contemporary rivals included The Spanials, Dells, Channels, Drifters, Fandangos, and others.
posted by rongorongo at 10:26 PM on November 28, 2018

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