Listen: Heartbreaker / H. B. Barnum
Let’s not forget what seemingly mediocre productions of non charting, weak Motown copy songs from the late 60′s and early 70′s became. They became a genre to themselves: Northern Soul.
Everyone loves the greatest songs ever written. Some people love the dodgy followups and non hits just as much. To be exact, that would be me, and in this particular situation, followers of Northern Soul.
Give a few of these songs two or three listens and you won’t believe what can happen. All those supposedly calculated, devoid of original idea tracks get under your skin in the most addictive way.
Scour the label for writer, arranger or producer credits, plus certain publishers and/or production companies, and you’ll start to find several reoccurring names, some whose careers blossomed later; or critically acclaimed folks that you want to like, but just never really got round to.
For some, the producer of ‘Heartbreaker’, David Axelrod, fits that bill. One of the house production guys at Capitol during the period, you’ll notice him often on label credits. Pay closer attention and a whole new world of untapped records will be come into your life and onto your want list.
Likewise H. B. Barnum, but more so as an arranger, back when songs needed arranging I guess: The Supremes, Little Richard and, in a most hands on capacity, Lou Rawls.
A few of H. B. Barnum’s many non hits spilled over to Northern Soul, like ‘Heartbreaker’, re-released in ’76 as a result of the UK’s insatiable taste for flops from America.