A Young – Moustache-free – Tony Orlando
I come to you fresh from a successful vinyl excavation expedition, in which the haul was as much Iron Leggy as it was Funky16Corners-eque, i.e. lots of pop and rock goodies that will be dropping in this space in the coming months.
Be forwarned: the tune I bring you today is a slice of sophisticated, elegant pop music, perhaps too lush (and syrupy) for many of you.
However, since I love it, I’m going to go ahead and try your patience by writing about in anyway.
Bear with me, if you will.
Many years ago, via a friend in ‘the biz’, my brother got his hands on a promo-only Burt Bacharach box set (which eventually saw public issue) that was nothing less than a revelation.
I’ve been a huge Bacharach fan since repeated childhood exposure to the ‘Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid’ soundtrack. Oddly enough, from almost the very beginning, it wasn’t Bacharach’s songs that appealed to me (though they did) as it was his instrumental music. I can safely say that after the first 100 hearings, I never needed to hear ‘Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head’ again, but I can still remember selections from that soundtrack, like ‘South American Getaway’ and ‘The Old Fun City’ and how they introduced me to (nay drilled directly into my brain) Burt Bacharach’s sonic vocabulary.
He was a hook master like no other with a diamond cutters knack for inserting a sublime turn of musical phrase into a song at precisely the right moment. Listening to one of his compositions is like watching a brilliant race car driver, making all the correct turns and subtle adjustments while navigating a course, leaving all others in his dust.
Over the (many) years since then I’ve made it a point to grab and listen (frequently) his soundtrack work from movies like ‘What’s New Pussycat’ and ‘Casino Royale’ and smaller, incidental pieces like ‘Hasbrook Heights’, ‘Pacific Coast Highway’ and ‘Nikki’ (which I remember as the ABC Movie of the Week Theme from my childhood). Simply said, Bacharach was a genius. The music he created (on his own and with lyricist) Hal David is nothing less than the perfect embodiment of the 60s pop sensibility. It was hugely influential – stylistically and via countless reinterpretations of the material – and remains so today.
That said, the tune I bring you today is one that I first heard on that boxed set, and that I chased for years before securing my own (vinyl) copy.
Aside from the fact that ‘To Wait For Love’ is a beautiful song, it comes to you courtesy of the largely unheralded early work of one Tony Orlando.
Known to most via his hits with Dawn in the 70s, Orlando spent the 60s alternating between nascent pop-idolhood and working in the background of the music publishing business.
His early recordings for the Epic label, spanning the period of 1961 to 1964, ran the gamut from teen-ish pop, to sophisticated outings like today’s selection (his final 45 for the label). Interestingly, both sides of this 45 were Bacharach/David compositions, neither of which (as far as I can tell) was ever recorded by anyone else.
‘To Wait For Love’ is vintage Bacharach/David, filled with brilliant hooks. The arrangement by Garry Sherman is wonderful, with shimmering guitar running just under romantic accordion (no, seriously) flourishes. Orlando’s vocal proves that with the right combination of material and breaks he might have become a star much sooner than he did.
I just love this record.
I promise I’ll be back with something a little tougher later in the week.