Friday, March 12, 2010

The Cheezy Easy Listening Song Of The Day

The other day I mentioned Scott Shannon's popular new feature on The True Oldies Channel.

Each afternoon he features a suggestion from one of his listeners for "The Cheezy Easy-Listening Song Of The Day" ... songs that originally charted on Billboard's Soft Rock / Easy Listening Chart but then somehow crossed over to the popular Top 40 Rock And Roll Stations, too ... and, for better or for worse, became part of our social consciousness in the process.

You know the kind of songs I'm talking about: Honey ... Dominique ... Ringo ... It Must Be Him ... 1900 Yesterday ... these are just a few of the songs we've heard him feature recently.
Well, Scott, here's a GREAT suggestion for this feature if you haven't already done it.


The first week of January, 1969, saw a pretty impressive Top 40 on The Billboard Chart:

Motown held down FIVE of the top seven songs in the country:
"I Heard It Through The Grapevine" by Marvin Gaye was #1; "For Once In My Life" by Stevie Wonder was #2; "I'm Gonna Make You Love Me" by Diana Ross and the Supremes and the Temptations was the #3 record in the nation ... and The Temptations and The Supremes also held down the #6 and #7 spots with "Cloud Nine" and "Love Child" respectively.

Top 40 Classics like "Soulful Strut" (Young-Holt Unlimited), "Stormy" (The Classics IV), "Hooked On A Feeling" (B.J. Thomas), "Crimson and Clover" (Tommy James and the Shondells), "Son-Of-A-Preacher Man" (Dusty Springfield), "Everyday People" (Sly and the Family Stone), "Hey Jude" (The Beatles) and "The Worst That Could Happen" (by The Brooklyn Bridge) were all making their way up or down the charts.

Heavier tunes like "Magic Carpet Ride" by Steppenwolf, "Going Up The Country" by Canned Heat and "Touch Me" by The Doors were ALSO sharing space in The National Top 40 that week.
So what the heck were Rene and Rene doing at #14 with "Lo Mucho Que Te Quiero"?!?!?!

Fact is, it's a really pretty song ... and there's a pretty good chance the melody for this one will stick in your head and drive you crazy all day long.

It's just another Cheezy Easy-Listening Song that managed to find a spot on the pop charts thanks to sounding like nothing else that was out at the time! And clearly people bought it ... it peaked at #14 in January of 1969!

Rene and Rene ... those really ARE their names, by the way ... were a Mexican-American duo out of Laredo, Texas. They had one other record that made The Top 40 in Cash Box Magazine back in 1964 ("Angelito" reached #38 in Cash Box and stopped at #43 in Billboard) but "Lo Mucho Que Te Quiero" is the one that really caught on, peaking at #14 and spending a total of twelve weeks on The Billboard Chart. Rene Ornelas and Rene Herrera never hit The Top 100 again.

The duo first teamed up in the early '50's as part of a vocal quartet called The Quarter Notes. (Incredibly the other half of the quartet were a couple of guys name Juan ... Juan Orfila and Juan Garza-Gongora ... so you actually had two Renes and two Juans up on stage performing!)
They landed a record deal with both Deluxe and Dot Records and had a few hits on the Spanish stations but weren't very successful crossing over to the pop charts.

The Quarter Notes split up in 1962 but the two Renes stayed together and continued to record and perform. Rene Ornelas told Wayne Jancik (in his book "One Hit Wonders") that they often had to record a pop song on one side of the record and a Spanish song on the other in order to maintain their audience while still trying to break new ground.

Once "Lo Mucho Que Te Quiero" (which means "The More I Love You") became a hit, Rene and Rene found themselves touring with The Beach Boys and The Grass Roots and were even a part of Dick Clark's Caravan of Stars for a while.

Rene Herrera quit in 1972 but Ornelas stayed in the music industry, eventually writing or arranging music for the likes of Herb Alpert, Vikki Carr, Trini Lopez, Jose Feliciano, Peter Nero and Lawrence Welk. As of 1990 (when Jancik's book was first published), he was still out there performing as a solo act, now calling himself Rene Rene as a means of cashing in on their past success!!! Also in 1990, Ornelas and Herrera were inducted into The Tejano Music Hall of Fame in San Antonio, TX. (Not bad for a One Hit Wonder act!!!)